Staked: Chapter Nine

I wandered down the streets, watching people go by. I found myself heading towards voices, desperately looking for something. I wasn’t sure what until someone bumped into me.

He glared and pushed his way past me, but I froze, gasping.

The touch had been electric.

I needed more.

I started walking again, looking around for what I needed. I noticed now that people were avoiding me––stepping quickly out of my way and refusing to meet my eye.

 They didn’t seem too interested in helping me, but I kept looking. There had to be someone out here that would let me follow them home.

Eventually I paused, leaning against a wall to catch my breath. I wasn’t giving up, but for some reason I was having trouble focusing on any one thing for very long. If only––

I was distracted from my train of thought when a shadow loomed over me. I looked up and saw a man looking me over. My breath caught with excitement.

“Haven’t seen you down here,” he murmured, leaning down to murmur in my ear. “New?”

The last thing I wanted right then was conversation––what mattered was that he wasn’t backing away. I knew the look in his eye, and that was all I needed.

He ran his hand down the side of my face, and I arched into it, the touch sending waves of pleasure through my entire body and making my toes curl with anticipation.

“Oh yeah,” he breathed, “you’re good and ready…”

And then, the next thing I knew, he was gone.

Instead, Kieran’s face was inches from my own, and he looked furious.

I shut my eyes.

Of course Kieran wasn’t really there.

He left. He always left.

I opened my eyes, and he was still there, rage clear on his face. “What. Do. You. Think. You’re. Doing?” he pushed out through gritted teeth.

The frustrated heat in my belly flared, and I screamed at him. “What am I doing? What are you doing? You have no right to interfere with––”

He grabbed me by the arms and pulled me into a hot, desperate kiss, and I suddenly I wasn’t angry with him at all.

He broke away, gasping. “I’ve been searching half the decks of the Lowers for you,” He said. “Pietra called, she thought––”

I really didn’t care about whatever it was he thought was important enough to interrupt what we’d been doing. I ran my tongue against the edge of his lower lip. “You’re tasty. Gimme more.”

He frowned and took my head in both hands, pushing me back and peering into my eyes. He hissed––a sharp intake of breath––and a mask of steel slid over his expression. “Void take it. You’ve been dosed with Blue.”

His words tried to push through the fog in my brain, but faded. “Whatever. Do that again.” I leaned in for another kiss, but he pushed me away.

“Ani, listen to me. Honey, you have to pay attention.”

I watched his lips move, fascinated.

“Someone gave you a drug. Do you remember?”

I wrinkled my nose. “There was a woman…and two men. They asked a lot of questions, and I really can’t remember much, and I don’t want to think about this right now.”

I straightened, pulling out of his grip. “And if you don’t want to spend time with me, I’ll find someone who does.”

I pouted over at the strange man who was just now stirring on the alley floor. “He wanted to spend time with me, before you got all pushy.”

Kieran’s mouth set into a thin line for a moment, then curved into an odd-looking smile.

“But I do want to spend time with you,” he said, taking me by the hand. “Let’s go.”

I followed, pressing up against him from behind. “Where are we going?”

“Somewhere nicer than this.” He gestured vaguely to the buildings around us. “Just a few blocks over there’s a lovely hotel. Let’s go there.”

I supposed I could wait that long.

As long as he made it worth my while in the end.

The automated logbook at the hotel’s front desk was old, and Kieran had to pass his spike over it three times.

It might not have helped that he kept an arm around my waist, pressing me close to him…or that it was incredibly fun to try to distract him as much as possible while he was doing it. I wrapped both arms around his neck, playing with his ear.

Finally, he managed it and pulled me wordlessly upstairs.

The room was nothing special, but I didn’t care. I started on his jacket before the door had fully closed behind us, struggling with the fastenings and cursing my clumsy fingers. He fussed with the door as I pulled it off his shoulders and let it fall to the floor, and I was pushing up his shirt by the time he turned to look at me.

He looked…sad, I thought vaguely, but I could think of no reason why that might be.

I got his shirt off, threw it aside, and pulled him to the bed. He followed. When we got there, I let go of him long enough to pull off my shirt, and then pushed him down on top of the covers and began kissing him everywhere I could reach, savoring the sensation of his skin under my hands. He stayed still, just holding me.

I wiggled against him. “Another game?”

His voice was tight. “Something like that.”

I reached down to his belt buckle, and he moaned. “Honey, you have to stop.”

“What are you going to do––use that device again to hold me down?” A forbidden thrill ran through me at the thought.

He shook his head. “Somehow, I didn’t think that far enough ahead.”

I ground down against him, and his grip on me tightened. I put my mouth against his ear. “I liked that, you know,” I whispered. “I liked you doing whatever you wanted to me. You possessing me.”

He moaned again, but didn’t move.

I pulled back as far as I could against his hold, so I could look at him. “Why aren’t you doing anything?” I asked, confused. “Don’t you want to?”

One of his hands moved up far enough to stroke the nape of my neck, playing with a few strands of hair that had fallen out of my braid. “Ani, sweetheart,” he said. “You’ve been drugged. And while the idea of you happy and willing under me is a dream come true…”

He took a deep breath.

“There are some lines even I’m not going to cross. Taking advantage of you when you’re not in control of your senses is one of them. I may be a bastard, but I’m not that much of one.”

Tears pushed their way out of my eyes as his words sank in and frustration clawed through me. “Then let me out! If you’re not going to do anything about this, let me go find someone else that will.” I struggled to push away, but his grip hardened.

“Like hell. No one else is coming near you right now.” He tucked my head under his chin, but I heard him add in a whisper, “Or ever.”

I sobbed with frustration and need in his arms until he kissed me. “Oh, god, yes,” I breathed against his lips, ecstatic. Was he coming around?

His arms loosened, enough to stroke my hair. “Just kisses, Ani, all right?”

The heat inside me made me desperate for anything. I fell against him, hungry for any touch. He kissed me back gently, only feeding my hunger.

No matter how I provoked him, he refused to give me more, until I pulled away and sobbed while he stroked my hair.

It took far too long for the darkness to claim me again.

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