She lifted her arm to snatch it. I tilted my arm up, shaking my head slowly.
“I found a price for my soul.”
“Let’s hear it.” She folded her arms over her chest.
“Stop visiting your ex-husband’s grandmother. It is inappropriate, ungrateful, and sends the wrong message.”
There was a beat of silence in which she tried to digest how I’d known about this to begin with.
“No,” she said, point-blank. “She has no one. She is senile, and lonely, and in desperate need of companionship. She doesn’t have much longer to live. I’m not going to turn my back on her.”
It surprised me she didn’t deny visiting her ex-relative.
Although it shouldn’t have. I was always under the impression Persephone was easier to handle than her friends and sister—aka the PMS Brigade. In practice, my wife simply had an unconventional approach to things. Instead of standing her ground, she perched on it cutely with a sweet smile on her face.
But she was still, technically, on her ground, not moving an inch.
“She’s not your responsibility anymore.” Bracing my knuckles over my desk to stop myself from popping them, I leaned forward, feeling the threads of my cool unraveling.
“I’m not buying your soul for the price of tarnishing mine.” She erected her spine. “Sorry, hubs, you’ll have to think of something else.”
“I’ll hire a nurse for her.”
Was I really negotiating with this woman? Again?
“No,” she said flatly.
“Two nurses,” I gritted out.
She shook her head.
“The woman is senile.” I bared my teeth. “She is not going to know the difference between you and a professional.”
“But I will.” She unfastened her hair clip, her golden locks spilling like waterfalls on her shoulders. “And I’ll know I turned my back on someone helpless just because of my husband’s whim.”
I wanted to…wanted to…what the fuck did I want to do to this woman?
And why the fuck did I think the word fuck in my head just now?
I did it again.
She ambled toward me, putting her hand on mine from across the desk.
“Cillian,” she whispered. “Listen to me. The two most important decisions in our lives are not ours to make. Our creation and our death. We don’t choose to be born, and we don’t choose when or how we die. But everything in-between? That’s our jurisdiction. We can fill in the blanks as we please. And I choose to fill mine by doing the right thing. By being a good friend—a good human—according to my standards.”
Calmly, I retrieved the contract between us and shoved it into my office drawer. I locked it, disposing the key in my front pocket. I wasn’t going to get my way—not tonight, anyway—but negotiations were my playground, and the small print was where I thrived.
She was going to stop seeing the old hag, if I had to work full-time at making it happen.
I rounded the desk, leaning against it and crossing my ankles.
She closed the space between us without hesitation, willing and responsive. Perfect. I’d never met someone so agreeable yet so stubborn.
We were flush against each other, her flowery scent invading my nostrils.
“Seen your Aunt Tilda recently?” My hand slid to her cheek, palming it. She took a ragged breath, her entire body trembling to my briefest touch.
I wondered how receptive she was to her ex-husband.
How hard she quivered when pressed against someone she’d actually chosen.
Someone whose arms I sent her directly to.
“Yeah, I did, in fact, the other day…” She stammered, letting me tug her into position. Her thighs straddled my right leg. I angled her so her clit pressed against my muscled quads. “Uhm, which, I guess, was Tuesday?”
She wasn’t thinking straight.
Unfortunately, neither was I.
I dipped my head down at the same time she tilted hers up, her lips parting for me. I took her mouth in mine, pressing my knee between her thighs, feeling her muscles sealing against me. A moan fell from her mouth. She pushed her breasts to my chest, rubbing against me everywhere, craving friction. My tongue danced with hers, and I gathered her face in my hands, deepening the kiss, trailing my mouth down her chin, then her neck, stopping to draw a lazy circle around her racing pulse with the tip of my tongue when I reached the sensitive part of her throat.
Her fingernails dug into my shoulders. She was close to climaxing from kissing alone. We were electric together, and I wondered when she was going to draw the line. To realize the things I wanted from her weren’t things she was willing to offer.
“Oh my God, Kill,” she yelped.
Rather than pointing out God didn’t exist, my mouth continued its journey south, to her collarbone, then to her tits, which I cupped, my tongue sliding like an arrow between them. She grabbed my head and pushed it to one nipple. I suppressed a chuckle, peeling off the side of her dress, slipping her pink, erect nipple into my mouth and sucking it. She sighed into my hair, her little talons grazing my shoulders as she dragged her hands down my back, claiming my ass cheeks like she was trying to squeeze water out of them.
“Give me everything.” She lolled her head back and forth, her lips against my hair, mumbling, “Every inch of you. I want everything you give them and more.”
The women I’d paid.
The women I was going to continue paying because Persephone wasn’t born, prepped, and meant to fulfill my dark fantasies. That was out of the question.
She was too good.
And besides, I had to be the dumbest man on planet Earth to deliberately tangle my life with hers any more than it already was.
I moved to her other nipple, lapping, pulling, and biting. Teasing her with my mouth, I brought her to the brink of an orgasm, to a point she was humping my leg shamelessly. I knew she was close. The tremors in her thighs told me so.
I chose that moment to rip my mouth from hers and step away.
She nearly fell on the desk. I clutched her waist and tugged her back to me, tilting her chin up. “Do I still kiss like a hungry Rottweiler?”
I was pleased to find my voice was the same dry, bored rumble.
She cleared her throat, boneless against me.
“You’re improving. This one was better.”