My Next Breath

Book Two in The Obsidian Files

Zade Ryan. Rebel supersoldier. Nearly superhuman. On a desperate quest to rescue his missing brother Luke by any means possible. To do it, he must seduce the elusive Simone Brightman, inventor of the ingenious and deadly tech used to capture Luke and hold him prisoner, location unknown. Zade will do whatever it takes to get close to Simone. Her mysterious beauty and highly sexual allure have him at a disadvantage, but time is running out . . .

Simone is fighting battles of her own, on her own. Until Zade—six foot four of sinewy muscle and lethal combat skills—rescues her from street thugs and leaves her breathless. His smoldering black eyes and overpowering sensuality—and his seductive invitation to spend one wild, unforgettable night with him—prove too tempting to resist.

Their passionate encounter unleashes scorching desire that neither can control—leaving them vulnerable to their enemies who watch from the shadows and wait. And when they are lured into a trap by a monstrous killer hellbent on their destruction, they must fight with every weapon they have to save Luke, and each other.

Because one night together could never be enough—and they might not live to have another . . .

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Chapter One

That voice. Hers.

Zade isolated that sound from all the others competing to be heard: traffic, gusting wind, cold rain driving down on the black asphalt, dripping off the vinyl awning he lurked beneath.

Fading out. Fuck.

Zade listened hard for that free-floating sound thread, thin as a strand of spider-silk waving around out there in the humming urban buzz of Seattle.

Yeah. There she was. Coming out of the Mercer Center with some people. Adults and kids. Umbrellas whooshed open. Cars pulled up. A few taxis stopped. He heard her, talking, laughing, saying goodnight. A subtle thrill racked him as that low, husky female voice stroked delicately down his nerve endings.

Simone Brightman. He liked her voice.

His phone vibrated in his pocket. He checked the display.

cold out here wtf

He tapped back a response.


Lightweights. His hired goons had been waiting hours in the rain. Boo-fucking-hoo. He was damp and chilled, too, but he wasn’t bitching about it. Nor should he.

It was what he deserved for prowling around in the dark like a fucking criminal.

Whatever it took. He’d kill for information about his lost brother Luke. And what he was about to do fell way short of killing. Nobody was going to get hurt tonight. At least not physically.

Simone Brightman had to know something. And that was as far as he’d gotten. Months had crawled by without a single opportunity for a chance meeting with her. He’d plotted and schemed, increasingly frustrated. But no dice.

Mostly she stayed stubbornly locked in her house. No errands, shopping, gas stations, malls, post office, restaurants, movies. No workdays at her biomed lab, which used to be the sum-total of her life. This once-a-week math tutoring thing she did with kids was the only reason she’d gone out at all since she and Noah Gallagher broke their engagement.

She must be depressed. Fine. He could work with that. All she needed to make her misery complete was some mouth-breathing scum menacing her on a dark street.

Add terror to the mix. And himself, never on the side of the angels.

He followed a brief conversation she had with some kids on their way out of the Center. He could barely hear what they were saying, but they seemed to really like her.

“Get home safe. See you next week.” There was laughter in her voice.

Finally it was just her, making her solitary way toward her car, not knowing that it had been disabled. About three blocks away now. Her rubber-soled lace-up leather boots squeaked.

Lately, for some unknown reason, she no longer bothered with her ultra-professional ice maiden look.

At first, he thought he’d miss that super-controlled vibe. It had been stimulating to watch that round, taut ass twitching purposefully along in tight pencil skirts as she went about her business, heels clicking.

Also gone: her sleek designer suits and smoothly styled hair. She’d been so tightly buttoned up it was actually kinda kinky-porno-hot. He got off on it.

Now when she got dressed, it was in battered jeans or pilled leggings, sloppy sweatshirts, full-length skirts. Black, horn-rimmed glasses so butt-ugly they passed for aggressively cool. Her curly blond hair—surprise, surprise, not smooth at all—was out of control, unless she bothered to pin it up or put it in a messy ponytail.

Her new look was as different from the old as it was possible to get. And it jazzed him just exactly as much. Go figure.

And he looked at her a lot. Getting surveillance vid-cams installed in her place had been a hell of a thing. Her home security was top of the line. He’d finally succeeded in maneuvering a few micro-drones through her front door, two while the housekeeper came in to clean, one while Simone was having groceries delivered. Completely silent, nearly impossible to see. One was perched on the kitchen light fixture. One was on a bedroom curtain rod. The last sat on one of the wall-mounted speakers in her living room.

She was always in her studio or bedroom. Always working. She slept very little, and ate so seldom it had actually started to worry him. The fuck? An adult human being couldn’t live on yogurt, a slice of toast, and the occasional fucking fruit chunk. It was a miracle that she functioned at all.

Damn, now he’d lost the sound thread again. He reached for it—listening harder … yes. Rubber boot soles on the wet pavement. He’d know that little squeaky-squeak song anywhere. He’d memorized its exact rhythm and pitch.

Less than a block away now. He was already getting a whiff of her. Warm, female smells. He seriously dug that honeysuckle shampoo. Couldn’t wait to sniff it at close range.

He stepped out of the shadow of the awning, and raised his hand to signal the men waiting down the street. One of them lifted his hand in response. They were ready. She was an easy target, parking an almost new Audi on a badly lit street like this.

His heart raced as his augmented sensory processor kicked into high gear, as if revving for combat. Which was overkill. He didn’t need an ASP jolt for this. The Obsidian researchers had wired him and rewired him during the Midlands experiments on their quest to produce the ultimate, relentless war machine. The data that speed-scrolled over his field of vision whenever he was stressed was a constant reminder of how they’d changed him. Permanently.

But he ignored it. He’d stolen himself back. He and all the rest of the Midlanders. He was more than what Obsidian had tried to make of him. Fuck them all.

Tonight—for her—he needed to be funny, smart, and unthreatening, for starters. And good in bed, if he got lucky. Past experience suggested that he would. It was bad form to get cocky about it, but whatever. A guy could hope.

In fact, he quivered with hope. Watching Simone for two whole months had kept him perpetually half-hard. It wasn’t like she was doing anything sexy. On the contrary. She mostly just sat there on the bed, cross-legged in a thick snarl of wires and cables, surrounded by screens, dressed in leggings and a sweatshirt. Braless. Eyes narrowed with ferocious concentration as she typed so fast and hard the detached wireless keyboard bounced against the mattress.

He loved how the mad typing made her nipples jiggle.

He could watch that for hours without losing interest. Simone Brightman’s life was slit-your-wrists boring, yet watching her somehow kept him continually buzzed.

He was in a groove with surveillance monitoring. Forget sleep. Not happening, even thought he’d sworn never to inflict sentinel sleep on himself again after their escape from Obsidian’s research facility at Midlands. He hated the way sentinel sleep made him feel. Constant vigilance turned even the strongest into a numb, circuit-fried robot, no matter how skillful he might be at alternating his brain hemispheres, resting one while using the other and blah-blah-di-fucking-blah.

He was good at it, yeah. And so? He was good at a metric fuckton of unspeakable things. That didn’t mean he would ever do them again. He’d won his freedom back. Obsidian could go suck its own dick.

But he’d do sentinel sleep for Simone. He’d do any number of desperate, unspeakable things for a chance to find out what happened to his brother.

Besides, watching Brightman prance around in her underwear was no chore. She was so damn pretty it just turned his head around. Why sleep when he could look at that?

She was almost upon him. His ASP processor sent a fire-hose of data scrolling wildly up both sides of his field of vision. His senses sharpened to a level beyond painful. He hadn’t expected this. Bullshit timing.

Her footsteps echoed in his ears, boom-scrape-squeak. Her soft breathing, the quick and steady drum of her heart. He smelled the warm mix of her hand lotion, her wool coat, the leather of her boots, heard the swish of her long skirt, the brush of wool tights between her thighs. He smelled the coffee she’d had not long ago and a hint of the vanilla flavored creamer she’d lightened it with. Whiffs of the perfume she used to wear back in her corporate days wafted out of her purse like little ghosts.

He also smelled the festering mouth-breathers who waited across the street.

His heart thudded loudly. In a few seconds, he’d see Simone in the flesh. The mysterious ex-fianceé of Noah Gallagher, Zade’s friend and fellow Midlander rebel.

A woman who might or might not hold the key to the last possible clue that could lead him to his brother.

Or to his brother’s bones.

That thought stabbed through him like a thin blade of ice just as Simone Brightman rounded the corner and hit his line of vision.


Chapter Two

Of course she’d left her umbrella in the car on the one night that the rain decided to dial it up from the usual Seattle drizzle and start pelting down. At least she had the right boots for the rain these days. No more fancy designer shoes for her. She was done striving for feminine perfection. Who gave a shit?

Years of effort, down the drain. She was so done with it.

She tried to hang on to the happy buzz hanging out with her Sci-Tech team gave her. She loved those kids. Creative to the max. Going places, all of them.

They were a complicated bunch. Too smart for their own good. Builders, makers, coders, geeks, videogame nerds, hackers. She scrambled to keep their hungry, restless minds busy. They’d had a blast brainstorming tonight. Goofy, giddy fun.

Goofiness was in short supply in her life. Those kids had taught her how it felt.

There would be no more fun tonight, that was for sure. Her happy buzz was draining away and that strange roar was filling up her head again. Stabbing pains, flashing lights, and that constant, grinding noise.

It started last year after she broke up with her first fiancé, Jordan. Then, after the humiliating episode with Noah and his exotic belly dancer, the problem had gotten abruptly worse.

Stress, her family doctor said, before handing her a scribbled prescription and recommending hypnotism. Not. She did not want Dr. Laera’s flesh-creeping hypnosis sessions, and the drugs the doctor prescribed put her into a robotic fog. She felt like crap most of the time, but she preferred misery to feeling nothing at all.

Lately, the predominant feeling had been fear. Because Mom’s illness had started like this. Just exactly like this, when Simone was twelve.

You either inherited the gene mutation or you didn’t. Don’t anticipate the suffering. That way you suffer twice. Simone repeated that silent mantra as she turned the corner and hit the button on her key fob. The car squawked and flashed a greeting. Rain was beating down even harder now, so she made a dash for it, splashing through dirty water rushing through the gutter.

She pulled open the door and plopped down into the leather seat, shivering as she listened to the rain drumming on the roof.

Breathe. Think of nothing. Or just good things. She’d enjoyed four great hours with the Sci-Tech team. She could try to call Megan, her oldest friend ever since that first Mayburg summer internship years ago. They had shared an apartment through college and grad school. Two girl nerds against the world. The original idea had been for Megan to fly in to visit her and hold her hand while she got the test results. Then Megan’s asshat boss insisted on sending her to some conference in England.

Still, evening in Seattle was morning in England. If anything could make her feel better, it would be hearing Megan’s voice.

Get that heater going. She shuddered, teeth chattering, thinking of the hot tea she’d make at home. Honey and lemon, to warm her from the inside. Her hand was so cold and numb, she couldn’t get the key into the ignition.

After a few stabs, it went in, but all she got when she turned it was click, click, click. No purr of a motor humming to life, no lights, no heater’s comforting hum.

She tried again. Click. Click. Her car was dead. But it was an excellent car. Almost new. Recently serviced. What the hell?

She popped the hood and the trunk and got out. Rummaged through the odds and ends in the trunk until she found the flashlight, a super nerdy one that she could strap to her head like a spelunker. She grabbed a heavy wrench, just in case something needed banging back into place.

Lifting the hood, she saw the problem at once. The battery cables were ripped off the battery and cut so that they couldn’t be reattached.

Someone had sabotaged her car.

Then she heard them. Men’s voices, low and indistinct, but with an aggressive tone that made her skin crawl. They smelled. Armpit fug and cigarette ash.

Simone straightened and turned, shining her headlight into the reddened eyes of a beefy, thick-faced guy with patchy stubble. The man beside him was taller. Lanky and balding.

She tucked the wrench under her arm and yanked out her phone, backing away, but the first guy darted at her and knocked it out of her hand. It hit the brick wall behind her with a sharp crack and broke apart.

“Shit,” he muttered. “Coulda sold that.”

He followed her, his gag-inducing breath a hot cloud in her face. She waited one more moment … then whipped the pepper spray out of her pocket.

She blasted him right in the eyes.

He screamed and lurched back, pawing at his face. The taller man froze for a second, then his mouth twisted with rage. He leaped at her with a shout.

She slammed the wrench down across his forearm with all her strength.

He howled. Walloped her with his good arm across the side of the head. The wet street swung up and body-slammed her, knocking out her breath and her senses. Everything went dark.

When her hearing slowly came back, what she saw and heard made no sense.

A huge dark silhouette in violent motion. Arms, legs, moving too fast for her tear-blurred eyes to follow. Kicks and blows. Choked squeals of pain.

She focused on a huge, long-haired man in a black leather coat crouched near her, holding her second attacker, his arm clamped across the tall guy’s throat. The trapped man thrashed, clawing at the powerful forearm that barely let him breathe.

“You laid your hands on her, asshole,” the big guy said. “Bad call.”

The guy coughed, sputtered. “But she hit me with a—oof!”

His voice cut off as the leather-clad man rose and let go suddenly. The guy stumbled, arms pinwheeling.

An enormous leather boot connected with his jaw. He yelped and hit the pavement, sprawled in a puddle.

Suddenly the leather-coat man was beside her, sliding an arm behind her back and propping her up. She realized, dazed, that she was lying in a puddle of rain.

“Hey,” he said. “I saw that guy hit you. You okay? Are you hurt?”

She blinked, dumbstruck. The man before her was unbelievably handsome. Not a hallucination. She caught his scent. Leather, salt, musk. She drew it in again, greedily. “Y-yes,” she stammered.

She did a swift inventory, assessing herself for damage. She was bruised and shaky. Her ear had gotten a sharp, head-ringing whack, but the sensation was fading, driven away by excitement and astonished goggle-eyed gawking.

“How’s your head?” he asked. “Let me look at it. Any bleeding? A bump?”

“I’m fine,” she said, meaning it. “I’m not concussed. I’m really okay.” She looked around for the glasses that had been knocked off her face when she fell.

Her rescuer spotted them before she did and handed them to her. She dug around in her pockets for a tissue to dry them with. Too bad it was still raining hard. She longed to find out if sharp focus made him even more gorgeous.

A sound made them look around. The jaw-kicked attacker was dragging himself onto his knees. In the dim light from the streetlight, he ran a careful hand over his jaw. Then he spat out a bloodied tooth and stared at it in slack-mouthed disbelief.

The other man was rubbing his pepper-stung eyes. “Goddamn fucking cunt!” he howled, lurching toward her.

The man in black leather leaped up and blocked him with an uppercut that sent him flying backward into his companion.

The two men hit the ground together, sprawling and rolling.

“Get lost.” Her rescuer’s low voice was menacing. “And stay lost. Unless you want me to kick you down into the sewer. Got that?”

The men struggled hastily to their feet and broke into a shambling run. The pepper-sprayed guy banged into a street sign, bounced off, and reeled away into the darkness.

Simone stared after them, speechless. Her mind was blank.

The mysterious man crouched next to her again. Rain dripped over his starkly chiseled cheekbones and down to his jaw. He didn’t seem to notice or mind.

His eyes were intent on her face. His hand came to rest on her shoulder. Through layers of cloth, the gentle contact felt like a bright electric shock, releasing a sweet shiver of goosebumps. Her spine straightened. Her chin rose.

She just stared, not caring how bedraggled she must look. Her mind was empty of such considerations. Even the scary, shocking thing that just happened had been pushed to the side. There wasn’t enough space for that and this man to coexist in the same thought cycle. One thing at a time. Him first. For sure.

He waited. Patiently. A faint smile formed on his sensual lips. It suggested that he’d been through this before. Probably rescued spaced-out women from muggers all the time. He just crouched there and let her gawk, his face spotlit by the flashlight that had somehow stayed on her head.

Self-consciousness came flooding back. Shit. She must look crazy in that thing. She pulled it off. Her crocheted hat came off with it and she tried in vain to smooth down her hair. Her gaze darted around the empty street. Her hands had begun to shake.

“You okay?” he asked again. “I can take you to the emergency room.”

“No,” she said. “I’m fine. Thanks for … uh … that. What you did.”

“It’s nothing. I’m sorry it happened to you. Having trouble with your car?”

“Don’t worry,” she said hastily. “I’ll take care of it.”

He stepped toward the open hood. “Can I take a look?”

She tugged her hat back down over her damp hair. “No need,” she told him. “I know what the problem is.”

His eyebrow shot up. “Already? Really? You do your own car repairs?”

“I’m an engineer,” she said. “I like knowing how machines work.”

He nodded, thoughtfully. Then his gaze was caught by something on the ground gleaming wetly in the streetlight’s glow. The wrench.

“Oh. That’s mine,” she told him.

He picked it up and looked it over. “This is what you used on that fuckhead?”

She nodded.

“I have one just like it,” he said conversationally. “Engines turn me on. I like tearing them apart and putting them back together.”

“You’re a mechanic?”

Her incredulous tone made him grin, which carved deep, beautiful grooves into his cheeks. “What? I don’t look like one?”

No. You look like a sexy movie vampire, a famous extreme athlete, a billionaire rock star. Somehow, she managed not to blurt it out.

He changed the subject. “So what’s the problem with the car?”

“The, ah, battery cables were cut.”

“I see,” he said. “So that’s that. You’re not going anywhere in this car tonight.”

“Nope. I need a tow truck and a taxi. But those guys trashed my phone.”

His face darkened. “Use my phone. I’ll make the calls for you if you want.”

“Thanks, but I still want my phone. Even if it’s in pieces.” She tried to get up, but her legs wobbled and she thudded down into the puddle again.

“Let me help you.” He rose to his feet, bearing her up with him in an effortless anti-gravity surge. She floated up and just kept on floating. At least that was how it felt. Even the waterlogged skirt that clung to her legs couldn’t weigh her down.

He helped her collect the pieces of her phone. The screen was broken and the battery knocked out, but she found all the parts and slid them into her coat pocket.

Then she just stood there. Foolish, half-frozen, and tongue-tied.

“I have a suggestion,” he said. “You’re soaked. There’s a bar down the street. Let’s go in there to warm you up while we call the tow truck and the taxi. I’m Zade, by the way. Zade Ryan.”

She took his hand. The zing that raced up her arm from contact with his warm palm was just like the thrill she’d felt when he touched her shoulder, but a hundred times stronger. “Ah … I’m, ah, Alison,” she lied, on impulse. “Alison Wilson.”

“Alison.” The fake name was a velvety caress coming from his mouth. “Can I buy you a drink?”

Her voice was locked in her throat. A barrier between two warring realities.

True Fact #1: Not smart to go to a skeevy dive bar with a huge guy in black leather who appeared out of nowhere on a dark street corner in a bad neighborhood. In the driving rain. Next to her dead car. Her shattered phone. Even if he had rescued her. Not smart at all.

True Fact #2: He had rescued her.

True Fact #3: It was impossible to look away from him. A diamond stud earring glinted between the thick wet locks of his black hair. The effect was intensely masculine. He wore a metal pendant in the hollow of his collarbone, which caught the light, flashing like a mirror. Raindrops made their slow, loving way along the bold slash of his dark eyebrows, over his cheekbones, his hawk nose, his sensual mouth.

He stood there dripping, pulsing waves of raw sexual energy at her. What in the freaking hell would she do with all of that?

Which brought her around to True Fact #4: She was a repressed, workaholic nerd with no life, and this astonishing man-god seemed to be almost, well, coming on to her. At least she was about ninety-five percent certain that he was. She’d never been great at decoding nonverbal male/female interaction.

Maybe he flirted with every woman he saw. Some men didn’t know any other way to relate to a woman. Maybe this was just him being nice. Could be that the whole thing was just a hopeful fantasy on her part. Maybe she was projecting all this.

Then he smiled down at her. Mmm. Maybe not.

Besides, she’d now inevitably arrived at her ultimate destination, which was True Fact #5. Nobody got out of this world alive.

Tomorrow she had an appointment with Dr. Gregory Fayette. He would give her the final word on whether she’d inherited the gene mutation that would change everything.

If the news was bad, well, rolling around with a red-hot leather-clad bad boy was a bucket-list classic.

One night. No names. No numbers.

Chapter Three

Zade aimed a hard kick at the battered lock on the door at the top of the stairs. It flew open and he drew her outside… into a whole new world.

The rain had slackened. Cold wind had picked up, tearing thick billowing clouds into ragged orange tinted tufts that shifted and sped, lit by the city’s lurid nighttime glow.

Lights glittered in the darkness. The sky was a ragged dome over satellite dishes turned up to it, a bristling forest of antennas, water towers, and skylights, twisting snarls of pipes and tubes. An eerily beautiful, dreamlike fantasy nightscape.

He led her swiftly across the roofs of several attached buildings, circling the raised skylights, ducking under flapping lines of rain-soaked laundry.

The last building on the block had a roof bordered by a low wall. He helped her over it and led her down into the recessed area near the door to the stairwell, sheltered from the wind.

“Doing okay?” he asked her.

“I’m great,” she told him. “More than great.”

His teeth flashed. His hand tightened on hers, and he tugged it. A wordless invitation that she could not refuse. She melted into his arms, lifting her face to his.

And the nature of reality shifted forever.

Hunger exploded open to her shocked awareness like a seed bursting from its shell, both inevitable and miraculous. Yearnings, cravings. Unseen forces, unknown powers. Pushing her, pulling her. Upwelling, cascading. Emotional chaos.

His lips entreated and demanded, seeking the moist heat of her mouth with his tongue. She’d thought kissing was a skill that could be learned, but this kiss felt like an entity that possessed them, with its own feverish demands, its own agenda.

She abandoned herself to it. Carried away, dazzled by the hot, tender inner sweetness of his mouth, the implacable strength of his arms, the massive solidity of his chest, the shocking intimacy of being tasted, known. She felt so soft and yielding, and at the same time, charged with immense power. And terribly hungry.

For him. She twined around his big body with wild abandon. The muscles in his arms were like bundles of steel cable. His masculine heat made her frantic. She couldn’t get close enough to him fast enough. More. Now.

The kiss went wild all by itself. She clutched his neck, his shoulders, fingers scrabbling for a better grip. Her back was pressed to the rough brick wall, one leg lifted up to wrap eagerly around him. Her hips tilted to press the hot bulge in the front of his jeans, rocking closer to that rush of sweet pressure that promised more and more pleasure with each tantalizing, grinding push.

Her longing sharpened with each teasing pulse, until she was on the verge of screaming. No control over what her body did, the sounds she made. Clutching, kissing, pulling. Arching and gasping and heaving. She clutched at his taut, excellent ass, pulling him against the spot where she needed him most… oh, yes… again, and again… rocking and shoving… edging closer to that shining promise of…

Oh God. Yes.

It wrenched through her. Each throbbing pulse a flash of light that revealed the vast and starry infinity inside herself.

Later, the coolness of the wind and rain against her forehead made her open her eyes. The world felt brand new. Freshly washed. Glittering and mysterious.

Like him. He was so incredibly gorgeous, her eyes welled full.

He noticed. “Are you okay?”

“Oh, yes,” she whispered. “Oh, Zade.”

His grin carved beautiful dimpled lines into his lean cheeks, and he leaned closer to kiss away a tear that had flashed down over her cheekbone.

“That was so good,” he murmured, kissing her ear. “Exciting. Watching you come was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen in my life.”

She vibrated with silent laughter. She had no words. Too overwhelmed.

He slid his hands up under her loose sweatshirt, his big fingers settling into the curve of her waist, splaying over her ribs. He nudged the fabric up.

“Show me?” His voice was low and rough. Seductively pleading.

She didn’t hesitate. Just dragged the sweatshirt right up, revealing her cream lace bra. She undid the front clasp, hesitating for a split second before spreading open the lacy cups and baring herself to him.

The cold air hit her flushed skin, making her nipples tighten. She shivered with pleasure at the kiss of the rain, the grip of his big warm hands, the weight of his hot eyes roving over her body.

He let out a rasping groan and slid his hands up to cup her breasts, circling her soft globes with his fingertips. He bent to press his face to her, dragging slow, hot kisses over her shivering skin. Flicking with his tongue, suckling, hot and deep.

His mouth left a throbbing glow of pleasure in its wake. He took his own sweet time caressing and nuzzling and kissing her breasts until she was helpless with pleasure. Her body shook with intense awareness. She looped her arms around his shoulders, winding his thick, damp hair into her fingers and gasping at the deep, suckling pull of his mouth around her nipple, the liquid, yearning ache between her legs.

Her body vibrated with sensation. He looked up, frowning. “You’re cold?”

“Not cold. I feel hot. The rain feels good.”

“I’m so turned on right now, I’m about to pass out.” He reached down between them, adjusting his jeans. “Excuse me. He needed a little space.”

“Do you want me to go down on you?” The words were out before she realized how they would make her feel. Wanton, crazy, naughty. Things she’d never been before, things she didn’t identify with. Had no experience with.

She’d just met this guy. She knew nothing about him at all except that he drove her crazy with lust. And she was no expert fellatio artist, for damn sure.

Even so, she was already gripping his thick and extremely hard cock. She squeezed it possessively through his jeans. Stroked its steely length.

Oh yes. She wanted him in her mouth. Wanted it now.

Zade caught his breath. “Holy fuck. Right here?”

“I want to. Come on. Let’s do this.” She reached for his belt.

His hand covered hers, blocking it. “Wait. It doesn’t feel right.”

She stiffened. Humiliation flash-froze her buzz. She tried to pull away.

“Sorry,” she said. “I didn’t mean to—”

Her voice cut off as he covered her mouth with his own, a hard, urgent kiss. His body still vibrated with controlled hunger. “Hey, I want it. Of course I want it. But I should be on my knees to you. Worshipping at the sacred well. Paying homage with my tongue. You should have ten screaming orgasms before we even give a passing thought to my hard-on. Believe me, it won’t go away.”

Her face had gone hot crimson again. Good thing it was dark up here.

“And I’m trying real hard to be, you know, a gentleman. But you went there first, so fuck it.” He kissed her neck hungrily, tonguing her earlobe. “It’s true. I want to put my face between your legs. Open up your pussy lips, and make your clit pop out, and suck on it until you moan and pull my hair.”

“Keep talking,” she murmured.

He nipped at the sensitive cord in her neck and went on in a low, rasping whisper. “Most of all I want to tongue-fuck your pussy nice and slow. For as long as you want… until you come right against my face. How does that sound?”

“Um.” She tried to swallow, but her throat quivered. “Good. Very good.”

“Sorry,” he whispered against her ear. “Too much, too soon. I know. It’s been a weird night. I feel really close to you after what happened. Like we’re already lovers. That’s my only excuse.”

“It would be a good excuse if you needed an excuse. But you don’t.” She dragged him closer.

His eyes flashed. “Have mercy on me, Alison. Don’t let me fuck this up. Tell me to dial it down if I need to dial it down.”

She exhaled slowly. “You could ask me for anything you wanted tonight.”

He hesitated. “Anything,” he repeated.

She nodded.

“I’m taking you at your word,” he warned.

“You do that.”

He sank down to his knees, lifting up the hem of her long skirt. “Hold this.”

He admired her lace panties for a second, no more, and tugged them down.

End of Excerpt