Authors: Emily Jane Trent
Bend To My Will: Book 10
Emily Jane Trent
Jacob stood up and slowly walked to the fireplace. With his back to Vivienne, he stared into the flames. He looked so alone, making her want to go to him, but she didn’t know how. All that he’d told her made sense.
The fear that he might damage her caused Jacob to withdraw. He didn’t want to hurt Vivienne, and had tried to convince her that, deep in his soul, he was bad. Pent-up rage ruled his life and prohibited him from embracing love.
The silence unnerved Vivienne. For a while, Jacob had opened up to her, and told her about what had tormented him for so long. That should have brought them together, but instead it had pushed him away.
Looking out for Vivienne, protecting her, had prohibited Jacob from drawing closer. Now he stood alone by the fire, in a world of his own. She wasn’t certain that she could reach him, or break through his conviction that she should stay away.
Yet looking at Jacob only made her love him more. He was handsome and desirable, his darkness not a detraction at all. Instead, knowing the agony he harbored allowed Vivienne to understand him, if only a little more.
Jacob was physically and emotionally strong. He had to be, in order to live with what simmered inside him. Since childhood he had fought the demons alone, but now he had Vivienne. He just didn’t realize it.
After all they’d shared, Jacob remained determined to save her from personal ruin, which would surely result from staying with him. He would sacrifice himself, his own happiness, for hers. Such kindness touched Vivienne, confirming what she already knew. He was a good man, despite his objections to the contrary.
Too much of what Jacob did, too many of his actions, revealed that his heart was in the right place. Vivienne had fallen for him from the start, and not without cause. It was true that he was swoon-worthy, and would easily have caught the eye of any woman.
But it hadn’t been only that. Even when Jacob had been rude, or impossible to deal with, Vivienne had seen another side to him. There was the man who assisted in charitable causes, treasured his family, and put Vivienne’s interests before his own.
There was no way Vivienne could be convinced that he was all bad, even though she could see why he thought so. It was a lie; he had been deceived by a man who was determined to convince him of it: his own father.
The twisted mess that had resulted from his father’s deception, his evil intent, was not easily undone. After a lifetime of living with the consequences of his mistreatment, Jacob couldn’t shed the untruths. Yet Vivienne knew he wasn’t anything like his abusive father.
There was no question that Jacob wouldn’t intentionally harm her, or that he wouldn’t use all of his will to keep her away from the rage threatening to explode inside him. Yet he couldn’t conceive of that. Instead, he clung to the barrier he had erected between them.
Jacob had a wall around his heart, but it wasn’t to keep him from heartbreak. It was for
protection. And Vivienne struggled for a way to break through that impenetrable wall. She had hoped that her love would be enough, that it would melt away any resistance, and open the door to their future together.
Yet it wasn’t going to be that simple. Vivienne wrung her hands, her frustration and the unfairness of it all tormenting her. She was in an awkward position: loving Jacob with all her heart, while fearing his irrational rejection of a romantic relationship.
So far Vivienne had been satisfied with what they had together. She had been patient, willing to wait until Jacob was ready. But now the picture had shifted. Life had altered, and wouldn’t return to how it had been before.
The evening had begun with such intimacy, and Vivienne had been excited at the prospect of wearing the crotch rope. Jacob’s request had been a thrill, offering yet another experience that pushed her boundaries. And it had done so.
All would have been well, had it not been for Jacob’s shift in mood. It had been one thing after the other: first the scare in Mendoza, then the emotional disaster in the playroom. But Vivienne refused to be deterred. She couldn’t give in to the adversity, and had no intention of letting go.
The truth was that Vivienne loved Jacob, even more now. Somehow knowing about what he endured brought her closer, making her admire him all the more. A man who could survive childhood abuse yet still encompass love was tough.
Jacob adored his family, and although he hadn’t said the words she longed to hear, Vivienne knew that he cared for her deeply. Everything about their relationship was unconventional, so she had no need to rely on arbitrary standards to know how he felt.
By his actions, and the emotion he had shown, Vivienne was certain Jacob’s feelings for her ran deep. She might be wrong, but she didn’t think so. Too much said otherwise. She wasn’t a fool, nor was she weak of spirit. If she truly believed he didn’t care, Vivienne would have left, no matter how difficult it was.
Vivienne looked at Jacob’s back while he stared into the fire. He raked a hand through his hair, the motion breaking the silence. When she stood up, Jacob half turned, as if unsure what was next.
Vivienne tentatively approached him. She wanted so badly to do this right. But upon seeing his melancholy expression, her courage surged, and she determined to stand firm in her conviction that they belonged together.
Jacob turned, the flickering flames of the fire casting shadows across his handsome face. Vivienne stood facing him, her heart pounding. “Okay, Jacob…you spoke of hatred…of how much you hate Carl.” She squared her shoulders. “Do you know what I hate?”
Her question was met with silence.
“You said you were
. What I
is that you think that about yourself.” Vivienne took a breath, then plunged ahead, unable to stop now even if she’d wanted to. “It’s not right, Jacob. It’s not the truth.”
After a beat, Jacob spoke. His attitude was cautious, but Vivienne sensed a note of hope. “I have craved you from the first moment I saw you,” he said, touching her cheek. “But I cannot indulge myself any longer. My greediness for you has clouded my judgment.” He hesitated. “I need to start thinking
Vivienne reached for his wrist, pressing his palm to her cheek. She closed her eyes, drawn to his strength. When she opened her eyes, Jacob was still looking at her. Whether good or bad, they were destined to be together.
“Yes, Jacob…you do need to start thinking of me.” Vivienne kissed his palm. “And I believe I’ve made it clear what I want.” She saw the light return to Jacob’s blue eyes.
Gently, Vivienne grabbed the hem of Jacob’s sweater, pulling it off. Her pulse raced, and her knees were weak. She leaned in and licked his nipples, before biting them sharply.
Lust flooded Jacob’s expression.
In barely a whisper, Vivienne said, “I want
Vivienne wore only the robe she’d put on after the bath. Jacob opened the front and pushed it down her shoulders, letting it drop to the floor. He devoured her naked body with his gaze, all separation between them dissolving in heated passion.
Jacob put his palms on her back, pulling her close, then covered her mouth with his. Vivienne parted her lips, accepting his hot tongue. She breathed into him, restored and whole again. Jacob’s taste, his scent, and the feel of his arms around her made everything right with the world.
Vivienne dug her hands into his hair, pressing closer, and Jacob deepened the kiss. His tongue delved into her mouth, and, with a moan, he lashed his tongue against hers. Vivienne’s nipples scraped his bare chest, the dusting of hair turning her on more. She undid the button of his jeans, and he pulled them off, revealing his glorious cock.
In one swift motion, Jacob scooped her up and carried her to the sofa. He lowered her onto the soft cushion, and she leaned back. He knelt in front of Vivienne with his hands on the backs of her thighs, and bent her legs, spreading her wide.
Open to him that way, desire flooded Vivienne’s body. Her nipples stiffened and her clit tightened. Her arousal from the playroom earlier hadn’t quite abated, and now it was easily stirred back to life. Jacob had taken her to the brink of insanity without release.
But now she knew it would be different. Jacob’s eyes were soft, his touch adoring. She glanced down, watching him kiss along her inner thighs. Her pussy was so pink, partly from the aggravation of the crotch rope not long before, but more due to her spiraling arousal.
She was ready for him, and when Jacob pressed his mouth to her sex, it was heavenly. Then he licked her outer lips, soothing her while stimulating her. He reached up to pinch her nipples, making Vivienne moan.
Jacob dragged his tongue along her wet slit, then dipped it inside. The feel of his hot mouth, his tantalizing tongue, was delicious. There was no other place Vivienne wanted to be but there, with his lips teasing her sex, and his thumb playing over her clit.
Vivienne raised her hands over her head and gripped the back of the sofa. Her breasts arched out toward Jacob, and, distracted for a moment, he leaned in and sucked her nipples.
When Jacob pressed his lips to her sex, Vivienne whimpered. Deftly he swirled his tongue around her clit, and slipped two fingers into her wet pussy. Floating on a cloud of ecstasy, Vivienne relaxed into a sweet orgasm.
The waves of pleasure flowed from deep in her core, washing her with wonderful relief. All the tension of the day evaporated, replaced with gentle relaxation. Vivienne drifted down from her climax, but her arousal remained high.
Jacob lowered her legs and pulled her to the edge of the sofa. He was kneeling, and the sight of his thick cock against his flat abdomen was irresistible. Vivienne fisted him roughly, impatient to have him. She opened her thighs and angled his wide knob toward her.
With his hands on her hips, Jacob pulled her forward, while shoving his cock deep. He emitted a deep groan, then kissed Vivienne like a man in the desert who was dying of thirst. The ravenous kiss made her sex clench and her clit tingle.
With his arms around her, Jacob fucked her hard, panting with each pounding stroke. Vivienne held on to his strong shoulders, relishing the feel of him filling her. Every nerve was alive, and she already teetered on the brink of another release.
Jacob gasped then his cock throbbed inside her. He moaned through his heavy panting, and his body turned to steel. His orgasm was fierce, and he shuddered as he came inside her. Vivienne took him, then, as he began to calm, she shattered around him.
Her climax was more intense than the first one, sweeping her up in erotic sensation. She trembled in Jacob’s arms and scraped her fingernails on his scalp. The room flashed white, then she sucked in a breath, before wrapping her arms around Jacob’s neck.
With her head on his shoulder, Vivienne wrapped her legs around his thighs, and he held her in a tight embrace. He didn’t quickly release her, but pressed his hand to the back of her head, holding her to him.
In a soft voice, Vivienne said, “You are the only man for me…I would not leave you.”
When she lifted her head, Jacob put his palms on her cheeks and kissed her. “I treasure you.”
“I know you want to protect me, but it’s too late. Whatever comes, I will be by your side,” Vivienne said. “There just has to be a way through this, Jacob.”
to be.” Jacob kissed her again, and Vivienne knew it was going to be okay.
When Vivienne left at the end of the weekend, Jacob nearly asked her to stay. He couldn’t deny wanting to be with her, and didn’t resist it, as he had for so long. After all that had happened, it was clear that separating was no longer an option, if it ever had been.
That week was business as usual, with no unwelcome surprises. But he had Walsh step up his investigation on Daniel Kenyon, and a couple of other important issues. He expected more information soon. Until then, he would have to bide his time.
On one of his early morning jogs, Jacob couldn’t get Vivienne out of his mind. He was dressed for the cooler weather, pushing his body hard. Sweating underneath his tracksuit and breathing hard, he worked his muscles in an attempt to clear his mind and dispel any misgivings about the future.
But even totally drained, with his lungs begging for oxygen, Jacob could not put aside his concern. He slowed his pace, beginning his cooldown, and looked at the bright leaves of fall. The trees in the park were brilliant shades of red, yellow, and gold.
It was a new season in the city, just as it was in Jacob’s personal life. Walking at a steady pace in the brisk air, he caught his breath, while pondering his dilemma. He had backed himself into a corner with his sexual indulgence.
Now Vivienne meant more to him than he’d predicted. She was a part of his life, and he had no inclination to leave her. Not anymore. When or how that had changed, Jacob wasn’t certain. But it was definitely how he felt.
Parting was no longer a solution. Jacob could only move forward with Vivienne included in whatever fate had in store. Even so, he felt that shaping his future, and hers, was up to him. Jacob knew one thing: he had to find the key to unlock his emotional prison. He just didn’t know what that key was, although he was more determined than ever to blot out the darkness for good.
When Jacob arrived at the office that day, Meg greeted him with a pile of messages. Once he worked through those, he had a meeting with his managers. It was routine, but he was pleased with the new arrangements for the wines from Mendoza.
Later in the afternoon, Jacob called Vivienne to touch base about dinner. “So I’ll pick you up at six, then?”
“I’ll be ready,” Vivienne said. “But I still think you should have had a party. It’s your birthday!”
Jacob laughed. “No way.”
“But you don’t get a wonderful surprise party like you gave for me on my birthday.”
“It’s better that way,” Jacob said. “I prefer not to make a big deal about it.”
“But you did make a
very big deal
for my birthday.”
“That was different.”
“I don’t see how,” Vivienne said. “But I know you won’t let me change your mind. It’s too bad your parents won’t be with us.”
“It’s enough to have dinner with Trace and Lana—probably all I can handle, actually.”
Vivienne giggled. “Well, they’re in love. What do you expect?”
Jacob didn’t know what to expect, but he hadn’t seen Trace so starry-eyed over a woman before. “Anyway, my parents are used to me. Even when I was a kid I didn’t want all the attention.”
“Well, we were very different in that regard. I couldn’t wait until my party every year,” Vivienne said. “But enough about that—today is
birthday. I can’t wait to see you tonight.”
Jacob had decided on something a bit different. He had heard of Ninja New York, but hadn’t tried it before. The entertaining atmosphere seemed like a good choice for a birthday celebration. It was a Japanese village setting, and the restaurant provided quite a show.
The restaurant was made up of individual rooms set up in a complex maze. The place was designed with massive stone walls, wood beams, and shoji screens for sliding doors to give the impression of a ninja village in the feudal days. Clever contraptions were set up throughout to deceive the eye, and recreate the mysterious world where the ninjas had lived.
They sat on low, cushioned chairs around a wooden table in a private dining room. There was an iron pot suspended from a dropped ceiling, over a small heat source recessed into the wooden table. Vivienne and Lana seemed charmed by what the restaurant called
a world of excitement
. While they sipped on sake and nibbled on spring rolls dipped in mango sauce, the magical show wowed them.
The ninja waiters jumped through the walls and performed magic and card tricks, all while serving sushi. Trace couldn’t resist ordering two artsy dishes to share. One featured dry ice, the other fire. And there were a few surprises to go with it.
Vivienne beamed at Jacob. “For a guy who didn’t want a party, you sure know how to have a good time.”
Jacob laughed. “I didn’t say I didn’t want to be entertained.” The diamond bracelet Vivienne wore gleamed under the torch lights, catching his eye. It did look good on her.
Trace put his arm around Lana. “On the way out I’m going to buy a ninja dagger. They have them in the gift shop.”
“How old are you?” Lana said.
“You must know that boys don’t mature past the age of fourteen.” Trace’s comment got a laugh from everyone. “And besides, I might be pretty good with it.”
“I have some news,” Lana said. “That last part I had in that play…remember, Vivienne?”
Actually, Vivienne only vaguely recalled Lana mentioning it. She had been distracted at the time. “What was it exactly?”
Lana waved her hand. “It doesn’t matter. What happened, though, is that I have a new agent now. She saw my performance and contacted me. We talked, and decided we’re a perfect fit.”
“I think this agent will be able to get her some good roles,” Trace said. “She’s ready for it.”
Lana blushed. “Well, anyway, it is promising. And I don’t want to wait tables for the rest of my life.” She smiled. “This might be the change I need.”
“I hope so,” Jacob said. “It would be well-deserved. I know you’ve really persisted with your acting, which is admirable.”
“I know it’s not easy to succeed in the acting business,” Vivienne said. “But you’re going to make it. I just know it.”
“What’s the latest with your business, Vivie?”
Lana’s question prompted Vivienne to get everyone caught up on the new changes. Some things Jacob hadn’t even known about, but he was pleased to see her excitement. It seemed the new business setup was working out well.
“That’s much more interesting than the latest technology I could tell you about,” Trace said. “The techie stuff gets me going, but I doubt it makes for good dinner conversation.” He looked across the table. “And you know it all anyway, Jacob. So I wouldn’t be telling you anything.”
While they chatted, the teriyaki steak was served. They switched from sake to green tea, which they drank out of porcelain cups. During the meal, Trace kept his arm around Lana, or his hand on her knee. He was more affectionate than Jacob had seen him.
Jacob was happy for his friend, yet seeing him in love only magnified Jacob’s own deficiencies. His relationship with Vivienne wasn’t anything like that. It wasn’t
like that. He touched Vivienne, but in a different way. And he craved her company, but he wasn’t giddy over the whole thing like Trace was.
But then, Jacob had done much with Vivienne that he hadn’t expected to. Still he had trouble envisioning changing that much, and watching Trace with Lana made him uncomfortable. Vivienne must have noticed that he was distracted, and leaned over to say, “I think you should open your presents now.”
Jacob hadn’t been able to escape receiving gifts. His friends gave in about the no-party idea. Trace knew from earlier years that he preferred a more modest celebration. But each of them had brought a present, and it was time to open them.
Lana handed a package across the table. “Mine first.”
After ripping open the colorful wrapping paper, Jacob opened a long, flat box to retrieve his gift. It was a lamb’s-wool scarf made in Scotland. “Very nice. I can use this. Thank you, Lana.” Jacob wrapped the soft scarf around his neck.
“It looks good on you,” Lana said.
Trace shoved a package across the table and nodded. When Jacob opened it, he found a robot in the shape of a sphere. “It’s programmable, even though it’s small enough to hold in your hand. You can control it with an app on your phone or tablet.”
Vivienne looked at Trace with big eyes.
“Robots are on the rise,” Trace said with a grin. “But it’s not like in the movies; they don’t look like humans.”
Vivienne giggled. “What better than a toy for your birthday?”
“It says it lights up, changes colors, twirls, and rolls. It’s waterproof, too,” Jacob said.
Trace chuckled. “You can take it on your next cruise, then.”
“Great gift, Trace.”
Then Vivienne handed him a small box. “I doubt this is as exciting as a robot.”
Jacob smiled at her. “Let’s find out.”
Vivienne watched as he untied the gold ribbon and ripped the glittery paper away from the box. Inside the velvet-lined box was a chrome fountain pen with a flexible steel nib that allowed for varying the line width by using a lighter or heavier touch.
It was manufactured in Florence by Stipula, a company that Jacob knew something about. The company name stood for the straw that ancient Romans publicly broke as a sign of acceptance of an obligation, but he doubted that Vivienne knew that. Yet the gift’s implication was very appropriate.
His name was engraved along the side in lovely script. Jacob was touched. “It’s an outstanding gift.”
Vivienne brushed away a tear. “I’m glad you like it. It will look beautiful on your desk.”
Jacob was grateful that she hadn’t gotten him something romantic, and had instead opted for a classy fountain pen. He would always think of her when he used it. “Yes, I’ll give it a prominent place on my desk.” He hugged Vivienne. “You went all out, baby.”
“It’s your birthday,” Vivienne said, and he could tell she was pleased her choice was appreciated.
“Okay, enough of that,” Jacob said. “What’s for dessert?”
“Ninja cheesecake with lemon cream and berries,” Lana said.
“Sounds delicious.” Jacob didn’t prefer cake, and hadn’t had a birthday cake since he was a boy. The exotic treat the restaurant offered would do, even if they did bring it out with a candle on it.
Jacob went along with the celebratory mood, and made a wish when he blew out the candle. He hoped it would come true, although he didn’t place much faith in superstitions. It had been an enjoyable evening, the kind of birthday he enjoyed.
When dessert was over, it was still early. Lana suggested going dancing, and Vivienne liked that idea, so they went to a club in the Meatpacking District that played techno and other music that was good to dance to. They switched from sake to cocktails, and had a great evening.
By the time Jacob and Vivienne got back to the penthouse, it was after two in the morning. It didn’t matter, since the next day was Saturday and they could sleep in. After undressing, Vivienne slipped under the covers and Jacob spooned with her.
It had been one of his best birthdays. Vivienne snuggled close, with her back against his chest, and fell asleep within seconds. Jacob relaxed in the warmth of the bed, breathing in the scent of her perfume. Vivienne had on the one with the jasmine scent, the one she had worn the night he had met her.
So much had changed since then, Jacob most of all. He was only twenty-six now, but felt so much older. His life so far hadn’t been carefree, but he had Vivienne now. Her presence was a radiant light in the darkness, and he wasn’t about to let her go.
Jacob thought of what Vivienne had said: “
There just has to be a way through this
.” With the lure of that promise in mind, Jacob closed his eyes.
Yes, baby, I will find a way…for us