Exclusive Excerpt: Elle Kennedy's Claimed
Happy hump day! It's already been a long week, but lucky us, it's time for our hump day reward! Today we have an exclusive excerpt from Elle Kennedy's Claimed, an RT Top Pick! available October 6. Fleeing "civilized" society, her father's tyranny and a marriage contract, Hudson entrusts her safety to Connor, the leader of a band of outlaw fighters who roam the free world. The only problem is, Connor awakens a desire within Hudson that simply cannot be ignored...
“You brought me to a whorehouse?” she hissed.
He furrowed his brow. “There are whorehouses like this all over the free land. You can’t tell me this is your first time visiting one.”
“My group never got around to it,” she answered in a tight voice.
She didn’t like that he hadn’t corrected her about the purpose of the house. If anything, his cavalier tone triggered a spurt of resentment. She didn’t want to be here. It reminded her too much of the Enforcer compound, where the men passed women around like pieces of gum. It didn’t matter that the women had volunteered to be there. They were still treated like sex slaves and viewed as whores, and it nauseated Hudson to think that the task of pleasuring the Enforcers was deemed an honor.
Everyone was considered equal in the city. People got paid the same amount for hauling garbage as they did working in the technology sector. They lived in allocated accommodations, all identical in size. They ate at assigned meal halls, and were served food that met their nutritional requirements. Hudson’s father had explained that the practice had once been referred to as communism, the idea of common ownership and the absence of social classes.
But every system had a loophole, and the Enforcers had no problem taking advantage of it. The city’s women earned monetary bonuses for offering their bodies to the men. Some were even given annual vacations to South Colony. Keep the Enforcers happy, and you were excused from the job rotation to lie on a beach for a week. High-class prostitution at its best.
Hudson frowned at Connor. “You talk about the free land, but you still call this place a whorehouse. Is that how you view women? As whores?”
A slow grin lifted his mouth, as if he was genuinely amused by her accusation. “We’re all whores here, sweetheart. Every single one of us.”
He uncurled her fingers from his arm, but didn’t let go of her. Instead, he kept a tight grip on her hand and led her deeper into the house. They passed several closed doors, and Hudson’s pulse sped up, because it was painfully obvious what was going on behind those doors. Groans of pleasure. The rhythmic smacking of a headboard hitting the wall. A cry of ecstasy as a woman climaxed.
Hudson drew a breath as they neared the set of doors that Rylan and the others had disappeared through. She tried to steel herself, but nothing prepared her for what she found when they entered the room.
The surprisingly large space offered an array of couches and armchairs, and a long bar counter that spanned one wall. About two dozen people lingered in the room. Men and women, some fully clothed, some naked. Low voices engaged in conversation mingling with the throaty sounds of sex. In a shadowy corner of the room, a brunette was bent over facing the wall as a bare-assed man thrust into her from behind, his hands gripping her waist, his lips pressed against her shoulder.
Hudson wrenched her gaze away from the lewd display, but it just landed on another one—a tangle of naked limbs on a plush couch, a woman’s fingernails scraping down the back of the man on top of her.
Did these people have no shame?
Her cheeks were on fire as she sought out a safe place for her eyes. Connor. Connor was safe. Connor wasn’t naked.
And maybe she was as shameful as everyone else here, because the fact that he was still dressed brought genuine disappointment to her belly.
A dark-haired man sauntered up to them. Tall and handsome, with magnetic gray eyes that lingered on Hudson before shifting to Connor. “Con. Long time.”
“Lennox.” Connor slapped the man on the shoulder. “How’s it going?”
“All right.” The man shrugged. “We’ve been hearing about a lot of the Enforcer stations being repurposed. Some are closing down altogether.”
“Security is changing too,” Connor admitted. “We just hit a storage facility that was outfitted with landmines.”
Lennox frowned. “Well, that’s no good.”
“Make sure you let your people know. They’ll need to change their tactics before they go on any more runs.”
“Will do. Thanks for the heads up.” The man’s gaze traveled back to Hudson, a smirk playing on his lips. “I see you brought some party favors tonight, Con.”
Hudson’s shoulders tensed. Was that it? Had Connor brought her here to…to be a party favor for his outlaw friends?
But he quickly squashed that thought by muttering, “She’s not here for that.”
“Pity.” Lennox smiled at Hudson, and she found herself relaxing at the seductive curve of his lips. “Come find me if you change your mind, love.”
As he wandered off, Hudson glanced at Connor apprehensively. “Does he own this place?”
Connor nodded. “Come on, I need a drink,” he said, rounding the bar.
Apparently this was a serve-yourself kind of establishment.
She worked up the courage to take another look around, and noticed that Rylan had already made himself comfortable. He was sprawled on one of the couches with a tumbler in his hand and a beautiful woman in his lap. Skin-tight denim encased the woman’s legs, and her blond hair fell like a curtain over one shoulder, stopping right below her breasts. Her very bare breasts.
Rylan caught Hudson’s eye and winked. Then his hand moved in a slow caress down the blonde’s arm before curling to cup one firm breast.
Heat tingled in Hudson’s nipples, almost as if Rylan had touched her. She squeezed her thighs together and pulled her gaze away.
“What’s your poison?” Connor asked gruffly.
She stared at the top-notch alcohol lining the bar top, wondering what kind of payment Lennox demanded from his patrons for drinking his booze. Her heartbeat accelerated as a panicky notion came to mind. No. Nobody was going to lay a hand on her, damn it.
Her gaze landed on Connor’s strong hands as he rifled through bottles, and her breasts tingled harder, making her amend that last thought. Nobody was laying a hand on her unless she wanted them to.
She unwittingly glanced in Rylan’s direction again, her breath hitching when she saw his tongue dart out to taste his companion’s nipple.
“Tequila,” she choked out, her throat drier than dust.
“Look at those wide eyes,” Connor mocked. “Makes me think you’ve never seen people fucking before.”
“No, I…” She swallowed. “I have. I saw lots of things at…the camp.”
Connor poured two tumblers and walked back to her, leading her to a vinyl stool. “Relax, sweetheart.” He forced her to sit and planted the glass in her hand, the mocking note never leaving his voice. “We’re here to have a good time.”
Was this his idea of a good time? Watching random people have sex? She was too afraid to ask, so she lowered her eyes and clutched her drink so hard she was surprised the glass didn’t shatter.
“Uh-uh, that won’t do.”
She flinched when his forceful grip captured her chin, yanking her head up.
“Watch,” he ordered.
Her heart raced faster. She was out of her element here. She didn’t want to watch. She didn’t want—oh fuck, but she did want to. Or at least her body wanted it. Her skin felt tight and achy, her nipples harder than the icicles that formed on the compound roof every winter. And that deep pulsing in her core. It was getting worse, spiking her body temperature, making her thighs tremble. She was painfully aware of the wetness between her legs, and a shiver flew up her spine as she focused on Rylan. His face was buried between the blonde’s breasts, hands stroking up and down her bare back, hips rocking slightly as he rubbed his lips over one puckered nipple.
“Tell me what you see.” Connor’s rough demand was an echo of the one he’d voiced at the storage station, except it was different this time. He wasn’t asking her to assess security protocols, damn it. He was asking her to describe debauchery.
Hudson’s voice wobbled. “I see sex.”
Connor laughed. “No, sweetheart. Not even close. Not yet anyway.”
He brought the tumbler to his lips, and Hudson was fascinated by the way his strong, corded throat strained as he drank.
“Don’t look at me,” he said sharply. “Look at Rylan. Look at her. And tell me what you see.”
She took a gulp of tequila. “He’s turning her on.”
No, he was driving her wild. Rylan’s cheeks hollowed slightly as he sucked the woman’s nipple deep in his mouth, triggering a throaty moan from her lips. Hudson couldn’t see the blonde’s face, but judging by the way she arched her spine and desperately pushed her breast into Rylan’s face, she was clearly enjoying herself.
“Oh, he’s turning her on, all right,” Connor agreed. “What about you, baby? Is he turning you on?”
Hudson shifted to find him watching her intently. “W-what?”
“Do you like seeing him suck on those gorgeous tits?”
The tension in her body intensified, tightening her muscles and making her heart beat erratically. “No,” she lied.
Something indecipherable flicked through his eyes. Damn it. She felt like she’d failed another test. That she’d been failing from the second they’d stepped foot in this house. But she didn’t know what he expected from her. What he wanted her to say, what he was hoping she’d do. Did he want her to join the party? Saunter over there and push her breasts into Rylan’s face, too?
A hot shiver ran through her. She could do it. The way everyone in this room was carrying on, no one would care if she joined in. They’d probably be all too happy to initiate her into this world of unadulterated sin.
Except there was one problem. The only man she wanted to be sinful with was sitting right beside her.
Hudson hadn’t realized she’d turned away until a tug on her hair brought her gaze back to the couch, where the woman was unzipping Rylan’s pants.
“I think you’re going to like this.” Connor’s tone grew downright seductive. “I’ve never met a woman who doesn’t moan at the sight of Ry’s cock.”
The blonde sank to her knees in front of Rylan, dragging the denim off his muscular legs in one fluid motion. His thick erection sprang up, and a wink of silver caught the light—the barbell running horizontally through the crown of his cock.
Connor grinned. “Yeah, that’s about right.”
Holy shit. How was any of this happening?
Connor’s dark laughter heated her skin as he leaned in closer. “You like the piercing, huh? Most chicks seem to agree with you. One told me it hits a sweet spot deep in her pussy when he’s fucking her.”
Hudson’s breathing went shallow. She squirmed on the stool, impossibly turned on. Wetter than she’d ever been in her life.
“Maybe I’ll let you fuck him, so you can feel it,” Connor offered generously.
“Let me? You have no say in who I screw.”
“Yes, I do.” He took another sip of tequila. “My men follow my lead. They won’t touch you unless I consent to it.”
“It must be nice to have minions.”
His teeth bared in a harsh smile. “I didn’t ask for their loyalty, but I have it. And I’m a ruthless bastard, sweetheart. Someone gives me unconditional loyalty? Damn straight I’ll use it to my advantage.”
“Yeah? Well, you don’t have my loyalty.” She tilted her head in challenge. “What if I want to go over there?” She turned back in time to see the blonde swallow half of Rylan’s cock in one deep gulp, and nearly fell off the stool.
“By all means, go ahead.” Connor waved toward the couch. “Just don’t expect him to fuck you. Jamie might, though.” A contemplative note entered his voice. “You know what? That sounds beautiful, seeing her lips all over you.”
Hudson’s breath caught.
His warm breath fanned over her ear. “I want to hear the noises you make when her tongue touches your clit.” Then he straightened up. “Yeah, let’s find out, baby. Why don’t you walk your sexy ass over there and put on a show for me?”
Hudson stayed put.
“Or not,” he said with a chuckle.
Damn him. He was purposely toying with her and she didn’t know why. And she was trapped. Helpless. Every time she moved her head she was greeted by an even dirtier sight. On the other side of the room, Xander was enjoying himself as much as Rylan, his naked body falling back on soft cushions as a raven-haired girl with a full-sleeve tattoo climbed on top of him.
Kade was sprawled on the other end of the couch, fisting his own cock. His expression glittered recklessly, a stark change from what she normally saw on his face. She’d thought he was the sweet one, but there was nothing sweet about him right now. He was as sinful as the rest of them.
“Why did you bring me here?” she whispered.
Connor moved closer again, sending a shiver through her body. His presence was terrifying. Thrilling. She wanted to kiss him. So badly she could practically taste him on her lips.
“You know exactly why I brought you here.”
Claimed will be available in digital and in print on October 6. Preorder a copy: Amazon | B&N | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance | IndieBound. If you'd like some more Hump Day excerpts (who wouldn't?) we've got you covered.