Dark Lover | Chapter 48 of 67

Author: J.R. Ward | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 300561 Views | Add a Review

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Chapter Thirty-eight


Marissa smiled, thinking that the human got more handsome the longer she was around him. “So you protect your kind for a living. That is good.”

He shifted beside her on the couch. “Well, actually, I don’t know what I’m going to do now. I have a feeling I’m about to be between jobs.”

The chiming of a clock made her wonder how much time they’d spent together. And when the sun was coming up. “What time is it?”

“Just after four A.M.”

“I must go.”

“When can I see you again?”

She stood. “I don’t know.”

“Can we have dinner?” He leaped up. “Lunch? What are you doing tomorrow?”

She had to laugh. “I don’t know.”

She’d never been pursued before. It was nice.

“Ah, hell,” he muttered. “I’m blowing it with this overeager sh—stuff, aren’t I?” He put his hands on his hips and stared at the carpet as if disgusted with himself.

She stepped forward. His head snapped up.

“I would touch you now,” she said softly. “Before I go.”

His eyes flared.

“May I? Butch?”

“Anywhere,” he breathed.

She lifted her hand, thinking she would just put it on his shoulder. But his lips fascinated her. She’d watched them move while he enunciated his words and wondered what they felt like.

“Your mouth,” she said. “It’s rather…”

“What?” His voice was hoarse.


She put her fingertip on his lower lip. His gasp drew air over her skin, and when he exhaled on a shudder, it came back warm and moist.

“You’re soft,” she said, brushing her forefinger back and forth.

He closed his eyes.

His body was throwing off the most intoxicating scent. She’d caught the heady fragrance the moment he’d first seen her. Now, it saturated the air.

Curious, she slipped her finger into his mouth. His eyes flipped open.

She felt his front teeth, finding the absence of fangs odd. When she went in farther, it was slick, wet, warm.

Slowly, his lips closed around her finger. And then his tongue ran around the tip in a circle.

A surge went through her body. “Oh…”

Her breasts tingled at the tips, and something was happening between her legs. She felt achy. Hungry.

“I want…” She didn’t know what to say next.

He covered her hand with his and pulled his head back, sucking the length of her finger until it popped out of his mouth. With his eyes boring into hers, he turned her palm over, licked the center of it with his tongue, and pressed his lips to her skin.

She leaned into him.

“What do you want?” he asked in a low voice. “Tell me, baby. Tell me what you want.”

“I…don’t know. I’ve never felt this before.”

Her answer seemed to crack the spell. His face grew dark, and he dropped her hand. A curse, soft and vile, floated out of him as he put some space between them.

Marissa’s eyes burned at his rejection. “Have I displeased you?”

God knew, it was something she seemed to excel at when it came to males.

“Displeased? No, you’re doing just fine. You’re a real pro.” He pushed a hand through his hair. He seemed to be struggling with himself, as if he were trying to get back to normal from some faraway place. “It’s just that the innocent act is freaking me out a little.”


“You know, the doe-eyed-virgin routine.”

She stepped forward while trying to frame a response, but he held out his hands. “That’s close enough right now.”


“Please, baby. Give it a rest.”

Her face fell. “You make no sense.”

“Oh, really,” he said. “Look, you can turn me on just standing there. You don’t have to pretend you’re something you’re not. And I…ah, I don’t have a problem with what you do. I’m not going to arrest you for it, either.”

“Why would you arrest me?”

As he rolled his eyes, she had no clue what he was talking about.

“I will go now,” she said abruptly. His aggravation was growing with each passing moment.

“Wait.” He reached out and took her arm. The instant he made contact, he dropped his hand. “I still want to see you.”

She frowned, eyeing the hand he’d touched her with. He was rubbing the thing like he wanted to get rid of a sensation.

“Why?” she asked. “You obviously don’t like the feel of me right now.”

“Uh-huh. Yeah, sure.” He regarded her cynically. “Look, how much is it going to cost me to get you to play normal?”

She glared back at him. Before she’d had it out with Wrath, she might have just skulked off. But no more.

“I don’t understand you,” she said.

“Whatever, baby. Tell me, are some guys so hard up to pop cherries that they actually buy this act?”

Marissa didn’t understand all the vernacular he used, but the gist of what he was thinking finally got through to her. Appalled, she threw her spine into a straight line.

“I beg your pardon!”

He stared at her, jaw set hard. Then he exhaled.

“Ah, hell.” He rubbed his face with his hand. “Look, forget it, okay? Let’s just forget we ever met—”

“I have never been taken. My hellren did not favor my company. So I have not once been kissed or touched or even held by a male who felt passion for me. But I am not…I am not unworthy.” Her voice quavered at the end. “I’ve just never been wanted before.”

His eyes went wide, like she’d slapped him or something.

She looked away. “And I’ve never touched a male,” she whispered. “I just don’t know what to do.”

The human let out a long breath, as if all the oxygen in his body were being expelled.

“Holy Mary, mother of God,” he murmured. “I’m sorry. I’m really, really sorry. I’m…I’m a total asshole, and I totally misjudged you.”

His horror at what he’d said to her was so palpable, she smiled a little. “You truly mean that.”

“Hell, yeah. I mean, yes, I do. I hope I haven’t completely offended you. Well, how could I not have? Jesus Christ…I’m very sorry.” He looked positively pale.

She put her hand on his arm. “I forgive you.”

He laughed in disbelief. “You shouldn’t. You should stay pissed at me for a while. At least a week, maybe a month. Probably longer. I was way out of line.”

“But I don’t want to be angry at you.”

There was a long pause. “Will you still see me tomorrow?”


He seemed stunned by his good fortune. “Really? Man, you’re going for sainthood, you know that?” He reached out and stroked her cheek with his fingertip. “Where, baby? Where’s good for you?”

She thought for a moment. Havers would have a fit if he knew she was seeing a human.

“Here. I will meet you here. Tomorrow night.”

He smiled. “Good. Now, how’re you getting home? Do you need a ride? A taxi?”

“No, I will do that myself.”

“Wait—before you go.” He moved toward her. That lovely scent of his hit her nose and she breathed him in. “Can I kiss you good-night? Even though I don’t deserve it?”

Per custom, she offered him the back of her hand.

He took it and pulled her forward. That throbbing in her blood and between her legs came back.

“Close your eyes,” he whispered.

She did as he’d said.

His lips softly brushed her forehead. Then her temple.

Her mouth opened as the sweet suffocation returned.

“You could never displease me,” he said in his gravelly voice.

And then his lips touched her cheek.

She waited for more. When nothing came, she opened her eyes. He was staring down at her remotely.

“Go,” he said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

She nodded. And dematerialized right out of his hand.




Butch shouted and leaped back. “Shit!”

He looked at his hand. He could still feel her palm against his. Still smell her perfume.

But she was goddamned gone. Poof. One minute in front of him and then the next…

Beth came running into the room. “Are you okay?”

“No, I’m not fucking okay,” he snapped.

The suspect strode in. “Where’s Marissa?”

“How should I know! She fucking disappeared! In front…She was…I held her hand and then she—” He sounded like a frantic idiot and clapped his trap shut.

But why wouldn’t he be freaked out? He liked the laws of physics just as he knew them. Gravity keeping everything on the flipping planet where it should be. E = mc2 telling him how fast he could get to a bar.

People not poofing the hell out of a goddamned room.

“May I tell him?” Beth asked her man.

The suspect shrugged. “Usually I’d say no, because it’s better they don’t know. But considering what he saw—”

“Tell me what? That you’re a bunch of—”

“Vampires,” Beth murmured.

Butch looked at her, annoyed. “Yeah, right. Try that one again, sweetheart.”

But then she started talking, telling him things he couldn’t believe.

When Beth fell silent, he could only stare at her. His instincts were telling him she wasn’t lying. But it was all just too hard to accept.

“I don’t believe this,” he said to her.

“It was hard for me to comprehend, too.”

“I’ll bet.”

He paced around the room, wishing he had a drink. The two of them just stared at him.

Finally, he stopped in front of Beth. “Open your mouth.”

He heard a low, nasty sound behind him just as a cold draft hit him in the back.

“Wrath, it’s okay,” Beth said. “Calm down.”

She parted her lips, revealing two long canines that had very certainly not been there before. Butch felt his knees wobble as he reached out to touch her teeth.

A thick hand clamped on his arm, tight enough to bend the bones in his wrist.

“Don’t even think about it,” Beth’s man growled.

“Let him go,” she commanded gently, though she didn’t offer her mouth again after the guy had released his grip. “They’re real, Butch. This whole thing…it’s all real.”

Butch looked up at the suspect. “So you’re actually a vampire, is that it?”

“You’d better believe it, cop.” The big, dark bastard smiled, flashing a monstrous set of fangs.

Now that’s some serious hardware, Butch thought.

“Did you bite her and turn her into one?”

“Doesn’t work that way. You’re either born our kind or you’re not.”

Well, weren’t all those Dracula fans going to be bummed? No two-pronged conversions.

Butch let himself fall down onto the sofa. “Did you kill those women? To drink their…”

“Blood? No. What’s in human veins wouldn’t keep me alive for long.”

“So you’re telling me you had nothing to do with those deaths? I mean, we found throwing stars at the scenes that match the ones you were packing the night I arrested you.”

“I didn’t kill them, cop.”

“How about the one in the car?”

The guy shook his head. “My prey is not human. What I fight’s got nothing to do with your world. And the bomb? We lost one of ours in it.”

Beth made a quick, hard sound. “My father,” she whispered.

The man drew her into his arms. “Yeah. And we’re looking for the bastard who did it.”

“Any idea who pushed the button?” Butch asked, the cop in him coming out.

The guy shrugged. “We got a bead on something. But that’s our business, not yours.”

Yeah, and Butch had no reason to ask anyway. Because he wasn’t on the force.

The guy stroked Beth’s back and shook his head. “I won’t lie to you, cop. Occasionally, a human gets in the way of what we do. And if anyone threatens our race, I will kill them, no matter who or what they are. But I’m not going to tolerate human casualties the same way I used to, and not just because it risks our exposure.” He pressed a kiss onto Beth’s mouth, meeting her eyes.

At that point, the rest of the gang members filed into the room. Their cold stares made Butch feel like a bug under glass. Or a roast beef about to be carved up.

Mr. Normal stepped forward and offered him a Scotch bottle. “You look like you could use some.”

Yeah, you think?

Butch took a swig. “Thanks.”

“So can we kill him now?” said the one with the goatee and the baseball hat.

Beth’s man spoke harshly. “Back off, V.”

“Why? He’s just a human.”

“And my shellan is half-human. The man doesn’t die just because he’s not one of us.”

“Jesus, you’ve changed your tune.”

“So you need to catch up, brother.”

Butch got to his feet. If his death was going to be debated, he wanted in on the discussion.

“I appreciate the support,” he said to Beth’s boy. “But I don’t need it.”

He went over to the guy with the hat, discreetly switching his grip on the bottle’s neck in case he had to crack the damn thing over a head. He moved in tight, so their noses were almost touching. He could feel the vampire heating up, priming for a fight.

“I’m happy to take you on, asshole,” Butch said. “I’ll probably end up losing, but I fight dirty, so I’ll make you hurt while you kill me.” Then he eyed the guy’s hat. “Though I hate clocking the shit out of another Red Sox fan.”

There was a shout of laughter from behind him. Someone said, “This is gonna be fun to watch.”

The guy in front of Butch narrowed his eyes into slits. “You true about the Sox?”

“Born and raised in Southie. Haven’t stopped grinning since ’04.”

There was a long pause.

The vampire snorted. “I don’t like humans.”

“Yeah, well, I’m not too crazy about you bloodsuckers.”

Another stretch of silence.

The guy stroked his goatee. “What do you call twenty guys watching the World Series?”

“The New York Yankees,” Butch replied.

The vampire laughed in a loud burst, whipped the baseball cap off his head, and slapped it on his thigh. Just like that, the tension was broken.

Butch let out a long breath, feeling like he’d just been missed by an eighteen-wheeler. As he took another swig from the bottle, he decided it had been one weird fucking night.

“Tell me that Curt Schilling was not a god,” the vampire said.

There was a collective groan from the other men. One of them muttered, “If he starts going on about Varitek, I’m outta here.”

“Schilling was a true warrior,” Butch said, taking another hit of the single-malt. When he offered the Scotch to the vampire, the guy grabbed the bottle and took a hard pull.

“Amen to that,” the vampire said.

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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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