Earth Bound by Christine Feehan


  She moistened her lips, determined to claim him. Determined to rise like the phoenix from the ashes of her past. Gripping the edges of the tub until her knuckles turned white, she slowly stood, forcing herself to stand naked in front of him. The light was low, but still, it illuminated her wet skin, playing over her body with the drifting steam.

  She froze, her breath refusing to leave her lungs. She couldn't let go of the death grip she had on the tub. "Gavriil." She whispered his name, willing him to understand what she was trying to do--come to him in her own skin.

  Gavriil nearly groaned aloud. She was killing him with her need to please him. She didn't understand he would wait a lifetime for her. She sounded sexy. Scared. Innocent. There was a note of raw courage in her voice that whispered over his skin and reached deep inside of him to turn him inside out.

  He caught up a towel, and plunged his hand into the warm water to pull out the plug. She trembled, her gaze clinging to his. He wrapped his arm around her waist and lifted her right out of the bathtub.

  She leaned away from him. "Are you crazy? You'll be soaked. We'll have water all over the floor." Her hands went to her long, thick hair, wringing it out hastily over the tub so that water streamed from the silky mass.

  He set her feet on the bathmat and wrapped her in a towel. "I don't have a stitch on other than a towel. A little water never hurt anyone." He began drying her, using a slow, deliberately sensual massage, paying attention to every part of her body.

  Lexi stood frozen, one hand on his shoulder. He could feel the tremors running through her body as she stood very still for him. His heart swelled. He felt almost overwhelmed with love for her. She was so frightened, yet she refused to give in.

  In spite of the towel moving over her, little shivers shook her body. He took his time, warming her gently. The towel rasped gently over her nipples and teased at the undersides of her breasts. As he dipped the towel a little lower to wipe the water from her rib cage, he bent his head to her breasts, a slow, seductive descent, waiting for her to protest. When she didn't, he licked at her nipples, breathed warm air over them and drew one breast into the heat of his mouth.

  She made a little sound, a breathy, soft moan, and her arm came up to cradle his head. He forgot for a moment he was drying her off, losing himself in the sheer pleasure of her soft body. His tongue flicked her nipple, his teeth tugged gently. He suckled first one, then the other.

  You're so brave, Lexi. I'm proud of you. He teased at her nipple, drawing her deep in the heat of his mouth.

  I don't know what I'm doing.

  You're showing me you love me. He couldn't help kissing his way over the curve of her breasts back up to her mouth. Her lips trembled just like the rest of her, but were soft and warm and welcoming under his.

  She had no idea just what it meant to him that she had gathered her courage and stood up stark naked in the bathtub, offering herself to him. As seductions went, most wouldn't consider it sexy. He found her the sexiest woman alive.

  She was fragile and innocent in spite of the years she'd spent as a prisoner to a depraved madman. He felt privileged and humbled that she chose him and had worked hard to conquer her fears in order to come to him.

  He could spend a lifetime kissing her. She gave herself without reservation to him when he kissed her. He left her mouth reluctantly to kiss his way back down to the tips of her breasts.

  You're so beautiful. I love your body. You're warm and so damned soft, Lexi. When I touch you, I feel as if I've found my way home.

  Her arms crept around his head again, holding him to her. Her long lashes fluttered and veiled the expression in her eyes, but it didn't matter. He felt her moving in his mind.

  You are home here with me.

  Her voice was tentative. Shy. Loving. His heart contracted. She could bring him to his knees so easily, and she didn't even know the power she wielded.

  You are my home. You. Not a place. Just you. When he called her his sun, or his angel, he meant it.

  He kissed his way down her ribs, using the towel to catch a few drops of water while his hands shaped her and his mouth worshiped her.

  Someday I'm going to buy you a little adornment I can play with. His tongue dipped into her belly button.

  Her breath caught in her throat. I always wanted one so I could get a chain, a really fine gold link chain with little bells on it.

  Instantly he visualized her stark naked, dancing in front of the firelight with only that chain around her hips. His blood thundered in his ears. He crouched low and brought the towel up her ankle to her calf, leaning in to sip at the water on the insides of her thighs. His hair brushed against her legs, and his fingers bit into her hips.

  Both of her hands caught at his shoulders for support. She went very still but she didn't protest. He ran his tongue up higher, chasing the drops up toward the vee at the junction of her legs. Her legs quivered and she made a small strangled sound in the back of her throat.

  "I think I need dessert tonight, laskovaya moya," he murmured. "Do you have any objections?" Before she could answer, he tossed the towel aside and lifted her, carrying her to the bed.

  "I don't know what that means," she answered. Her eyes met his and then slid away shyly. "Not exactly."

  "It means I want to eat you like candy." He practically growled the explanation. "I could devour you whole and never get enough." He bent his head to hers, brushing coaxing kisses over her trembling lips. "Try this for me. If you don't like it, we'll stop."

  He wanted to devour her for real. Touching her soft skin drove him nearly out of his mind. A jackhammer seemed to penetrate his skull and his blood pounded hard in his veins in sheer desperation--but she deserved so much more.

  Lexi stared up at Gavriil's face, totally mesmerized. His features were dark with sensuality, his hooded eyes the color of midnight, filled with so much desire, he took her breath away. She was terrified, truly terrified, but there was no resisting him and the sudden need to learn more about the absolute pleasure she knew he could give her.

  She swallowed hard as he tossed the sheet, her only protection, out of his way. His towel came next and she couldn't help glancing down at his manhood. He was intimidating, much thicker and longer than she remembered. Up close he was terrifying, yet his hands slid over her body with such tenderness he disarmed her.

  His body moved over hers, covering her like a blanket. Caine had made her face away from him. He hadn't wanted to look at her as he rutted. Gavriil stared into her eyes, and held her gently. His mouth came down on hers and she tasted passion. Aggression. Love.

  Tears burned behind her eyes. She couldn't believe a man could act so loving toward her. No one had ever made her feel loved and beautiful and wanted. She gave herself up to his kisses, absorbing the way his body felt against hers. Hard. All muscle. Hot. All over.

  She found she liked the difference in the way his body felt against hers. He made her feel feminine and protected. His kisses brought an ache to her breasts and tension between her legs. She held on to her love for him as he kissed his way down to her breasts. Her skin burned, flames licking at her. She felt damp heat gathering between her legs.

  Relax, solnyshko moya, trust me to take good care of you.

  She did trust him, but it was difficult to relax when her body felt heavy and unfamiliar and so . . . desperate. He was setting up a deep craving in her and there was a part of her that feared where it would take her.

  I can't breathe. She had no idea a woman could feel this way. Needy. Hungry. Unable to control her body. She tried to stop moving, but her hips couldn't be still and she feared they were taking on a life of their own, desperate for his body. She felt empty and needed him to fill her.

  I can't breathe without you.

  He whispered the admission into her mind. His voice felt like velvet moving over her hot skin, brushing caresses right along with his tongue and hands. His mouth closed over her breast and just like his kiss, his mouth was more aggressive. He suckled stro
ngly and used the edge of his teeth and the flat of his tongue to drive her up fast.

  She heard her own moan, and the sound startled her. It was all happening too fast--her body not her own, but his. He seemed to know exactly where to touch her, to kiss her, even those small stinging bites fed her growing hunger. She really couldn't catch her breath, but she didn't want him to stop.

  Her breasts were sensitive and responsive to each tug and pull of his fingers. Jagged lightning sizzled through her bloodstream, connecting her breasts to her feminine core. Her pulse thundered, roaring in her ears. The tension between her legs built unrelentingly.

  Lexi buried her fingers in his hair, trying to find a way to steady herself when she felt as if any moment she might fly apart. She really couldn't quite catch her breath.

  Gavriil? She needed reassurance. Needed to know that she'd survive. She knew better than to think she'd ever be the same. Is so much pleasure a sin? How could it not be?

  If so, I'll take sinning over fire and brimstone any day. He pressed a kiss in the valley between her breasts and lifted his head, his eyes meeting hers.

  Her heart slammed in her chest. His eyes were dark and sensual, hooded with fierce desire so intense she felt her feminine sheath contract in response.

  "I'm loving you, Lexi. My way. The way a man is meant to love his woman. I'm worshiping your body, expressing my feelings for you in the way I'm best at. This is love my way. I can't imagine that we're not meant to love each other."

  Before she could reply he bent his head to her body again. His body pinned hers down. The strength in his hands was enormous. He seemed on the edge of his control, his features carved with harsh sensuality. She should have been afraid of him, but she was more afraid of herself. Of the ever-building need growing so strong inside of her.

  Gavriil kissed his way to her belly button, dipping his tongue there, while one hand slid between her legs to feel her slick heat. She cried out, the sound shocking her. Just that simple touch had her squirming, her hips bucking. She was embarrassed that she couldn't hold still, her body writhing with need and a hunger she'd never known before.

  "Gavriil?" She caught at his hair, the only thing left to her.

  He didn't lift his head but stroked his tongue down her belly. Just relax for me, Lexi. I'll take care of you. Breathe. You'll like this, I promise.

  His voice soothed her as it always did. Soft. Low. So calm, as if nothing ever got to him. I can't stop moving, she confessed. She was grateful for the ability to talk to him telepathically. She wasn't certain she could have made the admission aloud.

  He kissed his way to the tiny curls guarding treasure and breathed warm air over her. You can move all you want. There's no right or wrong, just pleasure. If something doesn't feel good, we'll change it up and find the things you do like.

  He would stop if she didn't like whatever he planned. He would stop. She clung to that promise. Gavriil was strong and always in control. He wouldn't take them to a place they couldn't retreat from if necessary. She loved him all the more in that moment.

  This is really what you want, Gavriil? She held her breath, needing his answer. Needing to know. He was showing her what love was. She wanted him to take her there with him, to give her the same confidence. She'd been hiding for far too long. She never thought to have love. Until Gavriil.

  His head shot up, his hooded eyes fierce with desire, sensual lines carved deep. "I want this more than you could possibly know." His voice was a rough growl. The sound rumbled over her skin like a thousand raspy tongues lapping at her, making her shudder with anticipation. "Let me have this."

  How could she deny him? She didn't want to. She wanted to taste the forbidden. His hands already drove her crazy. Her body trembled with need. She wanted to feel his mouth on her. She wanted to know if she could accept what he did and give him whatever he asked for. He didn't make her feel depraved or immoral. He made her feel beautiful and wanted.

  "I want to eat every inch of you, Lexi. I need to know you're mine."

  His words, his tone of voice, the look on his face, all that dark hunger was impossible for her to resist. She inclined her head because it was impossible to talk, not when he looked at her like that. So hungry, as if he really might devour her.

  He spread her thighs with his hands, opening her to the night. To him. She couldn't take her eyes from his face. The fire cast a golden glow over their bodies, moved shadows through the room. Strangely, his face remained in the shadows even when the flames danced over both of them. He looked harsh, his features a mask of sensuality. His eyes were hooded and focused completely on her. He looked at her as if she was really a meal, and he was starving.

  Her breath caught in her lungs when he dipped his head and his tongue swiped through her folds. She cried out, shocked. The glittering pleasure was like nothing she had imagined.

  Gavriil. She cried out his name, her breath coming in a gasping rush, all at once, her hips bucking under the streak of lightning whipping through her body.

  Lexi, you taste like wild honey.

  His hands held her thighs apart while he began to lap at her, over and over, a cat licking greedily at cream.

  The air left her lungs in a heated rush. He threw her into complete chaos, her mind going numb, her body needing, wanting. Fire raced through her bloodstream, burning her from the inside out. Every muscle tightened. Every nerve ending sent darts of fire racing through her. Tension gathered. Built fast. Her breasts ached. Her stomach lurched and a thousand butterflies took wing. The aching need between her legs grew into a throbbing beat impossible to ignore.

  You can't.

  I am. He gave a little growl, much like a tiger when someone tried to remove its dinner. I've waited a lifetime for you--for this. Let me.

  She wasn't certain she would survive. The pleasure was totally unexpected. The fire too hot. The sensations threatening to drown her.

  She couldn't take her eyes off of him. His mouth turned aggressive as he dipped his tongue deep to collect spiced honey, drawing it from her body again and again. His tongue plunged into her, stroked her most sensitive button and then his mouth suckled.

  She screamed as hot pleasure burst through her, radiating outward like the rays of the sun from his hungry mouth.

  I can't. I can't take any more.

  It isn't nearly enough. Breathe for me. Relax. This is just the beginning. I want you to feel love, Lexi. Feel it surround you and take you away. My love.

  She had to find a way to hold on when the room spun and the walls receded. She couldn't panic, not now when she was so close to achieving her goal and surrendering herself entirely to him. More than anything she wanted him to know she would try to do anything for him.

  Lexi dug her fingers into the sheet and bunched the material inside her fists, holding tight and trying to breathe while he lapped and ate and suckled like a wild man. She felt the tension gathering, building. There was no release, no way to stop the shuddering of her body and the fierce need growing out of control.

  Gavriil. Fear edged her voice, crept down her spine. That only seemed to add to the desperation between her legs. I need . . .

  Gavriil lifted his head, his eyes dark with love and desire. "Me. Only me, Lexi. I'm all you need."

  17

  GAVRIIL knelt between her thighs, keeping her open to him, reluctant to leave his feast, but he was beginning to lose her. The sensations were too much when she'd never experienced them before. He caught her bottom and dragged her to him. Holding his throbbing shaft in one hand, he positioned the weeping head at her slick entrance. She was hot and so damp and ready for him, but he wasn't taking chances.

  It was difficult to think with his blood roaring and his pulse pounding in his ears. He was skating on the very edge of his control. Watching her face, he pushed slowly into her scorching-hot sheath. At once her tight muscles surrounded him, silky smooth yet gripping him hard so that the friction of just pushing steadily took his breath. The top of his head threatened to c
ome off. He gritted his teeth to keep from plunging deep and hard in the way his body demanded.

  Her eyes widened in shock. Her mouth formed a round O. He loved seeing her stretched around him, her body accepting his, taking him inside her where he belonged. He had wanted this moment entirely for her. Never in his life could he remember a time when he'd had to fight for control. Now, when he needed it the most, his training was failing him.

  Heat and fire surrounded his shaft. An exquisite burn surrounded him, grasping, tightening, clamping around him like a silken fist. His breath left his lungs in a rush. He threw back his head and closed his eyes just for one moment to absorb the absolute perfection of the sensation.

  He moved slowly, fighting the urge in his body to thrust deep and hard, taking him all the way to paradise. Sex had never been like this before. He hadn't used a single gimmick, hadn't tried any technique, he'd simply followed his heart. He felt more alive, more exhilarated than he ever had in his life.

  Every nerve ending, damaged or not, sizzled and burned until pleasure overtook pain. His past receded the deeper he plunged into her, the hotter the friction, the more his memories dissipated as if they'd never been. She took him to a place of peace, of love, of absolute passion and pleasure.

  His breath hissed out between clenched teeth. Tell me how you're feeling. Are you hurting? Even a little? You have to let me know.

  He counted his heartbeats, looking down at her face and the passion etched there. Desire in the forest green of her eyes. She panted, little gasping rushes. Flushed skin, dazed eyes, her body writhing beneath his and her hands clutching the sheets told him she was feeling much the same way he was, but he had to be certain.

  Terrified. Wonderful. I don't know what I'm feeling but I don't want you to stop.

  We won't. We're in this together. I'm going to let go just a little more.

  More? Her breath came in a ragged, shocked gasp. How can there be more?

  There's always more, he assured her.

  His hips drew back slowly and then he plunged deep and hard, burying his body inside hers, in her exquisite sheath, the scorching-hot friction sending shock waves through his body, along with a raging firestorm threatening to burn out of control.

 
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