The blackness continued to crawl over his irises, to chill his skin. “Does it matter? I murdered her while she begged for her life.”
“Yes,” she whispered, holding on to this man who saw himself as a monster. “It matters.”
Kaleb’s answer was a sickening portrait of Enrique’s evil. “He’d had free access to me since I was three years old, my shields embryonic; plenty of time to build countless back doors and switches in my mind. That night, he reached in and . . . took everything, while making certain I remained alert and aware of his actions.” Chill emptiness. “It gave him pleasure to know I was screaming inside while he used my body to carve her up. Mine was the last face she saw, my hand the one that drove the knife into her flesh over and over.”
“Enough,” Sahara snapped, terrified that he was going away as he’d done as a child. “You come back to me.” Blinking away tears, she refused to release his gaze. “That wasn’t you, Kaleb. You know that. Mind control takes away volition and intent and will.” It made the victim a flesh-and-blood marionette.
Kaleb’s lashes came down and when they lifted back up, nothing had changed, her Kaleb buried under the blood of an innocent woman who had never known that the boy she saw was another victim, not her murderer.
“No,” Sahara said and, rising up on the tips of her toes, pressed her mouth to his.
Kaleb always reacted to her . . . but not today. His lips remained cold, his hands by his sides.
Refusing to cede victory to the serial killer for whom she hoped hell was a vicious reality, she put one hand on his nape and, continuing to cup his cheek with the other, kissed him with a slow sweetness that was an invitation, a coaxing.
Come back, she telepathed. I need you.
His fingers brushed her hips, his hands rising to press flat on her back. One of his hands wove into her hair a minute later, the other pushing up under the thin black of her cardigan to splay on skin. An endless kiss, their bodies pressed impossibly close.
Not breaking the intimate connection, Kaleb lifted her up in his arms and carried her inside. The comforter was soft against her back when he laid her down, his body a muscled, heavy weight that made her moan, his lips on her throat a wet heat. “Kaleb. Kaleb, Kaleb.” The gasped chant was a reminder to him of who he was—not Santano Enrique’s creation, but Kaleb, who touched her with a primal passion and who always kept his promises.
Sinking her teeth into his lower lip when he kissed his way up her throat and back to her mouth, she released him after a quick bite. And when she looked up, it was to see Kaleb’s eyes looking down into her own. There were no stars, but the obsidian was sheened with midnight colors, beautiful and mysterious.
Her fingers clenched on the muscled heat of his back, the fine cotton of his shirt crumpling under her touch. “You came back.”
Closing his hand around her throat, he stroked gently, his mouth demanding on her own. She spread her thighs to accommodate his body, her core slick and soft. When he tugged at her cardigan, she reached down and pulled it off over her head to throw it to the floor. It left her dressed in a bra of delicate lace, her br**sts straining at the cups.
Kaleb released her throat to look down at her br**sts . . . and her bra straps tore in half, the center of the bra ripping to have the piece of lingerie falling off her body. It was the first time he’d used his Tk in such an intimate way, and her shocked surprise turned into pure pleasure when—still holding her gaze—he ran his fingers lightly over her nipple.
This time, his name whispered from her lips in a soft moan.
Looking up, his hair falling across his forehead, he closed his hand over her breast and settled his weight more heavily on her. Then he kissed her. Until her nails dug into his back and she was so wet between her thighs that her musk perfumed the air. Through it all, he petted and stroked her upper body with a hotly possessive hand that made it clear Kaleb Krychek considered her his.
And still, he didn’t say a word.
* * *
SAHARA under his hands, soft and silky and responsive. Sahara’s touch on his back, her taste in his mouth, the scent of her arousal a drug. Sahara who said his name as if it meant everything. Sahara who was and had always been the biggest fracture in his Silence. “Sahara.”
The deep blue of her eyes shimmered with emotion he couldn’t read, her fingers brushing his lips then her own in a silent invitation he had no intention of refusing. Her mouth opened at the first touch of his, her body arched and her thighs locked around him. He was caged by Sahara and it was the most painfully pleasurable confinement of his life.
Gripping the back of her neck, he tasted her so deep, she’d never forget the taste of him. Mine, he thought, you are mine.
When her hands went to the buttons of his shirt, he let her open them to the waist, slide her hands inside . . . press her lips to his skin in a sweet, hot kiss that splintered the second to last of his outer shields, the cracks going outward in a spiderweb that could collapse at any instant. The part of him that lived in the void, a creature without reason or boundaries, roared with black rage at being denied again, but that part—possessive and violent and of his soul—would die for Sahara in a heartbeat, and it knew he could crush her rib cage, collapse her lungs if he lost his grip on his abilities.
Wrenching himself up onto his elbows, he drew in harsh breaths and made a futile effort to reconstruct the shields. Impossible with Sahara so soft and sensual around him, accepting him though she knew the blood that coated his hands, stained his soul. Perhaps, the twisted, broken mess in the void said, perhaps she won’t turn away once she remembers the hotel room and the pain and the screams.