Sylvain gasped at the snarled words coming from the wild thing that leapt from the shadows. The stranger who'd been about to kiss her was flung against the wall, his feet dangling off the floor, hands futilely plucking at the curved claw cutting off his air.
"Never. Touch. Her. Again."
It was Lux. She looked over to where she'd seen him last and saw the woman, still in the throws of passion. She seemed unaware that he had disappeared, too busy kissing the man beneath her as she rode her way to completion. Had she misunderstood? Had Lux just been feeding?
"S'il vous plait, oh God, please!" The gasping man was turning purple from lack of oxygen. The terror in his eyes reflected in the crowd frozen around them. His cry for help drew her attention and she pushed past the mass of bodies closing in around them to get to him.
"Lux. Lux, you have to stop now. You're killing him." Her hand on his arm seemed to bring him back enough that he loosened his grip. The man slid down the wall, his feet touching the ground as he gulped breath after grateful breath.
"He kissed you. Touched you. He has no right to look at what is mine." It was wrong of her to feel relief, joy at his possessive words and yet, she thrilled at his display.
Lux turned her way, his expression feral as he slid his arm roughly around her waist, dragging her up until she was straining on the tips of her toes, her nipples grazing his chest.
He took her mouth with near violent intent. She knew what he was feeling. He was marking her, claiming her. His lips and teeth and tongue were wiping away the memory of the other kiss, all evidence of it from existence.
Her body blazed with liquid fire. Yes. This was why she had come.
She could feel the heated gazes on them, knew they could scent her need thick in the air. She didn't care. She wanted him now. Wanted to open her mouth against his neck and mark him, tie him to her. The feelings welling inside her were so new, so primitive that she cried out with their force.
His head jerked up at the sound and he looked around at their audience. Several of them had moved closer, their eyes on his woman as if mesmerized. Something was definitely not right. They should be running in terror, not sidling closer as if awaiting their turn.
He felt his lips curl back in a snarl, but he released the man he still held in his grip. Denial screamed through his veins. He wanted to kill the son of a bitch. Drink him dry, rip his throat out.
The dark thoughts brought him back to his senses enough that he realized he had to get her out of here, before one of these leather clad humans decided to brave his wrath.
They would not live long enough to change their minds.
He kept his arm around her as he half carried, half dragged her to the door.
"Don't say a word."
They were out of the bar and at the edge of the woods before anyone realized they were gone. She had no idea Vampires could move so fast.
Lux pressed her against the nearest tree, the rough bark scraping against her back only exciting her more. His lip curled upward, the light sifting through the trees glinting off his menacing fangs.
She wasn't afraid. She struggled against him, not to escape. She wanted to be closer, to taste him again. Needed her mate.
"Where is Arygon? Why did he bring you here? Was there an attack?" His voice was harsh with need but he held her away from him. Those blue eyes were shuttered, closed off--his lips set in a grim line.
It hit her like a stake to her heart. He wasn't planning on finishing where that kiss in the bar left off. He didn't understand why she was here. Didn't care.
Unfamiliar rage consumed her. She was tired of being the helpless, hopelessly scorned female. He reacted as a lover, as if she were his possession when another touched her, but he wasn't willing to claim her as his own.
He abandoned her, left her in pained arousal with another unmated male and an unconscious chaperone. These were the actions of a mate?
"Let me go."
He studied her in silence. She didn't cower, glaring directly into his eyes until he released her and took one cautious step back. In an instant she was headed back toward the safety of the tunnels.
"Arygon is with Mysha where I left them. I'm sorry." Her voice cracked. "It was a mistake to come to you."
He watched her storm angrily through the brush, no attempt at stealth evident in her stride.
He knew something was wrong. That he had done or said something--again to hurt her. But he couldn't focus. A dark demon he hadn't even been aware of lived inside him. It was awake. And it was pissed.
His gaze lingered on her bare spine, those cream soft shoulders that looked like they would shatter in his grip. He knew he should have covered her. He had the ability to manipulate matter, clothe her.
He didn't want to. The sight of her, bare to the waist for his eyes alone was too satisfying to the demon.
Arygon had done this. Sent her alone into the night.
Lux thought about what could have happened to her, what almost happened before he'd been aware of her presence. Did that stupid pup not understand the danger stalking her?
How could he when you never told him? But logic wouldn't stop this blood rage. Sylvain was his to protect. And Dydarren had put her in danger.
They caught sight of the entrance to their hideaway. Arygon was there, pacing restlessly back and forth. He stilled, sniffing the air before turning in their direction, a smile of welcome freezing on his lips.
He took in the shivering, half naked Sylvain. She met his gaze in silence, angrily wiping the wetness from her cheeks before moving to walk past him without a word.
Arygon turned toward Lux, one eyebrow raised in disbelief. "Welcome back. I see that hard head of yours is still lodged firmly up your ass."
The demon in Lux attacked. A veil of red covered his eyes as he dove for Arygon. No magick. No elemental manipulation. The feel of flesh meeting bone was far too satisfying.
His head snapped back with the full force of Arygon's fist. Good. There would be no holding back.
"You've been asking for this for months." The Were caught him in the gut and Lux doubled over with a grunt of pain, his back to his opponent. When he stepped closer, Lux swung his leg high, catching Arygon in the chest.
"Yeah? Well you've been asking for it too. Only I'm not interested." His fist swung hard but Arygon was faster, blocking the punch and throwing one of his own.
"Your lips say no but your cock--oomph!"
They wrestled for supremacy, too evenly matched to win, too stubborn to give up. The Were spun low, sweeping his legs out from under him.
Lux hit the ground rolling, knocking Arygon flat on his back beside him. He straddled the angry blond, pinning his arms to the damp grass with his knees. "How could you let her leave the protection of the tunnels? Why did you let her come into town when you know she's in danger? She could have died out there alone. I trusted you to keep her safe."
Arygon roared in anger, his head ramming upward, aimed straight for Lux. It was an unexpected move.
The reverberation in Lux's skull distracted him long enough to lose his grip. He was flipped over on his back, their positions switched before Lux could take a pained breath.
"You are a fine one to talk about trust, Sariel." The hands on his wrists tightened, Arygon turning his face up to the sky as if praying for patience.
"I would have told you, but when you weren't exploring one of the far tunnels to escape conversation, you were out on another blood run. Are you so self involved that you didn't stop to wonder why her scent had changed, grown stronger? Didn't you, Great Healer, notice how agitated she had become? How pale?"
He hadn't. Her scent had called to him since the moment he'd first seen her. Every moment in her company it became more addicting. That was why he had stayed away. Everything about her beckoned him. And he couldn't afford to give in.
Arygon leaned down until his lips were a breath away. Lux was startled to feel a stirring of desire. He shouldn't have been surprised. Five seconds ago all he'd wanted to do was kill the arrogant ass for putting Sylvain in danger. Now he was using all his restraint not to lift his head and taste the tempting mouth above him.
What in the name of the Mother was wrong with him?
"I'll make this simple for you. Female Weres enter their heat when they find their mate. Until the mating is complete, the intensity of that heat increases. If mating is denied, they can become ill." Arygon speared Lux with his gaze.
What was he saying? Sylvain had found her mate? His eyes narrowed. "You--"
The Were rolled off him with a bitter chuckle. "I give up. If you can't stop thinking about yourself--your guilt and your pain long enough to figure it out then you just don't deserve her. Or me."
Arygon strode into the tunnels, leaving Lux on the damp ground to think about his words. Alone.