She wet her lips. “If we can’t agree on splitting the bounty, perhaps we could work something else out.”
He arched a questioning brow. “What are you suggesting?”
Cindra lifted her chin to meet his gaze. “If you help me track down DelCour, I’ll sleep with you.”
A mix of surprise and intrigue appeared in his amber eyes. She had him, she could tell.
“You’ll sleep with me?”
She gave him her sexiest smile. “That’s what I said.”
He was silent as he considered her words. “While the offer is extremely tempting, Ms. Mallory, I’m afraid I have to refuse.”
She frowned, taken aback. From the way he’d looked at her when she came into the office, she’d been sure he would go for it. “Why?”
Most men wouldn’t turn down an offer like that unless they were gay, married or in a committed relationship, and she wasn’t convinced guys in the last two categories would refuse even then. Intuition told her Sloan wasn’t gay, and since she didn’t see a ring on his finger she assumed he wasn’t married. Which left only one other explanation. Maybe he wasn’t comfortable with something mighty damn close to prostitution.
Damn, she hadn’t considered he might have a problem with that. She’d thought he would be…well…a typical guy.
He gave her a rueful smile. “Because if I took you up on it, I’d feel like I was taking advantage of you.”
Okay, so she had been right about the reason behind his refusal. Great. Not only was Sloan sinfully gorgeous but he had a conscience, too. Normally that would have been an attractive quality in a man but right now it was annoying as hell. She needed help and the only thing she had to offer was her body. She was going to have to convince him to have sex with her. What was the galaxy coming to?
She smiled. “You wouldn’t be taking advantage of me, I assure you. I know exactly what I’m offering you and I’m willing to do whatever is necessary to get you to help me.”
“So I gather.” He was silent for so long she thought she might have to repeat her offer, but then he spoke. “While I appreciate your tenacity, I’m still going to have to decline.”
Cindra ground her jaw. Damn him, and his conscience.
“Fine,” she snapped, getting to her feet. “I’ll track down DelCour myself.”
Head high, she headed for the door. Behind her, Sloan cursed under his breath.
“Wait a minute,” he ordered.
She hesitated, her hand on the knob, then took a deep breath and faced him. He was standing behind his desk, a look that could almost be called concern in his eyes.
“I didn’t say I wouldn’t help you.”
Her pulse quickened. “Then you’ll accept my offer?”
A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth. “I didn’t say that. Please don’t take this the wrong way. While you’re extremely beautiful, I don’t think a single night of sex would be a fair trade for the nineteen percent difference in the bounty, do you? I mean, we’re talking at least ten-thousand credits I’d be giving up.”
Cindra felt color rush to her cheeks. While she knew she should be insulted, she couldn’t help but admire his negotiating skills. Luckily hers weren’t too shabby either. Especially in conjunction with the feminine wiles in her arsenal.
She crossed the room to stand in front of his desk, adding a little extra sway to her hips. “Then I’ll sleep with you more than once.” She looked at him from beneath lowered lashes. “Is there a particular number you have in mind?”
She could tell from the way his eyes went wide that she’d caught him off guard. Good. That put her firmly back in charge of the negotiations.
“I don’t want to offend you any more by trying to figure out what your going rate would be,” he said. “But even if I give you the benefit of the doubt and say a single night of sex with you is worth a thousand credits, that would still mean you’d owe me…”
“Ten nights of unbelievable sex,” she finished for him. “Deal.”
“So, what do we do first?” she asked, handing the signed contract back to him.
He set the contract on the desk then turned to give her a grin. “You.”
Cindra looked up at him in confusion. “Me?”
Taking her hand, he pulled her gently to her feet. She’d known the other bounty hunter was tall but now that he was standing so close, she realized how tall he really was. The top of her head didn’t come to his chin. That made him at least six-four. Maybe six-five.
“I think it would only be fair for me to get a partial payment up front, don’t you?” he said softly.
Her pulse quickened as she realized what the bounty hunter meant. He wanted to have sex with her. Right now.
“Here?” she asked, looking around the office. Her pussy purred. The unique situation she found herself in was turning her on like crazy. She couldn’t believe she was doing this.
Bladen released her hand to lightly run the tips of his fingers along her bare arm. The touch of his fingers gliding along her skin sent the most delicious shivers up and down her back. “Why not?”
His nearness made it difficult to think. Or speak, for that matter. Damn, he smelled good. Not like cologne either. Just pure, unadulterated masculinity.
“B-but anyone could walk in,” she stammered.
He reached behind himself to press a button on his computer. A moment later, a lilting female voice confirmed that the doors had been locked and the office was now secure.
“Not anymore,” he told her.
Cindra chewed on her lower lip, trying to come up with some excuse she could use to avoid having sex with him right that minute, but for some reason nothing would come to mind. Maybe it was because she was flustered. She could never think when she was flustered. Then again, maybe it had nothing to with being off her game at all. Maybe it was because at that moment Bladen lowered his head to cover her mouth with his.
Bladen walked over to his desk and was about to sit down when he heard the shower turn on. Wondering if she’d found everything she needed, he headed for the bathroom. He intended to knock and ask if she needed help finding some towels but instead he found himself pressing the button to open the door. As the steam billowed away, his gaze strayed to the glass-enclosed shower and he stared at Cindra Mallory’s naked form as if transfixed.
Even though they’d already had sex, this was his first opportunity to actually see her naked. And he definitely liked what he saw.
She had her back to him and was soaping her breasts and shoulders, and Bladen went rock hard as he watched her caress her body. She had put up her waist-length hair so it wouldn’t get wet and he could see a butterfly tattoo on the small of her back. One of those expensive holographic tattoos, it gave the illusion of motion every time she moved, making it look like the butterfly’s colorful wings were moving as well.
His gaze moved lower, lingering on the curve of her bottom. God, she had a gorgeous ass. He remembered how she looked bent over his desk and how he’d been unable to resist giving those rounded cheeks a smack. An ass like that was crying out for a good spanking and he would like to have given her one. Unfortunately, after his warning she’d behaved herself, so he had no reason to administer any more smacks. By the time she rocked back against him again, he’d wanted her too much to stop her. Her tight, wet pussy had gotten him so hot he’d been close to coming within moments. He still wasn’t sure how he’d managed to hold off so long. But when he’d finally exploded inside her, it had felt amazing. In fact, he couldn’t remember ever having sex that incredible. He couldn’t wait to see what she did for an encore.
In the shower, Cindra’s skin glistened as the water ran down her body. As much as Bladen wanted to strip off his clothes and join her, he found that watching her came with an excitement all its own. There wasn’t a part of her that wasn’t perfect and he promised himself right then and there that before their business concluded, he would make love to her in that shower.
Bladen stifled a groan as she turned this way and that underneath the spray to make sure she got all the soap off. Oh hell, why wait to have sex with her again when he could take her right now?
Cindra was extremely aware of Bladen beside her as they entered the main part of the club. She didn’t know if it was because he was such a commanding, physical presence or simply because she was sleeping with him but she was attuned to his every move. Like they were cosmically in synch. It was intriguing but also a little disconcerting.
Though the interior was dimly lit, Cindra could still make out the intimate booths surrounding the stage area as she and Bladen followed the woman through the theater.
Couples occupied most of the booths but a few held three and four people. They were doing everything from kissing to making love, and Cindra couldn’t help but stare as she passed them. One group—a threesome made up of two good-looking blond men and a pretty brunette engaged in oral sex—made her want to stop and take a closer look but she wasn’t sure if that was allowed or not so she hurried after Bladen.
The woman had just shown her and Bladen to an empty booth when light illuminated the darkened stage. Realizing the show was about to begin, Cindra quickly slid into the booth and turned her attention to the dais. She was eager to see what kind of show they put on in a place like this. If the people in the audience were any indication, it was probably going to be damn interesting. Thanks to the man she was with, it was also probably going to be an extremely erotic experience.
She listened with half an ear as he engaged in small talk with one of his informants. He was good with people, she thought. He was a lot like her father in that respect. People thought being a bounty hunter only took brawn and intimidation. But it required charm and a heck of a lot of connections as well. Two things Bladen definitely had in spades.
In fact, charm might be considered his strongest asset as a bounty hunter. She’d seen him put it to good use several times already, shmoozing information from people who probably would have told any other guy to go to hell. And from the way he’d handled the hostess at the sex club, something told Cindra he could have literally charmed the woman’s panties off if he wanted to. If she and Bladen didn’t have a deal already in place, she had no doubt she would have been in his bed by now anyway. He was the kind of man women were initially attracted to for his good looks and incredible body, but it was his devastating charm that ultimately kept them coming back for more.
The realization gave her pause. After they caught and punished her father’s killer, would she be tempted to keep coming back for more?
Cindra decided there was only one way to get a handle on the lust raging through her and that was to put some distance between her half-naked body and the gorgeous bounty hunter. She opened her mouth to suggest they go back to the bar but at the look of rampant desire in Bladen’s eyes, the ability to speak disappeared.
She caught her breath as his strong hand glided down her back to give her ass a squeeze. The voice in her head that had been so persistent earlier was nowhere to be found. In fact, at that moment she couldn’t come up with a single good reason not to jump Bladen right there on the dance floor. She was already going up on tiptoe to kiss him when he lowered his head to capture her lips.
His mouth was hot and urgent on hers and she parted her lips with a moan of surrender. God, he tasted good. Like the rich blend of Mondorian coffee he’d had at dinner earlier. He tasted of something else, something she couldn’t put a name to. It was something uniquely male, uniquely his, and it was more intoxicating than any drink she could have gotten at the rave. She’d never experienced this level of desire with any other man.
Bladen lifted his head to gaze down at her, his eyes glinting gold in the lights coming from the strobes. She knew that smolder. It meant he wanted her. Right here. Right now.
Her heart rate doubled as she remembered what a rush it had been to give him a blowjob at the sex club. Doing it here was light years beyond that on the scale of naughtiness. Could she have sex in a place this public?
The purring between her legs answered that question for her.
His mouth took possession of hers, his tongue finding hers and claiming it as he shoved his finger deep into her pussy. She gasped against his mouth, only to let out a murmur of approval when he moved his finger in and out.
“God, you’re so wet,” he breathed, his voice ragged.
She whimpered in protest as he pulled his finger out. “Don’t stop.”
He dragged his mouth away from hers. “I have to. If I don’t bury myself in your tight pussy soon, I’m going to explode.”
“Aren’t you going to join me?” she asked as she lay back on the pillows.
His eyes danced. “I will. Right now, I want to watch you touch yourself.”
The softly spoken words made her pussy quiver as if he’d run his tongue along the folds of it, and she caught her lip between her teeth to stifle a moan. Pulse racing, she ran her hand down her body and over her breasts until she got to the juncture of her thighs. She considered pushing down her panties but remembered how good it had felt when she’d pleasured herself through her breeches. Gaze locked with Bladen’s, she ran her fingers over her already wet panties, finding her clit through the material.
“You mean like this?” she asked, spreading her legs wide so that he had a good view.
“Exactly like that.”
His voice was low and husky with arousal and the sound was enough to make her tremble. Letting out a moan, she cupped one of her breasts in her free hand, giving the nipple a firm squeeze. Bladen’s gaze followed the movement, his eyes glinting. She’d never touched herself in front of a man before but doing it while the handsome bounty hunter watched was so damn hot she was already getting close to orgasm. If she moved her fingers faster on her clit, she could probably make herself come in only a few moments. It was tempting, especially with Bladen watching, but she wanted him to do the honors.
She stopped rubbing and reached both arms over her head, resting them on the pillows.
“Done already?” he asked, looking disappointed.
“I’m not done. Not by a long shot. But it’s your turn now.”
It didn’t occur to her the words could be interpreted two ways until they were out of her mouth. He might think she wanted him to give her the same show by touching himself.
When he moved toward the bed, it was clear he knew what she’d meant. Not that she would have minded watching him touching himself, of course. Maybe she’d have him do it for her later.
After her orgasm subsided, Cindra collapsed against his chest, her breathing ragged. Bladen wrapped his arms around her, holding her close, and in the silence of space she could feel his heart beat in time with hers. God, walking away from him when this was over was going to be hard as hell.
The reminder made tears sting her eyes and she quickly blinked them away. Since when had sex with Bladen gone from being a business arrangement to something more?
Since you fell in love with him.
She frowned at that.
She wasn’t in love with him.
Yes you are.
She couldn’t be.
The events of the past eight weeks—not to mention the lack of sleep—had clouded her judgment and made her more susceptible to Bladen’s brand of charm, that was all. Whatever she was feeling would disappear as soon as she went back to her old life, she was sure of it.
And if it doesn’t?
Though Cindra spent most of her time alternating between watching the door and glancing at her watch, occasionally her gaze drifted over to the sex shows. While each of them was intriguing in its own way, she found her gaze repeatedly drawn to the stage closest to their table.
On it, a beautiful woman lay draped over her partner’s knee while he spanked her upturned bottom with an oval-shaped wooden paddle. Each time the paddle smacked against her bare skin, the woman let out a moan and Cindra watched transfixed as her ass cheeks went from creamy white to a cherry red under the man’s ministrations. The paddle obviously had to smart but the woman didn’t look like she minded. In fact, she was wiggling around on her partner’s lap so much Cindra thought the woman might actually be having an orgasm.
Abruptly, Cindra pictured herself in the woman’s position. While it was an erotic thought, the thing that really got her going was picturing Bladen holding her down across his knee while he paddled her bare ass. Could she come from getting spanked? The image made her pussy spasm and she squeezed her thighs together.
To her surprise, the door opened and a short, stocky man looked out, an angry expression on his round face.
“We don’t open ‘til ten,” he said.
He started to close the door but Bladen grabbed it. “We were supposed to have a meeting with a man named Marek DelCour here this afternoon. Did we miss it?”
“How the hell should I know? Do I look like a fucking receptionist to you?”
The man tried to close the door again but Bladen refused to let go. “Not a receptionist, I get it. But you’d know if there was a meeting here this afternoon, wouldn’t you?”
The man gave up trying to yank the door closed and shook his head. “Yeah, I’ve been here all day, so I’d know if there was a meeting, and no, there wasn’t. If you have a meeting with someone, it’s after we open. Come back then.”
Bladen held up a credit note. “Thanks, I appreciate it.”
The note was folded up so tightly Cindra couldn’t tell the denomination but the man didn’t seem to care. He quickly reached out and palmed it.
“No problem,” he said.
Now that Bladen had released his hold on the door, the man was about to close it but stopped to look them up and down. “If you come back tonight, you might want to make sure you’re dressed in the proper attire.”
“What kind of attire is that?” Cindra asked.
He gave her an amused look then pointed at the name of the club above the door. “You look like a smart girl. I think you can figure it out.”
Before Cindra could reply, the man shut the door. Wonder what the hell that meant.
“What now?” she asked Bladen.
“We come back tonight. In the proper attire.”
She made a face. “Whatever that is.”
“Something befitting a Dom and his submissive, I’d imagine.”
Her eyes went wide at that. So that was what the stocky man had meant. Suddenly the name of the club made a lot more sense. Why hadn’t she figured that out?
“This place is probably going to be a little kinkier than the other clubs we’ve gone to,” Bladen said. “You okay with that?”
Cindra frowned. What was it with him all of a sudden? Up until now, they’d gone into one sleazy place after another. Why should this be any different?
“I’ve chased DelCour to half the strip joints and bordellos in the galaxy,” she said. “Trust me. There’s nothing in there that’s going to shock me.”
“Okay, just wanted to make sure. You’ll have no problem being my submissive for the night then?”
Cindra hadn’t thought he was serious about the whole Dom and submissive thing. She’d thought he’d merely been giving her an example. She’d never considered herself the submissive type. On the contrary, she liked being in charge, at least outside the bedroom. But the thought of being Bladen’s obedient sex toy turned her on more than she wanted to admit. In fact, she could feel herself getting wet at the mere idea.
“Bounty hunters go undercover all the time, right?” she said.
His mouth quirked. “Right.”
Since she and Bladen hadn’t packed anything other than standard bounty hunter clothing—shirts, breeches and underwear—”proper attire” meant they had to go shopping again.
Cindra wasn’t exactly sure what to wear to an S&M club and Bladen wasn’t any help at all. He liked her to wear anything that showed a lot of skin. After a bit of searching she finally decided on something she thought would be suitable—a black leather miniskirt, black leather thigh-high boots and a black leather bustier that showed off more than a little cleavage. She figured that when it came to S&M, a girl could never go wrong with leather. To complete the outfit, she added a leather choker with a small heart-shaped padlock on it that dangled in the hollow of her throat. It might have been a bit over the top but she couldn’t resist.
Bladen didn’t seem to think the accessory was over the top. He brushed the charm with his finger. “Nice touch. Too bad I don’t have the key to go with it.”
The double meaning in his words—along with the smoldering look in his eyes—made her breath catch. She wanted to tell him that he already had the key and she was waiting for him to use it but caught herself just in time. He’d made it clear he didn’t think of their relationship as anything other than a business arrangement. Hoping for more wasn’t only foolish, it was downright stupid. She needed to remember that.
The man gestured to the room. “The floor is yours if you and your lady wish to take advantage of it. Simply do whatever you feel comfortable with.”
With a nod at both of them, he walked away to join the rest of the people clustered on the far side of the room.
Bladen turned to her. “He’s talking about me spanking you in front of them.”
“I know. If we want people to talk to us, it’s what we have to do.”
“Are you sure about this?”
“You’ve already spanked me in public when we were at the rave,” she reminded him.
“That was different. I don’t think a few smacks on the ass are going to be enough to convince them.”
Heat pooled between her thighs. “Then you’ll have to give me more than a few smacks on the ass.”
He tenderly cupped her cheek in his hand. “I’ll take it easy on you.”
Cindra gave him a flirtatious smile. “Not too easy. We have to make this look good, you know. I’m supposed to be your perfect little submissive, aren’t I?”
Going up on tiptoe, she kissed him hard on the mouth. Before he could reply, she sidled over to the padded horse. He probably could have simply put her over his knee and spanked her but she’d been drawn to the horse since they’d walked into the room.
Stepping up behind it, she spread her legs until they were in line with the horse’s wooden ones then bent over at the waist so she was resting on the padded top. Balancing on her forearms, she placed her wrists in the padded leather cuffs and looked over her shoulder at Bladen. He was standing where she’d left him, a sinfully sexy smile curving the corners of his mouth. Good to know she wasn’t the only one turned on by what they were about to do.
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