Authors: Hazel Hunter
Tags: #Erotic Romance
Her hands landed on his chest as she leaned forward, riding him. Her sinuous torso writhed and the smooth muscles of her abdomen contracted. He drove up into her and plunged deep, one thrust after another. And with each thrust, her hips answered his and took him inside completely. Her whimpering gasps of pleasure were quick and shallow. She was maddening, seductive, and utterly irresistible.
“Jesse,” he hissed between clenched teeth.
At that, her eyes fluttered open and a tiny furrowing of her eyebrows suddenly made him slow.
“No,” she breathed. “Don’t stop.”
• • • • •
Every muscle in his glistening upper body stood out.
Though the light from the lantern was dim, Jesse could see it reflected off the curves of Brett’s chest. His neck and shoulders were taut with the effort it took to thrust into her, which he did yet again.
The sweet fullness filled her and she sank down on him with all her weight. His shaft was swollen and throbbing, spearing into her like a rod of steel. She groaned at the deep pressure of it, wanting as much of him as she could take. She spread her knees, arched her back, and the straining shaft seemed to bulge within her.
Brett’s back arched and curved in response, his abs crunching and releasing, his breath coming in short, harsh gasps. With each rhythmic push, he lifted her higher, sank himself deeper and she felt him move inside. Suddenly, his hands pushed her hips back, pinning her to him, and crushed her sweet spot into his groin.
Already aching from the work of his fingers, the eruption of pleasure hit her like a tidal wave. Her hips jerked erratically as her torso wildly whipped. As their hips collided, her swollen sweet spot sizzled in a burst of ecstasy that took her breath away. A silent ‘oh’ formed on her lips and she came with a shattering intensity that set lights off behind her closed eyes. Savage clamping took over as Brett’s body lurched and shook beneath her.
“Oh my god,” he breathed in a shuddering gasp.
A frenzy of simultaneous spasms racked her entire body even as Brett thickened inside her. She wanted to scream, to cry out at the ecstasy, but she
. A fiery heat flooded between her legs as wave after wave of clenching spread out with it. Her lungs burned even as her hips flew into overdrive.
Suddenly, Brett came hard as his release slapped into her. It was the moment her body had waited for and her lungs finally heaved in a long and ragged gasp of air. They groaned together as his climax stiffened and her sharp spasms shook them both. It was ecstasy, it was unbearable, and though she thought it might never end, it finally began to ebb. Anguished, panting gasps escaped her as Brett lowered her to his chest. The hard planes of muscle rose and fell beneath her as his hips made their last spasmodic thrusts. Completely spent, she could barely move in response. Finally they lay still and the only sound was their breathing and the rain in the distance. Although she could have lain there forever, she tried to get up.
“Don’t go,” Brett whispered, circling his arms around her.
“The bed’s too small,” Jesse murmured. “I won’t fit.”
His hips and legs shifted below her and she found herself sliding to his side. With one leg still flung over him, she snuggled under his arm and rested her head on his shoulder.
“You fit perfectly,” he whispered into her hair.
As she reluctantly closed her eyes, she realized she was starting to believe him.
“Seriously, Jesse,” Brett said. “You have to eat.”
She was starting to worry him. He’d been starving when he’d got up and had devoured an entire stack of tortillas and filled each one with rice, beans, and salsa. But again, she’d had just coffee and seemed a little pale. She was pretending to look at the site map spread over the table.
“Just a little plain rice,” he said.
She shook her head.
“I really don’t think I can,” she said quietly, not looking at the plate on the table.
“For me,” he implored. “Just one bite.”
She looked at him and sighed. Her skin was definitely on the pale side. They were both in shorts and tank tops as the humidity refused to drop with the ongoing rain. Although it was warm, it wasn’t hot, especially compared to the dry season, but she was perspiring again.
, he thought. Another reaction to the antimalarial. He glanced at the cave entrance and the water that was still coming down. It had slackened. With any luck, they’d be able to leave in another day or so, depending on the river. Even so, that was too long to go without eating.
He put his hands on his hips and stared at her.
Finally, she set down her coffee next to the plate and picked up the fork.
“Go, then, bring the food for those who must be fed,” she said quietly.
?” he asked, relieved to see her take a bite.
She shook her head and swallowed.
,” she said and put down the fork.
“Hey,” he said, taking a seat opposite her. He scooped up a little rice on the fork. “Come on,” he said. “You’re doing so well.”
He lifted the fork.
“I’ll bet you say that to all your students,” she said, smiling a little.
It’d been an innocent jest but his hand paused and he looked at the rice. He slowly set the fork down and got up.
“Brett?” he heard her say behind him. “Brett, what’s the matter?” She was a student–and he’d managed to forget that, until now. “Brett?” she tried again.
He turned to her.
“Look,” he said. “I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors.”
“No,” she quickly said. “Well, I mean, yes, but that’s not what I meant.”
He put his hand up to stop her.
“I know but let me finish.”
“Okay,” she said, as though she were steeling herself for bad news.
“They’re just rumors,” he said. “None of it’s true.” Her eyebrows went up and she tilted her head. “People just assume that in the field…” he said. “Well, it doesn’t matter what they assume. I’ve never had a relationship with a student. Not ever.”
“Okay,” Jesse said quietly.
“And that’s not why I’m divorced,” he said, wanting to finish what he’d started. “This
is why I’m divorced. I was a trophy husband who wasn’t around.”
“A what?” Jesse said.
He took in a deep breath and let it go.
“A trophy husband,” he repeated. “From the
exciting world of archaeology
. She was from a wealthy family and, as long as I was on her arm, it didn’t matter that I made hardly any money. But when I found this site, I couldn’t stay away. You can’t be a trophy husband and be in the field at the same time.”
There was silence for a few moments.
“Did you love her?” Jesse asked.
“I did,” he said, not meeting her eyes. “But not enough. Not more than this…this obsession.”
Again, there was silence.
Finally, he looked at Jesse who seemed confused.
Of course she did, he thought. To have heard one thing for years and then, all of a sudden the exact opposite. Maybe she didn’t even believe him.
“Anyway,” he said. “I just wanted you to know.”
She nodded but her eyes had that far away look.
“So it was said on high, so it was said,” she began in singsong. “Construct for me the large hat.”
“The stela,” he said, watching her face intently. “From the pyramid.”
“I know where we should look for the Red King.”
Frederico kicked in the flimsy wooden door.
The two men at the table jumped.
Tomás immediately dropped his spoon and stood up, knocking over his chair.
Ernesto froze in place, his open mouth full of beans, his fist gripping a tortilla.
As Tomás backed into the far wall of the tiny hut, he clutched his bandaged hand to his chest. The bloody circle on the end marked the place where his pinky had been.
Frederico watched Tomás’s eyes become riveted to the machete. Rain dripped from the front of Frederico’s cowboy hat as he tilted it forward. He smirked at Tomás through the drips and slowly turned to Ernesto, whose mouth was still open.
“Tomorrow,” Frederico growled. “Bring a gun and burlap sacks. Meet me at the boat at sunrise.”
Ernesto finally closed his mouth. As though he were surprised to find food there, he blinked and swallowed hard.
Frederico turned to go. Outside, the rain was definitely less. By tomorrow, the storm would be past. He took a step toward the front door but paused.
“And bring a gun with bullets that fit,” he said over his shoulder. He adjusted his hat. “Otherwise, there might be an accident, like the kind your brother had.”
He didn’t bother looking back and he didn’t bother closing the door.
“Behold the large hat,” said Jesse.
They stood at the base of the pyramid again, next to the stela. Jesse pointed up the staircase, to the building at the apex.
“A hat because it’s at the top?” Brett asked.
“No,” she said, going over to the stela. “Here are the glyphs for hat.” She let her fingers run over the top of them as they pulsed in blue and green. “The glyphs for hat literally translate as house head.”
“A hat is a house for your head,” Brett said. “Okay, that makes sense.”
“And they want you to construct a large one.”
Brett shook his head.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I’ve been over every inch of the inside of that building. It always seemed like the right way to find the Red King but there’s nothing there.”
“Until you knew to look for the plumeria, you thought nothing was on the other side of the pyramid.”
She glanced at the river of dirt that had flowed from that side of the pyramid. She hadn’t been able to stop him in time and he’d picked the wrong lever. A shudder went down her spine at the memory of it. The first king of the Maya played a lethal riddle game. He always had. He wasn’t called the Blood Gatherer for nothing.
“There are glyphs up there, aren’t there?” she asked.
“There are but…”
“You’ve already read them and they don’t say anything meaningful,” she said.
“Well, actually I didn’t get very far with them,” he said smiling. “But…” His face grew more serious. “Yesterday, we got lucky. I don’t know what’s in store up there but I don’t want to put you in more danger.”
“Then stop pushing levers,” she said, smiling, and grabbed his hand. “It can’t hurt to at least read them.”
Her heart started to race, even at the thought. The glyphs in this city were unlike any others she’d seen. It was a challenge, a thrill and, more important, it was something Brett needed.
“Come on,” she said, tugging him along.
The stairs of the pyramid were tall. Though Jesse was fit, she had started to breathe hard nearly from the start. At the front of each row of stairs, as at the Caracol, the risers were embellished with carved panels. Instead of rows of glyphs, though, each riser depicted the Lords of Xibalba performing their storied feats. She paused briefly over one that showed the Twin Heroes being buried under a mountain.
“A mountain of dirt,” she said breathlessly as they stepped over it.
Scene after scene, showed the lords playing ball, making blood offerings, receiving obeisance from vassals and finally Blood Gatherer sat on a throne as he made judgments.
As they mounted the final step, Brett held up his lantern. The floodlights didn’t reach into the interior of the building. Unlike the Caracol, it didn’t have an altar.
Jesse held her lantern up to the lintel over the wide door. It showed the Red King in the center of stylized plumeria flowers, his hands held out to each side, grasping the thick vines that connected them. This was his house, no doubt of it.
As she passed below it and into the building, another shudder went down her spine. A single panel of glyphs on the back wall suddenly jumped to life. As with the stela below when she’d read it for the first time, the glyphs leapt out at her. They were so intense, that she had to shield her face.
“Jesse, are you alright?” she heard Brett say but his voice sounded distant.
Despite the deep red glare of the foreboding symbols, she slowly approached them. As usual, she reached her hands out and touched them. A jolt like electricity pulsed through her and she sucked in a quick breath. Her internal dictionary began to swirl around her head and the new glyphs in front of her began to break apart into their most basic elements.
“Blood Gatherer is set upon the mat,” she read, a little breathlessly. “Set upon the throne, when their ruler is set up. The heavenly fan, the heavenly wreath and the heavenly bouquet shall descend.” She followed the glyphs closer to the floor, keeping her hands in contact. “The drum and rattle of the lord shall sound, when flint knives are set into his mantle.” She sank to her knees as the glyphs continued to whirl at a frenetic pace. “The Red King comes and red is his garment also.” And then she touched the final row of glyphs. “My son, bring me that which hooks the sky and also the hooked tooth.”
That was it, that was the riddle. She stayed frozen, panting now.
“That which hooks the sky,” she whispered. “Also the hooked tooth.”
She shook her head.
No, that’s not what it means.
Other dialects popped in and out of her vision as she closed her eyes. Not a hook. Not a tooth. As one sound-alike word suddenly aligned with another, she jerked her head up.
“My son,” she breathed. “Bring me the deer and the gopher.”
She leaned heavily against the glyphs, breathing hard and felt Brent’s arm around her shoulders.
“Jesse,” he was saying. “Can you hear me?” She blinked as the swirling glyphs stopped. “Jesse,” he said, again.
“I hear you,” she whispered between breaths. “I hear you.”
“Sometimes you scare me, Jesse, you really do. I don’t know where you go when you’re reading but it’s very far away.”