"God help me, I love you." She wrapped her arms around his neck.
Yes! A surge of victory swept through him as he pushed her down onto the chaise lounge. She did love him. She did want him. He made love to her br**sts, then unzipped her jeans and tugged them down her legs. They snagged on her sneakers, so he jerked off her shoes and jeans all at once. She lounged on the floral cushions, wearing nothing but red lace underwear.
"You look incredible." He perched on the lounge next to her.
"Thank you." She reached for him.
"Just a minute." He plucked another piece of ice from his glass and studied her panties. "Hmm."
Her eyes widened. "Don't you dare."
"But I promise to warm you up."
She scrambled off the chaise, but he caught the waistband and popped the ice cube onto her bottom. "Aagh!" She wiggled out of the underwear.
"Wow." He rose to his feet, grinning. "I've never seen a lady drop her pants so fast."
"You rascal." She planted her hands on her hips and looked him over. "We have a serious problem."
Her eyes twinkled with mischief. "I'm completely naked, but here you are, still in a suit and tie."
"Oh. No problem." He started to take off his coat, but she stopped him.
"I think I like this." She circled him slowly, skimming a hand across his chest, over his arm, and across his back. "It makes me feel... wild and wanton."
He inhaled sharply when her br**sts brushed against his arm. His groin tightened. "I have to admit I like the view."
"So do I." She lifted the end of his tie and ran the tip down her neck and between her br**sts.
He grabbed her hips and pulled her against his erection. "Are you ready to be wanned up?"
"Is that a heating iron or are you just happy to see me?" She wiggled out of his arms. "Come." She tugged on his tie, leading him like a dog on a leash.
And he went. Gladly. Hell, he felt like howling. After all, the woman he loved was leading him to the bedroom. And watching her swaying rump from behind was an added bonus.
She stopped when she reached the bed. She turned slowly. "Let me undress you." But he already had his coat and shoes off. Her eyes widened. "You're certainly in a hurry."
"Sweetheart, I'm about to explode."
"Really?" She hooked a leg around him and rubbed her inner thigh against his pants. "Are you suffering?"
"Vixen," he muttered as he loosened his tie and pulled it over his head.
She began to unbutton his shirt with irritatingly slow patience. With a growl, he unhooked his belt, unzipped his pants, dropped them, and kicked them aside. His underwear followed suit, and she was still unbuttoning his shirt.
"Enough." He yanked his shirt and undershirt over his head at the same time. He focused on the door, and it swung shut.
"Wow," she breathed.
With his mind, he pulled the comforter down the bed. Clean white sheets and pillows were revealed. "Climb in, sweetheart."
She snorted. "Well, that's a neat trick, but if you really want to impress me, you'll know how to make the bed, too."
He grabbed her around the waist and plopped her on the mattress.
"And do the laundry. Not to mention the dirty dishes."
"I just love it when you talk dirty." He pushed her down and gave his full attention to her br**sts.
With a moan, she splayed her hands into his hair. "I tried to stay away from you. I knew I couldn't resist you."
He shoved her knees apart and settled between her thighs. "I'm here to stay."
She jolted when he tickled her between the legs. She was hot and wet. He spread the moisture around while she trembled and gasped. The scent of her desire lured him in closer. He planted his mouth on her and quickly convinced her that they could indeed find domestic bliss together.
She cried out. He nuzzled close to feel the throbbing spasms. Holy moley. He needed to be inside her fast.
"I love you," she gasped.
He glanced up and saw her red glowing eyes. He hesitated only a few seconds, but she used that time to push him down and roll on top of him.
"I love you," she repeated as she trailed kisses down his chest. She teased his ni**les with her tongue.
His erection wedged against her bottom, and he almost lost it. "Darcy, I can't wait."
She straddled his hips and lowered herself onto him. Each time she wiggled to accommodate his size, he groaned.
"Now." He grabbed her hips and forced her down. Faster, he told her with his mind. I can't wait much longer.
She sat up and tossed her hair behind her shoulders. She began to rock slowly, her eyes closed, her mouth slightly open. He'd never seen her so beautiful, so sexy. He cupped her br**sts and gently squeezed. With a moan, she fell forward onto his chest. He grabbed her hips to increase the pace. Her breathing grew ragged, her fingers dug into him.
He was pushing up, grinding their hips together. Not much longer. He gritted his teeth, fighting for more time. He'd make her come with him, somehow. He reached between them and tweaked at her slick, hot nubbin. She cried out. He wrapped his arms around her, and they shattered together.
Suddenly, she stiffened and jerked free from his embrace. She sat up, her whole body shaking.
"Darcy, what's wrong?"
"No!" She slapped both hands over her mouth. Her blue eyes filled with horror.
She scrambled off of him. Her eyes turned red, and she doubled over, crying out in pain.
He couldn't leave her like this. "What can I do?"
"Go! Run away!"
He jumped back when he saw the white flash of fangs. Holy crap. Her fangs had come out. He tumbled out of bed.
A cry ripped from her throat, a cry so replete with pain and terror, he hesitated. She needed help. But what could he do?
"Run!" She grabbed a pillow and sank her fangs into it.
He shuddered at the sound of ripping fabric. That could have been his neck. Feathers floated around her head.
He ran to the kitchen, grabbed a bottle of Chocolood, and dashed back to the bedroom. He unscrewed the top. "Here."
She remained curled in a ball, crying.
"Darcy!" He nudged her arm with the cold bottle.
She sat up with an angry hiss. He jumped back. With her eyes bright red and her fangs distended, she crawled across the bed toward him.
Holy shit. He felt like he was trying to feed a wild animal. He gingerly offered her the bottle.
She seized it and upended it. She guzzled it down so fast, drops of blood escaped and ran down her neck and chest.
Austin gulped. How could he live with this? He turned away to get dressed. He could hear the gulping sounds behind him. Finally, when he was buttoning his shirt, it became quiet.
He turned. She set the empty bottle down on the bedside table. Then, she used the sheet to wipe the blood off her chest.
"Are you all right?"
She shook her head, unable to look at him.
"Have your fangs ever come out before?"
"Only once. After I was transformed. It's an automatic reaction, then. But that was four years ago. I - I've never wanted to bite anyone. I thought I was safe."
"You were just hungry. We'll make sure - "
"No!" She looked at him, her eyes glistening with tears. "I've already eaten tonight. I'm not that hungry. It was - I don't know. I lost control."
"From the sex?"
A tear rolled down her face. "We can't do this again. I could have killed you."
"But you didn't. You attacked a pillow." The slashed pillow made him wince.
"I had to bite something." More tears slid down her cheeks. "I can't let you live with me. I'm too dangerous."
His heart plummeted. "We'll figure out something." This couldn't be happening. He couldn't lose her now.
"No." She turned her head away. "I want you to leave. Now."
It felt like his heart had fallen into a vat of acid, and he was left with nothing but shriveling, gnawing pain. He considered arguing with her, begging her, anything to keep her. But she wouldn't even look at him.
One last feather floated down onto the bed, landing next to the blood-stained sheet. He glanced at the slashed pillow. She was right. She could have killed him. He stumbled toward the door and left.
Austin couldn't stay at the penthouse. His bedroom there reminded him too much of Darcy. The scent of her shampoo lingered on the pillows, making it impossible to sleep. He took the subway back to his apartment in Greenwich Village. Even then, he couldn't escape the pain or the memories.