Page 59 of Beta (Alpha 2)

And I had Kyrie. I didn’t deserve her. I didn’t. Yet she still loved me. Why? I didn’t know. And I wasn’t about to question it.

I wasn’t really awake, but I wasn’t really asleep. I was in that twilight place between the two, aware that I wasn’t asleep but not ready to move. I was warm. Content. Kyrie was a pleasantly soft weight on me, her hand curled on my chest, her cheek on my shoulder, her breath a sweet susurrus. I let my hand rest on her back, feeling the expansion and contraction of each breath.

I felt her take a deep, waking breath, stretch, and then yawn. Her hand opened, and her palm flattened against my chest. My shirt had rucked up while I’d slept, and her hand found my flesh, diving under the cotton to slip and slide across my stomach.

I opened my eyes then, and I saw that she was looking at me, her vivid blue eyes soft with tenderness and love and a million other emotions I couldn’t parse or name, all of them somehow directed at me.

The question was in my eyes, I knew: You love me?

The answer was in hers: Always.

Her hand explored my stomach, my ribs, and my chest, pushing my shirt up as she went. My own hand was busy as well, seeking the bottom of her shirt, seeking her skin and the warmth of her flesh, the softness. I found it, and slid my palm across her lower back, feeling the muscles tense and soften as she breathed, and then I found her spine, the ridges and knobs, and carved upward, lifting her shirt as I went.

Mine was the first shirt to be removed. It slipped off the side of the bed to the floor. Moments later, hers joined it.

God, was there anything in life better than the feeling of skin against skin? Of feeling her naked breasts press against your chest, her stomach to your side, her hand on your shoulder and your jaw and in your hair? I didn’t think there could be.

Perhaps sunrise over the Manhattan skyline, or a glass of expensive Scotch, or the roll of the ocean beneath your hull could be close seconds.

But all of those other things? They’d be empty and meaningless without Kyrie.

Her lips touched my cheek, and her eyelashes fluttered against my temple. I twisted my face, and captured her lips with mine. We kissed slowly, and deeply.

I take that back. The best thing, the absolute best, was the way she sighed at the first kiss, when our lips first met and she let herself fall under. The way her lips moved and slid against mine, the way the kiss took on a life of its own and our mouths moved as if each of us was fighting for dominance in the kiss, as if we were each trying to prove with the kiss that we were more desperate than the other.

Did I slide her underwear down? Or did she kick them off? I don’t remember. But somehow they were off, and her fingers were working the button of my jeans, and we were both pushing them down and I was kicking them off. Her leg slid over mine, her knee touching mine, and then her thigh covered my own—and no, wait, that was the best thing in the world, when she was lying on her side next to me, her face in the nook, that special place between arm and shoulder and chest where she fit just so perfectly, and then we’d start to kiss and the clothes would come off, and that, that, the way she slid her leg over mine.

I loved that so much.

It made my heart pound in my chest, because I knew all I had to do was take her by the hips and she’d be on top of me, and I could be inside her within seconds. But I didn’t, usually. I savored. I usually let the moment play out, let her thigh rest on mine, teasing both of us. Usually.

Not this time. No, this time, I gave in to my impulse. I cradled her hips in my hands and tugged her over me, settled the “V” of her core over my stomach. She was kissing me. It wasn’t us kissing, wasn’t me kissing her—no, this was all her, I was just following along, tasting her tongue as it slid against mine and trying to keep up with the wildness of her mouth.

Kyrie’s hands feathered through my beard beside our joined mouths, her forehead pressed to mine, our noses nuzzled together side by side, and I had her hips in my hands, because how was I supposed to let go of such perfection when I had it in hand?

I couldn’t.

I could only cup her hips in my hands and lift her, savor the crush of her generously portioned tits on my chest

and let her kiss me, and

slide into her.

There was no other possible course of action. It was as necessary in that moment as breathing. As involuntary as the beat of my heart to pulse my life’s blood through my veins, because Kyrie was my lifeblood.

* * *

When Valentine pushed into me,

filling me,

stretching me,

I gasped.

His mouth was locked on mine, his tongue slippery and hot and strong between my lips, his body a mountain beneath me, his hands around my hips, and his eyes, god, his eyes were a pale perfect blue, the sky at noon, soft and deep and endless. Somehow the kiss had broken, but our lips were still touching, trembling, our eyes both open, both of us refusing to look away from this.

I felt him enter me, and I gasped.

I knew this would not be rough and wild, not the demanding and furious fucking of a man and woman who couldn’t get enough of each other. Nor would it be the slow and emotional lovemaking of two lost souls who had found each other and knew the life-altering importance of the love binding them to each other. It wouldn’t be the lazy early morning sex of a couple who knew each other so intimately no words or buildup or foreplay was necessary.

I knew this would be something of all of that.

And it would stem from him taking control. That was how I’d fallen in love with him. I’d been blindfolded, dependent on him to show me each step I took, dependent on the sound of his voice. I’d known nothing else, had nothing to go on but his voice, and the gentle touch of his powerful hands. I’d fallen for him without ever seeing his face. Without seeing the brawny beauty of his sculpted body, without knowing the pale glory of his sky-blue eyes.

When I finally got to see all that, I’d only fallen that much harder.

He’d captured me, taken possession of my soul and demanded ownership of my body by demanding that I trust him before I’d ever even laid eyes on him. He’d demanded that I give him total control over me.

I had been so, so foolish to do so. I’d been reckless.

I’d been a naive, hopeful, desperate girl.

A lucky girl, because he’d known exactly what to do with me.

He was the kind of man who could read the subtlest of clues in my body language and on my face, and knew what to give me, what to take away, and how to make me need every touch he gave me.

His language was control.

I was not by nature a submissive or meek woman. So me giving him control, submitting to him, that was me speaking his language back to him.