Cool hands caressed her bare flesh. They weren’t like Duncan’s, oh, no. Mac’s were large and warm.
Tessa still tilted her head back, let those hands stroke her bare breasts. They brought her back, back to her own awareness of her shoulders, the loose hair tumbling over them, and falling around her face. The warm saltiness entering her mouth.
Tears. Duncan had been crying. Ritchie had started to twitch. Good. Mac shouldn’t be left alone.
It had been Tessa’s last thought before the darkness overcame her.
“No.” A voice, husky and seductive, yet soothing as a mother’s spoke to her. “Perhaps your Highlander is willing to yield you to Death, but I am not.”
Rough lace stroked her cheek, her shoulder. It created a barrier between her and the delicate hand reaching out for her.
Red lips came closer, parting, revealing fangs.
Vampire. Tessa almost laughed at her own ability to think the obvious. Why should this surprise her? Immortals walked the earth, battling and hacking each other heads off for the vague promise of a prize. Why shouldn’t vampires exist as well?
The lips touched her bare skin. Tessa felt the sharp prick of teeth sinking into her throat. The bite awakened something hot and pulsing within Tessa’s loins, something she’d last felt when on top of Duncan, riding the electric charge of his thrusts. Yes. Only this time, the heat was being drawn out of her, spasming through her limbs.
She arched her back, feeling the passion of caressing the other woman through her rough homespun skirt, pushing it aside. She was smaller and slighter than she’d ever been, enjoying the quick heat between the two of them, snatched under the brothel keeper’s nose. She’d never felt this with a man, never. Nor would she, until blue green eyes met hers across a room, filled with eager innocence, yearning to be corrupted.
Not until her master dove down to ravage their golden knight’s neck, while she sat and watched, laughing. Whispering his name under her breath.
“Nicholas,” Tessa gasped along with her lover. She reached a hand up for the dark hair which trailed across her breasts. Ah, but it wasn’t Nicholas’s smell which filled her nostrils, who held her naked body in deceptively fragile hands.
Not Nicholas. Not Duncan.
“But who are you?” Tessa gasped. She reached up to seize that delicate face, framed by loose dark hair.
“Take my name, Tessa.” Her lover raised her head to smile with red lips. Tessa’s own blood coated them like lipstick.
This might have horrified her once, but right now, it was simply erotic.
“Try and take my name, cherie,” the vampire breathed, lowering her own bare neck to Tessa’s own waiting lips.
Hunger and lust came together in sharp pang within Tessa, almost like an orgasm. Only this climax happened in her mouth, not her loins. Fangs popped out to meeting the willing flesh, to rend and tear it.
Rich, salty fluid filled Tessa’s mouth, bringing more images of the brothel, of the heavy blows of men’s fists, being claimed by one man after another. Lonely, clinging to only the other lost women trapped in this hell, seeing only brief moments of relief in each other’s arms.
Tessa could have wept. She’d glimpsed this hell occasionally in other women’s eyes, in a man’s possessive leer, but ah, this vampire had lived it, breathed it, and been smothered again and again by it. It seemed unending, until a dark angel swept down from the sky and struck one of her tormentors down.
The angel turned to truly look at her. To smile at her with a tenderness her own father never showed. To say her name.
“Janette,” Tessa repeated the name silently, drinking the memory down like water and wine mixed together. “Janette!”
Power coursed through her, once she uttered her master’s name. Power like Tessa Noell had never known. She wanted to laugh and scream at once, to open her arms and welcome it all in, like Duncan welcomed the lightning after a quickening.
This was what it was like, this sudden joy. Only there was no severed head, no body at her feet. Just a willing woman in her arms.
“Ah, ma petite, there may not be any severed head this time.” Janette whispered the words, lacing each one with a sinister sweetness. “A body at your feet may be inevitable, considering your passionate nature.”