The revenger, p.15
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       The Revenger, p.15

           Debra Anastasia
 
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  “Now what?” he demanded, stepping back.

  Rebecca staggered to her heels, which made Savvy feel a little better; the girl’s arms had been at a painful angle.

  “Thank you, sir. Thank you.”

  He nodded.

  “You’ll stand tonight. Until everyone’s finished.”

  “Yes, sir.”

  He turned back to Savvy. “Even when you had a choice, you watched, Savannah. You like to watch? Anticipate? Because I will make every woman in this room come that hard before I get to you.”

  Between women he washed his hands, and he had a separate tray of tools for each. He was meticulous. By the time he’d finished using a flogger on the woman next to Rebecca, he’d also displayed a dizzying array of sexual knowledge.

  While he made the next woman lose herself in his touch, he kept eye contact with Savvy, smirking every time the woman begged for more. As she watched him help the woman to her feet, Savvy’s knees almost gave out. He clearly knew how to play this game, attacking each silver woman with just the right toys and sensations. He was a tide coming in, and when he was at his highest point, he would drown her.

  And Savvy was most afraid she would enjoy every second of it. Her body hadn’t been hers to control for a long time now.

  *~*~*~*

  Nearly three hours later, Silas stood in front of Savannah, desperate for her. He’d just pleasured woman after woman, but it had only been foreplay. He’d wanted her to see what he was capable of, to know there wasn’t a part of her body he couldn’t use against her.

  He rolled the tools out from behind her on the cart, a lovely array: clamps, floggers, dildos, vibrators—a veritable buffet of orgasms. He licked his lips and met her eyes.

  Defiant. With her chin raised, she seemed ready to do battle. But under her light shirt, under the lace bra (the only kind he’d provided her) he could see she was aroused. This should have given him confidence. Clearly he knew the methodical steps to ensure a woman’s undoing. But with her he felt manic, panicked. He wanted to dominate her, elevate her, make her beg, and hear her demand.

  He picked up a feather, setting it right back down when the delicate instrument revealed the shaking anticipation in his hands. Instead he lit a candle and held it between them, the glowing heat representative of how he felt. When he was close enough, she blew it out. He shook his head and set it down. So disobedient. He stepped up to her then, sliding his hand in her hair, grasping it roughly. “It’s punishment you crave, then? Fine.”

  She barely reacted to his rough hand. “No. It’s not.”

  He put his mouth close to hers, almost nose to nose. He had to bend down a bit because she hadn’t worn the heels he’d demanded. Her green eyes widened, with anger being most likely the cause, judging from her sneer.

  “Fight me. That’s fine.” He touched her cheek then. So soft. Instead of the cakey makeup usually found on his women, it was just her skin. He bit his lip, longing to see that same cheek flush with the overwhelming sensations he had planned for her.

  “I don’t need the strength to rip your head off your neck to see through you.” She lifted an eyebrow.

  He rolled his eyes and stepped away from her, the distance registering throughout his body. She yanked on the loop above her head. Her palms were light blue; surely she was numb from her wrists to the tips of her fingers.

  “I can tell you can fuck. You know the right buttons to press. But I’m pretty sure a monkey could learn your sexual prowess.” She laughed a bit. “You’ve never made love to anyone.”

  “I’m sorry? Do you live in middle school with rainbows and school dances?” Anxiety burned within him, though he masked it with derision. “Make love? Seriously, I thought you had some fucking substance, Savannah.”

  The girls chained around the room laughed with him, muttering insults to each other. They hated Savannah, he knew. He felt her gaze pinned on him, undeterred.

  “You have to strap them down. You never kiss them. What are you afraid of, Sagan?”

  “Sir. You will call me sir in this room, strapped up for my pleasure.”

  “You wouldn’t know pure pleasure if it came up and slapped you in the nuts.”

  She was infuriatingly unafraid.

  “And you do?” He stalked back to her, hating to be away. It was her attention he needed.

  “Infinitely. I’ve given and received pure, perfect love. Nothing you could plug in would ever top it. Do what you have to, but I won’t feel it where it counts.”

  The silver girls had taken to heckling her, but she only watched him.

  “Are you offering?” He damn near whispered it to her.

  She changed the topic. “Why are you so afraid to be exposed with one person? Have you ever tried that? One person who didn’t have to be paid or forced and who didn’t give a crap if you had a dollar to your name? Or is that an imaginary scenario for a man like you? Is that your worst fear, Sagan? That if people had a choice, you’d be all alone?”

  A chill started at the base of his spine as she looked him up and down and shook her head. With pity. Like she could very well see through him.

  Suddenly the ladies cackling around them in stereo infuriated him, overwhelmed him.

  “Shut up! Did I tell any of you to talk?” He picked up a whip from Savvy’s tray and walked the circle, giving each of their buttocks a solid rap before unlocking them and pointing them to the door. Each took her lash with varying responses, trying to see what would garner his favor. But whether they panted, cried, or screamed, they were sent out of his room in only their high heels.

  Finally the last of them sauntered out the door, leaving it open behind her. He lost the weak grasp he had on his control. “Close the fucking door! What kind of bullshit is this?” He kicked the door shut.

  It was just him and Savannah now. And she still didn’t have the sense to look afraid.

  *~*~*~*

  He leered at her, and Savvy shot him a look that she hoped clearly said, “Suck a fat dick, asshole.”

  Sagan took huge strides to the windows, flinging them open like doors and mumbling, “I need some fucking air.”

  He was right; the room could use a nice airing out. It was thick with passions spent. The next stop in his tirade was the bar, where he poured himself a tall rum on the rocks.

  Savvy looked around his bedroom, which was really a giant penthouse at the top of this insane mansion. The windows he’d opened faced the beach; the windows on the opposite side would create an amazing cross breeze. Sagan must have followed her gaze, because he opened those windows too. The sun had long since set. The white sheers took off like kites in the breeze, and several of the candles lit to set the mood blew out, adding gray, twirling smoke to the atmosphere.

  He moved in the room behind her, but she could feel where he was. His ring’s suppression of her strength and supercharged senses was almost louder than the screams she normally felt when he was near.

  Closing her eyes, she blinked back the moisture brought by the thought of her daughter’s pain. It would have been wonderful to beat on maroon aura this afternoon. Would that have sent her back to the beach? Every moment without Kal and Sara felt like ages. Grating ages. She was a junkie, crumbling for just a touch of his hand, or to kiss her daughter’s cheek.

  She snapped her eyes open to find Sagan standing in front of a billowing sheer, which outlined him like a white aura. He stepped away, letting the sheer fly like a flag without his obstruction.

  “Here we are in the same room. You’re under my…care. Yet still you’re far away. How do you do it? I wonder, Savannah.”

  Kal had only called her Savannah once: when he said her full, given name on their wedding day. They’d argued about it. She wanted to use their nicknames. It felt more authentic.

  But he’d said no. She tried to imagine it again, in place of the feelings she was desperate for. He’d put his hands on her face. “I will use your government name. This will be as legal as the Constitution. No mistakes.
She’d made a crack about his John Hancock, and then he’d kissed—

  “Open your eyes.”

  Instead of the man she loved, she saw only the man she hated. But in that moment, she began to see what she had to do.

  He picked up one of the vibrating spheres, turning it on. While he took sips from his drink, he ran it over her skin—her arms, her neck, between her breasts.

  “Free my hands. I dare you.” She stared into his eyes, watching the fear creep in for just a blink before the all-knowing-bastard look returned.

  “I prefer it this way.”

  To her hip he went with the ceaseless, powerful vibrations.

  “Of course you would. Because if I had my hands, I could leave. Or even worse? What if I touched you back? What if I made you feel something?”

  “You want to touch me?” He looked incredulous.

  “You’ll never know until you try.” She turned her head toward the windows that showcased the sea and let him make his decision. It was ironic; the first solid plan she’d developed entailed the very opposite of hurting him. It was Kal-inspired: using what she’d once been good at—before she got everything wrong—to try to reach this unreachable man. It seemed impossible. If she hadn’t been encouraged by her family themselves, she would never have even thought to try. But maybe it was also brilliant, as only those she loved most could be. She knew firsthand love’s power to change everything…

  Sagan kept moving the sphere, daring to get closer to the parts of her that wouldn’t deny his skilled technique.

  “I dare you.” She didn’t look at him as he swiped lower, under her belly button, with the toy.

  After a moment he set down the device, along with his now-empty glass of rum. The space in time where he worked to decide about unlocking her cuffs took forever, but she refused to look at him. The breeze tugged at her hair, freeing it from the hasty knot she’d tied it in. He let her loose slowly, creating pins and needles in the hands that had been above her head for so long.

  Once she could move, Savvy turned toward the balcony, opening the large French doors and stepping out into the night. She put her hands on the railing and waited, still feeling him. Thinking of Kal and Sara had forced her to realize that maybe her strange strength was supposed to not only beat the red aura out of people, but help the gold grow.

  Sagan came to stand next to her. “Are you going to jump?”

  “Your ring might let me die if I did.”

  “When I got here today, you were ready to send another bullet into your body.” He stood close, but not touching her.

  “I think I’ll always be ready to end it all.”

  He was silent. Together they looked at the stars across the endless horizon.

  Savvy took a cleansing breath. Killing Sagan would set in motion a whole series of evil murders she’d have to commit—the assassin, remaining loyal men... Teaching him to fall in love, using this ungodly pull between them to show him how to care for another human being—that might have a ripple effect that could outlast their lives. She knew she was strong enough to destroy, but was she strong enough to deny her supercharged senses and emotions what they so desperately wanted?

  She faced him. “Thank you for unlocking me.”

  “Did it so you could fight me. With all these thoughts of you, it would be a disservice to not reap the benefits of your weakened condition.”

  Savvy closed her eyes a moment. It wouldn’t be easy—not even a little—sifting through all his red to find the one single thread of gold. Behind him, almost in an arc over his head, she saw a shooting star. A sign. From them. It had to be. Encouraging her to love, to add to the gold.

  “Make a wish.” She pointed past him.

  He glanced briefly at the cosmic wonder before turning back to her, dismissing the lights in the sky. “I wish you would punch me.”

  So, so hard. Savvy moved closer to him. The pull of wanting to kill him and trying not to was disorienting. She put her hands around his throat, then closed her eyes and centered herself. Instead of squeezing and hearing his gasps, which would have been so delicious she could almost taste them on the edge of her tongue, she let go. She rested her hand against his face—his evil, handsome face.

  She watched the surprise in his eyes and imagined she was looking at Kal. She let her husband’s face be what her heart saw. Savvy looked into Sagan’s green eyes and colored them brown, made them deep and loving instead of fearful and cold.

  “Has anyone ever just loved you?” She stared at Sagan through her feelings for Kal. Then she patted his cheek and stepped away, seeing the disbelief and brief hint of need in him.

  Savvy lifted her eyebrows and shrugged, walking backward a few steps toward the door. Sagan rested his back against the railing, his mouth open slightly with the shock of it, the strange sensation of being looked at with love.

  “There’s a whole world you know nothing about, Silas Sagan.” After turning on her heel, she walked out his door and left it intentionally open.

  Chapter 24

  Show of Force

  Silas looked at the open door for a while. She’d left, just walked out, and he’d allowed it. The epic, ball-thundering fucking he’d been planning on, counting on, hadn’t happened. He wanted to punch someone, maybe himself, in the face.

  She’d cut through him so easily—straight to the bone. And it was cheesy bullshit. Greeting card nonsense. Nothing he’d ever even pretended to believe in.

  But inside, a part of him shook from the truth of her words.

  His mother had only cared to advance her standing. She’d watched his abuse at the hands of his siblings and father over and over, sending him back into it every day. He rubbed a hand across his lips. Jack was the only bright spot in his life—ever.

  He looked back into his room from the balcony. Sheer opulence. He could have anything, everything, and he almost did.

  But Silas Sagan had never had anyone look at him the way Savannah just had. He wanted to recreate the feeling. He sensed it had been the tip of an iceberg, like he was standing at a precipice, looking over a giant crevasse he’d had no idea he’d been avoiding. It left him unsettled.

  He wanted to go downstairs and force her—force her to look at him again and then fuck that look out of her eyes, make her put up walls. That’s what he knew how to do. Be on the other side, looking over. Feel hate, then repress it until it exploded.

  This waiting? He knew that was a place where he felt shit he didn’t want to feel. So he always hit first. Let the reputation of what he could do slap people in the face. The ultimate version of this would be having Compound E to wield. So many more people would know they couldn’t make him wait. Whole countries would line up outside his door to see what he could do for them.

  Savannah was his weakness, and he knew better. He knew he should go down and squeeze the life out of her. But for the same reason Jack could still waltz into his house and dance with one of his ladies, his obsession could walk out of his bedroom with no consequences.

  His phone buzzed. He left the balcony to find it on his nightstand with a text from Bugs waiting.

  The Cassos want a meeting.

  He responded quickly

  Tell them to fuck off. They claim to know you’re trading in illegal weapons. They want in on the action.

  Silas rubbed his temples before actually calling Bugs.

  “Where is this coming from?” he demanded when the man answered.

  “I’m not sure. You know they’ve tried before.”

  Silas sighed. The Cassos had an age-old beef that had begun with his father’s father. The feud rose to a head a few times every generation, and their latest contention was that Silas wasn’t related to his father, so he owed them duty fees on his territory on and around the Maryland estate.

  Word on the street had to be that Silas was about to come into some serious money. All the vultures perked up when they heard this. He’d been hearing from “friends” and enemies out of the woodwork, all looking to g
et a piece.

  “Fine,” he told Bugs. “Set it up on neutral territory. I’ll be happy to spank their bratty asses in person. Tell them it happens now or not at all.” Silas disconnected the call.

  Maybe it was time for Savannah to see why she needed to wipe that look right off her face. She needed to see him in action, as a ruthless leader.

  *~*~*~*

  Boston looked up to see Savvy waltz in the door, long skirt dragging a bit behind her. Despite himself he looked for her eyes. She ignored him.

  “I gotta walk the dog,” she announced.

  Trooper jumped down off the bed and yelped a bit.

  “Silly, can’t you slow it down? Want to go for a walk?”

  It was pitch black out, so Boston grabbed a flashlight along with his regular walking gear: a gun, his phone, the fanny pack.

  Savvy didn’t put on shoes, just picked up the dog and headed for the back steps. Boston had to trot to keep up. She looked okay, though her hair was loose now. Outside it took off behind her, whipping in the breeze off the water.

  As soon as they were out of range, she spoke. “I need to find out more about this Compound E. How close are they to replicating it?”

  Boston hated to ask, but he did it anyway. “Did he? Are you…okay?”

  Savvy finally looked at him, first his eyes and then his chest and back again. “No. We didn’t. He didn’t. I sort of shocked him out of it.”

  He knew he looked surprised when she smirked.

  “Is there anything you know about him that’s good?” She put Trooper down close to the dunes.

  Boston exhaled while he racked his brain. “God, not really. He’s a fucking bastard. Well, I guess…” He looked over his shoulder and saw two flashlights bouncing in their direction. He quickly finished. “He didn’t have me kill that housekeeper and her daughter—and Jack. He hasn’t had anyone kill Jack. But other than that he’s a shithead.”

  Boston flashed his light a few times and made out Target and another guy from the house. Savvy said no more but gathered the dog in her arms.

 
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