Scarlet Heat (Born to Darkness)(9)

By: Evangeline Anderson

My senses were suddenly sharper, the moonlight was brighter, the woods were filled with smells and sounds. Small creatures scratched in the underbrush. Owls floated almost noiselessly from branch to branch. Far off in the distance I thought I heard a panther scream.

Again there was a long, lonesome howl from deep in the trees. This time I threw back my head and answered it, a full throated howl coming from my muzzle. I might not want to run with the pack but a wolf always answers another.

And then the wolf came forward completely and instinct took over, erasing all rational thought, doing away with any kind of human reason. I was a beast—a mindless beast—and happy to be one.

I howled again and loped into the woods.

Chapter Three—Taylor

I listened to the mournful howling outside the window and shivered. God, was that Victor out there? It must be. I listened again, and this time, I thought I heard more than one wolf. They seemed to be calling and answering each other. Was there a whole pack out there? But I’d thought Victor was a lone wolf. What if Corbin had been wrong? What if they found out about me—about Victor being blood-bonded to a vampire—and wanted to kill me?

It’s all right, I told myself uneasily. It’s going to be all right as long as you don’t advertise your presence. Well, that was easy enough. I planned to stay right here, in the house, and not step one foot outside. In the mean time, I decided to go around and lock all the windows and doors just to be safe. Victor had acted like he might be gone for days—I might as well take the opportunity to explore my temporary home.

The cabin was as gorgeous on the inside as it was on the outside, though some parts were clearly still under construction. The kitchen was finished and the fridge was well stocked with lots of red meat and bacon and cheese—no surprise there, Victor was clearly a carnivore—but also a head of lettuce and some tomatoes. Hmm, so maybe he ate a salad from time to time? There was a six pack of Sam Adams and a box with a slice of cold pizza in it, which I stared at with longing. I had always been kind of a foodie back before I was turned but vamps can’t eat. The most we can do is sip a little liquid from time to time and not too much of that.

I closed the fridge with a sigh. Well, Victor had been gracious enough to give me his blood, maybe I could make him a meal when he got back. It had been a while since I had cooked anything but I used to grill a mean steak. And anyway, wasn’t I the little woman now? Shouldn’t I be meeting him at the door in a frilly apron with a dry martini saying, “How was your day, dear?”

I couldn’t help laughing at the ridiculous mental image. I could almost see myself standing there, dressed in a naughty little apron and not much else while Victor walked through the door. Could almost see his eyes flash gold as he looked at me and hear the low growl in his voice as he took me in his arms and kissed me…kissed me tenderly but so urgently. As if he couldn’t wait to take me to bed. To…

God, where did that come from! I shook my head, trying to get rid of the weird fantasy. I didn’t want the big were to kiss me, I told myself firmly. I didn’t want him anywhere near me. And yet, the mental image persisted. I couldn’t help imagining those big, warm hands caressing my skin, stroking up and down my sides, cupping my breasts.

“Stop it!” I said out loud. What was wrong with me? Why was I imagining these things—feeling like this? But it wouldn’t stop. I licked my lips, still tasting the faint trace of his delicious blood. My breasts felt heavy and tender and my nipples were tight. The area between my legs was swollen and throbbing. What was going on?

It was the same problem I’d had ever since our wedding. The strange feelings that wouldn’t leave me alone. I should be incapable of getting aroused. After what Roderick had done to me, I should never want to be within fifty feet of any man ever again.

So why was I feeling like this? And why couldn’t I stop thinking of Victor? Remembering his smell, his taste…

I went to the kitchen sink and splashed ice cold water on my face until I was gasping. It helped—a little.

“There,” I said out loud. “That’s better.”

It occurred to me that I was getting into the habit of talking to myself, which was sort of bordering on crazy. I needed to get a grip. I remembered that I had seen a box of chamomile tea in one of Victor’s cabinets and made a plan on the spot. I would explore the rest of the house and then make myself a soothing cup of tea to sip while I watched something mindless on TV. And I would not entertain any more fantasies about the big were who was now my husband.

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