Premise: Strangers. An intense encounter. Check the tags. What more do you want?
When, for the second time, Maeve saw the Sunny Road Strawberries sign, she admitted defeat. Somewhere between Mount Martha and Sorrento, she'd made a wrong turn. As though laughing at her, the engine sputtered, rattled, and wheezed out a rolling cough.
Maeve muttered, "Of course, of course!" under her breath as she pulled over to the shoulder. She rested her forehead on the steering wheel and let out a frustrated groan. She sucked in a breath and gathered her skirt to her knees as she stepped over grass gone to seed, booted toes dislodging loose rocks from the curb, and lifted the hood of her car.
Her sunglasses immediately fogged with steam and she pushed them up to keep her dark flop of hair out of her eyes, waving her arms to help it dissipate in the early evening air.
"Well fuck," she said, "as if I even fucking know what I'm even fucking looking at," before stomping her way back to the driver's seat, grabbing her phone.
"Go fuck yourself some more," she mumbled, seeing no reception bars. Resigning herself to the fact she'd be sleeping in her car tonight, Maeve closed the door, wound up the windows and reached under the passenger's seat for her pipe. She packed half a cone, just to keep the edge of hysteria at bay, hotboxing herself comfortable.
Sometime later, in the distance she saw low beam headlights, let out a sigh of relief. She unwound her the back window, opened her door to clear the smoke away before her good Samaritan arrived.
The man leaned out of his window, streaks of silver lining his temples, the shadow of his face.
"You hurt?" he called, concern colouring his voice.
Maeve waved an arm and stepped around her car. "I'm okay. Have no clue what killed the beast, though."
The man did a neat, three-point turn and lined his bonnet with hers.
"Could easily be the battery," he said, stepping from the car. He stood over six feet, flannel sleeves rolled to show forearms tanned from the sun.
"I'm Shaw," he said, extending a hand.
"Maeve," Maeve replied, perplexed at her sudden shyness. "Could just as easily not," she muttered, making him smile, a look of such boyish charm she relaxed. He walked back to retrieve jumper leads while she pulled the caps from the battery. Praying for a miracle.
Shaw stepped beside her as she straightened, their bodies close, breath mingling. Each felt a heaviness settle in the pit of their stomach, their bodies trained to recognise each other. He saw himself reflected in the clear black crystal of her eyes, felt saliva pool beneath his tongue.
"Clip these on," Shaw whispered, moving back to hook the other end to his own battery. "Start her up."
Maeve cleared her throat, a distraction on which to focus, and leaned back on her heels, rocked herself back behind the steering wheel, turned the key, pumping the gas.
She released the key, letting the silence settle over her, her mind a flipbook of scenarios. And heard thunder rumble low enough it shook the ground, looked out the window. Out of unknown habit, she traced a fingertip around the minimalist tattoo lined in the shape of a howling husky on her left forearm, just beneath her elbow crease.
Not one of the scenarios ended with her, alone, in her hotel room.
She packed a small cone, sucking in courage and calm, before tucking things away in her bag and grabbing her water bottle. She eased her dry mouth and stood, hair caught on the breeze promising to storm.
"It seems I'm at your mercy. Please say I'm not putting you out too much."
Shaw smiled. "Hop in Maeve. No trouble at all."
His smile grew as he watched her squirm on the seat before buckling the belt, knowing the sound of it would likely be making her pussy pulse. Him and her, they were born to recognise each other. To be thrilled by it.
To give in to it.
Testing her bravery, Shaw casually said, "Just as easy to stop by my place. Closer. We'll beat the storm. You'll have service there."
Maeve twisted the worn silver at her fingers before lifting her water bottle to ease her dry throat.
"Whatever's easiest for you," she said, lights flashing in the far distance, thunder quickly chasing.
He made two left turns and was on the main road, making his way to Wolf Winery. "In town for the festival were you?" he asked, wanting to ease her nerves, tickle them back just a little.
She flicked the top of her water bottle open and shut, open and shut, before catching herself, sighing, forcing herself to relax. "Yeah. I write culture pieces for the weekend magazines. Human interest. Goings on."
"Quick turn-around for you," he murmured. "Well, on behalf of the Peninsula, I hope this crappy ending doesn't spoil the review."
"Yes, it is. But it keeps me sharp. More writing leads always to better writing." She sent him an under the lashes look, a slight blush caressing her cheeks. "And, not all in the ending is crappy."
Shaw's hands tightened on the steering wheel as he cruised to a stop at the back of his estate. The private entrance. As he pulled the handbrake, the sky clapped and flashed, opening the promised threat.
"Well, shit," Shaw said, rubbing his hand over his forehead.
Maeve -- nervous, high -- let out a laugh, one that slowly bubbled to the top, charming him. "Man, you are so lucky I'm high right now. Any other person would be in hysterics."
Shaw's smile shifted the planes of his face into interesting formation, boyish farm charm and dignified scholar rolled into one. "Gotta make a run for it," he grinned.
Maeve grabbed her things and pulled her jacked up to protect her head as she followed Shaw in the rain, her boots splashing to the hem of her skirts. As she stepped up to the landing, Shaw turned, capturing a glimpse of her tattoo. Upside down, the contours were very erotic, making his pulse thick.
She stood close behind him as he unlocked the door, bodies bumping as he straightened, turned. The rain all but steamed from their pores as his tawny gold eyes locked with hers, down over her partly open mouth, up again.
He fumbled with the door, pushing it open to reveal a rolling rustic kitchen, down to the wooden beams and open shelving. The space carried the scent of herb and earth, and of smoke and soot thanks to the open fire oven.
Maeve made a beeline for the flames to heat her suddenly chilled skin.
"Here, let me take that, dry it off," Shaw said once inside, kicking his boots by the door, taking her proffered jacket and lay it over the back of a chair. The air snapped between them with words best left unsaid.
She ran her hands up bare arms, her layered ivory skirt zipped high on her waist, stopping beneath a cropped top of the same colour. She turned to face Shaw, his eyes a goldstorm of secrets, and her heart beat heavy in her chest. She cleared her throat.
"May I use the bathroom?"
"Oh, fuck, um, yeah," Shaw wiped sweaty palms on the backside of his pants, gestured. "On the second landing. Third on your right."
Maeve gave him a shy smile that belied her churning stomach and racing pulse, and followed his directions. Locking the door behind her, she stood, both hands on the counter, staring herself down in the mirror, dark chocolate eyes molten. She ran the cold water, splashed some onto her face, her neck, cooled herself down.
"You got this," whispered her dripping face. She patted herself dry, tied her hair out of her face, packed a cone and turned on the bathroom exhaust fan. She held the smoke in her lungs, nine, ten seconds, and exhaled counting back from ten into the fan. She washed her hands, rinsed her mouth and dabbed some perfume to the back of her neck.
She clicked the door closed behind her, made her way to the first landing, got herself turned around. She saw a dull pink light in a half-opened doorway, stepped to it and pushed it open.
Gasped when she saw flashes of black silk, leather, a rack of crops and floggers.
Maeve's hand went to her throat, blood throbbing thick there, mimicking the beat between her thighs. She stepped back and met the solid wall of Shaw's chest.
"Yes or no, Maeve," he whispered, his voice making her skin tingle in waves.
No point pretending not to know what he meant. She swallowed thick, breathed a single yes before she was ushered over the threshold.
Shaw turned her around, ran his rough, earth-worked hands up her arms, down again. He leaned forward and planted a chaste kiss on her lips, over the tip of her nose, her forehead.
"What's your safe word, Maeve?" he muttered into her hairline, inhaling her intoxicating scent.
A gentle blush coloured her cheek. "Clover," she muttered. Waited.
"As in 'Crimson and --?"
She nodded. "The very same."
"Okay. If," he said, "you say clover," stepping into her space, bodies now brushing, lips whispering over the crown of her head. "All this will stop. Promise."
Again, Shaw glided his hands up and down her arms, feeling them pebble with gooseflesh and tremble with want. Only this, with his lips rubbing softly along her hairline, was the way he touched her. He closed his eyes as he inhaled her rain-soaked scent, a rose stemmed with many thorns.
"Tell me your safe word, Maeve."
"Clover," she whispered, tilting her head slightly, rolling under his touch.
"Good," Shaw murmured, walking her backward into the room, kicking the door shut behind him. Its decisive click made Maeve jolt, make eye contact with him.
"Arms up," he said, hands already pushing the cropped shirt up her ribs, deliberately along the sides of her breasts, lifting and tossing it away. He smiled at her naked flesh, silently betting his bottom dollar she wasn't wearing panties, either.
Always hoping for just this.
"Wait," she whispered, making him freeze. "In my bag. Cannabis balm. Make my pussy tingle with it. Please."
Shaw arched a brow, not at all used to a submissive's request intriguing him. He watched her throat contract with what he knew must be dry-mouth, huffed out a breath as though put-out by her demand. He found a small tube at the bottom of her bag -- along with a half dozen pens, two notebooks, scraps of paper covered with scribbles, her pipe, loose change -- took that and her water bottle back to where she stood.
She hadn't moved a muscle.
"Drink," he said, passing her the water as he read the label of the tube. He twisted the cap, lifted it so sniff at the product. Thorny roses, he thought.
Having guzzled down half the water, Maeve pulled the bottle from her mouth, placed it on the floor. "Thanks," she said. "Needed that."
"How does this work?" Shaw asked.
"Muscle relaxant. That gives the tingles. You won't regret it. Trust me."
He tilted his head. He was promising her much the same. How could he deny her wanting the same from him?
"All right. Warm it up in your hands. A little goes a long way. You can always add more later if you want." She slowly stepped backward as the spoke, toward the couch. When her calves met the cool leather, she gathered her wispy skirts -- proving him right -- and sat, booted feet spread wide.
"I see," he, said, turning the tube to read the label. The silver at his temples refracted and bent the light in subtle, interesting ways.
"Feet. On the couch. Boots on," he ordered, a switching flick to a new persona.
Maeve smiled and sucked in a breath. "Yes, sir," she enthused bringing her feet to the cushions and grabbing her knees.
Shaw's eyes twinkled with her enthusiastic response and rubbed his hands together, spreading oil to the webbing of his fingers, to the backs of his hands, warming it ready. He placed both thumbs at the fleshy juncture of her thighs, pressing the pads deeply up her flesh while his fingers spread across her inner thighs. He repeated the pattern two, three times before switching long strokes to smaller swirling circles.
Up and out. Up and out.
He watched her face closely, saw how her jaw went slack on a sigh of pleasure, how her right eye scrunched just a little tighter than the left when a contraction left her weak. Her cheeks were flushed pink, and when he looked between her legs, he saw her cunt much the same shade, pink and blushing with need.
"Oh fuck, Shaw, you have no idea how good that feels," Maeve groaned, pressing the balls of her feet into the couch's frame, lifting her ass and adjusting herself to his touch. "More, please."
Shaw knelt up, rested his forearm across her clavicle, sheathing two fingers in her throbbing heat. He rotated his hand, his index and pinkie finger continuing to massage and mix oil and juices.
"You want more?" he asked, his lips but a kiss from hers.
Maeve bit her lip, nodded. "Mhmm. I want it all." As she said 'all', she lifted her hips, deepening the penetration of his fingers, openly beginning to masturbate against his hand. Shaw's head swam, her wanton responses intoxicating, and realised her expression of pleasure was the single most erotic thing he'd ever seen.
"I feel your need," Shaw drawled, keeping his hand still, letting her have her fun. Entranced by her erotically engaging face, anchored by the flames licking his hand. She greedily consumed her pleasure, and generously released it. "And you have no idea how goddamn beautiful you are right now."
"I'm close. I'm so close," she panted. "I won't be able to hold back much longer."
"No, no, don't hold back," he responded, his voice shallow as hers. He straightened, pulling her ass to the edge of the couch, her body putty beneath his hands.
He guided the head of his cock to her opening, those two fingers covered in her heat moving up to knuckle each side of her clit. The pull of her opening was strong and he relished in her need.
"Come," he growled, entering upon her orgasm, pushing through those moist, contracting muscles, pulled to the root by her strength.
Hands pressing down her lower abdomen and hips, he began to thrust and roll his hips, finding a strong rhythm to extend her orgasm into the abyss.
The sloppy, sweet slap of flesh reverberated from the walls, the sound of their mutual groans of pleasure lost in its echo.
"Come with me," she moaned, the first person ever to demand his pleasure.
Shaw felt lightheaded, an instinctive response jumping deep within his gut. How could he deny her her own power?
He gripped the base of his cock, remaining entangled in her depths as he changed the angle, pulling back ever so slightly to see her slippery sex stretch around his pleasure. He hooked his arms under her knees, hands digging in the back of the couch, his knees know resting where her boots had been.
"Make me come," she whispered, her voice somehow inside his head. "Fuck me into submission."
Shaw threw back his head, crying out in painful relief as he came. Maeve's body responded in kind, releasing a gush of pleasure to burn with his heat. They moved together fluidly, spreading their warmth all the way to her eardrums.
"Oh, fuck," he grunted, as lost as she in the summer storm.
Her hands had found their way to his buttocks, and she squeezed and pulled him to her, gently encouraging softer movements, to bask now in the aftermath.
"Holy fuck," he said, pressing his mouth to hers.
Maeve cleared her throat, hips still rolling with undulated desire. "Got that right."
Sometime later, with reluctance, he retreated from her warmth, stood, shook his head, wondering if he'd ever clear this experience from his mind.
"Can you stand?" he asked, bending to retrieve her water bottle, guzzling most of what remained.
"Hey," she protested. "No fair."
He managed to stagger with dignity to the adjoining bath, where she heard water running. Her stomach jumped at the sound, and then sighed at the feeling. She got to her feet as he approached, unbuttoning her skirt, letting it fall to the floor. He helped her step out of it as she brought the bottle to her lips, drinking deeply to quench her thirst. Wondering why she was so sure things weren't yet over.
He crouched to remove her boots and socks, giving the sides of her feet a gentle squeeze as he did so. She hadn't realised until then how much they ached.
He stood again, inhaling as he did, and pressed a light kiss to her lips, moist with hydration.
"Come, lay down with me," he whispered, silk soft.
But still, her belly jumped.
Maeve sighed as her heated flesh met cool sheets, hooking one arm over her head as she stretched out, relieving aching bones.
Shaw cradled himself beside her, watching her fight off sleep, tracing patterns from the hollow of her throat, down around her belly button and up again. He hadn't felt this relaxed in months. He lowered his head, pressed his mouth to her ear and breathed in through his teeth.
Her instinctive recoil made him smile, imagining a tingle in her toes.
"Just because I'm done, for now, doesn't mean you are," he murmured into her neck, his hand moving down to her swollenly smooth flesh, thickly wet with their sex. He rubbed three fingers through her folds, pressing at her sensitive opening, making her pull in her pelvic floor instinctively.
"Hmmm," he hummed, sleepy desire, enjoying her semi-conscious response to his touch. "Hmmm," he hummed again. "I wonder." He reluctantly moved, reaching down for the tube of balm. He grinned as he squeezed product into the palm of his hand, rubbing to mix the heat of the balm with their sex.
"What?" Maeve mumbled, rolling her head toward him.
"Nothing," Shaw replied, resting on elbow so he could look down her body. He brought his palm to her glowing gash, rubbed slick hand over her, through her, all around her. Extending the rumbling aftershocks.
"Oh, fuck," Maeve breathed.
"I seem to recall," Shaw said, his coffee cream voice washing over her skin, "you saying once you start you won't stop. Not until I tell you to."
Maeve curled her lips in, nodded, closed her eyes at the tension building inside her.
"Here." Shaw shifted, sliding his arm under head and neck to prop her up. "Watch."
Four meaty fingers now strummed through her folds, externally and internally swept up in a dance old as time. His hand glistened in the soft blushing light, and his breath, lips, teeth and tongue were heat blazing in her ear.
"Oh, fuck, Shaw," she moaned, the 'aw' of his name ending in a frustrated moan, her hips rolling up in pleasure.
"That's right. Shaw. That's who owns you." He snarled now, his words snapping from his teeth, his breath rough in her ear. He pressed the heel of his hand to her clit, wriggling and rubbing hard as three fingers penetrated her cunt.
The sensation was the equal opposite of his playful warm up; he was rough, erratic, grunting constantly in her ear. His lips then journeyed over her eyelids, down a curved cheek before connecting with hers, tongue pushing through to wrestle and twist with its mate. His forearm crossed her hair, the weight pulling and making her tingle from scalp to soles.
"Mine, mine, mine," he chanted, as lost in the rhythm as she. His fingertips burned, sizzled, snapped in her flesh, and he groaned his pleasure deep into her mouth.
Her hips rocked and rolled against his fierce finger fucking, gasping for air, moaning the occasional "now, now please" incoherently. Her inner thighs were aflame; the sensitive flesh further in, melted lava. She felt herself removed from all but the sensation between her thighs, the glow of feeling.
They breathed her pleasure into each other, hedonistic needs matched and met.
"Now," he growled, feeling like a god when his hand flooded with her response, heat spreading to his fingertips. Her tight tunnel contracting around his fingers, pulling, pulling. He grunted his encouragement in her ear, forcefully withdrawing his fingers to spread warm cream around her clitoris, rubbing her hard through her come.