He looks down at me, and his face is so stern, so solemn…so hungry that I almost flee right then.
Instead, I ride it out. I tell myself I can handle whatever happens, and I stand my ground as he turns the knob and pushes it open.
His eyes cling to my face as he waves me inside first.
I step inside expecting something grand. Elaborate. Even magical. And that’s exactly what I find.
The wall in front of me is nothing but a sheet of glass, giving me a stunning view of the tops of pines, and the river rushing over rocks below them. Above the treetops, the pale sky stretches on and on, marred only by another crow or hawk or raven.
I could get lost in that view, but I don’t let myself. I roll my gaze around the room, taking in its deep plum walls, high ceilings. There’s even a fancy indention at the center of the ceiling, something that looks right out of a home and garden magazine. And to my left is the bed. A huge, imposing, mahogany canopy with a pale green duvet and curtains that drop down around it.
A bed for sex.
My hunch is confirmed when I notice, amongst the heavy dresser and wide desk, a claw-footed tub in one corner of the bedroom.
I’ve got my mouth half open, trying to decide if I should just be me and blurt out “sex cave,” or continue with my act and feign charm.
I turn around to him, belatedly realizing I should be making sure he doesn’t shut and lock the door. I find his eyes on me, but when my gaze meets his, he breaks away and walks over to the window.
“This used to be my room,” he says without turning around to look at me.
“I gave it up for trainees.”
“That sounds kinky.” It’s unplanned; I just murmur it.
He turns to me, his eyes hardened, his mouth gone sensuously soft. “You think so, Miss Whatley?”
I nod, and he walks over to me.
His hands close around my wrists. He looks into my eyes, like he’s desperate to see what I’m thinking. He brings one of my hands to his mouth. The soft brush of his lips on my palm makes me tingle, but it doesn’t matter. I’m going through with my plan regardless of how attracted I am to him.
“Can you see yourself staying here?” he asks, in that low, deep, sexy voice of his.
“I don’t know.” I try to sound weak; uncertain. “I think I’d miss my friends at the Tri Gam house.”
“I could make you forget about them while you’re here.”
IS KELLAN WALSH PROPOSITIONING ME?
“How could you do that?”
He steps a little closer to me, sending my pulse racing. His wide chest is inches from my breasts. I find myself longing to step forward.
Instead, he does.
My breasts mash against his chest as our hips brush. Half a heartbeat later, I feel his dick pressing against my lower belly.
Oh my God.
His hands come up and frame my face. His eyes, on mine, are hypnotic.
“I’m not going to lie to you. I want your body, Cleopatra. I’d like nothing more than for you to stay here with me. I’ll teach you to deal—teach you how to avoid getting caught, how to maximize your, our earnings—and we can see if this goes anywhere.”
“That’s why you brought me up here?” I whisper.
He nods slowly.
They say willpower is finite, and tonight, I’ve used up all of mine. Not going after Cleo and giving her the whipping that she earned. Not calling one of the girls on my list of dirty fucks.
I pull up the text feature first, but I know as soon as I see it that I’m not going to text Cleo.
I need to hear her voice.
I punch her number in and sit at the top of the front staircase, looking down on the foyer: a dark cavern, sparkled and polished—all for naught. No one who comes here cares about those sorts of things.
No one but me.
I like order.
Cleo lets it ring so many times, I’m surprised when the ringing gives way to silence. A little rush jolts through my body when I realize she’s breathing into the phone.
It takes her a moment to answer, and when she does, she sounds young and fragile. “It’s me.”
I curl my fingers around the phone, remembering the sweet scent of her pussy. My dick hardens, and as it does, my balls draw up and ache. I ignore the pain and focus on the pleasure. My hand drifts down and wraps around the thick head of my dick. I tug and grin, imagining how I’m going to discipline Miss Whatley when I get another chance.
“What do you have to say for yourself?” I ask.
I know she’s got something to say to me. Otherwise she wouldn’t have answered my phone call. I wait a minute or so, stroking my dick through the opening of my robe.
Finally she says, “What do you have to say for yourself? You made me feel cornered and scared. It’s not my fault your balls had to pay the price.”
I laugh—a low hoot, surprising myself. “Is that right?”
“Yeah, that’s right. I don’t like you, Kellan Walsh. I don’t want to talk to you again.”
“Tell me—how does your pussy feel? My cock is wounded. Even now, as it salutes her, it feels…misunderstood. Discarded.”
“Are you really trying to sexy talk me after what happened today?”
“No trying to. I am. Don’t tell me you don’t like it.”
“Is that a threat?” Her voice is high, like she really thinks it might be.
“Cleo. Cleo, Cleo… We’ve gotten off on the wrong foot, I’m afraid. If you think I would hurt you, I’m forced to wonder if you’re fanaticizing. I’d never hurt a woman who didn’t beg for it.
I feel his arm weave underneath my shawl, the weight of his wide palm as his hand spreads over my thigh. His fingers burn through the cotton of my leggings, then drift to the crease between my legs.
I grip his shoulder. “Kellan…”
I clench my teeth as he settles his fingertips on me, tracing my most intimate curves as if he’s learning braille.
His mouth strokes toward the collar of my shirt.
I grip the solid muscle of his shoulder. “I can’t.”
His thumb strokes the line of my lips. His fingers part them; he’s working his way inside, teasing against the fabric of my leggings.
With the hand still between my legs, he wraps his other arm around me and he pulls me onto his lap. The arm that’s not across my belly, reaching down between my legs, is holding onto my waist. He shifts his hips, spreading his legs, and tightens the arm around my chest, holding me against him as his hard length presses against my backside.
The cotton of my leggings is wet and pliant. The pressure of his fingers is just right, making me want to lift my hips, making me bite back screams.
“Tell me ‘no,’ Cleo.”
He rocks himself against my backside, peeling down the waist of my leggings so he can reach inside. His palm brushes my mound. His fingers find their mark. He parts and strokes once, down toward my center. His finger smears my slickness, and I start to quiver.
“It’s okay…” he rumbles. “Focus on my fingers.”
I remind myself to think on his words later: whether it would ever be possible to relax around him. Then I’m trembling again. Lost.
He rolls his fingers through my moisture, spreads my lips, and glides down me, skating…skating. Then he’s dipping down and curving. His fingertip is pushing into me. He adds another, shoves them deep.
I groan and buck against him.
He shifts his hips, so his huge cock pushes harder against my backside.
“Cleo… You’re so warm inside…so tight.” His fingers wriggle deeper. I let my legs fall open. I can’t help it. Every muscle in my body trembles as his lips caress my ear.
With his fingers pushed deep into me, he glides his thumb over my clit.
I can feel the outline of him pressed against my ass: the long, thick shaft; the plump, round head.
I can feel his fingers curl inside me.
“Ahhhhh.” I don’t mean to make a sound, but there it is. A moan spills out, turning the air around us into honey.
“You like getting finger-fucked,” he growls. “You love it.”
His thumb glides up and down my slit, then rolls around my swollen clit. I rock my hips, taking his fingers deeper into me; pushing my ass back against his hardness.
“What if I rub a little faster here?” His thumb drags, heavy and slick, over my swollen nub. “What if I quit teasing you,” his low voice whispers, “and try something like this?”
He bends his wrist a little, and I can feel another finger stretch me. “You’re so full…” He pushes slowly in. “Your pussy’s stuffed.”
“I can feel how tight you are,” he whispers in my ear. “How much I’m stretching you.”
He’s right. I’m full. So full. I feel both paralyzed and shocked. Like I’m gripping a live wire.
His thick fingers have begun to pump: shoving in, then dragging slowly out.
I arch my back. “Oh Jesus. Please…”
His thumb, encircling my clit, is deft and slick. I rock mindlessly against him.
He pulls his fingers almost out, the tips of them only just inside…teasing. I clench, wanting him deeper.
“Say my name,” he orders.
“Kellan,” I pant.
All three fingers thrust at once. My pleasure squirts against his expert hand.
“Deeper.” My voice cracks.
He slides out a little. Strokes back in.
His thumb is playing in my moisture, painting my clit. My throbbing clit.
His fingers stroke against my walls, making me dizzy.
“You want my cock inside you. You can’t take much more. You’re so tight, Cleo. So greedy. When I stroke over your clit, I can feel how slick and swollen you are. Your cunt is so tight around my fingers, I can barely move them.”
As if to demonstrate, his fingers surge and writhe.
I groan and arch my back. I’m gripping his arms. Wrapping my feet around his calves. I throw my head back, panting.
Money isn’t everything, of course, but it’s a lot. If you’ve never been poor, you wouldn’t understand. When you have no means, you have no choices. Even something as simple as choosing the scented Secret deodorant at the grocery store was revolutionary for me when I first started dealing. Being able to grab a snack I want at a gas station, or buy one notebook for each of my school subjects, rather than a five-subject spiral notebook that would have to work for all my classes.
You know how they say ‘it’s the little things’? It so is. Like eating cheese. Not the boring, WIC-approved kind, but the good stuff: asiago, halloumi, havarti. When you have one pair of shoes, and it rains, guess what? They start to stink, because you have to wear them the next day, and the next day, and the next. Call me petty, but I don’t like stinky shoes.
I like crackers. Do you know how expensive a box of Cheese-Its is? Plus or minus four dollars. What about jeans? I like jeans that fit my curves in all the right ways; not the cheap ones. I like painting on canvases that don’t come from the discard pile behind Michael’s. Almost all my art from high school and my freshman year is done on ripped canvas.
I don’t want to be second-rate.
I don’t want to always be reaching.
I don’t want to be a cashier, or a gas station clerk, or a mill worker.
I’m so close to all my goals, I can’t give up now. Even if I have to spend a couple weeks at Kellan Walsh’s illicit river mansion, sticking my ass into the air for him.
It’s not as if I mind that, I remind myself. Sharing my body with him can be done without too much heartache, I think, if I can only manage to remember the limitations of our arrangement.
A strand of hair falls into my eyes, and I swipe it off my face. In doing so, I get a glimpse of Kellan, striding a half foot in front of me. He’s got my backpack slung over one muscled shoulder and my overnight bag hanging from the other. I notice, as I pull ahead to walk beside him, he’s still holding the sack.
“What’s in there?” I ask. My stomach rumbles at the sight of the grease stains on the paper bag.
He looks down at his hand, as if he’s only just remembered he’s carrying it. He gives me a small, lopsided smile—a smile that feels distracted, as if he’s only peeking out at me from wherever he is inside his head. He says, “You’ll see.”
He holds his free hand out, and I stare down at his forearm. The skin on the inside of his arm is smooth and pale, softness stretched over taut, rippling muscle. He’s so beautiful and well-hewn, he reminds me of the male gymnasts I used to watch in the Olympics.
I glance up at his eyes. They’re steely and blue, the color of the ocean. He raises his brows disapprovingly, urging me with just that look to take his hand, and me being me, I fold after only a moment.
“Skittish,” he murmurs.
“You’re skittish. Like a deer.”
With a tug of my hand, he steers me to the right, toward a wall of bookshelves stretching from floor to ceiling.
I open my mouth to tell him I’m not a deer. I’m a sloth. It’s my longstanding nick name, from back in middle school, and it’s evidenced by my favorite little necklace—now tucked safely into my bookbag—but I get the feeling he’d give me grief for it. Instead I say, “I’m not skittish. I’m suspicious.”
“Don’t be,” he says. “I’ll take care of you.”
Ella James is a USA Today bestselling romance author. Her books have appeared on numerous bestseller lists, including the Movers & Shakers list and the Amazon Top 25 overall; two were listed among Amazon's Top 100 Bestselling Young Adult Ebooks in 2012. To find out more about Ella's projects and get dates on upcoming releases, you can stalk her on the following social media sites:
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