Beneath This Man (Chapter 8)

I stretch myself out and I'm immediately aware of Jesse's absence in the bed. Propping myself up on my elbows, I spy him sat on the chaise lounge, bending down.

Oh no!

I lay back down as quietly as I possibly can and shut my eyes. He might not have noticed I woke – if I'm lucky. After a few silent moments, I feel the bed dip, but I keep my eyes firmly shut, silently begging him to leave me alone.

An age of me pretending to be asleep passes by and he still hasn't nudged me, so I cautiously open my eyes and find green pools of delight staring down at me. I groan, very loudly, as I watch the semblance of a small smile tickle his lips. I flip myself over onto my front and cover my head with a pillow, then hear him laugh as the pillow is whipped from my head and I'm turned over onto my back.

'Good morning.' he chirps, and I screw my face up in disgust at his cheery, break of dawn happiness.

'Please don't make me.' I plead, pulling my most solemn face.

'Up you get.' He grabs my hand with his good one and pulls me into a sitting position. I make a big display of moaning in repulsion at his idea of starting the day, and then nearly start crying when he presents me with my freshly laundered running kit that he, so generously, bought me.

'I want sleepy sex,' I complain. 'Please.'

He hoofs me off the bed and draws my lace knickers down my legs before tapping my ankles to lift. 'It will do you good.' he states firmly.

It's all right for him. He runs stupid distances on a daily basis. I'm more of a quick few miles girl when I feel the need to shift a few pounds. 'Hey! Are you trying to tell me something?' I narrow my eyes on his crouched form before me.

He rolls his eyes and signals for me to lift my foot so he can get me into my Little Miss knickers. 'Shut up, Ava. If anything, you're too slim at the moment.' he scolds me. He's right, I am.

I let him dress me in my shorts, vest top and trainers. 'This is torture.' I grumble.

'Go brush your teeth.' He slaps my bum, and I head off into the bathroom, dragging my feet and rolling my head back to make a point of my disgruntled mood.

I clean my teeth, locate a hair bobble from my bag and make my way down the stairs to find him at the front door waiting for me. 'I'm just a hindrance.' I moan as I scrape my hair into a ponytail. He'll be much quicker without me, and I'll get an extra hour and a half in bed. 'I'll never do the full fourteen.'

He takes my hand and leads me out of the penthouse and into the elevator. 'You'll never be a hindrance to me, I like having you with me.' He punches in his code and we descend to the foyer. I love being with him too, but not at five in the morning and running around London.

'You need to get that code changed.' I remind him.

He looks at me, all bright eyed and bushy tailed. I could slap him for being so wide awake and alert. 'Nag.' he mouths, and it's at that point I elect not to remind him again.

We emerge into the dawn sunlight to birds chirping and the hum of delivery vans – the same sounds I recognise from my previous punishing pre-dawn torture session.

I start to stretch before any instruction from Jesse, and he smiles as he watches me, at the same time carrying out his own muscle sweep. I want to be a grump, but he is just too delicious in his black shorts and tight, white vest, his hair a disheveled mess on his head and his morning stubble at just the right length.

'Ready?' I chirp, as I bounce off toward the pedestrian gates. I punch in the exit code and start jogging towards the Thames. I feel better already.

'Just think,' he muses, as he joins my side and we start running steadily together. 'We can do this together every morning.'

I cough on a sharp inhale of air. Fourteen miles every morning? I don't think so, the mad bastard.

We jog at a steady pace, and I'm reminded of the relaxing advantages of running at this time of day. It really is very peaceful and mind cleansing. I glance up at my beautiful man every now and again in the hope that he is at least displaying some sign of fatigue. Of course, I'm sorely disappointed each time. He's like a machine. I make a mental note to have my iPod ready for the next time he heaves me out of bed at this God forsaken hour.

We hit St James's Park and the early morning runners come into view – all women, who start faffing with their running vests and straightening their backs. Oh yes. How many of them time their runs just right?

Jesse puts his hand up to many of them as they smile brightly and bash their fake lashes at him. I want to throw up, or trip them up. Are the fancy earphones and bum bags with pouches of energy shots loaded into them really necessary?

I feel his eyes on me, and I know he is checking to see how I'm doing. I feel okay, as it happens, but if he increases his pace, then it might be a different story.

We conquer The Green Park and make our way onto Piccadilly, passing the point at which I collapsed the last time. I glance across to the spot where I sat every morning, picking at the grass and soaking up the dew through my trousers. I can see myself there – a pasty, empty waif – a half complete woman.


I snap from my daydream and look up at Jesse, finding a concerned face. I'm sure he can read my thoughts. 'Fine.' I puff, shaking my head and giving him a reassuring smile.

I shake off my sad thoughts and mentally applaud myself. I'm going to do this. I feel Jesse's elbow nudge me, and I glance up to see a look of recognition to my achievement on his non-sweaty face, but then I do a quick calculation in my head and figure that we're probably two thirds gone. At the thought of at least another four and a half miles, I hit the proverbial runner's wall…again. My lungs seem to drain of all air and my body starts burning up along with them.

I'm not going to do this.

I battle on for a few hundred yards and then enter the park at the next entrance, dramatically collapsing on the damp grass…again. I heave valuable air into my scorching lungs and pant like a dog on heat. I must look like I'm having an asthma attack.

I watch through my slightly blurred vision as Jesse approaches me and stands over me. I shield my eyes from the low morning sun and get my focus on him. 'I did better than last time.' I splutter between dragging in long, wheezy breaths.

He smiles. 'You did, baby.' He drops to his knees besides me and lifts my leg, rubbing firm, slow circles into my calf muscle. It has me groaning and him laughing. 'I'm proud of you. Give it a few days and you'll fly through it.'

What? My eyes bulge under my closed lids. If I had enough breath, I would cough in disgust. Has this man ever heard of the term, baby steps?

I lay on the grass as he works his magic hands on every burning muscle. I could lie here all day, but all too soon, he pulls me up into a sitting position and waves a twenty under my nose.

'I came prepared. Coffee?' He nods past me, and I look to see a Starbucks over the road.

I could kiss him. I throw my arms around him in gratitude for his forward thinking. I've been rubbed back to life, and now I get a Starbucks. The run was worth it. He laughs and stands with me still wrapped around his neck.

'Stretch your legs.' he demands softly, unlinking my arms from him. I comply immediately, remembering the last time he told me to stretch after our run – I didn't. I was too busy being distracted by his unreasonable demand to have me work at The Manor constantly. As a result, I spent all day drawing my foot up to my backside to try and alleviate some of the aching.

He stands and watches me as I see through my muscle stretches. He looks so happy, his eyes twinkling, his frown line nowhere to be seen.

'Come on.' He takes my hand and we stroll over to Starbucks, getting served super quick due to the early hour. I'm hungry, but if I eat anything I'm only going to load my body back up with the calories I've just burned off. Everything smells so fresh and yummy, though.

'Do you want something to eat?' Jesse asks. He must have seen me staring longingly at the pastries.

'No.' I answer quickly, dragging my eyes away from the mouthwatering temptations in the glass cabinet.

He smiles and wraps his palm around the back of my neck, pulling me into him and resting his lips on my forehead before turning his attention back to the swooning sales clerk. 'A cappuccino, extra shot, no chocolate, a strong black coffee and two blueberry muffins, please.' He smiles brightly at the young girl, who giggles nervously. He returns his eyes to me. 'Go and get a seat.'

'I said I wasn't hungry.'

'You'll eat, Ava. End of.'

I shake my head at him, but don't argue. Instead, I find a window seat and flop down in the leather couch. What a perfect way to start the day, ten mile run aside. I would still take sleepy sex over this, though. I would take sleepy sex over anything.

My mind starts drifting to Jesse's plea for me to go to The Manor's party. What sort of party would it be, anyway? Visions of semi-naked people, all milling around, springs to mind, along with hazy, dim lighting and erotic music. Oh yes, and grid-like contraptions, hooks, hoists…whips.

Fucking hell!

It would be like a giant gang-bang with kinky toys! Oh Jesus good Lord above. Not only do I not want to go myself, I'm not that crazy about the thought of Jesse being there either. An assault of jealousy spikes at me repeatedly as I imagine women drooling all over him, trying to entice him with promises of wicked sex. There's no doubt he is up for a bit of rough, and he's bloody good at it. Oh God, he's used to all of that shit. Okay, I'm having complete mental breakdown in Starbucks, and again I'm reminded that he's had a lot of practice…with sex…and toys…and…


What a depressing thought. I saw the look on those women's faces when I was at The Manor. I was an interloper, and I can imagine the reception I would get if I did go to the party. It certainly wouldn't be any warmer than my previous visits. I would be, in effect, gatecrashing their gang-bang. This is horrible.


I pull my eyes from the lush greenness of the park across the road, to the lush greenness of my Lord of the Sex Manor. I smile a really unconvincing smile. I feel depressed and slightly inadequate all of a sudden. And really, really bitter – resentful and consumed with jealousy.

He eyes me suspiciously while arranging the coffees and muffins on the table before ridding himself of the tray and taking a seat opposite me. I start picking at the top of my muffin as I stir my coffee. I know he's watching me, but I can't seem to muster up the strength to appear fine. I'm not. We haven't even talked about The Manor. We haven't talked about anything really.

'I'm not coming to the party.' I say to my cappuccino. 'I love you, but I can't do that.' I add the last bit in the hope of softening the blow. My Lord doesn't take no well – not from me, anyway.

After a few silent moments pass, I glance up to establish what expression his handsome face is displaying. There's no rage or scowl, but his frown line has jumped into position and he is chewing his bottom lip, which tells me this is really important to him. If he hits me with another statement like he did during our tub talk last night, I'll cry.

'It's not going to be how you think it will be, Ava.' he says quietly.

'How do you mean?' I ask on a frown. How does he know how I think it will be?

He takes a sip of his coffee and sets it down on the table before shifting forward in his chair and resting his elbows on his knees. 'Has The Manor ever given you the impression of a seedy sex club?'

'No.' I admit. I didn't even know it was a sex club until I snooped around with Kate and found myself on the third floor. It just looks like a super posh hotel come spa set up. Well, from what I saw, which was not a lot, but that was mainly because I was blinkered by this man sat opposite me.

'Ava, there won't be people wandering around naked and propositioning you. You won't be manhandled up the stairs to the communal room. There are rules.'

Rules? 'What do you mean by rules?' I'm frowning again.

He smiles. 'The only places people are permitted to remove their clothes is in the communal room or one of the private suites. The ground floor, spa and sports facilities are run like any other exclusive resort. I don't run a brothel, Ava. My members pay a lot of money to enjoy everything The Manor provides, not just the privilege to pursue their sexual preference with likeminded people.'

I know I'm blushing, and I could kick myself. 'What's your sexual preference?' I ask quietly. Of all the things I could ask, I ask this? What the hell is wrong with me? I should be picking his brain on cross-type wall hangings and gold grids hanging from the ceiling, or racks of whips and suspended chains from beams.

He grins that roguish grin and pops a chunk of muffin in his mouth, chewing it purposely slowly and watching me as I writher under his potent gaze. 'You.' he states firmly.

'Just me?'

'Just you, Ava.' His tone is husky and determined, and I can't help the small smile tickling the corners of my mouth. He has just cranked up his sexual magnetism tenfold. I could jump him.

'Good.' I take my first real mouthful of my muffin, immensely satisfied by his response. Just me. I like that answer. Do I even care about what goes on at The Manor, as long as Jesse isn't involved? I just have to disregard the fact that he has been. To what extent has he been involved, though, and is it compulsory for me to know?

We watch each other for a short while, him running his index finger across his bottom lip, me marveling at how damn sexy he looks doing just that.

'You'll come?' he asks, instead of demands. He is being really rather reasonable for Jesse. 'Please.' he adds hopefully on a pout.

Oh, I just can't refuse this man. 'Only because I love you.'

His pout transforms into a killer smile, and I pool on the couch. 'Say it again.'

'What? That I'll come?' I frown.

'Oh, you'll come all right. No, tell me you love me again.'

'I do.' I shrug. 'I love you.'

He grins. 'I know you do. I love hearing you say it.' He raises his glorious body slowly and puts his hand out to me. I take it, falling into his chest when he tugs a little. 'If you had kept running, we would be at home by now and I would be lost inside you.'

I mentally kick my running loser arse all over the coffee house. I should have kept going. It's a fifteen minute taxi ride to Lusso and I'm gagging for an encore to my morning workout. He drops a long lingering kiss on my lips and then proceeds to toss me onto his shoulder and stride out to the street.

I catch a glimpse of the young girl who served Jesse, looking longingly at me being carted out over the shoulder of my Adonis. I smile to myself. This is what every woman wants, and I have it. No one is taking him away from me, so if I have to go to the stupid anniversary party just to fight off the pack of lions waiting to sink their claws into him, then I will. I'll trample.

I'm tossed in a taxi and subjected to a torturous journey home. I can see the obvious solid, iron length under Jesse's shorts, and I'm fidgeting to try and dispel the buzzing hijacking me between my thighs.

'Morning, Clive.' Jesse says urgently as he pulls me along behind him.

It's a good job I have trainers on; he may as well be sprinting. He doesn't slow up when Clive calls his hello. He bundles me into the elevator, smashes his code into the keypad and pins me against the mirrored wall, attacking my mouth hungrily.

'I might have to fuck you before my run in future.' he growls into my mouth. His primal tone has me falling to pieces under his hard body. My hands are fisted in his hair and pressing his mouth closer to mine, our tongues urgently battling in our mouths. This is going to be a shock and awe moment. We are way past sleepy sex territory and if those elevator doors don't open soon, it might be right here in the lift.

The doors slide open, as if hearing my thoughts, and I'm walked out into the penthouse foyer backwards, our mouths remaining fused and our tongues relentlessly dueling. I don't know how he manages it, but he gets the door open without breaking our contact and I'm having my sweaty running kit ripped from my body before the door is closed. He wants in quick which is absolutely fine by me. That was the longest taxi ride I've ever endured.

I kick my trainers off as he yanks my shorts down my legs, and I start pulling his vest up over his head. I'm released from his mouth for the few seconds it takes me to get his vest past his face before his mouth is crashing back to mine again and he's walking forward, directing my backwards steps towards the wall by the front door.

He turns me around. 'On your knees, put your hands on the wall.' he spits urgently, and I waste no time following through on his command while he rids himself of his trainers and shorts.

I drop to my knees and spread my palms on the cool paint, panting and impatient. He grabs my hips tightly, and I jerk under his hold, but he doesn't ease up. He pulls my hips back slightly, knees my legs apart and positions himself behind me.

'Don't come until I say. Understand?'

I nod and clench my eyes shut to try and ready myself for the onslaught of power that I'm about to welcome into my body. I should know by now that when he is like this, no amount of mental psyching up can prepare me for him.

I feel the head of his cock pushing at my entrance and as soon as he's leveled it up, he pounds forward on a garbled yell. He gives me no breathing space to adjust or accept him. He immediately yanks me back onto him and begins to piston in and out of me ruthlessly. He's a man possessed.

Holy fucking shit!

My eyes fly open in shock and I shift my hands on the wall, desperately trying to steady myself as he continues to wildly buck into me. 'Jesus, Jesse!' I scream around the delightful invasion of my body.

'You knew this would be hard, Ava.' he barks, smashing on. 'Don't you dare fucking come.'

I try and focus on anything but the immense, fast accumulation of pressure that's building up in my groin, but his relentless and barbaric strikes are not helping my desperate situation. I won't be able to hold out for long at this riotous rate.

'Fuck!' he roars frenziedly. '!' He punctuates each word with a hard, sharp thrust. I'm sweating more now than I did on my ten mile run.

His hands slide up my back from my hips to grip onto my shoulders and my head rolls back under his warm, firm hold. I'm delirious with pleasure. The telltale signs of him tensing travels through his arms, straight to my shoulders. I'm relieved. I'm past the point of return, but I can't fully let go until I get the okay. What the hell would he do if I defied him and gave in to my demanding release, anyway?

He continues to buck and slap against me and on an ear piercing roar, he slams into me with such force, tears stab at my eyes. He stills and leans against my back, pushing me forward onto the wall, circling his hips deeply. I'm buzzing, my body tinkering on the edge. He reaches up and grabs my pony tail, pulling my head back to rest on his shoulder, moving his damaged hand around my front to the inside of my thigh.

He pulls my hair so my face turns into his, my hazy vision met with dark green. 'Come.' he demands, softly sliding his finger down the centre of my core and sweeping his tongue through my mouth.

His words and his touch trigger a shift of pressure in my groin that seizes me from every angle, and I explode on a stretched out, blissful moan into his mouth.

I go limp. I sag in his hold and let him softly massage me through my climax. 'You are a God.' I mumble against his mouth, moving my hands from the wall to link around the back of his neck.

I feel his grin against lips. 'You're so lucky.'

'You're an arrogant God.'

He slips out of me and turns me around in his arms. I maneuver with him, draping my arms back around his neck. 'Your arrogant God loves you so fucking much.' He showers my sweaty face with kisses. 'Your arrogant God wants to spend the rest of his life smothering you with his love and his body.' He stands us up, dragging me with him.

I'm delighted, but I'm also ignoring the small part of my brain that is trying to remind me that with Jesse's love and body, also comes Mr Challenging control freak.

'What's the time?' I ask around his morning, stubbled face.

'I don't know.' He carries on with his smothering, and I start walking backwards towards the kitchen so I can get a look at the clock. He follows, still wrapped around me and still dropping kisses all over me.

I catch a glimpse of the cooker clock. 'Shit!'

'Hey! Watch your fucking mouth!'

I wriggle free of his hold and start running towards the stairs. 'It's a quarter to eight!' I yell, as I take the stairs two at a time. Where has the time gone? My arrogant God is too much of a distraction. I'm going to be super late.

I throw myself in the shower and make quick work of ridding my body of sweat and cum. I'm frantically rinsing my hair when I feel Jesse's hands slide over my wet stomach. I wipe my eyes and find him towering over me with his dirty, roguish grin spread across his beautiful face.

'Don't.' I warn. I'm not being distracted by him anymore. He pouts and works his hands up to my shoulders, yanking me forward onto his mouth. 'I'm going to be late.' I argue feebly, trying to fight off the budding craving as he teases my lips with his.

'I want to make an appointment.' he says, licking my bottom lip, pushing his groin into my stomach.

'To fuck me? No appointment necessary.' I quip, trying to pull away from him.

He growls and yanks me back. 'Mouth! I already told you, I don't need to make an appointment to fuck you. I do that whenever and wherever I please.' He rubs his groin back into me, and it's now I know that I have to escape before I'm swallowed up again.

'I've got to go.' I duck out of his hold and hastily leave him in the shower, sulking like a schoolboy. He just had me, although I could go again too.

I brush my teeth and make my way into the bedroom, sitting myself in front of the floor length mirror with my make-up bag and hair dryer. I commence a fast blast dry, quickly pin it up and start applying my make-up.

Jesse walks out of the bathroom, gloriously naked and unashamed. I scowl at his naked back, dragging my eyes away to continue with my make-up. I'm being distracted.

Leaning forward, I sweep my mascara wand over my lashes and pull back to find Jesse standing to the side of me, leaning into the mirror. I look up and come face to face with the broad head of his semi-erect manhood. My eyes are fixed, absolutely delighted. My greedy stare travels up his naked body and finds him looking in the mirror, coaxing his hair to the side with some wax. He knows what he's doing.

I take a calming breath and return to my make-up, but then he makes a point of brushing against me, his firm leg sweeping lightly over my bare arm. I shudder and glance up to find a twitching lip as he tries to feign ignorance. The swine.

He looks down at me in the reflection of the mirror, his eyes swimming with all sorts of promises, and then he lowers himself behind me until he's sat cradling my body. He shifts forward, pushing his front into my back, wrapping his arms around my waist and resting his chin on my shoulder. I hold his gaze in the mirror.

'You're beautiful.' he says softly.

'You are too.' I reply, tensing slightly when I feel his hardness pushing into my lower back.

He fights a smile, knowing damn well what he's doing. 'Don't go to work.'

I knew this was coming. 'Please, don't.'

He pouts. 'Don't you want to fall into bed and let me pay special attention to you all day?'

I could think of nothing better, but if I relent on this, I'm fully aware that I'm setting a rod for my own back. He can't keep me to himself all of the time, although I know he doesn't think that his ambition is unreasonable. 'I have to work.' I say, clenching my eyes shut when he turns his lips into my ear.

'I have to have you.' He circles his tongue lightly in my ear.

Oh God, I need to escape now! 'Jesse, please.' I wriggle in his embrace.

He scowls at me in the mirror. 'Are you denying me?'

'No, I'm delaying you.' I reason, wriggling harder and turning myself around in his arms. I push him down to his back and lay on his front, pushing my lips onto his. His arms fall above his head as he moans around my kiss. 'I need to work, God.'

'Work me. I'll be a very grateful client.'

I pull back and smile. 'You mean to say that instead of busting a gut keeping clients happy with drawings, plans and schedules, I should just jump into bed with them?'

His eyes turn black. 'Don't say things like that, Ava.'

'It was a joke.' I laugh.

I'm flipped over and pinned under his body. 'Do you see me laughing? Don't say things that will make me crazy mad.'

'I'm sorry.' I blurt quickly. I need to cop on to his zero tolerance approach to lighthearted jokes that suggest me with another man.

He shakes his head and lifts himself from my body, strolling off to the wardrobe. I sit up and take the loss of distraction as an opportunity to concentrate on finishing my make-up. I've really upset him.

An unexpected and very unwelcome image of Jesse with another woman jumps into my head. I do my own little head shake. It's like my sub-conscience is giving me a taste of my own medicine. I screw my face up in disgust and throw my eyeliner into my make-up bag. It worked. I feel my flesh prickling with possessiveness.

After smothering myself in coco butter, I slip my lace underwear on and my red shift dress.

'I like your dress.'

I swing around and my eyes are assaulted by a devastatingly handsome, navy suited beast. I sigh in appreciation. He is just too bloody perfect and he's not shaved. I swoon on the spot. He looks like he's got over his little strop.

'I like your suit.' I counter.

He grins and finishes straightening his grey tie before pulling the collar of his white shirt down. If I was any other woman and I found out about The Manor and the God who owned it, I would join too.

I'm being distracted again. I throw my bag on the bed, retrieve my phone, sweep some gloss across my lips and grab my shoes, all under his watchful eye. I have another futile rummage through my bag for my pills, but I know I'm searching in vain.

'Lost something?' He splashes some aftershave on.

Oh, that smell. 'My pills.' I grumble with my head practically in my oversized, leather shoulder bag. I run my fingers around the stitching of the lining to check for rips.


I look up at him and smile apologetically. I feel stupid, and I'm not relishing the thought of visiting Doctor Monroe again. I need to sort that today before I miss anymore.

'I'll see you later.' He lands me with a chaste kiss on my cheek and leaves me to carry on searching for rips in the lining of my bag. What a nightmare. Maybe I should just get the jab and save myself all of this embarrassment.

I freeze on the spot, my brow furrowing, my mind jumping the gun…I think.

No, he wouldn't. Why ever would he?