LITTLE BY LITTLE
Zagan rolled over on the floor, trying to get comfortable enough to sleep, but it was a fruitless exercise. He couldn’t stop thinking about that damned Witch. It was ridiculous, he had made a vow to himself never to get involved with a Witch again and there he was kissing one, because yeah, that wasn’t getting involved at all, was it?
He scrubbed his hands over his face, stretching his arms above his head, groaning as he felt the wounds on his back pull. She’d taken away the majority of his pain and her generous donation of blood had given him the energy he needed to start healing on his own, but the wounds were still raw and now that she was gone, the remaining pain was creeping back.
He’d stayed there all night, slowly healing, tormented by her scent that lingered on his skin, mingling with the scent of demon that always clung to him after a session in the dungeons. He shouldn’t have kissed her, he really shouldn’t, it was the stupidest thing he’d done in a long time. He’d been trying to excuse his actions all night, at first blaming it on the blood lust that sometimes overcame him at times of feeding, but he knew it was more than that. It was her.
Everything about her called to him, the combination of her kindness, her humour, her scent and her taste, both of her blood and her. Powerless to stop it, his mind wandered to thoughts of how other places on her body would taste and he was instantly hard as a rock. Again. Which just pissed him off. He had better control than that. So what if her blood was intoxicating? So what if her taste and the power that flowed through it had proved to be a heady combination? None of that mattered, he couldn’t have her. It was as simple as that.
He shook his head firmly, needing to get a grip. He sat up slowly, tired of feeling so disgusting. She had vanished away most of the blood from his skin in order to see his wounds but the rest of him felt like he’d bathed in shit. He needed a shower. Badly.
He felt a twinge of regret that he’d be washing away her scent from his skin but kicked himself up the arse pretty sharpish. Show no weakness, he mentally reminded himself. Not wanting to lose her scent was stupid beyond words. She was nothing to him and he wasn’t about to let her become anything either.
Willow had barely slept once she returned to her bed, tossing and turning for the rest of the night, unable to get her mind away from Zagan. She couldn’t shake off the memory of the pain he had been in, how vulnerable he had seemed. The image she had in her head of the big, scary Demon lord didn’t equate to the broken and bloodied being she had found the night before. Her instincts had pushed her to comfort him, to look after him and heal him as best she could. Although the fact that he had put limits on that healing confused her. Who could have done that to him, and more importantly, how had he allowed it and then let them dictate his healing? Who was he afraid of?
He had acted like he’d never experienced a kind word or a gentle hand in his entire life. He’d acted like he always did, cold and aloof, but she was beginning to see through the mask he wore, the act he put on. He had cared in some way, concerned that she may have been hurt herself.
She had felt an odd sense of triumph when he had allowed her closer, like a skittish horse you slowly made friends with, the taming of a wild beast. For that was what he was to her, a wild beast that she wished she could know better.
She could try to convince herself that the reason sleep had been so elusive was because she had been worried about him, but in truth she was more worried about herself. She was getting too close to him, caring too much and it was bound to end in trouble. She had left her coven because she hadn’t wanted anyone to tell her what to do or to have influence over her, and now it was happening again. She had powers she couldn’t fully control and a bond with a creature that she should likey be avoiding at all costs. But instead of staying away, all she wanted was to be closer.
That one kiss had not been enough, not even close. It was like having a taste of someone’s ice-cream and wanting more. One lick never satisfied anyone, a taste only whetted the appetite.
He was so confusing! Blowing hot and cold with seemingly no reason for his actions nor any warning. One moment he had been telling her to go, shoving her away with his nasty words and actions and the next he had laid a lip lock on her that shook her to her core. He had shoved her out of his realm like he was late for trash day but had then given her a kiss so sweet she didn’t know what to make of it. Passion and desperation she could understand, but lovingly soft was a different thing all together.
Well enough was enough, she refused to lay there wallowing all day, pining for someone that couldn’t make up their mind what they wanted. She was not a booty call that would come running when he snapped his fingers. She was not there to boost his ego, a plaything for his amusement. She was a living, breathing woman that had thoughts, feelings and emotional needs that he was not prepared to fulfil. If he could forget her so easily, she would do the same. Screw him, he was no longer worth the effort it took to think about him.
She flung back the covers and hauled her tired self out of bed, stopping at the bathroom only long enough to relieve her bladder before heading down to the kitchen. Coffee was taking priority over anything else at that moment in time.
Zagan stripped off his jeans, it was not an easy task as they were stiff with blood, dirt and other unmentionable crap. He debated for a second about what to do with them, then tossed them straight into the trash. There was no way they could be saved and honestly, he didn’t need the reminder. Feeling more in control now he made his way to the bathroom and turned on the shower. As always, a towel covered the bathroom mirror and he left it there, picking up a fresh one. He never liked to look at the damage done to him, it just wasn’t worth paying that amount of attention to it, it would only screw his head up more.
He slipped under the water, wincing as it stung his skin but he ignored it, on a pain scale of one to ten it barely registered. Reaching for the shampoo, needing to get the crap out of his hair, he squeezed a generous amount into the palm of his hand and lathered up. He’d never given much thought to his hair before other than hating it when Eke used it to hold him still, but he couldn’t help smiling a little as he recalled the images he had plucked from the witches head the night before.
Against his better judgement he allowed himself the time to indulge in the fantasy she had started. Why the fuck not? He was alone for once and it wasn’t like he had much to fantasise about. He imagined how her fingers would feel on his scalp, massaging, running through his hair as they had the night before. He surprised himself with how much he enjoyed the idea of her touching him in such a way. It was something that usual made him recoil, but with her he could imagine that it would be quite pleasant.
What if she really were in the shower with him? What if her hands could wander other places? His mind took over as he conjured up the image of her hands leaving his hair to soap the rest of his body, imaging just how her soft hands would feel on his skin. And just like that the annoying erection of his sprang back into life with full force. He opened one eye to glare down at it, turning in the water. Maybe he could drown it...
“Holy shit balls batman!”
Her hands were over her eyes as the spray from the shower soaked through the night-dress she still wore, though he could see she was peeking through the gaps in her fingers. Completely unashamed he stood there in all his naked glory.
“Why are you here again? Can you not stay away?”
“I don’t know!” Willow wailed, ignoring his tone. “One minute I was making coffee, the next I was in here with you. I was so careful, I wasn’t thinking of you or anything. And stop pointing that thing at me!”
She gestured down at his cock which was very happy to see her, lowering her hands just in time to catch the guilty look that flashed across his face. It was only there for a second before it vanished, but she saw it and he knew she had. She couldn’t help but smirk, folding her arms across her chest, well, under her boobs really. Her eyes went back to his crotch and stayed there. “Were you thinking of me by any chance?”
He hadn’t expected to find here standing behind him, but now that she was there he was finding it hard to find a negative with the situation. He knew he should send her straight back where she had come from, but he could hear the blood pumping in her veins, hear her heartbeat picking up. She wanted him just as much as he did her and her body called out to him like a siren song, one that he was powerless to ignore.
He should be angry that their connection went so deep that he could conjure her up with just a thought, but even though his mind screamed at him to remember what had just happened for helping her and that it would be so much worse next time, his heart was so glad to see her.
She should have been annoyed that he’d plucked her out of her house and dumped her in a shower, yet she wasn’t screaming and shouting at him. She was still the sweet, funny little thing that she always was.
Maybe it was a sign? Maybe she was there for a reason? He didn’t know what it was but right at that moment he realised that he needed her more than anything else in the world. He wanted to feel like he was someone worthwhile, and she made him feel like he was the most important person in her life. She was the type to give her full attention and focus to those she loved, he’d seen that with how she was with the Dragon, and if he could have even a tiny part of that for himself, even for a short time, he’d be a selfish fucker and take it.
Zagan’s lips twitched in a slight smile as he took a step forward at the same time she took a step back, feeling a little like she was being stalked by a tiger. Her back hit the tiles, and she exhaled in a rush at the combination of cold against her back and hot male against her front as he leaned against her, one hand either side of her head, caging her in his arms. Any sensible person would be scared shitless, would see their life flash before their eyes, but not her. She could feel the power emanating from him and it just made her want him all the more.
She knew that he was dangerous, knew that she should probably be running away as fast as she could, but she couldn’t bring herself to leave him. She lifted a hand, placing it on his chest just over his heart, feeling the steady thumping under her palm. She didn’t know if she was trying to push him away, to keep some distance between them or if she simply couldn’t resist touching him.
That simple contact caused a storm of emotions to rush through him. He loved the way she touched him, always so aware of how he might react and considerate of his personal space, although he wouldn’t have room to complain about her being too close when he was the one crowding her. He paused for a second, giving her time to decide what she wanted to do. Would she push him away and vanish from his arms, or would she move, closing the distance between them?
He could feel the indecision in her, her thoughts and feelings broadcasting to him as if she were speaking them aloud. He should be the one to back away, but the thought of having her was just too intoxicating. He was craving her like she was the last bottle of water in a desert. He’d never been a good man, but for her he would be willing to try. She deserved that at least. He could feel her inside him like a warm heat in his chest, feel her acceptance and silent support. She was goodness and light all wrapped up in a killer package that made him crazy with need. He could try. For her. Closing his eyes, he dropped his shields, letting her in.
She felt it the second his shields fell and he left her in. Immediately she felt the howling loneliness that had taken up permanent residence in his soul and vowed to do something about it. She knew it was stupid, she knew she would probably regret it, but she couldn’t turn away from him, not when he needed her so badly. She would give him everything he needed, she would accept him and comfort him for as long as he would let her. Yes, he was a grumpy arsehole most days, but there was something inside him that called out to her, that told her not to give up on him, not when he needed her more than anything.
“You’re getting me wet,” she whispered, meaning the fact they were still in the shower but the growl he gave her made her think he had taken her words in a different way. Although honestly, that was pretty accurate too. She had dampened in a rush of arousal that had surprised her. It was like she had never quite calmed down from their kiss the night before and now here he was, all naked and wet and oh Gods did she want him.
He wanted her just as much as she wanted him, she could feel it through their connection. He had been holding back from her, not wanting to give too much of himself away but now she could feel everything and damn, if that didn’t give her a massive confidence boost. Everyone liked to know that they were desirable, but to feel it so intensely was rather intoxicating.
She lifted her head to look up at him, almost nose to nose, his eyes gazing at her. She loved his eyes, they were so expressive, so beautiful in their own unique way, their silvery depths seeming to shine from within. She licked her lips, suddenly nervous, her body beginning to tremble ever so slightly as he moved closer still, closing the gap between them. His body pressed against hers making her moan, she couldn’t help it, all that hard muscle pressing into her soft curves, they fit perfectly, like they were made for each other.
He lent in, zeroing in on her neck and she was reminded of how he had so recently fed from her, the way he had kissed her as if he couldn’t get enough. She tensed, knowing that she had gone stiff as a board, unmoving, not sure if she wanted to encourage him or tell him to stop. She sucked in a breath, holding it until he made contact. The breath came out as a soft whimper of acceptance when his nose nuzzled at her neck, his lips kissing softly at her skin, sending shivers down her spine. She had expected to feel his fangs sink in again, but she now knew he wouldn’t until she gave permission. He was surprising her at every turn, she never expected that he could be so tender when he wanted to. But she wasn’t complaining.
His arms moved, lowering to release her from their cage, and she felt his fingers brush down her sides, over her hips to reach the hem of her nightgown. He pulled back to look at her, one eyebrow raised in silent question. It was now or never, yes or no. He was giving her an out and she knew that if she said no, he would let her go, that he would never approach her again. She could feel it, the insecurity that he buried so deeply, the fear that she would reject him, push him aside as if he were nothing, not good enough for her.
She didn’t need to think about it. She already knew that she would do anything for him, anything to make him see himself through her eyes. Not trusting herself to speak, afraid that her voice would tremble as badly as her legs were, she nodded. Arching her back away from the wall to give him access -which caused her hips to press against his in a blatant offer- she lifted her arms as he pulled the soaked gown over her head and tossed it aside, uncaring as to where it landed.
She resisted the urge to cover herself up as his eyes drank her in, skimming over her chest and down her body, taking in the sight of her standing in front of him, bare to his gaze. She was pleased to see that his hands actually seeming to shake, just the tiniest bit, before they settled over her breasts, showing that he wasn’t as calm as he appeared to be. She sucked in a breath as he cupped her flesh, his hands cool on her heated flesh. Not knowing where to put her hands, not feeling like she could handle going straight for the goods, she settled them on his forearms as his lips descending on hers.
He tasted just as amazing as she remembered and she opened willingly for his tongue. The result was instant, passion exploding between them as she sucked his bottom lip into her mouth, moaning softly. This was what she craved, him, only him. She didn’t know why she felt so strongly, why she trusted him so much when her every instinct should have been screaming at her to run, why she wanted him beyond reason, but her instincts were hardly ever wrong.
She didn’t know how long they stood there, lost in their kiss, truthfully she could have stayed forever. But she couldn’t help noticing that the water pouring over them had begun to grow cold. With deep regret she finally broke their kiss, finding that she was shivering in the cool air. Without asking permission, hell, he was the one that had her tits in his hands, she wrapped her arms around his waist, burrowing against him for warmth.
How did she do that? How did she go from deliciously sinful kisses, her body rolling against his as they practically dry humped against the tiled wall, to a sweet thing that snuggled into his arms with all the trust in the world? She was a constant delight, surprising him at every turn. He could feel her shivering and realised that he didn’t like it. He didn’t want her to be cold. He wanted to look after her, to warm her and feed her, keeping her close to his side. He knew that it was nothing but a dream, something that could never be indulged in, but he had to do something.
It felt like their every second together since he had first laid eyes on her had been leading up to this one moment. It was inevitable, like the turning of the earth, the rising of the sun. You didn’t try to fight it or to understand why, you just gave in to that which you had no power to change. He didn’t like to admit that he was powerless in anything, but in this he knew he had no choice.
He looked down at her and her head lifted to meet his gaze. Her wet hair framed the most perfect, beautiful face he had ever seen. His eyes locked onto hers, as he asked the only thing he could.