His large hand molded the back of her head, almost gently, and with his other hand, he pushed the organ down, bringing it in alignment with her mouth.
Let your mind go, habiba . This is what you need. This is what Raithe should have prized in you, cherished and protected.
She was too dazed to respond, to do more than accept. The broad head pushed against her slack lips, and then he was penetrating, guiding her down on him with a palm cupped at the back of her skull, letting her get the salty taste of him. Since she had no balance of her own, he held her steady, while the other hand gripped the base of his cock.
It was like a pacifier, God help her. Raithe, in those arousing moments that always, always were the precursor to something horrible, had taught her this about herself. When she knew there was going to be that horrible moment following, no way of escaping it, she’d learned to take what she could from the nonhorrible moments, even though it was still unwilling. And something about this position, on her knees, working a man’s cock with her lips, gave her a trancelike escape, a frisson of personal desire that could belong only to her. At least until it was over and Raithe exploited it for his own purposes.
She liked the taste of Mason far better. Male musk, salt and the exotic scent suggested that he used a cologne on his testicles, much as he would on his clean-shaven face. And there was so much of him. Hard, driving into the back of her throat, and she was only halfway down his length. Automatically, she softened her throat muscles and took more, winning a growl of approval. Her sex was rubbing against her heels, and she was quivering with her building response. She moved faster, trying to gain a grip on sanity by doing something entirely insane. He was lengthening, thickening in her mouth, and her eyes were watering, even as she couldn’t get enough.
But he pulled her off of him then, despite her mewl of protest, and brought her back over his knees, as if he was going to spank her again. Instead, he started rubbing two knowledgeable fingers up and down her wet opening, teasing her clit, and alternating that with more stinging spanks that had her crying out. When he sank three fingers into her, keeping the others working on the outside on her clit, the helplessness, instead of being born from terror, was passion. The energy that had been sparking on her nerves so uncomfortably, making her feel as if she couldn’t survive another moment without doing violence wherever she could manage it, was channeling into something different, an even more explosive form of release.
Come for me, habiba.
She shattered, screaming. The powerful rush of climax came without the choking, bitter hatred of Raithe, without the utter certainty that it would be followed by pain and fear. But she was out of control, in the lap of Farida’s vampire, sarong hiked up so she was accessible to him. Not only were vampires all the same, but she was as despicable with him as she’d been with Raithe.
As she came down, he was turning her again, to lift her into his arms. They were moving, out of the curtained room, away from the heat of the sun behind those panels. He was taking her down hallways and then stairs, winding down to a lower level, where it was dim, quiet and cool, the walls becoming stone.
She’d had kinetic waves of energy washing through her to the point of madness moments ago, but now she was struggling against heavy lassitude again. She tried to keep her eyes open, fearful of going to sleep in a vampire’s arms. Where was he taking her? A dungeon torture room, no doubt. She knew it. Maybe it would be better if she could lose consciousness.
“Something a little nicer than that,” he remarked dryly. You have regained your grasp on your health, habiba , but to restore it completely you will need food, and lots of rest. Open your eyes, sweet one. Trust me.
Slowly, she obeyed, and found they were in a bedroom. One equipped with a wide, king-sized bed in an antique, ornate wood frame, with full canopy and draperies.
“So you brought me to a nice setting to rape me.”
The words couldn’t deny what she’d just done, though. She couldn’t have stopped him, so she could hardly say she’d allowed it, but she had participated. Had wanted to taste his cock, had wanted to . . . had wanted.
You say no, but everything I do to you, you want . . . You ask for it with your eyes, your mouth . . . You deserve it. Raithe’s hated words.
“Jessica.” Mason had his hand on her chin, a firm jerk, and she broke away from Raithe’s voice, scrambling toward Mason’s without shame.
“You do need food, but more than that, you’re exhausted. You are going to sleep with me until dusk.” He put her down, but reclaimed her chin, made her look up at him. “Until you fall asleep, I want you to think about this. A child will take candy from a stranger, or help him find his lost puppy, because that is the nature of a child. Children carry the gift of innocence, of joy. Of God, whatever name He is called. Someone who would abuse that gift deserves the worst fires of Hell. Whereas a child deserves only the embrace of the angels.” His lips twisted in irony. “Unfortunately, you shall have to do with the poor substitute of mine tonight.” Uncertain how to respond to that, she watched him lift a slender silver bracelet from the side table and lock it snugly around her wrist. It had a length of chain attached to it that he looped around his forearm before he scooped her back up and carried her onto the bed.
As he lay down, she tried to scramble off, but with an artful yank, he tumbled her against him, curling her up in a spoon position inside the curve of his body. Keeping the chain wrapped around one hand, he folded his muscular arms over the front of her body.
When she bit his arm, he chuckled against her neck. “Don’t take too much of my blood, habiba. You’ll make yourself sick.”
“I’ll wait until you’re asleep and stake you.”
“Thank you for letting me know.” He tightened his arms around her, one coming across her bosom so he cupped her breast, tucking his fingers beneath it, and laid his other hand over her pubic mound, those fingers resting with maddening but potent stillness over her clit. “Think I’ve lived to be this old by being a heavy sleeper, hmm?” His breath stirred her hair on her nape. “You’re tired, too. Sleep, habiba.”
“I hate being called that.”
“Shrew seems impolite for a guest. But I can go with that if you wish.” She was tired, and yet . . . the way he was holding her, his cock pressed against her ass, hands positioned where they were, made her very awake. So casually possessive. She was his, bound to his desire, his will, even though he said she wasn’t.
I didn’t say you weren’t, Jessica. I said that I would help you choose the life you most want, when you’re ready. That I wouldn’t hurt you the way Raithe did. But this calms you. You may rebel against that, but I suggest you try to understand the why of it. It will tell you a lot more about yourself, and far less about Raithe and his type of monster.
“Raithe turned me into this,” she said bitterly, trying to ignore how distracting it was to be held this way. “Like Pavlov’s dog, he used pain with pleasure until it became part of me. That’s the only reason pushing me onto my knees to suck your dick helped. It’s a psychosis.”
“I am in your mind, Jess. Raithe didn’t impose that lesson on you. He took what was already there and twisted it, yes. But if you use your incredible bravery in another way, to look deep into your soul, you will see that this gift, which is uniquely yours, is what helped you survive. And I will use it, unapologetically, to give you a reason to live again.” Convenient for you. She thought it, even as she couldn’t help recalling he’d denied his own release. Stop reading my mind. Shut up and let me pretend you aren’t there.
Remarkably, she felt his mouth pull against her temple, a smile. It infuriated her. But being held in his arms like this . . . it didn’t make her feel the way the manacles did, as if she couldn’t sit still, was suffocating, though it should have. His breathing became even, suggesting he was sleeping, but she wasn’t fooled. All vampires were light sleepers. If she tried to get up, she’d wake him.
With the bracelet and chain, he’d made sure it wouldn’t be a quick getaway.
But that wasn’t the problem. He’d made her climax, and though her muscles had seized up in automatic reaction afterward, expecting the pain that would be extracted as a result, it hadn’t come.
She couldn’t trust, couldn’t get pulled into this. She wanted to scream and weep, to tear her flesh away from her body, to stop being Jessica Tyson, this person whose soul had been torn into so many pieces inside herself that she felt like a bag of broken toys, unable to trust or believe in anything.
His lips pressed against her brow then, his body curving more securely around her, and it was a terrible, wonderful comfort. She was lost, fucking lost.
It’s all right, Jessica. Sleep. You’re safe. I promise.
I can’t trust you.
You’ll learn that you can. Time, habiba . Give yourself time. You have all you need here.
It did take time, but eventually Jessica Tyson’s body began to relax in his arms, her exhaustion taking away her choices, much as he had, until she succumbed to sleep.
Mason knew she’d be surprised to know how awake he was. When he’d faced her in the bathroom, asked her if she wanted to know how he punished a servant, he’d seen the spark, flashing down to the tinder of her soul. Still, using his knowledge that way had been a terrible risk. Spanking and putting her on her knees to him had pushed her mind almost to the breaking point, and nearly broken his control as well. By Allah, it had been hard not to let himself climax in her throat.
A pretty face, an exceptional mind, the agile body and charisma—all of that had shone through her photo. But it was this, what Raithe discovered in addition to all those exceptional qualities, that had sealed her fate like the scent of fresh blood.
Most servants had at least a basic natural submission in their personalities, and were trained to open themselves up to even deeper levels of it. A true submissive’s nature, however, was a complex treasure to a vampire. Couple that with a male vampire who was a fucking sadist, and Mason knew exactly why her mind had snapped, and why she couldn’t be trusted not to try to take her life again. If he was in her shoes, he wasn’t sure if he wouldn’t do the same.