Four Years Ago…
Pussy came easy. But then, for me, most things came easy.
As I slid a glance over the lithe, naked back of the blonde in front of me and locked my teeth, I wished some things came easier than others. It didn't matter how much my balls ached or how much sweat dripped off my brow, there’d be no relief for me, no matter how many times I had her.
As she moaned, writhed, and shouted things that were dirty enough to make any porn star blush, I fought to stay focused. She was a means to an end. Unfortunately for me, that end wasn’t pleasure. It was more like revenge. She had information I needed. And she, like half the women in London, was susceptible to the Chase charm.
She screamed through her orgasm, and I just wanted it to be over. A means to an end. She was Alistair’s wife. Screwing her was one more domino on my way to taking down the man I hated.
My brain did me the favor of replaying the night over and over and over again. Every decision I’d made. Every step that had led me there. How well she’d sucked my cock on the way to Notting Hill. The slide of her tongue over the length of me as I spun my Huayra over the rain-slicked streets of London. The feel of her pussy milking my cock. Her brazen offer for me to have her any way I wanted.
But I had zero desire to come. And no amount of fucking this nearly nameless, faceless blonde would solve that. After it was over, I’d barely remember her. Hell, I could barely remember her name as it was. Georgina? Jemima? Julia? Something J-sounding. Bugger, I really did have to get better with names. But I would remember whose wife she was.
I pulled away from her, and she made a half-hearted, feeble attempt to reach for me. Who was she kidding? That was orgasm number four for her. She’d be out cold in seconds.
I slid the satin sheet over her naked form and sat on the edge of the bed. My dick twitched as if to remind me of how I got into this mess in the first place. I scrubbed a hand down my face. I sat there for several minutes until her deep, even breathing alerted me to her slumber. Right. Time to go to work. I tugged on my boxer briefs and slipped into the living room where she’d dropped her bag.
I made sure I kept an eye on the bedroom door as I booted up her laptop. Thanks to one tequila too many and my very skilled hands working their magic under her panties, she’d told me everything I needed to know to take a decent stab at her password. I got it on the third try. Cat’s name. I didn't bother to roll my eyes.
When I was done copying all the files to my external hard drive, I shut down her computer and slid it back into her bag before silently stalking back into the bedroom. She was still knocked out, but the sheet had shifted slightly, exposing her bare arse. Fuck. Maybe I should have taken her up on her offer to fuck her however I wanted.
I scowled at my straining erection. My cock begged me to go back to bed. To give it another go in the hopes that this time would be different. That she would be different. But I knew better. What was the definition of insanity again? No point in going back to it, mate, it won’t do any good.
There was only one way to relieve the gnawing, clawing hunger. But knowing the solution didn’t mean I wanted to go through with it. Get in the shower. Release the tension. Then call the cleaning crew to deal with the unwanted guest. Most importantly, I had to ignore that niggling thought at the back of my skull. That tiny voice telling me the kind of man I was. Telling me that inside, I was beyond buggered. Truly fucked up and there’d be no respite for me. This was my personal hell.
I didn't bother to tiptoe into the spacious bathroom because I knew she wouldn’t wake up anytime soon. I avoided the mirror and stepped into the shower, blasting on the hot water and letting the piercing pellets from multiple sprays scorch my skin. In a long-practiced move, I reached for the shower gel, using just enough to coat my hands, then I stroked myself.
A harsh groan tore from my throat on contact. So, bleeding good. I focused on the memories of the woman in my bed. The gentle, yet suggestive smile as she’d brushed up against me. That was always my favorite part. The possibility of something great.
Of course, it was never great. At that point, I doubted I’d know an epic shag if it came up and bit me on the arse. But I kept repeating the same patterns over and over again. What was the definition of insanity again?
It didn’t help that, thanks to the Chase name, the royal connections, and my face, woman after woman happily climbed into my bed.
But the end result was always the same. I was dead inside. My balls ached as I stroked myself, my palm smoothing over the flared tip. I hissed in a pleasurable pain at the friction. So… on edge… almost… Just needed…
My release hit me with the force of a tank, and I shook violently as stream after stream of come shot out of me. I clamped my jaw tight, unwilling to cry out with my release.
As soon as it was over, I did what I always did and turned the water as cold as I could stand it. Then I let my body slide down to the tiled bench seat as the self-loathing seeped into my pores.
There had to be a better way. I would only survive so much more before I became irrevocably broken. Maybe it was already too late for that.
* * *
My heart thundered with each step, and I fought to control my labored breathing. The more I pushed, the more everything burned. My lungs, my chest, the muscles in my thighs, my overly taut calf muscles. In contrast next to me, my brother seemed completely unbothered as we pushed the pace of our run.
With the spirit of competition riding me, but more the need to outrun my demons, I pushed harder, forcing my legs to move faster. Next to me, Lex matched my pace but his breathing hitched, and I smirked. The way I saw it, we both had some demons to outrun.
Despite my hoodie, the chill of the morning settled into my bones. Or maybe that was still the slithering stench of self-loathing. I’d left the J-blonde in my bed. If she was still there, the cleaning crew would arrive soon enough to help her along her way. And even if she tried to wait for me, she’d soon realize I wasn’t coming back. Not anytime soon anyway. I didn’t live there.
That flat was strictly for sex and for women I had no intention of ever seeing again. There was no way I was bringing anybody to where I actually lived. I didn’t need this feeling permeating into my real life. It’s already here. Separation of fucking and life was important to me, and never the twain shall meet.
I had far too much riding on my goals. It was time I got serious. I couldn't afford to get distracted. At least that’s what I told myself as I forced my legs to keep going.
Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a woman bundled against the chill of the morning pushing a baby pram while she jogged. Her chocolaty complexion reminded me of the one woman I shouldn’t want and couldn’t have. Instinctively I turned to get a better look.
That brief break in concentration tripped me up. Literally. I went arse over teakettle on the grassy trail, forcing Lex to jump out of the way.
Through labored breathing, my brother leaned down and offered a hand. “All right, Xan?”
I glared up at the hand offered and scowled. I wanted to take it, I really did, but I'd punished my body and the prone position was feeling far too comfortable at the moment. I didn’t stand. “Fine.”
Lex dropped smoothly to his side in the dewy grass. “Glad to hear it. Now maybe you can tell me why we're running like we’re in Olympic training.”
What's the matter, my pace too fast for you?” I deflected immediately. Lex was too adept at seeing through me. We'd been through too much together.
“I kept up, didn't I?” With a sigh, Lex tried a different tactic. “What’s really going on with you?”
“Sorry. My mind's just on the purchase of Trident Media stock. I need everything to go right. It’s got me edgy.”
Lex nodded and ran a hand through his dark hair. “I understand. Though, if it’s causing this level of stress, maybe we shouldn’t be doing this.”
I watched my brother from the corner of my eye. There was no mistaking we were brothers from our tall, lean frames to our facial features, our coloring, and our silvery-gray eyes. Only Lex’s hair was inky and dark, while I still sported the dirty-blond hair I'd had as a child. But some days our personalities were so far on opposite ends of the scale I wondered how we could be brothers. “Didn't we already cover this territory?” For months, since I had told him the plan, Lex had tried to talk me out of it. “You don't think that fucking twat deserves to pay for what he did?”
“Of course I do. You know what happened on those stairs that night. But this plan of yours, it’s eating at you, Xan. Corroding you from the inside. You’ve been edgy and snappish, even to Abbie, who you normally think walks on water.”
I winced at the mention of her name. Abbie Nartey shouldn’t have meant anything to me, considering she was my brother’s girlfriend. But from the moment she’d become my student, I’d had a soft spot for her. Make that a very hard—never mind. She was the reason my brother smiled again. And she was my student. I’d put aside the feelings I had for her a long time ago. Mostly.
“I’m not exactly the warm, soothing, agony aunt. She knew that about me when she took the job.” And normally, she gave as good as she got. But Lex was right. Even I knew my mood swings were a special kind of toxic.
“This is what I want, Lex. I need to do this. Then I can walk away. Start fresh. I can't let him walk around like he owes us nothing. He could have stopped the abuse at any time, but he didn’t. He could have told someone, but he didn’t. And he could have admitted the truth, but he didn't.” What I didn't say out loud to my brother was the secret shame I carried. He didn't have to hold me down for his father, but he did.
No. We’d continue with the plan. Alistair McMahon’s company, Trident Media Group had been financially backsliding for some time, and they’d been selling off chunks of stock to recoup their losses. Stock Lex and I had been purchasing through various companies. For now, we were holding on to it, but when all our ducks were lined up in a row, the two of us would have enough shares to dismantle Trident brick by bloody brick. And thanks to the information from J-girl’s laptop, I might have something big enough to destroy him for good. “I have the information we talked about.”
Lex shook his head. “Do I even want to know how you got it?”
“Xan, this is a dangerous game.”
“Go on with the stock purchase. I’ve got Garett working on the data. If there’s anything on her computer we can use, I’ll let you know. In the meantime, I’ll work on phase two.”
Phase two was more difficult. Alistair McMahon sat on the board of London’s Artistic Trust. I had to get myself on that board in order to topple all of my dominos for a more effective blow. But getting on the board was easier said than done.
My brother studied me as if he could divine the truth out of me, then eventually sighed. “Okay. Do you want to continue this grueling pace, or have you had enough?”
I pushed myself to a standing position. “We can take it easy heading back.”
Lex smirked and bounced up next to me. I wanted to curse my brother's energy. My legs felt like lead weights. That’s what happens when you try to outrun demons. “Who said I needed to take it easy?”
“Of course, you don’t.”
I tried to stand, but I groaned instead. “On second thought, I still have some kinks to work out.”
“I’m proposing to Abbie.” It was blurted out in a rush, and Lex flushed red as he said it.
For several long moments, I couldn't compute the pain that radiated through my chest or the words that caused the piercing headache in my skull. But slowly, the words started to piece together. Propose. Abbie.
hat was it. In that moment, I knew what I had to do. I'd shut the door ages ago on anything ever happening with Abbie, but a piece of me hadn’t let her go. Though it was less about her and more about what she represented. But she was all Lex's now.
The guilt was quickly overshadowed by joy. I might be in excruciating, radiating pain, but Lex looked happy. The kind of happy that people could only experience when they had nothing holding them back.
I let that joy from my brother fill me and drown out the guilt and the remnants of pain. Pulling my brother to me, I hugged Lex hard. While I embraced him, I blinked away the stinging in my eyes. I could be happy for him. If anyone deserved that kind of happiness, it was my brother. And Abbie of course. Especially since Jean Claude had threatened to kill them both. I could have lost them. This, this was far better.
There was no point in feeling any loss for myself. It wasn’t my moment. “Mate, I'm so happy for you.” Lex hugged me back, and we stood there in the middle of the park embracing each other. When we pulled back, we both ignored each other's misty gazes.
Fuck, why couldn’t I rid myself of the impending tears? “Good for you. Now you tell Nick that he may be your best mate and all, but I’m the one standing next to you on the big day.”
Lex used his t-shirt to wipe his face. “Well, let's get her to say yes first, shall we?”
“Let's face it, she's nutters about you. She’ll say yes.” And somehow, I'd have to figure out how to deal with that.
My brother licked his lips. “You’re okay, though?”
“I’m bloody brilliant. I’m about to get a sister.”