Authors: Sylvia Day
His lips twitched with repressed humor. “You’re killing me. Yes, with my big dick and my hands and my mouth, which will apologize profusely until you believe me. I’ve got no excuses, I simply suck and don’t deserve you. I’m prepared to beg you to stay.”
“Okay, that all sounds good, but what about the orgasms?” She gasped as he sank to his knees. “I thought you were kidding about the begging.”
This totally could not be happening. Hot guys did not grovel at her feet.
But then he wasn’t groveling. He was mouthing her pussy through her bio-suit. The heat of his breath burned through to her skin and she shivered in longing for his talented tongue. “Rick?”
“Is this the apology or the orgasm?”
He pulled her to the floor and apologized properly.
“YOU KNOW, BABY,” RICK
said, his eyes riveted to the full, swaying ass in front of him as they hiked up the rough gravel path. He had to pat himself on the back for the tiny vid recorder he wore attached to his collar. The plan had been to record the possible discovery of the e-books. Now he could play this back and ogle Sam’s luscious butt whenever he liked. “I totally admire you for finding this place. You explained everything to me perfectly and I still can’t wrap my mind around how you figured it all out in three weeks.”
“We haven’t found anything yet.”
“But we will. With you in charge, there’s no way we can fail.”
“You’re just trying to flatter me into bed,” she retorted, but he heard the pleasure in her tone.
“I have to flatter you into bed now?” He gave a dramatic sigh. “Man, whatever happened to just whipping my dick out?”
Sam paused on the trail and laughed out loud. He was glad to hear the sound. All day she’d been edgy and nervous, like she was preparing for the worst. He knew this search was important to her, so he sympathized. But her happiness was important to him, and seeing her so tense and anxious didn’t sit well.
Her dark eyes smiled at him and when she held out her hand, he took it without hesitation. He was not a romantic guy, but Sam brought out what tiny bit of romance he had in him. His mouth quirked in a half-smile. Better face the facts head-on—he’d been tamed by a librarian.
The going got a little tougher as they climbed, but they made good time and before an hour had passed, they’d traveled the distance between his shuttlecraft and the top of the small mountain on the planet Cerridwen.
“Okay,” she said when the trail ended. “Now we need to find a rock etched with this symbol.” She pulled a folded piece of paper out of the small bag she carried.
“What is that?” He studied the design over her shoulder. “It looks like a circle on top of a cross.”
“On Earth it was called an ankh. It means eternal life.”
“Huh. Well, that’s appropriate for those databases, I guess.”
Nodding, Sam handed him the picture and began to peer closely at the rocks in front of her. He did the same. It took almost a half-hour to find the marker, but once they did, things began to move quickly.
Beneath the rock was a switch, which opened a small door in the side of the mountain. Rick led the way, his blaster at the ready, but all they found inside was a lift.
“You trust that thing?” he asked, eyeing it skeptically. “It’s been here forever.”
“Are you afraid, tough guy?”
“For you, yeah.” Leaning over, he looked down the shaft. “Looks like this goes a long way down. I’ll go alone and if works without a hitch, I’ll come back and get you.”
“There’s no way you’re going without me.”
Shooting a scowl over his shoulder, he said, “You’re not getting in this thing until I’m sure it’s not a total piece of shit.”
He hated when she took that cajoling tone of voice with him, he never ended up being able to say no. “Don’t do this to me, Sam. Okay? I don’t want you getting hurt.”
She gave him that soft melting look that made him crazy for her. “Whatever happens, I want you to know that what you’ve done for me these past weeks has changed my life.”
“Huh?” That sounded like the start of a Dear John speech. His scowl deepened. “Before I met you, I didn’t think I’d ever be important to someone. Thank you for making me feel like I was valuable to you.”
A throat cleared behind them and they shot each other a knowing look “Curt,” Rick said. “What a surprise.”
“This is really touching,” Curt said snidely while aiming a blaster at Sam. “But don’t you think we should find our treasure now?”
treasure?” Sam snapped.
“Yes, ours. I’ve spent just as many years looking for the e-books as you have.”
“So have a lot of other people. So what? We’re supposed to divide it amongst everyone who’s ever looked for it?”
“No, just me will suffice.”
She crossed her arms over her chest. “You’re not getting anything, Jerk. Nutbar.
Asshole. And put that blaster away before you hurt someone.” Curt fired a warning shot at her feet.
“She gets hurt, you die,” Rick growled, his heart thumping madly. He had no idea what this idiot was capable of.
“Get over here, Sam,” Curt said softly. “Or lover boy gets blasted.”
Sam walked over with hesitant steps, her only thought being to protect Rick in whatever way she could. When she got close enough, Curt caught her by the throat and waved the blaster at Rick. “Call the lift.”
“Let Rick go,” she said, willing to do whatever was necessary to get Rick out of there.
“Don’t be dense,” Curt muttered. “He’ll notify the authorities.”
The tension in the air as they waited for the clanking, whining elevator was palpable.
“What the hell are you going to do, Curt?” Sam asked, her stomach clenched in a knot. She looked across the small space to where Rick waited for an opening to strike. “What’s the plan after this?”
“Well, once we find the database, I’ll stun you both and take off. You’ll wake up in an hour or two, and come find me. Then I’ll give you half the credits and you two can split your share. I’ll be praised for finding the e-books, you two can run off and make calf-eyes at each other, and we’re all happy.”
“You know, that might be a great plan if there
a database, Stupid. But since there’s
, you really just succeeded in pissing us off. From what I hear of Rick’s reputation, that’s not such a smart thing to have done.”
Curt stiffened behind her. “What are you talking about?”
“There. Is. No. Database. Get it? Why do you think no one’s ever found it? It doesn’t exist.”
“It doesn’t exist?” he cried, shoving her away so he could search her features with his gaze. Rick caught her wrist and jerked her behind him, shielding her with his body.
“No, Dumb Ass,” Sam snapped. “You know how much research I’ve done, how long I’ve looked, all the places I’ve excavated. There’s nothing to find or someone would have found it by now.”
“Then why are you here?” Curt waved the blaster wildly toward Rick. “With him.
Why would you be here if there wasn’t any treasure?”
She swallowed hard and hazarded a glance up at Rick. His eyes stayed trained on Curt’s weapon and his hand at her waist kept her firmly behind him. Looking at the ground at her feet, she said, “Because I wanted to be with him and this was the only way to do that.”
You’re kidding me.” Rick was eerily silent.
“No, I’m not. I knew if I told him the treasure was a myth, he’d send me home.”
“Are you serious, Samantha?” Curt gaped at her. “This has all been for nothing?”
“If you want the treasure, then yes, this has all been for nothing, which is no less than you deserve for pulling this lame-o stunt.” Her voice lowered. “But for me, I got something out of it. Even if I don’t get to keep him.”
Curt’s eyes narrowed suspiciously and he jerked his chin at the bag by her feet. “What’s in the bag? Why bring your tools down here, if there wasn’t any need for them?”
Her face suffused in a burning blush. “They’re not my tools.”
“I don’t believe you. Open the bag and prove it.”
“Fuck you,” Rick said. “Put the blaster away.”
“Not until she opens the bag.”
Resigned, Sam dropped to a crouch and opened the catch, revealing a variety of sensual accoutrements.
“Sex toys?” Curt cried.
She felt the ripple that went through Rick’s powerful frame.
“Jeez, Sam.” Curt threw up his hands. “You used to be a literary expert, now you’re—”
Rick’s fist connected with Curt’s jaw with a wince-worthy crack. The professor fell into unconsciousness and slumped at their feet.
“Wow!” Her eyes widened. “That was so cool. I love it when you get all alpha male.”
“I’m glad you approve.” He shook his head. “I still can’t believe you slept with this guy.”
“Don’t remind me. What do we do with him now?”
“I’m hogtying him and sticking him outside.” He turned to face her, his blue eyes dark with predatory alertness. She took a step backward. “Shit-For-Brains can wait until we’re done. Then I’ll take him and the vid to the authorities.”
“You were right on about Curt coming after us.”
“Yeah, and you were right on about bringing the vid to prove it. We’re a good team.”
Sam zipped up the bag and slung it over her shoulder. “Toss him outside and let’s go. The lift’s here.”
He stilled. “Go where?”
“To get the e-books.”
“You said you didn’t know where they were.”
“I wasn’t going to tell
where they were.” She poked Curt softly with the tip of her boot. “So I lied. I knew that would frustrate him enough to slip and give you an opening. It’s one of the reasons why he sucks at forensic work. He’s had the same information as me, he just couldn’t get it together enough to reach the same conclusions. The vid will prove he has no claim to the treasure.”
Rick was strangely intent as he stepped toward her. “Was everything you told him a lie?”
“Did you lie about everything?”
Backing up warily, Sam tried to figure out what he was up to. And failed. “What are you doing?”
“Asking you a question.” He crowded her into the wall, pulling the bag off her shoulder and dropping it to the floor. “Did you tell the truth when you said you wanted to be with me? Or was that part of the lie?”
The way he looked at her told her that
was the time to come clean.
“It was the truth,” she admitted, staring up at him. “I’ve known about this place for years, but it didn’t do me any good without the key. The moment you showed me this,” she reached inside his shirt for the data chip he wore around his neck, “I knew we had the treasure.”
He caught her hips in his hands and pulled her into him. The fact that he was fully aroused was not lost on her. “I showed you the key in your office the first day we met.”
Sam winced miserably. “I know. I’m a terrible, selfish person. I didn’t mean it to go this far. I was going to bring you here earlier, I swear. Then you tackled me on the table and made every one of my fantasies come true.”
“Yes.” She chewed nervously on her nail. “And then you said you’d keep making them come true and all of sudden taking you straight to the treasure wasn’t looking so good.”
Rick caught her wrist and tugged her finger out of her mouth. “You’ve been crawling around in dusty tunnels for weeks, Sam.”
“I had to make it look real, right? If I just hung out in your bed and then one day woke up and said ‘
Hey! I found out where the treasure is!
’ you’d know something was up.” Her shoulders slumped. “The truth is I’ve pretty much lied about everything. Except for when you made love to me. I never lied then.”
“Made love,” he repeated softly. His look was so intense it stole her breath.
She blushed and looked away quickly. “Sorry. I meant fuck. Really. A slip of the tongue. No pressure. I know we had a deal—no-strings, no-commitment sex. I’m totally okay with that. I’m—”
“I’m not okay with that.” He caught up her chin and forced her to look at him. “You’re not?”
“You’re giving me The Look.” She gaped. “Dear goddess, I can’t believe you’re giving me The Look after what I just told you.”
He bent his head and licked her lower lip. “The get-prepared-because-I’m-going-to- make-love-to-you Look?”
“Make love?” she whispered against his mouth, her heart racing.
“I can’t believe all the crazy things you’ve done just to be with me.” Rick pulled her closer and rested his cheek on top of her head. “I’m totally flattered that a woman with your brains would do something so completely off the wall for a guy like me.”
She snorted. “It’s not every day that a gorgeous mercenary walks into my office and offers to spend a month with me. It would have been dumb to blow the chance to hang out with you. I never thought we’d end up lovers. I just thought I could enjoy looking at you awhile.”
The look he gave her when he pulled back was both heated and deeply affectionate. “Let’s get rid of the professor and dig into those toys you brought.” He kissed the tip of her nose and then laughed out loud. “Were you planning a seduction here? On the dirt floor? Not that I mind,” he assured her quickly.
The fact that he didn’t want to jeopardize his chance to play with her made her feel all tingly inside.
“I was planning one last romp with you. I knew when I told you the truth about everything, you’d get really pissed.” She blushed. “I was being selfish again.”
“When it comes to me, you can be as selfish as you want.”
“Really? You’re not mad?”
“You can make it up to me.” He winked at her. “I still have the vid on.” Sam gaped. “Dear goddess. You want to film us fucking?”
Rick growled and set his hands on the wall on either side of her head. Then he bent his knees so he could rub his cock against her pussy. “Feel how hard it makes me when you talk like that? I want rip that suit off and ride you until you scream.”