#Free #FridayReads - House of Immortal Pleasures (Part 14)
House of Immortal PleasuresCopyright © 2010 by Katie SalidasThis book is for ADULT AUDIENCES ONLY. It contains substantialsexually explicit scenes and graphic language which may be considered offensive by some readers.
Seconds, minutes, hours, might have passed. Time had no meaning as they cuddled in bed. Connor was at peace.
He caressed Daphne’s soft face, brushing away strands of hair that clung to her skin.
“How do you feel?” he asked, his voice no more than a whisper.
“Wonderful,” she purred. “Connor, you are too good to be true.” Daphne looked at him with heavy-lidded eyes. That endearing, crooked grin covered her face again, telling Connor she was truly satisfied. He found himself smiling as he gazed at her; he enjoyed this look on her face and found himself daydreaming, wanting to make sure she always looked this way.
“No, it is you who are too good. I’ve been in this place for so long, but never with someone I enjoyed spending time with. You are special, Daphne. You need to know this.”
Her cheeks flushed red. She turned burying her face in the pillows.
Connor reached out and guided her face back towards his. “I mean it. You are special.”
“And you are nothing like I expected,” she said. “I mean … because you’re a—”
“This wasn’t the life I had chosen for myself if that’s what you’re thinking.”
“Then how’d you end up here?”
Connor watched her eyes trail down from his face. He knew she was looking at the collar, the sign of his imprisonment, locked tight around his neck.
He sucked in a deep breath. “I made a mistake … in the past, and have a debt to pay. The collar is a reminder of that.”
“Oh.” Her eyes grew wide as she pulled away.
“Please don’t let that tarnish this wonderful evening.” He reached out and stroked her hair again. “I am not a bad man. I was younger then, and had not been taught to control my … urges.”
Her eyes softened but she did not speak.
“I never meant to hurt anyone,” he said in almost a whisper. Guilt suddenly washed through him as the memory replayed in his mind. He saw Adrienne, hanging limply in his arms and suddenly remembered the taste of her blood, as if he had just drank it. She and Daphne shared a similar taste.
“What happened?” Daphne’s voice cracked as she spoke.
Connor hesitated, wondering how much of his past he should reveal. “I’ve taken a life.”
His words were met with an awkward silence. Daphne sat unnaturally still.
“Not a day goes by that I do not regret the mistake I’ve made,” he continued. “It’s why I have allowed myself to be humiliated, to serve here as a slave.”
Daphne nodded. “Interesting punishment for killing someone.”
“It is not a punishment because I took someone’s life.” Connor took a deep breath, trying to figure out how best to explain things to her. “I was almost caught. Vampires have a reputation to maintain with the public. Vampire law doesn’t look on the death of a human in the same way that human laws do. The council punished me for risking our reputation.”
Daphne’s eyes grew wide. He saw the sudden tensing of her body.
“I know that makes it sound worse. You have to remember, until vampires went public, we were able to kill freely if we chose to. Now that we are out in the public, getting caught killing is strictly forbidden.”
Daphne sucked in a breath and gulped.
“I’m not saying this to make you fear me. This is not how I think. I don’t want blood on my hands. I’m just letting you know how the council views things. I was never one to hunt and kill people. I, unlike many of my kind, am content to take sips here and there to sustain myself. I have only one death on my hands, and believe me, I have regretted it every day for the last ten years.”
“So, then why are you here?”
“Alexander was my maker. The council felt he should also be my warden. This place is his business so I must work here as his slave until he releases me.”
“But isn’t that dangerous…you’re around people all day, er …night?”
“Believe me when I say, I do not wish to hurt anyone.” He paused for a moment to take a calming breath. “This is a fitting punishment and serves to ensure I never make a mistake like that again.”
Daphne leaned in closing the distance between them. She put a comforting hand on his arm. “I believe you, Connor. Someone as good as you couldn’t possibly be bad.”
Gently, he pressed his lips to hers and felt the easing of her body as his kiss melted the momentary tension away. When he pulled back and sat up, he saw again the endearing, crooked grin spread wide across her face.
Connor’s eyes swept over her naked body lying uncovered, like a sacrificial offering on the bed. She glowed with a glistening sheen of sweat. Her perfect breasts, still full and perky, begged to be touched again. His body tightened with a fresh surge of arousal.
Daphne arched her back and stretched her arms out wide.
“You aren’t tired, are you?” Connor admired the view. “I hope you don’t think I am finished with you,” he said, his body taut and his arousal again plainly visible.
Daphne’s breath sounded as if it caught in her throat. Connor heard her heart speed up. She looked wide-eyed at him and sat up quickly. “How are you still able to…rise so soon after we have…?” Her cheeks flushed again. “You know.”
Her bashful smile warmed his blood. He cocked his head sideways, giving her a boyish grin that promised more. “I’m not bound to the same limitation as mortals. I can go all night if that’s what you want.” The sight of the color reddening her face was a delicious temptation. He leaned in again to plant a kiss on her sweet lips before rising and extending his hand to her. “Come, follow me.”
Read More Next Friday!