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Page 24


And then, with a supreme effort of will, he took the end of the handcuffs and clicked them around the rails of the bed frame, one and then the other.

Knowing what he’d been subjected to, I couldn’t escape the enormity of what he’d just done—for me, to protect me from himself—by voluntarily handcuffing himself to the bed.

“Kyrie. Kyrie.” His voice broke. “Don’t—please—don’t leave me, Kyrie. Don’t leave.”

I was crying in earnest now, barely able to see through the tears. I stood beside the bed, watching blood stream down his wrists. “Valentine. I’m here.” I collapsed to my knees, rested my head on the pillow beside his. Put my palm to his feverish cheek.

“Why?”

“Because I love you.”

8

TAMING THE MONSTER

VALENTINE

I fought the drug. Fought the madness. In the back of my head, I knew I’d almost done something unforgivable. But I couldn’t think of that. Not yet. I couldn’t think of anything but the pain, the pressure, and the wild need for touch, for flesh, for release, for sex. I needed sex. I needed release. It was a primal need.

I cracked open an eye and saw Kyrie sitting on the floor beside the bed, naked but for her bra, tugged down to bare her breasts. “Go. Leave me. You shouldn’t see me like this.”

She was watching me, tears in her eyes. “I’m not leaving, Valentine. I won’t.” She sniffled and wiped her eyes, then moved gingerly to sit near my feet. “Talk to me. I’m here. You can say anything. I love you. I know this isn’t you, this is—whatever she gave you.”

“A pill.” I strained to touch her. “Something experimental. A libido enhancer. Not—not like Viagra. It doesn’t just make me hard, it makes me…need. God, that’s not—fuck, it hurts—‘need’ isn’t even close to a strong enough word.”

She stroked hair away from my eye with a tender finger. “Valentine…what can I do?”

“Nothing. Nothing.” I squeezed my eyes shut and rode the wave of boiling frantic ravenous hunger.

I couldn’t bear to look at her. It was too hard, too much. She was so lovely, so beautiful, so lush. Her long, muscular, tanned legs, crossed to put her core in shadow. Her stomach, flat and firm yet cushioned with a layer of silken flesh. Her ribs, rippling into view as she shifted slightly. Her tits, spilling over the edge of her bra, a plain white utilitarian underwire bra, in that moment somehow the sexiest thing I’d ever seen. The bra was out of alignment, and she was too upset to adjust it. A hint of areola at her left boob teased me, had me growling and desperate to get my hands free, to rip the stupid garment away so I could see all of her perfect tits.

“I can’t just sit here and—and watch you go crazy, Valentine.”

“Then don’t. Just go. Get the fuck out of here.” I turned my head away and kept my eyes shut, waiting for the click of the door closing behind her.

Instead, I felt the bed dip, felt her sit beside me. “Never.” Her voice was low, hesitant. “I’m here, Valentine. I’m here. I love you. I still belong to you. I’m not leaving.”

“You have to—have to get away from me. It’s too much. You’re too much. I can fucking smell you, Kyrie. I can smell your sweat, and I—god, god—I can smell your pussy. I can practically taste your skin. Jesus, Kyrie. I’m so hard it hurts.” I was writhing, pulling at the handcuffs, and for a second I was back in the bed waiting for Gina to take what she wanted, and I had to look at Kyrie, tried to remind myself I wasn’t there anymore.

She was crying, silent tears trickling down her cheeks. “Let me help you.”

“How? How can you help me?” I didn’t dare open my eyes. If I looked at her, the need would overwhelm me.

“Help…relieve the—the pressure.”

My eyes flicked open, and my gaze focused on Kyrie like a laser. “You’d do that? Even after what I…what I almost did?”

Her face crumpled. “But you didn’t, Valentine. You didn’t.”

“I wanted to, though.”

“But you didn’t.”

A heated blast of desperate need billowed through me. I couldn’t breathe for the pressure, for the need, for the ache in my bones and my blood. Kyrie was sitting beside me, and I could smell her. I hadn’t exaggerated when I’d told her I could smell her pussy. My senses were attuned, honed by the drug, and as she shifted, I could smell her, perfume and musk and sweat and essence and all woman.

I arched my spine, thrusting my chest upward, digging my heels into the mattress, tugging at the cuffs. Wildness, feral hunger, a driving furious thirst, my eyes on Kyrie. If I had her in reach, in this moment, there would be no force on earth that could stop me from taking her until I was sated.

She swallowed hard, her throat bobbing. I watched her throat move, and my mouth and lips ached to taste her skin, to kiss the column of her perfect throat.

“Valentine?”

“I need you,” I hissed, writhing on the bed.

Her gaze shook, wavered, running up and down my body, tender and afraid all at once. “I love you, Valentine.”

She was waiting. I knew what she was waiting for. It was the farthest thing from my mind then, though. All I could think of was her, her body, her skin, her core hot and damp. The swell of her tits, the thick muscle of her thigh. Her soft, sweet, affectionate hands. I wanted her bare against me. I’d take it, if I could.

Thank god I was shackled again.

Her eyes filled with tears as I fought the demon inside me. She was still here. Even after the way I’d assaulted her and had barely managed to pull myself back, she was still here.

“Love you, Kyrie.” I growled it, teeth gritted past the pain of the handcuffs against which I struggled.

She blew out a shaky breath, looked at the ceiling as if it held some secret strength. Took a deep breath, wiped at her face with both hands. Then she looked sideways at me. Her gaze was suddenly inscrutable, unknowable. There was a darkness in her eyes I couldn’t fathom, couldn’t decipher.

Kyrie turned toward me, slowly, moving as if through water, her eyes never leaving mine. “I love you, Valentine Roth. Okay? I love you. Always. No matter what.”

Her hands slid onto my chest, palms flat against my pecs. And then she moved astride me, thighs gripping my waist. I blinked, blinked hard to clear the haunting vision-memory of a different woman in this same position, hands on my chest, core hovering over my abs, hair a curtain around her face. I blinked and heaved in a shuddering breath, jerked against the cuffs. Distorted reality twisted and resolved back into focus, showing me Kyrie in all her glory. She leaned back, sitting on me. Reaching up behind her back, she freed the clasp of her bra, setting it aside. She gazed down at me, an unknowable dark fury in her eyes.


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