Emma followed Ryan through the dimly lit living room of his home, an odd sense of being at once sleepy and keyed up filling her as she watched his oh-so-fine ass work his perfectly tailored black pants. The sun had fully set while they were out on his yacht in a burning blaze of red and gold glory over Lake St. Clair. By the time they made it back to shore, the night reigned. He held her hand as they strolled through his tastefully lit backyard, and she was blown away by how right it felt to be here with him. She didn’t want this blissful happiness to end, didn’t want to leave, and sure as hell absolutely could not deal with the thought of never seeing Ryan again. The very thought made tighten her grip on his hand enough that he gave her a questioning look, his brows arching over his dark chocolate eyes. He was so sinfully handsome, and as her gaze traveled down to his lips, she wondered if she would ever grow tired of kissing him. A mental image of kissing Ryan while wearing a white wedding dress flew through her mind, and she swallowed hard at the pang of hurt that came with it, as she ruthlessly banished such images from her mind.
God fucking damnit! She knew this dangerous weakening of the walls around her heart would happen. Emma knew she wouldn’t have the strength to leave him after their wonderful time together today, and she hated herself for being so weak, so needy. His affection was like a drug she craved. She wanted one more moment to fly next to the sun and bask in its warmth before she returned to her cold, lonely existence. Despite all her training as a Domme, all her experience closing off her emotions from her clients, Ryan had somehow found his way to the woman beneath all that armor and that secret, hidden part of her soul felt as if it would die without him.
She was absolutely, totally fucked.
Their bare feet made no sound as they walked across the smooth wood floors in the foyer. Above their heads, the chandelier glowed barely enough to illuminate the room. She studied Ryan in the dim light as he stopped at the front door and turned to look at her. Tall, built like a fucking bull - hung like one, too - he reminded her of a mystical djin right now with his shaved head and the heavy gold spacers in his ears combined with his Middle Eastern good looks. The bad boy image he projected was softened somewhat by the perfectly tailored black pants he now wore and the white button down shirt that gleamed against his dark skin, turning him into an arousing mixture of sin and elegance. His bold features took on an extra depth in the shadows, and while he wasn’t handsome in the classical sense, he made her heart wave the white flag of surrender.
She needed to walk out that front door, wait about a week, then maybe she would call Ryan and arrange another evening. Not a date, but a simple evening spent between two friends on a magnificent yacht, with the bonus of multiple orgasms.
He gave her a small smile and ducked his head in a move she found charming. Damn him. “Thank you for a wonderful evening, Emma.”
She meant to politely thank him as well, to pull the shield of adult manners around herself in order to distance her mind and body from him.
Instead she blurted out, “Can I see the yearbook? You’d mentioned on the yacht that you had a copy. I lost mine years ago.”
His eyes grew wide with surprise and an absolutely brilliant smile, like she’d just given him the best present ever, lit up his face. “Of course.”
When he held out his hand she slipped hers into his and had to stifle a sigh of relief. Okay, she would just look at the yearbook because she was curious about things she’d forgotten about high school. She just wanted to see some pictures and share a few laughs with Ryan about what they were like back then before going home. Also, she’d had a glass of wine with dinner. It would only be prudent to make sure the alcohol was out of her system before she left.
Still dressed in the peach silk couture summer dress Ryan gave her, she let him lead her to a room farther back in the house that screamed ‘bachelor den’. Thick, exposed wood beams made up the ceiling of this intensely masculine space with its oversized dark brown leather furniture and massive TV screen on the far wall above a low fireplace. Bookshelves lined the other walls and she gently tugged her hand away from Ryan’s so she could look at some of the titles.
It made her smile to see all the worn paperback science fiction and fantasy titles among endless books about computer programming, philosophy, and a smattering of random subjects.
Ryan moved off to a carved wood table with a collection of cut crystal bottles and matching crystal glasses. Next to the table were a variety of beautiful acoustic and electric guitars displayed on floor stands. She remembered Ryan played in different garage bands in high school and smiled at his collection.
He turned to her and raised a glass. “Can I offer you a drink? I have some pretty decent scotch if you’d like to give it a try.”
Once again, her mouth seemed to be a separate entity from her brain. “I’d love some.”
She winced internally as her excuse about not wanting to drive drunk went up in flames. She hated this. Emma made it a policy to try to never lie to herself, yet here she was making up one flimsy justification after another as to why she was lingering. The hard truth was she wanted Ryan with a desperation that scared her, and every tactic she used to keep men at a distance was failing miserably. Even the thought of having to work with one of her regulars tomorrow night at Kiss of Blue, of bringing her clients the relief they so desperately craved and she loved to provide, couldn’t dampen her need for Ryan. While the orgasms he’d given her on his yacht had been spectacular, she wanted him inside of her so bad she ached. Ryan poured two glasses of scotch and offered her one. When he looked at her, his gaze softened. “Come on, Emma. Sit with me. Don’t be afraid, I promise I’ll behave.”
Irritated that he could tell she was scared she lifted her chin and pulled herself together, moving to take a seat on the wide and deep couch. It was so big that her feet barely hit the floor so she curled them beneath her and took a sip of the drink, amazed at how smooth it was.
“Wow, this is good.”
Ryan turned from where he was looking through the bookshelf and smiled. “Glad you like it.”
A moment later, he took a seat on the couch next to her, teasing her with a hint of his delicious cologne as he set his drink on the table then opened up the cover of the yearbook. She scooted closer, resting her chin on his shoulder while he flipped through the pages. When he came to her senior picture she groaned.
“Oh God. Look at the size of my hair! And all that eyeliner. Jesus, I look like a prostitute that got hit by lightning.” Horrified, she inspected the photo of her six years ago with her hair teased into what she thought at the time was the height of sophisticated fashion.
Laughing, Ryan moved so he could put his arm over her shoulders and drew her closer to his side. She stiffened against him, perversely angry at how good it felt to be held by him, but he didn’t seem to notice. He stroked her bare shoulder with his thumb while keeping his attention on the yearbook.
“I thought it looked good.”
She snorted and leaned down a bit more so she could read aloud the caption beneath her picture. “Favorite Movie: Mallrats. Favorite Food: Chicken Florentine. Where I’ll be in Ten Years: Ruling the world.”
Her voice broke on the last word and she tried to battle the sense of despair filling her. While she wasn’t unhappy with her life, it was so not how she’d envisioned it. Instead of happily teaching kids, maybe married to some guy, and all the other things she’d thought adulthood would be like, she was trapped by her job, trapped by her family, and stuck in a holding pattern just like Moira said. Funny, before Ryan reappeared, she thought she was doing okay, but faced with the truth of the situation, she wasn’t happy.
She was miserable.
God, if her eighteen-year-old self could see her now, she’d be appalled.
Ryan pulled her closer to his side, set her drink on the table, and placed a gentle kiss on her head. “Well, you’re certainly ruling my world.”
“Dork,” she said in a thick voice and swallowed hard.
“Let’s see, your favorite color is pink and your favorite song is My Sacrifice by Creed. I met them you know, out in LA. Really cool guys.”
She looked up at him, grateful for the distraction even as she fangirled a bit at the idea of Ryan meeting Creed. “You met Creed?”
“Yeah. The guitarist lived a couple houses down from me in Malibu. Really nice guy. He has a golden retriever who loves to catch a Frisbee; that’s how I met him. That dog will wear your arm out.”
“You’re shitting me.”
“Nope,” he grinned, obviously proud. “In fact, I think I could do a pretty good job playing the acoustic version of the song if you’d like. I swear I’m better than I was in high school...at everything.”
He gave her a very lecherous wink and she shoved at him, laughing. “Go grab one of those pretty guitars and show me what you’ve got.”
“Oh, Emma, you have no idea how much I want to show you what I’ve got,” he said in a deep voice that was pure seduction.
Her pussy clenched and she shook her head with a bemused smile. “I want to hear my song.”
“Your wish is my command, Mistress.”
Leaving her with wet panties, again, he moved across the room and paused to pick up a remote from the ledge of the fireplace. A moment later flames roared to life in the hearth. He dialed down the lights and she grinned. She had to give it to Ryan, he certainly knew how to set the mood.
After spending a few moments looking at his guitars he finally picked up a beautiful one made of blond wood with dark wood inserts. It had the patina that came from constant handling and she wondered how old it was. When he returned, he didn’t sit on the couch next to her, instead taking a seat on a chair near the fire.
He looked up at her and smiled as he tuned the guitar. “My voice might be a little rough. I don’t have much time for singing in bands anymore, so don’t throw anything at me.”
Despite his playful words there was a tension about him now that softened her heart. She wanted to comfort him, to let him know she appreciated him doing something for her that obviously made him nervous. “I’m sure it will be wonderful, just like everything else you’ve done for me tonight. Thank you, Ryan.”
He looked down and she swore he was blushing, but it was hard to tell in the flickering light of the fire. The graceful way his long fingers moved over the strings of the guitar as he warmed up reminded her of him using those talented fingers on her. She swallowed hard, finding him unbearably sexy.
When he began to play, she thought her heart was going to stop. His low, rich voice made the song somehow more sensual, more real, and the sounds he coaxed from that guitar were magic and moved her on a soul-deep level. He began to sing a song about thinking about the past and the decisions that made a person who they were today. He sang in a lower key than the song was written, but he effortlessly adjusted the music to fit his range.
When he looked up at her, she found herself falling into his gaze, surprised at the depth and intensity of her emotions.
The lyrics to the song took on new meaning as he sang them to her, making her feel like he’d written this song for her about meeting with friends from the past and she had to blink back tears.
“When you are with me, I'm free
I'm careless, I believe
Above all the others we'll fly
This brings tears to my eyes
He continued through the song and she found herself grasping the edges of the couch as if it was the only thing holding her to this earth. He destroyed all of her efforts to resist him with his music, swept away all the protective barriers she kept around her soul, leaving her raw and bleeding before him. He must have noticed her tears but he didn’t stop singing. The passion and truth in his voice bound her to him tighter than she imagined was possible.
She couldn’t remember the last time she’d cried in front of anyone, though she’d shed plenty of tears in private since she graduated. Tears of disappointment, sorrow, frustration and rage at the injustice of the world, but never tears like this. It was like he’d reached a place so deep inside of her she didn’t know it existed, or she liked to pretend it didn’t. He touched the center of her loneliness and her need for love that she struggled with and fought to suppress. She couldn’t afford emotions or weakness. Not when her family was counting on her.
He came to the final words and the last chords rang through the air, mixing with the soft sobs she could no longer contain.
Ashamed, she turned and hid her face from him, flinching when he touched her shoulder.
“Easy, baby,” he murmured and pulled her back into his arms. “I’ve got you. Let it out.”
Unable to resist the comfort of his arms, she turned and clung to him, needing his warmth and his strength. She was so tired of having to always be the strong one, of always having to be the person who fixed everything. It was nice to let herself be held by a man she knew in the deepest levels of her heart was strong enough to take the burden off her shoulders, if only for a moment. He held her tight and gently rocked her, letting her cry herself out until only sniffles remained as she watched the gas flames in the fireplace twine and dance together.
Emotionally wrung out, she hesitated to look at Ryan, not wanting to talk but needing to see him. When she looked up, she found him watching her with an infinitely tender expression that brought on a few new tears. He cupped her face with his hands and brushed her tears away with his thumbs before gently kissing her. The stroke of his lips against hers was reverent, gentle, amazing. He kissed her like she was the most precious thing in the world to him, his adoration and the need to take away her sadness expressed in his every move.
His affection felt so good, and she allowed herself to relax in his embrace and let him kiss her. Most people seemed to think that as sexual Dominant she wanted to always be in control, but she was also a human being who needed to let herself be loved and cared for every once in a while. It had been over three years since she’d allowed herself to feel a romantic connection with anyone, and she just wanted to not think and enjoy the warmth flowing through her veins.
Ryan pulled back the slightest bit and whispered, “Your lips are so soft after you cry.”
She moaned as he licked against the seam of her mouth, eagerly opening for him and stroking his tongue with her own. While the kiss was gentle, the feelings building within her were not, and she wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer until they were pressed together from the top of their heads to where her feet wrapped around his legs. She nipped his full lower lip, and he groaned into her mouth, his pelvis pressing tight against her as they shared the salty taste of her tears.
Lying back, Ryan pulled her with him, and she moved her hands between them without breaking their kiss, wanting the warmth of his skin against hers. Her fingers fumbled with his buttons, and she let out a frustrated moan. He placed his hands over hers and helped her tear his shirt open, the fabric ripping with a snarl that matched his growl against her lips. God yes, this is what she wanted, the savage lust that made her feel so alive, to be filled with his passion, his body, his light chasing back all the shadows surrounding her soul.
He carefully unzipped her dress and drew it over her shoulders, leaving her clad only in her bra and panties. At the first contact of her rock-hard nipples against his hard chest, she moaned into his mouth. He gave her an answering growl, picked her up in a lighting fast move, and swung her around so she was on her back on the couch. Ryan helped her out of her bra and panties in passion-clumsy moves, neither wanting any space between them. When he removed her panties from around her ankles he brought the damp fabric to his nose and took an audible inhale that sent a hard contraction of lust through her sex before he tossed them aside. The raw, primal noise of pleasure that he made as he smelled her arousal was so damn hot.
Now nude, she leaned up and undid the silver buckle of his belt, drawing it out and placing it on the floor within reach, kissing him back as he devoured her mouth. They broke apart so he could pull his black boxer briefs down. As soon as his cock was free of the fabric, she leaned forward and took his steel-hard erection into her mouth, swirling her tongue around the tip with more hunger than finesse. With a gentle shove she urged him to lie back on the wide couch, never letting him out of her mouth as he reclined beneath her. She wanted to taste him, touch him, drown herself in his scent until the world fell away and she was alone with him in their own universe.
He pulled himself from her mouth and before she could protest, flipped her onto her back and buried his face between her thighs, groaning hard enough to vibrate her clit as he suckled it. She was so close to the edge her back arched and she pressed her pussy to his face, scrambling for something to hold onto while he devoured her. His licks were greedy, his mouth harsh and demanding as he made sexy growling noises while he licked her clit rapidly with the flat of his tongue.
“No!” she screamed as he ruthlessly pushed her to her orgasm. He immediately stopped, and the hungry, angry, frustrated expression on his face made her reach out to him. “Inside me. I need you inside me when I come.”
Instead of relief, his expression grew even darker, more determined, almost scary. He slid onto the couch over her and braced himself on his elbows, grasping her hair with his fingers and staring down into her eyes with enough passion to make her shiver.