Caroline worked on bandaging the shallow cut on Klaus’ forearm with a rigid silence. Knife wounds were tricky, but this one had only grazed him. She hadn’t even been aware he’d been bleeding until he’d removed his jacket, and she’d seen the bloody mess of what had once been a crisp, white dress shirt. She’d known his jacket and suit pants had been a lost cause, Klaus had not killed the would-be assassin gently, but at the time she’d been more relieved she’d avoided the worst of the splatter. She hadn’t been so willing to sacrifice her new dress and heels to the unnecessary gore.
Now he sat in her penthouse apartment with the ruined sleeve rolled to his elbow, a hint of cologne teasing her from the open collar of his shirt, and it took teeth gritting patience to ignore the appeal of him. The slow fizzle of want that burned low in her belly even though she was mad at him. A few weeks ago she’d have poured him a shot of bourbon for the pain and kicked him out.
Today she wanted to curl her fingers around his arms and shake him. The expression on his face as he turned to check on her after the body had dropped in front of them, narrowed eyed with the veneer of charm stripped away to show the man underneath, haunted her. As did the hint of dimple that touched his cheek as he found her on the phone, snapping out orders for disposal of the body and a team to clear the alley of evidence. They’d both walked into this fake relationship with their eyes wide open but the very last thing she’d expected was to actually care about him. It was a serious damper for her plans.
Her mother had always warned her that her heart could be her most dangerous enemy. Like most things, she’d been right. It was just so unfair that it was Klaus-freaking-Mikaelson of all people who was so skillfully digging beneath her armor.
Originally this... relationship was supposed to have lasted at most a month, tops. A mutually beneficial arrangement for them both after they’d managed to orchestrate the downfalls of their fathers and cleaned their houses of those less than loyal. It had been a chance to rattle the cages of the city, to let the tensions boil over so they could drain the fat and cull the week. Nothing permanent, nothing that would compromise any of their future business ventures. A tentative truce that she’d fully expected to collapse under the weight of their pettiness.
She and Klaus had known a week into this sham that they could never walk away as friends, but she’d been aiming for not-enemies at best, though she hadn’t held out much hope. Such alliances were short lived, and there was too much spark, too much heat beneath the distrust and the antagonism. Enzo had taken it upon himself to remind her on a daily basis that using Klaus was one thing, but anything else put her in dangerous waters. There was no slip of a carefully placed blade between her and Klaus, there never had been, even when they’d been less than they were now. Instead their worlds had met with all the force of tectonic plates grinding against each other, too raw for elegance.
Now he was bleeding in her living room, his gaze a burning line down her profile as she bandaged his cut. Tying off the gauze with methodical precision, she nodded. “Well, you’ll live.” She kept her words tart, letting her annoyance bleed through as she glanced back at him. His gaze locked with hers, something private and amused about his expression.
“I never doubted.”
His lips curled at her huff as she removed her latex gloves with sharp movements, eyes glittering with the arrogance that had left her tempted to commit physical violence more than once. He seemed to enjoy riling her as much as soothing the sharp edges of her temper, and she’d started to look forward to their little sparring matches. It was a weakness she could afford herself. Not with this man. Not when he had started to become a bit more insistent that they re-evaluate their plans.
The more he coaxed, his mouth tilted in the smallest of teases, the more she was tempted to bite him out of frustration because there was a certain amount of truth to what he was saying. They did work well together, when they weren’t bickering or deliberately interfering with each other’s plans. Those moments when their thoughts synced into perfection were breathtaking, and becoming far more common.
Alarm bells were sounding.
In this business, love was a weakness. Family was a necessary one, but everyone else had to be a calculated risk, disposable if necessary. There was nothing expendable about this man.
Caroline had always been careful around Klaus. They hadn’t interacted much until she’d started to quietly turn her father’s people to her own, until she’d become a threat, but she’d known who he was for years before that. He was a smart bastard and as ruthless as his dimples promised, but it was his streak of cunning that had left her watching him.
Smart men were a dime a dozen, and no one in their business could afford to be less than absolute in their focus. Klaus had hidden the depth of his intelligence, the force of his conniving behind his blood lust, letting his enemies focus on his brutality when they should have been worried about his mind. She hadn’t been surprised when Mikael had been found floating in the river.
Between him and his ridiculous number of siblings, she’d been forced to tread carefully where their businesses had nudged up against each other. For better or worse, he'd always done her the courtesy of never once underestimating her and she’d respected that even as it vexed her. She’d always operated best when people never looked past her pageant perfect smile, but Klaus had always expected her to have teeth.
And not once while they waded through this false relationship had he tried to take what was hers. She’d mostly expected at least one attempt. The men in her life and her world considered anything they touched as belonging to them, what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is mine, darling. She’d clawed for everything she ruled, and she’d never had any intention of giving so much as an inch to anyone. She was an only child, unapologetically possessive of her things, and she would allow no one to take over what she’d fought for and what belonged to her. She’d become used to ruthlessness as being just a small footnote in the collection of personalities she’d dealt with her whole life, including her own.
But Klaus had surprised her. If anything, he’d watched devour her enemies with a small, lingering smile in the corner of his mouth, a dimple teasing as he admired her ruthlessness. He left champagne in her fridge, hilarious little drawings that depicted just how she crushed her enemies. In turn, she found herself avoiding actively competing against his people, and discovered that he’d made the same choice towards hers.
It was the only explanation she could give to herself as to why she was still here. Why she’d agreed to this mostly insane proposition when he’d cornered her one night after drinks with Enzo. He hadn’t been offering her a pity deal, hadn’t given her charm and guile.
Now she was allowing him to take her to dinner or her favorite shows, bandaging his wounds after he’d stupidly stepped between her and a knife. She let him charm and flirt, she laughed at his stupid jokes and drank champagne. She’d developed an annoying soft spot in her chest for a Mikaelson.
Ruthless, brilliant, and such a pretty package. It was entirely unfair. It could only end in disaster.
Klaus was not a man to entangle himself emotionally. At the end of the day, for both of them, family was what mattered. Expecting more was how she’d end up with a bruised heart, or worse, a broken one, and she could never let him know.
Caroline tossed the soiled gloves in the small bin she’d brought over, needing a distraction from her own tangled thoughts. “You know that was Lockwoods’ man.”
She’d recognized the tattoo on his neck, if not his face. They'd likely wanted him to be recognized. The Lockwoods had never been her enemies, not directly, but Tyler hated Klaus with a bitter passion. She couldn’t say she blamed him, if Klaus had killed her mother she would have buried him beneath six feet of concrete before he even knew they were enemies. If he was lucky, she’d have killed him first. As Bill had discovered.
Tyler didn’t have that kind of subtlety in him. His hatred of Klaus was a bright, terrible thing that ate at him from the inside. He wasn’t strong enough to strike at the Mikaelsons directly, and Caroline knew Mason had forbidden it. War was no light thing, and even for the sister Mason had loved, he didn’t quite dare strike openly.
Klaus tipped his head, letting her see the depth of his anger where it sat behind his eyes, caged and contained, but only just. “He wasn’t aiming for me.”
Caroline closed the first aid kit with a snap. It had been hard to tell, Klaus moving in front of her so quickly, but she didn’t doubt that he was correct. She just wasn’t certain if the anger was on her behalf or the tweak Tyler had given his ego by attacking when she was with him. “No, he wouldn’t have been.”
Klaus offered her what was left of his drink. “And why is that, love? Tyler has never chosen to make you his enemy before. Doing so now is a curious choice.”
She drained the bourbon, reached for the bottle to pour more. She supposed he deserved at least this much of the story, and settled back on her chair. “When my mother died, Tyler offered his help to destroy my father. I turned him down.”
His knee settled against hers as he shifted closer, the movement almost accidental except for how he stayed there, pressed close. “Why is that? From what my family was able to gather, yours was not a loving relationship.”
“No more than yours,” she said with a shrug. His brow arched, but he said nothing at her obvious bait and she gave in. She’d already dealt with too much blood tonight, she found she wasn’t in the mood to watch him metaphorically bleed from the sharp edges of her temper as well. “It was simple enough. Tyler wanted to use me, my fathers death, to improve his reputation. To gain favor with his uncle. Where he saw a mutually beneficial relationship, I saw a yolk.”
Klaus made a soft noise, fingers skimming across the top of her bare knee, a caress that sped her pulse far more than she should have allowed it too. “Tyler is not known for his… in-depth thinking. His men will die for him out of loyalty, not realizing that he is incapable of offering them a different fate.”
“That’s a polite way of saying he’s stupid, tends to think with his dick. Don’t spare him on my behalf, I stopped shedding tears over my ruined relationships years ago. For his faults, he was smart enough to know that I’d want revenge. But he wanted credit for something that was already in motion.” She took a sip, savoring the burn. “He stopped pretending we were friends after.”
“Foolish of him.”
“Not as foolish as sending a lone hit man to kill me,” Caroline said. “And far more stupid than I’d have thought he’d be. I imagine Hayley played a part in this plan. She thinks she is clever, and she’s got her fingers firmly wrapped around said disappointing dick. Enzo is already digging into what they hoped to gain.”
Klaus laughed softly as he stole the drink back, but there was no amusement in the sound. “Do you imagine they think I wouldn’t care? That I’d allow such a thing?”
She shrugged, trying not to watch his throat move as he swallowed, trying not to think about the rumors she’s heard about the personal examples he had been setting for those who did think he didn’t care. About her and this… relationship.
Klaus was already known for his mercurial moods, the easy way he offered his hand as easily as a knife. He didn’t need to up his body count to gain respect, not anymore. He’d been his father’s boogeyman long before he ruled. The flutter of her girlish heart wanted to think it meant something, that the brutality of those deaths had meaning. The practical part of her wasn’t sure.
“Like most of the city, I’m sure Tyler thinks we’re fucking, but sex isn’t necessarily business.”
He set the empty glass aside. “Ah, but that’s where you’re wrong, sweetheart.”
“Choose your next words carefully.” Caroline warned coolly.
Klaus’ lips curled. “Tyler is a man who equates sex very much with business. Did you not just mention the hold his current mistress has on his cock and his plans? His miscalculation here is assuming he’d survive both of our ire.”
Annoyed that he’d use her words against her, she lifted a shoulder in a blatant taunt. “Oh, retaliation is a given, from me. From you?”
His hand moved to grip her thigh, and he pulled her across the distance between them with a flex of muscle she hadn’t considered him capable of. Caroline tumbled into his lap less than gracefully, and she swore, hands landing heavily on his shoulders as she tried to avoid the cut on his arm she’d just bandaged.
“You mother…” she started, leaning back to glare, and found instead of amusement, a raw sort of possessiveness that stilled her tongue. His hands were steady on her hips, and he tipped his head forward, so that his breath ghosted across her skin.
“Have you not heard the finer details of what I did to Matt Donavan, love?” Klaus made a soft noise low in his throat. “When I made such an effort to make his death memorable.”
Caroline stilled on his lap. Enzo had given her the full report two days before. Brutal. Matt’s death had been brutal. They were still fishing what they thought were pieces of him from the river, but it was impossible to be sure until DNA confirmation could be made. Matt had been her competitor, but also Tyler’s best friend. He’d also been running his mouth and making unfortunate comments about her and her current relationship. She’d been toying with exactly how she wanted to make an example of him, because there was no way she could have allowed it to continue and not lost face.
Klaus had beaten her to it.
Lifting her chin, she scoffed. “Like you aren’t aware that I took full control of his company in the aftermath, that his mother almost begged me to buy her shares. But Matt was a problem for both of us. Let’s not pretend that you did that for me.”
An arched brow, amusement deepening the curve of his mouth. “Did I not?”
Irritation thrummed through her, and resentment tasted bitter on her tongue. She wasn’t his, to murder her enemies and he wasn’t hers, to ruin his competition. No matter what she thought she might foolishly, foolishly want. “Contrary to popular belief we aren’t fucking, Klaus, and I wouldn’t call us friends.”
“Do you know why I’ve never so much as tried to kiss you, Caroline? I assure you, it isn’t because I haven’t thought of it, haven’t studied the shape of your mouth and wondered if it’s as soft as your tongue is sharp.”
Her breath caught in her throat as his eyes lowered to trace a path along her mouth, the remains of that night's lipstick. His tongue dragged along his lower lip, his exhale slow and deliberate. When they returned to her wide gaze, his pupils were dark and full of a heat she felt.
Caroline tried to pull herself together. “Because this isn’t supposed to be real.” She repeated the words they’d said to each other. The ones she’d repeated inside her head, over and over, like a mantra that could protect her soft heart.
His thumb stoked a burning line across her hip bone, his throaty laugh low and deep. She scowled, nails digging into his shoulders as she bared her teeth. “I can give you a matching scar for the one you’re going to sport on your arm. Laughing at me is not wise.”
Nudging her nose with his, his dimples creasing deep, he made a soft noise of disagreement. “I am not laughing at you, love. Quite the contrary. I am laughing at myself. You’re right.”
Mollified a little at his agreement that she was right, Caroline didn’t immediately pull away from him. “About which part?”
“That this isn’t supposed to be real,” Klaus murmured. “That I actually believed those words when I said them to you in that bar, six weeks ago, and every time I’ve repeated them to myself since.”
Something in her chest twisted at the echoes of her own thoughts, and she swallowed. “Do not go sentimental on me just because someone pulled a knife. It’s hardly the first time, and I could have handled it.”
“Hmm,” he hummed. “Of that, I have no doubt. I’ve seen the aftermath of what happens when you are underestimated, Caroline. You don’t just leave bodies behind, you cut off resources, drain your enemies dry before plucking them apart at your leisure. One by one, so that they know you’re coming but cannot do a single thing to stop you.”
Klaus' tone was admiring, and with how she was perched on his lap, it was abundantly clear that he wasn’t put off by her ruthlessness. Awareness burned through her, nerves hyper aware of every slow stroke of his thumb.
“Yet, here you are.”
A glittering glance. “Here I am.”
A huff escaped her, words biting when she spoke. “This faux-relationship was your idea. We both know we should have ended it weeks ago, to avoid complications. Murdering our enemies and telling people it’s was for what he said about me is not keeping this free of complications.”
“A man is allowed to change his mind.” Klaus looked unbothered by his words, as if he’d already come to terms with his decision. “Particularly when he realizes what is in front of him.”
She startled, and his hold firmed to keep her steady on his thighs. “What is there to reconsider? You know I won’t share my people, my organization. I’ve worked too damn hard to make it mine. You must feel the same. What could you possibly want?”
His mouth pressed hot and sucking to her neck, the soft stoke of his tongue a delicious rasp of sensation. Caroine bit her lip to hold in her moan, knees pressing into the couch as she forced herself not to melt. After weeks of not touching when they were alone, of forcing herself to ignore the palpable heat between them, the feel of him was good.
“What do I want?” Klaus rumbled, hand smoothing down her side to find the soft skin beneath the hem of her dress, the drag of calluses tantalizing. “I don’t want your people to bolster mine, sweetheart. I never have. I don’t want your organization, with it’s spiderwebs and financial manipulations, with its poisonous bite. I want you.”
Her breathing went ragged in her throat at the blatant demand in his words, the way his fingers slid slow and coaxing along the inside of her thigh. “You don’t know what that entails.”
A nipping kiss along her jaw. “Don’t I? I know exactly who you are, Caroine, with your sticky fingers and your ruthless smiles. That persistent, brilliant brain. But none of it matters at all, if you don’t want me.” His palm flattened, fingers spreading wide, fingertips barely grazing the lace edge of her underwear. “Do you want me?”
Caroline stared at his determined face, rolling her lip slowly between her teeth. Every reason she’d built up in her head, all the ways she’d warned herself that Klaus couldn’t want her the way she had grown to want him were now shredded at her feet. She could either let herself take a risk, and it was such a risk, or spend the rest of her life wondering.
Happiness was such a fragile, fleeting concept in her life. For the first time since her mother’s death, since she’d buried her father, she found herself wondering. What would it be like to make a choice for herself?
“I don’t share.”
Klaus didn’t so much as blink. “Neither do I.”
Her pulse started to pound. “Our people won’t like this. Your siblings are notoriously opinionated.” She arched both brows. “Enzo really doesn’t like you.”
“Hmm,” his lips curved, gaze unblinking. “Opinions my siblings will be smart enough to keep to themselves. Matt was hardly the first indication that I have been playing for keeps, whether I was willing to acknowledge it or not. As for the rest, we’re clever people, I’m sure we’ll find solutions, and if not, a spot or two of murder will get the point across.”
A startled laugh escaped her despite herself and he looked almost unbearably pleased. “As for Enzo,” he shrugged. “I’m not looking to make a friend. I would appreciate it if he didn’t try to kill me.”
Caroline curled her fingers into his collar, let him see the truth of her words. “If anyone is killing you, it’s me.”
Klaus lifted the hand not splayed across her thigh to coax her fingers free of his shirt, bringing them to the heat of his mouth. “I’d expect nothing else.”
Taking a careful breath, she curved the palm of her hand along his jaw. She’d known before today that she’d wanted him, and she’d never let something like fear stop her from getting what she wanted before. Easy was for someone else. “This won’t be a simple thing. For all our beliefs now about keeping things separate, things will change. Can you live with that?”
Caroline gave a slow nod. Hadn’t this been what had kept her up all these past-nights? The truth she's stared at in her mirror for too long? She would be willing to bend for him, when she couldn’t afford to do it for anyone. But maybe it would be okay if he met her in the middle. “As long as it’s our choices that make those changes, and not arbitrary decisions. They still haven’t found the body of the last man who attempted to make decisions for me. It’d be wise for you to keep that in mind.”
“Oh, Caroline. As if I’d dare.” He ran his lips across the pulse on her wrist, dimples creasing his cheeks. “One day, I’d enjoy learning exactly where you put your fathers remains.”
Tugging her hand free she pressed her forehead to his, and she let herself smile, bright and satisfied, fingers stroking down the length of his neck, unable to help indulging in touching him now that she could. “Oh, I imagine that won’t be a secret much longer. But it does mean you can’t kill Tyler. Not yet, at least. I have a plan.”
Klaus’ smile shifted to match hers, heating with such blatant invitation she had to bite back a shiver. “And what would your price be, love, to share the details of what I am sure is a rather delightful endeavor?”
His hand slid further up her skirt, palm a hot brand as it moved higher along her thigh, until his knuckles grazed along her lace clad hip. Caroline’s fingers slipped to his nap, threaded through the fine hair there. “What are you offering?”
A single fingertip skimmed along the bare skin of her abdomen, just above the band of her underwear. “Many, many things.”
“Good,” Caroline murmured, anticipation a warm coil in her stomach. “Because I do want you.” She shifted forward before he could act on the triumph in his eyes, widening her thighs on his lap in invitation to touch her wherever he wanted even as she fitted her mouth against his. His lips parted immediately at the first graze of her tongue, and she kissed him slowly, letting herself indulge in the feel of him. Then she dragged her teeth against his lip as she pulled back to breathe. “And I want you to touch me.”
His lashes parted, the blue a thin ring around the darkness of his blown pupil. Before she could lean back in for more, his hand tangled in the tumble of her hair and tilted her head back, exposing the line of her throat for the careful scrap of his teeth, the drag of his mouth and biting kissing behind her ear.
“The things I’ve fantasized about,” Klaus breathed against her skin, the dart of his tongue distracting. “You’ll never know the control it took to not drag you onto my lap in the limo tonight, after you watched me gut a man with such a cool, collected expression while you scheduled a cleanup.”
“Is this going to be a thing,” she asked as she bit down on a moan as he paid careful attention to a spot that made her shiver. “Do not leave marks. I have an important meeting tomorrow.”
He hummed against her skin. “Is what a thing?” The hand between her thighs smoothed along damp lace, dragging distracting patterns everywhere but directly on her clit. “And what if I left a mark somewhere… lower. Easier to cover.”
Caroline pushed his mouth away from her shoulder, fingers tangling in his hair. “Murder and foreplay. Is that going to be our thing?”
Klaus arched both brows and finally finally insinuated his hand into her panties. Her hips jolted, and he made a deeply pleased noise. “Hmmm, if it leaves you this wet for me, I’m sure I can be convinced.”
She tugged at his curls in retaliation, and his lashes fluttered at the bite of pain. “Don’t be smug.”
A roughly amused noise, and he leaned in to kiss her, mouth brief and rough against hers. His fingers sank deeper, a brief tease, before his hand slid free. She made a noise of complaint, and he nudged her cheek with his.
“Unless you're willing to let me cut off these delightful knickers, I’m afraid we will need to rearrange ourselves.” He licked one damp fingertip, hummed another pleased note. “Somewhere comfortable, where you won’t mind being on your back.”
“Excuse you, my underwear is expensive. Any ripping, tearing or cutting and you’ll be replacing it. And since currently the only knife you have on you was used to gut a man, it’s not coming anywhere near me.” Caroline chased his smirk with her teeth. “What makes you think you get to be on top?”
His tongue slid against her lower lip in a wet tease, palm curving along the shape of her breast to squeaze lightly. “Hmm, did I not promise to entreat you to share your nefarious plots? I believe you’ll find my mouth up to the task.”
With the way she was starting to ache, she certainly hoped so. Considering her options, Caroline tugged at the leather rope against his throat. The bedroom was too far away, she was burning up and she wanted him to touch her. Enzo would be busy for the next few hours chasing leads, and no one else was suicidal enough to barge into her home. “Sex here, then we’ll see just how you look on your back in my bed, hmm?”
Before she could shift off his lap, his arm snaked around her hips, and he pressed a kiss to her jaw. “I want this dress off you, love.”
She had no issue with that. Lifting her arm, she gave him access to the zipper. He took his time, baring the soft skin of her side with a slowness that left her huffing. A smirk caught at the corner of his mouth, and he helped her roll the fabric down her torso, until it reached her thighs. Caroline poked his jaw when his gaze caught on the truly insubstantial bra she’d worn that evening, the noise of appreciation he made delightful.
His teeth scraped against his wet lip, and his eyes lifted back to hers. “Is all of your collection this delightful?
She shrugged, knowing the movement would do great things for her boobs. It had become something of a habit to choose sexy instead of comfortable when she was going out on a date with Klaus, and she’d never been happier with her decisions. “I guess you’ll have to find out. The underwear matches, though.”
Klaus muttered something profane, startlingly a laugh out of her and his head dipped. The lace didn’t need to go far before exposing a nipple, and the sudden scalding suction of his mouth was perfection. Her nails dug into his shoulder as he took his time, spine arching as she tried to get closer. His fingers moved to dig into her ass, holding her steady as he tugged at her other bra cup with his teeth, his scruff an unexpected sensation against her bared breast. Shuddering, she fisted her hands so tightly in his shirt she heard seams pop.
It was only the bunch of his muscles that gave her any warning, Klaus twisting them with a shift of upper arm strength left her breathless. A heartbeat later, she was pressed into the couch, and Klaus was tangled in her legs as he pressed fleeting kissing across her sternum. “You’re so beautiful, Caroline.”
A flush worked its way up her throat, and for a moment she hoped he took it as arousal. The way his eyes dragged along the pink skin, something like affection softening his mouth, told her he noticed. Gaze lifting to hers, he repeated himself.
“So beautiful.” His fingers tugged at the bunched material at her waist. “I want this off.”
It took a moment to shift around enough that Klaus could drag her dress off her legs, dropping it onto the floor in a crumpled heap as dragged his gaze across all the newly bared skin. Slowly his eyes moved back towards her face, and he exhaled slowly. “Caroline, I’m not sure your current ensemble, delightful as it is, qualifies as anything but miniscule.”
Caroline’s lips curved into a smile, as she watched him reevaluate every outfit she had ever worn for him. “If you think this is small, you should see my bikini collection. Besides, it's not like it doesn’t cover all the important bits.” She paused, just to be mean. “Well, in the front, at least.”
He made a noise deep in his chest before he bent over and pressed his lips to her stomach, his scruff a soft burn as he dragged kisses across her trembling skin. “Later, I’m going to have to insist on a fashion show. Your taste is exquisite, and I would hate to make a wrong choice, though I’m sure you can be talked into giving me a list of your favorites without too much coaxing.”
Caroline shivered at the way his tone roughened, pushing up on her elbow to blink at him. “Choice? List? List for what?”
He looked up at her through his lashes, and the devilment there had her eyes narrowing. His arm moved behind him and there was a soft sound it took her pleasure hazed brain a moment to identify. She inhaled at the feel of skin warmed metal, and then her underwear was gone, joining her dress on the floor. Her gaze locked on the slim knife in his hand as he set it aside, tongue dragging his lip as he took her in, bare except for her bra, nipples exposed and wet from his mouth. “Of places you’d like me to replace your ruined pants from, love. I rarely have just one knife, I’ll be happy to save one just for this purpose, though I imagine you’ll end up well acquainted with all of them. As delectable as your knickers are, I am rather enjoying you out of them.”
Arousal jolted through her and it took a moment to get her throat to work. “Where exactly were you hiding that?”
His smile deepened, and instead of answering, Klaus urged her closer to the arm rest, hands smoothing on her thighs as he watched raptly as she obligingly wiggle backwards. She’d never been happier that she’d gone for a large couch that was made for comfort, and easy clean up, while being super cute and stylish than she was when Klaus sank onto his elbows in front of her, his breath ghosting across her stomach.
He encouraged her thigh to drape across his shoulder, and she let the other drop off the couch to give him more room, eager for him to touch her. He immediately rewarded her with the first swipe of his tongue, and the rasp across her clit left her groaning. Klaus made a pleased noise and repeated it, chasing every cry, every twitch of muscle with strokes that were slow and broad and wet, until her heel was digging into his back, head tossing against the armrest.
When he lifted his head, she garbled out a complaint and he waited until her outraged eyes met his before he licked his wet lips clean. “You never answered my question.”
Caroline pulled in a breath, scrambled brain trying to drag up anything other than the burning need to get off. “What question?”
Klaus tipped his head, considering while he blew a breath other her slick, wet skin. “Hmm, I suppose there were two.”
She dug her heel into his spine and glared. “Are you freaking serious right now?”
His laugh was rough and he rubbed his cheek against her thigh, stubble jolting against her hypersensitive skin. “Very.”
“What. Question.” Caroline gritted out.
“Would you mind if I left a mark somewhere more private?” He turned his head, ran his teeth across the muscle beneath his mouth. His tongue was a fleeting caress and she curled her toes into the floor at the bite of possessiveness in his tone.
“I wouldn’t mind,” she said. “As long as it's not bikini season.”
“I do so enjoy your little challenges.” His smile was blatant against her, and then his teeth sank briefly into her skin, mouth a hot suction against the burn a moment later. She yelped in surprise at the sudden sting, and his body trembled with his silent amusement.
Reaching forward, she jabbed a finger into his arm. “That’s not funny.”
He pressed another kiss to the bite and then turned to face her, that want back in his eyes and so greedy, her hand clenched on the couch. “You mistake me. I find your reactions delightful, Caroline, and tomorrow, every time you feel that mark, you’ll think of me. Which is only fair, as you take more of my thoughts than you could possibly imagine.”
Before Caroline could figure out a response to that Klaus’ mouth returned to her clit and she whimpered as he sucked it between his lips, the lash of his tongue intent. The slow, devouring tease from before was gone. Head tossing, she groped with one hand for her breast, tugging at her nipple, anything to increase the coiling pleasure as he drove her towards orgasm. Klaus groaned in appreciation at the sight and her spine arched, thigh clenching as she tried to drag him closer.
Her whimpers were loud to her own ears but she didn’t care as he kept the pressure insistent, alternating between perfect circles and the soft pressure of his mouth. Sweat beaded at her spine, along her temples, and her orgasm broke over her in a wave and she trembled against him. Klaus eased the strokes of his tongue, gentling his touch as she heaved for air, encouraging the pleasure to linger as she came down.
Shifting her leg so her leg settled back on the couch, he pressed a kiss beneath her belly button before pushing himself up to reach for the buttons on his shirt. “So unbelievably beautiful.”
Caroline hummed in appreciation at the flex of muscle and smooth skin that slowly made an appearance. Finding the will to move, she stretched out with a little hum of pleasure, and reached for her bra clasp. She supposed he’d earned. Little reward for that performance. His mouth had very much been up for the challenge, and she was quite pleased with how her plotting had turned out. Previously, only Enzo had known the truth, and wasn’t it a heady little thrill that she could tell this man about it. That he wanted to know.
“Tyler just moved into his new house.”
Klaus’ fingers paused on the last button. “I’m aware of that monstrosity,” he murmured, the gravel in his words utterly satisfying as his gaze roamed her body.
She snorted out a laugh at the hypocrisy of his words. Klaus’ home had so much square footage, it might have actually held his ego comfortably. “I wasn’t going to use him at first. I don’t hate Tyler, he didn’t deserve that much of my time. But then he tried to use me, and I couldn’t let that go.”
She finally pulled the bra free, dropping it on the floor and arched a brow in challenge. Dimples creasing his cheeks, he shrugged off his dress shirt. Her eyes skimmed the planes and dips she couldn’t wait to lick, lingering deliberately on his belt. Obligingly, that private, amused smile deepening, he began to work on his buckle. He stood a moment later, dragging his belt free of the loops. “Bill is rotting in a wall in Tyler’s house?”
Caroline smiled, baring her teeth. “He’s beneath it, actually. Bill never trusted Enzo, refused to bring him into the family, forcing him to do odd jobs here and there to make ends meet while we plotted. One of those jobs including pouring foundations.”
They’d been careful of course. The entire time Enzo had infiltrated the work crew, there had been onsite camera issues, his hiring paperwork had disappeared thanks to Bonnie, and he’d been erased from the databases long before they tried to pay him. Enzo couldn’t promise her that Bill had been still alive when they’d poured the concrete over his resting place, but they’d calculated the oxygen carefully, and she liked to think he had been. That he’d heard the machines and people above him, and been unable to call out for the help that was just so close yet so far away. Either way, he’d suffocated slowly, knowing his daughter had put him there.
Setting Tyler up for it had just been icing on the cake. A very delicious cake.
She fluttered her lashes as she watched him understand what she was and wasn’t saying, utterly pleased with herself. “It'd be such a shame if the cops got a tip about that, wouldn’t it? Not yet, of course, but soon. Tyler’s one year anniversary with Hayley is coming up, you know. Rumor has it he is planning on proposing.”
Klaus pants and boxers slithered down his thighs, leaving him utterly bare to her gaze. Her eyes darted down to find him quite aroused and ready for her, and heat bloomed in her veins. His smile was all teeth when her gaze finally returned to his, unbothered by her ogling. “They’ll have to destroy the house to remove his body.”
“They sure will,” Caroline said cheerfully. “Not only that, but Tyler keeps all sorts of interesting paperwork in his home office. All sorts. Some he might not even know about.” Planting it had taken some work, less than she’d thought, but Enzo had greatly enjoyed his little b&e excursion.
Naked, face flushed with arousal, Klaus joined her back on the couch, leaning over her, mouth hovering over hers. “Tell me, was Bill alive or dead when you put him into the ground?”
She lifted her chin, lips brushing his with each word. “What do you think?”
His kiss was devouring, tongue darting against hers, and she tangled her hands around his neck, arching against him to feel him. Klaus made another of those deep, throaty noises when her breasts pressed against him, and he slid a hand behind her back, hauling her closer. The kiss turned messy in all the best ways, and when she dragged herself away for a sharp inhale, he dropped kisses along her jaw, near her ear.
“Mine are in the bedroom.” Next to her toy collection, where they’d be the most useful.
A soft bite against her earlobe that left her shivering, and he pulled away. Reaching for his pants, he dug around in jerky movements, finally yanking out his wallet. Caroline slid a hand along his stomach, delighting in the way the muscles moved against her palm and fingers. “That better be new.”
She had an IUD, but there was nothing wrong with being extra careful. They could talk about BC and test results when she didn’t want him so badly.
Klaus tore the foil with slightly unsteady hands as her nails dragged lightly along his abs. “I’m hardly a teenager, keeping one handy for weeks just in case I get lucky.”
She arched both brows as she watched him roll it on. “Clearly you were hoping to get lucky.”
He rolled back on top of her and kissed her neck, hand reaching up to thumb her nipple. “Hmm. I didn’t say I didn’t have plans, Caroline. It’s best to be prepared, where you’re concerned, and I wasn’t entirely sure I could wait to find a proper bed if you gave me even a hint that you’d be keen to let me touch you.”
She buried her hand in hair and tugged him back to her mouth. He met her eagerly, palm hot and possessive on her breast, and this time when she pulled back, she dragged her teeth against his jaw,hand skimming down his chest to his cock. “I want you inside me.”
“On your side.” The words were gritted, and she blinked, intrigued. Letting him help her settle into a comfortable position on her right side, she inhaled as he kneeled over her, trapping her right leg beneath him. Eyes holding hers, he guided her left thigh over his left hip, and she was very aware of the feel of his cock.
His words dipped low and intimate, fingers running down her leg in question. Pushing up on her elbow, she brushed a kiss on his chin. “Is this a good time to mention I’m a big fan of yoga.”
His smile was devilish, and he reached between them fingers a brief tease against her clit, before he gripped his cock. Her breath was ragged in her throat as he slowly pushed inside her. It was a struggle, to keep her eyes open at how good he felt, the pleasurable girth of him as he pressed deep, but worth it, as she watched his jaw flex, the flutter of his own lashes as he fought for control. The careful way he waited for her to adjust was beyond sweet, and a different kind of pleasure filled her, but waiting was unnecessary.
“Klaus,” she rasped, clenching around him, rocked slightly at the movement of his hips. “Move. Now.”
Instead of arguing with her, he braced an arm next to her head and shifted hips in a slow drag, lighting up all kinds of pleasurable spots, before roughly thrusting. She whimpered, and he set a deliberate pace that left her squirming against him, unable to do more than clench tightly at each return. Klaus was a long line of rigged muscles against her legs and ass, his breath hot against her shoulder as he whispered rough, filthy words between their gasps. Caroline curled her fingers around the wrist near her head, nails digging in as she grew closer and closer to the edge.
“Touch yourself for me.”’
His words were ragged, and her free hand slithered down her stomach immediately, reaching between her thighs to find her clit. Klaus muttered a soft profanity as she tossed her head back, whimpering at each shaky circle along her clit. His pace picked up, and they got her there a moment later, with the snap of his hips and a rough pinch of her fingers, her orgasm rushing through her. She shuddered through her release as his hips moved roughly through her clenching muscles, his body finally stiffening above her, her name a hoarse groan from his throat. A moment later, and his forehead pressed against her shoulder as they breathed hard, a spent, sweaty tangle of limbs.
“You said something about a bed, I believe.”
Caroline curled her fingers around his forearm. “In a minute. It's your turn to be on your back. I have a mark or two I plan to leave of my own.”
HIs teeth dug lightly into her shoulder. “I hope so.”
She swatted at his side, turned to meet his gaze. Their faces were so close, their noses almost touched. Caroline hesitated for a moment, and considered her words. What she wanted. “Will you stay?”
The delight broke over Klaus’ face in a slow wave, a soft heat that matched the delicate touch of his kiss. “As long as you’ll have me.”
Tomorrow they’d have to figure out a plan of attack. Enzo, she was certain, wouldn’t be nearly as surprised by this turn of events as she would have liked. His siblings would probably claim the same. Their organizations might never mesh, might never like the arrangement she had agreed to, but she found that didn’t bother her as nearly as much as it might have once.
Klaus was right. A spot of murder, a couple of examples, and their people would learn.
They’d start with Tyler.