DELLY’S LAST NIGHT
A Go Get ’em Women Story
“With twists and turns that I didn’t see coming, it kept me turning the pages. What a fun read!” — Romance Junkies
EXCERPT FROM DELLY’S LAST NIGHT
COPYRIGHT © TRACY COOPER-POSEY 2012
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Miami: June 27, 9:38 p.m.
It wasn’t a butterfly landing in Beijing that tripped off the events that ended the life of Delly Alexander. It was a cook preparing a banquet in Miami.
The harried cook put too much garlic in the sauce base, which caused Neal Cadogan to leave the awards ceremony abruptly and head for home two hours before he was even remotely expected.
His car blowing a tire on the coast road half a mile from his ocean cliff-side home was part of the same run of incredible bad luck for Delly, even though it didn’t look at all connected. The lads who had intended to rip the Porsche off had been interrupted by Cadogan’s early return to his car.
Pissed about losing the tidy profit they’d been counting on, they’d jammed the screwdriver they’d been using on the alarm under the hood into the rear radial instead. They were moving fast. They missed the soft side and hit the tread instead. It was steel belted, so the leak created was a slow one. Cadogan was nearly home before the rim hit the dirt.
He’d glanced at his watch, at the mournful pouch of the flat tire and up at the dark high arch of his living room windows that looked out over the pounding surf. His stomach made up his mind for him. He headed home on foot, sliding through the night like a shadow.
He moved through his dark, silent house, heading straight for the bathroom off his bedroom. There was an old bottle of Gravol there that would calm his stomach nicely. Then he could worry about the car.
Delly’s first introduction to the fatal chain of events happened then. When Cadogan threw the bedroom light switches and the room blazed with incandescent light, she had her right arm buried up to the elbow in the guts of the small wall safe hidden behind the picture that hung over the head of the bed.
At the first blinding flash of light, she acted instinctively; she dived off the bed, tucked herself up into a ball, and let herself roll across the wide expanse of gleaming floorboards. As she slowed, she sprang to her feet and leapt for the sliding door she had opened earlier for just this sort of an emergency.
She didn’t look to see who had walked in the room. Her face was covered, but the instinct was ingrained after so many years. She kept her face averted.
She didn’t slow down, either. Whoever it was that had just walked into the room—and the chances were good it was Neal Cadogan—they would have to run around the huge bed in the center of it if they wanted to catch her. No one was as fast as she was when she was hopped up on panicky adrenaline. No one.
But as her fingers grasped the cool metal frame of the sliding door, she was sent flying forward through the air by a rugby tackle. Two big arms wrapped around her waist and hung on as they both slithered across the wooden flooring of the deck. She protected her head and face with her arms. There were metal chairs and a metal and glass table out there somewhere. She had been going to use the table to vault over the sides of the deck on her way down to the ground. If she was smart, she could still do it.
She twisted around in the grip and brought her left elbow down sharp and hard, intending to slam it into the man’s temple. She knew it was a man. He was too quick on his feet for a heavy woman and he was strong.
The blow to the temple didn’t connect. He rolled quickly onto his back, bringing her with him, and her elbow smashed into the wooden flooring by his ear instead.
She cried out as her entire left arm went instantly numb and tears spurted in her eyes.
“You are a woman,” he said.
He rolled again, so that he was over her. For a moment his weight pinned her hard to the floor, then it shifted and was gone. The arms around her waist picked her up. For a moment she was a limp rag doll, hanging over his arms.
Quickly, she found her feet, used her good right hand to grip the big wrists at her middle for leverage and threw her head backwards. With luck, she’d break his nose and he’d be too worried about the pain to keep hold of her….
He must have felt it coming. Something tipped him off. He shifted and the back of her head connected with nothing but fresh air. She staggered backwards, for he was no longer behind her.
Momentarily she was free, but before she could react an iron-hard hand grabbed her forearm and she was jerked forward. Toward the bedroom.
She struggled despite recognizing that no strength she could muster would break the grip on her arm. Struggling was better than meekly allowing him to lead her back into the room. Not struggling would indicate submission. Submission meant defeat and she had no intention of being defeated. Not in this house. Not on this night of all nights. She had an appointment with Cassandra at eight a.m. and come hell or high-water, she would be there.
He had her numb left arm in his grip. When they reached the side of the big, satin covered bed, he lifted it. She had no strength in the arm at all and the movement made her elbow flare with a shooting, silvery stab of pain that swamped her thoughts. She heard the metallic click through the throbbing in her head and looked up at her wrist. She was handcuffed to the tall bedpost, her arm up at the same level as her head.
The man stepped back, studying her, his hands on his hips and a small smile touching his mouth.
She clenched her teeth together to make herself stay silent and tugged experimentally at the handcuffs. There was a little give in them and she studied them carefully. Was there enough give? Could she turn her wrist, slipping them around, twisting the chain between the cuffs to the point where the links would be forced open?
“Good point,” he said softly. “We don’t want you turning them until the links give way, do we?” He strode to the bedside cabinet and delved in the drawer. Delly bit back her reaction—a mix of surprise and dismay that he had read her thoughts so easily.
He pulled out a second set of cuffs and moved around the bed to where she stood at the foot of it. He reached for her right wrist, which she pulled out of the way.
He laughed. It was low and quiet. “You really have no idea who you’re dealing with, do you?” He stepped up close to her, backing her up against the bed. He wrapped his arm around her waist once more, pulling her up against him hard. This time she couldn’t prevent the gasp that escaped her. Even as she gasped, his hand slid down her wrist and the cuff was snapped over it.
He lifted the cuff to the opposite bedpost. Delly fought him every inch of the way. It was her right arm, which hadn’t been injured, and she was strong for a woman. She fought and tried to draw her arm back to her side. He smiled and applied more pressure, until the cuff was close enough to slip around the bedpost with a soft, final ‘snick’.
She was now effectively immobilized. She couldn’t twist her way out of the cuffs with two arms anchored to two different bedposts. He took advantage of her helplessness. He grabbed the back of the hood, ripped it from her head and stepped back to study her.
She shook her hair out of her eyes, her heart sinking. Well, it was done now.
He spread the jacket of his tuxedo and planted his hands on his hips. “Delly Alexander.” He didn’t seem to be surprised at all. His eyes narrowed. “You’ve changed your hair since I saw you last.”
“That was ten years ago, Neal.”
“Your eyes, too. You’ve done something to them. They used to be green.”
“Yeah, they used to be,” she said softly.
He nodded his head. It was a small, thoughtful movement. He was wearing a modern tuxedo, but the tie was hanging loose. The black hair swept back from his forehead, showing the widow’s peak. His eyes commanded attention, as always. They were silvery grey and it was hard to look away from them. The first time she had met Neal Cadogan, she had been unable to get rid of the sensation that he could see all the way through her and read all her thoughts. It meant he understood her completely in a way that no one else could.
Unlike hers, his eyes hadn’t changed a bit.
It was Neal who looked away first. He went into the bathroom Delly had inspected briefly before tackling the safe. She heard cupboards opening. Then he re-emerged, carrying a pink bottle that he swigged from a couple of times before dropping it onto the coffee table that sat between the sofa and arm chair at the other end of the long room.
He glanced at her, his expression still thoughtful, as he slipped passed the coffee table and rummage in the drawers of the old roll top desk sitting against the wall beside the big picture window. He straightened and headed back toward the bed. He had a flick-knife in his hand. As he approached her, he hit the button and it sprang open. To Delly, the steel glinted in the subdued light in the room.
“The way I see it,” he said, his voice still soft and low, “is that I’ve caught you in the middle of a criminal act, before you had a chance to actually steal anything. Now I have a choice.” He stopped in front of her. “Do I call the police or do I let you go?” He weighed the knife in his open hand. “The fact that I know you does add an interesting spin to the question, doesn’t it?”
She kept her mouth shut. Nothing she could say would encourage him to let her go. He was playing with her. Neal Cadogan was not the sort of man who would forgive this sort of debt. There was a fine line between his brows that hinted at anger held back.
Then, suddenly, the anger was right there—open, hot and raging. “Why were you knocking off my house?” he demanded, his fist around the knife. “Why?”
“You’ve got better than five hundred grand in diamonds and currency in your safe.”
He stepped closer. “Why me?”
She managed a shrug. “You’re rich.”
“You knew this was my house.” It wasn’t a question.
“I’m a thief, but I’m a good one. I checked it out before I came in.”
“Knowing it was my house didn’t stop you? Didn’t even make you pause?”
She clenched her teeth together again. Then, when the compulsion to spit the truth at him had faded, she said carefully; “We knew each other once, ten years ago. There’s nothing from that time that would give me reason to reconsider.”
“You’ve got a lot better at that, too,” he said.
She looked him square in the eye. It was pure defiance. She was afraid, but had no intention of letting him see it. So she lifted her chin and pushed it out. “I’ve got very good at a lot of things you thought I was useless at.”
The hand without the knife grabbed the back of her head and held it still as his lips pressed against hers. It was less a kiss than a physical assault. She could almost feel his anger radiating from him as waves of body heat. His lips seared themselves against hers.
She tasted him. He was sweet and hard and, combined with his scent that drifted around her, heady.
Her response was unplanned and uncalled for. She couldn’t possibly feel any sort of physical need or response for the man she had spent the last decade hating with a passion that verged on mania. But just as he pulled his lips from hers and pushed away like a man staggering from an unexpected blow, she felt her own insides roll over, making her almost dizzy.
Neal brought the back of his hand up against his lips, staring at her. His hand trembled. “I couldn’t think of anything else to do that would get me past the overwhelming need to hit you.” His voice was low.
“That supposed to frighten me?” Her own voice emerged ragged and deeper than usual. Damn. He’d read far too much into that. And what the hell was going on with her? How could she allow herself to react to him in any way at all?
Don’t forget who this man really is, Delly. He led you into slavery.
He was studying her again. Had her low voice tipped him off? Her heart started to beat even harder. She could feel it in her toes, her cheeks. Her temples.
“It was a warning, damn it,” he said, his voice lower still. He was controlling it. His eyes would not quit studying her, assessing….
Kiss me again. The silent voice inside her was soft, but as clear as mountain bells.
She dropped her chin, hiding her telling face from his gaze. If he knew when she was lying, then how much more could he read in her face? Could he read her sudden yearning for more? Would he have recognized that her helplessness—held immobile by the cuffs, her legs pushed up against the satin on the bed—had suddenly become an enhancement to her excitement?
She was confused by her own reactions. These were not the sorts of games she had ever played—even in her fantasies. But right now, the idea of Neal taking her while she was helplessly bound to the bed….
Her heart skittered.
It’s just the danger of the moment, she told herself.
“Delly.” His voice was demanding. “Look at me.”
She kept her head down, until his strong fingers pushed under her chin and forced her look up. He was close. So close. She could feel his heat through the thin cotton spandex of her working clothes. Every nerve seemed to jump inside her, twirl and come alive in the space of a heartbeat.
“What is this?” he asked.
She licked her lips. “Payback.” She forced the word out. It emerged harsh, tearing at her throat.
His eyes. His eyes were looking into her. Seeing everything. He shook his head gently. “No.” It was soft, almost non-existent. He lowered his head and his lips pressed against hers. He was gentler, this time, but his hand was holding her head still and the taste and smell of him was overwhelming, making her dizzy. Her breath escaped in a telling sigh.
His tongue probed at her lips, slipped inside to explore her mouth. The sweep of it against her acted like a goad. She strained against the cuffs holding her so still, and realized that she strained for the feel of his body against hers. Her breasts were aching for his touch and the slender band of flesh between her legs was throbbing with unaccustomed need. It felt full, swollen.
He stepped away, shrugged out of his jacket and ripped his tie away with impatient jerks of his hands, his eyes not leaving her face. The knife stayed in his hand, though. This time, when he came to her, the knife slid beneath the hem of her black shirt and slid upwards.
The knife was very sharp and the elasticized cotton threads parted with little resistance. The shirt spread open as he slide the knife up the middle of it, to the high collar at the base of her neck. He sliced through the collar with a tiny tug, then tossed the knife on the bed behind her. He looked at her face. “Tell me to stop.” His voice was a rasping shadow of itself. “Tell me I’m the only one feeling this…whatever it is.”
“You’re the only one.” But it sounded unconvincing even to her.
His groan was low and made the base of her stomach, low down, clench and throb. His hands trembled as they fitted themselves around her now bare waist. His gaze traveled the length of the long line of bare flesh the knife had revealed, all the way to her throat. “You’re bare beneath. No bra.”
“Undergarments are…restricting, when I work.”
His hands slid higher under the shirt and she gasped as they found the taut flesh over her ribs. Her breasts were aching with anticipation. A few more inches higher and his long fingers would curl over them, would bump against the hard, sensitive nipples that the loose cotton shirt were softly rubbing against, driving her need for him even higher.
He kissed her. This time it was a real kiss, bereft of anger but filled with promise. Her body pulsed in reaction. As his hands swept up her torso she sucked in her breath in a sharp gasp—but they by-passed her breasts and pushed the cotton spandex back over her shoulders. Out of the way.
Her arms were bound and the shirt couldn’t drop to the floor behind her. He gave an impatient growl, gripped the neck of the shirt with both hands and tore it from her. The tough cotton parted with slow, deep tearing sounds. When she was finally naked from the waist up, he wrapped his hands around her waist again and let his fingers slide up along her back. The thumbs caressed her flesh. His expression was like that of a man who had gone too long without a favored delicacy—or perhaps that of a man who had been stunned by good luck and was savoring it while it lasted.
Finally, finally, his thumbs caressed the underside of her breasts and she had to close her eyes in reaction to the sharp pleasure spearing her at that simple touch.
She kept her jaw clamped tight against the betraying gasp that tried to escape her. “Just what do you think you’re doing, Cadogan?”
His smile was a ghost of the real thing, almost touching his lips, but not quite. “You wouldn’t hear the truth even if I spoke it, so why don’t you consider this my payback?”
“I’ve rarely read a story with as many startling twists as this one. High marks for plotting!” — eCataRomance Reviews
WARNING: This book contains frequent, explicit and frank sex scenes and sexual language.
It includes heart-stopping sexual scenes and light bondage.
Do not proceed beyond this point if hot love scenes offend you.
PS: Don’t try this at home — the neighbours may not understand…and the police certainly won’t.
“The sex is hot, but never feels forced. The steamy chemistry between Delly and Neal quickly rises in the first few pages. Their long night together reveals many secrets and a few twists. I highly recommend you grab this one up.” — Romance Reviews-Erotic