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Authors: Evanne Lorraine

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Liam kept her with him while he grabbed a pair of water
bottles from the fridge, loosened the cap and handed her one. “Drink.”

She swallowed half the contents. “I was thirstier than I
realized.”

After emptying his, Liam snagged the shotgun and led the way
to the living room. After folding himself on a sofa, he settled her on his lap.
She sank into him, resting her head under his chin. Her slight weight grounded
him in ways he didn’t want to examine too closely.

A quarter hour flew by before someone knocked.

He set her carefully on her feet. “Are you okay?”

“I’m fine.” She managed a small smile. “Answer the door.”

Before he got there, his cell played Jacques’ ringtone.
“Chief Campbell is coming over to get a statement from you.”

“How’s Taylor?”

“Her vitals are stable, but she’s still unconscious. They’re
loading her up now.”

Liam checked the viewer, unlocked and gestured for Stu to
enter while he continued his conversation with Jacques. “Will you ride to the
hospital with her?”

“No, I’m sending Jed, which leaves you short a stable hand,
sorry.”

“I’ll manage.”

“Figured as much. I’ll join you and the chief as soon as
I’ve talked to Luke.”

“Thanks, pal.” Liam found Stu talking to Tiana.

“Nothing I’m afraid. I was napping and didn’t even hear the
shot.” She angled her head toward Liam. “Is Taylor all right?”

“Too early to tell. Jacques will keep us in the loop.” He
turned to Stu. “Been a hell of a long day.”

“Violent crimes for the year doubled in a single shift.”
Stu’s vote-getting grin had taken a powder. He scrubbed a large palm over his
face then clicked his pen. “Tell me about the latest shot.”

Liam checked the grandfather clock guarding the entry—almost
seven thirty. So much had happened since the potshot at Tiana’s it seemed as if
that were more than a few hours ago. He worked backward to come up with the
time of the shooting. “Around seven someone fired at me from the timber ridge
half a mile east of here.”

“Where were you?”

“I’ll show you, slug’s still there.”

Liam picked up his weapon and led the way. He bit back a
smile when he entered the master suite and found his bed freshly made. Not a
big surprise his little corset-favoring pet liked neat and tidy.

The chief and Tiana followed him out on the deck.

Liam pointed to the imbedded bullet.

Stu studied the trajectory, jotted a note, carefully removed
the spent ammunition and bagged the evidence. “Damn lucky you’re still
standing. Now all we need is the rifle that fired it.”

His radio crackled to life. Officer Sullivan’s tenor came
through the shoulder set loud and clear. “I have Travis Gregg is in custody.”

“Good work, son. Meet me at the station.” Stu tipped his
head. “See you two later.”

“Thank God, it’s over.” Tiana sank onto the rocker behind
them.

Liam nodded without commenting. He still wasn’t convinced
they were safe. He had a hard time believing Travis had executed two near
misses and his gut said he’d overlooked something. He pushed aside the nagging
feeling to concentrate on Tiana. “Are you okay?”

“Just relieved and famished.” She crossed to the stairs.
“I’m going to start dinner.”

Liam followed.

Jacque appeared at the back door.

“Any word on Taylor?”

The security chief shook his head. “I’m a big fan of no news
is good news. They’re probably just pulling up to the hospital.”

“Seems like it’s been longer.”

“Do either of you want a drink?” Tiana asked.

Jacques dipped his chin. “A cola if you have it.”

She looked expectantly at Liam, all big eyes, soft skin and
wanting to please him. The urge to care for others was as ingrained as her
submission. Just her presence gave him comfort. Guthrie had been right.

Liam couldn’t imagine letting her go.

He grabbed a tumbler from the hutch and handed her the
glass. “A couple of ice cubes would be great.”

Tiana added ice to the tumbler then poured Jacques a tall
cola. “I hope Cherry Coke is all right.”

“Terrific,” Jacques said.

Liam added a healthy splash of rye to his rocks and aimed a
pointed look at his chief. “Did you want to check out the bullet hole?”

“Wouldn’t miss it.” Jacques joined him on the trek upstairs
to the point of impact. “Show me where you were standing.”

Liam obliged him by resuming his position.

“What made you move?”

“Flash of light from there.” Liam pointed toward the ridge.

Jacques whistled. “Damn lucky flinch, boss.”

“Another life gone.” Liam shrugged off a prickly sensation
from the close call.

Jacques read him like a neon sign, but the chief of security
politely averted his sharp eyes and changed the subject. “Catching Gregg was a
nice piece of work for the cops.”

“I’m impressed with your information sources. Stu just got
word a couple of minutes ago.”

“Luke gave Officer Sullivan a hand. He called, probably
around the same time Sullivan radioed his boss.”

Liam scowled. The nagging feeling he’d missed something
important continued to flit across the edge of his consciousness.

“They confiscated a thirty-caliber Winchester with a serious
scope from Gregg’s rig.” Jacques paused, waiting for a reaction and then added,
“Kinda thought you would be pleased.”

“Sorry, I’m trying to remember something, but it’s not
coming into focus.”

“You’ll think of it when you quit trying to force the
recall.” Jacques helped by changing the subject. “With Taylor and Jed both off
the roster, I’m going to do some shift juggling. I’ll move Duncan into the
house for tonight.”

“Forget about it. I can take care of Tiana.”

“Maybe for the short term. You can’t guard her by yourself
24/7 unless you plan to keep her chained up whenever you need to work or
sleep.”

If Tiana enjoyed being bound the idea of restraining her
held a lot of appeal. He forced his thoughts back to the current problem.
“You’re right. However, this isn’t a long-term situation. With Travis in
custody Tiana will want to go home.”

“We were damn lucky. You pay me a hell of lot of money to
make sure you’re protected and then you tie my hands. Being the head of
Sterling Enterprises makes you a target. Stop and think for a second, how safe
is Tiana going to be if you’re dead? It’s time for you to accept bodyguards for
the whole family and a major security upgrade for the ranch.”

Liam glowered at him. “Next you’ll tell me I need a
bulletproof ride.”

“Damn fine idea.”

“Not interested in living inside a protective bubble.”

“Welcome to the real world,” Jacques grumbled.

“I’ll think about. We better get back before Tiana decides
we fell off the balcony.”

When she saw him, she lit up as if he were Christmas morning
and the Derby winner rolled into one.

He smiled back at her because it was impossible not to.

She threaded a slender arm through his. “I would appreciate
some of your manly grilling expertise.”

“I’ll come back later.” Jacques started to leave.

Tiana halted him with a glance. “Don’t be silly, you must be
hungry too. I insist you stay and help.”

His gruff security chief raised his arms in mock surrender.
“Tell me what you want killed for dinner and I’m on it.”

She gifted the chief with a dazzling smile. “The hotdogs
seem pretty subdued at the moment, but I’m relieved you’re here to give Liam
some backup if they get rowdy.”

“Got it covered. The interior courtyard is as safe as the
house. I won’t let anything happen to the boss on my watch,” Jacques promised.

Liam fired up the grill.

The chief followed him out to the patio. “Did you report the
outage?”

“Not yet.”

“I’ll handle it.” Jacques was already dialing.

Liam settled into an Adirondack chair with a view of the
dining room. Seconds later he watched while Tiana set the table for three. She
looked so right in his house. As she took care of the routine tasks of
preparing dinner, some of the evening’s stress bled from his tense muscles.

“Caught a break, the power company is finishing repairs on a
severed underground line in Briarwood. They’ll swing by as soon as they’re
done.” Jacques lifted the lid on the grill. “Want me to put the dogs on?”

“Let me check with the chef.” Liam opened the door. “Are you
ready for us to start the hotdogs?”

She set a bowl of coleslaw on the table runner. “Of course.”

“Do you want us to toast buns?”

“Yes, please. I’ll bring them out to you.” Her big brown
eyes sparkled at him as if he’d offered her some great treat before she dropped
her lashes in shy respect.

An image of him fisting her ponytail and fucking her from
behind rolled through his head. The fact she was smart, brave and competitive
as hell only intensified his pleasure at her sweet submission. A sudden craving
made his chest broaden and his voice deepen. “No rush. The meat will take a few
minutes.”

Jacques’ phone buzzed. He pulled it out of his pocket. “Jed.”
He answered the call. “What’s happening?”

Liam turned the slightly blackened hotdogs while listening
to the chief’s end of the conversation—good, damn and hang in there, bud.

After he hung up, Jacques filled in the blanks. “Taylor is
conscious. She never saw who hit her. She has a concussion and a minor skull
fracture. The break allowed a small pocket of air to get trapped between her
skull and dura matter, resulting in a killer headache for our girl. The docs
are monitoring the situation and remain hopeful the air leaves without surgery.
She’s staying overnight for sure, maybe longer.”

Tiana appeared with the buns. “Is she going to be all
right?”

“Yeah, I doubt she’ll be coming back to the ranch anytime
soon, but she should make a full recovery.”

“Are visitors allowed?”she asked.

Jacques nodded. “I’m planning to stop tomorrow.”

She turned to Liam. “Perhaps we can go too?”

“Maybe.” Liam avoided a definite answer, not ready to
discuss the possibility some of the bad guys might still be free.

A few shreds of salad and breadcrumbs were the only thing
left from dinner when the power crew knocked.

Jacques patted his mouth with a napkin and set the used
cloth on the table. “I’ll show them where the line was cut.”

Tiana stood and offered him the dessert plate. “Please take
a blondie with you.”

“Thanks.” The chief accepted a treat and turned at the door
to catch Liam’s eye. “Lock up behind me.”

“Why did he say that?”

Liam shrugged. “He’s security. Careful is his job.”

“Right.” Skepticism hiked up her eyebrows and her chin
tilted toward the shotgun. “At least you can put away the gun. Travis is locked
up.”

“Someone tried to kill me twice today. I’m more comfortable
armed for now.”

She wrapped her arms around him and hugged him tight. “I’m
so grateful he missed both times.”

After he secured the house he steered Tiana upstairs, eager
to lose himself in her.

Chapter Eleven

 

Liam must have drifted off. The sun filtered through the
partially drawn drapes and a perfect breast nudged his palm. His hard-on
nestled in the seam of her ass.

She pressed back against his erection. “Morning, Sir.”

Her half-awake submission sent a thrill straight to his
cock. Tiana was absolutely the best possible wakeup call.

Tiana sat up abruptly, making her gorgeous breasts bounce.
“Dear God, is your clock right?”

Her hair was tousled, her eyes heavy-lidded and her mouth
still soft and puffy. His cock bumped his stomach. He ignored the familiar ache
long enough to prop up on his elbows and assessed the small digital clock on
her nightstand. “Probably, it’s Sunday, we can sleep in a little.”

“I should help with the horses this morning, Master.” She
burrowed closer.

“There’s plenty of staff around. Let them take care of the
hayburners. You need to ride me.” Liam stroked her smooth skin from the
delicate wings of her shoulder blades to the flare of her perfect ass.

Tiana’s satin thigh settled on his hairy quads. Her soft
fingers wrapped around the base of his cock. “I can’t believe you’re ready
again, Sir.”

“Complaining?”

“No, Master.” She darted a peek at him then quickly dropped
her lashes, calling attention to the color spots on her cheekbones.

He cupped one of her breasts. Pleased by the eager nudge
from her taut nipple, he tweaked the tightened tip. “Remind me you need some
pretty clamps.”

“I’m good without them.” Her voice rose with concern.

“You are beyond good. I would still enjoy seeing my jewelry
dangling from your breasts. Is that a problem?”

Tiana shook her head.

“I need a verbal response.” He angled back and lifted her
chin.

Worried brown eyes met his. “I want to please you, but I
don’t enjoy pain, Master.”

Tiana’s beautiful face was like a mirror to her soul. She
hid nothing from him. She was the natural submissive he’d dreamed of having.
With Tiana sex had never been about just what he wanted and never would be. He
needed to take care of her. His life was as simple and as complicated as that.

Submissives didn’t always understand their desires. It was
up to him to deduce her true needs. Part of the process included testing her
limits to reconstruct her faith in her own strength. The irony of coaxing his
wounded pet to accept the sting of discomfort after he’d spent years trying to
arouse a pain slut without causing her permanent damage almost made him laugh.

He pinched Tiana’s taut peak again while focusing on her
reaction.

She flinched, but her cheeks blushed with excitement.

“Thank you for being honest with me. I want you to tolerate
a little discomfort to please me. If the pain gets to be too much, say nymph
and we’ll talk.”

She dropped her lashes. Her pink skin grew brighter. “All
right, Master.”

Her response was exactly what he’d hoped for. His
expectation didn’t dim the thrill of her willingness. His chest warmed and his
shaft grew longer and harder.

He stopped torturing her rosy nipples and parted her pussy.
The silken flesh was swollen, deep pink and slick with wanting. He used his
thumb to apply steady pressure to her engorged clit while he penetrated her
drenched sheath with two fingers, teasing her G-spot.

She clamped around his penetration, whimpered and arched
closer.

“I’ll save the clamps for later.” She’d done beautifully and
he didn’t want to make her wait any longer.

His role of guardian to his brothers had reinforced a
natural protective streak, making him automatically reach for a condom. He’d
always practiced safe sex. For the first time he hesitated, craving
skin-to-skin closeness with Tiana.

Not happening without her consent. He quickly rolled on the
latex shield and replaced his fingers in her silken cunt with the blunt tip of
his cock.

Wet satin clamped down on him, fitting him better than his
own skin. He clenched his molars and concentrated on rewarding his brave slave
with unbearable pleasure.

Only after he’d driven her to desperation would her give her
permission to climax, because she responded to his commands so sweetly.

The sensitive ridge of his rod scraped the delicate ridges
of her G-spot with each long, slow thrust, teasing them both closer to the
edge. As he stroked inside the hot fist of her silken pussy he sank balls-deep
and ground against her swollen clit.

She dug her nails into his shoulders and moaned, “Please,
Sir.”

“Not yet.” He stilled, battling his own need for release.

She gave him a clipped nod.

“That’s my good girl.”

She sighed with acceptance and gradually loosened the
exquisite hold on his shaft.

Her sweet compliance threatened to push him over the edge.
He pulled almost completely out of her heat. He waited for several slow, deep
breaths with his cock head notched in the fluttering gateway to paradise. Then
he rolled them over without losing their intimate connection until she sat
astride his hips. He stayed sitting, bracing against the smooth headboard. He
filled his hands with her responsive tits and let her slowly sink onto him. He
groaned as the wet velvet glove of her entrance clamped and eased around his
cock until he was balls-deep in her cunt.

She wound her arms around his neck as she found her rhythm.
He abandoned teasing her breasts to guide her hips, rocking her against him in
a slow grind that made him burn.

Hard, needy nipples scraped his, sending more excitement to
his aching balls. He pressed her engorged clit. Hot cream flowed, coating the
length of his rod. He captured her parted lips in a fierce kiss and angled them
to lie back on the bed. She held on tight, staying with him, moaning and
sucking his tongue.

Liam ended the kiss by fisting her hair and tugging firmly.
“Problem?”

She sat up and drew in a ragged breath. “Please, I can’t
wait, Master.”

“You will wait, until I give you permission to come. You’re
waiting to please me and because delaying pleasure makes it that much
sweeter—more intense.” He lightly pinched the rigid tips begging for his
attention.

“If the release is any stronger I might not survive my next
orgasm, Sir.”

“Yes, you will. I command it.” He flexed his hips, grinding
into her excited clit.

A cry of raw need escaped her throat and her pussy rippled
around his cock, but she managed not to climax.

“Your compliance pleases me greatly.” He held himself still,
anchored her in place with a rough palm on her hip and soothed her with light,
calming caresses. Gradually, he eased her away from the pinnacle.

Her face glowed with pride from obeying his will.

“Soon,” he promised, not altogether sure if he was
reassuring her or himself. “Scoot up.” He used his Dom voice and squeezed.
Keeping his hold on her hip just short of painful, he guided her where he
wanted her.

She wriggled higher on his stomach.

“Higher.” His hard-on left her heat with a juicy pop.

She followed his order with a sigh of regret.

He pretended to ignore her frustration. “Lean over and let
me suck on those gorgeous breasts.”

Plainly resigned to more teasing, she sighed and obeyed,
cupping her small mounds and bending until the tightened peaks feathered his
mustache.

This time he didn’t tease. He latched on to one puckered
nipple, sucking hard.

She moaned and fresh cream dampened his abs.

He switched to the other breast. The cool air of the bedroom
contracted the abandoned peak’s wet tip even more.

She whimpered and shielded the tortured bud behind her arm.

Liam caught her hand, exposing both breasts, and nipped her
other nipple.

More hot honey flowed across his belly. At the same time, a
surprised yelp squeaked from her lips.

Concerned by her yelp, he released the tender nipple. “Too
hard?”

“I’m not certain. Perhaps you should do it again, Master.”

“Endlessly.” He pulled her hips higher on his chest.

She grabbed the headboard to keep from squatting on his
face.

He nipped the tender skin on the inside of her thigh and
soothed the small injury with his tongue. He continued to nibble and lick,
lapping through every furl and fold, enjoying his favorite flavor—aroused
Tiana.

“I can’t get enough of you.” His tongue swirled through her
inner labia, circling her entrance before swiping across her engorged clit and
returning to flick the small bundle of want over and over again. He varied his
pattern of laps, nips and sucking until fresh cream gushed from her channel.

Her ass clenched, jerking her cunt hard against his mouth.
Her hips rolled, seeking.

“Come for me.”

She trembled, her eyes went soft and liquid in response to
his words. With time and training she would climax instantly from nothing more
than his command. He used his teeth to lightly graze the top of her clit. Her
entire body clenched and quivered before she bucked against his mouth and
tumbled into ecstasy.

Her limbs loosened. She would have fallen from his shoulders
if he hadn’t held her tight. He lapped up her honey, soothing her swollen labia
by using the flat of his tongue in gentle, calming strokes before positioning
her on her knees facedown. Liam pressed between her shoulder blades and lifted
her hips. His cock head found the mouth of her cunt without guidance and he
sank back into paradise. Within a few strokes she squealed and shuddered as
another wave of bliss rocked through her.

“Come for me, pet.”

Her sheath obediently massaged his cock with the perfect
erotic pressure. He let the ripples of her release carry him with her into
rapture as he spent himself so deep inside her their souls seemed to fuse.

She panted. “You might have a point about delayed pleasure.
My recent back-to-back earthshaking orgasms argues in your favor, Sir.”

Her cheeky admission made the corners of his lips quirk. He
extricated himself from the tangle of limbs and covered her with the quilt
before leaning over and placing a kiss on her temple. “Don’t go anywhere.”

“As if, Master.” She sprawled across his bed, limp and
satiated. Every now and then she moaned softly and arched as if another
aftershock of bliss rippled through her engorged pussy.

Since they were alone in the house, he skipped dressing.
When he picked up the shotgun his shoulder whined. He took the weapon with him
anyway. On his way through the dining room, he paused to pour a medicinal
splash of rye. He sipped the drink while he assessed snack options.

Tiana needed fluids and protein, so he grabbed two water
bottles and loaded up sandwich fixings. He whistled tunelessly while he
organized crusty sourdough, roast turkey, mayo, mustard and pickles. A thorough
scan of the condiment labels gave him the peanut-free all clear. He began
assembly. Three sandwiches later, he tossed a bag of chips and a couple of
apples into the cooler and trekked back upstairs.

She rolled over as he crossed the threshold, jerked upright
and slammed into the headboard so hard he winced.

“Easy.” He set the snacks on the floor and lowered his butt
to the mattress.

She tucked wayward strands behind her ears with shaky
fingers. “Sorry, I guess that’s a hazard of sleeping in a strange bed.”

“You don’t need to apologize.” He kept his voice low and
even, though his temper flared at her fear. Shit, her ex did a real number on
her. He hoped the bastard was roasting in hell. “Thought you’d like a snack.”

She managed a smile. “I am a little hungry. What time is
it?”

“Around two thirty.” He uncapped one of the bottled waters
and handed it to her with a mock scowl. “Drink.”

“Yes Sir.” Her shoulders eased down, letting him enjoy her
unthinking use of the respectful “Sir”. Demanding respect didn’t work with
slaves any better than it did with kids or horses. Any Dom worthy of the title
commanded obedience by his will and his actions. Taking care of his submissive
was always number one on a decent Master’s to-do list. Right now it was his job
to make sure she ate, drank and rested.

He peered in the cooler. “I’ve got a couple of turkey
sandwiches, chips and apples. What do you want first?”

“I shouldn’t be hungry, but I am.” She frowned. “A sandwich
please.” He handed her one, hiding the wince reaching caused. She waited for
him to distribute napkins and grab one for himself before she said, “Let me
check your shoulder.”

“I’m fine.”

“You’re not fine, you’ve been shot.” She ignored his
protest, stood and gently loosened the dressing.

A few minutes later she was back looking impossibly sexy in
one of his shirts and holding out a couple of painkillers.

He ogled her long legs and washed down the caplets with
water. “Thanks.”

“You’re welcome.” Tiana settled gracefully on the bed, took
a bite, chewed and swallowed. “Delicious.”

He finished off two sandwiches and most of the chips while
she ate one, except for the crust. “I take it you don’t like crusts.”

Her ridiculously long lashes lowered. “Skipping them trims
the calories.”

“You don’t need to lose weight.”

“You’re right and I intend to keep it that way. If I added
pounds, I would handicap my mount.”

He didn’t like the idea of her risking re-injury by
competing. But he also knew this wasn’t his call, so he treaded lightly. “Are
you thinking about trying for national ranking again?”

“I’m not, but it’s still important to keep fit for
Alverstoke’s sake as well as my own.”

“Your horse is named Alverstoke? What the hell kind of name
is that?”

He must have made a funny face, because she laughed. The
light sound did something wonderful to his chest.

“Men who name their stallion Ozzie have no room to mock.
Alverstoke is the gentlemen hero of
Fredericka
, a regency romance
novel.” She helped herself to one of the chips he’d been hogging.

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