Home > Twice Bitten (Argeneau #27)(11)

Twice Bitten (Argeneau #27)(11)
Author: Lynsay Sands

Releasing her breath on a sigh, Elspeth turned and paced to the rail. Fingers clenching the cold wood, she leaned against it and stared out at the garden. It was April, and the weather had been doing a crazy dance, one day warm enough that a jacket was unnecessary, the next cool enough that a winter coat was needed. Today it was somewhere in the middle. A light jacket would have been more comfortable and being without one left her chilled. Not that she really noticed. The pain eating her up inside was a tad distracting. All Elspeth could think of was the quickest way to get blood. She was not waiting until midnight, and she didn’t want to rush out to the Enforcer House while Mortimer and Sam were trying to eat dinner. It was the only point in the day when the pair got any private time to themselves. Mortimer set it up that way, sending hunters out on their evening calls before the meal, and refusing to answer the phone during dinner. That was why Elspeth didn’t start her shift until eight or nine o’clock at night. She liked to give the couple as much alone time as possible before showing up. It couldn’t be easy living there, with hunters coming and going all day and night, and people often staying at the house with them for days or even weeks on end.

No, she wasn’t heading out to the house early. The Night Club was the answer, and she intended to head there the minute Oscar and Violet had left in their taxi and Wyatt and Meredith had returned to the kitchen. She didn’t want to run an obstacle course of blood-filled mortals to get out of here. Not the way she was feeling.

Lowering her head, Elspeth closed her eyes and breathed slowly in and out, trying to focus on that rather than her pain. It wasn’t working at all, so she was almost relieved when she heard the sliding door open behind her. Expecting it to be her mother, Elspeth straightened and turned abruptly, ready to battle with her, only to find herself staring at Wyatt.

“Your mother asked me to bring you your coat,” he said and held up her lightweight black leather jacket.

“Oh,” Elspeth breathed, but her mind was racing. Her mother had obviously sent him out here for her to “snack on,” and that just infuriated her. She needed to get the heck out of there right now and go to The Night Club.

“Are Oscar and Violet gone?” she asked abruptly.

“Yes,” he said, his mouth thinning, and then he sighed and said, “I’m sorry about them.”

“It’s not me you should be apologizing to. Meredith—”

“I know,” he interrupted solemnly. “She told me why he was doing what he was doing, but instead of taking her word for it, I put us all through this . . .” He waved vaguely back toward the sliding glass doors and grimaced. “I should have believed her. I guess I should trust her more.”

“You should,” Elspeth said firmly. “Your grandmother is not a doddering old fool. She’s smart, and funny, and very kind.”

Wyatt considered her solemnly for a moment and then said, “She says you spend a lot of time together.”

Elspeth sighed wearily. He might have come to recognize that Oscar was just out to hurt Meredith, but he obviously still had his suspicions about her. Unfortunately, she was desperate for blood, and didn’t have the patience to reassure him properly. The best she could do was say, “I know you’re just looking out for your grandmother, and I appreciate that. I’m glad she has people who care about her but, believe it or not, I’m not interested in her money. Now if you’ll just give me my coat, I really need to get out of here.”

“Get out of here?” he echoed, his eyebrows rising.

“Yes,” she said firmly, holding her hand out. “It’s actually an emergency. So, please . . .”

Wyatt was silent for a moment and then held up her leather jacket by the collar, but without really moving it closer to her. She’d have to step nearer to claim it.

Elspeth hesitated, not wanting to reduce the distance between them. She could smell him from where she stood, and his scent made her think of both food and sex. The food part wasn’t surprising. At the moment, he was looking like a blood bag on legs. The sex, though, that caught her by surprise. Although Elspeth supposed it shouldn’t. He was one hell of an attractive specimen, and it wasn’t just his pretty face, and well-built body. She also liked the way he carried himself. Wyatt moved with the confidence and grace of a man who knew how to handle himself. She found that incredibly attractive.

Pressing her lips tight together, Elspeth reached for her jacket, but rather than hand it over, Wyatt opened it and slid the arm hole over her hand and partway up her arm before walking around behind her to help her don the other sleeve as well.

Elspeth stiffened and closed her eyes. Of course he’d be a gentleman. That just figured, didn’t it? Grinding her teeth together, she held her other hand back behind her so that he could slide the jacket up onto her shoulders and draw it around in front. The action brought him close up behind her. But he wasn’t done. Next, he caught her long hair and lifted it out from under the collar for her. Elspeth bit her lip as his scent enveloped her, but feeling the sharp fangs pressing into her upper lip, she pressed her mouth tightly closed and struggled to force her fangs back up and out of sight.

“What kind of emergency?”

Elspeth shuddered as he whispered those words by her ear, but not because of what he said. She barely took note of the words. Her focus was centered wholly on his mouthwatering scent, the feel of his breath brushing her ear, and the heat of his body at her back.

“You’re trembling.”

Elspeth blinked her eyes open at that soft rumble by her ear, and then tried to step away from him, but he caught her hand to stop her and then gave a tug that drew her around to face him. She could have freed herself easily, but didn’t have the wherewithal to do it. She didn’t want to. Instead, Elspeth wanted to move closer to him and run her hands up his arms as she buried her nose in his neck and inhaled the enticing aroma wafting to her. His scent was spicy and sweet at the same time with a tinny hint of the blood rushing through his veins. It was positively delicious to Elspeth, heady even, and she wanted to press her body against his. She wanted to feel his chest against her breasts as she moved her hands up to clasp his head and then turn and tilt it slightly so that she could sink her teeth into—

“Your eyes.”

Elspeth blinked away the image in her mind and focused on his face at those words.

“I thought I’d imagined how beautiful they are,” he breathed with wonder. “That bright blue, with little sparks of silver that—” His words died suddenly and she caught a glimpse of the blank look that slid over his face. Then he pulled her closer, one hand sliding to the back of her head to urge her face toward the side of his neck. Elspeth knew at once that this was her mother. That Martine had taken control of him and was trying to make it impossible for her not to feed on him. And it almost worked. Elspeth nearly gave in and bit him, but then her gaze moved past his shoulder and she spotted her mother through the glass doors. Martine stood in Meredith’s living room, her gaze concentrated, but it was Merry entering the room behind her mother that snapped her out of it, and stopped her from biting Wyatt.

A soft curse slipping from her lips, Elspeth abruptly jerked her head to the side and away from his neck.

She should have turned to the right, away from his face. Instead Elspeth turned to the left and her lips brushed the corner of his mouth. Martine must have released the control she’d taken of Wyatt then. Merry had no doubt startled her and broken her concentration, Elspeth thought, but whatever the case, Wyatt’s embrace eased and confusion flashed briefly on his face as she glanced up to him. Before she could slip out of his arms, though, he inhaled deeply, his pupils dilating, and then his head lowered toward hers.

Elspeth froze with surprise as his lips brushed soft and warm across hers, shocked by the tingle that started on contact, and then slithered through her body, raising another hunger to clamor next to the bloodlust. When his tongue slid along the seam between her lips, she opened to him without thinking. His tongue swept in and the tingle turned into an explosion of hunger and need that left her in chaos, both mind and body.

Truly, Elspeth had never experienced such raw need and desire. Not that she’d had a lot of experience. Life with her mother had stifled her in a lot of ways, but she had been kissed before. Just never like this, never with such hunger and command. Now Elspeth’s heart was racing, her body warming and melting into his, her hands clutching at the front of his shirt, and her lips clinging as his mouth moved over hers, drawing a deep, needy moan from her throat that he answered with a groan of his own.

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