Into the lair, p.15
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       Into the Lair, p.15

         Part #2 of Falcon Mercenary Group series by Maya Banks
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  charged out of the bedroom. He fumbled with the light switch, and Braden shoved his hand up to shield the sudden flood of light.

  “Sorry,” Ian mumbled as he poked around the cabinets with no clear direction.

  “Something wrong?” Braden asked calmly.

  Ian stopped and grimaced as he swung his head back and forth, surveying the countertops. “I hurt her, man. I was too fucking rough. You seen the pain shit that Marcus left?”

  Braden almost laughed. He would have if Ian wasn’t so intense. Ian wouldn’t take his irreverence in this moment. He’d probably try to take his head off.

  “She wanted it, Ian. Wanted it pretty damn bad, I’d say.”

  “There’s no excuse,” Ian said.

  “Dude, I was there, remember? She didn’t exactly give you a choice. As long as she didn’t bust any of her stitches, she’ll be fine.”

  He reached over and snagged the package that was right in front of Ian’s nose. He held it out, and Ian made a sound of disgust. Then he stared up at Braden.

  “You go in and make sure she’s all right. I need to…get cleaned up.”

  Braden rolled his eyes. Big, bad Ian was scared of a woman. Katie had knocked him for a loop, and his nuts were so twisted that he didn’t know his head from his ass. It was pretty damn funny.

  “So you get to have great sex, and I get stuck with the cuddling afterward? Hardly sounds fair to me.”

  Ian yanked his head around, ready to jump down Braden’s throat until he saw Braden’s grin. Braden held up his hands. “Chill, man. You’re way too uptight for someone who just had bone-melting sex.”

  Ian leaned heavily against the counter and ran a hand through his hair. “Yeah, well, you sound like a jealous bitch.”

  Braden laughed. “Maybe I won’t be jealous for long.” He grabbed a bottle of water and sauntered past Ian.

  Ian caught his arm. “Don’t mess with her now, Braden. She’s hurting pretty bad.”

  Irritation seized Braden, and he looked pointedly down at Ian’s hand. Ian let it fall away. “I didn’t tell you how to handle your dick when you were with Katie. I don’t need you telling me what to do with mine, okay?”

  Ian muttered under his breath and turned away. Braden headed toward the bedroom. He paused at the door and looked in to see Katie curled in the covers, her hand clutching her side.

  Shaking his head, he strode toward the bed. When she heard him, she looked up and then did a double-take. No doubt she was expecting Ian.

  He stopped at the edge and then sat down at her hip. As he shook out her medicine, she looked at him in amusement.

  “Ian afraid I’m going to insist on a preacher and a ring?”

  Braden grinned and choked back his laughter. Yeah, he liked this woman. A lot.

  “He’s more worried about the fact that he hurt you. Here, open up,” he said as he shoved a pill at her lips.

  She opened her mouth and then took the bottle of water he handed her. As she tilted her head back and swallowed, her gaze settled on his face.

  He took the bottle back when she was done, and she wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.

  “You enjoy the show?” she asked bluntly.

  Willing himself not to flinch or act like her question caught him off guard, he calmly regarded her. “I’d have enjoyed it a hell of a lot more if I was participating instead of watching.”

  Let her make what she wanted of that statement. At least he’d get a good read on whether she’d ever be down with both him and Ian at the same time.

  She didn’t so much as blink. “So why didn’t you?”

  “Join in?” he asked, surprised by her seeming acceptance.

  She nodded.

  “I don’t think Ian would have appreciated it,” Braden said with a small smile.

  “And yet you kissed me before he ever touched me. Some might say you had more to be unappreciative about.”

  “Are you saying you wanted me to join?”


  “There’s no maybe about it, sweetheart,” he drawled. “Either you wanted me there or you didn’t. An extra person doesn’t just show up for sex without some preplanning.”

  “Oh, I don’t know about that,” she said thoughtfully. “Some of the best sex is rather spontaneous, wouldn’t you say?”

  As soon as she’d delivered that cryptic remark, she closed her eyes, her face creased with pain.

  “Damn,” he murmured. “Ian was right. You totally overdid it.”

  “If you knew how long it had been since I had sex, you wouldn’t have begrudged me,” she muttered.

  He laughed and touched her face in a tender gesture. Her eyelids fluttered open, and she stared back at him with wide blue eyes.

  “Want me to stick around and do the post-sex cuddling thing since Ian bailed?”

  Amusement glittered deeply in her eyes. The corner of her mouth quirked up in a grin. And then her expression grew serious.

  “Hey, what’s that for?” he asked.

  As he waited for her answer, he stood and pulled his shirt over his head. She watched while he kicked off his boots and then began undoing his pants. When he was down to his underwear, he crawled back onto the bed and eased close to her body.

  With a contented sigh, she spooned back against him, nestling her pert little ass to his aching groin. Hell, he should have jerked off before attempting this shit.

  Still, she felt good against him, all limp and contented, even if he wasn’t the reason she was all limp and contented. He slid his hand down the curve of her body and settled it on her hip.

  “So what was the look for?” he asked when she still hadn’t responded.

  He felt her grimace. “Just an observation,” she murmured. “A nice one. I was going to say that it was cool that you and Ian were so relaxed about women. And sex. Paulo and Ricardo were psychotic. Both were jealous. Insanely so. It was what destroyed them. And nearly me,” she added softly.

  Braden’s arm tightened around her, though he was careful to stay away from her wound. Her fingers found his and trembled as they cautiously slid over his palm. He twined his with hers and rested them comfortably over her middle.

  “Ricardo was an egotistical ass,” Braden said darkly. “And Paulo sounded like an immature pussy.”

  She shook against him then groaned when her laughter caused her pain. “Yeah, but he was good in the sack.”

  Braden growled close to her ear. “I’ll show you good in the sack, woman.”

  “Promises, promises,” she whispered as he grazed her ear with his teeth.

  His entire groin tightened. Nice, sensitive Braden was saying: She’s exhausted, in pain and in no shape to be rode long and hard again. The Braden with blue balls was shouting: Flip her ass over and fuck her senseless.

  “What I can promise is that when I make love to you, you won’t be thinking about how good Paulo de la Cruz was in bed.”

  “Mmmm, I’d like to take you up on that challenge.”

  “It wasn’t a challenge, sister. It was a promise.”


  He frowned at the thready sound of her voice. “Yeah.”

  “Can we go to sleep now?”

  She sounded faint, like she was already ninety percent there.

  He nuzzled against her neck, his lips finding the softness against her hairline. She sighed in contentment and scooted back further against him until you couldn’t fit a hair between them.

  “Yeah, baby. Go to sleep.”

  “You won’t go anywhere, will you?” she asked sleepily.

  He kissed her behind the ear, inhaling her sweet scent. “I’ll be right here, Katie. I’m not going anywhere.”

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Braden awoke with Katie sprawled across him like she owned him. Half her body was draped across his chest, her cheek pressed tight against his skin and her mouth open.

  There was nothing maidenly or shy about her.

  For a long time he lay there, quiet,
studying her while she slept. Her hair was tousled, the strands teasing his skin. He toyed with the uneven locks, twirling them around the tips of his fingers.

  She stirred against him, a restless little move that sent her soft body seeking further into his. His cock stood up and paid attention, much to his dismay.

  She went still, and he felt the catch in her breath. Then she raised her head and looked up at him with sleepy, drugged eyes.

  “You got a condom?”

  He blinked in surprise. Of all the things he thought she might say, that wasn’t it. His chest shook with laughter, but he kept his lips tight to prevent any sound from escaping.

  Her eyes narrowed, but he caught a glint of amusement sparkling in their depths.

  “If you tell me that’s just your usual morning hard-on and that I have nothing to do with it, I’m going to be deeply offended.”

  “Oh, it’s all you,” he said. “And yeah, I have a condom. Give me a sec to go get it.”

  He carefully extricated himself from her body and strode out of the room. He found Ian asleep on the couch in the living room, and a distinct chill in the air. Damn, but it was cold.

  Sparing his brother only a quick glance and a whispered directive for him to sleep a while longer, he dug into his pack for one of the condoms and then headed back to the bedroom.

  He paused inside the doorway to shed his underwear. Katie watched from the bed, her eyes tracking his every movement. His hand curled around his heavy erection, and he worked up and down in a slow, steady motion.

  Hunger flashed in her eyes, and a bolt of awareness sizzled through his groin. He walked over to the bed, tossed the condom onto the pillow and then climbed back onto the mattress. She covered him immediately, her body warm and supple. She fit. So damn perfect.

  She reached for the condom and rapidly tore the wrapper off. With deft fingers, she rolled it over his dick, and he nearly groaned at the restriction.

  “You don’t want foreplay?” he asked with a raised eyebrow as she moved to straddle him.

  “What I want is to fuck you,” she said in a voice tight with desire.

  “Oh hell, I think I just fell in love,” he murmured.

  He helped her by spanning her waist with his big hands and positioning her so she didn’t hurt herself. Then he allowed his fingers to wander up her lush body to cup her breasts.

  She leaned up, did a tight little fidget and then sheathed him.

  They both groaned. His entire body tightened and spazzed out. He felt like he was going to twitch right out of his skin.

  “You have to move, baby,” he said as he lifted her hips. “Oh, yeah, like that. Just like that.” He expelled all of his breath in one long sigh.

  She rolled forward and then back, undulating her pelvis so that her pussy rippled over every inch of his cock.

  “Kiss me,” he said huskily as he urged her on with his hands. He couldn’t wait to taste her again. He’d thought of nothing else ever since kissing her on the plane.

  Her lips melted over his, sweet like syrup and soft. So deliciously soft. His hands skated up her sides to cup her breasts, and he brushed his thumbs across her nipples. She shivered delicately against his hands as their tongues met and dueled for supremacy.

  He let her win that particular battle, enjoying how she took control of the kiss.

  She tasted him, swept her tongue over his and deep into his mouth. She pulled away and then nipped sharply at his bottom lip. She followed it with a soothing lap of her tongue and then she sucked it back into her mouth to nibble erotically.

  He’d never been kissed so thoroughly by a woman. There was nothing inhibited about her, and he found it extremely arousing.

  One hand left her breast and glided downward until he cupped the bandage over her wound. He held her gently to protect the area as she continued to ride him, but she wasn’t having it.

  She grasped his wrist and dragged his hand back to her breast, moaning when his fingers stumbled over her nipple. Remembering the night before when she’d urged Ian to bite her, he gathered the taut point and pinched, lightly at first and then with more pressure.

  She went liquid around his cock. Oh hell yeah, she liked the pain, needed it.

  “Harder,” she panted.

  He stared up at the hot-as-hell image she posed, head thrown back as she rode him with abandon, her breasts spilling into his hands as he worked her nipples with his fingers.

  He pinned them both with his thumbs and forefingers and squeezed as she shuddered around his dick.

  “I hope you’re close,” she said in a strained voice. “Because I’m so ready to come.”

  “Then get there,” he ordered, his statement spilling out raw and demanding. His release was a razor’s edge, sharp and sliding closer.

  He arched his hips, pounding into her as she fell to meet his thrusts. Her thighs gripped him as her hands came down to grasp at his shoulders.

  He pulled mercilessly at her nipples, leaving them red with his fingerprints. A harsh cry of pleasure tore from her mouth and then her body seized. Her pussy rippled and contracted, spasming around his cock like molten lava.

  “Yeah, baby, like that. Come for me, Katie.”

  His ass left the bed as he bowed and arched wildly. He exploded like a canon just as she dissolved around him. She fell, and he caught her, gentle even amidst their animalistic mating.

  This time…this time he was the reason for her soft, sated sounds, and the sweet lethargy of her body. Pleasure that had nothing to do with the mind-blowing orgasm he’d just experienced rippled through his body.

  She lay across his chest, limp and unresisting as he stroked her back.

  “Should I get you drugs?” he asked wryly. “You’re hell on stitches, woman.”

  She trembled slightly, and he couldn’t be sure if it was pleasure or pain making her shake. And he was loath to move enough to see. His fingers made slow circles on her back and shoulders. He slid them to her nape where he gently massaged.

  “I’m hungry,” she said. “And cold.”

  “It is pretty frigid in here. Either we don’t have a heater, or no one bothered to turn it on. There’s a fireplace in the living room. If you feel up to it we can go in there. I’ll build a fire and see about cooking up some grub.”

  “Where’s Ian?” she asked as she pushed herself gingerly off his chest.

  “Asleep on the couch.”

  She glanced down to where their bodies were still joined. “Is this going to bother him?”

  He curled a hand behind her neck and kissed her hard. When he pulled away, her eyes were slightly unfocused.

  “I can’t answer that. But I can guarantee he won’t go off the deep end like your previous lover. One, he’d never hurt a woman, and two, he’s well aware that I’m as attracted to you as he is.”

  “Guess we’ll go find out,” she whispered.

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Katie showered with Braden, more in an effort to use their body heat to keep from freezing than a need for intimacy. The temperature had continued to drop in the cabin, which told her that there was probably heat at one time, and now there wasn’t.


  She stepped shivering from the tiny shower cubicle, hugging herself in an effort to get warm. Braden stepped out beside her and wrapped his big body around hers while he dried them both with his towel.

  “Get dressed. I’ll go build a fire and then get started on the cooking,” he said as he arranged his towel over shoulders.

  She watched as he walked naked from the bathroom. She absolutely loved his pale ass. His tan line stopped at his waist, and only a fine dusting of hair disturbed the lighter skin of his behind.

  She’d have been disappointed if he turned out to be a pretty boy who sunbathed nude out of vanity. Of course Braden didn’t strike her as the type to sunbathe at all. And he certainly lacked the smooth, polished good looks of pretty boys like Paulo and Ricardo. Braden and Ian both were rugged. Not good-looking in a c
lassical sense or even drop-dead GQ gorgeous. But she positively shivered each time she looked at them, even when they annoyed the piss out of her. They wore power like it was the most natural thing in the world, and they had an I-don’t-give-a-fuck look that she found enormously appealing. Maybe it was because it was a sentiment she echoed.

  She searched for clothes, and to her surprise discovered several pairs of jeans and sweaters in her size. Or close, anyway. And then she found a pair of boots just half a size larger than what she wore, and she nearly cried. Stupid to get so emotional over boots, but after going so long barefooted, she wanted to kiss the worn leather.

  She pulled on heavy wool socks, delighting in the warmth they offered her freezing feet. Then she put on jeans and a sweater. For a moment, she considered the boots just for the luxury of having shoes, but she put them back down and padded out to the living room in her sock feet.

  Ian was awake, though he didn’t look like he’d been that way for long. He sat on the couch a few feet away from the roaring fire, his hair rumpled, and a sleepy, disgruntled look on his face.

  She glanced toward the kitchen to see Braden clanging around, putting a skillet on the stove and poking in the small refrigerator.

  Ideally, she’d feel at ease with either man, after all she’d fucked them both. But something about Ian still made her nervous. Or maybe she just wasn’t as sure of herself around him. Or…maybe he meant more to her than she’d like to admit.

  Braden, on the other hand…she felt confident with, but only because she knew he was in it for the sex. Ian…well she had no idea what he was in it for.

  When she would have gone into the kitchen, Ian looked up and locked gazes with her. She shivered under the intensity of those eyes, and it wasn’t because she was cold.

  “Come here,” he said softly and held out a hand to her.

  She hesitated for a moment before crossing the room. She didn’t reach for his hand but got close enough that he could touch her. He laced his arm around her waist and pulled her down onto his lap.

  Before she could react, he reclined her until her head rested on the couch and her back was laid across his legs. He pushed her sweater up and put tentative fingers to her wound.

  He looked over at her and frowned. “This needs to be bandaged.”

  “I took it off to shower,” she said with a shrug.

  “Stay put. I’ll get Braden to bring me the stuff to cover it again.”

  She stopped short of rolling her eyes. Barely. He called over his shoulder to Braden who came ambling out a few seconds later, medical supplies in hand.

  He winked at Katie who had brought her arms behind her head in an effort to get comfortable.

  Ian didn’t miss the exchange, and he gazed curiously at Katie. Okay, he wasn’t stupid. Surely he hadn’t slept through her and Braden’s rather loud bout of sex this morning. Or had he?

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