Kept, Page 16Maya Banks
“Look at me, princess.”
Reluctantly she complied, and a burst of hope erupted from her heart when she saw the tenderness reflected in his eyes.
“I don’t even know what to say. No one has ever offered me such a selfless gift. No one has ever tried to make right the wrongs of the past. No one has ever cared enough. I’ll try, sweet girl. For you, I’ll try. But please know that if I can’t . . . if I can’t do it, it has nothing to do with you and it will not be a rejection of you. I don’t want to hurt you, my darling. I wouldn’t hurt you for the world and I don’t want you to be disappointed in me if I can’t go through with it.”
She flung her arms around his neck and held on for dear life. “Never,” she vowed. “This isn’t about me, Silas. It’s about you. Only you. My feelings have no place in this. And I will never be disappointed in you. It’s enough that you trust me enough to let me try this for you. I only want to make you happy and whole.”
He buried his face in her hair as he gripped her every bit as tightly as she held him.
“You already do, my beautiful girl. You already do.”
She drew away and kissed him passionately, pouring her heart, her soul, her love into every kiss they shared. She framed his face in her palms and made love to his mouth, mimicking exactly how she would make love to his cock. She sucked lightly on his tongue, stroking over it with the tip of hers, giving him a taste of what was to come.
Then she straddled his hips and began nipping, biting and sucking at his neck, first on one side and then the other. Her hands were splayed wide over his broad chest as she worked lower still, her hair falling over his skin. Silas gathered the long strands in his hand, bunching them into a fist so he could see her face as she lavished love and attention over his chest and abdomen.
She could feel his heated gaze on her, could feel his cock at the juncture of her legs. It was stiff and so rigid, a fiery brand against her skin. She prayed with all her heart that he wouldn’t retreat to his past and lose all his desire the moment she turned her attention to his beautiful erection.
She took her time, taking a leisurely path down his gorgeous body, wanting to slowly acclimate him and not trigger a negative response by rushing things. She paused at his groin, pressing kisses to the wiry hair just below his abdomen, and, using her hands, she parted his legs, moving inch by inch so he was open to her. She took heart in the fact that his erection was still hard and bulging, every vein distended and visible as it strained upward toward his navel.
Still, she bypassed direct contact with his cock and instead licked and kissed the insides of his thighs while lightly scraping her nails over his testicles. She alternated light, fluttering kisses up and down his thighs while she grew a little bolder with her hands, cupping his balls and fondling them in her palm.
Every time she instigated something new, took things further than before, she held her breath, waiting for the inevitable stiffening and him pulling her away, but he remained relaxed beneath her, though she could see the strain on his face and his own worry that he wouldn’t be able to overcome the demons of his past. It broke her heart that this proud, strong man had been so cruelly treated by the very people who should have sheltered and protected him with their last breaths. He should have been their top priority over all else, not loud parties and getting drunk and high and using him to vent their own deep-seated unhappiness over their own choices. It made her sick to her soul because he more than anyone did not deserve the betrayals and many injustices heaped on him by people who should have protected him.
Her pulse sped up and her chest tightened with dread as she ran her tongue over his balls, replacing the gentle touches of her fingers. She was acutely in tune with every nuance of his body language and would instantly know if she’d gone too far. To her relief, he didn’t tense as her mouth moved lovingly over his sac, sucking lightly at the puckered flesh just below his burgeoning erection.
She continued her tender ministrations, licking, sucking, caressing his thighs with soft touches, and to her delight a low moan of pleasure escaped his lips. She chanced a glance up to see his head thrown back, eyes closed, his expression one of complete bliss. Captivated by the pleasure outlined on every contour of his face, she continued to stare for a long moment, emotion knotting her throat.
Not wanting to interrupt the moment or give him time to dwell on the past, she returned to her lovemaking, only this time she licked the underside of his cock from base to tip, bolstered by his reaction to her actions.
He went rigid, his hips flexing upward in an almost violent motion. Cursing herself, she immediately withdrew and stared up at him anxiously, near tears for pushing him too hard, too fast.
“Do I need to stop?” she asked in a discouraged tone.
His eyes flew open. “God no, princess. If you stop now I might die.”
His denial was so passionate, his face so flushed and eyes glittering with harsh need she nearly cried her relief but did as he asked and immediately returned to lavishing love and affection on his most intimate parts.
She applied suction to the outside, paying special attention to the plump vein that ran the length of his cock on the underside and then ran her tongue delicately around the head, tasting the salty drops of pre-cum that beaded the tip.
“Please,” he said in a strained voice. “Take me inside your mouth, princess. Make love to me.”
She wrapped her fist around the base and stroked up and down as she once more looked up at him with uncertainty.
“I’ve never done this before, Silas. You have to tell me if I do something you don’t like. Tell me what you like. How to please you.”
He let out a tortured groan. “If you pleased me any more I’d pass out. There’s no possible way for you not to please me, baby. And if it makes you feel any better, I don’t know any more about this than you. I guess we’ll learn together.”
She sent him a shy smile and then lowered her mouth, slowly sucking the head inside her mouth and then continued on, taking more of him, inch by delicious inch. Determined to take every last bit until no part of him wasn’t completely engulfed by her mouth, she breathed through her nose and refused to give in to the urge to gag. He bumped against the very back of her throat and unintelligible sounds of agony whispered harshly past his lips.
More small spurts of pre-cum splashed the back of her tongue, and she swallowed them greedily as her movements became more confident and aggressive. She might not have a clue what she was doing, but instinct and her determination to give this man ultimate pleasure made up for her lack of experience. She sucked and swallowed, taking him to the back of her throat until her nose pressed against his groin. Then she curled her hand around the base and gripped him tightly, pumping up and down in sync with the friction of her mouth.
“Hayley, princess, I’m going to come,” he gasped in wonderment.
He tried to pull her away, fisting his hand in her hair, but she was having none of that. No way she would ever reject any part of Silas. She wanted all of him. Never would she have him feel as though she were repulsed by anything to do with him. For the first time, she blatantly disobeyed him and refused to let him pull her away. She tightened her grip and increased both the friction and momentum as she propelled him over the edge.
This was all hers. He jetted forcefully into her mouth, hitting the back of her throat and coating her tongue. He filled her as quickly as she could swallow and she refused to allow even one drop to spill from her lips.
He was giving her something he’d never given any other woman, and that sparked a primitive, savage sense of satisfaction within her. Now she understood how Silas felt about being her first lover. That he’d touched her and filled her in places no other man had ever seen, much less touched. Because this, giving this to Silas, being the only one to receive this from him, was all hers.
She continued to swallow as he gave her the last few surges of his release and then she lovingly licked and sucked, bringing him down from his orgasm and cleaning every drop of cum from his still-rigid cock.
When she finally allowed his penis to slide free from her mouth, he reached down and hooked his hands underneath her shoulders and dragged her up his body until she lay atop him.
His eyes glittered with so much emotion, so many varying reactions that it was impossible to decipher them all. He put a hand to her cheek and stroked, tucking her hair behind her ear as he continued to stare at her in awe.
“I have no idea what to say right now, Hayley,” he said in a choked voice. “You have no idea what this meant to me. For you to do this for me, for you not to be disgusted after hearing everything I told you . . . I don’t even know what to do with you right now.”
She smiled. “Well, if I have to tell you then that certainly takes all the fun out of it.”
He laughed and she marveled at the sound. So joyful, light, carefree. As if the weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders.
“You messed up, my darling girl,” he said, a mischievous glint in his eyes.
She lifted one eyebrow and cocked her head to the side in question.
“I’m afraid you’ve created an oral sex addict. Blow jobs are now my new best friend. You’re going to have to do that more often now. A lot more often.”
She grinned and then dissolved into laughter. “And that’s a problem why?”
He groaned and then hugged her to him fiercely, burying his lips in her hair as he kissed her over and over.
“What did I ever do to deserve you?” he asked hoarsely. “I still wake up every morning and wonder if it was all just a dream. And then I look over at you, lying there in my arms, and I marvel at the fact that, not only are you very real, but you’re also mine.”
“I will always be yours for as long as you want me,” she said with absolute sincerity.
He held her there for several long minutes, neither disturbing the quiet. Then he sighed as if in regret.
“You should be practicing today, princess. Your recital is just a short time away.”
She lifted up so she could look at him. “I know, and I’m terrified. I’m so worried about panicking or just freezing on stage and having all those people stare at me while I sit there unable to perform.”
He squeezed her. “Not going to happen. You have incredible talent.”
“You’re going to be there, aren’t you?” she asked anxiously.
He smiled and leaned up to kiss her on the nose. “I wouldn’t miss it for the world, princess.”
“Now?” Silas asked, making no effort to hide his irritation. “What the fuck? This can’t wait?”
Sitting beside him in the car, Hayley cast a curious look sideways at him. He had just picked her up from the school and had planned to take her to lunch and do as much as possible to get her mind off tonight’s performance. Now that wasn’t going to happen.
His lips thinned but he also knew he couldn’t ignore Drake’s summons. He’d said it was important and he was calling all his men in as soon as they could all get there.
He swore a blue streak over the phone, letting Drake know what he thought of his timing.
“Okay. I’ll be there, but I have to run Hayley home first.”
He tossed his cell phone into the center console and looked at Hayley, allowing his sincere regret to show in his expression.
“I’m sorry, princess. I’m not going to be able to make lunch. Drake called an important meeting. I have to get there as soon as I run you by the apartment.”
She smiled and reached over to squeeze his hand. “It’s all right, Silas. I’ll grab something to eat at home. I’m not sure I’m up to eating anyway, and I’d like to get in at least one more practice session before tonight’s performance.”
“Okay, but don’t leave the apartment without me. I’ll be back in time to take you to the concert hall. We’ll do dinner afterward to celebrate. Sound good?”
She flashed him another smile that had him precariously close to melting.
“I like that idea much better than eating before,” she said ruefully. “At least then I won’t worry about throwing up everywhere.”
Pride shone brightly in his eyes as he squeezed her hand in return. “You’re going to do great,” he said softly.
He drove faster than usual to his apartment and insisted on walking Hayley up before reminding her to set the locks behind him, and then he hurried back down, an intense scowl on his face because of the fucking meeting Drake had called. Now? Today of all days? He’d promised Hayley lunch and then he’d intended to spend the afternoon taking her mind off tonight’s performance. Whatever bug was up Drake’s ass, he better get over it before it was time for Hayley’s recital.
When he arrived at Impulse, the nightclub Drake owned, the other men were already present and Drake glanced up at Silas’s arrival in relief.
“What’s so urgent?” Silas demanded as he sank down into a chair close to where Drake was seated.
“Something’s going down with the Vanuccis,” Drake said in a grim tone. “I need you to call your informant in the Vanucci organization and see what he knows and have him put his ear to the ground and ask him why the fuck he isn’t reporting what the hell’s going on over there. The Luconis claim to have very time-sensitive information, news of an imminent threat, not to them, but one of us. They’ve asked me to meet with them tonight.”
Silas arched an eyebrow. “You think my guy’s turned on us?”
“That’s what I want you to find out, and if so, deal with him accordingly,” Drake said pointedly.
“You’re not going to this meeting alone,” Silas said in a flat, uncompromising tone.
Drake might call most of the shots in the business, but when it came to matters of security, Silas’s word was absolute.
“I’m not,” Drake, a resigned look on his face. “Maddox, Zander and Jax will accompany me. Evangeline has a doctor’s appointment she can’t miss followed by her Lamaze class. I need you to take her, Silas. It’s imperative she not have any upset. She will hardly suspect that I’m in any danger if you’re not with me.”
“So you’re going to lie to her?” Silas asked, blinking in surprise.
“No!” Drake barked. Then he rubbed his hand over his hair in a tired motion. “I’m simply not giving her the details and I’m damn sure not telling her we have an unverified, unspecified threat to us. She loves you and feels comfortable with you. If I can’t be with her for her doctor’s appointment and Lamaze class, then I want you with her. I know you’d never let any harm come to her.”
Silas curled his fist, his features growing tight with anger. A sense of helplessness swept over him, further enraging him. What the fuck was he supposed to do? He could never turn his back on Drake or Evangeline or any of his brothers, and yet he was expected to do so with Hayley?
“What’s the problem, man?” Maddox asked quietly.
Silas refused to look at any of them. “Hayley’s recital is tonight and I promised her I’d be there.”
A round of curses went up.
“I’ll take Evangeline,” Maddox said calmly, looking to Drake for confirmation.
Drake hesitated, a look of regret tightening his face. “Fuck. Under any other circumstances I wouldn’t hesitate to put you on Evangeline. Silas has to do it. Evangeline knows his role and as long as he’s with her and not me, it will never cross her mind that I’m meeting with the enemy I’m in bed with.”
“I won’t leave Hayley unprotected,” Silas said in a steely voice, his jaw clenched so tightly that his entire head was beginning to ache.
“Of course not,” Drake agreed. “I won’t leave someone important to you unprotected any more than you would. Okay, new plan. Maddox, you take Justice and Zander and cover Hayley. Make sure she never leaves your sight and you take her to the recital and back home immediately after. Stay with her until Silas returns. The rest will accompany me. The club manager will just have to cover Impulse for a few hours tonight. It’s more important that we be elsewhere.”
He hesitated and sent a look of genuine regret and apology in Silas’s direction. “I know what I’m asking and I’m sorry. I would never ask this of you if it weren’t absolutely necessary,” he said quietly.
Silas nodded, his jaw still clenched. What Drake was saying was that Evangeline came first. Before Hayley, Silas would have absolutely agreed. But now? Evangeline had to come first with Drake, yes. But not Silas. Nor any other man who had a woman of his own to protect. Evangeline was not more than Hayley, and neither was she more important. He’d never felt more helpless in his life, and it infuriated him that he was in an untenable position.
After tonight, when they had more time and so much wasn’t riding on the safety of them all, Silas would have a long talk with Drake about Silas’s priorities going forward. For now, Silas had a phone call to make, one he dreaded making with all his heart. He owed it to Hayley to give her an explanation to her face, but there wasn’t time. He just hoped like hell she’d forgive him like she had so many times before, and that she would give him one more chance to prove to her that she was everything to him.
* * *
Hayley stood backstage, wishing she felt the excitement her fellow students displayed over their first recital. She had been excited. The thought of being onstage, sharing her music with hundreds of people hadn’t thrilled her as much as the idea of knowing Silas would be sitting in the front row, his eyes glowing with pride as he watched her perform.
But Silas wasn’t there—wouldn’t be there—since, once again, he was spending the evening with Evangeline. How could he have canceled on her at the very last moment when he’d promised her just earlier that afternoon that nothing would keep him away?
I wouldn’t miss it for the world, princess.
Tears stung her eyelids and she blinked furiously, determined that no one witness her pain and humiliation. He couldn’t make it.
And his big, important reason he wasn’t attending? Evangeline. She hated the jealous woman she was becoming but couldn’t find a way to stop it. Every time she discounted any possibility of Silas having some sort of relationship with Drake’s wife, something happened to make her realize she had been stupid to ever deny it.
She was such a fool. A gullible, trusting, naïve fool.
“Earth to Hayley.” Maddox’s deep, amused voice sounded beside her.
She turned, praying her eyes and expression didn’t betray her grief. “I’m sorry, Maddox. What were you saying?”
Maddox studied her closely. “Hey, are you okay? I was asking if you needed anything.”
She shrugged. “I’m fine. Really. Just nervous, I guess.”
Zander and Justice moved from the shadows where they’d been propping up a wall as they waited. “No need to be nervous,” Zander rumbled. “You’ll go out there, kill it and be back home in less than an hour and a half.”
“I won’t be going home right afterward,” she said flatly. “I was invited to a post-performance party by one of the other students. I’m sure Silas won’t be home anytime soon anyway, and it beats spending the evening alone in an empty apartment.”
She silently cursed when she heard the bitter tinge of her last words.
Her eyes narrowed in confusion when the men exchanged grim looks of discomfort.
“Uh, sorry, Hayley, but that won’t be possible,” Justice said with a grimace. “Silas gave us strict instructions to get you back to the apartment as soon as the recital was over. We’re needed elsewhere tonight and we can’t be out at a party with you.”
Hayley’s lips thinned in anger. “Let me get this straight. Silas ordered you to take me straight to his apartment as soon as the recital is over when he doesn’t even know when or if he’ll be home tonight?” she snapped. “But it doesn’t matter because I don’t recall inviting any of you to the party, so you don’t have to worry about me interfering with the important stuff y’all have to do. In fact, I see no reason for y’all to be at my recital. It’s not important or anything, so feel free to go attend to more pressing matters. I’ll get a ride home after the party. Call Silas. I’m sure he won’t care,” she said, sarcasm dripping from her words.
Maddox cleared his throat. “We, uh, can’t do that either. I’m sorry, honey, but Silas is to be disturbed only in the event of an emergency, and there’s a lot of shit going down tonight, so it’s best if we take you back to the apartment where you’ll be safe.”
Hayley’s mouth fell open and this time, despite her best efforts, she couldn’t control the surge of tears that welled and burned like acid. The situation was only worsened when she saw blatant sympathy reflected in Maddox’s eyes.
Zander’s expression resembled a thundercloud, and Justice’s lips curled into a snarl.
“Bullshit,” Justice bit out. “There’s a lot you don’t understand, Hayley, but you need to get this if you don’t get anything else. You are important to all of us. Especially Silas. And I won’t have you thinking what you’re currently thinking, and I damn sure won’t have you looking at us with tears in your eyes.”
“Give us tonight, honey,” Maddox said gently. “I swear to you that everything will be explained, but right now you have a solo to rock.”
“If she doesn’t get an explanation as soon as all this shit’s over with tonight, I’m going to kick Silas’s fucking ass,” Zander snarled.
She rapidly turned her face away so the thin streams of tears wouldn’t be visible. “I got all the explanation I needed when Silas told me he wouldn’t miss this for the world and then called me to say that Evangeline was more important.”
“What the fuck?”
The outbursts were simultaneous and so forceful that she didn’t even know who said what.
“I have to go,” she choked out, grateful that a stagehand was calling for the -->