As the days passed, Delilah slowly but surely pulled away from both Conor and Berach. She would stare off into the distance for hours sometimes, but when she wasn’t she was pacing around the boat. Conor had trouble keeping up with her most of the times.
The damned girl was a ghost. She would be some place for a few minutes and then gone the next. Berach was the only reason Conor could find her half the time, the wolf had to follow her by scent to find her. He knew that he had to say something to her, and soon, otherwise she would be totally reluctant to follow him home.
Clara was leaning over the rail of the boat, looking down into the ocean, when she heard the foot steps of Conor and Berach.
Sighing, she prepared herself for another conversation.
Even though it had been two days since their last one, she still hadn’t thought all of it through. But their evidence was eating away at her.
Had someone really placed a spell on her? If so, why would they do that to her? Vengeance? Hate? Who had she pissed off when she had had her memory? But there was always the other solution. Had she just been hurt so badly in a fight that she had lost her memory? He would have liked to entertain the idea, but she knew that it wasn’t the answer. She knew soul deep that someone had placed a spell on her.
For every time she tried to remember past the time when the Master had found her, she ends up gets head splitting migraines. It only took the sooth sounds of the ocean to calm her pulsing skull. . .or Conor’s hands.
Leaning her head down on the rail, she mentally scolded herself. She had purposely stayed away from both of them. She liked their company too much. Liked being around them and when she was with them she only wanted to forget, when she had to remember. Though she wanted to so badly, they couldn’t be trusted.
But who could she trust when she couldn’t even trust herself?
Conor deep timbre woke her from the deep thoughts and she turned her head to look back at him. Conor and Berach stood ready, like they were about to jump head first into the Atlantic.
With the sun setting, one of the only times she could see the sun, it cast a glow around Conor, like it was attracted to him.
Scoffing, she turned all the way around, it wasn’t the only one.
“Yes?” She answered, looking right back at them.
Though Conor’s mouth opened, it was Berach answered. “We are wondering how you are taking it?”
She honestly had expected them to question her even more, their concern took her by surprise. She blinked rapidly before she could respond.
“Well, I guess.” She bit her bottom lip.
“You’re lying.” Conor walked closer and she felt her body automatically tense.
He must have seen the stiffness of her stance, because he stopped only a few feet from her and sighed. He bowed his head and whipped his hand through his unruly hair, which, she saw, hadn’t been brushed in a day or so.
Conor looked back up at her, then back to Berach. Clara knew that they were talking and she looked away.
He startled her when he slowly walked to her side and leaned against the rail. Seeing his profile as he look out over the horizon, she saw that he seemed more tired than she had ever seen. Had her running around the boat been that stressful for him?
“I didn’t know anything about you when I was told to get you. I hadn’t thought it would be this . . .bad.” He looked over at her, and she saw the truth there.
“Bad?” She echoed and she turned back so her elbows were braced on the metal.
“Yes, that’s one word for it.” Conor closed his eyes and when he looked back at her she saw pain there, fresh pain. “I know there are a lot of thoughts going through your mind, and I’m sure that you’re thinking that you can’t trust anyone.”
Feeling hr cheeks heat up, she nodded. Was she that transparent?
“Delilah, if there’s anyone you can trust it’s me or Berach.” He turned and leaned on his right arm to look at her. “Please believe me when I say, I didn’t plan any of this. I didn’t plan to find that you lost your memory. And I know that you want nothing more than to remember who you were. But you can trust us, Delilah.”
His sudden admission caught her even more off guard and she looked away, guilty. She had been thinking that he had been sent by someone to get her. Possibly to even finish the job that someone hadn’t. But she heard the truth in his voice and the pure honesty in his eyes, and she knew that her thoughts had been lies.
“I had been thinking that you had been sent by someone to get me, Conor.” She admitted, laughing to herself, but she didn’t see the way that Conor paled as she told him. “I’ve been trying to think of a way to get away. I don’t know where we are going, but I could always get a ride to nearby town.”
Before the last word escaped her lips, she felt his hand on her shoulder and she was being turned to face him.
There was a fire in his eyes that bordered anger. His face set as stone as he looked down at her. What had she said?
“Delilah, you must promise me something.” His voice was totally devoid of emotion as he spoke. “You have to promise me that no matter how angry you get or desperate, you never, ever, look for anyone. Don’t ask for help, don’t look like you’re alone.”
“Why?” She asked, confused.
“Because once one of these men sees that you aren’t with anyone, he will do anything in his power to get you alone. Some of these men are escaping America because they are wanted criminals. But no matter how innocent or weak they look, they will try and take advantage of you.” He took a breath and looked around; the bow of the boat was empty. “Do you understand?”
“Yes,” she nodded and felt a new fear of being alone. She wanted nothing more than to stay away from the men of the boat.
His hands feel from her shoulders and he sighed in relief. His eyes looked over her again and took a deep breath. When his eyes connected to her own again, she felt a shiver run through her body.
The look in his eyes was unreadable, but it was similar to when he had kissed her in his apartment. Feeling the memory rise up, her skin rose in goose bumps and heat along with them. She liked that memory, but now wasn’t the time to remember it, not with him so close to her.
His sharp eyes caught the rise of her flesh and his hand reached out. He extended just a knuckle and brushed it again her arm. Earlier, because she liked the feel of the oceanic breeze, she had rolled up the sleeves of his shirt all the way up to her shoulders, but in turn exposing more of her skin to touch.
She shivered again, but not from cold. No, this man was stirring something in her. And she liked it.
“Are you cold?” He asked, stepping closer. His heat seemed to expand and engulf her. She wanted to bask in it.
She shook her head, not trusting her tongue to speak.
The slow smile in his face said that he knew what she feeling, because he was feeling it, too. Stepping closer, his arms came around her and pulled her to him.
She had never though being so close to a man would be pleasant, ever. But she was proven wrong when she relaxed into his body.
His hands wrapped around her, one of his fingers slipped underneath the fabric of the shirt and touch the small of her back. Just the same in the apartment, a spark shot between their connecting skin, like them being so close electrocuted the air.
She swore her heart skipped a beat as she heard a soft groan come from Conor’s chest. It rumbled through their clothes and vibrated against her own chest, causing her eyes to widen in wonder as her body shook. What was this?
The sigh held a strain in his voice as his head lowered to hers, his eyes connected with her own and this time she didn’t look away. His blue eyes darkened with a sinful glow as his hand went further up her back, making her shiver again.
If he hadn’t been holding her so close, she knew she would have fallen by now. This man. . .this shifter was making her feel something so foreign to her, that she couldn’t help herself as she raised her own hands and placed them on his shoulders.
As she watched, his eyes closed half mast and he stopped halfway to her neck, the other side that he hadn’t nibbled on.
The hand that wasn’t up her shirt, cupped the back of her neck and he leaned into her, this time his tongue began to play with her earlobe.
Delilah felt the sparks again, this time shooting through her every time his tongue wisped across her flesh, either it be behind her ear or below it. The sparks floated all through her body and ended only when they got to the most intimate part of her.
Was this what the women talked about when they said that their lovers had made them feel like they were floating? Was this. . .lust?
Gasping, she leaned back, unconsciously offering her neck. She needed the sparks, felt that if they stopped she would die. But as much as she wanted them, she didn’t want them. She would lose control if he continued like that. She could already feel it slipping through her gasp as his lips continued play with her flesh, sensitive from his tongue’s play.
Her thoughts fled as his teeth scraped from below her ear down the connection of her collar bone. Her body quaked as her mouth opened, but she bit her lip from uttering a single sound. Was this magic?
“Conor. . .” She didn’t know her own voice. It had turned husky, some what seductive as she spoke his name. Like it was a prayer more than a name.
His head lifted and he looked up at her, his eyes wide with excitement. Sweat beaded on his forehead, and she felt a small quake go through his body as he stopped touching her.
“What is it, my Aingeal?” His voice was husky as well, like it was affecting him like it was her.
She licked her lips as she searched for the right words. Does he knew this was the first time a man had touched her like this? The first time she was being held by a man and submitting instead of running, like she should be.
“I don’t. . . I mean, I didn’t. . .know.” Her voice was still not her own as she attempted to catch her breath.
“That you could feel like this? That it would be pleasurable?” He asked, not letting her go, but easing her up enough so that she was on her own two feet again.
“Yes. I, um, didn’t think it would be like that. Is it. . .always like that?” She asked, keeping him preoccupied as she managed to get her thoughts back.
“No,” his smile was back, the boyish smile that said he would like to do it again. “You seem to be my own little drug.” His voice dipped an octave and his eyes seeped down her again, his hand on her back began to draw little circles on skin.
Her breath caught as one of his fingers nails lingered on a sensitive spot and sent her body shaking. Her eyes widened as his nail scraped over it again, he had noticed her reaction.
“Not fair,” she half laughed and panted.
His eyes lowered and his lips came to her ear again, but he didn’t start again. “Whats not fair, Aingeal, is that your every move makes me see how tempting you are. How lovely your body is crafted. And I try not to act on the need that grows in me.” His hot breath on her skin was enough to make her lean back again and close her eyes. His hand was still dancing on her back, the other hand now slowly traveling down her side to her hip.
“N-need?” She questioned breathlessly, repeating the very word that she felt herself. The need to keep him close to her. The need to stay with him, in his arms, and let him continue his teasing.
“Yes, Aingeal.” His voice growled, causing her to bite her lip from uttering a growl of her own. “The need to feel you under me, straining against me, with me. To make you mine.”
Yes, that was hers as well. She wanted it too. She wanted to feel all of him. She wanted, oh, did she want. Her thoughts seemed to escape her, she couldn’t think straight.
“But I won’t do what I want.” His words were like a whiplash.
His hand went out from under her shirt and gently went to her sides. He eased her out from under him. She looked up at him confused, not understanding.
He looked down at her and sighed. His hand came up and he caught a lock of her hair that was obscuring her face. “Honey, I want you. Believe me I do. But I just got you to trust me. I would take you without a second thought, if the very thought of the act didn’t make you shiver with freight. I’ surprised I was able to continue like I did with you hitting me.”
She looked down and wrung her hands together, so was she. She had been liking it too much to even think about hurting him. Had he thought she had been scared when she had been shaking in his arms? Because what she felt was something, but it definitely wasn’t fear.
“You are a virgin.” Her cheeks heated, but she nodded. “And it’s better that you stay a virgin.” He sighed again, and his hand softly traced the line of her chin.
“Why?” She blurted out before she could hold her tongue.
His eyes softened, the deep blue turning into that of a shallow-puddle-grey. “Because you have someone waiting for you. Someone that will make you feel safe, protect you, and love you.”
“You mean my mate?” She asked softly, feeling that the subject was some what sensitive to him.
“Yes, your true mate. And the tradition is, the females stay innocent until they find their mates. Because their bodies are their gifts to their men.” He looked away, like he was remembering something long ago.
“I always thought was a myth. I only heard about True Mates from my friend. She spoke of it like it was a fairy tale, something only to dream about.” Delilah confessed as she turned and looked back over the ocean, turning her back to Conor.
“No, I’ve seen it in action.” He laughed and went to stand next to her again. “My own sister found her true mate only a few years ago. You’ll get to meet her in a few days. If the boat keeps this pace, maybe even less.”
“Good, I’m getting tired of swaying twenty-four/ seven.” Delilah attempted to lighten the tension. She didn’t mind that he wanted to protect her virtue, she actually thought better of him for it, but she didn’t want any awkwardness between them.
Her attempt worked as he laughed and nodded. “Got that right, at least you don’t have sea sickness.”
“And what, you did?” She asked, laughing at the thought of this huge man puking his guts out over the rail all because he couldn’t handle the rocking of the boat.
“Yep, I vomited over the edge of this very boat for three days straight.”
Delilah couldn’t help herself, she burst out laughing. He sounded so serious, like it was an actual illness that he had nearly died from.
“It’s not funny!” He yelled as she bent over holding her sides. “It sucked!”
“Not to mention anytime he ate he went diving for the rails.” Berach’s input didn’t help; it only made her laugh more, causing her to nearly keel over in laughter.
“Careful now, don’t laugh up a lung.” Conor’s voice was so fake in anger, even he started to laugh.
Seeing that she had a hard time getting up, he reached down and held out his hand for her. She accepted and whipped tears from her face.
“Gods, I’ve never laughed like that before.” She panted and leaned on the rails of the boat, the thought causing Berach’s statement to rise again. She tried not to start laughing again.
“Oh, come on! You’re never gonna forget that, are you?” He groaned, smiling, his eyes alight with his own laughter.
“Way to go, mutt.” Conor growled at the wolf, who laughed as well, trotting away from Conor.
Delilah started to laugh again as Conor started towards Berach in a fake act attack him. Hearing her laugh, Conor turned to her and his lips turned up in a half grin. “Which means now, you have to tell me some thing funny that happened to you.”
“Why would I do that?” She asked, teasing him as she raised one eye brow. His arms reached out and clasped the rail on both sides of her, she should have felt trapped, but she knew he was playing.
“So we can be even.” His half smile turned in to a full smile and she felt like sighing, his smile still managed to get her heart beating. He leaned closer, trying to intimidate her.
“I don’t think so, wolf-boy.” She laughed and swooped underneath his arms.
His brow rose into his hair line at the nick name, his lips pulled back in scowl that she supposed was meant to scare her. He leapt for her, but she jumped away, giggling.
“Try and catch me!” She bantered, dancing out of the way as he tried again.
As she spoke, the bell, that announced that the late meal was ready, rang through the boat’s intercom system.
As they both started towards the inside of the boat Conor laughed. “Just don’t tell my sister,” he asked, reaching past her and opening the door to the lower levels.
“Why should I agree to that? You have nothing on me.” She looked over at him.
“Tell ya what, don’t tell my sister and I won’t ask for anything embarrassing from you. Deal?” His hand held out as he asked.
“Ummm,” she thought aloud and clasped their hands together. “Deal.” But again, as their hands touched sparks shot through her and she jumped.
Pulling her hand back, she brushed her palm on the sweat pants. She hadn’t expected such a normal thing would cause the sparks, she would have to be more careful with touching him. She looked up at him and saw they he was looking away, she knew that he had felt them too. Did the sparks mean something?
Not daring to look in his eyes, she kept looking down. The discomfort between them was thick enough to cut with a knife.
“Ha! But that doesn’t mean I won’t!” Berach pounced past them and Conor growled.
“Why would you tell her?” He yelled after the canine, the tension melting as he took the steps two at a time to get to his companion.
“Just to see you squirm!” The wolf shot back and Delilah laughed, walking down the stairs.
‘That wolf was gonna get it when Conor finally catches him,’ she thought. But as she watched the wolf toy with the man, she thought again. ‘If he could ever catch him.’