Authors: Tracy Cooper-Posey
But even that control was quivering, ready to shatter and leave her a stringless puppet. She could feel her orgasm building...building. It gathered like the black clouds of a storm, thick with violent promise, while the air crackled with tension. His fingers against her clitoris kept time with his cock.
As if he could read every nuance of her body, he orchestrated her pleasure, lengthening it, delaying it.
At last, she could feel his own body ripple with the final uncontrolled, helpless thrusts and quivers that foretold his climax. With a roar he came. The guttural sound tripped off Delly’s climax, which slammed through her with the promised violence and heat.
Unable to hold herself up any longer, she fell forward onto the soft wool of the carpet. Her breath was erratic and her heartbeat so rapid it blurred into thrumming that echoed in her temples, her ears, her toes.
She was gently rolled over, her flank coming to rest against Cadogan’s hot body, his legs entwining in hers. He looked down at her, his mesmerizing eyes looking sleepy. His hand trailed across her body with absent-minded caresses. They weren’t intended to arouse—they were a physical man’s equivalent of doodling.
His silence added to her swiftly expanding discomfort. She countered the guilt by lifting her arms up around his neck, and gently soothing her fingers across the flesh there. “Is this the moment when you call the police, now you’ve finished with me?” she asked. She had no interest in his answer. The question was simply to distract him.
He frowned, the sleepy look vanishing. “You think so badly of me, Delly?”
She slid her hands around his neck, stroking the flesh under his ears. She could feel the big artery there, pulsing through the skin. “You were the one that raised the question in the first place,” she pointed out, and pressed her thumbs inwards.
“That was before—” He tried to jerk away from her hands, suddenly aware of what her thumbs were doing. With a curse, he ripped at her arms, using a strength he shouldn’t have been capable of by then. Her hands were ripped from his neck and pinned to the carpet on either side of her.
Fury etched itself on his face as he lay over her, his body holding her down. “What the fuck is going on here?”
“Whatever do you mean?” Delly tried to keep her expression innocent and wide-eyed, and her voice puzzled. She had lost another chance to escape because he’d been too quick to react and she fought against despair. She could not afford to keep blowing her chances like this. There would not be that many, not with Neal Cadogan. Especially not now.
“You think I don’t know what it is you were trying to pull just then?” His anger seemed to pulse from him. “You were trying to knock me unconscious by restricting my carotid arteries.”
She abandoned her bluff. “So?” She managed a shrug.
” His tone was one of stunned amazement. “Just what is it you think I intend to do to you, Delly? Where did this...fury for me come from?”
She dodged the direct question. To answer it would reveal her deep shame, her stupidity. Instead, she hit back with her own anger, using it as a deflection. “You cuff me to the bed, threaten to call the police and wonder why I try to escape? Did your IQ shrink the last ten years or something, Neal? Because you weren’t that stupid in Colorado.”
He stared at her. Perhaps her anger had surprised him. “Explain it to me, then,” he said, more gently.
“What’s to explain? You’re standing between me and freedom. I intend to be out of this house long before six a.m. hits.”
“Why, what happens at six? The world falls apart?”
Caution flooded her. She’d said too much. “You could say that,” she agreed carefully. It was sort-of the truth. Not long after six a.m. it would be Delly’s world that came to an end. She looked him directly in the eye, making sure he understood how serious she was about this. “I have an appointment tomorrow morning. One I won’t miss even if I have to shoot you to make it. Don’t get in my way, Neal. Not this time.”
His eyes narrowed. “Not
time? What was the first occasion? I must have been asleep at the time.”
Too much. She’d said too much. She looked away. “Don’t worry about it. The last time didn’t involve you,” she lied.
She thought the silence that stretched was because he didn’t believe her.
“Delly,” he said softly.
She looked back at him.
let you go. But for now, I need to have my fill of you. You walked out of my life once before and it...it almost killed me, Delly.” This time it was Neal who looked away abruptly. He cleared his throat, then forced himself to continue. “This time, at least, I have advance notice. I intend to take my fill before you disappear and consider myself lucky.”
“You’ll let me go?” she breathed, her heart suspended.
“I’ll let you go.” To demonstrate, he let her arms go, and sat up. “But not before dawn.”
Delly slowly sat up. Despite the painful past telling her Neal Cadogan could not be taken at his word, she believed him. And the belief freed her of the need to escape. In its place the ravening physical hunger returned, curling its way through her with tingling fingers. She rested her hand on his thigh, slid it over the firm muscle, searching for his cock. She pressed herself up against him from behind.
She heard his quick catch of breath. It was an erotic sound. “Your hands on me...” he sighed.
“All over,” she agreed.
Ten years ago.
There were athletes all over the city, most of them so focused on adjusting to the altitude and getting in their training in preparation for the trials in two week’s time, that they had turned into obsessive compulsive automatons.
Neal couldn’t wait to get paid so he could blow the town for good.
The call to pick up his payday sent him deep into the heart of Olympic territory, the main arena where the trials would be held. He grimaced and walked from his hotel to the complex, barely ten minutes away. He arrived early and after passing through security, wandered around the halls, watching for a few minutes here and there. He realized he was deep in the heart of gymnastic territory.
There was a blonde woman working on a floor routine with a ball. Neal wasn’t a gymnastic fan and even less thrilled with the ribbons and hoops and stuff that the women’s gymnastics had introduced lately. But he caught from the corner of his eye a small part of the blonde woman’s routine with the ball, and it...
. He wasn’t aware of coming to an absorbed halt, but he found himself standing inside the half-closed door, watching, as she perfected the movement, which involved letting the ball run from her hand held high in the air, down across the back of her neck, to the hand spread waiting on the floor. Her whole body was elongated, graceful...
The coach finally seemed happy, and the blonde smiled. Her smile lit up her face. It was one of those whole body, warm-you-all-over expressions that some women seemed to have, that endowed upon a man, could weaken his knees.
The blonde stood in the very corner of the mat, the ball held in one hand over the top of her head. The coach started some music, and it wasn’t poppy, quick jazzy stuff. It was elegant, liquid and fitted the blonde perfectly.
The blonde rolled into her routine.
Who is she
? Neal wondered. He watched the routine for the full three minutes. And it was just as elegant, as intelligent, as the music. He was entranced.
The coach seemed annoyed and stalked onto the mat, her boot heels digging stars into the matting, and stood talking to the blonde, her voice low. But even from where he stood, Neal could hear the strident, demanding tone.
The blonde nodded, over and over.
There was a man sitting with a laptop a few rows down from where Neal stood. Neal climbed down to his row. “Can you tell me who she is?” he asked.
“That one? That’s...um, Alexander. Delly, I think.” He opened a file on his laptop. “Yep. Delly Alexander.”
“She looks a lot older than some of the others trying out.”
“She’s a dark horse, that one. Twenty-three and her First Olympic trial, but they’re already saying she’s a contender.” The guy shook his head. “I dunno. I don’t think they should be letting them into the Olympics at such an advanced age. They’re career is almost over before it has started.”
Neal struggled to find an answer that wasn’t insulting. He clearly didn’t understand sports or the Olympics well enough to have an informed opinion. But he found the idea of contemplating someone’s career as almost over at twenty-three pessimistic in the extreme, and utterly bizarre.
He realized that the blonde had thrown jeans and boots on over her leotard, and a light coat, and was climbing the stairs to leave the arena. She would pass directly by him.
Neal climbed back to his spot by the door and turned to watch her ascent. She wasn’t watching where she put her feet. Instead, she was turning her head, taking in the couple of dozen people sitting in the stands—other athletes waiting for their training slot to open up, their coaches, family and friends, and some media people, too. Plus some interested observers, like the guy with the laptop, who seemed to have no discernable role that Neal could figure out, and Neal himself.
The blonde—Delly—reached up and pulled clips from her hair, and shook her hair out, even as she climbed. The blonde hair spilled around her shoulders and she shook it out of her face and pushed it back with one hand, the fingers sliding through the locks.
Then she started working on the straps around her wrist. She still wasn’t bothering to check her footing as she climbed. She was that sure of her balance and her sense of distance and timing.
She frowned, and tugged on the strap, then lifted it to her mouth and started gnawing at it with her teeth.
“Need help with that?” Neal asked, lifting his voice a little, for she was still a couple of steps from the top.
She looked up at him and paused, a slender tie from the strap caught between her teeth, her arm up by her jaw.
Then she smiled, lowering her arm. “I guess I should have brought the Velcro straps with me, huh?” She climbed the two steps and stopped in front of him. “This is embarrassing, but would you mind?” She held out her wrist. “It tightened up during training, and now I can’t budge the damned thing.”
Neal teased and tugged the knot undone, while he tried to deal with the impact she was having on him. This close, even in the near darkness of the auditorium, he could see her eyes were green, and there wasn’t a hint of brown in the green at all. They were a pure, unadulterated sea green. She was wearing makeup. Just enough to enhance her eyes. Lipstick.
And scent. Something light and lethal that was curling around his head and making his cock stir and his balls to tighten.
“I was watching your routine,” he told her, trying to cover up his powerful reaction.
“Oh?” She smiled, but her eyes grew wary. “You’re a fan of gymnastics?”
“Never,” he confessed. “I don’t even watch the Olympics.” He gave her back her wrist, the knot untied. “But you made me understand why people go crazy over it.”
She unravelled the strap and shoved it into the pocket of her suede coat. She pushed her hands in the pockets, too. “Well. Thanks.”
“Can I buy you a coffee?” he asked, and could feel his own jaw unhinge in shock. Where had that come from? Well, he knew exactly where it had come from, but clearly, his mouth had slipped the leash of better sense. He wasn’t in Colorado for this. He was leaving town this afternoon.
Her lips had opened in surprise, too. Then she tilted her head. “You’re not one of those guys who goes around sleeping with every Olympic medallist they can fuck, are you?”
“They do that?” he asked, astonished. Then he shook his head. “No, I’m not one of those guys. You’re definitely my first Olympic medallist.”
She smiled. “I’m not a medallist. I’m not even a contender.”
“You will be.”
She had been about to say something, but her words halted at the edge of her lips. She let them out, unspoken, on an exhalation as she studied him. “And you aren’t a gym nut?” she repeated.
“Not in the slightest. Does that mean coffee is out?”
“I don’t do coffee.” She raised a brow. “But I could murder a chicken burger, especially if it had bacon on it. I’m starving.”
“Burgers it is. I just have to make a quick phone call. We can stop at the payphone in the foyer.” He held out his hand. “I’m Neal.”
She shook it, and he could feel power in her grip to spare. “Delly.”
Delly finished her burger when Neal was still three bites into his.
She burped softly and sat back.
“Is it just me, or are they making them smaller these days?”
Neal laughed. “Here, take my fries.”
She shook her head. “Too fatty.”
He considered her. “Would you like another burger?”