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Lucas made a noise of disgust that made his position clear.
“I’d like to do as much as we can before Kathryn has to get back to the city,” Cyn continued. “And then I can come back by daylight and do a more thorough search.”
Raphael didn’t say anything, but he wasn’t happy about her coming out here without him, and he didn’t try to hide it.
“I’ll be careful,” she promised, clearly understanding the source of his concern. “And I’ll have Robbie with me. You know his instincts are even better than mine when it comes to sensing danger. And it’s not like anyone can sneak up on us out here in the middle of nowhere.”
He studied her a few minutes longer, then nodded reluctantly. She smiled, rising up on her toes to kiss him lightly. “Don’t worry,” she whispered directly into his ear. “I’ll tuck you into bed first.”
If they’d been alone, she’d have been naked and on her back already. But since they weren’t, he satisfied himself with a warning glare, which only made her laugh. Clearly, she was in terror of his retribution.
“One thing puzzles me,” Cyn said, stepping back to include Lucas and Kathryn in the conversation. “You said Magda worked closely with you, Lucas. So why would she aim a bomb at what she knew was a fortified building?”
“She didn’t know,” Lucas said simply. “Most of my vamps have never been out here, and of the ones who have, only Mason and Nick are aware of the extra security measures. There’s an underground bunkhouse out back where my guards sleep, so there’s no need for them to come in the house. And Magda never liked the place. Said it was too primitive. She hasn’t been out here since we put the furnishings in, which was well before we added the enhanced security.”
Cyn nodded her understanding, but what Raphael found most interesting about Lucas’s comments, was that he had no qualms about revealing his security arrangements while Aden was in the room. That indicated a level of trust which spoke directly to Lucas’s confidence in Aden, and it made Raphael’s opinion of Aden go up a notch, despite his blindness when it came to women.
“Okay, we need to check out the scene,” Cyn was saying. “Kathryn, I have a flashlight in my purse, but just one, and these guys never need them.”
“Hey,” Kathryn said in mock affront. “Don’t you watch TV? I’m an FBI agent. I always have a flashlight with me.” She disappeared into the bedroom, emerging a moment later with the same kind of Mini Maglite that Cyn carried. Raphael couldn’t help noticing the similarities between the two women, and he only hoped Kathryn tormented Lucas as efficiently as Cyn did him. The thought made him smile.
“I hate to break up the party,” Lucas said dryly, when the women were gone, “but it’s getting late. Kathryn will be going back to the city this morning, but, Raphael, I’ll have to stay at the main house today. We don’t know yet what damage this place has suffered, and given the situation—”
“This is your home, Lucas. Your territory. In any event, Cyn and I will leave for Chicago at sundown.”
Everyone was being polite, Raphael thought to himself, but the truth was that vampire lords were too aggressive and territorial to play well together, especially when visiting another’s territory. The annual Council meetings typically lasted only a few hours, with the various lords flying in for the meeting and leaving just as quickly. This year’s meeting in Chicago would last longer because of the challenge, but since the city was part of the Midwest and currently no one’s territory, the strain would be lessened.
There was also the fact that under Raphael’s guidance, the members of the Council were slowly becoming allies, rather than enemies. They couldn’t erase their vampire instincts, but they could blunt them long enough to get along and work toward a common goal. Which was why Raphael had maneuvered all of them into this situation in the first place. If the European vampires had left him and his alone, he would have been happy ruling nothing but his Western territory with Cyn at his side. But he was nobody’s victim. If Europe wanted a fight, they’d get one. And they’d discover the bitter taste of defeat.
But for today, Raphael and Lucas would sleep in the same house, albeit as far from each other as physically possible. It helped that Lucas was Raphael’s child, and that he was willing to submit to Raphael’s will if it came down to it. But despite their love for each other, it would be stressful. It was necessary for this one day, but that was it.
The front door opened with a squeal of damaged wood, and Cyn stuck her head in.
“The replacement SUVs are here, and sunrise is about an hour away,” she said with obnoxious good cheer. “Time to rock and roll, my lords.”
* * * *
“Time to rock and roll?” Raphael repeated, as he locked down the elevator in their guest quarters.
Cyn laughed. “I considered going with saddle up, what with Lucas having horses and all, but decided to stick with the classic instead.”
“Classic is obviously a relative term,” Raphael commented drily.
“You’re being awfully calm about me going back out to the homestead this morning.”
“As you said, Rob will be with you, and I happen to agree with your reasoning. It is necessary to find and stop Magda before she can disrupt the challenge in Chicago. With all of the other lords present, the potential for disaster is fairly high. And that doesn’t take into account the challengers who will be on edge even without her machinations.”
Cyn narrowed her eyes at him. “Who are you?”
“My Cyn,” he said, stepping close to her and trailing a finger down her silken cheek. “I have finally come to understand that my attempts to control you only result in you engaging in ever more risky behavior in order to prove that I do not, in fact, control you. I have, therefore, changed my approach. I am capable of adapting, you know.”
“You, my love,” she drawled, “are one of the most adaptable people I have ever met. You have one goal, and that is to win. And you do whatever it takes to get there.”
“I would move heaven and earth to keep you safe, lubimaya.”
“I know,” she said, her eyes going soft. “Even though I could argue you’re controlling me by not controlling me.”
Raphael laughed. “If only we had time for that discussion,” he said with mock regret. “You did promise to tuck me into bed, however.”
“Hmm. So, I did.” She shrugged out of her jacket, letting it drop to the floor behind her, then stripped her sweater off over her head. “How much time do we have?” She walked toward him, her hips swaying seductively as she twisted the front clasp on her bra.
Raphael growled and stuck his fingers into the waist band of her jeans, pulling her closer as her bra fell open, baring her beautiful breasts. He rested a hand on her waist as he bent to take her mouth in a kiss. Her arms snaked around his neck as she leaned into the kiss and pressed the full length of her body against him.
Their tongues caressed each other in a dance that was both familiar and different every time. She tasted like Cyn, sexy and seductive and surprisingly sweet. He could smell the enticing scent of her blood, so very close to the surface of her satin skin, the delicious perfume of her arousal. He lowered his head to the curve of her neck and simply breathed her in. He loved this woman as he had never loved another, as he never would love another.
He bent suddenly and swung her up into his arms, unable to wait any longer. The sun wasn’t far away, and he needed to be inside her, needed to feel her bucking beneath him, to hear her cries as she came over and over again, helpless in the throes of their lovemaking.
Cyn laughed as he threw her onto the bed. He pulled her boots off, then began tugging at his own clothes.
“Strip,” he ordered. “I want you naked.”
Cyn blew a raspberry at him, but put her hands on her jeans, snagging her lacy underwear as she began a sexy shimmy that shoved them both over her hips and down her endlessly long legs. When they were around her ankles, Raphael bent and pulled them the rest of the way off, then wrapped his fingers around her calves and placed one knee on the bed between her legs.
He looked her over then, one eyebrow raised in a challenging stare as he slid his hands higher along the inside of her thighs, spreading her legs until she was completely open to him.
“Raphael,” she whispered, her breaths shallow, her heart pounding so loud that he didn’t have to strain to hear it as he watched her fingers twist into the elegant silk of the bed’s coverlet.
“My Cyn,” he crooned, pressing his hand to the slick wetness between her legs, spreading the swollen lips of her vagina, and leaning close enough that his hard cock stroked teasingly against the satin skin of her inner thigh.
“I thought you said …” She panted a little to catch her breath, trying to finish her sentence. “You said,” she repeated breathlessly, “there wasn’t much time.” Her last word ended on a cry as he slipped a finger into the delicious heat of her sex, while his thumb rubbed slow circles around her sensitive clit.
Cyn groaned and tried to reach for him, but he only smiled. She swore and palmed her own breasts instead, pinching her nipples until they were full and ripe as cherries, until he could almost see the blood pulsing between her fingers.
It was his turn to swear. Leaning forward, he flattened one hand beneath her upper back and lifted her breasts to his mouth, sucking hard, first right then left, before biting one juicy nipple with a hungry growl. Cyn cried out, her nails digging furrows into the skin of his shoulders as her back bowed upward, offering herself to his mouth. Her hips thrust against him impatiently, her legs wrapped around his hips, pulling him into her heat.
Raphael reached between his legs with a snarl, and fisted his cock, wetting only the tip between her thighs, sliding it up and back, enjoying her small cries of frustration, until he finally positioned himself and entered her with a firm thrust. Plunging as deep as he could go, feeling the trembling sheath of her body as it parted before his invasion, then wrapped him in a hot, wet embrace.