MASTER OF ECSTASY - Nina Bangs (16/16)

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    khoảng 2 10 năm trước
  • "No matter what happens, know that I have never loved anyone as much as I love ye, woman from another time."

    Blythe nodded. Do not throw yourself on top of him and cry. She wouldn't say "I love you." Not now. But soon, when life and death hung in the balance. At that moment, those three small words could tip the balance toward life.

    Around her she could hear the voices of the women urging her on. Like a pack of hyenas, they waited for her to finish so that they could take what was left. Not this time, you bitches.

    She settled smoothly onto his sex, feeling her body stretch to accept his size, and whimpering at the incredible sensation of the man she loved filling her. Blythe waited until she knew she couldn't wait another second, then lifted herself from him, only to lower herself again. She gloried in the sensation of his sex sliding out of her only to fill her once again.

    Her tempo quickened, her breathing came in quick gasps, and her heart pounded faster and faster. She could feel Darach trying to lift himself to meet her, but he was too weak and the ropes didn't allow for much movement.

    Blythe had to pick exactly the right moment. She had to be the one in control tonight. Gritting her teeth, she forced back her building orgasm. Her body, deprived of what it wanted, needed, continued to clench around him, and the heaviness low in her belly continued to grow with wanting.

    She felt him shudder as he uttered a harsh cry of denial. His orgasm was only seconds away.

    Leaning forward, she allowed her hair to form a curtain around their faces. Lifting his head until his lips touched her throat where blood flowed strong beneath her skin, she spoke quietly to him. "Drink from me, vampire. Share the life that flows through me." She closed her eyes. "Do it now."

    His lips moved against her throat, and for a moment she thought he'd still resist. Then she felt the slide of his fangs against her neck and the sudden shock of penetration.

    Blythe had no time to think if there'd been pain, because the sexual sensations flooding her washed away all thought. This was the supreme erotic experience. His sex was buried deep inside her while she shared her life's essence with every beat of her heart.

    Unspeakable pleasure sizzled and burned through her body. Nothing would stop her climax now. With a wild cry of fulfillment, her muscles clenched around him as if she could squeeze every last moment of ecstasy from him.

    Spasm after spasm rocked her, and as if from a distance she heard his cry join hers. She felt his release deep inside her.

    As she tried to slow her breathing, Blythe could only think of their love tonight as a circle of giving. Darach and she had truly put their lives in each other's hands.

    When the first wave of dizziness hit her, she was still wrapped up in the afterglow of love. The second wave made her numb with fear.

    With hands that shook, she ran her fingers through his hair. "You've had enough. Stop, Darach."

    He didn't respond. She couldn't say that he hadn't warned her. She tried to push his head away, but his returning strength made it impossible. If she didn't stop him now, they would both be dead.

    Blythe played her ace. "I love you." She whispered her three-word message and felt a slight lightening of pressure against her skin. "Stop, Darach." She continued to stroke his hair. "When you learn to fly in a hundred years, I want to fly with you. Seems to me we talked about what it would be like to make love in midair. I want to find out. And when you look in that mirror and see your face for the first time, I want you to see my face beside yours." The dizziness was growing worse and she closed her eyes. "Let me go. Please, Darach."

    Suddenly the pressure on her neck was gone. She pushed herself away from him with arms that shook. Touching her neck with shaking fingers, she found no blood, no puncture wounds. "How did you do that?"

    Darach didn't answer her question. "Ye said ye loved me." He gazed at her with eyes wide and disbelieving.

    "You noticed." She offered him a quivery smile.

    "We'll speak more of this loving once we've returned to the castle."

    Blythe's relief was soul deep. Once again he sounded like her in-control lover. She climbed off of him, then stood nervously by his side. "Can you get rid of the ropes?"

    "Aye, but I dinna have the strength to do more. I am still weak." His gaze touched her with warmth and… love. "I have never known a woman as brave as ye were this night."

    Blythe didn't have a chance to answer.

    The women were closing in on them. "He gave you his seed, didn't he? I couldn't tell because your gown was covering his organ."

    Darach lifted his lips in a snarl as the woman named Margaret talked to Blythe. Every protective instinct passed down through his clan demanded he keep these creatures away from the woman he loved.

    In one motion, he freed his arms and legs, but when he stood, his legs felt as though they wouldn't support him. Darach clenched his teeth and moved toward the women. He hoped they didn't notice his unsteady gait.

    Startled, they fell back.

    Blythe quickly pulled out her Freeze-frame. "Fun's over, ladies. Guess your immortality will have to wait for another night, because Darach and I are leaving here together."

    He kept his hand on Blythe's shoulder as he guided her around the women and toward the opening in the fire where Sparkle waited. When he passed the spot where they had flung his clothing, he scooped up his shirt and pulled it over his head. He winced as the material scraped over the cuts on his body.

    They almost made it.

    "Don't let the vampire get away!" Margaret pulled a knife from her cloak. "They only have one weapon, and the vampire is still too weak to hurt us. See how he walks?"

    Suddenly all twenty women charged toward them, shouting and waving knives. Some paused to pick up rocks.

    Blythe aimed the Freeze-frame and fired. She stopped four women before Darach grabbed her arm and pulled her through the break in the fire. Sparkle scampered through behind them.

    "Run!" Darach had strength for only the one word as he clasped Blythe's hand and tried to flee. Freyja help him, for he had never felt this weak in his life. "Ye and Sparkle must leave me and return to the castle, Blythe. I will only hold ye back."

    "You're joking, right? I have a lot of effort invested in your life, and I protect my investments." She turned around to glance behind her. "Sparkle!"

    Darach turned to follow her gaze. He had believed that Sparkle was with them. She was not. She still stood by the fire.

    "What're you doing?" Blythe's cry was a wail of terror.

    "I'm trying to close the frickin' fire path. But I can't concentrate. Someone tell those women to shut up so that I can do some focusing here." Darach widened his eyes. Sparkle must be truly upset if she had forgotten to speak to their minds.

    The women had heard Sparkle also. A cat that talked made even them pause for a moment. They stood just inside the ring of fire muttering among themselves and casting wary glances at Sparkle. Some turned back to stare at the four women who stood frozen in place by the Freeze-frame.

    Darach knew these things would not stop them for long. The women were mad with their obsession, and their pursuit of him would only end with his recapture or their deaths.

    "Run, Sparkle!" Blythe's shout rose above the crackling fire and muttering women.

    Sparkle looked at the women and made her choice. She ran, coming toward Darach and Blythe in great flying leaps.

    Her flight seemed to free the women from their indecision. With wild shouts, they poured through the opening in the fire. They flung knives and heaved stones as they came. Sparkle was the only one within their range, and suddenly she screamed and went down. Almost immediately she staggered to her feet and tried to continue running, but her limping gait wouldn't keep her in front of the mob long.

    Darach's training as a warrior took over. His clan never left fellow warriors behind. And even though Sparkle did not look like one, she was a fellow warrior in every sense of the word.

    He ran to Sparkle, scooped her into his arms, then stumbled back to where Blythe stood firing her Freeze-frame at the women. She managed to hit a few more, but nervousness was affecting her aim.

    After only a few strides, Darach knew they would not make it. He was not the only one weakened by loss of blood. Blythe looked pale, and she was breathing hard as she tried to run. The women were gaining on them. He must plead for help from one he had hoped never to need.

    He bent his head to where Sparkle crouched in his arms. "Ye must call Ganymede. I canna reach his mind, but ye can. If he does not help us, we will die."

    Sparkle stared up at him with frightened orange eyes, and for the first time since Darach had met her, she had no words.

    She turned her gaze toward the castle, and Darach knew she spoke to Ganymede.

    Ganymede raged through the castle with the bittyfluffs trailing behind him. Could anything else go wrong? Everyone was disappearing. First all the servants had gone, and now Darach, Blythe, and Sparkle had disappeared. What the heck was going on?

    Sparkle. He hadn't formed many friendships in his thousands of years, and he liked it that way. Attachments to other living beings slowed you down, made you less effective. But Sparkle was different. She'd wormed her way into his… heart? Nope, no heart. She'd wormed her way into his affections.

    As he charged up to the battlements to see if he could spot her somewhere around the outside of the castle, a strange emotion touched him.

    Fear. True fear. He'd experienced many emotions in his existence, but fear wasn't one of them. The most powerful cosmic troublemaker in the universe had nothing to fear. Except the Big Boss. But even when the Big Boss had handed down his thou-shalt-be-good edict, Ganymede hadn't been really afraid, fust frustrated.

    Now he was afraid. He looked into the darkness, searching for her. Darkness had no power to keep him from seeing what he needed to see.

    Suddenly her voice touched his mind. It was frightened and quivery, but still her voice. "There're some crazy women chasing us, Mede. One of them threw a rock at me, and I think she broke my leg. Darach came back to save me, but the women are gaining on us.

    They hurt Darach, and he's too weak to save us. Help!"

    A familiar coldness settled over Ganymede. For thousands of years he'd laid waste to the universe and felt no regrets. The Big Boss had shut him down, but the old Ganymede still waited patiently, or not so patiently, just below all that goodness and light. Some bitch had hurt Sparkle. She would pay for it, and to hell with goodness and light.

    "Ask Darach what these women fear the most." As he spoke to Sparkle, he searched the darkness for her. When he finally found her, what he saw filled him with fury such as he hadn't felt in centuries. Hatred and the need for violence rose in a red haze that shook the whole castle with its power. The bittyfluffs scurried away from him, chittering in terror.

    Then he smiled. No one in the castle would recognize that smile. No longer was he the bluff and bumbling lord of the castle. He was once again Ganymede, the lord of chaos, and now the dispenser of vengeance. Nothing could save those women.

    "This sounds weird to me, Mede, but here's what both Darach and Blythe say you should do."

    Ganymede listened, nodded, then focused his immense power on the women who dared to hurt Sparkle.



    Darach still struggled forward with Sparkle held tight against his body and Blythe's hand clasped in his. If Ganymede didn't do something fast, Darach would have to make a stand against the women.

    Blythe's weapon had refused to fire the last few times she tried it, and she had mumbled something about cheap off-planet products. The women were now almost close enough to do damage with their knives and stones. But they would have to go through him to reach Blythe and Sparkle.

    A knife flew past his head and buried itself in a nearby tree. It was time to make a stand. He would hand Sparkle to Blythe and face the women. They wanted him; no one else mattered to them. Mayhap while he struggled, Blythe could make her escape. Surely she would realize that she must run, not only to save her own life, but Sparkle's as well.

    Stopping, he shoved Sparkle into Blythe's arms. "Run."

    "I won't leave you." Her eyes were wide with fear.

    "Would ye condemn Sparkle to death as well as yourself? If ye stay, three will die instead of only one."

    The argument got no further, because suddenly a startling flash of light enveloped the advancing women. Darach threw his arm across his eyes to keep from being blinded. Then as quickly as the light came it was gone.

    It left behind shocked silence.

    Darach lowered his arm and looked toward what had once been a mob of vicious women. What was left behind was a mob of doddering old men.

    He couldn't help it—he smiled. " 'Tis justice."

    The old men looked at each other, then down at themselves with horror. They cried out their terror and disbelief in shaky old voices. Then they scattered, as though they thought they could outrun their fate. One of them staggered their way, and Darach could see the mindless panic in the old man's eyes. Both Blythe and Sparkle looked as though they would enjoy reaching out and swatting the man, but they controlled the urge. Silently they watched him totter past them on creaky ancient legs.

    Blythe nodded. "They had nothing but contempt for men, so it's only fitting that they end their short lives as males. And at their age, mating isn't an option. So they can forget about their dreams of immortality. It would take a space-bus filled with sex potency regeneration implants to do them any good." She looked up at Darach, and her smile lit up his future. "We can look forward to a peaceful life together without having to worry about wacko women." She seemed to think about that. "Okay, so maybe not quite peaceful. Things tend to happen around you, but at least I'll never be bored."

    The sound of sobbing drew Darach's attention to Sparkle. Cats could not cry, but Sparkle would never let details stop her from what she wished to do.

    Blythe clutched Sparkle tighter. "Hey, it's okay. You're safe now. You don't have to be upset."

    "Upset? I'm not upset. I'm happy. I haven't been this happy since I turned a meeting of Citizens Against Sexual Excess into an orgy."

    Sparkle gazed up at Darach and Blythe with teary eyes. "Mede defied the Big Boss for me." When they stared at her blankly, she tried to make it clearer. "Mede wasn't supposed to harm a human. Ever. Tonight he did, for me."

    She gazed toward the castle with what Darach could only describe as a mixture of love and lust. With Sparkle, everything included sex in the mixture.

    "The old Mede is back. And since it looks like you two are in it together for the long haul, I have to talk to my big bad troublemaker about paying up on a bet." She offered them a sly watery cat smile. "I lust after a golden god. Preferably naked."

    Darach looked at Blythe, then shrugged. " 'Tis time we went home." His gaze softened as he let the horror of this night go, and embraced the true wonder of what Blythe had given him. "I must release Thrain from my bed. Then we can explore this loving ye spoke of." Even as he talked, he could feel himself tightening, his need returning. "Methinks the vile potion the women gave me is still strong. I grow hard again. What do ye think Ecstasy would prescribe to help me?"

    Blythe leaned into him and laughed. "I don't know what Ecstasy would prescribe, but Dr. Blythe prescribes her never-fail sensual solution."


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    Epilogue
    « ^

    Blythe pressed close to Darach as they stood in the great hall watching the tour group prepare for their return trip through time. Textron was ignoring Sandy, so Blythe guessed the underwear deal was off. And Clara refused to meet Blythe's gaze. Blythe felt righteous satisfaction. Clara should feel guilty.

    "Look at number ten on this list, Blythe. Mayhap we can try it tonight. There is honey in the kitchen." Darach was engrossed in Sparkle's list of The Top Fifty Things to Do with a Naked Man.

    "Let me look at that list."

    He handed it to her and she scanned the suggestions. "Number fifteen sounds better."

    He glanced at number fifteen and his eyes widened. "Aye."

    Blythe noticed Ganymede heading their way. Sparkle rested in the crook of his arm, and the bittyfluffs faithfully crowded around him. For some strange reason, the tiny fur balls had transferred their adoration to Ganymede. Blythe smiled. She had a feeling Ganymede was responsible for the transfer.

    Ganymede stopped in front of them, shifted from foot to foot, then coughed nervously.

    "Just say it, Mede." Sparkle cast Blythe an all-suffering look. "Men. What would they do without women to help them express their emotions?" She glanced toward the rest of the tour group. "And I'm back to the silent cat routine. I have to play the quiet kitty part until we get rid of Mede's customers."

    Sparkle licked her mouth with a small pink tongue. "Then we're off to an exotic island for some rest and relaxation. Now that Mede's stopped worrying about whether the Big Boss is going to zap him every time he falls off the goodness-and-light wagon, he's a lot more open to my sensual suggestions." Her gaze slid to Ganymede. "I have a date with a naked golden god. For a whole month."

    Blythe had to bite her lip to keep from laughing out loud. Since Sparkle's close call, Ganymede had carried her everywhere so that she wouldn't have to walk on her injured leg. She was a tiny tyrant, but Ganymede never complained about her bossiness. He claimed they were just good friends. Right.

    Ganymede drew in a deep breath of courage. "Look, blood-su… I mean Darach. If it wasn't for you, Sparkle would be Scottish roadkill by now."

    Sparkle cast him a disgusted look. "Does he have a way with words or what?"

    Ganymede frowned. "Of course, if it wasn't for you, she wouldn't have been there in the first place. But I'll let that slide." He shoved out his hand. "Thanks for saving her. If I'm ever in the area with a tour group, you and Blythe can do some time-hopping free." His pained expression suggested that the word "free" was tough to say.

    Darach clasped his hand and nodded. "I thank ye for saving all of us, Ganymede. In appreciation, I offer ye the use of the MacKenzie castle for one of your tours each year." He grinned. "Free."

    Ganymede brightened immediately. "Really? That's great." He cuffed Darach across the shoulder. Darach winced. "We're almost ready to go. Hey, Blythe, do you mind if I take the bittyfluffs home with me? They've sort of grown attached." He looked hopeful.

    Blythe knew exactly who had grown attached. "Sure, take all of them. I want them to be happy."

    As Ganymede turned to walk away, Sparkle climbed up to peer over the top of his shoulder. "Blythe, if there're any girl things you find you can't live without, make a list and get it to Ganymede next year. I'll see that he brings them to you." Her eyes gleamed with wicked glee. "Don't forget to have lots and lots of hot delicious sex. Oh, and if you see my ghosts, tell them they're fired."

    Darach waited until Ganymede was out of hearing range. "Are ye sure ye wish to remain in this time with me, Blythe?" His gaze held hers. "Once we are married, I will stay with ye always. Always can be overlong if ye're not sure." He raked his ringers through his long hair. His hands shook. "If ye wish to live in your time, ye could return now with Ganymede, and I could join ye next year when Ganymede brings another tour group here. I need only return once every twenty years to fulfill my duty."

    Blythe wanted to wrap her arms around this big gorgeous man who had no idea how much she loved him. He would have to pry her fingers from his body to get rid of her.

    "Odin's wrath." Darach's expression was a mixture of frustration and disgust. "What I am trying to say is that I love ye more than I love any time or place. I care only that I am with ye." He speared her with his intent gaze. "Forever."

    Blythe smiled up at him. "Good thing, vampire, because you'll never be rid of me." She stood on tiptoe and kissed him softly on the lips.

    He seemed to steel himself for what he needed to say next. "I can give ye no bairns."

    "Get something straight, Darach." She cupped his face between her hands. "I'm not marrying you for children. In 2339, Earth is so overpopulated that many women never have babies. I had already decided years ago that if I ever wanted a child, I'd adopt one. And once and for all, understand that I love you, not a particular time or place."

    Blythe watched the tension drain from him. Leaning down, he returned her kiss, then grinned and held up Sparkle's list. "I canna wait to start on number one."

    Darach wrapped his arm around her waist, and they waved goodbye as the time travelers disappeared. Blythe stared into the empty great hall. This, then, was love. She was walking away from all her possessions and all the people she'd ever known. Ganymede had agreed to deliver a few messages from her to friends and relatives. Yes, she'd miss the conveniences of her time, but things couldn't compare to the emotion she felt every time she looked at Darach. She was starting an exciting new life with the man she loved at her side. Nothing else mattered.

    "I'm feeling kind of hungry." Blythe smiled up at Darach. "Come to the kitchen and help me find something to eat. And we can get that honey while we're at it."

    She was still thinking about the honey when Thrain stepped out of the shadows.

    "I leave tonight, Darach." He clasped Darach's shoulders, then released him. "Thank ye for my life."

    "Ye're welcome to stay." Darach's gaze was troubled. "We have much to talk about."

    Thrain grinned, and Blythe realized how much Sparkle's "golden god" description fit him. But Blythe hadn't exactly seen him at his best before this.

    "I still need much rest, and I would get none with sounds of lust keeping me awake." He turned his smile on Blythe, and she blinked at the pure power of that smile. She'd just bet he mowed women down by the hundreds wherever he went.

    Thrain returned his attention to Darach. "Pride and hurt feelings kept me away from ye all these years. But when death neared, I realized how much our friendship meant to me. I know where your London home is and will visit ye there."

    Darach nodded. "Ye were the only friend I ever truly regretted losing. The words I said at our last meeting were cruel and untrue. Aesa should never have come between us."

    Blythe started toward the kitchen to give the two men a few minutes alone. Once there, she rooted around for something to eat while she waited for Darach to join her.

    By the time he entered the kitchen, Blythe had discovered something important. "Everything here is raw, and I don't know how to cook."

    Darach offered her an indulgent smile. "It doesna matter if ye canna prepare a meal well, because ye'll soon have a cook to do that."

    "Uh, you don't understand. I've never cooked a thing in my life. I don't even know what some of these things are." She swept her arm over the strange array of things she'd found in the kitchen.

    Darach looked startled.

    "Okay, here's the scoop on food in my time. I pay a yearly fee to a local food preparation service. Each day I choose what I want to eat from an online menu, and the service delivers the fully cooked meals at the time I specify. I won't go into the how of it, but the meals simply appear in a delivery cubicle built into my dining area wall." Blythe held up her hands. "Nobody cooks anymore. Why would they?"

    "Why indeed?" He looked resigned.

    She watched silently while he left to get water, then returned.

    "I dinna eat, but I've seen others cook. After I wash the vegetables and cut them into pieces, ye may put them into a pot." He paused to offer her a thoughtful glance. "Ye do know what a pot looks like?"

    "Smart-ass." She grinned and went in search of a suitable pot while he washed the vegetables. By the time she returned, he was starting to cut them up.

    He glanced at her pot and smiled. "Unless ye're a witch in need of a cauldron, ye might find something smaller."

    With a humph of disgust, she went to look for another pot. "So when do you think you'll be able to see yourself in a mirror?"

    He was silent for a moment. "I have already gained my newest power."

    Surprised, Blythe turned to stare at him. "Well, why didn't you say something?"

    Darach shrugged. "I wished to save it until we were alone."

    Blythe was touched. "As soon as I eat, let's go up to our room. I'll dig out my makeup mirror, then you can take a good look at that 'wondrous' face."

    She frowned. He didn't act overly excited at the prospect. Blythe chose a smaller pot and walked back to the table where Darach was still cutting vegetables. She put the ones he'd already cut into the pot. "What's that big thing you're cutting up now?"

    He chuckled, but didn't look at her. " 'Tis called an onion, Blythe."

    "Oh. Well, how was I to know? I've never seen a whole one before. It's huge." Genetically engineered veggies in her time were pretty small, and scientists had created designer colors for them. No wonder she hadn't recognized this one. But she still felt defensive about her ignorance. When they settled down in their home, she'd have to spend some time with the cook.

    "Ye'd know it verra well if ye had to cut up one this potent." He sounded strange, sort of clogged up.

    "Never doubt my love, Blythe, because only one who loved ye beyond reason would submit to so unmanly a thing." He sounded really cranky.

    "Unmanly?" What was he talking about? "Okay, so I know that cutting up an onion wouldn't be at the top of your superhero resume, but I don't think it threatens your masculinity."

    He made an impatient sound. "I dinna speak of cutting up the onion."

    "Then what?"

    He looked at her.

    And Blythe knew that she had truly found her forever love as she watched the tears slide down his face.


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    NINA BANGS


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