Truly helpless, p.31
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       Truly Helpless, p.31
 

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

  His gaze lifted from her body to her eyes. "Don't ever call me that."

  He'd intended to make it sound like a threat, a warning. But she heard the plea beneath it. "I never will," she said softly.

  "I always wore protection." His jaw flexed. "I wouldn't lie about that."

  "No. I didn't expect you would. But something has you hesitating to be inside me without a condom. Maybe because that's a big step. It says a whole lot."

  "Yeah." But that wasn't entirely it, or maybe he just hadn't gotten to that concern, because another was in line in front of it. She could tell from the shift of his gaze. Moving her hand onto her pussy, she began to stroke and play. Most men couldn't be led around by their cocks unless they wanted to be, no matter popular notions to the contrary. But there were men closer to their animal instincts than others, and Marius was one of those, particularly right now. She couldn't lead him by the cock, but she could use it to distract and unbalance him. A form of truth serum, so to speak. A serious smile touched her lips, her heart aching at how his gaze clung to her hand, what she was offering him behind it.

  "Tell me, sweet boy," she said. "Then you can come have as much of this as you want."

  "I want to be sure." The fist clenching thing, evidence he was fighting something inside himself. "I want...to keep you safe."

  "Okay." It was an effort to keep her voice even, to not betray how the honest admission moved her. "Go get tested next week and be sure. But if you do that, there will be one more condition to being inside me, nothing between us."

  She paused, because she wanted to make sure he heard her next words, branded them inside his head. "You're mine exclusively. Until I say otherwise."

  The gray irises flickered with heat. It was that same hunger, but with a different quality to it. Settling her head back on the pillow, she tossed him a heavy-lidded look. "You're making me wait for what I want, sweet boy. You do that another second and I'll make you wait three times as long to fuck my pussy with your bare cock, whether you get clean test results or not."

  A properly motivated man could be deliciously obedient. Putting his knee on the bed again, he went to all fours over her legs, his muscled arms spread out over her, elbows bending. In the semi-darkness he looked like a beast in a feral crouch. But as she gazed into his eyes this time, she didn't see a predator poised over prey. It was more like a man-wolf crouched over a mate, ready to tear apart anything that tried to take her from him. Or cause her harm. It caused an odd little tremor in her belly.

  He doesn't know you're almost as scared shitless as he is by where this is going.

  Or maybe he did. He didn't immediately return to going down on her. Instead, he slid forward, reaching out to touch her throat with one questing finger. She lifted her chin, enjoying the sensation as he traced her jugular, moving down between the collar bones, caressing that soft pocket of flesh. He stayed there a bit, gaze trained on her pulse, on her reaction to how he was touching her. His expression had been unreadable before, but the energy was different. Something strong, not violent or angry, was moving through him, guiding his touch in a way that had her holding her breath.

  His fingertips glided down her sternum, detouring to follow the curve of one breast all the way around, then the other. He bent, still on all fours and leaning over her so his hips were higher than his shoulders, his thighs spread and braced as he nuzzled her breast. He rubbed his face against it, teasing her nipple with the friction of his jaw. He did it to both breasts, to the area in between, like an animal marking another. There was a potent stillness to him, and she stroked his shoulder, the side of his throat, his hair and face, letting the connection speak the words they both needed to hear.

  He pressed his mouth to her navel, teeth catching her piercing briefly before he continued downward, scattering kisses over her flesh. She kept coiling and uncoiling her fingers in his hair, tugging, her body moving in sensual choreography with his.

  Together. For the first time, they were moving together, no barriers between them. The feeling of it was like coming home to a place she'd never been, but had been waiting for her all along.

  He pressed his lips to her clit, an easy tease, his tongue slipping into her to curl and explore as if it was all new treasure to him. She moaned, a low sound as her body rose to his mouth like steam drifting up from a hot spring. He curled his arms under her thighs, clutching her ass to bring her hips up farther, give him more angles and depths to penetrate. His thumb stroked through her folds, gathering the wetness, and came back to her ass, dipping between her buttocks to trace her rim. It sent tiny shocks of pleasure through her, her cunt contracting in response.

  "Such a small, tight pussy," he muttered against her. "When I first fucked you, it took me by surprise, because you're..."

  He'd muffled the next words against her, so she didn't know what he said, but she knew what he meant. Not petite. Built like Xena, not Gabrielle.

  "I'm normal size. You're just a well-hung man, Duncan Marius Walczak."

  Her humor didn't dilute the feelings she was having. They could ride the waves of gentle teasing to serious intensity and back again without changing course or the overriding feelings that had them in their grip.

  He smiled against her flesh, shook his head, and then put his mouth all the way over her, thrusting his tongue in deep and driving other thoughts away. She spiraled up, and up farther. He took his time, showing he knew what he was doing as her sensitive tissues warmed back up again. Much sooner than she would have expected, she was pressing herself more insistently against his mouth, which took on a rhythmic licking, sucking and penetrating pattern. Her hips answered him with a coital cadence until she was gasping.

  "Now," she ordered. "I want you inside me."

  "I want to feel you come like this, against my mouth again."

  "You will. Several times tonight. But first this."

  He obeyed, dipping off the bed to pull out his wallet and retrieve a condom. He slid up her body, his lips glistening from her response. When he would have opened the packet, she held out her hand for it with a commanding look. She gave herself the pleasure of rolling the protection on his turgid cock herself. Caressing it and the testicles beneath, she tangled her fingers in the light coating of coarse hair over the heated weight of them. She looked up to see his eyes close at her touch.

  "Come back down here," she whispered, bringing him between her thighs. Her grip telegraphed what she wanted, what she was going to do. He held her in place a bated second, a wolfish look crossing his face. A feline smile curled her lips in response. Then he rolled them as she'd intended, helping her so she was straddling him.

  "Just proving I can't push you around?" she asked, sliding her cunt along his cock, a heated, wet track that had his grip tightening on her hips and a breath catching in his throat.

  "Maybe just letting you know how much strength is at your command, Mistress," he said.

  "Charmer." Curling her fingers around him, she brought his cock inside her. She closed her eyes, bracing her hand on his chest to control the pace as she slowly, slowly descended, his thick member impaling her in a way that brought her an even deeper shudder of pleasure.

  Putting both hands on his chest, she started to ride, clasping him inside on both the upward and downward strokes. He held her in sure hands, his gaze coursing over her quivering breasts, the arch of her body, the joining point between their sexes. His lips were parted, his eyes heated and jaw firm, intent on what she was feeling, and feeding off it for his own arousal.

  "Goddess," she breathed, dropping her head back and digging in with her nails. "Want to do this forever."

  His grip tightened, a silent agreement. She pulled them further and further up, until his hold was bruising and her nails might be drawing blood, but neither of them were complaining.

  His emotions weren't predictable when he was this close to his primal nature. Especially tonight, with all else he'd experienced. So it wasn't unexpected when he went for a change of course. With
a sudden ripple and flexing of muscle, he rolled them, putting her beneath him again, one arm clamped beneath her thigh to hold it high on his side. He planted his knees to give him harder thrusts, as if he wanted to get deeper inside her than anatomically possible. She met his ferocity, wrapping her arms around his shoulders and setting her teeth to one, next to the pulsing artery in his throat.

  She'd told him she'd make him wait for his climax. He'd wanted her to be cruel to him, had begged to be denied. But she sensed he needed something else now. There would be time to be cruel later.

  "Now," she whispered, as she went over the edge and gave herself to the orgasm. Responding to her command, spoken as much through her body as her lips, he groaned and bucked, his release jetting into the condom.

  In a week she could have him this way, nothing between them. She wanted that, vehemently enough that if they'd rewound to the decision, she might have pushed him to go without it tonight. But he wanted to protect her, and she wouldn't take that significant turning point away from him.

  That more gentle moment wasn't in command now. He was rutting on her like a bull, grunting, his eyes holding hers in an intense lock, his hands hard on her body, demanding. But she could feel the difference. He was on top not to resist her control, but to show her he could bring her pleasure this way. He was hers to command from the top or bottom. He knew she liked his strength; was aroused, fascinated and wanted to be immersed by it.

  With her, he didn't have to use it to fight. He could use it to serve. It might be fleeting, but in this moment, she saw he understood.

  Coming down was like being on the tail end of a summer storm, the air still crackling with electricity and distant rumbles of thunder. He was braced on his arms, but she brought him down to his elbows, cupping both hands over his skull and pressing a kiss to his forehead, then to his lips when he raised his head. His own hand curled around the back of her neck, holding her as the kiss deepened, as he adjusted his hips to make another firm push inside her. She offered a soft moan against his lips that had his eyes sparking.

  "Like that, do you?" He did it again, and she met him with squeezes of her internal muscles, a mutual giving that kept those quiet spasms coming, their bodies rocking together as if they'd always known how to move with that synchronicity.

  She slid her hands around to his face, thumbs caressing his lips. He kissed her fingers, then he dropped his head, pressing his face hard into her neck. The shudder that ran through him now was something different. She stroked his back, his wide shoulders. "What is it?"

  He shook his head and eased out of her, moving back up to his knees. He gazed down at her, much as he had in that portentous turning point at the beginning. Shadows were gathering, reminding him of what had brought them here. She could see their grasping hands trying to pull him away, and they were faster than hers. Before she could hold him, he rolled off the bed and moved away from her, disappearing into the bathroom.

  Cold without him, she pulled the blanket over herself, a dissatisfying substitute for his body. She reminded herself it wasn't a setback. He'd just gone farther with her than he ever had before. She pillowed her head on her hands and studied the bathroom door. He hadn't turned on a light, but she heard running water. When he emerged, he picked up his jeans and pulled them on. He righted the lamp and side table before taking a seat in the easy chair. She studied his shadowed features.

  "I miss your heat," she said. "Come back to bed."

  He didn't say anything. Despite the darkness, she sensed he was drilling her with that trying-to-figure-you-out stare, which was fine, but she was concerned other energies were closing in on him.

  "Why did you ask me to join you at the prison?" she said.

  "I had a weak moment."

  She didn't respond to that, and kept her gaze leveled on him. He slouched down in the chair, stretching his legs out, his hands resting on the arms. Now she could see his moody eyes were fixed on her, but on no particular point. "I asked because of the way you are with me," he said gruffly. "How I feel when I'm with you...I thought you'd come, and I wouldn't feel so alone with it. Stupid."

  "No," she said. "No, it wasn't. I wish I could have gone inside with you."

  He shook his head. "That was the last place I would want you to be. It didn't matter anyway. He didn't look at me. Didn't even seem aware of any of it. Stoned, or his mind's all gone now. He didn't want to say anything. They just did it, and it was done."

  She thought he might fracture the polished arm of the chair with his grip. Rising from the bed, she picked up his shirt, donning it, and came to him. A hand on one of his knees, her foot against his, and she'd pushed his feet apart. Under his brooding gaze, she sank to the floor, drawing her knees up as she used one of his legs for a back brace and laced her fingers over her bent knees. She didn't ask for anything. Just waited and looked at him in the darkness, only broken by that filtered light through the drapes. With it, she could see the shape of his forehead, the strands of hair over it. The broken line of his nose. The roundness of one broad shoulder.

  "He wanted me to be like him. He'd bring in animals he'd caught and..." He paused, and his voice became so flat and dead she thought he'd had to go somewhere far beyond where his personality and soul resided, the things that made him Marius, or Duncan. "He'd torture them, make me watch. I wouldn't help, so he'd beat me."

  His gaze came back to her, and so did the full force of his personality, so fast it was as if he'd slammed back into his own body. Seizing her by the shoulders, he dragged her up to her knees, bringing her eye to blazing eye with him. "I never helped. Never. He'd throw them in this dumpster, and I'd sneak out at night, go get them, bury them."

  "Okay," she said softly, putting her hands on both his knees. "It's okay. I know you didn't help him."

  He stared at her, and something in him crumpled up like paper. "How could you know?"

  "I've been inside you, remember? You can tell me as much or as little as you like, but I know who you are. What you are...and aren't...capable of doing."

  He nodded, a quick jerk. He didn't let her go, his touch still bruising, as if he didn't realize how hard he was holding her. "Every time, I hoped he'd kill me so I wouldn't wake up, so he couldn't do it again. Thought that maybe if I was dead, he'd stop. He didn't want a partner. It was never about that. I was just one more way to torture something weaker than himself. There was no sense to it, no reason for why he was the way he was."

  His voice was raw, but strong, unbroken, like he was being beaten now and defying the one hammering him to break him. He would never break. She had a flash back to him in the fight ring and suddenly all of it made sense. And if she hadn't caught up, he added to it with his next words.

  "He didn't get it. I'd take the pain, take the beating a hundred times, just so I didn't have to hear their cries or watch him do what he did to them." He released her, dropping back into the chair with a dull thud.

  "I learned to fight. Even after he was put away, I kept learning, getting better and better at it. I needed to be ready to fight, to not be helpless, if ever he tried to do that to me again, tried to do that to anyone." He chuckled harshly. "My dad was never getting out, even if he beat the death penalty, so it didn't make sense. It didn't get through my thick skull until the lawyers told me the final appeal was likely to fail. Then it hit me, how futile it was. He was going to be beyond any retaliation, beyond anything, and I'd be left here with all of it in my head, inside me. The way it had always been. I'd been kidding myself, thinking there was a way to get past that."

  He'd been forced to face all the feelings he'd been bottling away, instead of focusing on being prepared to fight. That was your trigger, baby. That was what had switched up the game for him, made him start to act out with the Mistresses far more aggressively. The more the truth had sunk in, the worse it had become. Regina would bet on it.

  "It didn't make any difference. It didn't..."

  "Yes, it did." She gripped his face in gentle but inexorable hands
, making him look at her. "You never let him win, Marius. He was after your soul, and you never gave it to him. You were a child, and you let him beat on you instead of doing more harm to innocents. There are grown men who don't have that kind of courage. You weren't weaker than him at all."

  "It wasn't courage." His face folded up in anguish. "I couldn't stand to hear them cry. I still can't, it tears things loose in me..."

  Volula Jones thought he didn't like cats. Animals picked up distress signals, and those that came off him when he was around them were probably so strong they sent up alarm flags. Particularly when the cats started to plaintively meow for food or attention.

  It wasn't that he disliked animals. Far from it.

  He was shaking, but no tears came. So much was bottled up, the pressure was threatening to shatter him. He was bending forward into her, not seeking an embrace, but folding up over the pain in his midriff. She scrambled out of the way, catching him around his waist and shoulders to ease him to the ground as he toppled there, shaking so hard she felt a spurt of fear.

  Grabbing the blanket off the bed, she used it to cover them as she curved up behind him, wrapping as much of her body around him as she could.

  "I'm here," she said. And kept saying it.

  She'd stayed away from his childhood, yet now that she knew the root of the problem, it was time to follow her gut. He was hurting, spiraling down into a dark, lonely place, and she could feel his pain. She'd handle it the way he needed.

  She started to rock them, holding him to her. "Ssh, ssh, easy..." She rubbed her hand over his chest, his stomach, pressing her mouth between his shoulder blades. "Hush...sweet boy. So sweet. So brave. So strong..."

  Closing her eyes, she began to hum. It was a formless tune until it wasn't, until she realized she was humming a lullaby to him, the mockingbird lullaby they'd all heard at one time or another in their lives.