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Dead Ice (Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter 24) Laurell K. Hamilton 2022/8/5 17:00:50

"But I thought we were almost done with the design."

"He said that he has some new ideas," I said.

"Something about wanting to capture love in the rings, or something like that," Jean-Claude said, waving a hand vaguely in the air. He looked harmless and almost foppish, the way he'd hidden his power for centuries among the other vampires. He was just handsome and seductive, nothing else to see, move along, move along.

"Well, I'm sure my master knows best; he is the greatest metal-smith in the world." She smiled happily and simply began to repack all the jewelry. She never questioned our word, or that her master might simply use her like a puppet and change all their plans. It probably happened often enough, because Melchior had been an "artist" for a few thousand years. It gave you an attitude. I wondered how Irene would feel about his new inspiration.

We waited while she packed and the guards let her out. They'd make sure that her personal guards who had been made to wait in the back were at

her side before she took that much bright and shiny outside the Circus. It would suck to have her mugged on the way back to her master now that he loved her.

When we were alone in the room, I turned to Jean-Claude. "Did he really love her all along?"

"But you don't know so."

"Did you make him fall in love with her?"

He gave that Gallic gesture that was almost a shrug, but not quite. "We lifted the veil and allowed him to see the brightest jewel in his collection, that is all."

"And we're both tired of people discounting me because I'm your human servant."

"Are you really going to make me wear a tiara for the wedding?"

He smiled like some fallen angel trying to sell you ice cubes in hell. "Well, ma petite, it would be churlish of us to strip him bare enough to fall in love and then insult his art."

I looked at the ceiling, took in a deep breath, let it out, and said, "Fuck, you didn't tell me we had to wear crowns."

"You will look lovely, ma petite."

I gave him a narrow look. "If I have to wear one, you have to wear one."

He gave that almost-shrug again. "Very well."

I frowned at him, and then a thought made me try to fight not to smile at him, but I finally gave up. "Why do I think the thought of wearing a crown has been a goal of yours for a few centuries?"

He smiled, and then finally grinned wide enough to flash the edge of dainty fangs. "It has been my experience that if you have the responsibility of leadership, you might as well have the jewelry to go with it."

I laughed and went to him. "I love you, you know that?"

"Are we actually going to say I do as part of the vows?"

"Come sit in my lap again and we will discuss it."

"I think if I sit in your lap again without witnesses, we'll get distracted." But I smiled when I said it.

"This meeting has run surprisingly short, and we are left with a hole in our schedule; whatever shall we do with the extra time?" he said, holding his hand out to me.

"Hmm . . . let me think," I said, walking closer.

He pulled me onto his lap, and my arms were just suddenly around him, as if they were made to fit that way. "Je t'aime, ma petite."

"I love you, too, Jean-Claude," I said, just before I kissed him.

WE LOVED OURSELVES out of some of our clothes, but not all. Our jackets had gone first, and then my belt had to go so we could put my gun carefully in a drawer. It was the only thing that couldn't just be thrown off to land wherever. I'd had a few moments where my gun had gone missing in a pile of clothes, and I had to dig for it when I needed it to protect us--so the gun was carefully placed. Our shirts were in a pile on the floor with the jackets. We only had about an hour until I had to be at a cemetery raising the dead for clients, and Jean-Claude would need to be at Guilty Pleasures lending his voice to the acts onstage. Besides, the leather pants he was wearing were one of those pairs that you had to peel down his body with lots of straps in the way. I'd learned that some clothing was better admired than stripped out of, just as some clothes that looked just as complex had a trick that made them fall off onstage at the appropriate moment. I unfastened the front of those pettable pants, and was fighting to slide my hands inside them, but Jean-Claude caught my hands in his and shook his head.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"Ma petite, I have not fed tonight."

He smiled. "I know your penchant for going down on men when they are small, and I would stay small for you until you allow me to take blood, but I do not have the patience for it tonight. Our time is too short for that much foreplay."

I sighed, and looked down at our hands sort of bunched at the top of his pants. "Okay, but I need some foreplay. I'm not really in the mood for a quick-quickie."

"I would not dream of it," he said, lifting my hands up, so that I wasn't trying to fish inside his pants. He laid a light kiss on each of my hands and then a firmer kiss on my mouth. His lips were already scarlet with my lipstick. It was a great color on him, actually.

He slid just the very tips of his fingers inside the edge of my blue satin bra. "This is a new color for you, ma petite; I approve."

"It matched the shirt," I said, and it did, but I also knew that it was a push-up bra that mounded my breasts up like an offering. The feel of his fingertips lightly brushing back and forth just inside the bra was distracting, but not too much, not yet.

He was looking at my breasts as he said, "Such bounty deserves attention."

"The bra matches the underwear," I said, enjoying the almost mesmerized look on his face as he stared at my breasts; he'd only recently confessed to being a breast man. It had prompted me to buy some bras I might have avoided just so I could see this look on his face.

His eyes came up to meet mine, and his smile was almost a grin, but he worked hard to not flash fangs when he smiled, so it stayed a little less happy than he seemed to be. "Oh, then I must see them together."

"I was hoping you would."

He dropped, gracefully, to his knees. I'd have just knelt, but he made it almost a dancing movement, as if there should have been a soundtrack to every movement he made. He slid his hands up along each of my thighs, working the material of my skirt upward as he did it, so that he revealed the matching underwear slowly, as if there were an audience to tease. He'd be helping some of the acts onstage tonight and his mind had already settled into that more theatrical theme. I didn't mind; it just seemed a shame to waste the show without an audience. If I'd been half the exhibitionist that Jean-Claude was, I could have made more money on stage than as a U.S. Marshal.

He worked my skirt up until it was bunched around my waist and the blue underwear gleamed in the office lights. He looked up at my breasts and back down at parts that were much closer to his face now. "They match perfectly," he said, and his voice was a little lower, a little softer.

"I've learned from the master," I said. "My master." I said the last part with a lift of my eyebrow and couldn't quite keep the sarcasm out of my voice.

He leaned in toward my thigh. "Some see the fact that you will never say that and mean it as a weakness on my part." He laid his cheek against my leg, those drowning deep blue eyes staring up at me, down the length of my body.

"Do I apologize for that?" I asked; my pulse had already sped up and he'd barely touched me.

"No, ma petite, I did not want a slave. I wanted a partner, and that you have given me in so many ways."

He traced one fingertip along the edge of my panties, such a light touch, but I knew what those long, gifted fingers could do, so even that touch made me catch my breath. He played his finger along the very edge of the panties in that hollow inside my thigh, so that he was tantalizingly close to other things. He moved his fingers to the front of my thigh and slipped them just inside the blue satin, so that he traced the edge of my thigh as he'd traced my breasts just moments ago. He laid a gentle kiss on the mound of me inside my panties, then reached up and began to slowly pull them down.

My eyes were already soft focused, my breath and pulse faster, and he'd barely done anything, but it was the memory of all the other times that got him the reaction. Good sex was like money in the bank; if you made regular and sizable deposits, you earned more interest. Jean-Claude had earned a lot of interest over the years.

He pulled my panties down to my ankles, so they rode just above my high heels. I would have asked him to take them the rest of the way off, but he kissed the bare skin of me, just above the places I most wanted him to touch, and it stole my words, and damn near stole my breath. The skin really was bare now. I'd fought shaving completely for years, but it had been a request to just try it, and if I didn't like it, it would grow back. It was as if everything was more heightened to touch and especially to oral w

ithout the hair to interfere, or maybe you could just lick and suck better with nothing between the mouth and the body. Besides, I didn't like picking pubic hair out from between my teeth either.

He licked the edge just above that spill into even more intimate parts. He teased back and forth, tracing the edge of me without ever going deeper, until I whispered, "Please."

He rolled those midnight-blue eyes up at me, and then rose back just enough to say, "Please, what, ma petite?" But he slid his fingers across the parts of me I'd been wanting him to kiss, and that stole my words away. I couldn't think; all I could do was feel what he was doing between my legs. I fought my way back to being verbal, opened my mouth, and he plunged one finger inside me. I managed to gasp out, "Not fair."

"Oh, I think it is very fair," he said, smiling, his eyes full of that dark light that has nothing to do with vampire powers and everything to do with being male. He used his free hand to lean me so hard against the desk I was almost sitting on it. He moved his finger back to playing with the intimate bits that weren't inside, and lowered his mouth back to me, so that he was licking just in front of where his fingers caressed. That delicious pressure began to build where he was licking and touching. I breathed his name like a prayer. He started licking faster, over and over on that one sweet spot, while his fingers played lower, and I was suddenly over the edge and screaming my orgasm before I'd had time to think about whether I wanted to be quiet here in the office.

He kept licking, drawing out the orgasm, and slipped his finger inside me, making it go in and out of me fast, reaching for that spot just inside, so that while I was still writhing from the first orgasm he brought me with the second kind, and I stopped screaming, because I was too lost to sensations. It was almost as if my body couldn't decide which orgasm to follow. As if he understood that, he stopped licking and just used his fingers, driving them in and out of me fast and solid until I screamed a new orgasm for him. I felt his lips on the inside of my thigh, his free hand gripping the outside of it, but his other hand kept going in and out of me, like juggling multiple balls. I stared down my body at his dark hair, his face buried against me. I felt his hand on my thigh tense, a moment of hesitation from his other hand, and then he bit me, and a second later I felt the fangs pierce me, but it was lost in the orgasm so that the feel of his teeth, his mouth locking on my skin and sucking hard and tight was just part of the pleasure until I wasn't sure which was making me orgasm: his fingers, or his bite. Then he was standing, pushing me back onto the desk with my legs dangling over the side. My panties were lost on the floor somewhere as he pulled himself free of the leather pants, so I had a moment of seeing him long and hard and ready, before he pushed himself inside me. His voice came out strained. "So wet, so tight, so sweet, ma petite."