Born of Fire (Page 46)

Born of Fire (The League #2)(46)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

As she worked in slow circles lower and lower over his chest and abdomen, he thought he might die from his need for her. With a wicked laugh, she lowered the sponge to his cock. His entire body jerked in pleasure as her fingers stroked and teased his sensitive flesh.

“You’re killing me, woman,” he said between clenched teeth. He moved to draw her into a hug.

“No.” She pushed him back. “You’re mine, remember?”

Clenching his teeth, he returned his hands to the rim and decided that this would definitely kill him.

But if he had to die, he couldn’t think of a better way to go.

She started bathing him again. Her fingers sliding over and under him. Just when he thought he’d scream, she finally moved her hands down to his legs.

Syn took a deep breath to steady his nerves. Her boldness amazed him. Especially given the fact that only a few weeks ago, she’d never have touched a man so intimately. Let alone one she’d been sent after.

Once she finished with his bath, he reached for the sponge. “My turn.”

“Nope,” she said pushing him away with a laugh. “Remember, you’re my slave. Now be good and return to your station.” And with that she began bathing herself.

Fire beat through him as he watched her hands moving over her own body, touching her own soap-laden br**sts. Unable to stand it, he reached for his glass and drained it. Refilling it, he tried to keep his eyes off her, but despite his best effort, he couldn’t.

She lifted one shapely leg and pulled the sponge over the calf, then up her thigh, and then to her . . .

“That’s it,” he groaned. “I can’t take any more.”

She arched a taunting brow and looked at him mischievously. Taking the glass from his hand, she took a sip from the place where he’d been drinking from.

“Lean back,” she ordered one more time.

He did as she commanded.

Instead of pulling away again, she straddled him and set his glass aside. The warmth of her body on his stomach scorched him. As he reached up to bury his hands in her wet hair, she lifted herself and came down on him. A deep moan escaped his throat.

Shahara delighted in the tender pain that crossed his handsome face. She’d never felt so powerful, nor so beautiful. Leaning forward, she brushed his wet hair from his face and gave him a fierce kiss.

He felt so good that she couldn’t believe it was real.

They’d been through so much in such a short amount of time. Yet it seemed like she’d known him forever. She could barely recall her life before they met. It seemed like some vague, lonely nightmare.

And the last thing she wanted was to return to it.

But what if he didn’t feel the same way?

He’d never told her that he loved her, that he cared for her as anything more than . . .

Her heart stopped.

He hadn’t even called her a friend. Could it really be that he was only using her for sex?

No. He wasn’t like her brother—a manwhore always on the prowl. She couldn’t imagine him being like this with anyone else. He was too guarded for that.

Syn scowled at her. “Is something wrong?”

“No.” She offered him a smile and refused to think about it anymore. She didn’t want to spoil this time with him. And if it was just a moment fate had set aside for her, then the last thing she wanted was for it to end.

If this was all there was for them, then she would enjoy it while it lasted.

He took her right breast into his mouth. Shahara leaned her head back, and moaned at the pleasure of his tongue flicking across her nipple as wave after wave of pleasure crashed through her. She rocked her h*ps against his, drawing him deep inside.

Suddenly, he leaned her back against the tub, sending waves of water over the rim to splash against the floor.

His strokes became faster as he pressed himself deeper and deeper inside her. Shahara dug her nails into his back, delighting in his intensifying pace. Her body began a needful throb that kept beat with his rhythm. Just as she thought she’d scream out for him to stop torturing her so, her body erupted into waves of blissful release.

“Shahara,” he groaned a moment before she felt him shudder as well.

Her breathing labored, she held him against her and stroked the wet strands of his hair. “I love you, Syn,” she said before she could stop herself.

He withdrew from her so fast that it left her feeling empty. “What?”

She swallowed in sudden trepidation and anger as she realized he wasn’t happy about her stupid declaration.

Why did I say it? I’m such an idiot!

She wanted him to return her words, not look at her with such panic in his eyes. But she wasn’t a coward and she would stand by her slip because it was the truth. “I said I love you.”

Syn stared at her in disbelief. No one had said those words to him since the night he’d proposed to Mara. Never had he expected them to come from another female.

Especially not a seax.

He wanted to tell her he loved her, too, but the words lodged themselves painfully in his throat and for the sake of his soul, he couldn’t bring them out.

C’mon, say it.

Don’t you dare!

His common sense and his heart warred with each other as he saw the expectant look on her face. I have to say something . . .

And before he could stop himself, he spoke the first thing that came to his mind. “That’s nice.”

You lame moron. What a stupid thing to say. She tells you she loves you and you come back with “That’s nice?” Gods! You might as well tell her that her ass is fat and go ahead and get the groin kick.

This time you deserve it.

Hurt flickered across her face an instant before rage. “That’s nice!” she spat. “That’s all you have to say?”

Say it. Tell her you love her.

I can’t. I can’t love her. It would destroy her career and her family.

Let her go so that she can live.

Bullshit. You’re not that altruistic and you know it.

And with that, he knew why he couldn’t return the words. He finally understood the truth behind his stupidity.

He was afraid. Shahara had been right when she’d said he was afraid to let people get close to him. Because if he trusted her and she betrayed him, it would kill him. He couldn’t go through that again.

I’m so sorry, Shahara . . .

Angrily, she left the tub and grabbed a towel. “You know what I think C.I. stands for?” she raged. “Completely Insensitive!”

“Shahara, wait.” He moved toward her.

“Stay away from me.”

He left the tub and pulled her into his arms before she could make it to the door. “Don’t be like this. I do care for you.”

Her gaze turned even more frigid. “But you don’t love me.”

“No,” he lied.

She clenched her teeth and fought against his hold. Tears welled in her eyes, and Syn damned himself for the bastard he was.

He deserved to live his life alone. Isolated. I can’t believe I’m hurting the only woman I’ve ever really loved . . .

Her or you, boy. Her or you.

And he’d been hurt enough in his life. He couldn’t let her completely destroy him any more than he could tear her away from her family and career. He cupped her face in his hands. Pain constricted his throat. “I do need you, Shahara. I do. But I can’t offer you anything more than that.”

Shahara tensed as he pulled her back into his arms and laid his head down on her shoulder. Her first impulse was to drop-kick him right in his exposed testicles, but in spite of her anger, she knew it didn’t change her feelings for him.

She still loved him whether he returned her feelings or not. Gah, I’m pathetic.

Closing her eyes, she damned fate for its cruelty. She’d finally found a man she could trust and love, and he didn’t return her feelings.

I could die.

“Please don’t be angry,” he whispered.

Wrapping her arms around him, she decided that for now he needed her and, if he needed her, then he might grow to love her as well.

Maybe if she were patient . . .

“I’m not angry,” she said quietly. She was more hurt than anything else. And while there was anger, it wasn’t at him. It was at Mara and the universe and all the other reasons that had warped Syn to the point he couldn’t open himself up to her.

But she wasn’t mad at him.

Syn pulled back and stared at her until he was sure she’d spoken honestly. Once the fire faded from her cheeks and eyes, he toweled himself off.

“C’mon.” He tossed the towel aside and took her hand. “Let’s get some sleep while we can.”

She followed him, but he could still feel her sadness. It would be so easy to make her happy, but the scar of his father’s sin ran too deep. It had branded him since his birth and it destroyed everything it touched.

Sooner or later, it would destroy if not her, then their relationship. Because sooner or later another curious reporter or official would show up and expose him all over again. They would go after her and it would cost her everything.

She would be guilty by association and that would cause her to hate him.

Sighing, he knew he would die if he faced scorn from her. Better they part now on relatively good terms than he have to live with her turning on him the way Mara had. He never wanted to go through that again.

Shahara pulled the covers up over their bodies as Syn snuggled against her back. Her heart heavy, she listened to his breathing while he positioned one of his legs between hers and draped his arm over her waist. He rested his hand between her br**sts. She sighed at the possessiveness of his hold.

What would it take to gain his love?

And if she did, would he ever admit it?

She started at the sudden realization.

The Syn she knew would never admit it if he felt love. He was too strong for that. Love meant weakness and Syn would never open himself up to that vulnerability again. For all she knew, he did love her and he was too defensive to tell her.

I swear, Syn . . . But she couldn’t blame him given everything he’d been through.

She heard his breathing even out and felt his hold loosen as he fell asleep. Pressing her lips together, she moved his hand from her br**sts and stared down at it. Scars marred his knuckles with one running from the side of his wrist up to his elbow.

So much pain. So much fighting. Would he ever believe that someone could love him?

That someone would stay with him?

She didn’t know for sure. But one way or another, she would find the answer to those questions.

“I’m not going to give up without a fight, boy, and as bad as you think you’ve had it in the past . . . those opponents were nothing compared to me.”

Shahara Dagan had never failed a mission in her life and she wasn’t about to fail this, the most important one. Somehow, she’d free him.

Most of all, she’d claim him.

CHAPTER 17

When Shahara woke up, the room was completely black. And the space next to her in bed was empty. A slice of fear went through her. Where could he have gone?

“Syn?”

“Right here,” he said from her right. The lights came up to a soft glow.

Turning over, she saw him sitting in one of the overstuffed chairs near the window.

Fully dressed, he stared at her, his face impassive. “We need to get going soon.”

“Okay.”

He got up and crossed the room. “I’ll be waiting outside.”

Shahara frowned at the catch in his voice and reached for the clothes he’d folded and placed neatly on the nightstand. What had he been thinking while he watched her sleep?

Whatever it was, it must have been fierce for him to be so cold now.

Sighing, she got up and went to shower and dress.

Syn leaned back against the closed doors, his body aching as he remembered the sight of her sleeping like a child in the bed. Most of all, he remembered the sincerity in her voice as she told him that she loved him.

She loves me . . .

Those words tore him apart. He wanted to rejoice and simultaneously run for cover. How he wished he’d met her when he was a doctor with no past. That was what she deserved. Not some filch with no country, no dignity.

Nothing.

C’mon, boy, heartaches come and they go. You know that better than anyone.

Yeah, they did go eventually. But the pain remained forever. And even if he lived a thousand years, he knew the pain of losing her would haunt him every moment of it.

How do I give up someone who loves me?

The same way you always have. In the end, she’ll be just like Paden and will learn to hate you, too. Just a matter of time.

It was true. Closing his eyes, he tried to blot out the image of her peaceful body resting in his arms.

Gods, what had she done to him?

But then he knew. She’d touched him deeper than anyone ever had. Her touch had branded his soul, and no matter how much he might wish otherwise, he’d never be able to let her go. Not without tearing out his heart.

Because in the end, he loved her, too.

What the hell—you’ll get used to the pain. Just like you’ve always gotten used to everything misfortune has tossed your way.