Authors: Christine Feehan
“It was both.” He began rubbing lotion into the marks on her ass. The handprints were beautiful. Very defined. He loved seeing them there. He massaged a little deeper, using a circular motion, pushing the lotion into the heat of his prints, his stamp on her. He wanted to make certain he didn’t leave any lasting effects on her, no matter how much the monster in him howled for that very thing. “Your ass is gorgeous, baby. Just like everything about you.”
He needed to distract her from the question she was asking. He was very conflicted about Seychelle—about himself and how to fit her into his life. He knew what he was and had accepted himself and had for years. He bent his head and brushed a kiss into the heat of those dark red, now almost purple prints. He loved seeing them on her just the way he loved the scars on her leg. They were his. She’d given him those scars. She’d offered up the perfection of her pristine ass, never once pulling away from him, even when he was far too rough for her innocence. And she’d responded to his roughness. Exploded. Detonated. That was dangerous.
“Why did you let me get so tough on you?” He kept his hands gentle. Needing to be gentle with her, even though the monster in him roared with happiness. He smoothed the lotion over the roundness of her cheeks, following the dark red prints to the sensitive seam connecting her cheeks to her thighs.
She didn’t answer him, her blue eyes drifting over his face. Sometimes he swore she saw right into him, into places so deep he didn’t even see.
“You going to answer me?” he finally asked, because if she wasn’t answering, that meant something.
“I’m thinking about it. I need to shower. I like to go for a walk after dinner. Finding out I like dirty and sinful a little too much is shocking, especially when it involves you smacking me when I’m using a toy. I have to spend a little time contemplating that.”
“Are you going to get embarrassed on me and throw me out?”
“No. Should I? I asked to learn something dirty and sinful, and you gave me what I asked for. Something.”
“Something simple,” he clarified, hoping to intrigue her. He pulled away from her. The now dark purple prints on her beautiful, perfect bottom were beginning to make the monster in him crave more. He rolled off the bed and set the bottle of lotion on the nightstand. She’d need more to ensure she didn’t bruise.
“Great. Now I’m going to have to wonder: If that was simplistic, what would be even more?”
He gave her a grin over his shoulder as he pulled on his jeans. “Something a little dirtier and just a little more sinful. You’ll have to tell me what you want to learn next time. I’ll get those grills cleaned while you take your shower. We can walk afterward.”
He wasn’t going to let her separate herself from him if he could help it. Even if he had to find a way to give her up as a partner, he knew he would need her in his life. He just had to figure out how to keep her safe. He was already close to the end of one of his cycles. He could feel the darkness rising in him like the inevitable tide. It was bound to swamp both of them if he let it.
Savage resisted giving her a swat on her gorgeous ass, but it took discipline to walk to the table, recover his boots and make his way outside. He heard the shower go on a few minutes later. That woman. Why in the hell did a woman like her put up with him? They had a connection, a deep
one forged when she’d saved his life, delivering herself up like a sacrificial lamb. Hell. He already thought of her as his. That was so fucking dangerous.
Seychelle came out of the house looking like an angel. Dressed in soft leggings that clung to hourglass hips and thighs. Lavender with little sprigs of flowers running down them. He wanted to smile when he saw the pattern because it was so completely absurd but so utterly perfect on her. Her T-shirt was ribbed, a soft pastel that matched the darker purple of the floral roses scattered in the leggings. A heavy knitted cardigan fell to her knees, but was open.
Savage held out his hand to her and waited until she took it. There was just the slightest hesitancy, but then she stepped forward and allowed him to close his much larger hand around hers. That hesitancy worried him. Seychelle, for all her innocence, wasn’t a woman inhibited in any way, especially with him. She wasn’t embarrassed by what they’d done, and she’d fully participated. She was receptive to him whether she wanted to be or not.
“You going to be warm enough? The fog’s rolled in.”
He began walking toward the bluffs across the street. The mist was heavy, rolling in off the ocean, a heavy gray film that was going to obscure vision on the roads soon. He brought her closer to the warmth of his body, tucking her under his shoulder, matching his longer strides to her shorter steps.
“This sweater is surprisingly warm.” She was silent a moment. “My mother made it. She made three different sizes of the same cardigan because I said how much I loved it.”
There was an ache in her voice, and he tightened his arm around her. She was giving him things he knew instinctively she didn’t give anyone else, just as he gave her things he never gave to anyone else.
“I was nine when I told her I loved the pattern.”
“She loved you a hell of a lot,
. I know you
didn’t have her for very long, but she loved you. That matters.”
He made the mistake of looking down at her. Those eyes saw too much. That woman could see inside him when no one else could. Damn her. Damn him for being so fucking exposed. He didn’t know how she got in like she did. He didn’t want her sacrificing herself for him because she pitied him, but then who the hell was he kidding? He’d take her any damn way he could get her. But he wanted her to want to be with him for him.
“It does matter, Savage,” she answered softly. “Thank you for reminding me. I think I need that every now and then.” She gestured toward the wild sea. “That’s so crazy tonight. I love how it’s always changing.”
The ocean was roaring, throwing white waves high into the air, slashing at the sea stacks and bluffs. The wind tugged at the high grass on either side of them as they walked along the narrow dirt trail. The grass bent first one way and then the other, rolling like the waves.
“If you had to choose between a mediocre marriage where you’re comfortable but not really in love but you have children, or one where you’re both wildly in love but can’t have children, which would you choose?” Savage asked.
Seychelle was quiet, thinking it over. “Comfortable but not in love. No children but wildly in love. I’ve always thought I would want children, but I know I want to be loved. I also know it’s very important to me to love the man I’m with. I’d have to choose being wildly in love. That sounds like I’d be living in a fantasy world, but I know myself and I wouldn’t be very happy if I knew that the man I was with didn’t really love me, nor I him.” She looked up at him. “Same question.”
“I want my woman to love me, and I’d never take on a woman without loving her. Why do you prefer to hang out with older people?” He rubbed the pad of his thumb over her knuckles.
“Often, they’re lonely and they need someone to care, and I like to listen to their stories.”
He remained silent, knowing there was more. She was struggling to find the words. Struggling to decide whether or not to tell him.
“I don’t have control. I was never able to learn it. I try every day, but I just don’t have the ability to control certain things I need to when I’m around people. The older people give me a kind of peace most of the time. I don’t know any other way to explain it.”
There was no doubt in Savage’s mind that every word was chosen with care. He needed to think about her answer. She’d revealed something of extreme importance to him.
“Why a motorcycle club?”
“Freedom. We needed to feel free, and there isn’t a better way to feel free than on a motorcycle going down the highway.”
He brought her hand to his mouth and scraped his teeth along her knuckles, his gaze fixed on the powerful waves rushing toward the bluffs, thundering and roaring, with a vicious storm roiling beneath the surface. His life was like that. “Have you always felt you were unable to be in control?”
“Yes.” She answered without hesitation. “Why do you suppose, when I’ve never responded before to sexual stimulation, I responded tonight to the combination of pleasure and pain?”
It was his turn to take his time and think carefully before he responded. “To answer your question, I have to ask another question. Is that fair with our rules? Will I get a pass?”
“When you read or watch movies, what kinds of books or movies most get you off?”
She frowned. “No movies. Sometimes the darker porn works. Books sometimes are interesting, but not enough to get me off.”
She was absolutely perfect for him. Honest. Able to communicate. Be direct.
“I think the situation was different, exciting, sinful and dirty, just the way we talked about. A fantasy you’d never had with anyone, and you were daring enough to try it,” Savage said. “What do you think appealed to you about the situation?”
“It made me feel alive. Hotter than hell. Bad.”
There was more. He knew there was, she just abruptly cut it off.
“Would you go for it again if you had the chance to learn more dirty, sinful things with me?” Savage asked.
Seychelle again spent a few moments giving his question some thought. He was very grateful he was as disciplined as he was. Her answer meant too much to him. He turned her away from the bluffs, back toward her cottage. The wind was just a little too biting.
“Given the opportunity, yes. Absolutely. Who else am I going to take advantage of?” She sent him a sassy grin. “What would you do if your wife cheated on you?”
He answered without hesitation. “Hunt down the man she cheated with. If he was a friend who knew me and betrayed me, I’d kill him, but he’d take a fuckin’ long time to die. If it was some poor bastard who didn’t know he was messing with the wrong woman, I’d beat him within an inch of his life and tell him not to come back. Then I’d go to my wife and find out what the hell went wrong and why she didn’t come and talk to me about it. Then she’d be punished.”
“Punished?” Her gaze jumped to his again.
“Punished.” Savage repeated the word without hesitation. “Never pretended I was one of those really nice men, baby. You knew that from the first time we met.”
They were close to the cottage. He had texted his brothers to come, keep an eye on things, and as they approached the narrow street that was really no more than an alleyway between her cottage and the field overlooking the bluffs, his cell
vibrated. He pulled the phone from his pocket and glanced down.
Stalker-scout Joseph Arnold and the asshole guitar player who couldn’t tune his own guitar, Hank Waitright, had walked right into Seychelle’s house as if they owned the place and were waiting for her. Savage angled himself and Seychelle as they approached the house so they couldn’t be seen from the doorway or window.
“Babe, go on in. I’ll be right there. I want to make sure my bike’s locked up. I put it in the garage, but I didn’t secure it in case you kicked me out.”
She rolled her eyes. “I’ve never kicked you out.”
“You’ve thought about it.”
Seychelle smiled. “That’s true. But now you’re showing me really dirty, sinful things, so I guess I’ll have to keep you around for a little longer.”
He watched her walk right up to the door, no hesitation. Head up. That golden hair swinging. Her hips. He knew she carried his prints on her skin, and just that knowledge had his cock aching. He liked the feeling. She said she felt alive. That was the way she made him feel every minute.
She froze just inside the door with it still open. She was smart, his woman, and she didn’t turn around to alert the two to the fact that she wasn’t alone. She simply left the door ajar as she moved farther into the house. Savage picked up the pace. Destroyer, Maestro and Keys, three of his Torpedo Ink brothers, came around the sides of the house and just stood by the outside of the door, waiting.
“Get the hell out of my house,” Seychelle said. Her voice was low but angry. Savage had never heard her speak in that tone.
“I don’t think you’re in any position to order us to do anything,” Hank said. “You’re going to do what we say or you’re going to find yourself in a very bad way, Seychelle. We could really fuck you up and no one would know.”
Savage decided it was a good time to make himself
known. He stepped out of the doorway, fully into the room, coming behind Seychelle and gently moving her aside so he faced the two men, who had made themselves right at home. They were sitting in the two most comfortable armchairs she had.
“I’d be interested in knowing how you plan to fuck my woman up, Hank.” He spoke quietly. Very softly. That should have told both of them they were fucked. He could see Joseph got it, Hank not so much, but then Joseph had already felt Savage’s fists pounding his body before.
“I’m calling the cops,” Seychelle said. Her voice was shaking.
“No, baby. You don’t want to do that,” Savage said, keeping his voice low. Calm. Very steady but commanding. “I’ll handle them.”
The two men stared at him. Joseph looked scared. Hank looked defiant.
“They broke into my house,” she said.
“Yeah, they did, but it’s best never to call the cops. If these two end up dead, we don’t want a trail leading back to us.”
Her hand twisted in his shirt.
Savage pulled her into his arms. “Seychelle. You’re safe. The brothers are right outside. These two are going to apologize to you right now and tell you they aren’t coming back.”
“Fuck you,” Hank burst out.
“Or they might apologize later. Either way, they won’t be coming back,” Savage amended, keeping his voice gentle. “You get ready for bed and I’ll be right back.” He kissed the top of her head, his arms tight around her. “Gentlemen, do either of you have anything to say to Seychelle before you leave?”
Joseph shook his head and started toward the door. Hank flipped them off and all but pushed the music scout out of his way to get to the door. Destroyer stood on the
other side looking grim-faced. He held the door open for the two men. Beside him, Maestro and Keys indicated for the two men to keep walking when they both hesitated.