"Put sugar in it," she ordered, eyes remaining closed.
Vaughn didn't follow orders well, but this was different. This, to him, was a kind of play, though Faith probably didn't think of it that way. Too bad. She was playing with a very interested cat and when that cat got interested in things, it didn't like to be denied. "Here." He let her taste the sweetened coffee.
Once again, she breathed deep and savored the taste. "Milk."
A minute later, she opened her eyes. "The flavors are ... unusual." She seemed to be searching for words.
"Do you like it?"
"Like? Psy don't feel like or dislike." She shook her head. "But perhaps that's because I've never been given food of such different flavors that I have a basis for comparison. I. . . prefer the coffee with the sugar but not the milk."
He prepared it for her, amused at the way she tried to word things so as not to admit feeling anything even close to emotion. "Here." Leaving her to take a sip, he walked to the fridge and pulled the door open. "You're hungry and so am I. What do you say to bacon and eggs?" He started gathering the ingredients.
"Okay." She was standing right next to him.
Of course he'd heard her move, but he let her be. She was still scared and Vaughn could stroke rather than bite when he wanted to. He put the bread and other things on the counter and closed the fridge. "Come on, Red. Time for a cooking lesson."
She put her coffee cup beside his. "I'm ready."
He ran a knuckle down her cheek and when she jumped, he smiled. "Are you sure?" This close, he saw that while her skin was creamy, it wasn't the pale white of so many redheads, having a rich undertone of gold that only made it more tempting. "What's your history, Faith NightStar? Where do you get that red hair and this skin?"
"The NightStar PsyClan has many redheads - there is a genetic preponderancy of the trait. My skin is courtesy of a number of genes from both my mother and father." She reached for the eggs and held them up. "I'm in need of nutrition."
He showed her what to do with the first egg and then let her try. "So you're all-American?"
"No. My mother was born in the former state of Uzbekistan and moved to America as a child. It is my father who is a NightStar. He is primarily of Anglo-Italian heritage, though his great-grandfather was of Asiatic origin."
"You know the way you Psy mix it up - watch the heat, sugar." He pulled her hand away when it went too close to the heating unit.
She tugged it out of his grasp. "Thank you. I think the eggs are done."
"Uh-huh." He put them on a plate. "If you put the bacon in that container over there, it'll cook without splatter."
"Why do you know about cooking? In the books I read prior to approaching DarkRiver, predatory male changelings were always portrayed as being very dominant and unwilling to learn domestic tasks."
"I never said I liked cooking. But I can do it if the situation demands."
"What were you saying about the Psy?"
"That the way you mix it up would be more impressive if it was actually human-to-human contact. Instead, it's all done on a genetic level. Unless your parents fell wildly in lust and created you in pleasure?" He watched the concentration with which she did such a simple task as cooking and found it strangely arousing. He had the feeling Faith would do everything with that same level of concentration.
"You know Psy don't feel lust or pleasure." She pulled off the bacon and put it to the side.
He ran his finger down her cheek again. "If your body feels sensation, then lust is always a possibility."
Lucas watched Sascha pace around the bedroom and enjoyed the view. It wasn't bare skin but it was delectable nonetheless - his practical Psy had fallen madly in love with lacey feminine underthings in the months after dropping out of the Net.
"I can't believe you talked me into leaving Faith with Vaughn." She put her hands on h*ps barely covered by a pure white slip and glared. "He was behaving completely wild last night."
"We're all wild, Sascha darling." He wondered if she'd put her panties back on. "Come here."
"It's six a.m. We should be heading out to check if Vaughn managed to keep from driving her into complete insanity overnight."
"I thought you liked Vaughn."
"I do, but he's a little too much for Faith to handle - we might as well have left her with a rabid tiger."
"Vaughn would take exception to that." He liked fencing with his mate, enjoyed seeing fire in eyes that had once held only cold Psy focus.'
"I'm serious, Lucas." She finally crawled back onto the bed beside him. "I'm worried about Faith."
"Vaughn won't harm her."
"Not purposefully." She put a hand on his chest. "But he doesn't understand exactly what it is that he's dealing with. Changelings think touch is always good, but it isn't, not for someone like Faith. I've been thinking about it and I think she really could break under the strain."
He frowned. "She's that weak?"
"No." Sascha's hand pressed down as she rose to a kneeling position. "But she's lived her entire life in a vacuum. What do you think will happen if you suddenly expose her to the air?"
"Shit." Lucas sat up. "Let's go." He trusted Vaughn implicitly, but Sascha was right - the jaguar had been acting unusually aggressive ever since they'd found Faith. He might unknowingly thrust the redheaded Psy over the edge.
Faith sat in the bedroom dressed in her day clothes. Eating with Vaughn had been an adventure. He hadn't touched her again after she'd threatened to leave midway through the meal, but she knew the promise had ended the minute they'd finished breakfast. If she exited this room, he'd start pushing her again.