“I have to work with you, spend time in close quarters until this is over. I thought it would help, but I was wrong. You don’t have to answer me.”
She moved into the room to put distance between them but he reached out and wrapped his hand around her arm to stop her. “You need to sit down so I can explain.”
The command and authority in his voice annoyed her. She ground her teeth together and yanked her arm from his firm grip as she came to her senses. “You lost the right to order me around when you uncollared me, Roland.”
“Is that so?” Evidently losing his grip on his temper as well, he slammed the door and crossed to her with two quick strides. She inhaled sharply when he stepped near, his body hard against hers. Memories of what their life together had once been like swamped her mind and nearly choked her with their intensity.
Those memories became more pronounced when he slid his thumb along her jaw. His touch reminded her of the pain and agony he’d caused with his abrupt exit and she used it to fuel her anger instead of the arousal that started to make itself known. “I spent years dealing with how you left. I know you intend to leave after this job is done, so don’t make me go through it. Not again.”
“So you’re saying you moved on?” His breath skittered across her bare shoulder as his hand shifted to collar the base of her neck. He didn’t tighten his hand because they both knew he didn’t need to.
Lying now would only exacerbate matters, as would the truth. Instead, she chose to remain silent. His cobalt eyes flashed with the knowledge he was right as his head dipped. Hot lips pressed against the side of her neck above where his fingers still rested. Need ripped through her and she fought against the desire she had to do whatever he asked because it went against everything she had shaped herself into since his departure.
“Answer me, pet.” His voice dropped low as he said the name he’d selected for her when they were in a scene. His hand shifted, tightened on her neck even as his other hand wrapped around her waist to support her as he knees buckled.
She swallowed, his thumb curving up to caress the sensitive skin under her ear. Her eyes fluttered closed and a low rumble of satisfaction sounded in his chest. The vibration of it shot straight to her core and she felt herself do damp. Judging by the throbbing erection she felt push against her belly, she wasn’t alone in her need.
“No.” The confession slipped out even as she tried to bite it back. “There’s been no one.”
His touch withdrew completely and she had a second to mourn the loss before his command swelled over her like a crashing wave.
“On your knees.”
She dropped without thinking. The synthetic wood floor was cold against her knees and the discomfort of the position felt like coming home. Her gaze focused on an arbitrary point between his shoes and she released a slow breath as everything inside her went silent. The wait for him to speak again was sheer torture.
“Did you take another Master after I left?”
The demand in his voice sent a thrill through her and she answered him truthfully. “No, Sir.”
“So you’ve let no one master you in ten years?”
“No, Sir.” She’d thrown herself into her career to forget about Roland and how he made her feel. How he made her ache for everything he gave her—and more. The idea of another master holding command over her hadn’t even entered into her mind. She hadn’t wanted anyone else to put her on her knees like this.
He gave an exasperated sigh and she listen to the shift of fabric as he lowered himself to crouch in front of her. His knuckle grazed over her cheek in a gentle caress. “I’m disappointed, pet. I instructed you to move on and find someone else.”
There is no one else, you bastard. She bit her lip to prevent the answer from spilling forth and remained silent. For one moment, she wanted to simply relish the sensations he pulled from her because they’d vanished the second he’d lifted off planet. She needed to thrive again and knew he would give it to her.
“However, your loyalty is commendable and should be rewarded.” His fingers fit under her jaw and lifted her chin. Their gazes met and she noticed the hurt in his eyes.
Leaving hadn’t come without a cost.
His leaned forward and pressed his lips against hers, teasing and tasting. She opened for him, felt his tongue slide unhurriedly into her mouth. The kiss was slow and drew out the arousal spinning in her core. Sweat beaded on her flushed skin. She wanted more, and found it increasingly harder to keep a firm handle on reality. It was too easy to give into him, give into the roles they’d slipped into in the blink of an eye.
He continued to kiss her as his finger dragged over the gentle swell of her breasts and dipped under the hem of her camisole. The hard ridge of his fingernail scraped over the hard nub of her nipple and she groaned against his mouth. Heat flooded the space between her legs and she felt herself grow even wetter as each second passed. He shifted, drove his tongue into her mouth as his other hand clenched hard against her nape to hold her in place.
Power poured from him, flowed into her and gave her an anchor she hadn’t known was missing until this very moment. Here, on her knees for him, she was whole and complete again. The thought was further cemented when his hand turned and pulled the neck of the tank down to completely expose her. Her breasts bared to him unencumbered, he palmed one and pinched the nipple between his fingers.
The pain was immediate and caused her pulse to race. He held with steady pressure for a moment, then released. The surge of pain morphed to an arousal that caused her to grit her teeth in order to not make a sound.
“Let me hear how this makes you feel.”
As much as she wanted this, wanted him, she couldn’t allow it continue. Her body betrayed her despite the fact her head knew better. He’d broken her and now demanded she take what he offered without question, without explanation or apology and she couldn’t allow him to do this. It didn’t matter how high he took her, she was well trained enough to know the power was hers and she invoked it without regret.
At the sound of her safe word, he immediately severed contact and his hands fell away as he stood. Her heart ached and felt as if it was fragmented into pieces that no longer aligned.
As he swung open the door, he paused long enough to say, “I’m sorry.” A soft clink sounded before the door slid quietly closed.
Overcome with emotion, and alone now, her body sagged. She listed to the right and had to put her hands down to keep from collapsing completely. Her breath was ragged as she gathered her composure and it was a few minutes before her legs felt steady enough to provide support.
Standing, her gaze fell to the small oval table next to the entrance. On it laid a small piece of silver jewelry. She recognized the piece as the collar Roland had once taken from her and turned away with a soft cry.