Quintessentially Q Page 2

Fuck, I should get a pet.

Tess isn’t a pet, you bastard. She’s your equal. She’s Tess. Elle est à toi. She’s yours.

Her eyelids slammed closed and she swayed into me, her lips parting. “Say it again, maître. Remind me of my place.”

Shit, this f**king woman. She wasn’t curing me, she made it worse. How could I expect to avoid my nightmares when she forced me down this path?

Something unlocked inside, some darkness billowed, blocking out the light I’d been fighting so hard to keep bright.

Tess noticed. Her body tensed, her fingers digging into my thighs.

I bent closer, glowering. My heart beat thickly as black excitement unfurled. “You’re disobeying me, esclave. I think I may have to punish you.” The word punish set my muscles on edge and I gripped her harder.

She shuddered under my touch, eyes flaring wide with a sexy glint. The same glint that told me she was about to rebel and cause me to snap. Shit, I didn’t have the strength to stop myself again. My energy was depleted. The gates unlocked, and the monster was in full control.

Tess stroked my thigh once. “You aren’t allowed to punish me. I’ll run. I’ll leave you.”

My hands clenched into fists, digging into her flesh. Her threat was too close to my true fears, and I shuddered with rage. Even though I knew she did it deliberately it still riled me up. “You wouldn’t f**king dare. You returned to me. This isn’t a vacation, esclave. You don’t get to come and go as you please. You belong to me and I can do what I want to you.”

Her mouth parted, and she sucked in a shaky breath, but her eyes blazed with grey fire. “Don’t you dare touch me; I’ll ruin you.”

Ah shit, I was a goner. I was completely and mind-bendingly falling for this woman.

I swallowed back the thick taste of lust and murmured, “Too f**king late, esclave. I’m ruined beyond redemption.” In the last moment of gentleness, I pressed my forehead against hers and breathed deep. “I’m lost.” Then the gentleness left, abandoning me to the hard-edged need to hurt.

In one swoop, I hauled her upright. Her hands flew to mine clutched in her silky curls. Her gaze smouldered to smoke, and her perfect pink lips trembled.

“You really shouldn’t push me. I asked for time.” I shook her hard, furious for making me lose control. Control was my one weakness—take that away from me and the consequences were disastrous. “I’m done fighting. You happy now?”

Her chest rose sharply as she sucked in another unsteady breath. A flicker of indecision filled her eyes before being swallowed by heavy, heated lust. “Yes. Extremely. There’s the man I returned to. The one I want to f**k me.”

My c**k lurched forward in the prison of boxer-briefs, aching with the need to plunge deep inside her. I pulled her forward, licking my lips. I’d take her hard. I didn’t want docile; I wanted savage.

Her eyes fluttered closed as I crushed my mouth against hers.

She sighed as I licked her lower lip with an angry tongue. Her body yielded into my touch, surrendering her false fight, showing me just how much she needed this—this violence.

I pulled away, releasing her hair to capture her wrist. The same tattooed wrist with barcode bars and fluttering sparrow. A mockery of her slave status and a talisman of her freedom. “You should know by now I don’t do things you want me to do, esclave. Your permission isn’t what gets me off.”

She frowned as I dragged her across the thick white carpet and forced her to kneel in front of the mirrored chest. Breathing hard, I stalked to where I left my trousers on the floor last night and withdrew the key.

“Open it.” I passed the key to her, my hand steady, but heart beating wildly.

She glared, hesitating for a moment. Her body language stiffened at the command. I thought she’d disobey again, but she nodded and slipped the key obediently into the lock.

My back turned rigid, every muscle throbbing on high alert. Tess thought I had a soul, a heart. What I stored in the chest would prove all her stupid sweet fantasies were false.

There was no doubt I wanted Tess. There was no question she made me feel something I’d never felt before…but there was also no doubt that it wasn’t enough. I was too damaged from too young an age to be able to change.

Tess took a deep breath, cracking open the lid. I expected a squeal, a gasp…something to indicate awareness of what she tempted, but deathly silence filled the room.

I gritted my teeth, looking over her shoulder. The first lot of apparatus was tame. Any sex shop or adventurous couple would have a few sneaky purchases.

Three whips; four floggers of different thickness; two paddles; three sets of ni**les clamps; butt plugs and cuffs of every description. In fact, they were so tame, they turned me off at the thought of using them on Tess.

Tess ran delicate fingers along the items, a slight frown on her face. Why the hell was she frowning?

“Speak. Are you disappointed? Expect to find a rape kit in there? A shovel to get rid of your body, perhaps?”

She flinched at the word rape and I cursed myself to hell for using it. Once again my rage and hatred toward Lefebvre rose; I wanted to hack his corpse into worm food. Fucking bastard for hurting what was mine to protect.

Tess looked up, craning her swan-white neck. “It’s just… I expected—” She swallowed and didn’t continue. Instead, she shook her head slightly and returned to the chest.

Picking up a black rubber dildo, she murmured, “I don’t want dildos when I can have your cock. I knew you had the whips and floggers, but I don’t know…” Her voice dwindled off, and damn it to hell, she made me feel like I lacked. That I wasn’t hard-core enough for her.

I would only be completely satisfied when she was red with blood and whimpering in my arms. That’s the sort of sick f**k I was. For Tess to think I was tame. Shit, it made me want to prove just how dark I wanted. Just what sort of depraved thoughts lived in my skull.

I ran a hand over my head, cursing her silently. You’re competing with yourself. Do you see how f**ked up this is?

Merde. “It’s a shelf. Look harder.” My voice didn’t sound right. Too dark, too coarse.

Her eyes flashed to mine, and something sparked between us. The chemistry and need that always simmered roared into an out-of-control fire. My heart raced, and my already rock-hard c**k throbbed with need. All I could think about was the taste of Tess on my tongue and the memory of whipping her in my mind.

Inching higher on her knees, Tess found the small latch on the shelf and pulled it away.

“Oh,” she whispered.

Yes, oh. The sickness and blackness was there for her to see. I hadn’t used any of the toys—not that they could be called toys. More like torture equipment. I didn’t know why I owned them. I never planned to use them. Until now.

Tess lifted out the Japanese silk rope. It was said to tie into a knot so strong, not even blade or teeth could get it undone. It burned the skin when the captive wiggled, and the glowing crimson of the threads looked so like blood my mouth watered.

Tess stroked the rope once, before draping it over her na**d thighs and reaching for the next item. I didn’t want to tear my eyes away from the rope on her skin, but my stomach twisted at the next item.

A harness.

The same type my sick, perverted father used to string women up with their heads between their legs hanging from the ceiling. Arms bound, legs bound, head bound…there would be nowhere Tess could run. No place I wouldn’t be able to touch.

I shuddered as a band of need squeezed my balls. The thought of Tess strung up so helpless filled me with restless urges. I stepped forward, compelled to pounce and truss her up. To make her scream, needing my cock.

Her eyes flashed to mine as I took another step, nudging her knee with my foot. She gazed from beneath her thick lashes, eyes swirling with complexities that I couldn’t figure out. Her chest rose as courage, sharp and brittle, etched her face.

“Do you like the thought of having nowhere to run? Nowhere to hide, esclave?”

Slowly, ever so slowly, she put the harness to the side. Her ni**les sprung to a peak beneath my white T-shirt she wore to bed. “I know I can’t run from you, Q. And I wouldn’t want to. Not truly.”

Her voice was breathy but tense, and instead of amping my lust, it dampened it. I froze as she reached for another item. Why exactly was I letting her see this? My hands itched to slam the lid and barricade her from ever looking again.

Tess pulled out a bright red ball gag, a vinyl bodysuit with only a mouth slit and an opening between the legs, and a bar with cuffs for wrists and ankles.

Each item Tess placed on the floor filled me with more and more repulsion. Laid by my feet was evidence of my true sickness. My needs transcended middle-class kink and verged on life-threatening. I didn’t want fake fear or tears. No. I wanted the whole damn truth. I wanted to possess and obsess and consume. I wanted to be the air that Tess breathed. I wanted to be the water she drank. Keeping her alive all while wanting to kill her.

I never spoke truer words to Tess before. I was totally and utterly exhausted.

Tess made a noise, dragging me from my thoughts. I flinched at the item in her grasp: a red leather bag. I lunged for it, just as Tess pulled the zipper.

She moved too fast, swiping it out of my reach. “Let me see.” Her tone bordered on angry and a plea. Such a sweet cocktail of sounds.

I nodded, backing away from the items in the bag. Items I really, really wanted to use at that moment.

Tess lifted out a pair of silver scissors, a small knife, and three crystal vials. She didn’t bother pulling out the suction syringe I knew was in there to collect blood.

She rocked on her heels, pinning me with her grey stare. “I always wondered why you ruined so many of my clothes. You could’ve demanded I strip, but you always preferred to cut them, or burn, or tear. Is it because you secretly want to do that to my body? Tear me apart? Flay me? See my blood running like a river?”

I shut my eyes. I couldn’t handle the image she painted. The image I wanted. So. Fucking. Much.

Tess grabbed my ankle, pulling herself up my mostly na**d form until she stood before me. Her warmth seeped into mine, and I wondered what would happen if I reached for her to give her something as simple as a hug: a show of tenderness, of sweet emotion. Could I survive it or would I crush her, squeeze her—go too far like I did every time?

Tess answered for me. She pressed a flogger into my grip. “You’re wrong to think your box of horrors scares me. It doesn’t.”

My eyes, heavy with regret and self-loathing, opened to drown in hers. She was so close, the swirls of blue and grey in her irises looked like angry seas. I tried to decipher the fear, stubbornness, and lust in her soul.

Her voice dropped to a whisper. “You need to talk to me. You can’t keep secrets, maître. Not anymore. I won’t let you.” Stepping back, she ripped my T-shirt over her head, standing before me naked. With the courage of a warrioress, she pinched the white flesh of her lower abdomen. “Here. I want you to scar me here. Mark me if it will make you feel better. I want you to accept what I’m giving you. I want you to embrace it.”

I threw the flogger down. She didn’t offer me her body. She offered insanity. I wasn’t man enough for her, but I sure as hell had enough beast inside. But the man was a coward. I refused to drop the walls and let myself be fully free—no matter what promises Tess made me say. Scar her? Didn’t she know I wouldn’t—couldn’t—stop at one?

I touched her taut belly with a fingertip. So smooth, so silky, so feminine. Tess panted softly, and her br**sts rose and fell, teasing me, making me lose all inhibitions. Only she could spin this sort of web around me. Only she could make me so f**ked up and confused.

Cupping her breast, I pinched her nipple, hard. No gentle foreplay, just a possessive clinch. Her head fell forward, resting on my chest. Her scent of orchids and frost was the last of my undoing.

I gave up.

I gave in.

I wanted, and I wouldn’t stop.

I’d been going around in circles, letting my thoughts tangle and trip. Now, I was clearheaded and eager. Eager to embrace the role of hurtful, insatiable master.

My hand trailed from her breast up her neck and captured her throat. Wrenching her head back, I met her turbulent eyes with mine. Anger blazed through me. “You couldn’t just give me time, could you, esclave? Now I’m pissed and angry, and I don’t know the limits of my control. I’ve given in and nothing else matters but f**king you.” I shook her, tightening my fingers around her neck.

She didn’t move, her arms stayed by her sides, and she let me throttle her. I tested her, noosing my fingers until the yielding, fragile muscles in her neck made my head swim with delirium.

Tess did nothing.

Forcing my fingers to loosen, I frowned. “Do you trust me not to go too far? Are you really that stupid?”

One hand flew to cover mine, but she didn’t tug or try to get me to release her. Her other palm rested on my unshaven cheek, jolting me with a dose of unconditional acceptance, need, want, and everything else that lived between us.

Shit, I’m lucky. And so unworthy.

“I promised you I would fight. I’m not stupid enough to relinquish myself into your control completely, Q. But I do trust that I know your limits even more than you do. I trust you…here.”

She dropped her hand to rest above my heart. It raced and pumped like a demon thing, bucking beneath her touch. “Let yourself feel. Let yourself accept. You’re more human than you want to believe.”

The softness in her tone enraged me. I didn’t let myself consider the truth; I kissed her instead.

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