“You couldn’t find the boys you were looking for. All night you searched, high and low, but there simply was no sign of either of them. You did find a vibrant young thing, perky. Supple. Hair as red as flame. There was a spunk to her that aroused you the moment you saw her. The way her hair curled over her tiny breasts, how her dress was nearly transparent and gave soft hints at the pink skin begging to be touched underneath. Surly you couldn’t let her escape without a little fun. If you can’t find the boys you were looking for, a good woman is a fine substitute.”
He shifted again and moaned. Siobhan pressed herself tighter, forcing the thorns deeper into his skin. Her fingernails dragged against his chest, leaving small scratches in their wake. The brutes head tilted back as he breathed deeply. Smiling, she lowered her lips to his neck and tugged on the skin. Underneath her, his body shuddered as she sucked on his flesh, making sure every mark left behind was visible even when dressed.
“She was wild, untamable. The things she did with her tongue, well, you weren’t sure you’d enjoy it until it happened. Every thrust of her body, ever touch of her hands, oh Goddess, it was glorious.”
He started to pant. His body trembled as both hands clenched the sheets. Siobhan yawned and rolled off him, giving him the freedom to move as his manhood saw fit. As he continued to moan, she examined her nails, keeping one hand on the braid pressed into his skin.
“Oh baby,” she moaned, “harder. Faster. Oh Goddess yes.” She’d need to fix her fingernails; one had broken in her fight with the crimson-cloaks. “Yes. Yes. Take me now.”
The crimson-cloak continued to shift in the bed. His breath quickened. Sweat dewed on his brow as his lips moved like he was kissing someone. When she first used the rose thorn totem, she’d actually felt guilt afterward. At sixteen, she managed to get herself into a situation with a particularly unsavory gentleman. He was an older man, in the twilight of his life, and a complete womanizer. Old, young, virgin—he didn’t discriminate.
At the time Siobhan was still learning to hold her own in a brutal world. Nobody could prepare her for a predator seeking her innocence. Master had given her the rose thorn totem as an emergency only and when she found herself alone in a room with the perverted old man, wearing nothing but her underclothes, it seemed like a perfectly acceptable emergency. She didn’t factor in his age or what the fantasy would do to his heart. Though she was in the room with him when he died, nobody blamed her. In fact, some of the woman who had already shared the bed with him thanked her.
Still, she felt guilty for giving him the fantasy that took his life force even if it spared her innocence. After that, she learned to harden herself. Sometimes men deserved every bit the torture she could instill on them. Women too. If she knew this crimson-cloak, she was certain she’d find many skeletons hanging in his wardrobe.
She yawned and moaned again. “Ride me, stallion. Take me to your . . . special place and . . oh Goddess.” Siobhan rolled her eyes. Dirty talk wasn’t one of her particular gifts. He continued to kiss the air. If nothing else, he had stamina. That much was impressive. When his body quivered with one final moan, Siobhan closed her eyes. She didn’t need to see the end result of his enjoyment. It wasn’t that she was a prude, since the near miss with the old codger she’d been with several men and women. It became a means to an end, another way for her to get what she wanted. Somehow seeing the results thanks to a combination of a seduction totem and the rose thorn braid made her cringe.
She removed the thorns from his skin and rolled off the bed. When she opened her eyes, she sighed and deposited the braid into her purse. The crimson-cloak didn’t stir. Snores rose from his mouth as he released sputtered breaths. Of course he would fall into a deeper sleep immediately after the best fake night of his life. Siobhan dug her nails into his skin and scratched a deep mark along his flesh until it met with the punctures left by the thorns. To an average eye, they wouldn’t notice a difference. She had to hope he had an average eye. Bruises marking his neck should be enough to keep him from second-guessing the scratch marks.
“Was it as good for you as it was for me?” she asked, leaning down to kiss his cheek. There was very little coloring on her lips, but there was enough to leave a subtle impression of her kiss. She turned to the end table and eyed the coins. “Now, what do you think our little redheaded is worth?”
Sweeping four of the coins off the wood, she added them to her purse. Hopefully the illusion of a late frolic with the mysterious woman in his mind would be enough to keep the Vanguard Generals from asking too many questions around Ivan’s tavern. Wren was quickly becoming an annoyance. In the span of a single evening, he’d managed to do what Siobhan spent near six years avoiding—put her in the crosshairs of the crimson-cloaks. One more time and she’d remove his head herself and give it to them.
She turned away from the slumbering oaf in bed and slipped out of the room. Her legs buckled under her and she stumbled toward the opposite wall. Both hands pressed to the rough wood as she gasped for air. It wasn’t too surprising to her she had the sudden urge to relieve her stomach of dinner. In less than two hours, she’d taken the energy of two totems and had them coursing through her veins. That was a lot for anyone, even an experienced totem user such as herself. She turned around, being careful not to move far from the wall, and slid to a seat outside the lugs room.
It wouldn’t take long for her energy to return. And when it did, she was going to ring Wrens neck and then get the hell out of Scanla.