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Maya Banks

  traveled up the side closer to Hayley. He wanted to be within touching distance. Glancing down, his breathing hitched as he saw the pink, delicate flesh just visible through the tufts of dark hair between her legs. Slowly he put his hand on top of her thigh and then just as slowly and delicately slid over and down, between her legs to the damp, quivering flesh.

  She moaned softly but didn’t move.

  “Good girl,” Silas praised. “That’s my good girl. That’s perfect. Don’t move. I’m just going to touch you.”

  He slid his finger farther into the lush folds, going upward first, rolling over the taut nub nestled under the hood of her pussy. He played there a moment, watching as her entire body went rigid and her breaths came out in sporadic puffs. Smiling, he let his fingers drift downward to her tiny opening and traced a circle around it. She closed her eyes but still didn’t move, and he knew how difficult it must be when every muscle in her body was tense. The last thing he wanted was for her to be uncomfortable. As much as he’d love to draw this out as long as possible and play with her the entire night before giving her ultimate satisfaction, neither he nor she would last that long. Not this time. There would be plenty of time later when their initial hunger had been sated.

  He withdrew his hand only for her to groan in protest. Slowly, he unbuttoned his shirt, watching as her eyes followed every motion of his hands as he removed it and laid it across the chair in the corner. He unfastened his pants and lowered the zipper over his rock-hard erection, and he could see Hayley’s throat work as she swallowed hard. After he was as naked as she, he crossed back to the bed and waited for her eyes to rise back to his. It took a flatteringly long amount of time. When he finally had her attention where he wanted it, he asked, “Do you know what you are going to do now?”

  She hesitantly shook her head, and again he saw the uncertainty in Hayley’s eyes. He realized she wasn’t uncertain about them but about herself, and he found that unacceptable. Never had he seen a woman more beautiful than the one kneeling in his bed waiting for his possession, and before the night was over, she’d know exactly how exquisite she was. She would hold her head high in pride when he gazed at her beautiful bare body. She would know that while he wielded absolute control, it was she who had all the power over him.

  “Do you want to know what you are going to do now?” he asked in a husky voice he didn’t even recognize. When had he ever been this gentle with any woman he was about to claim? But then never had he even considered what he’d done with his partners in the past as claiming. He’d never wanted to.

  When she slowly nodded, he continued. “You’re going to take whatever I give you.”

  Her eyes flared as he climbed into bed beside her. He started with her hair, trailing his fingers through the silky strands, intentionally brushing against her nipples with every stroke. “Exquisite,” he muttered. “Like the finest silk.”

  His fingers trailed on to her arms, continuing the movements until goose bumps covered her body. He gathered her hair in his fist and moved it across her shoulder, baring her vulnerable back to him. He couldn’t wait any longer to taste her. He pressed his lips against her neck and traveled to her spine. Once there, he licked his way down to the perfect curve of her buttocks. When he gave one a nip, she startled and a whimper escaped her. He smiled in supreme male satisfaction over her response. She was fucking perfect.

  His hands continued on his path and he tasted every inch of flesh he could reach. She was squirming and panting by the time he settled his chest against her back, his inner thighs pressed against her outer thighs, and his dick snugly held between the cheeks of her luscious ass. He moved his hands downward from the breasts he was caressing to the pussy he couldn’t wait to claim. She was wet with desire and he used that slickness as he circled her clit. Her whimpers turned to cries and her entire body coiled, shuddered, and then she leaned back against his chest, demonstrating with more than words the trust she had in him. He caught her against him and continued to work his fingers in and out of her snug passageway while he used his other hand to rub her clit.


  She writhed in his arms, the glossy crown of her head falling back to his shoulder. He nuzzled his lips along the underside of her jaw and then sank his teeth into the flesh below her ear.

  Her orgasm overtook her entire body. She shook, trembled and squirmed against his chest and all the while he held her tightly, her back molded to him as he felt every single shudder that racked her body.


  He wanted to roar it. He wanted to mark her, own her, possess her in such a way that no one would ever question who she belonged to. It was primitive, absolutely Neanderthal and not very progressive of him, but fuck progressive. Hayley called to instincts he didn’t even realize he had. Never had he been so desperate to put his stamp on a woman. Never had he been so determined that the world know who belonged to him. He might not be very forward-thinking, what with beating his chest like an ape and grunting about owning his woman and how she belonged absolutely to him in every way possible, but never would there be a woman more spoiled, pampered and cherished than this precious girl coming apart in his arms and screaming his name. From the very first time he laid eyes on her, she had absolute power over him. He needed control, but the ultimate power was hers because he’d do anything at all to make her happy, to make her feel cherished and treasured. There was nothing he wouldn’t do for this woman.

  He closed his eyes as she slumped against him, her chest heaving with exertion. His dick was about to split apart at the seams. Being nestled in the cleft of her ass was simply too much temptation for the mother of all erections he was sporting. If he didn’t get her in position soon, he’d be fucking her ass in another two seconds.

  Unable to wait even a moment longer, he flipped her to her back, hastily slipped on a condom, spread her thighs wide and buried himself balls-deep in her tight, pulsating heat. She cried out again, this time in pain, and Silas froze. Tears swam in her eyes and discomfort was evident on her features. Fuck. He should have known. All that innocence went soul deep. Goddamn it, he hadn’t even asked her! He’d never forgive himself for this. He had plowed into her with all the skill and patience of a fucking junior high boy getting his first piece of ass.

  “Fuck, Hayley, I’m so goddamn sorry, princess,” he choked out. “I’m such an ass. God.”

  He kissed the tears away from her face because he couldn’t stand the sight of them shining on her skin. Tears and pain that he had caused her when he’d vowed never to cause her either. Son of a bitch!

  “Easy, sweet girl. I’ve got you. The pain will pass soon and I’ll make you feel good. I’ll make it up to you. I swear to you I will.”

  She nibbled at her bottom lip, her gaze doubtful, but she nodded hesitantly.

  He kissed her, sucking the lips she’d just been nibbling in between his teeth, and soothed the ravaged skin with his tongue. Then he kissed his way down her neck to one breast and lapped at the nipple repeatedly with his tongue.

  He smiled when he sucked her nipple deep and hard into his mouth and she instantly bathed his dick in liquid honey. His princess liked having her pretty nipples teased.

  Easing one hand between their bodies, he softly stroked her clit until he felt her tightening around his dick in a stranglehold that nearly had him coming on the spot. When she started instinctively lifting her hips in an effort to meet him, he knew she’d found her rhythm and the pain was turning to unmet need.

  He eased his dick out of her until only the head was still nestled in her sweet heat. He continued to stroke her clit until her breaths came hard and she started twisting restlessly beneath him.

  “Ready, princess?” he asked gently.

  He looked into eyes shining with need as she spoke for the first time since giving him control.

  “Yes,” she whispered.

  So much trust in that one word. His chest ached to the point of physical discomfort. It was the only word he needed. But st
ill, he wanted to be sure she knew he wouldn’t hurt her. He’d die before purposely hurting her again.

  “Promise me you’ll stop me if I do anything that hurts you.”

  She smiled and nodded.

  Silas slid back inside her, closing his eyes at the overwhelming sensation of being gripped so tightly by her feminine flesh. He kept his thrusts gentle and licked his own fingers before moving them back to her clit. Her entire body bowed beneath him and her muscles locked. He groaned as she clutched him, surrounding him with her silken honey. So tight. So fucking good. Already she was on the verge of her second orgasm. He’d been worried after the way he’d ripped into her that he wouldn’t be able to bring her to fulfillment again, and certainly not this soon.

  He increased his pace, a sense of urgency overtaking him that they find release together. Her lids fluttered and then rested on her cheeks as she closed her eyes. Her hands slid over his shoulders, her nails digging deep as she tensed even more.

  “Come with me, beautiful girl,” he urged. “Right now. Together.”

  He began thrusting hard, deep, his hips slapping frantically against her ass. Just as her cry burst over his ears, he let out a shout of his own and buried himself as deeply as possible. He eased down onto her body, feeling her arms wrap around him and her hands caress up and down his back.

  “So fucking beautiful,” Silas whispered against her breast. “Never seen anything more beautiful than you.”

  He stayed inside her as long as he could before slowly withdrawing and disposing of the condom in the bathroom. While there, he ran a cloth under warm water then took it back to the bed. Hayley was still sprawled as he’d left her, but when she saw his intention, she tried to close her legs.

  “I can do that,” she whispered with a blush on her cheeks.

  Silas firmly grasped her knee and spread her legs again. “Have you already forgotten who you gave yourself to? This is mine. All of you belongs to me. Mine to touch, mine to pleasure and mine to take care of.”

  Her eyes glittered with a sudden wash of tears as she stared into his eyes.

  “Yours,” she whispered back in capitulation.

  He carefully ran the cloth over her puffy lips and winced when it came back with blood on it. Tossing it into the hamper, he returned to bed and pulled Hayley to his chest, wanting no space between them. His hands wouldn’t stay still. Touching her was as much a necessity as control was.

  As he absently ran a hand up and down her spine, he looked down at the contented look on her face.

  “Why didn’t you tell me you were a virgin, princess?”

  She buried her face deeper into his chest and sighed. “I was afraid,” she said in a barely audible whisper. “You were already so reluctant, I was worried if you knew I was a virgin, you wouldn’t want me. It was just one more reason for you to reject me.”

  Silas fisted his hand in her hair and gently tugged her up so he could see her face. “Not want you? That’s never been a problem, baby, and your virginity wouldn’t have changed that.”

  “Why would a man with your experience want someone like me who has none and has no idea what she’s doing?” she asked. “I would think that for a man of your age and experience, an inexperienced, ignorant virgin would be the last thing you wanted.”

  The slight echo of bitterness he heard in her voice surprised him. “Look at me, Hayley,” he demanded. “No, not my chin. I want eye contact for this.” When her unhappy eyes finally met his, he continued. “What you gave me tonight was the most precious gift anyone has ever given me, and I will always treasure it. Do you have any fucking idea how thrilled I am that no other man has ever touched you, claimed you? It means everything to me that I was your first, that you gave me that gift and trusted me with it. The idea that I get to teach you everything you want and need to know? That I get to teach you what pleases me while you teach me what pleases you? Jesus, woman. I’m a self-admitted Neanderthal, but this development might well send me back a few generations on the evolutionary scale.”

  She laughed softly and then hugged him with the one arm draped over his abdomen.

  Silas stroked his hand through her hair and waited a moment before directing her gaze to his again.

  “My only regret is hurting you the way I did,” he said painfully. “If you had told me, that would have never happened. So promise me that in the future you will hold nothing back from me. Especially something that could result in me hurting you, however unintentionally. I could have made it a lot better for you, princess.”

  She lowered her mouth to his and kissed him. “I promise, Silas. But if it got any better, I’m not sure I’d survive. Hello? You gave me two orgasms. How is that bad?”

  He chuckled and then pulled her down so her body was sprawled atop his. “It’ll get even better, baby. You may not think so, but trust me. This is only the beginning of everything I have to teach you.”


  Hayley positively glowed with happiness. It was impossible not to notice the change in herself. She only had to look in the mirror to see the soft smile, the warm glint in her eyes. She was always smiling these days. Nonstop for the last week.

  Silas stuck his head into the bathroom where she was standing and staring at her reflection as she let her thoughts wander. She glanced up quickly and tried to make it appear as though she were doing something except staring at herself and getting a giddy thrill over how happy this man made her.

  “I’m going down to get the car. Give me five minutes before you meet me downstairs. I’ll drive you to school today and pick you up so we can spend the afternoon together according to plan.”

  She blew him a kiss in the mirror, immediately lighting up at Silas’s reminder of today’s agenda. They had spent much of the last week in bed. When she wasn’t attending class, she was either on her back or on her knees. She and Silas had christened every single piece of furniture in the house, and once she’d told him she was on birth control pills the morning after their very first time together, he’d become relentless, fixated on the fact he could come inside her anytime he wanted. Not that she really minded.

  She was happy. Silas seemed very happy. And making him happy made her even happier. So everything was . . . perfect.

  She checked her watch and then went in search of her violin case and her purse. By the time she had everything ready to go, her five minutes were up, so she headed for the door, making sure she reset every single lock, and then she used the express elevator only for Silas’s use and zipped down to the first floor.

  Silas was parked out front, and as soon as she exited the building, he hurried out to collect her case from her, his cell phone stuck to his ear. Not unusual at all considering he spent a lot of time on his phone. He settled her into the car in the passenger seat and then put the violin in the back before returning to the driver’s side. When he slid behind the wheel, he’d evidently ended his call because he placed the phone on the seat next to him.

  Hayley looked curiously at him as he pulled into traffic. It was rare to see Silas or any of his men drive. They usually had a driver unless they were babysitting her, in which case there wasn’t room for an additional driver, so one of the three men always drove. What exactly did they do? She’d gotten hints, none of them very settling, but she knew Silas and what kind of man he was. Some would call her a naïve, too-trusting idiot for her unwavering faith in this man, but she knew one thing if she knew nothing else in the world. Silas and his men were good people. Nothing would ever change her mind about that.

  “So what exactly do you and your brothers do?” Hayley ventured. “Does it have anything to do with security?”

  Silas chuckled. “In a way, yes, and I can certainly understand why you’d think that. We do depend on very good security. Me. There are ever-present threats and danger to not only Drake but all of us. It’s my job to ensure nothing happens to any of us.”

  Her brow furrowed in question. “You say that like there’s more danger to Drake. Who is he exa

  Silas seemed to ponder her query a moment, his lips pursed thoughtfully. “I work for Drake—we all work for Drake. But it’s not like he’s our boss. It’s difficult to explain. We aren’t a typical business or corporation. I guess a better way of explaining it would be to say I work with Drake. I work with all my brothers. There’s no dick sizing, no competitiveness. We have a job to do and we do it,” he said with a shrug. “My job is to ensure no one gets to Drake or any of my brothers.”

  “How exactly do you ensure that?” she asked hesitantly. “Do you kill or hurt people?”

  She knew how stupid she sounded. Like a complete bimbo smacking her gum, eyes wide, saying, Oh noes! You mean, you like, make people bleed? She wanted to smack herself and then hide her face for the rest of the day.

  Silas’s features became impassive, and suddenly he wore an expression Hayley was unfamiliar with. It wasn’t a way he’d ever looked at her. She couldn’t read a single thing he was thinking or saying. Damn it! When she screwed up, she did a bang-up job.

  “Only those who deserve it,” Silas finally muttered.

  “Well, if they try to hurt or kill you, then yes, they do deserve it,” Hayley snapped.

  A glimmer of a smile curved Silas’s lips and the mask slipped, allowing her to see her Silas again. He reached over to touch her hand and she curled her fingers around his tightly.

  “So who was on the phone? Was it Maddox telling you the world is coming to an end and now you have to go play superhero for the day?” she teased, wanting to make him laugh again.

  Instead of laughing, his lips formed a grim line and he stiffened.

  “Yeah, about that. I’m afraid I have to change our plans, princess. Maddox will pick you up after school and bring you home. I have to spend the day with Evangeline. I’m sorry. I’ll make it up to you, I promise.”

  It took every ounce of effort she possessed to keep her mouth from falling open and to keep hurt from flickering in her expression. She’d assumed that since she’d misunderstood so much already and Silas hadn’t been with Evangeline when he’d gone out of town that he obviously wasn’t with her. Especially now that Hayley was in his bed every night. She hadn’t even considered such a possibility since she’d discovered how wrong she’d been about the nature of his business trip. For that matter, this was the first time Hayley had heard Evangeline’s name even mentioned since Hayley’s last bout of jealousy and insecurity. Hell, she hadn’t even thought about the other woman. She’d forgotten Evangeline existed. And now Silas had to spend the day with this woman? Being with her was more important to Silas than any plans he and Hayley had made?

  Her stomach churned even as she admonished herself for once again jumping to conclusions. She’d been wrong about Silas’s business trip.

  But had she been wrong about everything else?

  “Who is Evangeline?” she asked tightly. “I’ve heard you and the guys mention her, but no one has ever said who she is.”

  Or what she was to all of them. What she was to Silas.

  Her stomach churned more violently when Silas’s face softened with obvious affection at the mere mention of Evangeline’s name. Silas, who so rarely softened around anyone. This was a Silas that Hayley had waited for, had fought for. She’d despaired of him ever looking that way about her.

  “She’s Drake’s wife. I thought you knew that. You’d like her. She’s a complete sweetheart. Has all the guys wrapped around her finger. And she cooks like a dream.”

  To add insult to injury, Silas groaned his appreciation.

  “Everyone eats until we make ourselves sick any time she makes dinner for us. It’s quite a madhouse,” he added with a chuckle.

  Drake’s wife. Okay, was that really supposed to make her feel better when Silas obviously had so much affection, and God only knew what else, for her? Jealousy sucked. Evangeline was probably a wonderful person. Certainly all Silas’s brothers liked her well enough. No, they loved her. That much was obvious. Yeah, Drake’s wife was probably gorgeous too. And had apparently enslaved the entire male population with her culinary expertise. But the simple truth was, Hayley had no desire to ever meet the other woman. Especially if it meant watching the rest of the men fawn all over her all night. An entire day or night or occasion for Hayley to have shoved in her face all the ways she didn’t measure up? After such a promising start to the day, Hayley was calling it. Today officially sucked. While Silas was off spending the day with the epitome of perfection, Hayley was relegated to being foisted off on whichever poor brother drew the short end of the stick and had to pick her up from school.

  God, could this get any more embarrassing? She felt like an elementary kid being collected from the bus stop by an annoyed older sibling.

  She swallowed hard, doing everything in her power to maintain her composure and not allow Silas to see the disappointment and dismay on her face or hear it in her voice.

  “So you’re spending the day with her, then,” she said lightly.

  She’d give anything to be able to rub her throat, but she left her hand in her lap, determined not to let Silas see the insecurity that was eating her alive.

  Silas shot her a quick glance. “Yeah. Sorry, princess. It’s not my usual day for my lunch date with her, but something came up and she’s priority over everyone, Drake included, so I don’t have a choice.”

  Hayley nodded and then fixed her gaze out her window, careful to keep her expression neutral.

  It’s not my usual day for my lunch date with her.

  Usual lunch date? As in a regular occurrence? Obviously it was. Suddenly Hayley was thinking back over her time with Silas, searching for a window of time when Silas would have been with Evangeline and not her. She almost didn’t suppress the breath she wanted to blow out in frustration. Three days a week her classes went beyond normal lunch hours. Was that what he was doing while she was in school? Having his date with Evangeline?

  Priority over everyone? What the hell did that mean?

  It means she’s more important than you, dumbass.

  It meant Evangeline would always take priority over Hayley. Could she live with being second on the list of priorities of the man she loved with all her heart? For that matter, was she even second? Or third?

  No. No way. But what choice did she have? Over her dead body would she ever be one of those women to throw out an ultimatum. Her or me. Yeah, yeah. That always worked out so well for everyone involved. Not. Then there was the fact that she was just too cowardly to stand there and watch as Silas didn’t choose her.

  And, well, Hayley knew in the deepest part of her heart that Silas would never choose her over his brothers. Or Evangeline. So she needed to decide if she could accept that, live with it, and if she couldn’t, then she needed to get out before she was completely destroyed. Before her confidence and sense of self-worth were whittled away to nothing, before she became nothing.