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Branded Sanctuary, Page 51

Joey W. Hill

Page 51

  When Chloe nodded, Marguerite gave her a satisfied look. Brendan would fight dragons for you, but he doesnt think fighting for you to be his exclusively is noble, unless hes convinced thats what you want for yourself. If you are, Ms eyes sparkled, then prove it to him. Use your intuition. If you are successful, youll have a very difficult time ever getting rid of him.

  She took Chloe by the shoulders, turned her to see that theyd reached their destination, the holographic room. Marguerites voice was a murmur in her ear. You may not be a Mistress, Chloe, but you are a very strong-willed young woman who knows what you want. Go take it.

  * * * * *

  When Marguerite had described the capabilities of the holographic room, Chloe had been entranced. Enough to contemplate joining The Zone solely to have access to that room. Then shed heard about the membership fee and changed her mind. Instead, shed coax Tyler to sneak her in to play during daylight hours in exchange for her cookies and cakes. Marguerite claimed those were the only thing that could make him beg. Yeah, right.

  Shed asked for the Gothic vampire program, and so she stepped into what looked like a London street a couple hundred years ago, the pavers wet with a recent rain, the dim glow of street lamps thrown against an alley wall. A secluded place, no disturbance possible at this late hour. One lantern had been removed, the hook now holding something entirely different.

  Her heart was in her throat, seeing him for the first time in weeks. Shed gotten flushed several times on the way here, just thinking about being close to him, but right now her libido jumped and jittered as if a cattle prod had been jammed up its conceptual ass. He was in black trousers and boots, a manservant caught unawares when out on an errand. The white shirt with ruffles had been torn open down the front and raked off his shoulders. It was still partially tucked in so it hadnt fallen to the floor. The work of a very creative staff member, she was sure.

  The pants were probably a bit tighter than they wore them in the day, but she wasnt complaining, looking at the visible evidence of his arousal.

  Chloe leaned back against the door, folding her hands beneath her backside to contain them. While she steadied her breath, she recalled another vital piece of advice Marguerite had given her. It had been a few days before this night, when her questions had been coming thick and fast. A s opposed to now, where everything inside her was starting to get very still andright.

  * * * * *

  Its not first and foremost about the power, Chloe. Marguerite took a tray of her cookies out of the oven as Chloe stirred the dough for another batch. They were expecting an afternoon tea party for twenty women celebrating a birthday, and Gen was frosting tea cakes as they worked on the cookies. Her tall boss glanced at her, and then, with a bemused smile, wiped a smudge of flour off Chloes nose. Thats part of it, but the way that vanilla or butter is part of your recipes. The cake is his gift of trust to you. During a session, he offers you everything he is in return for one-hundred percent of who you are in that moment. Its a place where you lay both your souls bare without saying a word, and you make time stop. What if I dont know how?

  There are many things about BDSM that require practice and training, but this isnt one of them, specifically because thats not your goal.

  Marguerite gestured with a spatula. You have a gift of knowing purely with your heart. You can give love as easily as God gives breath, laughter as easily as the flowers bloom after rain.

  The woman paused, met Chloes gaze. My father didnt take that from you. You locked it away as the precious gift it was, afraid youd lose it, that it would shatter if you didnt hide it away. But with Brendan, you can take it out again, offer it. This is the type of man who, when you think youve been wounded beyond repair, will make sure you have all the time, room and love you need to heal.

  The mother of all handymen, Gen teased, though her voice was gentle as she swiped a finger through Chloes batter.

  That violated several health code requirements, Marguerite reproved, then did the same, licking the batter off her index finger thoughtfully. Hes sanctuary. The port in the storm, not to hide, but to go out in the storm, stretch your hands up to the raindrops, feel the wind and not be afraid.

  Hes the ship you can trust.

  Gen slipped out to go get more flour. While Chloe didnt feel the need to hide anything from her, she was glad for the moment to get a little more one-on-one. But what were talking about doing, at The Zone. Hell be bound. A s if he needs to be released, as if Im the one to rescue him.

  No. Marguerite took up the spatula again, began to free cookies from the tray. Hes bound because he is at his strongest, gives you the most of himself, when he surrenders to you. While Brendan is the type of submissive who can do that without the chains, this takes you both back to the symbolic, reminds you both of what he can be to you. A nd you to him.

  * * * * *

  Chloe stood in the shadows. He was blindfolded with the cravat that would have gone with the outfit, but theyd left his sensual mouth free to speak, and now he did. Is someone there? he asked quietly, knowing there was, because shed opened the door. She wouldnt be surprised if he knew it was her, but he would let her lead this, let her set the parameters, not try to set it on the course he wanted. Topping from the bottom. Something a submissive like Brendan would never do, not once he was in scene.

  Shed wondered if she would dare step into that circle of light with him, but now she did, her boot heel making a scrape on the floor which was a temporary stone overlay mat, a cobblestone to match the holographic background. The only actual physical things were a few crates, the wall and lam p post, but it all looked so real. There was a fog drifting through the air, the wet smell of the earlier rain. That, and her outfit, helped her become completely what she wanted to be in this moment.

  She came out of the shadows and fog, enjoying the scrape of her heels on the stone, the way he cocked his head listening, how his hands tightened around the chains holding his hands above his head. When she reached him, the first thing she did was palm his cock, that hard, impressive curve beneath the stretched fabric. He sucked a breath through his teeth.

  Did you keep your promise, Brendan? she asked softly. You sent me all those chocolates. Was that to tell me you saved all of this for me?

  Every drop. I havent touched myself since you last did it. Please, let me see you. I need to see you.

  Instead she rose on her toes, put her lips to his throat, curved them back and let him feel the prick of fangs. He stiffened at the pressure, and she put her hand on his side, curving inward with the long sharp nails shed also donned. For good measure, she rubbed her mound over his taut thigh and almost groaned herself at the pleasure of it. Its dangerous to be out on the streets this late at night. No telling what trouble a groomsman will find.

  A long pause, then he cleared his throat. Yes, my lady.

  She smiled, delighted that hed injected a bit of what sounded like Cockney dialect into his voice. Didnt you know there are creatures of the night that seek blood? A mans seed. Theyll drain him dry of both.

  A nd which will you be seeking, my lady?

  I want it all, she whispered, and lifted up onto her toes, clinging to his shoulders to take his mouth.

  For the first second, she was just hanging on, because at that contact, he became a ravenous animal, telling her how much he had in fact missed her. He clamped down over her lips, his body straining toward her, his tongue sweeping in to tangle with hers. Exploring the enamel of her pricey but very authentic-looking fangs, he tasted her mouth, tasted her as she tasted him.

  A s the kiss dragged on blissfully, she pressed herself against him, let him feel the rest of her ensemble. It was a black sleek corset over a skirt made of strips of black silk that looked like they could have been spun from a spiders web. The strips went all the way up to the waist and parted to show her bare skin, nothing beneath it. The corset was strapless, so her breasts rose high, cradling the ruby and pewter pen
dant between them.

  The pewter looked like fangs, the rubies like drops of blood dangling from them.

  Reaching up, she tugged the cravat free of his eyes. She didnt drop it, though, preferring to tie it around his bare throat, so he felt the restriction as she knotted it. Hooking her fingers in it, she suckled his bottom lip and then eased back enough he could sweep his gaze over her, taking in her black-lined eyes, the red crimson of her lips, the way Gen had done her hair so it was a froth of exotic curls around her face.

  Holy God, he said fervently, deep pleasure in his eyes, but deep need as well.

  Not exactly the way to entreat a soulless creature of the night, she observed, a touch of a smile on her lips. What do you want, Brendan? She backed up a step. This pussy? These breasts?

  Yes, he said low, gaze burning as her hands ran over them, caressing, stimulating.

  How about this heart, this soul? She asked that quietly, and watched his expression change, as she knew it would.

  I want to give my lady pleasure. I want to give you pleasure.

  She retreated another step. Do you remember the game Red Light, Green Light, Brendan?

  He studied her, his hazel eyes so vivid and intelligent. A hundred thoughts were tangling with the lust he was obviously feeling, such that the heat of it emanated against her, made her want to get closer, not further away. But she knew what she wanted, and she was going to have it.

  I remember it.

  Good. Heres your question. What do you want? With each wrong answer, I back a step toward the door. If I reach it, step through it, we werent meant to be.


  No. She shook her head. I need the right answer, Brendan. For both our sakes. What do you want, Brendan? For yourself?

  Your happiness.

  She took a step back as his brow furrowed. But I do want your happiness.

  For yourself, Brendan. What do you want?

  A hi-def sound system.

  That might have thrown her off balance, but something entirely different happened. A ll those things Marguerite had told her, warned her about, kicked in. His shields were closing against her. She didnt need to have her Mistress merit badge to know how to respond.

  Really, a joke? Defensive. She took another step back. Im not repeating the question. I have better things to do. Keep answering. Lifting her hands, those long nails, she trailed a fingertip down her throat, to the upper curve of her breast. He watched her, with the hunger of a vampire in truth in his gaze.