Bitter Sweet Love (The Dark Elements 0.5) - Page 11

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Roaming aimlessly, I found myself outside of the room Dez was staying in—the same room on the third floor he’d been in before he left. He was still resting, and I knew that I shouldn’t go in, but a familiar restlessness had invaded me and when this happened, I was prone to doing inappropriate and even stupid things.

Wiping my palms against my jeans, I tried his door. It was unlocked. I took a deep breath and eased it open. Heavy curtains drawn over the windows cast his room in darkness, but my eyes adapted quickly. My gaze fell to the large bed first, but it was empty. I suspected as much.

I turned and saw him in the corner of the room.

We could rest two ways—in our human forms or entombed. Most of us slept like everyone else in the world, in a nice comfy bed, but those who hunted needed the deep healing sleep that only came from taking on the form that had inspired hundreds of thousands of statues.

Quietly, I approached him, drawn in a way that caused my skin to tingle. His wings were tucked close to his sides, their tips nearly brushing the floor. The horns on the graceful arches were large and thick, edges deadly sharp. His head was bowed and arms folded in, hands clasped over his pelvis.

In the darkness, the slate gray of his skin was dull, but in the light, I knew it would hold a soft sheen. His form was unmoving, not even his chest stirring beneath the stone. I didn’t like to sleep this way, and never having a real reason to do so, it wasn’t something I engaged in often. The sleep... it was too close to being dead.

I honestly didn’t know why I did what I did next. Biting down on my lip, I reached out and touched his arm. The shell was smooth and warm, completely unyielding. I moved my hand up his arm, following the hard swells of muscle. My hand drifted of its own accord, gliding to a stop on his chest. Under my palm, his heart beat?thump, thump-thump, thump.

Lifting my hand, I trailed my fingers down the curve of his jaw, touching him in a way I didn’t have the courage to do when he was awake. I sort of felt like a creeper, but I was too entranced by the feel of him to stop. My finger grazed over the bottom of his lip as I glanced up.

Two eyes the color of polished sapphires stared back into mine.

Oh. My. God.

His mouth opened and he bit down on the pad of my finger with just enough pressure to cause me to gasp. I was frozen and then I felt his tongue circle the tip of my finger.

I jerked back at the sudden flood of heat in my veins, curling my hand against my chest. “I was...” I really had no excuse for what I was doing.

Dez’s chuckle was deep and husky, and I shivered, backing up another step. He straightened and lifted his arms, wings unfurling as his back bowed. Stone and bone cracked. The outer shell glimmered red and then faded back into his skin as he shifted into his human form. Bare golden flesh rippled tautly as he lowered his arms. My gaze moved down.

He was naked and he was...

“Oh, my God!” I whipped around, squeezing my eyes shut. My entire face burned. How had I not noticed that?

Dez’s laugh caused my body to burn bright. “Oh, come on, it’s not like you haven’t seen me naked before.”

“When you were, like, ten, and it was by accident!” I clapped my hands over my cheeks. “And you weren’t so...”

“So what?” His warm breath caressed the back of my neck.

“Nothing!” Wow, I’d never be able to get the image out of my head. Not sure I wanted to, but still...

“You can turn around now.” Amusement danced in his tone. “I have clothes on.”

I might have been a bit disappointed as I peeked at him. He’d pulled on a pair of sweats, but they hung so low I wondered how long they’d remain around his hips. He parted the room’s curtains and light seeped in, spreading over the floor.

“I’m sorry,” I said. “I didn’t mean to wake you.”

“Has something happened?” he asked, walking back toward me. He yawned when I shook my head. “So you just wanted to see me?”

I didn’t say anything.

He grinned. “And feel me up?”

I cringed. “You’re never going to let me live this down, are you?”

“Never.” He reached out and tugged on the edge of my ponytail. “Don’t worry. I enjoyed it.”

“Good to know,” I muttered.

“Let me shower and we’ll do the mall thing today. Okay?”

I folded my hands together to keep from clapping. “Try not to sound too excited about it.”

He laughed. “It’s a mall. Maybe if we were doing the skinny-dipping today, I’d be more excited. Correction. I’d be a lot more excited.”

I wanted to kick myself for suggesting that condition. “You know, I could probably think of something more important than that to do, like—”

“Oh, no, no take-backs.” He winked. “Can’t make any changes now. We’ve already started, and I know the perfect place for the skinny dipping. And honestly, I am counting down every second until then.”

My cheeks flushed. “I hate you.”

“No, you don’t.”

“Go shower.”

“I am.”

“Then go.”

“I’m trying to, but you keep talking to me and looking so damn adorable.”

“I’ll stop talking or looking cute,” I said, fighting a grin. “Go.”

He smiled widely. “I said adorable.”

“Go!” I laughed.

“Going. I promise. Right now.”

As he walked past me, he swooped in like a damn bird of prey. Dez kissed me before I realized what he was about to do. His lips were on mine, warm and firm. The kiss was brief, nothing like last night, and then he was going, walking into his bathroom, and I was standing there, feeling the touch of his lips for endless minutes.

My mind was in a thousand places while I packed a small suitcase for our trip, partly stuck on my mall condition, which we’d fulfilled yesterday. Dez and I had... we’d had a lot of fun. We hadn’t talked about the past and our conversations hadn’t been serious as I forced him from one store to the next. He’d displayed an inordinate amount of patience while I tried on clothes and sorted through a hundred scented candles, picking out the perfect one for Danika.

It had been hard not to look at him and blush after everything I had seen in his bedroom and it had been equally hard not tonotice how the human girls checked him out. He turned the heads of the young and old in every shop we went into.

And it had been damn near impossible not to want to tackle the chicks by the food court and rip their arms out.

We’d ended our trip at a tiny ice-cream parlor in town, and as we walked back to the car, Dez had completed his condition. When he kissed me, he had tasted like chocolate and man, a mind-numbingly intoxicating flavor.

He’d also stayed with me until he left to hunt with the rest of the clan, talking about nothing important while we pretended to watch a movie. No one bothered us even though I’d been in his room. I’d fallen asleep before it was time for him to leave and woke before he returned, scrambling back to my bedroom before I had done something stupid, like waited for him in his bed. It had been hard leaving. His scent had been everywhere.

And now I was preparing to leave my home for the first time in forever. I’d never been anywhere before, and I’d already packed and unpacked three times. Why did I think I needed two outfit choices for each day?

Tags: Jennifer L. Armentrout The Dark Elements Fantasy