Authors: Abby Green
She found some cheese and bread in the fridge and managed to make a passable sandwich without maiming herself this time, sitting down to eat it at the table, with Tigger running back and forth by her feet. Jesse couldn’t help but smile at the antics of the tiny kitten. Despite its very obvious mal-nourishment it was so …
, as if it hadn’t realised the precariousness of its own survival.
When she was finished she washed up, including Luc’s pans, and filled Tigger’s bowl with more milk. She replaced the papers with fresh ones and put him back in the box, where he curled up.
Jesse put her hands on her hips and sighed, looking down at him. And then, feeling curiously restless and wondering where Luc was, she went back through the house. There was no sign of Luc, but Jesse knew he wouldn’t be far because it was dark outside and the alarm was on.
She sat down on the couch and saw the fallen console from the other night. Within a few minutes she’d set up the game and was happily ensconced in the fantasy world of
Final Retribution: to the Death
Luc stood watching Jesse from the doorway. She was oblivious to anything but the game she was engrossed in, her fingers flying with almost inhuman speed over the controls on the console. There was a tiny frown between her eyes and, as much as Luc wanted to deny it, it was adorable. With her legs crossed and in bare feet, she looked like a tousle-haired sexy elf.
The anger that had been fuelling him earlier had dissipated a little. It was as if he’d only then allowed the enormity of how powerless he was to hit him—when he’d thought about his mother and sister and realised that he wouldn’t know if they
needed him. The most enraging thing about that was that it hadn’t been his uppermost concern from the start. Because this woman had taken up every space in his head—and his libido.
His mouth settled to a grim line now as he took her in. There was only one way he could think of to assert some dominance in this situation and it had been far too long coming … It was time to give Jesse Moriarty a little taste of feeling out of control for a change.
skin prickled and her concentration faltered for a second when she sensed Luc’s presence in the room. She glanced up and saw him prowling towards the sofa. Before he got there he reached down and picked something up. It was the other game console.
He sat down beside her, far too close for comfort, and smiled at her. His weight meant that she fell towards him and Jesse quickly scrambled back, out of the danger zone, putting some space between them.
She tried not to be blinded by his smile and asked a little too breathily, ‘Did you want something?’
He looked at her for a long intense moment that had a very predictable effect on her heart-rate, and then sat back and said lazily, ‘This is a game for two, isn’t it?’
Jesse felt stiff and prim, and severely threatened. ‘Yes, but I’m playing both parts and I’m on one of the highest levels …’
‘So what …? Are you saying I can’t join in? You did say you wanted me to be as comfortable as possible here.’
Jesse didn’t trust this wide-eyed innocence for a second. She wanted to snap back,
That doesn’t mean smiling at me and walking around half-naked at any given opportunity and making me want you
Shock as those last few words registered in her brain made
Jesse blurt out, ‘Fine. We’ll start a new game, I’m Princess Olga … you can be King Ordak.’
Luc tutted. ‘Just because I’m the man I have to be King Ordak?’
Jesse rolled her eyes. ‘Fine,
be the Princess and I’ll be Ordak.’
‘Does this mean I get to take off your head?’
The unmistakable light of challenge lit Jesse’s eyes. ‘You can try.’
‘Brave words, King Ordak, brave words …’
Jesse had lost track of time about three games later. She’d expected to walk all over Luc, but he’d caught on to the rules faster than anyone she’d ever seen and had just subjected her to a particularly brutal death by skewering her with a wooden pole.
‘You don’t have to look so pleased with yourself,’ she grumbled—and then was taken aback to discover that she was not only having something that approximated
but also once again she was feeling comfortable with Luc.
Before she could really register that, he said easily, ‘You don’t seem to mind the blood in these games.’
Jesse tensed at being reminded of her weakness and how gentle he’d been with her. ‘No,’ she said carefully. ‘I know it’s not real.’
She made sure not to look at him, very afraid he’d see something on her face or in her eyes. This whole situation was careening wildly out of control.
‘One more game.’ He sounded determined.
‘Just so you can try to beat my score?’ Jesse asked lightly, glad Luc wasn’t pursuing the subject of her phobia of blood.
Luc sat back and Jesse was aware of his arm stretched out on the couch behind her. When had they moved closer together?
He drawled, ‘One more game and this time let’s up the ante a little—see how good you really are.’
Jesse cursed herself for not being able to get up and walk away from the danger she scented in the air, but she couldn’t resist a challenge. It was one of the reasons she’d done so well—because people had consistently told her that with her background she’d amount to nothing.
She glanced at him warily and hated to admit her attention was piqued. It made her bite out, ‘What do you mean?’
Luc came forward and Jesse’s gaze followed him suspiciously. The intent in his eyes made her hot in the face.
‘If I win, you let me do whatever I want …’ His mouth twisted. ‘I realise that doesn’t include letting me off the island or making a call to that end.’
Jesse racked her brains.
Whatever he wanted …
That could be anything. But as long as it didn’t involve freeing him what was the harm?
Some of her equilibrium returning, Jesse said, ‘But you won’t win. So what do I get when I win?’
Dryly Luc observed, ‘I think you’ve got quite enough, don’t you?’
Jesse scowled and then brightened. ‘I know. You can cook for me for the rest of the week.’
Now Luc scowled. ‘I’m practically cooking for you anyway, so that’s hardly fair … But, fine, if that’s what you want.’
Jesse stuck out her hand and then immediately regretted it when it was enveloped in his much larger one. Luc seemed to hold her hand for ever, and she finally pulled free and turned back to the game. She had a prickle of foreboding as to what Luc might exact from her if she won and she couldn’t allow him any leeway to torture her further.
The game started and Jesse scored a few easy victories, which made her feel complacent and which inevitably led to mistakes. Before she knew it Luc had caught up with her score
and then they were neck and neck. All Luc had to do was to kill her in one of three ways and he would win.
Just as Jesse realised that, Luc made a master move she didn’t see coming, and she watched in disbelief as her body was ripped in half, with cartoon-style blood gushing everywhere. She was speechless. No one
beat her at computer games. In the geek world she was legendary, and had an unbroken record.
She felt the console being taken out of her hand and Luc cleared his throat. ‘So, where were we?’
Jesse looked at him blankly, aware of his very smug expression. She couldn’t help admitting, ‘I can’t believe you just did that.’
‘You’re not the only one who has obviously racked up many misspent hours playing computer games.’
Jesse rounded on him properly. ‘You should have told me! That’s unfair, because I wasn’t playing to full capacity! If you’re as good as that, then—’
Luc put a finger to Jesse’s open mouth. She closed it abruptly, but not before she’d got a tantalising taste of warm skin. He took his finger away, much to Jesse’s relief—because she’d had an absurd urge to suck it.
‘Don’t be a sore loser, Jesse, it’s not attractive. I think it’s clear who
won the game and according to the terms we agreed, you have to let me do whatever I want.’
Her heart was thumping crazily. The game was forgotten. Jesse looked at Luc with a kind of mounting mixture of anticipation and horror. Her voice was scratchy. ‘What … what is it that you want?’
Luc’s gaze travelled over Jesse’s face, lingering on her mouth, which tingled in reaction, dipping down to her chest, where she imagined he could see right through to the bare
skin of her breasts, and then back up. He was like a lazy panther, with all the time in the world to catch his prey.
‘What I want to do, Jesse, is kiss you.’
Jesse instantly recoiled backwards. ‘Don’t be ridiculous. You don’t want to kiss me.’
Luc closed the distance between them, his gaze fixated on her mouth—which Jesse had always thought of as exceedingly
sexy, but which now felt disturbingly provocative.
‘Oh, yes, Jesse, I do.’
‘No.’ Jesse was shaking her head and scrambling back further along the couch, horror and awful anticipation solidifying in her belly. ‘You don’t.’
With seemingly effortless ease Luc merely came closer again, until Jesse was all but crouching in the corner of the spacious comfy couch, knees drawn up to her chest, eyes huge, heart thumping out of control. A fine sweat was breaking out all over her body and all she could see was Luc Sanchis, broad and dark and infinitely more dangerous to her than anything she’d ever known before in her life. Including her father.
‘Please don’t …’
Luc ignored the way his chest tightened at that plea and those huge eyes as he came close enough to form a cage around Jesse, with his arms either side of her. She was pale, with two spots of pink in each cheek, her chest rising and falling rapidly. He couldn’t stop now, because this was exactly how he wanted her: trembling and vulnerable.
He needed to establish some control, and he wanted to stamp some dominance onto this whole scenario. But curiously, as he stared into those stormy grey eyes, all those iron-clad intentions seemed to fade away … and what he wanted was much less coherent.
Luc snaked a hand around the back of Jesse’s head, fingers massaging her neck, tangling in luxuriously soft, silky hair. He cupped her skull, feeling how fragile it was and desire
surged in his body. He could feel the tremors going through her legs against his chest, and suddenly overriding everything became a need to soothe. He was a little blindsided by how much he wanted to put her at ease—and it wasn’t just about the endgame. Something more was happening. It was as if he sensed a deep vulnerability within her.
He heard himself say, ‘It’s okay, Jesse. I’m not going to hurt you … I wouldn’t do that.’
Inexorably he urged her mouth closer to his and closed the distance between them …
Jesse struggled to keep her eyes open, but the dark brown pools of Luc’s eyes were pulling her down. She knew on some rational level that she should kick her legs out, push him away, because she sensed that he wouldn’t force her … but she didn’t. She was her own worst enemy.
As soon as she’d had the vaguest suspicion that this was what he wanted excitement had bubbled through her veins, along with that fear and trepidation. On some level she suspected she’d known all along what he might want, but weakly she’d not acknowledged it. Had she even
him win? The thought was too huge to acknowledge.
What she did know was that since she’d seen him at that event a year ago, and he’d looked down into her eyes with that piercing regard, she’d imagined a moment like this. And she’d been transparent enough at the time to let him see it. And now it was going to happen, and she couldn’t, didn’t, want to stop it.
Luc’s mouth touched hers and it was like getting a thousand tiny electric shocks at once. He drew back slightly, as if he’d felt it too. Jesse’s eyes flew open and clashed with molten brown. They were almost accusatory, as if she’d done something wrong, but before she could articulate anything Luc was slanting his mouth over hers again and kissing her forcibly, his hand holding her head captive.
Jesse knew she was fighting a losing battle to try to pretend she was unaffected—not when she yearned for Luc’s mouth to be harder on hers. With a groan of angry supplication Jesse opened her mouth a fraction and Luc took advantage of her capitulation. Within what felt like seconds their mouths were both open, tongues touching and tasting, dancing forward and retreating back.
Luc’s hand gently angled Jesse’s head to give him deeper penetration and her insides caught fire; her toes curled against the material of the couch. She could feel the solid steel wall of Luc’s chest against her legs and wanted to open them, to bring him closer.
They kissed for long, timeless moments, one second passionately intense, the next languid and almost lazy, with Luc nipping at the corner of Jesse’s mouth. She was vaguely aware of Luc manoeuvring her, but was too intent on tasting him, revelling in his musky scent and that wicked tongue.
When Luc did pull back for a moment Jesse was mortified to find that she’d followed him, as if loath to let him go. And then she realised that she was lying back against Luc’s arm, and that he’d shifted them so that her legs were now draped over his lap and his free hand was on her belly.
She felt completely dazed and disorientated. Boneless. As if some seismic shift had happened within her. She couldn’t even drum up anger right now.
—she craved this like a starving person craved food. This physicality was a need she’d denied for too long, her whole life. For someone who lived so much in her head, suddenly it was all about her body and what
needed. All she could do was lift a hand and touch Luc’s hard jaw, tracing its contours with her fingers, marvelling at how pale her skin was next to his.
Luc’s voice sounded thick and slightly slurred. ‘I want to see you, Jesse …’
His hand moved up to the buttons on her shirt. Jesse’s belly
tightened with delicious anticipation. She bit her lip and it was swollen. All she knew right then was that she didn’t want this moment to end. She’d been transported too far into a new seductive world to turn back.
She felt a fleeting moment of panic as sanity threatened to break through the fog in her brain and tensed minutely. But when she searched Luc’s eyes, as if she would find something to help pull her out of this quicksand, she saw nothing but her own desire mirrored there. Shyly she nodded her head with one little jerk, and the flash of heat in Luc’s eyes gave her a heady sense of confidence and—worse—
, her body was crying out, seeking fulfilment. And Jesse realised that she wanted to more than anything.
This was so far removed from her previous experience with a man that she had no frame of reference for anything except knowing that she wanted to go forward. Luc’s long fingers moved to the top button of her shirt and Jesse shivered when he opened it. She felt the backs of his fingers against her skin, then she thought of something and stopped his hand with hers.
Their eyes met and she said, ‘I don’t … I’m not wearing a bra.’
Luc smiled and it was pure sin. ‘I noticed …’
Jesse’s insides melted along with any doubts. She dropped her hand and for the first time in her life felt
. Luc’s eyes went back to her shirt and his fingers made fast work of undoing her buttons until her shirt gaped open slightly. Reverently, Luc pushed the material aside to reveal one breast, and Jesse sucked in a breath, unwittingly making her breast swell.
Two slashes of colour lined Luc’s cheeks and Jesse was desperately biting inside her mouth. She wanted him to touch her so badly. And then he did, and she almost arched off the couch.
All Luc could see was a red haze of lust. He heard nothing
but a dull pounding in his ears and was vaguely aware that it was his heart. Jesse’s breast fitted into his hand as if made for it. Her hard nipple scraped his palm and he had to bite back a groan. He squeezed the firm flesh, making her nipple even harder, and then he couldn’t wait any longer. He bent his head and surrounded that tight pointed peak in hot moisture, rolling and flicking his tongue around it, biting gently.