She woke to the warning vibrations skittering over her nerve endings. The tarp slipped from her shoulders as she sat up, calling out to Ramsey.
"Right here. I'm right here." There was a click, and then the beam of a flashlight bathed the space between them. One side of Ramsey's mouth curved upward before the other, but she got the feeling his smile was hiding some new turmoil. "Found a few treasures in the house."
She sat up straighter, but dizziness swamped her. He saw it, frowned at her, and she tried to change the subject. "You were in the house?"
"Yeah. No one was home." His smile died slowly. "I only took what we needed.
They won't even notice it's missing."
Her breath escaped in a rush. "Just what did we need so badly I you had to steal for it?"
His head came up fast, a look of surprise on his face. "Didn't mean to shock you like that, Ramsey. I forgot, my kind isn't supposed to have any moral values at all. You're not going to faint on me, are you?"
His brows drew together. "You wake up cranky, anybody ever tell you that? You still don't feel very well, do you?" She refused to answer. Ramsey scanned her face. "You sure as hell don't look as if you do. Anyway, I didn't steal this stuff, exactly. I left some money. Stuffed it under the sofa cushion."
She rolled her eyes. "Wonderful. But it still wasn't worth the risk. You could have been seen."
"But I wasn't. And I got us a much-needed flashlight. Ought to come in handy, since we can only travel by night."
"I have excellent night vision."
"A sleeping bag, so we don't catch pneumonia."
"I can't catch pneumonia."
She crooked an eyebrow at him.
"Yeah, right. I forgot. How about this, then?" He handed her some folded clothing, and she took it.
"One pair of jeans, size six, petite. They must have a teenager about your size.
And a warm sweater. Now put them on and quit griping. We have to move."
She got to her feet, set the clothes aside, and grabbed the hem of her blouse.
Then she paused. "Well?"
Ramsey blinked, breaking his intense stare. "Well, what?"
"You going to turn off that light?"
"Sure." There was a soft click, and the shed was once again bathed in darkness.
Cuyler heeled off her shoes, pulled her blouse over her head, then stepped out of her pants. She reached for the clothing she'd set aside, but Ramsey's hand closed over hers, stopping her.
She drew a quick breath, looking behind her. "What is it?"
"Not dark enough in here, I guess."
He stood closer, his shirt brushing her back. Then his hands crept around her waist, pulling her back against his strong chest. "I still want you, Cuyler. I'm still having those damned dreams."
She closed her eyes tightly, stiffening herself against the onslaught of desire that rocked her. She couldn't let this happen, not now, not when her hunger was so strong. She hadn't fed in such a long time. Didn't he realize what would happen if they…
"Why not?" His head bent over her shoulder, his lips finding and nuzzling her neck. The brush of his new whiskers scraped over her skin, and she shivered.
Any excuse would do. She had to stop this craziness. "You still see me…as… Stop, Ramsey." Her head tipped sideways as his mouth moved over her shoulder. Warm fingertips trailed upward, along her spine. "I don't want…" The words became a sigh.
"Yes, you do. And so do I. Hell, I'm tired of fighting it, Cuyler. I'm tired of trying to deny it, hoping it will go away. It won't. I think we both know that."
"But…" His palms came up beneath her breasts, cupped them, squeezed. "Ramsey,"
she breathed. "Ramsey, you still believe…"
"The hell with what I believe. This is physical. Beliefs don't enter into it."
His fingertips closed on her nipples. She caught her breath. He applied more pressure and she sighed. In one quick motion he turned her around, caught her mouth beneath his, dug his tongue into her. She responded, sucking it, running her hands up his back, under his shirt.
He gripped her buttocks in his hands, lifting her as he sat down on the seat of a lawn tractor, pulling her onto his lap so she was straddling him. Then he attacked her breasts with his mouth, sucking, biting, licking at them until she writhed against the hardness she felt poking up through his jeans. "This isn't fair," she whispered.
"It was your idea. You said back at the house that if we just did it once, we might get over it. Well, here we are, Cuyler. Let's test your theory."
He devoured her nipples again, one after the other, all the while holding her hard to his lap and moving his hips against her. Then his hands closed on her waist and he lifted her, higher, until her backside rested in the curve of the steering wheel.
"I did this in my dreams, Cuyler. I want to try it for real." His hands slipped up the insides of her thighs, and he pressed them Open. Then he dropped kisses along them, moving higher, ever higher. Finally his mouth found its goal and he pressed his face to her. His tongue parted her and found its way inside.
Cuyler's head fell backward as she felt him licking her, scraping her with his teeth, sucking at her until she trembled all over.
Her hands tangled into his hair and he lifted his head, staring up at her as his hands moved to his jeans. Then he returned them to her waist, to pull her down to him. As he filled her, she felt the current that moved through both of them.
Twining her arms around his neck, burying her face there, she sank lower. He clasped her hips, lifting her, lowering her again, plunging deeper inside her with every thrust.
Her lips caressed his neck, and her need mounted, beginning to build as she'd known it would. Every step she took toward fulfillment fired the hunger. She tasted the salt of his skin, felt the blood rushing beneath it.
He moved faster. Ecstasy hovered just beyond her reach, and the thirst raged.
She tore her head away from his muscled neck, averting her face.
His hands slid up over her back, captured her face and turned it toward him again. He kissed her, deeply, desperately. "It's all right, Cuyler." His lips moved over hers as he whispered. He guided her head to his neck once more. "It's all right. Do it."
Her lips trembled on his skin, then parted. Only a sip, only one small taste of his essence. Just enough to get her through this night.
He stiffened, moaning deep and hoarse as her teeth pierced his throat. His hands pressed to the back of her head even as his body rocked harder and faster in time with hers. The climax claimed her, held her in its shattering grip for an instant, and forever.
As it slowly faded, the ripples of pleasure smoothing and stilling, Cuyler lifted her head away and closed her eyes to prevent the tears from spilling over. "God, what have I done?" She couldn't look at him, couldn't bear to see condemnation in his eyes. She began to rise, but he held her to him.
"You had to, Cuyler. You needed-"
Her sudden stare stopped his words. She searched his face, not believing what she was thinking, not wanting to think it. "You knew, didn't you? You knew the way desire would heighten the need until I couldn't fight it?"
He nodded once. "Yeah. I knew. And I also knew you couldn't take another night on the run without it." He shrugged, his hands moving into her hair, stroking it. "I offered earlier. You refused. I couldn't think of any other way."
That's all it was, then. Physical needs that needed fulfillment, just as he'd said. Only he'd been referring to hers, not to his own.
She slid to the floor, pulling from his grasp when he tried to keep her with him. Without a word, she picked up the clothes and began to dress. He got up, as well, but she didn't look at him. She couldn't. Making love to him had filled her heart to overflowing. Realizing how little it meant to him had broken it in two, and she could almost feel the fragile contents spilling onto the floor.
Cuyler heard him moving around, packing up his treasures, she imagined. Then he stood still, and she felt his gaze on her.
"I hurt you," he said softly. "I didn't mean to."
Blinking her eyes dry, she fixed her face into a smiling mask, and turned to face him. "No, Ramsey. It was physical, right? No feelings involved."
His eyes probed hers, reaching through the darkness, it seemed, into the depths of her soul. "Maybe…" He stopped speaking, his head coming up slowly. "What is that? Sounds like a flock of geese, or…"
Cuyler listened, and then her broken heart froze inside her. "Dogs! God, they've got dogs!" The crying of what sounded like a hundred hounds filled the night, louder when she flung the door open and ran outside.
Ramsey grasped her hand and headed for the street. She knew there was no use creeping through the woods, not now. Speed was what mattered. Calming one family pet with the power of her mind Was a simple trick. She knew better than to try it with an entire pack of vicious hounds.
Cuyler's heart hammered with fear as she ran beside Ramsey. The baying drew nearer, louder. In moments the dogs would burst out of the woods where they were searching. They'd be on them seconds later, and it would be over.
Everything-life-would be over.
"There! Look!" Ramsey didn't slow down. He kept running, but veered into a driveway, only stopping when he came to a mean-looking black motorcycle leaning on its kickstand. Releasing her hand, he straddled the seat. One kick, two. The motor roared and Ramsey twisted the accelerator, revving it. Puffs of black smoke belched from twin pipes at the back. Cuyler leapt on behind him, clinging to his waist as he released the clutch and the bike lurched into motion.
Inexpertly, he turned it around, lowering one foot for balance. Then he shifted, gunned it, and they shot out of the driveway and down the street.
She might be killed on this suicide machine, she thought vaguely. But at least she couldn't hear those damn dogs anymore.
Okay, so he'd hurt her…again. He could only pray there would be time to make it up later.
When he'd decided to make love to Cuyler, he'd told himself he was doing it for her, so she wouldn't wilt and die of her brand of starvation before he could get her to safety. The problem was, what he'd told himself had been a lie. And not even a very convincing one. He'd wanted her. Hell, he still wanted her. Instead of dulling this rampant lust he felt, being with her had only sharpened it to a razor's edge. It hadn't been physical, dammit. It had been something more, something deeper, almost…almost spiritual. And when she'd finally done what he'd wanted her to do…
He shook his head in wonder. For a few brief seconds he'd felt everything she was feeling. He'd experienced her thoughts, known her emotions, felt every sensation that rippled through her body. It had been as if their minds had melded into one. He'd had the shocking sensation of her heart beating beside his within his own chest.
All of that had combined with the passion he felt for her and exploded into something he'd never felt before. It wasn't like sex with a…with a normal woman.
It was above and beyond, a whole other world.
And so what had he done with all this newfound knowledge about her? Nothing.
He'd ignored it, pretended it hadn't happened, let her go on thinking the entire exchange had been his own clever plot to get her to drink.
She was hurting over that, now. There was a real, physical pain where her heart lived. She felt as if her soul was bleeding, and she was battling tears.
Ramsey blinked in shock as those emotions flicked through his mind just as clearly as if they were his own. What the hell?
A police car blocked the road ahead. Ramsey leaned left, turning the handlebars and heading the bike over someone's back lawn. They bounded up and down on the seat as he drove over what felt like a washboard, up a shallow hill, and onto another road, then continued in the direction he'd been going. The ploy worked.
The police couldn't get ahead of him in time to block his way, and he realized he could get to the road that ran parallel to the highway in the same manner.
This time, though, he didn't wait for a cruiser with flashing lights to force him off. He drove across a farmer's field, rutted and rough all the way, and he had to struggle to keep the bike upright. The cops would converge on the road where he'd been. But he would zip right past them by another route. For the first time tonight he thought they just might get out of this mess alive.
Cuyler was beginning to think so, too.
Ramsey frowned, glancing at her behind him. Her arms tightened a little at his waist, and her head rested against his back. He supposed he could no longer doubt that she had feelings and emotions. Not when he was experiencing everything she thought, everything she felt. This must have been what she'd meant when she'd told him that the connection between them would be even more powerful if she drank from him.
He felt her emotions. She was scared. But beyond that, a profound sadness made her keep fighting back tears. She thought that maybe she'd been wrong about him, all along. She thought that he'd never be able to see that his mistrust of her kind was a mistake, a product of the hatred he'd nurtured for so long. And she thought…
Ramsey blinked in shock and nearly dumped the bike. She thought she might be falling in love with him.
"Have we lost them?" She had to yell close to his ear to make herself heard over the motorcycle.
"Only for the moment," he shouted back. "Once they get a chopper up, they'll spot us again." The road they were on veered away from the highway, but he followed it anyway. It took her a moment to realize where he was going, but when she saw the sign, she stiffened. Limestone 5 Miles.
"Ramsey, you're going the wrong way! This is where we started!"
"Exactly what they'll be thinking," he told her. He took a turn, then another, and within a few minutes they were on a road Cuyler recognized. Ramsey stopped the bike, and when they both got off, he pushed it into the trees at the roadside. Taking her hand, he pulled her along beside him, right up to the gates of the house where she'd been held prisoner such a short time ago.READ MORE >>