Even though she didn’t want to give him anything, she shook her head.
“Why aren’t you? Never mind. Maybe I’ll ask again when you can talk.”
Later then? How long did he intend to keep her with him and what did he intend to do with her while she, in essence, belonged to him?
The unknown overwhelmed her, and she surged up and off the bed. She’d just gotten to her feet when he grabbed her around the waist and yanked her back onto the bed, using his weight to hold her down. Frantic, she writhed and twisted, but he leaned across her and pinned her to the coverlet. No matter how much she tried to wiggle out from under, it wasn’t happening. Giving up on trying to dislodge him, she turned her energy into kicking him, at least giving it her best shot.
“No, no. Give it up, Charil. It’s not going to happen.”
But the alternative was helplessness, which she couldn’t accept or handle. She’d been so damn helpless when her brother and then her mother had died and when her father had had his stroke. No more!
Images of death, tears, and grief closed down around her, and she fought as she’d never fought. Bucking and twisting, she attacked her captor in the only way she could. The damnable gag swallowed her cries and curses, and his greater weight and strength continued to hold her in place, but although she knew it was hopeless, she didn’t stop struggling until exhaustion stripped her muscles. At length, still tense but unable to move, she lay panting under him on her belly.
“That was stupid,” he announced. “Something you’d better not try again.”
The warning note forced her to look over her shoulder at him.
“I mean it. I’m not about to let you get away with challenging me.”
She responded by bending her knees and kicking him with as much strength as she could muster, which wasn’t much.
“All right. If that’s the way you want it…”
Before she could make sense of his warning, he got off her, sat beside her, slid her around, and delivered a half dozen blows to her buttocks. Shocked, she tried to cry out. The awful sensation rolled through her, growing in intensity as it did. She’d never been spanked, never so much as considered the possibility.
Beyond furious, she struggled to roll onto her side. Damn it, how dare he! What made him think he could—she’d head-butt him! Make it beyond clear that she had no intention of letting him get away with something so ridiculous. To her dismay, he forced her breasts back into the bed and pressed on her shoulders to keep her in place.
More swats landed on her ass. Still in shock, she wiggled and cursed. Maybe he couldn’t make out the words, but he surely got the meaning.
“Want to fight, do you?” He sounded amused. “That can be arranged.”
How dare he add insult to injury by challenging her! She hadn’t surrendered by far. Invigorated by anger, she started bucking. She was vaguely aware that he was letting her struggle, just not enough to do her any good. At least her clothes kept what he was doing from hurting too much, but the strikes kept coming. Reaching deeper and deeper, confusing her.
“You don’t get it, do you?” he asked. “You think you can stop me? You’re wrong.”
He closed his fingers over the back of her neck. Concerned he might again press on a nerve there, she stopped resisting. To her disbelief, he pushed her skirt up to her waist and pulled her bikini panties down off her buttocks.
Exposed. Her ass naked.
“Go on,” he said. “Call me every name you can think of. It’ll give you something to do while I continue disciplining you.”
“No!” Surely he understood that word.
“Yes,” he said. “Hopefully you’re ready.”
“Save your breath. This is for your own good, maybe.”
I’ll kill you! You can’t—
“One, two, three, four,” he said in time with each blow he delivered to her bare skin. He was being so methodical, a teacher dealing with an unruly student. Making her buttocks burn and her eyes water. The earlier spanking had been more shocking than painful. Now he put considerable strength behind every blow. Because he’d done away with the minimal padding, it hurt, damn it, hurt in spades.
The sensation was like nothing she’d ever experienced.
Confusing, degrading, shocking—and something she had no words for and surely couldn’t be happening.
Maybe he intended to continue to spank her for as long as it entertained him and his hand held out. If that was the case, she had no choice but to accept. To surrender. To experience.
Whimpering behind the gag, she lowered her head with her cheek on the coverlet and let him do what he intended.
I’m his. I can’t stop him from—whatever he wants—how did this happen?
Can I ever comprehend how it makes me feel?
After an impossible to define amount of time, he stopped and rolled her over so she had no choice but to stare up at him. Her ass throbbed. In contrast, the rest of her body was almost at peace, content with itself. Zoning out. He showed no inclination to put her clothes back in place, but she didn’t care.
He brushed hair off her forehead then lightly stroked her exposed belly. She shuddered. No, she wasn’t at peace. She was—something new.
“I trust you understand what that was about. And I hope you’ve gotten resistance out of your system because if you pull that stunt another time, I’ll punish you again. You’re under my control until I say different.”
Struggling to downplay her mix of shame, discomfort, and other emotions she wasn’t ready to acknowledge, she concentrated on the messages her nerves were sending to her mind. It still hurt, a lot.
Focus on that, not my pulsing pussy.
“I’m not the bogeyman. At least not the kind of bogeyman you’re probably thinking about. I’m not going to rape you, and I won’t kill you. But neither will I let you go. I figured a dose of discipline was the most effective way of getting your attention.”
Hoping her expression wasn’t revealing how confused she was because she was turned on, she clenched her teeth and glared at him. Fought not to acknowledge the gentle fingers on her belly.
Please keep them there. Don’t touch my pussy.
“So that’s how it’s going to be, is it?” He sounded amused. “Doesn’t surprise me. This is going to be interesting.”
Interesting? He’d caught her because he liked to amuse himself? Maybe he got off on domestic discipline.
He patted her stomach then trailed his fingers over her throat. Knowing he could rob her of life-sustaining oxygen should have alarmed her. Instead, she sank into the gentle touch. Let him take over.
“I don’t want to tie your legs for several reasons, but I will if I think you might hurt yourself. What’s it going to be, Charil? You make the call.”
What did being able to move about a little matter? Hadn’t he already demonstrated his total mastery of her? Hating both of them but mostly her traitorous body, she nodded.
“Wise decision. We’ll be leaving but not until after dark because it’s easier getting you out then. In the meantime, we wait.”
Wait he did. He positioned a chair near the bed and sprawled in it with his feet propped on the mattress not far from her. He turned the TV on to a sports talk program but only occasionally looked at it. He also occasionally looked around the room, but most of the time his attention stayed on her.
At first she thought she’d scream from being under such acute scrutiny but after a while she became almost accustomed to his strong and honest gaze. She still wished he’d cover her up but keeping her belly and buttocks exposed made it easy for him to spank her again, if he decided to.
How will I respond if he does? Will my clit harden and my pussy moisten again? Can I keep him from knowing?
Instead of making furtive glances at her breasts and legs, he studied them openly. Despite everything, she was pleased that her body pleased him. That insane afternoon when they’d gone after each other, she didn’t think he’d done more than ascertain that she had two arms, two legs, and one pussy. Now he was placing her in his memory bank.
And she was doing the same in return.
The man occasionally moved his arms and legs, but most of the time he seemed a permanent part of the chair. She might have believed he was a naturally patient man if not for the fire she sensed running through his veins. If asked, she wouldn’t be able to say how she knew about the fire except that it was in his eyes. He didn’t want to be waiting for dark in this impersonal hotel room. Quite the opposite, his physically fit body needed to move, to do, to act.
To have sex with her.
Be afraid, girl, be very afraid.
But she wasn’t because her body had already let his in, because she’d shared her heat with his and it had been good, damn good. Because she was still a little turned on.
She’d had enough upheaval and tragedy in her life and should have used up her quota of black clouds. Darn it, it was time for things to straighten out and go smoothly. Wasn’t some cosmic tally being taken somewhere? When maximum stress had been reached, didn’t the grim reaper or whoever was in charge of such things move on to another victim? Okay, so she could shoot a ton of holes in that theory, but she clung to it today, told herself this was a dream and eventually things would get back on track.
Right now would be the perfect time for that to happen. Either the cavalry would charge in or he’d yell April Fool, or she’d wake up or… or what?
Or he’d untie her and remove the gag and help her out of her clothes and dispense with his and join her on the bed.
She’d forgive him for the tanning he’d given her still-sore backside.
When a cell phone started ringing, it took her a moment for her to realize it wasn’t hers. By then he’d reached for the clip at his waist. He read the number display, frowned, then punched ‘send.’
The barely audible voice on the other end told her little except that it belonged to a man.
“That’s BS,” Range retorted after listening. “You’re supposed to have that covered. What? No, I’m not interested in excuses. Not my problem. Fuck, all right, but only for two days. No, I’m not telling you where I’m taking her. When you get your act together, let me know. In the meantime, the bill is doubling.”
He hung up, put the phone away, and stared at her. She didn’t know what to make of his expression, his clenched jaw and fisted fingers. Most of all, she couldn’t comprehend this new energy. It was as if he felt trapped and wanted to attack the net closing around him.
“Change of plans although I’m guessing you’ve already figured that out,” he said. “The client is having a logistical problem regarding where he wants me to deliver you, which means I’ll be in the dark about certain things longer than I want. He says it’ll all be taken care of shortly, but I’ll believe it when I see it. In the meantime, I’m sitting on you, only not here.”
Had she fallen into the rabbit hole? What had he meant by someone wanting her delivered somewhere, like she was a used car or dog someone was taking possession of? If it wasn’t so unnerving, she might laugh—if she could.
“The immediate timetable hasn’t changed,” he continued. “We’re still not leaving here until dark. The new wrinkle is that I’ll be warehousing you for several days.” He ran his hand over his eyes. “Responsible for you longer than I wanted. Drawing out my decision.”
If he’d let her talk, she’d explain that he didn’t want to make a reservation at any of the area motels because they were insanely expensive and at this short notice, there probably wasn’t any vacancy.
But motels were for sleep and sex, not warehousing a captive.
After getting up, he walked over to the window and pulled back the curtain. She wondered if he found the view as depressing as she had. She had spent her days around athletes and near athletes, the majority of them young, so she’d seen more than her share of hard asses and muscled thighs. Why were his so arresting? The fact that they contributed to her helplessness was a factor, but her reaction went beyond that.
That body didn’t come courtesy of leg presses and dead lifts. He might log time in a gym, but she suspected physical labor was primarily responsible. What had he told her about what he did for a living? Not enough, not nearly enough for her to place him in his world. She knew elemental things like the weight of his balls and his erect cock’s length and breadth, but there was more to him than that, much more.
For one, he was a disciplinarian.
At length he turned and erased the distance between them. “There’s only one place I want to go.” With that, he sat back down. Instead of looking at the TV—a baseball game was on—he leaned forward and ran his fingers from her shoulder to her tethered wrists. “Temperature’s good. You aren’t losing feeling.”
Thanks so much for caring.
“My rig isn’t near the hotel because I don’t want anyone putting your disappearance and it together. That means I’m going to have to leave you here while I go for it.”
For absolutely no good reason she’d ever be able to explain, she nodded.
“He said two days max, but I’m not counting on that, which is why I’m taking you to my turf. He wants you, he plays by my rules. Even if in the end he’ll hate my rules.”
Makes perfect sense to me.
Without giving her so much as a blink of warning, he positioned her so her back was to him. Thinking he might spank her again, she resisted, but he easily kept her in place. “Not going to happen. Get used to it.”
Her painful and otherwise lesson forgotten, she thrashed, which tangled the coverlet around her. Hands like iron gripped her arms as he forced her onto her stomach. He straddled the back of her legs and pressed down on her shoulder blades. Maybe she should be grateful because she could at least turn her head to the side.
“Throw a rope on some animals and they give up,” he said. “Others fight. You’re a fighter.”
But it’s not doing me any good.
Although his weight threatened her self-control, she willed her muscles to relax. She had no control over her rapid-fire breathing.
“Listen to me, damn it! Even though I’m tempted to, I’m not going to spank you again right now. This is about taking some pressure off your arms. I’m surprised I have to repeat myself, but the bottom line is that what I need or want to happen will. The sooner you accept that, the easier it’ll be.”
Much as she despised every word, he was right, at least in the here and now. But she could and would and had to dream of freedom, to plan for it, to… what?
Ah, shit! How fast could one man move? One moment she was face down in the mattress. The next he’d freed her wrists and spun her so she was on her back. Most disconcerting, he started lashing her right hand to the post above her head. Cursing the pretentious decorating that called for a four-poster queen-sized bed, she tried to jerk free.
“Not going to happen, Charil. Not going to happen.”
How right he was because when he released her hand, she realized he’d secured it. After straddling her hips, he trapped her left arm in his armpit and knotted another rope around that wrist. Despite her resistance, he easily yanked that arm over her head. Because he’d left her panties at the juncture between hips and thighs, her ability to move her legs was limited, not that she minded, damn it.
Of all the times for a particular fantasy to rear its head, this had to be the worst, and yet there it was. In contrast to the independent persona she presented to the world, another side lurked inside her, a soft and feminine creature who longed for a take-charge man to ravage her. The specifics of that ravaging depended on her imagination at the time and the newness of the batteries in her vibrator, but it boiled down to one thing.
She’d be helpless and exposed. The man would and could do whatever he wanted to her. And they’d both get off on the act, or acts.
Before a well-worn image of herself with all four limbs spread, naked of course, could fully form, she cast it aside. Damn it, this was no erotic dream designed to fill a lonely night!
For real she was on her way to being spread-eagled—unless he decided to rope her legs together.
No, he wouldn’t do that because it would limit his access to her sex.
“You’re an incredible woman,” he muttered as he lifted himself off her. “Damn sexy. It seeps out of you.”
He studied her breasts, belly, and mons, nothing held back. His honest gaze infused her with pride in her body. She considered herself athletic rather than sexy, but underneath the bulky clothes that kept her from sacrificing her skin to pavement or dirt were curves and lines, breasts, dark labia, and a quick-to-arouse clit. Even now the sexual organ she lived in awe—and sometimes fear—of was awake and searching for stimulation. The right kind of touches to the right places and he’d have her.
Did he know that?
“I want to have sex with you again. No reason not to tell you that.” His hands curled into fists as he again sat beside her. “Female animals in heat give off a scent that draws in the males. That’s what you’re doing.”
What you’re smelling is fear.
And my arousal, she admitted, unable to take her gaze off his fists and her thoughts off what his hands would feel like around her breasts or between her legs. Instead of clenching her legs together, she tested what her panties were capable of. Inch by half inch, the distance between her limbs grew.
He watched with his knuckles sharply outlined and his mouth parted. “What are you doing, damn it?”
You’re in charge. You’re the one making me do this.
“If you think you’re going to get me to release you, forget it. It isn’t going to happen.”
Did she want to be free? At this moment, did she want anything except him between her legs, inside her?
Frightened and excited by the insane questions, she shook her head. Her breasts fought their covering, her legs longed to fully separate, her toes wanted to run over his thighs while her lips, oh god, her lips ached to be around his cock!
“What’s this about?” He clamped his hand over her jaw, stopping her head’s restless tossing.
I’m in heat because of you, she told him with her expression. Maybe my fear is all twisted around into something I don’t understand, but I remember what we had that afternoon. It was good, more than good.
“Stop it!” He lightly slapped her cheek. Then he folded himself over her and pressed his mouth against hers. Even with the wadding, she felt his warmth and lifted her head trying to find more.
“What are you doing?”
I don’t know!
“Damn it, do you have any idea what you’re asking of me?” Still leaning over her, he planted his arms on either side of hers. He became a man fighting for self-control. The battle lost at least a little, he pushed up on her right shirt sleeve. Then he brought his mouth to her arm’s underside and ran his teeth and mouth over her there.
Tickled and sexually tortured at the same time!
Gasping, she struggled, but of course she had nowhere to go. At least her frantic thrashing made it impossible for him to continue, but did she really want him off her? Confused, she lay still.
“You’re so soft there.” He licked from just below her armpit to the inside of her elbow. “Soft and sweet.”
Electrical sparks accompanied his tongue. She needed this, needed to explore the incredible sensations. No matter that she was risking her sanity, her existence even, she needed to feel like a woman in the hands of a man who understood everything the word woman stood for.
Hoping not to reveal even more to his knowing gaze, she turned her head to the side so she wouldn’t have to look at him. Breathing became a matter of desperately seeking enough oxygen to keep from passing out. She felt lightheaded, hot, wet, on fire.
When he stopped the erotic contact, she faced him. The way he was studying her, it was as if he was looking at her for the first time. Awareness of her body kicked up yet another notch. She’d been hit on numerous times and had occasionally taken advantage of the situation, but for a long time now sex hadn’t mattered. Now it was as if months of pent-up sexual energy had surged to the surface and was about to erupt. How could she want her captor’s hands on her?
Because I remember what it was like with him the first time. Because my nervous system can’t tell the difference between arousal and fear. Because I’m insane.
“Shouldn’t have taken this assignment,” he muttered. “Damn it, I knew it was—”
His voice! Oh, god, that middle-of-a-stormy-night voice! Drawn to it, she rocked toward him. The arm restraints pulled her back, but she continued to strain toward him. Damn her panties!
As if reading her mind, he grabbed the delicate fabric and yanked it off her. Because her skirt was still around her waist, she easily spread her legs. It made no sense, none at all, and yet she did it. Made herself even more vulnerable. The instinct for survival hovered to warn of countless dangers, but she was too hungry to heed the voices.
“Do you have any idea what you’re doing to me?” he demanded with a hand low on her belly.
She started to shake her head, then nodded. Finally she shut her eyes against his intensity and focused on the masculine hand. His fingertips could be hard and gentle, capable of probing deeper and yet deeper.
A dark red mist seemed to be closing around her. Alarmed and fascinated, she opened her eyes to discover it had enveloped him as well. They were in this together, drifting between reality and a world she would have embraced before everything fell apart. Maybe he’d been sent here by forces beyond her comprehension—by her mother’s and brother’s spirits perhaps—so she’d again believe life was worth living.
It was! Damn it, she wouldn’t let Danny Tito destroy her.
Tito! He must be behind this, the voice on Range’s phone, payer of Range’s fee to kidnap her.
Shutting her mind against a monster beyond her comprehension, she returned to the here and now. Her captor’s eyes were saying things that didn’t need words, revealing emotions she suspected were playing out in hers.
No matter what had brought them together and what the future might bring, they had these minutes together when nothing except sex mattered. When animal instinct ruled.
Growling into her gag, she closed her legs a little, planted her feet on the bed, and lifted her body as much as possible. The strain caused her muscles to cramp, forcing her to settle back down. He ran his hands under her buttocks. Even with the reminder of where his palms had repeatedly landed, his heat seeped into her, found her pussy and added to the heat already there.
He leaned down, moving slow, letting her know what he intended to do. After lifting her ass a little higher off the bed, he touched his lips to her mons.
Half wild, she struggled to remain still. Damn this gag! She needed to scream, to… something!
Oh, shit! His tongue! Moist. Warm. Exploring sensitized skin, playing with her pubic hair. Even more disconcerting, his hot breath chased over her and melted her down so she wasn’t sure she still existed as a separate human being.
Tiny shockwaves skimmed over her pussy walls. If he touched her there, she’d shatter. Damn, how she needed him filling her weeping cave! Fighting and yet embracing her bonds, she writhed under him, whimpering when he drew his hands out from under her and rested them on the insides of her thighs.
Shit! Oh, shit!
In a moment of semi-sanity, she realized he was no longer tonguing her. Instead, keeping his hands in place, he had repositioned himself so his upper body was between her legs. He expelled his breath against her labia!
“No, no, yes, yes, yes!” she screamed into her gag. Now she fought in earnest, not to get away from the wet heat tearing at her too-sensitive flesh, but because the intimate gesture was making her crazy with need.
“Fuck, I want to do this! Fuck you. Fuck me.” His every word became a tiny volcanic eruption along her sex. His fingertips on her inner thighs spoke of a man who gave no quarter.
Not enough air was getting into her lungs! Her sex remained empty. How did he expect—damn him, how did he expect—yes, back arched and staring at the ceiling, fire between her legs, chest heaving.
“Damn you,” he hissed.
No, damn you!
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