|Home > Lynsay Sands > Argeneau Family Series > Hungry For You (Chapter 9)|
|Hungry For You(Argeneau Family Series Book 14) by Lynsay Sands|
"Hi," Bricker greeted cheerfully. "I brought-" He stopped abruptly when Cale flipped open the lid of the small cooler he'd just lifted and snatched out a bag of blood to slap to his teeth.
"Hungry I guess," Bricker said wryly, following him into the house when Cale turned and led the way back up the hall to the kitchen. "I only brought four bags. I figure you can't keep it in the refrigerator here anyway, and I can bring more by tomorrow if you can't get away to get your own."
Cale grunted agreement around the bag in his mouth as he went through the kitchen door, then cursed aroundit as well and rushed for the microwave when he spotted the sparks flying off the pan inside.
"What the hell are you doing?" Bricker asked with horror, setting the cooler on the kitchen table and rushing to his side in front of the microwave. The minute Cale hit the clear/stop button, Bricker jerked the door open and then glanced around for a towel to pull out the pan. "Cripes, you never put metal inside a microwave."
"Well the plastic kept melting," Cale muttered, tearing the now-empty bag from his teeth as the younger immortal dropped the pan in the sink.
"Jesus, you don't put plastic inside either unless it's microwaveable," he said with disgust, then stopped talking and turned slowly, his mouth dropping open as he peered at the various plates around the room. He moved to the closest one and asked, "What's this?"
"Exploded lasagne," Cale said on a sigh.
"Exploded?" Bricker asked, arching an eyebrow.
"The plastic wrap burst and the lasagne kind of exploded all over the inside of the microwave." He grimaced with disgust. "It was a hell of a mess."
"Ah," Bricker murmured and gestured to the next dish. "And this?"
"Melted meat loaf," Cale admitted, moving to take a second bag of blood from the cooler.
"Melted? It looks fine." Bricker poked at it. "The cheese feels kind of weird though."
"That's not cheese, it's a plastic lid that melted when I microwaved it," he explained unhappily. When Brickerraised an eyebrow, he added defensively, "I plan to replace the container tomorrow."
"Hmm." Bricker moved on to the next dish. "And this?"
"Rock-hard penne. Since the plastic wrap exploded and the Rubbermaid melted, I tried cooking without either. I thought maybe you weren't supposed to cover the food at all, but it came out all shriveled and hard as rock," he pointed out grimly. "That's why I tried the pan for the next one. I figured you must have to cover it with something more solid than plastic."
"How long did you cook it?" Bricker asked.
"Only ten minutes."
"Oh man." He laughed. "You're lucky it didn't burst into flames. It only takes a minute or two to reheat dishes when you have it on high."
"Well, that explains things," Cale said, and slapped the second bag to his teeth.
Shaking his head, Bricker moved to the refrigerator and opened the door. "There's still some kind of pasta dish in here. It looks like an Alfredo of some sort. I'll heat it up for you if you like."
Unable to speak with the new bag in his mouth, Cale nodded.
"Before I forget, Lucian found a cook to replace Alex tomorrow night," Bricker announced as he pulled the Alfredo from the fridge. "Is she sleeping?"
Cale nodded again and watched as Bricker removed the plastic wrap at one corner of the dish, and then set it in the microwave.
"You only use microwaveable plastic wrap, which I'm pretty sure this is," Bricker explained as he began to push buttons. "But you have to leave an opening for the steam to escape."
Cale grunted his understanding around the bag, and then tore it from his teeth as it finished emptying. "Who did Lucian find to replace her?"
"Actually, it was Lucern who got the guy. Lucian called everyone to set them on the task and Lucern called back to say he'd gotten-you won't believe this-Chef Emile agreed to take Alex's place."
"Is he any good?" Cale asked, moving to set both empty bags back in the cooler.
"You're kidding, right?" Bricker asked with amazement. "He's a famous chef, Cale. He has his own show and everything. Emile's Kitchen. He's not only good, but this will have the media rushing to La Bonne Vie for interviews and such. It will be good press for Alex, probably get coverage of the opening of the new restaurant too since Lucern invited him to that as well."
Cale narrowed his eyes. "He agreed? Or was convinced?"
"Agreed," Bricker assured him, moving to the microwave when it dinged. "Lucern and Kate are in Toronto for a couple of weeks and Emile is in New York. You can't control a mortal's mind over the phone. Besides, I gather he and Lucern are buddies. Emile did a cookbook for Kate's publishing house. It's how they met. They're always talking online." He shrugged and took out the Alfredo. "So when Lucian called him, Lucern called Emile, and we got lucky. He apparently just finished shooting this season's show and has a couple of weeks off. Lucern asked him to come cook for Alex and stay with him and Kate for a week or so, maybe attend the restaurant opening, and get in relaxation time ... and he agreed."
"Hmm, I'll have to thank Lucern," Cale murmured. He glanced toward the Alfredo Bricker was now stirring. "Is that ready?"
"No. You put it in for a minute and a half, then stir it and cook it for another forty-five seconds," Bricker explained as he replaced the plastic wrap.
Cale nodded and turned to head for the door. "I'm going to go check on Alex again while that cooks."
"I'll come with you." Bricker set the dish back in the microwave and pressed the buttons to get it going again. When he turned to find Cale had stopped to glare at him, he reminded, "Lucian wants me to read her."
"Right," he muttered, and turned to lead the way upstairs.
Cale paused outside the door, listening to be sure her breathing was slow and steady, and then eased the door open a crack to see that she was indeed sleeping. He turned to Bricker to whisper, "From the door, I don't want her to wake up and find you in her room."
"I'd control her if that happened," Bricker assured him and then quickly added, "From the door is fine."
Nodding, Cale stepped back and waited as Bricker peered in and focused his gaze on Alex. It didn't take long for him to read her. After a moment, he shook his head and eased the door closed.
"He grabbed her from behind, so she didn't see anything," Bricker said as he led the way downstairs. "It didn't feel like an immortal attack though."
"Why is that?" Cale asked as they returned to the kitchen.
"He didn't control her, not even when she went for his eyes with her nails, and he didn't have our strength."
"I see," Cale murmured, moving over to the microwave to retrieve the now-done Alfredo. He set it on the counter to cool and then moved to the cooler of blood to finish off the last two bags as he waited. Before slapping the first to his teeth, he asked, "So you don't think it could be connected to Leonius? "
"Doubtful," Bricker decided. "It just doesn't have the feel of an immortal. Although I suppose Leonius could have spawned a mortal child or two. The son who went after Jo was immortal rather than no-fanger, and while it's rare for a mortal to be impregnated by an immortal or no-fanger, it isn't unheard of. I guess he could have a mortal son trying to win his approval by bringing him someone connected to the family."
Cale pondered that as he waited for his bag to empty. He'd just removed it from his mouth when Bricker spoke again.
"Maybe it was just a mortal mugger or rapist," he suggested.
"Bev suggested it might be that Peter guy who quit on Alex the day I arrived," Cale admitted, setting the empty bag in the cooler with the other two. He then moved to search the drawers for a fork and set it on the table beside the cooling pasta dish.
"I thought his name was Pierre," Bricker said with surprise.
"An affectation," Cale said dryly. "His real name is Peter. And I guess he showed up recently looking to get his job back and wasn't happy when Alex told him no." He slapped the last bag of blood to his teeth. It was better to use them up and send the empty bags with Bricker than to risk Alex finding them in her garbage and asking questions.
"Huh," Bricker said. "I met him a couple of times when I went to the restaurant for dinner with Mortimer and Sam. We always went in back to see Alex before leaving, and that guy was a straight-up-arrogant prick. You haven't happened to come across his address while straightening out Alex's paperwork, have you?"
Cale frowned around the bag in his mouth, forced to wait until it was empty before he could ask, "Why?"
"Because I'll stop by his place on the way home and give him a read, see if it was him or not," Bricker said as he watched Cale set the last empty bag in the cooler with the others, and then move to sit at the table.
"I don't recall his address, but I did see his last check and know his last name. We can probably look it up in the phone book if it's listed," he said, and scooped some Alfredo into his mouth, then paused and simply held it there as the flavor exploded on his tongue.
"Good, huh?" Bricker said enviously.
Cale nodded and swallowed. "Alex has brought me lunches at work and I knew she was a good cook, but this is manna from heaven."
"Yeah." Bricker sighed. "She's one hell of a cook." He turned and walked to where the phone sat on the kitchen counter and opened the drawer below it, then smiled and lifted out a phone book, saying, "Bingo. So what's Peter's last name?"
"Cunningham," Cale answered, and continued eating as Bricker began to leaf through the book. It took several moments, but then he made a triumphant sound. Cale glanced his way in question. "Find it?"
"Yeah, several, now I just have to figure out which one he is." Bricker said dryly as he closed the book. As he put it away, he said, "I saw in Alex's memory that the light wasn't working outside the door when she left but had been earlier in the evening. Do you want me to take a look at that too?"
"Someone smashed the lightbulb," Cale announced quietly.
"Alex didn't know that. Why didn't you say anything to her?"
"Because they couldn't see that and would wonder how I could," Cale pointed out dryly.
"Ah." Bricker nodded in understanding. "It was that dark?"
Cale nodded. "Whoever attacked her probably did it so she wouldn't recognize him if she got a look."
"Which suggests Pierre/Peter is our guy," Bricker said grimly, his gaze on Cale's meal. "I'll go have a meeting of minds with him. I think I'll hit a fast-food joint on the way. The smell of that has made me hungry."
"Thanks for bringing the blood ... and for the help with heating up dinner," Cale said, standing up to walkhim out when Bricker picked up the cooler and headed for the door.
"No problem. Give me a shout if you need anything else. If I can't get away, I can always have one of the other guys swing by."
"Thanks," Cale repeated as the younger immortal opened the front door.
Bricker nodded and paused to glance back. "Good luck with dreaming. Hopefully her headache is gone now and you'll be able to experience the shared-dreams business."
"I'm not counting on it. She took a pretty hard knock. Even if she doesn't have a headache, she might not be up to something like that."
"You weren't counting on her being your life mate either," Bricker pointed out with a grin as he continued out the door. "Good night."
"Good night." Cale watched him walk to an SUV parked in the driveway, get in, and start the engine. He closed the front door and locked it as the SUV began to back out of the drive.
Cale returned to his meal then, savoring every bite of the tasty dish. Once it was finished, he dumped all the meals he'd ruined with his microwaving efforts and cleaned the dishes before heading back up to check on Alex again. Finding her sleeping peacefully, he went downstairs to the living room, and then just stood there for a minute, unsure what to do. It had taken them a lot of time at the hospital, and it was now after three. Cale had been keeping normal hours and should have been tired, but felt wide-awake.
His gaze landed on the television, and he shrugged and grabbed the remote off the coffee table, then settled on the couch and turned on the TV. Cale didn't have a television at home, but he'd taken Bricker's advice and watched some TV at the hotel before dropping off to sleep and knew how to work the remote, which was a bonus. He flicked through the channels until he found something that looked interesting, and then settled in to watch.
Alex woke up thirsty. Shifting sleepily, she sat up and peered around the room in the dim light creeping from the partially closed door of the bathroom. Cale had left the light on and the door slightly open in case she woke in the night, and she now appreciated his thoughtfulness, as she slid from the bed. She considered donning her robe for this trek down to the kitchen in search of water, but then decided her overlarge flannels were more than decent.
A light was on in the living room as she came down the stairs. Alex glanced toward it curiously but headed into the kitchen for the water. After gulping down two glasses, she ran herself a third, and then headed toward the living room, curious to see what Cale was doing.
She found him sleeping on the sofa seated upright, his chin on his chest. Alex grimaced at the thought of the crick he was sure to have in his neck after sleeping like that and moved closer to the couch. She considered waking him, but he looked so peaceful, so she took one of the decorative pillows from the end of the couch, and then moved in front of him. After a hesitation, shestepped between his legs, moving forward until her knees pressed against the couch. She then leaned forward to set the pillow on the sofa back behind him and tried to ease his head to rest on it.
Alex was just about to straighten and head up to her room when his eyes suddenly opened. She froze at once as if caught doing something she shouldn't, and then smiled wryly at her own reaction, and explained, "I was afraid you'd get a crick in your neck from sleeping like tha-"
Her explanation died on a small gasp of surprise as he suddenly reached up and caught her by the back of her head. Before she could do more than blink, he'd tugged her head down over his and pressed his lips to hers. It was so unexpected, Alex didn't react as she should have and pull away. By the time she recalled that she was trying to avoid getting involved with him and that she shouldn't allow this, it was too late. His tongue had slid between her slightly parted lips and into her mouth, stirring up an immediate maelstrom of responses within her. Rather than push him away, Alex found herself opening her mouth wider for him and bracing her hands on the back of the couch on either side of his head.
Cale immediately deepened the kiss, his hands coming up to run along her arms. A shiver of desire slid through her at the simple caress, and then she moaned as his hands slid to clasp her breasts through the flannel of her pajama top. Alex leaned into the caress, giving him some of her weight as he kissed her most thoroughly. When he began to urge her upright,she went with some confusion, and then glanced down with surprise as she felt a cool breeze brush across her chest. Her eyes widened when she saw that the buttons of her flannel top were now undone, leaving it gaping open, her breasts on display.
She swallowed when Cale sat forward on the couch and reached to caress the revealed bounty. Her gaze slid to his face, and she watched his expression through drooping eyelids as he squeezed and kneaded the round orbs. When he then caught her nipples between thumbs and fingers and tweaked them gently, she moaned and covered his hands with her own, her eyes closing briefly as pleasure rolled through her.
"Open your eyes," he whispered, and Alex forced them open in time to see him shift forward to the edge of the couch and close his mouth over one now-hard nipple. She watched with fascination as he alternately suckled, nipped, and flicked the hard tip with his tongue even as he continued to caress her other breast with one hand. Her body was humming with sensation, and she was hardly aware of his other hand's moving until it slid between her legs, rubbing the cloth against her there.
Alex gasped then, and reached for his shoulders, to help her stay upright as he caressed her, sending wave after wave of pleasure sliding through her. She couldn't bear the onslaught for long, however, and soon clasped the hair at the back of his head and pulled it away from her breast so that she could bend to kiss him again. He answered the silent request, mouth rising to hers and tongue sweeping out to plunge into hers, but he continued to move his hand between her legs, the action faster now and more insistent.
Alex groaned into his mouth, and then began to suck on his tongue, her fingers scraping across his scalp with demand. She groaned again, this time in protest, when his hand slid from between her legs. But it was back quickly, slipping between the waistband of her pajamas and her hot skin to touch her again, this time without the cloth between them. The explosion of need within her then was so all-consuming, she was hardly aware of his tugging her pajama bottoms down to pool around her ankles. She only became aware of losing them when he stopped caressing her again to catch her by the waist, lift her out of them, and then set her down to straddle his lap.
The rough material of his jeans brushed against her bare thighs as Alex settled on him, and then he pushed the top off of her shoulders so it could join the bottoms on the floor. Cale broke their kiss and leaned back slightly to peer at her through sleepy eyes, and Alex found herself staring at them with fascination. They seemed more silver than gray now, the silver molten and growing in his eyes as his hand slid between her legs once more. She bit her lip and dug her nails into his shoulders as his fingers danced lightly along her flesh, then Alex moaned and tipped her head back, eyes closing as his fingers dipped in to find the core of her.
"Look at me," he ordered quietly, and she forced herself to lift her head. His eyes appeared almost to be on fire now, and she stared into them as he worked her flesh, her breath coming in small pants that grew moreshallow as her excitement mounted. When he slid one finger into her while still caressing her, she couldn't help it, Alex's eyes squeezed closed, her mouth opening on a gasped "Oh" that turned into a moan as it withdrew, only to plunge back in again.
Alex was sure an orgasm was about to rip through her when he suddenly stopped. Opening her eyes, she blinked down at him with confusion, and then gasped in surprise when he caught her at the waist again and lifted her off him. She turned to peer at him, and then saw that he'd stood to remove his own clothes. She rose at once to help, but got distracted by his chest as he lifted his shirt off over his head. Alex couldn't resist running her hands over the wide expanse, but then let them drop to the button and zipper of his jeans, undoing each in quick time.
Despite being tight, his jeans fell away like butter sliding off a roasting turkey, and his erection spilled out, swollen and wanting. Alex instinctively reached for it, but Cale caught her and turned her away from him so her back was to his chest. He then wrapped his arms around her from behind, his mouth pressing to the side of her neck as one of his hands began to caress her breasts and the other slid between her legs again. This time he cupped her, using the hold to press her back against his erection so that her bottom rubbed against him as he then continued his earlier caresses.
"Cale, please," Alex moaned, pushing back into him almost roughly. She was positive she couldn't take much more of this and wanted to feel him inside her, wanted him filling her and driving her to the apex theywere headed for. Much to her relief, he heeded her plea. But he didn't draw her down to straddle him on the couch again as she'd expected. Instead, he urged her to kneel on the couch and lean forward so that she could brace herself on the back of it.
Alex cried out as he thrust into her, her nails digging desperately into the back of the couch as her legs trembled. Cale paused then and pressed a kiss to the side of her neck, then withdrew slightly and pressed back into her again. She felt his teeth scrape across the tender flesh of her throat, and Alex turned her head to kiss him with all the passion he was stirring in her; but that made him stop, so she bit down into the back of her couch as he began to pound into her in earnest. When he reached around with his hand to caress her again, she couldn't bear it anymore and cried out as her pleasure exploded around him.
Alex must have slept after that. When next she opened her eyes, she lay on Cale's chest on the couch. Unsure if he was awake or not, she lifted her head slowly to peer at him and managed a smile when she saw that his eyes were open, and he was peering back.
"Hello," she whispered shyly.
"Hello," he said solemnly.
Alex stared at him for a moment, but then her shyness swelled, and she started to rise, but froze as she felt his erection beneath her. Her eyes shot back to his face with shock. "Didn't you-?"
"Yes," he assured her with a wry smile. "But it seems I want you again."
Alex glanced down to his chest and hesitated, unsurewhat she should do. She'd already made the big mistake of sleeping with him. Would it make it worse if she did it again?
Deciding that if she had to ask herself that, it probably would, she slid her right foot to the floor, intending to get off him, but as she shifted, she rubbed against his returning erection. The excitement that sent tingling through her made her pause again.
"I don't think I'll ever get enough of you," Cale whispered, shifting his hips so that he rubbed against her once more.
Alex peered down at his solemn face, and muttered, "Oh, what the hell." She reached between them to clasp his erection, and then steered it back inside of her as she settled on top of him. As she did, Cale smiled at her sexily.
"Welcome back," he murmured, and reached for her breasts.
Alex closed her eyes with a little sigh as his hands caressed her, and began to raise herself again, but the ring of a phone had her blinking her eyes open and peering around with confusion.
Frowning, she sat up abruptly as she realized she was in her bed, fully dressed in her flannels, and completely alone. What the hell?
The phone rang again, and Alex reached out to grab and silence it. She pulled it to her ear, and barked, "Hello?"
"Congratulations! You've won a free trip to Las Vegas. All you have to do to claim your prize is-"
"Pay you thousands of dollars," Alex muttered withdisgust and slammed the phone back in its holder. Her gaze slid to the bedside alarm clock as she did, and she sighed when she saw that it was eight thirty in the morning. "Damned telemarketers," she muttered, dropping back in bed.
There was supposed to be a list you could put your name on to avoid getting such calls. She'd have to look into how to get on it, Alex thought, and then glanced around the room again. She really was still dressed and in bed. Had that whole episode with Cale been a dream? It must have been, she realized, and muttered, "I knew those jeans came off way too easy."
Cale stared toward the ceiling overhead, wondering who had called. He'd like to slice them up and fry them slowly for interrupting him and Alex. Hell, these shared wet dreams were something else. They were also definitely wet, he realized, a cool damp sensation at his groin drawing his attention to the darker spot over the erection still raging there. He'd obviously spent himself, and then "boned up" again as Bricker had called it. Thank God he hadn't agreed to the sleep-in-the-van idea.
"Someone could have warned me," he muttered with disgust. He would have brought a change of clothes with him, but all he had was what he was wearing. Cale dropped back onto the couch with a sigh, and then stiffened as he heard movement overhead. Alex was up. Great, now she was going to come down here and-
Cursing, he scrambled off the couch and hurried into the kitchen only to pause in the center of it, unsure what to do. The padding of light footsteps coming down the stairs, however, drove him to action. Rushing to the fridge, he tugged the door open, snatched a half full carton of orange juice from the top shelf and promptly tipped it up to his mouth.
"Good morning, I-"
With his back to her, Cale jerked as if startled and allowed orange juice to splash down over his chin, chest, and then his jeans. He damn near emptied the whole half carton to make sure it got to his jeans before jerking it upright and turning to Alex with feigned surprise.
"Oh, geez, I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you." Alex rushed forward. She grabbed the dish towel he'd left to dry beside the sink and hurried to his side to begin mopping up the worst of the juice from his face and chest. "The phone call just woke me up and then I tried to go back to sleep, but I was thirsty, so I came down to get a drink of water and I-"
Cale bit his lip. She'd been mopping at his face then chest as she babbled, and then automatically knelt to continue on to his jeans, but had apparently realized what she was doing and paused. Fortunately, his panic had cooled his passion, and his original erection had gone away; however, watching her mop at him, her hair tousled as it had been in the dream and wearing the adorable flannel pajamas he'd so enjoyed stripping from her in their dream ... well, he hadn't been able to stop himself from growing half-erect again as the sight brought the dream to mind.
"Oh," she breathed, staring at the bulge in his jeans. "I ... Maybe you should-" Alex raised her head and hand, holding the cloth out and peering up uncertainly from where she knelt before him. That brought a whole new set of images to mind, ones they hadn't tried in the dream. Cale's eyes widened in horror as he completely "boned up" now, his erection pushing against his jeans and creating a very noticeable bulge.
"Yes, yes, of course," he said, taking the towel in one hand and her arm in the other to quickly urge her to her feet when she started to lower her gaze to his growing bulge again. Once he had her on her feet, Cale turned away and moved to the sink, using washing his hands as an excuse to keep his back to her as he waited for his erection to recede.
"I really am sorry," Alex murmured, moving to the cupboard now to retrieve a glass. "I guess I should have made some noise or something to let you know I was coming."
"It wasn't your fault. The phone call roused me from sleep, but I wasn't fully awake. I was just startled," he said quietly, wondering how long he was going to have to wash his hand. This particular erection seemed rather persistent. "How's your head?"
"Pretty good." She moved to a watercooler in the corner and ran cold water into her glass. "A little achy still, but I think more sleep would cure that. It was late when we got back from the hospital."
"Yes," Cale agreed, reluctantly turning off the tap and shaking his hands over the sink to remove the worst of the water as he tried to think of how he was going to keep his back to her. Not coming up with anything, he said a bit abruptly, "You should go back to bed."
"I will after I've had something to eat." She appeared at his side with a fresh dish towel, and Cale murmured a "thanks" as he took it but stayed facing the sink as he dried his hands.
"Geez, where did all the food go? Did you have a party or something last night?"
Cale glanced around to see her standing in the open refrigerator door, frowning over the now-barren shelves. "Oh, I ... er ..." Sighing, he set the towel down and moved to the door into the hall. "I need to go get a change of clothes from the hotel anyway. I'll pick up something on the way back."
He heard her feet padding after him and moved a little more quickly to the closet by the front door, managing to retrieve his coat before she caught up.
"Keys." She offered her keys as he turned with the coat held in front of his groin. "So you can get back in."
"Right." He smiled and took the keys, then backed toward the door, the coat still held at his waist. "I won't be long. Any special requests when it comes to food?"
"I'll leave it to you."
"Right." He turned away, pulled the door open, and headed out with relief.
"Put your coat on," she said with a laugh, catching the door when he tried to pull it closed. "It's freezing out there, and you're wet. You'll get frostbite."
Cale quickly shrugged the item on as he jogged down the steps and rushed to the car.
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