Andie spun in a slow circle, attempting to absorb her surroundings. The box elevator let them out in the center of a space the size of a football field. All of it enclosed in glass and filled with growing things. The air was crisp with the bite of pine and cedar coming from the evergreens lining the walls. Ribbons of red poinsettias and clusters of whhite hydrageas decorated the floor along with numerous other plants she didn’t know. All of them flowing gracefully on either side of the path under her feet. Golden paving stones lit from underneath, waiting to guide visitors through this winter wonderland. All of this was illuminated by thousands tiny white lights. They sparkled over her head, twinkled in the trees, and brightened the foilage. It was a magical, dazzling display.
Struck speechless, she followed the paving stones, warm under her bare feet, around the elevator to a silver reflecting pool. The water so still she saw her face perfectly in the glassy surface and soaring above it at least thirty feet tall…
Andie found her voice, “It’s a swan.”
“It is.” Came the amused response behind her.
Well, maybe to a Demi-God, a giant swan made of boxwood and vines sailing gracefully on a silver reflecting pool was no big deal. But she was a puny human. She was awed.
And everywhere there were blooms. Paper whites, Narcissus, poinsettias, hydrangeas. Every shade of white. Even white jasmine and Andie inhaled, “Fresia.”
“If you say so. I’m afraid I’m not familiar with flowers.”
She spared a glance for the amused Demi-God, “This is pretty incredible, you know.”
“Do you think so?”
She didn’t bother to answer, following the path back around to the other side of the elevator. It led her to a long narrow pool, fountains springing from it in silver arcs, The carpet of red and white poinsetias thick on either side and at the end was a tree. Taller even than the swan, it rose to the sky, shimmering as if sprinkled with star dust.
“Exactly.” Her Adonis sounded immensely pleased, “That’s what we’re calling it. You like it?”
“I… what…yes…of course.” She lifted her dress and walked to the end of the path and down the length of the silver ribbon of water sto stand in front of the tree, lighty touching one delicate multi-faceted star. “It’s crystal.”
“It’s breathtaking. It must have taken days to decorate.”
“A week, I believe.”
“There’s more. Close your eyes.”
She turned, giving Damien her full attention since leaving the elevator, and that more than anything was a testament to the wonder of this alternate reality. It had actually distracted her from the man who’d seen to its creation, “Why?”
“So suspicious.” He strolled over and tapped her nose with his index finger, “It’s a surprise.”
“Okay.” Andie closed her eyes, “But I’m not big on surprises.”
“I’m confident you’ll like this one,” The heated whisper bathed her ear.
She shook off her shiver and gave his words back to him, “If you say so.”
“I do.” His chuckle nuzzled her cheek inducing yet another shiver which she did her best to ignore. She would not be reduced to a quivering mass of female hormones based on a whisper and a nuzzle. She was not that easy. Really.
“No peeking.” He admonished, his footseps fading. Leaving her to silence. With her eyes closed. Under the tree. The silence went on. The vacuum of large spaces making her feel strangely vunerable and a little silly, “Uh…hello?”
“Can I open my eyes now?”
There was more silence. She shivered, rubbing her arms against the sudden chill on her shoulders and felt tiny specs, fluffy and cold.
She opened her eyes. It floated all around her, dusting the moss beneath her feet, catching on her gown. She looked up. It fell from the darkness aboveto her upturned face. It floating over the tree. She held out her hand. The fluff melted on her skin. It was real, honest to goodness…
“Yes, it falls in a twenty foot radius around the tree.” Adonis’ voice came from somewhere beyond the ring of white
“Real, honest to goodness snow.”
“Honest to goodness.”
“This. Is. So. Cool.”
“You like the surprise, then?”
“Well, yeah,” Laughing like a child and not caring, she spun in circles, throwing her head back , catching the flakes on her tongue. A white flurry danced around her. “It’s like being in a snow globe.”
“A snow-globe,” Hushed words came from the dark, “Complete with a nymph, dancing in the snow, beautiful, innocent and unattainable.”
Oh. Andie stopped spinning. That was lovely, and poetic and … sad.
She moved to the edge of the invisible boundary of white, searching the gloom and barely made out his silouette. A single, solitary figure in the shadows. The Demi-God atop his mountain of glass and steel. Beautiful. Powerful. Alone.
Andie had spent much of her childhood in isolation. Her parents either taking her to barren locations on digs where they were gone much of the time or leaving her with relatives while they traveled. And while she knew she was loved, it was painful, that kind of loneliness, a hollow ache that bored down deep and hurt, hurt so very much.
The thought of this man hurting that way had her extending her hand, “Dance with me, Damien.”
“There’s no music.” He protested, but he emerged from the dark.
“We don’t need music. We have snow.”
He stopped at the edge. An enigmatic smile ghosting his mouth. “Snow is silent.”
“It’s my snow-globe. I say we don’t need music. Now, dance with me.”
He took her hand, bowing over it, his kiss warming her chilled skin, “As you wish, Mistress of the Magical Snow Realm.”
There was no hope for him. She could have said take me to the moon and he’d have gone out and bought her the space program. He’d had it backwards all this time, thinking he would claim her. That she would be his, belong to him. If he wasn’t scared spitless he’d be laughing out loud. . He was caught. Snared. She owned him. Body and soul.
It was terrifying.
Placing her hand behind his neck he folded her in his arms. His hands stroking the satin warmth of her back under the cool droplets left by the snow. She tucked into him with a sigh. Her other hand joining with the one he’d placed at his nape, threading through his hair, tickling his neck under his collar, she laid her head on his chest. His head reeled from the scent of her, sweet and clean; wild flowers blooming under the snow. His arms were full of lush female. The snow chilled the air and the fire in his blood raged fever hot, he savored the torture of holding her so close.
Time slowed. They swayed, and he fell.
They had been swaying for a minute or an hour or possibly a hundred years, when her whisper floated up to him, “The snow stopped.”
“It’s on a timer.”
“Oh…” Shen snuggled into his chest, “I can hear your heart.”
“Can you?” His hand slid down, low on her back exploring her without the distraction of hungry male eyes watching.
A slumberous “mmm” was her only answer. Finally able to touch her, he indulged, running his hands down the graceful curve of her back. She softened against him molding to him until they were entwined, his thigh between hers her body hot against him and his hands slid lower still.
Her breath caught, but she didn’t stop him, her hands threading in his hair as he took the sweet flesh of her bottom and pushed her even closer. Pushing his thigh against her until she rolled in an ancient rhythm.
He needed more. Grasping her waist, he lifted her to a nearby box. It brought her head almost even with his and gave him access. He slid his hand down around, a low groan rumbling in him at the first feel of her, slick, soft, teeming with heat,
He swallowed her startled cry with his mouth. Taking her in a kiss, “Let me in, baby.”
At the first brush of his hand, weakness invaded her limbs. Heat pooled in her belly. There was no stopping her gasping sigh. She dropped her head to his shoulder. Hiding her face against his chest. Oh, he knew what he was doing. The fingers traced over her sex, back and forth barely touching, over and over. She bit her lip to stifle her moans and the heat spread out up her body, making her arms limp and her legs weak.
His mouth slid over her cheek to her throat. Finding sensitive hollows that made her shiver. The hand on her bottom, pushing her into his thigh, she felt the answering throb in that small nub that throbbed as her blood rushed. The evidence of her arousal flooding his hand as he expertly played her body with that same feather light touch.
So good, but not enough. She moved restlessly against his thigh.
“You want more?” A silken whisper in her ear and his finger barely probed between the slick folds.
“Open your eyes, baby. Look at me.”
She pulled her lids open. He was above her, his eyes hot, his beautiful face hard with passion, “Answer me. Do you want more?” His finger tapped at the entrance of her body.
With a gasping breath she gripped his shoulders when that finger inside her. Stroking her in a place that made her squirm. Then taking that wetness and spreading it up over and around the place throbbing for him.
Oh.” Her head fell back, she moved on his hand, helplessly seeking more of that small touch.
“Yes, Andie, see what it can be?” His breath was harsh in her ear. His heart pounding beneath her chest.
Her dress slipped down over her arm baring her shoulder. His mouth followed, teeth grazing the wing of her collarbone, “I want to taste every inch of you. But first you’ll come for me”. Fingers slid inside, circling her and her body grew unbearably sensitive, hot. Her breasts against his chest. Her own sighs and pleading whimpers filling her ears. And his mouth moved heating the valley between her breasts, lips grazing the swells that had become heavy.
Her body was on fire. She wanted his mouth on her his hands, to feel him hard and heavy deep inside. Because God she was so…empty.
So this was why women chased him. She was in so far over her head, in deep dark waters and god help her she wanted to drown.
Hot kisses trailed up her throat till he whispered in her ear. Wicked words that made her body ignite. “You’re creaming my hand.” A sharp nip of teeth to her ear, “I think you’re ready for more.”
She cried out at the intrusion of his fingers sliding inside her, the heel of his hand pressing up. And she lost herself. Riding his hand, increasing the friction, The sweet ache in her belly coiled tighter his She gripped his shoulders, her head thrown back in those final desperate moments nothing mattered except the touch of his hand, until finally she crashed, coming in a torrent of agonized bliss. She dropped her head groaning into his throat.
“That’s it. I can feel you.” The voice in her ear was scalding. His hand moving her drawing out the little pulses and aftershocks, “You’ll come for me like this again and again.”
She was too spent to answer, but her gown slipping down her arms had her eyes flying open, “What…wait…”
“I need to see you.” The hands kept working tugging the dress, until it caught it on her bent elbows, “Sweetheart,” Eyes hot with wicked promise held hers, “Lower your arms for me.”
“Um….well,” She looked around the cavernous space, “Someone could come in.”
“No,” A lingering kiss heated the hollow between her breasts, “I’ve locked the elevator.” The words trailed up her throat, “It’s just us,” A nip of teeth to her jaw, “Just me.”
She was fast losing any ability to think, “Oh…um…are you sure about that?”
She felt him smile against her cheek, “Very. Are you shy, kitten?”
Maybe. A little. Yes, possibly. After all, she was out in the open on display standing on top of a…she looked down. He’d placed her on a white glittery box. A present under the tree. How appropriate.
“Here,” He knelt in front of her, “I’ll help.”
“Now,” She jerked when he pulled the fabric aside and brushed that single word over the sensitive tip of her breast, an found her back arching into his lips danced over the aching tip with his every word, but he kept his touches whisper light, “I would like very much,” Back and forth his mouth teased until the pleasure sharpened, “For you,” A single lash of his tongue across the pouting bud tore a whimper from her throat, “To drop, this dress,” He blew on the nipple he’d teased, “And show me all those pretty secrets,” His mouth brushed, his tongue licked, back and forth, Over and over, “That are so very, very, wet for me.”
She was shivering with heat. With a helpless moan she dug her hands in his hair, tugging him closer.
“No, no, no,” He took hold of her wrists and pulled them down, imprisoning them behind her back,” Kissing all around the aching tip, “You don’t get what you want until I do. Show me, baby.”
He sat back on his heels, taking the dress in his hands and skating them down her arms. They fell to her sides, the silk slithering down her body to pool at her feet.
“Look at you.” The man in front of her sat back, his eyes moving down her body. Midnight fire, licking her skin, making her tremble. And when he leaned forward to press a reverent kiss on her damp curls she had to close her eyes against the sensual onslaught. She was in so far over her head, but she knew she wouldn’t stop him. God, but she wanted to drown.
“You’re keeping this.”
She opened her eyes at that, “What?”
“These pretty red curls.” A single finger lightly flicked the whirl of hair covering her, “No Brazilian for you, sweet girl.”
“Oh, um well, I wasn’t uh…you know…planning on it.”
A wicked grin flashed across his face as he watched the heat in her face spread, “How about that, you blush everywhere.”
God, but she was the most beautiful thing he’d ever seen. His dick was so hard he was afraid to move for it breaking off.
“Come here, lovely.” He lifted and lowered until she was sitting on the box.
“Lay back for me.”
“Um…should we be doing this, you know, here?”
“Oh yes,” He watched her eyes grow wide when he went to work on his pants, opening and shucking them off in one sweep.
She looked at him with more than a little of anxiety. He was on the larger side. He didn’t want her to have time to become anxious.
He dropped in front of her kissing his way across her velvety belly, his hands skimming up her thighs, “That’s right, open for me.” She smelled like woman and sin.
“I’m going to kiss you here very soon. I think I’ll have you for dessert tonight.”
He slid up her body, taking her hands in his, “But I can’t wait any longer.” He lifted her leg wrapping it around him and took her mouth in the same moment he took her body. But though she was soaking, she resisted.
God, what it took for him to stop, hovering barely inside. She clamped down on him, her body tense, “Relax, sweetheart.”
He moved his hand and touched her rubbing the little nub, barely inside her, “Tense your muscles and them let go. It will help you relax.”
He had to grit his teeth when she clenched down on him. He rubbed the little slick bud until he felt her muscles give even as her hips wriggled restlessly under him. Taking her body’s cue, he surged ahead in one thrust…..
And he went from heaven to hell.
A shriek of pain cut through his fog of lust. Andie shoved wildly, straining away from him, bucking so hard he rolled off and tumbled to the floor. He didn’t feel it. Hell, he didn’t feel anything except cold, hard dread.
No. Couldn’t be. Not possible.
But one look at Andie’s tear streaked face told him the truth.
“Holy Shit! You’re a virgin!”
Aqua eyes, damp with pain, darted away, “Um well…not anymore.”
“A virgin.?” Her Adonis ran shaking hands through his hair before grabbing his pants and jerking them on faster than he’d removed them. “I’ll go get you some Tylenol…or Advil….or shit where’s my phone…” He patted his pockets, but then his horrified gaze settled on the area between her legs and for the first time ever Andie actually his face drain of all color, “FUCK! You’re bleeding.”
She looked down. There was a small amount of blood staining her thighs and the package under her. “Oh um… I think it’s normal…Hey…what?” She’d been scooped up. Andie looped her arms around him and held on. Damien carried her at either a slow run or a fast jog back down the pebbled path and past the elevator the swan and down a glass corridor with a view she suspected was spectacular but it was all a jostling blur.
Her Demi-God was too busy cursing to answer her. Really cursing. He could make Layla blush with what was coming out of his mouth. They went through another doorway and then they were on a balcony. Glass doors slid open automatically, and she’d be wowed by that later, and then they were in bathroom. Well, more of a spa, but it had a tub. A really big tub. A huge soaker tub sunk right into the floor like a swimming pool. She was carefully lowered onto a cushioned stool.
“Sure, okay.” She said to his back. Damien went to the edge of the tub He flipped levers, hit buttons, turned knobs and water rushed, filling the giant space so fast it created white-water.
He settled a robe onto her shoulders, “I’ll be back.”
She didn’t bother answering, she didn’t think he was hearing much anyway, and scoped her surroundings instead. The bathroom was freakin huge. Modern, all white and a pale silver, with touches of dark gray. There was a shower on the left behind a single clear pane of glass and open at both ends. Sheesh, it ran nearly the entire length of the wall. You could wash an elephant in there under the numerous spray heads on the ceiling. Along the opposite wall was a long vanity with duel sinks. The only thing missing was a toilet, but she supposed that was behind one of the two doors on either side of the shower. And directly in front of her was that swimming pool bath tub and a wall of clear glass leading to the balcony beyond. A wall that was really a sliding door. You could open it and bring the outside in. Wow, while she prefered her true love at Evermay. She could be tempted to cheat in this modern paradise.
“Okay,” Damien came back into the room with his phone in one hand and a yellow box in the other.
As he got closer she saw, “Baking soda?”
Without looking up from his phone, he dumped the entire box into the water, “It says here lukewarm water and baking soda will be immediately soothing to your labia and vaginal walls. Would you like me to call my physician?”
It took her a second to get past “labia and vaginal walls”, but his physician? “NO!”
“Right. Yes, I can see how that would be embarrassing. Do you have a doctor you’d like me to contact or… Stop! No! What are you doing??!!”
Andie looked all around where she risen from her stool for whatever he was so horrified about – land mines, tarantulas maybe…
But he was across the space in a single bound. A Demi-God Super-Hero, he snatched her off her feet, carried her to the tub, and proceeded to walk right down the steps till he was standing up to his knees in water.
Her concern for his Super-Duds was drowned out by his Super-Panic over her lack of what was, in all likelihood, a rather ordinary hymen. “Do you want me to set you down on the steps? Are you too sore? I can hold you. Or if you’d prefer privacy, I can get you a cushion…”
He kept sputtering incoherent phrases, sloshing in super-circles in his super-spa bathtub.
Her Demi-God was a Super-Wreck.
And that was kind of funny, what with Gods and all their ritual virgin sacrifices. She slapped a hand over her mouth but it was no use. The snicker got by her.
“Kitten, are you laughing?”
“This is nothing to laugh at.”
“Dear God, you should have told me. I would have been gentle or given you some Advil before we started or…”
“Shit, I don’t know what I would have done, but I wouldn’t have….God Andie, I wouldn’t have hurt you.” And he sat right down in the water, holding her on his lap.
Andie looked up and what she saw had her automatic denial dying on her lips. Haunted eyes searched her own, his voice ragged, “I would never hurt you.”
Holy Shit. Something was going on. Something more than her deflowering. She lifted her hands and put them on either side of his face, “I know that, Damien.”
He laughed. It was a hard bitter sound. It chilled her to the bone, “Andie, You know nothing about what I am.”
“Hey, I know. I know you would never hurt me.”
“Sweet Andie, if you had half an idea what I want from you, you’d run from me and never look back.” His head fell back, till he stared at the ceiling, “I’m half-convinced you should.”
Oh no, whatever demon was smacking her Demi-God around, she didn’t like it, not one bit.
The deflowered virgin was going to kick some demon butt.
She quirked a brow at him, “Telling a girl she should run away from you after deflowering her is kind of lame.”
With half a rueful laugh, he lifted his head, “A valid point, kitten. I’m afraid that the deflowering has left me shell-shocked.”
“Yes, I got that when you grabbed your hair and screamed.”
“I did not scream.” He scowled down at her, but she saw the ghost of a smile hovering.
“Uh yeah, you did.”
“Shouted, I’ll give you…” The twitch became a half smile.
“You screamed. You shouldn’t argue with the girl you just deflowered, you know.”
“No I didn’t know. This is all new to me, you understand.” The half-smile grew.
“Oh, well, if you’d like my input…”
“Most definitely.” A beautiful Adonis smile lit his face and lifted her heart.
“I think you should feed me.”
“Ah, right, I forgot about the mushroom caps.”
“And cheese with fig spread.”
Low laughter rumbled in the chest under her ear. “Anything else?”
Very Very Good.
“Some chocolate would be nice.”
After all, she’d just been deflowered and kicked demon butt.
Chocolate was called for.