“I want to help, Ramon. Why won’t you let me help you?”
The man standing just a few feet away from her, his demeanor seeming to be void of emotion, met her gaze steadily. He was tall, dark, and dangerous. Marcia Crane didn’t have the whole story on Ramon Estevez, not yet. For the last couple of weeks, while she’d been recuperating from having been assaulted—and what an ineffectual word that was—he’d been gentle and accommodating and understanding.
Now the man was being a damned obstinate ass.
“This is not a game, Marcia. These people are dangerous—deadly dangerous. I will not risk you.”
She knew the mess she’d been when Ramon had rescued her from the clutches of that degenerate prick, Sergio Torres. She couldn’t even think about her last abuser without feeling shame wash over her. She’d been so fucking stupid!
She dropped her gaze wondering if that was the real reason he didn’t want her close—close to the investigation, or even close to him. Did Ramon believe she was too stupid to understand what she’d done? Had he taken one look at her, the way her uncle had all those years ago, and labeled her whore?
“I know I made a mistake. I never should have accepted that damn scholarship. I never should have believed I could actually be anything but—”
“Stop right there. Not. One. More. Word.”
Marcia shut up. She didn’t know what was more infuriating—his dominant attitude or her immediate, submissive response to it. He got that tone in his voice and all she wanted to do was whatever it was he demanded of her.
Except stay safe and cosseted within the confines of his apartment. She wanted to help him, damn it! She needed to have a hand in nailing that bastard, Torres. As she met his gaze she realized the man was livid.
Something inside her that had begun to heal felt as if it just shattered. “I’m never going to live my stupidity down with you, am I? You’re never going to see me as anything more than a pathetic victim.”
Ramon closed his eyes for one moment. When he opened them again, he still looked angry—but his expression had changed, subtly. “You will not say that again, not any of it. You are not stupid, Marcia. You are not pathetic. Dios, you acted to better your life. The Claymore College, up until the death of its founder, was a well-respected educational institution that did indeed offer scholarships to qualified applicants from all over the country. Why should you not have applied for it?”
“But I understood what Victor Swift was offering me at that interview. He wanted to prostitute me in exchange for that betterment. I should have turned him down then.”
Ramon shook his head. “How could you have? I understand, querida, why you said yes to him. It was a chance to turn what had been taken from you time and time again into something positive. It was a way to take one more hand of the cards dealt to you and changed the game.”
Marcia felt every bit of strength leave her body. She was grateful she was sitting, because otherwise she’d have ended up on the floor. He knows about my past. “How…how did you find out about…” She couldn’t even put it into words.
Ramon hunkered down in front of her and took her hands in his. His hands were large and felt a little rough—there was nothing whatsoever pampered about Ramon Estevez. His hands were also hot, and the heat seeped into her, warming parts she’d believed could never be warmed again.
“Did you think I would not look into your past? There is too much at stake here, Marcia.” He looked like he wanted to say more. Then he nodded. “Can you blame me for wanting to protect you from even more horror, once I learned what had been done to you? When I think of all you’ve endured, ever since you were a child of only twelve, I have nothing but respect for you.”
“Can you blame me for wanting to finally fight back?” She needed to find just the right words. She didn’t even consciously fist her hands. It just happened, and he, still holding her hands, let them, and held them tighter.
She needed to make him understand the way she felt. “You just said you respected me, but I don’t feel worthy of that respect. I cannot respect myself unless… I need to do something, Ramon. Can’t you see that? How can I ever become someone better if I never stand up against what happened to me—what happened over and over again? How can I respect myself if I don’t finally fight back?” Marcia had never used tears the way she knew some women did. With every bit of will she possessed, she clamped down on the tears that begged, now, to flow. Her eyes stung, and her throat burned. But she held on. In fact, she focused on control so fiercely that she nearly missed it.
A lightning bolt of raw desolation flashed in his eyes, and then was gone. He looked away for just a moment. When he turned his gaze back to her, he nodded. “We will see if there is some way you can help, then. I do understand your need for vindication. I understand the burning for revenge. But you must respect my need to protect you. I won’t let anyone interfere with that—not even you, pequeña.”
She could see by the expression in his eyes that he was deadly serious. And maybe he really did respect her, after all.
“I have a meeting shortly with my team. There might be some way you can help us. I will discuss it with them.”
Marcia nodded. At this point, she would take what she could get. “Yes, all right. I’m…I’m not trying to be difficult.”
“I know that.” He squeezed her hands, and then got to his feet. “I’m going to take you over to Christopher’s apartment while I see to business.”
She understood he could have done several things with her, once he had gotten her away from Torres. He could have left her with the Lyons’s or he could have shuffled her off to a safe house. She was a witness in a federal case. She’d been attacked, which meant she was likely seen to still be in danger. She certainly would be if word got out that she was roaming the streets free, instead of living as a “slave” to the man who’d “bought” her.
But when Ramon had learned she had no family, and no one to support her, he’d done none of those things. Instead, he’d made the decision to watch over her, himself.
The hunger writhing inside Marcia was visceral. All that had been, seemed long ago and very far away. All that was now stood before her, these two men, her Doms and soon, please soon, her lovers.
Ramon’s hands, infinitely gentle, massaged a cool cream over her reddened flesh. Yes, her ass had stung with the use of the paddle, but something awesome had happened. That stinging heat traveled through her body, lighting fires and fanning flames. She’d felt herself drifting, as if her spirit and her mind entered a bubble, and a sense of euphoria filled her. Then she’d been in Ramon’s arms, and as that euphoric high slowly dissipated, in its place had come the most urgent hunger. This hunger, this…need…even eclipsed the memory of the awesome orgasms these men had already given her.
“I did not know seeing your flesh redden under my hand would send me someplace…other.” Ramon kissed the shell of her ear. His words connected.
“Like me? Floating? Full of…a quiet kind of jubilation?” She knew her focus was on Ramon, on the expressions that crossed his face. If they could share this connection, too, on top of everything else, Marcia knew she’d be beyond ecstatic.
“Yes.” He cupped the side of her face and placed the gentlest, most reverent of kisses on her lips.
Then he stood, and stepped back from the bed just a little. Marcia didn’t get a moment to wonder what would happen next, because both men began to toss off their clothes.
A cock had never been something she’d considered beautiful, or alluring, but their cocks were. How could that be? Having sex wasn’t something she’d ever thought would be something she’d crave, but having sex with these two men had become a craving greater than any she’d ever known.
In a heartbeat she understood the basic, intrinsic difference between what she’d endured in the past, and what they were about to share. For the first time, she knew the day would come when her past would be completely behind her, and making love would come in every flavor—light and flirty, soft and reverent, and raw and dirty.
For now, for this first time—and she truly considered this to be her first time emotionally if not physically—she’d cling to the notion that she was about to make love with two men who, if she wasn’t already completely in love with them, she at least was very heavily in like with them.
Do I love them? She had no answer for that but she had something almost as good as an answer. She had hope.
They reached her, deep inside of her, as no others ever had. They touched her as no others ever would.
Ramon’s cock was longer than Clint’s, but Clint’s boasted a thickness…Marcia licked her lips and then met each man’s gaze in turn. She couldn’t mistake the need that shone so brightly in their eyes, a need for her.
For the first time in her life she felt a depth of feminine power—a force as old as Eve, yet until this moment, unknown to her.
“Edge over just a little,” Ramon said. “But stay on your side until I reach you.”
Marcia did, and then gasped when, the moment Ramon was stretched out beside her, he lifted her so that she straddled him.
She’d never been on top before.
Clint extended his hand. “Darlin’, suit him up.”
She took the condom, and marveled that her hands shook as she tore into the foil and removed the latex. She wanted this. Was she shaking from fear, or excitement?
They’d told her she’d please them, but this was the true test of their claim.
“No thinking.” Ramon reached up and tweaked her nipple. “I’m so fucking hard. Hard for you, only you, Marcia. No other woman has ever done this to me, so hurry, please.”
This wasn’t something she had a lot of experience doing, but she found that she was in a hurry, too. She could feel her own wetness. She rolled the latex into place, groaning from the pleasure of feeling the satiny hot hardness of his cock in her hands. Before she could raise herself up, Ramon lifted her.
She reached down and placed his cock at the opening of her body. And met his gaze as he lowered her onto him.
Hot and hard, his cock steadily impaled her, stretching her tender tissues, filling her in a way she’d never been filled before. This time was so different from every other time. This was Ramon, and he was finally a part of her. His cock had come home, to her.
She closed her eyes and shivered. Then she looked at him once more, and with every bit of inner control she had, used her pelvic floor muscles to squeeze him.
His nostrils flared, his gaze glittered, and his hands held her waist. “Ride me, little one. Take us both where we need to go.”
A novice in this position, it didn’t take her long to find the right rhythm, the right position. Her hands flat on his chest, she used them to lever herself, so that she moved on him, up and down, his cock’s in and out motions sending her higher, and higher still.