"Not at my age," she said as she began exploring his recently unpacked clothing. How strange to hear her say that when she looked so young. He found his head tilting to keep his gaze on her as she moved and bent. The chain swayed at her waist, and her long, damp hair cascaded down over her br**sts. He stifled a groan at a particularly fruitful glance. A true redhead. He closed his eyes. And he couldn't have her.
"How old are you?" he grated, opening his eyes.
"Physiologically, I'm twenty-five. Chronologically, I'm...not."
"So you are an immortal?"
An amused smile played about her lips. "I am." She pulled on one of his shirts though it fell far off one shoulder and well down her legs.
"Why did you stop aging at twenty-five?"
"When I was strongest. Not for the same reason you were frozen at..." - she trailed off, eyeing him - "thirty-four?"
"Thirty-five. And why do you think I stopped aging then?"
She ignored him to continue digging. After a few moments, she plucked out an old bejeweled cross from his bag. She pinched the relic, holding it away from her, keeping her gaze from it. "You're Catholic?"
"Yes. It was a gift from my father." To help keep him alive in wartime. Wroth shook his head at the irony of just how well it had worked. "I thought I was the one who should be repelled by it."
"Only a turned human would say that. Besides I'm in no way repelled. With jewels like that? If I look at it, I'll want it."
"So you wouldn't want it because you're Catholic, I take it?"
"My family was very orthodox pagan. Can I have?" She held it forward, still not looking at it. "Can I, can I, Wroth?"
"Put it back," he said, fighting the unfamiliar urge to grin. With a pouty expression, she returned it, mumbling something about tightfisted vampires, then dipped her feet into his boots. When she turned to him with her hands on her hips, his lips almost curled at the sight of her, a mad pagan immortal swallowed by his boots.
"What did your mother feed you?" she teased. "Renaissance anabolics?"
His urge to smile faded. "My mother died young."
"So did mine." He thought he heard her murmur, "The first time."
"And I was born after the Renaissance."
She drew her feet from his boots and sauntered past him. "But not by much."
"That's true. And why do you think I stopped aging at thirty-five?" he asked again.
She frowned as if she didn't know where his question had come from, then said, "Because naughty Kristoff found you dying on a battlefield, decided you'd make a fine recruit, then made you drink his blood. Bit a wrist open, perhaps? Then with his vampiric hoo-doo blood in your veins, he let you die. Unless he was in a hurry, then he would've killed you. One to three nights later and voila, you rise from the dead - most likely with a frown on your face as you think 'Holy shite, it worked!' "
He ignored the last and asked, "How do you know the blood ritual?" He'd thought that only vampires knew the true way to turn a human. In movies and books, the change always came as a consequence of a vampire's bite, when in fact a human had more chance of turning if he bit a vampire.
"Like I said, I know everything."
Yes, but he was learning, if sporadically. She was an immortal, who'd been frozen physiologically at twenty-five. If she was pagan she was at least a few hundred years old. She knew of the blood ritual and that Kristoff "recruited" his soldiers straight from the battlefield.
When she scooped up her clothes, opened his door, then snapped her fingers for a guard down the hall, Wroth merely watched like a bystander.
"Pssst. Minion. I need these laundered. Very little starch. Don't just stand there gawking or you'll anger my good frenemy General Wroth. We're like this."
He couldn't see her but knew she was twining two fingers together.
Once she'd foisted her laundry, she closed the door by dramatically leaning back against it - as if to say he couldn't get away from her now - then glided over to him. As a rule, he observed, he calculated and he waited, but he'd never quite enjoyed sitting back and watching events unfurl as much as with her. Unpredictable didn't begin to describe -
She clutched his shoulders and straddled him.
Nothing between them but his pants and a few inches. He could even feel her heat as she knelt over him. She was definitely not his Bride or he would've ripped through his zipper to get inside her. His heart would beat, he would take his first breath in three hundred years, and in the space of one of those breaths he would be buried so deep in her tightness, wrenching her down on him... But nothing approaching that happened.
"Now, Wroth, we need to work some logistics out. When I'm kept as a pet, my care is very involved."
His brows drew together. "I have no wish to keep you as a pet."
"You hold me prisoner. You think to order me. How does this differ?"
"You're not a pet," he insisted. He couldn't think - her eyes were mesmerizing, her sex was inches away from his, and her pleasing accent was lulling.
She leaned in by his ear and murmured, "What if I want to be your pet? Would you like that, vampire?" Her fingers brushed their way over his chest, unbuttoning his shirt. She picked up his hands one at a time and set them on the armrests, giving each a squeeze as if to let him know she wanted them to stay that way.
With raised eyebrows, he let her. He wasn't about to move, and couldn't imagine what she would do next.
"If I was your pet, you could keep me for your pleasure, and I would serve you in every way you desire." She pulled his shirt open, clearly admiring his chest. "Hard." Her voice was breathy. "Scars." She moistened her lips. "I'd endeavor to blood you so you could wake at sunset with my mouth greedy on you while you clutched my thighs to drink from. You would go to sleep at sunrise still deep inside my body." Her hand was trailing down, her eyes raptly following the jagged scar that had been his deathblow. "I am here for the taking and ache for your touch."