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Aden frowned and moved only his eyes to look down at her curiously. He could see the pile of curls on top of her head and the pale stripe of her arm against his own much darker skin. He didn’t do post-coital cuddling. Women were a source of sex and blood, obtained through a process that was enjoyable for all.
On the other hand, he discovered to his surprise that he wanted more of Sidonie Reid. Tonight had been like the appetizer before the meal, and he had every intention of savoring the main course. Probably more than once.
He dropped a heavy arm over her back, drawing her in closer and feeling her relax infinitesimally. For all her appearance of ease when she’d cuddled in next to him, she’d been tense, waiting to see what he’d do. She was not a woman who fucked casually. That he’d managed to draw her in so easily was partly attributable to his skill in the art of seduction, but that wasn’t the whole story. She was curious about him and what he represented. Sidonie wanted to know what it was like to walk on the wild side. She’d been a good girl all her life, and he was the forbidden fruit.
Aden hugged her close with a private smile. He was more than ready to introduce Sidonie to the sort of things done in the dark of night. He only hoped she was ready for just how dark he could get.
SID OPENED HER eyes without moving. She knew where she was, but she wasn’t sure about anything else. Okay, that wasn’t quite true. She also knew she just had the best sex and made the worst mistake of her life all at the same time. She’d fucked a vampire. What was even worse, she’d fucked a vampire lord and let him take her blood. She groaned out loud, and then froze, hoping he wasn’t close enough to hear her. Although, given his penchant for playing games, he’d probably fuck her again just to prove she wanted it. Which she did, because, yeah, it was the best damn sex of her entire life.
Not that she had all that much to compare it to. She hadn’t even lost her virginity until college, and she’d always dated proper young men of good families. The kind she could bring home to Mom and Dad. The kind who knew which fork to use at all of those charity fundraisers. They were nice, they were considerate, and they always made sure she came during sex.
Aden? Well, one out of three wasn’t bad, right? Who was she kidding? She was doomed.
She sat up slowly, figuring that since he hadn’t reacted to her groan, he wasn’t in the room. She looked around, taking in all the details she’d been too overcome to notice before. The bed was a big four-poster, king-size or better, with damask silk draperies the color of a fine ruby cabernet. Rich, but dark. Kind of like Aden himself. Beautiful and strokable on the outside, but with a soul as black as coal. It made her wonder about his history, about where he’d come from and what had made him the way he was. Just thinking about it made her sad and she gave herself a mental shake. She wasn’t here to psychoanalyze Aden or to soothe his tortured soul. They’d had sex, great sex, but it would be a mistake for her to romanticize it into anything else. Aden was a consummate lover, but she had a feeling he’d be a demanding boyfriend.
And speaking of Aden, where was his moody self? She listened carefully, but didn’t hear any noise except her own breathing. No shower running, no voices. Thinking about showers made her realize she needed one. There was a door cracked open on the wall opposite the one they’d come in earlier; at least, she was pretty sure that was where they’d come in. She’d been somewhat preoccupied at the time.
Scooting off the bed, she gathered her clothes—what was left of them. Her T-shirt was almost useless, but it was the only top she had, so she grabbed it along with her underwear, which was . . . darn, also ruined. She remembered him snapping the sides of her thong, remembered the way the muscles in his arms had bunched up . . . and found herself getting warm and sticky simply thinking about it.
“Gah!” She considered leaving her destroyed underwear on the floor for the big, bad vampire to pick up—after all, he was the one who’d ruined it—but she really liked that blue satin, and the bra was fine. Maybe the thong could be repaired. Clutching the clothes she still had, she located the bathroom and cleaned herself up. What she really wanted was a shower, but she didn’t want to be standing there naked and soapy when Aden showed up. She entertained a brief fantasy of him stripping down to skin and joining her in the steamy enclosure. She could feel the glide of his wet skin against hers, imagined the play of his muscles as he lifted her against the tile . . .
“Stop that!” she scolded. This wasn’t like her. She didn’t moon over men, and she certainly didn’t entertain private fantasies while standing in a strange man’s bathroom. Maybe Aden had done something to her brain, put thoughts in her head that shouldn’t be there.
That was the easiest explanation, but she wasn’t willing to let herself off the hook so easily. She’d known Aden was seducing her, and she’d wanted what he was offering. She couldn’t blame him now that it proved to be more than she could handle.
She put her bra on, realizing only belatedly that she’d have to go commando under her jeans. It wouldn’t be comfortable, but at least she still had pants to wear, and socks. She frowned in dismay at the broken zipper on her hoodie, but did the best she could with what she had, putting her T-shirt on backwards and her hoodie over that. And then she caught something in the mirror that had her leaning forward in dismay. Yep, she had the mother of all hickeys, although, given her fair skin and what she remembered of his bite, she was surprised it wasn’t worse. She knew vamps sealed the puncture wounds with a lick after they bit someone. Maybe that same chemical in their saliva healed the wound faster, too.
Well, at least it was winter and she could wear turtlenecks without anyone wondering about it.
Once she was as dressed as she could get, Sid walked out into the sitting room with its gorgeous silk hanging. She looked around for her backpack, but it wasn’t there. That didn’t make her happy, because the key to her condo was in there, along with her ID, her cell phone, her notes.
She walked over and opened the door to the hallway. Her shoes were on the small rug where she’d left them, so she sat down and pulled them back on.
Feeling more or less prepared, she headed down the hallway toward the red doors, thinking she’d find Aden in his office. Or, if not, at least find her backpack, so she could go home.
As it turned out, she didn’t have to go looking, because as soon as she opened the door to the hallway with the elevator, Travis popped out of the office entrance.
“Sid,” he said cheerfully, although without any of the flirting that had been his usual attitude toward her. “Lord Aden’s in here.”
She smiled, feeling a little embarrassed. She was holding her hoodie closed, her arms across her chest, but it had to be obvious what had happened in Aden’s bedroom.
“I just need to get my stuff,” she said.
“Right,” Trav said agreeably and repeated, “Lord Aden’s in here.”
Knowing she wasn’t going to get anything else out of him—it was obvious that Aden had given him orders of some sort—she followed him back into the office where she’d wanted to go anyway.
Aden was on the phone when she walked in, but his eyes blazed as he gave her a long, slow head-to-toe perusal, the kind that said I know what you look like under those clothes. Sid flashed back to a naked Aden staring at her fully exposed sex, her thighs spread wantonly, and a shiver of arousal skated over her entire body. Her breasts swelled, and an aching warmth began to build between her legs.
Aden gave her a knowing little wink.
Her face heating with embarrassment, Sid busied herself with a quick perusal of the office, looking for her backpack. If she could only find that, she’d be gone. Then, at least, she could enjoy her fantasies in private.
“Keep looking,” Aden said. Sid jerked around to stare at him in surprise, but realized he wasn’t speaking to her, but to whoever was on the other end of the line. He hung up without saying good-bye, and Sid thought it was nice to know he was rude to everyone, not just to her.
“How are you feeling?” he asked, his voice a sexy rumble of sound.
“Great,” she said, hearing herself and knowing she sounded way too chipper.
“Oh, I don’t think that’s—”
“Come here, Sidonie,” he growled, giving her a dark look from under those lush lashes.
Sid knew she should tell him to fuck off, that she didn’t go for the whole me Tarzan, you Jane routine. But that was her brain talking. Her body was going all melty and warm, her nipples hard as rocks, her pussy, which had always been so well-behaved, was wet and hungry, yearning to be filled. Her body wanted him. And her body won.
She managed to walk slowly, trying to look reluctant, but the end was the same. She rounded the desk to stand before him, getting close enough that their legs were touching.
Aden stroked his big hand up the back of her thigh and left it there.
“Be here at seven tonight, and wear a dress. I like those better.”
Sid frowned. “But you said Elias works for you. Aren’t you going to follow up on the slave thing? If their guards follow the pattern, those women will be gone by tomorrow night, and we’ll never find them.”
“I’ll take care of it. You’ll only get hurt.”
His dismissal cut through the lust fogging her senses. “Fuck that,” she snapped. “I’ve been following this for months. I know the routes, the holding houses, I know the people involved. I know way more than you do about it.”
“This is vampire business, Sidonie. I don’t want you involved.”
“I’m already involved, and I don’t care about your super-secret vampire business. You either take me with you, or I’ll follow you there. Actually forget that, I’ll get there before you.”
Aden released her leg and stood abruptly, doing that towering-over-her thing that he did so well. She thought for sure that he was going to snarl at her and forbid her from going after the slavers. For all the good it would do him.