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The Passion and the Hunger – Book 1

By JJ Argus

Copyright 2017

Smashwords edition

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This story is a work of fiction. All characters are over eighteen.

Chapter One

It wasn't entirely Rory's fault that she was something of an unemotional sociopath. She'd been born to a wealthy Irish family, and grown up hopelessly spoiled on a lavish estate in the countryside. A beautiful child, with bright green eyes and rich red hair, she'd had praise and affection lavished upon her almost since birth.

Nothing was too good for her, and all wishes and wants, all problems and annoyances were quickly dealt with by her parents or servants to her satisfaction. So much so she came to expect this as a matter of course. Life was truly all about her, and her parents had not been inclined to try and give her a broader outlook on life.

And then had come the fire. The old estate had, it turned out, been something less than the fantasy castle she had imagined at the time. It had an enormous number of issues, starting with, and eventually ending with the ancient wiring which had burned it to the ground killing everyone there but one little girl rescued by late arriving firefighters.

Rory had gone to sleep one night secure in the perfection of her world, and wakened a week later in a hospital as an orphan. A penniless orphan at that, since it emerged the estate had been mortgaged to the hilt and her father had been having financial difficulties.

From there, her life had, of course, taken a radical turn for the worse, through a series of foster families, none of which had been inclined to put up with the anger and frustration of a child in the midst of a deep and bewildering depression.

Government psychiatrists and therapists had not exactly helped either.

Once she hit adolescence, Rory found an outlet for several of her problems in sex. Boys wanted her – badly, for she was quite an attractive girl, and they could be manipulated into showing her the kind of fawning affection and admiration she had known as a child.

That gave her some emotional (though not really physical) satisfaction, but she came to feel contempt for them and their weakness, however good she got at exploiting it. As far as other girls, they tended to loath her for sleeping around. Which was only a problem insofar as Rory began to suspect she might be a lesbian. She took no pleasure in her sexual relationships with boys, after all.

Understanding how she was to behave around people was a frustrating problem to Rory. No one had ever taught her, after all. No one had ever explained the rules because the rules as a child were that whatever Rory wanted, Rory got. Lacking confidence in her ability to function among others – other than seducing and taunting boys who she was coming to feel more and more contempt for – she became more and more withdrawn.

She got tired of boys salivating after her and began to dress in shapeless black, ignoring them as much as she ignored the sneers of girls. Then she met Ara – or more properly A ra, a Korean woman three times her age who ran a martial arts academy in Belfast.

Rory experienced sex for the first time with a woman, and it was far and away more pleasurable than she'd ever felt with any boy. It was odd in that Ara liked tying her up. But once tied up the woman would then make her writhe and twist and buck and cry out in helpless carnal heat before bringing her to a shattering orgasm.

Rory was in love, after that, or thought she was. A ra began to teach her Taekwondo, while also “letting her” do odd jobs around the academy. Rory did everything from washing the floors to washing A ra's outfits, and was a fixture there for several years, moving into a small room in the back, and easily graduating to her black belt.

When A ra began to involve other women in their lovemaking – while Rory was tied up helpless, she was at first disturbed, but the raw heat A ra and her friends invoked in her was just as powerful and her orgasms just as intense.

Besides, Rory didn't know the rules, so she didn't quite understand that she was being treated in any way which might violate them. When Ara and her friends began to teach her a deeper form of submission involving discipline and pain she simply accepted it with the same equanimity she had the lessons in Taekwondo – as what she was required to do.

If being whipped was a necessary prelude to orgasm, and it was what Ara wanted, then that was what she'd have to endure.

And then to her astonishment, Ara left one day, without even informing her she was going back to Korea. Apparently she had overstayed her visitors visa, worked illegally, and was about to be deported.

It was only then that a bewildered and heartbroken Rory realized that she had meant nothing to the woman other than as a sexual plaything and free servant, and this caused her to become even more withdrawn.

One of the things Ara had left her, though, aside from a belief she was a lesbian, and her black belt in Taekwondo, was a straight A average at school. Koreans were fanatics about education so Ara had insisted. Besides, with no friends it wasn't exactly hard to find time to study.

Alone and homeless once more, but no longer a child, Rory pondered her prospects – which were few. She had a black belt and a high school education in an era of high unemployment. She had no social skills to speak of, nor any job history to provide.

But she had developed into quite an attractive young woman, who, with her softly sculpted, elfin face, icy green eyes and her now very athletic and attractive young body, would, if properly used get her what she wanted. That was on longer affection, but money. She sought out, through the internet, a relationship with an older, wealthier woman to provide it.

The web site in question arranged for tuition and other college fees to be paid by wealthy men (usually) in exchange for sexual favors on an ongoing basis. Rory took Law – because she wanted to know what the rules were, and applied herself with single-minded determination, ignoring all social aspects of college, studying whenever she wasn't in class or pleasuring her 'sugar mommy'.

And once she knew the rules, she pursued them with an iron will. The best place to do that was the the Public Prosecution Service. There she quickly gained a reputation both for her encyclopedic legal knowledge and memory, and as a tenacious and merciless prosecutor.

Jared Rose admired the former but despaired of the latter. He was her supervisor, and she became his project. He realized what a boon she could be to the department, but only if she could come to understand the difference between prosecuting a violent, lifelong gang member and prosecuting someone who got drunk and slapped his spouse.

For to Rory, any violation of the rules whatsoever demanded harsh retribution. Circumstances be damned. There were no excuses. While her nickname had always been Rory she came to be called the Pit Bull at the PPS.

“Miss O'connor,” he said to her after calling her into her office for another talk. “You need to learn that the world is not black and white, but shades of gray.”

It was so very hard to read her, he thought unhappily, as she stood across from his desk. She stood ramrod straight, her face blank, without anything in her cool, emotionless eyes to indicate she even heard him. Her habitual clothing of black, single breasted suit almost seemed to throw her in a shadow, despite the coppery red hair.

“I've read your recommendation on the Simpson file. Asking for the maximum punishment is, as I've told you on previous occasions, not indicated here. There is a scale to punishment for assault for a reason, and that reason is to take into account the damage done, the outrage to public safety, as it were, the motivation and history of the assailant, and any other factors which throw the crime into context.”

She stared at him, blank faced, and he sighed.

“You have a brilliant grasp of the law, but no apparent understanding of the need to apply context to its violation.”

“The law is clear,” she replied, in her unusually low, contralto voice.

“No, the law is not clear. The law, as I said, gives a scale of punishment. That is to suggest that there are degrees of violation and that the punishment should be meted out accordingly.”

He knew she thought him soft, even though others considered him quite conservative. He did not understand why she was as quiet and unemotional as she was. He'd tried to involve her in conversations not related to work, tried to have her join he and other colleagues for lunch or tea, and been politely turned down. She had no apparent interest in any sort of relationship with anyone at work not related directly TO work.

As far as he knew she had no spouse or boyfriend (or girlfriend) and had shown no physical interest in any of the young men who, he'd noticed, occasionally tried, in subtle (or unsubtle) ways to impress her. She was a hard woman, and that was disturbing in one so young, one barely a year out of law school, in fact.

Her body might be draped in fairly shapeless black, after all, but there was no real disguising that she was lithe and slender, and of course, she was quite an attractive enigma with those thick bangs which almost reached her striking green eyes. Why was she so insistent on being left alone? What went on inside her skull?

He sighed and ran his fingers through his thinning brown hair.

“Look, I'm directing you to accept the plea bargain requested by his solicitor and move on. Here.”

He handed a file across to her.

“This is an annoyance which has been around for a while. It will require perseverance and determination to drag this one down to earth. God knows many have tried. But you're one who might well do it.”

If that piqued her interest or she was annoyed with him she gave no sign. But she never did. She took the file and opened it.

“What we have here, I believe, is a massive case of multi years long fraud. The police have finally run down who they believe is ultimately at the top of the chain of responsible – although I wouldn't be too sure of that. He's an Englishman named Lord. Smug bastard. Won't give us the time of day without a warrant to drag it out of him.”

“He lives in London,” she said, examining the file.

“He has a home in London, another in New York, one in Sydney, and another in Tokyo. Oh, and one here, of course, a chalet of sorts on Black Mountain. We're talking millions of euros in swindled investors here, not to mention over-billing on government contracts, bribery of public officials and tax avoidance. I hate rich people who sit at the top of the pyramid of benefits yet avoid their responsibility to society,” he said with a scowl.

“There's no picture of him?”

“He's never been arrested. In fact, precious little is known about him, for some reason. Clearly he's some sort of businessman, but you know how it is these days. Everything is done through numbered limited companies which are constantly being created and dissolved and passing things back and forth between them.”

Rory nodded then, waited for a signal to depart, and then turned and left, going back to her office.

It was a busy floor, but no one attempted to talk to her. She ignored other people and they had come ignore her. Some seemed fascinated with her, or at least curious, but her cool responses had managed to dissuade them from further attempts at expanding their knowledge about her.

Her office was Spartan and bare. It contained no personal possessions. Her desk was pristine. As were her shelves, files and drawers. Everything had a place, and everything needed to be in that place. She sat down, opened the file, and began to read, then turned to the computer, called up the on-line information and background cited and began to examine them.

She paid no attention to the passage of time. She ate when she had to, regarding it as little more than fuel for the engine. She took no pleasure in it. It was a task that needed to be done so she could continue on.

She left late. Her flat-heeled dress shoes (she saw no need or sense in high heels) clipped lightly on the granite floor as she exited the elevator and went to the desk to sign out. The security guard was familiar with her, of course, and made no effort to chat. He did, however, venture what she took as a normal “Good night, Ms. O'connor” as she moved to the door.

Why he should care if she had a good night was beyond her. But it was a normal part of human society to use such trite phrases. Thus it was, in a way, a rule to reply in kind.

“Good night,” she said in return.

Had she been aware of the man's thoughts as she exited she would have seen less need to be polite. Her voice, in fact, excited him. He had said so to any number of other security guards, and had even considered putting a hidden microphone in her office in the middle of one night in hopes of catching her speaking longer phrases.

The few, occasional glimpses he had had of the shape of her body beneath her normal dull clothing, that lovely face, the long red hair and that soft, furry voice had somehow beguiled him, middle aged though he was, into any number of erotic fantasies over the past year, none of which, he knew, would ever come to fruition.

Rory's feet clipped along the pavement just as they had the floor as she made her purposeful way to her car. The car, of course, was Black, a Vauxhall Insignia Grand Sport. It was sleek, powerful, and had a terrific sound system. Its leather seats were comfortable, and its heads up display meant she didn't have to take her eyes off the road.

She got in and music began to play. It had a radio, though she'd never used it. It had a CD/DVD player, as well. She saw no need for them. She used a USB stick. It held the music she had chosen, and played it predictably and repeatedly.

There were no voices on any of the music, of course. It was all orchestra music, sometimes classical, sometimes string quartets, sometimes even a particular movie score she had come to appreciate, such as that from the Godfather.

She was fond of the Imperial March from Star Wars, too. It was nicely dark and menacing, and the Vienna Philharmonic played it to perfection.

She drove through the darkened streets, eyes flicking from side to side, careful and alert, which was what she believed the rules required of a driver. Twenty five minutes later she backed into the single car garage of her walk-up condo, and the automatic garage door closed ahead of her.

She got out of the car and walked up the stairs.

The condo was a three level row-house. The first level were private garages and storage/laundry/equipment rooms. Above that were living room, dining room and kitchen, and above that, bedrooms.

If one entered and exited only by car, through the garage, it was entirely possible to never encounter any of ones neighbors, and she never had in the year she had been living there. She liked it that way. People were an unnecessary annoyance and aggravation.

The condo was modern, with an open layout. The kitchen was along one wall, behind a glossy granite counter and island. The dining area faced it, and further along was the living area next to the window. A gas fireplace lay in the corner, which could be flicked on with a button.

The music which played in the house was of the same sort as in the car, coming from the same source, after all, which was her computer in the small den off the stairs, and linked to several speakers by WiFi.

She went upstairs to the bedroom and stripped completely. It felt good to be free of the pressure of the heavy clothing against her skin, of the bra enclosing her breasts.

She went into the attached master bathroom and washed her hands carefully. She wasn't exactly a germophobic but she was determined to bring as little of other people's germs into her house as possible.

Walking back into the bedroom, she donned a black leotard. It was tight, with built in bra cups for support, and had a thong bottom. It had, of course, been a present, from Ara, who had loved looking at her bottom and complimented her on it numerous times.

She padded barefoot next door to the second bedroom, which was now her home gym, and began her hour-long routine of exercise, first doing her yoga stretches on the mat, then, after putting on athletic shoes, running on the inclined treadmill.

After that came the rowing machine, and some loose weights, and finally practice in the movements of Taekwondo which was the legacy of that same failed relationship as the leotard she wore. She did not think as she twisted and turned her body. That was one of the good things about pattern training. It became almost instinctive, and your mind could be empty as your body worked.

She was out of breath and sweating by the time she finished, chest heaving as she gulped in air. She reached up and removed the clip from her hair, letting it fall free. She'd told herself many, many times to cut it, for longer hair was impractical, but never gotten around to it.

It was especially impractical in the shower. She refused to go to bed dirty, and refused to exercise in the morning, wanting to be physically and mentally well-rested so as to perform her job to the best of her abilities. That meant washing her hair in the evening, and then wetting it down to brush it again in the morning – unless she pulled it back severely, which she sometimes did.

The bathroom was, of course, quite modern, like the condo itself, and had both a tub and a glass shower enclosure. Of course, standing in it as the water poured over her made her feel a bit as though she were in an exhibit – naked girl in box, as it were. But no one was there to see other than herself, when she turned to see the mirror across from her.

Her face looked younger, she thought, as she did turn, without the mass of coppery hair half covering it, hiding it, hiding her. It occasionally occurred to her that she ought to stop hiding, that perhaps she ought to take a chance and explore at least casual relationships with other people, but something inside her resisted.

She had come to enjoy sex with Ara, she remembered, as her hands slid over her soapy slick body, lightly kneading her breasts. She fingered her nipples. Ara had had them pierced, but she'd long since discarded the rings, and they had healed.

Bitch, witch, she thought, without rancor.

Sex would be good again – soft skin against soft skin. But all the emotional stuff around it – that was too dangerous.

After the shower she donned her black satin nightshirt. It was actually the top to a pair of pajamas, but she never wore the bottoms, seeing no practical benefit.

She had a very good wall-mounted flat screen, but she rarely watched it, except for while adding fuel to the engine. She turned it on and put the news on but it was filled with the idiocy of people. She instead called up recordings of business shows which reviewed the stock market and individual stocks, and played that while eating a TV dinner.

There was an odd sort of sense to the stock market, if you had patience. And it was one of the few legal ways, aside from a salary, to earn substantial amounts of money. Rory wanted money, for money granted freedom and security. And it seemed to her that the more of it you had, the less you had to care about what people thought of you.

So she had been experimenting with her disposable income, the past year, now that she had some, trying to select stocks which seemed likely to rise considerably higher. So far with mixed, but encouraging success. Her biggest problem was a lack of faith in the future. If a stock was disappointing her by falling she was more likely to cut her losses and dump it rather than patiently wait for it to reverse course.

This was, she knew, illogical, but she did it anyway. Which was... annoying. Rory liked to think of herself as a very logical person, unswayed by the emotions which caused most people to act like idiots.

After she'd finished eating she went to the den to look up more on Lord and his projects. He seemed to be something of an enigma: If he was a self-made millionaire there was no information on how he'd done it. If he'd inherited his money there was nothing on his parentage.

That suggested criminality to Rory. And she reviewed the evidence the police had gathered to date for more clues.

Her relationship with police, who were invariably male, was not exactly chummy. She regarded most of them as clumsy, mistake-prone oafs. She didn't know what they thought of her, nor would it occur to her to care.

In her younger days, she had spent many hours playing darts – by herself, of course. She would patiently throw the darts at the board as she thought things through, pluck them out, pace back, and throw them again – and again – and again, sometimes for hours.

It was peaceful, and helped her think. She got quite good, too, though she never played anyone. When she'd gotten (briefly) into her self-cutting phase she'd played around with sharp knives. And had come to replace the dart board with a larger, heftier version. Instead of darts, however, she had small throwing knives.

She threw them to think, however, just as she had the darts, carefully flinging them across the room at the wooden target, crossing to pluck them free, pacing back to her start position, and hurling them again. She never put faces where the board would be. The knives weren't a subconscious means of delivering vengeance to anyone.

That was what her job was for, after all.

People who broke the rules needed to be punished. She had certainly been punished by Ara for the slightest misdeed or lack of focus, and it had helped her become the self-disciplined person she now was.

People could never be relied upon to do what was right. Only the certainty of punishment would keep them from acting in whatever they regarded as their own selfish interest at any given point in time. Thus society depended on the infliction of punishment to those who broke its laws.

And Mister Lord certainly had. Whether she could prove it was another thing. No doubt he'd have the finest of legal defenses available. It shouldn't be so, but money did buy a measure of defense against breaking rules.

Mister Rose had assigned this to her in order to mete out justice. She admired Rose, whatever he might have thought. He always tried to do the right thing by people, even if she did see him as somewhat soft and too forgiving. He seemed kind (though she was always wary of that now), and tried to explain things to her without judging her.

And he showed no apparent sexual interest in her. That was important. One would think men twice her age would realize their sexual interest in her would not be reciprocated, and one would be quite wrong. Far too many seemed to have not looked in a mirror since their youth.

Rose, she sensed, was not immune to seeing her as an attractive woman, but he never made any sort of efforts in that direction. She appreciated that. A person should know their limitations – as she did hers – and live within them.

It seemed to her that she needed to meet Mister Lord. The police never liked that, since it bespoke a lack of confidence in them, but she didn't intend to ask permission. She generally understood what motivated people, and had developed a decent ability to assess the honesty and integrity of people she dealt with.

She had noted several places in the file where she thought the police ought to have explored further avenues, something to bring to their attention tomorrow. How to deal with Lord was an enigma since he was an enigma. She would have to feel her way through it.

She closed down the computer, turned off the lights, and went into her bedroom, then the attached bathroom. She got ready for bed, then drew back the covers, and made sure the heavy drapes were closed, as well as the blind behind them. She didn't want the sun waking her. She would waken at the time she set her clock radio for. She always preferred to make her own decisions where possible.

She peeled the pajama bottoms up and off, for she always preferred the freedom of sleeping in the nude. The sheets were bamboo, luxuriously soft against her bare skin, and she stretched out between them, then turned off the light and fell quickly asleep.

Chapter Two

She had decided to interview Lord herself, not trusting clumsy police. Of course, Lord would only consent to be interviewed at a time and place of his choosing, and only when accompanied by his solicitor. That was to be expected. The rich, as she knew, were different, and had more power – power she envied.

The time he chose, perhaps in hopes she would refuse, was 7:PM. Rory accepted it at once. It was March in Belfast, and sunset was passed before she arrived at his surprisingly modest looking home, halfway up black mountain.

It was a stone chalet, built rather like her townhouse, although much wider, with the garage and entrance on the ground floor. The upper windows were narrow, not in the modern form at all, and the gray stone was topped by a sharply peaked roof of dark brown copper.

The building, she realized, was set into the side of the mountain, rather than simply being perched upon it. The double doors were large, thick and clad in brass, like the gates of a castle.

They were opened by a woman not much older than she was; a brunette with collar length hair and oval glasses on a pretty face. She wore a green business suit with a startlingly short skirt, a skirt shorter than the jacket which accompanied it.

Rory gave a mental sneer for this pandering to male lust, but her face gave no sign of it.

“Ms. O'connor?” the woman asked in an American accent.

She nodded.

“I'm Mister Lord's solicitor, Alex Carring. Please come in.”

Again, Rory felt a sense of surprise. The rich tended to prefer solicitors with decades of experience, generally senior partners in their firms. She stepped forward, and the woman closed the big doors behind her, then led her down a wide, marble floor and between a pair of Greek or Roman style statutes of naked women.

They turned into a wide, round room with a high ceiling. It was a lounge of sorts, though without any television that she saw. There were several groupings of sofas. They were all low and deep, and piled with cushions. There was not a hard-backed chair to be seen.

“Mister Lord?” she said as the girl led her to the single occupant.

He inclined his head in much the same way she had to the girl at the door. He was a slender man who appeared about her height (he did not bother to stand). None of the research she'd found gave his age but he appeared to be in his mid thirties, with untidy dark brown hair. He looked lazy, comfortable and insouciant as he slouched back among the cushions with his feet up on an ottoman and a drink in hand.

“I am Rory O'connor,” she said. “I have a few questions I was hoping you would be willing to answer.”

The girl slid into the sofa next to Lord, surprising Rory again, for there wasn't an inch of space between their bodies. So, she thought, that would be why he would trust himself to some young, pretty girl – because they were lovers.

The man looked callow to her, but she supposed wealth made up for a lot to some women. Then again, she wasn't exactly impressed by men in general anyway.

“And why should I be willing to do that?” he asked in the sort of posh, upper class English accent she personally detested.

“Presumably, because you would like things to move along smartly so that as an innocent man, you can be rid of the bother of this investigation and prosecution,” she said tonelessly.

He smirked at that.

“Or you hope he's too stupid to keep his mouth shut and will say something to help you incriminate him,” the girl said.

Rory looked down her nose at the woman but didn't deign to reply.

“They're quite simple questions,” she said, turning her eyes back to Lord.

“Well, you have come out all this way, so I suppose it would be rude of me to refuse,” he said. “Do have a seat.”

He waved at the sofa next to him, on the opposite side of the girl, and after a moment Rory sat down, several feet down the sofa.

“You are often quite rude,” the girl said.

He shrugged.

“Childish, even.”

He turned and scowled at her briefly, but it didn't seem to intimidate her.

“Ask your questions and I'll see if I want to answer,” he said to Rory.

“You are the owner of Canterbury Incorporated.”


“Canterbury is the principal owner of Denmore incorporated of New York city?”

He shrugged.

“Is that a yes?”

“I believe it owns a minority interest in the company,” Alex said.

Rory turned to look at her. “The other principal owners of Denmore are Morgan Incorporated of London, and 89454643 of New York. However, Canterbury appears to also own Black Shilling investments, which owns Morgan Incorporated. And through a subsidiary of Black Shilling, it also owns the numbered company from New York.

“We have been a busy little girl, haven't we,” Lord said.

“I'm still looking. You have a large number of separate corporations spread around the globe, Mister Lord. But there does not appear to be any unifying theme to the variety of organizations you own.”

He shrugged. “They all make money. That's the only theme I'm interested in.”

“Yes, well, they don't appear to pay much, if any taxes.”

“I have clever accountants.”

“All quite legal, I assure you,” Alex said.

“Would you care for some wine, Ms. O'connor?” Lord asked.

“No thank you.”

“Well, your loss. This is quite good port.”

“Now three years ago Denmore bid on and won a contract with the city to build a power station. This station went twenty eight percent over its initial two hundred million euro budget.”

“Due to matters beyond our control,” he said.

“Due to unforeseen geographic faults and a requested upgrade by the government,” Alex said.

“Approved by Mister Manning, who has now been arrested on suspicion of breech of trust and bribery,” Rory said.

“Humanity is imperfect,” Lord said carelessly.

“A month before his approval of the contract expansion Mister Manning visited New York city and stayed at the Mandarin Oriental, a very pricey hotel. The bill was paid for by the numbered company I mentioned earlier, 89454643 limited.”

“I believe he was inspecting some other power station in New York,” the girl said.

Rory frowned at her. “Around this time ten thousand euros appeared in his bank account, then promptly disappeared in an electronic funds transfer to a Swiss account. It then made its way to a bank in Bermuda.”

“Nothing to do with me, I assure you,” Lord said.

“There is no evidence I'm aware of which links Mister Lord to unexplained money in Mister Manning's possession,” Alex said.

“The next month, Mister Manning went to a casino in Monaco, The Golden Horseshoe, and there won fifty thousand euros,” Rory said.

“Lucky man,” Lord replied.

The casino is owned by a group of companies which in turn, are owned by another group of companies. Ultimately, however, it's owned by you, isn't it, Mr. Lord?”

He shrugged. “I own a lot of things. It's so hard to keep track, sometimes.”

The way he said it should have irritated Rory. But for some reason she was feeling a sense of attraction towards him. It was slight, at first, and built slowly before she even noticed it. When she did, it bewildered her. His shoulders seemed broader, his face more sculpted.

But it was Alex Carring's legs which drew her eyes again and again. The skirt was even shorter sitting, and Rory found her mind following those legs up beneath the short skirt in her imagination.

The way the woman was sitting back let her jacket fall apart to reveal she was quite busty beneath, and that drew Rory's eyes as well. The glasses and that casual hair gave her a sort of brainy, nerdy look, one that had always appealed to Rory, and she began to find it hard to focus her mind on the questions at hand as the woman's sexuality began to cause her insides to tighten and her pulse to beat more rapidly.

She was disturbed by her arousal, for while the woman was unquestionably attractive, the man was not, at least to her. Yet she found herself attracted to both, very strongly attracted, on a very physical level. Her nipples tightened within the cups of her bras and she her lower belly felt warm and heavy.

If she had drank or eaten anything she would have suspected, as insane an idea as that was, that she'd been given some sort of aphrodisiac. She'd never heard of one which had this sort of strength, though.

The brunette rose and came around Lord, smiling at her.

“Might I see your file?” she asked in a pleasant voice. “Perhaps that would save us trouble and I could set you straight on my client's innocence?”

She sat down altogether too close to Rory, who stared at her, open-mouthed. It was an absurd request! As if she would show her suspect's solicitor her notes!

Sitting so close, however, Rory became even more aware of the woman's legs, nearly bare, practically touching her, and the fullness beneath her blouse as she leaned forward, smiling. The scent of her was delicious, like jasmine, and Rory blinked her eyes in confusion.

“I-I don't... I'm not – .”

“Are you feeling warm?” the woman asked. “It is a little warm, isn't it? Here, let me help you off with your jacket.”

Rory felt half in a trance and made no resistance as the woman slid her own blouse off, then pushed Rory's back over her shoulders. She edged back, but was startled by Lord, who seemed to have quietly moved closer to her on her other side. She turned and stared at him, and his eyes were deep, calm pools of onyx which transfixed her.

She felt her blouse being unbuttoned, then soft, slender fingers sliding inside, and into the cup of her bra. She shuddered at the tactile pleasure of that soft, warm flesh against her breasts, which seemed to swell and throb with heat and hunger. Her back arched softly, as if of its own accord, her breasts seeking more of the same.

She didn't turn to look at the woman, however, for she continued to stare into Lord's eyes, her mouth open. He leaned in closer, and closer, and closer. How could it take him so long to kiss her!? And then his lips were pressed against hers, and she felt herself melting against him.

A deep, carnal heat began to burn within her, and then a hand popped the clasp of her trousers and slid down inside.

The touch of those soft fingers against her sex made her cry out in something very near orgasmic pleasure. A moment later harsher fingers gripped her hair, yanking her head around to face the woman, who kissed her passionately. The woman's hunger was raw and wild and she kissed Rory as if feeding at her mouth!

Rory felt herself sinking back against the pillows and cushions, and as her blouse was opened wide and her bra pulled up two mouths bent to close on the center of her breasts as fingers slid into her body.

Her hips began to roll and grind upward, faster and harder, uncontrollably, the air sobbing out of her lungs as she arched back more and more violently. Then the orgasm took her and she cried out all the air in her lungs, sobbing as the intensity of the pleasure overwhelmed her mind and filled her with the most incredible storm of pleasure she'd ever experienced.

A sexual fever had hold of her, and she couldn't get out of her clothes fast enough, even as the woman – whose name she'd already forgotten, stripped as well. Lord sat back, sipping from his wine, as the brunette lay atop Rory, their lips moving in desperate passion, their hands racing over each other's bodies.

The feel of the other woman's soft flesh against hers, breast to breast, groin to groin, thigh to thigh, was the most incredible, intensely erotic and pleasurable sensation Rory had ever felt in her life! She was burning with a feverish hunger as their tongues dueled and their lips slid together in heated passion.

They lay side to side, legs scissored, moaning softly. They rolled over so that she was on the bottom, then rolled again, her on top. Nothing of the world introduced into her mind, which knew nothing but heat and lust and longing and dark sensual pleasure.

Another orgasm made Rory cry out, arching and twisting, then another, even as the woman slid down her body, spreading her legs apart.

The feel of her mouth against Rory's sex was indescribable! Every touch sent her mind spinning uncontrollably. Another massive orgasm spilled through her senses, her body writhing, convulsing, until she could barely breath – nor cared to.

The woman slid up her body, her soft flesh caressing Rory causing her such delight she nearly fainted from sensory overload, her hands stroking the woman's body as she whimpered and moaned, overwhelmed by the sense of pleasure. Again they kissed, a softer, gentler one.

Rory slid her hands up and down the woman's flawless body and onto her buttocks, fingers digging in as she kneaded them with a sense of wonder and delight. The feel of her breasts against Carring's own was pure bliss, and her nipples burned hotly.

The woman's fingers slid into her hair, drawing her head back, then the man was there beside them, leaning forward. Rory moaned as he began to nuzzle at her neck, arching her back as she felt Carring's fingers slide up into her burning, sopping sex as his larger male hand groped her bare breast.

She winced only slightly as she felt his teeth sinking into the side of her throat. Then came a deep and joyful sense of peace only broken by the surging sexual pleasure rolling through her body. She felt... a sense of joining, her mind to another, but didn't care and wasn't alarmed.

She felt a sense of awareness, not on her own part, but of that other which now seemed to occupy her skull with her own brain, as if it could suddenly see all her history, all that was within her mind, all she thought and felt and desired.

The woman sank downward between her thighs again, and Rory shuddered as her mouth found her sex and began to lick and suck. The orgasms rolled through her again, each quite small, but one following another like an endless train. Meanwhile, she lay in total peace and relaxation, groaning and moaning and arching and writhing slowly.

Never had she felt so perfectly and absolutely contented.

The woman drew back after another orgasm, and rose above her, smirking, hungry, beautiful in her nudity, and a panting, sweating Rory stared up at her in wonder. Then something else drew her attention away as the window behind the woman burst inward.

It was a narrow window, and it appeared to have wire mesh strengthening it. Nevertheless, a man-sized creature which looked like a flat faced lizard with parchment skin and tiny red eyes forced its way through and landed on the floor, issuing a high pitched scream that made her clamp her hands over her ears, her peace shattered.

Moments later the other windows burst in as the winged creature flung itself towards Lord! He was already out of the sofa, however, gripping the first creature by the throat. He swung it around and hurled it bodily against the second such creature to crawl through another broken window.

Half a dozen more were already inside, though, and they crossed the floor with terrifying speed. One raked a set of claws across Rory's chest and she screamed in pain as she was hurled aside, falling across one of the sofas with deep, bloody gouges across her chest.

Another of the creatures flew across the room, hitting the wall so hard its head shattered, but more were coming in, and now Lord seemed to have acquired a sword of all things. She saw him decapitate one of the... things, moving as impossibly fast as they were, then stared down in disbelief at her torn flesh and the deep gouges across her body.

She saw the girl, Alex, laying across the ottoman with her head on backwards, her eyes open and staring, then one of the things landed beside her, its wicked eyes gleaming, its mouth opening to reveal impossibly long fangs.

Then she found herself caught by its wild red eyes, caught, open mouthed, her pain and terror forgotten as the thing climbed atop her. It seemed to be crooning now, a gentle, relaxing sound. It gripped her hair and yanked her head back to expose her throat, then bent its head forward.

It abruptly released her hair, and its body collapsed atop her as the head tumbled away. She shuddered, pain wracking her body again, and raised her head to see most of the creatures now laying still on the floor. As she watched, a bloody and disheveled Lord decapitated a final one, cursing, his face angry. He walked over to her and heaved the creature's body off her, glaring at her.

“And what am I to do with you?” he demanded in a low snarl.

He lowered the point of the long, bloody sword in his hand and the tip moved along one of the tears across her flesh.

Rory cried out, and he cursed again, then she fainted.

Chapter Three

She wakened to the sight of clouds below her. The oddity of that did not have much impact, at first. Her wakening was a slow thing, awareness returning by tiny degrees. It was dark outside, but yes, clouds were moving very quickly below her for some reason. She noted it but had no particular concern over this.

It was some time before she bothered to turn her head to see anything else. There was a curved ceiling overhead, and she lay in a bed not her own. Again, there was no concern. She was at peace. She sensed something... someone nearby, though no one was in the small room.

Then the door opened and a man walked in. She knew him, but didn't know from where, nor cared.

“So. Awake at last,” he said.

That was a statement, not a question. It did not require an answer, so she offered none.

She was laying on a bed nude before the man she barely knew, but felt no care or embarrassment as he sat on the edge of the bed. His hand moved onto her belly, and slid up between her breasts.

Rory moaned low inside her, her eyes closing, her body writhing slowly, his hand bringing heat and pleasure wherever it touched. He climbed into the bed with her and spread her legs wide, then knelt between them. He didn't put his mouth over her sex, however, but against her inner thigh.

His fingers found her sex, however, and she was almost immediately moaning in pleasure. Her hips began to roll against his fingers as they stroked her, and she winced only slightly as his teeth bit into her thigh near her groin.

His mouth remained pressed against her for long, long seconds, but she did not wonder at it. Instead she writhed slowly in place, moaning, heat swirling within her mind and body. When he finally shifted and began to lick her sex her hips rolled up with every lick, a powerful wave of pleasure making her cry out again and again as her body trembled and burned.

The orgasm was so powerful, she arched so violently she might have snapped her spine. That careless thought occurred to her as it was happening, but was of no importance. The orgasm stunned her into dazed immobility when it finally ended.

She felt that strange presence in her mind, then, had felt but not noticed it as the orgasm shook her like a dog with a rag doll. Now it slowly faded away, along with consciousness.

When she next opened her eyes, she was in another, much larger bed. This was an old fashioned four poster, with thick, solid posts rising seven feet above to the crossbeam and canopy overhead. Dark velvet curtains hemmed her in on three sides. She couldn't see what was behind her head, nor cared.

It was very dark but she could see surprisingly easily – though she wasn't surprised.

Then the curtain on one side was drawn back, and the man was there again. She knew him, but didn't think from where or what his name was. It hardly mattered, after all.

He sat down on the edge of the bed as he had before, but did not touch her.

“So,” he said. “It is what it is.”

That had always struck Rory as an absurd statement of the obvious, but she withheld judgment now.

“I am going to acquaint you with some information you need to know,” he said. “Your life is changed now, and it's no bloody fault of mine. Keep that foremost in your mind.”

Rory looked at him without caring.

“You saw those... things?”

He didn't wait for her agreement or understanding.

“They were ferals. Feral vampires, if you will. They're little more than wild, savage beasts. It is possible to control them, though it takes considerable power. Some create and keep them like... a hunting pack.”

He stood up and began to pace nervously back and forth.

“I had thought I was being reasonably restrained in my behavior, that staying out of other people's business would have them leave me be. Apparently not. Someone decided to kill me.”

He snorted ironically. “Not that I'm exactly alive. Yet I live. And they underestimated me. Well, that's what I work at, isn't it? I try to not show my strength. But really, to think I could be dragged down by a feral pack.”

He sniffed derisively.

“I might not be in the same class as a Jasper or a Wellington or a Llewellyn or a Collin, but I'm not exactly a bloody sheep either!”

He sat down on the bed again, scowling at her.

“You were just there. Not my fault. I didn't invite you. And I certainly didn't invite them! But there you have it. You lost far too much blood when they tore open your chest. Especially on top of... well... I was being careful in what I took,” he said. “But in any event, your human body could not survive so much blood loss.”

Rory looked at him without care.

“I don't mean to say you're dead, exactly. Not the way you think of death. You're simply not quite alive... er, well, not the way you think of life.”

His hand reached out and she moaned as it caressed her bare breasts. She felt the heat pulsing within them, her nipples hardening, crackling with pleasure.

“I did my best,” he said. “It would have been a crying shame to waste such beauty. Besides, with Alex gone I needed a new lawyer anyway. Sweet girl, Alex. I shall miss her.”

Rory didn't care about whether he missed Alex, but at the same time didn't believe him either. She sensed his emotional indecision, his uncertainty, his nervousness and resentment of circumstances. It all bespoke weakness to her. He seemed to think it important she not blame him for what had transpired. She didn't, of course, for she didn't care about anything. Nevertheless, his caring marked him as weak.

Not that she cared.

“Anyway, it seemed I'd worn out my welcome, so I left.”

Ran away, she thought.

“Took a plane to New York. Whoever it was that went after me in Belfast won't follow me here. And the ferals can't cross large bodies of waters, so they can't send them after me, even if they have another pack.”

His hand slid down between her thighs, cupping her sex, and Rory gasped, her back arching as he did nothing but cup her gently.

“You're very responsive,” he said. “You and I will have considerable fun together.”

He pulled his hand back, and Rory gulped in air, the raw heat easing and fading.

“You will even come to love me, as Alex did,” he said. “And it isn't all bad. I'm not exactly poor, you know. You certainly won't have to work at anything. Whatever you want, you can have. Just order it on the internet.”

He leaned over her and stared into her eyes, and felt herself falling upward into them.

“Your life might have ended, my girl, but it's also taken a turn for the better,” he said with a lazy grin. “Now, I'm going to release you, and let you have some time to settle all this in your mind. Once that's done I can start showing you some of the fun things you can do.”

He sat back and his hand glided over her breasts.

“Some of the other fun things,” he said, chuckling.

He got up and pulled the curtain, and she could sense him (somehow) moving further away.

And then, she felt as if her mind were surfacing from where it had been laying, floating in calm waters. She had not a care in the world there. And then... real awareness began to return.

She shot bolt upright in bed, gaping at the dark curtains, her mind filled with a wild, churning sense of confusion, outrage and denial. She grabbed the nearest curtain and yanked it aside – or that was her intent. In fact, she tore the curtain down and flung it halfway across the room.

She was startled, briefly, by that, then she was standing up in a dark room, glaring around furiously. Everything was shadowed, and she reached for a lamp she saw on the night table only to break it accidentally. Cursing, she moved back, looking for something to wear.

She picked up the torn curtain and wrapped it around herself, the moved to the door and flicked on the light switch.

The room was enormous, probably forty feet long and almost as wide.. The coffered ceiling was fifteen feet high. She had no sense of appreciation for its understated décor, however. She was naked in some pervert's bed! How had she gotten here!?

The events of that night came back clearly, but she dismissed them. Somehow she'd been drugged and that wild scene had been a hallucination. The memories of Lord touching her were like a fevered dream, pulsing with a strange, overwhelming sense of dark pleasure. She dismissed those in her outrage.

She reached for the doorknob and yanked. It came off in her hand. Cursing, she punched at the door. Wood cracked under her fist, then under several more experimental punches, broke apart. She peeled it off to find solid metal underneath.

Glowering at it, she moved around the room. There were several curtains, but yanking them back revealed no windows. The first collapsed on touching it. She was more restrained with the second, then moved on. There was an attached master bathroom.

It was larger than her bedroom at home. She stared at herself in the mirror. She looked more or less normal, except, and this caused her to fume, for the bite marks on her breasts, on her thigh, and on her throat.

She was thirsty, but water did little for her. She could sense his presence, and her body rotated so she was staring in that direction. He was perhaps a hundred and fifty feet away. She thought dark thoughts at him. And then was startled when she felt a sense of amusement returning.

That angered her more. How dare he disrespect her!?

There was a loud crack and she looked down, startled. Her hands had been gripping the marble counter, which had just broken under the pressure.

That got her attention!

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