Night Embrace (Page 26)

Night Embrace (Dark-Hunter #3)(26)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

"Are you? Do you?" She stepped up to him and placed her hand against his chin as if ready to pry his mouth open. "Show me your teeth, Talon."

He stepped back. "I can’t."

She gave him a mean glare. "You’re Speirr, aren’t you? Somehow it is you, you, I see when I dream. Isn’t it?"

He looked away.

"I won’t tell anyone," she insisted, softening her voice. "I just need to know."

"What difference would it make?" he snapped, growing tired of this conversation. "Would you throw me out?"

"No," she said breathily, sounding reconciled. "I don’t think I could ever throw you out."

"Then why do you have to know?"

The fire returned to her eyes as she narrowed them on him. "Because I want you to be open and honest with me, to share your life."

Her words tore through him. Bitter longing swelled inside his heart as he remembered how hopeless having her had seemed as a mortal man. Back then only social standing and gossips had stood between them. Now the entire universe was united to keep them apart. "What makes you think I want to share my life? Maybe I’m just using you for sex."

Her face stricken, she backed away from him. "Are you?"

The pain in her eyes ripped him apart. He didn’t want to hurt her.

"Are you?" he asked, turning the question back on her.

"Tell me what it is you want from me, Sunshine."

"I honestly don’t know. Part of me is drawn to you and part of me is scared of you. There’s something very dark inside your eyes. If I wanted to get to know you better, would you let me?"

"No," he said between clenched teeth, "we can’t."

"Then you owe me a reason why we can’t. You know I’m not some child in need of a father to make my decisions for me. I thought you respected me."

"I do."

"Then treat me like an adult. Tell me why it is you refuse to answer even the most basic question about yourself."

What she asked for was impossible. He could never tell her about his current life, not unless Acheron or Artemis released him from his oath.

"If I tell you who I am, your life will be in danger."

"I live in New Orleans over one of the most popular clubs in town and park my car in an alley where two men were murdered last night. My life is always in danger."

"Those weren’t men last night and they weren’t murdered." Talon didn’t know why he let that escape.

"Then what were they?"

Tell her…

The command was so strong. Never once had he broken his Code of Silence. Never.

"The Daimons wanted to party with your girlfriend, Celt. Don’t leave her unprotected."

She had a right to know what was out there gunning for her.

"Talon." She stepped into his arms and placed her hands on his face. Her touch was soothing and warm.

It almost succeeded in breaking him.

"Trust me. Whatever it is, I won’t ever tell a soul."

"I can’t, Sunshine. I can’t."

"You won’t, Talon. You won’t." She expelled an irritated breath and dropped her hands. "Fine. Keep your secrets. Go ahead and blow me off. Live a happy life and do whatever it is you do."

She moved away from him.

Talon reached for her, but she bypassed his hand. "Sunshine…"

"Don’t touch me. I’m mad at you."

"Please don’t be mad at me."

She shook her head. "Oh, you’re good with those puppy-dog eyes. That deep note in your voice. But I’m too far gone now to care. Just leave."

He winced at the pain in her voice and her command. It cut him all the way to his heart.

In that moment, he realized something. Zarek and Acheron were right. He was scared. Scared of leaving and scared of staying.

The last thing he wanted was to lose Nynia again and yet as he looked at Sunshine, it dawned on him that though she might have his wife’s soul, she wasn’t his wife.

She was someone else. Someone new and exasperating. Nynia would never have gotten mad at him. Not even when he deserved her anger. She’d always been timid and shy. Not bold and demanding like Sunshine.

If he said to leave a matter alone, Nynia would nod and drop the subject. She would never have kneed a Daimon or fought an alligator.

But even more astounding, he had to admit that he liked the fire in Sunshine. Her ability to stand up to him and the world around her.

"What?" she asked, blinking her eyes as if she couldn’t believe what she saw. "You’re still here? I thought I gave you an order."

He smiled in spite of himself. "I don’t want to leave you, Sunshine. Can’t you just accept me as I am?"

Sunshine looked away. "I like what little I know about you, Talon, but the problem is just how little I do know about you. You live in the swamp, seem to have a lot of money and no last name, and you like big, creepy gators and have a guy named Nick who runs errands. That’s it. That’s the extent of my Talon knowledge and it’s a really short list."

She met his gaze. "I refuse to have a relationship with a man who won’t even trust me with his basic bio. Now if all you want is to get laid, there’s the door. If you really want to stay, then tell me something about yourself. Something meaningful."

"Like what?"

"Tell me the name of your best friend."

"Wulf Tryggvason."

Shocked, she dropped her jaw. "Oh my God, you just answered a question. I think the world may end over it."

"You’re not funny. So do I get to stay?"

She pursed her lips as she thought about it for a minute. "Fine, but only because I know you can’t get back home before the sun rises."

Determined to keep distance between them until he answered her questions, Sunshine turned around and went to her bedroom. She grabbed a pillow and blanket from her bed, then returned to the living room and handed them to him.

He looked completely dumbfounded as he held her pink quilt and pillow. "What’s this?"

"Until you come clean with me, you can take the sofa."

"You’re kidding."

"Oh no. Not even a little. I’m not going to let you back into my bed until you let me inside your head."

Talon was completely stupefied as she walked over to the far wall and lowered her blinds.

"I told you about Wulf," he said.

She turned toward him, her look unamused. "You gave me a single name. Oooo. That tells me so much about you, doesn’t it? Well, my best friends are Trina Devereaux and Selena Laurens. Now what does that tell you about me? Nada. Zilch. Nothing. It just means I have someone I can call when I get ticked off, and believe me, if it wasn’t so late, I’d be dialing one of them like a madwoman."

Talon growled, but it didn’t faze her in the least. The woman had entirely too much chutzpah.

"So tell me about Wulf," she said slowly, taking a step toward him. "What does he do for a living? Does he live here in New Orleans? Is he married? How long have you known him?"

"He lives in Minnesota and he’s not married."

She looked pleased and yet at the same time managed to pull off a piqued look too. "How did you meet him?"

At Mardi Gras one hundred and two years ago when Wulf had been moved into the city for temporary duty- which was something he could never tell Sunshine.

Talon let out an aggravated breath. "I’ve known him a long time."

"Ooo," she breamed again. "Answers like that will get you voted into office, but they won’t get you back into my bed. And they definitely won’t let you near my body."

"You’re being unreasonable."

"Hah!"

This was so unfair. He was trying to protect her and here she was asking him for something he couldn’t give. Denying him her body because he didn’t want to see her hurt.

How could she do this to him?

Angered by her continued insistence, he snapped, "I’m your husband."

She snorted and raked him with a bemused stare. "Not in this lifetime, buddy." She held up her left hand for his inspection. "I don’t see no wedding ring on my finger, and the last time I checked, you didn’t come charging into town on the back of your black warhorse, sweeping me off my feet and asking me to be yours."

Talon went cold at her words. "You remember that?"

Some of her anger seemed to fade as she nodded. "And I want to know how you remember it."

He tossed the blanket and pillow on the couch and lay down stiffly. "I told you, I can’t tell you that."

"Then good night, sweetheart. Have pleasant dreams."

She came forward to kiss him on his forehead and walked to her room.

Royally ticked off, Talon watched as she made a grand show of pulling the drapes closed. That woman had a way of making him burn and this time it wasn’t in a good way.

He was furious.

Especially when she switched on the light on the night-stand and he could see her body plainly through the thin fabric.

His heart pounded. He couldn’t tear his gaze away from her as she peeled her clothes from her lush body and then climbed nak*d into her bed.

He could just imagine her lying there, the pink cotton sheets nestled between her warm, wet thighs. Her br**sts pressed together as she lay on her side with her arm grazing and partially concealing the dark tip of her left breast. Her back nak*d and bare to his eager gaze and her hair fanned out around her head, just waiting for him to lie down behind her and pull her close to his body.

Then he would slide his hand up her thigh where he would cup her soft flesh and lift her leg, opening up her body so that he could slide himself deep inside her from behind.

Oh yeah, he could already feel her soft rear against his groin as he slid himself in and out of her hot body. Feel her head tucked under his chin as he buried his hand between her legs and stroked her with his fingers while he made the sweetest, tenderest love to her.

Her woodsy patchouli scent would surround him as she writhed to his touch and moaned in ecstasy.

Every hormone in his body snapped awake and his groin tightened, demanding her.

Nynia would never have done this to him. She’d never denied him access to her. Not once. All he had to do was crook a finger or c**k an eyebrow and his wife had gladly stepped into his arms.

Right now, he missed her more than he ever had before.

"Sunshine?"

"No, Talon," she said firmly, turning off her light. "The answer is still no."

"I didn’t ask you anything."

"I know that note in your voice when you said my name and I know what you want, and you know what I want. Guess which one of us is going to have to give in?" She paused, then added, "And for the record, it’s not me."

He cursed under his breath. She was so damn stubborn in this lifetime. What had happened to his mild-mannered Nynia who gave him whatever he wanted, whenever he wanted it?

Fine, then, let her lie in there all unmolested and nak*d.

His body leapt at the word.

Groaning, he rolled over and faced the back of the couch so that he couldn’t see her anymore.

He was a grown man, he could handle this. He could control himself.

Oh, bloody hell! No woman had turned him down before. This was excruciating and infuriating.

He plowed his fist into the pillow as he hardened even more. He was much too large for the couch and it was damned uncomfortable, but he would sleep here or die.

Sunshine listened to Talon moving around on the sofa. She almost felt sorry for him. Almost.

But she was tired of his secrets. Tired of his cryptic games. She’d done enough snooping around his house to learn that he probably wasn’t a drug dealer, especially since he didn’t even have a bottle of Tylenol, but he’d had all kinds of interesting electronic gadgets. Lots of leather, imported beer, and enough DVDs to sink a battleship. Not to mention the weird weapons she’d found. Some of them quite ancient in design.

There was something very odd about his life and until she knew what it was she wasn’t going to let herself get any closer to him. She owed it to herself to know more about him before she let her goo-goo eyes lead her astray again.

She rolled over and forced herself to go to sleep. She needed to work tomorrow. Unlike him, she didn’t have an endless supply of income.

"Well, look who’s back."

Sunshine put down the book she was reading and smiled at Selena as Selena wheeled her small cart over to her. Dressed in a loose purple dress and black cape, Selena parked her cart to the right of Sunshine’s stand of pottery and sketches, and started setting up her card table and psychic stuff.

"I know," Sunshine said wistfully as she bookmarked the page of her romance novel Born in Sin and set it aside. "I’ve been preoccupied the last few days. Sorry."

Selena spread a purple cloth over her card table. "So do I get to learn anything about this guy? Want me to do a reading for you?"

Sunshine sighed as she scooted off her stool to help Selena set up her signs. "I don’t know much about him except he’s a giant blond biker sex god who eats nothing but junk food, has a ton of money, lives in the swamp, and knows your brother-in-law, Kyrian… Oh, and he knows Grace’s husband too."

Selena’s face went pale. She looked up, startled. "Talon? You’ve been seeing Talon? More than once?"