He’d said to trust him. She wasn’t sure she could do that without putting her hands over her ears and going la-la-la for the rest of the night. Maybe if she tried really hard she could block them out. Yes, she could ignore them. And she could keep doing it right up until someone said his name. Right up until she heard his voice. Then she couldn’t help but take in every last horrible, sordid detail.
“What about that chick in Perth.” Pete’s voice was a slimy sound that slid right through her and out the other side. He bounced a bone handled knife in his hand, waving the tip in her general direction. “The one you and Jonesy did.”
Nick gave a broad smile. “Good times.”
Fuck him and his ever-ready cock.
“Yeah. And there were those two in Darwin who took a liking to you.” Pete snuck her a dark look while Nick chuckled and sipped his drink. He never did it when Nick was looking. It gave her hope. At least they were still cautious of him, for now.
A half smile curled Pete’s lips as he threw the knife up in the air and caught it, over and over. Light from the fire flickered on the sharp edge of the blade. He sure was handy with the weapon. Justin asked Nick a question. She didn’t hear what it was. The blade kept moving, mesmerizing her. It never stopped. She could almost feel the promise of the blade against her skin. Holding back the urge to bolt was hard. Her legs tensed, her back and shoulders, her everything. God, she wanted out of there so damn bad.
Pete gave her another look, promising all sorts of violence and pain. Not just her imagination. Her lungs were working hard, but she could hardly breathe.
“Nick, how about when you shot that bloody whingeing corporal?” Pete put down his knife and started rolling the biggest joint she’d ever seen in her life. The smell of mull outdid the combined smell of their unwashed bodies. Pete and Justin weren’t big on deodorant, apparently. “You remember, just before they leveled the hospital. Can’t say that didn’t feel good.”
“That bastard,” said the man she might have been in love with but sure as hell didn’t want to be anywhere near just then. “Nah, that felt fan-fucking-tastic.”
Cue much guffawing and description of brain splatter. Ah, but they were witty tools. She kept her face calm, slack and made a list in her head of her favorite books, in alphabetical order by author surname. When Nick shot her a look she ignored him. Atwood, Austen, Bronte, Byatt … who else?
Justin smirked. “If I had to hear about his poor wife and kids back home one more time I was going to do it myself.”
Nick was just playing a part. She had to trust him. He didn’t mean it. They were going to get out of this and all would be awesome. It would.
She sat beside him on a battered old yellow lounge, his big hand curved over her knee. The army rations from dinner churned in her belly. If she could make it through the night without puking, she’d be doing well. Everything about this nauseated her. Evil emanated off these two as badly as their BO. Only Nick’s presence held them back for now, but that wouldn’t last. Pete and Justin had taken him aside for a word earlier. She didn’t even want to know what had been said. Well, she did, but she didn’t. Lecherous Neil from school looked like child’s play compared to these two. The air of menace in the dingy little lounge room was as palpable as the heat from the blazing fire, singeing the ceiling.
Her gun stayed tucked in her belt. Her back ached where it dug into her spine, but no way would she remove it.
“Time for bed, hey?” Nick gave her knee a squeeze and stood.
“What, already?” Pete said, then leered at her with a grin a hundred dentists couldn’t have helped. “Can’t say I blame ya.”
“See you in the morning, boys.” Nick winked and led her toward one of the bedrooms. The one furthest from where the bodies had been found.
“Don’t do anything I wouldn’t do,” Justin croaked around a cloud of smoke and passed the joint back his friend.
Her shoulders crept higher and higher.
The door clicked shut behind them and he set the torch on the floor. There was a dingy old double bed and a motorbike, laid out in parts on a layer of newspapers to protect the carpet. Considering it had been worn bare, she couldn’t see the point. Nick grabbed the chair from in front of a desk and jammed it under the door handle, checking it twice.
“They’ve given me tonight to talk you around. I’ve got a plan.” He touched her arm and she skipped back a step.
“Just … give me a minute here.”
“No. Listen to me.” He reached for her and she reacted without thought. The flat of her palm smacked into his cheek. Her hand stung. Nick just stared at her.
“Shit,” she whispered.
He looked every bit as stunned as she felt. He blinked at her again and again. His cheek was dark in the low light. Fuck, she’d actually hit him.
“I’m sorry,” she said.
Then he really grabbed her. His hands wrapped around her upper arms and he pulled her in tight against him. Her breasts were mashed up against his chest and his mouth covered hers in a brutally hard kiss. One hand squeezed her ass while the other held the back of her neck. He wasn’t gentle. But neither was she. Fear and anger fueled them both.
He fucked her mouth with his tongue. There was no other word for it. Fingers dug into her, holding her against him. She bit at him, or tried to. So mad, nothing made sense. The things he’d said, the words were a jumble in her head. She just wanted to hurt him. The way he’d talked about other women made her bloodthirsty. If she could have, she’d have crawled beneath his skin and done him damage from the inside out.
She tore at the button on his jeans, the zip, shoved the denim down over his hips. Her fingernails scratched at his hips and flat stomach. Beneath his hot skin, his muscles flinched. He groaned into her mouth.
Fuck yes, she wanted to mark him. Needed to.
When she slid her hand into his boxers and pressed her fingernails into the shaft of his cock, however, he stopped her quick smart. He grunted, grabbed her wrist and spun her, pushing her onto her stomach, onto the mattress. The air rushed out of her with an oomph. Her feet barely touched the ground. The spare reading glasses in her shirt pocket pressed into her. His hands dug beneath her, undoing her jeans and tearing them down her legs. They shackled her knees. He threw her gun onto the mattress beside her, but she didn’t want to shoot him. Beat at him with her hands though, yes. She tried to get up and fight back, but she couldn’t. Strong hands pulled her back until she was half standing, bent over the bed with her legs spread.
Without a word he shoved his cock into her, driving her forward onto the mattress.
Oh, shit. She wasn’t ready. Pain tripped through her and a high, hurt noise escaped her.
Suddenly his arms were around her, drawing her back against him. His breath warmed her neck. She kept her hands flat on the mattress as her sex ached around the hard length of him.
“I’m sorry,” he said. “Fuck, Ros. I’m so sorry.”
One of his big hands joined hers on the bed. Fingers stroked her where they were joined. Teasing and appeasing her. Soft touches over the lips of her sex, her thighs and her belly. He moved restlessly over her body while his lips pressed kisses to her neck. He licked at her earlobe and rubbed his nose against the soft skin beneath. The warmth of his bare pelvis and thighs pressed against her. His cock throbbed inside her, feeling so much bigger than he ever had before on account of her barely being wet.
“Roslyn. Please, talk to me.” His fingers brushed over her sex, sliding around her clit, making her soften for him. “Tell me to get out of you. If you tell me I will. I swear.”
“Sweetheart.” He sounded tortured. A lot like how she felt, mentally, physically, everything. Catching her breath seemed impossible. Her lungs were fried. Her body bruised.
“Keep touching me, Nick. Just …”
He kissed and nibbled the nape of her neck, mumbling nonsense. How perfect she was. How beautiful. How he’d never let anyone hurt her. But he was the one who’d done the damage.
She still couldn’t resist him. His fingers felt so good. Whatever they did, she wanted more. Her sex wept for him and his cock shifted inside her. Ever so carefully, slowly, he drew back and his cock slid almost all the way out of her. She hated it, the emptiness, the loss of him. Her hips pressed back.
“Carefully,” he said, pushing back into her.
The pain changed, morphed into something akin to pleasure. The ache shifted to reside wholly behind her clit. But it should hurt. She wanted it to. Everything about this situation wounded her.
He pressed into her, filling her to overflowing, then retreating. The heat of his body left her back as he straightened to stand behind her. His hands stroked over her sides, her back, before coming to rest on her hips. He fucked her so sweetly she could have cried, face buried in the sleeping bags atop the bed.
Maybe, just a little, she did.
Pressure built inside her and his movements grew more ragged. The thrust and retreat of his cock inside her melted her down, made her liquid. If it weren’t for his grip on her she’d have fallen. Her knees would have given out. No matter how badly she wanted to stay with him.
His body bucked against hers and he came with a noise unlike anything she’d ever heard. A harsh exhale with gritted teeth, an agonized groan. Her body shook but she didn’t come. So close but she couldn’t. Her mind wouldn’t let go. So much was wrong.
Nick held her to him as he emptied inside her. There were no noises outside the room. Gently he rolled her over, climbed onto the mattress and pulled further up onto the bed with her pants hanging above her ankles. He’d already done his back up.
“Kiss me,” he said.
“W-we need to talk.”
He didn’t listen. His hand slid down over her stomach, slid in the wet mess between her legs. Firm lips covered hers, kissing over and over until she gave in. Of course she gave in. When it came to him she was hopeless.