“Are you gonna kick me out now?” he asked.
“Don’t you biters have to be home before the sun?”
He shrugged. “Not really. It just gives me a sunburn. And that’s the midday sun not the morning sun.”
She turned in his arms, her eyes searching his midnight-blue ones. “If I send you away now, will you come back tomorrow?”
“If you tell me why you’re suddenly sending me away,” he replied cautiously.
Eden bit her lip. She wanted him to stay. She didn’t want him to go. However, she needed time to think. Her whole perspective on sex and men and relationships had shifted on its axis and her emotions seemed off balance from it.
“I need to think,” she said honestly. “When I picked you up tonight, I was angry and determined to prove my brother wrong.” She paused, biting her lip for a moment. “I let his words make me question myself, my motivations, my sexuality. You’ve made me realize that I never should have questioned that. Instead, I should have questioned other things.”
“What other things?”
She shook her head. “Nothing to do with you. Things about my family. About why my brother would feel the need to say such a thing to me.”
Colin’s expression became sympathetic. “That’s certainly what I would be questioning.” He paused then went on in a carefully neutral voice. “You know, you don’t have to invite me back tomorrow. It’s okay if you want this to end here.”
Her eyes widened. “You don’t have to say that, Colin. You can be the Alpha with me. I rather like him, you know.”
His eyes flashed and he pulled her into his arms, kissing her. The embrace was hard and rough, but she enjoyed it. When he lifted his head, she grinned at him and he growled. “If you don’t call me, I’ll be back here at five pounding on your door.”
She opened her robe, swiped the first two fingers of her hand across her clan mark then pressed them to his lips. “I promise. Dragon swear.”
Colin’s lips quirked up at the corners. “Dragon swear? Just what exactly does that mean?”
She wrinkled her nose at him. “It’s like pinky swear or cross my heart…only it’s a promise on my clan mark. You already know that clan marks are different for every dragon, the mark intrinsic to each. Dragon swear is a child’s phrase, but its roots are deep in each dragon’s personal honor.”
He nodded. “I understand.”
In the bedroom, she watched him dress. Then he took out his Blackberry. “Where’s your cell phone?” he asked.
She got it out and he grunted when he saw they had the same phone. “Put my number in it,” he told her and rattled it off.
Eden recognized the area code as the same one where her family lived. How odd that Colin lived in the same area, she thought. She gave him her number, watching his brows shoot up when he heard the area code. He punched in the number and pocketed his phone. “You have the same area code as I do,” he remarked.
She nodded. “I get my mail at my family’s house. I don’t have a permanent place to live. I travel too much.”
Colin’s eyes glinted, but he didn’t say anything. She walked him to the door of the suite. He bent and kissed her hard, his tongue sweeping into her mouth to tease hers. She moaned. He groaned. Their mouths parted.
“Call me anytime tomorrow,” he told her.
“I will,” she agreed, and then he left. She closed the door and flopped down on the edge of the bed. It reeked of sex and vanilla.
Eden breathed deeply of Colin’s scent and her stomach clenched. Definitely something inside her felt drawn to him. Something primal and uncontrollable. The moment she’d smelled him, her whole body had gone into some weird mode. She hadn’t really wanted to talk to him at first. She just wanted to fuck him…to have him fuck her. In the tub, her dragon had fought her, turning the water hotter. The urge to bathe Colin in her dragonfire rose within her, making her ask him about vampire matings.
She sucked in a shaky breath. Gods. If her brother Sean could see her now, he would be all about the I-told-you-sos. He wanted her mated and settled. He didn’t like the fact that she roamed the world, far from the family, far from his influence and control. He made no bones about the fact that he wanted Eden to be more like her sister.
Diandra, the eldest of the Antaeus clan, had married a werewolf. Together, they held dominion over a large pack in Scotland. Diandra was everything their parents had ever expected of their daughter. Smart and successful, owning a number of ISPs in the UK, she helped her mate run their corporation as well as the pack.
Ruan McCallen’s bloodlines could be traced back to the time of the Roman occupation of Britain. His people were proud and fierce. At first, they had been resistant to their Alpha mating a dragon, but when Diandra had easily won a bloodmatch challenge for Ruan, they grew respectful. By the time she’d spit out twin cubs a couple of years after mating, every wolf in the pack loved her.
Her sister had always been perfect, Eden admitted ruefully. She’d mated and had children. She had a normal job. She was Eden’s opposite in every way.
Shoulders slumped, Eden wondered why she continually beat herself up over this. She wouldn’t ever fit in, would never be a productive member of the family like Diandra, or any of her siblings for that matter. Declan and Holden were just as mired in the family business as Sean. Only she had ever felt stifled working there.
She’d tried for years, working in marketing where her artistic and creative forces fit best, but in the end the corporate world had sucked the life out of her until she became an automaton, going through the motions of living. That’s when she’d quit the business and thrown off the mantle of her family ties. She’d headed to New York City with little more than a suitcase full of clothes, her cameras and laptop, and a portfolio. The fact that it had taken her less than a year to rise to the top of her profession was a testament to the business acumen she’d learned from her family. She ruthlessly used those business skills when she had to, but always felt a little dirty doing so.
Stretching out on the bed, Eden hugged a pillow to her chest, her nose filled with Colin’s scent. The man was obviously successful at his job. She knew the brand of his watch, the cut of his jeans and silk shirt. Top names. Expensive names. Usually, she avoided men like him. Men who reminded her of her brothers, unless they were submissives she could flog. Taking a cat-o’-nine-tails to the muscular back of a man who had untold power in the corporate world held endless satisfaction for her.
Once upon a time, at an invitation-only club above the popular Paris nightclub Wicked Pleasures, the master had told her that she didn’t have the nature of a true Domme. He hadn’t turned her away from the club, because she followed the rules and paid well. However, he had held her hand, stroking her palm, and told her that she used the lifestyle to hide from her past and work out the pain and aggression that filled her because the two halves of her life did not sync—her past and her present-future.
At the time, she’d scoffed at the Zen in his words. Tonight, she sighed over how prophetic they had been. Being with Colin had not only showed her how wrong Sean was, but that she had been too. The master had been right. She wasn’t a true Domme. The lifestyle wasn’t for her. What she had shared with Colin had been fantastic. Sex at its purist. Gods, her pussy still ached from the pounding his huge cock had given her. She knew she would call him. Every atom in her body wanted her to.