Astrid brushed sweaty strains of hair away from her face, pushing herself to run as fast as she could after putting two miles behind her. Exercising was the best stress reliever she knew of besides drugs.
She panted, stopping at the top of Cider Hill, near her neighborhood. The wide circle she ran in the last half-hour wasn’t long enough. She didn’t want to return home after Remy promised to cook dinner before she took off. The arrogance of his scheming with Calder was as if it never happened and it bugged the shit out of her.
Astrid started a cool-down pace, drenched in sweat even though the evening breeze broke across her skin. Her emotions ranged between pissed off, and fearful of the future. She should have guessed Remy’s nice-guy act was too good to be true.
He had a loose nut in that gorgeous head of his.
Astrid held the power in their relationship after last night when she never had before. Remy hurt her, but the sexual incitement had been off the charts hot. She shouldn’t have enjoyed his forceful behavior, but she did. At first, she felt terrified, recalling the rape when she’d been eleven. Then, as he spoke, bringing up her past she recognized her destructive pattern for carnal rewards and accepted his anger because she wronged him. In the end, she owned it. Something was wrong with her to enjoy such an act.
Astrid decided that if Remy was so keen on her, then he’d pretty much do anything she asked. Calder too, if he meant any of the things he said.
But what about Calder? His family had no history of mental illness she was aware of. Just blue-blooded superiority complexes. Calder must have really wanted sex to go to such lengths. Why? Why did he tell her he liked her and suggested being her so-called secret lover and friend if he’d already spoken to Remy? Did he think she wouldn’t find out? What did the two men decide concerning her?
She would play these assholes right back.
Astrid opened her front door, immediately smelling food. Burnt meat at that. She wrinkled her nose, closing the door with a bang.
Remy poked his head around the corner, “Hey! Don’t come in here. I, um, ordered out.”
She laughed at his sheepishness, “I thought all men cooked steak.”
He seemed embarrassed coming out of the kitchen, “I got distracted. Don’t worry, I cleaned everything. You look hot.”
“What distracted you?” she coolly questioned.
He shrugged, “My phone.”
She headed for her bedroom, not trusting him. Astrid had nothing in her house he hadn’t seen already. No diaries. No pictures except the ones on the walls. Sentimental, her grandparents were not. If she wanted anything while growing up, it came out of her pocket and she couldn’t remember them once taking a picture of her.
Her cell phone was where she left it, under her change of clothes she’d set out before running. Remy followed her, leaning casually in the doorway.
She peeled off her damp top, then her running shoes next. Hearing him mutter something, she turned around with a glare.
“What did you say?” she snapped, preparing to tug down her leggings.
“Nothing,” he smiled, bobbing his eyes across her body.
“Yes, you did,” she sighed, wiggling out of the rest of her clothes, “I want to know what you said Remy.”
“It wasn’t a statement,” he teased, still smiling, “More like a word.”
Astrid licked her lips at his heated expression as he started towards her. She found him hard to resist when he looked at her that way. His hazel eyes held hers with obvious delight. Remy wasn’t going to let her shower and relax. He wanted to make her sweat some more.
“What word?” she quickly spun out of his reach, moving to the closet.
“Yummy,” he sexily murmured, turning just as quick on his heels.
Laughing, she headed for the hallway, “Yummy? Hardly! I’m sticky.”
Astrid made it to the bathroom, but he stuck his foot out to prevent her from closing it.
“What?” she asked exasperated.
He brushed her hair back, kissing her cheek. “I like it when you’re sticky. Dirty. Do you realize we’ve only had sex four or five times?”
Astrid took hold of the door for support but realized it didn’t move. She frowned, seeing his shoe holding it open.
“So?” she peered up at his adorable face, “Are we on a screwing schedule? Make a chart while I shower.”
He chuckled, “We could be if that’s a thing you’re into. Some women have a fetish for that.”
She glared as she pushed his chest, “Go fuck those women.”
He moved, shouting as she slammed the door, “It’s my day off!”
She giggled behind her hand. It was comical really. She planned on interrogating him during dinner. If Remy wanted a relationship with her, it was time to tell her everything.
If not, he could leave and stay gone.
When Astrid emerged from the shower Remy had turned all the lights off, spreading lit candles across the living room. She put on an oversized shirt then went to see what he set up to seduce her further.
Remy cleared off her oval coffee table, laying out the meal. Her overstuffed blue pillows were on the floor. He sat on one, illuminated by the long, red tapered candles around the space.
He patted the pillow beside him, “You’re still yummy, baby.”
She grinned, plopping down next to him, “But not as good as chow mien, right? Thanks. It smells better in here at least.”
She laughed at his insulted look, but he took it in good humor. They dished themselves food out of cartons before Astrid began the interrogation. Remy must have been expecting them because he was all too casual and open for her liking.
“Why didn’t you just explain what kind of work you do?” She started out with.
He shoved rice around his plate, “I wanted to. I told one girl about a year ago and she freaked out. We’d only had a sexual relationship. You and I needed to move slowly so I could see if you’d handle what I do for a living.”
“Tell me about the club.” She picked up a bottle of beer he’d put out for her.
With a shrug he spoke fast, “It’s in the city. I’ve risen in the ranks, so to speak, since I started there three years ago. A woman owns The Armor.”
Astrid nodded, “All right, so, they promoted you? What does that entail?”
He placed his fork down, shifting to face her, “I already disclosed a little but don’t want to freak you out with the details.”
“You were slapping me around,” she angrily threw back, “So forgive me if I missed some information.”
His cheeks reddened, “Astrid… I never meant to strike you. I’m sorry for how I acted. I’ll never-”
“Stop!” she barked, holding up her palm, “You can’t promise shit. I stirred something deep inside of us both. You bruised me, but you also gave some awesome sex.”
His eyebrows shot up.
“I’m sure you’re used to women getting off on violence in the bedroom,” she lowered her hand, and her gaze, missing his nod, “I may not be the most adventurous in bed, but what happened became heated. Whatever you felt, while attacking me earlier today, were your honest emotions.”
“Yeah, but I put you in that moment,” he growled, “You met Calder and I realized someone like him would take you away from me without ever knowing the truth. I know you fucked him. You have this warmhearted, sexy as hell personality you don’t even realize is there until you hold up and go, ‘This fucking woman is the best I’ve seen or will have again’.”
She snorted, avoiding his eyes, “Then why did my last boyfriend cheat on me? Why did he ghost me after I caught him?”
“That asshole is obviously an idiot,” Remy laughed, “Don’t tell me you noticed anything besides dick with him? I bet he whipped it out made you stare at it the entire relationship because he knew, like Calder, you’d jump on it. You are not a slut. You’re just looking for love,” he softened his tone, placing a warm hand on her crossed legs, “Did I objectify you? Like all I saw was your tits or ass? I admire who you are and love you.”
Astrid swallowed hard as raw emotions surfaced. Damn him! He was right, and it pissed her off. All men had ever done was exactly what he’d stated but Remy treated her kindly. Was that why she rejected love? Did she prefer being objectified? It was all she’d known. Changing her thought process was difficult.
She snapped her head up, giving him a glare, “Quit making this about me Remy! This is about you now. I’m tired of defending my actions because of past lovers. It’s your turn.”
He withdrew his touch as if she burned him, “I’m not turning it around if that’s what you mean.”
“Yes, you are!” she laughed incredulously, “You always do! Just answer the damn question.”
“What question?” he smiled innocently.
Frustrated by his cool exterior, she stood, “My appetite is gone. Let yourself out. Don’t bother coming back Remy.”
“Astrid!” he jumped up in alarm as she stormed towards the bedroom, “Wait!”
“Wait for what?” she spat, “For you to stop dicking around and be real with me about who you are? Where do you live? For three months you’ve yet to even answer that. You can’t expect me to continue this fucked up one-sided relationship, Remy.”
He followed her, stopping the door from closing on him. He took hold of both her arms, glaring down at her. Her anger made her stiff and unflinching.
“I live with a roommate from work and don’t exactly go to the club anymore because I’m an ordered specialty making house calls when summoned by clients. On my nights off my friend takes my place. Okay?” he growled, “What else do you fucking need to hear?”
She offered him a sugary smile, “Was that so hard? Why do you say you care about me yet keep yourself closed off? You must not want my love.”
He shook her, “I do! The lifestyle I’ve led has never attracted nice girls like you. I fear the more you learn, the faster you’ll run.”
“Good to know we both have self-esteem issues!” she snottily shot back, “Trust is an essential part of any relationship. You’ve made me distrust you by talking to Calder. How can you call me nice after what I did to you?”
He narrowed his eyes, “Human nature. You are nice and sometimes a little shit. Wild and unexpectedly compassionate too.”
She tried to pull away, but he held on, “Maybe it’s because I accept people for who and what they are. You should try it sometime.”
Remy used his height and muscle to lift her off of the floor, wrapping her in his arms. They were both breathing harshly in exasperation. She looked so feisty with her face lit up in expectation. He kissed her hard, and she froze in surprise.
He gripped her ass, lifting her up against his waist so she could wrap her legs around his tall frame. Astrid gave into the kiss with her own passion. The raw anger and sexual desire swept Remy away, and he groaned into her mouth.
“You can be so annoying,” she whined against his lips.
He chuckled, carrying her over to the bed when she softened. She latched onto his broad shoulders, pressing her supple body against his hard one. He fell on top of her, running his palms upward to yank her thin cotton panties down.
Astrid gasped, “Remy, why do you want me? I’m not the fetish type.”
He undid his jeans while squeezing her neck so she’d maintain eye contact, “It’s a job I very much enjoy. That doesn’t mean my private life has to be the same. Besides, you are my type. I want you so quit questioning me. I just fucking do Astrid. Accept us, baby.”
She closed her eyes as he demanded another kiss. His fingers flexed around her throat, working his way under her shirt. She blushed at the noises she let out as he pinched her nipples into sharp points. He bit her lip, at the same time slapping her thighs apart. Every touch he gave was a hard-handed one. It drove her crazy. She liked how he handled her as if his desires were uncontrollable.
She felt like prey under his hands that kept her legs apart, his mouth unyielding on hers as he waited to enter her. Astrid raked her nails all over his taut body, switching anger for lust. The way he made her wait had her panting and unbelievably wet.
“Astrid,” he dropped his forehead to hers, breathing as fast as she was, “You are amazing. I want to share everything with you.”
“Yes!” she gasped, her eyes popping wide, pleading for him to get on with it, “Everything!”
“Do you want this?”
“Please!” she sounded desperate, “You changed me and I’m glad. Fuck me, Remy.”
“Patience,” he groaned before kissing her passionately, still pressing down with his weight.
She moaned through the kiss, aching for him. When Astrid tossed her head back he licked, sucked and teased her sweaty skin. She scraped her fingers through his hair, begging for him to fuck her. His dick jerked when she begged. He liked her in need.
Remy had fucked a lot of different chicks. All shapes, nationalities, and sizes had been beneath him in his twenty-six years. But Astrid found a way into his heart. Her unassuming sweetness won him over.
Their time together, before sex entered the equation, made him positive Astrid the only woman deserving of his cold heart. He’d hurt women in the past. Had forced them to beg for his attention while looking for ways to screw them over first because that’s all they ever seemed to do to him in the long run.
She melted his resistance without trying. Walking away from her wasn’t an option. She unknowingly wove a web of compassion over his hardened heart. Watching her with Calder sealed the decision to be straightforward with her. She still wanted him… even now. What an amazing person she was, yet she hadn’t a clue. He would be honest if that’s what she needed, just to see if she could get through the cloud of misfortune that followed him his entire life.
Astrid could take a beating and survive. Her inner strength would help her through their complicated relationship.
Remy heard her low moan as he eased the tip of his rock hard erection inside of her. He withdrew instantly, nearly losing it. He gritted his teeth. Why was it difficult to control himself with the bratty brunette when he did this for a living? He’d screwed more attractive women for hours on end, without the intense, immediate urge to explode. Astrid was too much to handle when she gazed at him as if he were the sun in the sky clearing months of rain. Or issued that disquieting little plaintive sound after placing her palm over his hammering heart. He tightly closed his eyes as she arched her curvy body, gripping his hips.
He knew she felt the same as he did. The fierce way she held him, coupled with her breathing indicated one full stroke would have her convulsing around his cock. But damn, when she orgasmed, tightening like a vise, he wanted to join her. To pound her until she gave that gurgling scream that meant he’d fulfilled her needs.
Had Calder? The thought angered him, fading some sensitivity. Fuck, he hadn’t even fully slipped inside her yet. Was Calder better than him? She’d been in his condo for six hours. He must have kept her satisfied to make her stay so long. That prick had his dick in Astrid! His fury established control again.
He slammed into Astrid, causing her to jerk with a surprised yelp. He widened his eyes to see hers closed, biting her lip as she held back. Fuck that! He wanted her to moan, for her to tell him that he was the best.
Still pressing her toned thighs apart, he slipped halfway out then rammed her harder. She gasped, quivering all around him as he knew she would. Her soft moans became louder as he plunged so deep his balls slapped her ass. She climaxed forcefully, her whole body stiffened before she cried out beautifully… just for him. He grinned down at her when she opened those large brown eyes flecked with gold.
She sighed languidly after her release, “Wow.”
“I’m not done,” he gently lowered her legs, seeing the red indentations of his fingermarks on her sun-kissed thighs.
He brushed sweaty strands of her dark hair off of her cheek.
Astrid looked up at Remy’s tender expression and appreciated his honesty. She still had a lot of reservations and questions but no matter how they reacted to each other’s quirks, there was a connection she no longer denied. They deserved each other. She would stop telling herself he was too gorgeous, rich, secretive, rough or complicated as long as he continued to be truthful with her. Why shouldn’t she welcome his affections? He gazed down on her with it, a bright grin lighting his handsome features.
“Remy,” she said his name lustily, “I accept us.”
He softly pressed his mouth to hers, slipping out of her warmth. They wrapped each other in their arms, kissing until they couldn’t breathe. She experienced an ache at the thought of leaving him no other man forged. Was this love? Would she ever be certain? Clashing emotions made tears spill down her cheeks. He felt the wetness, rearing his head backward in alarm.
“Did I hurt you?”
She blinked, wiping her face, “I’m good, but it’s a little scary.”
He nodded understandingly, making her blush, “Astrid, are you experiencing real feelings for me?” he wiggled his brows teasing her into smiling, “I was hoping you would once I got you off.”
“Oh!” she whacked his chest, laughing.
He chuckled, pleased she stopped looking so venerable. Grasping her hips, he rolled until she sat on top. He liked the view, refraining from pinching her heavy breasts.
Astrid tossed her hair, licking her plump lips. She smiled so delightfully, Remy didn’t think he could get much harder without the same pain he was now suffering. Those big, firm tits of hers went so well with her curvy hips. She was perfect with those runner legs enveloping his waist.
She was built like a Greek goddess which he found attractive when they met. Fuck, the way she danced with those hips made every man stare until he took her out of there. He had a terrible time these last months not bending her over and sticking it to her. But, he’d needed a break from sex in his personal life. With Astrid, he escaped the deviant world he worked for.
“Hey,” she murmured as he ran his hands across her back, “What’s going on in your head?”
He sighed, splaying his large palm on her bare ass, “I’m remembering how I longed to fuck you when we met. How we danced that evening,” her eyes lowered in arousal as he continued, “I wanted to unzip my pants right there, sneaking it to you with my hand over your mouth so the others wouldn’t hear us fucking on the dance floor.”
She grinned, “Really? That first night? I was so nervous. You were too gorgeous, I thought, to want to dance with a mousy brunette. Yet, you looked at me as if no other girl existed in the place. That made me date you.”
He hummed in agreement, easing his grip but moved a finger teasingly against her asshole, “Aren’t you glad? I sure am. I waited to have sex because I needed something different. My life was stale. You helped me more than you will ever realize.”
His finger became distracting, and she breathlessly muttered, “That’s good.”
He snickered, happy she was ready for another round. This time, he would beg and she’d make him lose control in the best way.