Last Kiss Goodnight (Page 15)

Last Kiss Goodnight (Otherworld Assassin #1)(15)
Author: Gena Showalter

Nibbling on her bottom lip, she left the cage only long enough to gather a handful of dirt and a little cup of water. She created a thick, dark paste and smeared it over each of his nails, hiding their beauty. When the mixture dried, she was happy to note it remained intact, none of it flaking away.

Back to work. She toiled her way to his knees, spraying the enzyme wash and wiping with the rag, spraying and wiping, shocked all over again by the lack of hair on his legs. That shouldn’t have caused her heart to pick up speed, but it did. It was just . . . he was put together so well, all muscle and sinew.

She’d bathed other males, of course she had, but there was something spectacular about this one. Something spectacular even despite the multiple patches of soot, each one hiding a wound of some sort. Bruises and scabs she was very carful not to injure further. Poor thing. What had been done to him?

Her cheeks heated the moment she reached his thighs, and she decided not to clean under the loincloth. She was curious, she wouldn’t lie about that, but even the thought of looking at that part of him, even to do her job, was wrong. So she moved her attention to his very muscular, utterly drool-worthy stomach, and sweet mercy, he had to be smuggling iron bars under his skin—iron bars that were twitching, she noticed with a frown, as though they were coming to life. She—

Watched as a bruise on his ribs faded, there one moment, gone the next, and the twitching mystery was momentarily set aside. How could an injury vanish that quickly? She traced the rag over the area, but the skin remained bronzed, healthy.

Amazing. Her gaze swept over him, and she realized several other bruises had faded, too. He was healing right before her eyes. What a wonderful, miraculous gift—one she would have paid a fortune to have.

Vika cleaned his arms and hands and then his chest, and the twitching increased. An allergic reaction to the drugs, perhaps? Concerned, she flattened her hand over his heart. The beat was strong, if fast. No, no allergic reaction. Had to be a characteristic of his race, then.

As she leaned over him to scrub his neck, her chest brushed against his and she lost her breath.

She straightened with a jolt, thoughts tumbling through her mind.

You should have seen him before the circus got hold of him, her mother had once said about her father. He used to take my breath away.

The loss of breath was a sign of attraction. One Vika had never experienced before. Why here? Why now? Why this male . . . who was as soft as velvet yet as hard as rock, and as warm as a winter blanket.

Well, that answered that, she supposed.

Her attention slid to his face. His surprisingly lovely face. Long, thick lashes cast shadows over cheekbones sharp enough to cut glass. He had a proud nose she wanted to touch . . . shouldn’t touch . . . couldn’t help but touch. Her fingers tingled.

His lips were surely a work of art. They were lush and the same color as the roses her mother used to pick every morning and keep in their trailer. A tradition Vika had missed every day since her passing.

What would it be like to belong to a man like this one? Did he protect the things he loved, or did he hurt them? What was he like in his other life, the one before enslavement?

Her fingers migrated to his lips. Lips as soft as they appeared. No, softer. Like little pillows.

For the first time in her life, she wondered what it would be like to kiss a man.

You can find out. . . .

The question sprang from a hidden place inside her, drifted through her mind, the most insidious of temptations. What would a single kiss hurt? He would never know, and she would never again have to wonder what it would be like.

A quick look around proved that all of the otherworlders were sleeping and none of the performers or workers were hanging around. There would never be a more perfect time.

Inch by inch, she leaned down. Finally, she was there, hovering just over his mouth.

You shouldn’t do this.

A moment of reasoning, springing from a place she knew very well. Self-preservation.

One she ignored.

She pressed her lips against his.

He offered no reaction, yet still the sweetness of the act astonished her. An intoxicating blend of emotions racing through her, she lifted her head, looked around. They were still alone. His eyes were still closed, his breathing still even. Again she lowered her mouth. This time, she applied more pressure, and oh, she liked this feeling so much better. He was there, she could feel him, and could savor the intensified scent of him.

I wonder if he tastes as wonderful as he smells.

Another irresistible temptation. Her tongue swept out of its own accord and traced the center of his mouth. At the moment of contact, a moan escaped her. He tasted even better, and that should have been impossible, but here, now, nothing was impossible.

No wonder people enjoyed doing this. There was a communion of bodies, a complete loss of worry. The world and its troubles simply ceased to matter.

More, she thought, and her belly quivered.

Yes. More. She sucked his lower lip between her teeth, careful, so careful not to hurt him. Another moan slipped from her—just as his eyelids flipped open and his gaze locked on her.

Seven

Let his left hand be under my head, and his right hand embrace me.

—SONG OF SOLOMON 2:6

WELL, HIS CURIOSITY WAS certainly assuaged, wasn’t it? Solo thought.

She’d kissed him, confused him, overwhelmed him. Stunned him. Because she’d done it of her own free will. He hadn’t asked for it, hadn’t demanded it. She’d simply given. A gentle meeting of lips, followed by the sweetest little nibble.

His body had been immobile—was still immobile—but his mind had been working just fine both then and now. The entire time, in fact. He’d been highly attuned to her every action, her every breath. Her every caress.

He’d known the moment she spread mud over his toenails. It had taken him a few minutes to figure out what she was doing, and why, and when the answers had slid into place, he had reeled. She’d hoped to protect him.

Then she had begun cleaning him. While she’d been gentle but businesslike with the other males, she had been sweet and affectionate with Solo, lingering, doctoring—arousing. From the first, his blood had heated to a fever pitch.

His muscles had knotted as he’d tried everything within his power to move, to grab her—not to toss her away and escape, but to pull her closer. To strip her and take her, here and now.

And when she’d kissed him . . . a growl of need had razed the inside of his throat.

His desperation for her had finally given him the strength to open his eyes.

“I’m so sorry. I don’t know what came over me,” she mumbled, and scrambled from his cage. After shutting and locking the door, she ran from the area and never looked back.