Echo by Liza James



Chapter One





Ruby



“How many times do we have to tell Aura this isn’t a fucking Christmas party?” a low, aggravated male voice sounds from across the line. I know I’ve heard it before, but not often and I can’t remember what this asshole’s name is.

“Who is that guy again?” I ask, intentionally keeping my voice light while my fingers tighten around the edges of my iPhone. I can hear Stella mumbling an angry response to him while she keeps the phone muted with her hand.

Aura’s soft fingers quickly wrap around my upper arm as she stands behind me, she rests her head on my shoulder as she quickly mutters, “Leon. That’s Leon.” Her voice is hesitant, because I assume she can sense how annoyed I am.

She knows me better than anyone.

I hear Stella sigh into the phone as she returns to our conversation, but just before she can speak, I cut through again. “Leon,” I grind out between clenched teeth. Aura’s hands fall to my waist as she drops her forehead against my back in surrender. “Go ahead and tell Leon that I’ll fucking skin him alive if he talks to Aura like that at this not-Christmas-Christmas party.”

Stella laughs, a sexy little lilt that leads into a quieter tone, as if she’s remembering something important. “Ignore him, he’s… sick and frustrated.” But there’s something missing from her voice now. The vibrancy she held just a moment ago has disappeared as she mentions Leon’s condition.

“I don’t give a shit if he broke a leg and lost a limb, he doesn’t talk to my fucking girl—”

“We will. When is it again, Stella?” Aura interrupts me, her sweet voice sliding across my nerves like the silk it is. God, I want to strangle her for the power she holds over me, and then I want to fuck her for it.

“Friday night. I’ll send you the address, okay?” I give up and pass the phone to Aura, who steps in easily and finishes the conversation.

“Perfect,” Aura replies.

“Oh, and dress up, okay? Make Ruby wear a dress,” Luna chirps in from the background, and I can practically see Aura’s eyes light up with excitement at her demand.

“Oh fuck no!” I immediately shout, crossing my arms over my chest while Aura leans forward and rests her elbows on our granite counter.

After we survived our experience at the Nation, we’ve spent the last few months really focusing on ourselves and each other. We are both still working at the club, and it’s the happiest we’ve ever been. No Dom, no guilt ridden regrets and worries of mistakes. Our identities are continuously evolving, and we’re supporting each other through our growth.

We live in the same apartment complex as before, but we upgraded to a bigger unit. We have a guest bedroom, a more spacious kitchen, a bigger room for a bigger fucking bed. One with four posts and a perfectly placed headboard with these little slats.

Each one wide enough for a set of cuffs, or rope, or silk, or even chains when—

"Ruby," Aura's voice interrupts my quickly spiraling thoughts and I immediately start to raise my eyes to meet hers. But they move slowly, deliberately taking in the short sleep bottoms and loose tank she always wears to bed.

Right before I take them off of her.

"Mmhmm..." I say, brushing my thumb along my lower lip when I finally meet her gaze. The heat sparks between us. It's always there, this low boil of tension and desire and the need to touch in some way.

"So, you'll wear a dress then?" She stands upright from leaning against the counter and steps towards me, her hips swaying ever so slightly as she moves. She's taunting me, tempting me with her body while her hands land on my shoulders and gently slide up the sides of my neck.

"No, absolutely not." I laugh as I drop my hands to her lower back and pull her against me. I know what she's doing. Her lips brush against my jaw and I glide my touch even lower, gripping her ass while I twist us around.

I lift her up and set her on the counter. Her legs fall open while I step between them, and I press my chest against hers while her fingers tangle in the newly cut strands of my hair. I chopped several inches off, and now it lays a little longer than my shoulders. Definitely not as long as it once was, but I love it like this, and Aura loves the change as well.

"But you will," I whisper as I wrap my fingers around the base of her jaw and drag her towards me. Her lips brush against mine, slowly at first, while she attempts to hold herself back. But we both know better, she can't get enough of me just as I can't seem to consume enough of her.