Home > Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark #9)(16)

Pleasure of a Dark Prince (Immortals After Dark #9)(16)
Author: Kresley Cole

A darker, even more attractive man. Or beast. "Slights? If you wouldn't have stalked me - "

"Luckily, I did, so I could repeatedly save your pert arse."

"And yet I survived the previous millennium without your assistance!"

"I could have taken you from Val Hall that night of the vampire attack, away from the threat. Instead I stayed to save your sisters' lives. I did this for you."

She knew this!

"So I was a shade pissed that I'd made a sacrifice for you and you threw me over at the earliest opportunity. And there are a dozen more incidents when I've had to save you."

"Listen to you, talking about your good deeds!"

"I've got a few of them to speak of where you're concerned. And in the last few weeks, your foes have been increasing in number - "

"I swear it's like you believe your deeds are credits, and if you do enough or remind me enough, then you can buy me."

"No' buy you. Earn you. That's the Lykae in me. Could no' turn that off if I tried. Deep down I believe that if I show you I'm a good protector and provider, you'll surrender to me. You'll want me in turn."

"But I don't want you. I couldn't have made it clearer over the last year. There's playing hard to get, and then there's take a freaking hint! When you followed me, you brought all this on yourself." They were toe-to-toe, breathing heavily, and she was uncaring of the consequences.

"Doona want me?" His voice dropped to a low rumble. "Ah, lass, do you really want me to make a liar out of you?"

He was about to kiss her, and gods help her, she feared she wanted him to -

A knock on the door. From just outside the cabin, a male said, "Dr. MacRieve," interrupting her swan dive toward disaster.

The Scot mouthed, "Dr. MacRieve?" with a wolfy grin. For the first time his eyes warmed.

She wanted to die!

"That pleases me, Lousha."

"I didn't do it," she hissed. "Nïx did."

"O' course."

At the door, she called, "Um, yes?"

"Charlie here, ma'am. I'm the deckhand." He sounded young, with a light Brazilian accent. "Just wanted to tell you that the meet-and-greet starts now. The other docs are making their way to the salon."

MacRieve murmured, "Tell me this isn't a research vessel."

"What of it?"

With a scheming look, he said, "And you're pretending to be one of them."

More knocking. "Uh, Dr. MacRieve? Can I tell Capitão you're coming up?"

Before she could stop him, MacRieve opened the door. Standing there was "Charlie," a clearly startled young man.

"The wife and I will be up in ten minutes."

"Uh, yes, apreciável - "

As she gaped, MacRieve shoved the door closed in his face. "Lousha," he began in a low threatening tone, "no more dallying. Take off your clothes. Now."

"I'm going to kill you, MacRieve!" she said under her breath. "Introducing us as married?"

"It'll happen soon enough." Though matehood was as good as forever for his kind, the Valkyrie preferred some kind of binding ceremony - Annika had backed down from her hostility a grudging inch once Lachlain had agreed to give Emma one.

So Garreth had decided he would marry Lucia, wouldn't rest until she saw their union as eternal. "Mark my words."

"I can't tell you how wrong you are about that," she said in a strange tone.

"Would they no' wonder why we share a last name? Thank your sister Nïx for that."

"You could have told them we were siblings!"

"Like they'd believe that! When you're always seducing me with your eyes."

"I'm not - I never!"

Ignoring her protests, he leaned back on the bed, hands folded under his head. The bow case lay by his side - he all but dared her to try to take it again. "Lousha, you canna go to the meeting sopping wet, now, can you?"

Her eyes darted as she so clearly weighed her options. That she was even considering stripping told him that she did in fact have some serious shite going on down here.

Garreth had figured she was here on some quest - they were common enough in the Lore. Plus, he still remembered her whispering to her sister in Val Hall about locating some mystery item.

Did he need to know what business she had? Absolutely. And the fact that it was here in the Green Hell made him wary. But with Lucia he'd learned to let information unfold - eventually he'd get his way and discover everything. "You want this back" - he smugly patted the case - "then take off your clothes."

Flashing dark eyes promised retribution. "I'll get you back for this."

"You already have, Archer. The shirt's coming off for the logs. You broke my leg that time. Have you ever tried to swim in rapids with a compound fracture? The pants are for shooting a flaming arrow into that fireworks warehouse - while I was in it."

"That wasn't my idea, that was Reg - "

"Ah-ah, I'm no' finished. The bra is for shooting no' one but two MacRieves."

"What are you talking about?"

"Already forgotten that you shot my brother?"

"While trying to rescue Emma from his castle. And only through his arm, and only because he kidnapped my niece!"

"To make her his queen."

"We had no idea that it could possibly work out between them at the time."

He shrugged. "And the panties are for that first night I almost claimed you. When you left my bollocks so blue, they still have no' been set to rights."

A deep blush stole across her cheekbones. "You're not blameless in this. I wouldn't have continually attacked you if you hadn't stalked me. And I'll remind you yet again, you lied to me!"

"I did lie," he said simply. "I dinna want to spook you. But you ran anyway. Why, Lousha? Why run from me?" The question maddened him. At every turn, she appeared attracted to him. He'd scented her interest on more than one occasion. Yet she still fled, still fought, and always swore she wanted nothing to do with him.

"I - didn't - run! You know what? Keep the bow!"

"That's no' all I have over you. You will no' tell me what you're doing on this boat, but I ken that it's important to you and that you're posing as a human. If you doona want me to reveal what you are - "

"You wouldn't! You know how you'd be punished."

"You want your bow? Your cover kept?" Why am I pushing her like this? Probably because he was still riled over her stunts. Because swimming with a femoral fracture truly was unimaginably painful, and he'd vowed to get revenge.

But mainly because he wanted to behold his mate. He was a male, and a primitive one at heart - he simply wanted to ogle the female Fate had chosen for him. "You're stalling, Valkyrie. We're both adults, and you're in no way modest about anything else."

"Maybe I don't want to get jumped as soon as I strip."

"I vow to give you a reprieve. At least until after your meeting."

"You know what? I'll do it. Just to show you what you'll never have." With a glare, she dug into her pack, snatching out a change of clothes - a pair of plain beige pants, but she'd unerringly chosen a red halter top and red underwear.

"Red," he breathed. The color was an attractant to Lykae males, more so for mated ones. And this lingerie was especially pleasing. There was a ribbon on the back of the panties clearly made for a man's eyes. He imagined fingering it as he put her on her hands and knees. He'd slowly peel the panties down her thighs, just far enough that he could spread her legs and enter her.

She turned to take off her shirt, pulling it over her head. When she removed her bra and reached for the dry one, he caught a glimpse of one of her lush br**sts and a dusky rose nipple.

How many times had he ejaculated in his hand, imagining those big br**sts? How many times had he come with his teeth gritted with frustration because he was squeezing his c*ck instead of kneading those mounds of creamy flesh...?

Though his Lucia wasn't shy, she acted discomfited sometimes, behaving in ways contrary to what he'd expect. Not modest in any way yet still shy. She was like that now. Acting as if this were killing her. When in fact, he could tell she was becoming aroused. Her breaths had grown shallow. Her eyes flickered silver. He wondered if she knew that.

She removed her underwear, revealing her taut, work-of-art arse, and all thought fled his brain for long moments. "Gods almighty," he finally breathed, making her shoulders stiffen. "Never seen your arse before. And never seen the likes of it in a thousand years."

He clenched his fists, reminding himself of his ill-advised vow not to jump her. But damn, he needed to cup her there, spank her, nip her. Any way he could touch those generous curves.

She tugged on the lingerie far too fast for his liking, then donned her pants and shirt. Facing him, she said, "There. Are you happy?"

His voice rough, he said, "If happy means hard as stone and heavy in the bollocks, then aye."

With a glare, she started for the door. He shot to his feet, stomping into his boots, then slinging her bow case over his shoulder to follow her.

"You can't go!" Her expression was aghast.

"I go where you go."

"But your eyes are turning when you look at me!"

He shrugged. "You affect me." Understatement. He wanted to shove his face into her satiny hair and breathe in deep. He wanted to lick her ni**les and know her taste -

"The mortals will see! You have to stay here. Our deal was that you wouldn't blow my cover!"

He snagged sunglasses from his pack. "No' a problem."

"And what about... that?" She delicately pointed to his erection.

He made a big show of tucking his shaft straight up behind the waist of his jeans. She looked stunned to have seen the head of his c*ck before he pulled his shirt down. "Ah, lass, you've seen it before. Had your hands all over it."

She was still gaping when he possessively clasped her nape and escorted her from the cabin. He followed the scent of humans to the meeting room.

By the time they reached it, she was still steaming mad. But he had leverage over her now, and he wouldn't be shy about using it. She didn't want to be discovered; he'd threatened to expose her. He'd be ruthless to have her. As ruthless as she'd proved to be to him.

At the door, she hissed, "This isn't finished."

"Been telling myself that for a year." He turned her, capturing her in his arms. She beat his chest with considerable strength, but he didn't budge. "You know when you've been nicest to me? Whenever I was taking kisses from you, demanding them as my due. Then you melted for me." He cupped her face, brought her to him, slanting his lips over hers.

After moments of hesitation, she melted, just as he'd remembered. He savored fleeting strokes of their tongues before he somehow broke away. "A taste of what's to come tonight. Because I will have you." Let her get used to the idea.

He opened the door, entering before her to sweep a cautious glance around the room. Inside stood two middle-aged men, clearly scientists.

Meet-and-greet with tight-arsed geeks? The things he did for his female.


 21

Still flustered, with her lips bruised from MacRieve's kiss, Lucia entered the room; the two mortal males inside gazed at her with open appreciation. She checked the braids over her ears, uncomfortable with their scrutiny.

The pair - a tall middle-aged man with a genial smile and pallid skin and a younger one sporting a cowlick and thick glasses - looked like they wanted to introduce themselves, but MacRieve's aggressive demeanor and dark sunglasses probably put them off.

After unswervingly steering her to this room as if he knew the layout of the ship, he'd demonstrated conclusively that she had no willpower with him. She'd been right to run for the last twelve months, right to strike against him. She would again, but first she had to get her bow back. Before she did something stupid....

The spacious salon had faded maps posted all along the walls and crates of scientific equipment that hadn't yet been unpacked into the adjoining lab. Some chairs were lined up in a U shape with a stool up front and center. A wheezing window-unit air conditioner chugged out cool drafts and the aroma of mold.

The two broad windows were fogged with condensation and draped with embroidered curtains. The bright and cheery material matched the tablecloth at the coffeepot station.

Once she took a seat, MacRieve dropped the long length of his body into one beside it. Determined to ignore him, she gazed around, her attention settling on a sheet posted above the coffeepot. Under a lovingly hand-drawn collage of jungle animals there was a list in calligraphy script:

Fast Facts About the Amazon!

The Amazon River holds 20 % of the world's freshwater. At no point is it crossed by a bridge. The river is wider at the mouth than the entire length of the Thames River. The Amazon Basin is 2.6 million square miles, almost as large as the United States.

The water depth fluctuates 40 feet between the December-to-May high-water season and the June-to-November low-water season. The entire geography of the basin is altered every six months. Tributaries appear and disappear each year.

A 30-40 % loss of rain forest will create a reduction in rainfall, starting a globe-killing cycle that can never be reversed. 16 % of the Amazon is already gone forever....

Tributaries appear and disappear? They were just going into the rainy season. Even in the unlikely case that she found a map to the legendary Rio Labyrinto, how accurate would it be if the waterways were ever changing?

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