She'd had control over so little. But if it would give her pleasure, he would let her have it tonight. After all, he reasoned, it wasn't as though he was exactly losing out.
Gabriel rolled them so that his back was now against the stone floor, with Rowan draped across his chest and straddling him. She blinked, startled, as she looked down at him, a question in the glittering depths of her eyes. Her hair fell around them like a curtain, closing the two of them off from the rest of the world. The only sound in that silence was their ragged breathing as Gabriel throbbed deep inside her.
"Ride me, love," he whispered. Rowan hesitated, her expression full of some intense emotion Gabriel couldn't quite understand. Then, with a soft kiss pressed to his lips, Rowan rose above him.
Hadn't she mentioned something about being descended from a goddess? Gabriel wondered. Suddenly he could believe it. Because in the soft glow of the torchlight, with her head tossed back and her alabaster skin shimmering, that was exactly what she looked like. A goddess. His goddess.
He felt it then, his heart and mind cleared of everything but Rowan in that moment. She was going to fight him at every turn. She was going to push him away, infuriate him, and probably try to kill him more than once. And he'd be damned if Lucien Andrakkar ever laid so much as a finger on her.
Because she was his mate, well and true. And he was going to love her until there was no breath left in his body. It didn't matter what she was, where she'd come from, or what she thought she had to do. Though he barely knew her, his heart knew hers. It was a fundamental connection he hadn't begun to fathom yet, but it was there. And as it was with all of his kind, once forged, it could never be broken. They could spend forever learning about each other. He would see to that. But for now he loved her simply because she was his.
And was grateful for what he'd been handed.
She could hardly believe it, but there could be no mistake. Gabriel meant to let her have the control, to take him as she would. It was a gift she hadn't expected from him, understanding as she did his fundamental need to assert his dominance. She gave a small smile. It was a need she understood well.
And yet he would give it up for her, a woman who had been foisted upon him not twenty-four hours ago. And who, she thought with a twinge of guilt, had not been putting much effort into making his life any easier for it. Yet still he handed over the reins of power as though they were nothing, the warm light in his eyes telling her she meant a great deal to him.
It frightened her, the thought of his feeling something for her. Almost as much as it intrigued her. Almost as much as she wanted to return it.
She had been with men, handsome and brave, strong and virile, sweet and unassuming. It was the Dyadd's way, and there had always been pleasure in the love-making. Sometimes she had taken, sometimes she had allowed herself to be taken, but always she had known that none of those men were her equal. There had never been any danger, not to her heart or her body.
This time, she sensed, was different. In ceding to her power with nothing but a soft request, Gabriel had just rocked to the core all of her assumptions about Drakkyn men. Dragons were cold and arrogant. Sorcerers were difficult and faithless. Daemon were violent and needlessly cruel. And the arukhin, the noble and courageous forest shifters, were gone.
But the man nestled so snugly between her thighs was very much there. And her awareness of him as both lover and equal was dizzying in its implications. She didn't want to think of it now; she only wanted to enjoy this one night without fear or expectation.
So she rode.
Rowan shifted her weight as she rose above him, gasping with pleasure as she gave the first, testing glide. The thick, rigid heat of him filled her completely, and each small movement sent delicious shocks of awareness singing through her body. Gabriel moved his hands to her hips, urging her forward as he gripped her. Rowan pinned wickedly. He had deliberately tormented her with his slow pace.
It was her pleasure to return the favor.
She slid up and down the length of him with excruciating slowness, taking a moment to enjoy Gabriel's broken moan before tipping her own head back and cruising on pure sensation. Slowly she rocked, savoring it each time she sank down upon every inch of him. Lust coiled in her lower belly, winding ever tighter as she arched into the rhythm of their mating. And as the pressure inside her increased, so did her pace. What had begun as a slow and sensuous assault soon became quick, hard strokes, and at last, tight, frenzied pulses. Rowan gasped his name over and over without realizing she was doing it, senseless and lost in a haze of sexual need.
Gabriel's hands moved over her breasts, her thighs, touching, stroking in all the right places. She loved the way he watched her, hungrily, reverently with his wild eyes. And all the while he was murmuring things to her, telling her how she was making him feel, all the things he wanted to do to her. Wicked, decadent, brutally arousing words. The want was so sharp she was nearly begging for release.
He was riding that knife's edge as well, Rowan saw. She pushed harder, lowering herself against him once again so that there was as much contact as possible between their sweat-slicked bodies
. Another hot, open-mouthed kiss, and she knew she was nearly there. Gabriel panted harshly beneath her, thrusting upward to meet her every downward stroke. His fangs, long and deadly, were bared. The sight of them now, so close to her own climax, sent a shiver of pure animal instinct through her. And she knew suddenly that however good it was going to be this way, there was one way to take it even higher.
Hunger rocketed through her, not just for anyone, but for Gabriel. His essence. His blood. Her fangs lengthened in anticipation. Everything in her was hurtling toward a single point in space.
"Gabriel," she rasped into his ear, feeling the rapid pulse of his heart and wanting to take it into herself, "bite me."
He must have felt it too, some ancient instinct to join completely, because she only had to tell him once. She felt his teeth slide into the tender flesh at the base of her neck just as her own broke his skin. Immediately her senses were flooded with an intensity of taste, of feel, of sound. It was like the night before, in a way, but joined as they were it was exponentially more.
She drank deeply, filling her mouth with Gabriel's lifeblood. With the power it seemed only Gabriel could give. And when she heard his muffled groan of release against her neck, felt him buck upward as he came inside her, Rowan reached the edge of the cliff.
And let go.
Her orgasm hit her like a bolt of lightning, whipping her body back like a tree in a storm. She tore her teeth from his neck and screamed her release, wave after wave of unspeakable pleasure crashing through her. And as she came, her mind was filled with Gabriel, with quickly flickering images from the life he'd had before she'd arrived. He filled her up until she knew him completely, even the parts he barely knew himself. They were entwined in that incredible moment, fused into one. Strange words in her mother tongue echoed in her head as she shook, as the orgasm went on and on.
Ta na 'am maire, airan y rannan ...
You are mine, now and forever ...
Gabriel quaked beneath her, gasping her name. Until at last she collapsed, boneless, atop him, and he stilled. It seemed to take ages until the last tremors subsided. Until she found herself slipping numbly into exhausted, beckoning sleep. And as she drifted downward, breathing deeply in the arms of the man she had somehow just bound herself to, a single thought formed in the encroaching blackness before fading away into dreams.
By Morgaine and Drak, and all the gods and fates wound together... what have I just done?
By night, he had loved her until she could barely move.
By day, some walking, talking facsimile of Gabriel was acting like she might possibly have given him the Earthly equivalent of the Seventh Plague. Not only that, but she'd awakened to the sound of her meager (not to mention borrowed) belongings being stuffed into a knapsack and Gabriel's voice informing her that the two of them were leaving Iargail. Now. Immediately. No questions. That, when all she'd wanted was to stretch her well-used body and possibly find breakfast.
It had been an awkward morning, to say the least.
It only got more so when Carly MacInnes peeked in just as Rowan found the mate to the one ancient flip-flop she was wearing.
"You might as well come in," Rowan grumbled as she slipped it on. "It'll give me an excuse to keep his highness waiting a few more minutes."
Carly, looking bright and lovely with her pale blonde hair pulled back in a bouncy ponytail, slid around the door before shutting and leaning against it. She looked unsettled, and sported a blush that was as red as the sky at sunset. The flush did nothing to mar her natural beauty, but it telegraphed Carly's feelings loud and clear: Carly might have married a werewolf, but she was more than a little afraid of Rowan an Morgaine.
Rowan sighed, thinking it might have had something to do with the wonderful mood she'd been in since being dumped at Iargail. She'd tried to keep her ire pointed squarely at Gabriel, but she had to concede that some of it might have accidentally spilled over. It was the residual guilt as much as the need for a friendly female face that had Rowan taking pity on the woman. She'd been sweet enough to give her clothes, as well as a wide berth. Rowan appreciated both; some of her sisters had never learned to recognize when to just leave her alone.
Just now, though, she found she could use the company.
"Come on," Rowan said, softening. "I don't bite. Well, okay, I do, but I won't bite you."
Carly's blush faded a little as she offered a faint smile. "You look ready to bite someone, anyway, so that's comforting. Mind if I sit a minute?" When Rowan shook her head, Carly moved to perch lightly on the edge of the bed, watching Rowan search the room for anything else she might have missed.
"No, no more biting. It's gotten me in enough trouble lately." Rowan dropped to the floor to take one last look under the bed.
"I doubt it, but it's a little complicated to get into right now."
"No," Carly replied, and the humor in her voice had Rowan looking up at her. "I really do see." She pointed at Rowan's shoulder, indicating the bite marks that still throbbed distractingly. "Now you and he match, at least."