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Thirst: A Dark Paranormal Romance by Sara Fields – Sample

Chapter One

Fucking hell.

Not another one.

I sighed. I knew better. There was always another one. I was in a fucking graveyard, for God’s sake. To be honest, there were a thousand other places I’d rather be on a Friday night, but nevertheless, here I was anyway.

Hunting.

The rips and snarls from a freshly risen, pain in the ass vampire echoed off the stone walls, reverberating loudly enough for anyone in the nearby vicinity to hear. Quickly, I spun around the corner and pressed my back against the rock wall of the two-story crypt behind me, using the cold stone as cover. Gripping a thick pointed stake in my fingers, I prepared myself for the next inevitable fight. I was slightly winded from the vampires I’d already killed, but I was ready to take down whatever came at me next. I was looking forward to the moment I drove the wooden stake into each demon’s heart, ending the inevitable reign of terror before their afterlives even began. I always enjoyed watching as their remains quickly desiccated into nothing but shimmering dust bunnies that ultimately drifted away with the wind.

It was almost cathartic in a weird sort of way.

I had trained for this all my life. Ever since I was young, I had been a part of the Demon Hunters, an organization of humans that worked together to defeat the evil that walked the Earth.

It was dark, the moon rising high overhead, and the twinkle of only the brightest stars shone down through all the high-rise buildings surrounding the cemetery. I’d been sent here tonight because there were whispers of a new threat, but so far, I’d only just found the usual newbie vamps stumbling as they struggled with coming to life once more. The only thing I’d been able to tell was there were more of them than usual. Our sources had hinted at a very strong vampire, one of the oldest in existence. Not much was known about him, but recently, there’d been a surge in vampire activity, both old and new. It almost appeared as though someone was building an army. Whatever it turned out to be, I was going to stop it.

I took a deep breath, preparing myself for battle, and spun out from behind the ancient stone tomb I’d been hiding behind only to come face to face with not one, but two newbie vampires. They turned their heads in an unnaturally quick way, their red angry eyes finding mine. They reminded me of snakes in the way they bobbed their thick skulls. Their lips rolled like a feral animal’s and I drew in an excited breath. I lived for this.

One of them was as big as an NFL linebacker. The other was only a little smaller, but formidable looking all the same. They’d been young when they died, maybe in their early twenties, and freshly turned. Their eyes were bright red, indicative of their newbie vamp status. Their sharp pointed teeth had just sprouted, bright white under the light of the moon. Pale faces flared with anger at my direct challenge and I readied myself for the fight, keeping low and bending my knees so I’d be as maneuverable as possible. They’d be strong and very fast, abilities that would allow them to catch their prey despite their fumbling, fledgling status. They took a step toward me, hesitant like a newborn fawn. Then they took another, and I tensed.

They’d be ravenous for blood. Human blood. My blood.

I gritted my teeth, squatted down a bit deeper, and surged forward, using their momentary confusion to my advantage. They would expect me to lie down and let them take me, but I wasn’t about to give in like that. I was strong, incredibly fast, and I’d killed a fair number of their kind. Using the muscles in my legs, I used my heel to deal a powerful kick to the smaller one’s chest, knocking him back about a foot while I swung my fist around to catch the bigger one in the chin.

The big one snarled and I chuckled in return.

Fucking stupid meathead.

The big one ducked low and reached for me, but I dove out of his reach just in time. I twirled in a tight circle, catching the smaller vampire off guard. I punched him once square in the nose and caught his jaw with a tight right hook after that. He staggered backwards and I spun as swiftly as I could before plunging my stake deep into his chest, spearing right into his cold dead heart.

The bright red of his eyes flickered for a moment. The look of shock on his face was obvious, but it didn’t last very long. I watched as his body withered into dust, only to be carried away by the breeze that was making its way through the cemetery. The other dude roared in fury and rushed at me, trying to get revenge for his dead friend. As quickly as I could, I shifted my weight from one leg to the other and ducked, just missing his grimy fingers grasping at my shirt. Damn, he stank. It was rancid. Why did new vampires always smell like ass?

He came toward me, but his movements were slow and not very calculated. He was bigger than me, but I’d fought worse than him before by a longshot.

A rumble passed through the air. It felt like thunder, but it carried with it something far more sinister and powerful than just a simple storm. It reeked of magic and I wrinkled my nose with displeasure as a tingling sensation raced across my skin. What the hell? I looked around, trying to determine the source, but there wasn’t a single clue for me to go off of. It felt like it was everywhere. Chewing my lip, I figured that there was something far bigger at work here than I had originally thought. Maybe someone had convinced a witch, or more likely a group of witches, to do their bidding or maybe it was something else. Whatever it was, I had a feeling I was about to find out.

The very air around me crackled with electricity and the big vampire’s eyes rolled back in his head. After a brief second, his pupils reemerged, only there was something different about them now. Instead of his irises being simply just red, they were a much deeper scarlet and there were flecks of black and gray within them. It gave him a certain otherworldly quality, one of an ancient evil that I’d never seen before. I took a step back and drew in a nervous breath.

“Ruby…” the vampire murmured, his voice low, gruff, decidedly alpha male, and very different than the grunts I’d heard out of him only just moments earlier. He crossed his arms over his chest as he cocked his head toward me. How the fuck did he know my name?

“You’re not the newbie vamp I was just fighting anymore, are you?” I asked tentatively, and he grinned with an unnerving cocky arrogance in my direction.

This was really fucking bad.

I sucked in a breath, my mind trying to understand what was happening, and then it hit me.

Holy shit. He was possessed. By another demon.

Possession from one demon to another like this just wasn’t possible. As far as I knew, witches could only attempt it on another human and it was temporary at best. None of the Demon Hunters’ books, scrolls, or writings mentioned the possibility of an ability for someone to take over a monster’s mind. Not like this. Magic this powerful must be ancient or have been extremely well hidden for a very long time. I chewed my bottom lip, staring at the man. Who the hell was this?

The left corner of his lip curved up in a smirk. An arrogant expression of confidence passed over his features and I hissed low in response.

“Who the fuck are you?” I demanded. I pulled back my shoulders, doing my best to cover up any hint of the rising fear that was boiling in the pit of my belly.

“I’ve heard a lot about you, little human. How you’ve been killing my soldiers. How you’ve been thwarting my efforts to turn the tide in today’s world. You’ve been killing my monsters for a long time, Ruby, haven’t you,” he chided.

The more he spoke, the more uneasy I began to feel. I shouldn’t have come out here alone. Logan had insisted I take a partner with me many times, but I always found that another slowed me down. I was stronger and faster on my own, but right now, I was beginning to question that decision more than ever. Shit. What do I do now?

Gritting my teeth, I stared back at him, preparing myself to go on the defensive should he make a move toward me. He lifted his arm toward me and turned his palm to the sky. His fingers flicked upward and a small red flame appeared just above his hand.

“That’s not possible,” I whispered in shock. Witches couldn’t access their magical skills when they took over another human’s mind, let alone this strange demonic possession I was witnessing. I raised my eyes up to those terrifying dark red and gray ones and took another step backwards. I had a distinct feeling that the longer I was in this man’s presence, the less I would understand.

“You’d be surprised at what is possible for me, Ruby,” he answered, his gaze appraising me up and down with appreciation. He flicked the fingers on his opposite hand toward me and a wave of desire rolled over my body from the very tips of my toes straight to my core.

What the fuck was that?

The feeling passed quickly, coming and going in under a few seconds and the distinct metallic taste of magic washed over my tongue. He’d done that with his power. He’d made my body react to him like that. I rolled my upper lip, preparing myself to fight. Or run. At this point, I was ready to do either.

He simply laughed at me. His smug arrogance was astounding but I was beginning to understand that he had earned that right. I was also figuring out that I was in far more trouble than I originally thought.

“Who are you?” I demanded once more. I narrowed my eyes, studying his mysteriously dark expression, but I could garner no clues from him. Nothing about him gave anything away.

“My name is Cain,” he answered, and I froze. Shit, this was far more than I bargained for. This was even more ancient than I had even thought possible.

“As in the one referred to in Genesis?” I whispered, my voice beginning to shake with fear.

“One and the same,” he replied, his voice strong and far more confident than mine.

The Demon Hunters had thought that the recent rise in vampire activity was due to an older vampire, but none of us had any idea that it would be the fault of one this old. We all knew who Cain was. We feared his name so much so that he’d taken on a mythical status. He was mentioned in the Bible as well as a number of scrolls that were far more ancient. In the stories, he’d murdered his brother and lied about it to God. There were clues that this initiated a blood curse that led to the creation of the very first vampire, leading to the creation of him. Certain writings and parchments mentioned his name throughout history and in every instance, it described him as an extremely powerful monster. Those texts said he was to be feared. He was the reason vampires existed in the first place. He was the very first one. The original evil.

Cain snapped his fingers and spread them wide, dark red electrical pulses radiating outward from his fingertips. All at once, the graveyard came alive. One vampire rose after another, emerging from the dirt of all the freshly dug graves. Then older ones started to turn, and even more demons rose from their eternal slumbers. Vampires stumbled out of the old crumbling tombs and crypts along the edges of the cemetery and for the first time in a very long while, I was afraid.

Holy fuck. This was really, really bad.

In moments, I was surrounded by freshly turned vampires and demons alike, at least fifty of them. I took a deep breath and brought my fists up, blocking my face from their advances. I started to fight, kicking and punching in order to find my way out of this mess, but it was no use. Even as I took out one vampire, another would ultimately take its place. The cycle occurred over and over, and my muscles started to burn from the exertion of the endless fight. I started to lose hope, but still I looked for an escape route. Grisly hands grabbed at me and before long, I was quickly overwhelmed. Strong hands gripped each one of my limbs, lifting me up off the ground and holding me captive. Strangely, not a single one of them bit at my flesh. From several feet away, Cain appraised my capture, his gaze shadowed, and my blood ran cold.

Even I knew I wouldn’t be able to escape this with my life.

“Bring her to me,” Cain ordered.

He cast his fingers in my direction and after that, all I knew was blackness.

Chapter Two

The next time I woke, I found myself in a dark room, lit only by a small window that was too high up for me to peer out of. I blinked several times, allowing my eyes to adjust as I pushed myself up and off the floor. Rampant muscle soreness radiated up and down my limbs, making the transition from lying down to sitting up much more difficult than it should have been. Behind me was a cool stone wall and I used it for support, leaning against it as I began to study my surroundings. A chill raced down my spine and I shivered.

“What the fuck happened to me?” I whispered into the dark. No one answered.

Distinct shapes began to form in the shadows and a cold nervousness raced beneath my skin. I realized I was in a cell of some kind with thick unyielding metal bars. I narrowed my eyes and blinked again, trying to see beyond into the darkness, but I couldn’t make anything out. Sluggishly, I pushed myself up to my feet and groaned as my achy body protested my movements. At least my t-shirt and jeans still covered me and offered a small bit of warmth. I wrapped my arms around my chest in an effort to heat myself further.

I moved toward the bars and wrapped my fingers around the thick metal. It was cold, possibly steel and likely strong enough to contain any evil creature in existence. The probability of breaking through any one of them was unlikely. I sighed. This really wasn’t good.

Where the hell was I?

The events from the night before came rushing back to me and I pressed my forehead against one of the chilled bars, trying to figure out what my next move would be. All around me, I could hear sounds of rancid breathing of other beings stuck inside cells similar to mine, the pangs of death rattling in some and groans of pain from others. Whatever dungeon I’d been thrown in, it was likely that its inhabitants never saw the light of day ever again. Absentmindedly, I wondered if I would die here, all alone in this cool, dank cell.

Shivering from the mind-numbing cold, I backed away from the bars. Even the chill from the icy stone beneath my feet crept through the bottoms of my sneakers. On the right side of the cell was some sort of fold-up cot and I curled up on top of it. Once I was no longer standing on the bare stone floor, I found some semblance of warmth by curling my arms around my legs. I laid my right cheek on my knees and closed my eyes, hoping that this was just a nightmare and that I’d wake up soon.

I slept for some time, but I had no idea how much time passed. When I was awake, the hours crept by and the only way I could determine at least an estimate of how much time had passed was the light of the sun peeking in through the small window in my cell. For a little while, the brightness allowed me to see more of the prison that held me captive and I was grateful for it. From what I could gather, it appeared as though my cell was in a hallway that was closed off by another barred door. There were additional cells beyond that held others, but I couldn’t see enough to make out who was inside any of them. My cell was far enough away from them that I couldn’t ask them where we were either. At least, I didn’t dare without seeing who they were first. There could be monsters in here with me.

One day passed. And then two. At one point, a hooded figure stopped by and pushed a rather large glass of water inside between the bars, but other than that, no one came to me. In my thirst, I drank it all, not caring if I lived or died. If it was poisoned, better I perish now rather than suffer later at the hands of some demon. My stomach growled and I pressed my fingers to it, trying to ignore the twisting agony of my terrible hunger pains.

I was so tired. So hungry. Eventually, I closed my eyes and just slept, trying to conserve both my mind and my energy for whatever was to come.

On the morning of the third day of my imprisonment, the screams of someone in the distance woke me from my slumber. Whatever was happening to that man, it likely wasn’t pleasant for him. I crinkled my nose as his screams intensified. Nope. Definitely not.

The squeal of the door opening outside of my cell made me lift my head. A single large male figure moved inside toward me. He was hooded in a black cape that just brushed the ground, made of what appeared to be expensive black silk fabric. I gritted my teeth and steeled myself for whatever torture was about to come. But he stopped and stood just outside the bars, maybe six feet away from me and just stared in my direction for a long few minutes. It was deeply unsettling, and I swallowed anxiously as I waited for what would come next.

In the dim light, I could hardly make out his features, but something about his presence made my stomach churn with anxiety. He felt powerful, like someone who was used to giving orders and receiving instant obedience. I worried my bottom lip as he finally moved and opened the door to my cell, making his way into my prison with me.

“Stand up,” he ordered. His tone was strong, determined, and held an air of confidence that was really quite frightening. His voice sounded familiar, but in my current state of exhaustion, I was having trouble connecting the dots.

I didn’t obey. Not at first. I expected him to hit me, but he didn’t. Instead, he just waited and in the low light, I caught just a glimpse of a flash of dark red eyes. Vampire.

He said it again and still I ignored him.

A long moment of silence passed between us before he sighed with disappointment.

“I can force you, but I promise you it won’t be pleasant,” he said softly, the threat in his tone blatantly obvious. The air crackled with his power, tiny red bolts of lightning emanating from his fingertips. I finally realized why his voice sounded vaguely familiar.

“Cain,” I whispered, understanding dawning over me. His voice was the same as before, but this was a different body. This wasn’t a possession any longer. This was his true form.

He didn’t answer, but I knew my assertion was correct. I lowered my gaze and finally stood up, figuring that I would give in to him until I could understand more about his powers and capabilities. He lifted his arm toward me, and I flinched, just before his bare skin caressed mine. His fingers grazed across the nakedness of my arms, just glancing upon the fabric of my t-shirt before he took my wrists and held them behind my back. He spoke a low chant that sounded like Latin under his breath and I felt his magic form a rope around my wrists. I knew that my arms would stay bound indefinitely, holding me prisoner until he decided to release me. He turned me toward him and traced his palm up my neck until it rested beneath my chin. I could feel his power crackling just under my skin and I licked my lips nervously.

“Such a pretty face on such a destructive little package,” he mused, his blazing eyes staring down into mine. I tensed, but he dropped his hand into his pocket and pulled out what appeared to be a thick black leather band. He lifted it to my throat and clipped it into place. It was then I realized it was a collar. I could feel his power through it and knew it was endowed with his magic. Cold fear brewed in the pit of my belly.

He took another length of black leather from his belt and fastened it to the collar around my throat.

“You can’t leash me like a dog,” I snapped, and he ignored my outburst.

“Come along. I have plans for you,” he said.

“What the fuck does that mean?” I retorted, but he didn’t answer. Instead, he turned away and roughly pulled me along after him. Initially, I stumbled but eventually found my footing as I fumbled along behind him. He led me out of my cell and into the dark dungeons, through the piercingly noisy catcalls from the other prisoners. When extended hands from the cells threatened to touch me, he pulled me back and kept me safe from their reach. Even though I was terrified, I was grateful for that small kindness.

Eventually, I followed him up a flight of stairs out of the prison. He closed the door behind us and led me up a few more stairwells before we made our way out onto the ground floor of what appeared to be a mansion of sorts. I looked around, taking in a grand foyer with a massive chandelier made of what appeared to be a thousand brightly burning candles. The walls were lined with thick, dark wooden beams and painted in a shadowy gray color. A grand stairway climbed up either side and a rich red plush carpet ran the length of the room. Expensive-looking hardwood floors gave the room a rather opulent feel.

“Where are we?” I finally whispered as I let out a nervous breath.

“You’re a guest in my home, Ruby,” he answered.

I looked out the front windows and saw nothing but woods beyond. Wherever we were, it was far away from my home and I probably wouldn’t find my way away from here, at least without help. Sadness permeated through my heart as I reluctantly said goodbye to my former life. In all likelihood, I’d probably die here by this man’s hand. I’d fought against his plans. Killed demons he had risen. I was his enemy and I had a distinct feeling that I was soon going to pay for it all.

I shivered and returned my eyes back to the floor when he began moving again. He led me up the grand staircase and down a long hallway into a room at the end of it. When I finally dared to lift my head, I realized he’d brought me into a rather luxurious bedchamber. A massive king-sized bed sat in the center of the room up against the back wall. The walls were draped with crushed red velvet fabric and gold filigree laid into wooden beams spaced at even intervals throughout the room. Comfortable-looking couches and a large mahogany desk lined the other walls. He paused and shrugged off his hooded cape, hanging it on a hook beside the door.

“It has come to my attention that you’ve been making trouble for me for quite some time and I cannot allow it any longer, Ruby,” Cain began, and he turned to me. I lifted my head and for the first time since I’d left my cell, I got a really good look at him.

His skin was like pale alabaster, with only the slightest hint of color. His eyes shone a deep blood red, flecked with gray and black that spoke of how ancient he really was. His lips were set in a firm line, but that’s where my expectations ended, and my surprise at his appearance began.

Dressed in a finely pressed suit, he looked like a businessman in his early forties. His jaw was lined with the dark hint of stubble, just enough to make him look dignified and defined. The top of his head was covered in dark hair, thick and purposefully messy, but it only served to make him an even finer male specimen. If I had run into him in normal life, I would have thought him attractive.

My body pulsed with unwelcome desire and I stilled in surprise. I drew in a startled breath.

No. That couldn’t be right. I wouldn’t accept that.

His eyebrows lowered in suspicion and his eyes darkened ominously. Then his lips curled up in a grin, highlighting his high cheekbones and angular jawline. It was almost like he knew that I’d enjoyed the sight of his appearance, that somewhere deep inside me was desire that was directed at him. Quickly, I steeled myself against that feeling, resolving to never let it happen again.

“You see, North America is my domain. It always has been, but it’s time I began to expand my reach. That’s why I’ve been building an army, which you’ve been so kind to intercept at every turn,” he continued, his tone a bit aggravated.

“Do you have anything to say for yourself?” he asked, his blood-red eyes searching mine. His tone angered me. I should have looked away. I should have asked for mercy, but I couldn’t. Instead, I wanted to fight. I wouldn’t give in without at least trying. I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t.

“Fuck. You,” I answered, my voice low and dangerous. I seethed with fury, unnerved by the sudden betrayal of my body and the loss of everything I held dear. No longer would I be able to go home to the Demon Hunters. No longer would I be able to protect the innocent from evil. Instead, I had been taken by the worst of them all.

A vampire that would prove more powerful than I could have ever known.

“Oh, little human… You’re going to regret that,” he answered, his voice lowering treacherously.

Slowly, he unbuttoned his cuffs, one by one, before he began to roll up his sleeves. I watched him anxiously, ready to bolt at a moment’s notice. Just by baring his forearms, I knew that he was strong. Corded muscles stretched and strained as he gazed at me, preparing himself for whatever he was about to do to me.

He snapped his fingers and the magical bonds around my wrists released. I rolled my shoulders, relieving the strain I felt there, and curled my fingers into fists. He lifted his palm and pushed it slowly toward me, causing a rush of air to force me backwards until my ass pressed against the wall behind me.

Electricity buzzed around my wrists and ankles, forcing me to spread myself for him. My legs opened and my arms lifted over my head. Power hummed through the air, holding me captive as he approached me. His demeanor was dark, menacing even, and I began to regret even opening my mouth in the first place.

Logan had always called me impulsive. In this moment, I realized he was right.

My upper lip curled, and I struggled against his magic, but I couldn’t escape it. His sorcery was far too strong, and I didn’t budge a single inch, even when I forced every ounce of my strength into my attempt. He came closer and extended his hand to me. I watched in horror as his nails extended into dangerously sharp claws and he reached toward my chest. The serrated edges caught the cotton fabric collar of my t-shirt and he dragged it down, the ripping sound echoing all around me. He tore through my shirt with calculated precision, shearing it in two in a matter of seconds. The chilly air caressed my skin underneath as he tore the rest of the fabric from my body with just his bare hands. I watched in almost a fascinated sense of horror.

Almost gently, he traced a single claw across my throat, staring down at my skin with a rabid intensity that left me feeling deeply unsettled. Then he flicked his finger up, slicing straight through my bra with no effort at all. The bra popped open and my breasts sprang free. I pulled in a breath and my nipples hardened into tight little peaks right in front of him. I bit my lip in shame.

A rush of warmth bloomed out from my core and I wondered if it was my own body or his magic at play. I didn’t know. I was too scared to find out.

He ripped the remains of my bra from my torso, leaving me topless in my jeans, panties, socks, and sneakers. His collar still hugged my throat and the leather of the leash hung against my bared stomach. His eyes, now bright red and burning with fire, met mine.

“You’ve caused much trouble for me, Ruby, and now I must see to it that you are punished for what you’ve done,” he murmured as his palms crossed over top of my breasts. I drew in a heated breath, his touch causing fiery tingles to radiate down into my core. I felt my inner walls flutter with excitement, triggering arousal to gather between my thighs and moisten my panties. I shivered.

What the hell was happening to me? Why was he having this effect on me?

His clawed hand ventured down to the waistband of my jeans and I tensed, but there was nothing I could do to fight against him. His magic held my body captive. The terrible sound of ripping fabric filled the air as he began to fray my pants apart.

“Don’t you fucking dare,” I roared, but he didn’t listen. He didn’t care. Kneeling down in front of me, he tore my jeans, making a point to drag his claws just over top of my pussy, letting me know very clearly that I was no longer in charge. I shook as he bared me, feeling the cool air brush against my naked, vulnerable skin.

Next, he divested me of my shoes and socks, leaving me in only my panties before him. The only other thing on my body was his collar and leash. I whimpered low in my throat. I’d never allowed anyone to see me quite this naked before and the experience was incredibly humbling. He could see almost everything, and I felt so mortified, but at the same time, a tingling sense of desire was starting to grow within my treacherous body.

What was he going to do to me?

“I can smell your arousal already, little human,” he murmured softly before his face hardened into a derisive smirk. My shame compounded and I trembled before him. I would have done anything to cover myself at that point. I knew he was right. I was already wet. I could feel my arousal dripping down the folds of my pussy. I had no doubt he could smell it with his heightened senses. My cheeks flushed and I swallowed hard.

“You won’t be allowed to come until you beg me for it,” he added nonchalantly.

“I could never want a demon like you. I’ve fought against evil my entire life and I won’t stop now just because you’ve captured me,” I scoffed, doing my best to ignore the building heat in my body, and his lips curled into a smug grin.

“I haven’t found someone nearly as defiant as you in several hundred years, maybe even more than that. I’m going to enjoy breaking you, making you scream as I whip your disobedient backside with my belt, making you beg for my thick cock between your thighs, and finally, making you scream my name when you come as I fuck your naughty little bottom. Rest assured, Ruby, I’m going to enjoy every last moment,” he threatened calmly, and I shivered under the intensity of his gaze. I knew that he meant every single word and that terrified me.

His claws receded as he dragged them down my cheek, between my breasts, and toward the pulsing bud in between my legs. He gripped the fabric of my underwear in his fingers and tugged gently at first, rubbing the wet cloth back and forth between my sensitive folds. I bit my bottom lip, doing my best to hold back a quiet moan, but soon I couldn’t keep silent no matter how much I tried. My clit throbbed, the sensation of soft fabric teasing my increasingly heated skin causing the air around me to grow incredibly hot. A ball of desire began to grow in the pit of my belly and there was nothing I could do to push it away.

Was it me? Was it his magic? I couldn’t tell one from the other.

Fuck.

This was insanity. Almost unconsciously, my hips twitched back and forth in tune with his movements; the more he dragged my panties back and forth, the hotter I became. Fiery arousal surged through my veins, prompting me up higher and higher until I realized that I didn’t know how much more I could take before I flew apart right in front of him. I was terrified that he was going to make me come.

“Look at how aroused you are. Your sweet scent is so lovely,” he mused, and I couldn’t help but cry out at the shame that coursed through me at his observation.

With a swiftness I could never have expected, he gripped my panties and harshly tore them from my body. I cried out in pain as the cloth pinched at my wet folds, causing simmering agony to burst across my vulnerable flesh.

Cain stood before me and stared down at my panties, holding them in his palm like the most sordid prize he had ever won.

“Bad girl. Look at how wet these are,” he said as he held them up for me to see. The once light lavender color was stained with my arousal, a dark purple now that was more than obvious for both of us to see. I whined with shame, curling back against the wall, attempting to hide myself from his view, but it was no use. His magic still held me prisoner, baring every single inch of me to his dark, heated gaze.

“Fuck you,” I whispered boldly, trying to save face just a little. I had my pride, after all.

He clicked his tongue in annoyance before reaching out to grip my chin. His thumb and forefinger squeezed a place right behind my jaw, which forced my lips to open just the slightest bit.

“Such a pretty little human shouldn’t have such a dirty mouth,” he declared darkly, before shoving my wet panties between my lips and forcing me to taste my own sweet flavor. I tried to spit them out, but he placed his thumb over my lips and held them in place. My eyes watered and my own sweetness washed over my tongue. My cheeks flushed hotter as my embarrassment grew, as did my treacherous arousal.

“I see I’m going to have to be much harsher with you than I initially realized,” he murmured, and my blood ran cold. Slowly, he removed his hand from my mouth and leaned over me, placing his palms on the wall to either side of my head. He was really quite tall. His frame was wide and formidable and deep inside me, a tiny quiver of nervous anxiety began to build. Right now, I was afraid.

“Such a defiant little thing. I bet you’re going to look so pretty when you’re sobbing over my knee, thoroughly punished for the very first time,” he said softly. His tone was dark, seductive, and entirely too dangerous.

He turned his blood-red eyes to mine, catching my gaze, and still I glowered before him. He was a monster. There was no way in hell I was going to let him break me even though he was making me feel things that no one ever had before.

“I want you to leave those panties in your mouth. If you try to spit them out, there will be consequences,” he warned, catching my eyes one last time. The look in his eyes dared me to defy him and I narrowed mine in his direction.

Did I dare?

Fuck him. He didn’t own me. I would do what I wanted.

I worked my tongue behind the sweet, musky fabric, pushing it free inch by inch from my mouth. No matter what he wanted to do with me, I wasn’t about to go down quietly. He stood stone still as he watched me disobey his direct orders, not saying a single word, and that intimidated me, but still I proceeded. One minute passed and then two, until finally I spit the wet panties out onto the floor, sneering in his direction as I did so.

His gaze darkened considerably.

“Oh, Ruby,” he began, his tone dropping more dangerously than before. “You’re going to regret that very much.” His entire jawline tensed with dark excitement. Maybe I shouldn’t have done that.

He left me transfixed to the wall with his magic. I watched as he dropped his hands to his belt, undoing it slowly so that I could hear the swish of the leather echoing throughout the chamber. He gripped the buckled end and pulled it free from his slacks. I swallowed nervously, my eyes never leaving the long black strap.

“What are you doing?” I whispered, my tongue as dry as cotton.

He lifted his palm and twirled his fingers and at once, the magic holding me bound to the wall released me. With ferocious speed that only demons were capable of, he moved toward me so swiftly that I could hardly keep track of him with my eyes. His fingers grasped the upper portion of the leash lashed to my throat and he lurched me forward. I had no choice to stagger and follow, not wanting to fall flat on my face right in front of him. He strode purposely toward the bed and dragged me along by his leash. Sitting down, he jerked me once more, causing me to fall face down over his lap. He draped me over one knee, quickly situating his other leg over the backs of mine. With a single hand on my hips, he pinned me into place with a certain effortlessness that left me breathless with shock.

This wasn’t happening. It couldn’t be.

He placed his thick belt in front of me, just inches from my face so that I had no choice but to see it up close. I stared at it and felt oddly unsure of myself. What was he going to do? Was he going to whip me with that thing?

Fully naked, I shivered with both unwanted desire and fear. My ass felt impossibly high in the air and entirely vulnerable. Then, when he placed his palm against my bare skin, I squeaked in surprise.

He meant to spank me, like a naughty little girl.

“You’re even more beautiful when you’re about to be punished,” he said, and I snarled angrily at his observation. I wiggled in his grasp, but he was stronger than I had anticipated. I didn’t even come close to escaping his tight hold on my body.

“Don’t you fucking dare,” I replied, trying to sound brave even though at that moment, I felt incredibly small. Pinned over his knee and under the threat of punishment, I had little doubt of what was going to happen next. He was going to discipline me as he saw fit.

I’d never been spanked. Growing up, I had always listened to my superiors, at least most of the time, and they had rewarded my feisty, fearless nature. But now, in this moment, I was beginning to question myself. Bared, upended, and threatened with an unavoidable spanking, I wasn’t sure what to do.

“It’s time I taught you a much-needed lesson, Ruby,” he said in response, his voice still unbelievably steady and calm. The heat of his hand against my naked backside held my entire focus. Slowly, he lifted his palm and gently patted my right cheek. I trembled nervously, the threat of retribution more than clear.

“Don’t,” I pleaded once more, hoping that I could prevent what now seemed like the inevitable.

“You’re no longer in charge, little demon killer. I’m going to whip this disobedient little bottom of yours and you’re going to learn that now, you’re mine. Mine to use. Mine to take and mine to keep,” he scolded, and I began to feel ever smaller.

“Please. I’ll listen. You don’t have to spank me, Cain,” I begged one last time, hoping that one of the cruelest monsters of all time would grant me mercy, however unlikely.

Instead, he traced his fingers across my sensitive skin, dipping lower and lower until he lingered across my thighs. Gradually, he pressed his thick digits in between my legs, at once drawing my attention back to my shameful secret.

“You protest quite a bit for a woman who’s this soaking wet when she’s put over a man’s knee for the very first time, about to be punished for her crimes,” he observed, and I trembled, my face flushing hotly with embarrassment.

“I’m not,” I tried to protest, but he cut me off.

“You want to be punished, don’t you?” he asked softly, dragging his fingertips up and down my sopping wet folds, teasing my clit and making me gasp with reluctant pleasure.

“I don’t,” I replied, my voice rising anxiously.

“Such a naughty girl. Haven’t you been taught that lying is a sin?” he said, and my core throbbed with desire.

His fingers circled my clit, teasing me higher and higher into the world of arousal. I was losing control and far too quickly. A cry of pleasure escaped my throat and I trembled as I waited for what was to happen next.

“Bad girls don’t get to come. Not until they been properly punished,” he said next. Carefully, he removed his fingers from between my thighs and I released a quiet breath of uneasiness. “Look at how wet you’ve made my fingers,” he scolded, and I whimpered, thoroughly humiliated by my body’s obvious betrayal.

He dragged his fingers across the skin of my ass, depositing my wetness on my flesh before he lifted his hand and slapped down hard right on top of it. The loud sound reverberated off the walls, echoing loudly so that anyone passing by would quickly realize that I was getting spanked.

“No! Please!” I screeched.

His palm came down again, this time on the opposite side, and I balked over his lap. Incredible searing pain spread across my ass as he thrashed me. I tried to curl my hips inward to avoid his strikes, but it was pointless. He spanked me thoroughly and completely, making sure to leave no square inch of my bottom unpunished.

It hurt. Fuck. It hurt.

I should have known better than to challenge an ancient vampire, capable of more cruelty and destruction that any other man in history. Because of that, here I was, naked and over his thighs getting the first real spanking of my entire life as a result of my defiance.

He punished the upper curves of my ass, all the way down to the place where my thighs met my bottom cheeks, and even a bit lower. The ones on the backs of my legs hurt the worst and as much as I tried to bite my lip and hold back the cries of pain, I couldn’t. Before long, I was a groaning mess as he punished my poor backside as thoroughly as he saw fit.

My naked flesh burned, quaking under his harsh hand, and something within me cracked. Arousal and pain intermingled with one another, dancing in a fervor that was quickly beginning to leave me panting with need. I struggled to come to terms with those strange feelings, trying to push the awakening of desire away, but nothing I could do could stem the already rising tide.

His palm crashed against my right cheek with a thud, and the reverberations from the blow rattled straight down to my core, where my desire was pulsing at its strongest. Again and again he spanked me, and the feelings of need grew even more intense.

My arousal pulsed, simmering inside me like a fiery blaze until I was sure I was going to burst into flames. Maybe it was his power forcing me to feel such things or maybe it was just how I was. Maybe I liked how rough he was with me and it actually turned me on. At this point, I had no idea anymore and I didn’t really care.

He paused. I saw his hand reach for the belt he’d placed right in front of me and I stilled anxiously.

“Please, sir,” I pleaded. After I spoke, I blinked, shocked that I’d referred to him in such a manner. I bit my lip. I was really losing it. I was going insane and it was all his fault.

He didn’t answer and simply laid the thick black leather against the already sore and achy cheeks of my ass. With his other hand, he pushed my raven black hair off my shoulders. Unexpectedly, he stilled completely.

For a long time, he was silent and he ran his thumb over a spot on the back of my shoulder blade. I knew what he was looking at. It was a mark I’d had since birth. It was a burnt red color and shaped like a crescent moon. I hadn’t known what it meant and no one, not even Logan, had told me anything about it, so I had assumed it wasn’t anything special. Just a simple, oddly shaped birthmark, but somehow, in this moment, it was clear that it meant something far more to Cain.

I could almost feel him staring straight down at it. His thumb traced its crescent shape and an almost silent hiss escaped his lips. The more I felt his scrutiny on my skin, the more insecure I felt about it.

“What is it?” I asked, terribly unsure of myself. Feelings of confusion raced through me. I wanted to cry and at the same time, I also wanted to come.

I shouldn’t be as turned on as I was in that moment. Even now, I could feel my wetness dripping down my folds and onto my inner thighs.

“I had just planned on punishing you for what you’ve done to my demons, but I think there is something else in the cards for you, little hunter,” he finally whispered, and I didn’t move a muscle, fearing what he had in mind.

He tossed the belt back on the bed and loosened his hold on me. Gently, he helped me to stand up in front of him as he sat before me, staring up into my embarrassed and unsure gaze. My bottom burned and my pussy ached, throbbing with an unreleased need more powerful than I had ever known.

Carefully, he unleashed me and freed my throat of his collar. Now I was completely naked before him, every single inch of me bare to his view. He smirked, making a point to drag his eyes up and down my body before he spoke once more.

“Now, little hunter, let’s play a game.”

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