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I overslept today. Not a bad thing, I guess, since I’m trying to kick this cold. Anyway…back to the book. What’s not to love about a story where a woman is torn between two men—one the honorable werewolf warrior, Guntram, and her captor, the mysterious and compelling Marduk, the Master of the Demons. Haven’t met him yet? Read on!
Gabriella pounded the demon’s back, her head still tucked close, until she grew weary. Her body shuddered with her strained, quivering gasps and soft sobs. The pummeling was only tiring her, while the monster that carried her didn’t flinch once or slow his steady pace. When sunlight warmed her upturned bottom, she turned her head to take a peek.
They’d left the dim hall and entered blazing sunshine. Beneath her was a walkway paved with golden sandstone and framed by crenellated rock. Beyond the notched wall to one side spread a sandy desert, to the other side stretched a fortress so enormous it took away her breath.
This was Hell?
The Master of the Demons ducked, and she grabbed for his waist to keep from swinging against doorframe. The stone-walled passage led to a stairwell that circled downward. At a wooden door, he kicked it open and strode inside, bending farther to deposit her in the middle of a nest of satin pillows.
She scrambled backwards on a large bed as soon as he released her, scraped away her tears with the backs of her hands, and narrowed her eyes. “I don’t know what you think is going to happen,” she said, her voice low and fierce, “but I’ll fight you.”
His strange dark eyes glittered, and he snorted. Then he turned away, and at last, she drew a deep breath, ready to gather her scattered wits and figure out just how bad her situation was.
Only it was hard to believe things were so dire when she was surrounded by an opulence she’d never experienced. Like some sultan’s palace, the open airy chamber was furnished for comfort and seduction.
Light spilled into the room from a shaded balcony. White, gauzy curtains stirred softly on a light breeze. The same nearly transparent fabric framed the canopy above the bed, but was bunched and tied off with silken cords around heavy, scrolled bedposts. Veins of precious metals glinted in pale, blush-colored marble on the floor. Columns carved in a deeper skin-toned marble supported the ceiling. Low-backed, sectional sofas, upholstered in brown velvet and peppered with rose, brown, and gold satin pillows, invited one to rest, to sink into their softness. Tall, leafy plants set in deep urns gave the chamber the feeling one was in a lush tropical mansion.
The most remarkable feature was the sunken pool at the center of the room. Three steps surrounded the pool where more plants with long fronds tilted toward the water. The water was clear with more vegetation floating on the surface—lily pads, white lotus blossoms, and dark vines that trailed along the edges of the pool.
Her captor strode toward the pool and stuck his hand beneath the clear water spilling from a stone pipe before glancing back at her.
Deepening her scowl, she backed up on the bed again, drawing the edge of the coverlet over her naked body, not liking his expression at all.
Dark, sensual promise radiated from features tightening with resolve.
Turning away, he plucked the ties at the wrists of his black surcoat. Then he reached behind his neck, grabbed a handful of the silk and pulled it over his head.
With his back to her, she could only stare at the black tattoo that covered his skin. Like a modern tribal tattoo, the design portrayed a dragon, its snout pointing toward his neck, furled wings spreading over the backs of his shoulders, and a long sinuous tail sliding beneath his chausses. The body of the black dragon was covered in small scales, each meticulously rendered, yet the wings appeared smooth rather than feathered or scaled.
She remembered blurring her sight the first time she’d seen him in the mirror, and finding the dark aura of a giant dragon surrounding him. She did the same now, but found no such shadow around him. When his trousers loosened, she couldn’t look away. They pooled around his soft boots, which he toed off one at a time, and then stepped into the water.
When the churning water hid the hewn buttocks, she finally drew a deep breath and glanced away. His allure was a palpable thing, causing her heartbeats to race, and her stomach to drop to her toes because she knew she didn’t have a hope in hell of resisting him.
Already her mind leapt ahead to thoughts of how his dominance would affect her. The dark promise in his gaze had answered the shameful yearning she suppressed except for those times when she sought the “safety” of a human master. Her mind was nearly consumed with lustful images when she ought to be considering her escape.
There had to be a way out. She’d have to follow their scents to retrace their steps and find the hall with the mirror. If she made a quick dash for the door, would she have a chance to escape him? He was powerful, but was he quick? And did she really want to escape, or did she want to captured again and forced to submit?
Without Guntram to watch over her, his presence a reminder of her duty and the honor she ought to protect, could she keep her head in the game or would she surrender completely to the dark obsession that ruled her?
For once, Gabriella wished she owned an ounce of Guntram’s ability to assess an enemy calmly before selecting the correct tactic. Remorse filled her. She’d often teased her personal guard about his lack of spontaneity; prodded him more than once to see if he would lose his tight-fisted control. She’d sensed long ago his attraction to her, but she’d never crossed that line, never invited him to her bed. To surrender to a male of her kind would spell the end of her independence, however much she’d been tempted to taste his fierce, measured passion.
Instead, her willfulness had landed her in chamber with a monster. One who didn’t care that she watched as he bathed. And one who apparently didn’t give a damn whether she tried to escape or attack him.
He’d turned his back on her. Was he so sure of himself because they weren’t really alone? Gabriella studied the room again but found no evidence of any modern technology—wall sconces with fat candles would provide light during the night. There was no television, no phone, which meant hidden cameras and bugs were just as unlikely to exist here.
Were there more enchanted mirrors for someone to watch her from? Distressingly, the only mirror she saw in the room was one huge gilt-framed mirror on the ceiling above the bed, but it was too high for her to touch or look behind, so her concerns couldn’t be verified.
The deliberate placement of the mirror made her body quiver anew as her mind filled with images of the demon’s body rutting into hers while she watched him over his shoulder. A mistake, because now that she knew what his backside looked like, the picture was firmly planted. Her body flushed with languid heat.
The man was made for a woman’s pleasure—as handsome as Alex, as powerfully built as Guntram. If she’d met a human like him in one of the clubs she visited, she’d have begged to give him a week’s service before being satisfied.
He must know she was curious and had to know that she was attracted despite her fear. Her arousal wafted in the breeze caressing her skin.
Her gaze turned slowly, reluctantly, to find him again, still with his back to her as he cupped water and spilled it over his shoulders. Broad and powerful shoulders.
He’d subdued her easily and carried her large frame as though she weighed nothing. Physical strength was like an aphrodisiac for her, and he was built like a god—heavy, slabbed muscles rippled along either side of his deeply embedded spine. Arms thick as tree trunks, so like Guntram’s, flexed as he splashed water against his chest. As well, she hadn’t missed the depth of muscle that wrapped around the long bones of his thighs and calves before he’d stepped into the pool.
She continued to stare now—not because she worried he’d approach her again—but because she wanted him to turn, wanted him to rise from the water and let her look at the part of him that held the promise of being every bit as impressive, as massive, as the rest of him.
Her naked skin felt hot, so she shoved away the coverlet to feel the breeze sifting through sheer curtains at the arched windows. Her nipples prickled, tightening into aching points. She’d feared rape in those first few moments when he’d dragged her through the portal. Now, her body prepared to be taken.
At last, the one Alex had called The Master of the Demons turned, aiming a hot, assessing glare her way.
Did he wonder why she hadn’t bothered covering herself since she’d been afraid before of inciting lust? As a wolf, she didn’t possess a lot of modesty. Running in wolfskin, transforming in the company of her pack, there wasn’t anything dozens of men didn’t know about her body.
Even her heats were their business. When her body burned with lust to mate, they sniffed around her, fur rising on their backs to warn away the competition as they circled her. She’d reveled in her power to attract them even as she’d scorned their suits. They could sniff and nuzzle her sex, but they couldn’t sink their teeth into her neck and hold her—not and hope to live long.
The demon’s glance slid over her, pausing on her ripened nipples, gliding down her soft belly to her ample hips and thighs. She wasn’t a stick-girl, but she thought he might prefer her frame because he was so large himself.
Perhaps she could use his lust to distract him. Use him long enough to assuage the heat curling around her womb while she sought a way to overcome him and escape.
There now…she’d shown a modicum of restraint, however self-serving, to come up with a plan. Not that Guntram would have been pleased with the course she’d chosen.
Too bad he wasn’t here to watch. She loved it when he watched.
The demon sank beneath the water then sprang upward, water sluicing down him from the curtain of his dark hair. He shook it back, still staring at her. Funny, how appealing, how youthful the damp clumps of eyelashes framing his golden irises made him appear.
His hand raised, palm up, an invitation to join him. She should bristle at his arrogance that he thought he could so easily command her.
Yet, instead of lifting her chin in defiance, she damn near preened, her shoulders falling back to raise her breasts in offering.
He curled his fingers, twice, telling her to come now while his expression hardened.
Her heart thudding hard against her chest, she scooted off the bed because she feared his reprisal and worried that her plan to seduce him would get off to a wobbly start—or so she told herself. But she knew she lied. She wanted him.
So she strolled toward him, rolling her hips, lowering her eyes because his strange slitted pupils unnerved her almost as much as the powerful wave of lust that throbbed inside her pussy.
Gabriella wondered if fucking a demon was any different than fucking a man or a vampire. She knew she was about to find out and hoped she’d survive the act, because the heat in his heavy-lidded gaze was burning her alive.