My head snapped up and my brain spun through its cycles, checking every corner out. It was silent, much too silent. It always was quiet here in my beach house perched on the cliffs, but this was silence. Something was happening.

My brain came up blank. I sighed and looked at the blinking cursor on the screen. Another false lead in the search, but I was getting closer. Just a few more connections of one with the other, I was sure, and I would establish the link between the Eye of God in Sri Lanka and Al-Qaeda. I knew the connection was there and, somehow, my brain knew the establishment of the connection was close. Then the decision. Publish or contact Cleland?

I stood up and stretched. I'd been working on this for hours. Bates should be back by now. Maybe that was the source of my mind's concern-that Bates wasn't back. Or maybe it was just my mind telling me that I'd gotten too tense, too concentrated on the search.

I pulled my T-shirt over my head and spread it out over the back of the chair by the desk before I padded, just in my athletic shorts, out of my study and down the stairs, two flights, to the basement gym. A thirty-minute routine of weights and squats, pull-ups and sit-ups, later I slipped the shorts off and dropped them on the washer. A quick shower and then a towel rubdown as I padded back up the stairs. Bedroom first and dressing, even though the day was almost over. But I always dressed for dinner. Even though it was only me. Bates serving me in the dining room and then eating by himself in the kitchen-the divide somewhat silly, since he'd be fucking me in my bed later in the night.

Always at night. Slipping into my room in the dark, rolling me onto my back, and teasing my legs open as he stuffed a pillow under the small of my back. Me sighing as he entered me with a big, black cock. Moaning and groaning in pleasured surrender as he stretched and caressed my channel with the thick staff as I grabbed and dug my nails into his shoulder blades-only to have him melt away when we had both come. Always at night, in the dark. Never spoken of during the day. Both knowing that he's here because Cleland doesn't take chances. That Cleland always wants to be in control-that I can be controlled by a big, black cock.

Bedroom and then back to the study, I decided. So close, almost there on the connection between the Eye of God and Al-Qaeda. And then the most important question of all-publish or contact Cleland?

Something, some movement, caught the corner of my eye through the expanse of glass across the back of the house, out toward the sea, as I reached the first-floor landing. I moved silently over to the corner of the glass. Yes, two of them. Sent by Cleland? Did he sense that I was close to a discovery and was making my decision for me? Back to the front of the house, peeking out of the window in Bates' room. Two more. Two black SUVs out on the road-the road that went no farther along the top of the cliff than to this house, selected because of the privacy it provided. Two SUVs. More than was needed by four. Where were the others? Already in the house? Had I put the computer to sleep, or was what I had been working on there available for anyone to see?

I moved, as silently as I could, to the second floor. The bedroom to the right at the top of the stairs-where I should go to get dressed. Nakedness was vulnerability. The study door to the left. Should I transfer the file to the cloud and delete it from the computer first? Priorities. I turned left and stopped in the doorway to the study.

"Long time, Evan. You're looking good. Keeping in good shape. About got the Eye of God connection established, I see."

Jackson. Sitting at my computer, smiling-no, smirking-at me. I should have known. My mind was trying to tell me that. But something larger than just this, just Jackson finding me. I had to be wary. And I had to control myself. Jackson was Jackson. Always had been; always would be. Must control myself. Mustn't show his hold over me. Very difficult to do in the nude.

"What are you doing here, Jackson?"

"I've come to ask you to come back. We need you in the unit."

"I'm retired, Jackson."

"No one retires at twenty-eight, Evan."

"I do. I am. Cleland retired me." I had to be careful not to reveal that I had been retained as a consultant-not totally retired. Not left out in the cold. That it was just separation from the ops floor Cleland demanded. Not trusting me in the struggle between him and Jackson. But still needing me. Needing me in more ways than one. Being the only one who knew of this house, where I had gone-at least until now. The only one with his own side of the closet in my bedroom, his own choice of pillow on my bed.

"I don't think so. I've seen the files. The work had your touch written all over it. We need you back."

He'd found my links into the Special Terrorist Covert Affairs Team files. His power in the office was growing. No wonder my mind had been on edge, had screamed out in the eerie silence.

"What does Cleland think?"

"It doesn't matter what Cleland thinks."

There was only one reason why Jackson would say that.

"Where's Cleland? What have you done with Cleland?"

"Cleland apparently has taken a runner. Counterops is busy tracing him, determined to get to him before he reaches the dark side."

"I don't believe that. Cleland never would-"

"I'm temporarily in charge-temporary being short-lived, I'm sure. I can staff as I see fit. I need you to return as chief of analysis."

"I repeat, what have you done with Cleland?"

He just smiled and stood up from the desk, from behind the computer. He had unzipped himself, and his huge black cock-the reason Cleland had gotten me out of the office-half erect, had flopped out for me to see. As always, I sucked in my breath.

"I see it's time for us to adjourn to the bedroom," he said.

Shit. He knew the effect he had on me. Something I couldn't hide, standing in the doorway in the nude.

"No, Jackson. Never again." And then, a new, distressing thought. "Bates. You've done something with Bates. What have you done with Bates?"

"Bates is no longer here. I'm here now. You should appreciate that; I'm a lot bigger-a lot more man for you-than Bates is." The sneer again. The look of victory couched in the gaze of lust. He'd never liked Bates-for obvious reasons.

He was right, though. He was a lot bigger than Bates was. Growing bigger even as he stood there. He also knew that made a difference to me. I wondered if he could hear me begin to pant. It didn't matter; his smile told me that he was fully aware of his effect on me.

"No, Jackson. Never again," I repeated, but falteringly, my own body betraying what I wanted, what I wanted despite everything else that was happening around me.

I was moaning when he reached me, gathered me up in his arms, and strode across the hallway into the bedroom.

He "neveragained" me deep, thick-huge!-and hard on my bed, a-bucking me, me on my back with my legs jack knifed over my shoulders, with him deep inside me between my legs, his hands squeezing and separating my butt cheeks, his pelvis rocking on my body, and his mouth possessing mine, as we both always had liked.

Filling me, holding there, throbbing gigantically inside me as I gasped at the possession of him, digging my fingernails into his shoulders, not being able to keep myself from begging him to fuck me. Then, with a guttural laugh of knowing victory, beginning to pump me, his thick lips on mine, pushing mine open for his tongue to fully possess my mouth cavity as well. After he was fully mounted, his fists buried in the mattress on either side of my torso, and his cock-his mammoth black cock-pounding, pounding, pounding.

Black cock, huge black cock. My fetish. What I craved. What drove me crazy. The weapon Jackson had used in the office to separate me off from Cleland. The fetish Cleland hadn't been able to fight. Cleland disadvantaged by not being black, with a huge cock. The reason I'd been forced into retirement-to erase me as a weapon in Jackson's power struggle with Cleland.

Others had been employed by Jackson and had just disappeared, as had some of Cleland's closest assets. But me. I had become the battleground between them, neither wanting to give me up entirely.

Slowly, though, black cock, huge black cock was winning. It still was winning.

"Oh, god, oh, god, oh, god, be good to me," I murmured, arching my back, fully aware of every thick and long inch of the monster black cock inside me. Moving slower now, approaching climax. Then quick, quick, quick, deep plunges. Crying out, "Fuck, fuck, fuck! Fuck ME!" Ejaculating and collapsing under him as, laughing, he stroked on.

"That's it, then," he muttered after he had ejaculated. "You will do as I ask now. You will come back to the organization."

"Yes," I responded in a weak, defeated voice. "Whatever you want."

He rolled off me and to the side and pulled me into his body. His laugh was one of claimed and not challenged victory.

I waited for a moment and then murmured, "I'm thirsty. Aren't you thirsty?" I asked, turning my head to his face where he held me, embraced in his arms, my ass cuddled into his crotch, his huge tool flaccid for the moment, but pressed up the small of my back, almost to my shoulder blades, it seemed. My master.

"Gonna fuck you again first. Fuck you silly until you're begging me for it. You'll live with me when you come back to work, of course."

"I've already begged for it," I said, angry with myself in the truth of that.

"Not enough. Not nearly enough."

Under constant observation and control, I knew. He needed me, but he didn't trust me. Never would. But then had Cleland ever trusted me either?

I sighed and gave him what I hoped was a convincing smile. "A drink first. And, then, yes, I want the cock again." And I did. "Still drinking the same?" I asked, as I pulled out of his beefy arms and moved off the bed. I was moving down the stairs to the kitchen before he could respond. Mixing the drinks, I kept looking around as I mixed his, making sure I wasn't being observed.

Back in the bedroom, I didn't see him in bed. The bathroom door was open too. He wasn't in there. I barely had time to put the drinks down on the bureau, his in a tall glass, mine in a short glass, careful not to spill any of the special liquid in his, before he pounced on me, with a laugh, from the closet.

He had always liked athletic positions. So did I. I liked anything in which he could get good depth with that monster black cock. He took me while standing in a crouch in the center of the bedroom, me crying out in tormented passion as every inch moved up inside me and then with my legs wrapped around his thighs and bent down to and facing the carpet, my hands stiff armed into the rug, as he grabbed my waist and pulled me on and off the huge black cock. The wheelbarrow, he liked to call it.

"I'm more thirsty than ever now," I said afterward. "Here's your drink."

"A toast? A toast to you returning to the office."

"Yes, to me returning to the office," I said. "Drink up." I watched him carefully as he drank it down.

He was on top of me, me bent over the foot of the bed, him holding my arms pulled back, almost painfully, across my back as he mined me deep from behind, when, with a surprised "Ouff," he collapsed on my back.

I carefully extracted myself from under him and pulled him up onto the bed. I'd have several hours. He'd wake up without a headache or anything. I could be back in his arms with him being none the wiser if that was what was needed. If what my mind was pressing on me turned out not to be true.

I quickly dressed in jeans and loafers, taking only enough time to move into the study and do what I had to do with the computer-belatedly-and to pull on the T-shirt I'd draped over the back of a chair there. Then it was down the stairs, silently. Not just the two levels to the basement, but to the hidden panel in the laundry room and into the recess behind that and down, down, down, the subterranean stairs to the short tunnel leading to the dock. The motor might be heard by Jackson's men at the house, but maybe not. The wind was up and the surf was strong. It didn't matter anyway. I'd be away before they could react even if they heard and assessed correctly.

I was punching buttons into the cell phone even as I moved up the coast.

My mind had kept drilling into me where Cleland was even while Jackson was fucking me. That showed the strength of my loyalty to Cleland-that his need could break through to me even while I was getting what I most craved in the world-a big, black cock working me. Bigger than Bates. Much bigger.

Ashamedly I wanted Jackson again, even now. I wanted him to still be there when I returned, him waking up to me holding him on top of me, my legs encasing his waist, and my channel moving-under my control, not his-up and down on that huge, thick, black cock of his. I moaned into the sea breeze the want of it. It only took Jackson finding me and fucking me again to make me recognize that Bates wasn't filling enough.

I shook my head, forcing my attention back into the threat of the present. I knew Jackson. I knew his methods, and how close he had held them to himself. How he interrogated; where he interrogated when he could get the terrorists into the States and into his hands. Cleland had never asked him. Cleland wanted results, not knowledge that could incriminate him too.

Within a half hour, I was sitting in the motorboat, watching the shell of the derelict power station as Cleland's men bustled about in the light of the headlights of the SUVs trained on the door of the building. I saw Cleland being brought out of the building wrapped in a blanket. And then Bates. I left the boat and went to each in turn. Bates' eyes were glazed and he'd been beaten. He gave me what smile he could manage, though. The medics told me it would be a few days before he could return home.

Ashamed, my first thought was that it could never be as satisfactory with Bates again after having Jackson inside me just now.

One of Cleland's eyes was puffy, but he otherwise seemed to be untouched. I wasn't surprised. Jackson would enjoy knowing that he was just hanging there from overhead pipes inside the derelict building, slowly starving to death.

Cleland gave me a hard look as we came face to face. "Jackson?" he said.

I nodded and told him where Jackson was and then watched as he and Bates were put into an ambulance vehicle that wasn't a normal ambulance. It was painted black and had no markings on it.

I puttered slowly back down the coast to my cove, knowing there was no haste, knowing what I'd find.

Nothing. Silence.

There was little evidence that Jackson or his men ever had been there. A few pools of blood in the auto park in front of the house that would wash away in the first rain.

Not even that much evidence in the house itself. Even the drink glasses had been washed and left on the kitchen drain board. The bed had been made, the sheets now blue rather than the white that had been on it before. The only other evidence that Cleland's men had been there was that the computer was gone. That was OK. I had others, and my files were backed up. And I'd already decided I wouldn't be able to publish; that when I made the connection, which would be soon, the data would only go to Cleland.

If nothing else lingered from tonight, what had been brought home to me was that my loyalties lay with Cleland.

I also knew that I never would see Jackson again, never would feel his huge black cock working inside me again. Bates would have to do.

The phone rang. I knew who it would be before I picked it up.

"You can come out of retirement now," Cleland said on the other end.

"Thank you, but I think not," I answered. "I think the current arrangement is best."

"Perhaps you're right. There's still Delmar."

Yes, there was. Delmar was black and built even bigger than Jackson was, if memories from the office gym showers held true. And Delmar was poised to make a run at Cleland. The ambitions in the office were insatiable-the methods brutal.

"I think I should stay retired," I said. "There was no need to take the computer, Cleland. When I crack this one, you'll be the one who gets the data."

"Yes, I know I will." Such confidence. Well, he had shown out to be a survivor.

"Jackson?" I asked, knowing I shouldn't ask but not being able not to.

"You know Jackson would have always been a problem where you are concerned. He was valuable to the office if held in check. But the balance was too delicate, as we both have learned. Do you regret that I chose you?"

"No, I guess not," I answered. Of course I had known the answer to the Jackson question. As soon as I had picked up the telephone receiver and had sat on the edge of the bed, my eyes picked out the two bullet holes in the headboard. They hadn't been there before Jackson tossed me on the bed.

"I will be there Friday night," he said.

"Yes," I answered, wishing, not for the first time, that he was black and had a huge cock. But there still was Bates for that. Big, but not the biggest. My mind went to Delmar.

"And do you know Dante Harrison?" Cleland asked.

"Yes, I think so. That NFL fullback who came on board after a knee-shattering career ender on the field?" And a beefy black stud.

"Yes, the same. I think Bates can use some help around the house. I'll send him right out. Bates won't be out of the hospital for a few days."

I tried to jerk my mind away from Delmar's cock. There was no doubt the room was bugged, but I was beginning to think that something had been implanted in my brain as well.



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