“It’s clean,” I announce, coming out of the kitchen area.
Like a blinding flash of light, Nora’s fist comes soaring toward my face, knocking me against the wall. She’s on me like a cat on its prey before I know what the fuck just happened; her brown eyes swirling, blazing with—what the hell is that? Ha! This bitch is fuming pissed, but I swear to God she looks like she wants to fuck me.
With my back against the wall, Nora’s hand tightens around my throat. I don’t fight her; I put my hands up beside me against the wall too, and I grin. “Damn, woman,” I say, laughing, choking out the words.
She bangs my head on the wall and presses her body against mine to hold me in place; I feel her fingers digging into my throat just underneath my jawbone.
“What the fuck did I do?” I still can’t help but laugh.
Her fingers tighten; her nostrils flare; her eyes swirl.
“You know what you did,” she growls.
“Was it the whipping?” Laughter. I can’t help it!
Bang! Little black dots spring before my eyes when my head hits the wall.
The laughter dies around me; so does my smile.
“Screw this,” I hear Izabel say. “I’m going to bed.” And I hear the door to the private room close.
I grab Nora by her throat and we reverse places; I shove her as hard as I can against the wall, glaring into her face, our noses almost touching; my fingers splayed around her throat and her jaw. I’ve wanted to do this for so long—paybacks, bitch.
“Thought you could handle it?” I growl right back at her. “I did what I had to do—it could’ve been much worse.”
“It wasn’t what you did,” she says through strained words; my hand hindering airflow. “It was that you enjoyed it too much.”
The grin slips back onto my face.
She tries to knee me in the nuts, but I move enough to avoid it and she catches me in the gut instead. It takes the breath out of me; I recover quickly, but the second of distraction is all Nora needs to reverse our roles again and she pounces on me. I don’t even know how, or what part of her body is on me where, all I know is that I’m falling backward with her on top of me, and I feel flesh against flesh, and the silk of her hair on my face and my neck and my arms. When she’s done hitting me in the face—because I finally get ahold of her wrists to stop her—I open my eyes to find her straddling my chest; my head pressed between her powerful thighs, squeezing it like a goddamn grape. I let go of her wrists and take her by the elbows, easily tossing her off and onto the floor on her back. She slaps me once, twice when I’m on top of her, but I like that shit so I don’t hold her arms.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” she hisses, glaring up at me. “I thought you never break character? I have to say, I’m disappointed.”
“I got the job done,” I tell her, hovering over her, straddling her waist. “So far.”
“Could’ve been done more smoothly.”
“If you hadn’t been arguing with your girlfriend in front of everybody, I wouldn’t have had to make a scene, and you wouldn’t have had to enjoy beating me with a whip.” She snarls and then slaps me again; I feel the hot sting on the side of my face and it just makes my dick harder.
“I think you liked it,” I say, grinning. “And I think you like slapping me. You’re getting off on it.”
“Bullshit.” Her fist soars toward my head and I stop it with my hand; the grin deepens in my face.
I lean toward her, pushing myself against her even though she’s struggling to push me off; it’s all a show—she has me right where she wants me. I’m as hard as a fucking rock. And she knows it; she can feel it between her legs—that look on her face is priceless. Restraining her left hand against the floor, I grab her bottom lip with my teeth and bite down, hard enough to hurt, but not hard enough that she won’t like it; her other hand is wound in the back of my hair, pulling. “I’ll tell you what, Nora Kessler,” I say, releasing her lip from my teeth, “I’ll put my cock in you and we can call it even.”
She laughs. “You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” she snaps back, trying to free her other wrist from my hand. “You’re really full of yourself, aren’t you?”
“Not really, no.” I press myself against her, letting her feel it, and I tug on her bottom lip with my teeth again. She tries to slap me away, but I just smile and grind against her harder. “But I really just want to put my cock in you—I’ve had a really stressful day, and it’s how I like to wind down. You’ll like it, I promise.” Then I reach down with my free hand and open my dress pants, sliding them over my ass just enough so I can…work.
Nora tries to kick me off her—(come on, babe, I know you’re stronger than that)—but I hold her down without difficulty.
“Get off me, or I’ll fucking kill you, Niklas.”
“You can kill me after,” I tell her casually, stroking myself. “If you’ll still want to by then.”
I shove my cock deep inside of her, and feisty badass Nora Kessler becomes putty in my hands; she gasps, forcing her head back against the floor; the whites of her eyes rolling into view before her eyelids slam shut over them, and she lets out a small cry; her tits heaving; her back arched.
“All right,” I whisper onto her mouth, and start to pull out of her, “maybe I am going about making it up to you the wrong way.”
Her thighs crush me, forcing me to stop. She looks up into my eyes, gritting her teeth. “I’ll kill you,” she says, “if you don’t fuck me.”
I grin. And get to work.
I lie on the bed next to Sian, and for a long time I watch her, thinking about what she went through, what she’ll still be going through tomorrow. We’re the same people lying in this bed together, two women whose lives were stripped from them, whose babies were taken from our arms at the moment of birth.
“I’m sorry this happened to you,” I whisper, though I know she can’t hear me.
I’m trying hard to block out the whimpers and moans and the sound of the bed in the main room slamming against the wall, but it’s not so easy to do. At least Nora got what she wanted. I’m not sure why it bothers me; maybe it’s because I know Nora isn’t good for Niklas. Or Fredrik. Or anyone I care about, really. I like her, but she’s dangerous, and I just hope Niklas is careful. We may not get along but…well, I’ll kill Nora before she kills him.
I don’t remember falling asleep, and I have no idea how long I’ve been asleep, but when I open my eyes I feel like it’s morning even though I’m in a room with no windows and the door is shut. And I’m pissed. We were supposed to go over a plan to kidnap Francesca today, but it seems Niklas and Nora spent the night fucking each other instead.
Crawling out of the bed carefully so I don’t wake Sian—what the hell did Niklas give her?—I leave the room and head into the main room to find Nora sitting on the bed with her back pressed against the headboard; the television remote is in her hand and she’s flipping through channels. She’s wearing nothing but a tank-top and a pair of panties.
“Finally up,” she says when she sees me. “You were dead to the world last night.”
“That’s not a reason not to wake me up when you two were done…being really loud.”
Nora smiles and goes back to flipping channels.
“He’s taking a piss.” She looks at the bathroom door, then at me, as if making sure Niklas can’t hear what she’s about to say. A grin slips up on her mouth. “He—”
“I really don’t want to know,” I interrupt, putting up my hand.
Nora smiles and goes back to flipping channels.
I go outside on the balcony.
Izabel is sitting on the balcony when I come out of the restroom in my boxers. I pass Nora up, going through the main room with the giant bed—she was a good fuck; not sure if I’ll ever do it again, but never say never.
I join Izzy outside.
“Niklas,” she says once I sit down in the wrought iron chair across from her; a matching table separates us. “I know you’re not one for talk, but I wanted to ask you something personal.”
I slide my elbows back on the chair arms, hook my fingers over my lap and stretch my legs out comfortably. I feel a pang of guilt all of a sudden, but I ignore it.
“No, I’m not one for talk,” I say, “but what do you want to know? Unless it’s about”—I point with my thumb toward the suite, indicating Nora—“anything that happened with her last night.”
She shakes her head. “No, it’s not about that,” she says, and that pang of guilt from before turns into disappointment—why, I have no clue, but I don’t like it.
I feel her eyes want to look at me, but she keeps facing forward, looking out at the hundreds of rooftops dotting the city below. I get the sense that this is serious.
“Have you…well, I was just wondering if you, or anyone else in our Order—even anyone you knew when you and Victor were under Vonnegut—has ever had to worry about…pregnancies…or dealing with children?”