Truly helpless, p.28
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       Truly Helpless, p.28

         Part #10 of Nature of Desire series by Joey W. Hill

  "You can tell him Regina came looking for him, but I expect I'll find him before then."

  "Hope you do. You seem nice. He deserves something nice, I think. Such a good boy. Awfully good body, too. Can keep even an old crone like me thinking sinful thoughts."

  With another wink and cackle, Volula shuffled back into her house, Orlando trotting up the stairs and following her, slipping past the threshold a breath before she closed the door. Patches remained lying on the stoop, giving her an indifferent look before turning her face up to bask in the sun.

  Smiling, Regina returned to the sidewalk. As she moved along it toward her car, she paused. There were several narrow windows that provided a view to the basement room. Taking the chance Miss Volula would wonder if she was snooping, Regina squatted next to one, peering inside since there were no curtains.

  She saw a bed, a chair. An older model TV, not a flat screen. Some books piled up on the chair next to the bed. Small fridge and possibly a microwave in a kitchenette set-up, but that was about all she could discern through the dirty glass and security bars. She wondered what kind of books he read.

  She wondered, period. A day of data gathering had resulted in more questions than answers.

  Well, she knew who could answer them. It looked like she was going to Raiford next week.

  Chapter Twelve

  Sure enough, the address he'd left imprinted on her note pad was Florida State Prison. Since inmate visitation was approved by 30-day advance application, it left her wondering if she was wrong in thinking his father was an inmate. Marius wouldn't have invited her to visit his dad, only to have her wait in the parking lot. Maybe Marius's father worked for FSP.

  But Marius didn't always do the socially appropriate thing. Maybe his father was a prisoner, and it was only when the words had left his mouth that he realized it wasn't the most optimal date. He hadn't asked her to join him for social reasons, though. All she had to do was remember that unusual amalgamation of emotions--desperation, anger, regret, retreat--to know that.

  She could have used some of her former contacts in the correctional system to help her find out more than the online prison database could provide, but Marius had initially invited her to join him, opening this door. Digging deeper behind his back instead of simply broaching the topic with him didn't make sense, not if she wanted to build trust with him.

  If she reached her destination and he'd changed the time he'd written down, she might be in for quite a wait. But she'd find his car, and pass the time working on her laptop. She had lectures to prepare for upcoming classes and two consulting projects requiring status reports and evaluations. She could stay busy.

  If his car wasn't there...well, it was a nice day for a round-trip drive to the state's maximum-security prison.

  Upon arrival, she entered the main parking lot near the multi-building complex. When she found Marius's car, next to a giant, shiny blue Hummer pimped out with lots of chrome, she pulled into a spot a few spaces down, backing in so she was looking at the rear of the Civic. When she'd passed, it looked like he was still in the vehicle. He'd written down two o'clock, and it was one-thirty.

  She hadn't given much thought to her approach, because she'd decided it was best not to overthink it. Picking up the insulated tote she'd brought, she emerged from her Mercedes and locked it. For this outing, she'd chosen her block heeled boots, black leggings and a wine-colored tunic top with a slash neckline that revealed the red jasper stone pendant she wore, with matching gold and jasper bracelets and earrings. The right mix of business casual with hints of Mistress and sexy woman, all to telegraph a variety of necessary messages.

  As she reached the rear of his car, she saw both driver and passenger side windows were down, so she chose the passenger side approach. She'd expected he'd hear her heels on the pavement, but when she reached the window, she realized why he hadn't moved. He was asleep, his head tilted to the right on the headrest, one hand on the wheel, the other on the console. He'd pushed the seat back so his legs were sprawled, stretched out.

  She dropped to her heels, laying an arm on the window sill, and studied him. He wasn't a peaceful sleeper, his expression concentrated even in repose, as if he were solving problems or slogging through disturbing dreams. But as she quietly opened the door, his breathing didn't change. With a frown, she noticed fresh scrapes on his knuckles and the shadow of a bruise on his jaw. He'd been fighting again. That might explain him sleeping so soundly in public and broad daylight, since the fights went on into the early hours of the morning. He'd probably driven here shortly after that, though he looked as if he'd showered and shaved.

  She slid into the seat and clicked the door shut. Putting the tote between her feet, she sat back and watched him some more. Indulging herself, she laid her hand on his on the console. Leaning in, she began to stroke his hair back from his brow. His forehead creased, but then relaxed, as did his mouth. He murmured something and settled into the seat more deeply, his legs adjusting.

  Regina turned on her hip, propping her head on the headrest to look at him. Then jumped when his hand jerked out from beneath hers and clutched, fingers digging in. "No," he said. "No."

  It was rage and resignation in a single syllable. But his grip conveyed the opposite, as if she were a lifeline of hope to which he was grimly clinging. She put her other hand over his and held on while she made quiet noises of comfort. His grip and expression eased, but he maintained the hold. She didn't pull away.

  After a time, she reached down with her free hand and opened the tote, allowing the aromas contained within to escape. It amused her to see them penetrate his slumber minutes later. His nostrils flared and his dark-lashed eyes lifted, his gaze disoriented.

  "I brought snacks," she said. "Or a late lunch, depending on how much you want to eat."

  Marius sat up, disengaging his hand to run it over his face, comb it through his hair in a charmingly self-conscious way. "No drool," she informed him. "You're a very polite sleeper. You don't even snore."

  He blinked at her. "I told you not to come."

  "No. You said it was probably better if I didn't. That's different from saying you don't want me to be here. You invited me to visit your father. So I decided I wanted to be here."

  "Okay," he said at last. "I usually sleep lighter than that."

  "Maybe your subconscious knew that I could be trusted."

  "Yeah. Maybe." He cleared his throat. "What food did you bring?"

  She smiled. "Should we wait for your dad? I brought enough for all three of us. Unless you were planning to take him to dinner."

  Marius studied her a long, unreadable moment, then shook his head. He adjusted the seat so he was in a less reclined position. "This is how I visit my dad. I don't go in to see him. I just sit in the parking lot."

  "Oh. Okay." So his father was a prisoner. And even if Marius had been going in to see him, food wouldn't have been allowed. But she'd seen Marius's appetite. He'd be happy to have the extra.

  When he didn't seem to want to say more, she decided to leave it alone for now. He snaked his hand down to fish around in the tote and she smacked his wrist. "Out of there, rude boy. I have it arranged and you'll mess it up."

  He didn't smile, but he looked like he wanted to do so. His gaze roved over her mouth and eyes, her hair and body. "You look nice," he said.

  Reaching over the console, he gripped her collar and pulled her to him, meeting halfway to kiss her mouth, hard, his hands digging into fabric and her firm flesh beneath. She put her hands on his face, holding him, trying to hold onto control. An impossible task, because that kiss had her swimming in a sea of hormones and emotions tangled together as his own tempest of them came through. His grip moved to her neck, fingers threading through her hair, clutching handfuls of it.

  He broke the kiss and her heart tripped over itself, because he moved his face into her locs, rubbing against their softness.

  When he was calculating or manipulative, she could see him coming from a mile
off and remain unaffected. When he acted with simple raw honesty and brutal need? He could strike her heart with the targeted force of lightning.

  She cupped the back of his head, stroking, letting him take as much time as he wished. His hands had dropped to grip her hips. There was a restrained sexual urgency to it, the need for simple contact uppermost. Then he seemed to recall himself and eased back.

  "Did you bring cookies?"

  She chuckled, caressing his jaw and hoping he didn't notice the little tremor that went through her fingers. "There's a white cake with powdered sugar. It's my grandmother's recipe. I also brought a vegetable stew that is excellent at sun-warmed car temperatures, and roast beef sandwiches."

  "You're a goddess," he said. "Are you going to hand me some of that, or do I have to be rude again?"

  Smiling, she offered him a sandwich, a container of stew and a spoon, with a napkin. She also pulled out a bottle of water and a can of Coke from the cooler portion of the tote and gave him the choice. He chose the Coke. "You can have the cake after you eat your meal," she said.

  "Yes, ma'am," he said dutifully, a glint in his eye. As he sat back and dug in, he passed his gaze over her again. "I saw a lady at the gas station who had hair like yours, only they were in corkscrews. Like yours at The Zone. Do you do that a lot?"

  He meant the night with Siren. It was interesting, that he'd remembered that detail with so much else happening. "When I have the time and patience," she said. "A couple times I've thought of just shaving myself bald and having an elaborate tattoo put on my skull."

  He swallowed a mouthful of stew, started to wipe his mouth with the back of his hand and reconsidered, using the napkin. "That's what Skullface did. Before the face tattoo and head shave, he had curly red hair and freckles."

  "No kidding."

  "Yeah. They called him Opie before that. Skullface was more intimidating."

  "I can imagine."

  He touched her crown with unexpectedly gentle fingers, tracing her scalp between a parting of locs. "I could see you with a real sexy tribal tat that curved under your ears, and right above your neck. Then again..." His gaze shifted. "I wouldn't cover any of your skin with a tattoo. You wouldn't need it anyway. Your eyes and your mouth hit a guy dead center."

  Turning his eyes back to the prison, he fell silent, continuing his meal. Ignoring the tingle along her flesh where he'd touched it, she unwrapped half a sandwich and started eating it. "The prison entrance took me by surprise," she commented. "The wire archway with the letters on it reminds me of when you enter a family campground. And that white building over there with the top that looks like a lighthouse? Looks as if it belongs on a Florida resort."

  "Yeah. It's pretty. Guess there's no rule against having pretty things at prison. You're here, right?" He smiled at her, though it didn't reach his eyes.

  "Charmer." She didn't mean it as an accusation, which his behavior usually required. Not this time. To reinforce it, she touched his hand. "So your dad's an inmate?"

  "For a few more hours. He's going to be executed today."

  Marius delivered the comment in such a matter-of-fact manner, the significance didn't sink in for several breaths. When she snapped herself out of the shock, he'd set the sandwich on the napkin she'd draped over his thigh and unscrewed the Coke, letting the fizz die back before he raised it to his lips. He didn't look at her as he picked up the sandwich again, but he stopped short of taking another bite. Instead he seemed to get lost in his thoughts. He was staring at the prison again. She suspected he knew where his father was in the complex, because he kept looking in the same direction when he looked at the buildings.

  "Kind of sick, right?" he said abruptly. "A guy asking a girl to come to his dad's execution?"

  "It's unorthodox." She tried to pull a variety of thoughts together to handle the unprecedented turn of events, but when he parted his lips as if to say more, the brittle look in his eye made her lead with instinct. She stopped him, curling her fingers around his wrist.

  "Eat your food. You're about to say stupid things. We'll talk about it when it's time, but right now we're going to talk about other things."

  "Issuing orders, Mistress?" His look became more challenging.

  "When you need it, yeah. And you need it right now, big time."

  He'd triggered the Mistress side that came forth when called, and she let him see it when he finally locked gazes with her. She tapped his knuckles. "You've been fighting again."

  "Winning again," he said after a weighted pause. "Picked up about five hundred on a street fight before the cops were called and we had to take off. Not a bad take for fifteen minutes."

  He returned to eating, merely adjusting his elbows so he didn't impede her when she lifted his shirt. The bruising along his ribs and abdomen had her wincing. And made her mad. But she sat on it. He noticed the tight set to her lips, though.

  "Don't worry about it," he said, no belligerence in his tone now. He seemed to have an earnest desire to reassure her and get her to move on from the subject. "Pain doesn't really hurt anymore, Mistress."

  "Well, that's good." Picking up a napkin, she blotted a small smear of mustard away from the corner of his mouth. "It's not like pain serves a vital purpose, such as telling you when a bone is broken or an organ has ruptured."

  His unrepentant grin made her want to slap him, as much as she wanted to do other things to him. "I didn't fight angry, so I didn't break my promise."

  "I'm so relieved." She blew out a sigh and put a hand to the side of his head, shoving it. He ducked away from the resigned admonishment and used the movement to reach for another sandwich.

  She'd worried that he wasn't eating enough because of limited finances, but since then she'd developed a more logical theory, given his muscle mass and fighting energy. Seeing him attack the homemade food she'd brought proved it. No one cooked for him, including himself. He must eat out all the time, so that the breakfast she'd cooked him, the sandwiches and cookies she'd brought him now, were as welcome to him as a meal in a five-star restaurant might be to her.

  She was a Domme, but she was also her mother's daughter and a good Southern girl. She liked cooking for a man, liked seeing him enjoy the food. It made her think about cooking for him as a regular thing.

  Every once in a while, she thought about what it would be like to have a husband who was also her dedicated submissive. Of all the inappropriate times to be remembering that Cinderella kind of wish, this one rated at the top. But so far, very little of her and Marius's trek together had fit between the lines.

  She pushed away the unsettling thoughts and the emotions that came upon her, watching him eat her food at such a strange and terrible moment in his life.

  "I've never had a man more eager to reach between my knees for food than pussy," she observed.

  "Well, there are cameras and perimeter checks. This seemed like my second-best option." His gray eyes slid over to hers and held. "Believe me, Mistress. I never stop thinking about pussy. Particularly yours."

  He glanced at the Hummer next to them. "If I had a ride like that, there'd be enough leg room you could roll the seat way back. I'd kneel between your legs, eat you until you came."

  "If I said you could."

  He paused. Swallowed the bite of sandwich. "If you said I could. But I hope you would. I wish I could do it right now. I'd like to at least touch you, feel if what I'm saying is getting you hot."

  She cocked her head. "Then ask me, Marius."

  His expression flickered, lips pressing together as if he was struggling with something. "Could you...would you call me..."

  He couldn't finish it, but she could. "Ask me, Duncan," she said softly.

  "May I touch your pussy, Mistress?" His voice went rough and growly, but his gaze dropped to stare at the console between them. He had lowered his eyes, a submissive instinct, but it kept what he wanted in the range of his hungry glance. "I want to stroke it. Put my fingers inside of you so I can taste how wet you are. Can I?"<
br />
  Her throat was dry. "Yes, you may."

  He stuffed in the last bite of sandwich, swallowed. His urgency proved his desire, but he remembered courtesy to his Mistress, stopping in the act of reaching for her to wipe his fingers thoroughly on the napkin. Only then did he slide his hand up her thigh, palm pressed against the thin legging fabric that covered her flesh. He went up under the tunic, found the waistband of the leggings and dipped beneath, adjusting toward her so the front of his shoulder pressed against the side of hers, their bodies forming a corner. His face was so close to hers, making her lips part as his gaze latched onto her mouth.

  He found out fast she was wet. He muttered a reverent oath as his fingertips stroked through the moisture and eased in. Her hips lifted to accommodate the penetration, her other hand falling on his biceps. His gaze became fierce, and gloriously possessive. "For me?" he said, in a near whisper.

  "For you," she confirmed, threading her fingers through his hair, caressing his bruised cheekbone with her thumb. He pressed his face into her palm and bit, his eyes sliding to her face to watch her reaction, a spear of arousal that had her breath elevating. He left a mark he traced with his tongue as his fingers pressed in deeper, knuckles feathering along the base of her clit.

  "I need you to come. I need to see that, feel that. I need to do something for you, and I don't want you to let me come. I want you to be selfish, demanding, and take everything you want from me until I'm dying and my cock's so hard I can't walk, and I need you to still tell me no."

  As he spoke, he became even more urgent. His tone, his body language, the energy filling the small car. To calm him, she put her hands on his face, framing it, holding his feverish look. She saw a man driven mad by whatever was going on inside him, grasping one possible thread of sanity...her demands. He wasn't topping, he was telling her what he needed. She wished the circumstances were different, that they weren't in a prison parking lot, his soul besieged by whatever crazy things knowing his father was about to be executed would cause.

  However, according to evolution, man had started as a princely frog worming his way out of primordial muck. Good things had to start somewhere. If a prison parking lot was the first place he'd let her see his soul naked and bare, she would take it as the victory it was, for both of them.