Kinked (Elder Races, #6)(6)

The window was cracked open, the curtains not quite pulled closed. Heat and illumination poured out of the gap, and a wordless, tribal music that carried a hypnotic rhythm. It slipped into her bloodstream and pounded at her throat and temples. She peered inside.

The sight slammed her.

Caeravorn and a naked woman were in the room. He wore a pair of midnight blue silk pants that rode low on lean hipbones. His torso was bare. The woman sat on the edge of a bed. She wasn’t the lioness. She was a pretty, young-looking brunette, with firm, small breasts and dark, erect nipples.

After one glance at her, Aryal’s gaze fastened on Caeravorn. She couldn’t look away. His body was simply fantastic. His powerful shoulders and chest were broader than they seemed normally. His height must fool the eye when he was clothed. He looked stern, almost remote, the smooth proud lines of his face closed to scrutiny.

This was not a lovemaking scene, then.

He twisted and reached for something on a nearby dresser, the pale golden skin of his back rippling with muscles.

Compulsively Aryal followed the curved line of his back to his lean buttocks. Her hands were starting to burn from the pain of holding on to the slippery, ice-covered bars, but the warmth of her grip was melting the ice and she ignored it as best she could.

He turned back to the woman, a short piece of leather in his hand. He held the length to the woman’s mouth. “Bite it.”

Her gaze lifted to his, the woman opened her mouth and accepted the strip of leather. He told her, “Get on the bed. On your knees.”

The woman obeyed. That was when Aryal realized the brunette wore silk-lined wrist cuffs with a short length that ran behind her back, along with black stiletto-heeled pumps. The woman climbed onto the bed, facing away from Caeravorn.

Caeravorn yanked down his silk pants. His large, erect penis jutted out over a smooth, tight sac. Aryal couldn’t look away as he palmed himself. Her breath grew tight and short, and her entire body felt like it was on fire.

Then she looked up at his closed expression. He looked bored, totally alone.

He told the woman, “Bend over.”

The woman did, laying her upper torso on the bed with her knees spread so that her ass pushed up in the air.

Aryal hissed as the pain in her hands grew to be too much. As Caeravorn moved up to position himself behind the brunette, she had to let go finally and let gravity pull her away. As she fell she twisted, wings outspread to buffer her descent. She dug into the air with all of her strength to climb upward into the frigid, cloudy darkness, wild to fly anywhere as long as it was far away.

After Quentin took the woman, he slipped on his silk pants and called a taxi while she cleaned up. Then he paid her and escorted her down the side stairs to the ground floor. It was all perfectly cordial.

That was when she made her mistake. She wheedled.

“We had a great time together, didn’t we, baby?” she said as she sidled closer.

She probably called everybody baby, Quentin thought. Just like that John Cougar Mellencamp song. It was a lot easier to remember than names. He stepped around her and looked out the glass door for any sign of the taxi. The street was empty of traffic.

The woman came at him again and put her hands on his chest. “When can we see each other again, baby? Let’s make it soon. How about the weekend?”

There it was again. Baby. He lifted her hands away. He could have said, I almost fell asleep but then I came, but he managed to hold that one back.

Instead, he told her, “I don’t know why you worked so hard to pretend you climaxed. We’re not boyfriend and girlfriend. We’re never going to see each other again.”

Her lower lip stuck out. Holy gods, he would rather stick his head in the oven than deal with another sex kitten pouter right now. “I thought you liked the special things I could do for you, baby. Don’t you want me to do them for you again?”

Invisible claws ran down a mental chalkboard inside his head. He said, “You didn’t do anything special. You did what you were told.” For God’s sake, he hadn’t even spanked her. Hot damn, there was the taxi, creeping carefully down the ice-covered street. He opened the door and a welcome blast of bitter air slapped him in the face. “ Good-bye. Don’t come back to Elfie’s.”

Finally offense rippled across her face. “I wouldn’t come back here if you paid me to,” she hissed.

Yes, she would.

“Yeah, we’re done with that too.” He had intended to pay for her taxi trip on top of her fee and the generous tip he had already given her, but she irritated him so much, he closed and locked the door firmly as soon as she stepped through it.

“Fuck you, big bad sentinel,” the woman shouted.

He braced one hand on the doorpost and angled his head to look out the door. She walked backward to the taxi, giving him the finger with both hands.

Hadn’t even spanked her. Hell, the handcuffs hadn’t been real. They were sex toys, the kind that broke open if someone tugged hard enough. It had been a vanilla version of BDSM—they hadn’t even needed to set a safe word. He really had almost fallen asleep.

The special things she had done for him.

He hung his head and laughed. It sounded as humorless as he felt.

Those invisible fingers down a chalkboard had left behind a headache, which grew as he climbed the stairs back to his apartment. Elfie’s took the entire ground floor of the building. He used the second story for storage for the bar.

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