Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down (Vikings Underground #2) (Page 3)

Tie Me Up, Tie Me Down (Vikings Underground #2)(3)
Author: Sherrilyn Kenyon

“No!” she snapped sharply. “I said I like ‘nothing’ better, not I’d like nothing better. Oh, jeez, Ace, grow up!”

He continued to smile at her, which was something he didn’t do around many people. There was just something about her that attracted him against all common sense or reason.

Not even he fully understood his incessant need to tease her. Other than the fact that he thoroughly enjoyed her snappy comebacks and the way those brown eyes would flash at him whenever he made her angry. It was almost as sexy as foreplay.

Almost.

“I figured you would, which is why I said ‘nothing’ to begin with.”

She slid a censoring look to him. “I can’t believe I’m going to do this.”

“You? I’m the practice slave. I think if anyone should be embarrassed, it should be me.”

Rhea glanced at him as she pulled into the parking lot of the large blue building covered in triple X’s that had no windows whatsoever. “Look, Ace, it’s your home away from home.”

Rhea stood in the doorway of the adult novelty store as total horror engulfed her. She’d never seen anything like this in her entire life. Cages were set up in the corners with mannequins dressed and chained in the most sexually graphic manner imaginable. Did people really use this stuff?

She paused next to a display of penis-shaped suckers and scowled at them.

“What’s wrong?” Ace asked as he brushed past her into the store.

It was all she could do not to gape. “Where do I begin?”

He shrugged nonchalantly as if missing her point. “Well, we could begin with one of the swings over there.”

Rhea couldn’t help gaping now as he pointed to something that looked as if it had come from the planet Porno. The large, black contraption held a spread-eagled female mannequin completely subdued and gagged.

Yeah…

Unwilling to let him know she was bothered by it, she quickly recovered her facial expression and paused at the display of leather blindfolds and masks that were covered in spikes.

“Can I help you?”

Rhea actually jumped at the sound of the shaky female voice behind her. She turned to see an elderly woman with white hair and black-rimmed glasses staring at her. Jeez, it was someone’s grandma! She even had the black SAS shoes and a white dress with little, dark blue flowers that matched her dark blue sweater. She looked kind and frail.

Why on earth would she be here working as a  p**n  store clerk?

“No. Just…looking.”

The older woman laughed and lightly patted her arm. “This must be your first time, sweetie. Just relax and have fun. Don’t let me worry you, I’ve tried most everything in here, so if you have any questions, please let me know.”

“Um…yes.”

Grandma smiled as she watched Ace. “Well, you’re a lucky woman to have that for a playmate. Why, he’s simply delish.”

Delish? Grandma knew delish?

Okay, I’m in an episode of Twilight Zone with Grandma as the zookeeper. Just go with it, Rhea.

Grandma continued to study him. “You know, he reminds me of my dearly departed Herbert. Oh, hon, he was the best. He just lived for sex. Would throw himself into it anywhere, anytime. In fact, we once got arrested for indecency on a subway while we were in New York.”

This was way too much information.

“Have you two been arrested yet?”

“No,” Rhea answered quickly and honestly. At least she hadn’t been. With Ace…well, she wouldn’t make a bet on it.

“Then you two ain’t doing it right.” Grandma winked at her.

Grandma was without a doubt the most frightening thing in this store.

“Oh, you’ll like those,” Grandma said to Ace, who had paused two aisles over. “The strawberry are the best, though my Herbert liked the lemon-flavored.”

Rhea looked to find Ace examining packages of edible panties. She inwardly cringed as he inspected them. “Don’t even think it, Ace.”

He held up one of the packages. “They have grape.” Then he looked to Grandma. “You ever try these?”

“The grape isn’t the best. They have a bit of a bitter taste to them.”

Ace put them back. “You said to try the strawberry?”

Rhea’s gaze narrowed as he picked up a package. Fine. Two people could play that. “You also have whips, right?” she asked the woman.

She nodded.

“Do you have nice, spiked ones?”

“Absolutely, sweetie.”

“No!” Ace said, putting down the panties and moving back toward Rhea. “No spiked nothing.”

She arched a brow. “I can’t believe I’ve finally found something to make the big, bad Ace craven. What on earth could make you fear spikes?”

“A Goth girlfriend in high school who left lasting scars on my flesh. I don’t ever want to cozy up to another porcupine as long as I live.”

Rhea was amazed he’d admitted that. “You went out with a Goth chick? How unlike you.”

“Not really. I always had a thing for women in leather.” He looked meaningfully at a mannequin dressed in an extremely revealing leather corset that left its br**sts bare except for two tiny leather pasties.

The expression on his face said he was picturing her in that getup.

Rhea decided to play fire with fire. Determined, she walked over to the rack of leather Speedos, which would have to be laughable on any male no matter how sexy or fabulous he was. She picked up one that was of a thong design and looked back at Ace, who grimaced.

“Trust me, baby, that would be like trying to cover two bowling balls with a slingshot.”

“Oh, that’s disgusting!”

He flashed her one of those taunting smiles. “But it makes you curious, doesn’t it?”

She hated to admit it, but he’d won this round. “No, it just makes me pity whatever woman ends up permanently shackled to you. Do womankind a favor, Ace, get neutered.”

“Oh, no, honey,” Grandma said. “No one should neuter something as fine as him. Take my word for it. I’ve seen lots of handsome men in my day, but yours…He’s definitely worth keeping around.”

“See, she likes me.”

Rhea bit her tongue to keep from saying Ace should train Grandma for Bender. But rule one was never to disclose an agent’s mission to an unknown no matter how harmless he or she appeared. Words could kill even faster and more effectively than a handgun.

Rhea took a deep breath and looked around. “So what appeals to you, Ace?”

He picked up a jar of chocolate body paint that even came with its own paintbrush and came to stand next to her. In that moment, there was something extremely compelling about him and the soft way he was looking at her. “Rhea al dente.”

An unexpected shiver went over her and she knew it was caused by the hot, seductive curve of his mouth. Ace Krux was a man to be reckoned with.

“If you like that, we have a sample,” Grandma said as she brushed past Ace.

She went to the shelf and opened a tester jar, then took a white, plastic spoon and ladled out a bit of chocolate into a small plastic cup.

When Rhea reached for it, she pulled the cup back. “Give me your finger.”

Before Rhea could really comply, the old woman took Rhea’s finger, dipped it in the chocolate, and held it up for Ace to sample. He didn’t hesitate to open his mouth and capture her.

Rhea’s stomach fluttered as his warm, sensuous tongue encircled the pad of her fingertip while he held her hand in his to keep it in his mouth. He nipped her flesh ever so gently with his teeth while he stared at her with a hot, needful look. His masculine scent of aftershave and shampoo filled her head, making her heart pound.

Never in her life had she been so unexpectedly turned on by any man. This was intrusive and rude and…and she was dying to know what his lips would taste like.

Get a grip!

Rhea pulled her finger out. “I hope you’ve had a rabies shot lately.”

He laughed at that, then dipped his finger into the cup. “Your turn.”

“That is so not sanitary.”

“Chicken?”

Rhea couldn’t believe he was relying on the childhood tactic. Even worse, she couldn’t believe it was working. She wasn’t about to let Mr. Perfect Agent get away with it.

It was time Mr. Krux learned a lesson.

Taking his hand into hers, she opened his palm and blew her breath across it. She gave him her best “do me, hotshot” stare before she licked the palm of his hand and took the entire length of his finger into her mouth.

Ace ground his teeth to keep from cursing in blissful agony the instant she started tonguing his finger. That woman had a tongue that poets should write about.

At the very least it deserved a major letter to Penthouse Forum.

Every hormone in his body fired as his c**k hardened to the point of pain. And with every tiny, erotic stroke of her tongue, he hardened even more.

She growled low in her throat before she took a gentle bite of his skin, then pulled back. “Hershey’s is better.”

Ace was completely dumbstruck. Since all of his blood had drained to the center of his body, there wasn’t much left to understand her words. He only knew she’d stepped away from him and that was the last thing he wanted.

In fact, the only thing he wanted right then was to take her into his arms and taste that sweet, sassy mouth. To pin her to the wall behind her and sate the painful ache in his groin that wanted nothing more than to be nak*d and sweaty with her.

Rhea was a lot more turned on by what she’d done than she wanted to admit. The truth was, Ace had tasted wonderful. And the look on his face as she tasted him was branded into her consciousness. Her br**sts were still swollen and heavy from desire.

How could she be attracted to him? Yeah, he looked great, but he was a pest.

Trying to distract herself, she strolled down an aisle with the most incredibly odd vibrators she’d ever seen. Some of them looked like penises and some of them just looked weird. One in particular had two penises pointing away from each other.

Tilting her head to study it, Rhea paused and frowned.

Ace gave a low, amused laugh as he came up behind her. He was so close, she could actually feel the heat from his body. Feel the intensity of his presence. He might as well be touching her for all the damage he was doing to her willpower.

“You really haven’t ever been in one of these stores before have you?” he asked her.

She shook her head. “I had no idea that these”—she gestured toward the myriad of battery-operated boyfriends—“came in so many shapes, colors, or textures. Good grief. Do people really use these?”

As his body brushed against her, she could feel his taut erection. He’d been right. He was a large man, and the thought of that electrified her as he reached for one of the illicit packages. “Yeah, they do, at least I know they use them in  p**n  flicks.”

She gave him an arched, censoring look.

He actually looked offended. “What? My cousin Vito produces  p**n  films for a small, independent studio. Much to the horror of my grandparents, he talks about it at every Christmas party.”

Relieved more than she wanted to admit, she shook her head. “You have the strangest family.”

“And you’ve spent as much time in Beverly Hills as you’ve spent in adult stores if you believe that. Trust me, where I grew up, my family were the most normal ones on the block.”

“And now I know why I’ve never made it a habit to frequent either place.” Rhea folded her arms over her chest. “So what exactly will I need for this…excursion?”

Ace returned the “item” in his hand to the shelf. “I vote we ease our way into this. For one thing, no gags, since gagging Bender would defeat the purpose of getting him to talk.”

“That makes sense.”

Ace headed over two aisles to where they had a display of restraints. “Something simple. Handcuffs.”

Rhea studied the variety of manacles they had. An un-bidden image of Ace spread out nak*d on her bed flashed through her mind, and in spite of what she would ever admit, she had to say it was an incredible thought.

Oh, jeez, don’t make him right! He would be flattered to no end to know that you really are picturing him nak*d.

“Some of this stuff looks like it ought to be illegal,” she said, trying to distract herself again.

Ace shrugged. “Personally, I’m not into the rough stuff, but there are all kinds out there.”

“I’m just glad I’m not one of them and that I’m licensed to carry a concealed weapon should I ever have the misfortune of meeting one in a dark alley.”

“Yeah.” Ace grabbed two pairs of velvet-lined cuffs. He held them like a man who truly had no interest in using them.

“You really aren’t into it, are you?” she asked in surprise. As gung ho and adventurous as he was in everything else, she would have thought he was a regular  p**n -meister.