Gideon Keel and Jesse Madding have seen dozens of gruesome crime scenes over the years, but nothing compares to the grisly discovery they make in a small apartment above a sporting goods store. The body has clearly been put on display, and clues in the apartment indicate that while she was dying, party guests were enjoying rich caviar and expensive champagne. The two men are mystified.
They receive help from an unexpected source—a young woman they rescue from an auction at the vampire club, Sangre. Emma Coolidge is determined to save her sister from the same monsters Gideon and Jesse are hunting. While both men are utterly fascinated by her beauty, her intelligence, and her rare talent as an empath, they value her for her friendship. The three plan a sting operation to infiltrate the small group of “art connoisseurs” by sadistically turning Jesse into a living work of art, but will it be enough to save the city from more vicious murders in the name of beauty?Advisory: This book contains graphic violence, hardcore bondage and punishment, torture and blood play. May not be suitable for the more sensitive reader.EXCERPT
...Jesse swallowed around the lump in his throat as four hands spread gray body paint over his chest, back, neck, and throat with soft sponges. He couldn’t move, couldn’t even twitch when Emma hit a ticklish spot on his ribs, or Gideon purposefully brushed against the sensitive area along his lower back. His thighs were beginning to itch as the mold hardened around his legs, and his shoulders ached. But it was a familiar ache, and something he could focus on, in spite of the fact that Emma was spreading another layer of paint over his stomach and kept sending him shy glances. Or the fact that Gideon occasionally brushed his lips across a bare patch of skin before
coating it with the sponge.
“How long will it take for this to set?” Jess asked.
“Not long,” Emma said without looking up.
Her warm breath fanned across his lower abdomen, slithering downward, inside the covered waistband of his underwear. The molding hid his hips completely at the moment, but as soon as it was hard enough, Gideon was going to carve parts of it away, exposing portions of Jesse’s legs so that he looked like one of Michelangelo’s unfinished statues. The idea had been Emma’s. It was elegant and unusual, andJesse’s favorite part was that it wasn’t going to shed his blood in a room full of rabid vampires. He just had to sit still while Gideon and Emma did all the work.
Which, unfortunately, was easier said than done. It was very difficult to remember this was serious business, when all of his senses were telling him something else entirely. Restrained and almost entirely immobile, in a room full of toys he couldn’t see but knew were there, while soft hands continually teased and caressed him. His mind was at war withhis body, and his body was winning. He needed something to distract him, and he desperately sought questions to ask. Anything would do, as long as they were talking about serious business and not about the growing ache in his groin.
“What about my head? Are you going to put the hood on me today?” As soon as he asked, he regretted it. What if the answer was yes? The sensory deprivation would make him infinitely aware of every single whisper of breath, every bit of contact.
“I don’t think that’s necessary.” He never even felt Gideon move behind him; the sudden words across his ear made goose bumps erupt along Jesse’s arm. “You should see what we’re doing to you at least once. I want you to know exactly what the others are going to see.”
Jesse almost sighed with relief. “Oh, okay.”
He looked down to the top of Emma’s blonde head, but he couldn’t see her face. She hadn’t even batted an eye when he began to undress, but then, why would she? She had already seen him in his birthday suit, and at the time he had been more concerned about her safety than his own modesty. Still, he couldn’t help but wonder if some of the looks she cast over his body had more behind them than just professional curiosity. And then he wondered why he cared, and then he wondered if she knew what he was thinking about.
“I itch all over. This paint is going to drive me crazy.”
“That’s only because it’s still wet,” Emma offered. “Here. I’ll show you.”
Setting aside her sponge, she turned her head and pursed her lips. A warm blast of air rippled over his forearm, and Jesse’s breath hitched. At his back, Gideon stiffened slightly, and the hand that had been painting along his spine slowed. He didn’t need to look over his shoulder to know Gideon was watching Emma. What he didn’t know was whether she knew the effect she was having on him or not.
“There.” She sat back on her heels and looked at him with eyes so dark, they were almost black. “It’s dry. Does it itch now?”
“No,” Jesse said, his throat tight. “It feels better now.” Some devil prompted him to add, “But my chest still itches.”
Emma tilted her head like a curious cat, and her eyes took on a definite shine as she weighed his words. Slowly, she gathered her long hair with one hand and held it out of the way at her nape before leaning in toward his body. Inches away, she pursed her lips again, directing her warm breath across his left nipple.
Jesse didn’t shudder, but he did tremble slightly. He could sense Gideon, still hovering over his shoulder, watching everything. Emma would be able to sense what he was feeling, and he didn’t have a prayer of hiding his arousal from Gideon. The fact that they both knew what they were doing to him only heightened the sensation. It was a vicious and unfair cycle.
Her breath slowed, then stopped, but Emma only pulled back enough to create the smallest of margins between her mouth and his skin. “Would you like for me to do the other side, too?” she murmured, looking up at him.
No. Yes. Fuck.
“I’d appreciate that.”
His fingers curled into fists as she mimicked her earlier action, nails digging into his soft palms. He didn’t know what to think about this. Up until that moment, he had recognized her beauty in a sort of objective way, but he’d never thought of her sexually. Now ants were marching down his spine, and the sudden damp brush of Gideon’s tongue against his ear made his heart race.
“Watch her,” Gideon whispered, his voice so low Jesse sincerely doubted Emma would be able to make out the individual words. “On her knees. Asking permission. Now you know how you make me feel when you act the same way.”
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