Rebecca jolted, her eyes opening wide. Her screams still echoed in the room around them as Aiden’s hands clenched on her bare shoulders. His face rigid with emotion, he looked simultaneously petrified and angry, but, more importantly, his heat burned away some of the icy fear that had burrowed into her bones.
He shook her. Her head lolled and her throat worked. Stomach heaving, her heart pulsing into her esophagus, Rebecca flung his hands off her shoulders and rolled out of bed, stumbling and staggering as she raced for the bathroom. She threw herself in front of the toilet, but her throat closed, refusing to allow a purge of the roiling impressions the dream had left behind.
Awful, sweet power roared through her, demolishing everything in its path. It locked inside her, and there was no way to expel it. She could only use it, or suffer through it. Rebecca hung her head as she was torn apart—feeling both blistered with heat and chilled to the bone. Insidious doubts crawled over her, tugging at her deepest insecurities and filling her mind with fiery, forceful whispers that told her she was a liar, she was a murderer. She was insane.
Her breath rippled the water in the toilet bowl as she waited in vain. Rebecca finally shifted from the unused fixture, curling into herself as she huddled against the vanity. Pressing her forehead to the cabinet, she shuddered as tears streamed over her cheeks and her skull throbbed to the beat of her pounding heart, a cold slide of fear doing nothing to muffle either.
Her thoughts spun until she was unable to grab even one. Horror filled her, but that shimmering, monstrous sense of power was flowing through her veins and overshadowing all emotion beyond greed. Unable to trust herself, knowing this time was different—stronger, more focused—Rebecca resolved to suffer through it. With gruesome images stark in her mind, she couldn’t ask for Aiden’s help. It was too dangerous. She couldn’t go to him with the remembrance of thievery and death, taking treasures, taking life. A life of value. Murder.
And she certainly couldn’t touch him with the taunting whispers of madness churning in her head.
He was there. She held herself still, digging her nails into her arms, terrified she would shatter. Terrified she would snap and take his life as the man in her dreams had taken so many others.
Aiden lowered his body to the floor behind her. His arms and legs came around her, pushing between her body and the vanity to completely encircle her in safety. But claws sprung from her fingertips and fangs fought to descend from her gum line.
Rebecca pulled tighter into her own embrace, not daring to relax against him as the sensation of sinking teeth and claws into warm, living flesh teased her confused psyche.
“Talk to me, baby. Please. You’re freezing to the touch, you woke me up with your screams, but you wouldn’t snap out of it. Please, tell me what’s going on.”
She shook her head, trying to make her raw throat form words, but she was also afraid to open her mouth. Afraid she’d twist into him, literally tear into him.
So Rebecca kept her silence while Aiden held her. He rocked her, smoothed his hands down her arms and back, warming her. Slowly the monstrous awareness dimmed, allowing the power to reign supreme. More tears flowed as Rebecca began to shudder, working through the sensations until she was practically convulsing in Aiden arms. Without an outlet for the psychic energy tearing through her, she knew it would only get worse as time passed.
Aiden’s fear and frustration transmitted through his touch—as much as he tried to keep his hands gentle and easy, his body was beyond tense. “Bex, please. I can’t fix it until you tell me what happened. Please let me help you fix this.”
She heard how harshly he breathed, as he smoothed his cheek against her temple, and felt how hard his heart pounded as he pulled her closer. His hands turned rough, coasting over her as if he were looking for physical wounds. Rebecca knew him well enough, in spite of the miniscule amount of time they’d spent together, to understand how his helplessness affected him. He was a protective man, a martyr and a hero, fighting for those who couldn’t help themselves, just as much as for those he loved.
“Tell me what’s wrong.” His voice was barely recognizable, so low and severe.
Rebecca’s heart rate tripled in panic as she wavered, caught between the unbearable need to tell him and the untamable instinct to hide her vulnerability. But she heard the worried fear in his voice so she pushed the words from her chest, grinding them out painfully. “A dream. Don’t know…power.”
“Use me, Bex. Let me help you.”
“Can’t risk it. Not this time. This time it uses me.”
He cursed in her ear. “Is this what happens when you have a vision and don’t have a…you don’t…”
“Use or be used.” The shaky words tasted bitter in her mouth.
Aiden shifted, pulling her to face him, forcing her to twist and meet his silver eyes. His face was drawn, lines bracketed his mouth, the skin pulled taut over his cheekbones. “I’m right here, baby. Use me.”
His mouth met hers and, for a blinding moment, the power screamed in glee. But the monster trapped inside her snatched her control. Her fangs gnashed in anticipation.
Rebecca jerked her head back, the sharp edge of her teeth just about to snap closed on Aiden’s bottom lip.
With a move born of pure panic, she jumped to her feet. “No. I can’t! I’m afraid I’ll hurt you.” She took a step back, the hard edge of the vanity biting into her spine. “I’ve already hurt you!”
Slowly, Aiden rose to his full height. His changeable eyes watched her closely as he took a single step, pausing as her hands lifted, palms out to ward him off.
“What happened?” He took another step, trapping her between his body and the sink.
“It was a dream!” Rebecca’s vocal cords finally unlocked, pouring the memory from her mouth as she desperately tried to hold back her need to dominate long enough to explain, long enough to make him understand. “I was a monster. There were hot winds and a creature that…and then I… he took my—”
“Come on, Bex, breathe easy for me,” he soothed when her words tangled. “Slow down.”
“I saw him sink his teeth into men’s necks, and it was me. I wanted it, I wanted to do it, to take their lives because life was important to them.”
“It was just a dream.”
“No!” Her scream bounced around the bathroom, shocking even herself with the violence in that single word. “I’ve had this fucking dream several times! But it’s not just a dream. It’s a memory, and every memory I take, I keep!”
“A memory of a dream, Bex—”
“Stop!” She reached behind her to grip the counter’s ledge so hard her palms went numb. Her throat was raw and filled with the taste of charred ash, bitter and dry. Dark thoughts filled her mind, blurring the divide between what she knew was fact and what she thought was fiction. She took a deep breath and told him what had happened in quick, stuttering phrases.
“It was a vision, don’t you see? I don’t know how and I don’t know why, but it was and…and it’s still inside me. It’s pushing me, Aiden, trying to get me to…to be with him, to do what he does.”
“You don’t know him, baby.”
“He knows me! He knows me and he wants me and he’s trying to take my…” Rebecca could hardly force the words past her fear. She paused, then said in a rush, “He’s taking my sanity because it’s what’s most valuable to me, and, when he’s got it, he’ll leave me a…a monster.”
Aiden was already shaking his head, inching closer. “You’re not a monster, Bex, and you never will be. Let me help you through this. I can help you, let me prove it to you. Let me fill you up, baby.”
“I don’t want to hurt you!” Not him, never him, after all he’d done for her. More than any man had in years. Rebecca spun, too many emotions rising up, clogging her brain, sticking in her throat. But there was no way to hide—she faced the mirror.
She also faced Aiden in the mirror. She closed her eyes to keep him from seeing the torment she knew she couldn’t keep hidden a moment longer. She could let him see her fear but she couldn’t risk showing anyone how tenuous her hold on reality suddenly was.
But he already knew.
Aiden’s chest pressed against her back, his heat sinking into her spine and once again chasing away the memory of aching loneliness. His arms came up to brace his weight against the sink, his hardening cock slipping between her legs as he nudged her feet apart.
“Open your eyes and look at me.”
Hesitantly, she did as she was told, surprised at the fierce determination she found on his face. “Aiden—”
“Look at yourself.”
Rebecca blinked at his hard tone. Arrested by the sight of his inflexible features, she tried to breathe through the fear—not of him, but of herself, and the possibility of what she could, one day, be. But, slowly, she obeyed his command, focusing on her reflection. She was naked, as was Aiden. Her face was pale, skin taut, mouth trembling. Bent over the sink as she was, her breasts were on display, the small curves gently swaying when Aiden rocked against her.
He put his face next to hers, his knees bending a little, sliding his cock a little more forward to rub over her folds. Her pussy was already growing damp.
“You’re not a monster, and you’re not insane. You don’t have claws, you don’t have fangs. There’s no scales, no glowing red eyes. You’re not a monster, you’re not crazy and you’re not a murderer.” He pressed his lips to her ear and whispered, “You’re perfect.”
Her breath hitched at his lie, but warmth filled her. Rebecca didn’t dare protest his remark—the set of his features clearly told her he wouldn’t allow it. She felt her spine loosen, her shoulders dropping some of their tension as Aiden’s protective comfort washed over her.
He arched his hips, pressing through her folds. The head of his dick caught at her entrance before slipping forward to kiss her clit. Rebecca caught her breath, the monster within her finally easing off, dying beneath Aiden’s heat, which soothed instead of blistered.
The power latched on to Aiden’s comfort and redirected it into Rebecca’s lust, flowing urgently through her mind and soul, twisting deep in her body. “Fast, Aiden. I need it fast, now.”
Immediately, the head of his cock prodded her entrance. He slid just inside, testing her readiness as she stretched around his thickness. Rebecca stared at his reflection before looking past his shoulder to see the awful, mirrored shower door she still didn’t have enough money to replace. Tonight, it was proving it had benefits.
The overhead light flowed over the sculpted lines of Aiden’s body, illuminating the breadth of his shoulders and the long plane of his back. There was beauty and grace in his form, a strength that couldn’t be denied.
Rebecca’s body heated further as she watched his long, lean muscles ripple and bulge. She watched as his ass cheeks clenched. His spine bowed and arched, and she felt him slide more deeply into her. She spread her legs farther, widening her stance, tilting her hips to take more of him. His reflection flexed, his cock rocked in and out of her pussy. He withdrew and sank in another few inches.
“Faster, Aiden, please. Give me more.” She drove her hips back, needing a violent ride into ecstasy to remind her there were better uses of power than hurting others. “I don’t want gentle or soft.”
“One day, baby, that’s exactly how I’ll have you.”
Dominate or be dominated. When the perverse sense of power surged through her, making her need sex, Rebecca fought for the upper hand. For good reason—she’d been helpless for so long, she had a fierce need to take, especially when it came to her own body. Meeting Aiden’s eyes in the mirror, the reflection of his shifting back muscles in the periphery of her vision spurring her on, she thought perhaps she might try the other option. One day.
“One day,” he said. “But not this day.”
He pulled back and thrust forward, forging past her clenching muscles, making them burn as his cock stretched her inner walls. He stole her breath with his understanding. Then he pushed all the way home, and Rebecca surrendered to him, entrusting even her most valuable possession into his care as she lifted to her toes. Her pussy rippled around his shaft, trying to accommodate him.
A breathless moment later, she was fully impaled. He kissed her shoulder. “Are you okay?”
She gritted her teeth against the sensation of fullness and the need to make him move. “Fuck me, Aiden. Now. Hard.”
And he did. He rode her, pushing her belly against the sink, the cool porcelain brushing her skin just above her clit, teasing her with the temperature difference. His hands rose to tug at her nipples, and she watched in the mirror as he pulled them, flicked them and thumbed them. They reddened, hardening under his fingers as pleasure pulsed in the peaks.
In the shower door, Rebecca watched the play of muscles in Aiden’s back and the clenching of his ass as he thrust into her. She could time it, from when his muscles shifted to the electrifying drag of his cock through her pussy. This time was different between them, more than the fuck they’d first taken, deeper than the slow intimacy they’d shared before falling asleep. This was pleasure on multiple levels.
This was healing.
Aiden was a giver, and again the feeling of safety spread through her, slowly claiming her as his. Aiden’s woman. The power chomped at her, territorial and warring against his possession of her, but she forcibly ignored it, letting him take care of her and trusting him to know what she needed.
Somehow he understood. With his body against hers and inside hers, with his emotions churning with her own, Rebecca hurtled toward climax. Screaming her pleasure, she exploded around his cock, her muscles clamping down as she trembled, pushing onto him, arching and grinding her clit against the sink as she lifted to her toes.
Aiden fucked her with short, hard strokes until she shuddered, the fire blazing along her nerves leaving her wilted and gasping. Then he jerked from her body, his cock slick with her pleasure, sliding up, between the cheeks of her ass. He rocked twice, making her feel every inch before he came in a hot blast against her back.
Bending, his lips found her nape while they both struggled to breathe. As her heart rate slowed to a fast jog, he slowly straightened, pulling her back against him to study her body in the mirror. He ran his hand over her, from her throat to her pubic mound.
His finger circled her still-pulsing clit. “Next time I’m with you without a condom, I’m going to come right here, and I’m going rub it in, all around until you’re slick with me and screaming all over again.” She caught her breath and he smiled. “No, Bex, not right now. It’s almost morning. We’re gonna take a shower and get ready for the day. Today, we leave for Watertown.”
“I…” Her voice broke and she had to clear her throat as she watched his fingers play between her legs. “I have some things I have to do first. We’re leaving around noon?”
“Yeah.” Regret passing over his face, Aiden let her go, moving to turn the shower on. “I’ve got it all set up, everything’s covered.”
She licked her lips nervously. He saw, and understood.
“Trust me, Bex. I’ll take care of you.”