When Savin “Savage” Pajari and Seychelle Dubois first met, their connection was instant, their attraction undeniable. Their relationship has been full throttle since day one. Even though months have passed, the passion and love between them has only increased.
Savage completely owns what he is: a sadist in the bedroom who can only get off on his partner’s pain. He believes he’s not a good man, but he loves Seychelle with a fierceness that shocks him. He wants all of her, but only if she gives herself freely with eyes wide open.
Seychelle never imagined the lure of mixing pain with pleasure, or how much she’d crave Savage’s darkness. She’s been shaken to her core, but Seychelle is committed to Savage and their life together—even though he’s keeping a piece of himself back. And to truly make their relationship work, he has to give her everything that he is, just as she is doing for him.
Savage knows that what he really needs could break his woman if she isn’t ready. She agreed to come into his world, and he’s not about to give her up. He has to find a way to let her see the monster inside without pushing her away. But the real Savage might be more than Seychelle can bear...and he knows he wouldn’t survive losing her.
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Seychelle Dubois sat on the bathroom floor staring at the toilet for the second morning in a row. She felt like an idiot. "No, Savage, I'm not pregnant. And I'm not a secret drinker either."
"What the hell is wrong? Should I call Steele? I want you to go see him."
She pushed herself up, glaring at him. "I do not need to see a doctor. Do you remember the talk we had on privacy?" Stumbling over to the sink, Seychelle washed her face with cold water, rinsed out her mouth and then started the process of brushing her teeth.
Savin "Savage" Pajari continued to watch her in the mirror. He leaned one hip against the doorjamb, arms crossed over his chest. His eyes were arctic blue, so cold they made her shiver. It didn't help that he wore a thin pair of drawstring pants, indicating he was going out to practice with his whip. She had been avoiding watching him the last couple of days because for some unexplained reason, just the sight and sound of it turned her on like nothing else in the world possibly could. That was the last thing she needed to know right now on top of everything else-that she was truly messed up in the head, or body, however one wanted to look at it.
"Seychelle, we did have a talk about privacy, and I told you how I felt about it when it came to my woman. Now fuckin' tell me what's going on."
She took her time finishing with her teeth, rinsed her mouth multiple times and then turned to face him, leaning her butt against the sink, arms crossed to match his. "I'm having hideous nightmares. Really vivid nightmares. They make me sick." She did her best not to make it an accusation, but she knew it came out like one. What was she accusing him of? He wasn't in her nightmares.
Savage studied her face for a long time without speaking, those blue eyes burning like ice over her. He was gorgeous. That was half her problem. She could stare at him endlessly-forever. He had a body on him, all man, more muscles than was good for him, tattoos over scars and burns. He had the words Whip Master burned into his skin on his chest and Master of Pain burned into his back. The tats didn't cover either burns, although she knew Ink, a brother in his club, had done his best with the beautiful artwork on him.
"You gonna stop there and make me ask or you gonna tell me what these nightmares are about, angel? If they're making you sick, they're fucked the hell up."
There was a warning in his voice, but no expression on his face, just those blue, blue eyes, cold as a glacier, telling her he wasn't going to let it go.
They had agreed to have truth between them, but that really meant she told him the truth and he withheld things he didn't want to talk about. They'd been together for months, and she loved him far too much. It wasn't a good thing by any means.
"Last chance, Seychelle, start talking."
"It was a nightmare, Savage. People have them."
"Two fuckin' nights in a row. The same nightmare. Bad enough that you puke in the toilet and you don't want to tell me about it."
That was a straight-up accusation. Worse, he was right. She didn't want to tell him. That stance. Arms across his chest. Those eyes that wouldn't let her look away no matter how much she wanted to. He'd given her space the day before because she'd asked him to. She'd been upset. Joseph Arnold, a stalker, had been sitting in her cottage waiting for her with a gun, and Savage thought she was upset about that. She had been, of course, but that wasn't the only reason. There was a multitude of reasons she was questioning her sanity. Mostly, it had to do with herself, the things she was discovering she needed in her own sexual relationship, and that truly frightened her. She needed to come to terms with it.
There were just so many things coming at her so fast. She wasn't a person who took things in fast. She just wanted everything to slow down so she could take a breath and assimilate everything at a much different pace than they were going.
"It isn't me that is going to have the sore ass. I'm not asking again."
She detested the little flare of dark excitement that sent heat to her sex. It didn't matter how annoying she found it that he just stood there so casually. He was unmoving, those eyes of his holding her in place, probably seeing that flicker of reaction she couldn't control, knowing blood pounded in her clit and her sex fluttered just at the thought of what he intended in spite of her absolute abhorrence of his intentions.
"I shouldn't be punished because I choose not to talk to you about a nightmare I have, Savage. If I ask you about nightmares, you wouldn't tell me if you didn't want to."
"I have them all the time, angel, or I used to until you came into my life. You want to know about them, you ask me. I'll lay that shit out for you."
Of course he'd say that now. Her fingers formed two tight fists in frustrations. Why couldn't she just lie to him? Make something up? People did that all the time. She wasn't a liar. She'd never been, but maybe this one time it would be okay.
She shrugged. Tried to look away. She couldn't lie looking at him, for heaven's sake.
"Damn good thing you're just wearing that little robe, angel, and nothing else. Take it off, hang it on the hook inside the bathroom right by the shower and come on out here. I'll be waiting for you, and the longer you make me wait, the more punishment I'm going to add on."
He turned and walked away. Out of sight. He didn't go sit on the end of their bed, where she might see him. He walked out of sight, which meant he might have gone over to the chair close to the spanking bench. She nearly groaned aloud. She could close and lock the bathroom door-except there were no locks on the bathroom door. Why? Because her man had a thing about privacy.
She didn't have to go out there. She didn't have to do what he said. She was a grown woman. She made her own choices. That was the bottom line, and Savage always made that very, very clear. Everything they did together was ultimately her choice. She walked over to the mirror and stared at herself. Her eyes were dilated. Her face flushed. Already she was breathing too fast.
Why was she like this? Why did she respond sexually to something painful? Her body craved whatever Savage did to her, even when her brain refused to want it. She knew he would never stop until she told him what he wanted to know. She didn't want to tell him because what if she was right? What if the man in her nightmares was really Savage, and it was one more thing she was going to have to sort out? She was already at a breaking point.
Seychelle rinsed her face again with cold water, hoping to clear her mind. Savage was her choice. She had to sort through her problems fast. She was committed to him-to their life together. She wasn't so committed to his club. To that life. She didn't really understand it, and that was part of who he was. She needed that piece of him. He pulled her into it, then pushed her back out, and she resented it.
She took a deep breath, her lashes lifting so she found herself staring at herself in the mirror, realizing she'd just had a revelation. She didn't resent the fact that Savage had a psychic gift that allowed him to take on the anger, the very real rage his brothers and sisters of Torpedo Ink felt that made him the way he was. She was actually proud of him for that. She resented that all of them shared deep secrets and he shut her out. At the same time, he expected her to use her gifts to aid them and him when the club needed those gifts. Where was the fairness in that?
Ordinarily, Seychelle would gladly help anyone in need. Especially Savage. Any one of Savage's friends. But not like this, not when she was shut out and she was supposed to be his partner. He demanded 100 percent from her. He told her he was giving her 100 percent of him, but he wasn't.
She pushed at the hair tumbling around her face. When she did, she noticed the ring on her left hand. How could she not? It was gorgeous. A rare fancy teal-blue diamond, surrounded by diamonds that appeared to be petals hugging her finger. The entire thing glittered every time she moved. It should have been ostentatious, but it wasn't. It was simply beautiful. Savage had a way of knowing exactly what she would love.
He was trained to read body language. Every facial expression. Every single subtle hint, from elevated breathing to the parting of her lips. He knew her. And she was an open book anyway, even when she tried not to be. He had been trained from childhood in the arts of sex: giving, receiving, training one to do what he commanded, and he was very, very good at what he did. He had too many weapons to use against her, and she had fallen too fast to get her armor in place.
It wasn't that she didn't want to be where she was-she did. She had come on board with her eyes open-sort of. Living in reality was always a far cry from being dreamily in love. "Let that be a lesson to you, Seychelle," she whispered.
She couldn't blame all of it on Savage or all the frightening things he brought to their relationship. She hadn't realized the extent of the lure of mixing pain and pleasure. She'd been so attracted to him, to that darkness in him. The first time he'd spun her around in an alley, lifted the hem of her dress and smacked her bottom, she'd gotten so damp, reacting to him when no one had ever made her body come alive before. That had been a revelation-a bit confusing, actually.
She went home and immediately delved deeper into spankings and even floggers, but she didn't really understand it. She had no idea why her body would respond to such a thing when no matter what she'd tried, she'd thought she was absolutely frigid. The deeper into his world Savage took herand granted, it wasn't very far, but she saw where they were going-the more alarmed she got. She was intrigued. Terrified, but intrigued. That wasn't a good thing in her opinion.
In her mind, when she'd gotten together with Savage, she believed she would give herself to him and there would be that moment when she would have to "suffer" for him. He suffered for those he loved, and she would do it for him. She was very confused with the way she felt about pain and the effects on her body. She didn't want to crave pain. Did she? Or did she crave Savage? She didn't even know anymore what was right or wrong. She only knew that she loved him, and she had to find a way to come to terms with all the rest of it.
Savage stood looking at the array of tools he had lined up in his cabinet over the wooden drawers built along the wall next to the tall wooden cabinet where the jewelry he had for Seychelle was kept. She hadn't even seen the majority of it. He had orders in to have so much more made for her. Now that he had her in his life, he was more than comfortable with his needs. He just had to get her to a place where she was accepting of their lifestyle.
He was a sadist in the bedroom, and he owned what he was. He had exhausted all the avenues open to him to change and knew there was no way for him to be anything but what he was. He needed to see his woman in pain in order to be aroused. He got off on that shit. Putting his handprints or his marks on her gorgeous ass aroused him. But the thought of using his floggers or whips, that was the ultimate for him-that would put steel in his cock like nothing else could. Her tears were his. Her ultimate pleasure was his, and he could give her pleasure like no one else ever could.
She had gone into their relationship fully aware. He had been careful to tell her what he was so there would be no surprises on that score. He'd laid it out as plainly as possible, but talking about it wasn't the same as experiencing it. He had been bringing her into his lifestyle faster than he wanted to. He knew that was frightening for her. She responded so beautifully though.
Her body was aroused with clamps. She loved nipple play. He loved it. They hadn't gotten to the more exciting stuff for him, but they were getting there fast. She would both love that and hate it. She was coming to enjoy her spankings a little too much. She wasn't altogether certain she liked the crop that much, but he doubted if she would care for very many of the straps, slappers and tawes he was looking at in his cupboard at the moment.
These were specialized tools, and he chose three tawes, one that would warm her little backside up properly. He would ask her questions and hope she would answer him without lying. She'd never lied to him, but she'd been considering it. The second tawes, also crafted in the rough-hewn center-split leather like the first, was slightly larger and delivered a more punishing strike. She would definitely feel it. The split leather wouldn't feel anywhere near the same as the thicker crop he'd used on her. He'd ask again, and if she still didn't answer him, there was the larger tawes, which she definitely wouldn't enjoy. It was for a severe punishment. A lie. A holdout when there was no reason. He hoped-and doubted-it wouldn't come to that.
Savage would lay it out for her like he always did. She would choose her own consequences. During a punishment she knew there was no calling out "red" for stop. Any other time during sex, she had that right. This was a different circumstance and one she'd agreed to when they first laid down the rules to their relationship.