Slowly, she licked her lips and murmured, “I’m angry that Joshua hasn’t found me yet. He knew where I was going. I left him the link to the climb I’d mentioned I was chasing. Why haven’t I heard any helicopters, huh? Even if my locator beacon was broken when you threw it against the floor, surely Josh would’ve enlisted a team to find me. I would have. If it was him who’d gone missing, I would’ve ripped apart the entire world before I stopped searching for him. I thought he’d do the same. I’m his sister. His family. And if you can stay for eleven years in a house where you were tortured, in a valley all on your own, just to look after yours, then why can’t my only brother come find me?”
She gasped, her eyes filling with tears as if she’d only just admitted such things to herself. Inhaling, sending her nipples piercing the water’s surface, she whispered brokenly, “And the worst of it is...even if he did find me. Even if he appeared tomorrow with an army at his back, I...”
I had to know.
My very existence hinged on her words.
“You...?” I breathed. “Tell me. Finish.”
“I don’t know if I’d go.” Tears tracked down her face. “And how can I admit that after what happened tonight? Knowing how unstable you are? Knowing that tomorrow, you might hurt me. That all my predictions that you might one day make a mistake and kill me are real. Those facts are constantly there, always in my mind. They should be enough for me to turn my back on you and go home. I know that. Yet...” Her fingers suddenly unlocked around my wrist, letting me go all while her legs spread in welcome. “I don’t want to be alone anymore either.”
I didn’t move.
I couldn’t breathe.
Something exploded right through my chest. A meteorite perhaps. A shooting star. Something sharp and hot and eternally painful.
I wanted to be gentle for her. I wanted to show her just how much our shared confessions meant. We’d given each other a part of our darkest thoughts, and that demanded something pure, something soft and nurturing and kind.
But I couldn’t be kind.
I couldn’t fucking collar myself...not after what she’d said. Not after she admitted she wouldn’t go, even if her brother found her.
That she’d stay.
Jesus fucking Christ, she’d choose me.
Over her own goddamn brother.
My ribs split open, my heart fell into her hands, and I drove my fingers deep inside her.
We shed any remnants of humanity.
MY ENTIRE BODY FELT as if I’d swallowed the sun.
I was burning up.
Alive and awake and holy mother of God, aware. I was so damn aware of Kas and how deep he thrust two calloused fingers inside me. My back bowed. Water went sloshing. Kas’s heady growl twisted my belly with need.
He pulsed his fingers, stroking me, claiming me. “Christ, Gemma.”
I gasped as his thumb pressed down on my clit, rubbing me with lust and violence.
I jackknifed up as a streak of lightning replaced my blood, crackling directly into my core. He drove me to the edge in just a few short seconds. He knew my body better than I did. He could make me come as easily as he’d trapped me.
“You feel so good,” he grunted, thrusting deeper. “So wet, just like I hoped. Fuck, if you knew how hard I was...”
I arched again as he did something twisty and hard with his touch, making my vision falter. My mind was a mess of sentences and demolished words as I became nothing but his.
His arm caused more water to wave around my chin before rocking to the bottom of the bath and spilling over the lip. He loomed over me, blotting out the sky with his long hair and savage gaze.
I’d never felt so worshiped or so wicked.
He drove up again as his thumb swirled my clit and his fingers disappeared so deep inside me his entire hand wedged between my legs.
“Are you clean yet?” he groaned. “Clean from me? Clean from what I am?” He drove his fingers harder, massaging me with no shame, no shyness. He didn’t ask what I liked or reined himself back from taking me so fiercely.
He didn’t need to.
I didn’t want him to.
My body had told him explicitly what it liked, even if my mind hadn’t known until that exact moment.
It liked his violence.
It liked his brutality.
A part of me recoiled from such furious possession. Screams of reasoning and common sense commanded I rip away his hand and snap my legs shut.
But the other part of me, the part that I only allowed out to play when I hung from a boulder—completely on my own and balanced on a handhold between life and death—let loose.
It flew free.
It embraced all my inhibitions and decided, right there and then, that I liked rough. I loved hard. I hadn’t known how to verbalize it until now. With all my other romantic partners, I’d believed that boundaries and mutual give and take was the key to an appropriate sexual relationship.