I open my eyes to an invasion of natural light, my hearing invaded by the erotic music I remember from the communal room. Jesse's handsome face is floating above mine and he has his morning stubble. He looks delicious.
I shift my arms in an attempt to grab hold of him, but they go nowhere.
What the hell?
His face breaks out into his dark, roguish grin, and I know immediately what he's done. I lift my eyes and find my hands are cuffed to the headboard of the bed.
'Were you planning on going somewhere?' he asks.
I return my eyes to his and find them hooded, his long lashes fanned. I should have anticipated this. 'What are you going to do?' My morning voice is husky for more reasons than one.
'We're going to make friends.' he says on a half-smile. 'You want to make friends, don't you?' His eyebrows rise expectantly.
'Sleepy sex?' I try feebly. There is absolutely no chance of me getting my way. I'm not stupid.
'No, not sleepy sex. I haven't thought of a name for this one yet.' he says, reaching over to the bedside table and picking up my gold, satin gift bag from the anniversary dinner.
I don't remember bringing that home, but then again, I don't remember bringing myself home either. Jesse did, and he obviously brought that bag with us too.
He straddles his naked body over my hips and sits the bag on my stomach. 'What have we got in here then?' he muses as he puts his hand in.
There is little point in asking me. I took one look at Kate's face when she opened hers and decided there and then that I didn't want to know. I shift my hands a bit to try and get myself comfortable. Well, as comfortable as I can be with my arms spread and secured to a headboard by handcuffs.
Jesse pulls out a gold vibrator. 'We don't need that.' He looks at it with disgust, before tossing it over his shoulder. I hear it land with a thump on the bedroom floor. 'What else is there?' he asks himself. He pulls a small box out and throws that over his shoulder too, with an even more disgusted look on his face. 'We don't need those either.'
'What?' I ask, but he completely ignores me and carries on rummaging through the bag.
He pulls out a silver satin thong and gives it a thorough inspection before that gets tossed over his shoulder too. 'Not lace.' he mutters, returning to the bag.
I look at him in slight amusement, straddled on my hips, a scowl firmly in place. He's not impressed. He pulls out a card, reads it and scoffs, before tearing it up and throwing it to join the other offenders on the floor.
'What was that?' I ask, completely intrigued.
He glances up at me briefly. 'Nothing you'll ever need.' he grumbles.
'A voucher for botox.' he mutters. I laugh and he flicks me a devilish grin. Sarah definitely organised the party bags. I wish he hadn't of tore it up; I would have donated it to her. 'These bags are crap.' he spits, before taking one last thing out and tossing the bag on the floor with the other criminal contents. 'This looks interesting.' he muses, holding up a black rubber ring attached to a small, metal, bullet type contraption.
'What the hell is that?' I blurt.
He holds it up and runs his eyes over it before returning them to me. He smiles knowingly and leans forward, plumping a pillow under my head and kissing me chastely on the lips, 'I want you to have a good view.' he whispers, before returning to his position over my hips and lifting himself up to his knees.
What is he doing? He takes the black rubber loop and starts to slide it over his erection and it all, very swiftly, becomes very clear. 'Oh no! If I don't get battery operated devices, neither do you!' I yell irritably, but he ignores me. 'Hey!' I shout.
He keeps his eyes on his hands as he rolls the loop to the base of his arousal and positions the bullet on his shaft. I huff and throw my head back onto the pillow, looking up at the ceiling. I want to do that! Even with my eyes off the God like creature straddling me, all I can think of are all things erotic with this music surrounding me.
'Look at me.' he demands, but I keep my eyes firmly pointing upwards. I feel the mattress sink next to my head from his fist resting in it, then his other hand clasping my jaw. 'Look.' It's his tone that dares me to disobey. He shakes my jaw lightly, and I find my eyes falling down to his. They are bright pools of green lust and his lips are parted. 'Kiss me now, Ava.' He lowers his head and I raise mine to get him on me without delay.
He attacks my mouth with urgency, delving in with his tongue and moaning in satisfaction. I know I'm going to be left panting and squirming and there will be sod all I can do about it.
His hard animalistic kiss has my senses saturated with need for more and just like that, he pulls away and I whimper. 'You will watch.' he says, biting my lip.
'Turn the music off!' I buck a little in defiance.
He grasps my hipbone sharply, throwing me a warning look. 'Why? Are you feeling horny?' There is no amusement in his tone. He picked up on my reaction to the music last night, and now he's using it against me.
Oh, this is going to be hell. He lifts away from my face and latches onto my nipple, sucking it hard. My body arches on a moan as I close my eyes and look for somewhere to bury my face. There is nowhere.
'Open!' he barks and gives my hip a dig again. My eyes fly open as he moves to my other breast and mirrors his sucking, lapping and biting, elongating my nipples to their maximum. I fight to keep my eyes from clenching shut, my legs from tensing. I want to bend them, but his lower legs are clamped on the outside of mine, preventing movement.
Oh God! 'You're cruel.' I moan as I look up into a very satisfied stare. He's getting revenge all right.
He rises to his knees and fists his erection with one hand, flicking the switch of the bullet-like contraption with the other. I hear the steady pulse of a vibration kick in and his mouth parts. 'Wow.' he mouths.
I close my eyes for the briefest of seconds before I'm grabbed on my sensitive hip and they fly open again. I take a deep breath and run my eyes from his, down his hard chest, past his scar and to the mass of hair at his groin. I find him slowly working himself back and forth, the muscles in his thighs tense and bulging. I cry out in desperation to touch him. Now I know how he felt and it is not bloody nice. I want to touch him. I need him all over me and I can't. I'm helpless.
His fist flexes as he draws back, pulling his foreskin and revealing his glistening, moist head. 'This feels good, baby.' His voice is husky and it spikes at my groin. 'Do you want to help me out?'
My gaze travels back up his body to his eyes. 'Fuck you.' I say quietly and calmly. I don't care about my blue language. It's not like he can punish me any worse than this.
'Mouth.' He forces the word out on a moan, and I wriggle with the cuffs. 'You'll mark yourself, Ava. Stop fighting.' he hisses through a broken voice, his fist still slowly gliding over his solid length.
Maybe if I fight enough, he'll free me. He'll get worried about injuring me. It's common knowledge of his unreasonable worry regarding my safety. I wriggle some more.
'Still!' he barks, and suddenly his strokes are picking up speed. This is absolutely killing me, but good God does he look incredible on his knees above me, working himself. I watch as every muscle on his chest, his arms and his thighs tense further and the vein in his neck jumps out.
'Please.' I beg. I need to touch him.
'It's not nice, is it?' he asks. 'Think of this the next time you stop me from touching you.'
'I will! Jesse, please, let me go.' I clench my eyes shut, screaming in my head to block the loud music out.
'Open your fucking eyes, Ava!'
'No!' My head starts thrashing from side to side. This is the worse torture. I'm never going to stop him from accessing me again. Not ever. I feel his fingers slide down my sex, gathering some moisture and then spreading it, his finger surging into me harshly. My eyes fly open. 'Please!'
His face strains as he continues working himself. 'You'll watch.' he affirms, his fist suddenly becoming faster, more urgent. 'Fuck!' All of a sudden, he's moving and his knees are braced on either side of my head, his groin in my face. 'Open your mouth.' he roars, and I do as I'm bid immediately and without a second's hesitation. He braces his free hand on the headboard and pistons back and forth with his fist. 'Oh, Jesus!' His head drops as he guides himself into my waiting mouth and spills himself all over my tongue, the saltiness of him sliding down my throat. I take the opportunity to wrap my lips around him and get some contact.
His chest heaves as he slowly works himself down, the vibrations from the bullet traveling down his length and tickling my lips as I lick and lap at him. His cock twitches on my tongue and I roll, lap and suck to my heart's content while he shakes above me, attempting to stabilise his breathing. He drags his eyes open and looks down at me before his body is shifting and the vibrating stops, the little ping of elastic and small thud telling me the contraption has been relegated to the floor.
He cradles himself between my thighs and gazes down at me, his face thoughtful as he strokes the exposed underside of my arms. Isn't he going to let me go? The erotic tones of Enigma are still flooding my hearing and it's not helping with my pre-exploded state.
'I might keep you like this forever.' He drops his lips to mine and sweeps his tongue through my mouth. 'This way, I will know where you are all of the time.'
'I think that might be falling dangerously close to sex slave territory.' I mumble into his mouth. He's not so unreasonable to handcuff me permanently.
'And that's a problem because?'
'Because I would like to think that you want me for more than my body.'
'Oh, I want you for more.' He trails his lips up my face and back down, plunging his tongue back into my mouth. 'Like my wife.'
I very nearly bite his tongue off in shock. He continues taking my mouth, like he hasn't just said that after he's ejaculated into my mouth and has me restrained.
He eventually pulls back and looks down at my stunned face. 'Marry me.' he demands softly.
'You can't ask me that when I'm handcuffed to the bed!' I splutter. Jesus, what if I say no? Is he going to fuck some sense into me while he's at it?
Holy shit! He would as well!
'Does someone need some sense fucking into them?' he says quietly, and then takes my lips again.
I'm completely stunned. He can't fuck a yes out of me for this! I inwardly laugh because he absolutely could and he probably would.
He pulls back, drops his eyes and sighs. 'That was a joke, a very badly timed joke.' He starts chewing his lip and the cogs start whirling around in that beautiful mind of his. He eventually looks back at me, and I try to rid my face of its fixed stunned expression. It's hard. He's cuffed me to the bed, masturbated on me, come in my mouth and then demanded I marry him? This man really is crazy mad. I lay beneath him, absolutely astounded, no obvious replies popping into my head.
'You completely consume me, Ava. I can't function without you. I'm totally addicted to you, baby.' His voice is soft and unsure. My confident, domineering ex-playboy is nervous. 'You own me. Marry me.'
I stare up in his painfully handsome face, still in complete shock. I didn't see that coming, not in a million years. I only really decided last night that I would move in, although Jesse, in that crazy mind of his, had me moved in a week ago. He's frantically chewing his lip and watching me as I try to figure out what is happening. I'm twenty six years old, he's thirty seven. Why am I thinking about our age difference now? It's never mattered before. What I should be more concerned about is his challenging ways. I'm not even going to consider that he will change if I agree to marry him. He's never going to change, but that's who he is, that is part of the man I love.
'Okay.' The whispered word falls out of my mouth without much thought at all. This is the natural progression for us. It may be a bit premature, but whether he asks me now or in a year, the answer will always be the same. 'You're my life.' I add, just to reinforce my love for him. I want to be stuck to him forever, even with all of his challenging ways. I love him. I need him.
The stunned expression that was riddling my face has now made its way onto Jesse's, and the cogs are spinning so fast I can see them beginning to smoke. 'Yes?' he asks quietly.
'It's instinctive.' I shrug and then realise that I'm still handcuffed to the bed. 'No sense fuck required. Can you let me go now?'
He flies into a panic and jumps up to retrieve the key from the bedside table, making quick work of undoing the cuffs. I grasp my wrists to rub some life back into them, but I'm soon disturbed when I'm dragged up from under him and completely engulfed in his body as he squeezes me to him. Did he think I would say no?
Holy fucking shit! I've just agreed to marry this controlling, neurotic ex-playboy and I've known him for a matter of weeks. Oh God, my parents are going to burst a blood vessel.
He falls back onto the bed, taking me with him and buries his face in my neck. He has a vice grip on me and I haven't got the heart or inclination to tell him to ease up. I'm not going anywhere - not ever now.
'I'm going to make you so happy.' His voice is broken.
I wriggle a little to free myself, but he keeps his face exactly where it is. I work harder, prizing myself from him until I find his eyes. They're glazed. 'You already make me happy.' I smooth his face and wipe my thumb under his eye, collecting a stray tear. 'Why are you crying?' I battle the quiver in my throat that has my own voice unsteady.
He shakes his head mildly and rubs frantic palms over his face. 'See what you do to me?' He reaches up to clasp my face and brings it down to his, resting his forehead on mine. 'I can't believe you're in my life, I can't believe you're mine. You are so, so precious to me, baby.' His eyes dart across my face and his hands smooth across my cheeks, as if ensuring I'm real.
'You're precious to me too.' I say quietly. I hope he comprehends how precious. He's everything...my complete world.
He smiles mildly. 'Are we friends?'
'Always.' I return his smile.
'Good, my work here is done,' He rolls us over so he's cradled between my thighs, and then slowly sinks into me. 'Now, we have sleepy celebration sex.' He reaches for the remote control and turns the music off. 'I only want to hear you when you come for me.' He drops his mouth and moans as I accept his lips and he grabs my hands, holding them above my head. He rears back and pushes forward.
'That was a proposal fuck.' I say around his mouth, and I feel him smile against my lips, but he doesn't say anything, or reprimand me on my language. He just seeps in and out at the most dreamy pace, plunging deeply, swiveling his hips gently and pulling back.
My earlier blissful state is re-captured as the coils reload and prepare to release, his leisurely drives and grinding hips working their usual magic on my body.
He pulls back from my mouth, carrying on with his luscious thrusts. 'You'll be Mrs Ward.' His minty breath heats my face as he gazes down at me.
'I will.' That will be strange.
'You'll be mine forever.'
'I already am.' That ship has long sailed.
He clenches his eyes shut as I feel the hints of his imminent orgasm thumping inside me, pushing my own climax forward. 'I'm going to worship you every day for the rest of my life.' He shoots forward. 'Jesus!'
'Oh God.' I breathe, stiffening beneath him, my quivering core accelerating into fast, continuous pulsations.
He pumps forward again and again, kissing me desperately and growling on his forceful grinds, keeping my hands above my head as he plunges incessantly into me. He snaps on a yell and I wrap my legs around his hips, pulling him in closer, which pushes me into a free-fall of intense trembling as lightning attacks my whole body, leaving me panting and sweating underneath him. His head drops into my neck, his breathing erratic and shallow.
'I can't breathe,' he says, releasing my hands. They immediately wrap around his warm, solid back and I liquefy under him. I feel his head lift, creeping up the side of my face until he finds my lips. 'I crazy love you, baby. I'm glad we're friends.'
I smile as he rolls us over and I'm astride his waist. I place my hands on his chest and he covers them with his as I lazily circle my hips on him. 'I know you do. If I'm going to marry you, you have to answer some questions.' I use an assertive voice that's the equivalent to his dare to defy me tone. I don't know if it will work, but it's worth a shot.
His eyebrows jump up. 'I do, do I?'
'Yes, you do.' I say haughtily. There are certain things I need to know. I couldn't give a toss about his past sexual conquests. Knowing exactly how many there are isn't going to achieve much, apart from raging jealousy on my part.
'Come on then, spit it out. What do you want to know?' He sighs heavily, and I scowl at him. 'Sorry.' He has the decency to look apologetic. He keeps his hands over mine, resting on his chest.
'Who was that woman last night?'
'Coral.' he says flatly, with no hesitation, like he completely expected the question.
I roll my eyes. 'I know her name is Coral. Who is she?'
'She's the wife of the nasty little fucker who got ejected from The Manor the day you found the communal room.'
Oh? I cast my mind back to that wretched day and remember the snide, spiteful creature hurling harsh words at Jesse. He'll fuck me off like he did his wife? Leave a trail of shit?
'You had an affair with her?' I blurt, as the obviousness of it lands in my brain.
'No.' He shakes his head on a frown. 'They came to me to source someone to participate in a threesome.'
I recoil slightly. He doesn't have to tell me anymore than that. Jesse sourced himself. 'You?' I whisper. He nods, almost ashamedly. 'Why would you do that?'
'She asked me to.'
'She fell in love with you.'
His eyes widen a little at my conclusion. It's obvious. He shifts uncomfortably beneath me. 'I guess she did.'
Oh, this has opened a whole new can of further questions. I'm not so surprised that she fell in love with him. It's her surprise visit to The Manor last night and the amount of time Jesse was in his office with her that I want to know about. 'What did she want yesterday? You were gone for a long time.'
He takes a deep breath and pins me with determined eyes. 'She left Mike...for me. I don't know why. I never gave her any reason to believe I wanted her like that,' He pauses momentarily to assess my reaction. I'm not sure how I feel. He still hasn't told me why she was at The Manor. He sighs. 'He's thrown her out, took her car and seized her cards. She has nothing.'
'She came to you for help?' I ask.
'And what did you say?' I'm not sure I'm going to like the answer to this question.
'I said I would do what I can.' He starts chewing that bloody lip.
I was right. I don't like the answer. What can he do? Helping her will only encourage her and fill her with hope that things could progress. I cock my head slightly. 'Has this got anything to do with the police?'
He laughs a little. I don't know why, it's not funny. 'Mike's playing games. He advised the immigration police that half of my staff are illegal immigrants. It was cleared up quite quickly, no harm done. It was just a bit of an inconvenience.'
'Why didn't you just tell me all of this instead of letting my mind race?'
He frowns. 'Why would I trouble you with that trivial shit?'
I can see his point, but nevertheless, I should know, especially if it involves another woman wanting my challenging man. I hold his eyes as he continues to circle his thumbs over the tops of my hands. 'So, you took part in the threesome and that was it?'
'Yes.' He shifts, avoiding my eyes.
'You're lying to me.' My teeth clench together. 'That wasn't it, was it?'
'Not exactly, no.' He shifts again, still avoiding my eyes. 'Do we need to go on with this?' he asks irritably. 'She was under the wrong impression that I wanted more, I didn't. End of.'
'So you did have an affair with her?'
'Yes! Okay, yes I did, but it was just sex, nothing more.' His green eyes are fierce. 'Now, let's drop it.'
'You told me once that you've never wanted to fuck a woman more than once, only me.' I will never forget that comment, and as stupid as it undoubtedly sounds, given how many notches Jesse has tallied up on his bedpost because of it, I like the thought of him only having me more than once.
'I never said I didn't have a woman more than once. I said I've never wanted a woman more than once. It was a means to an end, that's all. She offered it on a plate.'
'So, you haven't only fucked me more than once?' I sound hurt. How ridiculous. He was a pleasure-seeking playboy before he met me. And now I'm delving into territory which is, without doubt, going to send my jealous mind into overdrive.
'Ava, watch your mouth!'
'No, not when we're talking about you fucking other women! You've not just fucked me more than once, have you?'
He growls at me, and I scowl at him. 'No, I've not.' he admits, rubbing extra fast circles on my hands. 'But you have to understand, none of them meant anything to me. I used them, treated them like objects. I'm not proud, but that's just the way it was. They would take me whatever way I came, Ava. They all wanted more, but they certainly never expected it. Now, though, they've seen I can be a one woman man.'
I feel slightly nauseous. This conversation was a guaranteed stomach churning discussion. So how many of them can I expect to come seeking out my neurotic control freak? Mikael's wife already has, and now Coral. 'She's still in love with you.' I say quietly. That's another reason why Coral was at The Manor last night. 'She can't have you.' I say. 'None of them can.' I add, just so he's aware that I know there'll be more. I feel like I'm preparing for war.
His eyes soften and he half smiles. 'She can't, I told her that. None of them can. It's all about you.'
'I don't want you helping Coral, either. It's unfair for you to expect me to be okay with that.'
'Ava, I can't turn my back on her.' He looks truly shocked by my demand. I'm a bit staggered. What? Has he suddenly grown a conscience?
'Okay, I'll keep working for Mikael.' I have no idea why I just said that. How stupid of me. The look on his face has gone from soft and reassuring to black and hard. Will I ever learn?
'You had better retract that statement.' His chest is heaving beneath me and his jaw tenses to snapping point. That's exactly how I feel about him helping Coral.
'No.' I blurt. I'm really pushing my luck.
'Three,' he begins.
'Oh no you don't!' I go to climb off him, but his grip tightens on my hands, clenching down fiercely.
'No! You are not giving me the countdown on this! No way, Ward. You can take your zero and shove it up your fucking ARSE!' I fight with his grip of me, getting angrier the harder he holds me.
'MOUTH!' He flips me over so I'm face down and he is blanketing me with his body. 'One.'
'Get lost!' I'm not backing down on this.
'Zero, baby.' His fingers move straight to my hip and dig right in...hard.
I scream, being tossed into hell by his unrelenting digs. Oh, he's really going for it and my bladder suddenly feels like a punch balloon. 'Okay! Okay, I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry!' I can't bear it.
He stops immediately, and I'm spun over, his body pinning me to the bed. 'Kiss me.' he orders, leaning down a little so his lips hover over mine.
I lift my head and kiss the life out of him as he hums into my mouth, a throaty sound of pure satisfaction. I'm mad. I'm mad with him for making it sound like Coral is of no concern. I'm mad because he's agreed to help her. I'm mad because she's in love with him. I'm mad because there are other women who love him too and I'm mad with myself for relenting to his orders.
He bites my lip and drags it through his teeth. 'Just you, Ava. I love you.'
'Good girl.' He blesses me with a smile - my smile. 'I've fucked you, and now I need to feed you.'
I want to correct him. In actual fact, he handcuffed me to the bed, masturbated all over me, come in my mouth and demanded I marry him. 'Is Cathy coming in?' I ask.
'No, weekends are her own. Up you get.' He grips my arms and pulls me up before getting off the bed and collecting up the contents of the gift bag, shoving it back in the gold satin bag.
I watch as he disappears into the wardrobe and comes out moments later wearing my favourite green checked pajama pants, no top. I lay back and admire him.
'Are you going to lie there all day?'
I flick my eyes up to find him looking down at me. He crosses his arms over his chest and his muscles flex. My tongue takes a happy little trip across my bottom lip. 'You promised a lie in.' I remind him.
He saunters over and grasps my ankle, yanking me to the edge of the bed. He braces himself on his rigid arms, fists buried into the mattress on either side of my head. He breathes in my face. 'Tell me we're friends.'
'We're friends.' I whisper. I thought we had established that?
'Tell me you love me.' He brushes his nose over mine.
'I love you.'
His green eyes twinkle and a smile tickles his lips. 'Tell me you'll marry me.'
'I'll marry you.'
'And I can't wait. Kiss me.' His husky tone is making my head spin. I throw my hands around his neck and land him with an adoring kiss. I feel his smile under my lips as he rises from the bed with my arms wrapped around him, my thighs finding his hips and curling around. I keep my kiss up as he walks me into the bathroom and uses a free hand to peel my legs from around him. I grumble in disgust, and he laughs. 'You brush your teeth, I'll start breakfast.' He reaches behind his neck and peels my arms away.
'Do I need to brush my teeth?' I ask, a little injured.
'No, I just thought that maybe you would like to.' He turns me around in the mirror and drops a kiss on my shoulder, before slapping my arse and stalking out of the bathroom.
So, I'm getting married then? I need to speak to my parents and soon. I'm really not looking forward to that conversation. I stare at my reflection in the mirror. My dark hair is a mass of ruffled waves, my eyes bright, lips pink and cheeks flushed. I look well.
I absentmindedly grab my toothbrush and slap some paste on it while considering how well I feel too. I've never felt so refreshed and alive and there is only one reason why that is and it's called Mr Challenging. Bloody hell, Kate's going to have kittens, and I can't even begin to think what my parents are going to make of all this. After Matt, Mum told me not to get swallowed up by the first man who showed me a bit of attention. I can't imagine she's going to be delighted that, in actual fact, I'm marrying the first man who's paid me a bit of attention. This most definitely needs approaching with caution.
I lift my toothbrush up to my mouth and start brushing happily, flicking a stray tendril of hair from my face with my spare hand. Something catches my immediate attention.
What the fucking hell is that?