Breaching the Billionaire: Alethea's Redemption
Page 17

 Ruth Cardello

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My mother always said that men don’t like smart women. I hate that so many have proven her right. If I bleached my hair blonde and limited my vocabulary to two-syllable words, I’d probably be married by now.
Not that I want to be married.
I don’t need a man.
I admit it would be nice to have someone to come home to, but not if it requires pretending to be someone I’m not.
What’s wrong with being a strong woman? With knowing what I want and not being afraid to go after it?
Like Marc.
What would he say if I told him I’ve changed my mind?
She flopped herself into one of the generously cushioned chairs. A few hours in captivity and I’ve lost my mind.
She shivered at the thought and rubbed her arms.
“Miss me?” he asked from right behind her. She nearly jumped out of her skin in surprise.
Her eyes grazed his bare chest and dropped lower of their own volition. He was wearing a low-slung pair of lounge pants. “You’re in pajamas?” she asked, her throat so dry her words came out in a croak.
“Yes, disappointed?” He wiggled his eyebrows at her and laughed when she quickly denied it. He threw a pair of flannel lounge pants and a T-shirt at her. “This is all I have, but you’re welcome to them if you’d like. The pants have a string tie.”
Alethea bunched the clothing in one of her hands and sat up straight. “What’s next, you offer to cook me a meal like we’re friends?”
He moved to stand beside her chair. “If you’re hungry, I have about five things I know how to make, but the food here is all canned or dried. Still, better than nothing.”
She stood angrily and glared up at him. “Are you deliberately not getting my point, or are you dense? I don’t want to be here with you and I’m not going to pretend I do. I don’t want to swim with you, I don’t want to eat with you, all I want is—”
He leaned down and covered her mouth with his. With a groan he pulled her closer and she forgot what she was saying. She opened her mouth to him, meeting his tongue eagerly with hers. They wrapped their arms around each other as their tongues danced and teased.
She slid her hands up his flat stomach and loved the feel of his muscled chest. His heart beat wildly beneath her touch. He rubbed himself against her stomach, his dick growing larger and harder as he did. She closed her eyes, but that only allowed her to vividly remember the intimate details of how he looked.
With two confident hands, he eased her dress up over her hips and held her against him as he slid her panties down, his mouth never leaving hers. He put a hand on her hips and lifted her until she straddled his waist and was kissing him from above, cupping his head between her hands.
The feel of him rubbing against her wet center as he carried her to his bedroom excited her further. He stopped near his bed and she clung to him with her legs and arms as he sheathed himself in a condom.
He tore his mouth free of hers and braced her shoulders against the wall. Raggedly he said in her ear, “I have to be inside you. Now.” And with one strong upward thrust he was, and she cried out from the pleasure of it. He stopped, letting her adjust to his size.
His mouth was hot on her neck while one of his hands held her waist and the other parted her rear cheeks and caressed her intimately. She moaned and moved her hips urgently against his, wanting, needing to feel him move within her.
She arched backward and he impatiently pulled her dress down on either side, exposing her breasts. He nipped at her, grazed her with his teeth, and took her into his mouth while his tongue circled her sensitive nipple. All the while, he held her exactly as he wanted her and pounded into her, deeper with each thrust, until she was opening her legs wider and calling out his name in pleasure.
He paused and said, “You are so tight. So goddamn tight.”
She writhed against him. Quivering with need. “Don’t stop,” she begged. “Don’t stop.”
“I’ve wanted to do this since the moment I first saw you,” he whispered in her ear, rolling her hips back and forth, easing himself in and out of her as he did so. “It’s even better than I imagined. You’re amazing.”
He thrust into her. Withdrew and thrust again. Each time bringing her closer and yet not completely to an orgasm. She clenched around him, dripping with excitement and almost mindless in need.
“You—” he started to say.
She covered his mouth with her hand and cried, “Just shut up and fuck me.”
She felt him smile beneath her hand and he pushed her more firmly against the wall. All pretense of taking it slowly fell away and he was slamming into her with an abandon that she welcomed and matched, thrust for thrust.
She came first, crying out with a loss of control she’d never allowed herself before. She was sobbing with an almost overload of sensation, and her cries only excited him more. He pounded into her, faster and faster, harder and harder, unyielding in his demand for her submission. This was a primal taking, a claiming. Beyond either of their control.
Then the unbelievable happened: she felt herself soaring again. Heat flooded her stomach and she dug her nails into his back as she clenched for a second orgasm, feeling him bury his face in her neck and shudder as he joined her.
They stood there, with him still inside her and her legs around his waist, as they both caught their breath and slowly came back to their senses. He groaned and chuckled as he kissed her collarbone. “I hate it when I break a promise. I just couldn’t figure out how to do it without my hands.”
She met his eyes. “Is everything a joke to you? Put me down.”
“Let your guard down, Alethea. It’s okay to laugh. You don’t have to protect yourself from me.”
She couldn’t take any more. She shifted until she broke their connection, then continued to squirm until he released her enough so that her feet were firmly back on the floor. “Don’t. Don’t pretend this is anything but what it is. This isn’t a date. You’re being paid to keep me out of the way and that—” she waved her hand in the air beside her—“that was just the result of two people being thrown together in a stressful situation.”
He studied her face, then broke out in his cocky smile. “Your job must be more exciting than mine, because this is not the norm for me.”
She shoved him back a step. “You’re not funny.”
He closed the distance between them and was suddenly serious. “Well, now you’ve hurt my feelings. Looks like I’ll have to do my best to impress you with my other qualities.”
The evidence of the quality he was referring to nudged her sex, hard and ready, as he swept down and plundered her mouth with another deep kiss. A part of her clung to the knowledge that none of this was real, but the rest of her felt it was too good to pass up. These memories would have to sustain her, because she would never put herself in this situation again.
He stopped, raised his head with a funny expression on his face, and asked, “What are you thinking about?”
She tried to pull his mouth back down to hers and said, “It doesn’t matter.”
“Tell me,” he demanded.
Alethea wasn’t sure what reaction she expected to her refusal, but she didn’t expect him to pick her up, swing her over his shoulder, and carry her to his bedroom. He tossed her down on his bed.
Oh, no, he didn’t.
Oh, yes, he did.
This isn’t one of my fantasies. This is real.
Still naked, she was on her knees and scrambling past him, but he caught her, flipped her onto her back and, before she knew what he was doing, he’d secured both of her hands above her head with handcuffs.
Lying beside her, he said, “I know what you’re thinking—what man has handcuffs under his bed, right? They were a gag gift from a buddy of mine. I figured I should keep them here in case I had to ride out the apocalypse. In case things got boring.” He smiled down at her as if he couldn’t see the fury in her eyes. “Not that you’re boring. Trust me, you’re the opposite of boring, but you need to learn to trust people.”
Pulling against the cuffs angrily, Alethea snarled, “And you think this will do that? All it’s going to do is be my defense for why I strangled you the second I was set free. ‘Your honor, look at the bruises on my wrists. He had it coming.’”
Marc ran a hand up one of her arms to just below where the metal met her wrist. “You won’t have a single mark on you if you don’t fight it.”
She tried unsuccessfully to whip her arm away from his touch but was impeded by the restraint. “You might as well tell me not to breathe. I’m going to free myself and when I do, you will regret this.”
“I see the problem.”
“Thank God. You’re coming to your senses. Get the keys now and maybe, just maybe, I’ll forget this ever happened.”
Propped up on one elbow, Marc looked down at her as if she were a puzzle he was solving. “You can’t turn it off, can you? Everything is a fight to you.”
“Do these handcuffs come with earplugs? Because there are laws against torturing people with your psychobabble.”
Instead of rising to her taunt, he laughed. “I’m beginning to get you. Really get you. You’re scared right now, aren’t you? That’s why you’re on the attack.”
I’m not afraid of anything, but I’ll go along with this if it has the potential to provide a window of opportunity. “You don’t think that locking someone in a bunker, then tying her to a bed, is cause for concern?”
“I would never hurt you, Alethea. Do you believe that?”
She looked away. “Then let me go.”
He turned her face back to his and those beautiful blue eyes seemed to see her soul. “Just this once, let yourself be in a situation where you’re not in control.”
She shook her head.
He leaned down and whispered in her ear. “What’s the worst thing that could happen? You find you enjoy it?”
She glared at him.
When she didn’t say anything, he said, “If you really want me to take off the cuffs, I will. All you have to do is say it.” He ran a lazy finger over her collarbone and down the side of one breast. “Or you can trust me to take care of you. That’s what the cuffs are about. Trust. Yes, they leave you vulnerable, but everything that matters in life leaves you vulnerable. And sometimes you win by not fighting.”
His words washed over her, filling her with a warmth she couldn’t deny.
All I have to do is tell him to remove the cuffs and this is over.
No man controls me, not even for the sake of sexual experimentation.
I don’t do restraints.
So why am I not demanding my freedom?
He didn’t gloat as she would have expected a man to. Instead, he quietly waited for her decision.
An unexpected tear came to her eye and in a thick voice she said, “If you hurt me, I’ll kill you. Literally. Slowly. In the most painful way I can think of.”
Real shock showed on his face and he touched her cheek with a gentle hand. “Hey, it’s okay to be scared. Trusting anyone is always scary.”