Nightshade | Chapter 29 of 37

Author: Michelle Rowen | Submitted by: Maria Garcia | 2590 Views | Add a Review

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THOSE WORDS SHOULD HAVE FILLED ME WITH PANIC, but they didn’t. I knew it was because of Matthias’s mind control. He was manipulating my emotions—stripping away my common sense.
But he’d said it wasn’t a strong hold. I could fight this—I had to fight this.
“You don’t want to do this,” I said.
“Yes, I do. And if you’d come here without any pretenses and without Nightshade in your veins, I still would have taken you as my lover.”
I was unable to look away from his hypnotic gray eyes. “You have a lot of lovers?”
“She said your weakness was human women.” The mind control was loosening my tongue way too much, as if I’d had the entire bottle of wine instead of just a glass.
He smiled. “I don’t limit myself to only women, but it is my preference. Monica certainly knows a lot about me. It’s too bad it’s not nearly enough to kill me.”
I inhaled sharply as his hand slid down my back.
“Take this dress off,” he said. “And lay down on my bed.”
Instead of revulsion, I felt a sharp twist of lust snake through me, mixed with shame. Unfortunately, it wasn’t strong enough to stop me. I was under Matthias’s control. It was like I was watching myself from afar and couldn’t help but do as he commanded.
If this was only light mind control, I would truly hate to witness the full deal.
I untied the sash at the waist of the white dress. With a shrug of my shoulders, it fell to the floor in a silky pool of fabric. His gaze swept over me, pausing to note the bruises I’d received during my very bumpy few days since becoming a government-funded test subject.
I moved backward as instructed until I felt the bed behind me. I got onto it, laying down on the red silk sheets and bringing my head to rest against a large soft pillow.
“Very good,” he purred. “You’re beautiful, Jillian.”
My friends call me Jill, I thought randomly. But Matthias wasn’t a friend. He’d never be a friend. He was monster, a rapist, a murderer who wished for ultimate power over humans. He had me under his control and was able to manipulate my behavior and emotions.
I hated him.
But the thoughts were distant. Muted under a layer of serenity. Not nearly enough to snap me out of this spell he had me under.
He undid his pants and took them off fluidly, effortlessly, and he stood naked in the dim light of the room. Despite how I knew I should be feeling—fear, revulsion, panic—I couldn’t help but feel a dark, unnatural desire for Matthias as he approached the bed.
“That’s better,” he said. “If anyone should be afraid, it should be me. If I lose control and taste your blood, I could die. Just like that. Four hundred years of life would be over as easily as a candle snuffed at midnight.” He crawled onto the bed toward me like a predator, a glimmer of determination in his eyes that fought with the frequent and visible struggle against his hunger.
He could still lose this battle. He could still bite me. This wasn’t over yet.
“Yes,” he said, running his hands over my bare skin from thighs to hips to stomach. “Beautiful and deadly. And so tempting.” He bent his mouth and lightly kissed a bruise on my shoulder. The cool touch of his lips should have disgusted me, but it only made me gasp with pleasure.
The false emotion he’d made me feel was incredibly powerful.
“You’re making me do this,” I whispered, trying desperately to fight his influence over me—to grasp hold of that piece of me that still had control over my own body. “This is wrong.”
“Wrong.” He brought his face close to mine, covering my body with his. “There is so much wrong in the world. I don’t believe this is one of those things.”
I was going to argue with him, but he covered my mouth with his.
“Kiss me,” he murmured against my lips when I didn’t respond.
He crushed his mouth to mine again, attempting to coax a reaction. When he pulled away, his gaze was fully black and the dark blue veins around his eyes and mouth were very prominent. He hissed out a labored breath before the signs of his hunger for my blood disappeared again.
“So tempting,” he said. “Every inch of you. It scares me like nothing else I’ve faced.”
“Then stop this.” No, that was wrong of me. I should be encouraging this. Pushing him to his breaking point.
“Not yet.” He trailed his lips over my throat, his cool tongue traced down the center of my body from throat to navel. He filled his hands with my breasts, squeezing my nipples and making me moan as my body responded against its will. Then his hands moved to my thighs, urging them apart.
Despite my need to get him to bite me no matter what it took, I still wanted to fight against him. But there was no fight left in me at the moment. The control he had over me was too strong.
When I felt his tongue slide against me I think I cried out. Instead of fighting or pushing him away, I reached down to grab hold of his hair as he slowly licked me.
My weakness to fight against my own surge of desire for what he was doing to me disgusted me.
When he kissed his way back up to my mouth, I was panting, scared and aroused and confused to the point of near insanity by what he’d made me feel. He’d succeeded in making me want him, despite what I knew about him and despite what he was.
But when I felt his length press against me, hard and thick, I summoned every last remaining piece of strength inside of me and grabbed on to his shoulders.
“No, Matthias,” I managed. “Please don’t do this.”
“You want me.”
“Only because you have the power to make me.”
“Your previous lover is dead. There’s no reason for you to still feel loyal to him.”
The mention of Declan made me squirm in a feeble attempt to get away from Matthias, but the false need I felt for him kept me from moving far.
He groaned as his lips traced against my throat. “You’re making me want to bite you as I fuck you. It’s nearly worth any price I’d have to pay.”
He only needed to push forward and he’d be inside me. My legs were splayed wide apart and he had his hands on the inside of my knees as he rubbed the tip of himself against me.
And at that moment, I wanted him. So badly. I ached for him. But I knew what I felt wasn’t real. It couldn’t be.
“I never would have agreed to this if you weren’t controlling me right now. This is rape. If you do this, you’ll be raping me.”
“But you’re hot and wet for me,” he breathed against my ear in a pained tone. This experiment seemed to be more torture than pleasure for him. “You want me inside of you, I know you do.”
His grip on me increased, pressing my legs wider apart and he began to enter me. My head fell back against the pillow as my fingernails dug into his shoulders.
But then, without any warning, he suddenly stopped. His expression had grown haunted as if what I’d said had finally registered with him.
“I don’t rape women, Jillian,” he rasped.
“That—that’s not what I’ve heard.”
His eyes narrowed. “Then you heard wrong. I’ve never taken a woman against her will.”
“What do you call this?”
He scowled at me. “You aren’t unwilling. The body doesn’t lie. Your body doesn’t lie.”
Without another word, he pulled away from me, then got up from the bed and grabbed at his pants, quickly putting them back on.
“My influence just now was only to relax you, to reduce your fear and increase your pleasure. That’s all it was.” He grabbed my chin again and this time it wasn’t nearly as gentle as before. “Look at me.”
And I did. The next moment the desire and serenity disappeared and my stress and fear came crashing back at full strength. I grabbed at the bedsheets to cover myself.
He’d stopped. He could have easily finished the job without any more protests from me. Hell, he practically had.
“Who told you I was a rapist?” he asked sharply. “Monica Gray?”
Maybe he’d changed. Maybe he’d been less controlled thirty years ago and had since seen the error in his ways. Now he knew that women would want to have sex with him without being forced.
“No. Declan told me.”
“I assume he didn’t have to take you by force.”
I flinched at that, but didn’t answer him. It was none of his business what had happened between me and Declan.
“But he told you lies,” Matthias said. “And I want to know the source of these rumors.”
“It was his mother.”
“His mother,” he repeated incredulously.
He honestly didn’t know anything about this. Noah hadn’t told him a thing.
“You raped her twenty-nine years ago. Nearly drained her of blood. She fell into a coma from her injuries, but not until after she told what happened to her.”
He stared at me. “That’s impossible.”
“It’s not.”
“Yes, it is. It’s impossible because I know I never did such a thing.” His eyes flashed with anger. “Maybe I did sleep with her. She could have been a blood servant. But something else must have happened to make her create these lies about me.”
I was surprised to see such outrage in his expression. “She was pregnant with Declan. She died after he was born.”
His gaze snapped to mine. “And it’s assumed he was mine? From this alleged rape? Is he a dhampyr?”
I nodded.
Matthias didn’t say anything for a very long time. “Get dressed.”
He picked the white dress up off the floor and threw it at me. He didn’t do me the honor of looking away while I slipped back into it.
I glared at him. Matthias was no gentleman.
“You hate me, don’t you?” he said.
“And here I’m trying to hide it so well from you.”
“I promise you one thing, Jillian. One day soon you will come to me again.” He approached until his face was only a few inches from my own. I held my ground. “And I won’t have to use my control in order to make you beg me to fuck you.”
I slapped him as hard as I could.
It only made him smile. “I’m not a rapist, whether you choose to believe me or not, but I don’t mind a bit of fight in my lovers.”
“You’re disgusting.”
“I’m sure your dhampyr was much better behaved, wasn’t he?”
A sob caught in my throat, but I swallowed it down.
“Come with me.” He left the bedroom without a glance to make sure I was following and walked to the chamber door. Using a key he pulled from his pocket, he unlocked it and it swung open in front of us.
A man stood there waiting with a dour expression on his face. He recoiled from me with a mix of horror and disgust, his eyes growing black and his upper lip curling back from his fangs.
“So, it’s true,” he hissed.
“What do you want, Samuel?” Matthias asked sharply. “I have no time for you today.”
No time,” Samuel repeated with a mocking edge to his words. “I do know how busy you are, Your Majesty. Busy immersed in your hedonistic lifestyle with a new slut—a poisoned one this time. Your selfishness has reached a whole new level today and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.” He flicked a glance at me. “I know what she is. We all know. And the fact that you allow her to live is unforgiveable.”
Matthias glowered at him. “It’s none of your concern.”
“Not my concern that instead of breaking the neck of a true threat to vampire life at first opportunity, you instead take her to your bed, not only risking your subjects but your own life in the process? On a whim? I heard what you did to Colin.”
Matthias didn’t flinch at the accusation. “Step out of our way. That’s an order.”
“It’s over,” he said, his face tight. “You’re not fit to rule us and this situation”—his gaze flicked to me—“is only more proof. We wish to have Kristoff released from his imprisonment and reinstated as king.”
Matthias’s eyes narrowed. “You wish for the impossible. Turn now and leave, and I’ll forget this indiscretion.”
“You have to kill her,” Samuel urged. “Do that and we might be lenient with you when Kristoff returns.”
Karen approached, and Matthias glanced at her. “Take Jillian back to her room. Ensure she is not harmed.”
Karen dipped her head. “Yes, Matthias.”
“I’ll come for you shortly,” he said, holding eye contact with me for a moment. “But I must deal with this first.”
Karen clamped her hand down on my wrist and pulled me alongside her. I looked over my shoulder to see the heated discussion between Matthias and Samuel continue.
“What was that all about?”
“An uprising amongst the vampires,” Karen said. “It’s been simmering for some time. Matthias has ignored the threat, thinking nothing would happen. But your presence here has helped bring it to a boil in only a matter of hours.”
We got to my room and she opened the door and shoved me inside. I felt tense and on edge and ready to snap. Even worse than that, I still felt Matthias’s hands and mouth on me, like he’d branded me with his touch, much like Declan had.
Was it really possible he wasn’t as bad as I’d been led to believe? Most of that information had come from Dr. Gray and, granted, she had not proven herself to be all that reliable. But why would Declan’s mother make such a claim?
Karen crossed her arms. “Your blood has been shown to kill vampires with only a taste. Matthias insists on keeping you alive and well. That attitude hasn’t exactly met with everyone’s approval.”
“I don’t want to hurt anyone,” I said.
“Did you fuck him?”
I blinked. “What?”
She gave me a sour look. “Did you have sex with him?
It was obvious to me that that’s what he had planned for you.”
My stomached churned. “No.”
It felt like a lie. Just because he hadn’t finished didn’t mean it didn’t count.
She paced to the bed, glaring at me. “If you think he’ll give up the others for you, you’ll be disappointed. He has many lovers. I’m surprised his dick even has a chance to dry off.”
I felt color come to my cheeks at her blunt statement. “Sounds like somebody’s jealous.”
“I’m not.”
“Don’t worry. I’m not interested in having a romantic relationship with a rapist. I do have some standards.”
She laughed at that. It sounded like she was mocking me. “You don’t really believe Matthias needs to rape anybody, do you?”
“He used his mind control on me.”
“Did it work?”
I pressed my lips together and glared at her.
“You are so weak, it stuns me.” She shook her head.
“And you are a heinous bitch who needs to get over an unfaithful jerk who obviously doesn’t give a shit about you.”
“He was faithful to one woman for a short time. Her name was Catherine, a human blood servant he favored. But she ran away from home six months ago. It wounded his precious ego. He’s been trying to replace her ever since with a succession of random blonds.”
“Sounds romantic. And you’re just sorry your particular shade wasn’t quite to his liking?”
She studied me for a moment. “You have no idea who I am, do you?”
I shook my head. “Who are you?”
Her eyes narrowed. “That Nightshade in your veins was meant for me.”
It took me a moment to process exactly what she meant. When it hit me, I couldn’t help but feel a wave of shock. “It is you. You’re the agent Dr. Gray told me about. But I thought ... I ... I’m surprised.”
I was right. I’d doubted my first inclination, that she was the agent, but she’d just confirmed it. But—she’d nearly killed Declan the other day with her stiletto heel. Was that something a government agent would do? Kill the same people she was working with to stop the bad guys? However ... damn, she sure was believable if she’d just been trying to blend in.
She nodded. “I was.”
Was? What’s that supposed to mean?”
Her expression grew strained. “Dr. Gray believes I still work for her. She’s wrong. There’s only one person I’m interested in helping.”
I felt myself pale. “Yourself.”
She smiled thinly. “There’s trouble here, apart from anything Dr. Gray envisioned. It’s been growing for years and it’s reached a peak. The vamps are nearly evenly split. Some are still on Matthias’s side, but others want Kristoff back. You heard what Samuel said.”
“So have an election.”
“It doesn’t work that way here. A large percentage of vampires want to kill Matthias so he doesn’t stand in the way. Others mean to find where he’s locked Kristoff away and make him king again.”
“I don’t understand why Matthias didn’t kill Kristoff in the first place rather than just locking him away somewhere.”
“Matthias feels that being locked away, alive and suffering for decades—for eternity—is a much better punishment than simply being executed. It’s that simple. And Matthias is that cruel.”
I shivered. I supposed that made sense if you were looking at it from the point of view of a sadist. “From what I’ve heard from everyone but Matthias, Kristoff was a better king.”
“Depends on what you’re looking for in a king, I suppose. Kristoff was brutal and violent. He wanted to rise up against the humans years ago, but Matthias stopped him before anything major happened.”
I was confused. “Why would Dr. Gray make up a story that’s the exact opposite of that?”
“I don’t know. But she did.”
“And the other vamps are okay with Kristoff’s plans?”
Her expression had turned amused as she filled me in on vampire politics. “A lot of them would prefer taking action instead of being trapped in Matthias’s gilded cage down here—no problems getting blood servants and plenty of other luxuries, but no true freedom is allowed. He sends hunters after the ones that rebel against him. They’re either killed aboveground or they’re brought down here so Matthias can personally tear out their hearts. A lot don’t want to deal with that level of tyranny.”
My stomach twisted into knots at the image she presented to me. “So you came down here to settle in, then you were going to get injected with the Nightshade and come back down so you could kill him?”
“That’s right.”
“Even though it’s poison?”
She nodded. “I was willing to give my life to destroy Matthias. Originally, anyway.”
“And the two of you were involved.”
“Only for a short time. Then he found other uses for me, including being one of the hunters he sent out after rogue vamps.”
Well, that would explain the silver stilettos she wore. “And now you don’t want to kill him because you fell in love with him?”
Her lips thinned. “Matthias promised to sire me, make me a vampire—eternal life, eternal youth, and endless strength—but it’s been a year and I’m still human. My patience has finally worn out. Kristoff would want to build an army of vampires and he wouldn’t resist my offer to become one.”
I grimaced with disgust. “That’s good of you. I’m sure Dr. Gray would be thrilled with your decision.”
“You’ve visited her little lab, have you? Your dead boyfriend’s father thinks he runs the show, but it’s her baby.” Her lips curled. “Interesting choice of words, actually, considering her recent research.”
“I saw one of the dhampyrs she has in her lab right now. It was horrible.”
“It’s a regular baby factory.”
My jaw tightened at the thought. “Why would Dr. Gray risk these women’s lives?”
Karen looked at me as if I was an idiot. “Because she thinks her research is more important than any one life. Her latest subject gave birth just last night. Dr. Gray contacted me with the news personally—thinks I’m still working for her. That’s when she told me about your role in all of this. I never would have guessed your little secret the other day. But then again, I don’t have a vampire’s sense of smell.”
Karen might be a bitch, but she was a fantastic actress. Dr. Gray didn’t strike me as either stupid or naïve. “Another monster dhampyr.”
“No, not a monster. It’s a normal baby girl.”
A normal dhampyr child.
“Leave me off the baby shower guest list, please,” I said dryly.
“Too bad. I mean, you already know the daddy.”
I noticed the knife in her hand she’d pulled from the sheath on her belt, the same one she’d pressed against my throat earlier. Ivory hilt, a twin to the one she’d given me to kill Declan that I really wished I still had. It glittered in the near darkness of the room.
“Catherine was the mother.”
I inhaled sharply. “Matthias ... he’s the father?”
“You’re good at this game. Catherine knew Matthias would make her get an abortion. I alerted Dr. Gray when she ran away and she was picked up.”
“You’re a pal.”
“I do what I can.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Why was she telling me any of this? I now knew way too much dangerous inside information about her now. And that knife wasn’t exactly making me feel as if that was a good thing.
“I guess I just needed a girlfriend to confide in.” She smiled. “Feels good to chat.”
My eyes flicked to the knife again. “He told you not to hurt me.”
“You know, I really would have killed him if I’d been injected with the Nightshade. If I get the chance, I’d be happy to slice this silver blade into his heart to truly show my worth to Kristoff. But first”—she drew closer to me—“let’s start with you.”

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Great book, nicely written and thank you BooksVooks for uploading

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