Read Beyond the Shadows Online

Authors: Cassidy Hunter

Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Erotica, #Romantic, #Science Fiction & Fantasy, #Science Fiction, #Dystopian, #Romance, #erotic, #Fantasy

Beyond the Shadows (6 page)

Chapter Twelve

 

It didn’t sound as though they were fighting. It sounded like a few of them had ganged up on one hapless soul and were beating the life out of him.

As Kai led her down the empty hall, the sounds grew overpowering—shrieks and clangs and flesh upon flesh.

The
doorless
stairwell gaped like a hungry, open mouth as he led her down into the dark prison. The steps were short to the bottom, only six to the first landing and six more to the basement floor.

Cells lined this level like cages kept by dog fighters, ugly, oppressive cells in a mean, shadowed space. Flickering lights in the low ceiling only added to the horror. No windows lined the dirty, brick walls to allow any life-giving sun into the heartless prison.

And somewhere here lived Constantine, a child of the sun, the spirited, willful child of her heart. Acid bile rose into her throat, and she swallowed it down, calling to the anger never far from the surface. It would chase the fear away. It would give her the courage she needed to look Constantine in the eye and remain passive and calm. His life depended on it.
Her
life depended on it. She wasn’t sure Kai was to the point where he wouldn’t kill her if—
when
—she betrayed him. It was too soon.

Still, his hand on her back was gentle, his gaze tender as he watched her. She smiled. “I’m fine, Kai.”

He nodded, his smile quick to flash. “Someday I’ll figure you out, woman.”

That would not be a good day. The fighting culminated in a final shriek and a drawn-out moan; then a particularly loud silence descended. As though all the pitiful prisoners listened with bated breath, the thick air covered her with a smothering blanket of oppression and hopelessness.

“Sarah?”

“I’m okay.” Wasn’t it understandable that her voice came out in a whisper heavy with tears?

Legs weighted by dread, she walked down the aisle between the barred cages. They went on forever, the walls on either side of her lined with cells filled with ragged, tough men who held dirty hands through the bars to her as she passed them by, her gaze ever searching for the one man she’d come for.

They began to whistle and call out nasty, dark things she barely heard and paid little attention to. Kai followed, a dangerous, hulking shadow, silent as he allowed the men their vocal releases. Once, when she drifted from the middle line of the hall and too close to the cells, he nudged her back with a firm hand.

Where was he? Where was her baby brother? She peered into the dim cells, the flickering light too weak to push the shadows far. How did they stand it?

But that was part of the punishment. Men were not coddled, and crimes were not excused. They knew that before they decided to break laws. But it was her brother there, and she knew him. She knew why he’d felt the need to defect and follow the orders that had sent him after Kai.

Hoots and catcalls followed her progress, and men banged on the bars with fists and metal plates. Prisoners too ill or crippled to walk crawled to the bars to see what the excitement was about.

She felt Kai’s looming presence constantly at her back, his protection leaving her no room to fear for her physical self. Even if the men had roamed free, she would not have feared with him behind her. She trusted him that much. He would defend her to the death, and she would betray him.

The prisoners stared at her with fevered eyes, and she realized it would be difficult to pick Constantine out. Dirty faces, sunken eyes—they all looked alike.

But then she saw him; in that instant of doubt, she saw him.

He stood straight and still, his eyes burning holes into her mind, his face as filthy as the others’, but shining, to her. Shining and pure, alive, alive. Oh God, her Constantine. Unable to help herself, her gaze glued to his glassy green one, she sobbed. Her legs gave way, and she dropped to the hard floor, her noisy sobs of relief and pain echoing off the walls of the dismal prison.

She had to look away or give them both up. Long hair hiding her face, she knelt on hands and knees and bowed her head, her tears washing the floor with grief.

Kai picked her up. He lifted her as effortlessly as he would have a child, and held her against his warm, solid chest, his arms huge and comforting around her. “
Shhh
, baby, hush now.” His voice a murmuring, calm island in the sea of her distress, he carried her from the prison.

She didn’t look back.

Chapter Thirteen

 

She lay in her bed, staring sightlessly at the wall. The endgame was here. Time to work. Her feelings for Kai didn’t matter. All that mattered was sticking with the plan. She realized she’d been afraid this entire time, deep down, that Constantine was dead. To see him, to really see him, was almost too much. Overwhelming emotions clashed and clawed, ripping her apart.

“Did you give her something?” Kai murmured.

“Yes,” Teddy answered, her tone showing that she was trying hard not to voice her disapproval and failing dismally.

“Teddy. She’ll be fine. I shouldn’t have taken her to holding—”

“Most certainly
not
,” Teddy snapped.

Her response caused Sarah to smile weakly, her face losing some of its numbness. She turned slowly to her back. “I’m sorry. I’m being a baby. Seeing them just… I thought I wanted to see what was wrong when I heard them fighting, but…those poor, poor men.”

The mattress dipped as Kai lowered his big body to sit beside her. In his eyes was relief, she thought. Relief, maybe, that she’d behaved in a way he thought she should. The way an innocent woman would. That she’d wanted to see the prisoners in the first place had thrown him. Maybe he was relieved his suspicions were proving false.

I’m so sorry, Kai.

Oh God, how he would hate her.

“Sarah, every single one of those men deserves to be there. They’ve done terrible things like—”

“Like things we won’t discuss right now,” Teddy snapped, her hands on her wide hips.

Another time Kai might have told her to mind her own business, but he just flashed a quick grin and let the subject drop. “How do you feel?” He scraped Sarah’s hair back from her forehead, nearly bringing to the surface the tears that were never well hidden these days.

“Embarrassed.”

“No need.”

“Certainly not,” Teddy said again, her voice as sharp as shards of glass. “If anyone should be embarrassed, it’s—”

“Enough, woman!” Kai sent Teddy a glare that had her pale and scampering for the door.

“You shouldn’t scare her,” Sarah said, knowing her admonishments would be accepted in his present state of mind.

His grin took ten years off his face. “I know.”

She almost gave herself over to him in that moment, almost talked herself into trusting him, but the thought of Constantine remaining forever imprisoned was enough to make her come to her senses. He’d never have ended up there in the first place, if not for her. She had to make it right.

But Kai…

She lifted her hand, white fingers looking cold against the sun-kissed bronze of his face. When had she let herself become so soft? Heartache was going to become a well-known acquaintance, she knew it. It was going to get worse before it got better, if it ever did.

“My path has been set,” she whispered. “I can’t change it now.”

“What?”

She shook her head and closed her eyes, caressing his face with sensitive fingertips. “Nothing.”

He didn’t push, for which she was grateful.

“Sarah.”

She opened her eyes. In his voice was a complete tenderness she’d never thought to gain from him, wasn’t even sure he was capable of. She couldn’t bear it.

She sat up and sank her fists into his thick hair, pulling his mouth toward hers. “Just fuck me, Kai.”

Surprise lifted his eyebrows for a second before his lips smashed against hers. He wrapped his arms around her and dragged her against him, then slanted his mouth against hers as he took control.

She pulled away, long enough to blurt, “And I want it hard. Make me feel it, Kai.” As if there were any other way with him.

But after the scene in the prison, he’d been thinking she was in need of tenderness, when in fact, she was in need of just the opposite. Tenderness made her…soft.

Still, they’d reached a new level. She could feel it in his touch, his kiss, and see it in his eyes.
Shit.

Kai pulled her shirt over her head and pushed her to her pillow, driving the thoughts from her mind. There were only the two of them, for now.

She realized she’d had no chance to apply her cream, but she shoved the thought away. She didn’t care. She’d never gotten pregnant before when she’d been unable to use her cream. If she happened to get pregnant by Kai, she wouldn’t be unhappy.

Sinking her nails into his back, she lifted her chin, baring her throat. His teeth scraped her tender skin, and he nipped and licked his way down her throat until he reached her breasts.

He lifted his head to look at the mounds of flesh, and she could feel the heat from his stare burning a trail wherever his gaze touched. Her nipples rose into hard points as he ran his tongue over them. Showing each one equal attention, he sucked them into the moist warmth of his mouth, each pull a direct link to her groin, a line of pleasure that left her squirming on the bed, gasping for breath.

She shifted her legs restlessly as the throbbing between them became nearly unbearable. Kai left her breasts, sliding his mouth over her stomach as he stroked the rough pads of his thumbs over her rigid nipples.

Unable to stop the moan that arose in her throat, she ran her hands over his head, pushing gently. She might die if she didn’t feel his lips closing over her clitoris.

Then he was there, his teasing, firm lips tugging at the swollen, pulsating bit of flesh. She arched her back, crying out at the overpowering sensations, thrusting her pelvis in time with his tongue.

He curled his tongue around her clit, each lick fast and hard and hot. Pressure grew to a nearly unbearable heaviness, spreading heat from her sex to her stomach.

She looked down the line of her body at the huge man pleasuring her as he did things with his mouth no other had ever come close to. God, he was good. So good.

Kai tiptoed his fingers up her thighs, sending darts of pleasure into her quivering muscles, and suddenly he pushed those fingers inside her, deep inside.

“Oh God!” She pressed her head back into the pillow, half-crazed as the sensations took control and spread through her body, her mind.

The pressure built, rising to an unbearable crescendo, and with one last lick, he brought her to a screaming, writhing climax. She floated back to earth, watching through heavy lids as he ripped his clothes off, her hands reaching almost of their own accord to touch his skin.

“More,” she demanded.

“Oh, baby, I’m not even close to being finished with you yet.”

Her stomach clenched at his voice, the rumbling vibrations running through her entire body. He watched her, so knowing, so sexy, his dark eyes holding a swirling storm of things yet to come.

“I have to taste you,” she told him. “I have to… I need to have all of you.” Soon enough, that chance would be gone.

His smile was serious, heated. Not really a smile at all. His eyes gleamed with something darker and deeper than she’d yet glimpsed in him, and a thrill of fear shot through her. If she escaped him with her life, she’d be a lucky girl.

The muscles in his solid arms flexed as he crawled atop her. Holding his weight off her, he dipped his head for a quick, hard kiss. Imprisoning her between his legs, he moved until his lengthy cock was at her mouth.

“Then taste me.” He plunged his enormous erection between her lips, past her teeth, filling her mouth with his silky maleness. Giving her no choice but to take him. He laced his fingers with hers when she pushed against his stomach, her first instinct to force him from her. Having thoroughly shackled her, he fucked her mouth.

She could take anything he could give her.

He threw his head back and groaned, that one sound giving her pleasure enough to accept him with glee. His hardness was a slippery, rigid rod as she sucked him, his firm balls swinging in a tempting arc below.

This moment, he was hers and she was his. In love and lust, they shared heart and body and mind. With an almost physical pressure, she felt as though her soul melded with his. No matter what, they were forever linked.

And she was aware of something else. Each time he made love to her, she fell a little more in love. If she didn’t hurry and get Constantine out of there, the part of her that was determined to free him would war with that part of her in love with Kai. And that was a battle no one could win.

Kai wrenched himself from her mouth with a shout, his jaw muscles clenching as he fought for control. “Fuck, Sarah…”

Holding his huge erection, he bowed his head, groaning. But he won his control, and she slid her hands over his thighs as he continued straddling her. Pushing his hand off his cock, she kept her gaze on his and ran her palms over his so-tempting shaft. She wanted him inside her more than she’d ever wanted anything in her entire life. And that was the cold truth. She’d set out to bewitch him and, instead, had become bewitched.

“Why are you smiling?” Eyes shuttered and heavy with sex, he watched her.

“I just realized how badly I want you.”

He raised an eyebrow. “You’re just now realizing that? I wanted
you
from the moment I saw you.” And as though he’d heard her thoughts, he muttered, “Witch.”

She closed her hands around his cock and squeezed, running them up and down his length. Her pussy clenched with need and her clit throbbed as she thought of having him there.

It hurt. She wanted him so badly it
hurt
. She was so fucked.

Chapter Fourteen

 

He moved down her body, slithering like a muscular, beautiful snake. Using his elbows to support his weight, he stretched over her and lightly skimmed her lips with his.

“You taste of sunshine and mint,” she whispered and ran out the tip of her tongue to touch his.

He growled. “My cock throbs to be inside you.”

She laughed against his lips. “How romantic you are.”

“I never pretended to be, sweetheart. I want to fuck you. My mind doesn’t think of mint and sunshine.” He rubbed his hardness against the cradle of her thighs, slippery silkiness that robbed her of speech and breath.

“Oh…”

His eyes darkened as he stared at her. “What do you want, Sarah?”

She gasped, her desire becoming a thing alive as he continued to slide against her. Tilting her pelvis, she tried to capture his cock, but he refused to enter.

“I want you.”

He positioned the tip of his erection at her opening, easing it in just enough to stretch her, and she shivered at that taste of things to come. Somehow, when she wasn’t looking, control had shifted. He seemed to be possessed of more of it than she’d ever been.

With a sudden, hard thrust, he was inside her, his hugeness filling her up. She fought for breath as the air caught in her lungs, her nails digging into his back, her fingers clutching in a spasm of shock at his entry.

Arching her neck, gasping, she felt him bite the tender space between her shoulder and neck, then immediately ease the sting with his tongue.

He pulled out, a long, slow slide she felt with every fiber of her being, a sensation that made her too weak to breathe. And before she could recover from the withdrawal, he slammed into her, pushing everything else from her mind. There was only this man, this moment.

He gazed down at her, and she couldn’t, didn’t want to, look away. Lips parted, eyes nearly black with heat, he stared at her as he fucked her. Faster and harder, until she wasn’t sure where he stopped and she began.

“Am I making you feel it?” he said, his voice gravelly and low.

“Oh…oh yes.”

Breathing hard, she pulled his face to hers, close to coming and wanting his mouth joined with hers when she did.

His lips moved on hers, his tongue caressing. His cock plunged inside her, carrying her closer and closer to the edge. Suddenly the pressure became unbearable and sensation, raw and harsh, exploded within her. She jerked her mouth from his and screamed, sliding her fingers through the hot
sweat
on his skin as she climaxed.

Her orgasm seemed unending, and as it began to ease, he thrust into her with the smooth power and speed of a wild animal, and she came again and again.

She wrapped her legs around his waist, half of her screaming,
Enough
! and the other half afraid he’d stop. His flesh pounded against hers, his hard cock sinking into the very depths of her, each plunge building within her the heat of sheer, nearly unbearable pleasure. She watched as he lost his strong control, the arousal on his face sending her, once more, over the edge.

His face flushing, he groaned and sank down upon her, his mouth soft against her throat. “Sarah,” he murmured. “What do you do to me?”

Everything I can, darling. Everything I can
. She waited for her breathing to slow, for her heart to ease its hard, fast beating. Too tired to talk, she patted him weakly on the back. She lay like a slug as she recuperated, welcoming his heavy, warm body against hers.

He shifted with a moan and pulled his still-half-hard penis from her. He lifted her easily, turning her to her side. With his front curled protectively around her back and his muscled arm wrapped around her, he slept.

His right hand cupped her left breast, his breath softly stirring her hair. Nothing had ever felt more perfect.

She sighed once, her ribs rising beneath his hard arm. She’d enjoy it while it lasted. She would pretend—for a moment—that this was the way it was. She floated to sleep on clouds built of wishes and denial and wispy dreams of love.

When she awakened, he was gone.

She dragged herself from the crumpled sheets upon which he’d loved her, and stood under an icy-cold spray of water, hoping to numb her heart. The determination she’d started with had turned to mush, and no one would suffer more than she. Not that she didn’t deserve a bit of suffering. Still, she wasn’t the type to hurt herself if she could help it. Betraying Kai would hurt. Loving him would hurt even more.

She smiled as she ran the soapy washcloth between her legs, the tender soreness there reminding her of Kai and the heat between them. Just as quickly, her smile dropped, and she scrubbed up under the stream of water, forcing those thoughts away. She was cold. She was downright
icy
and would do whatever she had to do. She was that strong.

That was the truth.

But she didn’t have to like doing it.

Now she would prepare. At least Constantine would know she was there, that she was coming for him. She had a feeling, though, that it would do nothing to relieve his mind. He would worry for her.

She dragged a bag from the closet and packed it carefully. She would pack no clothes for herself, but she’d seen Constantine’s rags. Most likely his feet were bare, but there were no boots in her closet big enough to fit him.

Teddy had surprised her with a sewing kit. She lifted it down from the closet shelf and then grabbed a heavy-duty raincoat off its hanger. She’d make him some sorry shoes, and he’d have to make do until they could find him some real ones. But escaping the compound would be the tricky part.

Well, actually, springing Constantine was the tricky part. She blew a tired breath and went to work. With any luck, she and Constantine would be out of there in the next couple of weeks.

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