There was only Marguarita in his world. Marguarita with her soft skin and the light she poured into his dark soul. It was a strange thing for a man who had spent lifetimes utterly alone to need. It was uncomfortable and unfamiliar, but the need was greater than anything else in his world. She was so fragile, so vulnerable. He could crush her easily, yet she had all the power.

Drowning in her eyes, a rush of fire swept through him. Need became physical, leaping from his mind to his body, a dangerous flame, so hot and so raw every muscle tensed as hot blood rushed with the fire from every point in his body to fill his groin with a terrible, clawing demand. Lust burned deep and gut-wrenching. Where before, his need had been hunger, now it was for Marguarita. All of her, her blood, her body, mind and heart and soul. He needed.

She brought him life. She made him experience what he could not. Pain. Pleasure. Sorrow. Laughter. Rage. Joy. She was life. She was now his life. His everything. He couldn't live without the emotions and colors she brought to him, or the soft slide of her mind against his, the warmth that melted all that ice in his veins. He needed.

She caressed his shadowed jaw with her fingertips and that slight touch, that whisper of a burning caress, ignited something raw and primal deep within him. Lust and hunger hit with a brutal punch, a vicious clawing need in his belly, filling his groin until he hurt beyond all reason.

He lifted her chin and took her mouth without preamble. No soft kiss. No gentle tenderness. He took what was his, claiming her mouth for his own. "I need to be inside of you. Deep inside you. Do you understand, Marguarita?"

It was an impossible question. How could she possibly understand? The world he lived in and the one she offered him were in complete contrast to one another. He understood one and needed the other. For a Carpathian hunter, needing was the worst possible obsession.

His kiss roughened as hidden emotions welled up, a volcano, long suppressed, building and building inside of him. Anger at her for having such a hold on him. She had claimed she was no witch, but the spell was stronger than any he had ever encountered, the web more beautiful but no less lethal than any trap ever sprung on him. He was caught. By this. By her. Marguarita. His fingers dug deep into her shoulders and he gave her a little shake, the anger building by the moment.

She had dragged him away from eternal rest, forced him to face his past, the memories long buried - and forgotten. He'd put those things in a vault and locked them up tight never to revisit them. She opened floodgates and, sun scorch her, he was addicted to her and those vivid intense emotions she allowed him to feel.

He realized those few moments after killing the vampires, when the horses rejected him, when the cattle turned away, shunning him, preferring the unknown to coming near him, he had been terror-struck. He hadn't connected those feelings until she'd poured into him, but she'd reduced him to that. A warrior beyond all measure, and he'd been nearly brought to his knees at the thought that she might turn away from him.

His mouth took hers over and over, long hot, rough kisses. He didn't give her a chance to breathe, to pull away, to be anything but what he wanted her to be. His. Only his. All his. She leaned into him, giving herself, but it wasn't enough for him. He could hear the growls rumbling in his throat, but he couldn't stop. The force inside him demanded she give him everything.

He used his hands to rid her of her clothing, his enormous strength, brutally ripping her blouse and tearing off her skirt to get at her soft skin. He became a frenzied madman, desperate to remove every barrier between him and her body. She didn't question him, but stood still under his rough hands, until he'd stripped her bare.

He paused for one moment looking down at her naked body, all soft curves and feminine heat. This woman was his only salvation, his only way to go on living and stay sane. She was his sanity, his life, and he would demand impossible things of her, but he couldn't give her up, no matter that it might be the honorable thing to do. He was too far gone. With a small groan and a wave of his hand to remove his own clothes, he took her mouth again.

He sank into all that heat and silken promise. His tongue slid along hers. He filled her mouth the way he wanted to fill her body, hard and deep, holding her still for his assault on her senses. He kissed his way down her face to her throat, his tongue flicking over the bites he left along her skin, a trail of his possession. His hand found the soft weight of her breast and he cupped paradise in his palm, his teeth and tongue and lips finding the path to the creamy swell.

He lapped at her frantic pulse. Her felt her grow still, her body trembling.

He lapped at her nipple and bit gently with his teeth, then harder, tugging, arousing her, sending lightning streaking through her body. He felt that reaction, and lifted her, growling, desperate for her.

"Wrap your legs around my waist and lock your ankles. Put your hands around my neck." His gruff order was barely audible.

She sucked in her breath, knowing how open she would be to him, but she obeyed without hesitation. He closed his eyes, feeling her warm, slick heat on his belly. She pulsed against him and he felt the answering jerk in his cock. He was desperate to be inside her haven, to bury and lock himself there, away from the rest of the world. Away from blood and death. He chose life and he chose Marguarita.

His fingers flexed on her hips, her only warning, and he slammed her down over this surging erection. He was so thick and hard, he drove through her tight folds. The feeling burst through him, the moon rising over the river, spreading through his body to take over every cell. Her sheath was scorching hot, searing him to his soul, driving out every shadow, the exquisite pleasure pounding through his veins. He held her, his hands driving her down over him mercilessly, his hips rising to meet that velvet soft fiery paradise. He was lost for a time, lost in the ecstasy, pounding into her, turning so he could lean her back against the wall and continue driving like a jackhammer, feeling every stroke through his body, every ripple of hers.

Her breath turned into ragged gasps, her breasts bouncing against him, nipples rubbing over his chest. Her hair was everywhere, brushing over his skin in a sensuous fall. He let himself go, let the monster reign, gave him power. He took her savagely, taking everything for himself, his pleasure, his need driving him.

He nuzzled at her neck, wanting more, but he couldn't get to her with her head lying on his shoulder. Put your head back, he commanded.

She complied immediately, throwing her head back. Her breasts jutted toward him, a beautiful sight, bouncing with every hard surge and thrust. She had no choice but to ride him, he refused to allow her respite, even when her body tightened and spasmed around his, again and again. He simply drove her higher. Taking her without inhibition. Needing this. Needing - everything, wanting to feel her orgasm again and again, wanting the pleasure

bursting behind his eyes and rushing up his legs to center in his groin.

More. Give me more. Again, Marguarita. Again.

His head was filled with erotic lust, need driving need. He managed to remember to swipe his tongue over her neck before he bit deep. The taste of her burst into his mouth, his mind, rushed like a fireball into his groin. Her body went into another orgasm, one right after the other, her sheath gripping so tight she was strangling him. He could hear her gasps, and pleas for mercy from somewhere in his mind, but it wasn't enough. He needed more. He couldn't leave that inferno of pure, unadulterated pleasure. His haven. He was lost there. Mindless.

He wanted to consume her, be part of her, live inside her skin. Feel this. This perfect place, perfect moment, with her pleas for mercy and his body serving hers, giving her more pleasure than she'd ever dreamed or imagined. She would always know she was his. No one else could ever do these things to her body. Make her feel as he did. He could take all the power back, leave her stripped and as vulnerable as he was.

This was his obsession. This was his brand of ownership. This was - love. The realization of what he was doing swept over him. Shocked him. Utterly shocked him. He was loving her. Trying to say without words the intensity of what he felt for her. How could he possibly say it when he didn't recognize the feeling? It was only here, deep in her body, that he knew absolutely the stark, raw truth. This wasn't punishment for giving him life. This wasn't ownership or possession or obsession. This was love. His love, as rough and raw and untamed as it was. The rage inside of him, welling up like a volcano, threatening to explode, to destroy both of them - that was his love for her. He was saying with his body what he didn't know how to say with his words. He was worshiping her. Giving himself to her, burning up in her fire.

He swept his tongue across the bright strawberry on her neck and lifted his head to look into her eyes as he felt the volcano take him, sweeping him up in a rocketing eruption, killing him with fierce, hot pleasure so that he was reborn, remade. A phoenix rising from the ashes. And sun scorch him, he should have been more careful with her.

Her soft admonishment slid into his mind. Love me any way you want, Zacarias. I feel your love in everything you do to me. I don't need the words. I don't need gentle. Yes, sometimes I'm a little afraid, but I know you won't ever hurt me. She rested her head on his shoulder, her body surrounding his, almost melting into him so that they did feel as if they had the same skin. Her hair was damp. So was his skin.

He held her close until their hearts slowed from the dangerous high to a more controlled beat. He kissed that sweet spot, the junction between her neck and shoulder, over and over and then swept up her throat to find her mouth.

He had never apologized to anyone in his life. I am sorry, I should have been more careful with you. It was easier to push the words into her mind, rather than say them aloud. He felt so much a part of her, his cock still deep inside her, still throbbing while her body pulsed around his with continuous aftershocks.

Her hands caressed his ears, and she lifted her head to look at him before she initiated another kiss. Her lips slid along his, her tongue finding the seam of his mouth, teasing for entrance. He let her take control, let her explore his mouth, loving the way she gave herself unconditionally to him. She would be sore. He'd been a savage, his cock a jackhammer. He had spent a long, mindless time losing himself in her.

I loved every second of it. Feel free any time. I might be sore tomorrow, but it will feel wonderful knowing it was from you making love to me.

You were thoroughly loved. He had given everything he was to her. He demanded no less of her. And it seemed easier to refer to their bodies than their hearts.

Her teeth tugged on his lower lip. He felt her amusement as he slowly allowed his body to separate from hers. Very gently he lowered her feet to the ground, holding her until he was certain her legs were steady enough to hold her. In the distance, outside the house he heard footsteps.

"We have company," Zacarias said. "Your friend Julio and the woman who flew the helicopter." He cupped her breasts, reluctant to give up even a few moments with her. He wanted this night for himself.

Lea Eldridge. Marguarita's hands went to his bare chest and pushed. I'll have them leave as quickly as possible. She can't see you. Her brother and his friend are too interested in you. Go. Hurry, Zacarias, while I dress.

He smiled, his palm shaping her throat, tipping her head up toward his. "I am your protector. I will stay and meet this woman."

Her face paled, her eyes darkened and went wide with shock. He couldn't resist bending his head to brush her parted lips with his. She blinked at him, and then shook her head frantically.

It's too dangerous to let her see you. If she accidently slips up and lets her brother know you're in residence, he'll tell that awful friend of his. Seriously, don't stand there smiling at me, you have to go.

She looked around for her clothes, pressing both hands to her mouth as a blush started up her entire body. Her clothes were in ruins, shredded by his urgent hands earlier. He loved the way she looked, helpless and vulnerable. She was all soft skin and generous curves, her wild hair tumbling in all directions around her body, the silken strands catching sensuously on her nipples and traveling in waves to the curve of her very sexy butt. The marks of his possession were everywhere, all over her skin, red marks, dark smudges, his fingerprints, his bite marks. She was beautiful to him. He couldn't resist sweeping his hand over her creamy breasts, watching the breath catch in her lungs.

He loved the way her stomach muscles bunched under his palm and as he dipped lower, the way she widened her stance to accommodate his searching hand letting him know she accepted his possession of her body. She was hot and slick from their lovemaking and smelled of him. He was stamped deeply into her now, and that knowledge pleased him. No matter that he lived in modern times, he was a throwback and the ways of his world would always be a part of him. He wanted other males to know she belonged to him, that she was protected and taken.

His fingers delved a little deeper, into that hot, damp passage and her hips bucked in response. Her body trembled. He loved to feel the shiver of need move through her mind and body. He bent his head to the temptation of her nipple, taking his time, letting her know she belonged to him and it mattered little what the rest of the world was doing while he took his pleasure. And it did give him pleasure to see her little gasps, the flush spreading and the dazed look in her eyes. He loved the desire smoldering there, the need and hunger for him.

He pushed two fingers deep into all that scorching heat. He thought of that tight fiery hot sheath as his. All for him. All that intense desire and need gathering in her eyes was for him. Her half-opened mouth. That glazed look of wonder. Her ragged breath. His thumb found her most sensitive spot, flicking and teasing, while his fingers plunged deep. He left a wet trail with his teeth and tongue and lips down her neck and chest to his ultimate destination.

He couldn't resist taking her breast into his mouth and biting down on her nipple with exquisite precision. Her entire body jumped and shook. He moved back and forth between her breasts, taking his time, uncaring of the knock on the door, lost in a world of pleasure, his mouth going from peak to peak. His fingers pushed deep and retreated, then buried deep again while his thumb tapped and tugged on her now engorged button. She shattered, her breath hissing out, her body bucking, rippling, muscles gripping hard as he threw her into another orgasm.

The knock on the door was polite but persistent. He glanced toward it, supporting her weight when her knees buckled. He smiled at her, pleased with her heightened color and wild hair. She looked like a woman who had been made thorough love to. She raised one hand to her mass of hair and he caught her wrist and pulled it down.

"Leave it. I like the way you look. I will get the door while you go to the kitchen and prepare refreshments for our guests."

She frowned, still fighting to breathe, to think logically. I'm naked. And Lea can't see you. Please, Zacarias. I can barely think straight.

"There is no need to think. Just do as I tell you."