Oakley House, Demon Kingdom
WHEN CECELIA VAN ZANDT FLUTTERED her eyes open, the first thing she saw was the bright blue sky through the enormous window on the east. Beautiful was the first word that came to her mind as she lay there marveling at the exquisite scenery of green woods and wildflowers, the smell of ripe fruits and blossoms, and the feel of the warm sunlight on her skin. In the distance, she could hear birds and crickets chirping, and instantly, her mind flashed back to those wonderful summer days years ago when she’d been back in Rosevalley Island, her home, with her family. Just as quickly, reality hit her like a splash of ice-cold water. Her heart raced. Her body became alert, and she was very much aware of what had transpired last night in this very large bed.
She was still a little sore, particularly down there where—
She shut her eyes again and gritted her teeth. She didn’t want to think of last night, but the images of the ruggedly handsome demon Drake McNamara refused to leave her mind.
She heard a chuckle and instantly knew he was there in the room with her. She had thought he’d left her alone after his successful, ardent seduction last night. But it appeared she was wrong.
A blush spread across her cheeks, and Cecelia clutched the blanket tighter against her naked body as she heard his light footsteps moving toward her. A moment later, she felt him sitting on the bed behind her.
Breathe, Celia, breathe, she told herself.
Her heart was still pounding madly when he said, “You’re finally awake, little thief?”
His voice, the deep timbre, did nothing to ease her awareness of him. She flashed her eyes open and turned her head, sucking in her breath once she saw him. He was wearing a white cotton shirt, unbuttoned and revealing his muscular chest. His dark breeches hung loosely about his long legs and waist, as if he’d just put them on in haste simply to cover himself as he went about the room. His chestnut-brown hair, a bit too long, was styled in a disheveled crop about his head and his face. He watched her, his gray eyes scrutinizing, pinning her where she was.
Cecelia thought about feigning sleep but knew it would be to no avail, as he’d already seen her looking at him.
“Yes, sire? What is it you want with me in such early hours of the morning?”
“Not early hours, little thief. Rather, ’tis nearly noon.” He grabbed ahold of the thin linen and pulled it off her person.
Cecelia gasped. “Sire!” she uttered, rushing off the bed to retrieve her cover.
Drake caught her wrist before she had the chance to touch the white material and roughly pulled her to him.
Totally and utterly naked as a newborn baby, Cecelia found herself sitting on the demon’s lap, her long dark hair in disarray about her person and her eyes large as she gazed up at him. She squirmed a little in his tight embrace as the warmth of his large body and his scent—pure male and spice and woods—did nothing to ease her fascination toward him. Even now, after she’d been in his presence numerous times, she was still overwhelmed at the sheer size of him. He was just simply too large and too hard for her peace of mind. His scowl, too, the scowl that would send many Dardanian men crying and begging for mercy, was still plastered on his face. It was odd that she was no longer afraid of that glare. Nay, she was in actual fact very used to it and thus expected it every time she saw him. And now was no different.
He pulled her closer, his warm, strong hand resting at the small of her back. She could feel him against her, the hardness and warmness of his lean body touching her soft one. Instantly, she felt her core heat up in response and became weak, as if she’d already surrendered to him.
Drake Oswald McNamara, demon king, gazed at the young human girl who had stolen his precious jewel, the Pearl of Life. For thirty years, since the seed came to life when he was born, no one had even dared to think about stealing it. For to commit such an unthinkable crime, the punishment was death. And this slip of a girl had disregarded the penalty, stolen the jewel, and used it for her own selfish reason. Now she had to pay the price. Death, however, was not on the agenda, and Drake had other plans for her yet.
He ran his fingers through her long hair, stroking the strands gently and then flipping them over her slender shoulder. Under the bright daylight, she was even more alluring, and it made his blood run hot with lust. He flicked his gaze to her flat belly, the belly that would soon be swollen with his jewel, his son, a future demon king. He noted the scar there to her right side just beneath her breast was quite prominent under the light. He brushed his finger across it, lightly caressing the mark of a healed wound from long ago.
Cecelia involuntarily gasped at his feathery touch as a delicious tremor coursed through her being.
He flicked his gaze to her and smiled. “You’re as sensitive as ever.”
Cecelia didn’t like his arrogant remark, nor did she like the smug expression on his face. “’Tis broad daylight, sire. Are you planning to—”
“Aye,” he said, touching her delicate chin.
“I refuse,” she said abruptly, brushing off his hand. Then before she lost all self-control under his masterful seduction, she shoved him back and rushed off his lap.
She wasn’t fast enough, and he caught her wrist again. With one fluid motion, he had her on her back and him on top of her. He chuckled, rather pleased at her retaliation.
“Playing hard to get again, are we? We both know where you’ll end up.”
Cecelia made an attempt to wriggle herself free. It was no use, as he was stronger, and the harder she struggled beneath him, the tighter he held on to her. It was made worse by the fact that he seemed to be rather enjoying toying with her.
Cecelia could feel him watching her, his hot, intense gaze burning her as he waited for her next move. Again, she struggled, letting out little grunting noises at the same time. He tightened his grip on her small wrists, squeezing her skin. She felt so helpless and at the same time, very frustrated.
He suggested, “Fight harder.”
This drew a glare from Cecelia, and he laughed. “Go on, little thief. Fight me.”
To encourage her retaliation, he tightened his grip on her even more, which shot pain through Cecelia, and she gritted her teeth. She responded with a growl. Then quick as lightning, surprising even Drake, she moved, opened her mouth wide, and snapped her teeth onto one of his hands that held her captive.
Drake watched, fascinated, as her small teeth sank deeper into his skin. Odd that he should enjoy the pain she was inflicting on him. He felt his heart pumping harder and faster, and his body—which was usually calm, collected, methodical, and to be sure, utterly immune to pain—buzzed with excitement. Blood began to ooze from his skin as he watched her, a smile creeping across his face, enjoying the moment tremendously.
Biting him for so long, her jaw would have to be sore by now, he thought. More blood ran from his injured flesh, and then he felt the pain. It slowly began eating at him. The slow, dull ache mixed with the burning pleasure was quite delicious and intoxicating.
Finally, he released her by pulling back his hand.
One hand freed, Cecelia made a move, her lips wet with his blood. She lifted her head and attacked Drake’s shoulder, sinking her teeth deep into his skin.
Drake was shell-shocked for a split second and then laughed softly. And here he thought she would have taken the opportunity to run off. Ah, but she really did surprise him, this mite of a human girl.
Cecelia didn’t know this demon king was enjoying her battle with him, and he was now gently embracing her, his large hand holding her at the nape of her neck as she ardently attacked him with her teeth.
Cecelia could taste his blood, salty and wet, in her mouth. She felt quite pleased with her small victory. Finally, very sure he would be begging for mercy now, she moved back. What she saw in his eyes the moment she faced him was nothing less than passion and hunger. Instantly, she felt her heart skip a beat and knew she was in trouble.
“My turn,” he said softly and crushed his lips against hers, his tongue plunging into her mouth.
Cecelia whimpered under his fervent kiss. She could taste his salty blood between them as their lips locked. Her body trembled weakly as he became wilder, thrusting and stroking his tongue vehemently inside her mouth, drawing her deeper into the darkness of his seduction. When he finally lifted his head, she was breathless and lightheaded from the experience.
He watched her as she tried to regain her sense.
“Don’t disobey your king again,” he said, fondly stroking her cheek with the backs of his fingers. Before she could respond to his arrogant remark, telling him he was not her king, he kissed her again.
He was softer this time, his lips warm and firm against hers, and suddenly, Cecelia felt herself lost. She couldn’t think. All she could feel was him—his warmth, his male scent, and his taste. She groaned, and Drake plunged his tongue deeper into her mouth.
Cecelia felt her core bursting as he played with her, wildly stroking her and exploring her. When he moved his head back, he continued his way down her throat. As he trailed lower to her breasts, Cecelia closed her eyes, losing herself once again to the seduction of the demon king.
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