The soft sounds of her movements in the other room filtered through. He tried not to think about her undressing.
And being just a few feet away.
He pulled the pajama pants on, then looked at himself in the full length mirror on the back of the closet door. The chain about his neck that held the amulet responsible for his daywalking ability stood out against his skin. If he left it on, she might ask about it and he didn’t want to lie to her, but taking it off wasn’t something he wanted to do either.
The amulet had kept him safe from the sun for so long he couldn’t imagine being without it. The magic it contained had changed his life.
Much in the way Tessa was about to change it again.
He left the chain on. If she asked, he’d tell her. After everything she was doing for him, he felt safe trusting her with such a valuable secret. And maybe she wouldn’t ask. She wasn’t the type to pry, either.
He took a pillow and blanket from the linen cabinet that was part of the closet and went back into his bedroom to make up a bed on the leather chesterfield sofa. It sat beneath the bank of windows overlooking the back garden. It was one of his favorite places to sit and read and a rather comfortable spot, but he’d never slept there.
As he spread the blanket out, the bathroom door opened.
He turned. “How’d the top work for…”
His pajama shirt skimmed the tops of her thighs, displaying legs that were pale and gorgeously muscled and so long he lost himself staring at them. He couldn’t recall the last time he’d seen so much of a woman. The expanse of alabaster skin was positively enthralling.
Tessa cleared her throat.
He picked his head up to meet her gaze, hoping he hadn’t inadvertently drooled on himself. Her hair was bound in a messy knot atop her head and her face was scrubbed clean, leaving her cheeks pink. She looked like a wild creature. A forest nymph. He wasn’t sure he’d ever seen a woman more beautiful.
“Hello,” he whispered.
Only as the word left his mouth did he realize how inane he must sound.
She smiled. “Hi,” she whispered back. She tugged at the shirt’s hem, trying to lengthen it and failing. “It’s a little short, but it will do.”
“It looks good on you. I’ve never seen a woman in my clothes before.” It was infinitely more arousing than he’d imagined.
“Really? Is that why your eyes are glowing? I know it’s a vampire thing, and I can sense that it’s strong emotion, but I can’t quite pinpoint what emotion it is specifically. It’s almost like your vampire reaction fogs up my ability to read you a little.”
It was overwhelming desire, but he wasn’t interested in sharing that. But then, he didn’t have to share what he was feeling for her to know, did he? She had to been sensing some of what he was feeling. He turned away, using the prepping of his makeshift bed as an excuse to hide his chagrin. “It’s not always voluntary, but one can learn to control it.”
He heard rustling and glanced over his shoulder to see her climbing into his bed. It was a traditional tall bed with a heavy wood frame, and as she maneuvered under the thick down comforter, he caught a glimpse of the white cotton underwear that covered her firm backside. White cotton. Of course that’s what she would wear. It was practical and unadorned and perfect. His throat went dry.
If his eyes had been glowing before, they must be positively on fire now. He forced his head around. How was he going to spend the entire night in the same room with her? Already her soapy-clean fragrance permeated the space and in such quiet, listening to the rhythm of her beating heart was its own kind of seduction.
He closed his eyes. The image of her cotton-clad backside peeking out from under his pajama shirt appeared. He opened them back up again.
She sighed. “I wish I had my book.”
He risked a look at her again. Thankfully, this time she was under the covers. “I could run down to the library and get you something. Or there’s a copy of Forbes on the nightstand, but I don’t imagine that would hold much interest for you.” Or he could crawl in bed next to her and give her something else to do besides read.
She squinted at him. “Your eyes glow a lot.”
He forced himself to get control. “It’s all the…stress.” That was the best he could do.
“I’ll skip the magazine. I’m plenty tired and have to be up early, so it’s just as well.”
He nodded. “I’ll get the lights then.”
He strode across to the switch and turned them off, but enough moonlight snuck through the curtains for his vampire eyes to see the room as though nothing had changed. She watched him from bed, probably unaware just how well he could see her. “Good night, Tessa.”
“Good night, Sebastian.”
He slid beneath the blanket and settled in, throwing one arm behind his head. From the way he was positioned, he could see her perfectly. In his bed. He couldn’t stop watching.
She closed her eyes and turned onto her side, her face away from him. If he lay behind her, she would mold to his body seamlessly. Spooning, they called that now. He barely remembered what it felt like to hold a woman that close.
His body ached with need to the point that physical pain bloomed in his chest. Finally, he twisted away, made himself close his eyes, and prayed for sleep.
It was the only way he was going to stay out of that bed.
Tessa stared at the wall, or what she could see of it. Valkyrie sight was good, but not as sharp as a vampire’s eyes. Close, though, and the moonlight trickling in helped. She took a deep breath, then let it out slowly, trying to cleanse the emotions of the evening so that sleep was a possibility.