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CHAPTER 7. Jericho came awake the moment Delphine touched him
Jericho came awake the moment Delphine touched him. For a heartbeat, he thought she was fighting him until he realized just how wrong that assumption was.
Completely naked, she rubbed her body against his. Oh, gah . . . What did I do right?
His senses spun as she groped him, and his body begged and burned for more. Her hands were everywhere, stroking, dipping and cupping. His breathing ragged, he groaned in pleasure and ground his teeth.
You're not this lucky. Wake up, asshole!
But that was the last thing he wanted to do. He wanted to be her plaything.
Most of all, he wanted to be her chew toy.
More likely you're her patsy. She's going to screw you over, and not the way you want her to.
When was the last time a woman mauled you like this?
Delphine was a virgin, and unless they were in a porn movie he didn't know about, women like her didn't do this to men who were holding them prisoner. That reality check went over him like ice water. Shaking himself mentally, he pushed her back. "What are you doing?"
She answered him with a scorching kiss. His senses on fire, he rolled with her, trapping her under him. Still she ran her hands over his body, making him crazy with lust, especially since the hairs at the juncture of her thighs teased his hip bone, making him crave a taste of that part of her.
"Please," she begged, her voice cracking. "I'm on fire. I need you."
Jericho froze as he realized she had the same drugged look in her eyes that Zeth had held in his. And she was every bit as out of control. More to the point, her eyes were jet black and not their normal shade.
What had they done to her?
She nipped at his chin, pulling his hair as she continued to buck against him, making his body hard and heavy. "I need you inside me." It was a raw demand.
He sucked his breath in sharply as she cupped him in her hand. "Stop!"
Are you out of your fucking mind? You want this!
Yes, yes, he did. He really did. But not with a woman who wasn't in control of herself.
Yes, you do. Look at her. She's gorgeous and all over you. Take her!
Just look at that body . . .
No kidding. She was truly a goddess in every sense of the word. With the exception of the scars on her back, there wasn't a flaw on her.
Then do what she asks . . . worship her until you're both limping.
His inner voice was relentless. And it was hard to stay in control, especially since she'd pulled his pants down to his hips and had him in her hands as she massaged his cock.
Damn, she was a quick learner.
He had to give himself a jolt as she tried to guide him into her body. "Delphine!" he shouted, trying to make her hear him. "Stop it!"
She tugged at his cock.
He almost came just from the sheer pleasure of it. Give her what she wants!
Growling in frustration, he launched his wings and moved far enough away that she couldn't reach him. His heart racing, he stared down at the bed where she lay with her legs slightly parted. Every part of him wanted to join her.
I am a rank idiot.
"Jericho." Her plea tore through his heart.
He pulled his pants up as he hovered over the bed, wanting her with a passion so biting, it was all he could do to stave it off. "What did they do to you?"
She glared up at him. "Fine. If you won't help me, I'll find someone who will." She rolled off the bed.
Jericho shot to the door to block her way before she left and found Asmodeus or someone else he'd have to kill for touching her. He cupped her face in his hands. "Delphine, stop. Tell me what happened."
She fought him until she realized he wasn't budging.
"Answer me," he insisted.
Her gaze was unfocused as his voice finally reached her. "I was dreaming . . ."
"And?"She frowned as if she couldn't recall. "Azura was there. She came after me."
"What did she do?"
Delphine paused again before she answered. "She gave me food. Food . . . Zeth told me not to eat, but I couldn't stop her. She forced me to eat it."
Jericho cursed. So that was how they were getting the Skoti. They were drugging them.
She groaned softly as she rubbed her naked body against his again. "I'm on fire, Jericho. Please help me. I can't stand how much it bums."
He let out his breath. Well, she already hated him. Obeying her wouldn't change anything.
She took his hand from her face and led it to her breast. Her puckered nipple teased his palm, making him harder than he'd ever been before. "Please."
What man could argue with that, god or otherwise? Scooping her up in his arms, he returned her to the bed. The sweet scent of her body was branded into him as he skimmed his hand over her bare stomach. But he didn't want to take from her while she was like this. This wasn't her.
It was the drug talking. The drug begging for him. But she was still in pain from it.
So he gently separated the folds of her body to stroke her. She cried out in relief and pulled him close so that she could kiss him senseless.
Jericho's body strained, begging for him to take her. But in spite of all that had happened to him, he wasn't an animal. He wouldn't prey on her.
He was better than that, and for the first time in centuries, he believed it.
Delphine trembled with the incredible sensation of his fingers soothing her. They teased and excited her in a way she wouldn't have thought possible.
Finally something was stamping down the fierce ache inside her.
When he pulled back from her lips, she actually whimpered. Where was he going?
She had her answer as he slid himself down between her legs and took her into his mouth. Unable to bear the sheer ecstasy of it, she cried out, burying her hand in his soft hair. Never had she imagined anything so splendid. The heat of his mouth combined with the strokes of his tongue and fingers was blinding.
She looked down to meet his gaze. The primal heat in his mismatched eyes set her on fire.
Jericho growled at the taste of her. His body was so hard and ready, but he was used to controlling those urges. Right now, it was her orgasm he was after.
And the truth was, he enjoyed the way she tasted, the sound of her pleasured murmurs as she played with his hair. He'd missed the comfort of being touched. The smell and taste of a lover. He could spend the rest of the night like this, just savoring her.
Delphine shivered at the long stroke he delivered, especially as he dragged his whiskered cheek down her cleft. It went through her with ribbons of pleasure.
Biting her lip, she felt her body clenching tighter until she couldn't stand it anymore. In one moment of supreme bliss, her body burst.
She screamed out, clutching him to her as he continued to lick and tease, making her orgasm all the more intense.
When he'd finally wrung the last spasm out of her, he moved forward to rest his chin on her stomach while he lay between her legs. He traced a small circle around her navel as his gaze held hers.
"Yes," she breathed as she brushed her hand through his hair. "Much better."
He nuzzled her stomach with his whiskers, adding another shiver to her.
Delphine sighed in utter contentment as she felt the fire draining out of her to be replaced by a sense of utter satisfaction. "So that's what those feel like, huh?" No wonder he'd been so calm and kind after his orgasm. She really did feel at peace right now.
Then she became aware of the fact that she was completely naked. Exposed.
He was lying between her open legs. . . .
No one had ever seen her like this. No one.
Heat crept over her face as horror filled her.
Jericho lifted himself up as he became aware of the change in her. She was tense now. Her face flushed as her eyes returned to the beautiful shade that haunted him. "What's wrong?"
She tried to cover herself. "What have I done? I'm so embarrassed."
He moved to her side before he pulled the sheet over her. "Don't be. You weren't in control."
She covered her face with the sheet. "How can I look at you after that?"
Jericho stifled a smile at her dire tone. Her reserve amused him, but he did feel bad for her. He tugged lightly at the covers until she had to look at him. "You're beautiful, Delphine. There's no shame in what we've done."
He kissed her words away. "No buts. I don't want you to be embarrassed with me. Ever."
Delphine smiled at him, grateful for his kindness. What amazed her most was the fact that he hadn't taken advantage of her, even though she'd begged him to. He had helped her out selflessly. Even now, she felt how rigid his erection was, but he made no demands on her.
She'd been wrong about him. He did have compassion, after all. He could have walked away or taken her ruthlessly any way he wanted to. But he hadn't. Even though he was still hard, he'd withheld himself.
Her heart warm with that knowledge, she placed her hand on his scarred cheek. He nipped playfully at her thumb.
"We have to do something about this, Jericho. I don't know what Azura gave me, but it's terrible what it does."
"There's no telling what they've found, but the question is why give it to the Skoti? Why incapacitate an army that you want to fight for you?"
"Maybe they don't want them to fight. Maybe it's something else they're after."
He grimaced. "Such as?"
"I don't know. You're supposed to be the one with the Source connection and fighting expertise."
"Yeah, but that doesn't give me any insight into evil. You have to remember that Noir and Azura are cut from an entirely different bolt than I was."
Delphine was glad to hear him say that. There was nothing redeeming about either Azura or Noir.
Brushing her hands through his hair, she was amazed at how relaxed she was while lying naked with a man. His breath tickled her face, and even though his weight should have been heavy, it was comforting to have him pressing against her.
Was this what love was like?
No, maybe not love, it was too soon for that. But there was something very bonding about this shared moment. It was familiar and comforting.
"Do you think we can get the others free?"
He looked up at her with his mismatched eyes. "You calmed down rather quickly once I"—he flashed her a devilish grin—"placated you. They must be constantly feeding the others to keep them like this. Which again begs the question of why."
"We have to get them out of here."
He made a sound of disagreement. "Saving Olympians isn't my priority."
She yanked his hair.
"You're lucky that's all I'm pulling on," she said sternly. "Those are my brothers and sisters you're talking about."
Jericho looked away as those words resonated inside him. They were his, too. For all the good it did them. "I'm not a god of forgiveness, Delphine."
"No, you're a god of strength, and the greatest strength of all is being able to forgive the people who've harmed you. Even greater still is the ability to fight to defend them. Be a better person than they were. I know you can be."
Jericho shook his head. "You have more faith in me than I deserve."
Her gaze burned him with its intensity. "I disagree. I have seen the other side of you and that's the side I'm appealing to. There's more to you than hatred and fighting. You have a beautiful heart, Jericho. I know it."
The only problem was he didn't. He couldn't find forgiveness inside him. Only bitter resentment. Utter hatred. Contempt.
Until he looked at her.
She alone had made him feel something else. But the problem was he didn't understand what she stirred inside him. At least other than lust. That he knew intimately.
But the part of him that was holding her now was alien and frightening. He didn't know or understand it.
It was the same foreign place that had defied Zeus to save her life.
She owed him, and for some reason, he couldn't bring himself to force her to pay him for his sacrifice. He only wanted what she was willing to give him.
What is wrong with me?
He'd always been the type of person to take what he wanted. But it was so different with her. Closing his eyes, he savored the sensation of her flesh under his cheek. The gentle strokes of her hands in his hair.
He never wanted to leave this.
Delphine ran her finger down the stubble of his cheek. She loved the feeling of his skin. So different from hers. Most of all, she was stunned that he lay so calmly with her. She knew the violence he was capable of and yet. . .
It was like taming a ferocious beast that she knew wouldn't be so kind to another living soul.
Only she knew this side of him, and it made her treasure it all the more. Treasure him.
They both jumped at the quiet voice that whispered through the room.
Jericho covered her. "Jaden?" he asked in an equally hushed tone.
Jaden appeared in the corner as nothing more than a faint mist. He looked worse than when Jericho had seen him earlier. There were fresh bruises on his face and blood on one side of his mouth. But he seemed oblivious to the pain. "They're plotting against you."
Jaden gave him a "duh" stare. "Your best friends, fool, who do you think? The Easter Bunny or the assholes who brought you here? FYI, they're planning to feed you to the gallu so that they can control your powers without your fighting them. If I were you, I'd be gone five minutes ago."
Jericho tensed suspiciously. Why would Jaden help him? "How do I know you're not lying?"
"I have no reason to lie. But if you want to hang out here and get eaten, far be it from me to stop you. As is, my ass is fertilizer if they catch me talking to you."
Still, Jericho was skeptical. People didn't help him, and he found it hard to imagine Jaden doing so without getting something in return.
"I believe him," Delphine whispered. "I don't trust Noir."
Jericho snorted. "I don't trust anyone" And especially not the evil who'd brought him here. He'd been suspicious of them from the moment Azura had first approached him.
"Maybe you should try trusting me for once," she said in a determined tone.
Jericho was torn. He really didn't know if he could trust Jaden, and yet he had no reason to doubt him. It made sense. Why give him his powers back unless they knew they had complete control over him? He wouldn't make that mistake, especially given the totality of his powers. If he'd brought him over, he would have put him under lock and key.
Just to be safe.
Look at how they treated Jaden. It was obvious fair play and kindness weren't part of their world.
But he had another problem. "Where do we go?"
Delphine frowned. "What do you mean?"
"If I go to Olympus with powers, Zeus, in spite of what he says, will attack me. I have no doubt."
She shook her head. "That's not true. He promised to give you all of your powers back."
Jericho laughed. "I think that's what you heard. I don't believe for a nanosecond it's what he said."
"I'm not lying."
"I'm not saying you are. Tell me verbatim what thunder-ass said to you."
She let out a frustrated breath. "He said that so long as you fought against Noir and the Skoti. you'd have your powers."
Jericho cast a droll look at Jaden's mist. "What does that sound like to you?"
"That you will only have your powers when you fight against Noir and the Skoti."
Delphine frowned. "Isn't that what I just said?"
"No," Jericho answered. "You heard that my powers would be returned to me. What I hear is that I'm a lap-dog unless I'm fighting to protect their scabbing hides."
"He's right. After what he's done to Cratus, Zeus would never take the chance of giving him unfettered powers."
"He knows what I'd do with them and more to the point, what I'd do to him with them."
Delphine felt sick that she'd been so easily duped. But then, as Jericho had pointed out, she'd heard what she wanted to. What they were saying made a lot more sense. "Then what do we do?"
Go to New Orleans. Jaden's voice was in their heads as if he was too afraid of being heard even in a whisper. Find Acheron Parthenopaeus. Let him know what's happening and he can help.
"Why would he do that?" Jericho asked.
"For the love of the Source, Jericho," Jaden snapped. "Do it. He's the only hope you have right now."
Jericho opened his mouth to argue. But before he could make a single sound, the door flew open, disintegrating Jaden's mist form.
It was a gallu demon, and he wasn't alone.
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