“Drink, child.”

Lord Niall’s voice is gentle, yet insistent.  The heavy golden goblet pressed in my hand, cold, yet inviting.  I do not take the time to consider the wealth of jewels crusting its stem.  I simply gulp the elixir he offers.  The míruvórë is sweet, like honey on my tongue, the delicate scent of gardenias and amber seeping through my senses, dulling them, easing my way for things to come.  Moments pass . . . minutes? . . . hours?  A hand touches my arm, and suddenly I am gone.  The old white farmhouse on Hummingbird Lane in Bon Temps is nothing more than a distant memory as my toes sink into thick, dewy moss and I blink and try to force my dimmed eyes to focus on this place.

This place.

This secret glen of a clandestine world.  Otherworld.  Tír na nÓg.  Isle of the Blessed.  Land of the Fey.

For a moment the elixir loses its hold on me.  Fear rolls down my spine until my toes clutch at the earth and panic sours my tongue.  The air is too clean, too pure, too real.  I gasp for breath, try not to hyperventilate, but he is there.  Kind words whispered in my ear, lyrical, a gentle chant of ease, a melodious croon that speaks to a part of my soul I can no longer deny.

“It is Beltaine,” Niall says reverently.  “The first time you will feel the call of the moon since taking of my essence.  Fear not child, we will see you through this night.”

This night.

I have been told about this night, instructed and warned of the pull and pleasures I will now need and receive on this blessed May Day – the first day of Fey Summer Season – the celebration of the full moon that rises closest to nearest the midpoint between the spring equinox and the summer solstice.

I sigh heavily.  My great-grandfather’s gift of fey essence was to save my life, but as I stand in this secret place, I am forever changed.  I am no longer a lowly human barmaid.  I am no longer a mortal with a strange ability and a mongralized touch of fairy blood in her veins.  I am part of a proud species of mystical creatures, descended of Lord Oberon himself.  I am a descendant of the King.  For the first time in my life, I am important.  I am a Princess, a Goddess . . . and this is real.

“Come, midnight approaches,” Maddox says firmly.

My panic returns.  Maddox has been my instructor these last months, telling me what will happen here this night, what will happen here twice each year on Beltaine and Samhain for the remainder of my life.  I have listened.  I have tried to comprehend, but everything is lost to me in this moment.  My feet falter, my steps drag.  I cannot force myself to enter the gate.

“Shhh . . . you will see,” Niall soothes.

The goblet finds its way back into my hand – cool, thick drops of míruvórë sloshing over the jeweled rim to trickle down my chin as I gulp.  The mystical ambrosia clutches my throat like iced fire, stealing my air when I go too fast.  I choke, and Maddox is forced to clap me on the back so I do not swoon.  Even as his hands work between my shoulders, I am being herded forward, forced through the twining arch of trees that looms overhead.  My legs are shaking, but my soul slowly slips into a state of compliance as we walk – Niall ahead, Maddox behind – then suddenly we are there, footsteps hushed by a carpet of lichen and Laurinquë carrying us through a secret doorway carved of solid stone.  I cannot resist tracing my fingers along the smooth sheen of sacred symbols that have been lovingly carved into the archways that linger overhead, cannot help but be awed by the scintillating jewels that wink at me until my eyes hurt.  I feel the entire world as I know it sliding away and then I am stepping out of the passageway and I am free again.

The air in my lungs turns to fire with my very first breath.  This sacred sanctuary looks as if a master’s landscape painting has suddenly come to life and stretched out before me in the most exquisite watercolor painting ever rendered.  I blink and stare, scarcely able to appreciate that my nervous pants are being rewarded with the heavy scent of flowers – and there are certainly flowers – thousands of them hanging in clusters from lush winding vines, and sprawling languidly over exotic towering trees.  Every imaginable color of an artist’s palette paints this massive circle of secrecy that was created for this very night, and I am in awe.

This temple has stood for millennia, a testament of time to the magnificent creatures I am here to claim my place among.  It is magnificent, and it is intimidating and I cannot help the wavering glance I pass over my shoulder.  The passageway has already closed.  There is nothing behind me now, but a solid wall of stone and  vegetation; a blockade of greenery decorated by tiny trumpet flowers whose little mouths gape at me.  I cannot tell if they mock me or if they sing my praises, but I know that I cannot turn back now.  I am trapped – and terrified.

A nudge to my back and the passage of a heartbeat, and I am standing before an altar of stone.  It is one of many glittering edifices in this place, exotic salacious statues designed specifically for the carnal satisfaction of each of the passages my body contains.  I shudder, but the elixer holds me firm.  My feet are rooted to the spot, yet my eyes wander, frantically searching for guidance.  Carved figures surround me: neriads, pixies, nixies and fauns peering down from their perches to see this simple blond human who has dared the arrogance to insert herself into their midst, mocking me with the purity of their wanton embraces even as they intend to watch the demise of my own.

My stomach rolls as fingers begin to caress my skin.  Brownies are attending to me, gently unclasping the golden broach at my shoulder, easing away the pristine white linen I was so carefully wrapped in after my bath in scented water and rose petals.  I am hardly aware as it slips away, and they silently disappear.  A dark cloud has just shifted and the moon stands high above me – exactly above me – shining a single silvery moonbeam onto my head and bathing me in it.  Its shimmering incandescence ripples through my body and I feel the call in my blood for the very first time, a raw animalistic hunger like a pacing tiger begging to be unleashed.

My head lolls back and I raise my face the very same way I have watched my great-grandfather do so many times before, and even as I watch the moonlight changes.  It is no longer a simple silvery light, but a lover’s touch – seeping into my skin like the most powerful aphrodisiac, thick tendrils of lust teasing me everywhere and nowhere, twining around my body, slithering across the slope of my shoulders and darting down my thighs to stiffen my body like a puppet whose strings are being drawn.  Goosebumps erupt over my now naked flesh.  My breasts go heavy.  My nipples harden and pearl.  A delicate diamond mist coats my skin in the sweet, slick dampness of need, and my body begs the breeze to return for another lick.

I gasp for breath; anticipating, waiting, wanting . . . demanding.

A secret whisper stirs my soul and my body seizes.  The cramp is bone deep, ferocious, like nothing I have ever felt before.  My groan splits the air.  My hands slam onto the table before me so I do not fall.  I am desperate to know what is happening to me, but I cannot form the words.  The elixir’s hold slips yet again.  Terror fills my heart as I glance around the sanctuary.  I no longer see statues with fixed smiles and blank gazes – I see them – a dozen or more living, breathing, blonde fey standing around this circle.  They are all men.  They are commanding warriors and intimidating guards and they are devoid of clothes save small white cloths that gird their middles.

They are going to fuck me.

A sob catches in my throat, and for a moment I overcome the lull of moonlight and míruvórë, positive if my body succumbs to what I have been told will happen here, my soul will forever be broken.  I have never spoken the words, but I am in love.  I am in love and though the very molecules of my being have undergone a change over the last months, my heart has not.  I have found my soul mate, and I know the pain of his betrayal will end me.

My fingers tear at the argent bits glittering in the stone before me – one of the very altars on which my body is to be sacrificed and sated – but the moon returns, violently shoving the clouds aside and asserting its dominance over this place, over this night, over me.  I have been told the pleasure I experience this night will transcend mortal existence.  Before this night ends, I will beg.  I will yearn and crave and rut and fuck.  From midnight to sunup, twice each year I will cease to be anything more than what the Gods intend me to be.  I will be a woman.  I will be an animal.

My knees go weak.  My throat parches, and the first stoke of midnight rolls through me like the tremble of an earthquake.  My lids fall to half mast and I would swear the very ground beneath me is shifting as my hips sway.  I hear the toll of the clock again, then again.  My body is going numb, my limbs cold, yet the moonlight is steadily stroking my skin, mapping the planes of my being and staking its claim.  With the fourth and fifth peals, the thick scent of sandalwood and rain surrounds me and my belly tightens as lurid tingles begin to tease.  With the sixth, my spine goes soft, and when the clock strokes itself for the seventh time, my body begins to moisten and plump.

The stroke of eight, and the breeze returns, clever fingers of air stroking me, forcing my legs apart as they smooth their way inside.  The stroke of nine, and the clips in my hair flutter to the ground, releasing anxious curls that rasp over the peaks of my nipples until I squirm.  The stroke of ten, and a tiny moan escapes me, the breeze possessive and demanding as it pushes me now.  My body has gone slick, unable to resist the erotic touch of nature preparing it for things to come, and my thick groan competes with the eleventh toll of the clock.  My hips rock forward, a languid motion I cannot control that brings contact with the stone surface in front of me.  It is warm, almost liquid in its smoothness, a foreign tongue set at the perfect height that licks me exactly where I need to be licked.

The final stroke of midnight sounds.

Dread and disgust shrivel to dust as sprays of opalescent dewdrops float from the sky.  I see chaotic wisps of lightning sparkle and prance.  I hear the roll and pitch of chanting voices, urgent hypnotic whispers that suck and knead my soul into compliance.  A swarm of shimmering fireflies surrounds me with light as they dip and spin, yet I ache with emptiness.  I throb and twitch.  A trickle eases down the inside of my leg, need matches the fleeing cadence of my heart, and no amount of self-control can suppress the feral growl that creeps from my lips.  It is everything I have been told and so very much more.  I do yearn.  I lust.  I want and I wonder . . . which of these foreign watchers will violate my heart and sate the salacious fire that now poisons my veins?

My entire body is blushed taut when Niall speaks again.  His voice caresses the wind, but my senses are too dulled to comprehend the words.  The ground beneath my feet is spongy and soft and my hips continue to sway to some private melody, a strange ménage of self satisfaction that slides the vulnerable cradle of my body against the stone slab in a blatant imitation of what I truly want.  My gaze is clouded with a thick mix of fog and lust yet for a heartbeat, hysteria battles reason as I watch the fey men step closer.  My heartbeat roars in my ears, and everything slows to a crawl, yet with each passing blink a man is joined by his mate and they slowly disappear, fading two by two until there are none left, save me and Maddox and my great-grandfather.  Their gaze is focused behind me, and I feel a frightening wash of vulnerability.

It is time for me to be joined with my mate for this night.

I have agreed to participate in this, yet the sound of approaching footfalls crushes me in slow motion.  I know I will never find pleasure at the hand of another man, and everything in me rebels.  My hands clench into fists, and the air leaves me in a vicious puff when I feel the hair being eased away from the nape of my neck.  This is wrong.  Everything about this is wrong, and a single tear splashes down my cheek; a pregnant drop of shame that threatens to drown me as the scream builds, but just as my lips part to release it, his mouth is at my ear.  “Shhhh, Sookie . . . surely you did not think I would see you bear this alone?”

The cool familiarity of that voice is my undoing.  I crumple and fall back on my heels, only to find myself enveloped in a strong naked embrace.  My disbelieving eyes lift to meet those of my great-grandfather and he smiles at me, his expression one of odd admiration and understanding.  “Blood of my blood, this is my gift to you.  The vampire loves you, and you him, so you will share this sacred night together and every other that comes to pass.  I am proud of you, and I welcome you to your rightful place among the fey.”  His gaze shifts.  “Take care with her, Eric.  I shall return just before sunrise.”

In the space of a heartbeat, both he and Maddox are gone, and I am positive this is a dream as I turn to face my lover.  Six and a half feet of primal male and powerful muscles stands before me, and I can do nothing more than stare transfixed as the sultry night air wraps itself around us, loving arms of the first summer’s night playing in the long pieces of his hair to send them skittering across my face.  They dance against my skin like a thousand tiny fingers, and I reach up and brush them away and suddenly I am touching his lips, caressing them wantonly until they part and he begins to suckle my fingertips, teasing them with the slowest little flicks of his tongue.

Gentle hands that at first seemed cool are now sinfully hot, luring my body until I melt against him like soft serve in summer sun and that tongue is testing my bottom lip to see if I will relent and allow it inside, and I do.  I invite his entire body to join in this increasingly brazen display of need as scandalous palms pool under the curve of my ass and his hands spread wide to stake their claim.  He drinks from my lips and tastes my breath; a kiss that lasts forever and sates my senses until I fear I will smother before my own gasp breaks it.

The tantalizing scent of my own arousal has deepened, demanding he respond . . . and he does.  His hands rake up my ribs to gather my generous breasts and shove them high, presenting them to his mouth like a gift.  I groan.  My stiff buds reach for him, beg him to taste, and greedy lips claim their prize.  He nuzzles into my creamy mounds to suckle me hard.  One of his thighs nestles between my own, and I clamp my leg around it.  I bury my hands in his hair and squeal and fight to drag him closer, but he refuses to stop and linger in any one spot.  The lush wetness of his mouth dances and swirls and sucks and swallows until my whimpers and writhing grow frantic.

Deep inside, a throb now beats between my legs with every pump of my heart and combined with the lure of the moon, it is more than I can bear.  I push him away even as a delicious molten streak of lust rips through my flesh.  I cling to the altar and pant and stare and Eric does the unthinkable.  He kneels before me like a supplicant, yet I am the one who is helpless as his eyes dribble down the length of me.

“Has a man ever tasted you?” he whispers, demonstrating the possibilities by flicking wet pink over an impatient fang.  “Tongued you nice and deep?”

The universe spins as his words percolate through me.  Were I nestled safely back in my simple white farmhouse, I would be mortified by his bluntness.  I would blush in embarrassment, smile my stupid smile, giggle and look away.  In this place, I do not look away.  I stand before him like an effeminate God, flaunting my arousal and nudity to the mystical spirits and statues that surround me, even as I shake my head and confirm that he would be the first.  His eyes ignite with a greedy possession I have never seen.  They are crisp and blue, like some exotic lagoon that can only be found with secret maps that lead to the ends of the earth, and with every thorough glance I feel their grasp.  They slide down my body like an ocean tide, lingering tendrils of sun-warmed decadence seeping down the curve of my spine and splattering across my thighs. I know that he will mark me this night.  Eric Northman will use my flesh and drink my blood and he will fuck me until his scent mingles with mine and every creature who ever looks at me again will know that I belong to him.

A raw sound of need escapes me at the very thought, but he does not move.  He sees the delicate tremble of my hands as they clutch the blanket of golden elanor that swaddles the stone pedestals behind me.  “Fear nothing, my lover,” he murmurs soothingly.  “Niall has told me everything about this place and this night.  I will do nothing that you do not willingly accept, but I do promise before the sun rises again, I will bring you more pleasure than you have ever known.”

My eyes drift to the thick column of pale flesh standing proud between his knees, yet even when I lick my lips, he remains still.

“Touch yourself,” he orders in a thick, low purr.  “Show me what you want.”

The elixir swirls heavy through my senses and my own obedience startles me as I do exactly what he asks.  Of its own accord, one of my hands smooths upward to knead my breast.  I pluck my nipple and feather my thumb back and forth until I sigh in spite of myself.  My hips return to their languid dance, and I find my other hand releasing its hold on the woodsy stems of plant vines to gently furrow through damp blonde ringlets.  It is every dark secret I have harbored in the privacy of the night as I part myself wide and welcome the kiss of cool air on my core but I feel no shame.  The power of the moon possesses me, and I shudder and squirm and suddenly he is there, a halo of golden promises between my knees as firm hands force my legs wider apart.  My elbows catch the rim of the stone and keep me upright as he licks the wet declaration of my need from the inside of my thigh and then his mouth is on me, fluttering teases that shimmer with liquid heat and threaten to melt my very bones.

I jerk at the first solid stroke of his tongue, but with the second, my hands seize his scalp and beg him to continue.  There are many things a creature of the night can learn in a thousand year lifetime, and I believe Eric intends to teach me all of them as ten fingers, two lips and one tongue work in unison to brazenly scorch a trail of temptation to my very soul.  I meet every twist of his lips with a scandalous thrust of my hips, thrilling in the bite of his fingers as they clutch my ass and force me to take everything he can offer.  Soon one of my legs is draped over his shoulder and he is nursing mewls of pleasure from me like a hungry constrictor relishing its prey.  The orgasm is on me before I can think to resist.  My head thrashes back and forth.  The world collapses around me, but even as my muscles seem determined to rend my very bones apart, I would swear the statues are smiling at me.

“Sookie, you are so perfect,” Eric praises as he lifts me, sliding me across the silky surface of the altar, filling me, fucking me even as I continue to convulse.  Desire burns wild, and we spiral into a molten ache of action and reaction.  His arms hook beneath my knees, adjusting me until I am gaped to his touch and he is plunging into me so deep bone meets bone.  My hair licks my nipples. My breasts dance in rhythm.  He worships me with every wild lunge and retreat, and soon our cries intertwine, competing with the gentle serenade of night sounds that urge us on.  His touch is now my addiction, a living intoxicant more powerful than any forbidden elixir, one forbidden taste enough to corrupt me forever.  I am now so completely submerged in the essence of this man that I love, my flesh burns.  My veins sear.  He is over me, in me, devouring my mouth and dominating my body until my heart races like that of a caged bird.

Just when I am positive I can take no more, fingers guided by countless centuries of experience find their way to the junction of our bodies.  “Give yourself to me, Sookie,” he demands.  He slams into me as deep as he can possibly go.  The moon burns brighter than the sun.  He rubs . . . once . . . twice.

A primal retch of satisfaction is torn from the depths of my soul.  We explode together.  Our combined screams of pleasure are an exhalation, a joyful benediction to this gift we have been given, and for the first time in my life I begin to understand what it is like to truly experience pleasure.  There are no words to describe the joy that pierces my soul, yet even as Eric cradles me tight to his chest and the tremors continue to shake me, the moon still hangs high in the sky.  This night is far from over.  The heat in my veins will not be sated until I have completed every step of this ritual, and that includes taking the taste of a man across my tongue.

“Eric,” I mumble uncertainly, but his finger is there instantly hushing me.

“Do not apologize for your inexperience,” he soothes gently.  “There is nothing you could do that would not please me.”

His confident words rally the elixir within me, and soon I am on my feet, clasping his hand in my own as I guide him across the arena.  There, across a delicate arched bridge smothered in thick aromatic tufts of niphredil, looms the massive carved form of a nether dragon.  His proud obsidian head is raised to the sky in worship of the stars even as a thick, forked tongue tests the air and his massive wings swoop to the ground.  It is down this curved cobblestone path that nestles against the plump curve of his tail that my feet are now dutifully leading, and then we are there – the second altar.

A trickle of water sings to the night, and a trio of watchful maenads boasts their jeweled trappings to arched niches cradling vases of silver and gold as my toes somehow find there way into one carved foothold after another.  Eric is close by my side and soon we are perched in the protective embrace of this massive creature’s wing.  The sacred black stone is worn to a smooth sheen, soft and warm as the very downy feathers it had been etched to resemble.  My fingers reverently trace the grooves, and I cannot help but wonder how many other fey have sought to sate themselves here.  My eyes return to the sky, yet even as I find myself incapable of believing this is real, I am stirred by the insatiable need to join them.

Eric presses the thick stem of a goblet into my hand, but I am not certain I need another dose of this mystical míruvórë.  My control is lost.  I feel the moon’s magic in every cell of my body, and I wear the damp smears that decorate my thighs with pride.  They are a proud testament of this sensual creature I have become.  I am like a seed in parched soil that had never been tended, now hot and wet, blooming for the very first time.

“Lay back – now.”

My words split the air like a whip, and even Eric is surprised by my aggression as I shove him to the stone.  Now it is my turn to grasp his legs and force them apart, and I do.  I eagerly plant my knees in ancient indentations worn here by the women who have gone before me.  I raise the goblet to my lips and I drink, but I do not set it aside.  I tilt my hand and wonder if my eyes will bleed from rapture as rivers of míruvórë stream over his skin.  I paint his chest, drooling the thick honeyed drops down the roped muscles of his torso, following the enticing thatch of blond hair until I am coating that thick column of flesh.  I do not know where this knowledge comes from, but everything I have ever wanted is now sprawled out before me, passive, pliant and moaning in approval, so I sink into a sea of fermented grapes and man and I feast.

“Sookie, watch me,” he growls in a hoarse whisper.  “I want you to see how much you please me.”

And I do please him.  I slide my hands through that slippery decadence to torment his taut nipples, and suck him as deep into the heated torture of my mouth as I can in one single fluid motion.

““Sookie . . .”

My groan of satisfaction matches the startled gasp I wring from his lips, and I greedily welcome the snap of Eric’s hips as he grasps my face and begins to fuck my mouth.  I feather him with swirling strokes of my tongue.  I lick.  I suck, and I swallow every lustful glint that pours through those oceanic eyes.  I drink in his smell and his taste, and I milk him until the growls of pleasure rumbling deep in his chest morph into a primeval purr and his fangs cut his own lips as he watches me and fights for control.

Even then I do not stop.

My pace of pleasure is relentless until blood trickles down his chin and Eric teeters on the edge of control.  I claim each twitch as his shaft swells.  I demand every thought as his legs brace wider.  Soon his back arches, and my name is seeping from his mouth as he begs me to finish him with my own.

“Sookie . . .”

He comes with a violent, agonized shout and every muscle in his body seizes taut.  It is a power over another creature like none I have ever felt and even as his face twists and he shudders and bucks, I am demanding more.  I refuse to relent even as my own need builds, but then he is dragging me up his body, drinking the taste of his pleasure from my lips as if it is the finest wine while working me with his hand until I am falling over that precipice yet again in a fit of ecstasy.

I do not know how long we lay twined within the grasp of the dragon’s wing, but the musky scent of our combined pleasure is nearly enough to drive me insane and the moon refuses me rest.  My body is tired and used, but not sated, and I willingly take Eric’s hand when he rises and gently guides me down from our lofty perch of pleasure.  I have decided that he will chose the place for this one final joining, and I note little more than the passage of ground beneath my feet as I follow him down a cobblestone path.  Golden elanor squishes between my toes and the tinkling sound of falling water grows louder, then we abruptly come to a stop.

His hand is gentle as he tips my chin, and my slumberous gaze can scarcely take in the beauty of this secret alcove he has chosen.  A sparkling silver waterfall dances down a river of diamonds, every cerulean drop throwing a tiny rainbow as it sluices over the statuesque form of a glowing white marble Neriad.  Water streaks over perfect mounded breasts, before the curved sections of her tail divide them to end with a melodic tinkle and splash of foam in the cache basin below.  Even as I watch, passion thickens my tongue, making it heavy against lips suddenly frozen by unspoken words of hesitation, yet he is there, cradling me from behind as our bodies begin to sway in time with the tiny waves that skitter across the catch basin like rambunctious puppies.

I am lost to this moment, lost to the moon and the lick of the breeze that returns to soothe my heated skin, and I am lost to this man that I love that is going to take me to a place I have never been before.  His arms hold me reverently as we sway side to side, but soon his hands begin to move.  The exploration is gentle, the silken caress of his skin coaxing me to relax, joining the slowest little flicks of his tongue to lure my body into accepting the slow glide of his tongue and this final sharing of flesh.  I know his intentions when he shifts me in his grasp, turning me so that we are now front to back and he cradles me from behind.  I can feel the powerful muscles of his thighs as they brush against the backs of mine, revel in the gentle rasp of his hairs as they brush my skin.  I feel the strength of his need and my own as he hardens yet again.  One hand finds its way to nestle in the crevice between my breasts, then slowly his fingers are stretching wide and taking hold, cupping me in his hand as he begin to toy with the sensitive thrust of my nipple.  Our swaying never shifts as the other slides over the smooth planes of my stomach, testing the dampness of my curls before settling itself into a teasing touch.

With every rock I can feel the tension within me grow.  My lungs contract.  My hands find their way around him, trying to pull him even closer.  He obliges with a dip of his knees that settles his shaft within the crevice of my backside, but even then our motion continues.  His grasp on my body never loosens as he shifts our gentle gyration from a side to side sway to a back and forth rock.  My body goes into sensory overload with the first drag of his flesh over the sensitive ruck of my bottom, but Eric is gentle and persistent, continuing to lure me with every cool, coordinated stroke.  The breeze has now erupted and assists in this game, and soon with every slide I feel as if Eric has returned to his knees before me.  I can feel the tendrils of air smoothing up my thighs even as his fingers continue to knead and pinch and pull and prod.

Soon my breath is coming in short pants, and my fingernails are scoring his thighs where I am fighting to do something, but what I do not know.  He does know, and when my head lolls into the welcoming curve of his neck, his mouth is at my ear.  “Put your hands on mine,” he whispers.  “Touch your breasts as you did before.”

I instantly obey, giving his thighs a reluctant parting caress before sliding them up to cup my own flesh.  His voice is sanded velvet in my ear as he instructs me, interspersing simple encouraging words with flowing foreign endearments.  I pluck, and I pull, and I roll as he continues his relentless languid strokes.  Soon that mischievous free hand reveals itself and I feel warm oil being poured down my back, smoothing its way into the glide of our bodies.  His purposeful rocking welcomes it, takes it and puts it where he needs it to be, carefully oiling the gentle slope of my rear cleft even as his lips and teeth distract me, nipping little red marks all along my shoulders so he can go back and soothe them with his tongue.

The moon now hangs low on her perch, her call stronger than anything I have ever felt before.  In the distance a ring of majestic snow capped mountains flaunts their showy brilliance, accompanied by an entire collection of sparkling silver waterfalls flinging themselves down the sides with wild abandon, scintillating in the moonlight and tossing rainbows into the air at regular intervals.  And here surrounding us the air hands heavy with moisture as mist from the plummeting spring bathes us, leaving our hair in damp ringlets as an entire collection of multi-colored bird and butterflies gathers to watch, creating a parade of color as they decorate the nearby boulders and bushes.  Delicate songs sung by tiny, feathered beasts serenade our swaying, as if this Isle of the Blessed rejoices in our very presence, holding her breath as we drink in the magic of this place.

I am drunk and my pulse now thumps erratically.  I feel my body plumping with a begging lust I cannot deny.  I grit my teeth.  I crave relief.  “Eric,” I groan.  “I need.”

“Shhhhh . . .” he soothes, but even as the sigh leaves his lips his motions change.

My hair is now carefully draped over one shoulder, baring my neck to his fangs.  His fingers become more insistent, and the strength of his surges begins to lift me off my feet.  “Do not stop teasing yourself,” he orders, and I obey.

I obey even when I feel his hand begin to creep between us, and a searching finger find its way between my buttocks.  I obey when I am positive the teasing flutter of his touch over my clit will make me scream, and soon his name is pouring from my lips, yet I do not stop even when his hand shifts and I cry out in shock and prurient thrill as his finger breaches me.  My sobbed gasp is captured by the wind and swallowed whole, even as Eric begins to work me with frightening experience.  The thrust of his hips against me now rocks me to and fro, alternately marrying my flesh with his fingers, two in front and one in back.  I cannot even close my eyes the sensations run so deep, so I stare transfixed at the straining nipples of the statue in front of me even as I continue to molest my own. My knees are growing increasingly weak as the fire within me builds, but when Eric increases his torment and a second finger begins to stretch me, raw need boils through my very soul.

He is touching a part of me I have never offered to another, and soon the emotion becomes too great.  My knees fold and he catches me as we slip to the ground together with my thighs spread wide over his.  Through it all, the rhythmic thrust of his hips and hands never ends and I find myself wishing this night could last forever.

“Trust me,” he whispers, and I do.

I willingly allow him to bend me over and settle his mouth at the nape of my neck as he prepares to bite me.  I gap my legs and surrender my entire body to him at once and beg for something I have never yearned for in all my life . . . and then I scream.  My body goes into sensory overload in under a millisecond as Eric Northman takes complete possession of me in one fell swoop, demanding everything I own in mind, body and soul.  His carnal puncture fills me beyond the limits of what I am positive my mortal flesh can endure even as it is met with an equally aggressive shove of fingers between my thighs and I am racked by the unexpected sensation of two piercing points of pain as he buries his fangs at long last in my jugular vein.  He caresses every nerve from my nose to my toes, and every hair on my body stands on end as he take that first draw and strokes into me at the very same time.  My body is stretched until my eyes glaze over in physical epiphany and I go boneless beneath him as he nurses the very life from my veins.

I hear the distant chants as they reach a crescendo, commanding the power of Tír na nÓg herself to coalesce around us, and she responds.  Thousands of sparks explode around us, streaming toward the sky as a twinkling cage of magic suspends existence itself.  The honesty of my voice is the only thing I have to offer as my flesh weeps, and he greedily accepts everything that I offer, drinking the sweet heat of my flesh as if I am delicious one crimson drop at a time.

“Oh . . . Oh, Christ,” I breathe out, but even a name as reverent as that brings no justice to the things I feel as all lucid thought ceases and discomfort is instantly replaced with one crashing wave of pleasure after another.  Desire hammers through me, and my hands clutch great handfuls of moss and dirt as he presses my face to the ground and fucks me as he has in my dreams, filling me with one long, slow glide after another even as his fingers plague me relentlessly from the front.  His growls are rich with lusty approval, primitive snarls of possession meeting every slap of flesh as he rides me without mercy and stamps me as his own from the inside out.

Like a rock being thrown through a plate glass window, pleasure finds me for the last time, jagged edges tearing away the tethers that bind the last recesses of my mortal soul.  Every fragment of pleasure Eric offered me is amplified a thousand fold, a violent tidal wave of pure carnal gratification that pounds me to the ground with enough strength to nearly shatter my bones.

“I love you.”

The sobbed confession is the only statement powerful enough for this moment, and I am not even aware it has crossed my lips until I hear the familiar voice that responds.

“And I love you, Sookie.”

Only Eric is not speaking out loud.  For the first time in my existence I hear the thoughts of a vampire – my vampire – in my mind, and I can only sob in joy and awe as he scoops me into his arms.  Eric takes me into the nearest pool and begins to dry my streaming tears and gently wash me, and with every stroke of his hands he is speaking to me, beautiful, silent murmurs floating through my head.

I see the glimpse of my great-grandfather’s beaming face as he returns.  I look up to the moon.  I smile.

Tonight, on my first Beltaine, I have experienced everything that I was promised and so very much more.  I have learned what true pleasure is.  I have learned to trust and to give of myself in ways I did not think possible – and I have not simply been given the precious gift of an immortal life, I have been given the greatest gift of all – the man I love.

I am Sookie Stackhouse, Fey Princess, Mistress of the Moon and Courtesan to the Dead.  I belong to Eric Northman, and he belongs to me, and when six months have passed and Samhain is upon us, if you listen closely, you will hear the call of the moon . . . and you will hear me roar again.




1 Comment

One thought on “Beltaine

  1. I can totally see why this won that award! So hot and sexy. A well deserved win.

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