Sweet Temptation

Page 30

“Have you seen Angelina?”

It was said so loud that Angelina could hear every word. He sounded so furious.

“Yeah, I’ve seen her. I’m looking at her now.”

“Sit on her until I get there.”

Connor pulled the phone away in surprise. “Asshole hung up on me.”

She nodded miserably, knowing that round two with Micah was coming.

She stiffened her spine. Some of her shock melted away, replaced by her own anger. No way in hell she was going to apologize for loving someone.

Micah roared into the apartment complex parking lot and whipped into the space next to Angelina’s car. His anger over her revelation had quickly fled and been replaced by gut-wrenching fear the minute he realized she’d left.

He wanted to shake her until her teeth rattled and then he wanted to spank her ass.

He holstered his pistol in his shoulder harness and stepped out of the truck. He hadn’t worn a weapon since he’d left Miami and yet it still felt like second nature. An extension of himself. Some things never changed.

He hurried to Connor’s door and rapped sharply. The door opened immediately, and Connor stood there looking for the world like he wanted to beat Micah’s ass.

Micah sighed and brushed past his friend. “Where is she?”

“I put her to bed. She probably cried herself to sleep.”

Micah winced. Talk about playing dirty.

“What the fuck were you doing, Micah?” Connor asked in a dangerously low voice. “Have you lost your goddamn mind? I don’t give a shit what she did to piss you off. You’re a fucking bastard for tossing her out when some asshole is after her.”

Micah mentally counted to ten. He had no desire to get into a damn fight with Connor over a misunderstanding. He sat down on the couch and rubbed the back of his neck. Hell, how had it come to this? Not an hour ago, he’d planned a night of making love to Angelina. Now everything had gone to hell, and he wasn’t sure how to fix it.

“Look, man, I’m guilty of getting pissed. I’m guilty of losing my temper and I’m guilty of hurting her feelings, but goddamn it, I did not kick her out of the house. I told her to get out. I meant of the room. I was pissed. Hell yes. She has the uncanny knack of making me insane. I swear to God no one else can make me react like her. But I’d never do anything to put her in danger.”

The corner of Connor’s mouth lifted. “What did she do to piss you off so bad?”

Relief made him fold inward. Angelina hadn’t told Connor everything. Of course she wouldn’t. She was intensely loyal. Head-strong, courageous and loyal to her bones.

“No offense, man, but that’s between me and Angelina.”

Connor shrugged. “Look, it’s no secret I feel protective of Angelina, and when she showed up on my doorstep it was hard not to want to kick your ass. You have no idea how close you came to losing her,” he said seriously. “She said she started to just drive and keep on driving, but she was tired and distraught and had the common sense to know she needed a safe place to stay.”

Micah’s knees went weak. God. He rubbed his forehead and then gripped the bridge of his nose between his fingers.

“Son of a bitch. Swear to God I’m going to spank her ass,” he muttered.

Connor chuckled. “I’d pay money to see that.”

“She doesn’t need to be here. It’s not safe.”

“Agreed. She’s in my bedroom.”

Micah’s jaw tightened. He was just enough of a Neanderthal that it set him off to even think of her all snuggled up in another man’s bed, whether the man was there or not.

“Relax, man. I didn’t have any other place to put her.” Connor watched him shrewdly through narrowed eyes. “You’ve got it bad for her.”

Micah’s mouth opened in a snarl. But then he snapped it shut again. He wasn’t even going to dignify that with a response. If he did, Connor would just be convinced he was right.

Keeping a tight leash on his irritation, he got up and headed for Connor’s bedroom. It was dark, but there was just enough light coming from the cracked bathroom door that he could make out her outline.

He closed in, reaching for the lamp beside the bed. Soft light poured over her features. She flinched and screwed up her eyes but didn’t wake up. She looked ... vulnerable. His gut twisted into a giant knot when he saw the redness under her eyes. Connor was right. She’d been crying.

He cursed softly under his breath and then leaned down to kiss her cheek.

“Angel girl,” he whispered. “Wake up. Time to go home.”

She roused, blinking sleepily as she stared up at him. He knew the moment recognition set in because her eyes lost their sheen. Her lips trembled, and so help him God, if she started crying again, he was a goner.

So he did the only thing he knew to do. He kissed her.

He caught her gasp of surprise and swallowed it up. Not giving her any time to protest, he licked over her lips and then plunged inside. Warm and moist and so damn sweet.

She wrenched away and scooted backward across the bed, her eyes shooting daggers at him. And she definitely wasn’t crying.

“Go to hell, Micah.”

She hissed and spit like an angry kitten. A broad smile attacked his face at the image, which only served to piss her off more.

“You think it’s funny?”

He molded his features into a solemn expression and regarded her as earnestly as he could.

“I don’t find you running around the streets of Houston when a madman is on the loose funny at all.”

“You told me to get out,” she accused.

Micah sighed. “Angel girl, I was pissed off. I wanted you to get out. Of the room, not the house! I needed a few minutes to breathe because I didn’t want to tear a strip off your hide in my temper. I don’t remember you being this sensitive before.”

She gaped incredulously at him, and then before he could defend himself, she smacked him with a pillow. Hard. “It’s my fault because I’m sensitive?”

He reached over to snatch the pillow before she could launch it again. He snagged her wrist and held it in front of her and then slid on the bed next to her.

“Look, Angel. I’ve got a temper. I lost it. You dropped a bomb. I didn’t react well. I can’t apologize for reacting the way I did, but I can guarantee you it will happen again. You seem to have the knack of getting under my skin like no one else.”

“What the hell kind of apology is that?” she demanded.

Again he sighed. They were getting nowhere and he wanted to get her back to The House pronto. Ignoring the small fist beating his chest, he simply swept her up in his arms and strode toward the living room.

“Let me down,” she said behind gritted teeth.

Micah nodded to Connor as they past. “Get the door for me?”

Connor’s lips were twisted in amusement, but to his credit, he didn’t say anything. He opened the door for them and waved at Angelina.

“See you later, sweetie.”

“Traitor!” she hissed.

Micah dumped her into his truck and then pointed a finger at her. “You don’t move. I swear to God, Angelina, if you so much as try to get out of this truck, I’ll tan your ass like there’s no tomorrow, and furthermore I’ll enjoy it.”

She stared rigidly ahead as he slammed the door. He hurried around to the driver’s side and slid in beside her.

Not wanting to waste any more time in plain sight, he started the engine and pulled out of the lot.

“I won’t apologize,” she said stiffly. “I know you’re pissed, and maybe you have the right, but I refuse to apologize for caring about you.”

His chest caved in just a little bit at the ferocity of her words.

“Damn but you know how to take the wind out of someone’s sails,” he grumbled. “It’s damn hard to stay pissed at you when you come at me like that.”

She frowned harder at him.

“I’m not nearly as pissed at you over Mama Rose—but don’t think we won’t talk about it again—as I am over you leaving alone. Damn it, Angel, he could have gotten to you and there isn’t a damn thing I could have done about it!”

“You told me to leave.”

“Hell, I tell you a lot of things and you don’t ever seem to think you have to listen. Why on earth would you pick now to become all obedient on me?”

Her lips twitched suspiciously and she looked away to hide her smile.

He reached over to take her hand. “I never meant for you to take it so literally, but you know what? Even if I had meant it, you should have told me to go to hell just like you’re telling me now and you should have locked yourself in another room for three days and withheld sex if you really wanted to punish me.”

Her shoulders shook. She dragged a hand through her long, unruly hair and looked at him with a grimace. “So you’re saying I overreacted.”

He shrugged. “We were both upset. I’m just saying you should have stood your ground. You’ve never had that problem before.”

“I’ve never cared about someone this much before.”

His chest tightened, his throat closed off, and he gripped the steering wheel all the more tightly.

“Don’t care about me, Angel,” he said hoarsely. “Save your love for someone else.”

“It doesn’t work that way,” she said calmly.

Micah shook his head as if he could shake off her words. He didn’t want this. Didn’t want to become emotionally involved, and he didn’t want to hurt her. He’d been honest with her. Brutally so. Sex was all he could offer her. Sex and his domination. How the hell was that a substitute for love? He’d had love once, and he damn well knew sex was a piss-poor substitute.

He was still inwardly seething when they pulled up to The House. Angelina started to open her door, but he stopped her by grabbing her wrist.

“Don’t get any ideas of running and hiding from me now, Angel girl. It’s time to pay the piper.”


Angelina stared at him with a mixture of nervousness and heightened awareness. Arousal flooded her veins at the authority in his voice, and yet she felt compelled to argue.

“This was all your fault, Hudson. Not mine. If anyone needs punishing, it’s you.”

He had no liking for the reminder of him being underneath her whip. His eyes narrowed dangerously and he rubbed a thumb sensuously over the pulse at her wrist.

“Who said anything about punishment?” he said silkily. “Maybe I enjoy watching you writhe under the heat of a whip, how you flinch away and then beg for more with your next breath.”

She swallowed as heat rose from her belly to her throat. There was no denying his effect on her. Already she felt the touch of leather on her skin. The pain and exquisite pleasure all rolled into one.

“Hell, if I wanted to punish you, I’d lock you in your room and withhold sex from you. Something tells me I might survive it longer than you,” he said in amusement.

She yanked her wrist from his grasp and glared at him. He met her gaze and then said in a low voice, “Inside, Angel girl. It’s time to take what’s mine.”

On shaking legs, she walked into The House ahead of Micah. How quickly she’d gone from upset to anger and now to aching arousal. He brought out the best and worst in her, but then she’d always known loving him wouldn’t be easy.

She chanced a look over her shoulder as they entered, and the answering arousal she saw in his eyes sent a shiver straight up her spine. He wouldn’t be easy tonight, and maybe a part of her longed for him to give her every ounce of his passion, his need. She wanted him to take her to her very limits. It both frightened and excited her.

“Upstairs,” he directed.

The walk seemed endless, each step more difficult than the last. For all her dread, anticipation licked over her skin like fire over dry wood.

His hand closed around her arm when they stood at the top of the stairs, and he turned her in the direction of the common room. It was dark when they entered, and he flipped the lights, flooding the room.

It looked different without people having sex. It looked almost normal except for the miscellaneous pieces of furniture positioned around the room. A spanking stool. Would he use it? No, what he intended went beyond a simple spanking she was sure.

Sure enough he motioned her toward the beam where he’d flogged her that first night. She stood silently under it, waiting his command.

His gaze slid over her, his eyes gleaming with approval.

“Take off your clothes, Angel. Slowly. Pants first. Then your shirt. Leave your underwear on for now.”

She fumbled with the snap of her jeans. Despite her attempt to be graceful and seductive, she knew she appeared clumsy. Remembering his dictate, she peeled the denim slowly down her hips. Picking up one leg, she pulled her foot out, and then she did the other. She felt surprisingly vulnerable and she had yet to take off her shirt.

There wasn’t much to her underwear. Sheer lace, soft and silky, with thin strings over the curve of her hips connected to a small triangle at the juncture of her legs.

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