Bite (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter #8.5)(7)

by Laurell K. Hamilton

Jean-Claude stood, very slowly, as if afraid I’d bolt, but I didn’t. I stood there, my heart in my throat, my eyes a little wide, afraid, eager, wanting.

He stood inches away from me, staring down, but still not touching, hands at his sides, face neutral. He raised one hand, very slowly upward, and even that small movement sent his fingertips gliding along my leather coat. When I didn’t pull away, he held the edge of the leather in his fingertips inside the open edge of the coat at the level of my waist. He began to slide his hand upward, above my waist, my stomach, then the back of his fingers brushed over my breasts, not hesitating, moving upward to the collar of the coat, but that one quick brush had tightened my body, stopped my breath in my throat.

His hand moved from my collar to my neck, fingers gliding underneath my hair until he cupped the back of my neck, his thumb resting on top of the big pulse in my neck. The weight of his hand on my skin was almost more than I could take, as if I could sink into him through that one hand.

“I have missed you, ma petite.” His voice was low and caressing this time, gliding over my skin, bringing my breath in a shaking line.

I’d missed him, but I couldn’t bring myself to say it out loud. What I could do was raise up on tiptoe, steadying myself with a hand on his chest, feeling his heart beat against the palm of my hand. He’d fed on someone, or he wouldn’t have had a heartbeat, some willing donor, and even that thought wasn’t enough to stop me from leaning my face back, offering my lips to him.

His lips brushed mine, the softest of caresses. I drew back from the kiss, my hands sliding over the satin of his shirt, feeling the firmness of him underneath. I did what I’d wanted to do since I saw him tonight. I passed my fingers over the bare skin of his shoulders, so smooth, so soft, so firm. I rolled my hands behind his shoulders, and the movement let our bodies fall together, lightly.

His hands found my waist, slid behind my back, pressed me against him, not lightly, hard, hard enough that I could feel him even through the satin of his pants, the cloth of my skirt, the lace of my panties. I could feel him pressed so tight and ready that I had to close my eyes, hide my face against his chest. I tried to let my feet flat to the floor, to move away from him, just a little, just enough to think again, but his hands kept me pinned to his body. I opened my eyes then, ready to tell him to let me the hell go, but I looked up and his face was so close, his lips half-parted, that no words came.

I kissed those half-parted lips almost as gently as he’d kissed me. His hands tightened at my back, my waist, pressing us tighter against each other, so tight, so close. My breath came out in a long sigh, and he kissed me. His mouth closing over mine, my body sinking against his, my mouth opening for his lips, his tongue, everything. I ran my tongue between the delicate tips of his fangs. There was an art to French kissing a vampire, and I hadn’t lost it; I didn’t pierce myself on those dainty points.

Without breaking the kiss, he bent and wrapped his arms around my upper thighs, lifted me, carried me effortlessly to the desk. He didn’t lay me on it, which is what I half-expected. He turned and sat down on the desk, sliding my legs to either side, so that he was suddenly pressed between my legs with only two pieces of cloth between us. He lay back on the desk, and I rode him, rubbing our bodies together through the satin of his pants and my panties.

His hands rubbed up my leg tracing my hose, until his fingers found the top lace of the thigh-high hose. I pressed myself into him hard enough for his body to arch, spasming our bodies together. And there was a knock on the door. We both froze, then Jean-Claude said, “We are not to be disturbed!”

A voice I didn’t recognize said, “I am sorry, master, but Malcolm is here. He insists that it is urgent.”

Evidently Jean-Claude did know the voice, because he closed his eyes and cursed softly under his breath in French. “What does he want?”

I slid off of Jean-Claude, leaving him lying on his desk, with his legs dangling over the end.

Malcolm’s smooth voice came next. “I have a present for Ms. Blake.”

I checked my clothing to make sure it was presentable; strangely it was. Jean-Claude sat up, but stayed on the edge of his desk. “Enter.”

The door opened and the tall, blond, dark-suited figure of Malcolm walked through. He always dressed like he was a television preacher, conservative, immaculate, expensive. Compared to Jean-Claude he always looked ordinary, but then so did most everyone. Still, there was a presence to Malcolm, a calm, soothing power that filled every room around him. He was a master vampire and his power was a thrumming weight against my skin. He tried to pass for human, and I’d always wondered if the level of power he gave off was his version of toned-down, and if this was the toned-down version, then what must his power truly be like?

“Ms. Blake, Jean-Claude.” He gave a small bow of his head, then moved from the door and two vampires in the dark suits and white shirts of his deacons came through carrying a chained vampire between them. He had short blond hair and blood drying on his mouth, as if they’d chained him before he’d had time to clean himself.

“This is Bill Stucker; the girl, I am sorry to say, passed over.”

“She’s one of you then,” I said.

Malcolm nodded. “This one tried to run, but I gave you my word that he would be punished by your law if she died.”

“You could have just dropped him off at the police station,” I said.

His eyes flicked to Jean-Claude, to me, to my leather coat forgotten on the floor. “I am sorry to interrupt your evening, but I thought it would come better if the Executioner delivered the vampire to the police rather than us. I think the reporters will listen to you when you say we did not condone this, and you are honorable enough to tell the truth.”

“Are you saying the rest of the police aren’t?”

“I am saying that many of our law enforcement are distrustful of us and would be only too happy to see us lose our status as citizens.”

I’d have liked to have argued, but I couldn’t. “I’ll drop him off for you and I’ll make sure the press knows you delivered him.”

“Thank you, Ms. Blake.” He looked at Jean-Claude. “Again, my apologies; I was told that the two of you were no longer dating.”

“We aren’t dating,” I said, a little too quickly.

He shrugged. “Of course.” He looked back at Jean-Claude and gave a smile that said more than anything that they didn’t quite like each other. He liked interrupting Jean-Claude’s evening. They were two very different kinds of vampire and neither really approved completely of the other.

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