Kiss of Steel Page 38

Grasping her hips, he rolled them until she was straddling him. Her eyes opened wide and she rested her hands on his chest. In this position he could touch, but he couldn’t get at her throat without lifting off the bed. It might be enough to remind himself.

“I trust you,” she said, that determined glint darkening her eyes. A rumble of satisfaction sounded in his throat as she slid her hands over his shirt.

“I don’t,” he countered, lying flat and still as her hands explored his chest. She started plucking at the buttons, starting with the ones near his throat. Blade lay still, expectant, his body quivering as she went lower, and lower…

When she had finished, she pulled each edge apart roughly, pinning his arms within the sleeves. Desire fueled her expression as she placed a hesitant hand on his chest. “I like to look at you. At your body. I’ve often wondered what it would feel like to touch it.” A hint of color bloomed in her cheeks. “I’ve wondered what you would taste like.”

It nearly undid him. He stopped breathing. Perhaps this hadn’t been a good idea. His emotions were too raw. And hearing her say that shot his control all to hell. His vision flickered again, and he knew his eyes were darkening, turning black with hunger. He gripped her thighs in his hands. “We ’ave to stop.”

“Whatever for?”

He forced her to meet his gaze and see what she was doing to him. “I can’t control meself this mornin’. I’m on edge. It’s dangerous.”

“You wouldn’t hurt me.”

“I wouldn’t be gentle,” he snapped. “Or kind.”

Honoria slowly lowered her head, her tongue darting out to flicker over his nipple. “Yes, you would,” she replied, and then, incredibly, she bit him.

Blade sucked in a breath. The look in her eyes was curious. Experimental. Dangerous.

“We ’ave to talk.” He caught her wrists, restraining her.

“Later.” She nibbled her way across his chest to his other nipple, nuzzling it with the warmth of her tongue.

His c**k ached. Blade couldn’t stop himself from thrusting his h*ps against her. Acres of skirts covered him, and he slid his hands up underneath, through the layers of hoops and petticoats.

There was something sensual about being fully dressed. With buttons to her chin and wrists, Honoria looked like the most modest of women. Even as she licked her way down his stomach, her tongue dipping into his navel.

Her gaze dropped shyly as she reached the edge of his waistband. Blade smiled. “Aye, lass. You ain’t stoppin’ now, are you?”

She shot a look of challenge at him. Then her shoulders deflated. “I’m not quite sure…what to do.”

Blade took her hands and guided them to the buttons on his breeches. Her nimble fingers darted over them and his c**k sprang free, proud and jutting slightly to the left.

“Just do as you was,” he purred.

“You mean…” She stared at his cock, her eyes wide.

Blade took her hands again and wrapped them around him. “Aye.”

A part of it was challenge. A dare. Wondering if she would take him up on it. Thought ticked behind her dark eyes. And then she lowered her face and pressed a kiss to the patch of smooth skin just above.

“You’re a wicked man,” she whispered, her hands growing bolder.

Blade slid a hand through her hair. “I want your mouth on me.” His voice was edged with just the slightest touch of frustration. Hell, he wanted more than that. He wanted to thrust deep into her throat, to feel the satiny slide of her tongue on him.

And then it was on him. His eyes shot open. Honoria’s tongue darted out and tasted him, her eyes filled with a kind of wondering curiosity. “You like this?”

He groaned, head flung back as her hot little mouth worked over the crown of him. “God. Yes.”

The tentativeness of her touch grew stronger. A little smile toyed around her lips as she learned what pleased him. “Whoever would have thought?” she murmured. And then her mouth swallowed him whole.

It was sheer, blinding ecstasy. He slid his hands through her hair, guiding her to take more of him. His balls tightened and he ground his teeth together. As much as he wanted to come in her mouth, he wanted to be inside her body more.

“Come.” He hauled her up abruptly, her spill of skirts tumbling all over him.

Honoria fell forward, onto her hands. “What are you doing?”

He rifled beneath her skirts, tearing her drawers clean off her. Honoria gasped. “Blade!”

She was wet. And hot. And luscious.

Blade shifted and then impaled himself inside her.

The look on her face was almost comical. A hint of shock. Eyes widening as she tried this new sensation and found it pleasing. He growled under his breath and caught her hips. “Like this.”

It took her a moment to realize what he wanted. And then she was rocking heartily. He loved watching her face, her expression, so open and full of sensual curiosity. He kissed her fingertips and started unbuttoning the strict silk of her bodice.

Layers upon layers. He tugged them all down until her stays and chemise sat beneath her br**sts, thrusting them high. Color stained her throat.

“You are so terribly wicked,” she said breathlessly.

“I think you like it.” He scooped her skirts back, until he could see the thick, dark curls of her quim. “Do you want to be naughtier?”

Her color deepened. But she didn’t say no.

He took her right hand in his and licked her fingers. Then lowered them to the swollen, blush-pink slickness of her clitoris.

Honoria gasped, throwing her head back in wicked abandon. Her hot little body clenched around him and Blade felt himself tighten. He was close. Incredibly, bloody close. A prickle of excitement flushed his entire body. God, it was excruciatingly delicious. And it was with the woman he loved.

The thought stirred him to frantic movement. Showing her how to ride her own fingers, he tugged her h*ps closer, thrusting up to meet her. He longed to simply close his eyes and throw his head back in pleasure, but he couldn’t take his eyes from her. He wanted each moment, each image of her, captured forever in his memory. From the flushed pink of her cheeks, to her slightly unfocused eyes, or the way she caught her lip between her teeth in unself-conscious abandon. In this moment he saw what might have been between them if his CV levels weren’t so bloody high.

The pressure of time weighed heavily upon him. He dragged her closer, kissing her, capturing her whole body to his and holding her there, as though afraid something would tear her away.

Sobs shook her and her body clenched his hungrily. He felt the moment the cl**ax took her and gave himself up to the hot pulsing of her sex.

It took minutes, hours, years, to come back to himself. Honoria shuddered against his shoulder, her entire body boneless and collapsed over his like a wilted flower. He was so breathless he couldn’t speak. He let his hands communicate his feelings, stroking her damp back and clutching her tight.

Slowly, Honoria lifted her head. Her eyes were dazed and shadowed with lush pleasure. “Wicked, wicked man,” she whispered, and pressed her lips against his throat, a gentle, affectionate caress that made him slightly uncomfortable.

Blade rolled her onto her back, spilling from her body. Honoria laughed softly, half drunk on pleasure as she stretched, careless of the fact that her br**sts and legs were exposed to the world.

He tugged his breeches closed and knelt over her. A certain seriousness settled upon him. “We need to talk.”

Her eyes sobered. “About what Leo told you?”

Blade opened his mouth to speak…How to tell her? I think I only have months…at most…before the color started leeching from his body. A guttural groan died in his throat. He couldn’t. Instead he drew her hand to his mouth and kissed her palm.

“Yes,” he lied. “It’s ’bout your brother’s confession.”

Honoria tugged her bodice up and straightened her skirts. “Well?”

“It’s ’bout…it’s ’bout your father,” he said nervously, and then he told her everything.

Chapter 26

Blade opened the pressurized air dart rifle and stared down the barrel. “You use these to hunt blue bloods?”

“Only rogues,” Barrons admitted, resting one foot on the step and leaning on it. “The dart has some sort of toxin in it that partially paralyzes a blue blood for nearly ten minutes. We’ve managed to refine it so that the steam buildup doesn’t alter the chemical state of the toxin. It’s highly accurate at fifty feet.”

“Aye.” Blade shoved the dart back into the chamber. “Don’t expect this to ’old the vampire long.”

One of Barrons’s eyebrows disappeared under the tumbled curls across his forehead. “You’ve heard of the toxin?”

“Your sister knocked me on me arse with it. Lasted ’bout five, six minutes. She thinks the time you’re down’s got somethin’ to do with the level o’ CV in your blood. If so, you might get a minute or less with a vampire.”

Laughter broke from Barrons’s lips. “Good God, I should have liked to have seen that.”

“Stick ’round,” Blade said as he shot him a filthy look. “She gets wind o’ you at the moment, and you might get some first’and experience with it.”

Barrons sobered.

A head popped around the door of the audience chamber. Jasper Lynch examined them coolly. “Are we ready?”

Blade patted the air dart rifle. “Let’s get to it, then.”

The score of metaljackets stood motionless in the street, an eerie sight. Beside them, snorting steam like truffle pigs, was a pair of Earthshakers. With the heavy armadillo plates that overlapped their bodies and a spade-like appendage at their snouts that could clear a tunnel in minutes, they’d been invaluable so far. Their handler was sitting on the step beside them, fiddling with the frequency device that controlled them.

The cadre of Nighthawks stood almost as silent. They obeyed Jasper Lynch with an alacrity Blade might have almost envied and spoke rarely to either him or Barrons. Blade had watched them move like liquid through the tunnels and concluded that if it ever came to war, he’d rather have them on his side than as his enemy.

The sound of pattering feet on the stairs made him glance back at the warren. The next second a small, ragged shape barreled out, dressed in an assortment of Lark’s body armor and breeches. Honoria’s dark hair had been shoved up under a cockney lad’s cap, and soot was smeared across her cheeks. Her dark eyes met Blade’s, and her chin lifted slightly in challenge.

On her heels was Tin Man, wearing a slightly guilty expression. He shrugged helplessly.

“No,” Blade snapped, glancing around at the blue bloods around them. Was she bloody insane? The guild had her friggin’ poster splayed all over their quarters with a hefty price on it.

Barrons stopped to see what the commotion was then blinked. “Hon…” He shut his mouth abruptly. “Your servant?” he asked Blade in a nonchalant tone.

“Who’s goin’ to get a good whippin’ in a moment,” Blade growled under his breath and strode toward her. Grabbing her by the arms, he glared down into her dirty face. “Are you bleedin’ mad?”

“Will and Rip’re injured,” Honoria replied. “I ain’t allowin’ you to go alone.” The accuracy with which she mimicked his speech was almost eerie.

Aware that there were too many ears around them, Blade dragged her into the shadows of the doorway. “This ain’t the rookery, luv. This is Undertown we’re enterin’. And we’re huntin’ a vampire.”

“I ain’t lettin’ you go alone.”

He looked around. “This isn’t safe for you.”

Honoria leaned closer, her body pressing against his and her lips to his ear. Damn his soul if he couldn’t help reacting.

“You’re not the only reason I’m here,” she whispered. “He was my father, damn it.” Tears glistened in her eyes. “I know you think I’m mad, but the last time we met, he begged for my help. I asked Lena about the incident. She said the vampire only attacked when Will grabbed her. It never tried to hurt her. Or me.”

“Maybe it ’ad other things to worry ’bout,” he snarled. “Maybe it were more concerned with killin’ me men before it could rip you apart.” Yet an image rose unbidden of that night on the rooftops, when he faced the vampire with Honoria’s gun in his hand and didn’t dare shoot. There had been plenty of chance for it to kill her if it had wanted to.

Her argument was rational. And he did need someone to watch his back. But not her. The very thought of putting her into danger made his gut curl.

“No,” he repeated. “You ain’t goin’, and that’s final.”

***

Undertown was nothing like what she’d expected. Splashing along in Blade’s wake, Honoria couldn’t help a shudder. There’d been a number of gruesome discoveries today, most of them shielded by Blade. Yet even as he shielded her, she could see the faint horror on the men’s faces and hear their swift intake of breath.

Blade was angry with her, but at least she’d won the argument. If he wouldn’t take her with him, she would simply follow. Threatening to tie her down, he’d been very nearly speechless when she shrugged and asked him how long he thought that would hold her. If the situation weren’t so dire, she’d have been given to laughter at the look on his face.

Blade’s long strides ate up the ground, despite the foot-deep water they waded through. Fingering her father’s pistol, she scurried in his wake.

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