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sweet dreams

Anita lets Jean-Claude visit her in her dreams to spice up a rather dull business trip.
Rated R
Disclaimer: The Anitaverse and all within belong to author Laurell K. Hamilton.  This fic is for entertainment purposes only and no profit will be made.


Every once in awhile, it's nice to break away from the day to day routine, get out of town for a few days, and take in some new scenery.

So when I first received the invitation to speak on the preternatural at a law enforcement conference in Chicago, I readily agreed. It sounded ideal: all expenses paid, five days and six nights in a four star hotel in the heart of the windy city. The conference center was right inside the hotel itself and I was within walking distance of several upscale restaurants, museums, and shops. There was a Benninger's just across the street that served the best carrot cake I'd ever had, and their coffee was to die for.

The first two days swept past in a whirl of conference preparations and activities, but by the third day, I was already feeling as though I had done and seen all that I wanted to of Chicago and was ready to go home.

Unfortunately, my last lecture was scheduled for the final day of the conference, so I was stuck here another two days and three nights.

I had brought Nathaniel with me, not only for the obvious reasons, but for some sort of companionship after hours. Damian had assured me he would suffer no ill effects in my absence considering I was actually only a few hours away and only going to be gone for the week, so I left him behind. Since I was here on police business, I didn't need a full entourage with me for a change--which also seemed like a nifty prospect at first, but being away, and out of touch with the day to day goings-on back home, left me feeling out of the loop, so to speak.

I found myself calling Micah twice a day, just to make sure everything hadn't fallen apart in my absence. Although he consistently assured me it hadn't each time I called, I knew from experience the shit could hit the fan as soon as I hung up the phone.

It was late now, past midnight and Nathaniel had drifted off to sleep on the loveseat in front of the T.V. After playing the tourist all day while I was at the conference, my pomme de sang wereleopard had crashed right after supper and hadn't stirred since.

I left him there on the loveseat, spreading a spare blanket over him, and retreated into the bedroom to get undressed.

I was tired, but restless and not particularly sleepy. I changed into one of my oversized tee-shirts and crawled into bed with a heavy sigh.

For the longest time, I lay there, thinking all sorts of odd things, my mind refusing to shut down. I changed positions a few times, beating up my pillow mercilessly each time I did. I glanced at the clock on the bedside table, but my eyes gravitated towards the phone.

I thought about calling Micah again, but I had already spoken to him this morning, and earlier this evening, and was sure I'd only exasperate him if he heard from me a third time. I wasn't really worried, I just wanted to touch base back home and talk to someone for awhile.

Gnawing my lower lip in indecision, I placed my hand on the receiver. Finally, I snatched it up, squinting at the numbers in the dark, and punched in Jean-Claude's number at The Circus. I hadn't talked to him since before I had left. I was sure he wouldn't mind shooting the breeze with me for awhile.

After about four rings, he answered--but not in person. I got his answering machine. Instead of being deterred, the sound of his voice, even recorded, made me all the more determined to connect with the real thing.

I tried Guilty Pleasures next, but he wasn't there either. Danse Macabre seemed to be the next likely place he'd be, but I struck out there as well.

Okay, if he wasn't at The Laughing Corpse, I guess I just wasn't gonna get to talk to him tonight. I made a mental note to speak with him about the benefits of procuring a cell phone in the near future.

As it was, Willie McCoy answered the phone. I'd recognize his peculiar dialect anywhere.

"Willie! Hi! It's Anita," I said, far too cheerfully for one o'clock in the morning. "Is Jean-Claude there by any chance?"

"Hey Anita!" Willie chimed back. "How's Chicago been treatin' ya?"

"Good," I answered automatically.

"How's the convention?"

"It's not a convention, really, Willie, it's a conference," I corrected him. "More of an educational thing. Look, is Jean-Claude there?"

"Oh, that's right. You're givin' speeches or something, right? Wow, Anita. You better watch out. Pretty soon you're gonna be famous!"

I sighed, pushing aside my impatience and twisting the phone cord around my finger. I liked Willie a lot, but I wanted Jean-Claude. "I think I already am in some circles. Listen, Willie, have you seen Jean-Claude tonight? Is he there? I've tried his other clubs but...."

"Yeah, sure, he's here," Willie proclaimed. "At least he was. I haven't seen 'im around recently. Hang on a sec, okay, Anita? Let me see if I can track 'im down for ya."

Before I could say anything in reply, I got put on hold and subjected to the most god-awful Spike Jones-like Musak interspersed with even worse jokes and one-liners. The funniest being a litany of vampires' bumper stickers. My favorites: 'I love humans...they're delicious!' and 'Blood banks keep banker's hours. We don't.' Which shows you the caliber of humor utilized by the performers at this club.

After about ten more minutes of this, I was about ready to hang up the phone, when, as if by divine intervention, the Musak snapped off and there was a slight pause filled with muffled voices and faint laughter before Jean-Claude's velvety voice filled my ear.

"Ca va, ma petite! How very good it is to hear from you tonight! I miss you terribly and can hardly wait for you to come home. Is everything all right? How is the conference going?"

Smiling ear to ear at his enthusiasm, I sank back against the pillow with a happy little sigh.

"Everything's fine," I assured him, reveling in the sound of his beautiful voice. "I miss you too. I'm ready to come home. I've got one more lecture Friday afternoon, then I'll be checking out Saturday morning and heading back."

"Saturday?" Jean-Claude repeated. "I was under the impression you were coming back tomorrow."

I didn't ask him where he had gotten that impression. I knew it hadn't been from me, but he sounded so endearingly disappointed, I felt compelled to apologize.

"I'm sorry. Saturday morning is as soon as I can leave."

"Well. That is not nearly soon enough to suit me, ma petite." He paused and sighed rather melodramatically. "I am so very lonesome for you."

I could almost picture those full, curvy lips of his pursing in an attractive pout and my mouth fairly ached to kiss it away. How sweet it would be to have him here right now, his long body tangled in the sheets, his pale complexion warmed and slightly flushed with passion. I sighed wistfully. Yeah, it didn't take much more than the sound of his voice to get me thinking about having sex with him. He was that damned sexy.

I snuggled down further under the blankets and stretched languidly. "Well, you know what they say...absence makes the heart grow fonder."

He laughed lightly and even over the phone, the sound of it made my skin tingle.

"Is that what they say?"

"Umm hmmm. They're very wise. Whoever they are."

Jean-Claude made a small noncommittal noise in his throat. "But my fondness for you has already filled my heart to overflowing. I don't think I can tolerate another night apart. My poor heart is liable is burst."

I grinned wickedly. "Laying it on a little thick, aren't we? It's only for a few more days," I scolded him, but was pleased as punch he was carrying on like this. Makes a girl feel truly appreciated.

"Non. It will be more than a few days," Jean-Claude countered. "I know you. You will be too busy once you get back--catching up on everything and getting settled in. It will be another week, at least, before I see you."

I shook my head. "No it won't. I guarantee it," I said determinedly. "Just think how nice our reunion will be. I hope you kept Saturday night open. I hope you didn't make any plans."

"Plans?" he said, then emitted a little hissing sound, as if he were exhaling through his teeth. "Oh, ma petite, I most certainly do have plans, and they all revolve around you. You need only come to me. Whatever night it may be."

"Mmmm. I like the sound of that," I whispered. "Tell me more." I ran my hand absently over my breast. "You wouldn't happen to be naked in any of these plans, would you?"

He chuckled deeply. "As a matter of fact, in most of them, I am. You are too." He paused and lowered his voice some. "Naked...and breathless and perspiring with desire."

Oh yeah. Now he was getting the idea. Closing my eyes, I pressed the phone closer to my ear and smoothed my hand over my stomach, down between my legs.

"Ooo, will you be breathless and perspiring too?" I said and sighed heavily into the phone. The mental image I got from that made my whole body clench. Jean-Claude was a looker standing around fully clothed, but he was absolutely stunning in the throes of passion.

"Without a doubt, ma petite," he purred thickly. "Since I intend to be right there beside you inciting such desire...."

I bit down on my lip and moaned softly as more X-rated mental images flooded my overactive imagination and my fingers teased my body.

Jean-Claude picked up on this, ever attentive to the slightest hint of sexual desire in someone, especially me. "Or perhaps you want me on top of you, or underneath you, or behind you." He paused for a moment, and when he spoke again, his smooth as liquid silk voice hinted his own arousal. "Are you touching yourself for me?"

"Mmm hmmm," I managed. "You know what I want."

Jean-Claude took a deep breath. "Shall I tell you what I want?"

"Yes," I demanded. "Tell me."

There was another small pause, then he began, launching into a soliloquy of erotic detail, pouring such sensuality into his voice, my entire body quivered with abject lust at the sound of it.

"I want to lick every last inch of your succulent skin...caress you with my lips until your body is aflame with desire. Then oh so slowly, I will part your lovely legs and savor the taste of your deep femininity on my tongue. I want to make sweet love to you with my mouth...and my hands...my body."

"Oh," I gasped, tightening my grip on the phone. "Yeah."

"I want to feel your heart beat against my chest when I wrap myself in your moist warmth. Hear you murmur and sigh with pleasure as...um, ma petite, may I put you on hold?"

My eyes popped open. I wasn't sure if I heard him correctly.

"As you put me on hold?"

"Only for a moment," he assured me. Then: "Wait. They're gone now. Where was I?"

I furrowed my brow. "Uh, you were wrapping yourself around my body," I prompted.

"Oh yes," he continued, then lowered his voice to a breathy whisper once more. "Can you feel me? How languidly I move over you? The way my hands stroke your sides? Can you taste my lips as I kiss you so very sweetly? But my body is burning for you now and my kiss becomes more passionate."

Jean-Claude moaned softly in my ear which made me flush with heat. The sensations he was conjuring with his voice, and the images he was playing in my mind, were bringing me ever closer to the cusp of gratification. God, I always knew he'd give good phone sex, and wondered why I had never thought to indulge in it with him before. As it was, his voice alone was like the most intimate of caresses. He could be reading a VCR manual to me right now, and I'd still be all hot and bothered.

"I will make you moan and tremble and scream for more," he continued. "And then..."

I heard a bit of a commotion over the line suddenly. People close by were laughing and talking. It sounded like there was a party going on over there and I heard Jean-Claude speaking, but it was muffled as if he had his hand over the phone. I knew he wasn't talking to me because he was saying something about a taxi service and barking some orders to Willie about hiring one.

I frowned at the rather untimely interruption and cleared my throat loudly to get Jean-Claude's attention again.

"And?" I prompted, impatiently.

"And?" Jean-Claude answered back, sounding surprised.

I sighed. "Yeah. Go on. And..."

He laughed again, that devilishly sinful-sounding laugh, that rolled over my body and tickled me in unmentionable places.

"Ma petite, I would love to...go on, but I am no longer at liberty to continue our little chat with such detail."

My frown deepened. "Oh. I take it you're not alone anymore."

He sighed. "Non. And it does not appear as though I will be again for some length of time," he informed me. "I am sorry, but I wasn't exactly anticipating the need for privacy when I accepted your call. I was on my way out, so I simply grabbed the closest phone. I thought you were merely calling to say hello and talk about the conference, or Chicago."

I sat up a little. "Where are you?"

"In the lobby," he said, rather apologetically.

My eyes widened and I blushed hotly at the thought he had been as explicit as he had in such an openly public place. For some reason, I had thought he was in his office. I took a deep breath and quashed my embarrassment and the urge to scold him for his lack of inhibition. But I'll admit, I was still pretty turned on by it all, and was reluctant to stop where we had just because the sudden influx of customer traffic was making him feel self-conscious.

"Well, can't you go someplace more private? Go to your office. I'll wait."

For a few moments, there was no response and I had to wonder if his business had once again captured his attention away from me. Just as I was about to clear my throat again, he answered me. His velvety voice all whispery and sultry again.

"You'll wait? Why, ma petite, you really do miss me, don't you?" He sounded rather amused and more than a little smug.

I did, but I hated to feed that hefty ego of his even that little crumb. "Yeah, I'll wait," I answered, intentionally sounding terribly put off by the prospect, even though I was the one who suggested waiting. Just for that, I was going to make him talk so dirty to me, he'd feel self-conscious even in the privacy of his office.

"I can return to my office if you'd like, but...if you let me," he began, carefully stressing the word 'let'. "I can give you something far more intimate and fulfilling while you sleep," he murmured.

I raised my brow. "A dream?"


I considered it. Jean-Claude hadn't come to me in my dreams in a long time. Partly because I didn't really like the idea of him climbing into my head and partly because I saw him enough in person, there really was no need for him to.

I knew when he used his power as an incubus on me, he could make my dreams so vivid, my mind was convinced what I was experiencing in the dream was real and my body reacted accordingly. It sounded risky, but it wasn't really. After all, it was all about sex. He could pleasure me in my dreams and feed off the lust and desire he invoked in my subconscious. Pretty much a win-win situation. In truth, it was the next best thing to actually making love to him and tonight, the idea appealed to me.

"All right," I readily agreed. "But nothing too far-fetched. Don't plop me in the middle of a Salvador Dali painting and expect me to be turned on."

Jean-Claude laughed lightly. "Non, ma petite. No surrealism. I promise. I will make it very romantic and very sweet."

"Not too sweet," I protested. "I want it hot. I want you super sexy, Jean-Claude."

He sighed, somewhat petulantly and I knew I had insulted him.

"Have I ever been anything less for you?" he asked somewhat curtly, confirming my suspicion.

I grinned. "No. No complaints in that department." I paused and licked my lips. "Well, I guess I'll let you go for now and try to get some sleep." I was still a little reluctant to hang up, despite what I knew awaited me in my dreams.

"Yes," he breathed into my ear, apparently appeased. "I will see you then. Bonsoir, ma petite. Sweet dreams."

I sighed and leaned over to replace the receiver. "Goodnight, Jean-Claude. I love you," I whispered.

"I love you too," he purred.

I heard the click of the disconnection as he hung up the phone and then the dial tone buzzed in my ear. I replaced the receiver and lay back down on the bed.


Sleep, sleep, sleep, I chanted to myself, forcing my eyes to stay close and my body to lie still.

I couldn't help glancing at the clock on the nightstand. It was after two now. I flopped over onto my stomach, smacking my pillow in frustration, screwing my eyes shut tight.

Time passed and I was no closer to slumber then when I had first laid down. Swearing, I threw off the covers and paced the floor at the foot of the bed aimlessly. Then I stalked into the parlor area where Nathaniel lay snoozing away on the little sofa, and flicked on the T.V.

I picked up Nathaniel's feet and squeezed onto the loveseat underneath them, laying them across my lap once I had settled in.

Flipping through the channels, I came across one of those classic movie stations running an old black and white film from the fifties. Turned out to be "From Here to Eternity". I didn't recognize it at first until it got to that famous make-out scene on the beach between Montgomery Cliff and Deborah Kerr. There they were, rolling around on the sand under the moonlight, the tide washing over their entwined bodies as they kissed and pawed each other in dire lust. It was a pretty torrid love-scene in its day, and the passion was convincing enough to be titillating even now. Even though the scene broke away before they got down to the nitty gritty part, you knew what you were allowed to see was a precursor to some pretty zesty lovemaking.

I sighed wistfully in spite of myself and closed my eyes, musing on what it would be like to have sex on a deserted, moon-drenched beach. I could just imagine lying naked in the soft sand, feeling the water pour over my skin, as the sound of the ocean filled my ears. It would be a very sensual experience, to say the least.

Nathaniel stirred and practically kicked me in the stomach, rousing me from my dozing. I stroked his feet absently to quiet him and caught my head lulling heavily to the side a couple of times.

Drowsy at last, I turned off the T.V., surrendered the loveseat back to my wereleopard, and stumbled drunken-like into the bedroom.

This time, no sooner had I put my head on the pillow, when I fell fast asleep.


I looked around me, instantly aware that I was no longer in my hotel suite back in Chicago. I was outside, but where exactly, I had no clue. The first thing I noticed was an enormous full moon which hung low in the sky above me surrounded by an array of faint, multi-colored stars. I glanced around again and realized I was standing on the shore of a rocky beach, painted in soft silver and bluish hues by the moonlight. I was facing a fog-shrouded and craggy cliff wall, beneath a lacey bordering of greenish-gray trees that quivered gently in the steady coastal breeze. I smiled.

"Gee, Toto, I don't think we're in Chicago anymore," I mumbled, which was more than fine with me.

Like some vast living entity breathing steadily in and out, I could hear the roar and crash of a tumultuous sea behind me, and turned around to face it.

I could see the water's undulating movement beneath the bright moon, its white-capped waves sparkling with the reflection of that single celestial light. The air around me was thick with warm humidity and I could feel the ocean mist on my skin and taste the salt from its spray on my lips. It was an exhilarating sensation for a land-locked midwesterner like myself.

I suddenly felt water rushing over my bare feet and looked down. I was standing ankle-deep in the tide as it stretched itself thinly over the powdery sand in its race to the shore. As the water retreated again, my toes sunk into the loosened sand with a warm, sucking feeling. I wiggled my feet free and moved farther up the beach, turning around a few times in a little impromptu dance of joy, kicking and splashing around in the water like a five year old in a mud puddle.

So, I was on a beach, in front of a roaring ocean, imagine that. I knew Jean-Claude must have taken a cue from the images my head was filled with from the movie I had been watching before I fell asleep. It made me wonder if he was going to show up wearing some tiny and tight bathing suit a' la Montgomery Cliff.

But then, I certainly wasn't dressed a' la Deborah Kerr. At first glance, it looked like I was wearing one of those ultra-feminine Victorian peignoirs: all billowy and frilly, diaphanous and brilliantly white. But on second glance, I realized there wasn't anything particularly Victorian about it. The hem hit me about mid-calf and the neckline plunged down below my sternum. The fabric itself was so sheer and light, it was completely see-through and needless to say, I could see I wasn't wearing anything underneath it either. No, no self-respecting Victorian woman would be caught dead in a get-up this risqué.

As it was, the slightly damp coastal breeze plastered the thin material to my breasts like a second skin and made my nipples as hard as pebbles with the sensation. I couldn't help feeling a little self-conscious, even though I knew this was all a dream and modesty had no place in it. Especially since I was about to be visited by a super slinky incubus vampire.

It was then, I saw him. As if conjured by my thoughts of him, Jean-Claude appeared, emerging from a deep pocket of black, misty shadows beneath a rocky overhang to my left. He stalked slowly towards me, wearing nothing but a pair of loose-fitting white pants that closely matched the translucency of my dress and tied around his svelte waist with a belt of plaited twine.

I know my jaw fell open the moment I laid eyes on him. As he stepped into the moonlight, its beams bathed his body in a silvery luminescence, giving his white skin a rather ethereal, spectral glow; his long hair danced around his bare shoulders in the wind like it was vibrantly alive; his dark eyes sparkled like faceted jewels, and there was a slight sheen of moisture on his full lips as if he had just licked them.

I actually had to swallow the excessive saliva pooling in my mouth before I could say anything so I wouldn't end up drooling on myself. Then I took a deep, steadying breath.

"Wow," I managed, unable to think of anything even remotely adequate to convey the impression he'd just made. "For me?"

Jean-Claude flashed an incredibly sexy smile and fixed his eyes on mine with fiendishly seductive gaze.

"For you, ma petite," he said breathily, his voice as dark and deep as the shimmering black water behind me.

I half-wanted to go to him at this point, but found I was enjoying watching him walk towards me far too much to shorten the distance he had to travel any. I even considered backing up a step or two, but I didn't want him to get the wrong impression and think I was discouraging him.

So I forced myself to stay put and took in every swivel and sway of those incredible hips of his. In anticipation of his arrival, I dug my toes into the warm, wet sand and gnawed my lower lip mercilessly. It was all I could do to keep myself from bowling him over and ripping his pants off.

When Jean-Claude drew up in front of me, he looked me over slowly, then up and down a few times as if trying to memorize what he was seeing or devour me with his eyes. He inhaled sharply through his teeth as he did and exhaled a little growl of lust in my ear.

"Oh, you are a vision of loveliness tonight, ma petite," he whispered. "A true portrait of beauty."

In lieu of the way he looked, I got the impression he was just being kind, but the heady weight of his adoring gaze made me drop my eyes and blush hotly at his flattery, as if he'd never complimented me before.

"Thanks," I murmured hesitantly in reply and leaned towards him slightly. "You look damn spiffy yourself."

Jean-Claude reached up and stroked the length of my neck with his fingertips, then dragged his hand across my collarbone as he slipped behind me and gathered me into his arms. I closed my eyes as he placed his cheek against mine, and rubbed his jaw over my face.

To my surprise, I felt the slightest bristle of beard stubble on my skin which sent a ripple of heated tingles coursing through me. Nothing like a little novelty to stoke the fire, so to speak. I found myself brushing my cheek over his again and again like an overly affectionate cat and would have purred in sensual bliss had I the ability to.

"Ooo, I like," I breathed, struggling to regulate my now erratic respiration.

Turning his head slightly, Jean-Claude pressed his lips to my ear, brushing aside my hair with a gentle sweep of his hand.

"I know what you want," he whispered, then slid his mouth down to my throat.

I leaned back against him and rubbed my butt suggestively over his groin. Our clothing was light enough and thin enough to make me keenly aware of even the minutest detail of his masculine shape. Needless to say, he was wearing pants, but that was all....

My heart was beating a little bit faster now. I turned around in his arms to face him.

"Oh, you naughty little vampire," I teased him. I passed my hand over the side of his hip and swatted his butt playfully, then slid my palms over those taut curves with a decidedly wanton relish. "You're completely naked under there, aren't you?"

Jean-Claude laughed lightly, making me all weak in the knees. He nuzzled the side of my face and softly kissed my brow.

"Naughty little girl too," he whispered and started nibbling on my ear. He shifted his hand over my right breast and traced a slow circle around my unencumbered nipple as if to prove his point.

I grinned and covered his hand with mine.

"I don't recall having any say in what I got to wear tonight. Or not wear." I tilted my face up towards him and parted my lips invitingly.

"That was not a reprimand," he murmured, lowering his mouth to mine. "I like naughty girls...."

And I liked naughty vampires. At least this one, I did. Especially when he sank those gorgeous lips of his on my mouth and kissed me until I thought my body was melting in his arms.

"Mmm, that was delicious," I whispered to him when we finally parted. "I've been wanting a kiss like that all week."

"Ah, ever since you left me, then," Jean-Claude pointed out rather smugly. "Had you decided to stay, you could have been kissed like that every night."

I settled against his bare chest and he put his arms around me like a blanket as I snuggled my head on his shoulder.

"I thought it would be fun to go to Chicago," I stated, knowing my tone conveyed the fact it had turned out to be anything but. Jean-Claude shrugged and planted a kiss on the top of my head.

"There is fun and there is fun," he said, emphasizing the latter 'fun', clearly hinting at the kind of activity he considered fun and knowing full well I had been deprived of it for going on six days now. "But I am here now. I will not let you suffer anymore." His hands moved down my sides to the span of my hips and he released a long drawn out sigh in my ear, tilting me back a little to press my hips into him..

Now I was sighing. This really was, like the old phone company slogan said, the next best thing to being there.

"Well, I'll be home soon," I said breathily. "Until then, we have tonight and as tired as I was, I should sleep a good eight hours."

"Eight hours?" Jean-Claude exclaimed. He released his grip on my hips, but not before I felt him tense a little. "Ma petite, not even I can make love for eight hours. Not straight anyway."

Strangely enough, that actually surprised me. I looked up at him and frowned.

"You can't?"

He looked back at me dubiously. "Can you?"

I shook my head.

Jean-Claude smiled slyly at me. "Then it is a moot point." He gave me a little hug, squeezing my shoulders before his hands started roving my body again, over my back and down to my waist. He rubbed his bristly jaw over my forehead and trailed his lips across my eyebrows. "Mmm. Of course, if you want me to, I could always try."

I smiled back at him and rose up on my toes, grasping his chin to pull him down to me for another one of those molten kisses of his.

Being barefoot as I was made him a full head and a half taller than me, even though he was barefoot as well. I could kiss the middle of his chest if I wanted, but his mouth, I had to work for.

I was struck again by this new rugged look he had adopted, and paused to study his face more closely. Along with the five o'clock shadow, I noticed his hair was a tangled, tousled mess of wild spiraling curls as if it hadn't seen a hairbrush in a week.

"Is something wrong?" he finally asked, eyeing me warily and passing his hand over my shoulder.

I shook my head. "No. Not at all. It's just that...well, I've never seen you quite this scruffy-looking before."

Jean-Claude raised his brow. "I thought to add a touch of virility to my appearance tonight in keeping with our natural setting," he told me. "I am certain you would think it more odd had I come to you tonight in full 17th century regalia."

"I suppose," I begrudgingly admitted, though since I had actually seen him dressed that way, I don't think I would have objected too terribly much had he chosen to show up like that tonight. Besides, I was sure those Musketeer-types had their fair share of wenches on a beach.

"I am pleased to learn you still find me so fascinating," Jean-Claude murmured and offered me a coy little smile.

I reached up and ran my fingers along the coarser hair of his side-burns and up over his temple.

"Well, I do," I confessed. "It just amazes me sometimes, how, despite the years I've known you now, you can still find new and creative ways to look gorgeous."

Jean-Claude opened his mouth to reply, but I kissed him before he could, encircling the back of his head with my hands to hold him to me. His eyes fluttered close and he moaned softly, wrapping his arms around my back like two steel bands, and pulled me down to the tide-swept sand below us.

As soon as our knees touched the ground, Jean-Claude shifted me beneath him, laying me back carefully into the warm ocean water before it rushed away again. The sand was soft now and rubbed against my skin like a coarse powder as his body settled over mine.

"Ah, Je t'aime, Anita," Jean-Claude whispered in my ear, then kissed it, and nibbled his way across my collarbone. "Toujours."

I smiled. "I love you," I whispered back, running my hands up his arms and over his shapely biceps.

Leaning my head back against my silty pillow, I sighed happily. My back was wet from the tide, but it wasn't an uncomfortable sensation in the least. In fact, the contrasting stimulus I was experiencing now only heightened my senses. Wet and dry, warm and cool, soft and hard, smooth and grainy. Jean-Claude's body added even more sensations to this heady assortment and under the influence of his expert ministrations, I was quickly reduced to a groping, writhing heap of passion beneath him.

Finally, I seized his shoulders and rose up, turning him and rolling him flat on his back. He hit the sand with a loud wet slap, and laughed lightly at my display of unbridled enthusiasm.

I kissed him hard and he kissed me back with equal aggression, his hands working to open the numerous pearl buttons down the front of my dress while I struggled to unknot the wet twine around his waist.

Once he had unbuttoned enough of my dress to pull it off my shoulders, he did, yanking it down to expose my breasts. He took in an eyeful before pulling me down on top of him, and latching his mouth onto my achingly hard nipple. I felt every caress sharply between my legs now and moaned and squirmed with pleasure.

He rolled me over on my back again, this time holding me down against the sand with the weight of his hips as he lavished even more attention on my breasts, making them feel hot and heavy and hyper-sensitive.

I hadn't had much luck with his belt and I was getting impatient to have as much access to his body as he had to mine. I reached down and tugged at the waistband of his pants.

"Take these off now!" I more or less commanded in a husky, breathy voice.

Jean-Claude peered up from the snowy mounds of my breasts and regarded me with a somewhat amused expression. Then he dutifully rolled off of me and began working to unknot his belt himself.

"As my lady wishes," he muttered facetiously.

But it soon became clear to me he wasn't having any more luck untying his belt than I had. I started to laugh, propping myself up on my elbow to watch him better. I loved these rare moments when he was less than suave. What made it even more priceless was seeing his smug amusement turn into a sweet kind of awkward embarrassment. Maybe it was a trick of the moonlight, but I swear he blushed just then.

"Oh, just break it," I urged him. "It's not like you're going to ever wear it again."

Jean-Claude stopped fighting with the knot and sigh deeply in frustration.

"Why is it only with you these sort of things happen?" he mused, lying back against the sand as if in defeat.

He was pouting now and looked absolutely adorable. The ends of his hair, which sparkled with sand, were wet and clung to his bare shoulders like thick ribbons of black satin. His glistening skin was a ghostly, silvery shade of white in the moonlight and the now thoroughly sea-water saturated pants he was still wearing clung obscenely to his hips and the slender length of his legs, tantalizingly outlining the perfection of his form against the blackness of the ocean beyond.

God, he looked magnificent lying there like that. I crawled over to him and pressed a soft kiss on his lips, then dragged my mouth down his throat, over his chest to his abdomen. I nibbled delicately on the soft flesh there, lapping salty water from his navel, making him twist and squirm beneath my mouth.

My hand settled over his crotch and I caressed him teasingly before shifting over him and taking him into my mouth through the thin fabric of his pants.

Jean-Claude gasped, then groaned deeply, lacing his fingers through my hair.

"Oh...do not stop, please," he begged, his hands tightening into fists.

He was breathing rather deeply now and I could feel the little spasms of pleasure he was experiencing lying over his body like I was. I realized though, I wasn't giving him much incentive to get undressed, and considered stopping, despite his repetitive pleas to the contrary.

I paused momentarily and peered up into his face. His eyes were closed, his full lips slightly parted, and he had a look of true euphoria about him that was devastatingly sexy. His chest rose and fell heavily with each labored breath he took, and it seemed to be a full minute before he realized I had stopped pleasuring him. He opened his eyes and looked down at me questionably.

"Ma petite?"

I leaned away from him, fixing my eyes on his, and slowly peeled the dress from my body, wiggling out of it and then threw it aside in a sandy, wet heap.

"I'm waiting," I taunted, running my hands over my now naked body lasciviously.

Jean-Claude's eyes swept down the length of me, glazing over with undisclosed want.

"Ah, ma petite, you are like the siren of the sea," he breathed. "Calling out to the desires of men from afar. What man could resist such beauty beckoning to them, I cannot imagine."

He growled with lust and reached for me, but I veered away from him.

"Uh uh. I want you naked first," I insisted. "Get those pants off right now."

Jean-Claude grinned and sucked in a lungful of air through his teeth. "I do love it when you demand I take my clothes off," he teased. "And you do it so persuasively, I have no choice but to comply." With that, he grasped the belt on either side of the knot and snapped it effortlessly in two using sheer brute vampire strength.

I smiled, half in triumph, half in anticipation, and had to make a determined effort to keep my mouth shut so I wouldn't start drooling as I watched Jean-Claude inch the wet pants slowly over his hips. He kept his eyes locked on mine, but I couldn't keep my gaze from straying however--not when he was practically naked now. My eyes slithered down the length of him, unabashedly stalling just below his waist and above his thighs. He was so breath-takingly gorgeous, I just couldn't help staring at him whenever given the opportunity to.

Though his body was more than familiar to me, I was reminded just now, of the first time I had ever seen him 'au naturale'. I remembered how I felt watching him undress then, and realized I felt that exact way now. The anticipation was just as intense tonight as it had been that first night.

Knowing I was about to make him mine that night...woke a need in me I had long forgotten I even possessed. I had wanted him for so long, even before I actually liked him--I lusted after him. Seeing him, touching him, kissing him, and loving him that night was like a dream come true. How long I had waited. How long I had denied myself. I suddenly had the urge to smack myself soundly on the head.

"Ma petite," Jean-Claude said, the sound of his voice breaking me out of my lust-induced reverie.

I jerked my eyes back up to his face, blushing madly. I hadn't even realized he had finished undressing.

He smiled warmly at me, but did not move. He simply lay there in all his glory, propped up on his elbow watching me, waiting for me to come back to earth. The man had the patience of a saint.

I looked deeply into Jean-Claude's eyes and reached out to trace the delicate arch of his brow with my fingers. His eyes were by far the most expressive part of his face and definitely one of his best facial features. I sighed, taken by their beauty, their gemstone clarity and those long, lacey black lashes that little girls around the world would kill for.

"Come here," I whispered and held out my arms to him, rolling onto my back.

He came to me readily and I wrapped my arms around his neck, covering his mouth in a welcoming kiss as he covered me with his body. Water splashed over us and streamed across the warm sand beneath us. I could smell the briney, ionized mist from the sea all around me as the wind buffeted my wet skin. I clutched Jean-Claude's body tightly to me and lapped at the sweet, salty taste of his lips. Another novelty.

He leaned back slightly and brushed the wet strands of hair from my forehead, the pressed a soft kiss on my temple.

Cradling his face in my hands, I drew him closer and kissed each eyelid, then trailed my lips over his lashes, down to his cheek and across the bridge of his nose.

Jean-Claude shifted slightly, sliding down my torso. He kissed the base of my throat, then worked his way over my abdomen, kissing and nibbling my skin in the same pattern I had followed on him. All of a sudden, I knew his intent and that knowledge was making my whole body prickle with excitement.

I felt his hands on each of my thighs, applying a gentle encouraging pressure. I looked down at him and he looked back at me and smiled seductively before lowering his mouth to my cleft and kissing me there as passionately as if he were kissing my mouth.

I inhaled sharply and felt his fingers tighten on my thighs, lowering my knees more. I dug my own fingers deep into the sand and clawed a little tidal pool on either side of me as Jean-Claude continued making love to me with his mouth.

In a way, I wanted him to love me like this forever, but in another way, I didn't. Instead, I wanted to wrap myself around him, stroke his body with my hands, feel him move over me, inside me, and watch his face as the passion overtook him.

As it was, I was already slipping into a blissful, sensual overload. My body was inflamed with need at this point, and warred with my desire to be tender and savor it all. Finally, making an executive decision of sorts, I dragged Jean-Claude back up my body and imprisoned him in my arms, kissing him with wild, reckless abandon.

I think Jean-Claude was struggling with his own conflicting desires as well. His kisses alternated from soft and seductive, to aggressively devouring. His caresses were gentle, but invasive and demanding.

We rolled onto our sides, still locked tightly together, kissing each other as if we were trying to climb down each other's throats. I tore my mouth from his and gnawed raggedly on his unshaven jaw, then dragged my lips to his sinewy neck. He cradled my head in his large hands and obligingly, invitingly, turned his face to the side.

I pushed his sand-matted hair over his shoulder and seized the smooth skin just below his ear with my teeth. I bit him hard enough to make him gasp, but not hard enough to break the skin. I knew he'd get off on it though. I felt him shudder as I sucked on his neck, using my teeth and tongue to give him one colossal hickey. He was clearly enjoying the sensation, but was finding it hard to keep still enough to let me continue. He gasped and groaned and trembled, twisting his fingers so deeply into my hair, I didn't think he'd ever get them back out.

When I eased my mouth off his skin and leaned back to examine my handiwork, he pounced on me, pushing me over on my back and pinning me down with his arms. He took one deep, shuddering breath, then stretched himself over me, separating my legs with his thighs.

"You are driving me to insanity tonight," he said, rather thickly. "I must have you." Then he swiftly covered my mouth with another ravishing kiss as if he wasn't going to allow me the chance to deny him.

Not that I would have. I was more than ready for him. I was so turned on, and thrilled to have turned him on so much that his carefully cultivated self-control had gone right out the window tonight.

Jean-Claude pulled back from me slightly, and braced himself up with his arms. He eased into me with an excruciating slowness that made me rethink his lack of self-control, and set my already heightened senses on edge. I slipped my arms around his waist and encircled his buttocks with my legs, urging him on until he was entirely inside me.

He started moving his hips, sending new waves of ecstatic pleasure coursing through me. I could barely control myself, slamming my body up to meet his on each downward thrust, and writhing forcefully beneath him.

Just when I thought I had reached the pinnacle of pleasure, Jean-Claude reached down, running his hand over my side. He grasped my thigh and eased it towards my chest, drawing my leg up, and then placed it against his hip, driving himself even deeper inside me with a sensually graceful grinding motion.

I shrieked, clamping my hands on his shoulders and digging my nails into his skin. He arched his back and kissed me again, fleetingly brushing his lips over mine almost teasingly. I hauled him back down to me, momentarily preventing him from moving, but he indulged me, and kissed me passionately before prying his mouth from mine and thrusting his hips against me once more.

"You miss me, don't you, ma petite?" Jean-Claude questioned me in a low, breathy voice.

I took to chewing on his arm since I couldn't really reach anything else on him while he was on top, but paused to look into his eyes and bumped my hips against his.

"I think you miss me too," I added, my voice so husky, it was almost unrecognizable as mine.

"You know I do," he panted and drove himself deeper into me again, this time a little more forcefully. "I wish you were home already. Then I could make love to you like this for real."

"Oh...I won't ever leave you again, all right?" I gasped, moving with him until I caught his rhythm. "Not for one week, or even a day." Of course, I'm sure he would understand the next time I had to go off somewhere in the future, but tonight I wanted to grant his every wish, fulfill his every desire, and make love to him like this every night for the rest of my life. "Oh, I love you, Jean-Claude. I really love you."

Jean-Claude's body trembled with ecstasy. "I love you, ma petite," he whispered back and took a deep breath which turned into a groan as he increased his tempo again and thrust into me even harder.

Needless to say, my body was so gripped with need now, and my mind was so totally consumed by passion, I couldn't even think anymore. I couldn't speak. Couldn't even feel anything...but him.

The first tremors of my impending climax rippled through me as a rather strong wave poured frothy water over us. I felt Jean-Claude come then, and knew from experience I was about to come as well. The euphoric sensation of his beautiful body seizing with pleasure against mine was normally more than enough to send me soaring into a blissful oblivion, if I hadn't come already. But distantly, I kept hearing bells. I found this too curious and too distracting, despite my lover's expertise.

Okay, I've seen stars before when I've had orgasms, but I've never heard bells. The ringing was only getting louder, more insistent, and annoying. It was pulling me farther away from where I wanted to be, drowning out the roar of the ocean, the pounding of my heart, and Jean-Claude's growly little breaths in my ear. Then everything began to change.

My dream started to evaporate like the ocean mist with the coming dawn. The beach, the tide, and the brilliant moon were quickly morphing into my hotel mattress and a near-blinding shaft of sunlight which was stabbing through the half-drawn hotel draperies. Even worse, Jean-Claude was gone. Replaced by a lumpy, sorely abused pillow.

I lay still, wishing myself back to sleep, still feeling the effects of the torrid sex we were having and still aching with need. My forehead was damp with perspiration, I was panting, and quivering and left entirely frustrated.

For a brief moment, I considered the possibility that Jean-Claude had planned all this. This was just the kind of mischief he excelled at. I wouldn't put it past him to have used my dream to remind me not to take him for granted. But then I knew, deep down, he had no control over when I would wake and would have probably preferred more time with me than the few hours he got. Yes, I was awake now, but the damn bells were still ringing. Damn, damn, damn.

The bells turned out to be the phone on my bedside table. I snatched it up, ready to give an earful to whomever dared rouse me from my dream.

"What?" I seethed.

But it was the automated wake-up service. Simply a recording. It wouldn't do any good to curse at it.

I slammed the phone back onto its cradle. Sighing with resignation, I threw back the covers and pulled myself out of bed.

Nathaniel peered into the room, then walked in when he saw I was up. He was wearing a fluffy white towel around his waist and his skin was still damp and flushed from the hot shower he had just apparently emerged from.

He gestured at the phone. "I was wondering if you were ever going to get that," he began. "I was in the shower, otherwise I would have. It was ringing for like ten minutes though and I was starting to worry."

"Yeah, yeah," I muttered and tramped off towards the bathroom. "Are you done in there? 'Cause I'm going to need a shower." Strangely enough, I could still feel the sand on my skin.

"I'm done," Nathaniel told me. He looked at me curiously. "You okay? Looks like you had a rough night."

I glanced at him sideways. "You have no idea," I replied, my mood lightening. "Hey, do me a favor and call room service. Order me some coffee, please."

Nathaniel grinned. "Done. A fresh pot is on its way up with this morning's editions of the St. Louis Dispatch and the Chicago Tribune, half an orange, a sesame seed bagel and cream cheese on the side." He crossed his arms over his chest smugly. "Don't you think I know you by now?"

I smiled, my anger completely gone now. I reached up and patted Nathaniel's face affectionately. I knew I kept him around for something.

"Good leopard," I said, teasingly, and snatched up a towel from the rack. "Now, get dressed and go pack our things. As soon as I'm finished at the conference today, we're going home."

Nathaniel's violet-colored eyes brightened at that. "Really? But I thought you had another lecture to give tomorrow?"

I shook my head. "I'm going to see if I can bow out of it today. It's the last day of the conference. Most of the attendees will have had their fill of lectures by then. I'm sure they won't mind having to sit through one less. I'm certain they'd rather be heading home to be with their loved ones." I grinned, memories of my sweet dream flooding my mind like that warm ocean tide. "I want to go home too."

"Great!" Nathaniel gushed. "I'll have everything ready to go by the time you get back this afternoon. If we can leave by three, we'll be home later tonight."

"And if I let you drive, we'll probably be home a lot sooner, how's that sound?"

Nathaniel nodded. "The sooner the better."

My smile widened. "My thoughts exactly," I murmured. I had every intention of re-playing my dream with Jean-Claude tonight, only this time it was going to be for real. Now if I only lived on the coast.






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