Sabine flailed and coughed as the demon lugged her to
"It took you long enough!" She'd thought she would drown again, was sure of it, until she'd felt his hands clamping her sides.
"I dove straight down!" Glowering at the metal as if it were to blame, he took hold of her headdress, unlocking it from her collar.
"No!" she cried.
But he tossed the piece over his shoulder toward the camp. Once he'd removed her choker and spun it away like a Frisbee, he clutched her ankles. Before she could react, he'd snatched her feet out from under her. When her back met the sand, he was already yanking a boot off.
"Stop this, demon!" Fighting him was futile, but she still tried. She kicked out, aiming for his recently injured chest, connecting a couple of solid hits.
He didn't even seem to notice them, flinging her boots away. "You're my captive. My responsibility. I'll make sure you're clean."
After her spanking, Sabine had noticed that Ryd-
strom had calmed, that wild look diminishing-but in no way disappearing. Now it was back full force. His very voice was altered, his language and bearing decidedly not kingly. He'd held himself rigid and aloof before. Now there was a fluidity in the way he moved.
Glaring up at him, she said, "And I suppose I don't have any say in this?"
He shook his head slowly, his attention already on her bustier. He stood, hauling her to her feet. With his brow furrowed in concentration, he began unlacing the intricate knots of her top, unraveling the swollen leather ties.
He was getting aroused once more, that thick shaft rising. His movements became unhurried, as if he relished this task and didn't want it to end.
Once he'd removed the bustier, his gaze was transfixed by her br**sts, rising and falling with her hectic breaths. He seemed to give himself a shake, then worked her skirt down her sandy legs.
"Enough!" She bucked against him again, thrashing her body, but he looped an arm around her waist to still her.
With a slap on her still burning ass, he gave her a look of warning so menacing, she decided she might heed it. "Stand here. Do not move." He tugged down her panties and mesh hose, tossing them into a pile.
After he'd stripped her completely, he began unbraid-ing her plaits. His countenance was fierce, but he handled her hair with infinite gentleness.
When he'd finished, he pulled her into the water up to her knees. There he laid his hands on her shoulders,
pressing her down to kneel, putting his jutting shaft right in front of her face.
Just when she thought he was going to try to force her to take him with her mouth, he knelt before her.
Once he'd rinsed the sand from her, he began invests gating her body. He traced her collarbone with those big demon hands, his eyes following his movements, then his lips. When his gaze dipped to her br**sts she knew what would follow. He grazed rough palms over them, kissing her ni**les with the merest brush of his lips.
Somehow, he was being gentle with her, his caresses so out of place with the anger she could feel still seeth-ing inside him. His touches were . . . tender. Consola-tory. But did he want to console her over what he'd done-or what he was about to do?
He scooped water over her chest, licking it from her br**sts, sucking drops from the tips. He used his teeth to nip at her straining peaks, then he drew back to stare at them. His eyes were riveted on them, as if he was fascinated with this part of her.
She cursed her body for responding once more. But she was unfulfilled from their earlier encounter, and from nights of yearning for him even before her abduc-tion. Her lids grew heavy, her earlier alarm and rancor
He ran his lips over her ear, nuzzling it as he said, "I've waited a long time for my female. Fifteen centu-ries, I've gone without her." He gently ran his horns against her neck. "Without you. No longer."
He clasped her shoulders and turned her so he could drag his lips down her damp back. When she shivered,
he rasped, "You still like my touch." He drew the backs of his dark claws across her sensitive ass. "You always will."
By the time he'd turned her to face him once more, his kneading and kissing had put her in a daze of lethargic arousal. When he eased his hand between her legs, cupping her, she rested on him, pressing herself into his palm, leaning her forehead on his shoulder.
A daze . . . do what you will. . . She didn't care. Until he raised his other hand to her face.
She stiffened and scrambled back. In a deadly tone, she said, "Don't ever touch my face, Rydstrom."
Nine times out of ten, when a man had his hand raised in the vicinity of her face, it was either to cow her or kill her. In her five hundred years of life, this had proven true.
"I do as I please with you." When he grasped her chin, she flinched, and damn him, he noticed the weakness.
"You don't have any right-"
"You gave me that right with your treatment of me."
He ran his other palm lightly over the front of her neck. When he frowned as if he'd perceived the raised scar that was still invisible, she fought to get free, but he held her tightly. She had only so long before her illusions faded. Soon he'd see the white streak in her hair, the scar at her neck. She'd never imagined she'd be powerless near him.
"Are you going to want sex with me now?" she hastily asked to distract him. "Because I already gave at the office-"
"-and it was a debacle . . . what did you say?"
"I'll make the same deal that you offered me. You'll concede something to me before I'll take you. Something you'll never want to say."
Parity for the wedding vow she'd forced him to give her.
"You'll say: 'I beg you to claim me. I need you as my master and surrender my will to yours.' And when you do, I will reward you."
"So, then . .. never."
"I vow to you I won't take you until you say these words to me. And I won't let you come until you either beg me for it or until your three nights have passed."
"If you're not going to demand sex from me, then you're keeping me only because of your revenge?"
He stared down at her with eyes dark like night. "And because I keep what's mine." With his hands clasped behind her head, he rubbed his thumbs over her cheekbones, then leaned in to kiss her.
Their last real kiss had been frantic, maddening. Like a drug to her. Now he licked her bottom lip before tugging it between his teeth.
When he finally took her mouth, he slipped his tongue in, tempting her to meet him.