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Mine to crave, p.11

Mine to Crave, page 11

 part  #4 of  Mine Series

 

Mine to Crave
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  The place was gorgeous. Phenomenal.

  Then Jasmine looked up—up at the chandeliers that shone like diamonds above her. Amazing.

  Drake’s arm wrapped around her waist. “Do you like it?”

  She thought about the home she’d had as a kid. The old trailer on the rough patch of land that no one else wanted. “It’s…a little excessive.”

  He laughed lightly. “It was the trees in the lobby, right?”

  She didn’t even know how those trees—real trees—were alive out in the lobby.

  “When you come from nothing,” Drake said as he guided her toward a private elevator. “Sometimes you want everything.” He swiped a keycard over the security control panel, and the elevator’s doors slid open.

  The mirrored walls of the elevator tossed Jasmine’s reflection right back at her.

  “What do you want?” Drake asked her.

  The elevator was rising. He was close to her. So very close. Drake seemed to fill that small space.

  She had decided to be as honest with him as she could be. Because Drake mattered and, most shocking of all, he seemed to be saying that she mattered to him, too.

  I need you.

  “I want to belong.” To some place. To somebody. She wanted a home. A real one. When the holidays came around, she wanted to bake cookies and stare up at a Christmas tree and be held in the arms of a man who loved her.

  She didn’t want to be alone forever.

  “You can belong to me.”

  Her knees did a little jiggle. Had the elevator stopped rising? The doors hadn’t opened but it felt as if they weren’t moving any longer.

  He came toward her and put his hands on either side of her, pressing his palms flat against the mirror behind her and caging Jasmine against his body. “Do you want to belong to me?”

  Her head was spinning. She’d thought that he’d just walked away from her. But he’d searched for her. Protected her, again, and now he was offering her…

  Hope.

  “I want to be with you.” The attraction she felt for him was unlike anything she’d experienced before. When he touched her, Jasmine’s heart raced. When he kissed her, she went molten. And when he was in her, she exploded.

  “Then be with me.” His head lowered. His lips brushed against hers.

  The kiss was tender. Open-mouthed. Hot. And she was molten—again. Jasmine knew her panties were getting wet. She wanted to shove off his clothes. To have sex with him right there. Then.

  No restrictions. No fears. She wanted the pleasure he could give here once more.

  Without the shame.

  Her hand pushed against his chest.

  Drake’s head lifted.

  “Don’t walk away again.” She couldn’t handle that. Not from him.

  Drake nodded. His gaze held hers. “And don’t run from me.”

  Her eyes searched his. There was something there, in his stare. An emotion that she couldn’t quite define.

  “Because if you ran, then I’d be like Maxwell. Chasing you through the streets.” His laugh held a rough edge. “Or I guess I already am like him.”

  “No.” Her denial was swift. “You could never be like him.”

  A muscle flexed near his jaw.

  “You’re safe here,” Drake told her. “Security has been doubled. Maxwell and his men won’t get to you here.” He backed away. Used that keycard again and the doors opened. “I have a room here that we can use for the night. Private quarters that I keep.”

  Sleeping wasn’t exactly high on her priority list.

  She followed him from the elevator.

  But he stilled in that small hallway. “I’m going to destroy him.”

  “Drake—”

  “You won’t like what I do. But it’s going to happen. Then you’ll never have to worry about running from anyone again.”

  His words caused fear to rush through her, but in the next moment, he had her in his arms. He was carrying her—carrying her!—into his private quarters. Into the bedroom attached there. He stripped her slowly. Using so much care, when, before, he’d been frantic in his need.

  His hands slid over her body. His caresses seemed to cherish her. She had to blink away tears because she knew what he was doing.

  I felt like a whore.

  “I want to see your pleasure, princess.”

  And now he was treating her like someone precious.

  He stroked her and caressed her until Jasmine was about to go out of her head. He’d been demanding before, and he still was—but only demanding her pleasure.

  He caught her nipples in his hands. Thumbed the peaks, had her gasping. Fire rushed to her sex as he kissed and stroked his way down her body. He seemed to be even more careful on the flesh around her bandage, but Jasmine didn’t even feel an ache from a wound. She was too focused on him.

  His mouth pushed over her core. His tongue licked her clit, and when she arched off the bed, he locked his hands around her hips and took even more of her.

  She climaxed with a fury so hard that the room went dark. Her heart was a drumbeat in her ears. Her breaths panted out. The pleasure twisted her up, shook her. It was amazing. He was amazing.

  Then he…he pulled away.

  “Drake?” He left her there on the bed, still shuddering and quaking. His hand smoothed over her, once, so carefully, then he retreated.

  She watched, heartbeat still not back to its normal rhythm, as he stopped near the window.

  Drake gazed out at the city below. She could practically feel the intensity of his desire filling that room. But he’d walked away. “Drake, you—”

  “I want the pleasure to just be yours.”

  “That’s not what I want.” She rose from the bed. Naked.

  He turned toward her. “You don’t have to give me anything,” he seemed to push out the words. “This time was just for you. I can be more than a selfish bastard.”

  She lowered onto her knees before him. Did he know that she’d never done this for another man? No, he couldn’t know. But she’d never really wanted to, until now.

  “And this is just for you.” Her hands fumbled a bit as she reached for the snap of his jeans, then she pulled down the zipper with a hiss of sound that was far too loud in that quiet room.

  His cock sprang toward her. No underwear for her tough guy. Just a full, long cock. One that she had to stroke as she explored with her hands.

  Her knees pressed into the lush carpet as she leaned toward him. Her breath blew lightly over that heavy length and his cock swelled even more.

  “Jasmine…be careful…”

  Oh, crap, maybe it was obvious this was her first time. “I’m new at this,” she confessed as she glanced up at him, “so tell me when I do something wrong.”

  The darkness of his pupils swallowed the green of his eyes. “New?”

  “You’re my first.” She felt like she could tell him anything in that moment. “So if I do it wrong—”

  “You can’t. No damn way.”

  His hands bit into her shoulders.

  She pressed a kiss to the head of his shaft. Then she opened her mouth and took him inside.

  “Wanted you to…be careful…” His words were so low and rough. “Because you’re making me want you…too much…”

  She liked his taste. Loved the tang. Wanted more. So she tried to take more of him as she licked and sucked.

  His hands moved to curve around her nape. He tilted her head and she took more of him.

  He was—

  “Jasmine!”

  He had her on her feet. Two steps and he had her on the bed. Her legs fell apart as she hit the mattress, and he was right there. He’d put on a condom in an instant and now he had her in his sights. Still standing, at the side of the bed. He pulled her toward him. Her hips were at the edge of the mattress and he thrust into her, deep and hard, filling every inch of her.

  “Warned you,” Drake bit out. “Want you…too much.”

  And there it was. The wi
ld, frantic mating that she’d secretly wanted. The rush that wasn’t controlled. The need that wasn’t safe.

  In and out. He drove into her again and again, and Jasmine loved it. Her nails scraped over his shoulders as she fought to get closer to him. To hold him as tightly as she could and take everything that he had to give.

  She arched against him, her head tipping back against the bed. His mouth pressed to her throat. The sting of his teeth electrified her.

  When she came, Jasmine felt Drake erupt inside of her. Biting her lip, Jasmine tried to hold back a scream. She didn’t want—

  “Give it to me,” Drake demanded. “Give me everything.”

  So she cried out her pleasure.

  And he growled her name.

  ***

  He was watching her sleep.

  Drake stared down at Jasmine as she lay curled in his bed. His arm was under her head. Hell, he was her pillow. And he…didn’t mind.

  She looked innocent. Sexy.

  Right.

  And that was wrong.

  No woman was supposed to look right in his bed. He had a rule—his lovers didn’t stay the night.

  So why was he pulling her closer and inhaling that vanilla scent that clung to her?

  She’d been so hesitant when she knelt before him and told him that it had been her first time. He hadn’t wondered if the words were a lie. Her eyes had flickered with nervousness and desire, and she’d touched him almost reverently.

  She’d also nearly made him fall to his knees when that sexy mouth had closed around his aroused flesh.

  But the desire was sated. The passion had cooled.

  Or, at least, that was what Drake was trying to tell himself. The twisted truth was that he’d fuck her again. And again. He wanted to take her endlessly. Sex with her had been even better the second time.

  He loved to see her eyes go blind with pleasure. Loved her taste.

  She snuggled closer to him.

  His hand smoothed over her shoulder.

  His phone vibrated then. He’d moved it to the small nightstand, and he reached out, being careful not to disturb her as he read the text.

  Got info you need.

  The text was from Trace.

  Drake glanced at Jasmine’s sleeping face.

  The phone vibrated again. His gaze slid over the screen.

  Be careful. There’s more going on than you know.

  Right. Because, of course, Trace would’ve found out that Jasmine was trying to screw him over.

  He almost texted back…I don’t want to know. Because he just wanted to stay in that bed with her, and act as if the rest of the world didn’t matter. He wanted Jasmine to simply be the woman that she appeared to be in his arms.

  No secrets. No lies.

  That wasn’t the way his reality worked.

  Carefully, he rose from the bed. Jasmine had said that she’d called Maxwell from the phone at his home in the Quarter, so getting that number hadn’t exactly been hard.

  Instead of responding to Trace’s text, Drake called Maxwell Case. The call was already overdue.

  The phone rang once. Twice. Then…

  “Who the hell is this?”

  Drake smiled. “I’m the man planning to destroy you.”

  Jasmine stirred a bit on the bed, moving restlessly.

  “Archer.”

  “You shouldn’t have started a war with me.” Because if there was one thing that Drake knew how to do, it was fight a war.

  “You’re the one who started this. You think I don’t know what you did? To her?”

  Drake’s gaze narrowed on Jasmine. She was still sleeping.

  “If she didn’t come back, she told me to look for you. She thought she could count on you.”

  A cold fist squeezed his guts. “This is personal,” he said. Not about business. Not about casinos.

  “She trusted you, and you killed her.”

  A chill encased Drake’s skin as those words sank in. Drake realized that his past was coming back to bite him in the ass.

  And Drake couldn’t take his eyes off Jasmine. Did she know? Did she realize what this nightmare was truly all about?

  “What did she matter to you?” Drake asked. He didn’t make any confession.

  “She was mine, far longer than she was yours. My Anna Jean…”

  Dammit. The man had just confirmed Drake’s suspicion.

  You killed her…Anna Jean…

  This wasn’t about casinos. Money. Power.

  It was about a woman. Betrayal. Vengeance.

  His past—and a reckoning.

  Jasmine had mentioned that Maxwell had been in the military. He should have paid more attention to those words.

  Maxwell had been enlisted and so had Anna Jean. Beautiful, lying Anna Jean.

  Beautiful, dead Anna Jean.

  “We were going to take down your friends,” Maxwell said. “Anna Jean and I had a plan, but then you killed her.”

  Jasmine’s hand fluttered against the covers, as if she were seeking him in her sleep.

  “Now I will take everything away from you,” Maxwell promised him. “And in the end, you’ll beg to die.”

  “I don’t beg for anything.” Never had. Never would. “And you’ve made a mistake. The same mistake she made. I won’t be played. And anyone who comes after me…well, you’re going to be finding a swift trip to hell waiting on you.”

  Laughter was Maxwell’s answer.

  But then the laughter stilled. “What will you do…” Maxwell asked him. “When another woman dies in your arms?”

  That cold fist squeezed him tighter.

  “Jasmine shouldn’t have turned to you—”

  She didn’t just turn to me. She gave herself to me. Came in my arms. Screamed for me.

  “I’ll punish her, but, don’t worry, you’ll be there. You’ll watch it all.”

  Jasmine’s lashes fluttered open.

  “You’re a dead man,” Drake said flatly.

  Jasmine gasped as she heard his words. She shot upright in bed, clutching the covers to her.

  That mocking laughter came again.

  The call ended with a fast click.

  With wide, unreadable eyes, Jasmine stared up at him. “M-Maxwell? That was him on the line, wasn’t it?”

  He nodded.

  “He’s on his way to New Orleans. He may already be here.” She scrambled from the bed. Dragged the covers with her. “What are you planning?”

  “To kill him.”

  Jasmine flinched. “No, go to the cops. Talk to them.”

  What? That was the last thing he’d expected her to say. “That’s not an option.” Not with Anna Jean’s death being tangled in this mess.

  “You don’t know what he’s capable of doing—”

  His hand sank into her hair and he tipped her head back. “But you do, and you’re going to tell me everything you know about him.”

  “Drake…”

  “You want to be free of him, don’t you? I’ll make sure you’re free.”

  But Jasmine’s body trembled. “I don’t want you to kill him! That isn’t who you are! That isn’t—”

  Now it was his turn to laugh. “Ah, princess, and here I thought you’d done your ‘research’ on me.” With a mocking smile on his lips, he said, “I’m very good at killing. You should have discovered that by now.”

  She pulled away from him.

  “Maxwell won’t hurt you again because we are going to take him down. You’re going to tell me his weaknesses. Every single thing that you know about him. And I will use that information to break him.”

  “He hates you,” Jasmine whispered. “So much…why? I could never figure out why.”

  Why not tell her? Drake shrugged. The move was careless, his past wasn’t. “Because it seems we were both dumb enough to fall for the same woman.”

  Her eyes doubled in size. “What?”

  “We fell for her, and then I killed her.”

  ***

  “Has
the situation with the bounty hunter been handled as I asked?”

  Maxwell Case stared out at the glittering New Orleans skyline.

  “Yeah, boss, he’s been left just as you ordered.”

  He’d been enraged when he found out just what Wayne had done to Jasmine. Good thing that doctor in Vegas had been so chatty…

  With the right leverage, anyone would talk.

  Anyone would break.

  “Pressure has to be applied,” Maxwell said. “Archer has such a perfect cover now. The legitimate businessman. We’re blowing that cover to hell. The world will see him for who he is, and he’ll pay for his crimes.”

  “What about…what about Jasmine?”

  He turned at the question. His guard, Saxon, had been with him for a while. Saxon could always be counted on to get the job done—no matter what that job might be. The man was a loyal employee.

  And he had wonderful, deadly skills that Maxwell so enjoyed using on his enemies.

 
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