I am a whore. A slave. A possession. I accepted my fate long ago, but fate is not done with me yet. Freedom is so close I can almost taste it, only to have it snatched away under the guise of protection. A gilded cage is still a cage. Friend or foe? Saviour or oppressor? Rafael D’Cruze is a bad man. I hate him, so why do I feel safe with him?
She’s a favour. Collateral. A pretty slave. I have no interest in her beyond keeping her alive for the man who now owns her. And yet…I’m fascinated by the little Russian. There is no room for weakness in my world, but it appears the delicate rose has steel petals. I’m willing to bleed for a willing touch, a trusting glance…
A broken little bird. The big bad wolf. A longing that could heal or destroy.
Hate me or hold me?
“Why are you doing this?” She glares at me. “If you are trying to break me – ”
“I don’t need to break you,” I say coolly. She’s already so irrevocably shattered.
She stands and moves in front of me, her shoulders rigid. I stare into her eyes, and through that self-imposed wall of ice she’s built around herself, I see all the pain and despair, the burning hatred and raw defiance. It’s buried, but it’s there, an ember just waiting for oxygen. I lift a brow, waiting to see what she’ll do. “Whatever it is that you want to do, just do it!”
“And what do I want to do?”
“Just fuck me. Beat me. Pick your poison, but get it over with!” Her voice rises to a guttural snarl. She reaches for the straps of her dress, shoving them down her shoulders until the material falls, exposing her breasts. I grab her wrists and pin them together against my chest, repositioning her dress with my free hand and sliding the straps back over her shoulders. She’s shaking, her breathing ragged and her eyes wild. I can feel her pulse thrumming at her wrist, a primordial drumbeat against my fingertips.
She yanks against my hold, a growl working up her throat. A cold smile inches over my lips. “You’d like that wouldn’t you?” She stills. “For me to be exactly what you expect.” I lean into her, bringing my lips to her ear. “I think you want to be a slave, Anna. I think you want to be treated like a fuck doll. You’d rather be a whore than deal with the unknown. At least that way, you know what men want from you, right? You’d know what I want from you.”
She tugs on her wrists again, trying to break away from me, but I won’t let her. “No! I want…”
“What do you want?”
“I want to be free,” she whispers.
I step closer to her, crushing her arms between our bodies as I place a finger beneath her chin. “No, you don’t. You say you want it, but I offer it to you, and you’re scared to take it. You’re so busy being so goddamn angry that you haven’t realized you’re standing in a cage and the door is open.”
She tugs her face away from me. “I’m not angry,” she says.
I laugh, sweeping a tendril of hair behind her ear. “Oh, avecita, you’re the angriest person I’ve ever met.” I see it in her, the rage. And her anger in itself is a volatile thing because just as she has been imprisoned, so has it.
Lauren Lovell is an indie author from England.
She suffers from a total lack of brain to mouth filter and is the friend you have to explain before you introduce her to anyone, and apologise for afterwards.
Lauren is a self-confessed shameless pervert, who may be suffering from slight peen envy.
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