<p>There had been no time for goodbyes. No time to pack or even to blow a farewell kiss to her homeland. There had been no time for anything.</p> <p>They had simply run.</p> <p>After her final admission in the lake house, Hannibal had taken a carving knife from the butcher's block on the kitchen island and swiftly brought it down behind her head, sawing through her ponytail in one deliberate motion, freeing her from the imprisonment of the broken refrigerator door.</p> <p>Clarice's gasp had had nothing to do with fear and everything to do with the realization that he was taking her with him.
And a lot to do with the fact that she wanted to go.</p> <p>She remembered well how he had grasped her hand and led her out the back door, across the dark, dewy lawn, and down to the water's edge. </p> <p>That memory felt like a lifetime ago.
Clarice brought her eyes back into focus, shaking the thoughts from her head like raindrops from her hair. She was here now, and that was all that mattered.</p> <p>She turned her head from the glorious beach view in front of her to the other side of the balcony, where Hannibal was reclining against the railing, elbows propped behind him, cell phone held to his ear.
The white linen of his shirt billowed gently against his chest in the coastal breeze, tan slacks riding low on his hips. He was speaking, but his attention was focused entirely on her. She settled back against the lounge chair, raising her face to the sun. </p> <p>It had taken a long time for her to become comfortable with his constant attention, his scrutiny both overbearing and addictive.
She had wanted his absorption, but she had been convinced that she shouldn't. Months of dedication to his cause had realigned her thinking so that she now accepted his devotion, craved his eyes on her, required his approval.</p> <p>Clarice smiled to herself; it had taken almost as long to convince Hannibal that she wanted to be there with him; that she did, indeed, love him as desperately as she said.
It hadn't been enough that she ran with him. A lifetime of indoctrination had convinced him that he was unloveable, a monster. And he was. But, he was her monster and she had been prepared to embrace all parts of him and to love him in whatever way he was capable of allowing. </p> <p>He had fought it, resisted her advances until they were established in the villa on the shore. He had needed to be sure she wasn't lying; that she hadn't come with him only to lead her superiors to his capture.
</p> <p>The most difficult transition for Clarice had been to give up her hard-won guise of the FBI agent.
She had spent years adopting the rigid gait, the unwavering loyalty of an officer of the law. Breaking down her tenacious resilience, uncovering the softness beneath her formidable facade, teaching her to discover how to submit, molding her to be pliable in his hands, receptive to his will, had been Hannibal's challenge and supreme pleasure.
It concerned her, the lack of work, her own negligent desire to be a kept woman, yet she had thrived under his tutelage; always so eager to please him. There was no need for either of them to work now and he preferred she devote herself entirely to learning his needs.
There had been many things that she was reluctant to try, but there was nothing she had refused him. He enjoyed exploiting her eager compliance, testing her limits to see how far he could push her. He was fascinated to uncover what would break her.</p> <p>Hannibal snapped the phone closed, the sound prompting her to open her eyes again, her head rolling to the side once more, bringing him into view. He studied her intently as he crossed to her, dropping down on the accompanying lounger.
</p> <p>"Everything all set?" she inquired.</p> <p>"Tonight," he replied, referring to the municipal official who had approved the building of a city monument that Hannibal had lobbied against. The structure was to be erected over an existing fountain that Hannibal was quite fond of </p> <p>She didn't relish the idea of his hunts, but she understood his need. Since Mischa, it had become so much a part of him that it would have been impossible to separate the two pieces of himself from one another.
He was a cannibal, a killer, but a human being, still, desiring and deserving of love, her love.</p> <p>He watched her reaction closely, eyes roving over her rosy skin, warm from the morning sun's kiss. </p> <p>"Eyes on me," he murmured, playing with her just a bit. He leaned towards her and stretched out a single fingertip to her face, hovering just above her mouth. She met his stare and held it, eyes never wavering from his, her body still beneath his touch.
His finger descended to graze her lower lip, his nail scraping lightly over her chin, down the length of her throat. He paused for the barest second as his trail dipped into the hollow of her throat, before continuing down to the cleft of her breasts, barely covered by her cream bikini.</p> <p>Clarice shivered at his caress, eyes fluttering closed as he drew the backs of his fingers along the soft mounds and sharp peaks of her breasts beneath her top.
</p> <p>She felt the sting of his fierce pinch against one nipple, forcing her eyes to fly open, searching his. There was heat in his gaze then, and a challenge, daring her to close herself to him again. He wanted to watch her surrender, she knew, to claim his dominance over all her pain and every bit of her pleasure.
</p> <p>"Shall I fuck you here, Clarice?" he suggested quietly, gesturing around them.</p> <p>Her eyes darted frantically to the balcony railing, the walls of which were comprised entirely of clear plexiglass.
They were situated high above the beach, but relatively not that far from the wandering eyes of neighbors and curious beachgoers.</p> <p>"No?" he chuckled. "Perhaps a wager then."</p> <p>He leaned over her body, his mouth poised over hers; she drank his breath with each inhalation, intoxicated by his nearness. Clarice was struck, as she always was, by the power he radiated, the sense of helplessness she felt in his presence.
She arched up to meet him ever so slightly, her lips parting in anticipation, her eyes still locked with his. </p> <p>"Do not move."</p> <p>Hannibal stood swiftly and entered the house, leaving her breathless and wanting outside. She remained frozen, heeding his command, wondering what devilish and delicious things he could be planning for her. </p> <p>He returned to the balcony with a small tube in his hands. Her eyes widened in recognition.
He tugged the end of one of her bikini ties, watching her, his eyes predatory with desire. He untied the other side and grasped the front of her bottoms, peeling it away from her hips, uncovering her with agonizing slowness.</p> <p>She watched as he deftly flipped open the lid, squeezed out a small amount of cream onto his finger, and closed it with a sharp snap.
His eyes tracked her reaction, smiling inwardly as he witnesses the realization begin to dawn on her face.</p> <p>"I am going to make you come, now, Clarice. I expect you to achieve your climax&hellip."</p> <p>Clarice held her breath wide-eyed. He was going to let her come?</p> <p>".silently." He continued, "If you manage not to make a sound, I will reward you with a second orgasm. However, if you fail, I will suspend you from the beam above your head for the enjoyment of the tourists," he explained evenly.
" Do you understand me, pet?"</p> <p>She nodded haltingly as he painstakingly parted her lips and spread the cream across her clit, rubbing it in with small circles, his fingers dipping in and out of her cleft.</p> <p>Clarice's body spasmed, back arching off the lounge within minutes of the application.
Her clit was throbbing already, undulating waves of fire and ice sweeping over her. </p> <p>Hannibal smiled knowingly. This would be too easy. </p> <p></p> <p>HANNIBAL*HANNIBAL*HANNIBAL</p> <p>Hannibal seized Clarice's ankles firmly and dragged her body to the end of the chaise, kneeling down in front of her.
He spread her legs, keeping his hands clasped around either knee, holding her open and vulnerable to his penetrating gaze. He leaned into her and blew gently on her clit, hyper-sensitive from the enhancer. Her hips bucked off the chair, hands desperately clutching the edges of the frame beneath her.</p> <p>Her breathing was erratic long before he actually touched her. Clarice centered all her efforts on controlling the screams that threatened to bubble up from her throat and channeled them into alternating deep and shallow breaths instead.
She knew, though, that if she held tight to her control, she would never come and Hannibal wouldn't relent until she did, even if it meant keeping her here on the balcony all day; even if it meant missing his hunt. He was not going to secede her this victory.
There was no way for her to win this battle of wills. She was so lost in her own concentration that she missed him snaking his tongue between her folds. The first touches of his tongue against her clit were nearly her undoing.</p> <p>Hannibal smiled against her; she was coming undone and he'd hardly touched her yet. He was going to enjoy seeing her trussed up, suspended from the balcony, on display.
She would make a fetching centerpiece, he thought. </p> <p>He pressed his lips to her folds, tongue diving into her again and again, tasting her sweetness.
He had a hunt to get ready for; he needed to speed things along. Hannibal vigorously flicked his tongue against her clit, assuming his victory was close at hand when she began to vibrate beneath his touch.</p> <p>Clarice was desperately clinging to her self-control as she writhed under Hannibal's tongue, the entire force of her attention reduced to the tiny bundle of nerves at the center of her being.
She did not want to be on display for the viewing pleasure of the Italian public. She didn't mind being bound and suspended for Hannibal's enjoyment, but she preferred to fulfill that fantasy for him in the privacy of their bedroom or their playroom.
The strength of the sensations was so strong that she she was forced to alter her breathing, taking short, shallow breaths that barely filled her lungs, unable to sustain the deep breathing she had been practicing. </p> <p>Hannibal laved her clit mercilessly with his tongue, rapidly plunging two fingers deep into her core, slick only with her own juices.
Her hips danced off the chair, a keening moan nearly breaking from her throat. She squeezed her eyes shut, moisture leaking from the corners of her eyes with the effort of keeping her cries at bay.
She was close; she could feel her walls begin to tighten around his plunging fingers, the steady weight building deep within her. If she could only hold on a little bit longer&hellip.</p> <p>A gasp that ended on a choking sob as he slammed a third finger inside her clasping sheath, filling her so completely that she thought she would burst and shatter from the force of his powerful thrusts.</p> <p>Hannibal drew her clit against his teeth, teasing her as he continued to flick his tongue along the underside, even as he sucked her unrelentingly into his warm mouth.
Her teeth began to chatter, her body bent in the middle as her torso surged off the chaise in time with the pulses of his tongue. Her face contorted into a mask of anguish and determination, so great was the torment of his assault on her body.</p> <p>She wanted, desperately, to whimper, to beg, to plead for him to finish her, but the fury of her own willpower refused to allow her submission.
She should have just let him fuck her on the balcony, she thought ruefully. She could have spared herself the mental torture and the overwhelming bodily conquest. </p> <p>Hannibal's mind was fully occupied imagining all manner of tantalizing positions he could suspend her in as he drove her recklessly to her own destruction, wrought on her body with only the force of his mouth and his hands.
He would have her surrender, in every way.</p> <p>Resolutely, he closed his teeth over the centermost bit of her clitoris and ripped the sound triumphantly from her raw throat, wringing cry after desperate cry from the core of her soul, laying her humanity bare before his lips.
She was unable to stop herself from crying out; he dragged the sound triumphantly from her raw throat. Clarice felt as if her entire being exploded, expanding and rapidly contracting into one tiny point of light.
Her body bucked uncontrollably off the lounge and Hannibal was forced to withdraw his thrusting fingers from her body to keep her from flying off the furniture with the force of her orgasm. </p> <p>Her climax went on and on, the reprieve from Hannibal's relentless, seductive torment, coupled with the relief of expressing her pent-up screams catapulting her into another realm. </p> <p>She was sobbing and exhausted when she finished.
He hauled her from the lounge and into his lap, cradling her against his chest on the floor, his back leaning against the clear wall overlooking the beach. He rubbed slow, silent circles into the muscles of her shoulders as he waited for her to calm, his mind already occupied with knot patterns and ties.
</p> <p>She continued to writhe in his arms, trembling tears streaking down her cheeks. He whispered into her hair, telling her how proud he was of her effort, that she had lasted so long.
He told her with sweet words of his appreciation for her devotion, of his pleasure at her spectacular release.
He loved watching her come apart, knowing that it was his skill that shattered her control and left her dazed and so deeply sated.</p> <p>She was wrecked; a small voice in the back of her head urged her to control her breathing, reminding her that she wasn't yet done for the day.
She had lost their bet and regardless of how worn she was now, she knew that Hannibal would demand her ultimate capitulation and she endeavored never to disappoint him. </p> <p>To that end, she offered her surrender up to him as soon as she had her breathing under control, rather than waiting for him to ask it of her.
He pressed a kiss to her lips, soft and supple from the deluge of her tears. He found the taste of her tears unexpectedly arousing. He held her a bit longer, the tip of his tongue darting out to caress her cheek. </p> <p>She closed her eyes as he tasted her, stroking his nimble tongue across her cheeks, savoring the taste of her surrender against his lips.</p> <p>He pulled back from her to search her face, her eyes drifting open to meet his intense stare.</p> <p>"I'm ready," she murmured.</p> <p>He took a shuddering breath, pleased beyond articulation that she had offered herself up to him first.</p> <p>With finality, he drew her up from the floor.
"Stretch," he instructed as he went to retrieve rope from the playroom.</p> <p>Clarice relished these few moments alone, to prepare herself mentally for what she would endure, to ready her limbs against the sweet pressure of his sublime suspension techniques to which she would be submitted and bound. She shook out her arms, rolling her neck in a loose circle. She tied back her hair and dropped to the floor, bending herself into the various yoga poses Hannibal had helped her perfect, transitioning smoothly from one stance into the next, lengthening her tendons until she felt the supple glide of her muscles loosening.
</p> <p>She stood at the sound of his returning footfalls. He came to a stop behind her, tossing the coil of rope onto the lounge chair, the slap of the hemp against the canvas making her jump slightly.
He stepped closer, breathing her in, his hot breath gusting across the back of her bare neck. He lowered his head until the tip of his nose rested against the back of her head, just to the side of her ponytail, his own eyes closing, as she relaxed into him. His hand came up behind her to tug at the strings still holding her bikini top up. Deftly he untied them, the tiny scraps of fabric falling away from her body, leaving her bare before him and the rest of the beach.</p> <p>Hannibal drew his hands across her shoulders and down her arms, tenderly caressing and massaging as he went.
He felt himself grow hard as he pictured the way she would look when he was finished. She was so beautiful and so willing; he couldn't imagine sharing this with any other woman.
She understood what he needed and she gave herself over to him, even when she didn't want the same things. She didn't want this, he knew; not really. She liked it when he dominated her in private, but he could feel her tense apprehension vibrating beneath her skin at the idea of being strung up in public. He could feel his arousal growing as he imagined the thoughts racing through her mind. Outwardly, she appeared so calm, but he could see the erratic pulse fluttering against the side of her throat, a frantic butterfly seeking its escape.
</p> <p>"Tell me what you're thinking," he whispered close to her ear. He needed to hear it; wanted to listen to the underlying fear staining her tone while she told him her secrets.</p> <p>Clarice hesitated, torn between her own appeal for protection and the demand for honesty implicit in his command.
She knew she would tell him, but there was a reluctance to bare herself any further; he would exploit her demons for his own pleasure.</p> <p>"Clarice," he warned at her pause.</p> <p>"I'm&hellip.I'm nervous," she settled on an emotion that was true, while hoping that she could avoid further explanation.</p> <p>"Why?" His low voice rolled over her skin like a purr. She closed her eyes, lost in his sound. His hands continued their exploration of her body, ghosting over her abdomen, cupping her breasts.</p> <p>"I don't want to be&hellip.exposed.&hellip.like that for anyone but you," Clarice swallowed convulsively, giving him exactly what he wanted.</p> <p>"Tell me more," his words a quiet demand, drawing her from herself even as she drew his tone around her protectively.
He drew one hand up to her throat, encircling it gently.</p> <p>"It's&hellip.too raw," she panted. "It's embarrassing! I don't&hellip.I don't want&hellip.anyone else to see me&hellip.but you. And&hellip.especially not like that; it's&hellip.humiliating," she finished, hanging her head despairingly.
</p> <p>"Ah," he sighed. "But?" he waited.</p> <p>She opened her eyes, staring out across the ocean. "But, I will."</p> <p>Behind her, Hannibal smiled his triumph. "That's my girl," he whispered, pressing his lips against her cheek.</p> <p>"On your knees."</p> <p>Clarice fell to her knees immediately, kneeling facing the water, waiting.
Hannibal crossed to the chaise, picking up the long coil of rope and tossing a pair of scissors from his back pocket onto the canvas seat.</p> <p>He knelt behind her, drawing her hands behind her back and crossing them so that her palms gripped the undersides of her forearms, binding her wrists. He wrapped the rope around her chest and arms, pulling her upper arms closer to her sides.
Gently, he helped her lie down on her stomach. He coiled the next length of rope around her middle, just below her navel, leaving the ends long. He continued down her body, winding pieces across the tops of her thighs, above and below her tightly pressed knees, and about her ankles. </p> <p>Clarice held herself as still as possible on the floor, listening as he wound the rope together, creating an intricate web that would hold her suspended above the balcony.
She flinched each time he whipped an end through his hands, the sharp snap of the coil bringing her back to reality as he worked over her. She tried to relax as he readied the ropes, tossing them over the beam, knots connected and perfect in his hands.</p> <p>She felt her body lift slowly off the floor, rising as he pulled the ropes taut. She squeezed her eyes closed, shutting out the view of the beach. When he had her at the height he wanted, Hannibal tied off the ends of the rope to one of the iron balustrades flanking the door to the balcony.
He circled her pensile form, checking the tension on her limbs as he moved around her. He made adjustments and stood back to survey his work.</p> <p>"Clarice," his quiet voice called to her.</p> <p>She slowly opened her eyes, lifting her head to find him.</p> <p>"How do you feel?" he asked.</p> <p>"I'm alright," she answered, her voice small.</p> <p>"I want you to watch them," he instructed, "I want you to see.
No hiding, now." He surveyed her for a moment, considering her position, and then retrieved another length of rope. He crossed to her, sliding the course hemp through his hands. He stopped directly in front of her. "Open your mouth."</p> <p>Hannibal slipped the rope between her lips, reaching around behind her, drawing her head back, forcing her eyes to take in the stretch of sand and water beneath them.
He joined the rope ends to the web holding her captive, checking that the tension on her neck did not impede her breathing. He returned to look at her adjusted position, drawing a single fingertip along the underside of her chin down to her collarbone, entranced by the taut line of her throat.</p> <p>He continued around her, running his hands over her exposed flesh, fingers slipping underneath ropes to check for adequate space.
He reached one arm over her back, wiggling two fingers into each of her hands. "Squeeze my fingers, Clarice," he instructed.</p> <p>When he was satisfied that his rigging was secure, he stepped back to admire his creation. </p> <p>"You know why you are here," he intoned.</p> <p>Unable to answer, Clarice nodded almost imperceptibly.</p> <p>"I'm going to leave you now, Clarice, for the enjoyment of our friends below.
I will return for you after my hunt." He saw her eyes widen with fear at the thought of him leaving her alone, bound and displayed, for hours. </p> <p>He walked past her and into the house.</p> <p>Clarice made a small sound in the back of her throat.
He was really going to leave her here! Her breathing quickened, hysteria bubbling up from her chest and spilling out of her in frenzied sobs, her wild eyes darting frantically back and forth across her limited field of vision. She began to panic, struggling against her bounds fruitlessly, whimpering through her gag until she felt the harsh ropes bite into her skin.
The searing pain of the rope burn quickly brought her back to herself and she ceased her bucking, wiggling efforts. Tears stung the back of her eyes at the realization that he had left her here alone and she would be forced to stay like this for several hours while he was away on his hunt.
It would be long after nightfall before he returned and she would be left, alone, in the dark, to wait for him. </p> <p>She focused on slowing her breathing, closing her eyes to momentarily block out the sight of the people below her. She fought to take measured, even breaths, choking back the sobs of terror that threatened, hiccuping around her gag.</p> <p>Slowly, she began to relax her muscles, allowing the ropes to take her weight, consciously unwinding the bands of tension that had collected around her joints as Hannibal had taught her.
Her mind drifted back to their first experiences with bondage. She heard his voice in her head, coaching her through each step, explaining her role in this encounter, and his. She lost herself in the deep, rippling voice of her memory. Let the ropes control you, Clarice. Don't fight it.
If you fight it, they will be unyielding. The rope responds to your struggle. Give in to it. Let it become part of you, an extension of your flesh, holding you to the earth, binding you to the air.
Relax. You are supple and pliant, beautiful and weightless; peaceful. She sagged against the binding.</p> <p>Slowly, she became aware of the sound of the surf in the distance, the cacophony of seabirds calling in the air. She focused her attention on the consistent, unbroken sound of the waves crashing on the shore. She allowed herself to be lulled by the endless rhythm, hypnotized by the persistent, invariable din of the breakers.
She was floating, boundless and boneless, in-between.</p> <p>Her eyes opened to the scene before her, as he expected her to. There were lots of people on the beach, but none of them had noticed her yet. She was embarrassed to think of people seeing her this way, trussed up and helpless. She found it humiliating. She struggled with the clashing desires to please Hannibal, to give herself over to the sensations she was feeling, to hold tight to her own sense of self and, with it, the accompanying sense of shame.</p> <p>Finally, she simply settled for feeling the moment, unable to process any more emotions than the one she was immediately faced with.
She breathed in the salty air and steadied her gaze on the incessant, eddying waves, allowing the sounds to roll her under.</p> <p>HANNIBAL*HANNIBAL*HANNIBAL</p> <p>Hannibal watched her from the kitchen, perched on a barstool.
He sipped his espresso calmly, scrutinizing her journey of self-discovery, her internal monologue revealing itself to him in the movements of her body as clearly as if she had spoken the words aloud. It thrilled him to frighten her with the prospect of spending hours alone and exposed. The taste of her fear was so compelling that he was tempted to actually do it. </p> <p>As his gaze crawled across every inch of her smooth skin, he wished he could take the flogger to her.
He imagined the rich snap of the straps against her back, heard her gasp in his ears at the first contact. He pictured her back arching against the ropes as he flicked the leather thongs over her pussy, dancing over her clit. He sighed; that would definitely attract attention. He chuckled mirthlessly to himself; another time. </p> <p>He glanced at his watch; another fifteen minutes, he thought, taking a sip of his coffee.</p> <p>HANNIBAL*HANNIBAL*HANNIBAL</p> <p>Clarice's muscles had begun to cramp, she had to fight now to maintain the steady breathing she had gradually achieved.
The ropes that had cradled her an hour before now chaffed against her skin, leaving her raw along the pressure points. Her position was becoming uncomfortable, the strain on her neck from the rope bridle causing her to tense repeatedly. She didn't know how she would survive hours of this torment. </p> <p>She focused instead on the look of pride she hoped he would wear when he returned to set her free, the gleam of satisfaction in his eyes.
She couldn't articulate the depth of her feelings for Hannibal; she wasn't even sure she fully understood them herself. She had been drawn to him, magnetized by her desire to understand his mind, enthralled with the ability he had to meld his sophisticated killings seamlessly into the rest of his life, making them just pieces in a much more elaborate picture of the whole man. Ravaged, principled, refined, exacting and persistent. Did he understand her with the same penetrating profundity that she had managed to unearth in his own humanity?
She wanted to believe he did.</p> <p>The sun was making it's sure descent below the distant line of the horizon. She tracked its path with her eyes, her skin cooling as the setting sun stole the warmth from her flesh.
She shivered at the breeze passing over her skin.</p> <p>Clarice startled in bewilderment when he moved suddenly into her field of vision. He hadn't left her alone. She sagged with relief against the ropes holding her.</p> <p>"You did very well, Clarice," he crooned appreciatively. </p> <p>She smiled weakly around the gag, content that she had pleased him.</p> <p>Hannibal unhooked the working ends of his rigging, lowering her gently to the floor.
When she was fully down, he moved along her body, untying knots to free her. He released her from the gag last, massaging the tight muscles of her neck before helping her up to sit in the circle of his legs.
</p> <p>He pulled her back against his chest, rubbing his palms along her skin, coated with a thick arnica cream, massaging feeling back into her limbs. Clarice winced at the stinging sensation tingling along her nerves as they came back to life.
Her skin was red where the ropes had bound, raw where she had struggled. He smoothed his long hands over her jaw, massaging the tender joint at the base of her mandible. She relaxed back against his broad chest, the linen of his shirt soft against her spine. </p> <p>She sighed, dropping her head back onto his shoulder, turning her face to nuzzle into his neck. "I thought you'd left me," she spoke low, her voice nearly swallowed into his skin.</p> <p>"I know," he replied, "You were meant to."</p> <p>He smoothed his hands over her naked flesh, both soothing and exciting her with his touch.
</p> <p>"I would love to get you to the point where I could leave you like that," he admitted. "To go on a hunt knowing you were&hellip.bound and helpless&hellip.totally dependant on my return……"he trailed off dreamily, his hands lingering gently over her breasts. "It would enhance the pursuit for me immeasurably."</p> <p>Clarice shivered in his arms and Hannibal came back to himself.
He gathered her in his arms and rose from the floor, carrying her through the house and up the stairs to their bedroom. She expected him to set her on the bed and was surprised when he strode past it, into the master bathroom. Her eyes took in the flickering candlelight reflecting off the clean white marble.
He lowered her tenderly into a deep whirlpool bath, brimming and resplendent with mounds of fragrant, glistening bubbles. He knelt on the tile beside the tub as she reclined into the water, her expression tranquil.</p> <p>"I'm going now, love.
I shall return for dinner in a few hours."</p> <p>"Hmmm&hellip." she sighed, her head lolling to one side, cheek resting against the cool edge of the tub.</p> <p>"If you're hungry before I arrive, I've left a snack for you on the island. You needn't wait up for me; I may be rather late." He kissed the side of her head.</p> <p>"Hannibal," she roused herself.
"Be careful."</p> <p>"Always, darling," he placed his fingers under her chin, tipping her face up to meet his kiss.</p> <p>Leaving her to relax in her bath, Hannibal went in search of his prey.</p>