The Darkest Craving (Page 40)

The Darkest Craving (Lords of the Underworld #10)(40)
Author: Gena Showalter

Her eyes widened. “You can’t.”

He leaned down until his lips hovered just over hers. “Try me. Please.”

Red infused her cheeks and she glanced back at the shop owner.

How could he have forgotten about Rhoda?

Straightening, he met the older woman’s shrewd stare. “Where she goes, I go, and that’s non-negotiable.”

A nod, and the woman turned away, saying, “Please, follow me.”

Kane peered down at Tink. “This is for your own good, I promise you. I can’t take the chance you’ll leave, and I won’t allow anyone to hurt you.”

“That’s great, wonderful, but this is going to ruin my reputation,” she muttered. “Worse than it already has.”

“I’m sorry for that.” But it had to be done. “I’ll think of something to fix it.”

“Before or after men start seeing me as more than a blood slave?”

A direct hit. Jealousy bloomed, hot and razor-sharp. “That happens, and men will start dying.”


“Sweetheart, I need you to stop stalling.” He gave her a little push, forcing her to move forward. He trailed behind her. They entered a small room in back, where another girl bustled about, moving drapes of fabric out of the way, revealing a chair for Kane and a stepstool for Josephina.

A stepstool perched in front of a three-sided mirror.

He eased into the cushioned seat. A pin stuck him in the back, and he grimaced.

In record time, Tink was stripped to bra and panties, and he noticed both garments were woven from plain white cotton. Molding to her. Hiding the details of her femininity from him…begging him to seek. He was unable to cloak his reaction, every inch of him hardening. Her body was a work of art, slender, yet so beautifully curved. Bronzed to perfection, without any kind of tan line. Toned from the amount of work she was forced to do every day.

He gripped the edges of his chair to keep from reaching for her.

He could help himself. He could.

The seamstress attempted to remove Tink’s gloves, but she shook her head.

“They stay.”

Rhoda looked to him for confirmation.

He nodded. Maybe Tink could control her ability to absorb another person’s strength and abilities, maybe she couldn’t, but they wouldn’t be taking any chances until he found out.

Tonight, he would find out.

She would have to put her hands on him. On his skin.

The arms of the chair cracked.

Tink was measured and fitted with different fabrics to discover which one felt the best to her. Once the decision was made, the two seamstresses began the arduous process of cutting and sewing the dress.

Toward the end, Tink’s stomach began to growl.

“Hungry?” he asked, with a tinge of guilt. He should have fed her before bringing her here. Being classified as a servant, she probably wasn’t given proper meals.

Disaster chuckled with delight.

Never again, Kane thought.

“I’m starved,” she replied, still not daring to meet his gaze.

“I have food,” Rhoda said, and waved her assistant away.

The girl puttered from the room, returning several minutes later with a rolling cart piled with sandwiches, cookies and a pitcher of tea.

Tink appeared dazed. “For me? Really?”

How eager she sounded, when such treatment should have been an everyday occurrence for her.

Should, should, should. He was already sick of the word. From now on, he was going to take such good care of her.

“For you,” he said.

Holding the new, as yet unfinished dress to her chest with one hand, she reached out with the other and claimed a sandwich. He watched her as she ate, the way her eyes closed in surrender, the way a smile curled the corners of her lips, the way she chewed and savored.

So lovely. So sensual, even without meaning to be. So mine…

His skin prickled, and maybe he moved. Maybe he spoke. Her gaze lifted to meet his. Her lips parted on a startled exhalation. Could she see the rawness of his need?

“Kane.” A breathy entreaty.

In that moment, the cry of the demon ceased to matter. The past faded, leaving only the present…the future, and the unstoppable tide of the pleasure to come. Every bone vibrated. He needed to get inside her. Here. Now.

It would be agony.

It would be ecstasy.

Tension coiled low in his gut, only to spring apart and jolt him into a stand. “Leave us,” he said, his voice a broken rasp.

No questions. No protests. The two seamstresses flittered from the room, shutting the door behind them.

The teapot shattered on the tray, dark liquid spilling everywhere.

Tink didn’t seem to notice, was too busy watching him. “I-is something wrong?”

Silent, he stalked toward her. A predator with a purpose. He was done resisting. Done thinking about all the reasons why not. Today, he was taking something.

Perhaps sensing the dark, greedy urges driving him, she straightened with a snap. Her breathing quickened. “Kane,” she said.

“Tell me to stop.” He stood a mere heartbeat away, their gazes locked together, trapped. Nothing else would halt the madness.

“I…I can’t.”

He breathed her in. The scent of cleaning supplies had faded, and she smelled of rosemary and mint again, sweet and innocent. Perhaps she could finally wash away the taint inside him. Or burn it away with passion—he could feel the intense heat radiating off her body. Perhaps she could melt the ice that had taken residence inside him.

Perhaps she could save him.

She swallowed, licked her lips. “Wait. I think you’re right. I think I should tell you to stop. This isn’t right.”

“No. It’s not. It’s necessary.”

I’ll hurt her, I swear I will.

Kane ignored the demon, pressing ever closer to Tink.

“Stop?” she said, a question when she’d probably meant it to be a statement.

“Too late.” Unless… “Have you ever been with a man?”

She gave a slow shake of her head.

That answer should have ended this.

It didn’t.

He should walk away.

He didn’t.

Possessiveness clawed at him, so sharp, so deep, he knew he would feel the wounds for the rest of eternity and be glad for it. He brushed his fingertips along her jawbone, and oh, she was just as soft and electrifying as he’d imagined. She nearly unmanned him when she leaned into the touch, seeking more intimate contact. He gave it to her, cupping the back of her neck, fisting her glorious hair, and forcing her gaze to stay with his.