Arman was scanning the small shop as he removed his sunglasses. He looked incredible with his windswept hair cresting against his broad shoulders, devoid of the confining jacket and tie, the casual dress a surprise.
Other than the rapid flutters of my heart as I stared at him like some lovestruck high school girl.
I’d been expecting him. Somehow I knew he’d discover my attempt at treachery.
Meanwhile, I was frozen in place, a mixture of anger and utter terror languishing in my system. All while awe and desire ripped apart my core. As he slowly turned his head, my breath caught in my throat. His eyes were a mixture of intrigue and passion, the darkness ebbing through him like a constant live wire.
His every step was methodical as he walked closer, and I began to quiver, yet I refused to allow him to see even a glimmer of fear. Predators won the moment they gathered the stench. I eased the tray of cookies to the counter, giving him the same hard onceover. But within seconds, the coldness of his eyes turned into something even more dangerous.
As if he’d been waiting, biding his time. Watching and craving. Now there was no doubt the predator had emerged from his lair, prepared to strike.
And there was nothing I could do but watch the horror unfold.
He said nothing for a few seconds, closing the distance to the counter and lifting that beautiful head of his to stare at the menu. The aura around him was so vibrant I was caught in a web, incapable of doing anything but waiting for whatever he had to say to me.
I dragged my tongue across my lips, my throat already closing off from the lack of steady breaths. Forcing myself to return to reality took a few seconds longer, but I managed to place my palms on the counter, spreading out my fingers. Allowing the anger to take hold drove away some of the fear. “Would you like something from our menu?”
Goddamn it, when he smirked, I wanted to wipe the expression off his face with an acid-soaked rag.
“I’ll have a large black coffee, the darkest bean you have.” Why was it that everything out of his mouth sounded sultry, sexual? Or maybe my mind had already dropped into the gutter given his omnipotent presence. In my mind I want to see him as nothing but a miscreant, but for the briefest of time I’d seen something inside of him, qualities that I couldn’t quite put my finger on.
As if he was a little lost, haunted by the memory of the woman it was obvious he once loved. There was nothing on the woman with the initial of S that I could find. While there was no gate around his house, not a single reporter or photographer had caught him with a telephoto lens. That meant he had his guards keep watch on his property. Was he hiding or protecting something?
When I didn’t respond right away, he leaned over the counter, his sizzling breath instantly skipping across my jaw. It made me shiver.
“Are you alright, princess? You seem flushed.”
I swallowed hard and spun around toward the coffee machines with enough force I was pitched into the sharp metal edge. Wincing, I yanked a cup from the stack of them, hating myself for trembling in his presence. If only I could loathe the man, then reacting to his sudden appearance would be much easier.
Sensing his continued stare brought butterflies into my stomach, but by the time I placed the lid on the top of his scalding coffee, I was almost able to get control over my emotions. There was even a tiny part of me that almost left the lid ajar. That would allow me to innocently trip, spilling the brutally hot contents all over his fine linen trousers. Ouch.
But the professional inside of me couldn’t do it. Or maybe I knew I’d place Amy in harm’s way, the brutal bastard destroying her business as punishment. “Here you are. That will be four-fifty-five.” I pushed it across the counter, making a point of concentrating on ringing the purchase in the register.
“Cheap for such a delicious brew.” As he pulled out his wallet, I did what I could to ignore it. He tugged a bill from in front of several others, all hundreds. If he thought he could impress me with money, he was sorely wrong. He finally lifted his gaze as he slid a single hundred-dollar bill across the counter. “Keep the change.”
It was my turn to smirk. “No tips needed. I’m just a lowly server.” I pushed it back across the counter; of course he ignored my actions, already taking a step away. But his eyes pierced mine. He wasn’t just undressing me with them. He was slathering every inch of my nakedness with chocolate syrup.
He opened the lid, taking a deep whiff. “You’re not a lowly anything, princess. Far from it.” When he turned around, I was curious as to his next move. Would he pull out his weapon, although I wasn’t certain if he had it on him.
“You think you know me, Arman, but far from it.”
“I do know you, princess, because you’re exactly like me with a single exception. You care about the people around you, which makes you soft inside, vulnerable to the sadistic desires of a very bad man like me. And I can’t wait to be the man who peels away every layer, exposing the tender innocence inside, which is exactly what I plan on doing. That’s the moment you’ll belong to me.”
The man was nuts if he thought I’d give him the time of day let alone allow myself to surrender. “Fuck you.”
“I assure you that will happen, sweet and luscious princess. But only after you beg me to.”
Arman’s stark, matter-of-fact words lingered in the forefront of my mind, his eyes shimmering as if he’d caught me in another lie.
I laughed, the sound shriller than I’d intended. “You must be joking. I would never beg you for anything. Are you always such an arrogant prick, so certain of yourself?”
“Such harsh words.”
“Necessary ones.” No matter my bravado, the powerful man still made me quiver with fear and rage at the desire skittering through my system. It took everything I had not to crack my palm across his handsome face.
“Why don’t you tell me all of them, princess?” he tossed back into my face. “Besides, I know you’re dying to provide me with a full dossier on what you’ve learned about me since our adventure together. Prove me wrong that you don’t want me and that you haven’t come to the conclusion I’m the only man who can satisfy you.”
I was momentarily so shocked by his outlandish arrogance that no words came to mind, no barbs of any kind. I sensed at least a couple of the customers watching my interaction, curious as to what we were discussing with such vehemence. “God. I can’t stand you.”
“All evidence to the contrary. However, keep in mind that I’m likely much worse than any man you’ve ever encountered. But go for it. I’m all ears.”
“There is no doubt that you’ve always been vile, brutal, and uncaring. I doubt you have any clue what love or caring for someone means.” For a few seconds, a flash of anger shadowed the amusement he was getting from my discomfort.
Arman’s jaw clenched and he tilted his head, highlighting his aristocratic features. “Concerned you won’t be right, princess?”
“Concerned you can’t handle the truth.”
The way he sipped his coffee was far too sexy, the man making me crazy. “I’m up for the task. Give me your best shot.”
He was even more arrogant than I remembered. “You choose to use your good looks as a weapon, whether in your legitimate or illegitimate businesses, claiming the center of attention simply by walking into a room. You’re anal retentive, which is denoted by the attention you pay to your wardrobe. The fact your curly hair isn’t coiffed and perfect given the warm, humid breeze is probably driving you crazy. My guess is that you shower twice daily, spend the exact amount of time inside your precious gym to the minute, and have never once dared to try anything remotely spectacular in your plain. Black. Boring. Coffee.” As a split second of fury rushed into his eyes like shimmers of glass shattered on a marble floor, I smiled.
And went in for the kill.
“How am I doing so far, big boy? Do my words sting to the point you long to shut me up, which is what you do to anyone who gets in your way or challenges you? Yes?” I moved from behind the counter, folding my arms. For all my bravado, my legs continued to shake, but not enough to give away the terror skipping through every muscle and vein.
When he said nothing, I gave myself a mental high five.
“You’re certain of yourself,” he said as he lifted a single eyebrow and I sensed I’d ruffled his feathers.
“I know your type, Mr. Thibodeaux. Whatever you’re hiding has stripped you of everything but rage and hatred. How sad because that split second I was allowed inside I almost enjoyed what I found. Almost.” I knew I’d pushed my limit and was far too lightheaded to continue.
“You might be surprised at my type.”
“Do you ever have fun? Do you ever let go and act carefree or are the only things allowed in your world bloodshed and violence?” While I kept my voice low to ensure none of the other guests or Amy heard me, I couldn’t seem to help myself. His gaze became more pointed, angry in a way that I sensed I would pay for.
He took a deep breath, holding it as he dared to walk closer, so much so he crowded my space completely, sparking an overwhelming desire to reach out and brush my fingers down the side of his face. It seemed he’d purposely gone without shaving, the incredible stubble covering his jaw accentuating his stunning good looks. He was even more handsome in the bright rays of sun, his skin lightly bronzed, but it was his thick luxurious hair that I wanted to run my fingers through the most.
Pulling at it while he fucked me like a wild animal.
Since I was wearing tennis shoes, he towered over me, his presence reminding of that he was a chiseled god.
“Why don’t you share with me what you believe to be fun.”
“In Baton Rouge?”
“In general, lovely Raven. I’m more than curious.”
A lump formed in my throat, the hard pulse on the side of my neck drawing his attention. Why did I have the feeling he wanted to bite into my vein, sucking my blood? I shuddered from the thought, so drawn to the rich intensity of his whiskey eyes that I almost forgot what he’d asked.
“Taking a walk by a river’s edge or on the shores of an ocean in my bare feet. Grabbing an ice cream cone and heading to a dog park, laughing at the antics of the pups as they play with each other. Crashing a wedding just to grab a glass of champagne and signing the registry book. Taking off all my clothes and frolicking in a fountain on a night where the moon is bright in the sky. Staring at Christmas tree lights for hours, drinking hot cocoa while singing holiday tunes to strangers. Enjoying a lazy Sunday watching old movies while drinking mimosas.” I found myself chuckling after telling such silly thoughts, but they were all true.
And I’d never told anyone else that in my entire life. Why him?
I expected him to make fun of me, chiding every idea as if they were dumbest things he’d ever heard in the world. He was rich. He likely preferred jetting off to Paris or maybe Sicily versus doing something so banal.
“Every one of those suggestions sounds wonderful, Raven. I would love to share them with someone special.”
Damn it! How could he be so charming?
He dared come even closer, lifting his arm as if he was going to stroke the side of my face. I purposely took a step away, trying to avoid making additional eye contact. He rattled me more than I wanted to admit even to myself.
“Have a good day, Mr. Thibodeaux. In case you haven’t noticed, I’m working. Some of us prefer to make our own way, not living on our parents’ money. Some of us enjoy the simple things, including working hard to be able to enjoy our days off. It’s not always about fine wines and five-hundred-dollar bottles of champagne. While I would love to visit some of the exotic cities you have, ones that I’m positive you take for granted, I’d be perfectly happy taking a walk around campus or going to a park with an aging paperback in my hand, enjoying a glass of lemonade in the hot sun. I’m certain you wouldn’t enjoy a single aspect of what I call life and that’s a real shame. You’re missing out on so many precious moments. Maybe you should try it sometime.”
The glare in his eyes remained but the amusement I’d seen the night I’d met him had returned. “I might surprise you, Ms. Cartier.”
“No, Mr. Thibodeaux, no one surprises me any longer.”
I somehow managed to turn around, taking long and purposeful strides toward the back. I didn’t make it very far before being pulled into the small corridor leading to the bathroom, shoved against the wall. With one hand wrapped around my throat, the other palming the wall, Arman hovered over me, his scent so intoxicating I couldn’t breathe.
“God, I want you, Raven. And I will take and taste everything that rightfully belongs to me.”
The second I reacted, almost managing to slap him across the face, he caught my hand. I expected a rush of blinding pain as he snapped my wrist for my terrible insolence. But instead, he intertwined our fingers, clamping our hands together as if we were no longer strangers, lovers in every sense of the word.
Even as his hold on my throat tightened, my longing for his touch and the feel of his lips against mine was too much to withstand. I did something I knew I’d regret. I rose onto my toes, capturing his mouth. The heat had built to an explosive level, the hunger burning so intently that I couldn’t care less about all the promises I’d made to myself, doing what I could to forget about him.
He was the air I needed to breathe, the only food that would satiate me, and the single person who’d managed to awaken such excitement that I was left breathless, in agony when I wasn’t with him. His touch seared my skin, the taste of him filling my empty senses, driving me to the point of madness. I fell into the sweet release where everything else was blocked out. There was only our rapid hearts beating. Only the corrosive toxins jetting through our systems.
As he took full control of my mouth as well as my needs, I arched my back, surrendering the smallest part of myself to him, the deep intensity of exploration all I could think about. The kiss was ripped through with passion, the deep ache between my legs turning into a full throbbing. I was as wet and hot as he was hard, incapable of deciphering between right and wrong.
As he swept his tongue from one side of my mouth to the other, I moaned into the kiss, the sound captured immediately. The crush of his body wasn’t enough. I needed to be writhing under him as he plunged his cock deep inside my pussy. I tore at his clothes, shifting my hips back and forth to grasp the full feel of his thick cock pressing into me. The urgency was so abrupt and so powerful that I was no longer the girl from before, turning into some wanton vixen with desperate needs.
He refused to allow me any room, his needs as strong as mine. I didn’t object when he pulled me into the small women’s bathroom, not bothering to take the time to lock the door. We were both crazed with need, so much so I immediately reached for his belt, ignoring all the reasons why I should push him away.
My frantic need wasn’t lost on him. He tugged at the apron, immediately untying it and yanking it over my head. He was breathless, the lust in his eyes threatening to consume me. As he tugged at my button and zipper, I finally managed to unfasten his belt buckle, laughing nervously as I unzipped his trousers. The moment I was able to wrap my fingers around his shaft, I issued a strangled moan. We were on fire, so much so I knew this moment would burn hot enough to cause permanent scars, but I didn’t care.
He’d become the drug I didn’t want to live without, the man I’d dreamt of far too often. The beast I should stay away from. Oh, God. What was I doing with him, with this monster who was made of brawn and brutality?
He wrangled my jeans past my knees, sliding his hand between my thighs and massaging my wetness. I was soaked, the scent of my hunger wafting between us.
“Oh, yes. Touch me. Fuck me,” I moaned, gyrating my hips. My eyes were glassy, the fog surrounding them not enough to block out the possessiveness in his eyes. There was no going back, no erasing the past between us. There was only this moment and the future he had planned for us. I was fearful but excited.
When he drove a single finger around the lace, flicking the tip back and forth across my clit, I lolled my head, gasping for air. I stroked his cock, squeezing and twisting my hand, adding pressure and friction.
“That’s it, Raven. Hurt me. Take from me what you want. What you need. I want you to hunger for me always, to feel a desperate desire burning inside of you that only I can satisfy. I will be your only lover, the man who’ll bring you to new heights of pleasure always. Always.”
“I do want you. It’s twisted and sick and I don’t know what I’m doing.”
“Don’t think, my sweet princess. Just feel and experience. Take what you need. Be free like you seem to want so badly.”
I wasn’t certain if he was giving me permission or fueling the fire unfurrowing from deep within. Either way, I couldn’t think or breathe, the need so overwhelming.
“Never forget I own you, princess. You are mine. All mine.” His heated breath skipped across my face as he ripped down my panties, immediately driving his fingers into my pussy.
Gasping, I threw my head back, stars floating in front of my eyes. “Yes. Yes. More.”
He continued thrusting them savagely, the force pushing me onto my toes. “Soon, I’m going to hold you down and fuck your mouth, driving the tip of my cock against the back of your throat. Then I’ll push you to your knees, taking you from behind, fucking that sweet pussy until you cry out my name. Do it for me, Raven. Do it.”
There was no getting away from the man, no escaping the mental and emotional hold he had on me. “Arman. Oh, God, Arman.”
“That’s it. My very good girl.” He flexed his fingers open, pumping wildly, pushing me to the point of no return. “Come for me. Soak my fingers.”
I could no longer feel my legs, was uncertain I wasn’t in a daze of some kind, drugged out of my mind. As I dragged my tongue across my lips, I tasted his, so sweet and enticing. I wanted more.
“I can’t wait to fuck your sweet asshole, using you until you beg me to stop.”
“I’ll never… beg you to… stop.”
“Mmm… I adore that about you, Raven. You’re as famished as I am.” His fingers worked magic, and within a few seconds I was pushed beyond imagining, the madness I’d experienced before encasing both of us, snarling us in a thick web.
The man’s cock was hot, so fucking hot that I laughed, my legs like jelly. I had to be causing pain, but I couldn’t stop myself, pulling all the way to the tip, squeezing. When I felt drops of pre-cum, it was all I could do not to beg him to allow me to drop to my knees just like he wanted, sucking him dry.
“Please fuck me. I can’t take it. This is maddening.” I tossed my head back and forth.
“Are you a good girl? Will you obey your master?”
“Yes, God, yes.” I gave his cock another few rough tugs, the swirl of lights in front of my face preventing me from seeing his expression. But he was tense, spun tightly. I could hear it in his deep voice, and in his dark commands. My pussy muscles clenched and released, dragging me closer and closer to sweet nirvana.
“Oh. Oh. Oh. Oh.” My pants were ragged and I tried desperately not to scream out his name. The excitement of what we were doing, easily found by anyone walking in, added to the moment of raw ecstasy.
As an orgasm swept through me, he lowered his head, allowing his savage whispers to float into the sinful part of my brain. I felt every delicious contraction as if it were my first, the pleasure so powerful I was pulled into a vacuum where neither time nor space existed.
“Good girl. Such a good girl.”
His praise suddenly meant everything, my heart thudding in my chest from the excitement and rush of adrenaline tearing through me.
“I’m going to tie you down very soon, my sweet Raven. And I’m going to lick every inch of your body. Imagine when I cover you with my cum, rubbing it into your skin.”
“Uh-huh.” The climax turned into a wave, one so hot and needy that I bucked against him.
“I’ll tease you with my tongue, refusing to allow you to come until you bend to my will. Consider this a gift, Raven, one that won’t come again so easily.” He rolled his thumb around my clit, pinching the tender flesh and I would have fallen if the weight of his body against mine wasn’t holding me up.
His filthy words hooked into the deepest part of me, drawing out the increasing sense of desperation. How could I allow myself to fall so hard for this man? I slumped against him, rolling my hand between his legs and fingering his testicles. They were full of seed. Now my mouth watered. “Yes.” The single word was all I could say.
He jerked his fingers from my wetness, holding his arm into the air before spinning me around to face the mirror. “Now, I fuck you.”
His statement was far too exciting, the darkness inside of me hungering for more. Something filthy and sinful. Breathtaking. And utterly terrifying. Which is exactly what he had planned to provide.
This was his claiming of not only my body but also of my soul. This went against all morals and ethics, everything I’d been taught, yet I still didn’t care.
“Yes,” I managed.
“Isn’t that what you want, Raven, for me to take full control over you? To use you. To fuck you. To own you?”
“Yes.” Why did the word come so easily? Even though I was staring into the reflected eyes of the most gorgeous man on the face of the earth, this wasn’t by any means a fairytale. There never would be in this life or in his universe.
He drove the entire length of his cock into my pussy, issuing a deep growl. The way he wrapped his hand around my throat was even more possessive, but it was the look in his eyes that should scare me for all eternity. He was the devil reincarnated and he’d just pulled me forever from the light of my world, consuming the goodness as if he’d always owned it.
As he fucked me, he never blinked. Not once. He plunged with such ferocity I could swear he was a dying man and this was his last act. His hold only tightened, his fingers digging into me. I should feel suffocated because I knew exactly what he was capable of, but this was exactly what I’d wanted.
Maybe the brutal beast was attempting to find his soul. The sounds we made were animalistic, the savage thrusts knocking the air from my lungs. I slammed my hand against the mirror with enough force I was certain it would crack, pushing back against him with desperate need to have him deeper,
When I arched my back, he jammed his slickened fingers into my dark hole, finger fucking my asshole. The moment of filth increased, the sin nothing I could walk away from. This man had become all I hated.
And everything I wanted.
My face was shimmering, but nothing like the beads of sweat trickling down both sides of his chiseled jaw. But it wasn’t from exertion, only a strangled yearning that had taken away a part of him as it had done to me. I used the leverage, pushing back against him, meeting every brutal thrust.
Within seconds, his entire body tensed, his jaw more clenched than before.
“I’m coming inside of you, filling you. Fuck, you’re mine. Forever mine.”
I finally closed my eyes, breaking the hypnotic state, trying to force the gears of my mind to process what was happening.
And the nightmare that continued to unfold.
As his body spasmed, I clenched my pussy muscles, drawing his cock in even deeper. Yet at that beautiful, tender moment I felt a single tear slipping past my lashes.
Maybe he did have the ability to break me after all.