Brazen and the Beast (The Bareknuckle Bastards #2)

She came forward and pulled his shirt from his trousers, loving the way he moved with her, helping, his muscles flexing with pleasure at every brush of her fingers. He took it from her hands, pulling it over his head and dropping it to the deck, and reached for her, pulling her in for another kiss. She gave herself up to it, her hands roaming down over his chest, her palm sliding flat along his skin until his stomach muscles tightened beneath her touch and he hissed his desire.

She nipped at his full bottom lip and pulled back. “Aren’t you cold?”

“I’m hot as the fucking sun,” he said, hauling her in for another kiss. “Now, about those plans . . .”

She laughed and slid her fingers through his own, lifting them over their heads, to a hook on the mast, where the trailing ends of the ropes that worked the mainsails were neatly coiled. She didn’t have to tell him to clasp that hook. Didn’t have to tell him to keep his hands there. Not even when she backed away from him.

“Where are you going?” he growled, not liking the way she pulled away from him.

Hattie smiled, circling the mast until she found what she was looking for, a length of rope that had come unmoored since the ship had been docked. Returning to face him, close enough to feel his heat, she leaned up and wrapped the rope around his wrists, carefully, so it did not chafe even as she tied a perfect knot.

He grunted as she stepped away and he tested the bindings, his eyes coming to hers. “You like this.”

“Very, very much.” There was nothing not to like. He was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen, all long limbs and thick muscles, the image of him making her mouth water—and the desire in his eyes making her ache to touch him again.

“Stop looking, Siren.” She lifted her eyes to his. “It’s time for you to take what you want.”

She approached. “What do you want?”

“All of it.” The response was instant. “I want everything you want.”

She shook her head. “That’s not enough. This is for you.”

“Pleasing you is for me.” He’d said it before, in his rooms. And she hadn’t believed him. But tonight, she nearly did.

She stepped closer, no longer able to be apart from him. “What would the Sirens sing to you, Beast?” Her hand slid over his chest, her thumb stroking over the flat disk of his nipple. He sucked in a breath. She caught his gaze. Stroked again. Saw the flex of his jaw. She leaned in and pressed a kiss there, lingering, stroking, until he let out a harsh “Ahhh.”

She smiled against his skin. “I like that.”

“As do I.”

Her hands stroked up his arms, then down, down over his chest and torso, over his smooth skin, brushed with soft hair, lower and lower, to his waist, where that hair disappeared beneath his trousers. She worked the first button there, then the second and third. “When I saw you the other night?” she said quietly. “I thought you might touch yourself here. For me.”

A low rumble sounded in his chest.

She pressed a soft kiss to his broad chest as she worked his trousers open, and another as she pushed them down past his hips, revealing the hard length of him. His breath came in harsh pants when she reached for him, and then stopped altogether when she took the smooth length of him in her hand. “So hot,” she said. “So hard.”

“For you, love.” The words were wrenched from him, followed by a low, thick groan when she rubbed her thumb gently over the broad head of him.

She smiled at his chest. “You like that.”

He exhaled harshly. “I do.”

She looked up at him. “What else do you like?”

He threw his head back against the mast, staring up at the stars. “All of it. My God, Hattie.” She pressed another kiss to his chest, fisting him in her hand—down, then up again, until he cursed softly in the darkness. “I want to touch you.”

She shook her head, licking over the nipple she’d missed earlier. “Not right now. I’m busy tempting you.” Another stroke of her fist. “You like this.”

“Yes.”

“Tell me what else you like?”

His eyes opened and desire pooled deep in her at the look of him, wild with pleasure. “No.”

She leaned up and kissed him, and he was ravenous, eating at her mouth with his own. When she pulled away again, he grated, “Untie me.”

She smiled. “Do you think this was how Odysseus felt?”

“I don’t care. Untie me. I want to touch you.”

She shook her head, lowering her attention to the steel length of him in her hand. He looked, too, and they watched as she stroked him, over and over, until the ropes above them creaked with his resistance. Their sound, combined with the rhythm of their breath and the smooth slide of him, was enough to make Hattie ache. “You won’t tell me?”

He bit back a groan. “What?”

“What you want?” She met his eyes.

He shook his head, but did not look away from her. “This is for you.”

She smiled, feeling like a queen. “And if I told you that I, too, want it?”

His exhale burst from him like he was in pain, but she was already moving, sliding down his body, to her knees. “Fuck, Hattie,” he said softly. “You don’t have to—”

She smiled at the words, pressing a kiss to the muscle above his thigh that plunged in a V toward the straining length of him. “I liked this very much when you did it to me.”

“So did I, love,” he growled.

“Will you like it, too?”

“Yes.” The word was a breath. “God, yes.”

“May I?” she asked quietly.

He grunted, his hips moving toward her. A silent plea.

She opened her lips over the hard, straining tip of him, licking her tongue gently over him, gently, tentatively, uncertain what he would like. He pulled tight against the ropes, his back bowing at the touch, and he shouted her name in the darkness.

He liked it.

Hattie did, too. The feel and taste of him, the strength of him beneath her hands and against her tongue, and the pure, unmatched power he gave her. Hattie had never felt this way—so certain. So strong. So desired, it felt like he might do anything to have her.

It was need.

She took him into her, the salt and sweet of him like nothing she’d ever experienced as he talked from his place above her, this strong, silent man who seemed to only ever have words in the throes of pleasure. He whispered wicked words—words like harder and deeper—words like tongue and suck and fuck, Hattie, just like that. And she followed where he led, took him slow and deep, reveling in his pleasure. In her own.

She liked this.

She liked him.

She loved him.

He was pulsing against her tongue as she found a rhythm that made them both mad—and then he was making filthy promises, like please, Hattie . . . more, Hattie . . . if you don’t stop, I shall come . . . but she didn’t want to stop, especially not when he lost all words—every word but one.

“Hattie . . .” Again and again, over and over, until she, too, forgot everything else, and then he was giving himself over to pleasure, and to her, and, finally, to release, loud and unbridled and glorious, just them and the ship and the docks and the sky.

And when she released him, she was full of a single thought.

More.

More of this power, this pleasure, this partnership. She was greedy for it.

For him.

She opened her eyes and looked up at him, his eyes riveted to her, unwavering. Her heart pounded. “Untie me.” The words were harsh and nearly broken, and Hattie wondered if she’d gone too far.

Was he angry?

“Now. Untie me.” She scrambled to her feet, reaching for the knot, requiring her to get close to him. Close enough for him to dip his head and suck at the soft skin of her neck and send shivers through her. Close enough for him to scrape his teeth along the curve of her jaw. To sink his teeth into her earlobe before hissing, “I am going to make love to you, finally. Properly.”

The sheer need in his voice had her fingers fumbling at the ropes, her gaze flying to his, gone mad with desire. He thrashed against the bindings, wild, like the Beast for which he’d been named. And then he added, pure cold command in his voice, “Now.”

“Yes,” she said, breathless with want, but her fingers wouldn’t work, and he was growling his frustration, and she was echoing him, and then she remembered . . . She pulled back and met his wild eyes. “You glorious man. You have knives.”

She pulled one from the holster at their feet and in an instant he was free, his arms coming around her, the knife she’d used spinning across the deck—neither of them caring as he lifted her in his arms as though she weighed nothing, upending her balance—her whole world—until her back was against his clothes piled beneath them.

He kissed her lips, then down her neck before he loomed over her, the lantern casting him in golden light, his bare shoulders flexing and his hands working to pull her skirts up, up, up, until he found the slit in her pantaloons and met her eyes. “I like these undergarments less than the ones the other night.”

She nodded.

“No more of them.” And with a wicked rip, they were gone, and—

“Ohh,” she sighed as he growled at her neck.

“So wet.” His fingers sank into her and he met her eyes, watching her as he stroked deep. “I like that.”