The queen, p.45
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       The Queen, p.45

         Part #8 of The Original Sinners series by Tiffany Reisz
 

  flowers in the ice bucket, which made for a perfect makeshift vase. Displaying them on the table by the bed might be a little too much even for Søren so she set them on the fireplace mantel instead.

  “We’ve never made love in a castle before, have we?” Nora asked as she turned from arranging her flowers to gaze around the room. She walked from the great stone fireplace to the hanging blue-and-red tapestries on the wall adorned with unicorns, dragons and knights.

  “Belgium,” Søren said as he strode to the bed, carrying a box in one hand and something long, thin and wrapped in fabric in the other. He snapped his fingers and she jogged to his side.

  Nora smiled at the memory of a long-ago journey through Europe they’d taken together. An anniversary gift from Kingsley.

  “We’ll always have Belgium. And what was her name?”

  “Odette.” Søren opened the box that held her collar.

  “Oh yes. That was it. She was fun, wasn’t she?” While in Belgium, she and Søren had toured a little brewery and had met a beautiful Swiss translator named Odette. During the tasting, Odette had flirted shamelessly with them both—she and Søren had dueled over who knew more languages. Søren won, but just barely. After the tour, Odette had come back with them to their hotel room in a renovated castle. Nora had been young then, only twenty-four, and had never been that intimate with a woman. Søren hadn’t touched Odette, but he’d certainly enjoyed watching the two of them together that night.

  “You’re smiling, Little One.” Søren brought her collar around her neck and locked it on. While his fingers were at her throat he toyed with the necklace she wore always these days. It had three charms on it—two rings engraved with the words Everything and Forever and a small silver locket Nico had given her as a token of his adoration. They made a gentle clinking sound like tiny wind chimes when she moved.

  “Good memories,” she said. “So many good memories I’ve forgotten some of them.”

  “Speaking of memories, I have a gift for you. A gift in memory of something.”

  “You don’t have to give me anything,” she said, keeping her eyes low, respectful, submissive.

  “I know,” he said with that touch of arrogance she’d always loved and loathed in equal measure. “But it was time I gave you this.”

  He held up the bundle still covered in its fabric wrapping.

  “What is it?”

  “You’ll find out. But you have to earn your gift first.”

  “It’s not a gift if I have to earn it,” she reminded him.

  “Then we’ll call it a ‘prize.’”

  “How do I earn my prize?”

  “Trial by fire.”

  “You are in a mood tonight, aren’t you?” she asked. “Sir?”

  “Do you accept the challenge?” he asked, his eyebrow cocked, his smile tight but amused. She was thirty-eight years old, and she had loved Søren since she was fifteen...and yet...after all this time he could still scare the shit out of her.

  God, she loved him.

  “Yes, sir,” she said. “I want my prize.”

  Søren cupped her face again, kissed her lips again.

  “I already have my prize.” He kissed her on the forehead.

  She stood unmoving and made no protest as Søren stripped her naked. He unbuttoned her blouse and slid it off her arms. Under her shirt she wore a black corset, which he took an unnecessary amount of time unlacing. The more eager she was to have him inside her, the longer he took getting there. Her own fault for falling in love with a sadist, not that she regretted it. He unzipped her leather skirt and pushed it over her hips and down her legs. His fingers on her bare skin as he unhooked her stockings set her to shivering, even more when he tickled the bottoms of her feet as he pulled them off.

  If she hadn’t loved Søren before, she would fall in love with him again for looking at her thirty-eight-year-old body with the same desire that had once gazed on her naked seventeen-year-old form. She’d never suffered from a lack of self-esteem and had, more than once—rightly—been accused of being egotistical. A woman who took money from men for the privilege of letting them worship her had to have more than her fair share of confidence. But finding herself so much closer to forty than thirty had taken a little getting used to. Time had only increased Søren’s beauty. The gray in his hair could barely be distinguished from the blond. The years had sharpened his features, scraped off the rough edges, and sculpted him into a man worthy of all the respect and love she had to give him. She had an older man to adore and a younger man who adored her.

  Life was good.

  “Someone’s quiet,” Søren said as he lifted her off her feet and laid her onto the bed on her back. The linen sheets tickled her, made her aware of every nerve in her body. “Are you nervous?”

  “I was thinking about tomorrow.”

  “‘Do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself,’” Søren said.

  “Yes, Father Stearns. I’ve read Matthew, too.”

  Søren set a basin on the nightstand by the bed and soaked a small white towel in the water.

  “Good. Now stop worrying and hold still while I set you on fire.”

  Nora held still.

  Fire-play wasn’t so much about pain as it was fear. Fear and its mirror twin—trust. She closed her eyes while Søren painted her stomach with an ice-cold gel that smelled of rubbing alcohol. He took each of her wrists and buckled them one by one to the headboard with leather cuffs.

  Søren lifted the candle off the bedside table and moved it slowly up and down her body six inches or less from her skin. When he inflicted his sadism on her, he did so intently, with respect for the act and respect for her willingness to serve him. Playing with fire was dangerous and it was rare when Søren asked her to submit to this sort of edge-play. She knew him. When anxious, troubled or under stress, he centered himself with sadism. He could pretend he wasn’t worried about tomorrow, but she knew better. It was on his mind as much as hers.

  Outside the castle, the storm battered the windows and the walls. But the eye of the storm was their bed. All was quiet if not calm. Søren brought the flame to the edge of the S and at once it flared into life.

  Eleanor breathed in and didn’t exhale. She could see the fire, smell the bitter smoke, but strangely could not feel it. The fluid formed a barrier between the fire and her body. As if the fire was a tongue lapping at her skin. But it did scare her and it was real fear. Real fire meant real fear. Real fear meant Søren was burning in his own fire. His breaths were shallow with barely controlled desire. His eyes were all pupil now, black as night, and in the inky depths she could see the fire reflected. Not once did he look away from the flame and neither did she.

  Søren stripped himself of his clothes even as he watched the fire burn itself out on her.

  He wrote on her with the gel again, set it alight again and watched her burn again.

  When the fire was nearly but not entirely out, Søren straddled her hips and stretched out on top of her, using his own body to snuff out the last of the fire. He was aroused, brutally hard, and she felt his erection pressing against her thighs. She opened her legs wide for him and pushed her hips into his. He entered her fully, sliding through her wetness all the way to the core of her. Nora pulled against the bonds on her wrists, moaned and exhaled as he pulled out and thrust into her again.

  This was bliss. How she had missed him these weeks she’d been in Europe. She loved Nico, loved the days and especially the nights she spent with him at his vineyard. The rest of her time was Søren’s. Nico’s one true love was his vineyard, and the vineyard was a demanding and possessive mistress. And Nora’s one true love was Søren, who was a demanding and possessive master. She and Nico understood each other perfectly. She was a Dominant herself, and when she had Nico on his knees in front of her, his lips on her ankles, her welts on his back, that was Nora. But Nora was only one half of her.

  “My Little One,” Søren said into her ear as he moved inside
her, filling her. “My Eleanor.”

  And Eleanor was the other half.

  He kissed her breasts, sucking deep on the hard tips, and massaged her clitoris until the room filled with the sounds of her cries of pleasure, her cries for release. He didn’t let her come yet. He ordered her not to come. An impossible command. He was inside her, thick and heavy, pushing hard and deep. She spread her legs wider, dug her heels into the bed and breathed into her stomach as she staved off her building climax.

  “Tell me you love me and I might let you come,” Søren said, punctuating the command with a rough thrust that made her flinch with both pain and pleasure.

  “I love you, my sir, with all my heart.”

  “Tell me you want me.”

  “I want no one in the world as much as I want you. I love your body, your cock. I want you to come inside me. Please...”

  “Tell me a secret you’ve never told me, and I’ll consider letting you come.”

  “I fucked a nun at my mother’s convent,” Nora said, and Søren stopped moving. He pushed himself up and stared down at her.

  “What?” she said, batting her eyelashes up at him in feigned innocence. “You asked.”

  “Lesson learned.” He lowered himself onto her again and kissed her once more. The kiss was wild now, as wild as the night. He bit her lips, pushed his tongue into her mouth as he rammed into her with ruthless unforgiving thrusts. It was exactly what she needed. Her back arched and the muscles in her back coiled tight as a spring. She felt the ecstasy drawing together, pooling in her stomach. Then she rose and rose, higher and higher until she reached that throbbing peak and her body went still and stayed that way for one long perfect moment.

  With a final cry, she came with a shudder that racked her entire body. She crashed back to earth with a thousand flutters of her inner muscles that left her shaking underneath Søren. He ignored her climax as he sought his own, thrusting into her faster and harder until he released at last, filling her with his heat.

  Still coupled together Nora wrapped her legs around his back and relaxed her breathing. She loved this moment when she could feel the wild racing of his heart against hers. Bliss suffused her, peace and contentment. And then Søren spoke.

  “You fucked a nun at your mother’s convent.”

  “This is what you get for making me earn an orgasm by telling you a secret. It was the first thing that popped into my head.”

  Søren pulled out of her and looked down at her again. Then he laughed, a bright big laugh, big as the castle. Even as he unlocked her wrists from the bed and chafed her hands that had grown cool while in bondage, he still laughed.

  “I will never reach the end of you,” Søren said. “Every time I think I’ve seen it all, you lead me to a hidden door and open it.”

  “In my defense,” Nora said, “she was beautiful, and I hadn’t had sex in a very long time.”

  “When was this?” he asked as he slid off the bed and pulled his trousers back on. He didn’t bother with his shirt and that was fine by her.

  “That year,” she said, and didn’t have to say anything else. Søren knew what “that year” was, what it meant. They didn’t talk about that year, never talked about that year. In fact, they did their best to pretend that year never happened.

  “I see.”

  “I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t mean to bring it up. I have no blood in my brain when you’re inside me.”

  “I’m not angry.” Søren poured water into a porcelain basin and brought it to the bedside table. He dipped a white cloth into the water. With it he wiped the residue of candle wax off her body.

  “I would have told you if you’d asked,” she said as Søren rinsed the cloth in the basin. She opened her legs for him and now he cleaned the semen off her vulva and inner thighs. “You never asked,” she reminded him.

  “That was a hard year for all of us,” he said.

  “I never asked you what you did while I was gone.”

  “Suffered,” he said, meeting her eyes.

  “Now I remember why I didn’t ask.”

  “It sounds as if you didn’t suffer the entire time you were gone.”

  “You know me. If I’m not having sex, I go a little crazy.”

  “What’s your excuse the rest of the time then?” he asked and she play-punched him in the arm. He captured her by the wrists and kissed her again, entirely against her will. Well, mostly against. Partly. She pretended it was against her will anyway.

  After he released her arms, she clambered out of the bed and found her suitcase. The castle was full of guests now, and all day she’d been working, answering questions, making decisions, putting all the finishing touches into place. If someone came knocking on her door—a distinct possibility—she should probably have some clothes on before she answered it. She slipped into a pair of black-and-white silk pajama pants and a matching lacy camisole top. She kept her collar on for no reason other than she’d missed it. From Nico she’d learned the fine art of starting a fire in a fireplace, and she went to work stacking her kindling.

  “So do I get my prize?” she asked.

  Before she could answer, the door flew open, the rusty hinges screaming in protest. Kingsley rushed in and slammed the door behind him.

  “What the hell?” she said, standing up.

  “You have to hide me,” Kingsley said, out of breath from running. “She’s after me.”

  “Who? Céleste?” Nora asked. Kingsley and his daughter had been playing hide-and-seek all day in the castle.

  “Juliette,” Kingsley said. He looked at Søren and said, “Take off your pants if you want me to live.”

  “You’ve tried that line before,” Søren reminded him. “It didn’t work the last time you tried it, either.”

  “I’m a dead man then,” Kingsley said, barring the door behind him.

  “Why do you need Søren to take his pants off?” Nora asked. “I mean, other than the usual reason.”

  Kingsley pointed down at himself.

  “That’s why,” he said.

  Nora looked at him. He wore a black shirt and had his hair pulled back in a ponytail. His feet were bare; he looked like a pirate or a rogue or both and none of this was unusual. Except for one thing. Every man in the wedding party had already been given their formal wear.

  So instead of his usual clothes, Kingsley wore a kilt.

  “Juliette has a kilt fetish?” Nora asked, now understanding Kingsley’s panic.

  “A newly discovered kilt fetish,” Kingsley said. “She’s had me three times yesterday and three times today already—”

  “You’re her Dominant,” Søren reminded him. “Satisfying her needs is your job.”

  Kingsley ignored him. “She’s hunting me down for a fourth. I’m a man, not a machine. I feel violated, used...”

  “You’re being melodramatic. You know you love it,” Søren said.

  “Why does she keep calling me Connor in bed?” Kingsley asked.

  “This explains why she’s always trying to make me watch Highlander with her,” Nora said as she stood up in front of the fireplace.

  Nora looked at Søren and awaited his verdict.

  “Please don’t make me go,” Kingsley said in a pleading tone. “I swear it’ll break off if she gets her hands on me again.”

  Søren delivered his judgment.

  “Throw him out.”

  “You heard the man,” Nora said as she strode to the door, her feet tingling on the cold stone floor. “The priest has spoken.”

  “I’ll be dead by morning,” Kingsley said, pressing his back to the door.

  “We’ll miss you very much.” Nora reached past him for the door bar. “I have my collar on. I have to follow orders.”

  “I’ll beg for my life. How’s that?” Kingsley looked straight at Søren.

  “Beg then,” Søren said as he dug through his suitcase and pulled out a T-shirt. He was a cruel man and putting on clothes was the most sadistic of all the many cruelties
he inflicted on his lovers. “I’d like to hear this.”

  “He’s in a mood,” Nora said to Kingsley. “I had to beg for my orgasm.”

  “I can beg. I’ll beg.”

  Nora crossed her arms and waited. She hoped Kingsley would find a way to earn his way into staying. She’d missed him too these past few weeks she’d been gone.

  “S’il vous plaît, mon ami, mon amour, mon coeur, mon maître, mon monstre, I will do anything if you let me stay. Anything at all.”

  “Anything?” Søren repeated. “Define anything.”

  Kingsley looked at Nora then he crooked his finger at Søren.

 
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