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Omega, p.24

Omega, page 24

 part  #3 of  Alpha Series



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  I shook my head. "No."

  He let go of my leg, and I wrapped my heels around his back. He braced himself with his hands beside my face, and just moved, plain vanilla missionary. It had never felt so good.

  Or so intimate.

  "What about this?"

  "Shut up, Nick."

  "What am I doing to you, right now? What is this, Layla?"

  "Goddamn it." I knew what he was doing, and I didn't dare say it.

  He lifted a palm and did his thing, cupping my cheek, brushing a thumb over my lips. Bent, kissed my chest, between my breasts. The slope of one breast. Licked a nipple, crossed to the other side and kissed the slope of that one, the wide dark areola and the thick, nearly black nipple.

  "What am I doing, Layla?" he demanded.

  I clawed my fingers down his back in equal parts ecstasy and anger. Bit his shoulder until I knew it had to hurt like a motherfucker, but he didn't even flinch, just let me bite him.

  "What is this thing happening between us, Layla?" He kissed my cheekbone. My forehead. My temple. Always moving, slowly, smoothly, rhythmically, beautifully, and perfectly. "Say it, babe. I want to hear it."

  I shook my head.

  "No?" he said.

  I shook my head again, refusing to betray myself by speaking. If I did, my voice would break. I'd be forced to admit...shit, a lot of things I didn't want to admit.

  The motherfucker pulled out and got off the bed, breathing hard, eyes blazing, green orbs fiery and angry, chest heaving, sweat sheening his skin.

  I threw a tantrum, kicking my feet and flailing my hands, screaming in anger. "Goddamn it, Nicholas! Don't do this to me!"

  "Why not?"

  "Why can't it just be sex?"

  He was so hard it had to be painful, his erection flat against his belly, leaking from the tip, my essence smeared and glistening on the beautiful shaft of his goddamned perfect penis. I wanted it. I wanted it back in me. I wanted to feel him finish, feel him let go, wanted his breath on my skin, his weight on my body. I wanted his seed dripping out of me and sliding down my thighs. I wanted his arms around me. I wanted to wake up with him and share the intimacy of not having sex, of just talking, sharing, touching, having coffee and being together. I'd never wanted that before. I hadn't thought I ever would.

  I was fucking terrified of how badly I wanted all that.

  And Nicholas motherfucking Harris, the man I wanted and needed more than I'd ever wanted or needed anything in my entire stupid life--he wanted to know why I was so scared.

  "Why can't it be more?" he pushed. "What the hell are you so scared of?"

  "EVERYTHING!" I shouted. "I'm scared of how much I need you, how suddenly it happened. I don't believe in insta-love. I don't even believe in love at all! I don't believe in anything except my own ability to take care of myself. I don't need anyone. I've never needed anyone. I don't want to need anyone. But I--I fucking need you, and I hate it. I hate it. And I hate you for making me need you. For being so fucking amazing that I don't just need you, I want you. I crave you. And I hate that too."

  "Why? Why is it so bad to need someone?" He wasn't sitting down, and his massive erection wasn't fading.


  "What are you, three? Give me a real answer."

  "Or what?"

  "Or nothing. Or I'll take you back to Detroit and post a guard you'll never see on you. You'll never see me again. You can have your lonely, workaholic, pathetic life, if that's what you want. I'm not going to force this out of you."

  "But you are." Even in the midst of having my feelings ripped out and put on display, I couldn't take my eyes off his cock. Harris's penis was just right, thick enough to stretch me, long enough to fill me. Almost as if...

  Fuck it. I knew I had to finish the thought:

  Almost as if it had been custom-made specifically for me, to fit me like a puzzle, to complete me, to pleasure me and me alone.

  I choked on my own emotions.

  Finally, I sat up, put my feet on the floor and folded my hands on my lap, wringing them together, squeezing until my knuckles protested. Kept my eyes off his, on the floor.

  What did I want? Him? This?

  Or my life back in Detroit?

  "Say something, Layla."

  I tried. I couldn't. It was all too much, too hard too fast and all at once. I just shook my head.

  "Fine." He managed to say the word with both a sigh and a snap. "Have it your way."

  I watched him through lowered eyelids; he snatched his pants off the floor, sat on the edge of the bed and shoved both feet into the legs at the same time. He buttoned them over his erection, which was finally starting to subside. Made quick work of his shirt, buttoning it up with lightning speed. Socks, boots. Dug something out of the black bag, a strap of some kind. A holster, which he buckled onto his torso, shoving a pistol into it at shoulder level.

  And just like that, within thirty seconds, he was no longer Nick, my lover--he was Harris, the security expert. The killer. Hard, cold, calculating.

  He strode across the room and unlocked the door, pulling his phone out of his pocket.

  "Where are you going?" Suddenly I was afraid of being left here alone.

  "Gotta call Thresh, see if the ride out of here is ready."

  "Will you be back?" Goddammit, I sounded needy, weak.

  He glanced at me. "You think I'd leave you here?"

  I shrugged. "I don't know. Why wouldn't you?"

  He went into the bathroom and I heard him wash his hands. He returned, staring at me. When I said nothing, he shook his head. "You're an idiot. For such an intelligent woman, you're a fucking moron."

  That hurt. Fuck, it hurt.

  He watched me for a second, but I couldn't look at him.

  Then, with a sigh, he walked out the door.

  Truly alone, everything hit me.

  Like hitting the ground from ten thousand feet without a parachute, the wall of emotions and memories all hit me, and I just...broke.



  I ugly cried. For the first time in my life, I ugly cried.

  I didn't ugly cry when Eric and I broke up. I didn't ugly cry when Momma died, or when Mario died, or when Vic died. I didn't cry when I got raped in my senior year of high school. Or when I had to get an abortion because I'd gotten pregnant because of it. I didn't cry when I was homeless, or when Kyrie just fucking left me to go be with Valentine Goddamned Roth. I didn't cry for fucking anything. Not even when I killed that asshole Cut with my bare hands.

  But when Harris walked out that door?

  I bawled like a baby.


  Because I knew I'd really fucked up this time.



  You know why I don't cry? Because it's exhausting. It just sucks the energy right out of you, leaves you a snot-encrusted, puffy-eyed, blubbering, lip-quivering mess.

  But no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't stop. It started with knowing I'd probably just messed up the one good thing that had ever happened to me, but then all the shit I'd just been through piled on. Getting kidnapped. Getting kidnapped in a thong and a T-shirt. Being locked in a tiny, cold, fish-stanky cell on a boat. Being forced to resort to hiding a Bic pen up my poon. Flaunting topless for Vitaly, never knowing when he'd decide to just rape me, or torture me, or kill me; not knowing was the worst part. Cut trying to rape me, and having to kill him. Jesus, that in particular sent me spiraling into a paroxysm of sobs, the awful visceral memory of the way it felt to smash that pen through his eyeball, the way it just...gave with a nasty squish. Having to slam it deeper so he'd just fucking die, and stop twitching and thrashing. Running. Being fucking hot, and hungry, and alone. The hike up that motherdick of a hill. The chase through Sao Paulo in the stolen car, culminating in Harris finding me, and then the ambush...killing another human being.

  And then...Harris. Stealing my heart, blatant and brazen. Just snatching it out of my chest and claiming i
t like he had every right to it.

  He made love to me.

  The bastard.

  These thoughts caused me to sob even harder. I just couldn't seem to stop.

  I had no clue what time it was. I had no idea how long I'd slept last night before waking up and sucking some epic cock. How long had that taken? I still tasted his come in my mouth. My pussy still ached. I could almost feel his finger in my ass. I felt him around me, behind me, above me, inside me.

  I smelled him: sweat, sex, faint deodorant. Leather. Gunpowder, or whatever they used in bullets, now. Cordite? Who the hell cared? It was a sexy as hell smell.

  With a start, I realized he was behind me, spooning me. I was still naked, and as previously stated, a snotty, lip-quivering, blubbering, rat's-nest hair, sex-and sweat-stinky mess. He had a hand on my hip, nose in my hair, chest against my back.

  "I'm no good with words."

  "No, Nick, I--"

  "Shut up and listen a second, Layla," he interrupted. "Just let me speak. I'm no good with words, with expressing myself. Hell, I'm no good with people. I'm good at one thing: assessing and eliminating threats. It's all I know. I've never been in a relationship. Nothing has ever lasted longer than a weekend. I'm not the commitment type, you might say. I'm gone too much, and my job is too dangerous. And I one has ever captured my interest, much less held it. I've never wanted to make anything last for more than a few days of feeling good. And now, I feel like I'm just too damn old to change my ways."

  "How old are you?" I asked.

  "I'm forty-two." He flattened his palm over my belly, low, fingers splayed, pressing me back against him. "I'm not done. Just listen. My point is, I fucked it up with you, a bit ago. I have no right to demand anything from you, to act like I did. And then I fucked up even more because I heard you crying and I stayed outside. I can face down men with guns and not flinch. I've been shot and I've been tortured and I've been stabbed and beaten and left for dead. I've had malaria, typhus, dysentery, and dengue fever and survived it all. But I didn't know how to deal with a woman I'd made cry."

  "I'm glad, honestly. I wouldn't have wanted you to see me like that. It was ugly."

  "No part of you is ugly, Layla. Not one thing. You're the most beautiful woman I've ever known, inside and out." He spoke just above a whisper, his voice a heady, buzzing murmur in my ear. "You don't owe me shit."

  "I do, though."

  "How do you figure?"

  "You were right. I'm scared shitless of what I'm feeling for you. Like, where the fuck did it come from? Why is it so strong, so fast? What does it mean? I don't know how to do it. How to be--that kind of girl. How to let you in. How to be...I don't know. Like I said, that kind of girl. Because I'm not, Nick. I never have been. You said you've been with a lot of women, and I for real wasn't judging you for that, because I've been with a lot of men."

  "Still don't get why you think you owe me anything, though."

  I sighed. "Because...god, I don't even know. Because you were right. Because you had the courage to own up to how you feel, and I didn't."

  "That's stupid. It makes no sense."

  "Well gee, Nick, don't mince words or anything. Tell me how you really feel."

  He laughed. "I'll never bullshit you. I can promise you that much."

  He was still fully clothed, the holster pressing against my back, the butt of the gun cold on my bare skin, his zipper scraping my butt. He rolled to his back and unhooked the holster, setting it on the floor beside the bed, and then turned back to resume spooning me, and this time his hand slid just beneath my boobs, just barely brushing the undersides.

  "I can tell you one thing, though," he said.

  "What's that?"

  "It wasn't quick, for me. My attraction to you, I mean. You forget, I followed Kyrie around for years. Just under seven years, to be exact. I was there when she met you, watching from a distance through a telephoto lens. I was there watching everything that happened between the two of you. I have a drawer full of memory cards with thousands of pictures of you, and her. You two together. At the bar, at school eating lunch together. Moving into your first apartment together. Every boyfriend you brought home to that apartment with Kyrie, I've got him in a picture, and I've got a file in a cloud account full of dossiers on all of them, criminal records and transcripts and medical records and financial information. Of your ex-boyfriends. If you hooked up with a guy more than once, I've got a file on that, too."

  "That's a lot of files. I'm trying not to be creeped out, to be honest." The idea made me a little sick, actually. "Why? Why are you telling me this?"

  "Full disclosure, I guess. And because I..." he stumbled over his words for the first time since I'd known him. "I fell for you a long fucking time ago, Layla. Those guys in that ambush back there; those weren't the first men I've killed on your behalf. When I wasn't trailing Kyrie, keeping an eye on her, making sure nothing happened to her, I was following you. Protecting you. I couldn't help it. I never got paid for it, because I never put it on the books for Roth to pay me for. I wouldn't have. It was personal. I had to make sure you were safe. I know about that guy in high school. I found him, by the way, and I made sure he paid in fucking blood for what he did to you."

  "Holy hell, Nick." I felt tears trickle out of my eyes. My heart clenched.

  "I wanted you. But I didn't dare approach you. How could I explain any of it? There was just no way. Finally, when you joined Kyrie and Roth on the Eliza, it all came to a head. You were there, lying on the deck all day long in those goddamned tiny-ass bikinis, teasing me. Torturing me. You know how many nights I jerked off, thinking about you? Picturing you in that yellow bikini, the one that's just basically strategically placed strings. Picturing you tugging the top down and--fuck. Every damn night for months. I couldn't think about anyone else. I went ashore more than once and tried to get it out of my system with someone else, but I couldn't follow through. I haven't been with anyone since you came aboard."

  Something clicked into place. "Did you jerk off thinking about me, Nicholas?" I asked.

  "Yes. I did. A lot."

  "A lot?" Should I have been grossed out? Because I wasn't. It...turned me on, actually. "How much is a lot?"

  He hesitated for a moment. "Every night. Every morning. Why do you think I was such a grumpy asshole all the time?"

  "I thought you just didn't like me," I said.

  "I felt guilty as hell about it. But I couldn't stop. I felt dirty and sick and fucked up, coming into my hand while thinking about you. And then I'd have to see you and talk to you, and that's all I could think about, what I'd done while thinking about you, just a couple hours before. And then you'd prance around in a slinky bikini and your tits would be bouncing and your ass would be swaying and I swear to fucking god I'd pop a semi just looking at you." He rolled to his back and scrubbed at his face with both hands. "Doesn't help that I'm damn near twenty years older than you. Makes me feel even dirtier."

  "You're forty-two, you said?" I rolled to my other side, so I was facing him. He nodded. "I'm twenty-seven, so that makes you fifteen years older than me. Not twenty. And it doesn't make a difference, anyway."

  "Fifteen years, Layla. I was a sophomore in high school the year you were born. I was a decorated combat veteran by the time you graduated from high school. It does make a difference."

  I put my hand on his chest. "Your age is honestly the least of my concerns, Nick. For real. I don't care."

  "You will. At some point, you will."

  "Why? What makes you so sure?" He didn't answer. I sat up, faced him sitting cross-legged. "I can answer your question now, Nick. I could have when you asked it before, but I just...was too scared. I do need you, Nick. I need you. I want you. I've fought it for...a long time. I don't want to need you, even now. I still don't want to need you, but I fucking do. Not just to get me out of here, to keep me alive and out of Vitaly's hands. I need you...inside me."

  He finally glanced at me, lips quirking. "Reeeeally?" H
e drew the word out and infused it with lecherous sarcasm.

  "That's not what I meant, but yes, that way too."

  "What changed? Between then and now?"

  "The fact that I felt scared and empty when you walked out. The fact that even with everything I've been through in my life, the thought of losing you made me cry when nothing else ever has."

  His eyes fixed on mine, green and roiling. "Layla, god. I didn't mean to make you cry."

  "Yes you did."

  "I let you cry. Alone. For nearly a fucking hour."

  "I needed it," I said. "For you, for all that back there, Cut and Vitaly and everything. many things. I needed to cry alone. I needed to wake up, I guess. To see things for how they are."

  I scrubbed my hand over my face, letting out a sigh.

  "Fucked up. I'm fucked up. You're fucked up. This whole situation is fucked up." I let out a breath. "But I know now that I don't want to go back to Detroit. I don't want to go back to living alone, working three jobs and going to school. After what I've been through, sitting through lectures and taking tests seems...stupid."

  "What do you want, then?"

  I shrugged. "I don't know. I'll have to figure that out when we're back on the Eliza, I guess."

  "Thresh has our flight out of here covered. So we can head out whenever we're ready." He rolled off the bed, stood up, and then bent to retrieve his shoulder holster.

  "Wait," I said. "We're not done."

  He shot me a quizzical look. "We're not?"

  "Nope." I scooted to the edge of the bed, set my feet on the floor. Gazed up at him. Let him see the heat in my eyes, the need, and the desire. "You left before we were done."

  I took the holster from him and set it carefully on the floor. Reached up and unbuttoned his shirt from the bottom up, and when the last button was freed, I ran my palms up and down his chest, leaned in and kissed his stomach, roamed my palms over his shoulders, brushing the shirt off. He let out a breath that was equal parts relief and pleasure as I unbuttoned his pants, shoved them down over his hips.

  His dick swung free, unfurling and swaying and hardening to full erection as I gazed at it. I curled both hands around his shaft and stroked him slowly. And, of course, because it was right there at the perfect level, I had to taste him. Between my lips, tongue sliding over the tip, tasting flesh and a hint of my own essence on his skin.

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