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|Pleasure(Shadowdwellers #3) by Jacquelyn Frank|
Guin moved the bulk of his weight off Helene, but kept her throat under hand as he turned sharply to search for other familiar political faces. “Angelique!” The name roared out of him and the Senator startled, freezing still as if she’d been struck by light and was awaiting the burn of it. “Don’t you move. You’re next on my list.” Guin began to search Helene with sharp thrusts of his hand, finally releasing her in disgust when she was clearly unarmed. Helene rolled away and gasped violently for breath and, true to his word, Guin advanced on Angelique.
“Guin, stop!” Malaya cried in horror as he grabbed the second Senator and pinned her to the nearest wall by her throat, ignoring the way she clawed and gasped in struggle.
“By your leave, K’yatsume, I’ll find the bitch and she will be dead in but another minute or two, I promise you. When that time is gone, I’ll answer any query you have.”
“Are you mad? That’s Angelique, Guin! She has never done anything to anyone except give them an ulcer! Release her this instant!”
“Your pardon for correcting you, K’yatsume,” Guin gritted out through his teeth as Angelique began kicking furiously at his great weight, “but this is very likely the seed of evil known as Acadian.”
Malaya grabbed for his arm, trying to pull him off of the Senator.
“Are you sure? Have you proof? A moment ago you were on Helene! Guin! Let her go! If it is her she will be punished, but you cannot accuse every woman in this room! You cannot be judge and jury here! You’ll be breaking the law! Guin! Let go!”
With a hiss of disgust, Guin backed away from Angelique in a sharp movement. He grabbed hold of Malaya, placing her safely at his back as the Senator gasped harshly for her breath. With luck he had crushed her windpipe and she would die anyway.
But luck was not with him as Helene and Angelique both fought for and recovered their breath. He stood between them and Malaya, his head ringing with his unsatisfied rage.
“Tell me what happened,” he heard Malaya begging him. “Tell me why you are behaving like this!”
Malaya grabbed him at his sides and her hand smeared into coagulating blood mixed with fresh.
“Guin, you’re injured!” Now she looked at it she could see he was covered in blood all the way to his boots down his left side. “Please, Guin, tell me what happened.”
He did, in short, clipped sentences that had the committee fluctuating between horror and perverse fascination the entire time. He looked directly into Malaya’s eyes when he told her the end result of Acadian’s work for the evening.
“Acadian,” Helene croaked, “has taken on our guises to torment you, K’yatsume!” She coughed hard, rubbing her rapidly bruising throat. “I do not blame Ajai Guin for his rage, but you must believe what you know of me. I would never hurt anyone! I couldn’t ever kill a blessed baby. I have no reason to! I will do anything to prove this is a falsehood.”
Guin was living in a haze of red, but even he couldn’t help wavering as he saw the woman he knew as kind and giving beg them in fear for her life and reputation. Angelique was a different story. She recovered her breath and then launched a scathing retaliation.
“You barbarian! How dare you touch your betters with violence and not a shred of cause! K’yatsume! Ajai Killian should be arresting him and he should be served to our justice!”
“Don’t you mean Our justice?” Malaya spat out in return. “Guin is above the law when it comes to my safety and protection. I recognize this is not appropriate, but it is clear the trauma of the evening affects him strongly.”
“The fact is, Guin,” Killian spoke up, “you have no solid proof. What Dae thinks she saw isn’t enough and it is flawed evidence to say the very least. I am sorry for K’yan Daenaira”—it was obvious in his voice that he was not just paying lip service to the emotion—“and for M’jan Magnus, but we can’t abuse these women’s rights without solid proof here in this ’scape. What you’ve reported isn’t proof enough to justify any further action against any woman here.”
“Ajai Killian, please accompany Senators Helene and Angelique to their homes and see they get the services of the healers if necessary,” Malaya said gently to him. Guin would not let her approach either woman to offer any more personal comfort or apology, and Malaya was willing to forgo that for his peace of mind. But she did say, “Senators, I hope you will forgive Ajai Guin for his rashness. It sounds as though he has been through a terrible ordeal this evening and it has altered his judgment. I know he would never normally accost someone like this unless he felt I was in immediate danger.”
Guin clenched his fists, despising the idea that she could be apologizing for him to Acadian. It was true, there was no real proof, but it made him realize just how close this monster could get to either Chancellor at any time. They were no nearer to identifying her than they had been before.
The bodyguard didn’t relax, not even once both women were out of the room. Malaya was trying to calm the others in the room as it buzzed with debate and speculative gossip over Guin’s behavior. Still seething with his emotions, Guin wasn’t capable of remaining among them another moment, and he wasn’t going to leave Malaya within reach of other potential harm. He turned her and clamped hard hands around her waist as he bent to her ear.
“Dismiss them,” he ordered her curtly.
“I can’t,” she hissed in a low whisper, “I have to do some damage control, Guin. You’ve upset—”
“I don’t give a single damn if I’ve rattled their fucking sensibilities and I don’t care what you do later on, but leave this room with me now.”
Malaya had known Guin long enough to know that if she did not do as he asked, he would find a way to make it happen for himself. She quickly and apologetically dismissed the committee, and with the hard clamp of his hand around her wrist she was hustled into the residence and into her rooms. He slammed the door shut in their wake after swinging her inside. She caught her balance and whirled to confront him angrily for his high-handed behavior. She didn’t get a single word out because he approached her with the speed of rushing fire and grabbed her hard by her head, pressing her under a swift and harsh kiss until she had no choice but to give him access. She reached for his arms, clinging to his sleeves as she took in his furious kiss.
His hands fell to her shoulders and he dragged her up against himself roughly, using the press of his big hands at her back to hold her tightly to him. He was breathing hard still, and she could almost smell the adrenaline that must be coursing through him in wild overdose. The understanding stopped any resistance she might have offered him in its tracks. She realized he needed her and he could barely control himself as he tried to ride the hormonal rush and the hard emotional journey he must have taken during Daenaira’s rescue.
Malaya felt her feet yanked off the floor as he turned and pressed her face first against the wall near the door. The stone was cool and rough, the surface uneven with small flaws she could feel against her cheek. He pressed her hands to the stone, and with a brusque caress of his hand down the front of her body, he pulled her back against him and she heard his weapons fall to the floor. She wanted to protest even as her heart jerked in sudden excitement. She knew he was injured. He should be taking care of it. But as he ground up against her in a slow, erotic thrust of his hips, she could feel herself go silky wet in response.
He didn’t speak a word, and somehow that made it all the more arousing. He snapped free the ties on her skirt and it dropped to the floor. The lace cheeky underpants she wore were jerked off her legs, leaving her naked from the waist down. As he pressed against her again, she felt the coarse seams of denim and the rush of his hands under her blouse as he roughly fondled her breasts. He squeezed her tight, pulling her nipples in twisting tugs that came very close to pain, but always stopped right on the border of wild pleasure. Now she was the one breathing hard, her lover’s almost barbaric treatment exciting her wildly just as it had the morning before.
Malaya felt his face in her hair, felt him dragging in her scent until he made a coarse sound of approval. Then, as she stood braced against the wall as if he were a cop getting ready to frisk her, he slid his fingers along the separation of her buttocks, stroking her intimately on his way to plunging two fingers into her. He did it hard and fast, the wetness of her body making it very easy for him. She felt the press of the heel of his hand against her perineum and then it pushed hard against her there as he thrust into her again and again. He was leaning heavily against her back, his body following every minute jostle she suffered as he pushed into her harder and harder. Malaya gasped for her breath, the harsh treatment burning her body with decadent desire.
Then he left her with a slick sound of abandonment, but she felt him jerking against her as he freed himself from his clothing. In the next instant it was that outrageous cock of his sliding against her perineum. He was so hot that she made a small sound of eager need. She pushed back against him, tilting her hips receptively. He didn’t hesitate to take advantage of the invitation. It took three sharp thrusts before he was seated within her to his satisfaction. She heard him make a low, long sibilant sound as he paused to absorb the impact of their connection. Malaya was glad he did. There was a big difference between the feel of his fingers and the enormous pressure of being filled by that intense erection.
However, it wasn’t a very long pause. Reaching around her to cup her pubis in his hand, his fingers sliding through her folds to find her most sensitive place, he braced his free hand on the wall next to hers and pushed up into her in a deepening thrust.
“Drenna bless me,” she gasped uncontrollably, the sensation of him making her dizzy with joy. He chuckled softly near her ear, and then repeated the upward surge into her body.
He was increasing his speed and force within moments. She heard his harsh breath and the savage sounds he made. He took his hand from the wall to spread it over her belly, to fondle her aching breasts, and to stroke up the length of her throat. Her head dropped back against his shoulder and she began to cry out hard, punctuating each of his fierce thrusts into her. Malaya felt her body shimmering with pleasure until she was numb and soaring free of its physical confines. She cried in ecstatic release as she felt herself burst apart, scattering into the Beyond for the briefest instant before she was dragged back into her body and forced into awareness of the thick rod of Guin’s cock pumping into her almost frantically.
She felt him unraveling, heard it in his desperate breaths and the way he took her up off her feet each time he hit into her. He began to groan in loud, agitated surges and then finally slammed into her hard harder hardest and she felt him coming in hot, wrenching climax inside her. He gasped through the entire orgasm, shuddering against her back until suddenly his strength seemed to give way beneath them both. He fell to his knees, dragging her down with him.
They knelt where they were for a long minute, catching their breath. Guin held her back against his chest with both arms wrapped around her. She felt him placing a string of kisses up the back of her neck. Finally he exhaled long and slow and rested his forehead against her shoulder.
“I’m sorry,” he said deeply. “That was wrong of me.”
“You’re going to need to be more specific,” she said wryly.
Guin chuckled wearily. She was all too right.
“For forcing you away from your work. I don’t have the right.”
“Guin,” she scolded softly, finally turning in his grasp to meet his tired eyes. “You had every right. You are one of my closest friends and you needed me. That will always take precedence over everything else. I owe you that much and more. And I understand all the rest, too. I don’t know that I would have been able to do much differently had I seen what you have seen today. But I would also hope someone else would be my voice of reason in that moment. I wouldn’t doubt it would be you.”
“Then you give me too much credit. You would only have needed to say ‘Acadian’ and I would have let you at her. Honey, I have to do something to strike back at this creature. I can’t stomach not being a part of thwarting her somehow. Either by stopping the assassination of Trace’s family or bringing this k’ypruti to light, I can’t just stand by and watch her shatter good people one devious blow at a time. And knowing you are in her sights nauseates me. You have to let me do something.”
“Don’t worry about me and this law. I have made a proposal to the Senate and I am almost certain they will accept it.”
“What did you do?” he demanded sharply.
“I accepted their terms on the understanding they would accept mine.”
Guin was out of her grasp and on his feet instantly. He stumbled hard as he dressed himself, weakness from blood loss, injury, and the totality of his release with Malaya making him uncoordinated. Malaya followed hot on his heels. He could hear her draw breath to speak.
“Go away, Malaya,” he growled, shaking her off harshly when she touched him. The hard movement made him wince and she saw him catch his breath. That was when she remembered he was badly hurt.
“Guin, you need a healer!” She reached for him, pulling on his arm in an attempt to stop him. It was like trying to pull a locomotive to a halt.
“I need to have my fucking head examined, that’s what I need!” he roared, turning on her so suddenly that she almost fell over. “What are you doing, Malaya? Hmm? Tell me that much, at least. And by all means, be honest,” he bit out. “It is one of the things you do best, isn’t it?”
“Guin, what are you—?”