Page 23 of Hardline (Hacker 3)

His possession consumed me, took me someplace else. I needed it, I needed him. This. And I was his.

Mine. You’re mine. I’m yours. Forever. Mindless, I repeated the words like a mantra until they lost meaning. You own me. You own me. You always have.

“That’s right. I own you, baby.”

My eyes shot open. I’d said the words aloud. All of them. In the blind rush of wanting him.

“And goddamnit, you own me.”

His confession interrupted my scattered thoughts. Then he shoved into me so hard I screamed. His fingers went back to my clit, building me up again. Every muscle tensed, but he held my arms firmly. He trapped me in the pleasure, restraining me so all I could feel were his rough movements, the impossible friction inside me. The need to come burned through me like fire in my veins.

“Blake... Oh my God, please let me come. I love you. I’m yours...please...please. I can’t stop.”

“You want to come?”


“Then come,” he said.

On command, the storm in my body exploded. I clenched down hard, pulling him into me. Every muscle tensed, a seemingly endless heightened state of satisfaction. I sobbed with the pleasure, my sounds muffled against the cushions beneath me. Everything released, leaving me weak and trembling. Leveraging himself with a hand on the couch, he took his pleasure, claiming my body with the same passion and vigor as he’d claimed my heart. All of me. I took it all, wanting his possession to reach the soul of me.

He buried inside me with a final thrust, tense and silent.

Sweat cooled my skin. He covered my back with his body, enveloping me with his heat. My whole body seemed to sigh, weak as it had ever been. He finally released a shuddery breath and wrapped his arm around my rib cage. An embrace. Warm, and I wanted to believe it was loving. I flexed my fingers against his stomach, wanting to hold him to me, keep him close. But I was still held captive, and he didn’t release me.

“I love you,” I said.

As the words left me, I prayed he’d say them back. Forgive me. Bring us past all of this. But that quickly, he slipped out of me. Then I couldn’t feel him at all. Freed, I turned around. He disappeared into the bathroom. The door shut, loud in the quiet of the room.

Empty and cold, I sat on the floor and wrapped my arms around myself. After a few minutes of listening to the shower I moved to the bed. My legs could barely make the journey. I collapsed onto the cool sheets and pulled the duvet over me, wishing the heavy blanket were Blake’s arms around me.

I let the tears fall. Wave after wave, until sleep turned everything to black.


“Erica...wake up.”

I jolted awake, eyes wide as the now bright room came into focus. My heart was beating too fast, as if some latent panic still lingered with me. Blake was standing beside me, sipping coffee. He was fully dressed in slacks and a freshly pressed shirt. I relaxed a little, grateful he was there at all.

“We’re meeting Alex for lunch. He texted me that he was running late, but you should get ready.”

I sat up slowly and pulled the covers up to hide my nakedness. I rubbed my eyes, waiting for the sleepiness to ebb. I glanced at the clock. I’d slept for nearly twelve hours, but my body felt drugged, exhausted to the bone. Slowly I began to remember the night. I hadn’t had a drop of alcohol, but somehow I felt hung over. As promised, Blake had given my ass the beating of a lifetime last night. I searched for anger, but my heart just ached with sadness and regret.

When I sought his gaze, he walked away and turned his attention to his phone. “You should get cleaned up.”

I rested back against the pillows. My hand went to the mess of my hair, and my thoughts went to how our night had ended. Alone. So far apart. Cringing, I found the strength to get on my feet. My movements were far from spry as I walked to the bathroom. My muscles were stiff, and a dull headache throbbed behind my eyes.

I lingered in the shower, escaping under the hot spray as if somehow the water could wash away the lingering hurt that filled me. Thoughts of James and the mistake I’d made that both of us were paying for shuttered through my tired brain. Blake was fiercely jealous, but I could see the pain I’d caused him last night.

He’d walked away from me, leaving me alone with the intensity of what we’d done without so much as a word. We’d had intense nights before. He’d pushed me to the edge, and we’d crashed over together. For better or worse, we’d ended those nights together. Not last night, and when he left me alone, we’d crossed a line. He’d breached some new invisible boundary I’d never known was there. Perhaps I’d crossed a line too, with what I’d done to set him off. But the empty feeling he’d left me with wasn’t like anything I’d ever felt with him before. That emptiness cast a shadow on all the pain and punishment he’d doled out, making it all that much darker.

The heat of the shower was making me weak and tired all over again. I turned it off and stepped out to towel myself dry, acutely aware that Blake was on the other side of that door with my heart in his hands. We had to talk about what went down at some point, but it wasn’t going to be an easy conversation. My head wasn’t in the right place to pitch Alex right now either, but somehow that didn’t matter as much as it should have.

Blake worked at his laptop while I dressed for the meeting. We didn’t speak. As if compelled by some magnetic force, my gaze kept drifting his way. If he sensed it, he didn’t show it, his focus seemingly undeterred.

If he had wanted to talk, what would I have said anyway? Instead, I fell into step behind him as we entered the restaurant downstairs and took our table. I tried to mask a wince as I lowered into my seat. I couldn’t ignore the discomfort of my rather bruised ass, but I didn’t want to give Blake the satisfaction of knowing it bothered me.

When Alex arrived, he greeted me. I smiled weakly and kept up with niceties. Something about leaving the party early because I didn’t feel well. True enough, I hadn’t. He wanted to know more details, work out the logistics with Clozpin. I nodded, but the fire that might have taken over and pulled me through the conversation wasn’t there. I simply stared at my lunch, not hungry in the least. My thoughts circled around what had gone down between Blake and me. What else mattered when things weren’t right between us?

An awkward silence fell, but the part of me that might have cared simply didn’t. Blake’s hand went to my knee under the table and squeezed me gently. I glanced up. My heart pulsed against my chest at the contact, as if it had only started beating again in that moment. He frowned slightly, questioning me, but when I went to speak, tears filled my eyes.