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The dreams started on my sixteenth birthday. Two utterly different men. One tame; one wild. One gentleman; one beast.
While one was my friend and always seemed to interrupt my dream, the beast was a complete unknown in my life. And, even knowing I should try to keep at a safe distance, he held an allure I couldn’t resist.
The first dream was of the beast. His hair was black as a raven’s wing. His body so muscular, so sculpted. As if by some divine being. His eyes seemed almost like a bottomless pit, but when his gaze locked with mine, they instantly changed to a golden color. Almost like honey, except thicker and just a little darker. His lips were parted slightly and his tongue snaked out to moisten his lower lip.
As I lay on my bed, watching, I was absolutely entranced. I couldn’t keep myself from staring at this point.
Biting my lip nervously, I grabbed at the sheet and pulled it over my body in a defensive gesture while I slowly inched closer to the wall behind my back.
Amused at how I was acting, the beast smirked and took a cautious step forward, as if trying to calm a frightened animal.
“I won’t hurt you. I give you my word,” he promised, holding his hands up in a palm-up gesture as if surrendering. I knew that this man would never surrender to anyone. He would conquer. He would devour.
He took another slow step forward.
Reaching unhurriedly, he offered his hand and stated, “You have nothing to fear. I would willingly let my life’s blood flow from me and across the heavens before I would ever harm you.”
For some reason, I believed him. He seemed so sincere about it. However, I had never heard what he had said expressed that way. He seemed to be as if from some time long past.
With an unsteady hand, I placed my palm in his.
The moment skin touched skin, I felt a jolt go through my whole body. Who was this man--this beast--to make me feel this way? Why did I desire him after only our first meeting? A meeting in a dream, no less.
As not to frighten me, I presume, he sat down lightly on the bed right beside my legs.
“What is your name, little one?” he asked.
“Angie,” I answered in a small voice.
“That is a wonderful name. What is your full name, Angie?”
“Angelina Victoria Barbaros.”
“What a beautiful name you have, Angelina Victoria Barbaros.”
The moment he said my name, I felt as if I had given him some kind of power over me. Some way to control me. But that wasn’t possible. Names couldn’t control people. They were just titles that identified someone.
“Well, a-aren’t your going to give me your name?”
“Are you asking for it, little one?” he inquired with a small grin.
“It is a c-common custom on Earth that when someone gives you their name, you offer yours in return.”
“Ah, my angel, what clever girl you are. I am Adrian.” This was said with a slightly bigger grin.
“That is a wonderful name,” I said, repeating his earlier phrase back to him which brought a smile to his face instead of that small grin. “What is your full name, Adrian?” I could feel my face break into a smile.
“I would love to be known to you, my angel, but I fear you cannot know my full name as of yet.”
My sudden boldness growing, I leaned over to get closer to him and wiggled a finger at him gesturing for him to come closer.
“I’m not going to dig into that because, from my experience, when people are cryptic like you’re being, it means it’s weird and I will eventually find out. So, on the flipside, I only have two things to say to you.”
Laying his hands on my knees, which I only realized because of how oddly aware I was of him, he leaned so close that our noses grazed.
“And what are those two things?” he whispered seductively.
I rubbed my nose against his and whispered provocatively, “I’m not yours. And who said I’m an angel?”
Crossing my arms behind my head, I laid back and rested against my headboard with a slightly raised eye brow adorning my face.
And he laughed. A full belly laugh which, if he had one, would have shaken his belly like Santa Claus laughing his ‘Ho Ho Ho’s’
Not giving me any time to escape, he shot forward and braced both his arms on either side of my body. He face came a mere inch away from mine. So close I could feel his hot breath flowing into my slightly parted lips. His honey-gold eyes gazed into mine as if he had just found the lost city of Atlantis.
“You. Are. Perfect.” He enunciated each word, putting a slight roll on his R‘s.
My breathing became shallower as his knee nudged mine apart and his hand grazed seductively up my arms.
“You’re n-not so bad yourself. Adrian.”
Burying his face in my neck, he took a deep breath and held it, as if savoring the smell.
“And,” he murmured into my neck, “you are, indeed, mine.” His tongue snaked out to lick a spot on my neck, making that spot burn as if doused in gasoline and then set afire. “Only mine. Forever.”
I shook my head, denying it, denying him. He was overwhelming me with his possessiveness. This Adrian didn’t even know me. Why would he claim me for himself if he didn’t even know the first thing about me?
Furthermore, I was my own person. You couldn’t ‘claim’ a person in this day in age. Slavery is illegal.
“You cannot deny me, Angelina Victoria Barbaros. You are mine. Say it.”
I felt compelled to say what he wished, though I knew if I did, it would change my life forever. I knew I couldn’t say it. If I did, I would never be the same. With the use of my full name came that power. The power to compel me to do as he wished.
Oh, way to go, Angie! Now you given a big brute like him power over you! This is just about the biggest screw up that has ever happened to you!
I just kept shaking my head. This couldn’t be happening.
Oh, please, let me wake up from this nightmare! I promise to be good and not drink and drive. And I’ll even drive my sister everywhere she wants to go . . .
His voice got firmer, as did his tight grip on my upper arms. “Say. It.” His lips were soft when they grazed the skin between my neck and shoulder.
“No. I’m not yours,” I whispered with as much strength as I could muster which, I admit, wasn’t much.
Adrian stilled instantly.
I could almost feel the vibrations coming off of him from the force of his frustration and fury.
Slowly, ever so slowly, he pulled back and looked me straight in the eye with his gaze that pierced me like a knife.
“You are denying me?” he growled through clenched teeth. They were so tightly clenched; I was surprised any sound came out at all.
Under all that rage and frustration, in his eyes, I saw pain. Raw, unadulterated pain. It really hurt him deeply that I was denying him.
Hating that fact that I was causing him pain, I reached up with one hand and cupped the side of his face.
“No,” I replied. “I am not denying you. I--I simply need more time. I wish to grow up and have some fun before settling down with one man. I need to explore myself inside and out. I need to experience a lot of things that I have on my list. Heck, I’m still a virgin! I--”
“And you will stay that way,” Adrian growled forebodingly. “No other may have you. Ever. I will be your first and last.”
“Okay, I have to admit, that is coming on a little strong for something of a first meeting, but that’s fine. Let’s just tone it down a little. You’re kind of freaking me out.” I dropped my hand.
The moment I did, he made an inhuman growl deep in his chest. I was so scared at that moment, I didn’t even want to find out what would happen next if I just let him growl. I put my hand on his arm to try to calm him down.
It worked. Well, at least he stopped growling.
“Look, what I’m trying to say is that I’m only sixteen! I don’t even have my driver’s license yet! I get it tomorrow, by the way, but that’s not the point. I just want to grow up a little bit. Is that so much to ask? Is it that bad to want to experience a way of life before completely throwing it away for something new?”
Adrian took a deep breath and relaxed his muscles a little. A slight grin was on his face when he glanced up from the bed he was staring so intently at and into my face.
“Thank you. For being the voice of reason when I could not think clearly.” He feasted his gaze on my face for a few seconds before continuing. “You really are perfect.” He lifted his hand to engulf the side of my face in his large hand. “I am not normally an unreasonable man. Yes, you make complete sense and yes, I will give you time to age, but know this: I will come back for you. And when I do, I will not be denied.”
This was said as more of a warning than a threat.
“Well, just taking a look at you, I don’t think I will be either.”
Obviously his mood was lightened by my outburst since he threw his head back and gave a big laugh. When he looked at me again, he had a little twinkle in his eye.
“I don’t know how many times I can say this, but so far, you just keep proving me right.” His hands came up to cup my entire face. “You. Are. Perfect.”
“Thank you very much, Adrian. And when we finally meet in person, we will make you perfect.”
Adrian threw his head back and roared with laughter.
Looking into my eyes, he said, “I will most definitely come back for you. As soon as possible. The day you turn the age of twenty one, I will be back for you.”
“And I would look forward to that day if you weren’t a dream. If you were a real man, I would be a little freaked out right now. But since you are a figment of my imagination, I’ll say that I’m looking forward to that day, too.”
“You think I am not real?”
“Oh, I know you aren’t real. I just have a very wild imagination.”
Adrian looked at me with a little twinkle of amusement in his eyes. “Then you shall be having a great birthday surprise when you come of age.”
“Oh, I can’t wait to see how you’re going to do that! Now my mind is playing tricks on me. Trying to make me believe something special will happen on my twenty first birthday. Ha!” Thinking what could possibly be special about turning twenty one, I vaguely planned. “Vegas! That’s where I’m going to have my birthday. Las Vegas, Nevada!” Glancing up at Adrian, I added teasingly, “You’re welcome to come, if you want.”
“Oh?” He raised one brow mockingly. “Is that a challenge, my little Angelina?”
Sarcastically, I replied, “Oh no, never! I would never ‘challenge’ you! But, there is something that must be said.” Leaning forward again, I grazed my nose against his as I had before. “I’m not yours,” I whispered almost touching his mouth.
Adrian’s eyes flashed from honey gold to and eerie incandescent silver. I only caught a brief glimpse of them before I was…occupied.
His mouth—not just his lips, his entire mouth—came down hard on mine forcing me backwards, bumping the back of my head to the headboard of my bed. His tongue pushed past the barrier of my lips and took control of the kiss. Not that I had ever had any control over it. This kiss was unlike any other I had ever had. The boys that had tried to kiss me before this had poked and prodded at my lips with their tongues foolishly while Adrian simply took what he wanted. He simply took my mouth with force I had once thought to be repulsive. But now, as I was on the receiving end of this force, I hoped—prayed—it would never end.
His muscular arms formed a cage around my head, one hand gripping the wooden headboard of my bed on either side. His hands were holding it so tightly that his knuckles where white. Was he afraid I would pull away from him? At the rate we were going, Adrian was going to have to wrestle me off of him before I pulled away. Damn, the man could kiss.
My hands, as if of their own volition, crept up his chest to wrap around his thick neck and buried themselves in his hair. Against my mouth, he groaned as if the very sound was ripped from his chest. A sound of pain and longing. His arms wrapped around me after dropping from the headboard and became steel bands holding me to him, impossible to break.
When he pulled back from me, his breathing was as ragged as mine, coming in hot breathy pants. His eyes stared into mine intently, as if searching for something within the depths of my soul.
Whatever he had been looking for, he had found it. Adrian gasped. His hand snaked up from where it had gripped my hip and into my wavy auburn curls, tangling itself. Those eyes, which had before held sexual want, now held a certain predatory glint. A possessive glint. As they roamed over my body, I could practically feel them like a physical pressure on my skin. I couldn’t stop the little shivers that wracked my body. My eyes started to droop.
“No,” Adrian said, his voice a deep, rough growl. Clearing his throat, he continued. “Keep your eyes open. I want to see you. All of you.”
Obediently, I opened my eyes and watched as he did something I would never allow any other to do.
Loosening his bruising grip on my hip, but not releasing, he turned me and bent my back over his arm. Taking his other hand from my hair, he used it to support my back while the hand previously on my hip went to the blanket that still covered my legs. He slowly pulled the blanket away, caressing my legs through the thick quilt.
Deciding to go with the flow, I let my head drop back and relaxed my body over his arm, trusting him to support me and not to hurt me while I couldn’t see what he was doing.
Lightly, he traced a path from my throat all the way to my naval, savoring the feel of me.
“Beautiful,” he murmured as if in a trance. He did not even seem to be aware that he had spoken.
The predatory twinkle returned to his eyes and the hand on my stomach tightened fractionally. “Mine.”
I let him stake his claim on me. I knew that after this—whether it was a dream or not—no other man but this one would do for me. Adrian was the only one.
Lifting my head and chest forward so they were no longer laying across his arm, I sat up and looked him straight in the eyes. I lifted my hand to caress his cheek and said, “Yes.”
The moment that word escaped my lips, I knew I was forever changed.
Adrian’s eyes were wide with shock, his mouth gaping.
Before I lost my nerve, I leaned forward and placed a sweet, chaste kiss on his lips. When I went to pull back, his hand slipped behind my head and held me in place just a few inches from his face. His breathing was ragged, as if he had just taken a long run.
“Truly?” he questioned. “You agree to be mine? Only mine?” He paused. “Forever?”
“Yes. Forever. If you’ll have me,” I added, just to make sure it was what he wanted, too.
In answer, he groaned and sprinkled kisses all over my face whispering “yes, yes” in between. His warm, callused hands held my face still for his little pecks.
And then, I woke up.