Corinne couldn’t understand that irrational impulse. The cold air should have cleared her head, but he moved his body very close to hers, shattering what little composure she had left. She couldn’t think straight with him so close to her.
Dayan took her into the shadows. Everything in him rose up to claim her for his own. He wanted her, he needed her, and his body was going up in flames. She stood there looking up at him with her enormous green eyes, and he was lost. Knew he would be lost for all time. “Good — your color is coming back.
Your friend seems to care very much for you. I cannot imagine that she would not be happy about the baby.”
Corinne lifted a hand to shove back the wild mass of her hair. “I shouldn’t have given you the wrong impression. Lisa will be happy about the baby for a lot of reasons. It’s just that I’m...” She trailed off, reluctant to reveal any details of her personal life to him. “It’s complicated.” Suddenly, inexplicably, she felt compelled to tell him everything about herself. He was looking down at her and his eyes were so —
She didn’t know what it was, but those eyes were impossible to resist.
He made her feel as if she’d been cornered by a great jungle cat. His eyes didn’t blink, they simply watched her. Completely focused on her. At times she could have sworn there was a red flicker of flame in the very depths. “You have to stop looking at me like that.” The words left her throat before she could censor them, and she found herself laughing. She was a grown woman and ordinarily very logical. He was certainly getting a false impression of who she was.
His smile was slow and very sexy. It started her wayward heart pounding again. A slow burn was smoldering somewhere in the pit of her stomach. “Am I looking at you?” His voice brushed against her skin, heating, tantalizing.
Corinne tilted her head to one side and studied his perfect masculine features. “You know very well you are. You have that smug male look on your face. I can’t think straight when you’re looking at me like that.”
“How am I looking at you?” He asked it softly, gently, a note of tenderness creeping in to turn her heart over.
Like a hungry leopard about to pounce.
The thought came unbidden. The smile climbed to his eyes as if he could read her thoughts, making her blush. “Never mind. Just stop.” She put out her hand as if she might hold him away from her.
“You were going to tell me about the baby.”
And the baby’s father. We do not want to leave him out of this conversation. You want to tell me.
Shamelessly he “pushed” her, needing to know. The man was dead. Dayan could feel that. He read it in the lingering sadness in her eyes. She had cared for another man enough to bring his child into the world.
Who was the man?
He captured her outstretched hand, her left hand, found the circle of gold, the symbol of human marriage, the mark proclaiming she belonged to another man.
The thought triggered the dangerous aggression of his species, and Dayan fought down the rising beast. He would not chance frightening her. His thumb rubbed over the ring almost absently, back and forth, a gentle caress, persistent. Insistent. He brought her fingertips to his lips. All the while his black gaze focused completely on her, staring directly into her eyes.
His look was hypnotic. Strangely exhilarating. Corinne’s breath caught in her throat as his teeth scraped along her finger, his mouth warm and moist. Butterfly wings brushed at her stomach. His teeth tugged gently at her gold wedding band. The sensation was so erotic, she shivered. She stared up at him for a long moment, completely fascinated, before remembering to pull her hand free.
“Tell me about your baby, honey,” he commanded, his voice low, almost purring.
He touched her mind very gently, with great care. She was fighting the compulsion to tell him what he wanted to know, but she was human and he was an ancient, one in a long line of dominating males. He was far too strong for her to resist.
Corinne pressed her palm protectively over the baby.
The wind whipped down the street, gusted leaves and debris into whirling eddies. Unknowingly, she moved deeper into the shelter of his body. “I grew up with Lisa and her brother John.” She stopped speaking abruptly, her throat closing on the name.
The name pierced him like a knife. The way she said it, the pain reflected in her eyes, told him how much the man had meant to her .
Dayan had never liked that name. He didn’t want to hear any more; he didn’t want to hear the sound of her voice when she said that hated name.
Corinne twisted her wedding ring nervously. “The three of us had a difficult childhood, so
suppose we were closer than most. John and I were... different.” She stole a quick look up at him from under her heavy dark lashes. She didn’t want to explain to him what that word meant. She didn’t know him, didn’t know why she seemed to trust him when he was a virtual stranger to her. She didn’t know why her body seemed to know him.
Corinne shoved her wayward thoughts away, concentrating entirely on how much she could tell him... or not tell him.
Dayan examined her mind, wanting an explanation of “different.” He caught a hastily censored picture. Telekinesis. She could move objects with her mind. Of course, she was psychic. She would have to be psychic if she were his true lifemate. Dayan had no way of explaining to her exactly what a lifemate was. How could he reveal to her he was of another species? That he had been on earth a thousand years? That he needed blood to survive?
Dayan watched her fingers turn that small gold band. With every touch, every stroke, his stomach knotted tighter and tighter. He tried to force his gaze back to her face, but that small betraying movement fascinated him.
Corinne shrugged her shoulders. “To make a long story short, John and I were married and he was murdered a few months ago. I didn’t even know I was pregnant. I haven’t said anything to Lisa because... well...” She hesitated, searching for the right words.
That brought his dark gaze back to her face. She felt the impact of his focused stare all the way to her bones. His hands covered hers, stilling the nervous play of her fingers over her ring. Her heart leapt, a curious sensation that alarmed her.
His black eyes never left her face. Not once. And he still hadn’t blinked. She felt almost as if she were falling forward into those strange, hypnotic eyes. What difference did it make if he thought she was a basket case? She hadn’t asked for his sympathy, nor did she want it. She wasn’t telling him the story for sympathy. Why
she telling him her story? Her chin lifted and she looked at him almost defiantly. “I have a heart condition.” He could run like a rabbit and she’d be very happy. He was a complication, a fantasy, the worst sort of “bad boy,” and she wanted no part of him.
Dayan touched her mind very gently. He caught an image of hospitals, machines, endless tests. Her asking about a waiting list for a heart. Doctor after doctor shaking their heads. She had severe allergies. She bled easily, too much. The specialists were amazed she had lived as long as she had. Dayan rubbed the bridge of his nose thoughtfully, his eyes intent on her face. “So the baby is a danger, then. Lisa would not like that.”
Corinne let out her breath. It was almost a relief to tell someone. “No, Lisa won’t like it all. She’ll be so frightened.” Corinne had waited until there was no possibility Lisa might try to talk her out of having the baby. She wanted a baby. Her little girl. Long after her death, after John’s death, their daughter would live and breathe, run and play, and hopefully lead a perfectly normal life. Corinne had absolute faith that Lisa would cherish and love the baby. She pulled her hands away from his to place them protectively over the small mound where the baby rested.