Authors: Christine Feehan
She should have reacted completely differently when Savage pushed her up against the wall and smacked her on the butt. No one had ever hit her in her life. He could say it was a punishment if he wanted to, but she felt the sexual intent behind it. Or maybe everything about Savage was just sexual. To her, he was the epitome of sexual. She’d never been able to respond to anyone or anything the way she did to him. He scared her. Terrified her. She scared herself, because she had no idea her body would respond so completely to him.
A part of her was elated that she even could respond. A part of her was appalled at herself. Just thinking about him and what he’d done to her made her sex throb and burn. She found herself wanting to cry but not really knowing why.
Savage sat up in bed, scrubbing a hand down his face, wiping the sweat away. Another fucking nightmare. He couldn’t close his eyes. He hadn’t for a long while and he needed sleep. Desperately. If he didn’t get sleep soon, he was going to explode, and anything in his path would be annihilated. He glanced at the clock. Fifteen minutes. That was how much sleep he’d managed before the nightmare woke him—again.
He threw back the sheet, the only thing draped over him, because sometimes he’d get twisted up in his nightmare world and come up fighting. That was never good, considering he slept with weapons close to his hand at all times—except he wasn’t sleeping.
It took only a few minutes to take his third shower that night. The first two had been in hopes the hot water would get him to sleep. The third was for her. Seychelle. He’d held out for nearly a week. He had this itch he couldn’t get rid of. He wished it were in his cock, but it wasn’t. He rubbed his chest.
He didn’t want to give in. She was coming to their bar on Thursday . . . that was the damn problem. He wasn’t certain
she would come, and he was probably the reason she wouldn’t. She knew if she did, he wasn’t going to let her go. It didn’t matter, because he was going to her. He didn’t want to. His seeking her out would let her know she had the upper hand. She was the one woman in the world who could actually make him feel like a real man and not the walking dead.
He pulled on his jeans, boots and a tee, stretching it across the heavy muscles of his chest. His vest was next. Then he was gone. The sound of his bike was loud, rivaling the boom of the ocean as the waves hit the cliff and sea stacks to throw white, foaming spray high into the air. The fresh air held salty mist, hitting his face and clearing his head. Being on his bike and riding the ribbon of coastal highway always helped rid him of the worst of his ever-present pent-up rage—at least for a little while, until something triggered it again.
It only took a few minutes to get from Caspar to Sea Haven. He drove through the narrow streets until he came to the small cottage at the end of a dead-end road. The headlands stretched out on the other side of the street, forming the cliffs directly above the ocean. From the vantage point of the cottage, she had an excellent view of the stormy waves.
Savage backed his bike into her drive, right up to the small garage. He sat for a moment, listening to the pounding sea. It was angry tonight, matching his mood. He scanned the neighborhood. The little house was a distance from any other homes, with a field stretching between her cottage and the closest neighbor. No dogs barked. No one was moving.
He prowled around her house. Easy break-in. The front door had a shit lock. The back door was unlocked. He looked up at the heavens for a moment, wondering what the hell he was going to do to her for forgetting to lock that door. There was no alarm and the windows had no locks. One was open. Peering in, he could see the bed with Seychelle curled up in it, facing away from him. He sighed. Anyone could break in. A kid could do it.
He caught the window ledge and slid into the room easily. He was a big man, but it was a good-sized window with no covering. He wanted to shake her. Instead, he sank down on the edge of the bed and leaned down to take off his boots. He heard a gasp, and she sat up, throwing a punch at his head. He ducked it easily.
“Knock it off. You deserve to have the crap scared out of you. This place is an invitation to perverts and serial killers.”
Seychelle scooted to the headboard, pulling the sheet up to her chin. “Which are you?”
He glanced over his shoulder at her. She looked outraged. She also looked as if she might burst out laughing at any moment. Her damn dimple was very much in evidence. He concentrated on taking off his remaining boot. “I’m a pervert, of course.” He thought about it. “I might be considered a serial killer by some people. I don’t know. No one’s put that label on me yet.”
He shrugged out of his colors and folded them neatly, putting them on the end table. She had little girly things on it, none expensive. Nothing in the house really was, with the exception of an amazing blown-glass sculpture of two roses intertwined together. Both red, the stems dark green, winding their way lazily up toward the layers of soft petals, the entire sculpture nearly sparkling brightly with color from within. The two flowers were permanently set in a crystal blown-glass vase that sat on a small round base of moving colors. It was beautiful. Stunning even.
Two intertwining hand-blown crystal roses? Who had given her that? Some other lover? He didn’t like the idea, but he was careful not to knock it off the edge when he pulled his T-shirt off with one hand and put it on top of his colors. The damn sculpture was the centerpiece of the room, and clearly it was the one thing she treasured.
She didn’t protest when he folded his shirt. Why the hell didn’t she stop him when he took it off? He’d been counting on that.
“You know I could have shot you.” She sounded very solemn.
He stretched out on her bed, close to her, pulling one of her pillows out from behind her so he could jam it under his head. “You don’t have a gun, Seychelle. It’s impossible to shoot me if you don’t even have a fucking gun.”
“The point is, I could have had a gun, and then you’d be dead right now.”
“If you had a gun, I would have taken it away from you.”
“You can’t take my gun away from me. I’d shoot you first.” Now she sounded indignant. “That’s the point I’m making. You can’t just break into my house . . . How did you get in? I locked the front door.” She frowned. “I’m not certain I locked the back door. Did I?”
“No, you didn’t lock the back door. And you didn’t lock the windows. That one is wide open.” He pointed to the bedroom window. “I just came right in.” He turned his head to narrow his gaze and give her his killer stare. Maybe he should have really frightened her, so she’d learn a lesson.
“No one really locks their doors around here, Savage.”
“I’m changing the locks and you’re going to use the new ones. You made an enemy of that scout, and he’s the vindictive type. You haven’t seen the last of him unless I do something about it. I haven’t decided yet what to do about him.”
Her hand dropped to his head. He’d shaved it the night before, and she rubbed gently. It felt soothing. He never liked to be touched, but she felt different and he didn’t knock her hand away. Her touch was like her voice, a kind of magic.
“What would you do to make him stay away?”
“That’s where the serial killer part comes into play.” He stared up at the ceiling. She had a fan. It had wide paddles on it, and the light fixture was ornate. “Lie down.” He patted the bed beside him. “It isn’t like we haven’t done this before.”
“That’s true. You broke into my hospital room by lying to the nurses.”
“Just one old biddy that didn’t want me anywhere near you.”
“She was very wise.” Seychelle slid down the bed until she was lying beside him, but under the covers.
Savage lay on top of the comforter. Still, he could feel her next to him. Her heat. Every breath he drew brought her scent into his lungs. That circulated through his body, sending her everywhere until she seemed to be flowing through his veins like a drug.
“She was afraid I’d teach you all sorts of dirty, sinful things.” Dirty, sinful things were beginning to insert themselves into his mind. Once there, there was no pushing them out.
Seychelle was silent for a moment. When he looked at her, she had that little smile, the one that made his cock come to attention when he thought about it, along with those lacerations that were all his. He didn’t fight it. He wanted to feel alive. She wasn’t afraid of him. She had a smart mouth, sassy as hell, but no sense of self-preservation at all. He was going to have to change that. He reached under the covers to pull her left leg out so he could stroke the pads of his fingers along those indentations in her skin. She didn’t resist or try to pull away.
“Do you know all sorts of dirty, sinful things?” There was real curiosity in her voice.
His entire body tightened. His cock was beginning to go past a pleasant ache to an actual pain. “What kind of fuckin’ question is that? Look at me, woman. Of course I know all sorts of dirty, sinful things.”
“Cool.” There was a teasing note in her voice.
He turned his head and glared at her. “Are you just trying to piss me off? I want to shake you right now.”
“I’m so sorry I damaged your fragile ego, Savage.” She laughed softly, and the sound sent musical notes floating through the room, touching his skin until little electrical sparks danced over him, this time in various shades of gold. He hadn’t expected the show, but there it was, another thing she gave him that he wasn’t going to just be able to walk away from.
She didn’t sound in the least remorseful or even like she
had an inkling of why he was angry with her. Clearly, she didn’t believe he was any kind of a threat to her. He’d been a threat since he was a little kid, and anyone seeing him knew it. Not her. Not Seychelle.
Her laughter made him want to smile. The sound found its way inside him, just like the stroke of her fingers on his head seemed to push out demons one by one. His body relaxed, the tension draining out of it slowly. That swirling pool of rage deep inside of him where the monster dwelled subsided as well, just calmed as if her fingers were magic.
He put his arms over his shoulders and tucked his hands behind his head, not wanting to make the mistake of touching her again. Smelling her fresh, clean scent was bad enough. She was everywhere in that room. It was very small, but it suited her. She was short. And curvy. He liked curves. Her curves. And her skin. Like a canvas. A fresh canvas just waiting for him. Her hair was like a waterfall of honey gold, with sun-kissed platinum streaks spilling across her pillow, all silky soft and brushing his shoulders. Shit. He wasn’t a fucking poet.
“Lay the fuck still.” He snapped it. If she moved and all that hair slid over his skin, he was going to do something both of them were going to regret.
“This is actually my bed, which you were not invited into, so don’t tell me what to do in it. And while we’re on the subject, what are you doing here?”
“You have a good mattress.”
She scooted back up to the headboard again, but he was lying on top of the blankets and she couldn’t pull them with her. He turned his head to look at her. She wasn’t wearing much. It was some little top that barely covered her tummy. Little shorts clung to her thighs, and if he wanted, he could have run his hand right up inside, where she was warm. Damp. Waiting for him. And there was her leg and her rib cage. That side of her breast. The side of her face. That little laceration over her eye. All his.
“Wait a minute. You knew my mattress was good, so
you came here tonight? That’s the answer? How did you know that? Have you been here before? Because if you have, that’s just plain creepy and you need help.”
“I’m the one who needs help? It’s creepy that I came here tonight. I crawled through your open window and climbed in bed with you. You don’t think
creepy. Woman, you are very disturbed. And no, I haven’t been here before. I was just commenting you have a good mattress.”
“It’s important to have a good mattress.”
She said it like it was gospel. He wanted to laugh. They kept having the strangest, most ludicrous conversations, and the more she talked, the more he wanted to strangle her—or kiss her until neither of them could breathe.
She’d gone silent again. He found himself looking at her bare left leg. Mesmerized by it. The one that had been scraped along the ground so he could live. Those scars that weren’t healed all the way were red and raised, marring her perfect skin. Those scars were his. They belonged to him. He touched them with the pads of his fingers. Gently. Running his fingers from her ankle to the top of her thigh right over the evidence of the scrapes and lacerations.
“You still haven’t answered me, Savage. What are you really doing here? We both know we aren’t going to have a thing. I’m not a one-night-stand kind of girl. You don’t even give a girl an entire night.”
His hand slid up her thigh and circled it. “You want me. You think I can’t tell when a woman is attracted to me? We have chemistry, baby, and it’s off the charts.”
She didn’t remove his hand. She should have. Most women would have. Most women wouldn’t have let him crawl through their window and lie on the bed next to them. Those incredible blue eyes of hers moved over his face and then his body. She took her time, looking at the tattoos. Looking at his scars. The burns that were the most disturbing of all. He had a lot of them. He didn’t cover them up. He let her look her fill, and she did. She didn’t ask why he had
burned into his chest, but her gaze took it all in.
She gave a little sigh. Regret? Maybe.
“You’re hot as hell. And you just admitted to knowing dirty, sinful things. What girl wouldn’t be tempted? You’re scary dangerous-looking. Tatts. Muscles. A history of scary scars. Those eyes of yours. You look at a woman and she’s going to get hot. The thing is, honey, I know myself very well. You would eat me up and spit me out. I can’t take that kind of hurt, and I wouldn’t be able to separate my emotions from the wild, clearly awesome sex we’d have together.”