She was blushing. He wanted to laugh, as he watched the red flush creep down her neck, to her perfect breasts. But he wisely decided to contain his amusement, and merely brushed his hand along her blistered skin. His whole body was singing with elation at being this close, and yet screaming for relief as the pain of his wait began to grow.

He shook his head, forcing all thoughts of future pleasures from his mind. Now she needed healing, not his need. "You shouldn't have run, Amante. You should have waited for me if you needed exercise so badly."

She stiffened, tilting her head up as she allowed him to continue his ministrations. She was trying desperately to ignore her body, the way his touch made things melt and pool deep within her. "I need neither your permission nor your company."

He cupped her chin, letting his lips rest against her cheek while he breathed a healing warmth across her face. "I think you do. You have a nasty habit of letting yourself get hurt."

She jerked away from him, sighing as the tightness of her skin relaxed. She was even starting to see again. "If I do, it is only because you force me to such measures." She ducked under the water, allowing the heat of the water to comfort her before coming up for air. "And you had no right to do as you did. I refuse your life."

Micah laughed, pulling her to him. "I had every right. We are bound, soul to soul, and I am determined for you to be of my blood. I will not go through eternity alone. I will not." He gently combed his fingers through her hair, marveling at the texture and silken softness. "You cannot know what that was like, Dawn. Each night waking up alone, feeling a hunger that cannot be sated without your other half there to anchor you. You've had what, eighteen years? I've had thousands. I do not want that to continue. For your sake, I can slow your transformation. But the time will come when I will not allow you to age further, and you will stay by my side."

She shivered in his arms, feeling his conviction go straight to her heart. Part of her was angry, but she could feel his loneliness. It tugged at her heart, made her want to throw her arms around him. "When that time comes, perhaps I will be more amenable. But this is too much too soon, Micah. Surely you can see that? I'm not of your world… I don't think I could be right now. I need… time."

He tightened his arms around her for a moment. "Time I can give. Not much… but enough."

Dawn shrugged. "Well, then we are going to have rules. I don't know what you were raised in, but civilized society demands clothing. No more being naked around me." She was blushing furiously now, and he could not contain the laughter in his soul.