Razvan woke with the pack curled around him and Ivory cuddled into his body as if she sought shelter there. He opened the soil so he could look up at the stars on the ceiling, a sense of peace stealing over him. This was the moment he loved. Waking in the early evening when the prisms of the gems embedded in the opening allowed the moonlight to spill into the chamber and across Ivory's face.

He ached every time he looked at her. One small smile from Ivory was enough to make his soul soar. One touch wiped out every memory of the torture and depravity of his past. He had no idea how she did it, or why, when he was with her, the world was such a different place, filled with laughter and beauty and things he'd never dreamt of.

Raja stirred and lifted his head, rubbing his chin over Razvan's arm in greeting. Razvan sank his fingers into the deep fur, a miracle in itself. Already his heart had accepted each of these creatures with their separate personalities. Who had ever dreamed of burying a face in soft fur and having a wolf guard and try to heal wounds?

Take the pack into the next room. I wish to be with my mate.

Raja's answer was a smile, his tongue swiping along Razvan's arm, a rare gesture for Raja. Razvan greeted each wolf as they woke and watched them lope into the next room, leaving him alone with Ivory. He turned toward her, his arm sliding around her waist, his body close as he studied her face again. The shadows and hollows, the exquisite bone structure. Her hair spilled out of the thick braid and his fingers itched to pull out the weave and spread that silken mass everywhere. He loved her mouth. She rarely smiled, but she had a mouth made for smiling-and loving.

There was no way he could tell her of the pride sweeping through him, the lump in his throat, the way his heart sang, and the terrible fear in his heart at her terrifying courage as he watched her battle Xavier's evil. He knew better than any other just how difficult the task had been. He had seen other mages battle and lose with Xavier's spells, and the mutated microbes were the culmination of his evil plot against his most hated enemy. She had chosen her equipment well; each article she used had been cleansed and prepared ahead of time, everything planned meticulously, just as she planned her battles. In the end, though, as things usually did, everything had gone wrong and, instead of trying a practice run, she had fought for the lives of infants-yet she had triumphed. Her finest moment.

He knew she would never see herself as he saw her-or maybe as any other had. She had been magnificent. Pride swelled. Tall, with a woman's soft, curvy body and slender arms, honed with muscle and sinew, her face lifted toward that small sliver of moon shining through the cavern's chimney.

Sometimes, when he looked at her, like he did now, he felt overwhelmed, his every sense so acute, on overload, with his blood thundering in his veins, filling his groin to bursting so lust was a vicious punch in his belly. His skin crawled for her. A spike hammered through his skull and without her touch there was a hole so deep, so wide, it cut straight through his soul. He waved his hand to slide a silken sheet beneath both of them.

Razvan bent his head and breathed into her mouth. Awaken, fel ku kuuluaak sivam belso-beloved. Come to me. Because he needed her. Needed to see her eyes grow hungry for him, the way he knew his were for her.

He gave her that first sweet breath of air, then took one from her to draw deep into his lungs. Her lashes fluttered and lifted and his shaft jerked in response to the sudden leap of his heart. She opened her eyes and all the emotion he could ever want was right there. Her amber eyes were enormous, filled from their very depths with love just for him. An endless well. There it was. Everything.

He smiled at her, a hungry, predatory smile, while she lay stretched out like a banquet before him. Tonight might be their last night together, and he was going to make it special for her. He dissolved right in front of her arms, turning his body to warm liquid, a blanket of heat and sparkling liquid, running over her like a million tongues, fizzing against her delicate skin, nudging her legs apart to wrap around them, run through them and nuzzle the junction between her legs lovingly.

She writhed beneath his administrations, her breath hissing out in a long slow what of shock. The bubbles teased her breasts and the taut nipples that tempted him to return to his physical form. He resisted, wanting her to match the fever of his need. The warm liquid coated her body, suspending her in a pool of bubbling water, seeking every hollow, every crevice, and filling the hot spaces with even hotter liquid.

She cried out when the water began to lap at her, gently at first, teasing her clit, bubbling inside of her, front and back until she was panting, crying out at the probing fingers of water pushing in and out of her. More fingers tugged her nipples and bubbles burst over and in every conceivable opening, bringing her to a fever pitch. He manipulated the liquid again, suckling now, fizzing and probing until it seemed a thousand mouths tormented her.

Razvan. She whispered his name as her body went into a series of orgasms, each one stronger than the last, and she found herself reaching for him, trying to find her anchor while the world erupted into a red haze around her.

He laughed softly, shifting easily, letting her fingers sink into his skin and hold there.

Her arms slid around his neck and she smiled. "I love waking up to you."

He pressed his forehead against hers. "That is good, warrior woman, because if you woke up with someone else, the world as we know it would end."

She made a face at him and leaned forward to nibble her way across his chin to the corner of his mouth. "I doubt that. You are the calmest, most accepting man I have ever met."

Her breasts slid against his chest, soft and full, and tantalizing. Tiny flames flickered over his heavy muscles everywhere their bodies connected. Just touching her soft skin shook him. He kissed each eye and skimmed his mouth to the corner of hers.

"I am Dragonseeker, fel ku kuuluaak sivam belso-beloved. We breathe fire under certain circumstances. Finding you with another male would be one of those circumstances."

His teeth nipped her full lower lip. Once. Twice. He captured that soft bow and tugged gently, wanting to devour her, to have her for dinner. He felt edgy with need, and just the gentle friction of her body rubbing along his increased his desire more than he thought possible.

"I doubt you have anything to worry about. You are very... inventive."

Her hand drifted to the inside of his thigh, slid higher, between his legs, to cup his heavy erection. He reacted almost helplessly, pushing his hips into her hand, throbbing and hot, swelling against her palm until her fist was a tight glove surrounding as much of him as possible. Her thumb stroked caresses over the broad, sensitive mushroom head, smearing the tempting pearl drop over the soft, hot tip. She watched the shudder move through him with hot eyes-eyes that sent his temperature soaring even higher.

Her fingers on his skin felt like heaven, the stroking caresses wiping out every ugly memory from his past, so that there was only Ivory and his world with her. Tactile. Erotic. Sensory. His world instantly became one of feeling. His mouth moved over hers. Drank in the taste of her. Nectar. Sweet with just a bite of spice.

"I might like to see you breathe fire," she whispered into his mouth.

Her tongue tangled with his and his shaft jerked and swelled more against the tight fist of her hand. He deepened the kiss, the hunger blossoming with such urgent demand he felt edgy and a little desperate for her. It might have had something to do with the way her hand moved over his heavy erection and her mouth suckled at his tongue as if it was his shaft.

"No, you would not, fel ku kuuluaak sivam belso-beloved. You like me the way I am."

She laughed softly, the sound low and wicked, and then she was kissing her way down his throat and chest, pushing him back, rising above him to nip at his belly with sharp little teeth. His breath hitched in his throat. That long, thick, silken braid dragged over his body, adding to the sensual sensations, robbing him of breath and reason. He reached up and tugged loose the tie so he could let it cascade over his body.

She was so sexy, her hair a little wild and disheveled, all soft skin and lush curves with that wonderful steel running beneath it. The combination always aroused him past sanity. His body ached and his heavy erection thickened and hardened somewhere in that subspace between pain and ultimate pleasure whenever she moved over him, her touch rubbing over his hot skin like velvet.

Her tongue licked along his skin, a cat lapping at cream, while her fingers stroked and caressed, drawing the essence from him. Her breath was warm on the head of his shaft and he felt every muscle tighten, but he didn't let himself move. He resisted the urge to catch her head and pull it down over his fiercely burning erection. The anticipation of her mouth, soft and hot and made for heaven, added to the tightening of his body and the need growing like an addiction in his blood.

He loved seeing her eyes, the glazed, dazed look that said she was falling into that same well of need and hunger, yet was still a little shocked and surprised that she could be so helplessly in love. Her hands trembled just that little bit, and as her breasts moved, soft and delicious and so tempting, fingers of arousal teased his thighs and danced over his shaft.

He waited. Holding his breath. Her hair pooled on his hips and thighs. He closed his eyes as he felt the warmth of her breath bathing his pulsing erection, the satisfying jerk of reaction, swelling more. Indulgent and lazy. He loved her generosity. The complete way she loved him, not in words, but with this, bringing him pleasure, just the giving of herself to him. That alone was the biggest turn-on to him, that ultimate gift that she gave completely and generously-she wanted his pleasure as much as or more than she wanted her own.

Her tongue flicked out and he groaned, lifting his hips helplessly, following her hot mouth, but she pulled away. Her palm cupped his aching balls, rolled and teased, her tongue sending streaks of fire shuddering through his body when she lavished attention, licking her way back up to his shaft.

His breath stopped. His heart missed a beat, and then began to pound. The roar in his head increased and he swore a jackhammer pounded there. His groin felt like a steel spike. He groaned, a soft, husky sound that seemed to compel her to action. She caught his hip in one hand, her fingers digging deep while the fingers of her other hand wrapped around him like a vise. He heard her heart match his own pounding beat. Heard the rush of her blood through her veins like the swell of a tidal wave. He swore in the ancient language, his voice not his own, but hoarse and desperate, and hungry with demand.

She licked him. Licked the broad mushroom head, swirling her tongue over that firm, velvet-soft tip and savoring the pearly drops he leaked in anticipation. His entire body tightened, shuddered, and this time he growled, the sound low, filled with lust while his vision went hazy. "O kod belso-darkness take it. Ivory, you might kill me."

He had to be in her mouth, in that tight, moist, secret haven. He caught fistfuls of her hair and pushed her head down on him, needing her desperately, unable to wait a moment longer.

Ivory kept her eyes on his, watching the changes in him, drinking them in, glorying in her ability to shake his usual calm. She loved it when he went all demonic on her, growling and bunching her hair in his hands, dragging her closer, thrusting his hips helplessly. She reveled in the way his eyes went from midnight blue to intense black. The way the stripes in his hair deepened. There was something very exhilarating and intensely sexy about the growls rumbling in his chest, the bunch of the muscles in his jaw, that little tic that made her know he was completely gone into another realm.

They were going out this night to hunt the most dangerous enemy the Carpathian people-the world-had ever known, and either might never return. Determination to show him how she felt, what he meant to her, what he brought to her, was in every mesmerizing stroke of her tongue and caress of her fingers. She engulfed his shaft completely, drawing him deep, hollowing her cheeks to tighten the suction around his hard flesh.

He moaned when her teeth scraped gently and her tongue swirled up his shaft to tease at the ultrasensitive spot beneath the flared head. She pulled her head back until her lips were barely skimming over him, watching him, watching his eyes go wide in pleasure, watching his breath come in ragged, harsh gasps.

"Ivory." There was demand in his voice.

Gone was her slow, smooth lover, the one who took his time taking her over and over the edge, always in complete control, always the one to give so generously and drive her beyond anything she'd ever known. Joy burst through her and she swallowed him, taking him deep, feeling his entire body react, feeling him shudder again as intense pleasure vibrated through him.

The muscles in his thighs jumped with arousal, his stomach bunched in reaction, the heavy muscles of his chest rippled while his arms flexed. But it was his shaft, jerking and pulsing in her mouth, growing thicker even than he'd ever been, that thrilled her. She loved the way he stretched her lips, reveled in the way the hot length of him felt on her tongue, even the way he thrust in short, staccato bursts deeper down her throat where her muscles squeezed and massaged and milked him.

She had planned this moment, this giving to him, this taking, wanting the raw pleasure for him, the helpless, mindless ecstasy where he didn't have to worry about her or what she was feeling, but only taking what she gave him, what she offered to him. Heat flared through her when his teeth came together like that of a hungry wolf.

He shifted, floating them to the floor, his hands holding her head still while he thrust down her mouth, his eyes narrowed now, watching her throat work, watching the beauty of the woman now at his feet, kneeling in supplication, her eyes locked with his.

Do not look away from me, he commanded.

She had no intention of looking away, or of pulling from his mind. She wanted that exquisite feeling to go on forever. Her own thighs were wet, the junction between her legs pulsing with need for him to fill her, but she wasn't going to stop for anything. She wanted to take him down her throat, to be everything for him, to be used by him, to give him this one perfect gift so he would feel her love encompassing him.

Her tongue stroked and rubbed along his most sensitive spot and she heard a strangled cry escape his throat. His eyes went so deep blue they appeared black with no pupils. She felt his reaction. Burning alive. Going up in flames from his toes to the top of his head. Flames licked over his skin. His blood ran like hot lava, thick, almost too thick to make it through his veins.

Harder. The whisper was in her mind. Oh, Kucak!-star. Ivory, harder. His voice was ragged. Hoarse. Thrilling. Andasz entolem irgalomet!-have mercy, do not stop.

Nothing could have stopped her. She was burning for him. Empty inside without him. Desperate for him, for this wild, sexy thrill. She increased her suction as he took control, as his body went out of control. He used her hair, holding her head still while he took her mouth, driving her head onto him until she felt the violent jerk. The swell. Heard his ragged cry of joy and ecstasy as he exploded, the hot jet rocketing down her throat in spurts.

She didn't let go, feeling his shudders as she continued to suck on him, gently now, her eyes locked with his. She rocked back on her heels as she finally allowed him to slide from her mouth. Her tongue did a slow, sensual sweep of her full, swollen lips.

Ivory watched his eyes change, go from that dark midnight blue to a yawning chasm of a deep ocean abyss. So hungry. So focused. All for her. Her heart leapt. Sometimes his hunger could unnerve her, like now, when his body was aggressive and she could feel the steel running through his muscles. It both drew and repelled her, thrilled and frightened her. Razvan was always so in control that when he lost it-as she loved him to-his intensity was terrifying... and rewarding.

His fist suddenly caught in her hair again to drag her up. He pulled her head back, exposing her neck. Her heart leapt. Every bone melted. She felt the burn in her lungs for air. His teeth sank deep, and sheer ecstasy rushed through her body like a tidal wave, swamping her. Her eyes drifted closed. How could she keep her senses intact when that delicious pleasure spread through her like a wave of heat? He drank from her as if he was starving, drawing the essence of life into his body, as if he might never get enough.

She loved it when he was just on the edge of his control, his mouth moving over her in a frenzied passion, and the ecstasy she felt was nothing compared to what her body and taste brought him. She loved touching his mind and feeding the chaotic male heat, the need and lust rising so sharp and terrible he could barely keep from devouring her. His teeth were small bites of pain that only added another dimension to the layers of desire and heat spreading and consuming her.

Every rising it was like this, the need to merge, to feel absolutely one, the heat and fire of their joining. She shuddered with pleasure as he took one last indulgent drink and swept his tongue across the pinpricks to close the small wound. His mouth suckled there for a moment, marking her, a further indulgence he'd never taken before. She felt . . . part of him. Part of his heart. Part of his soul.

His tongue licked at the ruby-red droplets of blood trailing down her throat to her breast. His tongue flicked her nipple and she sucked in her breath, but her hands caught his head to restrain him. Yet there was no restraining Razvan in his present mood. He growled something and took her breast into his mouth, biting down on her nipple and tugging until she cried out with pleasure.

He suckled strongly, ravaging her body, making it his. He took his pleasure from her, yet gave her back tenfold, as if he, too, knew, this could be their last time together. Neither voiced it, neither acknowledged it, but when he took her to the floor of the chamber, she was every bit as frantic as he was.

Her hands moved over his back, her nails digging deep as he laved her breast, sending those delicious flashes of lightning streaking through her. His tongue flicked at her hard peak with hot, slow licks that sent her mind reeling. His mouth took on a rhythmic motion that matched the push of his hips against hers. She could feel the hard length of him lying like a brand along her thigh. Each drag of his body along hers just made him grow hotter and thicker.

Electricity seemed to arc over their skin, sparks of arousal as she gasped for breath. He was switching back and forth, a man possessed, teeth and tongue and hot mouth driving her senseless. There was nothing in her world but Razvan, his hard body, his male scent of sin and sex filling the air around her, burning in her lungs in place of air.

He lifted his head, small flames burning through the piercing blue of his eyes. "Take my blood, Ivory. Now. Right now."

He lifted her with hard hands, fitting her on his lap, facing him, straddling him, so that she felt the hard length of him, aggressive and hot, against her wet, slick opening. His harsh gasps just drew her further under his spell. She felt mesmerized when he was like this, so desperate for the taste and touch of her. His hands never stopped moving over her skin, claiming every inch of her for his own. She loved the thrill of being his.

She lifted her head to lick over his chest and up to his throat. His stomach rippled. Bunched. His shaft, that terrible, wonderful steel spike, throbbed and pulsed against her thigh, waiting for an opportunity. She licked her lips. Tasted him. His essence. Let him feel what that did to her, deep in her mind-in her body.

Her tongue swirled over his pulse as she nuzzled his warm throat. She loved the masculine feel of him, the heat of him. Her teeth nipped and she moved her body restlessly along his, a tempting enticement, so deep, so primal, she shook with her need. She lifted her face for his kiss, wanting-no-needing his mouth. That glorious mouth that could send her body skittering on the brink of a great precipice, too close to the edge, to that yawning abyss, or send her over, plunging her into a maelstrom of pleasure beyond anything she'd ever dreamt.

Her mouth melted into his. Fused. Welded. So hot. A scorching heat that filled her entire body, turning her fine, white porcelain skin to faint color. She looked up at his face, carved with hard edges, a man's face, his eyes heavy-lidded, possessive. She kissed him again, drinking him in, letting the rush hit her hard before kissing her way to the corners of his mouth. Licking. Tasting him. Biting with small nips to his chin and back to his lip. Tugging. Teasing. Wanting.

"You might kill us both," he warned.

She moved her body in a sensuous slide over the hot brand of his very hard erection, rubbing back and forth, trying to draw him inside of her.

His body jerked and he groaned. His fingers tightened in her hair, pulling her head back so he could stare into her eyes. "Take my blood now, Ivory." His voice had gone deep. Harsh. Hungrier. More sensual.

Her heart jumped. Nearly exploded. Her throat constricted. Her tongue already could taste him, that sweet, seductive, erotic taste of him. She felt her saliva form. Her teeth lengthened. She kissed his stubborn jaw, trailed more kisses to the side of his neck where his pulse was warm, alive and inviting. Her teeth grazed his skin.

Razvan sucked in his breath. "Kucak-stars, Ivory." Sweat gleamed on his body. "I do not know if I will make it through this."

He turned his head and guided her head to his shoulder, to exactly the vein from which he wanted her to take his blood. His eyes drifted closed as he lifted her hips, positioned himself and dropped her over him so she sheathed him completely.

Her craving grew until she couldn't think of anything but the scent and taste of him. His heartbeat matched hers. Adrenaline rushed through her like a fireball. Her teeth sank deep and he groaned and slammed his body home into hers. He didn't move, simply filled her, pushing his way through tight, scorching folds to seat himself completely within her.

She drew the first sweet drops of hot blood into her mouth, let it explode over her tongue, her body absorbing the essence of him. His hands caught her head, held her against his shoulder, and he bent his head to her soft, warm neck. His tongue licked along her vein.

Her body exploded around his. Pulsed. Rippled with life. Her heart jumped. Every muscle in her body tightened, squeezing down on him like a velvet vise. He gasped. Licked again. Allowed his teeth to graze her neck. Her response was another orgasm, this one harder than the first.

She gasped, tried to lift her head, but he held the back of it in his palm, all that glorious blue-black hair, and forced her to drink. His teeth pierced her neck, sank deep. She groaned, the sound vibrating through his body and surrounding his erection, stroking him, milking him, bathing him in rich, hot cream.

He drank from her while he drove her to another orgasm. And another. Each time his erection grew thicker. Hotter. Longer. He took his fill while she took hers, her climaxes rocking both of them. When they were both sated, they closed the pinpricks and looked at one another.

Razvan moved first, leaning down to capture her mouth with his, his blood pounding in his veins and his groin so full and hard and aching, he knew one more movement, one slight spasm of her body around his, and he would forget who he was. The moment his lips touched hers, it happened. She clenched the muscles of that exquisite feminine sheath and he groaned, broke the kiss and caught her hips in his hands.

He began moving, driving into her like a piston, his body slamming deep into hers, pulling her down onto his lap as he drove upward. Her breasts bounced against him, the friction sending darting arrows shooting to his groin. Her long hair, brushing his thighs, aroused him even more, so that he used the enormous strength in his legs to drive into her.

Her mouth opened. Her eyes widened. He felt the first ripple, strong-like a quake-ripping through her from breasts to sheath so she clamped down on him, dragging his seed from him. Jet after jet of hot seed poured out until he was drained and empty, her delicious screams echoing around him.

It was Ivory who floated them back to the relative safety of the rejuvenating soil. They lay locked together, arms, legs, his body deep in hers, staring into each other's eyes. Her smile was slow. Satisfied. A little shocked.

"You never cease to surprise me, Razvan."

He licked a small droplet of crimson blood from where it had run down unnoticed from neck to breast in their passion. She shuddered in reaction, producing another fresh wave of liquid cream, hot and unbearably sensual as she clamped down again, draining the last remaining drops his body could possibly produce.

"As long as I please you, fel ku kuuluaak sivam belso-beloved."

Reluctantly he loosened his hold on her and allowed her legs to drop from where she had them wrapped around his hips. The movement sent another shuddering pulse through both of them. She rolled over off him and lay with her arms spread out, her body still gasping for air.

"I think you might have killed me. At least my lungs are gone. And I am still having tiny, little, very amazing orgasms. How do you do that?"

He turned his head to give her a cocky grin. "It happens to be my job to keep you satisfied, and I take that task very seriously."

Her fingers found his. She closed her eyes and just savored him. Being with him. "I want you to know something, Razvan. It is very hard for me to say the things in my heart. It makes me feel silly to say them aloud but you have to know this."

She opened her eyes, locked her gaze with his and put one hand over her heart. "If things go wrong, and we both know there is every chance they will, this has been the best time of my life. I do not regret one moment with you. You made me feel alive again. You reminded me why I hold my brothers' memories in my soul. And you gave me such a gift of your heart. I want you to know that gift is treasured. I love you without measure."

The admission meant all the more because he knew it was truly difficult for her to express intense emotions.

"I love you, too." That didn't quite make it, as far as he was concerned. He sent the emotion to her. Intense. All-consuming. Swamped her with it. Drowned her in it. Let her see into his heart and mind and very soul.

"You move me like no other could," she said and swallowed hard, blinking back tears. She sighed. "We have to feed well. Ourselves and the pack. This is our best chance to destroy the high mage. He will be weakened by what we did last eve."

"You are certain you want to take on this task."

She smiled and this time her smile was serene, matching his. "I have not changed my mind, nor would I let you go without me, as you are thinking. You need me if we are going to succeed, just as I need you. We have a better chance together than apart."

"We cannot lose this night, then, fel ku kuuluaak sivam belso-beloved," Razvan said. "Let us choose our weapons and call the pack. If he escapes us it will be a long while before we-or anyone else-has this opportunity again."

"He will not escape us," Ivory said, and there was steel in her voice.