Theirs to cherish, p.27
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       Theirs to Cherish, p.27

         Part #8 of Wicked Lovers series by Shayla Black
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Page 27


  “He didn’t ask you to throw yourself on the sword, lovely. ” Sean’s voice softened before it hardened again. “Neither did I. We won’t let you cast either of us aside because you think it’s ‘safer. ’ What you’re really doing is being stingy with your trust and protecting your heart. I won’t have it. ”

  “Nor will I,” Thorpe added. “I might have been your boss and your friend, but you’re lying to me and yourself if you think we weren’t more. ”

  Was he finally admitting there was something between them? Callie closed her eyes. What crappy timing . . .

  “So?” she tossed back. “You ignored it yourself for years. ”

  “I did,” he admitted. “And I’m done. ”

  Her heated ass throbbed in the cool night, and she felt Thorpe’s stare on her bare skin. The yearning nearly choked her, but this wasn’t just about her. She couldn’t stand to see them get sucked into the morass her life had become.

  Callie figured she could play this one of two ways: either keep fighting tooth and nail and get her ass beat more for her defiance or give in until they let their guard down. Then she’d run again. Sean hadn’t asked her to throw herself on the sword, and well . . . she hadn’t asked him for that either. If he really had been protecting her and was here against his orders, she couldn’t let him jeopardize his job any more than she could risk being involved with an FBI agent. And she refused to gamble her heart on Thorpe, one of the most emotionally unavailable men she’d ever met. No good would come from that.

  “Yes, Sirs. ”

  Above her, Thorpe stilled. “I don’t know whether to praise your breakthrough or wail on your ass again for lying. ”

  “I think I know,” Sean quipped.

  “I think I do, too. But time will tell. Just for good measure . . . ” Thorpe palmed the burning flesh of her backside, then spanked her again with unyielding discipline before jerking her skirt down and sitting her on the long seat beside him. “Behave, pet. ”

  She fidgeted from the stinging burn making her skin tingle and couldn’t sit still.

  “Thorpe, is the naughty girl’s pussy wet?”

  He zipped his gaze up toward Sean, who met it in the rearview mirror. No words were exchanged, but Thorpe must have seen what he wanted because he nodded and sat back with a little smile playing at the corners of his lips before he turned to her.

  Callie’s eyes widened. In what alternate universe was Sean going to let her former boss even think about her girl parts? Punishment was one thing, especially while he was driving, but . . . The thought of Thorpe’s hand right where she ached for him most made her clit swell and sizzle. He turned and pinned her with a feral stare.

  She shook her head, knowing she looked more than a tad panicked. “No. ”

  If he got near her, he’d know she had just lied to him again. There would be more punishment. But the truth was too embarrassing.

  “Spread your legs and let me feel for myself, pet. ”

  Oh hell. She flipped her stare up to the rearview mirror, hoping to catch’s Sean’s disapproving scowl. Despite the spanking and his question, he wouldn’t really let Thorpe touch her there, would he?

  She did snag Sean’s gaze, but he merely looked at her expectantly. “We’re waiting. ”

  “And not patiently,” Thorpe drawled.

  Callie’s heart started beating harder. Her silky thong was already beyond damp and wasn’t going to absorb any of the excess moisture. Even in the darkened backseat, Thorpe would see if she tried to use her skirt to wipe away the evidence.

  She pressed her lips together and frowned. “All right, I am. ”

  “So you lied?” Damn, that Dom voice of his went straight to her clit. The ache coiled up.

  A few possible responses ran through her head, but she’d seen Thorpe operate enough to know that excuses wouldn’t work. Compounding things with another lie would only make her eventual punishment—and there would be one—worse. So she settled on the only thing that might persuade him to show a little bit of mercy.

  “I’m sorry,” she whispered. “I’m confused. I was . . . ashamed. ”

  He grabbed her chin. “Explain. ”

  Shouldn’t it be obvious? “You haven’t touched me in two years, except the night after Sean and I, um . . . ”

  “Made love,” he supplied from the front seat oh so helpfully.

  “That was the night you came under my tongue and fingers. ” Thorpe stared into her eyes, forcing her to remember the way she’d writhed for him and screamed his name.

  Mortification froze Callie. Would Sean be mad? Or would this weird alternate universe where he and Thorpe were having some bizarre bromance continue and lead Sean to do something once incomprehensible, like high-five the Dungeon Master?

  She cleared her throat. “Other than that, you’ve shown almost no sexual interest in me for so long. It’s kind of embarrassing that your spanking, um . . . aroused me. ”

  Thorpe looked like he wanted to say something, but he didn’t. After a long pause, he simply glanced at her thighs. “Spread them. I won’t ask again. ”

  “You’re really going to check?” She blinked at him, then back up at Sean in the mirror.

  “I asked him to, lovely. ”

  “So yes,” Thorpe provided, then looked at her impatiently.

  Her heart chugged like a herd of wild horses. It had been one thing to spread her legs for Thorpe when she thought it had been good-bye, when she thought she’d never have to see the knowing gleam in his eyes again or worry that he thought her a silly, inexperienced girl for being so easily excited by him. Now . . . she got the feeling that he intended to plow his fingers through her feminine folds and enjoy the hell out of her response. For her hesitation, he’d only want to arouse her more, bask in her helpless reaction to him.

  Would she rather have more punishment or more embarrassment? The former would only lead to more of the latter, so she might as well get this shit over with. It wasn’t like she had any way of preventing him from tying her down and doing whatever he wanted to her pussy the minute they made it out of this car and found a flat surface.

  Slowly, Callie parted her thighs until her knees were as wide as her hips. She couldn’t bring herself to look at him, and realized that every hang-up about sex she’d ever had was coming back to haunt her.

  Her father had never talked about the taboo subject. Holden may have been her first, but the fumbling in his backyard that early fall evening hadn’t taught her a lot except that losing her virginity hurt. She’d tried casual sex once over the years with Xander. She’d wanted Thorpe so badly and hadn’t known how else to get his attention. Thirty seconds and one fake orgasm later, she’d called it off, knowing that she couldn’t bring herself to fuck one man when she wanted another. Xander had been fine with ending it, too, leaving her to wonder if she lacked sex appeal altogether. Then came Sean. He’d given her a pleasure so excruciating, Callie still caught her breath just thinking about it. She hadn’t ever known such ecstasy existed. And she’d craved him since. But Thorpe? Gawd, she was almost afraid to discover all the ways he could turn her body inside out.

  “Please . . . ” The word slipped out as she stared into his eyes.

  What the hell was she doing, showing her vulnerable side to a man well-known for his ruthless domination?

  “Please what, pet?”

  Her entire body shook. Thorpe made her nervous; he always had. Such a big, forceful presence. It was hard not to want to please him. The not knowing whether she mattered to him as something more than a responsibility troubled her. One minute he’d wanted her, the next he hadn’t. He had once again when Sean had come on the scene. What did Thorpe really feel for her?

  Exhaustion and hunger tore at her. The pain making her heel throb was nothing compared with the ache in her pussy. It was impossible not to acknowledge how important Thorpe had been to her. For a girl who usually uprooted every few months, four years to feel unrequi
ted love was a damn long time.

  A tear streaked down her cheek, and she wiped it away. “I don’t know. I’m so confused. ”

  He let loose a heavy sigh. Then he wrapped an arm around her and tugged her against his tall, hard frame. “On my lap, pet. ”

  Callie was dying to know what he was thinking, feeling, wanting. But he wasn’t going to tell her. “Yes, Sir. ”

  As she scrambled into his lap, he cupped a gentle hand around the back of her head and guided her onto his shoulder, wrapping his suit coat around her once more. “Are you cold?”

  “A little. ”

  “I’m turning up the heater, lovely. All you had to do was say something. ”

  That gentle note was back in Sean’s voice, tugging at her. Emotions she didn’t know how to comprehend piled up, right on top of all her confusion. Mentally, she couldn’t hold it all up or in anymore.

  “Thank you. ” She sniffled.

  “Give me your feet. ” Thorpe held out one hand where she could snuggle them into his palm.

  She shook her head. “I don’t want to get blood on you. ”

  “Blood?” he questioned sharply.

  “M-my foot. I stepped on a rock. It’s nothing. ”

  “I’ll be the judge of that. ”

  “I’ll add first aid supplies to my mental grocery list,” Sean said.

  “Do you have any idea where we’re going?” Thorpe inquired, curling his arms around her more tightly.

  His embrace was like heaven. It might be stupid, but the only thing that would make her happier would be to have Sean cuddled up to her, too.

  “I have a few thoughts. Callie, do you like to swim?”

  “No. ” Her sister had nearly drowned as a toddler in a little koi pond in the backyard of a neighbor’s house. She’d tried like hell to rescue Charlotte—and almost drowned herself. She’d been terrified of the water since.

  “She can’t swim,” Thorpe supplied. “I managed to drag her to the lake once with some of the regulars from Dominion. She spent the entire time as far away from the railing of the boat as possible. ”

  “Perfect,” Sean said with a smile in his voice.

  The words filled her with disquiet. Not because she thought either of them would willingly hurt her, but if they isolated her someplace where she couldn’t escape and put their heads together to collaborate on what came next . . . Callie had a feeling she—and her heart—might be in real trouble.

  Chapter Twelve

  FOUR hours later, Sean stared down at Callie’s sleeping figure almost swallowed whole by the surprisingly big bed. She was worn out, and when he bent to remove the terrible blond wig, she didn’t move a muscle. That alone told him how fatigued she was, as did the gray smudges under her eyes. He tossed the synthetic hair in the corner and carefully removed all the pins until her dark tresses spread across the white sheets. She looked so beautiful, it broke his fucking heart.

  Thorpe stood beside him. “Is she still asleep?”

  He nodded. “She’s exhausted. ”

  “Well, she’s not the only one. ” Thorpe twisted his powerful torso, stretching and stifling a yawn. “We got her back, and that was a feat in itself, but we’ve still got a shitload to do. ”

  “Yep. Now that we’ve got distance between us and Vegas, we can sort through the facts and decide what comes next. ”

  With a nod, Thorpe headed out of the bedroom in grim silence, then out onto the dock, into the night. Sean followed. From the deck of their rented houseboat, moonlight glowed over the dark waters of Lake Mead. Now, just before the dawn, everything was shimmering and quiet, a hush of night before the riot of life that came with day prevailed. It was a welcome change from the last frantic few hours.

  “I don’t think we were followed,” Thorpe observed.

  “As deserted as the road from the highway to this private dock is, we would have seen anyone on our tail. Let’s just hope no one realizes that we’ve left Dallas yet or figures out how to track us down. ”

  After snatching Callie from behind Glitter Girls, he’d developed a plan to hole up and began to set it in motion. After her punishment, she’d given into weariness and all but passed out on Thorpe’s lap. She hadn’t awakened when they’d stopped at a twenty-four-hour superstore on the southeast side of Vegas. Once there, Sean had grabbed a ball cap and windbreaker from his bag and emerged thirty minutes later with a cartful of everything they would need for a week of isolation. If they needed more provisions, he’d deal with that later.

  After leaving the vehicle’s keys in a magnetic box in the wheel well, they’d hopped in a taxi. Using the burner phones they’d picked up in Dallas, both he and Thorpe had made a few calls as they traveled southeast. The big Dom dialed Axel to check in. After finding out all was well at Dominion, he rang Logan for updates and gave him the number for a new prepaid cell. The former SEAL jotted down Thorpe’s new digits, swore to call only if it was an emergency, and said he was still looking into the guy searching for Callie at the airport.


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