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Branded Sanctuary, Page 34

Joey W. Hill

Page 34


  She glanced over her shoulder. He stood behind her, hand on the light switch, gazing down at her face in that intent way that made heat prickle on her skin and increased her awareness of where she was headed.

  I want to see where you were lying, that night I called you, she said, her voice husky. Id like to see your bedroom.

  He nodded, gesturing her forward, letting her lead. He didnt say anything further as she stepped through the doorway. Her gaze fell on a king-sized shaker style bed of dark sleek wood. The throw was the dark, swirling blue color of the deep ocean. A n oil painting positioned above the head board picked up the nautical theme. It depicted a storm-stirred sea against a lightning-illuminated bank of clouds, no other features except the turbulence of the waves and foam of the white caps.

  She briefly noted his armoire and closet, a single dresser. One silk tie and jacket were folded over the arm of a straight chair. She imagined hed been running late after work and had left them there before heading for Marguerite and Tylers. Or maybe they were there for Monday. In her minds eye, she saw him getting ready for work. Sitting down in the chair to pull on his shoes, standing in front of the dresser mirror to adjust the tie.

  Picking up his keys, sliding his wallet into his coat or pants. Through an open door, she saw a spacious master bath reflected in the mirror over the sink.

  Her heart dared to give her another image. Her, living with him. Destroying all that neatness with her propensity for leaving her clothes everywhere. Turning on music in the morning to dance around him as he shaved at the mirror. Hed be smiling at her as she karaoked for him, garbled, because her toothbrush was in her mouth.

  It hadnt even occurred to her hearts imaginings that shed stay in the guestroom.

  Brendan touched her lower back as he moved past her. He went to the nightstand and laid his cell phone in the charger there.

  Where do you She cut herself off, turned and went to the armoire. Opened it and let her gaze wander over the clothes hung to one side.

  Compartments on the right held a few sets of good shoes, an assortment of ties and slacks on racks. There were some built-in drawers and she opened the top one to find socks, underwear, the lower one revealing jeans.

  Nodding to herself, she moved to the closet. She noted he shifted, as if he might stop her, or wanted to say something first, but when she glanced at him, he only gestured, confirming she was free to do as she pleased. He sat down on the bed, his eyes on her.

  The door did have a keyed lock, so he could secure it if he wished. But it was open to her. While it turned under her hand, she didnt immediately pull it open.

  She knew what had to be in here. The carnival had made clear being a sexual submissive wasnt a casual pastime in his life. It was innate to who he was. The person who wanted to be with him would need not only to accept that, but embrace it. She wished she could banish Mistress Lydas words, but she couldnt, could she? Because she didnt know her feelings on any of it.

  If she didnt open the closet, he might think she was rejecting that part of him. However, that wasnt why she was wavering. She didnt want the ugliness that had gripped her at the carnival to take over here. While she wasnt sure what had happened, she was pretty sure having the trappings and tools to put him entirely at her mercy had been a dangerous catalyst.

  A s she wavered between what she owed him and what she owed herself, the overhead light clicked off. It would have alarmed her, except there was still light thrown into the room from the hallway. A nd Brendan was here.

  She didnt turn, but heard his feet cross the carpet. Then his hand closed over hers on the doorknob. He pressed close, the curve of her buttock against his thigh, his hip bone. Flattening his palm on her abdomen, he traced the navel through her dress, a teasing circle, then curved his fingers inward so his knuckles glided up her body, shifting to follow the line of her left breast.

  Hed lingered at the navel, identifying that bump of scar tissue, but he hadnt commented on it. A s his long fingers straightened so the pads grazed her nipple, before he closed over the curve fully, taking gentle possession, she whispered the truth of it.

  I used to have a piercing there.

  Yeah? He disengaged her grip on the knob, and brought her hand back behind her, guiding her until she molded her hand over his right buttock. Her thumb tucked into his jeans pocket, helping her keep her hand there. Her touch moved with cautious but unmistakable greedy pleasure over the well-toned muscle.

  A s he let that hand go, he slid his arm forward over her shoulder. She figured hed cross over his other to clasp her other breast, but his destination was higher, his palm curving around her neck, one finger sliding over her cheek, thumb tracing her bottom lip. Slow caresses of her breast with the other hand made the nipple ache and flesh swell.

  What was your favorite piece of jewelry for it? he murmured. What did it look like?

  How could you speak when someone was stealing your breath? It was a silver yin and yang symbolwith a diamond for the point of light in dark and vice versa.

  Who gave it to you?

  She shuddered as two fingers pinched the nipple. Her thighs quivered, her hips pushing back into that solid leg. What if I said he was a sexy bad boy biker guy with six pack abs and a dragon tattoo on his biceps? A re you the jealous type?

  Nudging her head to the side, he put his lips on her accelerating pulse, right between his fingers. What do you think?

  I think you get underestimated in the dangerous bad boy department. She gave a half laugh, half gasp. You dont have to get jealous. You make damn sure a girl has zero desire to be with anyone but you. Its a different form of possessiveness, more MachMachiavellian than A ttila the Hun. She had to take a deep breath to get through a suddenly far too complex word, but that reaction increased the pressure of her breast against his hand, embellishing the squeezing, pleasurable sensation. Her nipple was stabbing his palm and she wanted to push it against him harder.

  Hmm. Did a man give it to you?

  No. I bought it for myself. Rickthat was his nametook me to the bluegrass festivalwhere the vendor was. He spent all his money on his bike. He wasn-nineteen. Youre really making it hard totalk.

  Good. Hed continued down the side of her throat with that devastating hand on her cheek, his fingers tracing her nose, gliding over her lashes.

  It made her eyes close, then her teeth bit down on her lip as he nipped and suckled on her throat in a way that had her body moving restlessly. Heat and wetness grew between her legs, making her panties damp, making her want him to touch her there, feel it too.

  She didnt have the navel piercing anymore because Marguerites father had ripped the barbell loose. His face had been close, stark, horror-movie close, saliva spraying her as he screamed. This is what a dirty whore wears. A slut. Ive always been with you. I know what you became. What you are.

  Brendans hands slid away, but only to turn her around, gently push her back against the closet door. Her fingers slipped out of his pocket regretfully, grazed his hip as he completed that turn. Closing his hands over hers, he held them out in the air to either side of them, letting them float erratically up and down, a drift of movement that helped steady what had suddenly become unsteady to her.

  Keeping his gray-green eyes on hers, he eased down to one knee, flanking her with the other bent one as he let go of one of her hands, then the other, to place his hands on her hips. Leaning forward, he put his mouth on her navel through the thin fabric between them and drove that terrible memory away, the shame that went with it.

  The moist heat of his breath dampened the area. That and the pressure of his mouth made her nerves respond, perhaps even more violently than if it had been flesh on flesh, no barrier between them. The deprivation somehow heightened her reaction.

  Can you Her voice was a cautious plea in the full dark, because shed closed her eyes, one hand restlessly kneading his shoulder while the other found his hair
, gripped.

  What, beloved?

  Beloved. Never would she have thought a guy could use such an old-fashioned word and make it sound like that, like it was supposed to sound.

  A vow of adoration in one, three-syllable utterance.

  But then Brendan wasnt a guy, was he? Shed dated guys, like Rick. A lot of them. Brendan was a man, everything that word should mean. Just like the word beloved, it had a rich significance to it that was lost unless everything became really still, like this.

  If I needwant you tocan you

  She shouldnt think about this so much, or she was going to mess herself up, but what if he couldnt do what she wanted? What she thought she understood about tonight, everything shed seen, said it wasnt fair to ask this. But it wasnt anger or that dark ugliness motivating her now, and hed said hed give her anything. A nything.

  A s she waffled over it, he stood. A s he got up, his body was so close it dragged along hers, his jeans, the shirt he wore, catching the thin fabric of her dress, pulling it up with the motion of his body so it was gathered between them, her hem rucked up and trapped between their thighs.

  Take me over. She flicked her attention doubtfully up to his face, wanting too much, too badly, to give herself a chance to be sensitive or debate the wisdom.

  He gazed at her. Then, slowly, his lips curved to show his teeth. No question about it. It was a dangerous, bad-boy smile.

  Chapter Fourteen

  Closing his hands over both of hers, he brought her wrists up against the door, over her head, stealing her breath. Then he brought his head down so his lips hovered over hers, his eyes so close.

  Chloe. A s her pulse slammed against those points in her wrist, held firmly beneath his hands, his breath caressed her face.

  Yeah. Her throat had gone dry, thick. His thigh slid forward, pressed against her mons, eliciting a quiet gasp, then lower, insinuating between her legs so she had to adjust her stance over him. The moment she did, he brought his knee up, an insistent, searing pressure against the thin panties she wore. The folds of her dress whispered over the denim-clad leg.

  Kiss me the way you want me to fuck you. Show me with your mouth and tongue, with your desire, how hard you want me to nail you against this wall.

  Holy God. She let go of thought, guilt or consequences and surged up against his hold, hitting his mouth as if fueled by a firelake of pheromones. His grip tightened, a resistant counterpoint, and she growled into his mouth, scraping her teeth over his tongue, a tongue clever enough to be tangling with hers as she thrust savagely into his mouth, not thinking about finesse or seduction, just a desire to be straight out, Victorian romance-novel ravished. Taken over and taken hard. Pummeled, owned, so shed know he was completely hers. A possession to seal the deal between them. She needed his response to her eager desire to know hed give her anything of himself.