He is holding a gold dagger.

Chapter Seven

Liam starts walking toward me and I have to force myself to breathe. The dagger is sheathed in some sort of intricately designed casing, no blade exposed. Maybe it’s not even a real dagger. It can’t be real.

He stops in front of me and holds it up. “Scared?”

I wait a moment, expecting the fear to come, but it doesn’t. “What are you doing, Liam?”

He presses his hand above me and rests the cold gold between my br**sts. “Are you scared?” he demands.

“I should be.”

“But you’re not?”

I wait for the fear again, but there is only liquid heat spreading low in my limbs. I like dominant Liam. I like him a lot and I’m not sure what that says about me. “No,” I whisper. “I told you, I seem to be confused.”

He unsheathes the blade. “Now are you afraid?”

I study the sharp edges so able to cause pain, and then meet his eyes, feeling the jolt of awareness Liam so easily creates in me. Instantly, I am consumed by heat, desire...passion. I do not see malice. “No. I’m not afraid.”

He brings the blade to the top of my uniform and pops off a button. Then another, but I can tell how careful he is not to touch my skin. I can see how much he doesn’t want to hurt me. His gaze lifts to mine, a challenge in the depths. “Say the word and I’ll untie you.”

My voice is steady, sure. “I’d rather you undress me.”

His eyes narrow, then harden and before I know what is happening, he’s yanking the blade all the way down the front of my uniform, splitting it straight down the middle. My heart is thundering in my chest as he slices the center of my bra and exposes my br**sts.

He stands there, staring down at me, tall, and dark. Right now, I think he’s lethally sexy. His gaze rakes hotly over my exposed br**sts, a heavy caress I feel in every part of me, then lifts to mine. “This,” he says, sheathing the dagger, “was to make damn sure you never wear that piece of shit uniform ever again.” He tosses the dagger onto the bed and then reaches down and yanks my panties off.

I jerk at the unexpected action and already one of his hands curves around my backside, the other caressing up my bare back to mold me close, my na**d br**sts nestled against his chest. “You,” he says, his voice low, gravelly, “are the talented daughter of one of the most brilliant archeologists to ever live, not a waitress at a truck stop.”

My chest tightens and frustratingly, my eyes prickle. “Damn you. Damn you, Liam. She is not a part of this. She is dead. You told me so yourself.”

“You’re still his daughter. And they, whoever the hell they are, can’t take that from you any more than I’m letting them take you from me.”

His words both carve me open and fill some deep hole in my soul. An eruption is coming, a vicious, intense… “Liam--”

He leans in and finally his lips brush mine, a soft, teasing caress. “Say my name again.”

“Liam,” I whisper more urgently but not because he’s told me to. Because there is a storm brewing inside me that he has set fire to, and I can’t live through it tied to this post. “Liam I--”

His hand slips to my face, his lips covering mine, his tongue licking into my mouth in a velvety hot caress, followed by another. Yes, I think. Make it all go away. This is what I need. The escape. The escape.

“I’ve missed how you taste,” he murmurs, letting his lips trail over my cheek, my jaw, to my neck. “All of you.”

Tension coils inside me, part arousal, part storm, and I moan, tugging on my wrists that are too snugly held in place. Panic rises inside me. I don’t like feeling trapped. Not now. Not tonight and in this moment. “Untie me,” I whisper.

He flicks me a look, stroking my nipple and sending a wave of sensation colliding with my erupting emotions. “Not yet.”

“Liam, untie me!”

Leaning back to inspect me, his expression is stunned, in obvious confusion, and I try to explain what I barely understand. “I need...I just need to be untied. I need to be untied now.”

He reaches behind me and releases me. The minute I’m free, my reaction is instinctive. I wrap my arms around his neck and my fingers are in his hair. “And I need you to hold me. I need--”

“Me too, baby,” he replies, his voice low, raspy. “Me too.” His mouth comes down on mine and he is kissing me, sweet wonderful, passionate kisses, and somehow in this moment there is both wild heat and a peaceful sense of rightness all at once.

I press into Liam, molding my body to his, trying to get closer, to be lost in him and us. And I am lost.Touching him, tasting him, wrapped in the warm male scent of him to the point that I barely know how the rest of my uniform and bra get discarded, or how I end up on the bed, on my back.There is just him on top of me, the thick ridge of his erection pressing between my thighs and me aching for him to be inside me.

I lift my leg, pressing my foot into his lower back, arching into him. “Liam,” I whisper, desperate to have him inside me.

His hand slips under my backside, cradling my body. “I’m the one who’s scared,” he whispers, stroking my cheek, dragging his fingers down my neck again, caressing my shoulder, and then cradling my breast in his palm.“I can’t lose you.”

“You won’t.”

“I almost did.”

“But I’m here now.”

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