Six hours, forty-seven minutes and twenty-two seconds. It had been six hours, forty-seven minutes and twenty-two seconds since Aiden had walked out of the basement and left Ava dangling from the ceiling in tears. He knew because he had been timing it on his phone the moment he set foot outside of the bleak grey main room in the basement with the bright fluorescent lights. For six hours, forty-seven minutes and twenty-two seconds, Ava-Marie Lockewood was denied comfort, human contact and nourishment. By the time the seventh hour struck she would have run through every emotion pertained to her situation –anger, fear, resentment, denial, self-pity, sorrow, and once the seventh hour arrived -surrender. She would be so exhausted from channelling all of her energy into trying to process and escape from the mental and physical prison that Aiden had constructed from the jagged pieces of her shattered reality that she would just give up, and that was when he would finally acknowledge all of her unanswered cries for help.
It was always tiresome to wait out the first few hours with a hostage; they made such a terrible racket as they stormed through the phases, but if you kept them uncomfortable enough and didn’t attend to their basic human needs, sooner or later they would fall silent and accept that their tragic fate was in your hands. Of course you had to make sure that you caught them before they wore themselves out and fell asleep, because once they had had a rest from their living nightmare and actually had a chance to dream of better days, they’d wake up and realise that they had something to fight for, and then you’d have to start the waiting process all over again. Aiden was anxious to get Ava out of there so he could initiate the next phase of his torture.
Over the years, Aiden studied the people he captured and found that a certain personality type followed a certain pattern. He had passed some of his waiting time by thoroughly scouring through her Facebook profile to better understand her so he knew what to do with her next. Ava was a humanitarian. Like Aiden, Ava had a saviour complex, but hers was pure. She was passionate about making the world a better place for everyone else, even if she couldn’t benefit from it, which is why she participated in so many good causes. Ava’s father had provided her with an exceptional life, making sure she wanted for nothing, making sure that she knew that she was loved, cared for, and that she had his support (no matter how radical her charitable endeavours). Ava was happy, and all she wanted was to spread that happiness to other people, requiring no personal gain, not like Aiden did.
Ava was something beautifully rare; she was made of so much unfiltered light and love that it almost bothered Aiden that he had crashed into her world so hard that he left cracks in her skin. Although she had proven to be an angel on paper, Aiden could sense wildfire in her veins. It flared to life when he touched her, making itself known by the wicked way her cinnamon skin flushed rose gold and burned like a double shot of Appleton rum, the way her toasted early autumn eyes flashed like afternoon sunlight peeking through the quivering leaves, and the way her short, sharp, shallow breaths became heavier, struggling to take flight from between her pleasantly parted lips. That inner fire was craving to consume her and burn her golden halo of virtue to blackened ashes of pleasurable sin.
That is how Aiden would ruin her; his darkness was going to slip between the cracks in her skin and fill them with gasoline, then present her with a match disguised as a new cause to fight for; him. Once she reached for him she would catch alight and it would be all over for her -the price of Aiden’s ‘salvation’ was Ava’s destruction.
“Isn’t it about time you let her down now? It’s been seven hours.”
Aiden looked up from his computer screen to see Ash in his office, leaning over his desk with her scarlet hair falling unintentionally seductively in front of her deep turquoise eyes. He pressed his lips together and leant back in his padded leather desk chair, “This doesn’t concern you,” he growled quietly.
Ash straightened up and folded her arms across her chest, “Mighty told me what you did to her, so I had to go and see for myself.”
“Because I know what it’s like to hang from those chains,” she murmured silkily, raising her perfectly arched eyebrow at him, “Or have you forgotten?”
Aiden scowled at her. He didn’t have time for Ash to make more of Ava’s torture than it was. He didn’t have time for her to make it about her. “Ash, this is different,” he said firmly, providing no further explanation.
“I noticed. Her wrists are cut up pretty badly,” she smiled approvingly.
He cocked his head to the side, his dark eyes studying her carefully, “And that makes you happy?”
“Yes,” she replied without hesitation or shame.
Ash’s smile became tainted by a nostalgic sadness; “Because you never hurt me like that,” she said quietly.
Aiden clasped his large hands together on top of his desk, forcing professional formality into the informal conversation that he didn’t want to have. “Like I said; this is different.”
“It’s not that different though. Mighty said you…touched her.”
“I did,” he admitted in a clipped tone, his patience was wearing thin.
Ash closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and forced herself to swallow the aching lump in her throat, fashioned from envy and her lingering heartache. “Will you touch her again?” she whispered.
“Ashley…” Aiden breathed heavily. His tongue was weighed down with a tarnished apology that he had uttered so many times that it had lost its value. He wouldn’t say it again; one more time or a hundred more times wouldn’t make a difference. Things were the way they were and they had to stay that way. He cleared his throat, “Ash, this doesn’t concern you. If there is nothing else you want, leave now and go and do your job.” He turned his attention back to his computer.
Ash’s stance changed; she stood straighter with her shoulders back and her nose in the air, looking down at her boss with a controlled expression. When she spoke, her voice was void of her previous emotions; she sounded clear and concise. She was following orders. She was doing her job. “There is something else; The Syndicate hit the salon.”
Aiden stopped typing, “Fuck! What’s the damage?”
“It’s bad, A. Polly’s in a state; she said there was a shootout and that Vince’s men completely wrecked the place.”
Aiden growled and slammed his fist against the table so hard that Ash jumped. A barrage of curse words shot from his mouth like bullets from a semi-automatic. He'd known that Vince’s men were going to send a message, he had mentally prepared himself for it, but that didn’t make it any less frustrating now that it had actually happened. “Is anybody dead?”
“No. Femi and Q got shot, but they’re okay.”
Aiden exhaled with relief, “Good,” he said, a little calmer.
Ash’s professional stance melted away in an instant and she smiled at him admirably; it was just like Aiden to worry about his people before anything else. He barely had anything growing up, what with his mother being so neglectful and destructive, and Aiden taking it upon himself to take care of her and Keegan as best as he could. Whilst poverty tended to make some people selfish, greedy and materialistic because they were so afraid of their circumstances robbing them of the pleasures that others took for granted, it taught Aiden what really mattered. He knew that money and fancy things were fleeting, but that the people you could call family weren’t so easy to come by. That was why Ash was in love with him, because underneath all of his misdemeanours Aiden loved everyone else.
“Did they get into the vault,” he asked next, now that he knew that his people were okay.
“No. Polly said they tried though. Thank God for that security system Mighty installed.”
“Thank God for Mighty.”
“Thank God for Mighty,” Ash agreed. “The police are down there questioning everyone. They want to talk to you.”
“I can’t speak to them right now,” he said tightly. Naturally, being a young black man from the hood, Aiden wasn’t exactly fond of the feds.
“I know. It’s not safe for you out there…” she reached out to touch his hand but Aiden shifted away from her with a warning look: ‘Do your job’. Ash cleared her throat and put her hands behind her back with a sharp nod. “I don’t want anything to happen to you, A.”
“I appreciate the concern, Ash. You’re a good friend.”
Ash’s face tightened as she tried not to frown. They were friends; she knew that and she was okay with it -well that’s what she told herself anyway -but that didn’t mean that she didn’t miss him. It annoyed her that Aiden acted as if she didn’t have a right to let him know how much she missed him, and constantly forced her to reign in her emotions, but she understood why he did it; it was easier this way…for him. It was only easier for him. For Ash it was like suffocating slowly; constantly walking the line between living and almost dying.
Ash was ‘The Siren’. She was exceptionally good at her job, but when she belonged to Aiden, he wouldn’t allow her to do everything that she had to do get things done because he didn’t’ like sharing. He made her bad at her job. Ash didn’t mind being bad at her job because she loved Aiden. She would have given it all up for him, but he wouldn’t let her. As much as Aiden had wanted to keep Ash back then, he thought his desire made him selfish. He had to make sure that the whole team was good; having Ash to himself jeopardised that so he had to let her go. That had hurt Ashley more than anything; the fact that he would throw her away so that everyone else could be happy. Ash and Aiden had had as hard a life as any of the members of the Diamond Mafia, she felt that they deserved to be happy too, but Aiden promised everyone that he took in that he would take care of them, and he wasn’t about to break that promise for some pussy…so Ash left. She couldn’t be around him wanting him the way she did, like air to her lungs to end the suffocating. Eventually she came back because even though suffocating wasn’t breathing, it was something that let her know she wasn’t dead yet. Despite his damage, his love for his people made Aiden a good man underneath it all, and the DM was her family. Even though it killed her, she knew he had made the right choice, and at the end of the day, that was what mattered. Ash became the moon to his sun, resigning herself to the darkness without him, but still glowing only because even though they couldn’t be together, he wasn’t far away.
“What do you want us to do?” she asked.
“Send Dougie down to the station to talk to PC Morden. I’m assuming the greedy fuck put himself on the case?”
“You know he did. You pay him too much.”
“I pay him enough, that’s why he’s so reliable. Tell Dougie to tell Morden that I’m out of the country, so he’ll be filling in for me. After that, get Driver to take him down to the insurance company, a face to face consult should speed up the process. I don’t want the HMRC nosing about in my taxes, so the salon needs to be up and running again, pronto.”
Aiden’s phone timer beeped -the seventh hour had arrived. He smiled and shut his computer down, “Vince wants to break my things? I’ll break his.”
The room was pitch black, and would have been silent if it weren’t for Ava-Marie's rattling dry heaves of that reverberated dramatically off of the concrete walls sounding like she was trying to hold onto her soul with every skirmishing breath she took. Aiden flipped the switch and the blinding florescent white light glared from the ceiling, filling the room with its unforgiving harshness. Ava squinted and moaned wearily. Her bare feet were curled beneath her in shades of scarlet and sooty black from the painful friction of the hard floor and the dirt that covered it. Her arms were red and swollen, with her dark blue veins embossed and pulsating against her skin, under pressure from holding up all of her weight for so long. Her late summer eyes had run out of tears by the fifth hour, and were puffy and red, shadowed underneath by depressing dark circles. Her lips were so dry and chapped that the delicate layer of skin covering them had shrivelled into flaky, translucent patches, that split and bled if she moved her mouth out of the confines that the paper thin skin allowed. Her body smelt like sweet salty sweat, decorated in thousands of tiny goosebumps from the lack of heat in the room and the lack of blood circulating through her veins properly. Small rivulets of her blood trickled from the sores around her dripping wrists where Aiden could see some pink flesh exposed around the base of the metal handcuffs, half way down her forearms.
Aiden stroked her tear-stained face from her temple to her chin then lifted it, forcing her to look at him. “You’re a mess, Ava-Marie,” he said quietly. Ava looked shattered; like she had stumbled across a landmine site with her loved ones, barely making it out alive by the skin of her teeth, only to find that everyone she held dear had been blown to smithereens; like her happiness had been ripped from her chest and she knew she would never get it back. She was broken. Aiden had broken her. He reached above her and tugged down the chain that the thick hook was attached to, pulling it low enough to unhook her. Ava’s body folded into itself as she descended stirring the strained muscles, the relief reminding her of how much pain she had mentally forced herself to endure. She cried out in anguish; her wail was a heart-breaking strangled sound that pretended he couldn’t hear as he scooped her up into his thick arms. It bothered him. “Let’s clean you up.”
Ava didn’t want Aiden to touch her, but she had no choice; she was too sore and too weak to do anything but lay catatonically in his in his arms with her head lolling back as he cradled her to his chest and carried her back upstairs. He took her down the hall to a large granite bathroom fitted with silver fixtures and charcoal grey furnishings. Aiden sat on the edge of the deep oval bath with Ava in his lap, as it gradually filled with hot water and a stimulating mix of frothy eucalyptus and ylang ylang scented bubbles. He reached into his back pocket and pulled out the small silver key that would unlock the dreadful handcuffs. The cuffs clicked open and Ava howled again -the removal of the cuffs not providing the relief she had expected.
“Ssh,” he hushed her, touching the tips of his fingers to the translucent flakes of split skin scattered across her lips. “I know it hurts, but I’m going to make it all better. Do you want me to make it better Ava-Marie?” Ava’s blood ran cold and she immediately stiffened at his intrusive contact, lowering her eyes to her mouth, watching Aiden’s index finger glide across it slowly, as he touched her like she was made of glass...glass that he only intended to toy with before he pushed it off a ledge and watched it fall to the ground and smash. She was too scared to say a word. “C’mon Ava-Marie, tell me what you want,” his finger trailed down from her lips, rising and falling over the dips and peaks of her skin, leaving more prominent goosebumps in its path as it reached her damaged wrist. His hand clasped her wrist and Aiden brought her it to his mouth, hovering his lips over the shallow wound that decorated the circumference. “Do you want me to make it better?” he purred, pressing his lips to it with a soothing languid intensity that made Ava wince a little and gasp in spite of herself. Aiden smiled amused by how she seemed incapable of shielding her forbidden longing for him, before his dark eyes hardened, “Or do you want me to make it worse?” Suddenly his careful grip tightened and he pressed pitilessly onto the wound, restraining Ava with the arm he was using to hold her so that she couldn’t wiggle away.
“AAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH, STOP IT PLEASEEEEEE. PLEASE AIDEN, PLEASEEEEE!” she cried, tussling with him to free herself, but Aiden was far too powerful for her, especially up against her current fragile state. She didn’t have the energy to do more that scream, thrash and hope that he would stop.
His bottomless eyes looked right through her; he had to numb himself to her anguish because he had a job to do. His voice was flat; “You have to make a choice Ava-Marie. Life is made up of choices and every choice guides the course of your life, and right now your life is in my hands, so I am telling you to make your choice and be prepared to live with it.” He released her completely and she fell to the floor with an ungainly thump. He loomed over her “It’s very simple; do you want me to make it better or worse Ava-Marie? It’s your choice. Make it now.”
Ava didn’t know which option to choose, only that she had to choose right now; Aiden had established that he wasn’t fond of unanswered questions so she couldn’t fall back on silence and hope that he would just leave her be. He wouldn’t give her the luxury of being stubborn and sulky; she was his captive she needed to remember that. Bearing that in mind made Ava’s decision even harder; it was obvious that opting to let him make it better was the less painful option, but that didn’t mean that it wouldn’t be torture. Aiden was not here to make this experience a pleasant one –they weren’t fighting for the same side. Regardless of how innocent Ava was in all of this, Aiden was using her for revenge and as bait to get what he wanted from her father. Aiden would not be good to her because Aiden was bad, and anything good he did would surely come with a price. That was basically what he was demanding of her, to pick between two evils; two different forms of torture -one that would bring her pain and the other that would bring her pleasure but was just as undesirable because she knew that it was wrong. Both were humiliating, both would break her, but both were at completely different scales of the sensory reaction chart. She didn’t want to pick the first option, it made her feel cheap, but after spending what felt like an eternity hanging from the ceiling trapped in her own personal hell on earth, what other choice did she have? She couldn’t go through that again.
“…Make it better,” she whispered pathetically underneath her sobs.
Aiden knelt beside her and rolled her onto her back, “I didn’t quite catch that sweetheart, what did you say?” he leant his ear close to her mouth.
Ava closed her eyes and swallowed her pride, for it had no place here. If she didn’t give it up on her own, Aiden would only find a way to take it from her. “Make it better,” she said more clearly. Aiden turned his head and stared into her sad autumnal eyes with such intensity that Ava was forced to hold his gaze. She wanted to look away but he was so close to her now that he was everywhere. Even if she turned she would still feel his heat, still smell his scent, still be trapped by his presence that demanded to be felt and felt and felt.
“Where are your manners, Ava-Marie?”
“Um…please,” she murmured through gritted teeth and angry tears. Was it not enough that he had her in this position already by coercing her into making this degrading choice? Had he not shamed her enough?
Aiden narrowed his empty eyes at her, “Please who?”
“Aiden.” She spat his name out venomously.
Aiden’s eyes burned like hot coals as he placed his large hand on her throat, wrapping each long, thick finger around its girth one by one, but he didn’t squeeze, he didn’t have to; Ava’s fear of what he might do alone was enough to stop her breath short. “No,” he barked, “Sir. You will call me Sir, do you understand Ava-Marie.”
Ava blinked back tears as she began to grasp what Aiden version of ‘making it better’ really meant. His new weapon was something Ava had shied away from for her whole life until Aiden happened to her. His new weapon was sex and as much as she detested the idea, there was still that traitorous part of her that was inexorably drawn to this dark and dangerous man. Her voice quavered; “Yes.”
Aiden squeezed her throat with brute force, pressing the inner curve of his knuckle into her windpipe so sharply that her air was cut off in an instant. With his other hand he caressed her face affectionately, leaving Ava confused her as to whether she should panic or not. He leant closer to her, hovering close enough to taste her tears if he chose to. “Yes Sir, Ava-Marie. You must say Sir,” he wiped her tear away with his index finger, brought it to her lips and spread it over thedamaged skin with a sardonic smile, “You must always refer to me as Sir. Do you understand?”
“Yes Sir,” she croaked.
“Good girl. Now stop crying and tell me what you want. Don’t forget your manners this time.” Aiden stopped squeezing her throat but he didn’t remove his hand. Ava gasped dramatically for air, panting under his chastening grip and trying to put an end to her tears. She closed her eyes and took in a deep breath, preparing herself to sign her impending surrender on the dotted line that hung heavily in the air like the black promise of a death sentence. She opened her mouth to speak but Aiden stopped her; “I want you to look at me when you say it.”
She opened her eyes and stared up into the face of hell’s angel, “Make it better please…Sir.”
Aiden’s lip turned up at the corner triumphantly, “Well since you asked so nicely.” He let go of her throat, wrapped his arms around her satin swathed waist and picked her up again. He placed her on top of the cool granite counter and slipped his large hands down onto her thighs. “Do you think you made the right choice, Ava-Marie?”
Ava nervously bit the inside of her cheek. This was a trick question; there was no right choice, she just got to choose which hell she wanted to endure at his hands. “No,” she hissed.
Aiden’s dark eyes flashed like a storm at midnight and he grabbed a fistful of her braids, roughly tugging her head to the side, “No who?” he growled
“Would you rather the other option, Ava-Marie?”
“No; I would rather my freedom, Sir.”
Aiden furrowed his brow and let her go, “I’m sure that my brother wishes for the same thing, but for some reason, even after hearing the way you screamed for me as I fucked with you, your father still hasn’t handed him over.” He fetched a bottle of Shiraz from a mini-fridge under the counter and an indulgent slice of rich chocolate cake with chocolate frosting. He set it down on the counter next to her then pulled a fork out of a draw, and then a large glass out of a cupboard mounted on the wall behind her. “If someone like me took my kid, I’d do whatever I had to do to get them back, just like I’m doing for Keegan, which is why you are here.” He poured the dry, dark berry coloured wine into the glass, “You must never forget that the only reason that you are still here is because your dad isn’t doing whatever he has to do to get you back, Ava-Marie. Know this; I do not want to keep you…”he reached out and stroked her hair as if that was his way for apologising for tugging on it so viscously before, “A man like me shouldn’t keep beautiful women...” he trailed off and removed his hand.
Ava stared at him; he was so befuddling. It was like he enjoyed playing the villain, but that wasn’t who he really was. One moment he’d terrify her and then he’d just stop, as if to take a breather before getting back to executing his role.
Aiden noticed the curious look in her eyes and thrust the glass at her. “Drink,” he growled.
She looked thoughtfully at the glass of fermented fruity liquid. Originally she wasn’t in the mood for wine, but the mention of her father made her reconsider. She would drink it, not because Aiden told her to, but so that she could temporarily forget the life-altering fact that her father was a murderous international drug lord who kidnapped people and killed her mother. A lonely tear slid down her cheek and she tipped the spicy liquid into her parched mouth. It burned her throat –all of her dehydrated screaming had made it raw and tight -and she immediately wanted to stop drinking but she was so thirsty and so desperate for liquid oblivion that she couldn’t stop until the glass was empty.
“I bet that feels better already,” Aiden smirked watching how desperately she had drank it. “Would you like some more, Ava-Marie?”
“Yes,” she panted. She hadn’t stopped for air whilst drinking; she didn’t want to breathe, she wanted to get drunk and now she was out of breath. She saw Aiden frown at her reply and quickly corrected herself before he punished her for not addressing him properly, “Yes Sir...I mean yes please, Sir.” Aiden smiled, took the glass from her and filled it again. Ava drank recklessly again, partially wishing that he had given her something less acidic, like water, but grateful that he hadn’t because the alcohol was beginning to shift her state of consciousness. Everything was beginning to feel a little less like the sky was falling and more like she was rising up to meet it. She polished off her second helping in record time and hoped he would offer her more. He didn’t. Instead he took the empty glass from her and put it to the side, then picked up the small plate with the chocolate cake slice and the fork, cut away a small piece and lifted it to Ava’s wine-stained lips.
“Eat.” Ava opened her mouth and let Aiden slide it in. She noticed the way his gothic eyes dropped just as the fork entered, observing her mouth intently as her lips closed around the long metal prongs. He cocked his head to the side elongating his tattooed neck; “You have a lovely mouth Ava-Marie,” he murmured erotically, pulling it out with a deliberate slowness. He put one hand back on her bare thigh midway between her knee and her hip, with his thumb extending inward so that it lay against the warmer skin on the supple flesh inside of her leg. He rubbed it back and forth, lightly massaging the sensitive nerve endings that connected to the carnal hollow at the meeting of her thighs and said, “It’s good, isn’t it?”
Ava didn’t know whether he was asking about the cake or the erogenous mini massage he was giving her. She wished she hadn’t drunk the wine so fast because either way she looked at it, her answer was: “Yes Sir.”
His hand crept up her thigh, stopping only an inch away from her sex. Ava bit down on her lip and stifled a gasp. Aiden leant closer so that the tips of their noses touched and their Cupid’s bows whispered against each other’s. He licked his lips, catching hers with the smooth underside of his tongue as he did so, making her cheeks blush rose gold and her wine-stained mouth fall open. “Do you want more?”
Ava puckered her lips, tasting Aiden in her mouth. Did she want more what; cake or Aiden? Did it matter? The wine was talking to her, singing songs of inebriated liberation through her veins, answering for her; “Yes Sir,” she breathed.
Aiden made a bemused sound. “Okay,” he cut off another piece and offered it to her, “Open your mouth.” He continued feeding her in silence, offering her more and more of the delicious cake–it was the best chocolate cake she had tasted in her life, the frosting was creamy, the sponge was moist and had the right amount of sweetness balanced out by another ingredient that she couldn’t quite put her finger on. She moaned appreciatively. “I think that’s enough,” Aiden put down the cake, “It’s laced with high grade. Too much of this will have you seeing stars, and only I want that privilege.” Aiden smiled and cut off a piece for himself, “Stone’s girlfriend makes these. The best weed cake there ever was, don’t you agree?”
Ava gritted her teeth and mentally scolded herself; how could she not realise that she was eating space cake? The wine was already stirring her senses, and now that the cannabis was added to the mix her wish for oblivion would come much sooner and much harder than she anticipated -her mouth was already beginning to feel like cotton. In her defence, the cake had been made so well, and she was so hungry, that the pungent earthy flavour of the weed had been overpowered by the chocolate.
He poured her some more wine, “Here. Drink.”
“Go to hell!”
He thrust her legs apart and spanked the inside of her thigh, hard. Ava yelped. The slap stung, but it didn’t hurt as much as it should have; the dual intoxication was taking effect and slowly her fatigued body was re-awakening, translating the sensation into the something it shouldn’t. She could feel the area where Aiden’s open palm made contact and it made her ache, and it burned, and it resonated in lulling waves of masochistic satisfaction that reached the deepest, darkest parts of her. “I said drink.”
He slapped the inside of her other thigh –harder, “Do not play with me Ava-Marie,” he warned.
She took the wine and sipped it. The unpleasant cotton mouthed sensation subsided as the alcohol seeped into her taste buds. It tasted even more delicious after the cake a side effect of her impending munchies. She drank more.
Aiden stepped away and went to turn off the tap. The tub was full. He turned his back to her and began peeling off his clothing, tugging his top over his head, kicking off his boots, unbuckling his belt, unzipping his leather trousers, popping the button and sliding them down his legs before stepping out of them, pulling off his socks, and then his finger slipped under the edge of the waistband of his boxers. Ava choked on her wine. Aiden was naked, and if she had found it difficult to admit before, the weed and the wine were certainly making her confession a whole lot easier to express; he was a God. He stood tall and glorious with his deep cocoa butter brown skin encasing his huge rippling muscles as if someone had poured dark chocolate on him and it had set perfectly over every plane and groove. There were even more tattoos from this angle; a huge tribal piece to mask several scars, that swallowed his entire back and curled around his sides, hugging his obliques and intensifying his warrior like resemblance. His ass was firm and toned, sat on top of legs as thick as tree trunks, giving him the perfect top to bottom body ratio. He looked over his shoulder at her and Ava could see the full length of is lacy black lashes that added an element of androgynous romance to his destructively handsome features.
“Are you finished?” he asked.
Ava ran her tongue over her chapped wine-stained lips, “No…no sir.”
Aiden turned to face her, gracing her bewildered eyes with all of his glory. He bit down on the corner of his lips and cocked his eyebrow, “Am I distracting you, Ava-Marie?”
Ava blushed rose gold, embarrassed that she was staring so hard. She had never seen a naked man in real life before, only the suggestive glimpses of nudity in movies, in art galleries, and anatomically correct drawings in biology text books from her secondary school days, but didn’t prepare her for seeing Aiden. She didn’t even think that women who had seen their fair share of naked men would be prepared to see Aiden. Seeing Aiden naked was like being caught in an avalanche; he was made to crash into you and freeze time. She watched with a hammering heart as he sauntered over. He looked erotic; not in a sordid pornographic way, because he wasn’t even trying to be sexy, he just was. Aiden exuded an intimate demeanour that didn’t make you want to shy away from him; he made you want to admire him the way you would admire Michelangelo’s ‘David’, appreciating every carefully sculpted part of him that God had crafted. Unlike the statue of David, Aiden was exceptionally well-endowed…and he wasn’t even aroused yet. Ava’s breath caught in her throat and she too another sip of wine. He was fucking magnificent.
Aiden settled himself between her legs. His hips brushed the heated insides of her thighs. “I asked you a question…”
“You’re naked,” she giggled. The weed and the wines effect was becoming stronger and Ava’s fears and inhibitions were quickly dissolving into nothing. She knew she was being held captive, but there in the granite and silver bathroom, high, with a glass of wine in her hand, dressed in nothing more than underwear and a satin robe, while the beautiful man who had spanked her thighs and fed her cake stood naked between her legs, she didn’t feel like it.
“I am,” he nodded.
“You look really good naked.” Boldly, she reached out and touched his stomach. He was so hot and rigid. He made her stomach tie itself up in knots that the butterflies couldn’t unravel.
“How do you feel, Ava-Marie?”
Ava gulped down the rest of the wine and grinned, “Never better, Sir.”
“Hmm,” Aiden hummed. He took the wine glass from her and set it on the side before lifting her off of the counter to stand in front of him. He walked behind her and brought his large hands to her shoulders then pulled off the robe. The heavy material dropped to the floor in a pool of black satin around her feet. Aiden stepped closer to her, pressing his steadily swelling member against her backside. He brushed his parted lips against her ear and groaned gutturally, “Take off your underwear.”
Ava swallowed a mouthful of hot air and squeezed her eyes shut to try and regain some focus and common sense. “Why?” she whispered shakily as she tried to remind herself that her mind was compromised, and that this -this enlivening feeling so much of his brown skin rubbing directly onto her brown skin -was wrong. Dear God, it was so very wrong.
Aiden wrapped his arm around her waist and used his fingers to trace circles around her navel; small tight ones followed by larger explorative ones. “I’m going to bathe you.”