“You can try,” she says, the rebellious reply defying the inexperience and innocence I sense in her, an innocence that I now realize I never truly sensed in Meg.
That she has this courage speaks of strength, of being a survivor, and it heats my blood and makes me want her all the more. It drives me to show her just how wrong she is, how easily I can own her. I tell myself it’s a lesson she needs to learn for her own good—but who am I fooling?
I want to fuck her. Right here and now, I want to own her. I need the rush of it, the control, the high I’ve denied myself during the entire Meg façade of reforming my ways.
Covering her hands with mine, I slide them upward, pressing them together over her head. Again, I lean in close to her, my lips grazing her neck, her ear. “I’ll do more than try,” I promise. “As long as we’re in this room, I’m in control. I’m your Master.” I tighten my grip on her hands. “I’m going to let go of you, but you will not move.”
“If I do?” she asks, and I know she’s pushing me, driving me to take her someplace that can be dangerous in other places, at other times, with someone else.
“There’s a price.”
“I don’t understand. What price?”
My hands travel down her arms, and curve around her body to cup her breasts again, my fingers tugging roughly on her nipples and then twisting. A sound of one part pain, one part pleasure, escapes her lips. “Now do you understand?”
“Yes,” she pants.
But she doesn’t, and I suddenly realize how very dangerous that is. My sister damn sure didn’t understand, or she never would have gone to work for a museum and put herself back on Sheridan’s map. Gia needs to learn about keeping her guard up, and she needs to learn now.
Tangling my fingers in her hair, rough by intention, I pull her head back, dragging her mouth to mine. “I keep telling you that you don’t understand, but you will.” I kiss her, hard, deep, fast, before punishing her with a nip of my teeth on her lip that makes her yelp. “That’s for trusting me when you shouldn’t,” I add vehemently. “If I were someone else—”
“But you aren’t.”
I grit my teeth, conflicted by how much I want her trust, how much I want to deserve it, and how much I fear that I’m setting her up to give it when she should not. “Don’t move your hands,” I order gruffly, deciding that actions speak louder than words. “Understood?”
“Yes,” she whispers.
Releasing her, I undress, my cock thick, hard, and throbbing with my need to be inside her, but she isn’t one of the many fuck buddies that came before Meg, and my initial need to bury myself inside her is shifting rapidly to anger. I know I won’t hurt her, but she doesn’t. She can’t. I’m a stranger, and she needs to learn the price of trusting anyone, especially when Sheridan is involved. I grab the one condom I have on me out of my wallet, roll it over my shaft, and then put my pants back on, the zipper down.
Returning to Gia, I squat at her feet, my fingers wrapping around her slender ankles, lingering there. And lingering some more. Waiting, waiting, and as I expect, she looks over her shoulder. “Face forward,” I command and she tenses, but obeys. Intentionally, I stay just as I am, letting seconds tick by, ensuring that she feels my eyes once again raking over her naked body. Lingering, letting her feel vulnerable when she is safe, fighting a need to give her one last memory in her life that is without fear. We don’t have that luxury. She doesn’t have that luxury.
When I am certain she has waited long enough to feel every touch magnified, I allow my thumbs to lazily stroke her ankles. She stiffens but almost instantly softens, my cue to inch my way upward, caressing her calves. Moving onward I find the back of her knees, where my thumbs linger again, and finally I use my knee to urge her legs to part. “Open,” I order. She starts to turn and I warn, “Don’t.”
She sucks in a heavy breath and sets her legs in a V. I cup her thighs just above her knees, still using my thumb as a seductive tool. Finally, I explore the lines between her inner thighs, using a teasing touch that doesn’t stop until I almost reach the sweet spots in the V of her body. But I don’t go there.
I want to. Hell yeah, I want to go there, but it’s not time. Instead, I trail both index fingers over the curve of her gorgeous, heart-shaped ass. And the instant I travel upward, traveling the crevice of her cheeks, she gasps, shifting slightly, her hands starting to drop. I’m on my feet before she’s fully moved, leaning into her, covering her hands with mine.
“Now you pay the price,” I promise, and with the tie to the curtain still in the bathroom, I improvise, reaching down to pull my belt free from its loops. Still anchoring her body with mine, one hand holding her hands in place, I quickly wrap it around her wrists.
“What are you doing?” she demands, sounding panicked, uncertain, exactly what I’d expected, planning to make this lesson short and exact, moving on to the adrenaline rush, the pleasure.
“Consequences,” I reply, tightening the belt and buckling it. “Making sure you remember that every decision you make has them.” Still shackling her wrists, my free hand flattens on her bare belly, my fingers splaying wide, my lips brushing her ear as I add, “And now I can do whatever I want to you, and you can’t stop me. Are you scared?”
“Do you want me to be?”
“Answer the question. Are you scared?”