~A Purity Oneshot~
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Dedicated to Melzilla.
“I’m tellin’ you, Maddy! I’ll never—never—fall in love again!”
Dropping the glass onto the highly polished obsidian bar with a dull thump accompanied by the soft clink of ice cubes slipping around with the sudden motion, he sighed, avoiding Madison Cartham’s all-too-discerning eyes.
Her violet gaze flicked over the sullen countenance of her companion for the evening, the eccentric rabbit-youkai who answered to the nickname of ‘Bugs’. “Aww, sweetie . . . I thought you said you broke it off with him.”
Bug’s ruby red lips twisted into a pretty moue moments before a wash of color seeped into his cheeks. “I did!” he stated haughtily seconds before his righteous indignation faltered; as tears washed into his huge brown eyes. “Love is for losers, Maddy,” he stated, the anger in his tone thwarted by the cracking in his voice. “It’s just not fair! I gave him—gave him—the best three months of my life! Just handed them right over to him on a silver platter, as it were!”
Madison wisely refrained from laughing outright at the irony of the situation since Bugs was infamous for his love-‘em and leave-‘em attitude. Running her fingertips along the rim of the crystal glass as she gazed idly at the rippling red wine, she smiled and slowly shook her head. “I’m sure you’ll find someone else, Bugsy . . . you always do.”
Bugs heaved a melodramatic sigh and batted his mascara-smeared eyes. The electric blue eye shadow that he favored was smudged horribly, and he looked even vampier than normal—no small feat for him, in Madison’s estimation. “Honestly, you dedicate yourself to helping out a ne’er-do-well, and this is the thanks you get!” Bugs went on with a forlorn shake of his head that was completely contradictory in light of the righteous indignation that tinged his falsetto-inflected tone. “‘Don’t worry, sweetie, it happens all the time’ . . . ‘Really, it’s not the size of the man but the ability to use what the good Lord gave you’ . . .” Bugs trailed off, pausing long enough to down the rest of his Long Island Iced Tea before thumping the empty glass onto the bar with a dejected shrug before leaning in to whisper in Madison’s ear, as though he were about to impart a great secret to her. “I tell you, Maddy, it’s all lies: lies! Size does matter, damn it! It matters a hell of a lot! What’s the good of a cute little weenie you can’t feel?”
“Hmm, you have a good point there, Bugsy,” Madison agreed, waving at the bartender to bring another round.
Bugs uttered a terse ‘hrmph’. “I spent weeks of my precious time trying to help boost his ego, and for what? To be replaced by some schmaltzy bohunk from Sarajevo! Where is the justice in the world, Madison? Where?”
She almost laughed but managed to restrain her amusement lest she should offend the rabbit-youkai. “You poor dear,” she intoned, winking at the bartender—a young man who had introduced himself to Madison awhile back as Brad as he’d given her the critical once-over—before squeezing Bugs’ hand in a gesture of complete commiseration. “Don’t worry. I’m sure you’ll find the perfect guy out there, somewhere.”
Bugs waved his hand dismissively, his deep scarlet nail polish flashing in the ambient light. “If only Zel would admit that he really is gay somewhere deep, deep down,” he lamented.
Madison giggled since the odds of that happening were slim and none. Evan Roka Zelig, aka Zel Roka, was much too addicted to women on the whole to ever miraculously turn gay. “The day Zel Roka goes gay is the day that the world will stop spinning, sweetie,” she pointed out.
Bugs wrinkled his nose though not enough to upset the film of pale powder he’d dusted over his face. “A girl can dream, can’t she?” he pouted.
Madison smiled. “Of course you can, Bugsy.”
With another overly dramatic sigh, Bugs carefully tucked a long strand of slate gray hair behind one cute little ear. He’d agreed to let Madison choose the venue for the evening, which was why they were sitting in the classy club that was more reminiscent of the old places that were popular in ancient gangster movies of yore than the louder, seedier, grungier bars that Zel Roka, Madison’s best friend, favored or even the almost psychedelic-chic places where Bugs was normally a permanent fixture—places much like The Bunny Hole, Bugs’ night club: a place where women were women, and the men tended to be women, too. Madison nearly laughed again when Bugs’ face registered his general disgust with Le Chez, and she didn’t have to be brilliant to understand his marked distaste. Gay men might well stop in Le Chez, but they normally weren’t the flamboyant type that Bugs gravitated to.
“Anyway, I tried to talk Zel into coming out with us tonight,” Bugs went on, widening his eyes in one of his favorite expressions of childlike wonder. “He said he already made plans . . . probably with her.”
Madison giggled softly at the venom he’d inflicted behind his tone since the woman in question’s name was strictly taboo, as far as Bugs was concerned. “Rest assured, Bugs. Zel’s plans had nothing to do with that particular her, but I happen to know that he made plans with the one woman that you cannot hope to beat—ever.”
“Is that so?” he mused then sighed yet again, slugging back half of his drink, the defeated tinge in his aura nearly palpable in the quiet club. “You mean the one that even you pale in comparison to?”
Madison’s smile only widened. “Absolutely.”
Bugs turned thoughtful for a long moment. “I suppose that it can’t be helped,” he sighed.
Madison slowly shook her head. It was a commonly known fact that every living woman ceased to exist in Evan Zelig’s mind when he was presented with the opportunity to have his mother, Gin Zelig all to himself, as was the case tonight. “He loves his mama,” she mused, lifting the glass of wine to her lips.
“I suppose . . .” Bugs nodded. “Then that’s all right,” he finally allowed as he turned to glance around the opulent establishment. “You know, Maddy, if you loved me, you’d have chosen a livelier place than this,” Bugs pouted.
“There’s nothing wrong with this club,” Madison countered mildly. “I thought you wanted to go out for drinks, not use me as a decoy while you scoped out your next target.”
“Maddy, Maddy, Maddy . . .” Bugs chided, waving his hand in a completely dismissive gesture, “I do want to have drinks with you, but there’s nothing wrong with keeping my options open, don’t you agree?”
Madison smiled. She figured it was something like that. “You really know how to make a woman feel special, sweetie,” she murmured, smiling despite the rueful quality in her voice.
Bugs shook his head. “I told you, luvvie . . . if you’d get rid of those lumps of fat and grow a pee-pee, I’d be happy to drag you off to my bed, too!”
Madison couldn’t help but laugh since the ‘lumps of fat’ he was referring to were her breasts—one of her best features, in her opinion. “I’ll keep it in mind, honey,” she agreed.
Bugs’ hand shot out to snake around her wrist, his slim fingers digging into her tender skin like a vise. “Oh, my God!” he breathed, his voice taking on a reverent quiet despite the excitement that trembled just below the calm façade. “He just gets more and more delectable every time I see him . . .”
Turning on her stool enough to follow the direction of the rabbit-youkai’s avid gaze, Madison was not entirely surprised when she saw who, exactly, had captured Bugs’ absolute attention. Sitting at one of the tables at the back of the room with a glass of Palo Cortado sherry and half-hidden by the newspaper he was reading, Gunnar Inutaisho seemed completely unaware of the attention he was receiving from Bugs and Madison as well as from a number of other women frequenting the quiet establishment. It was surprising to see him here. He lived in Bevelle, Maine, where he worked with Bas Zelig and his wife, Sydnie in the youkai special crimes division, though he and Bas tended to split their time between New York City and Bevelle much of the time.
She almost laughed outright. Bugs would stand a better chance of getting Zel into his bed than he ever would that particular man . . . Too bad for the poor rabbit that there were only three men that he’d pine over—one being Zel Roka, another being Zel’s older and very straight-laced brother, Bas, and the last one? Madison smiled, pausing long enough to wink at Bugs before slipping off the stool and across the room.
“My, my . . . it’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I wasn’t expecting to see you in the city,” she said, drawing Gunnar’s attention away from the newspaper and offering him a little grin. “Waiting for someone?”
Gunnar very carefully folded the newspaper and set it aside, slowly rising to his feet and reaching to pull out the chair beside him for her. “Madison . . . lovely as always, and no. I’m just in town on business.”
She sat down and let him push the chair up to the table for her as Bugs slipped into the chair beside her. Gunnar’s expression didn’t change as he glanced at the rabbit-youkai.
‘He must be in a fairly mellow mood,’ Madison mused as her little grin widened. ‘Lucky Bugs . . .’
“It’s been ages, Gunnar. How have you been?” Bugs asked, waving at the waitress.
“Just fine, princess. And you?” Gunnar offered as he sat down.
Bugs giggled. “Oh, well, you know how it is . . . same ol’, same ol’ . . .”
“Good . . . good.”
Madison shook her head slowly. “The illustrious Gunnar Inutaisho, alone on a Saturday night,” she said, tapping her lips with the delicate point of her claw. “How did that happen?”
Gunnar chuckled, his amber eyes glowing softly in the dim light of the electric candle in the center of the cream-colored silk tablecloth. “Just thought I’d spend a quiet evening with a newspaper and a nice glass of sherry. Is that so odd?”
“Odd? No . . . a little surprising, maybe.”
“You know, Gunnar, we could do something about you being alone for the evening,” Bugs offered lightly, the expression on his face obviously teasing since he knew very well that Gunnar, of all people, wasn’t anywhere near being gay.
Gunnar’s smile turned indulgent. ‘He really must be in a good mood,’ Madison decided since Gunnar was generally given to smacking the idea out of Bugs’ head instead of humoring the youkai.
“Now, Bugs, you know that you’re just too much woman for me,” Gunnar commented dryly, lifting the sherry and swirling it before lifting the glass to his lips.
Bugs sighed melodramatically. “I know, love,” he lamented playfully, batting his thick fringe of false eyelashes prettily. “A shame, isn’t it?”
“Absolutely,” Gunnar intoned as the waitress stopped beside the table. “I’d like another sherry . . . a glass of red wine—your finest—and . . .” A discernible frown marred his brow as Gunnar narrowed his eyes on Bugs. “A strawberry daiquiri,” he finally stated.
Madison laughed. “Are you implying that Bugs is a fruit?” she asked with an artfully arched eyebrow.
Gunnar shook his head, his expression unchanging. “Absolutely not.”
“If I were a fruit, I’d be a cherry,” Bugs quipped.
“Why doesn’t that surprise me?” Gunnar replied smoothly.
“I’d let you pick my cherry,” Bugs went on, leaning over the table to pin the future Japanese tai-youkai with a meaningful glance.
“I’m sorry, Bugs,” Gunnar said, his eyes narrowing just the tiniest bit though his smile remained in place. “Maybe some other time.”
Gunnar chuckled. “No.”
Bugs clucked his tongue and waved his hand dismissively. “You’re such a damn tease,” he pouted.
“You’ll never know what you’re missing,” Bugs went on, craning his neck as he turned to inspect the people milling into the club. “Oh, my . . . hello, hello, hello . . .” His back straightened, and he bit his lip as he quickly whipped around to eye Madison as the waitress slipped their drinks onto the table without a world. “Maddy, darling, I know I promised I’d keep you company tonight, but I just saw something . . . interesting . . .”
Madison laughed. She’d seen the willowy creature enter the club, herself. Clad in a deep magenta silk suit with a calculated sense of lethargy in his every movement, it was easy to see just what had captivated Bugs when the man had smiled at him right off the bat, and whether Bugs knew him or not didn’t seem to matter. He was right up the rabbit-youkai’s alley, so to speak. “Have a good time, Bugs,” she allowed.
“You’re such a doll,” Bugs gushed, rising to his feet and leaning over to kiss the air beside Madison’s cheek, lest he should mess up his lipstick. “Thank you for the drink, Gunnar . . . ta-ta!”
Gunnar leaned back in his chair, cracking the barest hint of a smile as he lifted two fingers in silent dismissal as he watched Bugs’ hasty retreat. “Looks like you’ve been abandoned for the night,” Gunnar mused.
“So it does.”
“I thought Evan was in town,” Gunnar went on, wrapping the long, slender fingers of his hand around his glass though he made no move to drink the sherry.
“He is . . . Gin needed a date for the Zelig Foundation fundraiser tonight.”
“Mama’s boy,” Gunnar muttered, deliberately taking his time as he quaffed the sherry.
Madison laughed. “Are you telling me you wouldn’t do the same for your own mother?”
Gunnar’s smile was completely mesmerizing, wholly predatory despite the almost bored lilt in his gaze. “What do you mean? Drop everything?”
“Damn straight, I would. My mother is beyond reproach.”
“Why doesn’t that surprise me?”
Gunnar’s grin widened. “It shouldn’t. Anyway . . .”
“Anyway?” she prompted when he trailed off.
Gunnar sat back, the molten gold of his stare slowly, carefully scanning the club. He didn’t seem to be looking for anything, exactly. He was simply looking, she supposed, in much the same way that any predator kept tabs on his surroundings—an inherent trait of his dog-youkai heritage. Hair so black that it took on a bluish tint in the wan light, he let his gaze come to rest on Madison once more, and she smiled when he nodded once in silent approval. “In any case, it’d be rather unforgivable if I left you here to fend for yourself,” he allowed in a teasing tone of exaggerated tolerance.
He nodded, raising his glass in silent salute before sipping the liquor. “Absolutely.”
Madison didn’t answer right away, sipping her wine and delicately arching her eyebrows. “I wouldn’t want to keep you from anything important,” she said.
“Depends on what your definition of important is,” he ventured.
“And Stephanie?” she asked. Stephanie was Gunnar’s current girlfriend—resident girlfriend, truth be told. She’d moved in with Gunnar shortly after they started dating, and for reasons that no one else really understood, he allowed her to stay though it wasn’t a secret that she didn’t share his bedroom in the huge mansion that Gunnar called home. Just like any other girlfriend, Madison supposed. Gunnar wasn’t known for being faithful to just one woman, and Stephanie knew enough not to push the issue, whether she liked the arrangement or not.
Then again, what was there to dislike about it? Stephanie was heavily compensated. She had access to Gunnar’s money, and Madison knew damn well that the man didn’t rightfully care how much Stephanie spent or what she bought, either. That he allowed her to remain in his house was proof enough that he didn’t mind the raven-youkai’s presence, and Madison didn’t doubt that he took advantage enough of having a willing woman in residence whenever the fancy struck him . . .
“What about her?” he demanded without as much as blinking an eye.
Madison shrugged. “She doesn’t mind sharing you?”
“She’s out with one of the doctors she works with—and she’s back in Maine.”
“That doesn’t bother you?”
Gunnar’s smile turned indulgent. “So long as she doesn’t reek of him when I want her, why would it?”
“How magnanimous of you,” Madison demurred with a small smile.
“Come now, Madison. You should understand the situation better than anyone. After all, isn’t your relationship with Evan the same?”
“I’d hardly call it the same,” Madison countered, sipping her wine once more. “Evan and I are just friends, after all.”
Gunnar nodded slowly. “And Stephanie and I have a . . . mutual understanding.”
“Hmm . . .” she drawled, nodding slightly at a table off to the left where two women sat, shamelessly eyeing the future tai-youkai. “Looks like you’re being sized up.”
Gunnar paused a moment to glance over at the women in question before offering an indelicate snort and completely dismissing the two. “Not my type.”
“Expensive clothes . . . meticulous attention to their appearances . . . this doesn’t please you?”
The startling directness in Gunnar’s gaze gave Madison a moment’s pause as he sat up straight and leaned in just a little. “Yes, nice trappings, I suppose,” he agreed, flicking his gaze toward the women for the briefest of seconds before shifting it back to Madison once more. “A bit too nice, if you ask me. Those are the kind of women who get all clingy and jealous. Sleep with them once, and they think that they own you for life, and all because they knew where to shop and how to apply a little makeup.”
Madison giggled. “I suppose you’ve got a valid enough point.”
He chuckled. “And they’re human.”
“That’s a bad thing?”
Gunnar shrugged almost imperceptibly, almost more of a subtle shift in his aura than an actual physical movement. “Bad? No . . . just not something I’m interested in.”
“I see . . .” she mused. She’d never stopped to think about it; not really, but she realized suddenly that it was true. Gunnar never wasted his time with anyone who wasn’t youkai, and she had to wonder just how much grief it had caused him over time, the idea that he was hanyou and set to inherit such a top-lofty position such as that of the office of the tai-youkai . . .
Gunnar nodded, settling back in his seat once more, giving Madison an apprizing stare as he drummed his long fingers against the shining marble table top. “What about you, Madison?”
“Yes, you . . . do you proclaim ownership over your lovers?”
Madison’s smile widened as she slowly shook her head. “I don’t know, Gunnar . . . you want to find out?”
Gunnar strode around the shining black Jaguar and pulled the passenger side door open, stepping back and holding out a hand to assist Madison in getting out of the car in the well-lit parking garage under the building that Madison called ‘home’.
It was late. They’d spent much of the evening reminiscing over old times—he’d spend a lot of summers with Cain Zelig and his family in training, and Madison, because of her relationship with Evan, had always been around, too. It was comfortable, and she’d always been pretty easy to talk to, once the age difference between the two had seemed to lessen. She was nearly eleven years younger than Gunnar, but it didn’t seem important anymore. He had to admit that he’d been genuinely shocked when she’d approached his table in the club. Chalk it up to the last few years when he’d hardly seen her, he supposed. Sometime when he wasn’t paying attention, she’d gone off and grown up . . . and filled out right nicely, too . . .
Maybe it was easier to discount her when she was with Evan, and that was normally a constant thing. It wasn’t as though either of them had ever given off a possessive feel over the other, but even Gunnar had to admit, at least to himself, that their relationship was a little daunting. As close as lovers but obviously just friends, the two had gone hand in hand ever since Gunnar could remember. Looking back, it was difficult to think of a time when Evan and Madison weren’t side by side, and maybe that was the real reason she’d taken him by surprise.
The little black dress that clung to her provocative curves might have looked completely trashy on anyone else, and yet there was something about Madison that added a simple yet classic kind of grace, lifting her above the general populace—a stunning sort of beauty that needed no embellishment. Golden curls pulled up in a soft tangle that spilled over to cascade down her back in the softest waves looked sinfully inviting in the dim light of the club while those deep violet eyes never seemed to miss a thing . . . it was hard to believe that she wasn’t a model, that she chose instead to work as a hair stylist, and she’d proudly told him all about the newest of her three shops that she’d recently opened as a full-functioning day spa.
To be honest, Madison Cartham was everything he normally looked for in a partner: independent, self-confident, completely classy, and . . . and sexy as hell. Small wonder, then, that Evan fucked her every chance he got . . . ‘I suppose the pup’s got good taste—sometimes . . .’ Gunnar mused, gaze slipping to the side as he closed the car door and followed Madison toward the elevator, lagging behind just enough to allow himself to appreciate the fluid way her hips undulated as she walked. No doubt about it, the little girl with the golden pig tails adorned with ribbons with smudges of dirt on her rounded cheeks from tagging along behind Evan all day had disappeared only to be replaced by this mysterious creature—entirely familiar and yet completely foreign, none the less . . .
“I’d rather take the stairs, if you don’t mind,” Madison said, completely oblivious to Gunnar’s errant train of thought. “The elevator makes me a little queasy . . .”
“The stairs are fine,” he assured her, smiling absently as she pressed her hand against the sensor lock beside the heavy steel door. A soft beep indicated that her handprint had been accepted into the system, and the unmistakable click of the security lock being released echoed in the garage. She pulled the door open and held it for him. He braced it, allowing her to pass through the doorway before following her into the unnaturally bright cubicle.
The concrete stairwell extended above them. In the distance, Gunnar could make out the darkened rafters. Madison lived on the fifth floor of the ultra-exclusive building. He’d looked at one of the condos a few years ago when he’d started spending more time in New York City on business, but in the end, he’d bought a townhouse closer to the youkai special crimes office instead.
“Daddy said your division is making a lot of progress with a few of the more difficult cases,” Madison said, breaking the companionable silence that had fallen as the two climbed the stairs.
Gunnar nodded. “High praise coming from a man like Cartham,” he replied.
Madison laughed. “You make him sound so hard-assed.”
“Of course not . . . he’s just a little quiet.”
Gunnar chuckled, too. It was amazing to him that a man like Deke Cartham could be Madison’s father. The two were as different as night and day, and it hadn’t been until Gunnar had met Madison’s mother that it had finally made sense. The only things she had inherited from her father, it seemed, were his height—Madison was easily six feet tall—and her eyes, though Gunnar had to admit that Cartham’s eyes were a little harder to discern and were so dark that the color was often mistaken for black. It was strange, though, that unlike most youkai who tended to inherit their coloring from one parent or the other, Madison’s hair had always been a dark golden color where Cartham’s was black with silver streaks, and Kelly, Madison’s mother, had light brown hair, instead. Her face supposedly looked exactly like her mother’s, though—something that Gunnar figured was a little more difficult to discern since Kelly had to have a few reconstructive surgeries years ago to remove burn scar tissue she’d gotten when her house caught on fire years ago . . .
‘Who’d have thought that a cross between a skunk-youkai and an ermine-youkai would turn out like her?’ he thought with a slight narrowing of his eyes as he shot her a sidelong glance, appreciating the curve of her delicate ankles, the firmness of her gently rounded ass . . . The heat that surged through him was purely primitive: an animalistic lust that frothed and roiled.
He strode past her on the landing to open the steel door and stepped back to allow her to pass. The wide hallway was a stark contrast from the cold, clinical feel of the stairwell. Wall sconces burning with a soft yellowish light illuminated the passage, and the deep stained wood floors shone in the semi-darkness. Madison dug the plastic keycard out of her purse, tapping it against her claws as she sauntered down the hallway only to stop before the last door on the right side and sparing a moment to smile at Gunnar before swiping the card and waiting for the lock to release.
“Nice place,” Gunnar allowed as he pushed the door closed, slipping off his jacket and kicking off his shoes as Madison turned on a lamp and dropped her purse onto the table. Decorated in warm peach hues, the condo was completely welcoming; as warm as Madison’s personality. Delicate cream colored lace throw pillows were arranged on the plush sofa; framed photographs of family and friends added a cozy sort of feel. She wandered over to the wall panel and fiddled with the console. Moments later, the soft tones of instrumental jazz wafted through the room. There weren’t any visible speakers to be seen. She must have spent quite a bit on having the condo wired for environmentally integrated sound where the smallest fiber-optic speakers were built into the walls, thus delivering the highest quality of sound without the need to have hundreds of speakers stationed throughout a room. The music was quiet enough that it was unobtrusive, and he could appreciate her choice of music though he had to wonder if she’d chosen it for his benefit alone. Then again, if he didn’t know better, he never would have pictured the woman who was busy pouring two glasses of wine attending a raunchy rock concert and hanging out with the infamous Zel Roka, either.
Setting the wine bottle aside on the wet bar, she picked up the glasses and wandered over to him, extending one to him as he dropped his jacket over the back of a chair. “I hope wine is okay.”
Taking the glass, deliberately letting his fingers brush hers, he could feel the slight quivering set off by the simple touch as she closed her eyes just for a moment and swallowed hard. “Thank you,” he replied, gaze brightening as she lifted her glass with a noticeably shaking hand, as she sipped her wine. Deep violet eyes flashing up to meet his stare, she didn’t blink, didn’t look away. The creamy smooth flesh of her throat bobbed as she swallowed, setting off another surge of a visceral burn surging through him. “Why don’t we skip the pretenses?” she suggested, her tone low, husky, caressing.
“Are you always this forward?” Gunnar asked, cocking one eyebrow in mock surprise.
“Did you want to play that game?” she countered, arching an eyebrow of her own.
Gunnar’s gaze narrowed, but he couldn’t help the chuckle that escaped as he took her glass and set both aside on the table beside the sofa. “Games aren’t really my style.”
A catty little smile tilted the corners of her lips as she slowly reached out to trail her fingers down the center of his chest, the scrape of her claws against the cotton fabric resounding in his ears like thunder. “Mine, either,” she allowed, smiling as his muscles tensed and jerked beneath her casual perusal.
“Still, there’s something to be said about women who don’t come on too strong,” he pointed out.
Madison laughed softly, hands dropping to run her fingertips along the waistband of his pants. “True enough, I suppose,” she allowed with an exaggerated sense of concentration. “Then again, why bother with silly pretenses when you and I both know that I’m not nearly that naïve?”
“Point taken,” he relented, biting back a ragged groan when the heat of her breath, the scrape of her fangs glided over the roughened skin of his neck. She knew exactly what she was doing, didn’t she? The unmistakable scent of her rising passion filled his nose, engulfed his senses as primordial need slowly tightened its grip. She was dangerous, certainly . . . a woman like her could easily crawl under a man’s skin and dig in her claws before he had a chance to realize just what was going on . . .
“Oh . . . my . . .” she murmured, her scent spiking as she reached down, stroking him through the coarse fabric of his slacks. “Now, that’s impressive . . .”
“You think so?” he mused, a little disconcerted by her words. No, it wasn’t her words, was it? It was the voice whispering in his mind that maybe—just maybe—she was a little too familiar. A little growl slipped from him as Madison tugged his shirt from the waistband of his slacks, her hand gliding between the fabric and his skin, igniting a shocking heat that rippled over him, boiled deep in his veins. ‘Familiar, maybe, but . . . Dogs, she’s good . . .’
With a roughened sound—almost a snarl—he grasped her arms forcefully, holding her at arm’s length long enough for her to get a good look at the spiraling flames lighting his fierce gaze. He could hear her breath catch in her throat, could feel the crackle in her youki as she met his passionate entreaty—an unspoken whisper of the night. Madison understood, and Gunnar knew it: just this one time; no strings attached and no regrets . . .
Dragging her against his chest, her heart pounding an erratic rhythm matched by his own, he crushed her lips under his, allowing the full weight of the lust she’d invoked in him to have full sway. She felt good—almost too good. The prick of her claws stabbed through the material covering his shoulders, and she moaned softly, mouth falling slack as he thrust his tongue into the depths of her mouth, noting the sweetness of the wine on her breath. The sinful feel of his tongue gliding over her teeth, tangling with her tongue, was enough to wrench a ragged moan from him, every touch of her body against his a deliberate provocation—calculated seduction, and he had to wonder absently just who was baiting whom. Running his hands up and down her sides, fingertips slipping under the thin black silk that made up the teaser she called a dress, he savored the sharp inhalation as her skin leapt under his touch.
Slipping his arms around her, he pushed her back a few feet, stopping abruptly when she bumped into the wall. If she noticed the barrier, she gave no indication as he nudged her head to the side, his mouth falling to the erratic pulse in her throat. Teeth grazing over her delicate skin, he uttered a low growl, slipping his hands under her ass as she wrapped her legs around his waist, grinding her body against his, using herself to thoroughly massage him—to tease him—through the rough material of his pants. The blunted sensation was enough to make him shudder, and he responded to her demands with a harsh shove. Gasping softly, she bucked against him as the friction between their bodies exploded, crying out and digging her claws into his shoulders as the scent of her orgasm overpowered his senses, and he nipped at her neck in silent reproach. That only spurred her on, her body consumed by an invisible will, rising against him like the night tide with a synchronicity in her movements, an absolute beauty in her abandon.
Her grip loosened slowly, and she let her legs drop to the floor once more, the click of her heels against the hardwood floor a stark contrast to the soft reverberations still issuing from the stereo system. Her flushed cheeks pinked a little more as a lazy little grin twitched at the corners of her lips. She didn’t say a thing as she leaned against the wall, her chest heaving as she struggled to steady her breath.
Gaze drawn to the swell of her breasts showing above the deep ‘v’, he reached out, letting his finger trail along the opening. “Nice dress,” he commented in a harsh whisper. “Be a shame if I tore it; don’t you think?”
Madison’s lips curled up in a knowing grin, and she arched one delicate golden eyebrow. “Is that a warning?”
“Warning? No . . . more like a promise of what’ll happen if you don’t take it off. Now.”
She laughed softly and tipped her head back, nipping his chin playfully before bracing herself against his chest and ducking under his arm to take a few steps away. Tugging on the black zipper pull hanging in the generous cleft between her breasts, she slowly revealed her lightly bronzed skin. In the dim light of the table lamp, she seemed to glow. Clenching his fists tight as he turned to watch her, he gritted his teeth as she painstakingly pulled the zipper. The ‘snick’ of the metal teeth releasing sounded one by one in his ears as he made quick work of discarding his shirt.
He was about to reach for her to make good on his promise when she finally unhooked the end of the fastening. The garment fell open with a soft rustle of fabric against flesh, catching on her swollen nipples moments before she shrugged her shoulders, allowing the dress to slip down her arms only to pool around her feet in a whisper. Gunnar deliberately took his time, letting his gaze rake down her frame, enjoying the way her nipples tightened even more under his scrutiny, completely appreciative of the slight tang that engulfed his senses as she lifted her hands, cupping her breasts, flicking the pads of her thumbs over the distended nipples. Standing before him with her back straight and proud, she offered him a questioning glance though the smile that illuminated her eyes had yet to disappear. “Getting an eyeful, Gunnar?” she teased. A tiny triangle of black silk that was supposed to pass for panties beckoned him, and he stepped over to her, hooking the thin strap on her hip with his claw. Her skin erupted in a riot of goose bumps, and she uttered a low sound—not quite a moan, almost a sigh—as her eyelids drifted closed, as her body pitched against his.
“Something like that,” he muttered. “Tell me . . . what else is that pretty little mouth of yours good for?”
Her answer was a sudden jerk on his belt, a tug on the hook and zipper. Catching the waistband of his boxer shorts, she pushed them down his legs, the palms of her hands gliding over the smooth skin of his thighs. Sultry breath fanning over his scorched flesh, she closed her mouth over the rise of his hip bone, sucking gently as she reached up, grasping his balls in her hand, squeezing, kneading. Stepping out of his pants, spreading his legs to brace his stance, he let his head fall back for a moment before lowering his face once more.
She knelt before him on the floor, her eyes closed, the head of his penis resting against her ruby red lips, bringing to mind the inane image of a little girl saying her evening prayers. Stifling a moan as she opened her mouth, as she flicked the tip of her tongue against him, he couldn’t contain the savage shudder that slammed through him. She grasped him in her other hand, her fingers tightening around the length of him, and he could feel himself convulsing in her grip, could feel the first droplets of moisture seeping out of him as she slowly, carefully, sucked him deeper into the stifling heat of her mouth. The feel of her tongue stroking him almost too much to bear, and he watched through a haze of tortured passion as she drew him deeper, deeper . . . He could feel the head of his penis rubbing against the back of her throat as she let go of him only to slip her hands around him, kneading the taut skin of his ass, and he groaned. He couldn’t remember a time when he’d been allowed so thorough a penetration this way, and the sensation coupled with the sight of her lips wrapped tightly around him was a dangerous combination.
With a savage growl, he dug his hands into her hair, dislodging the bobby pins that had secured the mass of tangled curls in place. They fell to the floor without a sound as Gunnar took control of the rhythm, body tense and strained as he thrust into her mouth over and over again. The silken strands of her hair shone in the half-light with an ethereal glow, falling over her shoulders, tickling his hips, his thighs. The aching sensation in his balls thickened and grew, swelled bigger and more insistent with every passing second. Pulling back, breaking the suction she’d created around him, Madison ran the tip of her tongue around the groove at the base of the head of his penis, down the length of him, pausing now and again to nip at him, sending more shivers racing down his spine.
Wrapping her hand around him, she pumped him hard, pulling up on him as she leaned in closer, her tongue flicking over his balls moments before she carefully sucked one into her mouth. Gunnar growled once more, his hands closing around fistfuls of her hair and grinding his pelvis against her hand, increasing the speed of her ministrations as her tongue continued to swirl around his balls. “Damn it . . .” he gasped out, squeezing his eyes closed for a precious moment. He was dangerously close to losing himself—something that never happened from something as base as a blow job.
She laughed, sitting back on her heels to stare up at him as a wicked light danced in her gaze. The smirk widened, and Gunnar started to reach for her only to be thwarted when she lowered her mouth on him once more, sucking harder, drawing him deeper, her actions growing more demanding, as though she were being goaded by lust that matched his own. Scraping her teeth over him, she moaned low in her throat. The reverberation of the sound shot straight through him, severing the final strands of his reason. Face contorting into a grimace brought on by the absolute pleasure that bordered on pain, his body trembled, convulsed with the consuming force of a powerful orgasm. Madison’s lips locked around him even tighter as she drained him, as he slumped back against the wall for a moment, eyes slipping closed as he struggled to gather his scattered wits.
He opened his eyes in time to see Madison standing with her back facing him in front of one of the small tables flanking the sofa. She slowly turned her head, her eyes glowing softly, and she pulled the shallow drawer open before deliberately stepping away, bending over with her arms crossed on the back of a nearby chair and resting her cheek on her folded arms. The sight of her lithe body so provocatively displayed was enough to wring another low groan out of him. Clad in little more than a tease of black silk that she considered to be panties and black thigh-high stockings held in place by lacy elastic bands with those impossibly high stiletto heels, she spread her feet apart as a secretive little smile broke over her features. One hand slipped down her body, pausing for a moment to caress her breast, to tug on her nipple before continuing along the hollow of her belly only to slip between her legs, pushing the flimsy fabric of the black silk g-string panties aside, idly running her fingertips along the pretty little seam between her legs.
That was enough for Gunnar. Tamping down the rising irritation that she would deliberately provoke him, it warred with the need to dominate her, he strode over, spotting the condoms in the table drawer. He grabbed one, ripping the packet open and dropping it on the floor, pausing only long enough to roll the rubber sheath into place before grasping Madison’s hips and slamming himself into her hard. She was tight—almost too tight, and he had to grit his teeth against the orgasm that was already rising inside him. If she hadn’t been completely ready, he might have hurt her, but she wasn’t about to give him time to reconsider his actions, even if he had been so inclined.
She cried out and reared back. Gunnar slipped one arm around her waist, pushing her back down with his other hand as he rode her. Her legs trembled, her hips slammed back to meet his thrusts as little mewling sounds welled up in her throat and spilled over. Gripping the back of the chair, she held on tight as Gunnar slipped his hand around her, between her legs, carefully manipulating the tiny bud of flesh that controlled her passion, only to be rewarded by the ragged intonation of her cry. Her muscles contracted around him; her body convulsed as a fine sheen of perspiration broke over her skin. “F—fuck me,” she gasped out, her voice jarred by the continuing force of Gunnar’s movements, “harder.”
“Harder?” he echoed, grasping her hips in his hands and jerking her back against him, burying himself completely as she cried out again.
“Y-yes,” she breathed.
That was all he waited to hear. Slamming into her so hard that the crack of skin meeting skin echoed in the room, Gunnar gave her what she wanted, driving himself into her hard. His orgasm was powerful, painful, and he collapsed against her back, thrusting into her a few more times as the last of his pleasure surged.
He wasn’t even close to being satisfied, though.
“Lie down, Madison,” he commanded, straightening up and pulling out of her before slipping the used condom off and striding over to the trashcan beside the metal and glass desk on the far side of the room to get rid of it. He started to turn around but thought better of it, grabbing the can and carrying it with him to set it under the table before reaching for another condom.
Madison lifted her hips off the floor, pushing her panties down the length of her legs before rolling onto her hands and knees to crawl over to him, grasping him firmly and licking him clean. Gunnar chuckled as he watched her ministrations. Satisfied with her handiwork, she smiled up at him, wiping her lips with the back of her hand as she slowly lay back, planting her feet on the floor and spreading her knees wide.
Gunnar didn’t take his eyes off her as he rolled the new condom into place and dropped to his knees.
“Not such a bad way to spend a Saturday night, don’t you think?” she asked, her voice tinged with unspent lust as she gazed at him through half-closed eyes.
Slipping his arms under her knees to grasp her legs, he pulled her toward him, positioning himself to enter her. “Not at all,” he agreed as he pressed the tip of his penis into her. She gasped softly, eyelids drifting closed as she lifted her hips to better accommodate him. “Not at all . . .”
Madison moaned and rolled over, discarding the idea of retrieving the comforter that had been kicked down to the foot of the bed during the marathon sex-session that had just ended. Sometime after they’d fucked the first few times, they’d managed to move into the bedroom though sleep was just not something that either of them had even considered. The sun was peeking over the horizon, and she smiled idly as the first rays of watery weak light filtered through the window. There wasn’t a doubt in her mind that she’d be sore as hell after she got some sleep. Gunnar seemed to enjoy how flexible she could be, and to that end, she was pretty sure he’d found muscles that she hadn’t really realized she possessed.
Still, she wasn’t complaining. It was damn fine sex, and while she hadn’t really doubted that Gunnar—the control freak that he was—would be just as domineering in bed as he was out of it. She wasn’t complaining about that, either. In fact, it had to be one of the best sexual encounters in her life.
She sighed, forcing her eyes open as the first real wave of weariness stole over her.
‘Too bad it’ll never happen again,’ she mused.
It wasn’t that Gunnar hadn’t enjoyed himself. On the contrary, he’d admitted that she was one of the best lays he’d ever scored. No, the reason it wouldn’t happen again, in Madison’s mind, was just that once the lust settled and the passion subsided, she had felt the odd strain in the air. She didn’t doubt that Gunnar was the kind to get what he wanted and get out of there before it became awkward. Maybe he hadn’t felt as though he could or should do that with her since they’d known each other for so long . . .
“You don’t have to stay,” she ventured, leaning up on her elbow as Gunnar sat on the edge of the bed.
“What? You think I should just take off?” he teased despite the slight hollow quality in his tone.
Madison laughed. “Isn’t that what you normally do?”
“Perhaps . . . but . . .”
“Relax . . . I won’t think you’re a jerk or anything,” she assured him, rolling her eyes as she flopped onto her back.
He chuckled. “Mind if I take a shower?”
“Be my guest.”
With that, he’d disappeared into the hallway to use the guest bathroom even though the master bathroom had been much, much closer.
Madison sat up, taking the mug of coffee that Gunnar offered her. He looked completely refreshed, even dressed in the clothes he’d worn the night before. Then again, Madison couldn’t actually recall Gunnar ever really looking anything less than perfect.
“I made a pot of coffee. I hope you don’t mind,” he said in a tone that was as close to apologetic as Gunnar Inutaisho ever got.
“No, it’s fine, thanks,” she said, lifting the mug to her lips.
“Yes, well, I hate to go like this, but I’ve got to catch my flight home.”
She laughed softly. “It’s fine, you know. Last night was . . . amazing, but . . . well, you and I both know that it was just last night.”
Gunnar thought that over for a minute before finally smiling, and this smile looked like a real one. “It shouldn’t be this . . . strange, should it?”
Lifting her eyebrows as she peered over the rim of the coffee mug, Madison just smiled. “No, it shouldn’t.”
“It’s just that you’re a friend—almost family,” he went on.
“Gunnar . . . you don’t have to apologize to me,” she insisted. “Really, you don’t.”
He scowled at her. “I don’t regret last night. I just . . .”
Madison reached over and patted Gunnar’s hand. “I know. Me, too.”
He seemed to think it over but finally nodded, reaching out slowly and pulling her over against his shoulder before kissing her lightly on the forehead. “I’ll see you.”
“Absolutely,” she agreed, leaning over to set the coffee mug on the nightstand. Lying back down with a heavy sigh, she yawned as another wave of drowsiness washed over her.
Gunnar chuckled, standing up and pulling the comforter up over her. “Get some sleep, Madison,” he said, letting the back of his knuckles brush over her cheek as she closed her eyes.
“Have a safe flight,” she murmured softly.
She was asleep when he pulled the bedroom door closed behind him.
Palo Cortado sherry: A very rare type of sherry that is actually produced as an anomaly and cannot be manually reproduced; thus it is extremely expensive due to its rare qualities.
HaPpY BiRtHdAy, BAD!Mel!!! Hope the next year is as good to you as the last!
A very special thanks to Nymphminxgoddess for stepping in as a special beta for this project.
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Final Thought from Gunnar:
It’s Mel’s birthday but I get laid …? Not such a bad deal …
Blanket disclaimer for Potentate: I do not claim any rights to InuYasha or the characters associated with the anime/manga. Those rights belong to Rumiko Takahashi, et al. I do offer my thanks to her for creating such vivid characters for me to terrorize.