The next morning, light filtered through the airy windows and I woke to the unfamiliar room. I sat up in the bed, realizing that I was still in the room Alexander had brought me back to after the hospital. My heart slowed and I inhaled deeply to calm my nerves. I jumped from the bed and threw on the dress in the chair, slipping into the shoes placed on the floor. I walked into the bathroom, noticing for the first time how huge it was. It was bright and the floors and counters were gorgeous grey and white marble. A huge matching claw foot tub sat in the middle of a large opening against the wall. In the corner was a massive walk in shower with at least six showerheads scattered across the ceiling and walls, with a bench seat at the end.
My God, this place is as big as my entire apartment.
Facing the mirror, I winced seeing the reflection of another poor night’s sleep. I splashed ice-cold water on my face and saw that a toothbrush and toothpaste had been placed on the counter for me. Gratefully, I brushed my teeth before quickly running a brush through my bed head. I turned to see an ornate full-length mirror on the wall near the shower, catching a sight of my full reflection. My nose wrinkled at the dress selection, but I tried not to think negatively. The squared shoulders were stiff and the neckline came to my collarbone. I resisted the urge to pull it further down and settled instead to unbutton the top button. The bodice pinched in snugly at my waist, letting the skirt flare from my hips before falling to my knees. I rolled my eyes at the conservative appearance.
It’s as good as it’s going to get.
I walked out and ran straight into a tall firm figure, nearly falling backwards. I let out a yelp before two strong hands reached down to steady me, holding my waist firmly.
A shiver ran down my spine and I looked up to see Xander’s piercing blue gaze staring down at me. “I didn’t mean to startle you. I was coming to let you know your breakfast was ready.”
My eyebrows shot up in surprise and I smirked. “I didn’t know vampires could cook.”
He laughed and my eyes dropped to his hands at my waist, my cheeks beginning to flush.
He immediately dropped his hands and laughed, running a hand through his hair. “To be fair, it’s no gourmet breakfast. It’s toast and eggs, but I thought it would do until we could get some proper food for you.”
“Thank you. That will be just fine. I’m not very picky.”
He gave a small smile and led me to the kitchen. I gasped at its size, looking around in awe. The aesthetic was a perfect match to my bathroom, and the gorgeous marble island took my breath away as the waterfall marble countertop fell to the floor. I looked around, realizing it was just the two of us as I settled into my seat at the island counter.
“Where’s Kit? Is he that upset about my being here?”
Xander laughed and handed me my plate, which I immediately began to devour. “No. No. When he hunts, he tends to be gone for a while. I told him to take his time so that you could get adjusted.”
I tried to shake the nagging feeling that he was feeding on humans, and refocused my attention to Xander.
“So he can walk in the sunlight too?” I cringed, knowing the answer already considering how we met. “Sorry, of course he can. Stupid question.”
He shook his head before walking around to sit next to me. “You’ve taken in a lot since yesterday. It’s ok. Yes. He is also part of an original bloodline, and is able to walk in the sunlight. Sometimes, I need to be able to move quickly and have the luxury of moving in the day. I needed someone with me who could do the same. He can be an ass sometimes, but it helps having a second set of eyes.”
“Why? What are you looking out for?”
He hesitated and looked at me, wondering if he should tell me. He shook his head seemed to decide not to. “Nothing in particular. Just can’t hurt to have him around considering who I am.”
I knew he was withholding part of the story, but decided I didn’t need to press it. It clearly wasn’t my business. As I finished my plate, I stood to walk to the sink, but Xander’s hand reached up to grab my elbow, freezing me in my tracks. I jumped at his touch, dropping my plate. Jack leapt to his feet, his hand instantly catching it just before it crashed to the floor and stood just inches in front of me. My pulse began to race and his body tensed. In a flash, he was on the other side of the kitchen and I heard the plate crashing into the sink. I looked up to see his hands gripping hard to the sink as he faced out of the huge picture window.
“I’m so sorry. I didn’t mean to jump. I...” I stumbled over my words.
He interrupted through gritted teeth. “It’s fine. I just, the feeling of your pulse racing was too much. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to frighten you.”
His reflection showed in the window. His face was strained and his eyes were shut tight in concentration. My body trembled, but I felt myself pulled to his side, resting my hand on his rigid arm. His eyes remained closed as he breathed in and out in a calming manner. I instinctively placed my hand on his chest and his eyes flew open. He finally turned to face me. Electricity jolted through him and I felt it tingling through me in return. His eyes began to turn a stormy indigo once more, and his hand reached up to touch mine, holding it in place. Breathlessly, I tried to speak to cover my erratic pulse, but I could tell he felt it against his skin.
“You didn’t scare me Alexander. It’s ok. I’m ok.”
I am not ok. He did not scare me, but I’m scaring me. What the hell am I doing? It’s like I can’t stop myself when I’m around him.
His dark eyes peered into mine, searching and he sighed in frustration. “You have no idea how frustrating it is to not know what’s going on in your mind. You have to tell me.”
He pulled me closer to him, and his closeness was enough to make my heart leap into my throat. I shook my head, trying to regain my composure but failed.
Quietly, I was able to speak. “I just wanted to make you feel better. I didn’t want you to think I was afraid of you. You don’t scare me Xander.”
He moved closer to me, pushing my back against the cold countertop. My breath caught in my throat as he closed the gap between us completely, his body brushing against mine.
He spoke in a low gravely voice, his face stern in concentration as he held my gaze. “I don’t know what it is about you, but I keep feeling myself losing my grip more and more around you. It’s very difficult to keep my concentration with you.”
I stood still, knowing he needed one of us to hold onto reality a little while longer, but I never broke his gaze.
He leaned in and his mouth brushed lightly against my ear, sending chills down my spine. “Do you trust me?”
I nodded shakily against his cheek and remained still as his lips brushed against my jawline before hovering just over my own. For a moment of charged silence, the electricity seemed to build between us, between the small space he’d left open. I felt his body tense as his hand reached up to gently hold my jaw in place. My heart began to race and I felt him tense against me, sensing the increase. My hand reached up to hold his arm reassuringly and his jaw clenched. Slowly, he moved in to brush his lips against mine in a soft kiss. I felt my entire body jolt, like every nerve was firing. I gripped on to his arm to steady myself.
For someone so strong, he’s being surprisingly controlled and gentle.
As he relaxed slightly, I felt him pulling me deeper into the kiss. His hand reached into my hair at the back of my neck as his tongue traced my lips. They parted, immediately allowing him entry as his tongue danced with mine. I felt heat rushing up my neck and cheeks and he gasped against my lips, pulling away. He rested his forehead against mine and gripped my hair firmly, like he was trying to reign in his control. I reached back up to his arm and pushed up onto my toes, closing the gap between our mouths once more. His kiss became fierce and his mouth devoured mine as the heat built in me. I felt like my skin was on fire. I felt him brush my hair away from my neck and broke the kiss before his warm breath caressed my ear.
He spoke in a low voice, his voice rumbling in his chest. “I need you to be very still. Do you understand?”
I inhaled sharply and tried to slow my shallow breathing. I nodded and waited, feeling his warm breath against my skin, hovering. I could tell he was trying to restrain himself. His entire body was rigid and taught. His lips kissed just beneath my ear and his mouth began to trail down my carotid artery. My entire body shivered against him and I struggled to hold still. He kissed down my neck to just above my collarbone and my head instantly leaned to give him better access. I felt him stiffen and I stopped, reaching up again to hold onto his arm. I felt it flex against my hold and his breathing caught. His tongue trailed back up my neck and he kissed and sucked below my ear, causing me to let out a gasp. I gripped his arm harder and felt the heat begin to radiate through me once more, my pulse increasing. I heard him breathe in hard and shudder, his mouth never leaving my neck. In an instant, I stopped moving as I felt his fangs trailing my carotid artery, his breath hot against my skin. My breath caught in my throat and he felt me react.
He growled against my skin, fighting the restraint he held. “I will not bite you, I promise. Although you’re not making it easy for me.”
“You told me to be still. I am!” My voice came out in a whisper as I grasped to calm myself.
“You’re gripping onto my arm like it’s a lifeline and your pulse is racing so fast I can nearly see the blood coursing through your veins. You’re on fire right now. Not to mention how incredible you smell.”
His kiss trailed back up my neck and jawline before his lips crashed back into mine, nearly taking my breath away. I momentarily forgot that I’m not to move and my hands flew up to snake around his neck, gripping into his hair. A growl escaped his lips against mine and my entire body began to tremble as the energy surged between us. His hand unclenched from the countertop and held hard against my waist. His hand released my hair and they both roamed down to my hips, pinning my back firm against the countertop. In one motion, he lifted me from the floor and placed me back down on the counter, wedging his hips between my knees and pulling my hips against his. I let out a sharp breath as I felt him hardening against me. He pulled my head to the side and his mouth trailed back down my neck, gripping hard to my hips. My heart skipped and a slow panic began to set in. In an instant, my hands flew down to his chest and pushed hard. It felt like I was pushing against a brick wall, but he allowed me to move him.
He stepped away from me with his hands up, slowing his breathing and trying to regain his composure. “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have. I got carried away.”
I slid down from the counter trembling and a tear threatened to slip over my eyelashes. His eyes went wide in surprise and he fought the urge to reach out to me.
His hand ran furiously through his hair and he gritted his teeth. “Shit. I’m sorry Emma. Please understand, I never meant to...”
My body tensed and my arms crossed protectively across my chest.
“I’m fine. Don’t worry about it.” I snapped harsher than I had planned as his face showed guilt under my harsh response.
Damnit, I thought I was past this. Why the hell did I do that? I have been with others since then, but something about this time was too similar. Like I was completely out of control and I knew it.
He opened his mouth to speak but I stormed out, running to my room and slamming the door behind me. He did not move to follow me, and for that I was thankful. I needed a moment to fall apart in private. I ran into the bathroom and locked the door before throwing the water on full blast. Sliding back against the counter, I fell to the floor and allowed the tears to fall.