She arched against me, allowing the silky cloth of her dress to slide against my skin. I swallowed hard, turning my face from her, burying my head in that wild mass of hair. She rubbed up and down my arms, molding her fingers over my muscle - a furtively sexual act imperceptible to a casual observer, I knew, less she would not have done it. My hands clenched into fists by my side, my fingernails digging half moons into my palms. She brushed her lips across the stubble of my beard on my cheek, rasping her tender flesh against the coarseness of mine. I felt her smile, the fleeting whisper of her lips molding against my skin. She laughed silently at me. I knew it, knew that she found me amusing. Inane. I was.

"Do you want me?" she whispered in that infuriatingly enticing, cultured voice, drawing one claw-tipped finger down my cheek.

That voice. So seductive. So cruel. My eyes slid shut helplessly, my body shuddering. I could not help how I felt, how I reacted around her. How I thought of her, only of her, an incessant cycle. I hated it. Hated her.

"Answer me." Her voice cracked over me like a whip, a leash round my tongue forcing me to speak.

"Yes." My voice croaked out the words, parting with them despondently.

She laughed aloud at that, a throaty purr of pure, feminine pleasure. She delighted in her power over me. I could feel her cat-like satisfaction thick against my skin, coating me. It was all a game to her. I knew this. Still I refused to look at her, instead staring down at the tawny locks of her hair. I knew that she was gazing at me. I felt her eyes upon my skin, burning through my flesh. I knew that she contemplated ordering me to look at her. And I knew that she would not. In her mind, if she ordered me to look at her, she would have lost. She would have reverted to using her power. It was a game. In that lay my sanctuary, for if I gazed upon that heartbreaking face this moment, I would lose all control. And then she would have me killed.