Start with your bedroom. Had I actually said that? Panic received a large reinforcement from shame, mortification and embarrassment. ‘It’s only been two days since your first real kiss, and you’re already a slut!’ they accused. Libido, lust, and that part of me that went on an overconfident power trip whenever I made Hans bow to my demands responded with a fervent ‘shut up and let me get laid!’
“As my lady commands,” Hans said huskily. Still carrying me, he turned and made his way to the door at the far left back end of the room.
I didn’t take in many more details than that because I was too busy doing my best to bolster libido and lust. I bit the lobe of Hans’ ear and squeezed my legs tighter around his waist. I whimpered for him and turned my bite to kisses, dragging my lips over the short stubble along the corner of his jaw and teasing him with my tongue and teeth and their insistent explorations.
Hans propped me against the frame of the door while he fumbled with its handle. I untangled my fingers from his hair and leaned back to watch him. Part of me was in shock that this was actually happening. Part of me was remembering the last time he’d held me against a wall, and what I’d wanted him to do then. All the other parts of me were there, too, but for the first time ever panic was fighting a losing battle. Not because it wasn’t there. Not even because I was getting over it: it was just as strong as ever. No, panic was losing because there was too much else going crazy in my head for any one thing to take over.
I was afraid, ashamed, aroused, panicking, lusting, empowered; out of control of myself. In control with Hans. I felt flushed and light headed and giddy – or maybe ill and terrified and dizzy. Or….
Hans got the door open, and his hands returned to me. But he didn’t just grab me and bolt for the next room, rushing for the main event. Hans was a man who wasn’t just in control of his own passions and desires. He ran reign on the unadultered, primal needs of a supernatural predator, too. He was a man who, despite his curse, was in control of himself. And I’d always figured he was a man who knew how to take his time and draw out the pleasure of those passions that he kept so firmly contained. And I was right.
Hans’ hands started on my arms. They slid up them; over my bare shoulders. His palms caressed my neck. His fingertips caressed my cheeks. He cupped my face and bent down to almost – but not quite – kiss me.
I strained for his lips, but he held me back. He only let me approach them slowly, and then he pulled back teasingly, keeping just out of reach.
I let out a mewling whimper of frustration – but the truth was that his little bit of denial made my want skyrocket.
“Abigail,” Hans groaned, “Have you any idea what you do to me?”
I forced myself to retreat. I leaned back against the door frame. Since Hans had pulled away from me but my legs were still wound about his waist, it made my back arch in a way that probably would have been sexier if I’d had a bust worth thrusting out. But you work with what you’ve got, right?
“Hans,” I answered, “do you remember the other night? After dinner?” Oh no, I thought.
Hans growled throatily, and I saw that he did.
Oh no! No, no, No, I continued to protest to myself – but I wasn’t panicking about what Hans was going to do. I was panicking because despite being on no-filters autopilot, I’d realized what I was going to say.
“I am never going to wear this outfit again,” I told him. “So be a man and wolf out a little, okay?”
Hans grinned. There was a spark of amusement behind the desire in his eyes. I’d found out about the supernatural world when I’d told Hans to wolf out on me and he’d taken me literally. I’d told him later that I’d meant I wanted him to wolf out on me like a man and ravish me like the heroine of a cheap fifties bodice ripper.
Hans got it right this time. His hands went from my face to my collar and then down, teasingly tracing the skin above my corset top. Then he slipped his fingers under it. My breath caught at the sheer taboo of feeling his nails, cool and smooth, tucked in along the tops of my breasts. And then he tore. I’d seen Hans fighting with Mr. Salvatore. If he was supernaturally strong, it wasn’t on the same order as vampires were. Frankly, as far as I was aware he wasn’t supernaturally strong at all. And that made the ease with which he destroyed my top – just two quick, precise tears – a thing of sheer animal beauty.
I was in the middle of a brief instant of horrified, mind rending shame over my demand when Hans did it. And when he did that shame vanished. I gasped. The cool air of the room caressed my bare skin as Hans threaded the remains of my corset out from my back and tossed them aside. I shivered. Goosebumps broke out on my arms.
I think I may have come a little, simply because there was no way I could possibly be more turned on.
Then shame came crashing back down. What kind of person asks for this? What kind of person likes having her clothes torn off? What kind of person wants a man that she has no hope of fending off to throw her down on his bed and ravage her?
And on top of that, I’d never been this naked in front of a man before. Since I’d been wearing a corset top I didn’t even have a bra on underneath. What the hell was I trying to show off? Mortification swept in with the shame. I’d practically ordered Hans to strip me, and I wasn’t even pretty. I was just thinking about myself and what I would enjoy, and now Hans could actually see that I hadn’t had a figure worth imagining hidden under my clothes. God, I was being a stupid, unattractive, self-involved slut.
But Hans didn’t seem to care. His gaze raked over my body with the fierceness of physical touch. My breath caught with the urge to hyperventilate, so I just stopped breathing. I never thought I’d thank god I was a vampire, but I did now. My cheeks flared with embarrassment and my heart pounded.
“Abigail,” Hans growled softly. His hands closed on my waist and I realized how wrong I’d been about his gaze. His touch sent a jolt through me that I almost couldn’t describe. It wasn’t just rough fingertips brushing sensitive skin. He had slipped his hands under my shirt once before, so I knew what that was like. But that time I’d been wearing a shirt, and a bra, and this time I was exposed and vulnerable, and he was looking at me and touching me in ways that no one was ever supposed to.
The shock of how easily and indecently he violated those taboos – things I should by all rights be freaking out over – was as tangible and hot as the touch of Hans’ hands. I heard myself whimper, and I wasn’t sure if it was because I wanted more or because I wanted to flee.
Hans opted for more. His hands rose up my body; over my breasts. His palms completely covered them. He teased them, massaging gently; his fingers splaying out along my collar when he released them. I trembled. The door frame dug in between my shoulders – there was nowhere to flee to.
Then Hans slipped one arm around my shoulders and gathered me against his chest. He hitched me up again and pulled me away from the wall. My body pressed flush against his. I could feel his muscles flexing as he tightened his grip on me. With his arm around my shoulders I was pinned and trapped. His skin was scalding against mine – or mine was scalding against his, or both; the heat trapped between us seemed immeasurable. The sheer indecent indulgence of so much flesh pressed to so much flesh was overwhelming.
I clung to Hans as well as I could with my arms trapped. I buried my face against his chest and tried desperately not to embarrass myself by coming just because I was hyper-aroused and his hips were moving back and forth just under my thighs as he carried me through the door, down a hall, and up a flight of stairs.
By the time we got to the top of the stairs my attempt at restraint had taken its toll. I couldn’t tell anymore if I was more turned on, terrified of having sex, terrified of being thrown away as ‘used goods’ afterward, or terrified of how embarrassingly inadequate I was sure to be when it came to sating Hans’ passions. After all, I’d had a taste of them. I knew how little satiation had to do with the beast behind Hans’ curse.
At the top of the stairs there was another hallway. Hans carried me down to the end, back up against one of two doors that were facing each other. He got that door opened and then backed into the room. It was a small, cheerily painted room with a dresser, a vanity, a loveseat next to a small bookcase, and a double bed.
Hans deposited me on the bed much more gently than he would have if he’d been following my mental script. I sprawled out and looked up at him – he hadn’t immediately pounced on me. His gaze was wandering over me, drinking me in; savoring the sight like it was an appetizer and I was the meal. My heart pounded.
Hans had promised to always stop if I told him to. So far he always had when I did. All I had to do was say ‘no’ and he would stop and everything would be okay. I swallowed.
“Hans, do you have condoms?” I said instead.
Hans stopped. He looked at me, and then he glanced at the bedside dresser. No doubt if this had been his actual room there would have been a box or two or three in there. But given the girly loveseat, the girlier vanity, and the fact that this house used to be Mr. Salvatore’s, I was willing to bet that this was a guest room and all Hans had in there at the moment was whatever he’d packed for his initial visit.
Hans swore softly and I bit my lip on a laugh. I was going to have to ask him what that language was. I thought it was cute that he didn’t curse in English around me – especially given my own often dirty mouth and dirtier thoughts.
Hans looked back at me. “Ah, no,” he confessed rather shame-facedly. He didn’t try to convince me that we didn’t need one, either. I didn’t think he would, because trying to talk a girl out of using protection is always a dick move – but also, what was he going to say? ‘Abby, you’re mostly dead. You can’t get pregnant.’ Or maybe: ‘Don’t worry, the only disease I’ve got can’t be transmitted if I’m not a wolf and you’re not alive.’
Talk about mood kills.
I wrapped my arm around my chest, over my breasts. The sexual attraction was still there, but the tension had been broken, for the moment. I chewed my bottom lip. “So, tour?” I asked. “And can I borrow another shirt?”
Hans started like he’d been caught unawares while thinking dirty things. “Right,” he said. “Yes.” He went to the dresser, opened a drawer, and provided – surprise – a white tee-shirt. I smiled. I find familiar things comforting, and Hans’ plain white tee-shirts were rapidly becoming one of those things. He even had the decency to turn around and not watch while I pulled it on. I hurried anyway, because his turning around had put Hans’ bare, muscled back toward me – and who wants to miss out on a sight like that?
Hans cleared his throat and kept staring at the wall. I let him. “So,” he said in tour-guide mode, “This is the guest room. My room, for now. When you’re ready we can go across the hall to the master bedroom. That can be redone for you, since my things are already in here. The door we passed at the head of the stairs is the….”