Taste of Torment Page 37

“She won’t.” I flashed her a reprimanding look. She just rolled her eyes. That hot little ass was definitely getting spanked later. Using our bond, I sent her an image of her na**d and bent over my knee with my hand raised above her ass. She gasped in outrage, turning to face me fully. “Oh it’s going to happen,” I assured her, my tone dark. And what did she do? She sent an image back to me…an image of Dexter biting my ear while she laughed in delight. Damn crazy bitch.

Chapter Eighteen

(Sam)

It wasn’t often that I had nightmares. Or if I did, I simply didn’t remember them when I woke. But dreaming that your mate was burning alive while you were restrained and forced to watch was enough to make a girl abruptly snap awake and bolt upright in the bed.

Attuned to me, Jared was instantly awake and sitting up beside me, brushing my hair away from my face. “Bad dream?” His voice was croaky with sleep.

Still feeling choked by the agony of watching him die, I couldn’t speak. Making soothing noises, he gently coaxed me to lie beside him and pulled me tight against him. The strange bed wasn’t as comfortable as our bed, but as our apartment building was in a pretty bad state after the battle yesterday evening, we had taken one of the spare rooms in Antonio’s mansion.

In fact, most of the people within The Hollow were sleeping in the mansion as it was the building that had suffered the least amount of damage – Covington had obviously hoped to keep it for himself. The Command Centre, the Guest House, and the Residence Halls were still standing, but other buildings had collapsed. Almost all of them had suffered from fire and smoke damage to some degree. The once beautiful place looked like a warzone.

Worse than the damage to The Hollow itself was the damage to the population within it. Six of the ten squads from the legion had been wiped out, including their commanders. Most of Antonio’s many guards were dead, as were Luther’s and Sebastian’s consorts. Only thirty-eight humans remained, and ten of those were badly injured. There had originally been forty-three surviving humans, but seven of them had been on the verge of death and chosen to be Turned into vampires rather than die.

Thankfully, Reuben, Damien, and Denny were recovering well from their injuries – albeit slowly. Cristiano, Jude, and Sebastian had also been badly hurt, but they had almost fully recovered. The main thing was that they would recover. The same sadly couldn’t be said for many of the other vampires that had been injured. Paige had been too exhausted to help them all – in fact, she’d passed out after a while. Our allies had also lost some of their vampires during the battle. Furthermore, those who were Bound to another vampire effectively caused the death of their mates when they died.

So many deaths. So many pointless deaths.

Unsure if the walls were vampire-soundproof and not wanting to wake anyone, I spoke quietly. “We should hold a remembrance day.”

Jared’s eyelids slowly opened. “A remembrance day?” His voice was also quiet.

“For all those who died last night. They deserve to have their memory and their sacrifice acknowledged and honoured.”

He cupped my face, brushing his thumb over my bottom lip. “That’s a good idea. We’ll do it as soon as we’ve fixed this place up.”

I sighed, knowing my eyes were glistening with tears. “There’s so much damage.”

“Hey, don’t cry,” he said gently, dabbing a kiss on my forehead. He slid his hand around to my nape and began to massage it soothingly. “Wes, Quentin, and all the High Masters have offered to help. Add their vampires to ours, and we’re talking hundreds of people. I think we could have the place looking good again within a couple of weeks. It’ll definitely be done in time for the Coronation.”

“I’m a little surprised that not even one person has objected to us replacing Antonio due to the hybrid thing.”

Releasing my nape, he combed his fingers through my hair. “I’m not. The High Masters witnessed you agree to Covington to give up your own life in exchange for the lives of everyone here.” His eyes darkened with anger as he added, “And we’ll be having a separate conversation about that very soon.”

I was surprised that he hadn’t already lectured me over it, considering that the anger he was feeling had been simmering close to the surface since yesterday evening.

“Plus, they would be idiots to go against someone as powerful as you, particularly considering what I’d do to anyone who even thought about it.”

“No one will forget what you did to Covington.” I wouldn’t either. I had a strong stomach, but even I’d been disturbed by it all. I hadn’t been disturbed by Jared, though. I’d always known that he was merciless, so I wouldn’t have expected anything different. The second Covington had put a knife to Antonio’s throat – the only decent paternal influence Jared had ever had – he’d signed his death warrant. It was really that simple. The fact that Covington had also wanted me dead had only made the entire thing worse.

“That was the whole idea. No one’s going to forget any of what happened. Every vampire who wasn’t there will hear the tale – it’ll most likely be exaggerated ten-fold, but that can only be a good thing.” Fisting his hand in my hair, Jared rested his forehead against mine. “I swear I almost died when you told Imani to cut the bond. You can’t ever do anything like that again, Sam. You can’t sacrifice yourself for other people – not even for me.”

“You would have died,” I softly pointed out, trailing the tips of my fingers up and down his back.

His smile was sad. “I wouldn’t have survived the breaking of the bond, baby. Not here.” He took my hand and held it over his heart. “I’d have been a f**king shell without you.”

“But at least you would have been alive.”

“I’d have been breathing, sure. But I’d have been dead inside.” Though his voice was still low, it had turned gruff as his tightly controlled anger began to seep to the surface. “I’d have stuck around long enough to avenge what had happened to you, but that’s all. You wouldn’t have saved me by having Imani cut the bond. And if you think the others would have wanted you to sacrifice yourself for them, you’re wrong.”

I remembered the others objecting. Even Antonio, who had had a knife to his throat, had been angry with me for doing it. “You wouldn’t have offered your life for everyone else’s?”

He pinned my gaze with his. “No. Dying would have meant being without you. I can’t do that. If that makes me selfish, there’s not a lot I can do about it. I’ve told you over and over, Sam, you come first. I know that no one’s ever put you first before so you just can’t grasp that or understand it. But you come first to me.”

It was bewildering, scary, and yet also sent a blaze of warmth shooting through me.

“You don’t need to keep risking yourself to feel worthy of everyone’s loyalty – and don’t say that’s not part of why you do it, I know you.” With his eyes still holding mine, he absentmindedly began tracing my collarbone with the tip of his index finger. “You are worthy. You’re worthy of everything that you have. The people here, the squad – they’re all loyal to you because they respect you and they care for you.”

“They shouldn’t. I’m stubborn, sarcastic, so direct it’s”

“You’re you – that’s all it takes for people to like you and respect you. A lot of people who are straight-shooting…they’re only happy to be so blunt when talking about others. They’re not so upfront about who they are, what flaws they have, and what their issues are. But you don’t hide who you are. You don’t act. You don’t play mind games. People always know where they stand with you.” He slid both his arms around me and held me tight, lightly nipping my mouth. “It’s part of what I love about you. It’s what drew me to you in the first place. Of course your husky voice and your delectable body had a lot to do with it too.”

I smiled against his mouth. “That’s because you’re a randy bastard.”

“I don’t hear you complaining.”

“Why would I complain? I highly benefit from it.”

He fell silent for a minute, studying me intently. “You know, the idea of dying hadn’t really bothered me much before I met you. Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t suicidal or anything, but I was fine with being rash and impulsive. The things I’ve done with my life since becoming a vampire – joining the legion, becoming a commander, being appointed as Antonio’s Heir – I’d always thought of it as making the best out of a bad situation, out of a life I’d never wanted. That was why I was never what anyone would call ‘happy’. You changed that. You made me like this life, made me want it, and made me glad to have it. You made me want more.”

“Same here.”

“Then don’t even consider leaving me again. Not for any damn reason.”

Wanting to calm his mood, I lightly raked my nails down his back, shooting him a teasing smile. “But if I’m a good girl all the time, you’ll stop tying me up and torturing me with orgasms.”

Grinning crookedly, he rolled us so that he was draped over me. “Unfortunately, I can’t do that right now because I have nothing to tie you up with. But we can definitely do everything else.”

I chuckled. “No, we can’t. There’s no way that we’ll manage to keep quiet. The mansion is packed full of people and I’m not sure if the walls are vampire-soundproof.”

He began slithering down my body. “Then don’t forget to comment on how big my dick is.”

Laughing quietly, I reached down and cuffed him over the head. Then his mouth was on me, toying with my clit, and my laugh turned into a moan.

“I love how you taste. I want more.” He spread my legs wider, opening me fully to him. Then his talented tongue was doing all sorts of things – each move was sensual and teasing. Swirl. Lick. Stab. Flick. The rotation changed each time, building the friction, winding me tighter and tighter. Finally, I imploded. Of course he didn’t stop. Not until he’d pulled another two orgasms from me with just his tongue and fingers.

While I was quaking with aftershocks, he crawled up my body, and rested himself on his elbows. Then he did the strangest thing. He slung the pillows and duvet on the floor and tucked the fitted bed sheet around me. “What are you doing?”

His devilish smile made my stomach quiver. “Just hold on tight.”

No sooner had my arms circled his neck than there were familiar flutters in my stomach as he teleported us to…oh.

“I told you I was going to f**k you on the beach.”

(Jared)

Almost like I was unwrapping a present, I unfolded the crème bed sheet that I’d tucked around Sam. Looking down the length of her body, I groaned. Every inch of her was beautiful, sinuous, and mine. Collaring her throat, I took her mouth – the kiss was slow but deep, and demanded everything from her. She gave as good as she got…but the sneaky little minx also tried to make the kiss her own, tried to intensify it and make me lose control. Tried to take control.

I tsked. “Uh-uh, baby. We’re going to go at my pace.” I skimmed my hand down her throat, between her br**sts, over her flat stomach, and down to cup her possessively. She arched into my hand, moaning. I plunged a finger inside her. So damn hot and slick. “Do you know what’s going to happen?” I asked, slowly pumping my finger in and out of her. “I’m going to f**k you nice and slow; I’m going to keep it like that until you can’t take it anymore. Then when you beg, I’ll give you more.”

She narrowed her eyes, clearly not liking that plan. It wasn’t often that I asked her to beg. I wasn’t one of those guys who needed to constantly hear it, which was a good thing really since Sam wasn’t much for begging. But hearing her tell Imani to cut our bond had hurt. Sure I knew why she’d done it, knew how her mind worked. And I knew that just because it wasn’t something that I ever would have done didn’t mean that she might care less for me than she had before. But still, hearing her say it…it had f**king hurt; hurt in a way that had left me feeling a little insecure in how she felt about me, about us. I needed to hear her beg now, needed to hear that she still wanted this as much as she had before, needed to see the same desperation in her eyes that I’d seen a million times before.

“You know I don’t like to beg.”

Withdrawing my finger, I curled my arm around her ass, tilting her hips. “But you will. Because you know how good it will be when I give you what you want.” Slowly, I fed her an inch of my cock. Her muscles tightened around me, trying to pull me deeper, and it took everything I had not to slam home. Instead, I gave her another inch, watching as pleasure, need, and a hint of impatience flickered on her face. Still moving slowly, I slid deeper and deeper, groaning as her nails dug into my back. Finally, I was buried balls-deep inside her…exactly where I needed to be. Her muscles clasped me even tighter. “Fuck, baby.”

“Yes, f**k,” she gasped, locking her legs around my waist and bucking slightly.

I smiled. “Oh I’ll f**k you all right.” In a smooth, sluggish movement, I pulled almost all the way out before sliding back inside. Again and again, I did it, loving how hot and tight and slick she was around me. Knowing how sensitive her neck was, I kissed, licked, and nipped every inch of it – making her body go more and more pliant beneath mine. When I grazed my teeth over her pulse and sucked hard, she gasped my name.

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