They sat together in the reception area of the Center, as minutes ticked past. Elyse leafed through a fashion magazine. Justin propped his feet on top of his bag, arms folded over his chest and stared at the floor. She stole glances at his long, jeans-clad legs, one crossed over the other, ending in big black boots. She’d forgotten how lanky his limbs were, but hadn’t forgotten how they felt wrapped around her. The hot sun shining through the window, the proximity of his body and his musky male scent combined to make her horny as hell. Her skin was prickly as if she had a fever. Her pussy was so tender and achy she could hardly sit still.
She snapped her magazine closed. “Look, I know you hate me. You have every reason to. But we’re stuck working together so let’s clear the air. I think the best way to do that is to let you do what you’ve been dying to do ever since you saw me in the airport.”
Justin shot her a sideways look, one eyebrow raised.
“Pound the hell out of me. There’s a workout room in the basement for Brody’s bodyguards to keep in shape.”
“Very appropriate for a religious headquarters,” he mocked.
“Raymond Brody is a very important man. Important men have enemies and need good security.” Elyse shrugged. “Anyway, let’s spar for a while. I’m sure it’ll make both of us feel a lot better.”
He removed his big black boots from his bag and sat up straight. “You know what? You’re on. There’s nothing I’d rather do right now than beat the crap out of you.”
Fifteen minutes later they were clothed in sportswear and stretching before entering the ring. Both of them were barefoot.
Elyse wore shorts and T-shirt. Her auburn hair was drawn back into a ponytail. Justin had on a loose pair of running shorts and a wifebeater. She kept sneaking looks at his impressive biceps and shoulder width. Damn, she’d forgotten how stunning his muscles were.
“Boxing gloves or bare knuckle?” she asked.
He straightened from touching his forehead to his knees. A lock of hair fell over his eyes, making him look suddenly younger than his eighty-some years. Elyse longed to push it back from his forehead.
“I always prefer skin on skin myself,” Elyse purred.
Inside her chest her heart pounded. What the hell had she gotten herself into? Sure she was strong, fit and able to hold her own against most of Brody’s bodyguards. She worked out whenever she was in Reno and had a couple of regular sparring partners among the guys. But Foster was built like a mountain. And the molten lava of hate simmering under the surface could turn that mountain into a volcano. This was like handing him a torch to set it off.
They climbed into the ring, raised their fists and slowly circled one another. Elyse knew her only hope was in being quick on her feet. She darted in and jabbed at his jaw.
He lifted a hand and blocked her punch.
Jab. Parry. Jab. Parry.
She swept her leg up and kicked at his face. He knocked her leg down.
Elyse fell back, considering her next move.
Justin kept slowly circling and holding his hands on guard. His eyes never left her face. He was going to let her wear herself out then take advantage and subdue her with his superior strength. She needed to draw him out, get him mad enough to punch wildly then duck like hell. Shouldn’t be hard to piss him off.
“I didn’t know Brody was going to take Trina, you know. I like the kid. I wouldn’t have put her in danger on purpose.”
Justin’s hand darted out with lightning speed and clipped the side of her jaw.
She tasted blood. Her hands shot up, ready to protect her face from another blow, but Justin held back.
Feinting left then right, she shot out a fist as though to strike, but pulled the punch and kicked with her foot instead. His hands lifted to counter her strike, leaving his stomach open and her foot plowed into solid muscle.
Elyse regained her balance and danced backward. “It was a great assignment for me,” she panted. “The sex was fantastic. So hot! But you know that. And it was ridiculously easy to get you to trust me. You’d have told me anything I ask – – Whoa!” She twisted to the side, missing his punch by inches.
That seemed to break through his reserve. He besieged her with a flurry of punches. Elyse countered most of them although he landed a few head-ringing blows.
She slipped a few of her own through the barrage, stinging her knuckles against his hard jaw when she snapped his head to the side. Made her wish she’d opted for gloves instead of bare fists.
Sweeping a leg up, she kicked his ribs, hard. Justin grunted from the blow. But when she tried it again, he caught her leg and spun her around, sending her crashing to the mat.
Elyse arched her back and sprang to her feet again. She whirled out of his reach then bounced lightly on the balls of her feet, waiting to see what he would do next. Unfortunately, she’d forgotten how much longer his legs were than hers. With the same sweeping motion she’d used, he took her legs out from under her and laid her flat on the floor again.
The breath was knocked out of her, leaving her gasping for air.
Justin straddled her and punched her face, knocking her head sideways. Her ears rang with the force of the blow. Elyse feared for her teeth. The idea of thousands of dollars worth of dental work possibly ruined pissed her off. She twisted beneath his hard body, pushing up against his rocky chest with both hands and flipped him onto his back.
He landed with a grunt, and she straddled him. She unleashed a series of punches to his face, driving a good solid one into his nose. Blood gushed from his nostrils down either side of Justin’s mouth.
Justin intercepted her next blow then grabbed her wrists in each hand. His grip was like a pair of manacles. He rolled so he was on top. Elyse wasn’t going to be able to slip away this time. His weight pinned her body to the mat and his hands held her wrists to the floor above her head. All she could do was squirm beneath him.
Both of them panted for breath, hot and sweating from exertion. Justin’s erection pressed into her crotch. Instead of struggling to get away, she arched her hips and rubbed against him. She stared into his eyes and smiled.
A drop of blood rolled down his lip and landed on her face near the edge of her mouth. Elyse ran her tongue out and lapped it up.
Justin’s chest rose and fell. His gaze stayed steadily on hers, pupils dilated, making his changeable eyes a dark navy blue. He gripped her wrists even harder, grinding her bones together.
“Go ahead. Hit me. I’ve been very, very bad,” Elyse whispered, lifting her face toward him. “Punish me. What are you waiting for?”
He released her wrists and moved his iron grip to her throat then Justin leaned closer, his eyes penetrating hers so deeply Elyse felt as if he were fucking her with them. Another droplet of blood splashed from his face to hers. “No. I won’t hit you. You like it too much.” His voice growled like the low throb of an engine.