A Valentine Story

Natalie closed her front door behind her, and rested her back against it. She felt relaxed and happy. Well, why shouldn't she? It was her birthday, after all.

Nick had been incredibly sweet. She'd arrived at his loft, expecting take-out, concession to a movie she liked and a prettily wrapped present. She didn't know where he got his presents wrapped, but they always looked wonderful. He'd surprised her this time.

He'd candle-lit the loft until it was soft and sparkling. Flowers were everywhere, roses, iris, orchids, star jasmine, and narcissus filling the loft with their sensual scents. The dining table was properly set with china and real silver. He laid dinner out before her with a flourish, and gallantly took a bit of everything she ate. Afterwards, he pulled out her chair and asked how her knee was doing.

"My knee? Oh, it's fine. Why?" That inquiry seemed a bit out of the blue.

Smiling an answer, he drew her into his arms and clicked a button on one of his fifteen million remotes. When the music started, he kissed her nose and led he out to an open part of the floor to dance.

His gift was an onyx and gold brooch in a renaissance design. It was a perfect collar pin, delicate yet distinct. She had gasped at the sight of such a lovely thing.

When she kissed his cheek in thanks, his arms slipped around her. He had met her eyes with a soft look and their lips came together as if of their own accord. They kissed, soft and gentle, over and over for it seemed like hours.

Natalie pulled away first so Nick wouldn't have to. She couldn't bear to think of him pushing her back.

She'd driven home in a happy fog.

It had all been so beautiful. She was contented; she wouldn't let herself long for more, not tonight. Natalie pushed herself off the door and put her coat away. Going into the kitchen she poured herself a drink. She didn't want to sleep just yet, perhaps lay on the sofa and listen to some music; maybe read a while.

She walked into her living room. Music was already playing. Patterns of light from the fire softly illuminated the room. Candles were lit in front of the mirrors, giving a bit more light. The heavy velvet drapes had been drawn. She stopped, confused. Then she saw him in the armchair.

"Good Morning, Natalie." LaCroix closed the book he'd been leafing through and set it aside.

Her glass hit the floor, it splashed but didn't break. She took a step back, started to turn...

He was on her, arms around her in an iron grip. One hand gently stroked her face. "Shh.. don't panic. It's all right, I'm not here to kill you. You're not in danger."

She didn't believe him, not for an instant. She was in danger, hell, HE was danger with a capital fucking D! "What... what are you doing here?" she gasped out.

"Calm down... come inside, and I'll tell you." Arms around her, he guided her to the armchair he'd vacated. His hands pressed against her shoulders, making her sit. His hands pulled away reluctantly, as if concerned that she might still take flight. Instead, she sat tall and looked up to meet his eyes. She might be helpless against the ancient vampire, but be damned if she'd let it show.

LaCroix gave a faint, shadowy smile; as if he had expected this reaction. This only annoyed Natalie. "Well, what do you want?" she snapped.

"To give you the best wishes of the day, my dear." He strolled to the mantle, picked up a wine glass and sipped from it; the red fluid looking black in the low light.

"What?" She was confused.

"It is your birthday, is it not? I am not misinformed?"

"Yes." she said, wary.

"You're thirty-two."

"Yes. Did the thought of, oh I don't know, simply sending a card just not occur to you?" Natalie crossed her arms in front of her chest. Why couldn't he just say what he had to say and go?

"You must admit that does lack panache." His eyes danced with amusement.

She gave a snort. "Oh, and we can't have that."

"No." He set the glass down, his long finger toying with the top. "And the gift would have been difficult to post." He turned and looked at her thoughtfully. "Thirty-two. So, so young."

"In your scheme of things, I'm sure it is."

"In a sense. We don't acknowledge our age very often. Immortality can weigh heavy after a time, so we don't remind ourselves of our lost mortality. Our anniversaries go unremarked. So you see, it is rather unusual that yours has been remembered."

"If you have a point, please make it. It's been a long evening and I'm rather tired."

"But, I'm sure, not as tired as you would wish."

"I beg your pardon?" Nat was a bit dumbfounded.

"What was it? Dinner? Dancing? A beautiful gift, not as exquisite as you? A few stolen kisses, a light touch, the fodder of youthful fantasies. How romantic." His tone was thick with irony. He walked closer to her chair, a wave of his hand cutting off her outraged protests. "But you aren't a love struck teenager, my dear Doctor. And you aren't a plaster saint of all the virtues of the mortal existence. You are very real, very hungry, and you must get weary of constantly being kept longing."

Natalie flushed pink, but her eyes lit with anger. "How dare you..."

"Because, my mortal angel, I'm the only one who can. You want to be more tired, much more... You want Nicholas to carry you up to his lonely bed and prove that his words stand on something you can touch. You want to burn him with your living, breathing warmth so he'll remember that you are not a mere metaphor for a type of existence he once begged you for.

"He looks at you and you feed his need for the light. Has it ever occurred to him that his shadow has fallen over you? That there may be a part of you longing for darkness, for desires, for hungers to be fed... hardly expected of a innocent... I do dare, because I wish to know. You'll face yourself when Nicholas does not. I can respect that."

His words confused and infuriated her at the same time. It was if he was reflecting the truth in a warped mirror... the same but very different... twisted and contorted. "Stop it." she hissed.

"Aren't you going to ask about your gift?" LaCroix stood over her now, his voice soft.

Part of her wanted to run, another part wished to lean back and bask in his beautiful voice and another part wanted to stand and belt him one. "My gift? Okay, what is it?"

Slowly, so slowly she could scarcely feel it he reached down and caressed her hair. "I will do for you what Nicholas would not."

"What?" she was thunderstruck. He couldn't mean that... No... Not that he would... Could he? She shook her head. "No. No, I'm not going to listen to this." She met his eyes. "This isn't funny, LaCroix."

"Is it so absurd, then?" He reached out with a single fingertip and stroked her set jaw. Feather-light, barely perceptible yet setting off a tingle deep inside her. "You mean to say that you've never thought of it? What it would it be like, you and I?"

"No!" she spat. A furious blush rose to her face, negating her denial. It was a lie, but she would never admit it, not to him, never! She turned her face away. The thoughtfully stroking fingertip turned into two and moved to her ear, and her throat. She should push him away... she wanted to push him away...but the touch was soft and sweet...was erotic in a way that was nearly subliminal... and it scared her to death and intoxicated her at the same time.

He scared her to death.

She wouldn't let it show. This effect on her, it was wild, hungry, and unwelcome. She couldn't let him do that to her, but he was.

"I'm wounded." his voice was soft, ironic. She could swear she could feel it in the pit of her stomach. "I have. Many times. And I have imagined that you might." The caress on her neck grew bolder, slipping into the neckline of the dress. "Should I tell you what I've imagined about you?"

Her mouth opened, but the words didn't want to form. She was terribly conscious of the quiver in her thighs and the racing of her heart. "What?" she rasped out.

"I've imagined you lying on that sofa, listening to my voice on the stereo. Not intensely, mind, just letting the words slide over you as you read a book, maybe nodding in agreement or shaking your head in protest from time to time." She closed her eyes. She could see the scene, she'd done it many times. "Thinking perhaps you should go turn it off, but not quite able to make yourself rise from your comfortable position..." Natalie felt the warm flush rise from her neck and across her cheeks. She knew his fingers recorded it as she swallowed nervously. "Perhaps I'm talking about desire, about hunger, about needing a touch, about longing for the forbidden, the untouchable, I understand you, it is in all of us;" Those words cut to her core. "...and your fingers slowly draw the skirt of your robe up over your knees and letting it rise up your thighs. You might not even look up from your book, not even notice the catch in your breath. But your hand would be resting on your inner thigh moving lower, almost as if drawn there." To her horror she could feel herself growing wet in reaction to his erotic voice. "I am there, my child, and sense the passion inside wanting to be released, let go, and I'll catch you... and the words blur on the page as you touch yourself... wet... swollen... warm... your fingers gently open your vulva and you gasp with touch of the cool air...I know that hunger, how it burns inside... and your clit is hard under your're more aware of my voice now... you realize that the words echo inside and arouse you more... you put more pressure on your strokes now... you turn your face to the cushions, blushing with shame... and your orgasm is all the more sweet for it...if I were here, I'd taste it, Natalie. I'd take you farther in until your whole body turns liquid." Her fingers gripped the chair arms tightly, nails digging in.

This was too close to the truth, Oh God... How many times had she done that! How could he know!

Suddenly, she was buoyed by a flash of anger. She jerked herself out of the chair and moved away, arms crossed, body guarded. "Why, why are you doing this? Are you trying to get me on your side? Are you just trying to get at Nick?" She lashed out, as angry at herself and her arousal as she was at his use of her. "You think this will hurt him?" She swung toward him, her arms stiff and her hands clenched.

LaCroix had moved back to his position by the mantle, draining his glass. "Contrary to popular opinion, Nicholas is not the single deciding factor for all of my behavior."

"Then what?"

"My motivations are quite simple, my dear. I want to fuck you."

Her jaw dropped. What shocked her wasn't the vulgarity, but the directness. There was nothing else in his sentence that the declaration could be twisted behind. Her mind floundered, trying to think of a reply. "I can't believe you."

In a split second he was beside her. His mouth was over hers, claiming hers, the coolness of his tongue ravishing her heat. His hand was firm on her neck, keeping her still. She could feel him, all of him, the thin fabric that separated them insufficient. She trembled, but didn't resist. Did she want to? She realized with horror that her nipples hardened in response.

He broke the kiss, but didn't pull back. His eyes burned intently into hers, she couldn't look away. "I want to fuck you." he repeated, the strength of the word sounding strange on his cultured tongue. "I want to feel your cunt close around me like a hot fist. I want your mouth, to have you drink from me as I will you. To turn you over and fill you completely. To feed on your blood, your come, your tears. Give yourself up to me, and I'll wake you; Natalie. I'll show you more about your desires that you've ever seen. You'll come harder than you ever have."

She tried to pull away, but his hand on her neck was like iron. "You can't!" she gasped, "It's not possible!"

He kissed her again, much harder. Almost in self-defense she kissed him back, her tongue warming his. God, his mouth tasted wonderful! His other hand reached down, pulling up her hem, caressing her silk encased leg.

She jerked back, gasping for air. She grabbed his arm at the wrist to keep it from rising up her leg. She couldn't let him touch her... She couldn't let him know how wet she was...

"It is possible, Natalie, with proper preparation and self-control. Neither are Nicholas forte, I'm afraid. The ability to set limits, understanding one's strengths and weaknesses. He is so impulsive, he forgets himself easily. I do not." He glanced at her hand gripping his wrist. "But you don't love me. You don't trust me. I am a danger to you... even more than he is... I think that excites you, Natalie, as well as terrifies you..." She shivered at the sound of the truth. "I can tell you that you are safe... That I would only hurt you to tease and arouse you... And it would arouse you, I promise... But how could you know for sure? I am a killer after all, but then, so is Nicholas, much as he wishes to forget...I tell you to submit to me, give yourself to my control and I will satisfy you like no lover has ever tried to..." She quaked at his words. Nick was what she wanted, but what did she need? The idea frightened and thrilled her. "But you can never trust me... that edge of terror will stay... it will feed your hunger, Natalie, sharpen it, you'll be completely awake." His voice dropped a little in intensity. "It's shaming, isn't it, to want me? Why? Nicholas might even understand, after all, he once wanted me too. You know that, you aren't so naive. This has nothing to do with him, only with you and I. Let go of my wrist, prove to me with your body that you don't want me." He kissed her again, slowly now, sensual. She tasted his lip, the blood on his tongue was earthy. His wrist slipped from her hand and rose up her legs. He felt her wetness through the silk and massaged her. "My hungry one, my little innocent, let go... You'll enjoy it, I promise you... Follow me into the shadows... let me show you... " She moaned now, and her arms went around him. Her eyes were wet, and she shook her head.

"I can't do this... I can't." But how could she stop him? Choice was an illusion.

"Yes, you can." he whispered. He kissed her earlobe, teeth teasing her skin. "You can. Give in to our desire."

"I love him." she whispered. It was her last defense.

He kissed her again, fingers urgent on her sex. "And you'll still love him when it's over. I won't take you away from him, this is only for us."

"LaCroix..." she stopped and gasped. Her need was so great. His control was so strong.

"Lucien, it's Lucien. Come with me, my mortal angel. You want me, you need me, you crave it, you long for it....let me show you... let me teach you... say yes to me... say yes..." His finger slipped under the silk. She whimpered. He stroked her burning clit with two fingers. "say yes..." He massaged gently, her slickness making it fast and sharp. "say yes. I won't let you go, I won't let you fall... say innocent one..." Her gasps harsh, her knees weak. "say yes..."

"Yes," she gasped. "yes." Her hands tightened into fists on his shoulders. She came then, sharp and throbbing. A tear slid down her cheek. He licked it off, and kissed her slowly.

"Don't fight my control over you... be guided by me, and you will be safe..." He lowered her to her knees. She was trembling. Gently cupping her head, he moved her face to the front of his trousers. He rubbed her cheek against the cloth, letting her feel his erection. She reached up hesitantly with one hand to touch, and he seized it. His kissed her fingertips. "Not yet, I have other plans. We have all day, Natalie."

He turned away then, refilled his glass and quickly drained it. Two more followed suit. Then he leaned over by the chair and picked up a flat leather case. He laid it on the floor by the fire, within reach. As he unbuttoned his shirt and slid it off, she glanced over at the case. It looked very old. She reached out and touched the old leather.

"Curiosity, my dear." he whispered in her ear. His skin was warmer now, from the blood he'd drunk. "Lay down, angel. On your back."

With a nervous flutter in her stomach, she obeyed. It was hard to have given in, to keep giving in. But what choice did she have? And yet, it was exciting her in away she would never have admitted to herself before. Nick's Master... and now hers? LaCroix's self-confidence was so absolute...

He opened the case. Inside was a set of Victorian surgical instruments, in excellent condition. They shone in the light. Her eyes widened in alarm.

What was it he'd said? I will only hurt you to tease and arouse you...

It took all her self-control to stay still.

"Yes, I knew you would appreciate these relics. Listen carefully, now. Follow my instructions exactly. Don't move unless I tell you. You'll enjoy this."

She paled a little as he picked up the long post-mortem knife.

"I'd tell you not to be afraid, but you wouldn't believe me." He slid the knife through the top buttonhole of her woolen dress; popping the button. He moved on to the next one. "I think it helps you a little, doesn't it? If I frighten you, then it's easier to have given in -- makes the bitter pill easier to swallow. Though I believe the fear itself excites you... you seem drawn to things that can harm you...." Her dress was falling open to the waist. Carefully, he continued to cut it off her, the sharp blade coming within millimeters of her skin. Her breath quickened and she clutched the rug, terrified. Her traitorous cunt grew damp with excitement, shaming her with desire.

He pulled the shredded pieces of cloth away. She lay shivering in her lingerie. Slowly, he shredded her lacy bra and pulled it free. He teased her nipples with the cold flat of the blade, firelight dancing over the silver. Her nipples grew hard and her mouth moist. She bit back a moan. He moved lower. The blade cut through her tap pants with a tearing sound. He parted her legs to pull the silk free.

He stopped.

She looked up, to see what had distracted him.

LaCroix was looking at her lace-topped stockings. She wore no garter belt. Finally, he put the knife down and turned over the edge of one to examine the silicone garter that was sewn in. He looked so impressed that she couldn't help but smile. He lifted a wry eyebrow. "That's very clever." He smoothed the edge back into place. "Let's leave these on for a while."

He lifted the knife again. "Don't move." he ordered. The metal was cold against her inner thigh, but he didn't cut her. He teased her with it, gently tracing, drawing it closer...Then, he turned it in his hand. Using the handle, he parted her labia. She gasped. "Oh yes, my hungry one." He slid the handle of the knife into her wetness, it went in easily. He drew it out slowly, and moved it back in. Again, and again. She closed her eyes. A soft sound escaped her.

He pulled the knife away, wiped the handle and set it aside. He picked out another instrument, it was smaller, for finer cutting. Leaning over her, he traced his tongue over her upper lip.

He cut her.

She gasped. It was so fast and so sharp she barely felt it. It was a tiny cut, barely a scratch, under her collarbone. A few drops of blood beaded up. He closed his mouth over the tiny wound and licked it clean.

The next one was on the underside of her right breast. Her body arched slightly to him, wanting to feed him. Giving up her blood, what she had so often wished to do. Her abdomen, the scratch stung a little here but the feel of his tongue was exquisite. Her moans came freely now as the blade bit into her upper hip, and his licks becoming careful sucks. His hand drifted between her thighs, fingers entering her vagina, her body welcoming the penetration. At her upper thigh a few beads of blood tried to flow, he caught them eagerly and then shifted slightly to give a few licks across her clit. He held down her hips when she arched against him. He moved down to her knee... her ankle... the stockings were running, she didn't care...

He rolled her over and started to move up. One of her low heels slipped off, he replaced it gently. At the backs of her thighs she felt a tiny stickiness against the silk. She moaned again as he moved up to the curves of her ass. As he licked the tiny scratch, he probed her anal opening gently. Natalie recoiled barely perceptibly, a reaction of surprise and inexperience. He sucked his fingers, moistening them with saliva and blood. He probed again, massaging gently, stroking, preparing. He penetrated with a single finger and was rewarded with a gasp of pleasure and pain. He thrust gently, letting her get used to the feel and she gasped again, then moaned. "Little innocent. I'll enjoy initiating you to this. It will be like nothing you've ever felt It will be exquisite."

Lucien was over her now, cutting on her shoulder blade. "This cut is a little deeper. I'll want to taste your blood from time to time. If I don't have to bite you, I can maintain more control." The hair on his chest tickled her spine. The cloth of his trousers was soft against her buttocks. She could feel his erection, heavy and strong, straining against his trousers as he sucked the cut. It excited her even more. His thigh was heavy between her legs, rubbing her inner thighs.

He kissed the back of her neck, but didn't cut it. He tilted her head with one hand, and his mouth closed over her earlobe. His teeth teased the indentation where her piercing was done. His other hand reached back and caressed her backside.

It was driving her out of her mind.

He sat up, pulling her with him. He kissed her mouth, her throat, and then returned to her ear. "Tell me," he whispered. "Have you ever been spanked by a lover?"

Natalie blushed to the roots of her hair. "No..." she shook her head and dropped her eyes. She had fantasized about it, but had never dared to talk about it.

Lucien arched her head up and kissed her passionately. His eyes glinted with merry wickedness. "But you've wanted to... haven't you..." Her embarrassed reaction was the only affirmation that he needed. "You've wondered if you would like it... you will, Natalie."

She opened her mouth to refuse, she couldn't, not with him! It would be too frightening! Then she felt the throbbing between her legs. He would hurt her! And yet, why was she so turned on?

He traced her lips with a fingertip. "It is your birthday. It is customary, is it not?" He kissed her upper lip.

"Yes," she whispered, yielding and ashamed.

He kissed her lower lip. "A slap for every year, isn't it?"

"And one to grow on." she whispered, acquiescence unspoken, yet she knew he understood.

"And one to grow on." Lucien kissed her fully, pleased that her tongue shyly touched his own. He wanted her to desire this, he wanted so much from her.

"You'll hurt me..." Her whisper was frightened, and yet full of longing.

"And I'll pleasure you. The pleasure will be all the sweeter for it. You'll like it, Natalie, I promise." Gently, he drew her to her feet. He led her to the sofa, and guided her behind it. After adjusting some cushions so her upper body would be supported, he bent her over from the back. He touched a hand to the back of her thighs. "Part your legs a little, angel. I want to be able to touch you. That's it. A little wider, good. Try to relax." He stroked her buttocks.

The first blow stung, but she yelped more in surprise than pain. He stroked her again, soothing. When the second slap came, she was ready and didn't cry out, only closed her eyes against the sting. The soothing touch was back, petting her flesh. Then the third slap came down, and she gasped in pain. He stroked her again, slipping his hand down to caress her labia, feeling her wetness for a moment. Her body showed her excitement. He slapped her again, harder this time. Her hands tightened on the fabric of the cushions.

Soon, her gasps of pain alternated with moans of pleasure. He placed his blows carefully, she didn't think there was a place on her bottom that didn't sting. His caresses, sweet and inticing, pushed her arousal farther than she'd ever experienced. He was building both slowly, creating greater intensity. The stinging was starting to burn, tears were filling her eyes...but she didn't want him to stop. It was more exciting than she had ever fantasized. The massaging touch against her anus, her vulva, her clit was driving her to a fever pitch. She was shocked by how wet she was.

When he penetrated her vagina with his other hand, she thought he might be through. She had long lost count of the spanks. The image of him taking her like this was humiliating and wanton. The slap that followed was so hard and solid that she had to choke back a sob. Tears slid out from under her lids. His hand pumped into her again, then pulled back. The blow that followed was harder still. An inarticulate sound tore out of her throat. The finger of his other hand, wet with her longing, opened her anus. She gave a sobbing moan. The finger slid in and out easily now. He pulled his hand back, and gave her another hard spank. The cry escaped her before she could stop it. He slid two fingers into her anus now, opening her wider.

Then she understood. He was preparing her, making her ready.

Horrified, she knew she wanted it. She welcomed it.

She moved slightly, arching back towards his thrusting hand. He leaned over and kissed her shoulder, pleased. "Soon, my angel, soon. We're almost done. You've been so brave, so good. You haven't moved an inch." His fingers slid out and he caressed her soreness. "You'll have never felt so filled before, angel. I'm going to give you more than one at a time now, to move us along. It helps to open you. You are so sweet. You respond so beautifully."

Natalie tightened her hands, but willed her lower body to stay relaxed. The volley of four hard slaps wrenched sobs out of her. The pain stimulated her, the release of emotion was cathartic. She wanted more. He penetrated her again, soothing. Then the next volley... and again... and again... By the time he said, "Last one," she was feeling light headed, almost euphoric, in spite of her tears. Her endorphins were kicking in. The last blow caused her to cry out, and she felt like she was collapsing, but she didn't move.

Lucien moved to the front of the sofa. Kneeling before her, he raised her tear-streaked face and kissed and licked her tears away. "All over, all over. It will be pleasure for you now, yes, such pleasure." his tongue rasped gently under her eyes. "You're so wet. You liked it, admit it... It excited you more than you ever thought it would. Don't be ashamed with me."

"Yes," she gasped out. "Yes, I liked it." More tears slid down. "Please..." she struggled to remembered his earlier words. He would initiate her, he said. For the first time in her life, she wanted to beg to be fucked.

He kissed her forehead, and went back behind the sofa. She could hear the soft sound of his trousers falling. He touched her again, stroking her burning skin. His hands found her hips and pulled her toward him. "Move back a little. Good." The cool liquid of the lubricant felt good against her. He applied it liberally, finger fucking her ass some more. He pressed his erection against her thigh, letting her feel his own excitement. "We'll go slowly, ma petite. We'll savor this..."

She moaned with the taboo pleasure as he opened her more and more with his fingers. She shivered as they pulled away, and the head of his cock pressed against her. Slick with lubricant, he entered her anus slowly, carefully. She cried out as he entered. He was too big, he was huge, he would hurt her, her nerve endings were on fire... He reacted instantly, holding her hips steady, speaking softly. "Shh...don't panic... it's all right...keep still... relax, relax, you'll open for me...Shh..." She fought her panic back, willing herself to keep still. She pressed down inside, opening, and he moved in deeper. Pleasure started to rise as her overstimulated nerves adjusted. "Yes, Natalie, that's it." He pulled back slightly and thrust forward a little more. The initial pain eased into soreness where her anus was stretched. It felt better now, with his gentle thrusting. She gasped out, in desire this time. Then she felt his flanks press against her sore flesh and knew he was all the way in.

Lucien leaned over her, unable to suppress a blissful groan. He remained motionless for several moments, absorbed in sensation, letting her feel. He had been right, she had never felt so filled before. It was indescribably intense.

He withdrew slowly, and thrust again; more forceful now. She moaned in genuine pleasure. He thrust again, pulling her hips back to meet him. She clutched the cushions for support. It was incredible. He moved more determinedly now, seeking a rhythm. His own sounds of excitement aroused her even more. She moved with him, ignoring the pressure on her sore ass. The acute sensations were exquisite. She felt close to tears again, from intense pleasure rather than pain. She was peaking, she could feel it. She whispered his name and he thrust harder into her. She gasped it again, pushing back to meet him. He whispered encouragments to her as he slid a hand under her to caress her hard clitoris. He closed his mouth over the cut on her shoulder blade.

Natalie came with a silent scream than ended in a sob. It was overwhelming, consuming -- like nothing she'd ever felt.

His cool skin felt curiously dry against her hot body, now slick with sweat. He rubbed his cheek against her shoulder and caressed her clit again. Her body bucked beneath him. He fucked her for himself now, driving himself for his own release. She felt a yielding inside, something dissolving under wave after wave of intense sensation. She came again and again, sobbing openly now, clutching the cushions tight in a white knuckle grip. His arms tightened around her, fingers harsh on her over-sensitized clit, mouth closing over her cut shoulder blade, driving himself harder. His thrusts pounded into her, more fierce than she'd ever experienced. It was too much...too much... she came again and screamed his name. His muscles tightened, driving her forward as he gave himself to orgasm. She could smell sweat and blood, and found it sweet.

He carefully pulled away. Then he was gone.

Natalie slumped on the sofa, unable to move. Her bones were like jelly. Her skin was feeling clammy from the drying sweat. She had never felt so utterly spent before. She wondered where he'd gone... Slowly, Natalie raised her head and tried to find her footing. She pushed herself up, her legs shaking.

LaCroix was suddenly beside her, steadying her. He kissed her passionately on her soft relaxed mouth and lifted her into his arms. Natalie didn't resist, just laid her head against his shoulder and let herself be carried.

He had tasted like fresh blood. His skin was flushed and warmer. He had left her to feed.

It was all a matter of preparation and control...

He carried her into the bathroom and set her down on the counter top. The cold marble felt good on her butt. She leaned back against the mirror. He filled a glass from the tap and handed to her.

"Thank you..." her voice was soft, shy to her own ears. She drank eagerly.

He looked pleased. He touched her face with a fingertip. "Little innocent." He turned away and opened the cupboard doors. He lifted a couple of maroon bathsheets down and set them beside her. He started inspecting her shower gels.

Knowing what he must have in mind, Natalie pulled off her shoes and set to work rolling down her stockings. "The green pump, we'll need that."

"Why?" He lifted it up and smelled it.

"It's anti-bacterial and antiseptic. To prevent infections. And the one called Rain, that's nice." She pulled an unopened body scrubber out of the drawer and opened it. Lucien took the blue mesh ball and examined it, curious.

Natalie slid off the counter and went to the tub. Playing with the taps a while she got a nice warm flow going. She took the body scrubber and one of the bottles and stepped in. She placed the objects on the side of the tub and waited for Lucien. He took the other bottle and followed, sliding the glass door shut behind him.

She flicked the shower on and stood under its flow, letting the water race over her skin. He ran his hand through her hair, letting the water through to every strand. It felt wonderful. Some of her energy seemed to come back. Lucien caressed her back, then ran a hand over her reddened bottom. She flinched a little, but it wasn't too bad. It was sore just enough for her to want a little more.

The thought frightened her. She took a half step back and took the green pump bottle from his hands. "Here let me."

Foaming her hands, she rinsed them clean and then poured more soap on. She washed his genitals gently, moving his foreskin, softly massaging his testicles. He was well endowed sexually, long and thick. Natalie was grateful she had not seen him before, or she might have been too scared to let him... She moved her fingertips through his light brown nest of pubic hair, tickling. Natalie, could you really have stopped him? She told herself. She slipped a soapy hand beneath and carefully washed his anal opening. He stroked her hair to show his pleasure at her comforting touch. She rinsed him with her small shower massage, and then took his hands in hers. She soaped them with care, and used a nail brush on the tips. He touched his lips to her hair in a gesture of unusual gentleness.

Taking up the show gel and the body scrubber, she asked him to turn around. Curiously passive, LaCroix turned away without a sound. His muscles seemed stiff under her hands as she soaped him. Massaging with the scrubber, she worked over his skin. She went over and over the muscles of his back until the iron bent and returned to flesh. Finally, he relaxed into her touch. Natalie knelt and moved to his buttocks and legs, easing the stiffness out. "So stoic," she whispered. She slid a hand between the rounds of his ass, touching softly. He moved unconsciously toward her gentle hand. She probed gently, and penetrated him with a finger. It slid in easily.

The stroking on her hair returned. A rumbled sigh of pleasure rolled out of him. She thrust gently, aroused by his receptivity. The hand tightened a little on her hair in excitement. She could feel herself growing wet again. She kissed his hip and withdrew, rising to her feet. She rinsed him off with the small spray. "Turn around," she said softly.

He turned back around, his expression relaxed. She was gratified to see his cock had stirred in response. For a moment, she paused, waiting to see if he would direct her... but he did nothing. It was still her move.

Natalie soaped his shoulders and upper chest, massaging the muscles. Lucien closed his eyes and remained still, sensual mouth soft and inviting. She leaned up and kissed him, tongue roaming over his lips. She tasted blood and liked it. Her tongue slipped in and danced with his. His hands rose to embrace her, then slid back off her skin. He seemed content to let go now, to bask in her initiative. Was he that confident of his control over her? Or did he welcome this as proof of her wanting him... of wanting what he did to her...of her wanting more...

Natalie pushed the unruly thoughts away and returned to the task at hand. His chest hair was lighter than his pubic hair, he was not a young man when he changed. She moved lightly, taking care not to pull, caressing his nipples until they were as hard as her own. The muscles on his abdomen were flat and hard, and were slow to relax to her touch. His cock was growing more hard, but she didn't touch it; soaping his flanks and hips instead. Kneeling she massaged his thighs, noting every muscle. There was a scar on one knee... it must have happened before... she kissed it, licking it softly; he growled with pleasure. She rose, and rinsed him off. His pale skin shone with reflected moisture. He was a like a statue, carved of ivory, remote and glorious.

"So stoic..." she whispered again, and kissed him.

LaCroix returned the kiss with longing. "My hungry one."

"Yes..." She said into his mouth, and suddenly dropped to her knees.

She tongued his erection roughly, tasting salt and blood. Her mouth moved over and over him, warming his cool flesh. His hardness grew under her attention, the stroking on her hair returned. Shifting her head, Natalie took his cock in.

She sucked his head, teasing his foreskin with her tongue. She took him deeper, lashing at him, teasing him with her teeth. A groan of pleasure rewarded her. Relaxing her throat, she took him as deep as she could, covering him with saliva. His hand tightened reflectively on her hair. She pulled back slowly, pressing him against the roof of her mouth. Both of his hands were on her hair now. She could feel the muscles of his thigh quiver under her hand.

Her cunt throbbed in counter time to her slow, rhythmic sucking. She didn't touch herself, choosing to concentrate on his pleasure now. His response to her, the slow dissolving of his reserve was wildly, intensely exciting. She could feel a tremor in his hips as he resisted the urge to thrust. She didn't want him to resist. Dropping her jaw, she relaxed her throat, letting her tongue keep the pressure on the underside of his cock. She raised her hands to his hips and moved him forward, encouraging him.

He didn't understand her signal, not at first. Her hands were away from his cock, so she couldn't control how far he went in. He rocked forward slightly, holding her head steady. She pulled his hips again. With a moan he thrust deep into her soft mouth. She received him with yearning. Then he understood what she was giving him permission to do. Holding her head steady, he fucked her hot mouth with slow, hard strokes. Her body flushed in color in arousal to his pleasure and exertion from her efforts, threatening to destroy his self-control. Orgasm rose furiously, undeniably towards him.

"Natalie, you're so sweet, so hungry..." he growled out, thrusting again and again, "Drink from me, my angel, drink from me." Come and Blood filled her mouth around the gag of his cock. She swallowed fast, before she could choke.

He pulled away from her so fast that she slid to one side, off balance. There was a rush of cold air as the shower door opened, and then he was gone.

She was alone.

She slid down and let the shower rain over her. Finally she prodded her relaxed muscles into action, got up and washed herself.

Afterwards, she stepped out and reached for the other bathsheet. A rose and a note lay on top of it. Natalie lifted the note, trying not to drip all over it.

        Go into your bedroom and rest for a while.  I will come for you soon.
        Damn, she thought.  I didn't make my bed this morning.

Rubbing herself with the bathsheet she padded to the bedroom. More candles were lit in here, and gardenias floated in a crystal bowl on her vanity. Her bed was made, and dried lavender was scattered across the comforter. Her chaise lounge, normally the support for her not quite clean, not quite dirty clothes pile had been cleared off and a silk shawl had been draped over it. A low table had been place beside it. A large glass of juice and a plate of fruit, cheese and what looked like some leftover pasta salad from supper last night was on it.

Natalie was touched by the consideration of her needs. Rubbing her hair until it was merely damp, she dropped the towel on the floor and sat down. A little sore, but not bad. She ate quickly, surprised by how hungry she was. She savored the fruit last, sucking most of it for every bit of moisture. Sipping the juice slowly, she lay back on the chaise.

Now at the mercy of her troubled mind.

His excitement at her response and then his gentleness in the shower had helped ease the terror she'd felt. She was still ashamed of how much she had liked it all. The pleasure, the pain, the giving up of control...she liked it. What this what she needed, deep down? She remembered her thought in the shower. No, she couldn't stop him. Not really, he could overpower her, hell, he could kill her. But that was part of it, too. Her inhibitions were being peeled away at the loss of the luxury of refusal. It had been easier, no safer, to never go there, never ask, just take the ideas out in fantasy when she was alone and nobody else could see. Now, she wasn't being asked, only taken and it felt so good. Better than she'd ever imagined. She couldn't deny her pleasure to the cuts on her skin, the blows to her flesh or the cock deep in her ass. What was being awakened in her?

She had lied, before. She had wondered what it would be like with Nick's demon Master, whose voice haunted her. Now she knew... and she wondered what was next.

She closed her eyes. I'm sorry, Nick. I'm sorry.

Natalie's hand slipped between her thighs. She touched herself lightly, making sure her fur wasn't tangled from washing. She stroked herself absently.

She barely kept from jumping out of her skin when Lucien's hand slid over her own. His voice was soft and amused in her ear. "Thinking of me?" He didn't wait for an answer, just kissed her slowly. She kissed him back with real warmth, hesitating only a moment. "Are you rested, Natalie? I have more plans for you." His smile was wicked and her stomach gave a nervous flip. Her hips, however, arched against his hand.

He pressed his hand hard against her with kiss to her ear. Then he pulled back and helped her to her feet. She bent over to retrieve the towel and he caressed her still tingling backside. As she rose, he leaned in and kissed her hair. As they moved out of the bedroom he picked her hairbrush off her vanity.

"Let me put this towel away. I'll be right there."

He touched her face. "I'll be waiting for you."

Quickly, she laid the bathsheet over the shower door to dry. His own towel was already in it's place. She took a couple of minutes to relieve herself, not wanted to interrupt what was to happen next. She caught sight of her flushed, excited face in the mirror. "I can't believe you," she whispered to herself. "How do these things happen to you?" With a rueful smile, she turned away to join him.

As she walked back into the living room, she noticed that he'd pushed the armchair and the sofa back against the walls. Her padded ottoman "coffee table" had been cleared off and a another silk shawl had been draped over it. It had been placed more center. Cushions and quilts had been arranged on the rug in front of the fire. The faint odor of Japanese incense caressed her. She stepped in uncertainly, not sure what was expected. Then she felt his hand on her back. She jumped a little.

LaCroix smiled, "Nervous?"

She didn't answer, just looked down. He chuckled. He slowly drew one hand around her and languidly brought it up between her legs, up her torso, up her throat and lifted her chin. "You don't have to prove your courage to me, Natalie. If I didn't value it, I wouldn't be here now." He kissed her shoulder, she made a soft sound. "Put your arms behind your back." He commanded.

She obeyed, trying not to shiver as he bound her wrists together. A long-ago lover had tied her once, why hadn't it caused her insides to quiver then like it did now? She was becoming aroused again. The tail ends of the silk scarf he used were soft and tickled against her bottom.

"Don't fight it, Natalie, you'll only hurt yourself." He warned her, though there was no need. She knew better than to pull. Silk scarves roll up and tighten, if she struggled she might damage the tendons in her wrists. So she kept her hands relaxed as he led her to the ottoman and sat her on the edge. Kneeling before her, he tied her ankles to the curved wooden legs. This spread open her thighs, but not uncomfortably so. Maneuvering her carefully, her vulva was close to the edge, allowing access. She put her hands down behind her for support and this arched her back. She felt dreadfully exposed. A self-conscious blush crept across her face and breasts.

He stood up and stroked her hair. "Beautiful. Yes, my dear, you are quite, quite lovely." Turning he went to the mantle and brought back a small leather box. He opened the lid, and she glimpsed the glitter of jewels before it went out her field of vision. He lifted her brush and began to work with her unruly hair.

Natalie found the feel of him brushing her hair indescribably sensual. He didn't pull or snag once. He was gentle and through, carefully petting the drying hair into place. He swept it up off her neck. Instead of clipping it at the base of her skull like she always did he pulled it high into a Psyche knot. Reaching into his box, he pulled some pins free and put them in. Once her hair in position, he lifted out some combs and added them.

She'd tried to twist a little, to see what they looked like. LaCroix stopped her with a light tap on her nose. "Not yet, my angel."

Natalie noticed the pull in the muscles of her shoulders and arms as he was slipping earrings in her ears. It was slightly stressful, but not unpleasant. When he slipped the necklace around her throat, he kissed her passionately. She returned his kiss with a moan of arousal. She closed her eyes when his lips closed over her left nipple. He kissed it twice and began suckling it to hardness. Her breath caught. Lucien nipped a little, and she moaned. He pulled his mouth back and she felt a metal pinch. Her eyes flew open.

Hanging on her left nipple was a gold tweezer clamp. It pinched a little, but it didn't really hurt. Tiny teardrop stones of amber, dark blue and freshwater pearl hung from it. He stroked the underside of her breast softly. He smiled, but didn't speak. His eyes danced with mischief at her. Moving slightly, his lips teased her right nipple. Within moments, it had a matching adornment. She wiggled slightly, and set the stones dancing.

Lucien stroked her belly, moving down. "They hurt more coming off than they do going on, because of the restored circulation. But I think you'll find the intensity - stimulating."

She raised her eyebrows in an unspoken, Oh, Do You Now? She glanced down at them again. "They're pretty."

"I had them made in Japan." He knelt down between her legs and stroked her vulva. "Keep still, now."

It took all her willpower to stay motionless as his tongue found her clit. He massaged and sucked carefully, until her clit was throbbing. She gave a gasp at the intensity of the pinch as he slid the clamp into place. The jewels sparkled against her soft folds and her pubic hair.

LaCroix rose with a sigh of pleasure. He nodded and turned away, going to a mirror on the wall. He lifted it down and carried it over to her. He knelt in front her again, holding the glass so she could see herself.

Natalie stared at her reflection. The jewels at her throat, in her hair and in her ears matched the gold, pearl, amber and blue of the clamps. They glowed against her warm, flushed skin. Her color was high with out makeup, and her swollen mouth was soft and red. Her upswept hair was soft and sensual, rich chestnut that was highlighted with amber and gold. Her sapphire eyes matched the stones and were as bright.

Who are you? she thought, staring at this passion filled stranger. Who are you?

"Beautiful, yes, angel. They suit you... you should be covered with jewels." His voice was a pleasant rumble. He moved the mirror back, and propped it against the bookcases. She could still see herself, and now him. A pale shadow, kneeling before her.

Lucien's lips found her nipple again. He sucked gently at first, then slowly increased the pressure. The feeling was intense, her nipples were almost painfully hard. Natalie moaned and shivered, wanting to simultaneously pull away and push harder against him. She gasped in pleasure/pain as he gave her a playful nip. He kissed her hard and moved to the other breast.

Soon, she was bending her elbows and arching against him. If her hands had been free she would have been clinging to him. Lucien moved an arm around her back, supporting her. He flowed back and forth, from breast to breast until they were throbbing. When she was about to beg him to stop, it was too much for her, he pulled back.

With his hands on her thighs, he adjusted her position. "Lie back, my angel. No need to strain your arms." Cool fingertips traced across her belly as she obeyed, flattening her hands as she rested on the bonds.

The kisses on her labia were very light. His tongue was like a cool whisper across her burning sex. Her clit was incredibly erect, vulnerably exposed by the clamp. The faint caress on it felt much more powerful. She gasped with need. With a kiss on top of her pubis, he went to work.

It didn't take long before she was moaning wildly. His tongue caressed her the butterfly wings of her labia, opening them gently. He moved, licking carefully up one and down the other. He teased the entrance to her vagina and then slid his tongue in, thrusting it in and out, making her more wet. Her legs strained against the bonds. Lucien licked and nibbled upwards, the beads of the clamp tickling. His tongue rasped over her clit, massaging it. Her clit throbbed against his tongue, aching for release. He sucked it lightly. Her cunt felt like it was melting, wet and fiery. He drank her wetness, feasting on it as he had her blood. The clamp exposed her clit, yet desensitized it enough to keep her orgasm at bay. She had never been so harshly, sharply on the edge before. He put a hand on her belly to keep her still as she tried to raise herself to press harder against him.

The need for orgasm was soon consuming her. His tongue lashed over her clit. She thought she might pass out if she couldn't come soon. He sucked her clit again. Discarding pride, she begged him to release her. He ignored her, continuing to worship her with his mouth. Natalie was close to tears. "Please," she gasped. "Please, Lucien. I can't take any more, please_" With a final kiss, he released the clamp and it fell away. He sucked her clit lightly as the blood rushed back.

She screamed as she came.

He rose over her abruptly as she thrashed with the intense sensations. His cool cock went deep inside her with one hard thrust. Natalie could feel all of him, her inside walls holding him tight with the grip of her orgasm. His chest hair rubbed against her hard, trapped nipples. His groan of pleasure filled her mind, as she rocked with her aftershocks. For a moment, he was motionless, absorbed. Slowly, achingly slowly, he pulled back and with a moan and thrust deep again. And again.

With her arms and legs bound, Natalie couldn't wrap herself around him. Her position didn't allow her to arch herself up, so she could only shift herself slightly in time to his slow, deep thrusts. Unable to move, unable to reach up to kiss, all she could do was receive. She could feel her inner walls opening to him, feel the head of his cock stroke her inside. She was drowning herself in the sensation of being fucked. It was if her whole being was concentrating into the hot wetness between her legs. She was whimpering, moaning, gasping, losing herself. It was wonderful. It was glorious.

She caught a glimpse of the vampire gold in his eyes. He kissed her then, punishingly hard, and then covered her eyes with his hand. Natalie whimpered, making a trapped animal noise, but didn't fight him. Blinded, suddenly the bounds felt tighter, his cock felt harder and deeper inside her. He thrust faster, feeling a new flood of wetness. "Oh yes, you like this. Feel it all, Natalie."

In her cocoon of darkness she was disoriented, unsure of where he stopped and where she started. She was a mass of sensations: heat, coolness, tenseness, slickness, pain, numbness and pleasure, so much pleasure. She yielded to the feelings, surrendering herself to them. Rather than overwhelming her; she opened more and more - reaching farther inside herself than she had ever done before.

Lucien drove himself roughly inside her now, almost brutally. The force of his thrusts strained her against her bonds. She made mewing cries of pleasure and pain, but ground herself against him as much as she could. She knew he was peaking, just as she was. She felt a scratch under her collarbone, over the little cut he'd made earlier. She gasped at the sharp pain and arched. His other hand cupped her neck as his mouth closed over the wound. Her voice was ragged, torn out of her. "Yes! God, yes! Feed from me! Take me! Yes! Yes!" And she was coming, over and over, as if she'd never stop. He drank deeply, as if drinking the full force of her orgasm. Lucien jerked his head away and groaned out as if in pain. With a final deep thrust, he came.

Lucien jerked away quickly, leaving her empty and blinking at the light. Natalie lay still, trying to catch her ragged breath. She was sweaty and trembling. Her legs quivered, her knees trying to fall together. She smelled blood. Her shoulder was sticky with blood and saliva. She closed her eyes.

She didn't open them when she felt his hands on her, freeing first one leg and then the other. He stroked her face and hair. She opened her eyes and smiled faintly at him. "Hi."

"Keep still." He said softly, and slipped off one of the clamps.

Natalie drew her breath sharply in pain. The nipple was flooded with needles and pins. He kissed it, letting his tongue massage it for a minute. She tried to wriggle but he was prepared for that. While she was distracted by his kiss, he freed the other one. This time she gave a small squeal. He shifted to the other nipple, ministering to it. She moaned, liking it and hating it at the same time. He gave each nipple a final kiss and leaned up to feast on her mouth. She could taste blood and her own wetness on him. She licked the inside of his mouth and he stroked her hair in approval.

Slipping an arm under her shoulders, he lifted her so he could untie her wrists. She slid her arms around him and kissed him again, no resistance now. He lifted her in his arms and carried her over to the cushions and quilts in front of the fire. He lay her down gently, wrapping a quilt around her. Arms around her, he curled protectively around her body.

LaCroix spoke softly, his beautiful voice barely more than a whisper. "My mortal angel... innocent one...if you were mine, the things I could teach you. You could explore so many things..." He kissed her hair. She laid her hand on his arm, stroking with her thumb. "I could teach you so much about pleasure and pain. Guide you down paths you'd never dared go before. You respond so beautifully, Natalie. When you yield, it's like music."

She gazed at the fire sleepily. "What would you do?"

"Hum?" She'd taken him off guard. He hadn't expected her to answer.

"If I were yours..." Her voice was barely audible. Why? What did it matter? She wasn't his, never would be his.

"If you were mine, yes, if you were mine. Every time I would be with you, I would let you yield a little more, go a little deeper. Let you be bound a little longer, let you feel a bit more pain. Hold your pleasure off a little more, then release it until you have no more control over it." He kissed her hair again. "I'd feed you blood from my fingertips. I'd use a cane to mark your skin, so hours later you'd touch the marks and know you were mine. Massage my skin with your beautiful hair. Cuff you to my bed and use my tongue on you until you writhe and beg. Cover you with jewels and silks, dress you in things too exquisite for this time. So many things..."

His voice continued rolling warmly over her as she fell into a dreamless sleep.

She awoke a few hours later, with him asleep and his arms still around her. Turning to snuggle closer, she closed her eyes again.

She opened her eyes and the fire had died.

La Croix was gone. Sydney was purring beside her.

Natalie sat up and stretched. She touched the empty place beside her and hazily wondered if she could convince herself that it had all been a dream.

Something fell over her hand in fold of the blanket. The leather jewel box fell open, spilling out its sparkling contents. She reach up and touched her ears and neck. He must have taken them off while she was asleep. All the pieces were there; the necklace, the combs, the earring and the erotic clamps. A small folded note lay on top. She opened it with care.

        They were made for you.
        Happy Birthday, my mortal Angel

She slipped the jewels back into the box. Wrapping the quilt tightly around her, she stared at it for a long, long time.