The events preceding his heavy drinking didn’t all come back to him at once. Ryder actually had one moment of peace, where he wasn’t haunted with thoughts of HER. And then he heard the rustle of her dress, caught the faint scent of her hair, and it all came rushing back to him. And with those memories, his morning erection throbbed almost pointedly, as though reminding him he had yet to do anything about it.
Ryder groaned again, the sound even more exaggerated than the previous one. All his frustrations were in that sound, the weeks looming before him as Ryder wondered how long he would have to go without a woman tending to his sexual needs. He didn’t once consider taking one of the other women captured, didn’t once think to put in the time to seduce a more biddable female. He was simply too fixated on the priestess, needing, wanting her, and ready to do just about anything to have her.
Almost anything, Ryder reminded himself. There was a line he could not, would not cross. His own twisted sense of honor, what little there was left, wouldn’t allow it. It was a strange moral to have, surrounded by so many rape minded comrades, but it was simply the way Ryder was. He wasn’t any better or any worse than any of the other Drules, he could and did kill, steal, even blackmail and commit crimes on a universal scale. He just rather have a willing partner in his bed, a lover who wanted him back, who did not have fear and loathing in her eyes.
He was still a ways away from that. The priestess while not full of loathing, had carried fear in her eyes. Ryder had a mix of the other pirates’ actions and his own drunken come on’s to thank for that. He hadn’t been the great seducer he was known to be, not last night, not full of drink and so desperate for her. He had been so intent on her, Ryder hadn’t even taken into consideration the fact she had overheard at least some of the other women being raped. Her ears full of their screams, her imagination probably vivid with picturing it, Alexandria had not needed a drunk to manhandle her in any way.
Ryder groaned again, his loudest, most drawn out yet. This time it was pure embarrassment, Ryder mortified over how he had acted. He wanted to strike out, to punch something, to punch himself for his stupidity, for his callous behavior of the night before. For being a drunken, overly infatuated, lustful idiot.
And in the midst of his self admonishments, he heard the rustle of her clothing. Sensed more than saw her approach, the pleasing scent of her strengthening as Alexandria drew near. Part of him reacted on instinct, but another, just couldn’t help himself where the priestess was concerned. For as her hand reached towards him, Ryder lashed out, his fingers closing around her slender wrist.
He heard her gasp, a loud, pronouncement of troubled sound. He felt more than saw her unease, the way she flinched and tried to jerk away. Ryder might have flinched as well, but for different reasons, cursing himself a fool for his heart’s rejoicing at the simple pleasure it got from the act of touching her wrist.
It was too strong a reaction, too much pleasure for such a meaningless thing. It should have sent Ryder running from her, the man right to be wary. Instead in a fit of anger and rebellious defiance, he pulled on her wrist, jerking Alexandria down into the bed with him. She made the most delightful of sounds, his own cock jerking in response to that soft pitched squeal, Ryder flipping them so that the woman ended up beneath him.
He couldn’t resist sinking his weight into her, letting her feel his erection against her belly, as he pinned her thoroughly in place. She had no room to do damage, no way to get a leg up and kick. The best she could do was squirm, and that wriggle like movement made Ryder want to roll his eyes back and moan. Somehow he controlled himself, barely, speaking in rasping tones. He couldn’t quite hide his excitement, his voice coming out harsh in response.
“Don’t you know better than to sneak up on a Drule soldier’s bed?” He almost bit his lip, feeling a little too ecstatic in response to her squirming, and the flash of angry jade eyes lifting to glare at him. “Especially when that Drule is IN it?”
“Believe me, it is a mistake I won’t be repeating.” Alexandria informed him, but her tone was too heated to maintain the chill she tried to give him. Another almost violent struggle, the woman trying uselessly to buck Ryder off of her.
This time Ryder didn’t hold back the moan, staring down at her through hooded eyes. “Careful….” He warned her through a throaty purr. “You’ll cause me to make a mess all over your pretty dress.”
A wide eyed look followed a poignant pause, the priestess needing a few seconds to get his meaning. And once she did understand, the most fetching of blushes colored her face, Alexandria’s pale skin turning a faint rose colored hue.
“Do get off of me.” She said, her teeth clenching. “Please.”
Ryder froze, inwardly cursing, hating that she had spoken such a request. A request that could in no way be misunderstood, a request that by all rights, Ryder should respect if only because he had his own loose code of morals where women and sex were concerned. But it became difficult to honor them, to think, let alone do the right thing, when the priestess was right here, right under him, right when he was rock hard. Not when her infernal, wonderful, wriggling was making him one step closer to insane with desire, Ryder that much closer to losing his sense of right from wrong, and leaving him with the knowledge that he did not want to move off her at all.
The fact that he didn’t want to move was exactly the reason he should, and yet he remained rooted in the spot, holding her down. Staring at her, trying to pretend he wasn’t affected by her nearness, or the fact that she continued to squirm despite his earlier warnings about the risk to her dress’ front. A risk that was fast approaching reality, Ryder focusing on his breathing, trying to keep from grinding in time to her struggles. It was only the fact that he didn’t want to come like this, soiling her dress like some inexperienced boy and knowing she affected him too strongly for Ryder to ever last long enough for a proper fucking without her first taking the edge off in some other way, that stopped him from spilling then and there.
His teeth clenched behind closed lips, Ryder knowing the idea of sex of any kind with this woman was still just a fantasy. It would take real work to get to the point where she would lay willingly with him, where the priestess would squirm not because she attempted to free herself, but because she couldn’t help but writhe and lash out in pure pleasure beneath him.
Holding himself absolutely still and fighting not to close his eyes and just enjoy the feel of Alexandria’s struggles against him, Ryder took a deep breath. It was a breath that shuddered it’s way out of him, as harsh sounding as his voice had been reduced to. It betrayed the struggle within him, the surges of lust the priestess herself caused that nearly threatened to overwhelm Ryder’s last shred of sanity. She was wise enough to understand that sound, going still beneath him save for the rise and fall of her magnificent chest. He tried not to focus on the heaving of her bosom, instead looking her square in the eye as he opened his mouth to speak.
“What mischief were you plotting?” She looked confused by that question, Ryder choosing to elaborate with more questions. “What did you intend to do to me? Clobber me over the head? Suffocate me with a pillow? Strangle me with my belt? Hmmm?”
She looked suitably horrified by the bloodthirsty suggestions, but then there had been little doubt in Ryder’s mind that she hadn’t approached his bed with the intent to kill him. He didn’t know her YET, but he knew of her type. Dainty, downright delicate, the only true harm she would seek to do was if someone threatened her in some manner. A sleeping man, even a Drule, hardly offered her any threat, regardless of what she might have imagined would have happened after that man had awakened.
“I would never…” She huffed out, her indignation eating away that horrified look in her eyes. “Despite what you may think, the thought never even crossed my mind to harm you.”
“You didn’t think twice last night….” Ryder reminded her.
“That…that was different!” She retorted. “You were awake and pawing at me. You…I thought….
That rosy color was back in her cheeks, her expression one of pure dismay. “I was pretty sure you were going to force yourself on me…”
“I don’t have to rape a woman to get what I want from her.” Ryder replied, noting her troubled look didn’t leave her.
“Yes, I’m sure you are used to women just falling into line for you.” Alexandria muttered crossly. “But I did not approach your bed with the intent to harm you or to bed you. I was acting out of concern.”
“Concern?” A brow lifted, Ryder almost confused. “Whatever for?”
“You….you were MOANING.” Alexandria told him, in tones that strongly stated she regretted her earlier concern. “I thought you were ill….”
“And you what? Thought you would nurse me back to health?” Ryder grinned, imagining her in a short skirted nurse’s uniform. It was quite a titillating thought, his cock seeming to twitch in response, the fantasy a million times better than the dismal reality of the ships’ all male medical staff.
The priestess’ cheeks were really red now. “Obviously I was wrong.” She said, her voice holding ice to it. “You are not suffering. There is nothing wrong with you physically…..”
“Strong as robeast, and as healthy as a Drule soldier in his prime can be.” Ryder said cheerfully.
“So my concern is wasted….”
“I wouldn’t say that…” Ryder said quickly. “I feel awfully hot when I look at you.” He instantly regretted saying something so corny, so Cossack like, when the priestess gave him a cold, disapproving look back in response.
“Was this all an act?” Her tone was suspicious, Alexandria’s eyes trained on Ryder’s face. “Was the moaning just a lure to get me near?”
“No…” Now he shifted, the slightest of movements that set off tingles racing through his erection. “I’m a bit hung over….” Ryder wasn’t about to admit that most of his moaning had been born out of embarrassment, out of mortification over the memories he had had from his behavior of the night before.
“It sounded like more than a bit to me.” She huffed in reply, looking cross.
“Simply a case of a man’s bark being worse than his bite.” Ryder answered smoothly enough. “But I thank you for your concern, if that is all you intended when you approached my bed.”
“Are you purposefully baiting me?” Alexandria demanded, her pearl white teeth flashing as she spoke. “What other intentions could I possibly have had, save to check on a man I thought ill?” She gave him her stoniest glare in response to the downright wicked smirk Ryder flashed her, Alexandria all but hissing in a low tone voice. “You think too highly of yourself to imagine any other excuse as to why I would come to your bed for…for….” Here she stumbled on the word, her cheeks flushed once more. “For intimacy.”
“I am supremely confidant. Of myself, and of what will happen between us.” Ryder told her point blank, his voice nonchalant.
“Then how disappointed you must be…” Alexandria quickly interrupted him, her tone syrupy sweet. “To know this moment is all the sex we will ever have between us.”
“This?” She looked astonished when he let out a hearty laugh. “This doesn’t come close to sex. This moment, while titillating at best, is hardly satisfying for either of us, wouldn’t you say?” The flattening of her lips in a thin, disapproving line was the signal the priestess would say nothing at all. “And it’s damn disappointing as far as foreplay goes.”
That disapproving look remained, his priestess just staring at him as though determined not to react any further to him. It only drove Ryder to say more, to do more, in an attempt to shock her, make her blush, maybe break that determined disapproval of hers.
“You do know what foreplay is, don’t you love?” Ryder asked her, unable to keep the wicked gleam from his eyes. Especially in response to the quick way she blinked, all in effort to hide her own confusion.
“I am well aware of what goes on between a man and woman behind closed doors.” Alexandria answered stiffly. “What is done in the dark when no other is around.”
“The dark is for those wicked deeds no one wants seen.”
“And sex ISN’T wicked?” She asked.
“Oh I don’t deny it. It can be. Very much so.” His own fangs flashed, Ryder giving her his patented sexy smirk that had been known to devastate women, make them swoon and shiver where they stood. Panties had dropped for just a glimmer of that smug smile, and Ryder practically smoldered with intensity, giving Alexandria the full effect of his charm.
Interesting enough, she wasn’t completely unaffected. Her eyes widened slightly, her blush seeming to spread even to the tips of her pointed ears. Ryder very much wanted to brush his lips over one of those pink points, wanted to see how badly she’d shake in reaction, if she was anywhere as sensitive as a Drule.
“Wicked but also invigorating. Pleasurable, relaxing, people come together to do it for many kinds of reasons. And few if any of those are wrong.”
“But some are….” She murmured, and Ryder nodded.
“Some are.” He agreed out loud. “Greed, manipulation, domination, humiliation, revenge…in the wrong hands, sex can be a devastating a weapon as it is a powerful force for bonding a pair together. You must remember sweet Alexandria…sex itself isn’t wicked….it’s the people and how they choose to use it, that are.”
She shivered as though cold, staring at him. Ryder stared back, wondering what Alexandria was thinking, wondering what assessment she was making of him.
“You’re no saint.” She finally said. “But you’re also not a complete sinner.”
“I know a great many that would argue against that point!” Ryder chuckled.
“I’m not saying you haven’t done bad things….but…unlike your…friends, you haven’t completely forced yourself on me. I’ll remember that.”
“You do that.” Ryder said, more than a bit bemused by her.
“Now, if you would be gentleman enough as to get off of me…?” She said, trying to shift to the side. Ryder let out a loud bark of laughter, shaking on top of her. She frowned up at him, Ryder having to shake his head several times before he could speak.
“I am even less a gentleman than I am a saint. But all right…I’ve teased you enough.” And himself, Ryder thought, rolling to the side of her. His whole being protested immediately, Ryder missing the feel of being pressed up against her. His erection remained, throbbing painfully, Ryder knowing he had to do something about it or risk worse hurt before it could calm itself down. And he was really having no choice, as unappealing as it was.
“I’m going to take a quick shower.” Ryder announced, getting off the bed. Alexandria was sitting up, as far on the other side as she could get and attempting to not be obvious about it. “After I’ll get us some grub.”
“All right.” She inclined her head in a nod, but kept her gaze well above his waist. In fact she avoided looking at even his chest, focuses somewhere more over his left shoulder.
“Try to keep out of trouble for a few minutes.” Ryder added, but it was more an absentminded aside than a true concern. He was already hurrying into his private bathroom, his walk stiff in more ways than one.