her throat. He was dangerous, far more than she first thought. His voice was a weapon, seduction a tool. And she was susceptible to his sensual mouth, his burning eyes and his velvet voice.

Juliette forced energy into her body, using her fear, her adrenaline and his momentary distraction while feeding. She attempted to jerk out of his arms, using the sudden surge of built-up terror. His arm remained clamped around her like a steel trap, unmoving, almost as if he didn't feel her resistance.

Riordan allowed the first human male to sit down on the ground, swaying weakly, and he reached for the second one. He needed fresh blood to replace the enormous loss he had suffered through his confinement and torture within the walls of the laboratory. With the infusion of blood, he hoped to heal enough to begin restoring his body to full power. With renewed power and without the constant electrical charges to stimulate the artificial poison he might be able to remove the substance from his system. Carefully, he helped the second human to the ground, retaining possession of the woman by holding her body close to his. He felt her. Every inch, every curve. Her skin was unbelievably soft. He bent his head to her thick mane of flowing hair, inhaling the scent of her. It took a tremendous amount of self-control not to bury his face in the silken strands.

She was very frightened, the fear swamping her despite the fact that he had tried to soothe her. Her brain patterns were different, the most difficult he had ever encountered. He caught her chin firmly in his hand and tipped her head back so her strange eyes were forced to meet his gaze. Her eyes were shaped liked a cat's, a deep turquoise in color, and he could tell by her pupils she had excellent night vision. Her lashes were long and the same inky black color as her hair. He stared down into her eyes, a simple hypnotic technique that should have calmed her instantly, but instead he could hear the frantic rhythm of her heart pick up.

'You rescued me. Thank you,' he said softly, gently, compulsion buried in the silvery tones of his voice.

Juliette tried desperately to regain her energy. Her legs were very heavy, her arms still leaden. He was the only thing holding her up. She was dizzy, and every time she stared into his black eyes she felt as if she were falling forward. She blinked rapidly, trying to find a way to regain her ability to think clearly. 'What's wrong with me?' Her mouth was dry and her voice sounded far away to her own ears.

'I took too much of your blood,' he answered softly, honestly. 'It was the only way I could escape from that hellhole. There is no need to fear me, I will replace what was lost.' His arms tightened possessively.

Juliette pushed ineffectually at him. 'Just go away. I don't want you to replace anything at all.'

'I am Riordan, your lifemate. I have searched these long years to find you.'

'You are some kind of bloodsucking something or other and I just want you to go away.' Juliette nearly sank into the bushes, but he lifted her, preventing her from falling. It disturbed her that he had such strength when he had been so brutally tortured. Blood or no blood, he should have been as weak as a kitten. His chest held long, raw burn marks, almost as if the chains holding him had been made of acid. 'You have to take care of these wounds. They'll get infected in the jungle. You can't have any open wounds at all.' Why she cared made no sense. She just wanted him to go away. He cradled her as if she were a child hanging limply in his arms, her head lolling back on her neck. She was very aware of her throat, so vulnerable to his sharp teeth.

Riordan stared down into her peculiar eyes, searching her mind for a way to calm her fears. He heard a soft grunting cough coming from the darkened interior not very far from them. She reacted. She tried not to, but there was elation, hastily suppressed in her mind, and her body tensed for the briefest of moments. He felt her response beginning in her mind, he was already that tuned to her and they hadn't shared his blood yet. She took a breath. Before she could make a sound his hand clamped around her throat. Her frightened gaze jumped to his. Riordan shook his head.

You will remain silent. I will kill anything that comes to your aid. Is that understood?

Juliette nodded. She didn't understand the tremendous connection between them. She felt what he felt. She could almost see the black, volcanic thoughts swirling in his mind to match the dark violence churning in his belly. He frightened her in a way that had nothing to do with his teeth and evident abilities. Long ago she had heard the whisper of another race of beings, and she suspected he was of that race. Carpathians. Nearly immortal. Hunters of the vampire, guardians of the many species, yet always alone, always apart. She knew little about them, only that they were extremely dangerous to her kind.

He had not killed either man he had fed on, even with the black anger stirring in his gut and the terrible need for vengeance riding him hard. She should have feared for her life, but it was something altogether different that frightened her. The way he looked at her was entirely predatory. Entirely sexual. Entirely possessive. And her whole being responded with heat and fire and secret longing and shocked terror.

Riordan allowed his hand to slip from her throat. He bent to place his mouth beside her ear, although when he spoke he used telepathic communication rather than speaking aloud. I am taking you far from this place. The hunters will know I am weak. I must rid my body of their toxins before I can attend you. Close your eyes if traveling through the air frightens you.

You frighten me. Leave me here.

He made a sound. Not out loud, but deep in his mind-a snort of derision. His face was an implacable mask, lines of weariness and pain were etched deep. If she could have, Juliette would have touched those small lines with gentle fingers. She wanted to take that look of bleak loneliness from his face forever.

You only fear that you have lost your freedom. You do not fear that I will harm you. You feel my need of you, do not pretend you cannot.

Juliette turned his words over in her mind. He couldn't read her as clearly as he pretended, which was a good thing. He was torn up, a stranger, a demon for all she knew, but something deep and feminine and animalistic responded to him with every fiber of her being.

She watched the earth drop away, the clouds whiten and mist form around them. Below her the canopy looked unbroken and impenetrable. He knew the jungle nearly as well as she knew it. He had a specific goal in mind. She rarely left her part of the forest to explore the deeper more mountainous areas, but she knew that was where he was taking her. She would be a hundred miles from home, maybe more. Juliette hugged her secrets to her. She just needed to find her strength, go along with whatever he wanted until she was able to make her escape.

His laughter was low and without humor. I am not in the mood to go chasing you through the forest.

What good news. She looked up at masculine face. He looked a man, not a boy, one who could be frightening, even a little cruel should he choose. Why would she be remotely attracted to such a man? It was unthinkable, yet she couldn't look at him without feeling the effects.

Maybe you should be afraid of me. He sounded more weary than sarcastic. Are you going to tell me your name?

She tried to think clearly, tried to remember the old legends told around the campfires, told by her mother's people about such a race. Did giving her name give him more power over her? She couldn't sort through the haze in her mind quickly enough.

I think it essential to know your name. Are you going to give me something to call you or shall I make it up?

Juliette. My name is Juliette. She didn't want him calling her some endearment in his mesmerizing voice that she might come to believe. In any case, she couldn't imagine him having any more power over her than he already did.

Thunder rolled over their heads, booming through the clouds so that the tree branches below them shook and the space they traveled through vibrated in alarm. Juliette felt Riordan's body jerk. She clutched at his arms.

I will not drop you, we are being pursued by the undead.

I don't like the sound of that. If only she wasn't so weak. She didn't have a weapon, nothing at all that could help. Is the undead what I think it is?

I will not be trapped twice. There was such finality in his voice she shivered. And yes, it is a vampire tracking us.

How is he trailing us? You aren't leaving tracks behind.

He smells my blood. His voice was grim.

Juliette was silent, sensing Riordan was growing tired with the effort he was making. Her stomach flipped when he dropped unexpectedly to the ground below. The canopy was thick and leaves slapped at them as they plummeted through, skimming branches and hurtling toward the ground at such a fast speed she thought they would crash. She kept her eyes closed tight and only the thought of a vampire hearing her kept her from

Вы читаете Dark Hunger
Добавить отзыв


Вы можете отметить интересные вам фрагменты текста, которые будут доступны по уникальной ссылке в адресной строке браузера.

Отметить Добавить цитату