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Hungry Novice (Scarlet Nights 2)
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2015 Kate Hill
As the pleasure ebbed, May sank into a completely relaxed state, her breathing slow and even. She was aware of nothing except Blair lying beside her, his breath against her shoulder and his hand lightly caressing her belly.
After a moment, she opened her eyes to look at him. He took her hand and kissed the back of it, then gazed at their entwined fingers, a far-off expression in his eyes.
"That's a quizzical look," she remarked. "What are you thinking about?"
"Just that I never thought I could be this happy again."
"And that I'm waiting for something to destroy it."
Her smile faded and she squeezed his hand. "Blair, you must learn to live for the moment -- to enjoy what's happening now and stop worrying about the future until it comes."
"You're starting to sound like Hamilton."
"He's not such a bad person. I've only known him a short time, but I'm already grateful to him for a number of things."
"I never said he was a bad person, just... annoying. Stubborn. Self-righteous."
She raised an eyebrow. "Sounds like another man I know."
He looked surprised. "You can't mean me."
"Can't I?" She chuckled.
"May, that's utterly preposterous and --"
"And I'd rather not argue on our first day home. I have other things to worry about."
"How do you intend to explain to the other people in the village that you've married your maid?"
"I don't intend to explain anything. It's none of their concern."
"No buts. The opinion of anyone who would find fault in our union means nothing to me. Do you honestly think that I of all people would sacrifice love for propriety?"
"No. I'm still not accustomed to someone like you."
"Learning about each other is exciting, don't you think?"
"Quite." She snuggled closer and he tightened his arm around her.
"What would you like to do today?" he asked.
"I thought we might go for a ride so we can continue the lessons we started before we left for London. I'm still not as comfortable on horseback as I'd like to be. Then maybe you could help with my self-defense practice."
A smile played around his lips. "You're an unusual woman, May."
Smiling, she brushed the tip of her nose against his. "We're a good match then, because you're an unusual man."
She had quickly learned that Blair and his vampiric "family" were unlike humans in more than their drinking habits. Vampire females, like wildcats, often embraced violence to survive. Human women, at least in the world May knew, weren't expected to develop combat skills.
In London, Blair's friends had encouraged her to be self-sufficient. Daria, Woodrow and Giacomo had started teaching her the fighting arts and when Blair returned after battling a gang of vampire criminals, he had continued her training.
He had been pleased with her interest in learning to defend herself, having lost his previous wife and children to a brutal attacker.
May kissed him, then slipped out of bed. She searched through her travel bag for the shirt and trousers Daria had given her. She bound her breasts with a piece of cloth to protect them during exercise, then she donned the masculine attire. Blair raised himself on his elbows and gazed at her with a faint smile.
"What?" May asked.
"I never imagined a woman in men's clothes could be so appealing."
His words warmed her but she narrowed her eyes and pointed at him. "You, Sir, had better behave, at least until my training session is complete."
Blair stood abruptly and strode toward her. May moistened her lips, her heart skipping a beat at the sight of Blair's lean, muscular body and the hungry look in his eyes.
He placed a hand to the back of her head and covered her mouth in a penetrating kiss. His tongue teased hers and she moaned, her resolve already disintegrating.
When the kiss broke, he stared into her eyes with a playful look. "To tide me over until we finish the session."
He turned from her and she gazed at his firm backside.
Within half an hour, they had left the house, saddled their horses and rode to a nearby field with a creek running through it.
They dismounted and were soon engaged in hand-to-hand combat. He reviewed basic techniques she had learned while in London -- how to block and avoid punches and what to do if a larger opponent grabbed her from behind.
Despite the cool autumn weather, after an hour of practice, May was quite sweaty and a bit sore. She couldn't help envying Blair's vampiric strength, stamina and most of all his experience. He and his friends overlooked her mortal weaknesses while training her, but the more time she spent in the company of vampires, the more she longed for their powers.
"Again," Blair ordered and May jabbed with her right hand, her punch straight and sharp, as she had been taught.
Blair caught her wrist and dragged her to his chest. Instinctively, May fought back, but to her surprise, he covered her mouth with a tender kiss.
"I think that's enough for now," he said.
"I'm tired of behaving myself," he teased, then kissed her, gently nibbling her lower lip.
May closed her eyes and slid her arms around his neck. She laughed a bit when he swept her into his arms, still kissing her. He carried her to a tree covered in golden leaves and placed her on the grass beneath.
"We really should go back to the house," he said with a teasing smile. "It's cold and you're hot, so you might catch a chill if you undress."