Carpathian 04 - Dark Magic
around the thick, steel-like muscles. The wind carried the sound of her sobs up to the stars. Her tears glittered like jewels in the night.
Gregori could feel her pain as if it was his own. Her tears moved him when nothing else could. His mind reached out to the chaos of hers, finding overwhelming grief and a terrible fear of him. Deliberately he surrounded her with warmth and comfort. It brushed her mind, soothing her nerves.
Savannah opened her eyes to find herself out of the city, up in the mountains. Gregori set her gently on the steps of a huge, rambling house. He reached past her to open the door, then stepped back courteously to allow her entry.
Savannah felt small and lost, knowing that if she set one foot in his lair, she would be placing her life in his hands. Her eyes flashed blue-white fire, as if they had caught a star and trapped it forever in their depths. Tilting her chin defiantly, she stepped backward until the porch railing brought her up short. "I refuse to enter your home."
His laugh came then, low, amused, and maddenly male. "Your body and mine chose for us. There is no other man for you, Savannah. Not now, not ever. I can feel your emotions when men, human or Carpathian, touch you. You are repulsed; you cannot bear their touch." His voice dropped lower still, a black-magic caress that seemed to send heat spreading through her like molten lava. "It is not so with my touch, ma petite . We both know that. Do not deny it, or I will be forced to prove my words."
"I am a mere twenty-three," she pointed out desperately. "You are centuries old. I have not lived at all."
He shrugged with casual strength, muscles rippling, his silver eyes on her beautiful, anxious face. "Then you will enjoy the benefits of my experience."
"Gregori, please try to understand. You don't love me. You don't know me. I am not like other Carpathian women. I don't want to be a brood mare for my race. I can't be your prisoner, no matter how Generated by ABC Amber LIT Conv erter, http://www.processtext.com/abclit.html
petted and indulged I am."
He laughed softly and waved a hand dismissively in the space between them. "You are young, child, if you believe what you are saying." There was a gentleness in his voice that turned her heart over in spite of all her fears. "Is your mother a prisoner?"
"My parents are different. My father loves my mother.
Even so, he would sometimes walk on her rights if he could. A gilded cage is still a cage, Gregori."
There was that amusement again, warming the cold steel of his eyes. Savannah felt her temper rise. She had an almost uncontrollable urge to slap his face. His grin widened, a subtle challenge. He indicated the open door.
She forced a laugh. "We can stand out here until dawn, Gregori. I'm willing—are you?"
He leaned one hip lazily against the wall. "You think to dare me?"
"You can't force me against my will without violating our laws."
"In all the centuries I have existed, do you believe I have never broken our laws?" His soft laughter was without humor. "The things I have done render abducting you as petty as the human crime of jaywalking."
"Yet you brought Roberto to justice, even though San Francisco is Aidan Savage's territory to hunt," she pointed out, naming another powerful Carpathian who tracked down and destroyed those among them turned vampire. "Did you do that because of me?"
"You are my lifemate, the only thing that stands between me and the destruction of mortals and immortals alike." He stated it calmly, as an absolute truth. "No one will touch you or try to come between us and live. He struck you, Savannah."
"My father would—"
He was shaking his head. "Do not try to bring your father into this, chérie , even if Mikhael is the Prince of our people. This is between you and me. You do not want a war. Roberto struck you; that was reason enough for him to die."
She touched his mind again. No anger. Just resolve. He meant what he said. He wasn't bluffing or trying to frighten her. He wanted truth between them. Savannah pressed the back of her hand against her mouth. She had always known this moment would come. "I'm sorry, Gregori," she whispered hopelessly.
"I can't be what you want. I will choose to face the dawn."
His fingers brushed her face with incredible gentleness. "You have no idea what I want from you." His hands cupped her face, thumbs stroking the satin skin over the pulse beating so frantically in her throat.
"You know I cannot allow you
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