Home > Love and Let Die (Masters and Mercenaries #5)(5)

Love and Let Die (Masters and Mercenaries #5)(5)
Author: Lexi Blake

He’d watched many of his colleagues die, some painfully and under torture. This was the first time one had come back from the other side. Of course, when he’d married her, he hadn’t exactly realized she was a spy. He’d known something was wrong with her, but he’d thought she’d been in trouble. He’d been a fool.

He’d invited her in because it was only polite. And because he was going to figure out what the fuck she wanted from him.

And because he couldn’t help himself. Fuck, he couldn’t help himself at all. He didn’t like the feeling any more now than he had back then. From the moment he’d seen her, he’d known he would have her no matter what it took, and that feeling was taking root in his gut again.

“The puffer fish neurotoxin?” She shook her head. “No. I mean I think it might be based on that, but it was a pill. I had to take a pill, and then it was mostly like going to sleep.”

He nodded briefly. When he’d realized it was really Charlotte standing on his doorstep, he’d put it together. Too bad he’d been too stupid to back then. “I heard rumors that the Agency has been working on a zombie drug. I guess I got out before I really needed to use it. Lucky me.”

A zombie drug was used to fake an agent’s death. The puffer fish had a neurotoxin in its body that would render a human lifeless, seemingly breathless. The victim would appear dead. The victim would almost always end up dead, but apparently someone out there had perfected the mix.

She shuddered a little. “I wouldn’t recommend it.”

“What about the blood?” She’d been covered in it. He’d gotten covered in it. Sometimes he could still smell that coppery scent mingling with the lavender soap she used on her body. He’d loved the smell of lavender until that day.

“Oh, he really shot me. He gave me the drug and then he pulled the trigger.” She pushed one side of her blouse toward her shoulder, showing off the puckered scar below her left clavicle. “It was close enough that I suppose the blood made you think it was my heart.”

He wanted to shove that material off and take a look at every inch of her skin, looking for the new scars she would have, skimming his fingers across the ones she’d had when they’d gotten married.

Before she died. Before she came back.

The first time he made love to her he thought she had a bad Dom in her past. She had more scars than most of the men he knew, and they were all Special Forces.

For now, he would settle for having his questions answered. He wasn’t going to give in to the heart-pounding adrenaline of having her back. His first instinct had been to wrap himself around her and never let her go. His second had been to drag her to the dungeon and take out all of his anger. But no. He would do neither of those things during this little interview. He would view it as a post-op debrief. It was the kind of thing he would do with his employees. He would sit them down and go through a million questions in an attempt to figure out just how the little fuckers had screwed things up.

This time he was the one who had completely gone off the rails, and he was deeply curious just how far it went.

“Who?”

Charlotte frowned as though the whole meeting wasn’t going quite the way she’d planned. She’d no doubt expected him to give in to instinct number one. “What do you mean who?”

He liked the fact that she was off balance. She couldn’t seem to get a handle on his calmness. He couldn’t blame her. He’d always been a dipshit passionate idiot around her. She didn’t know the real Ian Taggart, the one he’d been before he’d married her, the one he’d found his way back to after long years of mourning. He was cold, calm, collected. He was a professional. “Who shot you, Charlotte?”

She stilled. “You’re not going to like it, Master.”

“Ian, please. I’m not your Master, sweetheart. I would prefer you use my given name. I keep the honorary title for the submissives I top.” He kept his voice at the same even keel, but the word “Master” did something to him when it came out of her mouth.

“You’re always my Master,” she said, her voice sweet and a little sad. “And I’m your submissive.”

“We’ll have to agree to disagree on that.” Or he could shove her over his knee, work those jeans off her hips, and slap her ass silly. Charlotte could take it. Charlotte craved it.

Who had been smacking her cheeks and tying her up and fucking her until she screamed? Because there was no way she went without.

“Master, I need you to listen to me.” Her blue eyes fairly pleaded with him. Those eyes were what had gotten him in the first place. Oh, he’d loved her breasts and her hips. She was solidly built, and that just did it for him. He wanted a woman he could fuck for hours and not worry about breaking, but her eyes were striking. Ocean blue, like the waters of the Caribbean reflecting a crystal sky. He’d been drawn into those eyes.

“I’m listening, Charlotte.” A thought occurred to him. “Is that the name you’re going by now or should I call you Kristen? I have no idea what your real name is.”

Her hands made frustrated fists. Ah, she hadn’t changed her little tells. Those fists always made an appearance when she thought he was being stubborn. Her hair might have changed, but he could still tell when he was getting to her.

“I’m Charlotte Dennis and you damn well know it. You checked me out the first time. I never lied about my background.”

He raised a single brow.

She bit into her bottom lip, her eyes sliding submissively away. “I apologize, Master. I shouldn’t have cursed.”

He shook it off. It was just a habit. Disciplining her had been a habit, the same way her sinking to her knees at his feet and rubbing her cheek to his leg had been a habit. The way he’d been able to relax and think as he’d petted her hair and enjoyed the contact before he would inevitably pull her into his lap and start to make love to her.

Yep. Just a habit. He could break habits. He hadn’t had her in five years and he’d survived perfectly well. “Curse all you like. I probably would if my boss had shot me and then dosed me up with puffer fish toxin. Do you think he expected you to live?”

He tamped down the panic that flared at the thought of someone shooting her and dosing her up and leaving her there on the floor of their flat like a sacrifice. The protectiveness was a habit, too. She wasn’t his to protect, and she never had been. She hadn’t really been his sub. She’d been his opponent, and the first round had gone to her.

   
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