Invigorated, he threw it into the darkness, where it exploded even brighter than the sun. Harmless pieces of ember rained down around him as he threw his head back and laughed.
Oh yeah, it was good to be a sleeping dream god. He had emotions and his powers.
Which left him with one goal.
It was time to find her. But that proved to be easier thought than done. True, he had his powers again, but he didn’t have the strobilos and finding her without it proved to be rather tricky. He was also lacking Wink’s serum to keep Megeara asleep. If he found her, she could wake up and leave him all over again.
I’ll kill her. But even as he thought it, he knew that was an empty threat. He’d never hurt the very woman he craved.
For several minutes he cruised through the subconscious realm, drifting through dreams of nak*d musicians writhing in money and Jell-O shots, a toy poodle attacking a Doberman, a woman who bore a strange resemblance to a lollipop who was singing with cows, and one curious incident of a hemorrhoid chasing one woman around a block of cheese until it exploded…
Yeah, people were very odd beings.
No wonder he left these dreamers to the other Skoti. He much preferred sexually creative women.
Arik paused between dreams to take a deep breath. This was wasting time, and since Megeara was planning an early morning, he needed to find her quickly.
Closing his eyes, he felt the ether around him… listened to it as it breathed and whispered through his being. She was out there.
And then he heard it. The faint sound of her laughter. Honing in on it, he willed himself to her dream.
She was on the beach again, dancing in the surf to music only she could hear.
Arik froze at the sight of her there with her damp hair flying around her face. Her white dress clung to her body, showing him every lush, delicious curve. Every inch of flesh that he wanted to taste.
Unable to stand it, he dropped to the beach and walked toward her with a predator’s intent.
His breathing ragged, he came up behind her and touched her shoulder.
She turned on him then and what happened next absolutely blew his mind.
GEARY WAS LAUGHING WITH TRIUMPH OVER HER DAY AS the water splashed against her body. She was just about to go diving into the sea without her equipment to find Atlantis when she felt someone touch her arm.
She turned to find Arik there.
Joy rushed through her with a heady excitement and she did what she’d been wanting to do all day-she pulled him against her and kissed him for everything she was worth. The surf splashed up and over them, but instead of being cold, it was warm and soothing.
She growled at the taste of his mouth on hers, at the sensation of his hard arms enveloping her as their tongues danced together. His corded muscles rippled under her hands while he pulled her so close to him that they were virtually one person.
Oh, it felt so good to be held by him. To have all those muscles pressing against her body. She buried her hand in his hair, pulling at it slightly so that she could feel even closer to him.
"You are the absolute best," she breathed against his lips before she nipped them with her teeth. "Thank you for the permits."
He nuzzled her neck, sending chills over her. "Anytime."
She pulled back from him and literally ripped the white shirt from his body before she threw him on the ground and straddled him.
The beach elongated so that the waves would no longer overrun them. Instead, the sea pulled back,
leaving them the damp beach, which wasn’t sandy. Rather, it was like lying on a bed of rose petals.
Arik was completely shocked by her behavior as she groped and fondled him as if she were overwhelmingly consumed by her hunger for his body. This was the Megeara he’d expected to meet in the human realm. But she’d been so reserved all day that he’d given up hope of her receiving him like this ever again.
Now she was ferocious in her lust. His head swam as she buried her lips against his neck and tongued him until he thought he’d die from the pleasure of it.
He laughed in the back of his throat. "You’re certainly rowdy tonight."
She slid down his body as she continued to lick and please every part of him. "You’ve no idea. It’s been killing me all day to be so close to you and to not touch this body. God, you’re gorgeous and sexy."
He trembled as she worked her way from his neck to his ni**les and then down his abdomen until she got to the waistband of his jeans. Normally, Arik would have melted them off, but he was curious what she’d do in this mood.
She virtually shredded his pants in an effort to get to him. She tore chunks of the denim and tossed them over her shoulder until he was completely nak*d. He lay there on his back, watching her as her hands explored him at length. She attacked him with fervor, and he loved every second of it. As good as it’d been before when he merely fed from her emotions, it was even better now that he had his own to draw from.
He hissed as she found his hip bone and went to work on it with her mouth while she cupped him in her hand and massaged him until he was rock hard for her. He literally shook from the ecstasy of it.
He traced the line of her back with his hand, dragging his nails gently over her flesh until chills erupted all over her body. Needing more of her, he dipped his hand down to brush through the soft tangle of curls at the juncture of her thighs. He licked his lips, already tasting her, before he sank his fingers inside her.
She was so wet and ready. He toyed with her, biding his time until he could fill her completely.
Geary couldn’t wait to taste him. Her eyes hooded, she watched the pleasure on his face as she toyed with his c**k and he stroked her where she ached most. She loved the sensation of his hard body against her curves. The way his small hairs tickled her skin.
But it was enough of playtime.
Drawing her breath in in sweet expectation, she moved to draw the tip of his c**k into her mouth, where she gently tongued him. The salty-sweet taste went through her as she moved lower. She felt him shudder under her. Giddy with the sensation of it, she drew him in even deeper, wanting to taste and please him for the rest of the night.
Arik cupped her face as he watched her. He loved it whenever she did this. He didn’t know what it was about this one act, but there was nothing more pleasing to him. With his hands on her cheeks, he felt her jaw working under his fingers while she consumed him. His body was on fire, and in the back of his mind he wondered how much better this would be while he was awake.
What would her mouth really feel like on him?
It was weird to think about it, but he was technically a virgin. He’d never taken a woman outside of the dream realm. Until Megeara, he’d never really cared about that.
But now he did. He wanted to know what it was like to really share his body with her. To have her touch him like this while they were conscious.
Geary looked up to see Arik watching her. There was a look of extreme pleasure and one of amazement in his eyes. How she wished she could see a look like that from a man in real life. She’d never really had a boyfriend for any length of time. It was why she kept men at arm’s length. She didn’t like being hurt.
Didn’t like being disappointed.
It was so much safer to be alone, and yet as she lay with Arik she wanted to know what it would be like to have someone with her. Someone who was a part of her.
Someone to trust.
In less than a day, the man Arik had given her more than anyone else ever had. He’d given her her dream. And now he was here in her dreams, loving her.
Wanting to feel even closer to him, she pulled away to lay her body down on his.
Arik closed his eyes at how good Megeara felt against him. Her flesh was warm and soft against his. He held her close, reveling in the feel of her as he cradled her with his body. She leaned back to kiss him before she slid herself onto him.
He sucked his breath in sharply as pleasure pierced every part of his being. She made love to him furiously as the surf crashed around them. The waves rolled up but didn’t quite reach him.
He could focus on nothing but the slick feel of her body as she took him in all the way. He held her hips, urging her even faster.
Geary rocked her h*ps against his, seeking peace and closeness. He was so deep inside that it made her ache. She loved hav**g s*x with this man, and she couldn’t help wondering if the real Arik would be as kind and tender as her dream lover.
You could find out.
Yes, but that would leave her vulnerable and that was the last thing she wanted. Geary Kafieri had no desire to be hurt by anyone. It wasn’t worth it. Especially since she knew Arik would be dying soon. To let him in would be to invite agony on herself, and she’d had so much pain already. Everyone she loved died. Everyone.
Except for Tory. It was why Geary was so protective of her. God help Geary if anything ever happened to her cousin. She wouldn’t be able to live and she knew it.
But as she felt Arik inside her now she wanted a future she knew she could never have, and it broke her heart.
It was her lot in life to be alone. There was no use fighting it.
At least she had him in her dreams.
Smiling at him, she quickened her strokes until she finally felt that moment of absolute pleasure right before her body released and blinded her with ecstasy.
Arik leaned his head back as he felt her body clutching his. Lifting his hips, he buried himself deep inside her before his own orgasm claimed him and she collapsed on top of him.
Now this… this was what he’d wanted. Truly, there was nothing more spectacular in this world or any other than Megeara. He held her tight against him as his heart continued to race. He’d never been more content.
She leaned up on one arm to stare down at him as she tucked a piece of hair behind her ear. Never had he seen a more beautiful woman.
Arik cupped her cheek in his palm, looking up at her as he laughed from his exhaustion. Megeara’s eyes glowed in the moonlight as she kissed the line of his jaw.
"Now if I could only get you to do this while we’re awake…"
She laughed, which caused her br**sts to brush against his chest. "Never. I can’t afford to be like this awake. No one respects a woman of easy virtue."
"Oh, I assure you that’s not true. I would always respect you."
"Yeah, right." She pulled back to sit up.
Arik couldn’t breathe at the sight of her resting on his h*ps as the moonlight cast shadows over her bare body. He reached up to trace the outline of her nipple as she glanced off into the ocean.
He watched her face as she began to frown. "What’s wrong?"
He turned his head to look and went instantly cold. The surf was rolling against the shore, but what made him pay attention was the strange motion of it. The whitecaps began to slowly form faces, and those faces started rising out of the water in liquid forms that became solid.
Children of the Furies, the Dolophoni were essentially the assassins of the gods. And they’d been the ones who’d rounded up the Oneroi centuries ago for Zeus to punish.
Now someone had unleashed the Dolophoni against Arik. He knew it. There was no other reason for them to be here. They weren’t something Megeara would have conjured, and he could feel inside that they weren’t from her dreams.
They were here to kill him.
"You need to go, Megeara." He slid out from under her.
Geary was frozen to the spot as ten people emerged from the waves, completely dry. Two women and eight men. As tall as or taller than Arik, they left the sea like a pack of rabid dogs ready to attack.
Their heads were bent low as they headed straight for Arik with a deadly swagger. Not a word or sound could be heard. Not even the surf. The air no longer moved. It was static and charged with the coming conflict.
Arik stood his ground as skintight black leather armor appeared over his body and his hair magically pulled itself back into a ponytail. Spikes grew out of his forearms and one out of his left knee.
One of the men, who was at least six inches taller than Arik, had a bald head with a phoenix tattoo on one side of his face, the tail of which coiled down and around his neck. He wore a sleeveless black T-shirt that accentuated the bulging muscles of his arms, black leather pants, and a studded neck collar.
Metal vambraces covered his forearms, and he carried an ax over one shoulder.
Another man was two inches shorter and much leaner and had short bright green hair that he had spiked on top of his head and over his eyes. He wore a pair of black wraparound sunglasses and carried a black staff with silver spikes poking out of both ends. His bare arms were covered with colorful tattoos, and a row of nine hoops hung from his left ear. He had two more hoops on his bottom lip.
The next man had short-cropped dark auburn hair that framed a face of perfect masculine beauty. His brown eyes flashed red as he drew an AK-47 out of the folds of his long leather coat.
The man beside him had the entire right side of his torso bare. His long black hair was pulled back in a ponytail while his left shoulder and arm were covered by black plate armor. There were scars all over his cheeks, and his black eyes were deep set into his face.
Two more appeared to be twins. They were equal in height to Arik, with short brown hair, and where one had three hoops in his right ear the other wore them in his left. Unlike the others, they were each dressed in slacks and a button-down shirt, with black leather overcoats that flowed around their booted feet. They moved slow and easy, with a fluid grace, as if synched to each other. Their faces were perfectly sculpted.