(This scene takes place just after the frying pan incident) Jess xxx
Connal turned his back on the new latent and did the one thing he excelled at. He walked away. Yet, even as the front door closed on the bizarre encounter, he felt the tug of something deep stir inside of him. Something primal and addictive. The promise of a high more powerful even than the violence that breathed life into his jaded existence. No, this definitely wasn't finished.
He could still taste her mouth on him. His boots took the short flight of steps down to the basement apartment on auto-pilot, two at a time, scuffing the familiar, worn stone. He couldn’t tell if the gooseflesh raising tiny hairs on his skin was down to the chill of the night air, or the residual echo of where her hands had touched. As he fished the keys from the breast pocket of his leathers, his hand grazed the flesh, still throbbing from where she’d tugged on his piercings.
His gaze was drawn back up to the main house and the tall windows that stretched above him, steel-grey eyes reflecting the clouds in the night sky. He pictured her, spitting venom, lips curled back off bared teeth as she struggled to keep him down, those jewelled blue eyes lit up with a fury that was dagger sharp. Fuck, she was stunning, arrestingly, cock-poundingly, heart-stallingly beautiful. One look in those eyes and he knew she was ‘the one’.
And that Anann DeMorgan had set this female off limits? That was just the cherry in the pie, wasn’t it? Damn, he was predictable. The old lady’s words goaded him now and he groaned.
He crossed the threshold into the sparsely furnished interior. The place looked grim. About as warm and homey as a public toilet. For reasons he didn’t care to explore, the abrupt climate shift upstairs had left him feeling equally bereft. She’d looked at him like he was a monster.
He breathed in the stale air, hearing attuned to the scuttle of tiny feet inside the walls. They said in this city you’re never more than a few feet from a rat, and yet the real pestilence was the kind that made a plague-infested rodent look like the damn Easter Bunny. The darkness was lurking unseen in the black pools beneath Dublin’s Medieval walls, and it was that darkness she’d sensed in him. He was her worst nightmare come to life, and he was living right beneath her feet.
His night vision was more than up to navigating the darkness to the cramped, single bedroom. The shabby apartment was a front that served to distract prying eyes and random callers. What lay behind the bedroom alcove was cleverly concealed by panelling as old as the house itself.
The warped panel cracked open to reveal the stainless steel of the vault door behind. It was double reinforced steel, a foot-thick and weighing in at over a ton. Built to deflect monsters, and to contain them.
Connal stepped inside the inky darkness and located the wall panel by touch, a series of codes closing him into the cellar space that held the familiar embrace of home. The tension across his shoulders began to unwind immediately as the cramped stairwell opened out onto the expansive interior. Inhaling deep, the air down here smelled of cedar and candle wax. But still, he wore her scent on his skin. They had barely exchanged un-pleasantries, yet, even in her absence, that female dominated his senses.
This went beyond the quickening they all felt with the approaching full moon. Her scent was like a chemical lure. It had drawn him to rub up on her coat like it was erotic catnip. Like a drug, biological warfare. No latent female had ever affected him this way.
His footfalls echoed off the windowless expanse, light fixtures flickering sequentially to life until the cathedral-sized space was sketched in their candle-like glow. The industrial brick and iron was offset by an eclectic mix of antiques Connal had acquired over his long lifetime. Existence, not lifetime, he corrected his thoughts. You couldn’t exactly call what he had a life. Life assumed an inevitable culmination in death. Connal bypassed the heavy drapes sectioning off the various living spaces, and made for fireplace, which was massive and flanked either side by floor to ceiling bookcases.
So Anann DeMorgan had a granddaughter. Those soft, vulnerable features had little in common with the hard-edged, calculating face of the old woman. Maybe, in Anann’s younger years... but those weren’t memories Connal wanted to touch with a ten foot pole.
That she was also a latent? That meant she had to have Fomorian blood too, and every male in the city would be gunning for her, come full moon. Nan DeMorgan and her secrets. What was the old witch playing at? Luring her own blood to this godforsaken place. Like ... bait. He had been more than ready to take a bite out of her. MacTire would eat her alive.
He hoped to hell she’d taken the time to prepare the girl, before throwing her to the wolves. But their little dance upstairs on the wood floor screamed otherwise. The weight of responsibility the old woman had dumped on him settled like an anvil across his shoulders. Not for the first time since she’d stroked out, he bared his teeth and cursed the day he struck his bargain with Anann DeMorgan.
Needing something to dull his edges, he reached for a handle of whiskey from the shelf. Pulling the cork in his teeth, he necked the bottle. Then he planted his ass on the leather couch, shrugged out of his jacket and began sifting through the cobwebbed database of his neglected memories.
Eternity seemed a manageable thing, desirable even, until you tried to walk its endless, lonely, identical corridors. Live as long as he had, and experiences became monotone, a jumble of faded prints, each blandly indistinct from the next. But this one night, more than a decade ago, closer to two decades possibly, lit up his synapses like a splash of vibrant red paint across a blank canvas. It was her velvet coat in the hallway that nudged it to the surface of his consciousness, though the memory of that night had stayed with him for another reason. Two of them, in fact.
The first was that he’d finally taken out that cocky bastard who went by the name of Crys. A vicious scrapper. Last time they’d fought, Connal took a sizeable chunk out of his neck, but somewhere, in the thick of the fight, he’d limped his way back to MacTire and gotten himself fixed up. This particular night in question, Crys had come back with vengeance burning up his blood, no doubt looking for payback on his ruined GQ cover prospects. Making shit personal was what got him killed. Connal knew revenge better than any son of a bitch walking the earth.
He’d been carrying Crys’ decapitated head in a duffle bag, and a couple of other braincases in there for company, when he’d loped up the path to Nan DeMorgan’s house. With the heavy bag slung over his shoulder, he was feeling pretty smug after a fruitful night’s work. He’d dropped the considerable weight to the footpath while he unlatched the iron gates, taking the reprieve to roll his neck on his shoulders, working out the physical reminder that heads are the heaviest of all body parts. He stopped, head cocked to the side, sure what he was seeing must be an hallucination, because Nan DeMorgan never, ever left her house.
Technically she wasn’t leaving, though, she was stepping over the threshold into the hall, and she wasn’t alone. She was ushering a small figure in a red coat inside the door, her wizened hand a claw at the child’s back. For a horrible moment he actually considered the possibility that the old bird was eating children for kicks. That was a macabre thought too far, even for him, and all the more disturbing because it didn’t seem entirely beyond the realms of possibility.
‘Nan?’ he asked.
He paused, and tried on the scenario again. She hustled the small form into the hallway and snapped her head around in his direction. Her expression was all shadows and jowls. That was the second memorable event of that night. Mercurial on her best days, that night there was a fury in Anann DeMorgan’s eyes he had never before witnessed, or seen since.
‘What are you doing here?’ She barked and threw a hand up to where the moon was still hanging, full in the sky. ‘Don’t you have work to be doing?’
He hefted the bag and its heavy contents front and forward and moved to untie it. ‘Oh, I think you’ll like-’
She sliced off his words with a hiss. ‘Don’t you bring that here to my doorstep! Not now.’ She glared at his bag of hard-won trophies like they were so much dog shit, and his high deflated like a wrinkled balloon. It wasn’t like he’d expected her to fall on her knees, but who else did he have to share the small victories that gave his interminable existence meaning? Generally, she mustered some enthusiasm for his efforts, especially when he’d taken down one of MacTire’s inner guard. She kept the heads, for God’s sake. Demanded them of him after every hunt. He often wondered what she did with them. Mostly, he despised the fact that some part of him craved her recognition, the psychological pat on the head in return for bringing his quarry to her feet.
She’d instructed him to be here, but he didn’t call her out on it, knew better than to throw matches at that pile of tinder. So he’d shrugged it off, hefted the bag back over his shoulder and stalked away, feeling like her dirty little secret. For weeks, he’d brooded, down in his lair, the duffle bag thrown in a corner, untouched.
He’d studiously ignored the unusual comings and goings at the DeMorgan house: lights on in normally empty rooms, deliveries at odd times. Until one sunlit afternoon, a police car pulled up to bundle away the young girl. Turned out she’d been the subject of a month long manhunt, played out in sordid detail in the gutter press. After that, Anann DeMorgan summoned him back to the house where she demanded he bleed MacTire’s men with a zeal that bordered on messianic. Somebody had seriously ruffled the old woman’s feathers.
He cast his gaze up to the vaulted ceiling, locking onto the solidity of the curved iron girders, with their bolts and rivets and their patina of long-standing antiquity. Tossing back another hard draft from the bottle, he tried to fill the void that was opening up inside him.
Once again, it was her scent that reeled him back in, rising up from the ragged shreds of his shirt. He grasped at the torn fabric, breathed her in, and the air became charged, like inhaling the aftermath of a wild, electrical storm.
Connal wiped the wet residue of the spirit from his lips with the back of his hand and rose from the couch. He peeled out of his clothes, abandoning them on a path that lead to the bathroom. He cranked the handle and the shower burst into steaming life. Stepping beneath the spray, he allowed the pressure to pummel the tight muscles across his shoulders, saturating his skin, drenching the dreadlocked coils of his hair in the streaming torrent. The sound of it roared in his ears, drowning out all thoughts of anything but her. He closed his eyes and conjured up her face, imagined he could feel the weight of her gaze on him, watching him through lust-darkened, sapphire blue eyes. He fisted the substantial length of his erection, wrapping a large hand around the hard, veined flesh, cupping the heavy sac beneath with the other. Gripping just under the head, he ran the rough surface of his palm up and down the thick shaft, sliding velvet soft skin over the steel-hard core. From behind closed lids, he called up an image of her mouth, lush lips glossed and parted. She was biting on the pad of her thumb, tense with anticipation. A husky moan escaped his throat. Bringing a closed fist to his mouth, he stifled the sound, canines biting down into his knuckles. He permitted himself to feel her mouth on his again, ravaging and impossibly soft. He bit down harder, hard enough to draw blood this time. His fist tightened, pumping his shaft, imagining himself moving inside her, slapping up against her parted thighs. His spine arched, one knee flexing as his thigh trembled a contraction. His breath quickened and with his palm squeezing over the sensitive head, he dragged down once again, and felt his cock pulsing in his own grip, in time with the pounding of his heart. Now her hand was coasting down, slipping between her breasts, to the apex of her thighs, her fingers dipping into the glistening folds of her sex and her mouth was shaping the words, commanding him ... Come for me!
‘Fuck. No!’ A snarl contorted his face as his instincts rebelled against the dominance of her demand, but his body was already on its knees to her. Buckling, he reached out blindly to slam a forearm flush against the wet tile, bracing himself against the shower wall as his pace quickened. Pumping furiously now, drilling down to the base, slipping up over the head, he ratcheted up the tempo until his breaths were hard, fevered pants. He found his free hand coasting up his abs to grip one nipple ring. With a hard tug, he twisted his own flesh and cried out, a ragged, lusty rasp. His pecs tightened, the muscles standing out in corded relief, teeth buried in his lower lip as he worked that delicious friction to his head, picturing her beautiful, lush mouth now sealed around his cock. He came for her in shuddering spasms, over and over, until spent and boneless, he slumped. Head lolling forward on his shoulders, his forehead pressed against the steamed glass of the shower wall and he slowly slid down its wet surface, on a downward slope that was far beyond his control.
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