Read Binding Fire: Paranormal Romance (Bad Boys of the Underworld Book 3) Online
Authors: Mallory Crowe
“I have killed demons at the gates of Hell. It takes more than a gangster with a Napoleon complex to scare me.” She stopped and held her hand up to point to the small, formerly white, house she rented. “That one is mine.”
He scowled as he dragged her to the door. He looked to her to open it and all Muriel could do was shrug with her good shoulder. “All my stuff is back at the diner.” He hadn’t really given her a chance to grab her purse or jacket.
He rolled his eyes, as if the inconvenience wasn’t caused by his own domineering actions, and knocked her door open with one powerful kick. Muriel’s eyes widened as she shrieked in outrage. “What are you doing?”
The carnage didn’t stop there. He moved into the small house and started systematically destroying everything that Muriel had collected over the past four years. She speechlessly watched the carnage as she was hauled room to room with him.
She knew it would be fruitless to ask him to stop. She’d tricked him and his anger was to be expected. She knew he would try to punish her any way he could, and it wouldn’t be too hard to do if she was permanently attached to him. Even knowing this, watching all of her stuff get destroyed was hard.
As he reached the kitchen, he tossed all of her dishes to the linoleum floor as he searched every square inch of the cabinets. Muriel was pleasantly surprised by how many dishes survived the fall, but soon enough the floor was littered with sharp pieces of ceramic.
A shard bounced off the floor and sliced the side of her calf. Muriel winced at the pinching sensation and Kier tensed at the same time. He stopped his frantic search to turn to her.
“Why don’t you tell me, what exactly is your plan?”
“I already told you. I’m corrupting your soul.” She had a hard time meeting his gaze when all of his intensity was focused on her.
“Yeah, I got that part. How long do you expect that to take?”
Muriel bit her lip nervously and saw his gaze focus on the action. “From all the reports I’ve read, it varies.”
He still looked at her lips. “What does ‘varies’ mean?”
“A few weeks or a few months,” she said softly, waiting for an angry outburst to destroy even more of her kitchen.
She was surprised when only silence greeted her admission. She cautiously looked up and saw that he clenched his jaw tightly but held himself back from striking out at something.
“Months? You expect to spend months handcuffed to me?”
She was still not happy about that aspect of her plan, but sometimes vengeance required sacrifice. “I figure this way your torture can be twofold…slowly losing your soul while forced to put up with me.”
“How exactly do you intend to shower? Sleep? Masturbate?” He whispered the last one right next to her ear.
As much as Muriel wanted to be her old badass self, she couldn’t help the blush that crept up her neck. Things like masturbation just didn’t come up that often when you were an angel.
“I’m not modest. I’m sure you’ve seen thousands of naked women. I think we can manage simple things like showering and sleeping. As for the, um, other one, that won’t be an issue for me.”
“What about me? Just wait until you go to sleep to take care of myself? Or are you planning on participating?” he purred as he once again used his size to back her up, this time against the counter.
“No, um, no participating.” She seemed unable to stop herself from stumbling over her words.
His hands wrapped around her hips as he effortlessly lifted her until her ass rested on the edge of the counter. He stepped between her thighs before she could close them.
Her free hand went to his chest as she pushed at him, feeling alternately scared of what he planned and a wicked thrill at having his perfect male body pressed against her.
She couldn’t deny that her sexual urges as a mortal were a hundred times more intense than they had been as an angel, and the feeling of his powerful body pressed against hers took her breath away. His muscles rippled and flexed under her hand, and she fought the temptation to explore him further. She had the sudden desire to see him without his shirt. Just his bare skin under her fingers.
Would his chest be bare? Would there be a trail of hair leading the way to his cock?
She blushed at the thought and hoped that he didn’t notice the redness that crept up her neck.
His free hand rubbed her roughly between her legs as his bound one squeezed her ass and pulled her harder against him. Any thrill she had felt at his nearness quickly fled at his rough treatment and was replaced by fear.
She’d imagined what it would be like to take a lover as a mortal, but she’d imagined a caring one who wanted her because of her. Not sex born from hatred and anger.
She wiggled to get away, but that only managed to push her closer to him, and as she struggled, the hand that gripped her rear wrapped around her waist to hold her in place.
Her hand curled into a fist and she aimed for his eyes and throat, but her blows didn’t seem to deter him. One of his hands reached under her shirt to touch her bare skin as she tried to rake her nails down the side of his face.
Abruptly he stopped and punched the side of her cabinets so hard that the wood cracked and splinters fell to the floor. The only movement was his chest as his breath came in deep gulps.
She didn’t know why he stopped. He could have taken whatever he wanted. He might have been bound to her, but he was still much stronger as a demon than she could ever hope to be as a mortal.
It was possible she could’ve fought him off, but it wasn’t as if she could run away. She was a realist and knew that he was ten times stronger than her, and, unfortunately, the pain clause in the handcuffs worked both ways. She could hurt him some, but if she caused any serious damage, she would be feeling it just as bad, if not worse.
She had to face the possibility that, even if she did make it out of this alive, she would not make it out sane.
In the struggle, her shoulder wound had reopened and ached. Kier glanced at it and she knew he felt the pain too.
Serves him right
, she thought. “Why did you bite me?” She wanted to think about anything but what had just happened between them.
“Because you are mine and I can do whatever I want with you,” he snapped.
Kier felt as though someone was bashing his head in with a hammer. He was cornered and didn’t know exactly how to get out.
Whatever spell the angel had put on the handcuffs, it was powerful magic. Even the smallest scratch on her leg could be felt on exactly the same location on his body, and his shoulder throbbed from his own bite.
This wasn’t happening. This couldn’t be happening
. Not to him and not by some fucking mortal, fallen angel or not.
He looked over to the infuriating woman. Even through his anger, his connection to her was just as strong. The cuffs were probably making it stronger by the second. He could feel her thrill at beating him and her confusion at his actions.
Her shoulder was bloodied, but Kier was used to blood. It was the teasing show of skin that caused him to stare. He should have ripped the material more. He could see the beginnings of the flesh-colored cup of her bra.
He wondered whether she had a secret collection of colorful lingerie. Laces and silks in reds and blacks.
He closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose as he tried to focus on something other than her sexy body.
Whose bright idea was it to make an angel so sexy anyway? Who did they need to lure with such a curvy figure?
Angels were a damn boring lot, driven by the need to follow orders and fulfill destiny. Even though they had all the equipment, they had no desire for sex.
Had that changed now that she was mortal?
She hadn’t responded to him when he touched her, but that was hardly surprising. He hadn’t been touching to arouse, but to intimidate and control. For all the good it did him. Her fear had flooded him, and any chance of arousal had fled.
Forced sex had never appealed to him. He was a demon, but the point wasn’t to force evil onto anyone. It was to coerce and seduce the human soul to commit the evil. Kier had met very few demons who raped or murdered for fun, and the ones who did were never high-level demons.
The entire point was to enrapture a human soul. It was like food to a demon. They thrived off a decaying soul and derived power from it. The bigger the sins, the more power could be taken from it.
Taking down Muriel’s soul gave Kier a high that lasted for months. Colors were brighter, food tasted better, and the sex was earth-shattering. It was unlike anything he had ever experienced.
Combined with the high was the sudden respect from other demons. Leeches would follow him, hoping they could help him take down his next soul and feed off the leftovers. His powers were amplified, and he could conjure any material possession for the first three months after. He could transport himself all the way across the world with the blink of an eye. With one flick of his wrist, he could kill a demon.
For those first few months, he’d almost been a god. It had been amazing and torture at the same time.
As much fun as he should have been having, the weight of Muriel’s depression and loneliness had stayed with him.
With time, his powers and the weight of her emotions had lessened, though the lingering, puzzling desire for her remained.
A part of him wasn’t even angry about the binding spell. That hidden part of him was ecstatic at the prospect of being near her for such a long period of time. His mouth watered and cock hardened at the thought of spending a week straight with her. In the shower. In bed. He would be her shadow. It was almost worth having the darkness sucked away from his soul and getting locked out of Hell.
He had hoped that forcing her would remind him of exactly what she was. A mortal. That was all she was. Besides the binding spell, she held no power over him. Any connection he had to her was all in his mind and could be overcome with enough willpower.
But he hadn’t been able to go through with it. Feeling her fear ate at him, and any chance of arousal was chased away. He felt dirty for even attempting it, and he was pissed off about it. He was a demon. He was never supposed to feel dirty. He glorified in sin.
“The key isn’t here. It’s buried in a desert somewhere you’ll never find it,” she said, obviously uncomfortable with the long silence.
For the moment he was stuck. He couldn’t torture her for the location of the key, because he would feel any physical pain. He couldn’t mentally torture her because he had been feeling her mental anguish for five years already. It was only worse now that she was so near.
He wanted to hit something, but looking around him, he saw that he had already destroyed everything in sight. He closed his eyes and tried to calm himself. He needed to take a step back and face this when he was less emotional. In the morning, he would have to search out some magical solution. He refused to believe that the only answer was one tiny key hidden in the desert.
As a demon, he didn’t sleep, but weariness crept into his bones. It must be what Muriel was experiencing. He also felt cold, and he remembered the door that he had destroyed, letting in the cool air. He scowled.
Maybe if she wore more clothes, she wouldn’t feel so cold.
“Where is your bed?” he asked.
He could see her uneasiness with the question. What did she expect? Obviously they would share a bed at some point. She feared that he would make another move on her, and he couldn’t blame her.
Ice blue eyes surrounded by dark hair and a body to drive any man to sin. The only time he’d seen her before was the night he ruined her. She’d been beaten beyond recognition. Now he could fully appreciate the sight.
He had been thinking about this woman for five years, and now he’d probably ruined any chance he had with sixty seconds of trying to convince himself that he was still “in control.”
He had ruined any chance with her when he forced her to drink his blood.
He wasn’t afraid of a challenge. He had been seducing women for centuries. He had convinced even the most chaste of mortals to join his bed. How hard could one fallen angel be? That sealed it. He would make her scream his name and beg for more.
It might not be an easy task, but apparently he had plenty of time. Besides, he felt what she felt. He knew that when he first lifted her delectable ass onto that countertop and stepped between her luscious thighs, she had desire for him.
On some level, she wanted him, and he would be sure to use that against her.
Muriel had been apprehensive when Kier asked where the bed was, but he appeared to have no desire to ravish her. Instead, he slowly and methodically went through her entire bedroom, not that there was much of it. He looked through her closet, pushing her clothes aside and feeling along the back wall. After satisfying himself with her closet, he opened all the drawers in her nightstand. He frowned at the magazines there. Muriel wondered what he expected to find.
“Are you still looking for the key?” She thought they were done with this.
“No,” he said absently as he moved over to her dresser and opened the drawers one by one. She couldn’t help the blush as he reached the drawer that contained her underwear. As she didn’t entertain many men, her collection was relatively modest, with mostly white and nude pieces. For some indeterminable reason, this embarrassed her now. She wished she had at least one lacey or frilly bra for him to find.
Apparently he did too. He scowled at the boring pieces he pulled out of the drawer to set on the top of her dresser. To Muriel’s embarrassment, he then looked over to her and perused her from head to toe, obviously imagining her in much less clothing.
In a husky voice, he said, “Right now I’m studying you.”
Muriel took a deep gulp and tried to stop herself from blushing, to no avail.
How did he manage to continuously render her speechless?
“How many men have you been with since your mortality?” he asked, as if completely unaware of the inappropriateness of the question.
A choked sound escaped Muriel’s throat. “What?”
“I think you heard me just fine.” His voice was a husky whisper, cutting through the quiet of the house.
“Not many,” was all she would volunteer.
He stepped closer to her and studied her face carefully. His subtle smirk told her that he was enjoying her discomfort. “Was it hard? Dealing with your new urges?”
She knew exactly what he was talking about. As an immortal angel, there was no pressing need to procreate, so there was almost no urge to mate. Sex was more of an inconvenience, only done for the purpose of bearing children.
Because a mortal’s lifespan was so limited, they had much stronger sexual urges. It was a big adjustment for most fallen angels. Many became overwhelmed with the need. Many were ruined by it.
It wasn’t that sex in itself was so bad. It was the addiction that was so dangerous. Fallen angels usually had lived for centuries without any sexual desire, so the sudden need was too much to take. Almost an overload. This would lead them to do anything for a sexual experience, no matter how far they had to go.
“I don’t think about them all that often. I kept myself pretty busy. Hating you takes a lot of work,” she deadpanned.
He smiled at that. “Do you think about me a lot?”
Her jaw dropped at the implication. “I never thought about you like
Well, at least not before tonight.
“Besides, your technique leaves a bit to be desired.”
That wiped the smile off his face. He didn’t seem as if he was used to being critiqued on his sexual prowess, but he didn’t defend himself. He must’ve known on some level how what he had done to her on the kitchen counter had been about him and had nothing to do with her. It was more about his need for control than any type of pleasure. The only thing that still puzzled her was his reasoning for stopping.
Even now, there was nothing keeping him from taking her by force. Sure, she would hurt and he would feel it, but it was the mental anguish from rape that would scar her the most. Esmeralda had warned Muriel that the handcuffs did nothing to protect the mind.
So what stopped him?
He led her into the bathroom and once again started opening all the drawers and cabinets. Muriel rolled her eyes at his continued search. He set out a few items from her well-stocked first-aid kit and Muriel realized he wasn’t looking for the key anymore.
Soon some gauze, antibiotic ointment, hydrogen peroxide, and bandages were laid out, taking up most of the free space on the small counter next to the sink.
He’s going to clean my shoulder
Once all the supplies were laid out, he stood and faced her. His large size in such a small space was overwhelming. He towered over her five-foot-seven frame. His muscular build stretched his shirt out, purposefully small enough to make sure that the line of his considerable biceps stood out.
Muriel bit her lip, trying to force herself to find him ugly in some way. “What do you know about first aid?”
“It’s the oldest trick in the book to gain confidence. You tag team a mortal. One demon attacks while the other saves them and nurses them back to health. That way you’re their best friend.” He smiled to himself, as if thinking of all the mortals he had destroyed.
“A hard position when you’re sucking their soul away.” She jumped as one of his big hands gently pushed her to lean back over the sink; her back arched and her breasts pushed close to his mouth.
The sudden image of him stroking her naked breasts with his tongue caused her legs to go weak. He stepped in closer and his thighs were against hers. His erection was a not so subtle bulge pushing against her stomach.
Muriel closed her eyes, refusing to meet his gaze. At least he had the decency to keep his mouth shut about their compromising position.
The sudden burning pain of the peroxide cleansing her shoulder combined with the cold excess running down her back was enough to chase away any arousal. She hissed at the sensation.
She needed to distract herself from the double whammy of his proximity and the pain. “Do you bite a lot of women?”
“Demons bite during sex. We aren’t the most civil creatures in bed,” he casually said as he gently wiped the peroxide away with a towel. “I wanted the men I was with to think we were fucking.”
Muriel absorbed the information. She supposed that she knew that demons bit during sex, but she’d always assumed that they liked causing pain, not necessarily to enhance the experience.
His hands continued to softly tend to her wounds. The care he was taking with her was disconcerting. She was expecting angry and brutish. Not seductive and tender.
“Becoming friends with me won’t work. I still remember you’re the one who did this,” she pointed out.
“Well, thanks to you, your pain is my pain. I know this stings.” He finished applying the bandage over the wound. “Have you figured out the main flaw in your plan yet?”
The undeniable sexual attraction I have to you?
“Not yet. What have you figured out?”
“You can’t change your shirt with the handcuffs on.”
Muriel smiled. “No problem. The binding spell on the handcuffs was the hard part. It was easy enough to bespell some shirts. Hands-free dressing for the time being.”
“That’s good,” he said, though she assumed he was not too pleased by her foresight. “Is this one of them?” he asked, referring to her torn work shirt.
“This? No. I’m not planning to work with you hanging off my wrist,” she said with a crooked grin.
That was all the permission he needed before he ripped her shirt all the way down the center. Muriel was grateful for her modest bra, because her entire top half was bared to him. Nervousness caused her to gulp in air, but this only caused her breasts to move closer to him on every inhale.
“I’ve wanted to do that for so long,” he muttered.
Had one night really seemed that long to him?
His eyes lingered on her bra-covered breasts for a few drawn-out moments, and Muriel couldn’t stop her nipples from hardening. She told herself it was the cold and not his burning gaze, but she knew better. Luckily for her state of mind, he turned to leave the bathroom without touching them.
“What do you sleep in?” he asked as though he hadn’t just been drooling over her. She almost thought she imagined the brief interlude.
“Pajamas,” she answered, knowing that wasn’t what he wanted to hear. For one of the first times that night, she actually led him somewhere as she rifled through one of her drawers until she found a modest pink shirt and purple, loose-fitting lounging pants.
Her work shirt still hung from her cuffed arm, but instead of searching through the house for scissors, she looked to Kier. “Do you mind?”
She held her arm closer to him, and he must have understood what she meant because he reached up and ripped the material completely off with one hand.
The tugging against her skin caused some pain, but that was nothing compared to the shot of arousal that reverberated through her body. “Thanks,” she muttered.
She held the pink shirt to her stomach, closed her eyes and concentrated. Seconds later, the shirt left her hands and covered her.
“Neat trick,” he said. “Mine’s better.” In one second, his gray shirt, jeans, and shoes were gone, replaced with a pair of loose-fitting sleeping pants.
She hadn’t bothered to ask Esmeralda to bespell any clothes for him. Demons were able to conjure clothes to fit whatever situation they needed. The better to corrupt mortals, if they needed to.
As an angel, Muriel had the same ability. It was an easy task that most celestial beings could do. Fallen angels had none of those talents.
If she’d known what he was about to do, she could have prepared her mind, but before she could blink, he moved closer until he was just an inch away, his naked chest close enough that she could feel the heat coming from him. The muscles in his broad chest rippled with the movement and begged for her touch. God help her, but she wanted to touch him.
The intense heat from his body seared into her.
How could a demon be so hot? Did the fires of Hell give them extra heat? What would his chest feel like against her palm? Her cheek?
“You’re staring. If I didn’t know better, I would say that you like how I look,” said Kier.
His voice broke the spell. “Um, yeah,” she muttered, unable to think of anything to say to defend her obvious approval of his shirtless form. She settled for changing the subject. “I’m exhausted. Let’s go to bed.”
“I’ve wanted that since I saw you,” he whispered.
Muriel frowned. He must have meant since he’d seen her that night. No doubt sex had been far from his mind the night they had truly first met.
She cautiously climbed onto the full-size bed and Kier had no choice but to follow. The bed was much too small for him, and his feet hung off the edge if he didn’t bend his knees.
The cuffs didn’t make lying down comfortable. After trying a few different positions, Muriel settled for lying on her side, facing Kier. He looked at her, his black eyes calculating his next move.
Her body was exhausted from all the night’s events, but her mind raced.
Was he thinking of ways to kill her? Would he find some way out of the handcuffs that she was unaware of? How could she sleep if a demon was in her bed, looking right at her?
“You are safe enough for the night. Sleep tight, my angel.”
He might have been trying to be comforting, but the words sent rage through her.
He had called her those same words the night he had forced his foul blood down her throat.
Through the haze of her desire for him, she had lost sight of her purpose. This was an evil demon in bed with her, and she intended to ruin his soul, just like he had ruined hers.