• Second Skin: The Devil’s Daughter Excerpt

    Drake doesn’t even knock, he just barges into the room, the low light from the corridor enough to illuminate the violently flailing body on the queen-size bed in the middle of the room. Ben’s naked, his dark tattoos twisting like shadows over his muscular torso as whatever nightmare he’s having grips him in a spasm of utter agony. The air shatters with another yell as Drake moves into the room.

    “Ben, wake up,” he demands, switching on the bedside lamp. “It’s just a dream.” He motions for me to enter, and I follow him, closing the door behind us so hopefully the staff aren’t disturbed by the noise.

    Ben’s covers are twisted around his legs, his torso gleaming with a sheen of sweat. He groans incoherently, twisting his head from side to side.

    Drake crouches by the bed and reaches out, grabbing Ben by the shoulder. Ben lets out a yell and lurches up, smacking at Drake’s hand and opening his eyes wide.

    Drake rears back, narrowly missing being punched in the face again, but holds his ground and reaches out once more. “Hey, buddy. We’re here, it was just a dream, okay? You’re all right.”

    Ben stares straight at me, blinking in confusion. “Ellie? What—” He turns to Drake and his eyebrows draw together, then he squints at me again. “What’r you doing in my room? Why are you in a towel?” He’s thick-tongued from sleep, his words slightly slurred, then he vigorously shakes his head and coughs out a pitiful sob.

    “Oh Benny. What’s wrong?” I dart to the bed and climb on, scoot toward him on my knees and wrap my arms around him sideways.

    “Couldn’t stop it. Can’t ever stop it…” he babbles through tears as he clings to me. I urge him to the bed and lie down, curling around his back like the big spoon even though he’s got at least seventy-five pounds on me and most of it solid muscle.

    “Can’t stop what?” Drake asks. “Talk it out. Tell us what’s going on.” He rises and glances around the room, then starts to reach for the chair by the desk, but Ben reaches out and grabs him by the hand.

    “Don’t go, please,” he says, tugging harder so Drake has no choice but to climb onto the bed.

    “Okay, we’re doing this, I guess,” Drake says, carefully lying on his side facing Ben. “You gonna talk?”

    Ben just curls into himself, hands clinging to Drake’s, then buries his face against Drake’s shoulder, body shaking with sobs.

    I give Drake a wide-eyed look over Ben’s shaking form. He’s grim-faced as he leans in and wraps an arm around Ben’s shoulders.

    “We’ve got you. Everything’s going to be okay,” Drake says, sliding his hand across Ben’s shoulder and back. The edge of his hand grazes the tops of my breasts and my breath hitches. His gaze holds mine for a second before his eyes trace the line of my bare shoulder. He lifts his hand from Ben’s upper arm and gently grazes fingertips down my bicep, following the line all the way around to where my elbow crooks over Ben’s side. It’s a gentle, tender caress, but the sensation sends a hot jolt of desire through me. He stops at my elbow, only to repeat the process with Ben’s arm.

    The action seems to stall Ben’s crying and his big body shifts and shudders. He twists his head, the dark line of the rose tattooed on his neck flexing before my eyes as he cranes his head to watch Drake’s hand.

    “Is this okay?” Drake asks, his voice thick with the same need that filled it when we were standing in his doorway mere moments ago. He runs the flat of his palm back up Ben’s arm and pauses with his hand resting at Ben’s neck.

    I can’t see Ben’s face, but the coiled tension in his body seems to release as he nods. He extracts a hand from between him and Drake and slowly slips it back until he finds my hip.

    “Are you really there, Elle?”

    “I’m here, Benny. I’m not going anywhere.”

    He sighs again and moves his hand, this time resting it on Drake’s hip. His body seems to undulate the slightest amount from hips to shoulders. This time the sigh he lets out ends with a needy groan and he grabs my hand where it’s planted against his belly and pulls it lower. The next thing I know, my palm is nudging against his erection, burned by searing hot silken skin and hard flesh. A heat just as pronounced swells between my thighs as I relent to his urging and wrap my hand around his hard length.

    As much as my body aches for more direct contact, Ben needs this more than I do, so I tentatively give him a stroke, squeezing a little as I move my hand.

    “Fuuuck,” he drawls, curling his hips into my hand, then back. “Need you so bad, Ellie.”

    “I’m here,” I whisper, my gaze still fixed unblinking on Drake’s dark stare. His cheeks are flushed, a vein throbbing visibly in his temple. He drops his eyes down to stare at where my hand is wrapped tight around Ben’s cock and his breathing quickens.

    Without speaking, Ben grabs Drake’s hand where it still rests against his collarbone and drags it down. The heavy warmth and softness of Drake’s palm glides over the back of my hand before settling lower where he cups Ben’s balls and gently strokes.

    “Better than your dream, huh?” Drake says, his voice breaking. Ben grunts and grabs the back of Drake’s neck.

    “Pretty sure this is still a dream,” he says as he yanks Drake into a fevered kiss.

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