- Text Font:
- Text Size:
- Line Height:
- Line Break Height:
Jin climbed the steps and pressed the buzzer beside the huge, chrome-edged doors. I stopped next to him, pressing closer than I normally would have, needing the heat of his body to chase away chills.
I couldn't escape the feeling that I was about to do something very, very bad. Bad in a much-hurt-for-Riley sort of way. And while Jin was a psycho and God knows what else, I at least had some sense of him, of what he was capable of.
The same could not be said for the man whose footsteps echoed in the hall beyond the door.
I licked dry lips, and almost felt relieved when Jin draped an arm around my shoulder. Only it wasn't a proprietary arm, wasn't meant to be comforting. His fingers dug into my shoulder almost brutally, as if he sensed my sudden uncertainty and was determined to prevent any attempt to leave.
He wasn't to know that I couldn't. Wouldn't. No matter what happened in there.
The measured steps drew closer. My heart seemed to leap up into my throat, and breathing suddenly became that much more difficult. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, and crossed my arms. But I resisted the temptation to rub them, and had to hope Jin would think the goose bumps traversing my arms were due to cold rather than fright.
The door finally opened. I'm not sure what exactly I expected, but the thin, spectacle-wearing, almost nerdy-looking man standing in front of me certainly wasn't it. Relief hit so hard I almost laughed.
Because when my gaze met the blue of his, I realized just how deceiving looks could be. This man might be ordinary when it came to looks, but stare into his gaze and the real man became evident.
He was power, sheer power - a power that was at once both raw and seductive. Magnetic. Though there was a good four or five feet between us, I felt the pull of it. It washed over my skin as sharp as electricity, and seemed a whole lot more dangerous.
Because it could destroy in more ways than mere death.
"I didn't think you were coming," he said, his words aimed at Jin, though his gaze continued to hold mine. "We were just about to start."
There was a low note in his voice that was urbane, seductive, and it invaded my senses and heated my skin. A tremor that was all awareness, all anticipation, ran through me.
I was in trouble. Big, big trouble.
I might be a werewolf, and I might be willing to use sex to get the information I needed, but this man - this dark god - had centuries of lust and unholy desires behind him. When it came to seduction, I was standing at the feet of a master.
And the master had plans for me, just as Gautier had warned. The confirmation was evident in the dark and hungry gleam in his eyes.
"Riley got held up by work," Jin explained. "I apologize."
"As indeed you should." His gaze still held mine, judging, enjoying. When he held out his hand, I placed mine in his almost without thought. He bent and placed a kiss on my palm, his lips lingering, tasting. "Welcome to my house, Riley."
"Thank you." It came out a squeak and I cleared my throat. "It's a pleasure to meet you."
"The pleasure will be mine, I assure you." He released my hand, and yet I could still feel the lingering heat of his lips on my palm. Somehow, I resisted the temptation to wipe my hand against my dress. "Jin, escort our pretty lady inside and introduce her to our other guests."
He stepped to one side. Jin placed a hand against my spine - low down, close to my butt, so that his fingertips caressed my cheeks as I walked - and ushered me inside. Desire prickled across my skin, and the low down burning became even more furious. The moon fever was still well under control - and yet, the awareness of it was there, meaning I had to have sex sooner rather than later.
Which shouldn't be a problem, I thought, shivering.
My heels clicked on the polished marble tiles, the sound echoing through the long emptiness of the hall. Kingsley obviously wasn't big on furnishings - the hall had a coat stand near the door, and an ornate cherry-wood telephone table about halfway down, but that was about it. The pale gold walls were bare of paintings, mirrors, or any other kind of decoration. The lights were ornate, but none had bulbs, leaving the hallway a wasteland of shadows. Luckily, I didn't need light to see, but I had to wonder if all the gloom and the emptiness was a ploy to play on the nerves of their guests. After all, these were men who were aroused by the darker emotions, and fear, however subtle, had to taste mighty sweet.
As we passed the telephone table, I pressed a finger against one of the minute listening devices attached lightly to the outside of my purse, then ran my hand casually across the cherry wood, carefully but quickly placing the bug under the unit's ledge.
One down, five more to go.
A door loomed on our left. It was big and ornate and had to be as heavy as hell, given the effort Jin seemed to put into opening it.
As I stepped through. I realized why.
Power slid over my skin, cold fingertips of energy that briefly resisted my efforts to walk into the semi-dark room. And I realized then that had to be why the Directorate was having so much trouble reading the inside of this house. Caelfind had obviously set up her own kind of deadeners, and I had no doubt they would be both psychic and electronic. She seemed a thorough sort of sorcerer, even if she did turn out to be a little overconfident in the end.
With an odd sort of sucking sensation, the energy slid over my skin then released me. I scratched at my ear, wondering if Rhoan could still hear what was going on. Wondering if the tracker would work in this room, or whether I was, for all intents and purposes, on my own.
I didn't want to be on my own. Not with these people.
If indeed they could be classed as people.
Jin touched my spine again and lightly guided me forward. The room was long, and shadows haunted the far corners. The air was a rampant mix of sharp spices, flowery perfume, fear, and desire. While I had no desire to draw the mix deep into my lungs, Jin had no such inhibitions. He sucked in a long breath, then exhaled it slowly.
"Ah, the sweet aroma of a good red. Would you like some?"
If he could smell red wine in this, he had a better nose than me. "A small glass would be nice."
"I'll introduce you to the others, then get you a drink."
I nodded, my gaze already roaming across the faces of people gathered near the open fire at the far end of the room. I had no idea why they huddled there, because the room was almost unbearably hot. Maybe they just felt safer near the fire - it was the only source of light in the room, after all.
And then my gaze hit the face of a man I knew, and I stopped. I couldn't help it.
Oh God - what the hell was I going to do now? I should have known, should have damn well realized he'd be here. If Jin and Marcus had been ordered to attend this little shindig, it was logical that Gautier - the death head of the dragon - would also have been.
Only none of us had thought about that. It was stupid. Totally stupid.
And it might very well cost me my life.
He smiled and minutely raised his glass, as if in greeting. My stomach stirred, and bile rose. I swallowed heavily.
"Are you all right?" Jin said, a touch of concern in his voice that I didn't for a minute believe.
I somehow managed a nod. "Sorry, just letting my eyes adjust to the darkness."
He touched my elbow. "I'll guide you."
I had no choice. I had to move. Had to brazen this out and test how far Gautier was going to let this play out. And I could only hope that the cavalry who waited beyond this house would come a running when I needed them.
With tension curling through every part of my body, I forced my feet forward. We walked past a long wooden table that was set, ready for dinner - though the candles in the ornate candleholders were as yet unlit - and moved into the warm circle of light near the fire.
It felt no warmer near the fire, but maybe that was simply fear of the thin-faced man who watched me with a mocking, superior smile.
I forced my gaze from him, and studied the others. Most of the people here I already knew. The first was Marcus, the big man I'd seen terrorizing Jan at the club. At least she was looking a whole lot more lively than the last time I'd seen her, though she still moved with a slowness that spoke of healing wounds.
The third person Jin introduced as Raven and she was clinging to Gautier's arm in a way that was nervous, and yet very sexual. She was a thin woman with black hair, pinched features, and darting, bloodshot gray eyes. She was also a shifter and, like Jan, had a desperate, needy sort of air about her - which made me wonder if she was another victim in the making.
Then her scent triggered the memory of the club and that odd smell coming from the second room, a smell that had been a little bit of desperation, and a lot of death.
It had been Gautier in that room. And this woman had been with him.
Becoming the death head hadn't only given him an immunity to sunlight, it had given him sex. Dark, deadly sex.
The thought made me want to puke.
Jin touched my back lightly, dragging me out of my thoughts and fears, then moved off to fetch our drinks, leaving me to make small talk with people I had no intention of ever getting to know better. All the while, Gautier watched me like a spider, saying nothing, merely smiling that cold, venomous smile of his. My body was cold despite the nearness of the fire, and every instinct I had was screaming to get out, while I still could.
But Gautier wouldn't let me go. I knew that. Whatever game he was playing, I was caught in the middle of it, and I had no choice but to let the night roll on and see what happened. See what he planned.
When Jin slipped the red wine into my hand, I practically gulped down the first couple of mouthfuls. It didn't do a whole lot to ease the tension slithering through my limbs, but at least it was wet and soothed the dryness in my throat.
After about five minutes of inane banter about the weather and whatnot, a small gong went off behind us. As we turned around, the candles sprung to life, flickering warm light across all the crystal and silverware, and sending shards of rainbow light spiraling across the room.
Kingsley now stood at the end of the table, a king surveying his subjects. His gaze met mine and lingered, making my heart skip, then race even harder. Worst thing was, I wasn't entirely sure whether it was due to fear, or something else. Something that had a whole lot more to do with wanting a treat that was obviously very bad for me.
"Jin, you and the lovely Riley can sit at the head of the table with me tonight."
He said it like it was granting a great gift, and indeed, that's how Jin seemed to take it. His smile was wide as he escorted me to the chair on Kingsley's immediate right. I thanked Jin as he pulled out the chair and seated me, then placed my purse on the table, casually sticking another device to my fingertip and dropping my hands. Which were shaking. Because Gautier was still watching and still saying nothing. I placed the second device under my chair and hoped like hell it still worked with the magic barrier in place.
The camera - which looked to be nothing more than a slightly larger flat silver bead on my glittery purse - needed to be placed higher, and that, for now, was impossible.
Kingsley picked up the nearby bottle of wine and filled my glass. Then he picked up his own and raised it.
"To new friends and good times," he said, lightly clicking his glass against mine, and then Jin's.
"And a long night of passion and desire," Jin added, his gaze holding an intensity that had little flash fires dancing up and down my spine despite the deep fear that resided within.
Yet the heat Jin raised was nothing compared to the closeness of his dark master. Sitting next to Kingsley was like sitting close to a wolf with his aura set to full intensity. It made me sweat, made me want, like never before.
Had he been another wolf, I would have simply used my own aura to mute the force of his. But how did you mute the force of a dark god? Especially when he was wearing the skin of a human? I couldn't even use my aura, because no one here but Gautier knew I was wolf - and I very much intended to keep it that way.
If Gautier would let me.
The meals came, brought into the room by women who moved with the silence of ghosts and who looked just as pale. Not that they were ghosts - with my growing affinity to the dead, I would have felt that - but all the same, there seemed to be very little life in their eyes or expressions. Perhaps Kingsley had sucked all the energy and life from them.
Everyone but Gautier ate, drank, and made more small talk as the plates of food came and went. Jin was right in one thing - the food here was amazing.
As the night wore on, my head grew sort of fuzzy, in that warm, had-too-much-to-drink-and-now-way-too-loose sort of way. I actually stopped drinking wine after the entree, but my head didn't get any clearer. It felt odd, like I was there but not there. A watcher standing outside my own body, aware of events but not really a part of them. Even the fear of Gautier and what he was up to seemed to slide away.
Somewhere deep inside, alarm grew, but I didn't even have the energy to wrest it to the foreground for a thorough examination. It was just too much hassle. Everything was too much hassle, except sitting here enjoying.
Dessert - a mass of fudgy chocolate cake that was almost as good as an orgasm - came and went, then coffee was served. It wasn't hazelnut, but it was top shelf and absolutely divine.
Which left us with the after-dinner entertainment. Kingsley stood once the last of the coffee cups had been collected by the pale women, and the tension I'd felt earlier leapt back into the warm room. But it was accompanied by hot spots of fear, desire, and excitement - the fear and desire Jan's, the excitement belonging to Jin, Marcus, and the thin shifter. Gautier was as inscrutable as ever, and yet there was a gleam in his eyes that had distant shivers dancing up my spine.
"Shall we move on to the main entertainment?"
"Oh, please do," Jan said, her voice breathy with excitement.
Marcus gave her a hug, and my stomach stirred. Maybe eating all that chocolate cake was a bad idea. Not if the entertainment was what I was beginning to think it was.
Kingsley walked across the room to a second set of doors I hadn't noticed before now and pushed them open. The room beyond, like this one, was ill lit, but filled with looming shadows and the sharp smell of blood and fear and death.
Jin held out his hand as Kingsley disappeared into gloom. My hesitation was brief, but nevertheless there, and part of me was mighty glad of that. At least it meant I wasn't so far gone that I'd walk into trouble without thought, without fear. Not that either would do a whole lot at this point in time.
Two by two, we walked into the room. A light clicked on down the far end, throwing pale light across the darkly stained wooden machinery filling the room. It was another goddamn torture chamber. Like before, there were rough wooden racks, chains attached to cuffs dangling from the ceiling, a huge wooden wheel straddling a deep water trough, and rough ropes attached to wall rings. But there were other machines here, truly nasty-looking ones, like metal chambers filled with spikes and other, even more deadly-looking things.
This time, I stared at them with a more dispassionate eye. Horror was there, but it was a distant thing, held back by a wall of detachment. It was odd, this feeling of being here and yet not here, and yet part of me was glad. If not for the distance, I might be tempted to run screaming from the room.
Or would I? Truth was, I wanted to do my job. Wanted these freaks stopped for all eternity.
It was the only clear, unfuzzed thought in the whole foggy mess that was the current state of my brain.
Kingsley appeared out of the gloom. He'd taken off his dinner jacket and loosened his tie, and the lusty tension filling the room sharpened abruptly, hitting my senses like a hammer and making my knees weak.
Jin's hands slipped around my waist, pulling me back against him. His breath was heated, rapid against my neck, his thick erection pressing hard into my butt.
Kingsley stopped in front of Jan, raising a hand and gently caressing her cheek. She shuddered under his touch, and the scent of desire and need swirled around us, sharp and tantalizing in the heavy air. My breathing quickened in response, and Jin's soft chuckle stirred my hair.
"Soon," he whispered. "Soon."
"Do you understand the reason you are here?" Kingsley trailed a hand down Jan's neck and began to undo her shirt.
She pushed into his touch, offering her small breasts to his touch and his gaze. "It's a test," she said.
"A test, not an end. Do you understand that?" He finished undoing her buttons, and pushed her shirt aside, exposing her breasts but not touching them himself.
"Yes,"' she all but whimpered, her desperation for his touch very evident in her voice. But she didn't move. I wondered vaguely what held her in place - fear, or something in Kingsley's eyes? Something I couldn't see from where I stood?
"Then choose your machine."
Her gaze darted around the room, and came to rest on the smallest of the wooden machines. "The barrel. I choose the barrel."
"Ah, a good choice." Kingsley's gaze shifted to Marcus. "You know what to do."
The big man nodded, and led Jan across to the barrel that was lined with tiny wooden spikes. Gautier pulled Raven close to his body, and began playing with her breasts in a way that looked crude and painful. I gulped and forced my gaze away. I couldn't handle a sexual Gautier. It just wasn't right.
Kingsley walked across to where Jin and I stood. He stopped to our left, watching us rather than his so-called show. The thick, raw scent of him wrapped around us like a blanket, making me sweat, shake.
"Do you know what is about to happen?"
"Yes." My answer was soft, breathy. Part of me hoped it was fear, but mostly I knew it was excitement.
"And are you aroused by the thought?"
"I'm aroused by Jin. Aroused by you."
He raised an eyebrow. "I think you lie."
"Then shall we watch and see?" His words held a touch of command, and I battled them instinctively.
Amusement touched his lips. "You're right, Jin. This one is strong. A very good choice indeed."
"Thank you," Jin said, as he slid his hands from my waist to my breasts to my shoulders.
A quiver of anticipation ran across my skin as he began to slide the straps down my shoulders.
"Watch," Kingsley ordered, and this time I had no choice.
Jan had stripped and stretched her body across the barrel. Marcus had tied her limbs to rings set in the floor, stretching her arms and legs wide and pressing her stomach down against the tiny spikes. As yet, they hadn't broken skin, because I couldn't see or smell blood, but it obviously wouldn't take much more pressure to do so.
Marcus began to strip, and even in my detached state, I could find nothing truly beautiful about him. He was just a man, all sinew and big bones, with a regular old dick. Not that I minded regular old dicks if the packaging around them was decent enough.
The sound of a hand slapping sharply against flesh made me jump a little. I blinked, and realized that somewhere along the line, Marcus had donned a leather glove on his right hand. From each gloved fingertip extended barbed strips of leather. As he slapped Jan's back, the force of his blows pressed her stomach down against the spikes and the little strips lashed out, striking her shoulders with some force.
It wasn't very long at all before her already scarred back became a raw and bloody mess, but her breaths were short, shuddery gasps of pleasure, and the air was thick and heavy with the scent of her blood and her need.
And it wasn't only hers.
The sharp smell of Raven's arousal spun through the air, filled with desperation and need. As much as it sickened me to think she was enjoying the show and Gautier, the scent only served to fuel my own to greater heights.
Jin's fingertips slid down my arms, taking the dress straps with them, and the dress itself was soon a puddle of green silk at my feet. He took my purse and tossed it off to one side, then slid his fingers up my stomach and firmly grasped my engorged nipples. He pinched them, hard, and the jolt that ran through me was all pleasure. For a wolf in the midst of moon heat, any touch could be pleasurable. And right now, despite the situation, despite my odd detachment - or maybe because of it - I just wanted his caress, be it hard or soft.
"Watch," Kingsley intoned, his voice seeming to echo, as if it had come from a very great distance.
Marcus was no longer just hitting her. He was between her legs and fucking her, thrusting hard and deep as she twisted, screamed, and, eventually, came. She went limp against the barrel, but the big man didn't stop, pounding and pounding and pounding his body into hers.
And my muscles were jumping, my skin quivering, as if it was me down there, and I wanted, so wanted, the release that hovered so close and yet so far.
But then Marcus came and the quivering stopped, and it was all I could do not to scream in frustration.
Kingsley laughed softly. "I think this one is ready to do more than just watch."
Jin was still pinching, still teasing. "Yes," he said, his voice a husky drawl near my ear. "She's more than ready."
"Then prepare her." He reached out, caressing my cheek. "Gautier, you may continue your pleasures with Raven on whatever machine you choose."
The woman's thick moan of pleasure followed me out of the room. I was glad I could no longer see Gautier, but I could feel his gaze on me, long after we'd left the room.
We passed through another doorway filled with the feel of resisting power, and into a small square room. In it was a set of standard wooden medieval stocks, though this one had an odd, stomach-height wooden bar set about two feet out from the stocks themselves. There was nothing else in the room. Nothing living or inanimate, anyway.
There were wisps of smoke that stirred in dark corners, and I swear they whispered of horrors I could only hope never to experience.
Fear rose briefly, and I stumbled, fust for a moment, the fog dissipated and clarity of thought made a brief appearance. Something was wrong. Something was very wrong. I had to get out of here. Had to.
I wrenched my arm from Jin's grasp and spun around, one foot lashing out, kicking him hard in the gut. Dragon or not, he was still wrapped in human flesh, and the human went down with a huge gasp for air.
But he wasn't down for long enough.
As I ran for the door, he lunged forward, grabbing my heel and yanking hard. I came down face-first, and my chin split open on the cold tiles. Blood sprayed, and pain exploded. I swore and twisted, kicking him in the head, trying to get him to release me. I had the strength of a were and a vampire behind me, but it didn't seem to be making a whole lot of difference. Inch by bloody inch, I was being drawn inexorably toward him.
I swore again and pushed into a sitting position, lurching for one of his fingers and yanking it backward brutally. Bone snapped and he screamed - a sound filled with fury and pain and desire.
He hit me with his free hand, the blow landing hard and snapping my head backward. I hit the tiles a second time, and for several seconds I saw stars.
By then he was on me, his weight pinning me, his legs pushing mine apart as he grabbed my wrists and held them above my head. "I thought you didn't like it too rough," he said, his hand between us, yanking at the zip on his pants.
I struggled against him, but when he thrust deep inside, I couldn't help the tremor of pleasure. The moon was high, the fever raged, and I wanted sex. Any sex. Even his.
But I wasn't so far gone that I'd let pleasure overwhelm the need for safety.
"Rough is one thing. Force is another."
I somehow managed to buck my body, threw him off me, then scrambled to my feet and ran again for the door. Straight into the warm and naked body of John Kingsley.
It was like hitting a steel wall, and I rebounded off him with a gasp. Before I could recover my balance, he lashed out with one hand, hitting my bloody chin and throwing me across the room. I hit the wall with a grunt and slithered to the floor.
"Enough," he said. "You will fight no more."
I wanted to, desperately wanted to, but it was as if someone had pulled the plug on the sink that was my anger and desperation. It all just floated away, and the odd detachment came back full force.
"Jin, place her in the stocks."
He picked himself up off the floor, then roughly grabbed my arm and yanked me upright. Without ceremony, and with very little care, he thrust me toward the wooden stocks. The reason for the stomach-height bar soon became evident. I was made to lean over it, and then my head and arms were placed securely locked into the stocks and my spread legs chained to either leg of the stomach rest. It was a position that was uncomfortable, a position that left me open for invasion, a position that stretched every muscle to its limit, and one that would soon have me screaming in pain.
Which is what they wanted. Precisely what they wanted.
But not all that they wanted.
Jin stood behind me, his thick cock resting against me, teasing but not entering. Kingsley moved to the front of the stock. Though he was naked, his cock was flaccid. Some deep down part of me prayed like hell it stayed that way.
He stopped. The heat, the acrid, male scent of him, rolled over me, calling to the wolf, making her hunger.
He sensed it. I don't know how, but he did.
"Look at me," he said softly.
His words were a command that whipped around me. When I didn't immediately obey, he chuckled softly and slid his finger under my bloody chin, lifting it up. The position had the muscles in my neck screaming and yet the pain was a distant thing, much like the alarm and fear and the desperation to be gone. I knew they were all there, but they just weren't touching me.
I wish the same could be said of Kingsley.
The heat and need in his eyes would have melted steel, and I have never claimed to be that strong. My body began trembling in response, my blood like quick fire through my veins.
His gaze blazed with power, and the energy of it ran over my skin, burning me, consuming me, in a way that went way beyond anything physical. And through it, a connection formed, a connection that wasn't telepathic, wasn't anything I recognized, but one I felt through every quivering inch of my body and soul. It was almost as if he were stroking me, teasing me, from the inside out, using that raw energy to strum the taut strings of my desire.
"You wish a completion?"
His free hand caressed my left hand, his fingers playing with mine. Something inside screamed a denial but it was still such a faint sound. I had no idea why his innocent action should cause such terror. Maybe it was just the fact he was physically touching me.
"We can give it to you, you know," he continued. "Give you satisfaction of a kind you have never felt in your young life."
I didn't say anything. Couldn't say anything. My tongue seemed stuck to the roof of my mouth.
"Do you wish a taste, little one?"
My tongue unstuck itself, as if in preparation to say yes, and despite the fog, despite the distance, I bit down on it, hard. Acquiescence to this man - this dark god - was not a good thing. I had no idea why, and couldn't seem to battle the fog long enough to reach clearer thought processes. But I wasn't about to ignore it. Not when something more precious than life itself was at stake.
Kingsley laughed - a soft, seductive, and totally evil sound. His gaze moved from mine and he nodded briefly.
Jin's hand came down hard on my rear. I groaned, caught between desire and pain, wanting and not wanting.
Both men drew a deep breath, as if sucking in the taste of my pain and desire. Kingsley's fingers trembled against my wrist, evidence of a lust I could smell. Oddly enough, that lust still hadn't reached his cock. Maybe someone was listening to my prayers upstairs.
Jin hit me again, and again, until my muscles quivered, my flesh stung, and my traitorous body ached with a desire fiercer than anything I'd ever felt before.
I wanted. God, how I wanted.
Whatever they could give me. Whatever they would allow.
Sweat trickled down my forehead, tickling my cheeks before moving on to mingle with the blood still dripping from my chin. Some of that blood was now coming from my mouth, from my cut tongue. I was still biting it, still holding in the need to plead, to beg, for the ending my body so desperately required.
Just as I thought I could take no more, Kingsley nodded, and Jin thrust inside me. There was no gentleness about it, no smoothness in the way he withdrew and thrust, withdrew and thrust, but I couldn't have given a damn.
Besides, it wasn't Jin I felt, but Kingsley. He was all around me, all through me, filling me with his darkness, his desire. He touched me, caressed me, claimed me - not physically, but psychically, and in many ways, it was far more powerful than any mere touch. My body, my senses, responded eagerly, wantonly. Somewhere in the last few moments, I'd become his to do with what he wished, and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it.
Truth be told, I didn't want to do anything about it. I was lost in the moment, lost to the passion and intensity, drowning in it willingly. My heart pounded furiously, my body screamed for release, and every muscle, every fiber, felt so tightly strung that everything would surely break.
The Kingsley took my left pinky finger into his mouth and began licking it, tasting it, and the sensation tipped me completely over the edge. I came, hard and fast and gloriously. In that precise moment, Kingsley's teeth pierced my flesh, biting deep and hard. Pain flowed through me, around me, only to smash against the raw energy that was Kingsley's presence in my mind and soul, mixing with it and becoming something so undeniably exquisite that I came a second time.
As I remembered how to breathe again, I became aware of Jin, still thrusting deep inside of me, his breaths short and sharp, speaking of a peak about to be reached. Became aware of Kingsley, still sucking at my finger.
There was an amazing lack of sensation coming from my littlest digit. Just a pounding, aching weirdness. And there was blood, lots of blood - so much so that even Kingsley's swirling, sucking tongue could not stop it from i mining down my hand and wrist.
And then I saw why.
My finger ended at the first knuckle.
Just like the women who'd ended up gutted on the floor of the warehouses.
That's what my clairvoyance had been trying to tell me. That's what it had seen, what it had feared.
I knew it now, when it was all too late.
I screamed. Internally, externally, I have no idea. I just screamed.
And then the darkness overtook me and I knew no more.