Maneater 3 raven, p.6

Maneater 3_Raven, page 6


Maneater 3_Raven

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  He hurried to her car to retrieve her luggage. When he returned to the house, she’d gone no farther than the foyer. She hugged her midriff while she glanced around. The cathedral ceiling and sweeping staircase dwarfed her. For a minute she looked lost, until she realized Ben stood nearby watching. Her shields slipped back into place. Ben didn’t much like it either.

  “You’re even more petite than I recall.” He set her suitcase on the brick-red Spanish tile near her feet.

  “I might be little”—she leaned forward and grabbed her luggage—“but I’m mighty,” she finished in a deadly whisper.

  The words and the promise they held coiled inside his body.

  “If you’ll kindly tell me where I might find my room…”

  “One would think you’d have the layout of the place memorized.”

  “One would.” She sniffed, princess-like. Another dig under his skin. “Far be it for me to be presumptuous. After all, this is your home.”

  “That it is, Miss Moore.” A house he could barely stand, historic as it might be. It was dark and depressing, heavy with furniture an elephant couldn’t budge. It was great for business…and pleasure, but the over-the-top attempt at Spanish mission was too much to live in. This place echoed, was too large, too cold. The only sign of life within these black-and-red walls was his father’s playroom tucked away behind the wine cellar. Ben had made the guest house by the pool his home long ago. It was where he’d stayed when he visited his father.

  “Did you have sex with my father?” The question, bottled up too long, shot out of him. Rachel actually jerked from the impact. Good, he’d caught her off guard. She recovered quickly, though, releasing her hold on her suitcases. He could see her pulling in threads of control. Ben swore she stole them from him.

  “As a fellow Dom, you know the answer to that—”

  “Did you?” Ben wasn’t in the mood for games.

  “No.” Her nose twitched, like he’d been dismissed. “Our relationship was business and very brief.”

  “You have sex with Will.” And it bugged the shit out of him sometimes, only because he couldn’t.

  “Our relationship isn’t business.”

  “But it was.” He stalked around her, monitoring her reactions, breathing in her scent, soaking in her heat.

  “At one time.” Rachel didn’t budge, but her eyes followed his every move.

  “But it changed.”


  Ben stopped behind her, close enough to let her know he meant business, far enough away to keep her from taking over, from knowing he was hard as marble. “Why?” he demanded.

  Rachel looked around and lifted those deep blue eyes to him. “Because I wanted him.”

  “I see.” He passed a slow gaze over her features, looking his fill while her skin flushed and his mouth watered. “You aren’t the only one known for their control, Miss Moore.”

  “Until a few hours ago, I was unaware you had any control to…master.”

  Was she telling him he had her at a disadvantage, or that she’d never considered him a worthy challenge? Ben began his slow pace around her again, trying to cover his indecision, and stopped in front of her. Judging from the gleam in her eyes, it was too late. She’d seen the weakness. He had to act quickly to salvage this. Ben wasn’t going to let her go now that he was so close.

  “Just how mighty are you, Miss Moore?”

  She closed the gap between them, coming within inches of slithering against his body. “Very, Mr. Welsh. Would you like a demonstration?” The whispered words kissed his lips.

  “I expect much, much more than that.”

  “We’ll see.” Rachel gave a small laugh and patted his solid chest. “If you’re a good boy, I’ll show you what I’ve really got.” She was playing with dynamite and looked like she loved every second.

  His smile was slow in forming as he leaned her way. “And if you’re a good girl, Miss Moore, I might even participate.”

  “I look forward to that,” she softly replied.

  Ben acknowledged the agreement with a nod. “Then by all means…let’s go.”

  He sidestepped her and led her through the drawing room, the dining room, and the kitchen, then down the stairs to the steel-reinforced cellar. His insides shook. He half stumbled, head buzzing, his body urging him to hurry the fuck up.

  Fuck. He dug his nails into his palms. The pain did nothing to wipe out the image of her warring with him. He couldn’t tell which of them had won the skirmish for control, because there was nothing controlled about the way he felt now. He wanted to…

  He wanted her, plain and simple. Ah, hell. She’d be like a drug he couldn’t get enough of. Maybe she already was.

  The wine cellar opened up to an innocuous oak door set in the concrete wall. Locked against the world, with only a trusted few possessing the key.

  He turned to face her. She stood with her hands clasped, midnight-blue eyes monitoring his every move and expression. “I presume you’re ready, Miss Moore?”

  A barely perceptible gulp plunged down her throat. Ben closed the distance between them and cupped his hand around her neck. Rachel’s lips parted, ready…expecting a kiss. It killed him not to give her one, but he knew one taste of her mouth and he’d be fucking her six ways to Sunday.

  He burrowed his face into her neck, just below her ear, and licked down the column while he breathed deep. She trembled and crawled her fingers up his torso. He clamped his hand on her ass and hauled her close enough to feel what she did to him. Torture was pulling away when she plucked at his nipple.

  “Miss Moore.” He dismissed her with a nod.

  Rachel stared up at him, mouth open, lips moist. A silent battle of wills ensued. Ben nearly caved. God knew, his cock begged him to. Electricity crackled over his skin, urging his jeans to drop and his groin to tighten. Then her long eyelashes swept downward in clear and unexpected submission.

  He’d won. Victory felt like shit. Ben planned to make up for it later.

  Those dark eyes peered up at him again. A flush covered her cheeks. He felt her heartbeat thud against his chest. A mask descended over her expression, Raven replacing Rachel.

  Ben refused to give her the upper hand. He cupped her chin. “We are equals. Understood…Mistress?”

  Rachel hypnotized him with the glide of her tongue over her wet lips. “That would be Lady Raven. Understood, Sledge?”

  She ran her finger up his torso, then parked it at the base of his throat. Her eyes locked on that spot, her tongue licking another path over her lips.

  “What shall it be? Whip play…or sex? Or both?” she finished in a whisper.

  The words did things to Ben he knew were illegal in some parts of the world, even a few counties in California. He curled his hand around hers and drew it down to his thudding heart.

  “I’m shocked you would ask.”

  “Somehow I doubt that.” She slipped from his arms. “I left my bag of tricks at Will’s. I do hope you don’t mind me borrowing yours.”

  “It would be my pleasure.” Ben realized his mistake too late.

  Rachel grinned. “It certainly will be.”

  Giving her his back, Ben unlocked the playroom. Rachel ducked under his arm and pushed the door open. She flicked on the lights and walked to the padded bench that circled this end of the vast room. Observers could slip in and watch the play on the other side. Of course, there were also those who preferred to watch in stealth, and they could be tucked on the other side of one-way mirrors banking the opposing wall.

  Rachel made sure her ass was lifted high while she took off her shoes and socks. His to look his fill. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear she was daring him to do something. Fuck her. Spank her. Hell, he did know better…and the temptation was too hard to resist.

  Ben sidled up beside her, pressed one hand to the small of her back, and smacked the other palm against her sweet ass. Most women would shriek in protest, jerk upright, flail—if only halfheartedly—against
another swat. Rachel froze.

  “You’re playing with fire, Mr. Welsh.”

  “I do hope so, Miss Moore.” He landed another smack.

  A low groan lifted her backside. “Oh, you’re going to have to do better than that if you hope to impress me.”

  Ben chuckled. “Don’t worry. You’ll get everything you need, Miss Moore.” He dipped his hand between her thighs. “And more.”

  Her knees buckled, and he swore he heard a tiny whimper. Sheer willpower was all that kept him from hauling her away for an all-night fuck. A woman like Rachel—like Raven—needed so much more than that. If he expected to keep her…

  Ben jerked at the errant thought. She’d snagged him from her first smile. He wasn’t willing to let her go. If she knew how much power she held over him, over his emotions, she’d walk all over his heart…and out of his life. His distraction cost him.

  Rachel scrambled from his hold and peeled the T-shirt over her head. Full breasts spilled over white bra cups, the nipples a dark shadow dead center. Ripe for the plucking too. Deep cleavage promised sweet relief.

  “I usually wear a leather vest for this type of activity, but this will have to do for tonight.” Rachel flipped her hair back; time slowed down.

  Ben palmed his crotch and tried to find a comfortable position. He followed every strand of hair up, the purse of her lips, the lift of her breasts as she captured the black tendrils in her hands and wrangled them into a haphazard topknot. A few dared defy her, trickling down enticingly to her neck. God only knew what held her hair in place, because Ben couldn’t see a damn thing.

  She gave Ben a playful smack on the shoulder. “Come on, big guy. Time to show me whatcha got.”

  Sure strides took her to the far end of the room, past all the playroom equipment to the wall-sized cabinet beyond. No hesitation. Rachel knew where she was going. Ben watched her open the cabinet and peruse the selection of crops, whips, paddles, and floggers arranged inside. Her selection was quick. She tugged on leather gloves that hugged her fingers with as much perfection as her skintight jeans did her ass. It was the way she smoothed the leather into place that made him ache—stroking each finger like she’d stroke his cock.

  She damn well knew it too. Ben saw her smirk reflected in the surrounding mirrors. They’d see who was smiling when she was over his lap, those tight jeans binding her knees, and her ass afire from a good paddling.

  “You might want to find a safe place.” Rachel edged past him, a six-foot bullwhip looped in her right hand, a basket of white votives and tapers in the other.

  Rachel randomly placed the candles around the room on equipment, benches, and the floor, then tossed the basket aside as she took center stage. The candles remained unlit. Ben leaned against the horse, out of the line of fire. He hoped.

  Legs braced, fierceness etched in her face, she swung the whip over her head in elegant arcs. He anticipated the crack. Hearing it still generated a full-body gasp. It was the flex in her biceps, the mastery of her control, the power in the follow-through. The candles didn’t stand a chance. Neither did he. It was enough to make a man come all over himself.

  Ben knew his crotch sported a damp shot. It was the least of his concerns at the moment. Not coming all over himself held the top spot.

  He watched her nail every candle over and over again, splitting each in two. She was the whip, and it was her. Sweat glistened on her skin, trickled down her breasts. And when she’d beaten the unlit candles into submission, she swung his way. The whip curled around his feet, mere inches from his bare toes. Somehow he managed not to flinch…or to come.

  “Your turn.” Rachel tossed him the handle. Ben caught it in one hand while she hopped onto the horse beside him, her ass temptingly close.

  “You realize I’m going to have to top you.” And he meant that in every possible way.

  She cocked her head his way. “I’d like to see you try.” Her whiskey-smooth voice held more invitation than caution.

  “I do love a challenge.” Ben slipped his hand over her hip.

  Rachel swung around until that hand was poised near her crotch. “So I’ve heard.”

  The words seeped into Ben’s blood, raced his heart, and tightened his balls. She’d been keeping tabs on his Sledge self. He cupped her knee and slid his hand up her thigh until his fingers were scant inches from the apex. Rachel gave little away, but the fluttering pulse at her throat sure did.

  “I’m waiting,” she singsonged.

  Ben grinned. “For what, Miss Moore?”

  A flush crawled over her face. “I think we both know the answer to that.”

  Ben glided his hand upward, pressing his palm into her belly, then around until his fingers girdled her ribs and his thumb brushed the underside of her breast. He wiggled it under the bra cup and tugged it down, releasing her tit to him. Rapid yet controlled breaths shook the morsel of light brown flesh. He flicked his thumb over it, watched it harden. God, he knew what that felt like.

  Rachel curled her fingers around the horse. Those long lashes swept downward. She was his. Ben prayed he didn’t screw up.

  He traced his thumb over the other cup. Though he longed to watch it spill into his hand too, he kept his gaze on her face for the slightest glimpse to warn him off. The only thing that changed was her lips, parting on a gasp when his thumb grazed her hard nipple.

  “I’m going to fuck you, Miss Moore.” He bent to capture his prize.

  A small whimper fell against his ear. “Not if I fuck you first, Mr. Welsh.” She snagged the edges of her bra and tugged it back into place. “I’m still waiting for that demonstration of your talents.”

  “You’ll be pleased, Miss Moore.” He skirted his hand down to her hip and stepped away. Only one problem remained—how he was going to maneuver with an erection wedged down one leg.

  Chapter Six

  Rachel dug her fingers into the padded horse and tucked her toes behind the brace. It did little to help the quivers subside. A beehive had less activity than her insides.

  Ben hadn’t flinched when she’d lashed the whip to a stop within inches of his toes, but his eyes had stripped her naked. He met her challenge with one of his own, and the verbal duel was as sweet as Ben’s fingers taking what they wanted. He’d devastated her senses, threatened her control. Rachel loved every second, loved the glint in his eyes when she’d reasserted control. This was a strong man. A man who had no problem going after what he wanted. She hoped he wanted her as much as she wanted him.

  A shiver threatened to topple her from her perch. Rachel locked herself in place, wondering if Ben would notice if she sat astride the horse and got herself off. She tore her gaze away from Ben’s tight ass as he walked away. It fell to the whip lying below the horse. He hadn’t taken it, so what had he planned for her entertainment? Maybe her?

  She closed her eyes against the tiny moan that escaped her throat and a new round of quivers that erupted over her skin. A sharp crack had her opening them again. Rachel clenched her thighs with the rush. Ben stood in the center of the room, eight-foot-long whips held in his long-fingered grasps. His skin glistened with sweat earned from hard work. Had he been practicing his moves when she arrived? Loosening up for her? She imagined the salt on her tongue, the scent of male and leather.

  Rachel pulled in a deep breath through her nose, then let it out slowly through parted lips.

  His nod acknowledged her presence before he locked into the zone. It took skill and concentration to wield whips. Distractions caused serious injuries. She’d seen her share of fools step into the safety zone to pass a drink to a friend and come away scarred for life. A few had lost fingers; one an eye, so rumor told.

  Rachel had suffered her share of idiots. Everyone who handled a whip did. Accidents like that rattled a handler for a long time. Some people never picked up another whip. Others overcame the effects and became masters.

  “Oh God,” she whispered.

  Riveted in place, Rachel watched the show begin. Ben swung
the whips in tandem, cracks punctuating the air one right after the other. She felt the kiss of it in her soul. Her heart raced, pumping lust-heated blood through her veins. He spun around, whips circling like black snakes on the wind. Turning candles she thought destroyed into flecks of wax. Around and around.

  Crack! Crack!

  Rachel knew the lure of the whip. She’d used it many times to set the tone. The tool, when turned her way, was intoxicating. So was the man who danced for her now, a swirling vortex of power that would make Mother Nature come in torrents that would drown the parched earth. Every word whispered about Sledge was true.

  Silence descended. Rachel’s chest heaved in unison with Ben’s. He faced her, whips coiled at his sides, body language boasting trump that.

  Rachel hopped down and sauntered his way, not easy to do on shaking legs. Or when each step she took rasped the crotch of her jeans over her too-swollen clitoris. He didn’t move, seemingly content to let her take charge…or else waiting to spring a trap of his own. Rachel smiled. She was ready for anything. Was he?

  “Very well done, Mr. Welsh.”

  Rachel raked her fingers down Ben’s torso and circled around him. His jeans-clad ass was a nice target. Standing behind him, she cupped a butt cheek in each hand. When his breath caught, she dipped her fingers along the curve and continued around until she faced him once more.

  “Anything else you’d care to show me?” Rachel gave a pointed glance toward his erection. Few things showed the perfection of a big cock like a pair of well-worn jeans.

  “Help yourself, Miss Moore.” Ben hooked a thumb through his belt loop.

  “How very generous of you.” She ran her hand down the length of his hot erection. “Very generous.”

  Ben groaned, grabbed her wrist, and pressed her palm in harder.

  “Good. Very, very good.” She rubbed up the length until she reached his fly button. “Now show me.”

  Ben looped the whips over his shoulder and released the fly button with a flick of his thumb. Caught the zipper tab between his fingers. “You might want to brace yourself.”

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