by Lily Harlem
eBook ISBN: 9781419937552
Ty Winters had not only kidnapped me in Oz, my heartstoppingly gorgeous surfer had also stoked my darkest desires, bringing all my fantasies to the surface. So Oxford wasn’t going well. Until that is, he creeped from the shadows-desperate, sexy and wanting a piece of me, literally!
Ellora’s Cave ‖ ARe ‖ Kindle ‖ Nook
My head was full of criminal law, convoluted words that twisted and spun with past case histories and complex trials. I was tired, that was the trouble, tired and distracted and more than a little frustrated.
Reaching up, I stretched my arms above my head, clicking out the knots in my bones and tendons. I’d been sitting in the reading room of the Bodleian Law Library for hours, trying to get information into my head ready for my first exam. It was getting there, slowly, but it wasn’t an easy task, filling up a brain that had taken a few years off from study.
If I were being truthful, nothing had been easy since I’d returned from Australia. On the flight back I’d felt as if I was leaving a part of me behind. A part of me that had been awakened, revealed, satisfied—if only briefly. Having just one bite out of a forbidden fruit had created a well of lust within me, and I was in desperate need of answers. I needed to know more.
Know more about him.
At the time I hadn’t even known the name of my forbidden fruit, just that he was a dangerously hot guy with a vibrant dragon tattoo and eyes so blue they could have been drops of water taken from the deepest part of the ocean, he smelled of sea breeze and tasted of desire and coffee. When he came, on my stomach, he’d groaned in a guttural, agonized kind of way. The pleasure-soaked sound had imprinted on my mind and when I was quiet and melancholy, a bit like now, that noise returned to me, creating a warm feeling in my belly and a hungry sensation in my pussy. Sometimes the memory made my clit swell against my knickers and I was forced to cross my legs to control the exquisite sensation.
I knew his name now. Ty Winters.
As soon as I’d had some privacy I’d fired up my laptop and searched for James Hill on Facebook. Although there were lots of people with that name it was ridiculously easy to find him. His profile picture was of him and Ty holding yellow surfboards on a vast swathe of beach.
A little perusing of James’ friends and I soon found my kidnapper’s smiling face again, which then led me to everything I needed to know. His profile told me that Ty Winters was Australian born, Perth, June 11, 1986. Studied in Sydney and he listed his hobbies as riding waves and base jumping. When he wasn’t seeking his next adrenaline rush, he liked to be surrounded by pretty girls—judging by the long list of scantily clad female friends on his Facebook page.
I’d been careful not to share his identity with anyone. Not my father, not the Australian Police and certainly not my mother who was behaving like a clucking hen ever since my kidnapping. Moving to the student halls in Oxford had been a nightmare with her fussing and her constant need to know where I was.
But the fact that only I had seen my captor had been instrumental in protecting Ty. Also his efficiency at leaving no clues meant the police had no firm leads. Not least because I’d said he was an older guy with graying hair who called himself Peter. Damn it, I knew I could get in seven shades of trouble for that whopping perversion of the course of justice but what choice did I have?
What else could I do?
I’d studied the pictures of Ty almost obsessively those first few weeks, even though I knew I should tell the police who’d stolen me, drugged me, tied me up and seduced me—or was that last bit the other way ’round? Just the memory of my time held captive in the outback had me squirming. Ty had been so masterful and determined, yet so damn sweet and sexy. He’d been worried about taking me against my will, when of course it was what I’d wanted more than anything. There was no question about it. And I wanted it again, so his name was a secret I was keeping close to my heart. Telling the authorities that I knew exactly who he was would have him arrested quicker than I could say “jury service”.
I glanced around the reading room. It was practically empty—the long, polished walnut tables unoccupied except for three fellow students buried in paving-slab-sized books, their fingers tapping away on laptops. Their heads low, they didn’t look up. Like me they’d been here for hours, lost in words.
Studying my own heap of books, I decided to call it a night. The large skylights revealed a dark November sky heavy with stars. The brass table lamps gave the silent room a shadowy, studious glow. I was hungry and my brain felt fudged.
Slipping my netbook into my rucksack, I heaved three thick criminal law books against my chest and went through the small archway leading into the enormous library. My footsteps were loud and echoed around the tall wooden rows of shelving. There was no one else around this late. My new mates were partying tonight. They’d asked me to go with them. “Let’s find some fit guys!” they’d said. But I hadn’t been up for it. I knew they were thinking they’d been dumped with a stick-in-the-mud as the fourth member of the gang in our halls of residence, but I couldn’t help it. My mind and body were stuck on Ty. Thoughts of Ty, images of Ty, memories of Ty. The fact that he was thousands of miles away didn’t seem to make any difference to my lust-addled body or my damn obsessive brain.
It was crazy. It wasn’t as though I was in love with him or anything.
I shoved the first heavy book into place between volumes one and three of Judicial Sentencing and recalled his last words. “This isn’t over… When you least expect it, Penny, when you are all alone, in the shadows, I’ll come for you and I’ll take you…again.”
I wished he would bloody well get on with it.
Heading deeper into the library past Juvenile Crime and European Union Law, I was enveloped in the room’s heavy silence. The shelves were tall, easily twice my height, and ladders had to be used to reach the top. The whole place had a timeless quality to it, the acres of pages and billions of words revered by all, including, it seemed, the atmosphere.
Reaching aisle twenty-three, I reached to slip in my last two books, side by side.
A small piece of paper caught my eye. It sat in the space between editions three and six of Tort Law. In scrawling black writing it read simply, Soon.
I spun around, belly clenching. There was no one there.
The books on the opposite shelf loomed over me. I glanced left and right. The blank white walls at either end pressed in, amplifying my aloneness.
Who had written the note?
Ty? Could it be?
Hastily I pocketed the scrap of paper, shoved the books away then stepped toward the end of the aisle. Much as I wanted to see him, there was something menacing about the way this note was written and hidden. The silence and stillness of the library suddenly seemed scary.
I’d made it three steps back toward the reading room before a gloved hand clamped over my mouth and I was pulled back against a solid chest.
“Mmph!” I managed, fear and anticipation reaching dizzying heights. I’d been grabbed like this before. Then, I’d been terrified, certain that death was about to claim me. Now terror was mixed with a perverse excitement I certainly wasn’t proud of.
“Keep it quiet,” a familiar Australian voice whispered hotly in my ear. “I’ve got more of that sleepy stuff if you want me to knock you out again.”
Instinctively I tried to shove free.
It was no good. He had me in a viselike grip.
His voice deepened. “Keep the hell still, I need to cut off a piece of you.” Cut off a piece of me! Oh fuck!
I squirmed and wriggled, terror overriding excitement and both fight and flight kicking in. Hell, I’d seen what he could do with a knife—that snake hadn’t stood a chance and I suspected neither would I.
“Shit, keep still,” he said, his voice tight and strained. “I won’t hurt you, I promise. Penny, it’s not what you think, calm down.”
I was pacified a fraction and stopped my writhing. His tight hold didn’t let up. He had one thickly corded forearm wrapped around my waist and the other held my head in the groove of his shoulder. His gloved palm was tight over my mouth and his fingertips pressed into my cheek.
The thud of his heart vibrated into my back, its speed matching my own. His chest heaved and his rapid breaths blew like a storm in my ear. Despite myself, a tremble of lust shook up my spine. I’d been thinking of him, of being in his arms, of having him take me for so many weeks and now, finally, it was happening. My traitorous body stopped fighting as desire diluted the adrenaline.
“Are you gonna keep quiet if I take my hand off your mouth?” he asked. I nodded.
I nodded again and stilled completely.
The pressure lifted. I knew I should scream and shout for help. Shit, he wanted to cut off a piece of me. This was the man who’d kidnapped me and here he was again, grabbing me.
There were at least three people in the reading room—surely they would hear a panicked yelp. Security would come running, police would be called. He would be hauled off to prison, especially when I confirmed it was he who’d taken me in Australia too.
“Penny,” he said, spinning me to face him at the same time backing me up against the opposite bookshelf. “I’m sorry that I have to do this to you.” His big hands pressed on the balls of my shoulders.
I stared into his handsome face, his full lips even more kissable than I remembered, his eyes an even denser shade of cobalt blue. He’d shaved off the fuzzy soul patch that had been beneath his bottom lip last time I’d seen him. “Do what, Ty?”
He widened his eyes. “You know my name?”
“Of course, it wasn’t hard to find you on Facebook.” He lowered his thick blond brows. “Shit!”
“I just went through all the James Hills. His profile picture is of you two together on a beach somewhere.” I paused. “And after our last encounter, you were easy to spot even with clothes on.”
“Ah, crap.” He shifted his feet and looked left and right, as if deciding which way to take off. “I didn’t even think of Facebook.”
I didn’t want him to take off anywhere. Having him pressed against me, having his body heat and divine, fresh-from-the-shower smell cocoon me was what I’d been dreaming of for so long. “It’s okay, it doesn’t matter,” I said quickly. “Only I saw you back in Oz so I gave a different description to the police. I haven’t told anyone that I know who you really are.”
“Seriously?” He narrowed his eyes and tilted his head. His flopping blond fringe shifted over his brows. “You really did that?”
“Yes, I didn’t think you would be much use to James if you were locked up too.”
Or much use to me.
“Blimey, thanks.” He flicked his head and his hair shifted again.
I placed my hands on his chest. He wore a dark-gray t-shirt under a red-checked fleecy shirt. The t-shirt material was thin and I could make out the shape of his pectoral muscles beneath. “I thought you were still in Australia anyway.”
He slid a hand up the back of my neck, feathering his fingers through the short hair at my nape. “I had to come to England. Your father’s position as foreign secretary still makes him, and you, my best hope for getting James out.” He lowered his voice. “You are my bargaining tool, Penny, so if you’re in England it’s where I need to be.”
I swallowed as a tickle of sensation radiated from his touch, pricking the skin on my scalp and down my spine. He’d followed me to England, to Oxford. He was a serious as ever about getting James out. He was as serious as ever about me being the key.
“And I am sorry I have to do this.” He pressed his body into mine and, between one heartbeat and the next, he harnessed both my wrists in just one of his big hands, locking them down at my stomach.
A bolt of fear shot through me as he whipped out a lethal-looking knife from his back pocket. The handle appeared to be crocodile skin and the sharp blade was curved like a macabre smile. He held it up between our faces.
“Oh god, no, please, Ty,” I squeaked through the tight channel of my throat. “I want to help. You said you wouldn’t hurt me.”
His intense gaze captured mine. “I won’t hurt you, Penny, if you keep quiet and still. Really still.”
Shit. Why hadn’t I screamed a few minutes ago when I’d had the chance? He was crazy. A madman. I should have known. Oh, why had I been having all these delusional fantasies about him coming back for me? I was a fool, a hopeless, romantic, sex-starved fool and now I was going to die for it.
A whimper of fear escaped my lips.
“Penny,” he whispered. “I won’t hurt you. I just need a lock of your hair.”
My eyes were filling. “My…my hair?”
“Yes, if I was a real bad guy I would take a finger or a toe to send to your father, but a lock of hair will do.” He clenched his jaw. “Now keep the hell still.”
He released my wrists and fisted a chunk of my fringe.
“Ty,” I whispered, my feet nailed to the spot.
“Shh, don’t move.” His long, lean legs trapped my thighs and his pelvis knocked into my hipbones. The shelves behind me dug into my back and the crown of my head was squashed against book spines.
I gulped as the knife slanted and glinted over my forehead. The roots of my hair complained as he tugged his fistful of fringe and sliced, unnervingly near to the roots, with the sinfully sharp blade.
“That should do,” he said, showing me a big clump of my pale-blonde hair. “And he’ll definitely know it’s your hair when he sees that.” He nodded at my head.
I raised my hand to my hairline. There was at least a two-inch square patch of soft stubble. “Oh crap,” I said with a frown.
He poked the lock of hair into a small, clear plastic bag and shoved it in his front jean pocket, then re-sheathed the knife before tucking it away. All the time his body kept pressed into mine, and as much as I was monumentally pissed about having a bald patch, the feel of him, his closeness, the sound of his breathing and the scent of his skin were like a drug to me—all I could feel was lust.
Am I crazy?
“So what now?” I asked.
His gaze harnessed mine and he cupped my cheek with his gloved palms, the wool scratchy against my skin. “Now I send that to your father, just to let him know I can still get to his precious little girl even on the other side of the world. He needs to listen to me. He needs to give James’ case attention, soon.”
“How is James?”
He frowned. “I stopped over on my way here and after a lot of paperwork and hanging around I saw him. He’s thin, thin and scared, but typical James he’s trying to be positive. Although how he’s managing it I don’t know. The place is hell on earth.”
“It must be awful.”
Ty narrowed his eyes and nibbled at his full bottom lip. “Yeah, it is. I’ve got to get him out, there’s going to be a retrial but it could go against him, there’s talk of the death sentence.”
“Shit, really? God, that’s awful. I want to help.”
He tipped his head a little nearer to mine and I traced my fingertips over the rise of his collarbones to the hollow of his throat.
“Do you really?” he asked.
“Yes, of course. I’ve brought it up with my father several times.”
“So bring it up again.” His voice was steely.
“I will, I have. Trouble is, he’s so pissed that you kidnapped me back in Oz that he flips into a blind rage whenever the subject is raised.”
“Well, he’s going to have to get over that. Maybe when he gets the message that you’re going to be taken again he’ll come to his senses.”
“Aren’t you taking me now?” He shook his head.
I shifted against him.
He didn’t budge.
“So when are you going to let me go?”
He curled his lips into a devilish smile. “In a minute.”
I swallowed and wondered what it was about that smile that sent hot fiery fingers of need speeding to every erogenous zone in my body.
“Right after I’ve done this,” he murmured.
In a sudden rush, he claimed my mouth in a hot, hungry kiss. I opened up and let him in, releasing a small moan of pleasure as his arms circled my body and pulled me close. Damn, the man could kiss. His mouth communicated desire and strength, passion and danger and I lapped it up like the starving, reckless woman I was.
He chased for my tongue and we began a wild, slippery tango. As if we couldn’t get enough of each other.
I slotted my fingers into his thick hair and urged him closer.
“Ah, fuck, Penny,” he gasped, trailing supercharged kisses over my cheek. “If only…”
I tipped my neck as he explored behind my ear with his mouth, making me shiver in bliss. “If only what?” I asked breathlessly, barely controlling the delicious shudders rippling up my spine.
“If only circumstances were different.” He was exploring with his hands too, the thin material of the gloves sliding beneath my sweater, over the base of my ribs to my breasts.
I trembled as he cupped me through my bra and tweaked my nipple. “Different?” I managed. My brain was struggling to work. He did this to me, Ty, made me forget everything and all sense.
“Yeah, if only we’d met like two ordinary people.” His voice was low and husky. “Instead of this crazy situation. We could have been so hot together.”
“We are hot together.”
“Fuck, I know, but there’s nothing we can do about it.”
He was spooning my other breast now, holding it in his palm. The urge to pull off my top and let him have full access was overwhelming. “We did something about it last time.”
“I know, and I still feel terrible about it.”
I pushed at his shoulders and captured his gaze. “Don’t feel terrible, it was amazing.”
He stared down at me. “But it was wrong. I was holding you captive, against your will, and I ended up fucking you.”
“Only because I asked. It was hardly rape, was it?” Sweeping my hands over his shoulders, I pulled him closer again. Beneath my sweater he smoothed his hands around my back. Suddenly I was aware of a hardness jabbing into my belly—a long, thick hardness that I remembered only too well.
His nostrils flared and he sucked in a breath. He ground his erection forward.
“It was sexy and steamy,” I whispered onto his lips. “And bloody hell, I had one incredible orgasm.”
His eyes sparkled. “Yeah, I remember the cute little squeal you made when you came.” He poked out his tongue and traced the seam of my lips. “I’d quite like to hear it again sometime.”
“Here?” I curled my leg around one of his and trapped him to me, shifted against his cock. “Now?”
“Tempting, but no, not here, not now.”
He mashed his lips to mine, hard and fretful. Shoved his steely length into my belly even more firmly.
I whimpered, a combination of lust and shock. Being pinned in his embrace sent my heart rate to dangerous levels and my head went giddy. I loved the way he kissed me. No man had ever kissed me with such desperation, such urgent intensity.
“Soon,” he said, pulling away and forcing me to unfurl my limbs from his body. “Soon, Penny, but I’ve got to get some results from your father first.”
He stepped back and I stared up at him. I was panting and my skin prickled with a heated flush that had turned me feverish.
He was breathing fast too. His fists were balled at his sides, his lips shiny from our kisses. The package in his jeans was impressive and I was more than a little irritated that I wasn’t about to get up close and personal with it again.
“I’ll do my best to persuade my father,” I said breathlessly.
“Do more than your best. Make it happen, or I will be forced to take drastic action, baby .”
Then, as fast as he’d appeared he was gone, slipping around the end of the aisle so quickly I could almost have believed he’d evaporated.
My heart knocked and my pussy buzzed. The feel of his arms around me and his hard cock had reawakened so many emotions and desires. My gut clenched and my body felt weak. I clutched the side of the shelf for support and fought the urge to crumple into a heap on the floor.
Ty was the worst man in the world for me to want. He was dangerous, unpredictable and desperate. Skilled in a whole host of things that could get me into very deep trouble, not just with the law but in the broken-heart department too.
But one thing was for sure. I wanted him more than I’d ever wanted anything else in my life.
Ellora’s Cave ‖ ARe ‖ Kindle ‖ Nook