Theirs to cherish, p.43
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       Theirs to Cherish, p.43

         Part #8 of Wicked Lovers series by Shayla Black
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Page 43


  Thorpe couldn’t help but fear that tonight would be their last together.

  He swallowed, his finger rimming the top of the glass. Hearing that Sean intended to save Callie, no matter the personal risk, wasn’t a blow. Thorpe felt the same. But the other man’s declaration to marry her had been like a wrecking ball to his solar plexus. Once they left here and the FBI got involved, Callie wouldn’t need him anymore. Oh, Thorpe knew he might give her more boundaries than Sean, but the fed would catch on. He was a smart guy. He wasn’t going to let her flounder or need for long. Sharing a road trip with Sean had convinced him of that much.

  Downing the rest of his vino, Thorpe thought about fighting for Callie or at least trying to stay with them both. But he knew his limitations. A woman like her deserved to be with someone who could be by her side step for step. As the years went past, he’d become less able. But long before then, she’d want someone who could show her in every way how much he adored her. With his body, yes. Every day, every night, every chance she gave him. With his words? This fucking hang-up of his was so frustrating. He needed to get over his shit. Callie wasn’t Melissa; she wouldn’t leave him over three little words. Even more important, she wasn’t like—damn it, he even hated to think her name.

  Suddenly, Callie stood, her chair scraping the floor. “I can’t stand the elephant in the room. Whatever happens next is going to be dangerous. ”

  Thorpe turned to Sean, who nodded. “Likely. We don’t know if we were followed to the lake. I don’t think so or they’d already be all over us. But they aren’t going to give up. When we step on shore tomorrow . . . anything could happen. ”

  Wishing like hell he could refute those words, Thorpe only nodded.

  Callie looked nervous, stricken, scared. But resolute. “Then I need to say a few things. ”

  Her voice shook, and she looked like she was trying to hold it together. The belief that she might not live through the end of this was written all over her face.

  Thorpe’s heart lurched in his chest. “Pet . . . ”

  “Please let me. ” She shook her head. “I need to get this out. I won’t break. ”

  “Go ahead. ” Sean took her hand, his thumb making soothing circles across her knuckles.

  “The two of you stuck with me when sane people wouldn’t. You came for me, despite the hell I put you through. You didn’t sell me out when you could have. After Holden, I didn’t want to trust anyone—ever. But you kept proving yourselves over and over. ” Tears flowed and fell down her cheeks, and damn if that didn’t break his heart. “I’m sorry if I was difficult and stubborn. But you two reminded me what it was like for someone to care, and I hadn’t had that in so, so long. Thank you. I will always be incredibly grateful. And I will always love you. ”

  “Callie. ” Sean reached for her.

  She stepped aside. “There’s nothing more we can do tonight, right? No docking in the dark?”

  “No. I’m not expert enough with a boat this size. ”

  “No making phone calls now?”

  The fed shook his head. “Not until I can figure a few things out, like exactly who to trust. ”

  “Then I want tonight to be about the three of us. I want to give you both what I’ve never been able to give anyone. ” She drew in another trembling breath, her nervous gaze bouncing between him and Sean. “All of myself. ”

  His cock stood up and partied. The idea of having Callie in ways he’d only fantasized about made his blood rush south, his head swim with dizzy anticipation, and his veins sizzle. It also made him ache. As she’d done before, she was leaving a chunk of her soul with them as good-bye.

  The thought that he might lose her to a bullet tied his guts up into an army of painful knots. The thought that, if the danger passed, he’d have to give her over exclusively to Sean made him want to scream and spit nails and beat himself up for not being the right man for her.

  “Are you sure, lovely?” Sean cupped her cheek.

  “Yes. I trust you. I want to do one thing right. I want to take one really good memory with me tomorrow in case it’s my last. Please. ”

  How the fuck were they supposed to say no to that?

  Sean cast a concerned glance his way. Thorpe sent it back, then stood. If this was the last time he got to touch Callie, he wanted to experience her in every way she’d let him.

  And to give her all the love he couldn’t with his words.

  “To the bedroom, then. ” Thorpe heard the rough note in his voice. He was trying to hold it together.

  “Off with you, lovely. Once you get there, kneel and wait. We’ll be along. ”

  Those big blue eyes of hers looked Sean’s way, her stare a caress, before settling on him. Her expression told him that underneath her determination to experience what might be her final night to the fullest, her heart was breaking.

  Fuck, so was his.

  He grabbed her shoulders and stared hard. If he kissed her now, he’d take her here in the galley. He’d ravish her over the little table and bang away at her like there was no tomorrow. Because there really wasn’t.

  Somehow, Thorpe managed to restrain himself and merely pressed his lips to her forehead. Sean grabbed her hand and nuzzled her neck. Callie held her breath and froze. Eyes closed, she appeared to drink in the moment. He inhaled her scent and did the same.

  Why did this hurt so fucking bad, way beyond the pain of Melissa leaving him? Even more than what the terrible bitch before her had done? Callie had told him once that he would be her biggest regret, but damn it, she would be his.

  The moment passed, and she left the room, head held high. A thousand thoughts crowded his head. Even more emotions crushed his chest. He clenched his fists, wanting to beat the fucking wall. But it wouldn’t do any good. Tomorrow was going to come.

  “We can’t leave her alone for long or she’ll fall apart,” Sean murmured softly so Callie couldn’t overhear on the small boat.

  “Agreed. ”

  The other man swallowed. “Let’s get down to it, then. She struggled for months before she allowed me to fully restrain her. If she wants to submit everything, we’ll have to push her. ”

  “I say we cut off most of her senses. There’s no way she can fully put herself in our hands until we take away her sight and sound. Force her to rely on touch, on what she’s feeling. ”

  “She’ll surrender every part of herself, I think. ”

  Thorpe nodded. “We have to give her this one night of freedom, really let her fly. ”

  “She’s asked us for almost nothing else. So if we can save her from whoever’s trying to kill her, I’ll probably never refuse her anything again. ” Sean’s smile was self-deprecating.

  “It will be to your detriment, I promise. She’ll fight you, but she will want to know that you have her firmly in hand. ”

  “Why won’t you stay and make sure she is?”

  The truth was on the tip of his tongue, but even if he blurted it out, it would change nothing. And Sean wasn’t the one to whom he owed this truth. “It doesn’t matter. ”

  The fed looked ready to argue, but didn’t. “I think you’re making a grave mistake by walking away from Callie, a mistake you’ll regret to your dying day. ”

  “I’m sure of that. Why aren’t you calling your boss tonight and asking for an armored escort to safety come first light?”

  Sean sighed, clearly not happy with the change of subject. “My boss hasn’t been forthcoming with information. He’s fed me some lines that set off my bullshit meter. I’m really not sure who we can trust, so I won’t give away our location until we have a plan B and a good escape route. I’d rather walk into the Vegas field office where there will be lots of witnesses. Trying to off Callie will be a lot more difficult then. ”

  “All good points. Let’s go find her. ”

  Sean nodded, but began digging around in the galley. He picked up a few items that made Thorpe smile faintly. “I need some d
amn ear buds. ”

  “I’ve got some in my briefcase, in the bedroom. ”

  “Perfect. ” The other man headed out of the galley and toward the bedroom. “I’d like to surround her tonight. Make her feel the safest and most loved she’s ever been. ”

  Exactly what he’d been picturing. Thorpe nodded.

  “We should make love to her together. ” Sean stopped in the little hall and turned, his expression sober. “Not like we did before, not taking turns. At the same time. I want to fill her completely. ”

  God, he’d love that. But there were complications . . . “I don’t think she’s ever taken a man anally. ”

  “Probably not. ” Sean pressed his lips together. “I’ve fucked a woman that way before, but not recently. I’m guessing you’ve had far more experience than me in that department. ”

  Lots and lots and lots. During the wild years of his adolescence. Even more during his angry postdivorce phase. And probably more than his fair share in his early thirties when he’d decided to control every damn facet of his life and lost his ability to really give a shit about anything.

  Until Callie had walked through his door and changed everything.

  “Not so much practice in the last few years. ”

  “The last four, maybe?” Sean asked knowingly.

  Hell, he really was transparent.

  He just smiled tightly. “Shut the fuck up and get to her. ”

  With a brittle laugh, Sean closed the distance to the bedroom. When they walked in, Callie knelt by the bed, head bowed, eyes down, dark hair cascading all around her slender body. She looked nervous but strangely at peace.

  Thorpe retrieved his ear buds from his briefcase, along with his iPod. He kept it mostly for his visits to the gym, but he’d equipped it with some alternate playlists, including one for dungeon play. Without a word, he handed them to Sean, who’d already set the items from the galley on the nightstand.

  It chafed to turn over control of Callie’s submission to another—not really because he couldn’t stand Sean touching her. Because he wanted to have her under his control at least once. But he hadn’t earned it. Nor did he deserve to take that much from her if he wasn’t going to stay.

  “You’re still dressed,” Sean pointed out.

  “I debated, Sir. But you didn’t tell me to strip. ”

  “So I didn’t. I think tonight we’d prefer to do it ourselves. ”

  “Definitely,” Thorpe added.

  Sometimes, he and Sean were so thoroughly on the same page, it was scary.

  “Stand for us,” the other man ordered softly.

  Callie did so on wobbly legs. Now Thorpe could really see her nerves. It endeared her to him even more, knowing this meant so much to her.

  Sean lifted the plain white shirt up her torso and over her head, exposing her bare breasts and their plump nipples.

  Thorpe brushed his fingers over one peak. “Close your eyes, pet. ”

  She did so without hesitation, and Sean stepped up, pulling a handkerchief from his pocket. It wasn’t a perfect solution, but it was clean and useful.

  As he knotted it at the back of her head, he walked a semicircle around her, then tilted her chin up to him. “Your safe word?”

  “‘Summer,’ Sir. ”

  “After your childhood horse?”

  “You knew that?” Surprise rang in her voice.

  “I know so much about you on paper. I want to know everything about the real you for myself. Thank you for the beautiful gift of your submission. I know it isn’t easy for you. ”

  “No, but I need to do this. ”

  “I know,” Sean assured. “And I need to have it. ”

  “So do I,” Thorpe said thickly, walking behind her and grabbing her wrists. “Give me your hands. ”

  Callie took a deep breath, then as she let it out, she released all the tension from her body and gave herself over completely. She’d always been beautiful to him, but watching a woman who had never truly trusted anyone now surrender her all both stunned and humbled him.

  Thorpe took her wrists in one hand. With the other, he reached around and tilted her head back so he could plant a soft kiss on her forehead. “You move me, pet. I can’t even tell you how much. Please don’t ever think otherwise. ”

  A soft smile lifted the corners of her lips. Thorpe bent to press his cheek to hers. So silky, so female. Callie was the woman he’d never dared to dream about.

  As Sean passed him a couple of pillowcases knotted together, he tied off her wrists at the small of her back. Then he caressed her shoulders, lifted the hair from her neck, and kissed her soft nape. Every time he touched her, something swelled in his chest. Fuck, he hated that tonight would be the last time he had her.

  In front of Callie, Sean gripped the ear buds and flipped through the iPod’s playlists. “Which one?”

  Thorpe chose a classical mix, instrumentals that were both reflective and passionate, that throbbed and swelled before finally crashing to a dazzling end. He used it as drinking music when regret buried him. The words to tell Callie how he felt were stuck in his heart, but some part of him hoped that she would hear his feelings through these songs.


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