This is writing in the raw! Unedited except by me
Officer Donovan stared into his eyes, unaware of the danger she was in. She knew about Jaise and still didn't understand. "Whatever you want," she said. She assumed Jaise meant sex.
The scent of her rose sharp in his nostrils, living and warm, and Jaise took in the information, classifying the constituent pieces as a human might and ignoring what he didn't understand. An attractive woman. A vampire's sharper than human sense of smell. Ignorance of a vampire's mental reach. Ignorance of the hunger. He was hungry, but only that. Just hungry. Jaise's frame of reference for sensing someone else was limited to demons. An assessment of power and rank was natural for him. He disregarded what did not relate to the hierarchy of power. Jaise felt Claudia's bond with demons, the uneasy edge of darkness in a way Korzha had never felt until now. The demon didn't know what to do with the unaccustomed flow of thoughts from Donovan. One thing came clear in her emotions, overwhelming everything else. Anguish. Overwhelming anguish over her daughter. Fear. She was afraid of him. Physically, she hid it well. Mentally, not at all.
Korzha's hunger affected the demon, fascinated him, but Jaise didn't know what it meant. The demon found Donovan an object of extreme sexual interest and ignored Korzha's other attraction to her.
Korzha tilted his head and had the odd sensation of seeing and feeling Donovan with the demon's perceptions. Attractive. A desirable partner. Jaise found her more than a little attractive. Hell, yes. He'd thought so, too. Pretty woman for a beat cop in his quarter of the city. Intriguing, too, that she had a daughter. Made her less typical than the typical Crimson City cop. How many female officers her age had school-age children? Answer: None. How many teenaged mothers rose above the demands of parenthood and made their lives a success? Not many. How long had it been since a human woman had intrigued him to this extent? Eons. Centuries. Since she'd been assigned to the precinct in his neighborhood, he'd always thought she was one of the less transparent humans. In his experience, most young cops were either fanatics about power or, more frequently, believed the Protect and Serve nonsense. Jaise was curious. Very curious. And so was he. She would be good to mate with.
Jaise laughed, an inward amusement. One thing the demon understood quite plainly was the duality of indwelling. Korzha struggled to understand how and in what ways the demon controlled him. And he waited to see what his vampiric nature did to the demon. In the background, one of the guards crowed over a win, the others protested.
Korzha studied her. Her eyes were brown. Plain brown. Dark, deep with color, not pale like a demon's eyes. This difference in the saturation of color between human and demon aroused Jaise. He found her eyes compelling, arousingly different. Donovan swallowed hard. Pretty eyes, he thought. Different eyes. Human eyes. Human emotion. No aura of rank and power to sense. To a demon male, a human woman was exotic in the complete lack of demonic energy. There could be no question of his dominance because a human had no power to oppose his.
Pretty face. Lovely face. A prettier body. Long legs. He did like a female with long legs. He'd like to see her in high heels and a dress. Something expensive. Something to cling to all the curves. He'd show her off in the Strata. A human trophy in witness of his power.
Among male vamps, most typically among the warrior class, a woman like her lent cachet to one's reputation. Walk into a Strata +1 party with a beautiful, intelligent human female on your arm and every male vamp in the room knew you walked a wicked edge and wished he had the balls to do the same. A few of the women ended up Made, and that wasn't unmitigated disaster unless she went rogue. Even the uptight vamps of Family Dumont understood the lure of humans and the edge of bloodlust. Sometimes a human got converted.
A woman in control of her body. Not soft at all, but she wasn't ten pounds underweight either, like so many women who aspired to beauty. Jaise's desire surged, a bubbling up of the demon's sexual impulses. A desire to mate with a dark-eyed human female. Sex with Donovan was almost certainly unavoidable. "I'm sorry," Korzha said softly.
She gave a restricted shake of her head.
Korzha didn't doubt that if Jaise wanted Donovan dead, he could engage Korzha's strength to permanently end her life in a hundred different ways. But what Jaise wanted was a different kind of death for her, and the demon didn't know how to convert her. For that end, demon needed to concede some control to Korzha, leaving them at an impasse of sorts. Inside Korzha's head, the demon laughed, and the amusement came out in his voice. "Jaise wants me to Make you. Before it's too late. To see if you'll still be able to open the portal."
Her eyes opened wide. Bittersweet chocolate. Jesu, but he'd like to be looking into those eyes while he caressed her, touched her, bit deep and hard, brought her under his mastery. He caught himself. That was Jaise. Pulling strings, taking the thread of his body's sexual attraction to Donovan and using it, twisting it, amplifying it.
Korzha laughed and along the peaks and valleys of the sound, he felt Jaise's delight. They both wanted her. He was surprised to learn that in L.A., Donovan had turned the demon down quite firmly. Good judgment, he thought. A woman of discernment. She was much prettier than he'd thought the first time he saw her in the precinct. Sex with a human came fraught with complications, and despite his appearances in the society pages, he'd avoided complications for some time. Mostly. Now and again he indulged. He wished he'd thought to indulge with Donovan. She would have been worth the risk.
"What's going to happen?" she asked.
He stroked her temple with the tip of a forefinger and pressed the pad of his finger on the pulse point. A conundrum of irony. Jaise needed to give over some control to Korzha if he was going to force him to convert Donovan. He didn't want Jaise to understand how a conversion was done, but he needed to feed in order to regain his strength and force the demon out. "If you want your daughter back, cooperate." Jaise said. "You must last longer than the others. Make the vampire convert you."
She swallowed hard. "Is that a promise?" she asked.
Korzha stepped close. Practically touching her. "Yes."
Jaise raged inside him, impatient, aroused. The demon wanted Donovan, converted, but he wanted sex, too. Sex with a human female. Sex with Donovan whose earlier refusals of him rankled still. Sex with a female with dark eyes and a tender body. The hell of it was so did Korzha, separate and apart from Jaise. Separate from his rising, urgent hunger, he wanted her, and that was a strange feeling for him, to resist something he wanted. He could plunge his teeth into her now. Right now. Take everything from her. Every hope she had for her life. "I won't convert her," he said.
"She will die if you don't."
Her eyebrows drew together. "Korzha?"
He shook his head and Jaise made him pay for that with a flash of heat through his body from the inside out.
Donovan grabbed his arm. "You okay?"
"Why not just do what he wants?" she asked. "What difference does it make to you?"
Through gritted teeth, he said, "A lion in a zoo no longer hunts. There's no need. In the wild, he must hunt or he dies. Crimson City is one huge zoo, and the lions who live there are practically tame."
"You're human, Donovan." He put his hands on her shoulders and her humanness seeped into them, flowed into him, starved him. Jaise wanted to bite. To fuck. To satisfy the demand of his cock. "You live with vampires and you don't understand the first thing about what you live with. You've never seen what a real vamp does." He looked away and then back. His body quivered. Korzha's hand was on her cheek and the demon's senses were concentrating on Donovan, the softness of her skin, the curves. Lush, dark eyes. The demon lusted after her body, her sex. So did the vampire.
"He promised," Donovan said.
"What if he's lying?"
"What if he's not?"
"It's more than sex, Donovan."
Jaise howled because he wanted Donovan. Now. This moment. He quivered with a double anticipation, Jaise's and his own. The demon urged him forward, and he wasn't exactly resistant. He slid an arm around her waist. She tensed, but with a hitch of her breath, she moved toward him. Emotions in conflict came at him like a flood. Fear. Trepidation. Determination. His own contradictory feelings swirled in the mix. Arousal. Reluctance. The impulse to feed. The need. The pull of her warmth, the blood beneath her skin. He drew her closer, and she stepped into the curve of his arms.
He grabbed her hand and kissed her palm. She tried to pull back, but he didn't let go. She gazed at him from beneath her lashes. His tongue traced a swirl on her palm then moved downward to her wrist. Eyes closed now, he pressed his mouth to the inner surface of her wrist. A normal kiss. For now. Jaise amplified the sensation.
"Korzha?" she whispered. He lifted his head and looked into her chocolate eyes. Her teeth pressed into her lower lip when, with Jaise's impulses, he loosened the belt at her waist.
"I'm sorry," he said again.
"It's all right. I know it isn't you."
Her brown eyes fixed on him. Did she have to look so trusting? His control slipped a little further. Maybe he should forget his scruples and give them all what they wanted. Whatever sick game Jaise wanted to play, the truth was feeding from Donovan was inevitable and natural for him. The fact was, vampires fed from humans, and he was hungry. If he was going to best Jaise he needed to feed. What choice, really, did any of them have? He heard her heart beating in her chest when he kissed her wrist again. Maybe a little harder than a normal kiss. "Mm," he said, low and growly, and that was mostly him.
But now, Jaise had relented. Backed away. Present. Participating, in control but not controlling.
His teeth slid into her wrist. She gasped, but he held her tight against the reflexive recoil. The moment absorbed him completely. This moment in which there existed only the sensation of his mouth, the brush of his tongue against her wrist. Salty taste of human skin. Blood in his mouth. The sweep of her lashes against her cheeks, the heat of her skin beneath his fingers. They wanted her desperately. His cock ached with longing, his belly quivered. Her pulse beat in his ears. Her blood came into his body. And he healed. Strength returned. Not in a rush because he'd started at the relatively blood-poor wrist, but an inexorable remediation nonetheless.
His fingers remained around her arm when he lifted his head. He left his eyes closed, too, but when he did open them, he smiled and licked a drop of blood from the corner of his mouth. He felt more himself with every second that passed. She stared at her wrist, at the two still-bleeding punctures in her skin. He could feel her trembling and savored the reaction. Strength and health came back. Still holding her, he watched her face, and damned if he didn't decide her eyes weren't plain brown at all. Chocolate eyes, dark in her face, bright in the whites of her eyes. Such lovely alien, other eyes. He grabbed her head, holding her so she had to look at him.
"Why did you stop?" she asked.
She was beautiful, beautiful, so beautiful, and she did not deserve this. She thought he was going to Make her. A betrayal of sorts. He spread his index fingers and traced the curve beneath her eyes. While Jaise raged at being suppressed, he said, "Be patient."
He needed enough blood from her to heal. Enough to give him the resources to evict Jaise. Hell. He tested his physical state. Stronger now, but not enough. He might. Might. He pushed Jaise back, and got himself into the forefront. But only barely. Possibly not for long. He didn't understand enough about an indwelling demon. Still in control. Quiet did not mean weak. The demon was still in control. He tilted Donovan's head upward. With the sides of his thumbs, he smoothed the line of her cheeks. She shivered, a delicate tremor. He imagined holding her, caressing, stroking while she quivered like that, nude of course, completely nude, while he tasted long and deep. He ought to feed more right now, but he didn't. Korzha let the rush of Donovan wash away his principles. "Let me in, Officer," he whispered. The words thrummed in his ears, in his head. "Let me in your divine self."
With a quick step forward, he closed the distance between them and slid his fingers upward over her body then down her back.
"Can he see?" she asked.
"Yes. And he thinks the same thing I do."
"Oh, yeah?" Bravado. How touchingly human.
"That you are beautiful." His hand skimmed the underside of her breast through her shirt. "That he wants you very much." He bent his head and flicked his tongue across the pulse at the juncture of her neck and shoulder, the hollow there, below the veins and arteries. He felt the reaction all the way down to his toes, the anticipation of sating himself at her throat. "He's eager for you." No point in mentioning that so was he. She swallowed, and he watched the play of her skin along her throat. "Intoxicating," he whispered. Wasn't that the truth? He whispered again, but he wasn't talking to her this time, but to Jaise who wanted to spoil everything with precipitous curiosity to know now.
Be patient. She'll agree to whatever we want.
He slipped his hand into the waist of her pants. Heat from her body warmed his palms.
"Korzha," she said. Her cheeks flushed. "We're not alone."
"This is a night of apologies for me. I'm sorry," he murmured. At least he could keep her back to the portal guards. He didn't yet have the strength to keep Jaise from objecting. He ignored the demon's complaints. "I can't help that. It's the way it works for me." A lie, but not a flagrant one. He loosened her pants and worked them down her legs. She was barefoot already, so that made things easy. Hell, but her legs were long. Muscle shaped her thighs, the narrowing to her knees. "Officer Donovan," he said. In his head, Jaise demanded he lay her back and come into her now. Right now. He resisted the demon's impulse. He was strong enough for that. "This is a surprise. You? Silk underwear?"
"They were on sale," she said. Her voice trembled. Likely no one else would have noticed the quaver, but he did. Pink silk. Thong. And she had the body for it. The connection between them narrowed and gained focus. He loved this, the fey closeness with a human woman, warm and soft in his arms. He loved their confusion about whether he was speaking out loud or just sending the words straight into their heads. And at the borders of his mind, Jaise's arousal twinned with his. The demon wasn't thinking about much except sex.
He trailed a hand upward, along her belly, pausing at her navel. A tripling of minds now. His, Jaise's and hers. She felt his desire for her and behind that a flicker of something else. Someone else. Because of the mental connection, she felt Jaise too. The fear in her eddied, but she tamped it down, and, with Jaise less resistant to restraint, he reached for her mind, taking himself deeper into her head, soothing, distracting her.
How long since he'd had to coax an unwilling woman? So many humans wanted the experience, begged him for it, he'd almost forgotten the sweetness of their layered emotions when consent did not yet exist. He slid off her shirt. She raised her arms over her head and when the garment reached chest level, she took over and shimmied free, which left him with nothing to do but look at her.
A pedestrian brassiere. White cotton, which is what he'd expected all along. At last, at long last, Jaise settled back, content to observe. His finger slipped past the silk panties, between her legs. Slick and hot. He gathered her in his arms and lay her on the rug, wrapping her thoughts in his so, enfolding her in his desire so that her awareness of the guards faded. He stretched out beside her. He kissed her throat, resting his lips against her pulse, anticipating that moment, too, and then picked up where he left off. He reached for the hooks of her so pedestrian bra. Her fear urged him on. How achingly sweet.
She arched her back to give him access, and that little movement tightened his belly. For the first time, his arousal exceeded the demon's. The bra fluttered to the wayside. Donovan put her arms around his neck, but he pulled back because he wanted to look at her and so did Jaise. Perfect breasts. His hunger flared, sexual now, frankly sexual. Nothing but. How could he have forgotten the sensual softness of a human woman? That deadly curve outward, swelling to the peak of a tight nipple.
He flicked his tongue over her nipple, a gentle suck, a pull and felt the tightening in response, the shiver that went through her. Among the whirling thoughts in her head he caught the flicker of resignation, determination to comply no matter what. He sent another pulse of himself into her, sending her his desire and hunger. She did want him. She had to. He got a hand in her underwear, warm pink silk, and pulled down.
She groaned, a soft sound, low in the back of her throat, a sob, perhaps. He lay partially over her now, his sex hard and getting harder. Before long, he'd have to do something about that. Jaise wanted release now, to have his cock surrounded by a woman's deepness, but then, he didn't know about the other. She was almost ready. He kissed her, nudging her mouth apart while his finger found her center, gliding, circling, pressing, moving her toward mindlessness. Some of her emotion leaked back to him and he— or was it Jaise? —greedily took that on, heightened it.
He drew away, just a bit, and settled his mouth by her ear, nuzzling, breathing in the scent so close to the surface of her skin. The pad of his finger slipped over the dampness his mouth left on her breast, sliding, chilling, bringing her to a harder peak. He drew her earlobe into his mouth. Her body tensed, a surge of fear because she'd caught the sharp blade of his anticipation and the demon's. He held her head to prevent the instinctive jerk back when he used the side of his canine to prick her skin. He licked away the welling blood. Hunger raged up, a lion's roar, the beast coming to life. Delicious tang, with a faint taste of something else. Jaise quivered in his head, curious, eager. Impatient. "You'll spoil everything, Jaise."
She balanced at the abyss of capitulation, Korzha's command over her thoughts and reactions nearly complete, and he was absolutely merciless in intensifying her sensations. Donovan, he was surprised and delighted to discover, possessed a spring of passion from which he drew like a man dying of thirst. He wished like hell he'd moved on her in L.A., because she would have been worth breaking taboo. She was worth a world of trouble. He slid down her body, kissing and stroking her until he thought she'd just fly apart. He had his mouth on her sex now, all damp and salty and a tang there, too, where she was about to shatter. He fit one palm beneath her, bringing her toward him. Tasting. At the very last moment of her conscious control, he said, and he must have said it in her head just before the first wave of her pleasure came at him, "Now," he said. "Yes. Now."
Both of them were there, him and Jaise, no longer vying for control, just two presences absorbing each other, quite capable, he realized of redoubling the intensity of the experience. There was a break in time during which a different path lay before him. He could stop this now. He could evict Jaise now. Almost certainly. But he didn't because, well, he just didn't and because Donovan's orgasm roared through him, and the moment passed. Jaise roared too, caught him up. Frenzy. Korzha/Jaise stripped quickly, efficiently, without releasing even an iota of the connection with Donovan. God help her if he lost mental control while Jaise had sex. Naked. Both of them. The way man and woman were meant to be. He lay beside her again and grabbed her hand. His belly lay on her stomach, his sex between them, eager to bury itself in her. Hunger leapt in, demanding.
He kissed the ball of her index finger and bit down. He didn't keep her finger in his mouth. He squeezed, watching while blood collected on the surface of her skin then trickled in a jagged crimson line down the back of her hand. She drew in a breath, and Korzha couldn't help a glance at her breasts. A little quiver, a shiver that betrayed her reaction. Jaise demanded entry. Raged for her.
Her eyes fluttered open. "Are you all right?" she asked.
His heart turned over, hearing the concern in her voice. He licked her finger with deliberate care, using just the tip of his tongue until every drop was gone. "You taste sweet," he said, ignoring Jaise. "And that taint beneath it."
"I can see Jaise in your eyes." She reached out and touched his cheek with her other hand. "I can see him in your eyes, feel both of you in my head. I'm sorry, Korzha. Sorry. So sorry."
He took her hand and pricked her finger again, repeating the process of tasting her. "I like the dark in you," he said. He stretched out her arm and traced a branching blue line of vein just under the surface of her skin. He smiled even though Jaise demanded more. "Which means, dear heart, I'm going to be drunk on you before long." Then he laughed, and it was an off, inward sort of laugh that sounded more like Jaise than him. "We're going to be drunk on you."
He spread himself over her. His sex pressed against her belly, against her hot, human, skin. "I adore your breasts, Officer Donovan." He pressed his palms around the outside curves of her chest and lowered his head. His tongue circled her nipple, brought her erect, teased until he felt the pull all the way through her. Korzha lifted his head and shifted his body over her. She misinterpreted his intent. She knew nothing of how a vampire fed. How he liked best to feed. If he was human, she would have been quite right that he was about to come into her, and when she adjusted herself so that he could, he would have done exactly that. But he wasn't human. He hadn't been human for centuries and his sexual pleasures were infinitely more complicated. There was also the matter of pay back for Jaise.
Instead, he grabbed her waist and rolled them over so that he lay on his back and she straddled him. From over her pale shoulder, he saw the guards. Silent. Aware. Watching. Oh, but Jaise did not like this at all. Korzha clasped his hands behind his head and grinned at her. Jaise raged, but this lion was caged for the moment, and he let him roar. In a voice strained at the edges, he said, "The demon does not like this. He prefers the dominant position, I'm afraid."
She lifted her head. A little fear trickled through to him. "What does he want?"
"To be in control, naturally."
"Is he hurting you?" she asked.
His heart opened to her. He whispered, "Keep this up, Donovan, and I'll think you care about me." He shook his head, and managed to focus on her mouth instead of the tug in his chest. "The only thing hurting me right now is my cold and lonely cock." He grabbed her forearms and pulled her up. "Come on top," he said.
"Are you going to do it?"
"Oh, yes," he said, urging her onto him. "Oh, yes."
She was ready enough. Jaise exulted, a sensation that reached his Elismal guards. The other demons watched, dice abandoned. Through Jaise, he could sense them. They were stronger than the average Elismal but not as strong as Jaise. He pushed his head against the rug and his pelvis toward her, and watched her the whole time. Her body bowed, hitched up, then she relaxed. He filled Donovan's warm body and had to wait for her to adjust. Tight. Very tight. But when she did accept him, he'd arrived in heaven. When he was all the way in, he grabbed her, hands on either side of her waist. With his fingers urging, he rocked her pelvis forward. Her breasts moved, and she threw back her head, eyes closed. Fingers splayed, he cupped her breasts and savored the scent of woman, the exquisite tightness of her around him. Oh, Sweet Life. She found a rhythm, a roll of her hips that squeezed the head of his sex. He was almost gone, and Jaise objected to this position. Vehemently. Well, fuck Jaise, for ruining Donovan like this. If he was going to ruin his life over a human, she Donovan was the one complicated enough to be worth the grief.
"I'm going to feed, Claudia," he said. "Now, before it's too late." With Jaise raging in him, demanding dominance over them both, he wasn't certain he'd be able to control his blood lust. He pulled out of her. He rose to his knees and brought her to him, hands on her head, exposing the pale length of throat and the throb of her pulse. He wasted no time. Jaise crowed, believing he would get all that he desired. Korzha dropped into the pull of his hunger, dropped into her so totally he almost didn't feel that little tug of resistance just before his teeth pierced the artery. The orgasmic sensation of blood flowing into him overpowered him. Good. Better. Shattering.
Even Jaise could only experience. She lifted her hands and got them as far as his shoulders before the languor took over. He had control of her now. Beneath the pull of his mind, the rhythm of his mouth on her throat, he felt Jaise. Curious. Quiescent, for now, while he absorbed Korzha's sensations. Slowly, the hunger faded and his strength began to return. After a time, a long sublime time, he released her, licked the wounds at her throat until the seepage stopped. He lay her back. His body was warm from her blood, and he wished he'd taken even more. He wished he was still in her mind and her body. He could. He could still have her. He could give her much, much more than just this.
A near-fatal lapse, as it turned out. And so, again, the perils of hubris stared him in the eye and didn't blink.
"Claudia Donovan." All the icy chill of Jaise was in her name.
He felt like he'd been slammed against a wall, although he hadn't been. He still knelt at Donovan's side, but physical control had been ceded to the demon now and Donovan knew it. Her eyes widened. Korzha could do nothing but observe from a small place in the back of his own head. The demon lifted his chin. Donovan sat up. Fear bubbled over, overcame the languorous state in which he'd left her.
"The vampire brought his body very close to final pleasure," Korzha said in Jaise's voice. "If I mated with you now, Claudia Donovan, this body would have only that last pleasure, and I wish to mate with you for much longer."
"Whatever you want," she whispered.
Jaise pushed her onto her back. The irony bit deep, and the demon was too fixated on Donovan to understand the depth. The demon had possession, but not the knowledge required to Make her vampire. He had Korzha pushed so far back, to so small a point that he failed to appreciate he was making the same mistake Korzha had made earlier. Korzha waited.
all his years, even when he was new and only coming into his powers, he'd never enjoyed hurting. Primal sex, yes, but not this. He never could stand to see a woman hurt. Jaise, apparently, felt differently and in the throes of sexual frenzy he forgot the physical strength of Korzha's body. Keeping Claudia alive took just about everything Korzha had.
What do you think? email me your opinion. I'll post comments, if people have them.
Last Updated: 10.29.2005