Passion Untamed

Page 3


The faint scent of her arousal stole across his senses, tripping a wild rage inside him. How many times had Ancreta forced him to rise for her, then impaled herself on his unwilling body before beginning the torture of trying to free him from his animal?
Placing her palms on the waist-high rock, the witch pulled herself up and knelt between his legs with a swish of soft cotton.
Paenther went feral, that place halfway between man and beast where his fangs erupted, his claws unsheathed, and his black eyes turned the glowing green of a jungle cat's.
"You touch me, you die."
The witch laced her fingers together in her lap tight enough to turn her knuckles white. The sympathy and remorse in her blue eyes almost seemed real. "I've been where you are. I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy." She leaned forward, her voice strong and low, and laced with steel. "I know you don't believe me, but you aren't my enemy."
"You are mine," he bit out.
She sighed. "I know." Sitting back on her heels, she loosened the knot of her hands. "I'm sorry. I have to touch you, but I won't touch you there." Her gaze caressed his shaft. "Not unless you want me to."
"I'll kill you first."
With a single nod, she splayed her cool palms lightly across his bare thighs. With that simple touch, sensation rippled across his flesh, a heady, electric heat that sent the blood surging through his veins. He fought the desire that blasted him, clawing to hang on to the icy control that had molded his life, but his mind betrayed him as thoroughly as his body. All he could think of was the way her silken thighs had felt beneath his hands as he'd spread her in the woods, as he'd entered her.
The scent of violets washed over him. The sight of her mouth, ripe and unsmiling in that delicate face, reminded him of the taste of her kiss, like clear, sweet raindrops. Even knowing what she was, even knowing she'd lured him into her trap with a siren's song of lust, he couldn't stop wanting her.
Her palms slid along the tops of his thighs, across his flesh as if he were an animal to be petted. It was all he could do not to purr. Without his consciously willing it, his fangs and claws retracted.
"You hid your Mage eyes," he snarled instead.
Her mouth twisted in a wry, frustratingly engaging shadow of a smile. "You wouldn't have come with me otherwise."
Paenther tried to growl, but the feel of her hands was doing things to him in parts of his body that had nothing to do with sex. Almost as if she were soothing the rage burned into his soul by Ancreta all those years ago.
"You're beautiful," she murmured. "Your skin is warm as the sun. Your hair like black silk." Her words flowed over him, as irritatingly pleasing as her touch. "The animal inside you purrs."
Paenther froze. Dammit, he hadn't even tried...Closing his eyes against her, he called on the magic deep inside him and tried to shift, praying his panther's paws would be able to slide free of his shackles.
Nothing happened.
As he opened his eyes, the witch's copper blue gaze met his. "The manacles steal your power, warrior. You can't shift as long as you wear them."
"How long have you known I was a Feral?"
"I knew the first time I saw you. I felt the animal inside you. Just now, I felt you call to the power he gives you."
He scowled. "You couldn't possibly have felt that."
She watched him with those eyes as deep as the oceans, but said nothing.
His body went rigid as a thought occurred to him. He hadn't been alone. What if Foxx had been captured, too? He forced himself to look into the siren's face, guarding himself against the tug of her beauty, steeling himself for her answer.
"How many of us did you catch?"
"Just you, warrior. Your companion got away."
He stared at her, wanting to feel relieved yet not trusting her at all. Still, maybe Foxx had escaped. He would call Lyon, and they'd initiate a rescue. He hated the thought of his unbridled lust putting his brothers in danger; but knowing the others would come, that he wasn't doomed to spend the rest of his life here, helped calm his storm-tossed mind.
His thoughts evaporated as the witch leaned over him, her dark, sleek head dipping toward his body as if she intended to take him in her mouth.
The growl that erupted from his throat was that of an animal, dark with warning, even as part of him longed for the feel of her wet tongue stroking his length. But her lips landed well to the right of his heavy erection, brushing a light, damp kiss on his hip bone.
Paenther sucked in a hard breath, sweat beading at his temples. Even that small brush of her lips sent heat rushing through his body. His arms shook as they strained against their bonds, his driving need shifting from retribution to pulling her on top of him and burying himself in her heat.
How could he want her so badly when he hated her so violently? She was a fire in his blood. A need raging out of control.
The heady musk of her arousal thickened in the air, and he knew he wasn't the only one feeling the desire. She lifted her gaze, heat a living thing in her eyes. The woman was a potent, dangerous blend of false innocence and a siren's temptation. His body burned to possess her again.
She bent down, her mouth trailing soft, damp kisses along his hip to his thigh, her lips inches from the base of his hard, throbbing shaft. He wanted her to touch him, to take him into her mouth with a need bordering on desperation. But he would never admit it. Never.
What is she doing to me?
A flash of dark light near the ceiling jerked his thoughts from the pleasure arcing through his body. He frowned at the dark, pulsing sphere that clearly wasn't a lightwick. His eyes narrowed with recognition. A power orb. Scanning the ceiling, he saw others nestled high against the ceiling, pulsing with light, throbbing to the beat of his pounding heart. As if they were somehow feeding off him.
Or feeding off the passion riding him.
"You're collecting power," he accused.
She looked up, her lids heavy, her lips damp. Sexy as hell. "That's the reason you're here."
He stared at her, unsure if her words relieved him or infuriated him more. His only purpose for being here was to fill those orbs with his lust? To be chained and petted by a beauty of a witch until he was out of his mind with wanting?
No way in hell. He knew the Mage too well to believe for a single moment the answer was that simple.
"What are you going to do with the energy once the orbs are filled?"
She raised up and sat back on her heels, shrugging delicately even as her chest rose and fell on rapid, shallow breaths. "I don't know. It's for Birik. All I know is that if we don't raise enough...he won't be pleased." Her gaze rose to the ceiling, as if studying the orbs and measuring the results of her play. "It's not enough."
As one soft hand moved back to his thigh, she reached up and covered her breast, squeezing the small mound through her dress. She gasped, her back arching as her head tilted back. His cock jerked with a hunger of its own.
The scent of desire swirled around him. Heat rushed through his blood, pooling in that one part of his anatomy until he was thick and throbbing and nearly out of his head with needing her.
He struggled to turn his mind elsewhere. "Who's Birik?" Even his voice strained against the driving desire to feel her tight around him.
Slowly, she released her breast and lifted her hand off his thigh to rake both sets of fingers through her short hair. With a shuddering breath she said, "He's the archsorcerer in charge of this stronghold and ruler of all who reside here. He reports to the Elemental himself."
"And he wants the power from these orbs?"
Power from passion. He'd never heard of dark power raised in such a way, but he knew little about Mage orbs. Less still about the use to which they might try to put that energy.
What if they were making some kind of weapon to use against the Ferals? The thought made him ill. What if he'd somehow become the instrument of the destruction of his brothers?
Goddess, he couldn't live with this. He couldn't let this happen.
She looked up at the ceiling again and sighed. "It's enough."
With a last featherlight pat to his thigh, the beauty climbed off the stone and walked to the door with a natural, barefooted grace, leaving him hard and distended and throbbing.
Witch. Fury burned inside him. But as she disappeared out the portal, it took every ounce of control he possessed not to call her back.
Chapter Two
Skye fled the cell that served as her bedroom and hurried through the passages that twisted and turned through the rock following eons of water erosion. The open areas and passages of the cavern remained in their natural state, though Birik's extensive quarters and most of the bedchambers, kitchens, and ritual rooms had been transformed into comfortable living areas complete with furniture, carpeting, wallpaper, and more.
Only Skye lived in an unadorned cell within the rock, though she spent as little time there as possible. Most of her days she stayed outside in the woods, or wandering among the unused parts of the cave, where she headed now.
Low in her body, unrelieved passion made her throb and ache. Regret for her part in the capture of the beautiful shape-shifter ripped at her heart.
At last she reached the dagger fields, the raw, uncleared part of the caverns where the daggerlike stones, the stalagmites, rose from below as their counterparts hung from above. The air smelled of cool, damp limestone with the only trace of lightwick smoke from the single flame that floated behind her, lighting the darkness. Few Mage ever ventured this deep into the caves. It was here she came to think when she wasn't in the forest. Lowering herself to a small, dry patch of stone tucked into the curve of a low wall, she struggled to gather her wits, wits that had scattered to the winds with the first touch of the man's thighs beneath her palms.
Pulling her knees tight against her chest, she buried her face in her skirt and shook. Her body wanted, it needed what she'd found with him in the woods earlier. That temporary, explosive quenching of the fire that had burned inside her from the first moment she'd seen him in the Market two days ago.
Birik had warned her that shape-shifters would be coming. He'd sent her to watch for them, ordering her to choose one for her own. Nothing good would come of it for either her or the shifter, she'd known that. But she'd long ago quit fighting her fate and accepted that she could never thwart one of Birik's commands.
So she'd done as directed and begun to haunt the small human Market, waiting for her prey. When he'd first stepped into the store, she'd felt the Earth come to a stop, as if the very air had caught its breath. Though she'd pretended to be engrossed in the magazine in her hand, she'd been excruciatingly aware of him with his huge, leather-clad body, his arresting face with the high, pronounced cheekbones and savage claw marks across his eye, and the feeling of fierce, tense control rolling off him in waves.
And when he'd turned that dark gaze on her, her knees had gone weak even as she'd been filled with a strange, shimmering joy. She'd felt herself smile even as her pulse had threatened to race away. It wasn't until after he'd left the store that she'd realized she'd felt his animal. And realized what he was. That he was one of the very creatures Birik had sent her to capture. But by then it was too late.
At the realization, her heart had pounded as confusion clouded her mind. Deep inside, she'd known he was hers. But taking him meant Birik would have him, too.
When he'd returned the next day, he'd walked straight to her, where she'd waited at the corner of the building.
She'd been so overwhelmed by his wild, masculine presence and her own confusion, she'd said nothing, merely backed around the corner, knowing he'd follow. And he had. He'd stared at her with such hunger in his eyes. The animal inside him had leaped in greeting, rubbing itself warmly against her mind.
Walking into his arms had been the most natural thing she'd ever done. The moment their mouths had touched, passion had exploded. All thought had flown from her head as she'd drunk of his clean, wild taste, diving her fingers into his silken black hair. Time had ceased to exist, Birik and his demands all but forgotten.
She'd felt this wild need rising inside her. And he'd known it. His hand had slid beneath her skirt, between her thighs. As one long finger burrowed deep inside her, she'd felt a pleasure she'd barely been able to credit. A pleasure so intense, she'd wondered if she could die from it. And she'd wanted him as she'd never wanted another.
But Paenther's redheaded friend had come looking for him, and she'd run.
That was yesterday. Today they'd finally mated, a joining she'd never believed possible. Without pain. Without cruelty. And she'd rewarded him for his tenderness by enthralling him, trapping him in a captivity from which he'd never escape. Now he hated her, hated her, with a vehemence that tore tiny strips from her soul.
Pressing her back against the rock, she raked trembling fingers through her hair, aching with regret and bitterness. He was hers, all right. Her prisoner. Her enemy.
If only she could have saved him. But if she'd sent him away, Birik would only have forced her to capture another. Birik always got his way. Always.
She'd had to choose a Feral.
And from the moment she saw him, she'd known this Feral was the only man she would ever want.
Paenther's gaze remained fixed on the door as he waited for the witch's return. Part of him, the part that hated, never wanted to see her again. But another part of him hungered for the sight of her. For another whiff of her violet scent. And he both dreaded and craved another touch of her hands. She'd woven her spell of enchantment over him but good, there was no doubt about it.