"Oh dear. Love, what's happened?" Mrs Philpot rushed across the kitchen as Alaric carried Cassie through the door.
"Everything's fine Mrs P," she declared cheerfully.
"Alex can fill you in," Alaric called back to her as he disappeared through the next doorway.
The world dissolved in a hazy blur. When her stomach caught up with the rest of her body and her eyes could focus again a few seconds later, they were alone in his bedroom.
Wow, that was a buzz, Cassie thought as her momentary vertigo subsided.
"Are you sure you're not even the tiniest bit angry with me?" she asked, still trying to absorb the turn of events. She felt like she'd been sucked into some whacky computer game and told to play, but she seemed to be the only one who didn't know the rules.
"Not in the least," he confessed happily, his face turning more serious a moment later. "Although I feel I should be the one to ask for your forgiveness," a soft plea imbued his tone.
"You, Cassandra, are my personal miracle. Because of you, my greatest and most secret wishes have been granted. But, I feel that my selfish aspirations have cost you quite a deal more than you bargained for."
"How do you figure that?"
"It has cost you the chance to have a normal life. Your Mate is a two thousand year old moody, possessive vampire who you are now pregnant to, thanks to Elders blackmailing you."
"That's all true," she confessed demurely, placing her hands on the flat of his stomach, gliding them slowly upwards to release the buttons of his shirt. "But, let me set the record straight.
"My life was never going to be normal again anyway. I chose you as my Mate and, I couldn't be happier about being the mother of your child," she finished. She had always wanted to have children some day, she just hadn't planned on it happening quite so soon. Cassie had learnt a long time ago that life doesn't always go the way you planned. Adapting to the unexpected situations was sometimes the only thing between a good or a bad outcome. Fortunately this time the hand of fate had dealt her one of the better situations to deal with.
Sliding her fingers between the folds of his open shirt, she raked her nails lightly over the hardening male nipples, shooting a jolt of electricity through him.
"You truly are a miracle." He whispered. "My perfect Mate. We'll have an eternity together."
"I think you've missed something. I'm human," she reminded him.
"A minor detail. You can remain human for as long as you want, a year, a decade, longer if you want. You will return to look just the way you are now no matter what your age when you're made a Vampire. I just won't turn you before the baby's born."
Cassie's brow furrowed, her lips pursed tightly together and her eyes bore into him with the force of an impending tornado as her vexation bubbled rebelliously to the surface.
"That's assuming you want to become a Vampire," he quickly added before she could hit him with a verbal conflagration.
Her temper cooled slightly, but she pinched his hard nipples lightly in warning. "Of course I want you to turn me. I just don't like it when you make my decisions for me."
Yeah, he figured that one out a while ago. He just hadn't worked out how to stop himself from doing it. "I'm sorry. I'm not used to sharing decision making. I've been alone for a very long time, but I am trying." He really was trying, regardless of evidence to the contrary. Most of the time however, he felt as though he was removing one foot from his mouth only to put the other one in.
There was a plus side to upsetting her though. The make-up sex afterwards would no doubt be very enjoyable.
Alaric's head turned slightly to the side as he listened to a conversation beyond Cassie's hearing, erupting into jovial laughter a moment later.
Cassie had never heard him laugh before. The occasional amused chuckle, yes, but never this light and carefree laughter. "What's so funny?"
"Mrs Philpot is very happy about our news," he informed her. "I believe she has begun wedding plans," he laughed again.
Cassie frowned. "Don't you think we should do something about that? Between Alex and Mrs P, there'll probably be a Priest waiting for us by the time we get down stairs," she grumbled.
"That's a distinct possibility." His eyes sparkled with blue/green iridescence. "We can worry about that later though. I have more immediate plans to occupy us." Cassie's fingers had continued to absently trace the outline of his hard nipples, stoking the wildfire beginning to burn in his veins. Her fingers gripped his nipples, rolling them, between her fingers, making his cock pulse and bead at its tip.
Eliminating the inches that separated them, he claimed an unashamedly sexual kiss that melted her bones.
Her fingers reached higher and tightened in his hair as he covered her lips with drugging kisses before seeking the scented pulse at the base of her throat. She shivered as his tongue stroked her skin. Leaning back, he peeled open her shirt, savouring the sight of her full breasts, their rosy peaks beneath the delicate lacy fabric, hard with need.
As Alaric stripped away the layers of her clothing, he worshipped every inch of her revealed body with kisses and caresses, created partially of his fiery craving, but mostly of devotion.
Alaric knelt before her, laying hungry kisses to her delicate lace panties, his fingers hooking the sides to lower them further, desperate to gain access to the sweet nectar between her intimate folds.
"Ah ah ah. It's my turn to play with you," she chastised playfully.
"Later," he promised, not willing to give up his prize.
"No. Now." she insisted, taking a step away and pulling him back to his feet.
Maybe giving her the power to explore his body in this way was the safest course, he thought, chastising himself for not having fed before coming to their room. The word their sent a flutter of warmth through his veins that inevitably became a pulsing throb in his cock. He didn't want to risk hurting her or their baby. He could contain his blood lust if he could stay in control of his sexual hunger. Yes, giving Cassie control was the best thing.
He leaned back giving her the opportunity to do as she pleased. To touch him in whatever manner she wanted to. She needed this. She needed to take back some of the control she had recently lost, he realised.
No less important was his need for her touch, her acceptance of him, all of him.
A tortuous growl left his throat as her nimble fingers released his zipper, freeing him of the restrictive confines blocking her enthusiastic exploration.
He slammed the barriers down within his mind.
The heavy weight of his arousal rested in the palm of her hand as his leather pants hit the floor. Lightly she stroked the heated length. Velvety soft skin encased its iron hardness. Sliding one hand lower she diligently explored, her nails scraping lightly over the sack below which reflexively drew up tighter under her touch. Her caress was pure ecstasy.
She felt his massive body shudder beneath her hand as she continued her gentle strokes, his rigid erection pulsing and flexing as she gripped her hand around him with gliding strokes from base to tip.
Her lips parted over the point of his hard male nipple sending shockwaves of pleasure spearing through his blood, her tongue licking, sucking, spreading fire across his flesh with every nip of her teeth.
Her thumb lightly played over the sensitive tip of the heavy length, around the flushed hood and along the moist slit. Her heated eyes flared with need. She needed to feel him on her tongue, fill her mouth with the contradiction of silky smooth skin enveloping his powerful arousal.
She needed to taste him.
"Cassie," he groaned as she descended lower, tasting every inch of his hard body, licking and kissing her way down his torso. She dropped to her knees and nuzzled him torturously with her sweet, soft face and sexy lips, as her tongue peeked out to lick at his straining flesh tentatively, her hot breath caressing his sensitised skin.
His heavy cock jerked in rising anticipation of the moist depths of her mouth around him.
For weeks he had dreamt of this. His whole body ached with the need to feel her sucking the sensitive crest of his cock.
He swallowed slowly, clenching his teeth as his cravings intensified, rising steadily higher.
Cassie could feel his desire, his hunger. It raged around her, inside her, whipping through her senses.
She stroked her tongue over the silken crest, down the shaft to his balls and back before her moist lips parted for the damp flanged head, all the while her hand continuing its encompassing caress in slow easy strokes.
Sweet merciful God. His entire body tightened as pleasure slammed through him, his fingers spearing into her hair.
The taste of heated male, salty and wild, filled her with an addictive hunger, a pure undiluted need to give him as much pleasure as he gave her.
Her lips parted. Rubbing them over the engorged tip of his hardened flesh, sending his pulse rocketing and his heart hammering in his chest.
Her lips enclosed the tip of his cock, slowly, very slowly sliding down until the entire head was enclosed, wet heat sucking him.
Cassie lifted her gaze to his. His control was tenuous. She could sense his struggle to bridle his own need, deny himself his full pleasure, even if it drove him to the point of madness.
She was not going to allow him that control. She wanted all of him. No more holding back. She was done yielding to his dogmatic need to hold himself in check, to keep her at bay, well meaning or not. She was neither weak nor fragile and she would have what she needed, give him what he needed.
She took him deeper into the depths of her hot mouth, sucking harder. Her tongue stroked his heavy length repeatedly, lashing against it and stimulating nerve endings that sent his senses reeling, as she devoured him with savage hunger.
His hips jerked and his cock seemed to swell even further with pulsing desperation beneath her grip. His head fell back as he began thrusting, unable to stop the movement of his hips. He pushed into her hot hungry little mouth in small rocking motions. It was irresistibly exquisite.
Her lips tightened around his cock, drawing out the pleasure as she learned the shape of him, her curiosity and pleasure wrapping around him. Feminine hunger rocked him to his foundations as her suckling mouth began to move with more confidence, greater intensity.
Saints have mercy. He didn't know if he could hold onto his control. She was burning him alive.
He prayed for control.
His torment became hers as his rising need flowed through her.
"Sweetheart, you're playing with fire, you have to stop." He begged, his gravelly voice coming in pants.
Alaric reached for her face, his fingers seeking refuge in her hair, holding her still. He couldn't take it any more. Her wicked little mouth had him on the brink. One more stroke of her tongue and he would be gone.
Halting her exploration of him threw her into a frenzy of frustration and need, desire catapulting her higher, her desperation pouring through him, sinking into him, heightening the sensations rippling through his body.
He couldn't lose control. Not at this point.
His jaw ached where his fangs strained for release. His mouth watered from her delicate scent.
He was losing his battle.
"Ahh," he growled softly in her ear, his lips playing over the sensitive lobe. "Baby, please don't push me. I'm barely holding on here."
"I don't want you to hold on," she purred.
His head bent lower to capture her lips. Her hot little body pressed firmly against his. Lifting one leg, her thigh rubbed his, her knee hitching on his hip pressing his hard cock against her moist folds. His hands gripped her hips, grinding her more accurately against his turgid length.
She needed him. She needed him now.
"No." Alaric answered her unspoken demand. "Not before I taste you," he growled, running an erotic sweep of his tongue down the length of her throat. She was exquisite.
He also needed to reclaim a modicum of control if he had any chance to regain his fragile hold on his hunger.
Grabbing her hips, he lifted her effortlessly, wrapping both her legs around him.
Cassie gasped as his strident steps toward the bed rubbed his thick hard cock against her swollen clit. She gripped him tighter with her thighs. She wanted more.
Lowering her onto the bed, cravings so intense they practically blistered her skin with heat. She arched her hips to meet him, pressing him more firmly into the cradle of her thighs. His soft full lips stole her breath, his searing kiss melting her from the inside out.
Alaric grabbed her wrists, pressing them onto the mattress, sliding his muscular body lower over hers.
"Mine." His voice was little more than an erotic growl of hunger that weakened her to the core.
His tongue flicked over the straining tip of her dusky red nipple briefly on one, then the other, sucking and licking her in a slow easy rhythm until she bucked beneath him.
Alaric released her breast, pulled back a little so that he could see her gorgeous nipples. Tight and peaked, they were the sexiest red he'd ever seen, matching her full pouting lips. They begged for his attention, and he trembled with the need to devour her, one glorious inch at a time.
Closing his teeth around her nipple he bit softly and nearly came as her cries of pleasure echoed in his ears. He switched to the other nipple, drew it into his mouth and rolled it between his teeth. Cassie moaned uncontrollably, her lithe body bucking against him with each pull of his mouth on her breast.
Releasing her wrists he lowered himself further.
"I can smell you." His voice was almost reverent, drawing her gaze. "As sweet as honey. I want to taste you."
Pushing her thighs farther apart she was completely open to him, and beautiful. The dark pink lips of her pussy spread so that her clit emerged like a delicate little pearl. His mouth watered with the need to taste her, to fill her with his fingers, his tongue, his cock.
She groaned under the intimate assault of his tongue, tickling, teasing, suckling, as he pushed her closer to the mindless abyss of endless pleasure.
Every fiery brush of his tongue against the over sensitized bundle of nerves had her screaming breathlessly. Her hips jerked in rhythm to his torturous caress, driving her overheated flesh harder against his talented tongue as she begged for release.
Still not content, Alaric stroked a finger through the syrup-laden silk of her intimate folds, thrusting deeply inside her, caressing the responsive depths as she lifted to take more of him.
Small mewling cries left her lips under the combined assault, her fingers spearing into his hair, her sharp nails dragging against his skull.
"No more," she cried breathlessly, "I can't take…any more," tugging at him with all her strength, she drew him back up her body to press his pulsing cock against the seat of her desperation.
Shuddering with hunger so deep it was painful, he began the slow, exquisite slide into her body. Her spine arched, her pleasure a living current that burned sensation over every inch of him. Her hands gripped his arms, her legs keeping him captive.
Moving against him, her hips ground into his, feeling every inch of the heavy, thick spear penetrating her, filling her so completely, body, mind and soul.
Her legs wrapped around his hips as he pistoned into her. The rhythmic contractions of her inner muscles gripped him tightly.
Her orgasm exploded through her with the force of an atomic bomb that stole her breath, lifted her against him and sent a keening cry spilling from her lips.
He choked on the thirst clawing at him, turning his head aside so Cassie couldn't see the distress building in his eyes. He should have fed first, he chastised himself frantically.
Cassie could feel his desperation to hold back his own climax, contain his thirst, the two so intimately entwined. "Don't hold back. Bite me," she fiercely demanded, knowing that forcing him to sate one hunger would drive him to sate the other.
"No." he growled. "I won't risk hurting you or the baby." His body shook violently with the effort to hold off his own orgasm, building to a critical point, his fangs already half extended.
"You won't. Don't think you're going to wrap me in cotton wool for the next nine months. It's not going to happen." She growled.
He needed the supreme starch kicked out of his domineering shorts.
Alaric gasped, trying hard to remain coherent as her inner muscles gripped him tighter, trapping him as deeply in her hungry body as she possibly could, filling his thoughts and his soul, leaving him at the mercy of her pleasure.
He reached for her hips, trying to anchor himself in the middle of the storm of sensation she was bombarding him with.
He had no hope. He couldn't fight his nature or his Mate.
A muted scream escaped her as she began to come again. The rhythmic contractions of her inner muscles gripped him. A furious growl erupted from deep within his chest as she convulsed and shuddered around him. She felt his restraint shatter.
He was buried to the hilt inside her, thrusting, pounding. He howled her name as his orgasm roared through him like a goddam freight train, coming inside her with hot, vicious jerks, he emptied himself into her as he came and came and came.
Cassie grabbed his face and pulled him down to the pulsing vein in her throat. He hesitated only a moment, shuddering as his aching fangs plunged into her creamy flesh, taking long draws of her rich, sweet blood, it transcended the purity of a perfectly aged fine wine. She was pure perfection in every way.
Exhausted, Cassie lay blissfully in his tight embrace, his gentle kisses lulling her further into contentment.
"Can I ask you something?" she asked, rolling onto her stomach. She folded her hands on his chest and propped her chin on them.
"Anything," he assured her.
"You said earlier that you weren't permitted to interfere with your descendant's lives directly, only indirectly."
"Yes," he answered warily.
"Did you help Alex and me indirectly when we were younger?"
Alaric watched her for a moment for a hint of any animosity but for once he only saw curiosity.
"Actually, I did," he answered reluctantly. "After your father died. Alex's mother wasn't sober long enough to hold a job and your mother was too sick. I made sure there was always enough money in the bank to cover your bills and keep a roof over your head. I never interfered in the problems of my adult descendants, but I always helped the children."
"Did that include the trust funds that Alex and I have to pay for all our education costs, or getting the Department of Child Services off our back when they wanted to separate Alex and me and put us in foster homes?" she asked.
Considering that her family barely had enough money to fix the leaky roof of their old house, or the dodgy wiring and noisy plumbing, she was confident his answer would be, yes.
Alaric felt uneasy about this conversation. Any moment now he was going to have to start defending his actions to her, again.
That was it? No argument? In the future he'll have to remember to have sex with her before tackling any delicate discussions.
Like every good masochist, he looked forward to each and every argument they would have, now that they had a future to argue over.
She lifted onto her elbows and kissed him sweetly, following up with a deeper, more passionate kiss.
"Saladin is here, and he seems to be in a good mood," he frowned.
Saladin eclipsed even him, in the surly arsehole department. If he was happy, something was up. Not necessarily in a good way.
"We'd better get dressed then, ha?" Cassie's stomach chose that moment to grumble loudly.
"Yes. I'll meet you down stairs. Mrs Philpot has put some dinner aside for you. I'll have her heat it up."
"How do you know that?"
"I heard her mention it earlier."
Hmm. With his Vampire hearing, she'll never have a private conversation again.