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  • Home > Jacquelyn Frank > Shadowdwellers > Pleasure (Page 11)     
  • Pleasure(Shadowdwellers #3)(11) by Jacquelyn Frank
  • “We all die, Sagan. Even we supposed immortals. A streak of light could destroy dozens of us all in an instant. Should we hold back and live lesser lives because of that possibility? No. We have a care and don’t live recklessly, but we live. And so will she for quite some time. Are you too afraid to love a woman who will expect you to stay near her as she ages and withers? Are you going to avoid her life for fear of her death?”

    “No! No…every instant of those nine days I spent with her is precious to me and any moment I am given now is a dream I didn’t want to hope for. I told you!” Sagan laughed. “I told you it was fate! I knew it all along, but I just couldn’t see how to make it work. I needed to come back so you could!”

    Sagan leapt the distance between them, grabbed hold of Magnus, and kissed him soundly on his temple in his burst of utter delight. Bemused, Magnus watched the usually placid priest leap up with a shout.

    “And as for children…” Magnus segued loudly.

    Sagan stopped moving and jerked around to look back at the priest.

    “Children,” he echoed. He had forgotten about that.

    “You have one of two choices, as I see it. You continue to drink the tea that makes our men infertile for all of her childbearing years, or…”

    “Or…?” There was an or? How could there be an or?

    “Or you decide to live a total ’Dweller’s life together, here, where a hybrid child would always be safe and healthy in the darkness. The human world would have to be completely out of the equation. She would have to live like we do and raise her child as we raise ours. There is time to decide these things, of course, but I thought—”

    “Wait. Are you saying our people would welcome a human woman among them? And any half-breed children she has?”

    “They would have to, or I imagine they will find themselves answering to you,” Magnus said with amusement. “I believe you could earn great renown as a guard for the Chancellors. They could use a man of your skills that they could trust. Especially Malaya, whose religion means so much to her. Just as it means a great deal to you. Sagan, there are so many ways you can serve your gods without being a priest. Your gods have never been uncompromising or cruel, you know that. They just…make you work for your rewards every so often.”

    “I think you’re right.” Sagan frowned. “But you need me, Magnus. With so many priests dead…”

    “That is my responsibility, not yours. There are some young ones who are ready to advance. As for a penance priest to replace you—that will definitely take some time. I will not see your equal again for many years, I’m afraid. But you can help me train our first penance handmaiden.”

    “Dae?” Sagan laughed, his grin wide. “Gods help the Sinners. She’s a fearfully vicious thing with that berserker power of hers. But I will gladly assist where I can. I can see her taking my place. And who better than a woman! Your woman. I knew she was going to be one to reckon with when, green as she was, she struck down a disloyal penance priest in a single blow.”

    “True,” Magnus agreed with a proud chuckle for his religious wife. “And so I go to speak with the Chancellors.” Magnus turned and walked away several steps before turning back.

    “And Sagan? This time take some proper clothing, supplies, and a damn snowmobile.”

    “Yes, M’jan,” Sagan said, pressing a palm to his heart and giving the other man the deepest of bows in respect.

    Then he ran to get ready.

    Chapter Seven

    Sagan crashed through the door of the darkened cabin when he could see no sign of life within. She had kept the windows sealed and as he looked around he could see the bulbs were still removed from their sockets. He was grateful the house was small as he searched for her with all speed.


    He took solace as he tripped over Fat Baby. It meant she hadn’t left. She would never leave the cats behind. He burst into the bedroom and sighed with relief, shucking off his coat as he saw the lump under the covers and pillows. He kneeled onto the mattress and touched her, his whole being sighing in relief just to feel her again.

    “Val. Valera, baby, wake up.”

    She took pills. The matter-of-fact observation flew through Sagan’s head as Penchant leapt onto the bed. And by the way, just because we can talk to you, doesn’t mean we want to.

    “What do you mean by ‘she took pills’? You mean she overdosed? Tried to kill herself?” he demanded.

    Don’t be ridiculous. If she could survive that poisoning by magic, she can certainly survive you, Fat Baby drawled as he flopped onto the bed at Val’s feet. She couldn’t sleep without you anymore. She’d gotten so used to you holding her. See how she’s piled up the pillows? She hugs them to herself all night hoping it will help.

    It doesn’t. So she took sleeping pills, Ulysses reiterated. Why are you here?

    Yes, why did you come back?

    Go away. She cries because of you.

    Sagan was bombarded by angry feline accusations. Fat Baby even worked up the energy to hiss at him.

    “I want her to come with me. To be with me.”

    And what if you change your mind again?

    That isn’t fair.

    And you can’t leave us behind, Ulysses piped up.

    “I won’t leave anyone behind and I won’t change my mind. The Nightwalkers want to learn about her and good magic. She can show them that humans like her exist. She could learn all about Shadow the way she’s wanted to. She can be a part of reclaiming lost Witches who have turned to necromancy.”

    She would like that.

    That would be very worthy, Penchant mused.

    I still don’t like men. Especially ones that make Valera cry.

    “I’m sorry, Ulysses. I will work very hard to never make her cry again. I want to make her happy. I want to love her as long as she lives.”

    Not much time at all for you.

    Just a blink in your lifetime.

    She’ll get old and ugly and you won’t want her anymore.

    “That’s a lie. I won’t care. Just as long as I get to spend as much time with her as possible.” Sagan kicked off his boots and started to strip down.

    Well, this is mighty presumptuous, Fat Baby mused.

    I guess he’s serious about staying for a while.

    If he isn’t, we can scratch him while he’s naked and asleep.

    “Do that and I promise you will never see that tail of yours again,” Sagan warned Ulysses.

    Fine. But if you hurt her again, we’ll do some serious kitty mojo on you, Nightwalker.

    “If I hurt her that badly again, I’ll deserve it.” Sagan rounded the bed and slid beneath the covers. He gently pried the pillows free of her grasping hands and legs, and then eased close to her until he could draw her tightly against his heart.

    Valera woke up slowly, her eyes gritty from her drug-induced stupor of sleep. She twitched, itched her nose and then…

    With a gasp she jerked her head up and stared at her hand where it lay on the dark skin of a warm and vital-feeling chest. She could even feel his heartbeat under her hand. Confused, shocked, and dumbfounded, she looked up to find his face, all the while telling herself to wake up because she was really just being cruel to herself. But sure enough, there was Sagan’s beautifully familiar face, his features relaxed in sleep as if he’d never even thought about leaving her there all alone. Maybe that had been the dream? A nightmare, was more like it. She hadn’t stopped crying for days.

    She doubted herself and her reality again and reached for the edge of the covers, lifting them up and peeking to see the entire bottom half of him.

    “Wow,” she sighed with a smile. “I’ve got a helluva imagination.”

    She drew back the covers completely and sat up to study the full effect of the nude man in her bed once more. She reached out to touch his thigh, the intense power packed into his muscle feeling as real as real could get. She stifled a moan as she touched him, absorbing the sensation into all the tissues of her body that had become emaciated without his stunning input to sate them. Then she reached to stroke her fingertips up the length of his resting cock.

    His reaction was instantaneous. Whether he was awake or not remained to be seen, but his body remembered her either way. She watched with fascination as he grew and grew, turning harder as she continued to caress him.

    She should question his presence. She should make him explain himself. Or it could just be a dream and she should do things to him she did to him in her dreams. That last thought had the most appeal. She swung herself over him, kneeling between his knees, and bent over him to lick her tongue up his shaft. His cock finished filling out with a hefty twitch in response to her mouth as she started to kiss and lick him down his length. She would know in a minute if he was asleep or not. She licked her hand, wetting it thoroughly, and then slid it tightly over him as she tongued the head of his rigid penis. He was pulsing hard, but outside of a restless shift, he didn’t move or react. She knew him well enough by now to know he couldn’t keep still or quiet when she gave him head. Not if he were awake.

    She wondered how long he could sleep through it. Challenging herself, she took him into her mouth and sucked him deep to the back of her tongue. He jolted in his sleep, his legs kicking restlessly for a moment before he settled. Using the stroke of her hand and the seal of her mouth, she began to work on him in earnest. She felt large pearls of pre-cum spreading across her taste buds and she sighed happily at the realness of it. Sagan would drip the stuff all over her all of the time, making her feel erotically painted and primitively marked.

    But like this he just tasted so endlessly good and so vibrantly real. Her entire focus turned to making him come, milking him of every drop of reality she could muster. She would stake her claim and he would never, ever forget it. He’d never want to leave her again.

    Sagan woke up in a blind state of lust. Drugged with sleep and heavy with disorientation, he couldn’t hope to control the outcry of pleasure his body had to generate. He fumbled to sink his hands in coppery hair as she tortured him to the brink of climax within heartbeats. The heaven of her strongly drawing mouth was matched only to the stroke of her hand. But more than all of it was the sight of her. The sight of his Valera swallowing him as far as she could again and again and again.

    “Val!” he croaked. “Stop. Stop! I want…”

    But as she reached down to run her nails along his balls until his skin screamed with sensation, he realized this wasn’t at all about what he wanted. He threw his head back, his hips lurching upward and the ejaculation tearing free of his body so hard it felt like it came straight from his toes. He shouted her name, more than once, watching in wrenching pleasure as she swallowed him again and again.

    “Stop! Gods, Val, enough!” he rasped when he couldn’t bear another moment of her torturously sweet sucking. He fell back gasping for his breath, still struggling for orientation although he was really quite wide awake at that point.

    Then she was on top of him, kissing him so deeply he could taste himself in her mouth. He groaned under her hot passionate kisses, the feel of her naked, sizzling skin like heaven on earth.

    “Why are you here?” she demanded to know between breathless kisses and the silky slide of her body that worked to arouse his spent body all over again.

    “Because I love you. Because I can’t let you go. Because I found a way that I could keep you and you can keep me if you want to.”

    That got her attention and she slowed the tease of her slippery little body as she looked down at him.

    “You have five minutes to explain,” she said softly. “Then you better start fucking my brains out.”

    Sagan grabbed her, rolled her under him so he could pin her down, and used his five minutes very thoroughly as he punctuated every sentence of his proposal with a lick, a caress, or a kiss.

    “I’m afraid,” she admitted unsurprisingly. He had been expecting as much and didn’t blame her in the least. He took a long minute to respond, sucking on the hard point of a nipple until he was certain she had forgotten the topic entirely.

    “I’ll be with you every step of the way. So will the cats. And why didn’t you tell me Ulysses doesn’t like men?”

    She paused to look at him in surprise, but after a moment remembered who and what he was and brushed away the new revelation with a sigh as she brought him back down to her breast.

    “His last Witch turned necromancer and the group that seduced him to it, all males, tormented Ulysses before he could escape. He’s still trying to heal. Just don’t threaten him.”

    She saw him wince. “Sagan!”

    “Well, he started it! He mentioned me naked and his claws. That was enough information for me!”

    “I can’t believe they talked to you,” she said with a smile.

    “More like they read me the riot act.” He chuckled. “They are very protective of you.”

    “That’s sweet,” she sighed. She lay gently thoughtful beneath him as he paid soft tribute to her body in a series of kisses and caresses. “I haven’t been near a lot of people in ten years, Sagan. I don’t even know how I would react to a crowd of regular people…never mind supernatural ones. Oh, but,” she inhaled with excitement, “to learn the truth about who and what they are! And for them to learn about me!” Here she stopped short and with suddenly strong hands she pushed him back hard. Sagan instantly saw the storm of panic rushing through her. “I can’t!” she gasped. “What will they think of me? The Vampires a-and the Demons! No…I can’t!”

    “No one will hurt you, Valera. I won’t allow it. But you have to trust me when I say that your value as someone who has been cured of necromancy is well worth their forgiveness for what crimes you witnessed. I don’t expect everyone will welcome you without suspicion, but that is their right. And it will be your job to convince them that the lives of natural Witches and other misguided humans are worth saving if they can find a way. You can’t let them continue to kill people who might be like you. People who made a mistake, tasted a drug thinking it was something else, and became an addict before they realized it. Not if you can show them they can be reclaimed like you have been.”

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