Copyright © 2012 Isis Rushdan
All rights reserved — a Samhain Publishing, Ltd. publication
Cyrus caressed Serenity’s cheek, as he groped for the right words to explain what he’d known all his life.
She pushed his hand from her face. “Kindred?” Her eyes flared. “What are you talking about? How is it possible for us to have the same birthmark?”
All of his plans, even the way he wanted to explain everything, had disintegrated to ashes. “The bond we share goes beyond the constraints of time, space…the shell of our bodies.”
He stroked her jaw down to her neck. Lush heat stirred his flesh. “Our souls are one.”
“Please, say something that makes sense. Those men told me…you aren’t human.”
“We aren’t human. We’re Kindred.”
“You’re definitely not like everyone else, but if you expect me to believe that you’re…”
Her head shook, curly chocolate wisps of hair accentuating the loveliness of her face. He slipped off the band restraining her hair in a ponytail. The wildness of her tresses quickened his pulse. He twined a lock around his finger, petal-soft.
“That I’m…” Her lips, rose-colored and full, moved but no sound came from her mouth.
“You and I are kabashem, two halves of one soul.” He lifted her fingers to the mark on his chest. “We’re meant for each other.”
“What? Soul mates?” she scoffed, skimming the birthmark.
“Not in the distorted way you think of today. Our affinity is far more complex.” He struggled to clarify. The feel of her fingertips gliding across his chest brought him peace of mind, even though he could practically taste her fear and confusion. They were together. The rest would fall into place. “We’re one soul, split into two different bodies. Our kind—”
“Our kind?” She pulled away, brushing his hand from her hair, and pressed against the car door. “I asked you to tell me something that made sense.”
Coldness seeped into his skin down to his blood, penetrating bone. He needed her touch and the warmth of her body.
He gripped her hands, determined not to let her go. Heat cascaded through his flesh, sparking his arousal. He needed to taste her. To have her open for him so he could bury himself deep inside.
Desire whipped at his mind, urging his body to action. He strained to focus on her questions to help her understand.
“You’ve suffered from violent outbursts or depression since you hit puberty,” he said, not knowing exactly how severe things must have been for her, separated from the collective. “You’ve never been sick and if you’ve had an injury like a broken bone, you healed faster than others, than humans. You feel like you’re waiting for something, and once you find it your life will make sense.”
She stared at him wide-eyed. He could sense her fear draining, but some other emotion was building. Her chest no longer rose and fell. She was holding her breath. She was in shock.
“Breathe.” He cupped her face. “I know this is sudden and overwhelming, but I’ll help you through it.” He wanted far more than to help her. He wanted to feel her hot body writhing with the need to have his. Above all, he wanted to protect her from every awful thing in the world.
Serenity clutched the car seat, fingers biting into the buttery leather as Cyrus’s words resonated within. She had experienced episodes of depression for as long as she could remember, but what child who had their parents ripped out of their lives wouldn’t? She must’ve had strep throat or the flu at least once. She combed her memories, but couldn’t recall a single instance when she’d been sick. Yet what he said couldn’t be right.
“This isn’t possible,” she said. “Energy weapons, instant healing, Kindred aliens—”
“We’re not human, but we’re not aliens. You and I are halves of the same soul, meant for each other.”
The idea of predestination or that she had no control over her future didn’t ring true.
“Are you saying I need you for my life to make sense?” Every instinct screamed for her to slide her hands over his legs, chest—the birthmark—to ignite sparklers of heat in her flesh, but she tightened her fingers into fists instead. “I determine what’s important in my life, and what’s real.”
“How can you determine what’s important, when you don’t know who you are or where you come from?”
“You don’t know me.”
“Let’s suspend the idea that you need me, and let’s entertain the idea that I need you.”
He grazed her cheek and lips with his thumb. She stared into the dark pools of his dynamic eyes. Animalistic hunger reflected back.
A moan rumbled in his chest, sounding distinctly similar to a growl.
“Imagine living in a world with constant overcast skies,” he said. “Picture an arid land, where nothing green can flourish, barren of natural majesty such as flowers or rain. Then one day, you see the sun and the ocean. You feel warmth and the sprinkle of saltwater on your tongue. Imagine smelling a gardenia for the first time or walking on dew-covered moss with your bare feet. How could you go back to an empty world of gray? I couldn’t, even if I wanted.” He sighed. “I don’t know how else to explain what I feel right now, touching you, being near you.”
Heat simmered in her midsection, rushing up to her scalp and down to her nether lips. He seized her face in his hands and claimed possession of her mouth. His tongue swept in, delving deeply, intent on conquering. He clutched her tighter. The ferocious urgency of his need overpowered all of her restraint, and she surrendered to the embrace of his arms.
A burning desperation to satiate his hunger dominated her mind. She wanted to please him, to take as much of his energy as she could offer in return. Their greedy tongues entangled. Her back arched, his fingers commanding her body to mold to his.
A swell of desire broke upon her soul, quenching a thirst she never knew she had, effacing all doubt. She didn’t care about yesterday. She didn’t know about tomorrow. Only this sweet, reckless moment mattered, and she never wanted it to end.
She explored his firm chest and back, delighting in his sculpted muscles and smooth skin. Cradled in silky warmth, she wanted more of him. Buds of pleasure flourished in her core, winding through her body, deepening between her thighs.
One strong hand curled around her hip. Cyrus slid her body down underneath him, resting her head on the seat. Spreading her legs with his hips, he pressed his body to hers, rubbing the bulge in his pants against her pelvis. Swooning from the weight of his body bearing down on her, she threaded her fingers in his thick hair. He subjugated her with his hot mouth, his rapacious tongue demanding more.
His savage hands—intense yet in complete control—tugged at her clothes and swept through her hair. She ran her fingers along his spine and buttocks, bringing him closer. His thick erection pressed against her moist sex, their clothing an irritating barrier.
Waves of his energy washed over and through her, merging with hers. She opened herself to him, ready to share all she had to give. His body hummed like a tuning fork made of chiseled flesh.
The vibrations of her energy attuned to the flow of his. Visceral threads stretched from her core, connecting them together through their current of energy, anchoring her to him.
Ecstasy and lightness ballooned inside her, until her body was a buoy floating on pure energy. Pleasure blossomed in layers, deepening, rising…so close to a peak.
“We’re home,” Cassian said, somewhere in the distance.
She never felt the car stop and had no idea how long they’d been at a standstill. Her eyes fluttered open. Yearning left her breathless. Cyrus sat up, hovering over her.
The young man peered at them through a crack in the partition. He must have been quite intrigued by what he saw. His entire body was turned toward them, his nose pressed to the glass.
“Cassian, get out,” Cyrus said in a low, husky voice.
The boy hopped out.
Cyrus caressed her face, drawing closer until he kissed her, a quick brush of his mouth on her lips and cheeks. She wrapped her arms around his waist, running her hands up his back. His fingers slid her shirt up, baring her stomach.
Her car door opened and bright sunlight intruded.
She tilted her head back. Glaring light hit her, bringing her back to her senses. She jerked away from Cyrus, scooting upright while adjusting her clothes.
A little talk of soul mates and she had completely lost her head.
An attractive man with steely gray eyes scrutinized them. “Cyrus, the team is on the way here. We have to euthanize another with blood frenzy. The situation is dire. It can’t wait.”
“All right, Abbadon. I’ll be ready by the time they arrive.”
Chest heaving, Cyrus stared at her, his eyes wild with raw hunger like he wanted to gobble her up. Something told her she’d enjoy every nibble and lick.