The cameras had been professionally installed, and for every two barely visible there’d be at least one more worth a second glance. But I didn’t bother to belabor the obvious. I’d already achieved my primary agenda: announcing my availability.
Lights embedded along the floorboard, like the kind in movie theaters that forced instant adjustment to a dimmer interior, illuminated a hallway wide enough to accommodate two-by-two choir members, in robes. The hall truncated in doors at ninety degrees to each other. The walnut-paneled one on the right would open to stairs accessing the balcony, the one immediately in front sat bank vault tight and unwelcoming.
Cocking a hip, I waited. Depending on what was happening below decks, it might take a while for anybody to come up, if they even bothered. The first test had been the tasty Sam who sniffed out my calling card.
Richter’s calling card…
There were times I wished he’d fade away, leave me be, let the scars surface and ache and turn flesh milk white, but he didn’t, wouldn’t, couldn’t. They weren’t healed, none of them. Not under the skin where they sat like mirror fragments, perpetually poised for resurgence. Every movement, every breath was a self-imposed memory, a liquid joy ride with blood my currency and “no” my ticket into the inner sanctum.
And he’d watch, eyes firing like opals on speed, colors swirling, agitated, his cock so thick and wicked, the blade inched and crawled, slow slow slower, skin resisting. The incision was easy and impossible, and it took an effort of will to care—that was the trick, letting him think it mattered.
Cutting wasn’t for the faint of heart, and it made you feel so alive, so in control, so deserving of the heat and viscous flow and the reluctance of muscle to knit and behave once it’d been severed to the point of supplication.
The trick was to avoid the bits that mattered, the rest was fair game. And I’d gamed that system until we’d mapped every curve, every crevasse, every hollow and flat expanse. I’d decorated the canvass to my own specifications, under the watchful eye of my master. But it was he who tended to the backing, unleashing willow and barbs and rough callused palms until the room, dank and dirty and filthy with lust, ignited from the glow off my skin.
I sank to the floor, knees encapsulated with hands and arms that trembled ever so slightly. Anticipation did that little thing, set up nerves on full alert, hair follicles tingling with fear and excitement.
Dominic, for all I’d learned about the man—the monster, the opponent— was still an unknown. How far he would push my buttons, how much of myself he would command, was something I tried not to think on.
A noise at the far end of the hall, where I’d entered, got my attention. Boots, shit-kickers, strode confidently in my direction, and then halted inches away. I didn’t look up. He knelt, a paw covered my knee. Still I refused to glance at him.
“I changed my mind.” The voice was sultry dark chocolate, unnerving coming from the mouth of a big man like Sam. It coated my resolve and set alarm bells to full klaxon. He’d already surprised me. Now I wondered what in hell I’d gotten myself into.
The cameras repositioned, left, two right, high and angled down. It was subtle, barely audible to human hearing. I lifted my head, let the knot at the nape of my neck impact the walnut choir door, giving line-of-sight to my poor excuse for cleavage.
Sam had my hands pinioned to my knee, both of them cocooned together. It was oddly sensual. Thumbs stroked the underside of my wrist, the gentleness unnerving.
Swallowing back my growing arousal, I hissed, “What changed your mind?”
Leaning in, close to my ear, he whispered, “Orders.”
“Do you always follow orders?”
“To the letter?”
He paused, long enough to tweak my curiosity, so I looked at him, really looked. At square-jawed and chiseled, pockmarked from teen acne, ugly and interesting and inviting my tongue to explore the rough surface and the dark, hard stubble. Everything about Sam was granite and toned and bulked with muscle, but his eyes, oh his beautiful, soft, bedroom eyes—they were lashed, lush, and lovely.
In the dim light, they glowed with iridescent grey, giving him, at times, a feral untamed appearance. He stroked my skin with those eyes, traveling the highways and byways of flesh so spackled and crazed, it was a wonder he didn’t withdraw in disgust.
He saw it, me, the evidence of my indiscretions and Richter’s obsessions. I wasn’t sure how I knew that, but I did. I’d thought him just highly trained, but now, after watching him take my measure, I wasn’t so sure there wasn’t more to Sam than met the eye.
Amusement crinkled the corners of those eyes, tilted lips, thin and severe and dangerous, too much like mine. I wondered about kissing those lips, smearing fire engine red as down payment on the cover charge.
Sam had been sent to amuse me and explore my boundaries. To keep me occupied while they searched the databases, did facial recognition, analyzed my pheromones and did a trace back to Richter.
That fucker had planned this down to the final detail. But why? If he was the target, and I was the arrow, that made Dominic the bow.
Damn it, what the hell was going on?
Spreading my legs, I pulled Sam’s hands and mine up my thighs, shushing the ridiculous fabric as high as it would go, revealing the blade and holster and an opening for the mountain to take, to step out of bounds. Sample the goods.
He’d said maybe.
It sounded like yes to me.
It didn’t take long for my inner slut to moisten his lips and bead his brow, the trickles leaving a fine line of desire etching his high cheek bones. He’d been told to mind but not touch. I could work with that, so I murmured, “Maybe you need to find work you enjoy,” and squeezed my thighs, allowing his hands to swallow the tension and the promise.
He bowed his head, bringing the close-cropped brown hair close enough for my teeth to grab hold and chew and worry until he drew back, and I refused to let go with my hands clasped tight, tighter, until turgid flesh nearly exploded from the building pressure.
He rocked back on his heels and released my hands. His eyes darted right and left, reminding himself he was being filmed, each and every breath, each and every rise and fall of his massive, bare chest on display for whatever guardians minded that part of the store.
It took no effort to reach for the buckle, release it and slide the stiff leather loose enough to grasp the button and the zipper. He mouthed, “No,” but that was a word I liked, a word I understood, so I fingered the tab and slid it down, the sound buried under his labored grunts.
Shit, don’t, fuck, no, I can’t.
I fingered the slit with a blunt nail, pressuring, prodding, stirring the first drops and coating the inner wall as his cock fired and thrust against my insistent invasion.
Fucking hell, that’s good…
The back of my head throbbed. Somewhere in the bowels of the building, the party had restarted, the bass thrumming with a steady beat through walls and floor until it vibrated like a tuning fork in my chest cavity.
I pushed harder, widening the opening and Sam groaned his dismay and his agony and pinched his own nipples, arching his back until his Adam’s apple bulged with the need for release.
Flushed skin poured lava waves of heat onto my own flesh, awakening every pore as I sucked in the man’s overpowering scent of musk and testosterone.
He rocked his hips, fucking my finger fucking his hole and saying fuck you to the cameras and to me and then he growled, “Turn around,” but I ignored him and gripped his pendulous balls, squeezing for pain and resolve and aggressive payback.
He whimpered, and I soothed with a sweep of juiced up digits, running the moisture up and down the distended vein, purpled with pain and lust. It was a truly beautiful cock, thick and straight and proudly jutting from a nest of dark curly pubic hair, and then I thought about eyes, dark eyes, my Dark Eyes and a clit, plumped and sensitized, rocking between my breasts and the feel of a nub of pleasure rasping across tender flesh.
I tugged at Sam’s hips but he moaned, “I can’t.”
“Touch, I’m not allowed…”
“No maybe.” His eyes flicked to the ceiling.
Pushing him back until he rocked on his heels, I whispered an alternative solution, “What if I touch you?”
He gripped his ankles, bending as far back as he could, allowing his splendid cock to stand tall and beckoning.
Moaning, “Sorry, sorry, sorry,” I lifted the skirt and forced the supple leather housing the sharp, lethal blade to guide Sam’s cock inside, deep inside, deep enough his thighs quivered and sweat soaked his massive chest as he fought the need to rock and thrust and howl his possession.
I could almost taste and feel Dominic’s presence, hear his rasping breath as I damned his soldier to eternal hell, rocking and clenching and driving the man into denial. But it was too late, and the mountain knew it, accepted it, his hands throttling my neck, thumbs jammed tight under my chin and air became precious, then irrelevant, and the tension released like a cannonade, bam bam bam until Sam howled, “Oh fuck yeah,” and I gurgled and grunted and absorbed the spikes until my body betrayed me and I tumbled over the cliff.
Sam released me to suck in air but he kept a strangle hold on my chin, kept it tilted up and back so Dominic and his minions could pass judgment on the show. By my metric, the performance had been just so-so, but then I’d had Richter as my ringmaster and enabler, so my concept of standards wasn’t exactly mainstream.
Pushing off his massive shoulders, I stood up and tugged the skirt over my thighs. Cum and sweat and my own juices coated my legs, the leather sopping up the moisture and making the holster as uncomfortable as sin.
Sam lumbered to his feet and adjusted his clothing, all the while staring at me with belligerence and accusation. I’d probably signed and sealed his death warrant. We both knew it, though instead of fear, he wore defiance. It was a good look on him.
I may have won an ally but I doubted he’d last long enough for me to make use of that. When he bracketed my body with his, looming over me and shielding my body and all sound from surveillance, he spoke for my ears only.
“I want more than an appetizer.”
“Do you always get what you want?” I had to work hard to keep the banter going. Harder yet was the promise of more.
“What if I said maybe?”
“What if I said I don’t like liars?”
His hot breath coated my earlobe with menace. “And I don’t like teases.”
“Good to know we understand each other.”
He backed away as the door swung open on silent hinges. “The next round won’t be so easy, Finna Skaftadóttir.”
I shrugged. “It never is, Sam, it never is.”
I listened to his receding footfalls, allowing just a twinge of regret that my reputation was still intact. Sam would go to the hereafter like all the others. And no one would give it a second thought.
I followed the newest gatekeeper down a narrow flight of stairs, blanking my mind to all but the next hurdle, succeeding but for the niggling image of Annie rocking and slipping her flesh across my flesh, and wondering why the hell I couldn’t shake that sensation.
I am convinced. Well and truly. There is nothing – absolutely nothing – you cannot create. GORGEOUS.
More than any other, this is difficult to read in pieces. Finn’s world requires careful entry, not a foot-first leap from an offshore rock. And yet I can’t *not* read it, waiting for the whole. You own me.