Tie Me Down

Page 8


No, this wasn’t just any storm. It was a New Orleans storm—wicked and wild and oh, so restless. And if she didn’t move, she’d be caught right in the middle of the violence.
Walking quickly, head down, thoughts still focused inward, she tuned out the world around her. She was locked inside her head, so deep in thought that a freight train could have passed in front of her without garnering notice, when her training finally kicked in—about thirty seconds too late.
It started as a feeling, a realization that all was not as it should be. Continued as her feet picked up the pace even more. Goose bumps rose on her arms, and the hair on the back of her neck tingled before standing straight up. Her breathing quickened; her heart started pounding. And before she knew it, her hand was on the butt of her gun and she crouched low, glancing around her as she looked for the source of her discomfort.
Someone was following her—she felt it in the stare that weighed heavily on her shoulders and the nervous flicker that danced in her stomach. And whoever it was was pretty damn good if she couldn’t spot him. But she knew he was there, just as surely as she knew her address and her favorite color.
She straightened, then turned around and picked up her pace. Who was it? And what could he want? Was it the killer, checking up on the case’s lead detective? A mugger looking to get lucky?
Her imagination worked overtime as she turned one corner and then another in an effort to lose him. But he stayed with her, got closer—she could feel the menace radiating off him in waves.
Finally, when her nerves were nearly shot and she could take no more of the cat-and-mouse games, she ducked into Pirate’s Alley, a narrow passageway off Decatur that housed a few shops and provided great cover. The stores had closed up a few hours before, leaving the alley deserted and almost black, except for the faint glow of light coming from a forgotten sign in a shop window.
Pulling out her gun, she settled against the redbrick wall and waited. Time stood still, adrenaline coursing through her body as she readied herself for whatever was to come.
If she was lucky, he’d walk right by and she could shadow him for a while. If she wasn’t so lucky, then—
A huge male hand reached out of the shadows and knocked her gun away before she could react. “Hey,” she gasped, her heart rate doubling. Scrambling back, she searched the ground for the gun, but her attacker was relentless.
He grabbed her elbow with fingers that felt like steel talons, reached up and tangled another hand on the back of her neck and pulled her up. She tried to fight, to ignore the fear rocketing through her, but his strength was overpowering. Amazingly, he hadn’t hurt her yet, his grip inexorable but painless as she struggled against him.
“Hey, stop it!” she said again, as he pulled her against his heavily muscled chest. She started to struggle in earnest, more furious and afraid than she’d been in a long time.
But she’d be damned if she’d be mugged in a back alley because some as**ole was jonesing for his drug of choice. Lowering her shoulder, she aimed for her attacker’s stomach, but it was like running into a semi in full gear—he was coming, and her only choices were to get out of the way or get pancaked.
Twisting out of his grip, she leapt to the side. Her foot brushed her weapon and she crouched down. Grabbed it. Cocked it and took aim. Then froze as she realized it was Cole coming at her with all the finesse of a berserker on PCP.
“What the hell are you doing?” she demanded as she uncocked the weapon, lowered it. But she didn’t holster it, not yet.
“I think that’s my question,” he growled, starting after her—backing her deeper and deeper into the alley.
“Excuse me?” She used the coldest Ice Queen voice she could muster, tried to hold her ground. But frissons of fear and—God help her—arousal were shooting down her spine. How the hell she could be turned on by his barbarian act she didn’t know, but her hormones were bouncing around like jumping beans, despite the fury emanating from Cole.
As she holstered her weapon—afraid she might shoot either him or herself if she wasn’t careful—lightning flashed across the sky, illuminating the small alley for one frozen moment. Her eyes locked with Cole’s and he looked so angry, so aroused, she actually felt her knees knock together. The harsh planes of his face stood out in stark relief, his mouth tight.
Suddenly, she saw his lips move, saw the demand for information in his eyes, but a huge clap of thunder drowned out the words. Seconds later, the sky opened up and began to pour. She barely noticed the rain as Cole stalked toward her with feral eyes.
“Why’d you leave this morning?” he asked again. His voice was low, guttural.
Though Genevieve told herself not to move, she was backing up before her knees got the message from her brain. The show of fear, of submission, pissed her off, added to the anger that had been simmering since she’d seen his name on those logs hours before.
So instead of answering his question, she shot back one of her own. “What the hell are you doing researching murders that happen in my jurisdiction? What the hell are you doing researching me?”
He didn’t answer, just kept walking her back until his rock-hard body was flush against hers. Once again she told herself to hold her ground. Once again she found herself backing up. All the way this time, until her back was against the rough stone wall near the end of the alley.
“You don’t want to f**k with me on this, Genevieve. Why’d you sneak out like that, without even telling me where to find you?” Cole’s voice was lower now, more animal than human as he took advantage of her predicament, closing in until she was utterly surrounded. The wall at her back, his hard, unyielding body hovering only inches from her front. His powerful biceps caging her in from the sides.
His black-magic eyes demanding that she tell him what he wanted to know.
The wind picked up, made her shudder as it whipped around them, as wild and fierce as the attraction she couldn’t fight. It lashed the rain against her, against him, as it streamed down their bodies.
He pulled back, looked at her with wicked eyes that proclaimed just how much he wanted her—and just how far he would go to have her—and she became aware, for the first time, of how she must look to him. Her clothes were stuck to her and practically transparent, her ni**les showing clearly through the thin lace of her bra, the even thinner cotton of her T-shirt.
Maybe she should have been frightened, with the storm raging around her and Cole burning beside her. But ten years on a male-dominated force had ensured she was not easily cowed.
Resolving to give as good as she got, Genevieve pressed her head back against the wall and glared at him with eyes she knew reflected her own fury, as the storm raged around them. “Answer my question and I’ll answer yours.”
“Fuck that.” He grabbed her wrists with one hand, his long fingers spanning both with ease. Yanked her arms above her head. Moved the last few inches until his body was pressed against hers from chest to thigh.
His breath was coming in short, hot gasps against her ear, his heart racing crazily against her br**sts. And his erection, his infinitely arousing, unbelievably sexy erection, rested hot and heavy against her stomach. The rain made the barrier of their clothes nearly nonexistent, and she felt his heat against the very heart of her.
Shock raced through her as her brain demanded that she refuse to yield. But her body was firmly in control, the pleasure it took from Cole’s unprecedented dominance more than she could fight.
She loved every second of it. Loved the vulnerability of being spread for him. Loved the little frissons of fear working their way down her spine. Loved the idea of being helpless in the face of all this bristling male aggression.
She should have felt vulnerable, but she knew she was safe—she’d trained for years to handle herself against men twice her size. She should have felt uncomfortable, but everything about Cole felt right despite his obvious interest in her case. She should have felt anything—everything—but this overwhelming need to give him whatever he wanted to take. And to take even more for herself.
His grip was firm as he stretched her wrists higher, forcing her to arch her back to relieve the pressure. But as they skimmed down her throat his lips were more gentle than she would have dreamed possible.
“Tell me why,” he whispered, running his tongue over her collarbone.
“You already—” Her voice broke and she had to start again. “You already knew where to find me.”
“What makes you say that?”
“I found your file.” She pushed against him with all the strength she could muster, but he just snarled and pushed back.
“You should have stuck around—I would have explained everything. It would have saved me the trouble of hauling you back.”
“You wouldn’t dare.”
His chuckle was low, wicked. “You don’t have a clue what I’ll dare.” He reached up with his free hand, fastened on the collar of her simple cotton T-shirt. And then he was yanking, his powerful fist ripping through the material like so much fluff.
She gasped in surprise, her body shuddering as shock ricocheted through her. She started to protest, but he was pushing her bra out of the way, drawing her nipple into his mouth with a suction so strong she couldn’t tell where the pleasure left off and the pain began. She knew only that the two were hand in hand as she arched her back, begging for more. Begging for everything.
He lifted his head for a moment, looked at her in the dim light with eyes gleaming. That small break brought her back from the edge of sensual overload, and common sense reasserted itself for a moment. Pushing at his shoulders with firm hands, she said, “Cole, stop. We can’t do this here.”
“We are doing this here.” He bit down on her nipple and she nearly came unglued, her body bucking violently against him.
“But,” she tried one more time, clinging to sanity with bloody, battered fingertips. “We’re in public.”
“Then you had better be quiet,” he growled against her breast. “Because we’re not leaving here until I feel you come.”
Genevieve whimpered, tried once again to shove against his immense shoulders. But it was no use and she knew it, because she wanted this as much as he did. Maybe even more—a walk on the wild side when she’d always been so careful to follow the rules, to do nothing to draw attention to herself.
Shooting a look down the alley, she was comforted by the utter darkness and the knowledge that the tourists were too busy on Bourbon Street—and too scared of the big, bad Quarter at night—to come looking down this alley.
And then she forgot all of her concerns, the need to orgasm rising sharply with each stroke of his tongue on her breast. Her body was spinning out of control, desire taking over completely.
Moaning, panting, she pressed her breast more firmly against his mouth, relishing the feel of his tongue around her areola. Loving the sharp nip of his teeth against her diamond-hard nipple.
“Cole, please,” she begged, spreading her legs and pressing her lower body against the hardness of his thigh. She needed him against her, needed him inside her like she’d never needed anything before in her life.
He gave her just a little of what she craved. Slid his thigh between hers and let her rock against him until she was nearly insane with the need to come. Her cl*t was hot, her womb aching, and she was more than ready for him.
But he was so much better at the game than she, and he pulled away just as the orgasm started rising, her body one thrust away from completion.
She whimpered, tried to follow him, but he held her in place with one hand against her stomach while the other remained anchored to her wrists. “What are you—” She couldn’t finish the question, desire so out of control that she had no hope for coherent thought.
“Don’t leave like that again,” Cole whispered, licking from the valley between her br**sts to the hollow of her throat.