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Authors: Jessica Gadziala

Savior (9 page)

BOOK: Savior
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To put it simply, our eyes locked and I was turned on.

I was starting to feel like some kind of freaking nymphomaniac. It was unsettling.

But not quite as unsettling as the way Paine's eyes looked me over, lingering a minute on my legs which sent a thrill through my body. I liked my legs. They were a testament to the weekly hot yoga sessions and three-times weekly cardio sessions at the gym that kept them looking like they did. They lingered again at my chest, but more briefly, then at my scarf. It was then that his brows drew together like he was confused. Which was understandable. He had sisters and word was that he got around, so he knew women didn't wear freaking scarves with dresses, but whatever. For all he knew, it was the hot new thing in Milan. But by the time his eyes got back to my face, they looked tight and angry.

Confused, turned on, but confused, I looked quickly away.

"Else, you okay?" Rome asked, his breath warming my ear in a way that felt oddly too intimate.

"What?" I asked, jerking back slightly. "Oh, yeah. I'm fine. Sorry. Scatterbrained," I explained, waving my free hand while bringing the one holding my drink up to my lips for a long sip.

"Gotta leave the office at the office," he advised. "You're gonna be here, be here, right? Have a couple drinks, unwind, forget about all that shit."

"You're right," I agreed, silently thanking the foresight to call a cab and not drive to the bar. I needed booze and I needed a lot of it if I was going to be in the same bar with Paine.

Twenty minutes and two and a half drinks later, I was laughing at something Rome said, loving the fact that once he got a couple drinks in him, he loosened up and actually had a rather risque sense of humor. My arm was up and out at my side with my almost empty drink, my head thrown back, my laugh loud and uninhibited, when suddenly my aloft wrist was tagged in a firm grip and I was being pulled.

"I'm borrowing her for a minute," Paine's tense voice informed Rome whose face fell as his eyes landed on me.

"Um, Paine, I'm here with my friends..." I started, wanting to wipe that look off Roman's face as I realized for the first time that Paine was right; he wasn't fully aware that he was not and would never be my boyfriend.

"Two minutes," he said, pulling my wrist harder as he pried the drink out of my hand and passed it off to a Bea who was too surprised to do anything but take it from him.

"Oh, um, I'll be right back," I told Rome, eyes begging him to understand as Paine turned and started walking, dragging me behind.

"Paine what is your proble..." I started to ask as he pulled me outside and walked down the small alley between the buildings. He pushed me up against the wall, hard enough to make me stiffen, wondering how safe I was with him after all.

Before I could open my mouth to try to either diffuse the situation or start yelling about his treatment of me, his hand was at the side of my neck, yanking at the knot I had tied there and whipping off the scarf so fast that I couldn't bring my hands up to stop him. "Jesus fuck," he growled, balling up the scarf in one hand as his other raised toward my neck. I felt myself flinch; I wasn't sure if it was just a knee-jerk response after being choked or because I genuinely felt fear right then, but I flinched. Hard. And Paine noticed. His eyes flew up to my face, the tightness around his eyes softening. "Babygirl, never. I'd never put my hands on you that way," he said and punctuated the statement as his hand closed the space and gently stroked up the side column of my neck. The whisper-soft touch sent a shiver through my body, seeming to end in a strong tightening at my sex. His hand flattened around the side and back of my neck and he leaned forward, resting his forehead against mine. "Who did this?"

"I don't know," I said honestly, my voice sounding almost shaky to my ears.

"What'd he look like?"

How the hell did he expect me to recall something like that when he was all up in my personal space, causing all kinds of chaos in my system that had gotten used to fantasizing about him while I self-completed over the past few days? I took a slow breath, pulling in the slight spicy scent of his cologne and his skin and knowing nothing else had ever smelled quite so erotic before.

I pushed the thoughts away, drawing up the image of the night before. "Um. Tall, but not as tall as you. Dark hair. Dark eyes. Built but not as big as that other guy who chased me the other night. He wasn't too distinctive. Except he had... a scar..."

"Scar?" he repeated, pulling back just far enough so that our foreheads weren't touching and his eyes could look into mine.

"Yeah, here," I said, my hand raising and touching the space above his upper lip, resting there as I spoke. "Like maybe it was a cleft lip repair?" I surmised, but my eyes were suddenly on his lips. I felt my own part slightly, like an invitation.

"Keep looking at my mouth like that and I'm gonna have to kiss you," he said, calling me on my staring and making my eyes snap up. "And, babygirl, it won't be no lame ass two second meeting of lips this time," he said, referencing the kiss that had still managed to make me tingle for hours afterward. "No, this time," he went on, hand curling slightly into my skin, his other hand with my scarf in it raising and cupping my jaw at the other side of my face, "it will be long and deep and you'll feel my lips on yours for a fucking week afterward."

I swallowed hard, my lady bits thrilling at the notion, trying to convince myself to tell him to step away. But, in the end, my hand dropped from above his lip and onto his bicep, curling in. "All talk," I said, giving him a small smile.

"You sure you want this? Babygirl, I kiss you, I'm gonna have to fuck you. Maybe not tonight, but it's definitely happening. I get another taste, I'm gonna want more. I'm gonna want it all."

"Paine..." I said, need clear in my voice and I was too far gone to care.

"Warned you," he said, hands tightening on the back of my neck and jaw as he tilted my face up and dipped his down, pausing slightly before our lips met, making my belly swirl in anticipation as my eyes fluttered closed. Then his mouth pressed into mine and my legs felt instantly wobbly, making my hand curl harder into his bicep and the other go around his waist and pull him against me. His head slanted, a hint of his teeth grazed my lower lip and I felt my mouth open slightly. That was all he needed. His tongue slipped inside and claimed mine, moving over it with exquisite precision, making a small whimper escape my lips. His hand left my jaw and snaked around my hips, hauling me upward and against him, making my heels lift up out of my shoes.

His tongue released mine and his teeth sank into my lower lip hard, drawing out something that was in no way a whimper, but a full-blown moan. Paine made a growling sound deep in his chest that made my sex clench as a rush of wet rushed to dampen my panties. As if sensing this, he twisted our positions so his back was to the alley opening and his hand released my neck and moved between our bodies and up my skirt to cup my sex over my panties, fingers crooking in and making my lips pull from his on a gasp.

His eyes were already open and on me, looking as heavy lidded as mine felt. "No one can see," he said in a sexy, rough voice that made my stomach flutter as his forefinger moved to press between my folds and find my clit, pulsing against it in a fast, unrelenting pace. I bit into my lip to keep my sounds in, leaning forward to bury my face in his neck as he kept up the perfect torment. "Knew you'd be wet for me," he said, his lips to my hair.

"Paine," I whimpered into his skin as I felt myself tightening, getting close.

"Not yet. Not like this," he said, pressing in hard for a moment before I lost his hand completely as he yanked my skirt back down, shifted so my back was against the wall, and wrapped the scarf back around my neck.

"What?" I asked, my body feeling too frazzled from the interruption of an orgasm that was going to make my world splinter apart to fully understand what had just happened.

"Not here. Not like this," he said, his eyes on his task as he knotted the scarf and pulled it tighter.

My sex was pulsing in a way that was just shy of painful, begging for the orgasm it was denied. And, to my complete and utter horror, I felt tears sting at the back of my eyes. It was just the final straw. I had a shitty freaking week and the last thing I needed was to be toyed with sexually by the guy I had been fantasizing about for days. It was all just too much.

Paine shifted the scarf to how I had it before he pulled me out of the bar and his eyes went to my face again, his eyes taking in the pools in my eyes threatening to spill over. His mouth parted as if on a silent gasp, brows drawing together. "Babygirl..." he said, his hand resting on my cheek just as a stupid tear slipped out and slid down, catching on his skin.

"Don't," I barked, jerking my head to the side.

"Elsie, if you need me to finish..."

I jerked away, shoving hard at his chest as I moved into the mouth of the alley. "I'm not crying because you're a tease. I'm crying because I've had a shitty week that has involved being chased by thugs, being scared half to death by you showing up uninvited to my house, watching someone I know get beat half to death, and then had my hair yanked out of my head and was strangled. I don't need your pity orgasm. I need you to leave me the hell alone," I said, realizing I was yelling at that point and turning to flee back into the bar.

I swatted at my cheeks to get rid of the tears before Bea could see as I made my way back toward the group.

"Else..." Rome said as soon as he saw me, mid-sentence talking to someone I didn't know, his smile instantly falling.

"Alcohol," I barked at him as he walked toward me. "Rome, I want this entire night to be a vodka-soaked blurry memory."

Rome took a deep breath, like he didn't agree with my method of coping, but snagged the closest waitress and ordered a round of shots and another cocktail for me.

Three rounds later, I watched as Paine caught my eye, shook his head, tossed money on the bar, clapped his hand on a young, attractive guy with a scar down his cheek and a Henchmen emblem on his leather jacket, turned and left.

Another two rounds after that, everything was a swirling, happy, numb nothing.

And I almost, but not quite, managed to forget about Paine and the kiss and the... everything else in the alley.

There were some moments in life that not even vodka could erase.

Damn it.

















Sunday morning brought the hangover to end all hangovers. I rolled over in bed, still in my dress and scarf, sans shoes and jewelry, and vaguely aware of the memory of Roman half-carrying me up to my room, laughing as I recalled a couple particularly stupid adventures he and I had embarked on as teens, doing so with the grandeur and giggle fits only a true drunk could. I even blearily recalled him rolling me onto my back and pulling out my earrings and gently slipping my ring off my finger. I closed my eyes as I remembered his hand closing around mine for a second and squeezing.

I sat up in bed, cradling my head.

God, I was so

Poor Roman.

How long had he been showing obvious signs that he had more than friendly interest in me? As I made my way toward the bathroom, I ventured a guess that it was most likely since he came back from college. It was then that his gaze seemed to linger and his touches felt less like the brotherly jabs I had known all my life.

Years, I had been unwittingly leading him around for years.

"Oh that's lovely," I groaned at my reflection, my eye makeup smeared half down my face, my hair a tangled puffy mess. I washed my hands and pulled out my too-dry contacts, then threw myself in the shower with every ounce of admittedly small energy I had.

I chugged water, but forewent the over the counter pain medicine because, well, if I was going to do the crime, I was going to do the time. Meaning, I was going to suffer my way through a hangover. I got into light wash skinny jeans, tan bootie wedge heels, and a tan heavy knit sweater, tying a scarf around my neck, then heading out.

I stopped at a coffeehouse and a florist, unsure what the hell I was supposed to bring a near stranger to the hospital after they took a beating because they were working for you.

Barrett was on a normal hospital floor in a room by himself at the end of a hall. I felt a swirling of anxiety in my stomach as I stepped into the open doorway and saw a very sunken, bruised, and sutured Barrett Anderson lying in a hospital bed. Sitting on the windowsill, leg up, back against the window, looking somehow casually arrogant in jeans and a black long-sleeve tee, was Sawyer.

I felt my eyes roll at the smirk he gave me.

"See you met my brother," Barrett's voice called to me, sounding at once resigned and amused.

"I didn't think it was possible given how anti-social you are, but you seemed to inherit all the charm genes in your family," I said, giving him a small smile as I placed the vase on the nightstand beside his bed.

Sawyer's laugh followed me as I moved to hand Barrett his coffee. I realized this because he was suddenly at my side, taking my coffee out of the tray. "You shouldn't have," he said, bringing it up to his mouth and taking a long swig.

"I didn't. That was mine."

"Yeah, bet it would really help that hangover you got going on. Too bad it's mine now."

I turned back to Barrett who gave me a 'what can you do?" shrug. "Have I mentioned how glad I am that I hired you and not him?"

"Babe," Sawyer snorted, reaching out and snagging the side of my scarf, pulling it down to look at and show his brother my bruises. "Sure about that?"

I saw Barrett wince and felt double guilty. "I'd take getting strangled over dealing with you any day."

"Too bad I'm gonna be the one you're working with. At least until Barrett is out of here," he conceded and it was the first hint of kindness I'd seen in him.

BOOK: Savior
13.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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