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Last Updated: September 17, 2008 16:27:07

Dark Possession by Christine Feehan

MaryAnn sank down in the seat of the airplane, her heart so heavy she feared she would never be able to recover.  Everyone slept.  It mattered little that she knew they were Carpathian and during the day their bodies turned leaden, somehow their sleeping seemed all wrong when they should be mourning.  They should be acting like Carpathians and trying to save Manolito De La Cruz.  Hadn’t she heard they could call back the dead?  That Carpathians were immortal?  How could they bring his body home and act so normal?
Everything was wrong.  She glanced forward at the others lying so still.  It was eerily quiet inside the plane.  She could hear the engine, but there was no music or conversation, nothing at all.  Just MaryAnn and the coffin.  She tried not to think about it, tried not to turn her head and look back and see that plain wooden box Manolito was in.  His family had brought him home, but then, when most of them had gotten off the plane at their main residence, Riordan, his youngest brother and his lifemate Juliette, told her they were going to their estate in the rainforest where Jasmine, Juliette’s younger sister was staying.  They wanted to ‘bring Manolito home to the forest’.  Why wouldn’t they want to bury him close?
MaryAnn passed a hand over her face.  She was a woman’s counselor and she’d come for a specific reason—to help Jasmine, but all she could think about was the man in the coffin.  Truthfully, she hadn’t known him.  She’d seen him once or twice and he’d nodded at her.  Once, their eyes met.  She’d felt that look all the way to her soul.
“Which is just plain stupid,” she whispered aloud.  “I don’t know you.”
But she felt she knew him.  The moment his gaze locked with hers she felt different.  Beautiful.  Excited.  Hunted.  Scared, Exhilarated.  She felt as if she belonged.  So many different emotions swirling inside of her.  She hadn’t gone to the Carpathian Mountains looking for a man.  It was the last thing on her mind, and in truth, if Manolito had approached her, she would have turned him down.
Her gaze was drawn to that wooden box again.  Grief flowed through her like a river.  There was no combating the emotion, not when it made no sense.  With a little sigh she pushed herself up and slowly made her way back to the coffin, seating herself beside it, one hand sliding over the grainy wood.  The gesture was more loving than she would have liked, much more intimate than she intended, but she couldn’t stop trying to touch him.
Why are haunting me?  Why can’t I just forget about you?  You’re a stranger to me, yet I feel as if a part of me is in that coffin with you.
But did she know him?  Was she confused?  She’d had a dream of him, an erotic dream of him pulling her into strong arms and holding her close, but instead of a beautiful setting, a dance floor, or even a bedroom, she was surrounded by a tiled bathroom.  How stupid was that?  She couldn’t even fantasize the way other women would. 
How he got in the bathroom with her, she didn’t know.  She went into the bathroom to get towels, she’d even taken them off the towel rack and pressed them to her face because they smelled of the fresh outdoors.  Manolito was suddenly just there, materializing out of nowhere and robbing her of breath and sanity.  He smelled so male.  Looked so handsome.  And maybe that had been the fantasy all along.
Men like Manolito De La Cruz didn’t look at women like MaryAnn Delaney.  He had too much money, too much power and moved in completely different circles.  She was well educated, but essentially, she knew the streets.  He was elite.  He was arrogant and impossible and everything she’d ever despised in a man, but when she looked at him, she could barely breathe or think. 
It was no wonder she woke up with her heart pounding, certain he had wrapped his arms around her, pulling her against his hard, heavily muscled body.  He whispered in her arm, she couldn’t remember the words, only the intimate sound of his voice, so mesmerizing, almost hypnotic.  His fingers trailed down her face, and his eyes—those gorgeous eyes—had drifted over her face with possession, his expression stamped with such intense desire her stomach muscles had bunched tight and she grew damp and hot between her legs.
Her hand went to the neckline of her shirt.  He slid his fingers there, and she let him, let him touch her skin, the feel of his touch unlike anything she’d ever dreamt of.  He traced her collarbone with the pads of his fingers and then slid the buttons open on her blouse.  Her breath hitched in her throat, stilled in her lungs.  She didn’t move, didn’t want to move or stop him.  Her breasts felt swollen and achy and her nipples hardened to tight buds.
He bent his head slowly towards hers, all that black hair tumbling around his head like a waterfall of silk.  She’d never liked long hair on men, but his was so different, she longed to tunnel her fingers through it, but she couldn’t seem to move.  His face, as it came closer was all angles and planes, his mouth sensual, his lashes long. 
Her heart leapt as he kissed the corner of her mouth, nibbled along her chin and blazed a trail of kisses down her throat.  His tongue swirled over her pulse there, but he moved on, kissing along the swell of her breast.  She never once tried to stop him, or to move away.  And when he cradled her close, she felt protected, not afraid.
His tongue teased and swirled, and her womb clenched.  She wanted to give herself to this man.  She’d never even been formally introduced, yet she was totally enthralled with him.  She felt the scrape of his teeth and found it totally erotic.  Arousal spread from her breasts to her belly and centered in most feminine core.  He bit down and the pain gave way to instant pleasure, a flood of sensation spreading through her like wildfire.
She felt his erection, hot and hard pressed tightly against her, and then his tongue swiped over her breast and he buttoned her shirt, leaning down to kiss each eyelid.  When she opened her eyes, his shirt was open and he traced a line across his heart with a sharp fingernail.  His palm cupped the back of her head and he pressed her to him.
MaryAnn tried to wake up from her dream, a little shocked that she found taking his blood so erotic, but she knew Carpathians exchanged blood all the time and somehow, in her fantasy, it didn’t seem such a terrible thing to do.

            She ran her hand along the coffin, the mark on her breast burning with the same intensity as the tears in her eyes.  “You left me,” she whispered.  “You left me and I’m completely alone.”


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