Authors: Billi Jean
She purred. She’d not spoken of it, but she felt a bit anxious for their new bond as well. Every touch, every caress, every time she woke in his arms, or sat on his lap while they talked, hit her with a dose of fear. It was too good to be true in so many ways. And it felt fragile, so new she knew it could break under the slightest pressure.
Her eyes smarted and she lingered a hand over his rough, handsome face to trying to ignore how easily her emotions wanted to rise to the surface. Trailing her hand down to his big chest, she pressed her palm over his heartbeat. Thudding steadily, his heart sent a slow, steady calm over her. He was strong. So hard and strong nothing could possibly harm him. His muscled body was gorgeous, lean and mean, but also so much bigger than hers it made her feel tiny in comparison. And safe.
When she met his silvery grey eyes, she knew immediately he’d not missed her emotional turmoil.
“It’s so fragile, isn’t it, Torque?”
Capturing her hand, he brought it to his face and rubbed his stubble against her palm. “No, it’s simply new. We’re strong, nothing can part us. Nothing. Don’t hurt, Beauty. I can’t stand to see you hurting.”
“I’m not hurting, Torque. I’m happy,” she assured him. “And this is for you, not me.” She trailed a hand over his forehead, smoothing the frown between his brows as she leaned into his heat, kissing his warm, firm lips. Immediately he tried to take control. She smiled and pulled back. “I made it yesterday when you were gone. For you. First you, then you can massage me.”
“I went and got it.”
She touched his sexy, lower lip and couldn’t help but tease him. “Are you pouting?”
Not bothering to answer he growled, pulling her down and swatted her bottom only to rub it after. He loved to do that, didn’t he? The arrogant man.
“A male my size doesn’t need to pout, sweet. Shall I show you?” He exhaled against her flesh, kissing the spot where he’d swatted her. “Besides, if you want to massage me, then I”—he sighed dramatically—“I’ll simply have to let you.”
She managed to tug him up because he let her. Her heart flooded with love for this big, fierce, yet oddly vulnerable male. She overflowed with it, using her lips to trail kisses over hot, spicy skin. “Oh, you are so noble, oh mighty one.”
That got a choked laugh. “You’re such a smart mouth.”
“That’s not what you were saying about my mouth a few hours ago.”
“Gods, no, I wasn’t.” His eyes flashed that delicious silver, obviously ready for more. The male was insatiable, but then she was as well. The things he could do with his tongue and lips. He should be illegal.
“First massage, then fun and maybe food?”
“Damn right, you’re starving your male. You’ll have to feed me if you want more of your little demands met.”
Oh, he was so cute when he gave her that warning little growl. Like he could ever go without her little demands.
He sucked in a breath and narrowed his eyes at her when she set the jar on his chest. Before he could open his mouth to scold her, she gathered her hair up in a loose knot, hiding her smile when his gaze riveted to her breasts. Two seconds later he squeezed both mounds possessively. “Goddess, I want you to ride me and hold your hands up like that, just like that.”
Well, that sounded promising. Laughing, she leant down, her curves still cupped in his huge hands, and kissed him quickly. “First—”
“Put your hands up above your head.”
His frown said he clearly did not want to follow her directions. “Why?”
“So I can rub this in without being distracted.” She shook her head and pulled the sheet up to cover his now raging erection. He tried to take her hand again, but she swatted him and nodded to the headboard.
He grumbled, but obeyed. Silver eyes promised something altogether different from his obedience.
“And put that away, too,” she murmured, leaning down to kiss the thick crown of his erection right through the sheet. He growled at her, a mock threat she ignored. “Keep those hands up there.” Sitting back on her knees, she soaked in how handsome he was. Gods, he was beautiful. But that scar looked painful, oddly so, as if it were newer?
“Aren’t you going to put something on?” He sounded a bit strangled.
“Why? You’ll only rip it off.” Gathering up the oil, she ignored his snort and started warming a small amount in her hands.
“I didn’t mean to rip your sweater.”
When she exhaled, he groaned. Feeling naughty, she started massaging his stiff muscles, knowing he was getting more and more aroused.
“Tell me about this scar.”
Under her hands, his firm chest rose and fell as she smoothed her hands over him lightly, simply rubbing the oil in to loosen his tightness before she began kneading his flesh. When he didn’t relax, she glanced up and caught his worried frown.
“What? I want to know. Don’t you want to share with me?”
The scowl grew more pronounced. She knew he’d barely remember to keep his hands in place. Touching her was important to him. Very much so. She didn’t think he even knew how often he needed it. Even if he simply caressed her back or arm when reading his spell books, or holding her hand when they were sitting together, Torque needed constant reassurances from her. She knew that. She shouldn’t have been so surprised this morning by his rage. She knew how possessive he felt. How much he feared.
He often tried to hide his fear from her, but being bonded and able to enter each other’s minds so easily, she knew he feared she’d leave him. Deeply so. So deeply, he tried to hide it from her. Not that he had this morning. And even now, he still fought his fear. It explained why he was so aggressively male and dominant. He somehow thought if he remained in control, he protected himself and her. From what, she didn’t know.
This demonstration, making him do what she wanted, was really her way of easing him out of his comfort zone. So were her questions. “Come on, talk to me, Torque.”
He sighed heavily like she’d demanded too much, but settled deeper in the bed. His muscles tensed once more before settling a tiny bit. “It was a long time ago now. A battle between the Death Stalkers and a few of the immortal clans.”
That made her frown. Old? How could that be? “But it looks fairly new, dearest, how can it be old?”
He shifted his long legs, clearly still not comfortable.
She stilled her hands. “Am I hurting you?”
“No, you feel wonderful. I love your hands on me, you know that.” She let him lift a hand to trail down her shoulder to her arm. “It’s easing the tightness.”
“Good. I was hoping it would do more than that though.” She wondered how an old wound could look so new. It didn’t look more than a few months old. The skin was still red and a bit puffy, not white like his other scars. She’d been worried the first time she’d seen it and it looked the same now. His chest was such a wonderful golden colour. Except for near the scar. There it was slightly swollen at the tail end. The other side showed up silvery white, not as deep as the other. But still, a wound like this should have healed long ago.
“Tell me what you’re thinking.”
He was watching her in a lazy relaxed posture, his big body spread out, his arms behind his head. The tension seemed to have drained out of him, from either her massage or the hours of slow lovemaking.
She had to gather her thoughts, they always fled when he was around her, just touching him, hearing his voice could steal whatever thought she had right out of her head.
“I was thinking this worries me. The first time I saw it and now that you’re telling me it’s an old wound? It worries me even more.” Not pausing in her rubbing, she started to push against the muscles a bit harder, rubbing his solid mass of muscle with a bit more force. She was honest with him, and through the bond, she could sense his own worry. Frowning slightly, she traced the raised tissue with a finger.
They both remained silent for a bit after that. She settled into her work, wanting to give him pleasure, and he simply relaxed more and more under her hands. Soft, husky groans filtered around them as he enjoyed her touch and she smiled warmly at his relaxed, peaceful expression. He’d cleaned up his goatee, even shaved after their shower. Now he looked more the devil than the pirate. Handsome either way.
“What is causing it to remain so fresh, Torque?”
He stiffened the tiniest bit under her hands and she frowned a warning at him.
“Don’t you even think of lying to me.” He forgot so often about this new bond. She sent him a warm glow to remind him she loved him.
Brilliant eyes softening, he lifted one hand from behind his head again and cupped her cheek.
“I wouldn’t dream of lying to you. I simply don’t want to think on it, but I will.”
“Why not think on it?” She was starting to get panicked his odd behaviour. He was sad, she thought. He surprised her by sitting up suddenly, all those male muscles rippled and he kissed her, his firm masculine lips reminding her of how wonderful and strong he was. He sent her a deep warm feeling—love and tenderness rolled into one—through their bond. His stomach tensed as he pulled her down with him, tucking her into his chest, and pressed a kiss to her hair. “I wasn’t done.”
“I know, I want to hold you though, and the salve feels wonderful, warm, and tingling a bit, eh?”
“I put some things in it to ease the muscles and help soften the scar.” Maybe he needed something a bit more than a few soothing herbs she’d thrown together. The salve recipe had come to her when she saw the ingredients at the market. What would she discover if they went to a real witches’ market? “Torque, I want to go to a real witches’ market, not a human store.”
His whole body hardened under hers. “Beauty, I don’t feel comfortable with that. Why do you want this?”
“I saw the ingredients for the salve and made it. Think what I could make if I saw true magical ingredients.”
“Blow our home up?”
“Torque…” She shifted against him trying to see his face, but he wouldn’t move his heavy arms.
“I can sense that,” he teased and smiled down at her. “So you want to find something to heal my scar? It doesn’t bother me that much, Beauty.”
“No?” She pressed down hard right on the darkest part of it and he jerked under her and winced.
“What’d you do that for?”
“You said it didn’t hurt.” She soothed the spot with her hand, caressing it gently until he stopped glaring at her and chuckled.
“Damned Beauty, and here I thought you were always so sweet.”
She mock nipped at his finger, making him stop tapping her nose. “I am. I love you, don’t I? And I don’t want to see you hurting either. Can we go?” She tried to not sound so excited but he shook his head anyway, smiling at her.
“Now? I thought you wanted to stay in bed with me all day?” He began running little hot, sharp kisses down her shoulder, heading down lower.
Now that was so cute. And he said men didn’t pout.
“I do. But there’s this one in Paris and we can walk along the river and eat croissants and drink cappuccinos.”
“How do you know that there is one in Paris?”
She tapped his nose this time. “I just do. Plus it was on the web.”
“The web? You surfed on the web for witches’ shops?”
She nodded her head as his frown deepened. “Yep, when you were questioning the young mage. Please? I have a feeling we’re only getting a break before the storm, you know? Besides, they have fresh croissants, Torque. And cappuccinos.”
“No more waffles?” He sounded put out by that, she thought with an inner smile. Or a little boy.
He bent his dark head to her breasts and she sucked in a breath at how tender they were from his earlier attention. A soft kiss feathered over the too sensitive skin before he straightened to look down at her. She smiled up at him. He was so adorably dominant one moment, then this sweet and hopeful the next. She kissed him quickly.
“Yes, more waffles, you’ve more than earned all your privileges back.” Breathing him in, she rubbed her lips on his rough jaw. “Mmmm, you smell so wonderful, all hot, sexy male and mine too,” she added with a possessive image of her riding him with her hands above her head.
“Ah, yes I’m yours. I’ve earned all my privileges back?” he murmured, cupping her bottom possessively and sending her an image of his own. Much more aggressive and oh so hot, she bit him just to get him moving from mind to matter. She loved the slow, easy loving they’d had all day, but she absolutely died over his hard, aggressive dominant side. Addicted, that was what she was.
“Oh yeah. Babe, like that now, please, then you’ve earned all your sugar back.”
“Fuck, you are so damned sweet and sexy. Never change.” He was on top of her so quickly she couldn’t have responded if she wanted to. And didn’t want to. Not that he would have let her.
Bonding with her man was a very rewarding experience. For both of them.
The alleyway leading to the witches’ shops didn’t thrill Torque.
Beauty, humming with excitement, practically bouncing down the street next to him, obviously thought it the best place on earth. Wearing her little suede boots with the fur trim again, tight, slinky faded jeans with rips in the knee and another too near her ass for his comfort, she looked hot enough to melt the Arctic. He’d forced her to wear a long suede fur-lined coat hiding most of her assets but she still looked incredible. She’d braided all her golden hair into two braids that swayed down her back, mocking him. He wanted to have both braids in his hands while he took her from behind. He’d make sure they were facing their huge mirror so he could watch her breasts quiver with each hard lunge.
But no. They were in Paris. She was half-dressed under that jacket. He’d seen the sky blue silky excuse for a top she’d picked out. He wasn’t letting anyone see her lace bra or the outline of her plump breasts. Not a chance of it. Hell, the lilac purple bra perfectly matched her lacy thong. If another male saw that, there was no telling what he’d do.
And the jeans? How the hell she bought jeans that were already ripped and worn out he didn’t understand, but hell, she looked so damn good cupped in soft denim he fought a hard-on already and he hadn’t seen her without the jacket since they left the house. But the jacket was staying on. No way was anyone seeing that cute, sexy butt with the little bit of lacy thong he knew would be showing in those low-slung, ass-hugging jeans.