Authors: J.C. Daniels
Under that flat tone was a world of pain and my heart clenched.
“Abraham wasn’t here to hurt me,” I said, reaching up to curl my hand around his wrist.
“Oh, I know that. Allerton’s one of the few that I don’t immediately want to skewer. Well, not until I saw him near you. But it still put me in a bad place, Kit.”
Closing my eyes, I pulled my chin out of his grasp. “I can’t live the rest of my life worrying about whether my job will put you in a bad place, Damon.” I was having a hard enough time not getting in a bad place
He was so close I could feel his breath mingling with mine and the scent of him swam in my head, making me drunk.
Too much…too much
Unwittingly I opened my eyes and found myself staring at his mouth. In self-defense, I spun around and stared at the woman in the mirror in front of me, the one who I sometimes still hated. A year ago, I could have turned to the man behind me and reached for him. That was the one thing I wanted to do—the one thing I needed.
“You said I don’t know what you want,” he murmured, his mouth now pressed to my ear.
I suppressed a shiver.
“I think I do know. I’m just not sure if I know how to give it to you anymore.”
The uncertainty in his voice made my throat knot up.
“I just want you,” I whispered.
His patience was killing me.
I focused on the woman in the mirror, the woman who so often still seemed like a stranger. Tonight, it was even more so. Her green eyes were over-bright, her skin flushed and there was a set to her face that was a mix between mutinous defiance and need.
A harsh, low growl ripped out of him and in the next moment I was surrounded by him, his hands coming down to bracket me in against the counter, his front against my back. He managed, somehow, to pin my body there and still let me feel like I could break away.
One hand came up, pressed against my belly.
He dragged up my tank and I hissed out as he pressed his palm against my skin. The rough callouses, the pads of his fingers, I felt every nuance.
It was overwhelming.
“You don’t always have to handle me with kid gloves. I’m not going to break, Damon.”
“No. I’m afraid I might.” He lowered his mouth to my neck and I whimpered, free hand braced against the counter. My legs threatened to give out. Need was a primal scream inside me and I forgot about everything but him.
His hands turned me and I rose on my toes, seeking out his mouth with mine. The brush of his lips was a teasing, taunting caress and it wasn’t enough.
I broke away and forced my eyes to open. His eyes spun between gray and green-gold and the sight was enough to send a shiver racing down my spine. That was need there. A hunger he couldn’t fully hide and I wished he’d stop trying.
He pressed his mouth to my neck, brushed a line of kisses down it. His teeth scraped over one of the scars. Scars hidden under ink, scars left on me during the weeks I’d spent on a mountain, a prisoner with little chance of escape.
I couldn’t help it—I tensed and a moment later, he was out of the room and standing in the hall, hands flexing as though he kneaded the very air.
“You wonder why I handle you with kid gloves,” he said, his voice harsh.
I swore and spun around. With a scream, I drove my fist into the mirror. Glass shattered. Pain sang up my arm and blood dripped from my hand but I didn’t care.
“I don’t want you to be sorry!” I shouted, spinning to face him.
His eyes were all cat now, glowing as I went to him. “I am
,” I whispered, striding toward him. It was easier than I’d hoped and I was able to take another, then another until I could reach out and hook my fingers in the waistband of his jeans. “I’m tired of waiting. I go to bed lonely. I wake up lonely…and scared and empty. I’m tired of it. I’m tired of remembering how it used to be and wishing to feel that way again. I just want—”
His mouth cut off the rest of the words.
Skin that had started to go cold was hot now, pressed against the solid wall of his chest, the heavy muscles of his thighs. His hands stroked down my back and I whimpered, arching closer.
I couldn’t get any closer, even if I tried, and I did. I tried so very hard.
Hooking my arms around his neck, I all but wrapped myself around him and then he caught me by the hips, boosting me up until I could do just that. The rub of denim against my inner thighs had me shivering and his palms, rough and callused, stroking up my sides and back had me arching in his grasp.
The bathroom door was hard against my back but it groaned ominously as he moved against me. I didn’t care. Arching against him, I shuddered with a mix of relief and delighted as I felt him throbbing against me.
I tugged him closer, greedy, desperate. His mouth met mine and I could have answered that growl of his with my own as I gorged on his taste. I smoothed my hands up his chest, felt his heart thud against my palm. His skin was scorching hot. Desperate for air, I tore my mouth away.
He caught my wrist, forced my hand to his mouth and I tensed as he licked the blood away. The skin was already knitting together, the blood slowing to a trickle. Tugging my hand away, I wrapped my arms around him and arched closer.
Damon caught my chin and pulled me back in. “More,” he demanded.
I sank my teeth into his lip.
“Get naked,” I demanded.
“Not so fast.” Damon tangled his hand in my hair, licked my mouth and then started to move lower, leaving a path of heat in his wake. “Easy…easy, baby girl. We have all night.”
“I don’t want easy…I just want you.” I needed to feel it, that hunger I sensed burning inside him. Wanted to feel it burning me, chasing away the shadows, the cold spots, the emptiness.
“You can have me. Always. Just…” His hands framed my face as he brushed a feather-light kiss over my lips.
Heat pounded, pulsed inside me. Too much heat, too much sensation and too much need building inside, threatening to burn me alive. That need, Damon’s body, all of it was driving me nuts and he wanted
I untangled myself from him, nudging him back. He went and I scraped my nails down his chest, watching as he shuddered.
A groan rumbled out of him when I reached for his belt.
Damon went to catch my hands. “Kit…
“I don’t want to be gentled or babied right now,” I said, holding his gaze as I dealt with the heavy buckle, then, still watching him, popped the button. His hands fell away and he watched me as I dragged the zipper down.
I pushed my hand inside his jeans and found him naked. Naked and hard, pulsing against my hand as I closed my fingers around him. He throbbed and despite his insistences about
, when I dragged my hand up, then down, a snarl escaped him and he shoved himself into my caress, once, then twice, before his body went rigid and his eyes flew open. Green-gold spun with grey as our eyes locked. “We…fuck,” he panted. “Let’s go to your room.”
“I don’t need my room. I just need you.” I squeezed him, rotated my wrist, and watched his gaze go unfocused. “I’m tired of waiting.”
“I don’t want to scare you—hurt you.”
Leaning in, I caught his lower lip between my teeth and tugged. “If I freak out, I freak out. We’ll have to deal with it. But right now, I need you…don’t make me wait.”
His chest rose in a ragged, harsh rhythm, his lids drooping down to shield his eyes.
A second later, I was caught up against him and the room spun around him. “No waiting,” he muttered. Then he flicked a look around the bathroom. “But not here. Glass…”
I couldn’t even process that and it didn’t matter. I nuzzled his throat, caught a patch of skin between my teeth and bit him, delight a sweet haze in my brain as it made him shudder.
Something crashed. From the corner of my eye, I saw him sweeping his arm out and realized we were in the narrow alcove just between the bathroom and the main living area.
The small table that I used as a desk was now empty. A few seconds ago, it had been littered with folders, a few daggers and who knows what else. Now I was stretched out on it as Damon moved between my thighs. He bent low over me, one hand braced by my shoulder, the other under my waist to tug me to the edge of the table.
I reached for my shirt, but he nudged my hands away and stripped me naked, clothes ripping when they didn’t come away fast enough for him.
My hands curled into fists, I watched him as he straightened and shoved his jeans down. He didn’t take them off and I was just fine with that—I couldn’t have taken it if he’d left me any longer than necessary.
“You look at me,” he said, his voice rough. He dragged his fingers down my chest, the roughened pads lingering on the vivid tattoos, the scars hidden under the elegant ink. “You think only of me.”
Then he bent his head and I gasped as his mouth closed around my nipple.
Heat and pleasure slammed into me, devastating me. Teeth raked against sensitive flesh—I hadn’t
felt anything this intense. His touch was just on the edge of pain before he shifted his attention to the other breast. His lips caressed the lines of the leopard that crouched along my breastbone, rising up just below my shoulders before the tangle of flowers—every last one of them poisonous, hiding more scars in their petals and vines. Damon found every one of them, his teeth matching the marks placed on me months ago, covering each faded scar with a kiss. He repeated the process over and over until he’d found them all and when he’d finished, I turned my face to his, seeking out his mouth.
It wasn’t until I felt the wetness on his face that I realized I was crying.
He kissed the tears away as well.
His hand smoothed down over my belly and I tensed.
“I’m fine,” I gasped, squeezing my eyes shut.
Memories of a stone floor, a mocking voice tried to creep up on me. Laughter, cold and cutting.
Warm hands cupped my face. “Look at me.”
The words were a hard slap, echoing through the room.
With a shudder, I dragged myself out of the past and locked onto Damon.
His hand tangled in my hair. “Look at me,” he whispered again, his thumb stroking over my lower lip. “Look only at me.”
As though I could look anywhere else.
“Please…” I panted the word out against his lips. I didn’t entirely know what I wanted. Did I want him to stop? Did I want the memories to stop? Did I want
I didn’t know.
I really didn’t know.
But Damon didn’t seem to have the same confusion going on.
I gasped as his weight settled between my thighs. Just there, though. He kept his upper body braced on one hand. Between my legs, I could feel the heat of him and he caught my wrist, dragging my hand down. “Take me in,” he ordered. “If this is what you want…”
Some starving, desperate part of me screamed in female demand.
It was that part of me that reached down and wrapped my hand around his cock. That part of me that tucked him against my entrance and that part of me that whimpered as he slowly sank inside me.
The rest of me was almost frozen—it wasn’t fear, not really.
But I didn’t dare breathe.
Not even as he stroked completely in the first time, and then withdrew.
My chest was aching on the second thrust, and I was dying for air on the third.
“Fuck, Kit…” the groan rumbled out of him and reflexively, I reached for him, my hands digging into his muscled hips, feeling the flex and glide as he rocked inside me.
I felt exposed, too exposed—my skin far too sensitized and every breath tripping out of me could have been my last, I was so vitally aware. I felt every nuance of his cock as he moved with me, felt every pulse, the glide of his skin over mind.
A gasp broke out of me. It was too much—
, a voice inside me whispered.
No. It wasn’t too much.
It was what I needed.
This was Damon and
was what I needed.
He stretched me and bruised me. Just past the panic trying to slither in, that beautiful pleasure started to ripple through me as that part of me that wasn’t cut off by panic reveled in being with him.
I wanted to feel more like her. The woman I’d been—the part of myself that remembered pleasure and love and just…this.
I arched against him and he stiffened.
That was all I had to do. Just
That soft, beckoning voice whispered to me as Damon’s hand glided up my side, along my neck to cup my face. I met his eyes, my pulse hammering in my throat, my ears. “Kit…”
I focused on him. Just on him.
And the fear, the panic that tried to grab me fell away.
“Um. Shower first.” I snuggled against Damon’s chest and sighed as his arms came around me. “But…do we have to?”
Bed sounded good. And I needed that shower, but I didn’t want to move.
He laughed a little and tried again. “Kit…You’ve got a nice, soft bed fifteen feet away.”
“No.” He sat up, cradling me against him and then a moment later, I found myself snug against his chest. Well, this wasn’t a bad place to be, either. As long as I didn’t have to move.
When he put me down in the bathroom, I glared at him through the tangle of my hair. He just grinned. “You wouldn’t sleep until you showered anyway, so why not shower then move to the nice comfortable bed?”
I didn’t really want logic. Just…him.
But since he’d moved, I might as well get it done. I glanced around, my gaze bouncing over the shattered mirror.
“You’re getting in.”
Frowning at the command, I arched a brow.
He was looking at the floor. “There’s glass. I’ll clean it up and then be in with you.”