Autumn Whispers (Page 12)

• • •

The next thing I knew, I was blinking to a thin stream of sunlight flickering through the curtains. As I shifted position, trying to cover my eyes, I realized that Shade had carried me up to our bedroom. He had arranged me on the bed so I wouldn’t have a crick in my neck or lie on my injured hand or something that would have left me hurting when I woke up. I squinted against the glow, shaking my head as I yawned and rolled up to a sitting position.

Shade was in the recliner, his feet propped up, a soft smile playing around his lips as he watched me. He was wearing a black turtleneck, khaki cargo pants, and a golden hoop in one ear. A hunger in my belly woke up—it had been a couple days since we’d had a chance for sex. As I pushed back the blankets, my tank top brushed against my breasts, and I caught my breath. He noticed, and the soft smile turned seductive.

“Morning, pussycat.” And with that, he was sitting next to me, his arm around my waist. “Mmm, you’re all tousled and warm and soft.” His breath tickled against my ear and I turned so he could kiss me with those thick, gentle lips. As he pulled me to him, pressing me back against the tangled pile of covers and pillows, I wanted nothing more than to slip out of the pajama bottoms and draw him between my legs.

As I lingered in his kiss, a sudden thought struck me and I gently pushed him away. “Iris—how is she? Did she—”

“Have her other baby? Yes.” Shade laughed and helped me stand up. “And after you’ve had a shower and we’ve dressed your wound, you can go see the little mother and her twins. Those two have healthy lungs on them, that’s for sure. You must have been exhausted, to sleep through all of the racket we had after the boy came.”

“What did she name them?”

“I’ll let her tell you that. I don’t want to spoil her fun.” Shade disappeared into the bathroom. A moment later he returned with a plastic bag. “We’ll tape this around your hand. You don’t want to get that wound wet, except for when we clean it. We’re going to have to irrigate it. Camille gave me the instructions for your aftercare that the healers provided on your release.”

I hadn’t remembered that I’d been officially released. Too much had gone down with Chrysandra’s death, and Menolly’s meltdown. Shrugging out of my PJ bottoms and tank top, I padded toward the bathroom. As a rule, I took as quick showers as I could, and I never took baths. I detested water. The tabby cat side of me equated baths with punishments, but I also liked being clean and, except for the times when I was Tabby, I couldn’t very well groom myself with my tongue.

But before I could reach the door, Shade waylaid me. “You feeling better?” He pressed his lips to my neck and, once again, the fire took hold.

I stopped in my tracks, then turned and draped my arms around his neck. “I want you.”

I’d become a lot less hesitant about sex over the months with him. Chase and I’d never quite been the right fit, and Zachary and I hadn’t stood a chance in hell, but Shade had taught me how to let go of my insecurities and become confident in my sensual side. Together with the Autumn Lord—who worked through him—the pair had brought me into my own sexually. One day I was destined to bear the Autumn Lord’s child, and Shade would be the father. We were a triad. I belonged to both of them, the way that Camille belonged to her three men.

Shade wrapped his arms around my waist, his lips pressing against mine, and I lingered in his embrace. His hands were soft against my skin, but the strength in his fingers gave me security, and I knew that as long as he was with me, he’d do everything he could to protect me and my family. Dragons were like that—they protected their own.

He slid his hands up my back, and I was suddenly ravenous. I bit his lip, sucking gently, as he slid one knee between my legs. Opening to him, I trembled as the hunger began to swell. Panther was rising, and she wanted her mate. I put my good hand against his chest and walked him backward toward the bed.

Shade let out a low chuckle as he fell back on the mattress, leaning on his hands as his eyes grazed me from head to toe. “You are so beautiful, my delicious pussycat.”

“Pussy is hungry.” My voice low, I motioned to his chest. “Shirt. Off. Now.”

He obligingly pulled off his turtleneck, exposing those glorious pecs of his and the six-pack abs that looked so good on men. Shade was built, his chest muscular and thick. Thick applied to other vital areas of his body, too.

I let out a low growl, the hunger rising. “Pants, too.”

As he unbuckled his belt, the hunger turned to ache, and I leaped on the bed, wrapping my arms around his chest as he kicked off his pants. He was already hard and waiting, and I slid my hand down his chest to that dark, delicious cock that was rising out of the thatch of honey-colored hair. As I took him in hand, he let out a groan and started to turn.

With a whisper, I squeezed just hard enough to make him stop. “Let me explore your body. I want to touch you.” I swung around, off the bed, and knelt in front of him. He was barefoot, and I leaned down and gently kissed the tops of his feet, then trailed a line of kisses up the inside of his legs, alternating sides. Here and there, I nipped with my fangs, not enough to draw blood but enough for him to jump ever so slightly.

As I approached his thighs, placing my hands on the glowing skin, the strength of his quads rippled beneath my fingers and once again, I caught my breath at how beautiful this man was. He was not perfect, he had a number of scars, but there was a beauty of their own in those craggy reminders of battles past, a history of his life. I knew very little about his background, but slowly, in bits and pieces, he had begun to give up his secrets.

I trailed my fingernails gently over the taut skin as he spread he legs, and then I leaned in, slowly licking the length of his cock, drawing my tongue up the shaft, tasting his musk. I had to be cautious—nonretractable fangs meant I could do a lot of damage to a man, but Shade was half dragon, and it took more than the average slip of the tooth to inflict pain. I slowly placed my lips on the head, gently slid them over the top, my mouth open just enough so that the tips of my fangs barely grazed the skin as I swallowed him, deep into my throat.

He let out another groan and leaned back on the bed, his hands coming down to hold my head as I worked him, licking, sucking, sliding my tongue down the length of his shaft. I cupped his balls, then pressed my lips to the sensitive area that lay between them and his penis. He was thick, hard as a rock, with the veins ridging up, and he was driving me crazy.

“Enough. Get your ass up here.” He leaned down and, hands beneath my arms, lifted me up and rolled me over so I was beneath him. His lips sought my breast, leaving a wake of kisses down my neck as he fastened onto my nipple. Sucking hard, he nipped just enough to make me yelp, then his lips continued their path down my skin, across my stomach, setting off a wash of explosions that spread from my pussy outward.

He nuzzled me, his lips pressing gently against my clit as he flicked his tongue around in circles, sliding two fingers inside me to stroke against the inner walls. I was slick, moist with wanting him, but before I could beg him to get the hell inside me, the roar in my head increased as his tongue became more insistent, and I found myself laughing as I came, the stress releasing in joy rather than tears. The shock of another jolt hit as I came again, but still he continued.

As the laughter died, I began to build up again, this time a serious, dark rolling thunder that echoed through me, sucking me under. The strength of his hands on my hips, the unrelenting stroke of his tongue gave me no chance to catch my breath, and so I rode the rising surf, teetering precariously as thought vanished, and only sensation remained. And then, a pause, just one second of clear thought and back under as a series of explosions ricocheted through my body, echoing out in concentric circles. I found myself floating in a space where I wasn’t sure if I was alive or dead, whether I was even breathing.

And then, slowly, the world came back into focus.

I exhaled as Shade loomed over me. With his gaze locked to mine, he slid between my legs, searching for entrance. As he thrust himself inside me, deep and penetrating, the room began to spin again, and we moved slowly, his hips swiveling against me. Full, stretched, I sank into the hunger that blossomed again.

“Harder . . .” My voice was hoarse, desperate. “Don’t stop. Please, don’t stop. Fuck me hard.” As the sex haze reclaimed me, I went under for the third time, a woman drowning in a sea of air.

Shade groaned, his eyes flashing as his skin warmed mine. Emboldened by his heat, I grabbed his shoulders and rolled him over, straddling him as I sank onto his cock, my head back as I rode him hard. He grabbed my waist, holding me firm as I leaned over him, my breast above his mouth. He tilted up, took my nipple in his mouth as my clit rubbed against the base of his cock.

Before I could peak again, Shade lifted me and rolled off the bed with me. We tumbled to the floor in a pile of blankets and I twisted over onto one hand—my good one—and knees. I braced my right elbow on a stack of books, keeping my injured hand safe.

Shade knelt in back of me, sliding his cock into my cunt, and as he began to thrust, Panther rose, not shifting me, but driving me on. I felt her staring through my eyes, and I looked up and there was Hi’ran, the Autumn Lord. My passion and my Liege, towering over us.

He held out his hands, and the smell of bonfire smoke rolled from them as the heart of the harvest ran through my blood. Hi’ran’s energy sparked a flame so dark that it quenched every sensation of light except for the fires raging around us. Shade let out a low moan, for Hi’ran was also his master.

Together, the three of us formed a circle of death, a circle of life. We existed within a cloud of passion, cloaked in the swirling mists of the eternal autumn. The energy crackled around us, until—with a flash of lightning—the storm broke and I went soaring over the edge, crying out as I once again lost myself in the tumble of orgasm.

When I opened my eyes, I was sprawled in the pile of sheets, and Shade had rolled to the side. He was staring at me through veiled eyes, a gentle smile playing at the corners of his lips.

“Wow.” I exhaled slowly. “That was . . . wow.”

“Took the words out of my mouth, babe.” He shoved a pillow under his head, then held out his arms and I rolled into them. “For an arranged relationship, I think we clean it up pretty damned good.”

“From your lips to my heart.” After a moment, I untangled myself from the warm nest and stood up. “Time to get myself scrubbed down and go see Iris.”

Shade fixed the plastic bag over my bandage and I padded into the bathroom, grabbing my pumpkin spice shower gel on the way. I never lingered in the water, but sometimes the scents kept me under longer than the minimum required time to get clean. I lathered up, washed my hair, and then quickly toweled off and used my blow dryer to whip my short, spiky do into submission.

Shade made me sit quietly while he removed the dressing on my hand. The wound wasn’t big, not in the scheme of things, but still a sizable chunk when viewed against the base of my thumb where it had come from. The dreglin had chomped down on the part of my hand right below my thumb, and the exposed wound was violent and red. The gaping hole oozed, but the wound hadn’t spread and that alone told me the antivenin and magic were working. But it looked so gross that it turned my stomach.

As he irrigated the wound, I bit my tongue against the pain, which was bad enough for me to want to kick him a good one. He then applied more of the salve and dressed it, unfazed. Afterward, he taped up the bandage and motioned for me to stand up.

“Let’s go see Iris. Then, Camille said you are due to go visit some park? What’s that all about?”

As we headed down the steps, I said, “We didn’t have a chance to tell anybody what went on when we got back last night. Wait till we’re all downstairs and we’ll fill you in. For now, though, I want to go see those babies.”

• • •

The sun was still peeking through the clouds as we headed out the kitchen door. A pale glow hovered over our land, and the leaves that were still on the trees glistened. The raindrops from the night before that clung to the leaves and branches cast prisms as the sunbeams flickered through them. I inhaled the aroma of wood smoke from both houses. It was a comforting scent, caught up on the wind that gusted through. A gaggle of geese flew south, their mournful calls echoing in the morning air. Winter was on the way, and a sudden chill washed over me with a prescience of the dark days of the year looming down.

Bruce and Iris’s house was beautiful. A tidy cottage, the two-story bungalow looked cozy, a pale blue with cream-colored trim. It had old-world charm, even though it was brand-spanking-new. The guys had done an excellent job on it, and every nail had been driven with care.

“Who’s going to take care of Iris while she’s recovering? Hanna’s needed at our place.” We were heading through the backyard, and it saddened me to see the gardens lying dormant now, barren and fallow for the winter.

“Iris has help, don’t you worry about that. Her mother-in-law arrived this morning to look after her, along with a retinue. At Camille’s request, a new group of guards came through the portal from Otherworld. Elves, from Elqaneve. They’ll be posted around the clock to keep an eye on the O’Shea household.”

“Her mother-in-law?” I remembered Bruce’s mother. She was a lovely woman—a leprechaun like her husband and children—but there was a tiger hidden beneath that refined, gentle surface and I knew that I’d never want to piss her off. I hoped, for Iris’s sake, that they got along.

“Um hmm. By the way, her title is the Duchess O’Shea. Somehow, we missed out on using the correct address during the wedding, and it did not go unnoticed. I was informed in no uncertain terms this morning that we better correct that.” Shade snorted, but the look in his eyes told me that the title wasn’t for show.