Strangely, it was that deeper knowledge of her that attracted him now. More so than her beauty. Lust goaded by tenderness was a new sensation for him, one he savored slowly, as he would the first taste of a fine wine. Soft and mellow, it heated his blood just as liquor would.
As he continued to cook, he held on to the feel of his kitten, fostering the bond that he would use to bring her in from the fringes and back into the fold.
“Dinner’s ready,” he called out after a time.
Victoria stared up at the ceiling and wondered how Max could be so indifferent to her brazen offering of sex. Petulant, she said, “I want to eat in here.”
“Suit yourself,” he answered easily. She heard one of the dining chairs pulled away from the table, and a moment later the clink of silverware against china. Mouth agape, she bolted upright.
“Ummm . . . ” Max’s deep hum of enjoyment made goose bumps race across her skin. Then the rich scent of seared ahi and cream hit her nostrils and made her tummy growl.
She stood, and stomped into the kitchen, where she found only one setting—the one Max was seated in front of. Hands on her hips, her feline sensibilities offended, she snapped, “What about me?”
“Do you intend to join me now?”
“I planned to.”
Pushing away from the table, he rose to his full height, dwarfing her, a difference made more noticeable by her own state of undress. He offered her his chair, his apparent indifference to her bare body making her fists clench. Victoria plopped into the seat with an audible exhalation. This was not at all how she’d planned to corrupt him.
He reached for the long-tined fork. Spearing a piece of the nearly raw fish, Max dipped it in cream, and brought it to her lips. Startled, she stared up at him.
Before she realized it was a command, her lips parted and accepted the offering. Designed for her palate, the tastes blended together to form a delight for her senses. Max stood beside her, one hand on the back of her chair, caging her in while he prepared another bite. Her eyes met his in silent query.
“It’s a warlock’s duty to care for his pet.”
“I’m not your pet.” But it felt wonderful in any case.
“For now, you are.”
She hated to admit it, but his unwavering confidence aroused her. Her small br**sts grew heavy, tender, the ni**les peaked hard for his touch. Obligingly, his hand left the chair back and cupped the soft swell. Victoria gasped at the unexpected intimacy, and Max slipped the next bite into her mouth. As she chewed slowly, savoring the singular meal, his skilled fingertips toyed with her nipple.
“To submit is not to be weak,” he crooned in a husky, hypnotic tone. “You would not be less of a woman, kitten, but so much more of one.”
She shook her head fiercely even as she squeezed her thighs together, fighting the aching depth of lust she did not want to feel. The soft rolling and tugging of Max’s fingers on her nipple made her blood hot. As his arousal rose to meet hers, his skin warmed and filled the air with the faint scent of his cologne. The prominent bulge of his hard-on was eye level, and she couldn’t help but stare. The danger inherent in wanting him and his implacable arrogance turned her on to such an extent that she was panting in her chair. Her back arched helplessly, begging for more.
“It’s in your nature,” he murmured, his mouth to her ear. “The desire to be taken. To have the choice ripped from you so all you have to do is feel. Imagine my hands and mouth on your br**sts . . . my fingers, tongue, and c**k thrusting between your legs. . . . Your only task would be to enjoy the pleasure I can give you. Imagine the freedom in that.”
Freedom. Submission. The words could not be used together. They were mutually exclusive, but every time Victoria opened her mouth to retort, he filled it with food.
He continued to feed and fondle her until she writhed in the seat. Her skin was hot and tight, her cleft wet and creamy. Max knew all about her. He would have studied Familiars with precision and her in particular. It was his mission to hunt those who defied the Council. He knew Familiars craved to be touched and well fed. His approach was unusual, and therefore caught her off guard. They usually tried to f**k her into submission, not coddle her into it.
Soon her belly was full, which normally made her sleepy. But not tonight. The burning lust in her veins kept her from napping. But still she was languid. Pliable. Max lifted and carried her to her room, and she was unable to protest. She wanted to feel him inside her like she wanted to breathe. Still, she wasn’t a fool. With a softly spoken word, Victoria bound his powers.
His smile told her he felt what she’d done. It wasn’t just any smile, but one that promised she’d pay.
It only made her hotter.
Max set her on her feet, and turned her to face away from him. Anticipation rippled down her spine, making her shiver and breathe shallowly. With a firm, irrefutable hold on the scruff of her neck, he pressed her forward until she bent at the waist, face down in her bed.
As he pulled away, his teeth scraped her shoulder with seductive portent and before she could blink, her hands were bound behind her.
“What the hell?” Her heart raced in near panic. She couldn’t believe he would move so quickly. She had never been bound. The sudden feeling of helplessness reminded her of the way she’d felt when Darius stood in the midst of deadly swirls of magic and she could only watch, useless. “No!” Victoria struggled wildly.
“Hush, kitten.” His large body came over hers, a warm physical blanket. With his hands on either side of her head, he nuzzled his cheek against hers, his voice far huskier than usual. “I won’t hurt you. Not ever.”
“You can’t bind my powers,” he murmured. “You’re strong, but not that strong.”
“I don’t like this, Max.” Her voice was a plaintive whisper.
Then one of his hands lifted from the mattress. She felt it working against the curve of her ass just before she heard the slow rasp of his zipper lowering. To her amazement, the arousal that had died flared to life again.
“You’re so tense.” He licked a slow, wet trail along the length of her spine. “All you have to do is lie there and come.”
Suddenly, she couldn’t see, her vision blocked by some spell he’d cast. Victoria went completely still, her breath caught in her throat. She’d never felt so completely at the mercy of someone else.
Between her legs she ached with an arousal that made her writhe. Despite what her mind said, her instinctual nature could not be denied.