Savage Love, page 36
Struggling, Carolina ripped at Liz's hands with her fingers. “They don't want you.”
Liz removed a hand from Carolina's neck and backhanded her across the mouth. “Shut up. I don’t care what they want, never have.” Clamping her fingers once again above the diamond necklace she was always being denied, Liz spat in Carolina's face. “Dylan killed me because of you. That's when I learned how Justin has changed. He revealed his magic to safeguard his father, was selected by that demon in black to get rid of me. But the stupid kid was nervous, with Dylan looking on, so he messed up. He didn't realize my soul was still hovering in the room so I simply flowed into the new form he'd created. I know a bit about witchcraft myself. That's how I had kept Dylan committed to me. At least that was the case until you opened your fat thighs to him.”
Carolina clawed at the woman's face, “You will never have them again. I’ll drag you down into the darkest and hottest region of the underworld before I see my love and my babe beneath your gnarled thumb, you fiendish crone.”
Liz shook her violently by her throat. “You're ruining everything, like his mother tried to. I killed her and Joe; wished August had been at home that day so I could have been rid of her as well. Now it's your turn. Tomorrow I'll be marrying Dylan wearing my necklace with Justin at our sides. He’ll marry me not because of a spell, like you’re using, but because he loves me. If he didn't he never would have slept with me on Sunday and today, even when he thought he had to kill me for you, I could tell he didn't want to. He was fierce at first like he always is with me, pounding me until I thought he'd split me in half, but afterward, he was so gentle, praying for me. You're the one he doesn't love. If he cared for you, he never would have slept with me. All those other women we had in our bed, they were toys. He never took even one of them. From the time we met, I was the only one he ever gave himself to, no matter how many times I cheated.”
With her fists, Carolina beat at Liz's upper body. “It's because you bewitched him you fiendish, tube-nosed, fruit bat and you probably did so again on Sunday to coax him between your shriveled up nether lips. But, he didn't take you beneath him this day, you bitter tart, and I've never used magic on him.” Carolina, although a tad weak from breastfeeding, knew she should have already gained physical control over Liz and she realized the detestable hagfish had surely hexed her with that kiss at the front door, diminishing her strength and fighting skills.
Seeing the dawning in Carolina's eyes, Liz let out a maniacal laugh. “Did you think I'd fight fair this time, you simpleminded bitch. Bought potions are wonderful for someone, like me, who lacks the self-discipline to commit to wholeheartedly embrace witchery. A smudge of treated lipstick on your skin and you're weakened. When I met Dylan that's all it took too. I was a dancer with a lot of competition and my age had begun to interfere with the number of men who’d lavish me with expensive tokens of their affection, so I decided to snag myself a rich husband and there are few who can measure up to the Savage wealth. I was performing at a private party where Dylan was a guest, and after placing an artfully staged kiss upon his lips, within an hour, he'd spanked me, tied me to a bed and then proceeded to fuck me for three days straight until I could barely move. I want you to die thinking about that, you red-headed whore and the fact that before your body is even cold I'm going to bring him back up here and screw him while you're rotting away.” Liz's nails finally pierced the skin of Carolina's throat, warm blood coating her fingers and she cackled malevolently.
Looking into Liz's evil eyes, Carolina raised her palms to the woman's chest and declared, “This is for everyone you ever hurt you bottom-feeding mudcat.” She sent a blast of energy into the black clad body, brilliant lily-white light leaving her palms to enter the other woman's chest. Liz immediately released her neck, the power of the light lifting her from the floor, holding her suspended and motionless in the air. Stepping back, Carolina wiped the blood from her skin with the back of her hand and felt the wounds close, the pain fade. She also applied her healing touch to her lips and chest, anywhere she remembered Liz's lips had traveled. Then with purpose Carolina sent a blast of shimmering light into the woman's forehead until rays rebounded and escaped eyes, ears nose and mouth. She kept Liz suspended, burning the poison from her insides five times longer than she'd done with Cliff, George and Tyler and the level of heat was thirty times greater. She was certain that when Liz's feet touched the ground she'd either be cleansed of her soul disease or dead again. She hoped for the first, but if the second result came to pass, she'd regenerate her and start the process over until it took.
It was well past ten when Dylan eased into bed beside Carolina. He'd left the bachelor party half-an-hour before to check in on his kids. He'd found the boys asleep in their room and apparently little Vienna preferred their company to being alone because Justin was bunked on the floor in a sleeping bag and she was nestled in his bed, looking as peaceful as an angel. He'd moved on to the calm sanctuary of the nursery, just sitting and humming to his babes for a good spell, needing to relax and take time to give thanks, especially for Carolina not discovering Patrick's sly plans, who knew what she'd have done since she'd warned Patrick about the bachelor party and strippers. But, he'd hired them anyway, rationalizing that a promise had been given not to sneak the Savage men out to be entertained by dancers, not the other way around. So being the man of honor and having a strong sense of competition Dylan had watched the topless performances and endured one or two, well honestly five, lap dances trying to keep up with the other men, but he'd always been thinking of his Carolina. Finally, after being consistently bored by the mechanical efforts of the too thin dancers and missing his honey, he'd left his brothers in the music studio.
Rolling on his side, he snuggled up to her tantalizing curves and the ever-so-guilty pleasure of her vibrating flesh. Nuzzling his face into the side of her neck he immediately pulled back, gagging. Anxiously he turned on the bedside lamp; needing to assure himself he was in bed with the right woman, because all he could smell was Liz’s stinking perfume. With the light's subtle glow illuminating the bed, he could see it was Carolina and her identity was further substantiated by the presence of several empty jars of lavender honey and Texas chili sauce on her nightstand. With a gentle touch to her upper arm, he shook her, “Carolina wake up.”
She rolled over, opening her eyes to smile at him. “I was just dozing, couldn't truly fall asleep knowing Patrick was likely to sneak in dancers. How were they?”
Dylan rolled his eyes. “Boring. Join me in the shower after I strip this bed. It smells like Liz in here.” He wondered why Liz had been in their bed and gave Carolina a measured look of hurt suspicion.
Carolina reached up to smooth his brow and was saddened when he pulled away. She could only imagine what he must be thinking. Hurriedly she explained, “She tried seducing me then said she was going to kill me. That harlot was unbelievable. This afternoon she shifted her diseased soul into the new form Justin created. She wanted your mother's necklace, decided to act as if she was changed in order to gain access to it, talk about cunning. When she makes it to Hell, the devil better watch his back.”
He clutched her hand on top of the comforter not willing to risk pulling her close and have Liz's stench assault his nose again. “She killed my parents for that necklace. I didn't learn the truth until yesterday. Calder told me she had it and later Patrick revealed she'd killed my Ma and Pa, had hurt you and Justin. I wanted to murder Liz then, but Patrick and I decided to wait until she'd relocated. Today though, it all crashed down on me when I learned she had the boys. I gave her an overdose thinking only to stop her from hurting any of you again.” So much for her image of him as a quiet force, but he was certain she'd understand.
She rubbed the back of his hand with her thumb. “You were driven to take action that would protect us because Liz was dangerous, unscrupulous and completely out of control. Don't blame yourself for the things she did. You're a victim as much as anyone is. L
Dylan appreciated her attempt to absolve him of responsibility for the misery and destruction Liz had caused, yet he knew he was a coconspirator, accepted that if his sentence weren’t handed down in this life, judgment would precede his transition to the next. He placed his free hand on top of hers stopping the motion of her thumb. His eyes scanned hers. “What else did she tell you?”
Carolina knew what he was fishing to hear, but she was too pained to admit possession of the information. However, she didn't lie. She told him a different aspect of her time with Liz. She extracted her hand from his hold. “She told me she was going to kill the kids and make you marry her. However, we're finally rid of her. I cleansed her with fire.”
He knew the things Liz was capable of, what they both, to some degree, found sexually stimulating. His voice was concerned, “Did she hurt you?”
Her tone was light, her words truthful, “No. She wriggled around on top of me a bit, trying to convince me you'd like to find us in bed together. I’m not stupid. When you want such things you'll tell me.”
“When I was with her we did, occasionally, have other women in our bed. But I only ever had sex with Liz. I don't know if you understand, nor do I expect you to agree to, such things. I'm sorry she told you but you're still marrying me tomorrow.”
Though his words hadn't been in the form of a question she responded, “You're stuck with me. Let's take a quick shower. Your children will need to eat in a few hours and it won't be soon enough for me. My breasts feel as if they're ready to explode. Hopefully, Patrick talked with his devilish offspring because I’ll not put up with their tomfoolery at feeding time, if they drink I’ll get a wee more relief. It's my milk for them or manufactured formula. They'll not be chasing women from the crib.” She hopped up and started stripping the bed, the smell of Liz's perfume filling the air.
He smiled as he lay there watching her work. She was as naked and ripe as an unblemished white peach, and he knew she was much, much sweeter. The mere sight of her voluptuous curves did for him what five lap dances hadn't. He was rock hard.
Sliding out of bed, he finished helping her with the linens, tossing them onto the deck to air out. When he turned back to the bed, she had somehow dressed it in pale ivory with a sheer canopy overhead and yards of pale diaphanous fabric curtaining the sides. Through the gauzy material, he saw pink leather straps attached to the tops and bottoms of each post. Tension filled him, his eyes meeting hers. “Honey, you don't have to prove anything.”
The sight of his manhood, beneath the blue plaid under shorts, standing at attention and ready for battle pleased her greatly, making her feel supremely sensuous, powerful and womanly. “It's a few short hours til midnight. If you feel inclined I'd like you to bleed me after you bind me properly and if only this once let me know you.”
He took a deep breath then exhaled slowly, “What did Liz tell you Carolina?”
As light as dew falling upon rain soaked grass she assured him, “This isn't about her. I've asked you before and you've refused. You can deny me now but I need you to know I'm ready and willing to give you everything I am.” Although she was still unclear about what he truly needed, she wanted him to give her the chance to satisfy his deepest, darkest sexual desires. There was nothing she'd refuse him, her mind was open, she could adopt liberal and free-spirited views about sex, even share him if such desires would please him, keep him bound to her.
What she was offering was very tempting and after the day he'd been through he did feel the nagging electrical vibrations, hear the distinct buzz that signaled he was heading for one of his journeys into darkness, he just wasn't ready to make the voyage with her. Resolutely he shook his head, “No Carolina. I-”
She felt disappointed and afraid because of Liz's warning but she wouldn't hound him about his private feelings. It wasn't as if he knew everything about her. “Ye need not explain. If that be your decision, I’ll not press the matter. Now the shower waits.”
They walked into the bath arm and arm. Carolina was kneeling before him, helping him out of his boxers when she wrinkled her nose in disgust at the pungent odor of feminine secretions wafting up from the front of the blue plaid fabric. Meeting his eyes with a furious pout and a stern set to her brow, she jumped to her feet and tossed the shorts in his face, “Which whore was sitting in your lap?”
He'd drank more liquor than he should have on top of still feeling the residual stress of the day's many events. Now was not the time for him to argue with her, especially since she'd been at that darn chili sauce again. He was starting to see a distinct correlation between her fits of fury and that red devil's brew. He caught the flying undergarments and tried avoiding the issue. His shoulders sagged exaggeratedly and he bemoaned woefully, “I thought we were going to take a shower?”
In her mind Carolina saw herself wearing her wedding dress standing against the backdrop of the lavender field, waiting, growing older, still waiting for him to legally wed her but he doesn't and she dies rooted to that spot, because he'd run off with some other woman. Carolina gave a strangled cry, felt her cheeks burning, her body trembling with anger and fear. She wouldn't let him leave her. Hotheadedly she declared, “I'll kill her.” Snatching the shorts from his hand, she sniffed them, then inhaled deeply and overcome by absolute rage ripped them in two, before shoving past him with a wild howl to hurry into the other room. She felt him close behind her, reaching out to clutch her arm, so she grabbed her robe from the chair and threw it on moving quickly out onto the deck where she jumped with feline ease to the stone patio below. Down the stairs she hurried, then sprinted around the perimeter of the mansion and with every step, she felt more alone and desperate until there was nothing else.
Within seconds, she was back indoors, standing inside the music studio with walls covered by countless platinum discs and other various music awards that gave the room an opulent gleam, which was diminished by the reek of booze, cigars and arousal, the low, primal beat of hip-hop music pulsating through hidden speakers further shifting the regal to tribal. She glared at the four men sitting in large brown leather chairs situated around the room and the bare-bottomed women sitting astride their laps, rising and falling in time with the rhythmic beat. Heavy breathing and the sounds of well-lubricated swords being repeatedly sheathed and unsheathed let her know the assembled group was enjoying a lot more than striptease routines.
When the Savage brothers saw her they had the presence of mind to push the women away, jump up from their seats and zip their breeches. The stunned and still seated Patrick, never one to be bashful before, turned a fiery shade of red as he too righted the front of his trousers. Carolina marched over to him and slapped his face, the sound echoing off the walls, drowning out the beat of the music. Her voice was low and furious, “Strippers I was willing to turn a blind eye to but you've brought these floozies in here to leave there mark on him. How am I to bed him when he smells like the uncleaned toilet of a ghetto whorehouse?”
Patrick rubbed his throbbing cheek. “Gingernut he didn't do anything. I mean he had a lap dance and watched the girls perform that's all. Ow,” he exclaimed when she slapped his other cheek.
She jabbed her index finger at him, punctuating her words, “Is that what you were having? I may not know a lot about bedding men but I know fornication when I see it.”
“Dylan had a regular lap dance then he left shortly afterward.”
Carolina squinted at Patrick, her voice loud and fury-filled, “You're lying. I could smell at least five different women on him.”
“Gingernut, it's not what you think. It was all very innocent.”
She looked at him scornfully. “Ye think me dimwitted to boot. In my presence, you swore yourself to him. I know what that means: You'd lie to your own fathers and bring forth
“Carolina you will not use such abusive language in my presence. I did what I thought would please you, made him of my family and I of his.”
She banged her balled fist against her thigh. “The two of you are brothers, now so buddy, buddy that you procure whores for him. Before, you made me believe you were concerned with my feelings, let me think I could count on you but all along you've been set on making me miserable, scaring off my first fiancee and now setting your favor on Dylan as you did with Ciaran. Whatever I ask takes a back seat. I bet you didn't talk to your babes as I asked because you were too busy sneaking these jezebels in under my nose. But, if they don’t drink at feeding time, I’ll fill your shorts with fire ants. Now show me those who dared wiggle their scabby snatches against my fiancée.”
Carolina watched the three Savage brothers make a hurried b-line for the far end of the room just as five bare breasted entertainers approached her and she didn't wait for an exchange of words. Letting out a war-whoop she flew into the group, kicking, punching and biting, their collective flailing bodies toppling Patrick backwards out of his chair, onto the floor with a heavy thud where he quickly scampered on his hands and knees to escape being trod upon. Her pink robe was pulled from her body leaving her completely exposed, but she continued fighting, intent on making the women think twice before they threatened the happiness of another unsuspecting bride-to-be.
When Dylan walked in, shirtless and wearing jeans, he saw Carolina's nude form, beautifully glistening, entwined on the floor with the five exotic dancers who'd performed for him. Her strong legs were wrapped around one stripper's neck, her round backside sitting on top of a petite brunette's back, the long locks of two blonds were clutched in one tightly clenched fist and her other arm formed a vice around the neck of the red haired, pink leather thonged performer. His first reaction was to laugh until he saw the frightening level of desire his brothers and Patrick were trying to disguise as they watched her glowing and vibrating body. With an air-traffic controller's wave, he got the men's attentions and signaled for them to cover their eyes but they all grinned stupidly at him and shrugging in unison, they continued staring. Dylan's humor vanished and a seething, jealous rage took its place.