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Zachariah Radcliff ran his fingertips over Charlotte’s throat, slowly tracing the line of her jugular. It took every ounce of his self control to keep his touch gentle. He’d waited far too long since his last feeding, but now…
He closed his eyes for a moment, forcing himself not to assume too soon. Everything still hung on Charlotte’s answer.
“Are you sure, my pet?” Zachariah asked softly.
He brushed her hair away from her neck. The dark curls fell back over her shoulder. Charlotte shivered—a shudder so tiny, it required his heightened senses to perceive.
The room was warm. His armchair stood close to the fire. Although she was naked, her place kneeling at his feet put Charlotte directly in front of the blaze. There was only one reason for his pet to shiver, and it had nothing to do with the temperature. She appeared perfectly serene, but he sensed her blood pounding, hard and fast through her veins. He knew it was impossible for him to truly understand how Charlotte felt about the imminent feeding, but he looked down at his pet and did his best. Was the shiver a sign of fear? Desire? He couldn’t read her well enough to be certain. He’d never known a human who was quite so infuriatingly in control of her reactions as Charlotte.
Zachariah forced a deep breath into his lungs and held back a sigh. She’d known who he was, what he was, when she’d come under his protection. She’d been given time to become accustomed to the idea. If she said she was sure, he no longer had any choice but to trust her judgement. He couldn’t wait any longer.
“If you are truly ready for this, come to your master.”
Charlotte stood. Even with the desire for her blood scorching through his veins, he couldn’t fail to appreciate her curves the same way a human man might. Zachariah ran a hand down his pet’s back and caressed the soft swell of her hip as she sat on his lap.
He arranged Charlotte so her back rested against his chest. Her neck hovered temptingly close to his lips. He stroked his hands over her limbs, encouraging her to rest against him. Charlotte moulded herself to fit perfectly against the lines of his body, but she didn’t relax. Charlotte maintained the same tense reserve she always displayed in his presence.
“Bare your neck for me, pet.”
She took her hair and twisted the thick mass of curls together, bringing the rope of hair over her left shoulder to expose the right side of her neck. Her hands showed no sign of an anxious tremble.
Zachariah wished he could trust that to mean she really wasn’t nervous.
He tilted her head back and kissed her neck. Tracing the vein with the tip of his tongue, he pushed back the urge to bite, the way he had so many times over the last few weeks.
Charlotte turned her head to the side, giving her master better access to the vein. It was more than enough encouragement. Coming from a woman who never let her wants and desires show, it was a full orchestral symphony of invitation, with an extra encore thrown in for good measure.