Authors: Christine Feehan
“Harsh. But you survived. Good for you.” Her voice
sounded drowsy. Sexy. It was that tone she had. Musical. Low. Soft. It played over his entire body as if she was stroking him with caresses—or licking him with her tongue.
Her lashes lowered, those long, thick, feathery lashes that he knew he was never going to get out of his mind. At the same time, she touched him. A brush of her fingers against the back of his hand. On his bare skin. His body went still. That small brush got under his skin and rippled outward, spreading slow, flickering flames that kept growing hotter and hotter. It was as if she’d branded him inside his body and that stream of heat turned into a smoldering fire that began to consume him from the inside out.
He had to get out of there. She was tying them together in some undefined way he didn’t understand, but whatever magic she wielded, it was dangerous to both of them. She was . . . nice. She was beautiful. She was normal. He couldn’t be in her life, and she sure as fuck couldn’t be in his. He didn’t want a woman. He didn’t need a woman. Not full-time. Not when he knew if she belonged to him, he’d become an even bigger monster than he already was.
He picked up bitches all the time. Always, always, he was in charge. He did his thing, they blew him and some of the time it brought relief. Not most of the time, but some of the time. Once in a very long while, he snagged a woman who let him use her roughly, completely on his terms, and when she blew him, the relief lasted more than a few hours. The results were days, weeks and once in a while a month or two where the monster in him settled.
“You goin’ to sleep on me?” He hoped she was. He didn’t want her to. He’d never sat with a woman in the dark and just talked quietly. Maybe he just needed to hear the sound of her voice.
“No. I don’t like places like this. They walk in and out and think they aren’t disturbing you, so you have to be nice. They’re helping you. But if I fall asleep, when I jerk awake
because they’re in my room, my heart goes wild and I don’t like the way it makes me feel.”
Her lashes fluttered. The dimple appeared. He found himself looking into the deep blue of her eyes. His heart contracted. She was so fucking beautiful he had no right to even look at her. He’d heard the fairy tale—
Beauty and the Beast
. Sitting on her bed, looking at her face, that body that was created just for him . . . that story could have been theirs.
“Savage, why are you looking so sad? Everything ended the best way it could. The little boy lived. You lived.”
Once again, she touched him. This time on his face. That same brush of her fingers, featherlight, but she created that same strange, shimmering fire that sank under his skin and spread through his body like living flames. He should have knocked her hand away—that would have been the sensible thing to do—but already those flames had made their way into his bloodstream and were growing, spreading fast, picking up speed as the firestorm rushed through his body and then settled in his groin, robbing him of breath.
He wondered what she’d do if he took out his cock and jerked off. Could he do that without ordering his dick to actually work? Coat her skin with him? With his seed? Brand her his? Fuck. Write his name on her from breasts to pussy. His alone. His property.
“Savage? You look tired.”
She scooted over, wincing when she did. Her leg? She had it completely out of the sheet now. He ran his hand over it very lightly, feeling the swelling, feeling the scrapes, most of all aware of her body giving a little shudder as he inspected the damage. It obviously hurt her to be touched, but she didn’t pull away. She seemed to know he needed to see what she’d suffered on his behalf. What she didn’t know was that she was putting even more steel in his cock. So much so that he dropped his hand over the front of his jeans
and rubbed in an effort to try to ease the ache. The burning. The rabid hunger that was beginning to consume him.
“That hurts, doesn’t it?” he whispered, stroking caresses over the scrapes. He could feel each individual laceration where the asphalt had chewed up her skin. He was the devil, courting disaster for both of them.
“Yes,” she admitted. “Not as bad as my head, but it hurts.”
He shifted his weight until both legs were on the bed and he could ease some of the strain on his groin. “Did you cry?”
“Yes.” She whispered the confession in that velvet voice that wrapped him up in sin and temptation.
He leaned back, and when he did, she lifted her head, took one of the pillows and pushed it behind his neck. When she moved, a soft, hastily cut-off groan escaped. He touched her face and found it wet with a few more tears leaking out. His cock reacted, leaking his own pearly drops as he leaned in to her to sip at the ones on her face. He closed his eyes to savor the taste of her teardrops.
“You need to stop moving around, Seychelle. Just lie still.” He made it a command. When he told others what to do, they tended to obey him. Her gaze moved over his face almost as if she found his tone amusing, but she didn’t attempt to move again.
His hand slid over her injured thigh and found more scrapes there. A very small shudder slid over her body when, featherlight, the pads of his fingers found the lacerations and stroked small caresses over them.
He kept his gaze on her face. It was easy to read her every expression. He moved his hand up higher, still gentle, still that light touch, stroking along her rib cage. “Are you hurt here? Bruised?”
“A small scrape. The road chewed me up more than the truck did. It was already stopping and caught me at an angle.”
He pushed her hospital gown aside, easy enough to do when it was simply tied around her neck. He leaned down to examine the laceration along her ribs. The scrape went up her side, shaving skin off, pitted where they’d clearly dug out some gravel. “Fuck, baby, this looks angry.”
He ran his finger up her side until he was touching the underside of her breast. “Did they put any antibiotic cream on this? Not certain I was worth all these scrapes and that goose egg.”
She started to move, but his gaze pinned her to the bed. She went very still again. “You were worth it, Savage. I honestly didn’t see the child at the angle I was coming from.” She winced when his finger slid back down the scrape and then over the side of her breast, where the full curve was scraped. The sensitive skin clearly hurt, because she shuddered when he ran the pads of his fingers over the marks, but she didn’t pull away.
“You need more ointment on this. Where is it?” His heart had nearly stopped when she admitted she’d flung herself in front of the truck for him. To keep him alive. To keep him safe.
“They never leave anything in here.”
“Would you do it again, knowing you would have to endure this all over?” He kept his voice low. His heart accelerated while he waited for her answer. Hot blood rushed through his veins and pounded through his cock. He dropped one hand over the front of his jeans and rubbed through the material. It was sick. It was perverted. She should have screamed for the nurses.
Her lashes lifted all the way and he found himself staring into her clear blue eyes. “I told you, it isn’t that bad. You’re worth this and much more.”
“With my fuckin’ hand on my cock in your hospital room. I’m worth it.” Savage wanted to sneer. He wanted to rip down his zipper and pull the monster from his jeans and jack off. He wanted his brand on her. Everywhere. Dirty.
His way. His voice, damn him, stayed soft, and the question was genuine. He was angry at her. Terrified for her. For him. For both of them.
“Of course you are. Everyone masturbates. If a nurse comes in, you’re going to shock her panties off.” There was that hint of laughter in her voice, and he caught the glimpse of her dimple. “That would be the most entertaining thing I’d see my entire stay, but she’d have you arrested, so not worth it.”
He couldn’t help rubbing his finger back and forth over the scrapes on her ribs and the side of her breast. Each pass sent more blood pounding through his cock, but that only made him feel as if he was really alive when he’d been dead for so fucking long.
Savage closed his eyes against the sight of her bruised, swollen face. Her tears. She wept, but silently. He wasn’t positive she knew her tears were there, but he did—and that was so dangerous when she was with a man with cravings and addictions like his.
He shook his head. “You do know that something’s wrong with you. Why aren’t you screamin’ for help?”
“You’re my fiancé, right? You’re my very first fiancé. I’ve never had one before.”
The laughter in her voice stunned him. She was hurting. He read it on her face easily. He could feel the fine tremors racing through her body as it shuddered in pain. Still, she had that sense of humor. A little sick like his. He was trying to scare her so she’d throw him out. He didn’t belong in the same room with her. Not now. Not ever. He was trying to let her know what a sick bastard he was, but so far, he hadn’t succeeded. She was making it impossible to save her. To save both of them.
He stroked caresses over her cheeks, those high cheekbones. Her soft mouth. Both eyes. He lingered over the dark-colored bruises and then swept the pads of his fingers very lightly over the knot on her head.
“This hurts bad, doesn’t it?” His breath was a whisper of warm air blown softly over the swelling. He brushed his lips lightly over it as if he could kiss her better. He kissed both eyes lightly and then followed the trail of her tears, licking and sipping until he was certain he’d collected every last one of them and there were none left.
“Yes,” she whispered again.
“I can make it all better. I can turn your pain into something else.” His voice, his touch, was mesmerizing. He knew because he had been raised to be compelling. He knew every expression to use, the tone of his voice, the octave that appealed. He just hadn’t bothered for years, because he hadn’t wanted to keep anyone.
Savage pulled back abruptly. What the fuck was he thinking? Tying her to him? That wasn’t happening. Not now. Not ever. He sat up and rubbed his head. He kept it shaved, although he had thick hair. He liked the look and he knew it added to the intimidation factor. He was Savage and he always would be. He didn’t keep women. Certainly not
woman, not one like this woman, not one for himself. He slid off the bed.
“Gotta go, Seychelle. Hit the call button after I leave and tell them to up your meds. There’s no reason for you to suffer like this.” For him. She was suffering for him.
He turned back to her, because he couldn’t stop himself from making what he knew was a huge mistake. “I’m fuckin’ going to kiss you, Seychelle. Just this once. Gotta leave with the taste of you in my mouth. If you object, now’s the time to say it. Don’t know if it’s goin’ to matter to me, but I’ll take any objection you might have into consideration.”
He wasn’t joking, but that dimple of hers came out again, making his cock leak like a sieve and his heart stutter in his chest. She didn’t voice an objection. Her blue eyes drifted over him as if she was claiming him. He felt the touch of those blue flames licking his skin, burning him so
deep he knew he wasn’t getting her out of him anytime soon. It didn’t matter. He would never see her again. It wasn’t safe for either of them.
His mouth settled on hers. Her lips were full, soft and paradise just to feel. He was risking everything just to kiss her, and the moment he did, the moment his mouth was on hers, she gave herself to him. Fire. Flames. Passion. They poured into him. She tasted like heaven. Something he’d never experienced. An angel sent to save him, and all she got for her trouble was bruised and scraped flesh.
It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered but kissing her. Taking her taste into his mind, then his body. Setting up an addiction. He was a fucking fool for kissing this woman. He’d known he’d be lost, and he was. Thunder roared in his ears. His blood thickened into molten lava. Electrical sparks seemed to dance over his skin. She tasted like innocence. She tasted like sin. Passion welled up, hot and undeniable. Real. Every single nerve ending that had been dead since he’d been ten years old flared into fiery, hungry predatory need.
Abruptly, he lifted his head. He caught her jaw in his hand, thumb pressing deep. “Look at me, Seychelle.” He waited until those eyes of hers looked straight into his. “Your life is worth far more than a fucking bastard like me. You don’t ever trade it for anyone’s again. You got that? You deserve it all. The white picket fence. The dream. All of it. Don’t throw it away on someone like me. Do you understand?”
She was looking right into his eyes. She had to understand. She had to see him. Right down to his rotted soul. He was a killer, and she couldn’t fail to see that. He wanted her to see him, to see inside, where he never let anyone see. He wanted her to know what she’d saved today. How close she’d come to death for a man who was trained to kill and had been doing so since he was a young child. A man whose first thought was to kill when anyone crossed him. She saved that. Worse, he was a monster. The real deal. She saw that. And still she didn’t flinch. He wanted to shake her.
Instead, Savage’s hold on her face gentled and he touched his lips almost tenderly to hers. He wasn’t going to see her again—not ever. That would be a disaster. He knew her now, knew how soft she was inside. Knew her compassion and her need to save others. He had to stay as far from her as possible. He wasn’t a man who saved lives—he took them, but he would make an exception this one time, even though she saw the monster he never let anyone see unless they were going to die.