Tie Me Down

Page 2


He sank back into his chair. “I’m Cole, by the way.” He held out a hand.
“Genevieve.” She hesitated before placing her hand against his.
“Afraid?” he asked with a smirk, unable to stop himself.
“Of you?” Her hand met his in a firm, no-nonsense clasp, her eyes narrowing in derision.
“Is there someone else here?” She tried to tug her hand back, but he didn’t let go. Couldn’t let go, any more than he could stop the cocky, shit-eating grin from crossing his face. It was going to be fun as hell testing her, seeing what she was made of.
Seeing just how far he could push before she began to shove back.
It might not be the wisest course of action, but then again, he’d given up being smart when he came to this hellhole of a city, intent on finding a truth that had eluded him for seven long years.
“I don’t know.” She glanced around the bar, let her eyes linger teasingly on some guy near the door. “Is there?”
As the guy straightened up and made a move toward them, Cole scowled fiercely. Then gave a sharp tug on Genevieve’s hand that had her out of her chair and between his legs before she knew what was happening. He wrapped his free hand around her hip and pulled her even closer, so that her thighs rested against his aroused cock.
Those blue eyes sparked with a fury that was cold as ice, and he expected her to struggle—for one brief moment, even wanted her to. His brain was sending all kinds of messages, calling him every name in the book, even as it warned him that he was blowing everything before his plan had a chance to get off the ground.
But for the first time in his life, his body had sole possession of the driver’s seat, his suddenly unruly libido shrugging off the warning signs like they didn’t exist—even as he fought for control.
For one brief, terrifying moment, he thought about forgetting the whole thing, about saying “Fuck it” and just reveling in the moment. About taking this woman any and every way he could have her and letting the chips fall where they may.
How had she gotten him so hot so quickly? In the long years following Samantha’s death, he’d never let anyone get under his skin. Ever.
And this wasn’t how their first meeting was supposed to turn out—with him fantasizing about what she looked like in the throes of one orgasm after another.
He was supposed to be laying the groundwork. Feeling her out. Checking to see if she really was as good as her record said she was. An hour ago her competence—or lack thereof—had been the most important thing on his mind. But now all he could think about was what it would feel like to come in her mouth. In her pussy. In her lush, gorgeous ass.
He tried to tamp down on the arousal, but that was like trying to put out a wildfire with a spray bottle—especially since he could feel the heat and arousal coming off her. Could see her ni**les peaking beneath the thin material of her blouse. Could hear the hitch in her breathing as she too struggled for control.
He’d come to New Orleans looking for peace, had sought Genevieve out for just that purpose. But the aroused, out-of-control, gotta-have-her-now feeling that had grabbed him by the balls the second he laid eyes on her was anything but peaceful.
Gritting his teeth, he pulled himself back from the edge. It wasn’t easy when he wanted to be inside of her more than he wanted his next breath. More than he wanted the answers he’d come here to get.
But the look on Genevieve’s face said she’d been pushed—or pulled—as far as she was going to allow. Aroused or not, her next move would be to take a swing at him.
For a minute, he could almost taste the coppery tang of blood in his mouth. It might be worth it.
“You’re going to want to let go of me.” Her voice was low and hot, a warning if he’d ever heard one.
“I’m not so sure about that.” His hands tightened—on her hip and her palm—holding her to him for one endless moment. The image of what she would look like spread-eagled on his bed, her pale skin gleaming against the midnight silk of the sheets, roared through him, and for a second he was afraid he wouldn’t be able to let her go.
But his brain was screaming at him, the warning signals having turned into bright red flags of alarm, and somehow he found the strength to release her.
The bartender chose that second to drop their drinks on the bar, and he grabbed the ice-cold shot of tequila like it was a lifeline. Slammed it back and gestured for another one. He was teetering on the brink of madness, his body out of his control. His desire for Genevieve nearly palpable in the small distance she’d created between them.
What was wrong with him he wondered, tossing back the second shot as quickly as he had the first. He’d never reacted like this to a woman before, had never felt like he would give anything—and everything—just to be inside one.
But Genevieve … in a few brief moments, Genevieve had turned him inside out. It was ridiculous, absurd. And he—
“You’re not as uncomplicated as you look.” Her voice broke into his self-flagellation, had him turning to her with hot eyes he couldn’t hope to cool down.
“I could say the same thing about you.” He forced a calm into his voice that he was far from feeling.
“Yeah, well, I had a crappy day.” She stuck out her chin at him. “What’s your excuse?”
“I wasn’t aware I needed one.”
Very deliberately, she glanced down at where his hands were clenched into fists before taking a long sip of her drink. “It’s pretty obvious that you need something.”
Her words—cold and taunting—slammed through him. God, she was amazing—her icy control housed a hot fire that was tempting as hell.
“And what is it you think I need?”
For the first time, he saw a flash of uncertainty in her eyes and couldn’t help wondering at its cause. A heavy silence stretched between them, long and taut and more than a little uncomfortable. Just when he’d decided that he’d blown it—that she wasn’t going to answer—Genevieve took a deep breath.
“Me,” she said, in a voice that was as steady as it was unexpected.
Chapter Two
As soon as the word left her mouth, Genevieve wanted to snatch it back. To bury it—and her desires—so deep inside herself that they could never escape. But she didn’t.
She couldn’t.
Words stuck in her throat, while her body throbbed with a combination of desire and nervousness that all but overwhelmed her.
She knew she would probably regret this in the morning. Hell, she was having second thoughts already; she wasn’t in the habit of picking up men and inviting them home with her. But it had been so long since she’d been held, so long since a man had comforted her in the dead of night.
After the week she’d had, she would sell her soul for a little comfort.
Would do anything to avoid knocking around her empty, echoing house in an effort to find sleep.
Would do whatever she had to do to get one night of peace.
It had been months—years—since she’d managed to close her eyes without being haunted by all the violence she couldn’t stop.
She glanced at Cole, saw he was as startled by her invitation as she was, and somehow that made the next step easier to take. She didn’t know who this man was—what he was—but she wanted him.
Needed him, in a way that was as enticing as it was unfamiliar.
To give her hands and mouth something to do, Genevieve reached for her glass and drained it in one long sip. Then set the glass on the bar with a flourish as she eyed Cole with unmistakable challenge. “Cat got your tongue?” she demanded. “Or was it something I said?”
He stared down at her from his formidable height—at least six-foot-five—with the blackest eyes she’d ever seen.
The thought caught her unawares, and for long moments she struggled against it, against the need and arousal winding their way through her belly and chest.
Cole kept her waiting—much longer than another man might have, and damned if watching him watch her didn’t make her hotter still. She was trapped, ensnared, every cell in her body completely focused on him as she waited for his response.
His strong jaw worked for long seconds, as if he was biting back an instinctual comeback, while his big, rough hands clenched and unclenched in a rhythm that had her ni**les tightening and her womb spasming. His heavily muscled body tensed as if to spring, and his arousal throbbed in the air between them.
She felt a shiver work its way up her spine—it was an unbelievable thrill to have this strong, sexy man at a disadvantage. Would be even more of a thrill to have him beneath her in bed.
Or above her, Genevieve acknowledged, as she eyed his broad shoulders and lean waist. With his too-long black hair and too-handsome face, Cole-with-no-last-name struck her as the kind of guy who liked to be on top.
She suppressed another shiver. Tonight, that was more than fine with her—it gave her one more excuse to check her worries at the door and take whatever he could give her. And—if she was lucky—just a little bit more.
Her body quivered, desire a living, breathing animal inside her—so wild that it nearly drowned out the horror, and the sorrow, of her day. And still he didn’t answer, just stared at her with eyes the color of midnight.
Then, in a move so fast she would have missed it if she’d blinked, he pulled out his wallet and dropped two twenties on the bar.
“I live uptown.” His voice was low, gravelly—filled with sex and promises she couldn’t help but respond to.
“I’m closer,” she countered breathlessly, as he grasped her elbow and propelled her toward the door.
“We go to my place.” His voice brooked no argument as he moved ahead of her to clear a path through the crowded bar.
He moved like a jungle cat—each step a smooth, sinuous flexing of long, lean muscle that was no less threatening for its captivating beauty.
And no less perilous.
An unfamiliar fear filled her. Her mouth turned dry as a desert, while her palms ran with sweat. Her heart beat like a metronome on speed, while her breath caught in her throat.
For one long, interminable moment she thought about stopping. Thought about backing away. Thought about doing anything but following this man to his house like a lamb to slaughter.
Her empty house rose in front of her eyes, taunting her with one more sleepless night. Morbid pictures blocked her vision, ridiculing her with each new failure. And still she might have changed her mind—might have retreated into the restless, roiling crowd and lost herself.
But Cole chose that moment to turn, to pin her with eyes that were still wicked—still dark, still delicious. Still devastating. She jerked in response, arousal blooming in her belly, and she knew she was going nowhere without him.
The realization should have frightened her, but it didn’t.
It should have had her calling out for help, but the words refused to form.
It should have had her backing away, but she kept her feet firmly planted despite the nearly overwhelming urge to flee. Shoving her misgivings down, refusing to do more than halfheartedly acknowledge them, Genevieve returned his stare with interest. And felt the spark all the way to her toes as her temperature shot into the stratosphere and then beyond.
It was too late for second thoughts.
The hunter had just become the hunted.
* * *
They hailed an empty cab outside the bar and Cole flung the door open, ushering her in first.
They didn’t speak as the taxi crawled through the dark, crowded streets, though Cole gripped her hand like she somehow offered salvation—his thumb stroking her knuckles in a rhythm that was both soothing and seductive.
When they hit a pothole, his fingers tightened instinctively on hers, and she felt herself grow wetter, hotter—until all that mattered was Cole and how he would feel inside of her.
Her sex pulsed at the thought, and Genevieve squeezed her legs together in a fruitless search for relief. Just a few more minutes, she told herself as she fought the aching discomfort. Just a little longer and she would finally have Cole exactly where she wanted him.