Sasha Merchant knew trouble.
In his very checkered lifetime, he’d been the cause of it, been balls-deep in it, and had escaped it. So yeah, he and trouble were intimate partners, a match made in hell. And even though it now walked through the doors of Lick in the form of a stunning redhead with curves that demanded a man take them hard and fast, he wasn’t fooled by the pretty wrapping.
Or as his mother used to say: Volk v ovech’yey shkurye. Wolf in sheep’s pelt.
Maybe he should say fox’s pelt. Because with her bright hair and petite frame, she reminded him of his Russian homeland’s small, red fox. Didn’t matter in the end though. Fox or sheep, the woman was an ill wind that needed to be monitored…and blown back out the door, if necessary.
“You see who just came in?” The deep, gravel-rough voice that belonged to his best friend, Killian Vincent, rumbled in his ear from the discreet piece notched there.
Sasha once more glanced toward the front of the club where more people streamed in through the steel doors. Though he, Killian, and Rion Ward, the third member of their unholy trio, owned Lick equally, Killian often oversaw security. All of them had control issues—as in, needing to have it—but Killian even more so. But when someone else decided what you wore and ate, and when you fucking took a shit, for two years, yeah, control became important. So they let him supervise that aspect of their club. Hell, having a huge, scowling hulk on the premises was often a better deterrent to troublemakers than their many cameras.
“Yeah, I got eyes on her,” Sasha said, tracking the slow progress of the redhead and her friend through the thick crowd. It might’ve been eleven o’clock on a Thursday, but that didn’t matter. If the night ended in “y” then they were packed. It’d been that way since they’d opened their doors a year earlier. Everyone, it seemed, wanted to drink, dance, and find their next hookup in Boston’s newest and most exclusive aphrodisiac club.
Including Corrine Salvaggi, aka The Mob Princess.
“What the hell do you think she’s doing here?” Killian asked as Rion approached the end of the bar where Sasha stood. “Considering the shitstorm that’s circling her, you’d think her family would have her on lockdown.”
“I don’t know,” Sasha rumbled. “But it seems her breaking out of the castle is now our problem, if anyone recognizes her. Goddamn.”
“Exactly.” Rion nodded his thanks at the bartender who slid a tumbler in front of him. Kentucky bourbon, his favorite. “The last thing we need is the Salvaggi family sniffing around here, searching for their wayward royalty. Or worse, having the press associate Lick with them. Even if it’s just in a byline.”
Sasha understood what Rion meant. Perfectly.
Lick was the public face of their business. With its two bustling bars and top-shelf alcohol, dancing, and VIP lounges, the nightclub had quickly become one of the hottest spots to party in Boston. And then there was the aura of sex they deliberately cultivated. From the sensual photographs on the walls to barely and sexily clad men and women dancing on raised platforms to the shadowed alcoves where people kissed and slipped hands under clothes, to the private VIP rooms…sex permeated the atmosphere.
But while the nightclub teased with sex, the private, upper level of Lick—The Loft—delivered on that promise. And catered to more…exotic tastes. Of the sexual variety. Whatever their members desired, they supplied. And in exchange for the admittedly excessive prices people paid for membership, The Loft’s clientele expected discretion and a safe, secure, and protected place to indulge in their sexual fantasies and preferences. So having reporters snooping around trying to catch pictures of Carmine Salvaggi’s daughter partying it up would understandably make them a bit antsy.
Lick was more than income to the men. The three of them had been to hell and back to reach where they were today. Free of the Irish mob. Escapees from the criminal world. Business owners with a modicum of respectability. Of legitimacy. This club represented their new life. Their freedom.
For Sasha, it was his promise to a dying woman.
His parents had left Moscow when Sasha was six, after the Cold War ended and the Soviet Union dissolved. They’d immigrated to America, specifically Boston, seeking a better life and more opportunity. An academic in Russia, his proud father had only been able to find work as a janitor at the local elementary school. But to Val Merchant, it’d still been honest work. And having a son who’d willingly chosen a life of crime—even if it’d been the impulsive decision of a youth who hadn’t felt he’d belonged anywhere else—had been unforgiveable. But two years ago, before dying from complications of COPD, Anna Merchant had come to him and extracted a vow from Sasha: to become the respectable man she’d raised him to be.
He’d sacrificed everything to honor that promise. And even though some days this new life itched like a too-tight, uncomfortable shirt, he wouldn’t allow a pampered, rebelling mob socialite to fuck it up.
“I’ll watch her,” he volunteered, voice grim.
Rion shot him a sharp glance, and Sasha clenched his jaw, easily interpreting the look. Worry. Indecision. Yeah, he got his friend’s doubt. It irritated the fuck out of him, but he got it. Because underneath the annoyance—and in spite of his resentment of Corrine Salvaggi’s presence in their club—a curl of anticipation whispered through him. And Rion probably knew it.
Of the three of them, Sasha still struggled with the life they left behind the most, walking that fine line between legitimacy and craving the thrill, the pure adrenaline rush, of breaking the law. While Rion had never wanted it, and Killian feared it with an animalistic, whites-of-their-eyes terror, Sasha had only walked away because of a promise and his love for his friends. So putting him on someone who had ties to an organized crime family was like waving a bottle of water in front of a man who’d just crawled in from the desert.
“I’ll be fine,” Sasha assured him. “I’m just keeping eyes on her. And considering who she is, Killian won’t do it.” Two years out of jail and still on probation, Killian couldn’t risk being associated with even the daughter of a criminal.
That left Sasha.
Rion’s mouth flattened into a grim line as he nodded then tossed back the rest of his whiskey.
“Maybe she’s just here to drink and dance like everyone else,” Sasha said. Rion didn’t reply, just arched a dark eyebrow.
Yeah, Sasha didn’t believe it either. Not with his gut tightening like a damn noose. That sixth sense had never failed him on a job, and right now it was affirming what he’d thought when he’d first laid eyes on the Mob Princess.
When Corrine Salvaggi decided to rebel, she rebelled.
Of course, her idea of rebellion had been turning off her cell phone and hiding out at her friend Tara’s house. Or sneaking past the relentless, greedy-ass reporters parked outside her parents’ home before speeding off to find an out-of-the-way bar to watch Big Papi and her beloved Sox.
But never had dressing up in her underwear—or rather, Tara’s underwear—and partying in a sex club entered her mind. Jesus, an honest-to-God sex club. And right here in Boston, not twenty minutes from her house. She’d thought they only existed in pay-per-view movies and books about paddle-wielding millionaires. Apparently, she was more naïve than the press reported. Although, she wasn’t rebelling as much as escaping from the crapfest her life had transformed into. Still, partying in a place that would have her mother clutching her rosary was pretty much perfect for escape and mutiny.
Damp with sweat, Corrine followed Tara off the crowded dance floor, tugging on the bottom of the borrowed green-and-black lace corset, trying to cover her belly without exposing her damn nipples to the entire place. When Tara had thrust the Frederick’s of Hollywood garment in her hands earlier, Corrine should’ve just said hell-to-the-no and found that sports bar. This get-up—the corset that nearly shoved her breasts up to her damn chin, the painted-on black jeans, and knee-high leather boots—wasn’t her. Hell, her bras and panties weren’t this damn revealing. Or…sexual. With every breath, she feared her breasts were going to make an unscheduled appearance. She skimmed her palms over her hips, not accustomed to them being so blatantly…displayed.
“Stop fidgeting.” Tara teasingly slapped her hand.
“I can’t help it,” Corrine grumbled. “I still feel naked.”
“Shit, if I had your tits and ass, I’d go around with no clothes on all the time,” Tara shouted over her shoulder as she weaved her way through the heavy throngs of people. “And then throw in all that red hair and the ‘I’m just a babe in the woods’ innocence? I’d have to duck and dodge all the dick that would come my way.”
Her friend laughed, and moments later maneuvered into a tight, open spot at the packed bar. “What you need is a drink. I don’t know what I was thinking. If we’d had one before heading to the dance floor, you wouldn’t have minded having that hottie’s hands on your ass.”
“Oh, I’m sure I would’ve still minded,” Corrine drawled. “And for the record, I don’t ever want to be that drunk. He didn’t even say hello first.”
Tara snickered before turning and flagging down the bartender. Propping her elbows on the chrome railing, Corrine surveyed Lick. Just the name was erotic and shiver-inducing. She still hadn’t managed to say it without whispering.
The huge converted warehouse pulsed with the heavy bass of the music, while people writhed and twisted with abandon on the dance floor and stage. More than a few kissed and groped each other as they ground their bodies together, providing a sexual show. Men and women in outfits straight out of the Bondage ’R’ Us catalogue danced on spotlighted platforms and paraded around in leather and latex. She blinked as a woman in a shiny, black catsuit and a head covering that revealed her face and a high, blond ponytail strolled past, a bare-chested man in blue jeans following behind her…on a leash.
Wow. Just…wow. She shook her head, her survey moving on to the evenly spaced halogen lights revealing more people partying in the glass-enclosed balconies, crowding around the wide, long bars that dominated each side of the building, and drinking on the chairs at the high tables dotting the area around the dance floor. And tucked in the shadowed corners…
Corrine swallowed, a ball of heat swirling low in her belly. She exhaled, trying to expel even a little of the tension pulling tight inside her. People occupied low couches and booths along the exposed brick walls. Even in the dim lighting, she could make out the couples kissing, the sensual sweep of hands over exposed skin. She couldn’t hear words or groans or sighs over the pounding of the music, but her imagination supplied them. Vividly. The heat inside her expanded and stretched until it congregated in the flesh between her legs. They didn’t care who saw them. Didn’t worry about decorum or reputation, or being proper and pure. Didn’t go behind the door marked “Private” and guarded by bodyguards, which, rumor had it, led to an area where they could do a lot more than kissing. No, they probably knew eyes were on them and welcomed it. Enjoyed it.
God. What did that kind of freedom feel like? Again, she had only her imagination to provide the answer because she’d never experienced it. Being the only daughter of Carmine Salvaggi had meant growing up in the most beautiful, luxurious, and loving of cages. Yes, she’d executed a prison break or two, but she’d never experienced the kind of utter liberation the people on the couches did… But she’d always wanted to.
In the last week, that cage had become more stifling and confusing, and frightening. Because up until seven days ago, she’d believed her father had been a successful businessman with a thriving and growing chain of dry-cleaning stores throughout Boston. Definitely not the boss of the Salvaggi family, one of the oldest, most vicious, and notorious mob organizations in the city.
Closing her eyes, she braced herself for the stab of pain that stole her breath. She should be used to it by now. But how could a person become accustomed to having her soul ripped out over and over like a really fucked-up version of Prometheus and his liver-eating eagle? How could she come to grips with comprehending that the same man who had tucked her in at night, had held and comforted her while she’d cried, had raised her to be honest and respectful, was the same who had run drugs throughout the city, extorted hardworking people…ordered hits. Her life was a lie, and she’d never guessed, never seen…
“Stop it.” Tara wagged a finger in Corrine’s face, and she reeled back, startled.
“Tara, damn. I know I have another eye, but I’d like to keep that one,” she grumbled.
“Don’t deflect,” her friend ordered, propping her hands on her slim hips. “Your thoughts are all over your face. We came here to forget and have a good time. And that’s what you’re going to do, damn it.”
“Um. Yes, sir.” She blinked. “Ma’am.”
Tara smirked, dropping her hand. “Smart ass.” Accepting the Fuzzy Navels she’d ordered from the bartender, who wouldn’t have been out of place lounging around Hefner’s mansion, she pressed one into Corrine’s hand. “Drink. Loosen up.”
“I’m in a sex club where people are…” Corrine nodded in the direction of the couches with the tangle of bodies. Fully clothed, but still… “I believe I’m loosened up.”
“Pfft. That’s nothing. This”—Tara swept out an arm, narrowly missing the woman standing next to her—“is the public section of the club. The nightclub. Rumor is there’s a whole ’nother part upstairs—the real sex club—that is downright kinky. We’re talking stuff that would make Christian Gray and his Red Room look like a kindergartener in a sandbox.”
Corrine had never read the book or seen the movie about the BDSM-loving millionaire, but she got the gist of Tara’s comment. Unbidden, she lifted her gaze to the ceiling and the supposed “upstairs.” Her active and rich imagination supplied images of what could be taking place at that very moment above their heads.
A woman, blindfolded and naked, spread-eagle and bound on a bed. Her head tipped back, lips parted on a silent scream, fingers jerking on the ties at her wrists as a man buried his head between her trembling thighs.
A woman, arms captured behind her back, kneeling on the floor before her man, mouth opened wide as he slowly fed her his cock.
A woman, breasts pressed to a leather-padded bench, her bared ass propped in the air, quivering in anticipation and lust from the caress of a paddle over reddened flesh…and from the eyes fixed on her, eagerly watching her submission and pleasure.
Corrine briefly closed her eyes. Oh yes, she had a very active and vivid imagination. One that sent hot swirls of arousal curling through her.
“I’ll be right back,” she said, setting her drink down behind her. “Bathroom break.” As if the hounds of hell snapped at her heels, she forged a path through the horde toward the rear of the club, where she remembered seeing the sign for the restrooms.
For twenty-four years, she’d hidden her desires, her dreams, her needs, behind this good-girl image that reflected who her parents, with their often rigid expectations, wanted her to be. Demanded she be. But since her father had been arrested and indicted, and the truth of who he was—who she was—had emerged, the cuffs of their standards had started to chafe. The urges, thoughts, and impulses she’d tried to ignore or deny had been rearing their heads more often. Why should she twist and contort to fit this ideal of perfection when all of them were far from it? Why was she still hiding a perfectly respectable career as a sports columnist from them when her job didn’t include extorting, cheating, or killing people?
And why did she sound like a pouting sixteen-year-old angry at her parents’ hypocrisy?
Maybe because she was a brooding twenty-four-year-old angry at her parents’ hypocrisy.
Sighing, she pushed into the dim hallway that housed the bathrooms.
And promptly slammed into someone exiting the corridor. The impact propelled the breath out of her, and a dull throbbing set up in the bridge of her nose. Damn. Awkward much?
“Oh God, I’m so sorry.” A firm grip circled her upper arm, preventing her from stumbling backward. “Are you hurt? This is my fault. I should’ve been watching where I was going.” The babbling accompanied a tad-too-hard pat on the shoulder. “I’m sorry,” the guy who’d nearly sent her falling on her ass apologized again.
“It’s okay, I’m fine,” she assured him, cautiously touching her nose. “Really.” She smiled, sidestepping his hand. Any more of his apologetic patting, and he still might send her tumbling backward.
“Wow, this is embarrassing,” he grumbled, mirroring her thoughts as he dragged his fingers through his dark hair. Her smile widened. Finally, someone who looked how she felt—out of place. In his khakis and polo shirt, he appeared more country club than nightclub. His gaze dropped and lingered for a long second on her chest, before—to his credit—he jerked his attention back to her face. “Listen, uh, can I buy you a drink?” he blurted, then winced. “Damn, that was smooth…”
She couldn’t help it; she chuckled. If he’d shown up on her family’s doorstep, he was the kind of man her mother would gladly have ushered into the living room and filled with dinner and news about how her daughter needed “a nice young man in her life.” He did seem nice, even if he didn’t set off any tingles below her belly button. But what the hell? It was a drink.
“You have somewhere else to be.” The new, dark voice sent a cascade of shivers skipping over her skin. She shifted her gaze from her would-be suitor to the looming presence behind him. And though the statement had been directed toward the man in front of her, she shivered. But it wasn’t just the flat, ominous tone that had her trembling…
Instead of sporting a braided mohawk, this man had blond hair cropped close to his head. And a severe black suit and white shirt adorned his tall, wide frame in place of a leather tunic, leggings, and a broad sword, but still… It could’ve been the legendary warrior from the History Channel’s show Vikings who shifted forward and almost inserted himself in between her and her almost bar date. The other man’s jaw unhinged, and he gaped up…and up…at the blond giant.
Jesus. She blinked, part of her concerned over how pale the smaller man became when Ragnar pinned him with a hard stare. He didn’t utter a word. Just…stared. Whew. That kind of magnetism was…hot.
She couldn’t help studying the interloper. He demanded to be stared at. His profile could’ve been carved from a slab of marble. Sharp, almost harshly cut cheekbones, the slant of his nose, the slash of his mouth, and the rock-hard edge of his jaw—they combined to form a face that inspired fear. And lust. Both emotions twisted and tangled inside her, whirling and gaining strength with each rotation.
“Uh.” The other—smaller—man coughed. “Excuse me.”
“I need to speak with you,” the Viking rumbled to her while flicking a dismissive, steely glance to her would-be suitor.
He didn’t sound like a Viking. With that faint but melodic accent, maybe a tsar. Or a bogatyr, one of the famed warriors in old Russian legends. The slight lengthening of his vowels and softening of consonants brought to mind blinding-white, icy landscapes with a stark, primal beauty. Just like its speaker. Heat fluttered in her sex, flames licking at her flesh, her clit. Up until this moment, she hadn’t believed a voice could be foreplay. But the thought of his low, deep growl in her ear, murmuring explicit, dirty details of what he wanted to do to her and how he expected her to please him had her already creeping to the ledge of orgasmic abyss.
“Um, okay,” she murmured, surprise winging though her. “But I was just going to have a drink with…”
“N-no,” the other guy stammered, already edging past them. “That’s fine. I’m fine. It’s no problem…” Whatever else he said trailed off as he fled out of the corridor and into the crowd.
Leaving her alone with the Viking.
He turned toward her, and she met his stare for the first time.
Again, electricity crackled through her, and if she glanced down, she wouldn’t have been surprised if the hairs on her arms stood at attention. Bolts of lightning could’ve struck the floor in between them, and she still wouldn’t have been able to look away. His face was an artist’s delight of angles, planes, and curves, but the eyes…they were the masterpiece. Exotic and almond-shaped, the piercing blue and gray reminded her of a wolf’s predatory gaze.
Some of the men who’d come to visit her father had possessed that kind of stare. Then, she’d shuddered, hating their scrutiny on her, longing to escape it. And with good reason, she’d later found out, considering the killers she now knew were her father’s “associates.”
Unlike those men, though, if this blond giant had stood in their house, his focus pinned on her, something told her she wouldn’t have minded. Wouldn’t have avoided it but courted it. Done anything to keep it.
She shook her head as if she could dislodge the inane thought. Tara’s talk of kinky, secret dungeons had her mind skipping down a path marked “Not in This Lifetime.” Men like him didn’t notice women like her. He probably had women like the bartender—gorgeous, confident, and sexy, with a killer body—occupying his bed. The only thing the bartender and Corrine had in common was the size of their breasts, thanks to her mother and her busty Irish roots.
“Uh, you said you needed to speak with me,” she rasped, then cleared her throat and tried again. “I’m not sure—”
“You should go,” he warned, his voice softer but firm. Cold.
Again, surprise struck her, and she reran the last couple of minutes through her head, trying to figure out what she could’ve done that earned his displeasure.
“But I didn’t do anything…” She held her hands out, palms up.
“It’s not what you’ve done,” he murmured, shifting closer so only mere inches separated them.
The wide set of his shoulders blocked out her view of…everything. His scent—sweet and earthy like freshly cut wood—surrounded her, invading her nose and settling on her tongue, smothering the odors of incense, sweat, and perfume that permeated the hallway. And when that almost eerie gaze dipped from her face to stroke her neck, shoulders, and linger on the bared swell of her breasts, her nipples pinched tight beneath the cups of the corset. She squeezed her thighs against the throbbing, and almost as if he could decipher the action, his regard dropped even lower, studying her body. Unless the man sported a blue unitard with a crimson “S” emblazoned across the front beneath his suit, then he didn’t possess X-ray vision. So there was no way he could detect the softening and swelling of her sex or the damp evidence of her arousal on her panties. But God, when he returned his scrutiny to her face, the knowledge in those narrowed, bright eyes had her second-guessing. And shifting backward.
“It’s not what you’ve done,” he repeated, reclaiming the space she’d placed between them. “It’s who you are…princess.”
Shock and pain punched her in the chest. She hated, fucking detested, that nickname; the Mob Princess—the moniker the press had given her—humiliated her. It illuminated not only her ignorance but the lifestyle she’d grown up in—a lifestyle built and paid for by the grief, loss, and blood of others.
Shoving down her shame, she tilted her chin up, met that intimidating stare. “Are you telling me to leave or suggesting?”
Surprise flickered in his eyes. “I’m strongly suggesting,” he said after a long moment.
“Well, thank you for the advice, but unless you’re the owner of this place, I doubt you can suggest I do anything…” She smiled, and it felt brittle and fake on her lips. “Now, if you’ll excuse me.” She circled his big frame and headed toward the mouth of the corridor. Forget the bathroom. She’d originally sought it out for a moment of peace, but all it’d brought was drama.
“I am the owner, princess. And you don’t belong here.”
The dark velvet of his voice halted her in her tracks just as much as the harsh words. Slowly, she pivoted. Calling on every ounce of deportment her mother had drummed into her, she faced her rescuer-turned-condemner and cocked her head. “Because of my father? Do you vet the family tree of everyone who enters this club, or am I just special?”
“You’re special given that most people can’t claim a mafia boss as their parent. But you’re something else, too, lisichka.” He stalked closer, and her impression of a marauding warrior focused on pillaging and conquering intensified. Once more, he didn’t stop until his body heat reached out to her, teased her. Until she was eye level with the steady pulse at the base of his strong throat. The urge to lean forward and lick it gripped her and shook her like a rag doll. “Innocent,” he said, lowering his head so close she could taste his breath on her lips. “Too damn innocent for whatever you came here looking for. This isn’t the place for your little rebellion.”
“Rebelling?” he interrupted, an eyebrow several shades darker than his pale blond hair arching. “Or innocent? The hell you aren’t here as some kind of ‘fuck you’ to whoever—your father, your family, the world. Otherwise why show up only days after your safe little world’s imploded? But the other? Yeah, I could be a little wrong about that. After all, innocents don’t tremble when they stare at two women kissing and rubbing their pussies together on a dance floor. Or men and women just a zipper pull or a shift of panties away from fucking. They run the other way, not slide the tip of their tongue over their bottom lip like they want a taste.”
She parted her lips, but nothing emerged. Images—the searing fantasies that had her twisting in her bed, had her sneaking a hand between her legs—tumbled in her head like clothes in a dryer. She longed to give him a nonchalant, this-ain’t-my-first-rodeo comeback, but couldn’t speak—lust trapped the words in her throat. How long had he been watching her? And how could he tell what her secret desires were with that short observation? She wasn’t a virgin—as much as it would probably kill her parents to know. While she might not be as, ah, free as Tara, she owned her sexuality, wasn’t ashamed of her body, and loved to be touched.
Though, to be honest, lately her vibrator had been doing more touching than a man.
So, tonight, everything she’d seen had struck a carnal chord in her. Had her hungry for something that had been unlocked but never opened.
And God, staring at this man with his wolf eyes and searing sexuality, she wanted to be cracked open.
He cocked his head, a corner of that full, sensual, almost cruel mouth lifted. That small half smile, the glint in his eyes—they called to her, seemed to invite her closer even though that same mouth had just told her to hit the bricks.
Slowly nodding, he leaned forward. “No, lisichka, maybe not so innocent. But definitely hungry. The question is, do you even know what you’re starving for?”
Hungry. The truth in his statement hit her like a freight train—knocking her on her ass, undeniable. She was hungry. For freedom. To be seen. To be acknowledged. For more.
“Show me,” she said…and waited. Unsure whether he would straighten and order her to get the hell out. Or… Damn, the thought of “or” had her trembling.
The skin across his sharp cheekbones tautened, his mouth appearing fuller, more carnal. His blue-gray scrutiny became hooded, and she swallowed a gasp at the heat that damn near singed her skin.
He lifted one arm, and then the other, flattening his palms on either side of her head and lowering his head until their mouths were only a breath apart. “Show you what? Ask me for it,” he ordered. “If you can’t say it, you can’t handle it.”
“I want…” She paused, gathered her courage. Started again. “I want you to…touch me.”
“Not enough,” he murmured against her mouth, pressing his forearms against the wall and eliminating another inch of space between them. She inhaled, dragging in the dark, sweet, caramel-like flavor of whatever he’d been drinking, and damn, she wanted to suck it off his tongue. Lick it off that sensual bottom lip. His chest brushed hers, and she clenched her teeth, jailing a moan. “Try it again,” he insisted. “What do you want from me? Just admit it, baby. I noticed how you watched those girls on the dance floor and especially the couples on the couches. I already know what you want…need. So, just. Say. It.”
She had—she so had watched them, envying them, wanting to be them. If she just opened her mouth, she could be them.
“I…” Again her voice broke off, but she pushed on. “I want you to make me come.”
He stilled, but then in an explosion of movement, he gripped her wrist and yanked her forward, the passion—not violence—in his movements nearly undoing her. She followed, trying not to trip over her feet as he pressed the handle on the door at the back of the hallway and pulled her behind him.
The brisk September air wrapped around them, but it didn’t do a thing to cool off her overheated skin. He halted under a fire escape and yanked the end of the ladder down, and it lowered with a loud, rusty whine. He unbuckled his belt and whipped it through the loops of his pants. Once, twice, he looped and tied the leather around her wrists, before securing the ends through the bottom rung, stretching her arms above her head.
“Now you’ve gone and done it, lisichka,” he murmured, the soft tone a direct contrast to the firm, almost grim line of his mouth and the hard glint in his hooded gaze.
Oh, yes. Boy, had she.