Authors: Roxy Harte
Tags: #Romance, #Adult
The woman seemed to be trying so hard to remain still, to remain silent.
“She isn’t … comfortable,” he answered slowly, something different, changed, in both voice and demeanor. No longer smiling, his eyes glowed wolflike in the blazing red corridor. The scene we’d been watching wasn’t over, but it seemed obvious we weren’t going to stay for the completion. His hand closed around the nape of my neck, but I wasn’t afraid.
“Tell me what you want me to do to you,” he whispered.
A loud, resounding bell clanged then.
“It’s the midnight hour,” Luka offered in explanation.
In my mind, I visualized a large, heavy church bell, hidden somewhere in the building with a choir boy pulling on a thick rope and the rope lifting him off the ground as the bell rang out over and over again. It felt ominous, the reverberation filling my chest, then the music changed to the solemn chants of Benedictine monks and a misty fog started to rise from the floor. Dry ice, its scent unmistakable, and even knowing its man-made origins, I still sensed a feeling of apprehension and fear in the space.
A final glance through the observation window revealed the woman tethered to the table obviously in too much pain to continue lying still. Her mouth stretched open, I couldn’t hear her scream, but knew she was. It suddenly seemed too real, too strange; yet Luka’s hand remained a firm constant on the back of my neck, a tether to my own reality as our eyes locked. “They’ve been playing together for years. He knows to what limits he can safely take her. I didn’t want you to see her get that deep into her head space.”
“She was screaming.”
“Not so much from pain, but inner demons.”
“She was in pain.”
“Someday, I’ll let you experience the wax and you can argue the point with me from inner perspective.”
“Auh.” An unintelligent syllable choked back anything further I might have said. I was left feeling so … naïve. I consciously forced my eyes to be less wide, willed my lips silent.
His kiss took me by surprise.
The force of his hand behind my neck held me steady as I initially resisted, forcing my lips to stay connected; but then, I tasted him, smelled his scent, and relaxed into his hold. Only then did his mouth fully possess me, tongue probing, exploring, promising.
When the kiss ended, I wanted more and I tried to go in for another, but his hand, still in control of my neck, kept that from happening.
“Tell me what you want,” he commanded sternly.
“You,” I whispered, barely breathing. I couldn’t think of anything more intelligent to say, seeming to be caught in a spell I couldn’t break free from his grasp, not from his soul-delving eyes or his molten-lava voice. I whispered the secret desire, “Tie me up.”
He smiled a small smile of agreement and there was something so incredibly sensual in the moment, an electric field building between us, binding us, drawing us closer together. It seemed we were no longer strangers, but soul mates linked by our darkest secrets, our most dangerous desires.
Arousal thrashed uninhibited through my veins, making me feel languid, but not drugged, though it was his hand on my elbow, navigating the corridor, leading me to the next playroom, because I could barely walk on my own.
He closed leather cuffs around my wrists, before stretching my arms high above my head, my limbs at the mercy of a motorized heavy chain. Nothing breaks; I am relived when the motor stops humming. I am stretched uncomfortably taut but not broken.
I am aware that I am naked, but have little recollection of coming into that state of being.
Luka must have helped me remove the dress, I don’t remember.
I remember the electric current binding us; the heat of him, like flames, searing me, even though his body wasn’t touching mine. He was being very careful not to touch me and I ached for that touch, needed to feel his searing hands blaze against my skin.
Our soundproof room had an observation window just like the one we had watched the other couple through and I caught a glimpse of Matilda standing outside, watching. I felt safer, knowing someone was indeed watching. Ridiculously, she smiled and waved.
Naked, bound and stretched notwithstanding, I smiled in return, not the slightest bit embarrassed, but thinking that I should be embarrassed.
So surrounded as I was by the intensity of him, there was no room for embarrassment. All I felt was him, his presence, his heat coursing through me, around me. I could tell where his chest, his arms, his legs were just by the heat of him moving around me, close but not touching heat.
From behind, I felt the brush of his knuckles along the back of my shoulder, felt his breath on the back of my neck. My entire body ached, begging for his touch. As if reading my mind, he stood before me, tilted his head as if to kiss me, so close but not touching. My lips suddenly so needy, so desperate to feel his lips that I arched and made a small mewing sound. My loss of control became an aphrodisiac, shooting a body-spasming shiver down my spine, through my soul, and straight to my groin. I was so wet, I felt it happen, it was almost like I’d pissed myself a little, the inside of my thighs were so wet.
I was desperate for his lips to close over mine, but I didn’t beg.
My body spasmed again, jerking a little in my chains, so desperate my flesh had become to feel his touch. It seemed too much to bear, the aching need painful, the mental burden of wanting him to be strong enough to control me, not just physically but mentally and emotionally as well, that I began shaking uncontrollably. Closing my eyes, I stepped inside myself, willing myself to disconnect from his heat before I agreed to something I would regret.
Yes, I was thinking too much then. Worrying that I’d jeopardized my nation’s security. After all, I didn’t know this man and I was privy to national security secrets. I was a fool.
“Let me go!” I panicked; heart feeling like it would explode.
“Relax,” his deep, heavily accented voice, commanded me. Are you joking, my brain screamed back? Then his lips were on mine, softly brushing skin-to-skin, just barely, so that I had to open my eyes to make sure he really was touching his lips to mine. His eyes comforted mine as he promised, “You are safe, safe with me.”
My panicked brain screeched to a sudden halt, acknowledging this is what it feels like to be alive.
“Tell me what you want.” With deft skill, Luka pulled me back into the moment.
“I don’t know,” I whispered, but I lied, knowing exactly what I wanted to do next; and as if he’d read my mind, he complied. My skin sighed as he fanned the throngs of a suede flogger over my shoulders. The suede cascaded over my sensitive flesh as softly as silk. Trailing the flogger with delicate skill, my skin was rewarded with a feather-light caress. Shoulders, back, arms shoulder to wrist, followed by teasing my nipples to tight painful buds; his lips followed the suede caress, not to kiss or lick each nipple, but to bite down, sucking hard, while his teeth jerked out a very real moan.
Something fierce and primal exploded in my mind then, and I tucked myself tighter into my mind, seeking escape from the discomfort, finding relief in the pulse of my blood whooshing through my brain, but as his teeth twisted and pulled, I heard myself begging,
“Please. Please whip me.” But the voice didn’t seem to belong to me at all, and I was powerless to stop that other part of me.
“Not yet, sweetheart. Not yet.”
I closed my eyes against the agony of his refusal, needing more, hating the soft whimpers coming from deep inside my throat, but I was no longer in control; base need was. I’d never felt anything so all-consuming as the need to feel more pain. “Please.”
“Not yet,” he mumbled around a nipple. The suede thongs teased down my back and over my hips, a barely there swat, swat, did-I-imagine-it-I-wanted-it-so-bad swats, taunting with their feather-light touch. His lips sucking, teasing, no longer inflicting pain.
I opened my eyes to find smoldering embers reading my soul. Turning my head, I see Matilda, confirming that Matilda still watched, then my vision blurred as the flogger bit into my back…
I awake from the dream with a sigh on my lips. Considering Liam’s mouth is closed over my left nipple, I assume he accredits the sound of pleasure to his ministrations. He would be sorely disappointed to learn that the ghost of one long dead was the true benefactor. Luka never fails to join me in my dreams, my one escape in a life I have so little control over, my ghost responsible for my rest, for my sanity.
Did I love Luka? You would think by my loneliness I did, but who knows. I stopped equating sex with love a long time ago, even before Luka. In my business, one never knows which enemy will be tomorrow’s bedfellow, best to not fall in love. Yes, the sex was great with Luka, but there have been other men I’ve cared for. I don’t remember them so well. Luka, I can’t forget.
For a day, I respected Liam. Okay, maybe more than a day, probably closer to a week, but then I started reading more into subtle timing coincidences. Liam always being at the scene of the crime, for example. Just a little too convenient for my blood, even though The Agency wasn’t blinking an eye; but by the time I suspected him, I’d slept with him. A lot. Sex helps relieve job stress. I’m not making an excuse for my promiscuity, just a simple truth. When I have so much adrenaline running through my veins I feel like I’m going to explode from the inside out, there are few better choices. It comes down to drugs, alcohol, sex. Sex is my mind-numbing drug of choice.
I had thought my involvement with Liam very discreet, low key; I should not have been surprised that my superiors knew all along. With a relationship already in place, they saw no reason Liam shouldn’t go along with an operation involving marriage; his and mine to be more precise.
I recognize a boon when I see one. I need to get closer to Liam, I need a reason to keep tabs on him without seeming suspicious. Yes, it’s questionable that I can pull off the role of besotted, concerned wife. For Daniel, it’s a risk I’m willing to take.
I fear for Liam’s heart, he may actually love me, and although my heart lies with my beloved, six feet beneath frozen earth, my body still insists on being alive. Very alive, Liam proves, as his hand travels along the inside of my thigh.
In the dark room, his silhouette reveals a perfect body, thanks in part to hours spent in a gym and more hours on a bicycle. It is nothing for him to ride fifty miles after a long day before coming home. Riding is his personal way of escaping the demons so much a part of our daily existence.
Stretching against his warm flesh, I embrace sex as my own escape.
I may not respect him; I’ll fuck him.
“I see you’re still alive,” Liam whispers. “Much warmer, too.”
Alive but not living, I’d jokingly told him the last time we’d fought, a stupid argument concerning The Agency and selling my soul to save the world, and he’d been forced to remind me that I always survived the missions, no matter how great the projected fatality rate. It was fact. I always survived, no matter how many bullets I jumped in front of. God only knew exactly how hard I’d tried to die the first year after Luka’s death.
Absently, I rub the small line of dots than run just above my right pelvic bone. Four bullets, perfect round scars purchased at an open-air market in Istanbul two summers earlier. Funny I’d gone there for legumes, limes and garlic, and returned with bone fragments and a perforated colon.
Following my train of thought, Liam runs his tongue over the long, wide scar on my right shoulder, earned in Bolivia, gift of a savage hunter’s knife aimed at my jugular.
Quick reflexes saved my life.
“Headache?” he asked, pressing kisses up the side of my face to my temple.
“No. I’m fine. Booze stopped giving me headaches eons ago.”
“You drink too much,” Liam ruffled into my hair, trying to ease the sting of his words with a quick thrust between my open thighs. Neither wide nor lengthy, his penis slides in with ease. He compensates well enough for his lack of endowment, hands roaming over ribs to find the sweet spot, and managing to angle himself just right while crushing most of the air out of my lungs. Quick, rabbit-fucking thrusts bring me to a quick orgasm.
I sigh heavily, annoyed that my body responded to so little, my mind not focused on the pleasure. It was like being sideswiped and not knowing where the other car came from. I want to be forced into the moment, want to forget what day it was … and want to forget for just one moment that Luka Stavros Papakirk ever existed.
“I don’t drink too much.” I’m ready to argue now, mini-orgasm achieved and disappointment welling quick, fuelled no doubt by the emotion curled just beneath my breastbone. Sex tonight was such a bad idea. God, why do I have to miss him so much still?
“It’s like killing people, Liam, it doesn’t make me a bad person, it’s what I do.
Drinking helps me cope with that fact. Don’t you ever want to forget that?”
“That you kill people? I think it’s the sexiest thing about you.”
“Jerk! I meant you. Don’t you ever want to forget that you kill people?”
His answer is to kiss me, filling my mouth with his tongue to stop the discussion altogether. That’s how Liam deals with it, by not acknowledging what he does. Ever. By the level of stress he brings home, he could as easily be a butcher, baker, or candlestick maker … not an assassin for WODC.
Hovering over my mouth, he accuses, “That’s not why you were drinking tonight.”
I panic for a millisecond, thinking he might know about the graveyard, about Luka, but no, he doesn’t. I keep my secrets better than that.
“You’re right! A wedding should be built around love and commitment, a basis for bringing babies into the world—not a cover-story for our latest mission.” My temper flares and I try to push him off, a tangle of arms and legs ensue as he wrestles me still, pinning my shoulders, to turn on the bedside lamp.
“You want babies?”
I’m not sure which of us is more incredulous that such words would come out of my mouth.
“No, I don’t want babies! I just think that there has to be something sacred left in our society.”