New York Detective Jake McCartey leaned back in his chair and took a moment to survey the stranger sitting across the table from him. The man was Ian Nottingham, a dark-haired, close-mouthed demon straight from the Gates of Hell, and Jake was drawn to him like a condemned moth to a flame.

“Do you understand the rights I’ve read to you?” he asked the man.

Jake glanced to the side. Sarah Pezzini, his partner, stood off in the corner of the room. He and Sarah were still trying to work the kinks out of their partnership, and it had surprised him slightly when she’d indicated he lead the interrogation. Sarah, even though she feigned ignorance, knew more about Ian Nottingham than he did, had even met the man on several occasions in the past, if his information was right. Why she wasn’t the one questioning Nottingham had him mystified, and Jake hated mysteries.

Nottingham’s voice drew his attention away from his partner.

“What’s your real story, Detective?” Nottingham asked, his gaze fixated on the shadow-swathed wall directly in front of him.

Jake ignored his body’s reaction to the slightly accented voice. “Would you like me to read you your rights again?”

Nottingham continued on as if Jake had never spoken. “Does everyone here really buy that champion surfer fiction of yours?”

His eyes widening slightly at the question, Jake allowed himself another moment to contemplate the man’s deceptively still form. He measured the broad shoulders, the thick dark hair, the long-fingered hands.

He reminded himself to breathe. Ian was just his type and any relationship with the man would, without fail, get him in serious trouble. No way in hell could he afford to indulge his desires. Not now. Not with him.

Jake tightened his fists and his control.

Refusing to acknowledge the stranger’s probing questions, he repeated himself. “Do you understand these rights?”

Their suspect not only declined to answer but kept his dark eyes focused on the empty space in front of him.

Frustrated, Jake turned and looked at his partner. “What’s wrong with him?”

A small smile ghosted across Sarah’s face. “You got a week?”

Jake looked back at the stranger and said in warning, “One final time.”

Moving forward slightly, he caught sight of the tiny scar on the edge of the man’s right eyebrow. The urge to stroke a finger across the slight imperfection alarmed him, and Jake clenched his hands even tighter in order to prevent such an action. “Do you understand the rights I’ve read to you?” he asked again.

The suspect’s eyes came alive for the first time since the start of the interrogation. “What do you think?” he answered harshly.

Ian’s voice violently disturbed the restraints Jake had placed upon himself. It snaked right under the barriers and coiled deep inside, daring his hunger to break loose.

Coming out of his chair in a mad rush of anger directed more at himself than at the man in front of him, Jake reached for Nottingham. “What do *I* think?”

“That would be a ‘yes’.”

Sarah stepped in and put a halt to the confrontation. “Jake.” With that small warning, she walked up to Nottingham and stood beside him. Her gaze briefly made contact with her partner, giving him permission to continue.

Reigning in his confusion and anger, Jake settled back in his chair. He thumbed through the papers on the table, pretending to search for a name he’d already memorized. “Mr. Nottingham? Do you know Armand Parsegian?”

“Doesn’t everyone?” Nottingham countered.

Jake allowed the sarcastic reply to pass with only the lift of an eyebrow. “Were you aware you were surveilling the man you were paid to bodyguard?”

Nottingham continued to stare at the wall. “I’d be a poor bodyguard if I didn’t.” Eyes flickering briefly to the side, he asked, “Did anyone ask you why you got whisked into this job over several candidates who were actually qualified? Did someone decide a certain quota was not being met?”

Jake struggled to hide his reaction. Nottingham was asking questions that could cause not only problems with his partner but also with his job. He needed to shut down this discussion as quickly as possible.

Moving on to the next question, he inquired, “Where were you today between the hours of twelve and three?”

“Sound asleep in my bed.”

The man’s answer was highly suspect, and Jake called him on it. “Asleep? At noon?”

“Yes. Alone, unfortunately.”

Nottingham finally moved, his head tilting toward Jake, his eyes catching his gaze, daring him to take the one thing he craved. “Perhaps you’d care to join me tomorrow?” Nottingham asked.

Contemplating the extended invitation, Jake stared at the man before him. The image of Ian licking a path down the length of his body seriously rattled his control, so much so that he found himself unconsciously nodding his head.

‘Oh yeah, I’ll join you, Jake thought, ‘join you in a way that will make one of us howl, and I’m bettin’ it won’t be---’

A movement from Sarah snapped his attention back to the matter at hand.

Wishing he could adjust himself, Jake instead leaned forward in his chair, and this time he was close enough to smell the man’s unique scent. A rush of searing heat traveled straight to his groin, fostering the need for looser jeans that much more.

“Last chance to answer my question,” he forced through clenched teeth.

Nottingham’s gaze returned to the shadows. “I’m sorry. Could you repeat it, please?”

Jake forcibly relaxed his fists. A to-do list was forming in his mind and beating the hell out of Ian Nottingham was right up there with rolling over and playing whore to the man. “Oh? You don’t remember what I asked?”

This time Nottingham turned and looked directly at Jake. The man’s piercing gaze went straight to his gut.

“I remember perfectly,” Nottingham answered distinctly. “I just wanted you to repeat it. I wanted to hear the sound of your hollow voice.”

The raven-haired stranger captured Jake with his next words, their unrelenting grasp stealing the air from his lungs.

“Do you remember, Jake McCartey, what *you’re* doing here? Now? In this police department?”

Fathomless eyes stripped away all the lies, all the pretense, and went directly for the jugular of Jake’s true self. “Do you remember who *you* really are?

The gauntlet had been thrown down, but Jake refused to allow this man to spill his secrets in front of his partner. There were secrets hidden within secrets that even he didn’t allow to see the light of day. The fear of discovery gave strength to the blow he landed on Nottingham’s jaw.

Before he could throw another punch, Jake found himself pushed away by Sarah.

“Hey!” she yelled. “Get out of here!”

Jake was in no way finished, and once more tried to get at Nottingham. “You gonna let this bastard make fools of us?”

‘Of me?’ he thought.

Sarah shoved him backwards. She then got right up in his face and yelled again, “Rookie! Take a break.”

Jake pinned Nottingham with his eyes. His gaze was returned with an intensity that dared him to disobey his partner’s order.

‘You fucking bastard,’ he muttered under his breath.

Ignoring Sarah, he took a step forward, his body demanding another opportunity to take what was so blatantly offered. There was an energy that surrounded Nottingham, and his parched soul fed on it.


His partner stopped him in his tracks and pushed him toward the exit.

Jake tore his arm free of Sarah’s grasp and exited the room. Holding back the words he wanted so desperately to yell, he slammed his way inside the observation room next door. The second he was through the door he launched himself at the far wall, flattening his groin against the cold, cement wall.

“Get a grip, McCartey,” he whispered harshly. “You’re losing it, and now is not the time.”

After taking several calming breaths, he pushed himself away from the wall. The first thing his gaze focused on was the visible bulge straining the crotch of his jeans.

“He’s a suspect, damn it!” he reminded his raging hard-on. “Sexy as shit and smart-mouthed as all hell but a suspect none the less.”

Jake closed his eyes and berated himself for hitting Nottingham. He normally wasn’t abusive towards those he interrogated, being more comfortable in the good cop role. But this man, this man he wanted to beat to a pulp. The only thing wrong with that was the fact that he wanted Nottingham to do the same to him. Take him down, hurt him, fuck him until he couldn’t move a muscle.

Opening his eyes, Jake found himself standing in front of the two-way mirror. He placed his hand against the cool surface of the glass and shakily traced the outline of Nottingham’s form.

“You know my secret. How in the God’s name do you know my secret?”

Jake bolted from the room, afraid Nottingham’s perceptive powers extended to two-way mirrors. Blindly he made his way to his office with the maddening voice of a demon echoing in his head.

‘Do you remember who *you* really are?’

Jake slammed his fist down on his desk, the sudden pain a welcome distraction from the panic ripping through him. “Son of a bitch! He knows. Ian Nottingham knows I’m---”

“Heard you took a swing at your suspect.”

Tearing his gaze away from his aching knuckles, Jake glanced over his shoulder and found Captain Dante standing in the doorway to his office. “Lost my cool,” he offered with a shake of his head

‘Lost a whole lot more than that,’ his mind screamed at him.

“Don’t apologize.” Dante walked further into the room. “I’m bettin’ he deserved more.”

Jake took a seat and stared at the shadows crowding the corners of his office. The searing image of himself chained naked to a bed with Nottingham dressed in leather, holding a whip, towering over him rose up to further torture his sanity. He raked a visibly shaking hand over his face. “The next time I see him, he’s gonna get more.”

Dante claimed the edge of Jake’s desk for his seat. Angling forward, he casually inquired, “The question I’m asking myself is just why is your partner holding that dirtbag’s hand?”

Jake jerked his head up. “What the fuck?”

Before Dante could say another word, Jake was out of his seat and striding down the hallway. He threw open the door to the observation room and stared disbelievingly at the two-way mirror, confirming his boss’ statement.

Jake stumbled when he noticed Nottingham staring straight at him. So challenging was the man’s gaze that he felt himself take a step forward. He pressed his hands against the glass, foolishly testing the solid barrier that lay between them. Realistically he knew the man couldn’t see him, and yet, Nottingham’s eyes had him nailed in place.

The silence inside the room was shattered by the suspect’s hushed voice. Jake shuddered at the sound.

“Can you imagine the freedom truth gives a person?” Nottingham nodded slightly at Jake, a barely noticeable smile teasing the left corner of his mouth. “Or maybe you prefer the prison of lies that keep you from your destiny?”

Jake lowered his head, afraid the man’s gaze could actually penetrate the mirror and force him to lay bare his desires. “Would you please just leave off with the questions, already?” he asked the empty room. “I’ve got enough on my plate without adding your know-it-all ass to the mix.”

Absently rubbing the hand that had roughly caressed Nottingham’s jaw, Jake quietly left the room.

After going a few feet down the hallway, he turned around and walked back to speak to the uniform standing outside the interrogation room. The officer looked up at his approach.


Jake ran a hand through this hair while silently questioning whether he should answer to the demands of his lust. It was a short debate.

“When my partner’s finished with this suspect,” he told the officer, “I’d like for you to make sure he’s placed in holding cell 69.”

Chuckling, the officer jerked on a belt that was nearly obscured by his huge beer-gut. “I’ll take care of it, Detective McCartey,” the man answered. “Guess you figure this guy needs a little more one-on-one questioning?”

Jake avoided the cop’s eyes and glanced out a nearby window. He squinted against the late afternoon sun. “Yeah, something like that.”

Turning to leave, he stopped and pinned the uniform with a warning glare. “He’s mine, uh,” Jake glanced at the man’s name tag, “Officer Petty. No one touches him but me. Understood?”

The leering grin on Petty’s face grew even larger. “I’ll pass the word on, Detective. This boy is the sole property of one Jake McCartey.”

The balding cop slapped him on the back. “Too bad, sir, you wanting exclusive rights,” he explained when Jake looked at him in confusion. “Ellis downstairs in Booking was just saying how much he’d love to check out that dark beauty of yours. According to him, your suspect’s got one fine ass.”

“I really hadn’t noticed, Officer Petty,” Jake replied.

Grimacing, he turned a deaf ear to the skeptical laughter that followed him down the hallway.


“This is wrong, shit-fucking wrong.”

Jake closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Several seconds passed while he attempted to control the hunger burning in the pit of his stomach. Without warning the image of Ian’s piercing brown eyes crashed through the barriers protecting his secrets, and his body reacted violently.

Curling forward in his chair, he fought to calm the fire in his groin. The struggle became hopeless the moment the memory of Ian’s voice whispered to him.

‘Perhaps you’d care to join me tomorrow.’

Jake threw himself from his chair and bolted out of the office. He ignored the questioning looks directed at him by keeping his head down and his gaze focused solely on the floor. Pausing at the end of the hallway that would lead him to lockup, he took a moment to argue with his conscious.

‘He knows.’

{And the problem is?}

Jake shook his head. ‘I have to talk to him. Have to know how he found out about me, this assignment. He could jeopardize everything I’ve worked for if someone really takes the time to listen to him.

{That is a load of crap. You’re going to see this man for one reason and one reason only. Don’t pretend you’re concerned about maintaining your cover.}

Jake ran both of his hands through his hair, pulling viciously on the short blond strands. He hoped the sharp pain would distract his thoughts.

{Nice try, kiddo. No dice. I know what you’re thinking and what you want. Go ahead, go *talk* to your suspect. Ignore the way his eyes rake over your body, stripping you naked. Ignore the way his mouth will look wrapped around your dick. Ignore the raw images of his body slamming into yours as you beg for him to free your soul.}

{Deny it. Deny it all, Jake McCartey.}

“Fuck!” Jake pounded his fists against the cement wall and was totally unconcerned when the rough stone tore the skin of his knuckles.

Pushing away from the wall, he continued down the hallway to lockup. Once he gained entrance to the area he took no notice of the curses and taunts hurled at him by those imprisoned behind the steel bars of justice.

“Commit the crime, do the time, you assholes” he muttered.

With one last wary glance over his shoulder, Jake rounded the corner. He quickly moved toward the precinct’s isolation cell. It was known as Cell 69, aptly named for the unmonitored activity that took place inside its bare walls.

“What the hell?”

Jake stared open-mouthed at the sight before him. Nottingham stood leaning against the bars, his arms stretched over his head, his hands gripping the uppermost section of the frame. His whole demeanor suggested he was a condemned man about to be flogged.

“Evoking the spirits of Purgatory, Detective?” Lowering his arms, Nottingham captured Jake with his unfathomable gaze. “Is it there, in Hell’s Abyss, that you hide the truth behind your secrets?”

Without thinking, Jake moved a step closer. “My secrets are my own,” he hissed.

“Are they? Is that why there are no eyes watching us?” With a nod of his head, Nottingham indicated the empty camera mounting on the wall. “Or do you plan to finish what you started in the interrogation room earlier today?”

Lust and anger battled inside Jake, and he lashed out with words. “Fuck you, Nottingham. If I wanted to pound your ass into the ground, I’d damn well do it, witnesses or no witnesses.”

“Pound my ass? Be careful, Detective. Your words betray you.”

Jake shot the one finger salute at his prisoner. “You don’t know jackshit about me.”

Without warning, Nottingham reached out a hand and grabbed the front of Jake’s shirt. He jerked him forward.

“I know the truth that lies beneath your handsome California looks,” Nottingham insisted, “the truth you deny every time you look at a man. I can hear the petition of your soul, the soul that has been denied repeatedly by the carefully constructed restraints you’ve placed upon yourself.”

Jake groaned when his overheated groin slammed itself against the steel bars of the holding cell. If he could have forced his way through the unyielding barrier, he would have.

“My soul has nothing to do with---”

Fingers pressed against his lips, preventing the lies he had voiced a million times before. He eagerly sucked the fingers inside his mouth, uncaring that his capitulation came without protest.

Forcing his eyes to remain open, Jake found his gaze mesmerized by the small smile that curved Nottingham’s mouth. He was further caught by surprise when the man released his shirt and shifted his grip lower. The hand that groped his crotch dragged another groan from him, and he feebly struggled to free himself.

“Your words lie but not your body. The proof of your need I hold in my hand,” Nottingham said. “Do you dare to deny it?”

His balls were possessed by a not-so-tender grip. Instead of fighting back, Jake welcomed the pain and the fire it ignited.

Putting his own hands into play, Jake seized Nottingham’s coat and used it as leverage to drag him closer to the cell door, bringing him close enough to kiss. The mating of their mouths was violent, almost brutal, each of them vying for supremacy.

Blackness began to creep around the edges of his vision, forcing him to tear his mouth free or faint. Afraid he would fall flat on his sorry ass, Jake maintained his hold on Nottingham’s coat while replenishing the oxygen in his starving lungs.

“You bastard,” he declared half-heartedly.

Nottingham acknowledged the censure with the barest nod of his head. “I am what I am,” he calmly answered.

The hold on his balls was released, but before Jake could mourn its removal, he was distracted by the loosening of his belt and the unzipping his jeans. Nottingham maintained eye contact with him the entire time, daring him to complain. Why in the hell would he do something like that when it was exactly what he wanted?

“Oh shit,” Jake hissed when Nottingham’s hand slithered inside his pants and grasped his erection through his briefs. “Stop,” he pleaded. The demand sounded pathetic even to his own ears.

Lips that tasted like sin slid wetly across his own. They were accompanied by a questioning eyebrow and knowing smile.

“Free your soul, Jake McCartey,” Nottingham whispered, his words deceptively simple and deadly dangerous. “Deny yourself no longer.”

Jake clenched his eyes shut and threw back his head, his body trembling as it eagerly thrust into the skillful hand encircling his hardening shaft. The searing heat of his impending climax threatened the last remnants of his sanity, and he clawed at Nottingham’s coat in order to keep from reciprocating.

“Feed me the words that will release your soul,” Nottingham softly demanded.

His prisoner’s hand maneuvered its way inside his damp underwear and brushed against the head of his erection. Crying out, Jake convulsed with pleasure when one finger delved lower and scraped the super-sensitive area just behind his balls.

Forcing a hand free, Jake gripped the back of Nottingham’s head and tangled his fingers in the thick ebony strands of hair. He then offered his request with a kiss, his words barely breaking the silence before being swallowed by an insatiable mouth.

“Please. Oh God, please.” Jake opened his mouth to Nottingham, finally acknowledging the hunger that had besieged him for years. The demand for caution was obliterated by the need to give of himself, of his soul, to this man, this man who could break him with his words.

Closing his eyes, he reached for the narrow belt and the zipper hidden behind it.


Jake found himself pushed violently away from the holding cell door. The sudden shift caused him to hit his head on the cement wall behind him. The ensuing pain dispensed the sexual haze that held him in its grip.

Stunned beyond disbelief at his behavior, Jake hid his face from Nottingham while righting his clothes. “You work for Kenneth Irons, correct?” he asked, forcing a calmness he was far from feeling.

Nottingham bowed his head. “He commands me, yes.”

“McCartey!” an unseen voice yelled. “Get your ass over here. Pezzini wants you.”

Jake ignored the summons. “How do you know about me?”

Instead of answering, Nottingham lifted to his mouth the hand that had been wrapped around Jake’s manhood. It was sniffed then thoroughly savored. “I was told,” Nottingham finally said between licks, “therefore, it is.”

Frowning, Jake glanced down and checked himself. When he looked up, Nottingham had retreated and stood cloaked in the shadows. “Yeah? Well don’t believe everything you’re told.” He ran a hand through his hair and started to turn away. Nottingham’s voice snagged him before he could retreat to safety.


Jake glanced over his shoulder. “What?”

The dark-haired stranger glided out of the shadows just enough for Jake to see his face. “We *will* meet again, and I *will* listen to you beg for release.”

‘In my dreams, Beautiful,’ Jake silently answered.

Tendrils of exquisite fire reminded him of the pleasure he’d experienced at the hands of the man before him. His dick took notice of his thoughts and dampened his briefs in a most embarrassing way.

Clearing his throat, Jake did an about-face and walked away. “Don’t hold your breath, Nottingham.”


Jake again sought refuge in his office. His heart rate gradually returned to normal once the fire that had stolen his sanity had faded to a slow burn. Taking a deep breath, he forced his mind to refocus on the job at hand by mentally reviewing what had been told to him months earlier.

‘Your job, Special Agent McCartey, is to infiltrate this secret society of rogue cops and bring it down. Do whatever is necessary to get your ass welcomed into the White Bulls. These cops are dishing out their own brand of justice and reaping the benefits by confiscating the goods. They must be stopped at all costs.’

Looking across the hall at Captain Dante, Jake dipped his hand into his jacket pocket and fingered the bullet that identified those associated with the group. His superior’s voice took up the mental dialogue going on in his head.

‘We call ourselves the White Bulls,’ Dante had informed him, ‘and this invitation to join is offered to you one time and one time only.’

Making his decision, Jake pushed back from his desk and stood up. He walked across to his captain’s office and announced his entrance with a knock on the door.

Dante shoved the folder he’d been examining back in the file cabinet. “What’s up?” he asked.

Jake closed the door and stepped further inside the office. He searched Dante’s eyes for a second before quietly saying, “I’m in.”

Dante smiled and nodded his head. “You won’t be sorry.”

Jake swallowed the bitter taste in his mouth and prayed those words would be prophetic.


“Hey, Rookie!”

Jake glanced up from shutting down his computer. “Yeah?” He grabbed his jacket and shouldered into it as his partner elbowed her way past several detectives standing outside their office.

“Nottingham just got released.”

Caught completely off guard by the announcement, Jake stumbled slightly and had to grip the edge of his desk. “Released? Why, for God’s sake?”

Sarah slammed her helmet down on her desk. “The DA said we had no evidence to hold him on.”

“Shit!” His curse was directed at more than just the blow delivered to the case he and Sarah were trying to build against the man. Nottingham was out, and his promise to make him beg would be collected on sooner than he expected.

Jake turned his back on his partner and pressed a hand to his groin. ‘Stop it,’ he silently admonished the organ eagerly springing to life. Sarah’s voice interrupted his lustful contemplation.

“Watch your ass, Rookie. Nottingham was looking for you when he left.”

Jake felt the muscles in his butt clench in response to his partner’s warning. ‘Watch my ass? A whole squad of Marines could be guarding my ass, and Nottingham would still find a way to nail it to the wall.’

{And that’s exactly what you want, isn’t it, Detective?}

Jake slammed the door shut on the infuriating voice of truth that continued to worm its way into his consciousness.

“Thanks for the warning, Sarah.” He grabbed his folder on Nottingham and made for the door. “I’m out of here. See ya tomorrow.”

His partner’s voice pursued him down the hallway. “Be careful, Jake.”


Entering the semi-dark confines of his bedroom, Jake stripped off his jacket. It fell to the floor, along with the folder he’d brought from work. An 8 x 11 photograph of Nottingham slithered out. Grabbing it up, he stared at the black and white picture and meticulously catalogued the man’s mysterious features. It didn’t take long for his gaze to zero in on Nottingham’s mouth. Perverted images of those lips sliding down his dick rose up to haunt him, and suddenly there wasn’t enough air in the room for his starving lungs.

The familiar sound of handcuffs clicking open broke the silence. Jake snapped his head up, his eyes going straight to the mirror that hung over the dresser. A shadow moved, then took on the solid form of the man he’d been fantasizing about.

Nottingham stepped forward into the moonlight spilling across the room, and the flutter of curtains behind him informed Jake that his visitor had been invited in by an open bedroom window. Cursing his carelessness, he turned around and faced his intruder.

Without saying a word, Nottingham stepped to the side and revealed the bed behind him. The king-size mattress had been stripped of its flannel layers and was now covered by a single sheet of black silk. Attached to each bedpost was a short length of chain with each length connected to a pair of handcuffs. All four chains were stretched tight, pointing unerringly to the leather flogger lying in the center of the mattress.

Jake gasped when Nottingham’s warm breath stirred the hair on the nape of his neck.

“It is time to beg for your soul.”

Jake bowed his head and answered simply, “Yes.”

Gloved hands made quick work of baring his flesh to the darkness of the night. Those same hands guided him onto the bed and secured his wrists and ankles with the handcuffs. Fear and anticipation warred within Jake, and he shivered uncontrollably when a blindfold dropped down over his eyes.

It was at least sixty seconds before the warm flesh of Nottingham’s naked body plastered itself to his back. “Yes, hell yes,” Jake muttered as the weight pressed him down into the mattress. His head was dragged back, held immobile as lips devoured his words. He pulled against his restraints, testing the bonds that held him captive.

A quick nip to his bottom lip and the taste of blood blossomed inside his mouth. The flavor of his existence was quickly stolen by his captor, each crimson droplet collected by an insatiable tongue. He was still savoring the flavor of Nottingham’s mouth when the kiss of sharp teeth left a trail of bite marks from his neck down his back to the curve of his ass.

“Damn it, Nottingham,” Jake grumbled. “I’m not some slab of meat. Fuck me already.”

The foreplay was nice, but it wasn’t what he wanted. Tonight he wanted one thing, and Ian held the answer to his needs in his right hand.

Fingers stroked between his quivering cheeks and deliberately tested territory that had gone untouched for far too many months. “Your body cries for my touch, Jake McCartey,” Nottingham whispered. “Shall I ignore it as you have?”

Jake turned his head and kissed the strands of the flogger gliding across his lips. “Free me,” he begged.

Nottingham bruised his mouth with a second kiss. “Your wish I shall grant.”

The first taste of the whip caught Jake by surprise because his attention was still focused on the words that had been offered to his swollen lips. “Shit!” he cried. His shout of protest was thankfully ignored.

Nottingham struck him again and again, and the muscles in his shoulders tensed each time the thick leather strands grazed his naked flesh. Blow after blow kissed his back, each one increasing in intensity.

Soon the exquisite pain stirred the fire, and Jake clawed the silk sheet, ripping the fragile material as the whip teased him closer and closer to the edge. He arched into each blow, and grinned when the sound of wood splintering caught his ear. It wouldn’t be the first time he’d replaced a broken bedpost, nor, he hoped, would it be the last.

Fingers slick with spit invaded his body. Jake greedily welcomed the intruders. “Please,” he pleaded hoarsely, his voice scarcely breaching the silence of the room.

A flurry of precisely aimed hits traveled down his back, and the lancing pain of each strike distracted him from the steel shaft pressing against the sheltered entrance to his body. The moment his brain refocused on the intruder, Jake groaned in encouragement, “Yes. Fuck, yes.” His verbal consent was acted upon immediately. One thrust and he was completely impaled, his ballsac kissing its twin with a loud smack.

Fingers gripped his hips and lifted his ass as his legs were kicked further apart. The new position allowed deeper penetration, and a cry was ripped from his throat when Nottingham nailed his prostate.

Words were abandoned for air, and once Jake could speak again, those words, along with his sobs for release, were stolen by kisses. His cries rapidly evolved into screams as the tight heat of his ass was relentlessly plundered.

“More. So close. So close.”

One last blow of the whip wrapped its strands around his neglected erection. The unexpected caress of leather violently tore his orgasm from his body, and incoherent sounds spilled from his lips as his seed stained the black silk sheet beneath him.

Pulling futilely at the chains that held him imprisoned, Jake bucked wildly. “Finish it, damn you,” he growled. Nottingham complied, pounding him into the mattress with such fierceness it was a wonder the bed was still standing by the time they finished.

Jake collapsed when finally a torrent of liquid heat filled his ass. His body convulsed a second time and the exquisite spasm that racked his frame was almost too much for him to bear. “Ian, you son of a bitch. What are you trying to do? Kill me?” he mumbled. So lost in the exquisite lethargy possessing his trembling limbs, Jake almost missed the silky words that teased his ear.

“Your soul flies free, Jake McCartey. Never again deny it its freedom.”

Jake gripped the gloved hand that removed his blindfold and stroked his cheek. “Stay,” he pleaded.

Nottingham rested beside him until the shadows of the night were replaced by barest hint of daylight. It was only then that his visitor bent to the task of removing the handcuffs. Jake attempted to turn over but was stalled by feather-light kisses scattered across his back. He was further devastated when a moist homage was offered to the bruised entryway of his body.

“Man, keep that up and it'll be your turn to wear the cuffs.”

Sadly, Jake watched as Nottingham slid gracefully from the bed and replaced his clothes. He was all for begging his new lover to return and was prepared to do so when Ian turned back for one last look. Something glinting on the floor caught the man’s attention, and Jake cursed whatever it was that had denied him a last glimpse of Nottingham’s heart-stopping gaze.

Nottingham knelt and collected the item on the floor. Jake noted the tenseness that took hold of his lover’s body, but his sleep-sated mind refused to put an explanation to it. He was, although, alert enough to perceive the intense scrutiny turned in his direction and couldn’t help but wonder at the curses that shattered the silence. His lover was pissed to say the least. Regrettably his brain was a lump of mush and not up to the task of deciphering the mystery of the unidentified object.

Closing his hand around the handle of the whip, Jake tucked it under his body and prayed Nottingham’s anger had nothing to do with him. He was down for the count and seriously doubted he could fight off any sort of attack.

“Ian?” he softly questioned.

Nottingham placed the item in the pocket of the jacket laying discarded on the floor. He then moved back to the bed and lightly skimmed his hand along the curve of Jake’s bare rump. The soft caresses that followed lulled Jake to sleep, and he missed the glitter of hatred that invaded the fathomless eyes staring down at him. He also missed the words that, minutes later, floated through the darkness and out the window.

“Those who travel the path of corruption will not be allowed to harm the one who wields the Witchblade. Jake McCartey, your life has just been forfeited. Enjoy the dreams that embrace your soul this night for they shall be your last.”

The end


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