That very soon he was coming for me.
And it changed everything…
“In visions of the dark night I have dreamed of joy departed. But a waking dream of life and light hath left me broken hearted.”
—Edgar Allan Poe
Electricity crackled in the air, although there was no storm. I was inside my house, a place I thought safe. I should have known better. As my heart raced, I sensed a presence and a terrifying realization settled in.
The dark stranger had found me, a man whose deep, mysterious baritone voice on the other end of the phone had evoked intense, filthy fantasies. For weeks he’d contacted me, never providing a name, his number blocked.
But with every call, I’d been drawn deeper into unearthing feelings I’d never believed could be provoked again.
Now I had no idea how to face the unknown.
He was my stalker and he’d become the man capable of seducing me.
He was here to make good on his promise of making me his own.
As he moved closer, electricity surged from my heart straight to my core. Just the way it had done during several of his phone calls. The strong connection still didn’t make any sense. No, this wasn’t happening. He wasn’t a long-lost lover. The man was deranged.
“Hello, Sierra. It’s time we got to know each other even more intimately than before.”
His voice drifted from the shadows, the surrounding darkness adding to the terror that swept through me. His sensuous voice had thrilled me during long nights of loneliness. Only this time the tone was entirely different; every syllable was infused with a growl.
One of desire.
One of impatience.
One of fury.
And one of possession.
Just like he’d promised five months ago, and just as he’d warned me again just hours before with a note and a single phone call that he was coming to claim what he believed already belonged to him.
Oh, my God. He’d broken into my house.
He planned on making good on his promises.
My pulse raced as I turned around slowly, trying to control my breathing, the deep resonance of his tone penetrating my eardrums. His scent was overpowering yet alluring, reminding me of my favorite Grenache, the rich raspberry notes mixing with more than a hint of exotic spices. For a few seconds, that’s all I could think about.
And there was no doubt about the identity of the dark stranger. He was the man who’d haunted my dreams for months, invading my privacy. My thoughts. My desires…
“Who are you?” While my earlier assessment only hours before at the wine and book bistro I owned had been correct, he was nothing but a liar. Still, the sense of foreboding stilled my heart. The man who called himself Alessandro was without a doubt the dark stranger, the man who’d unceremoniously pulled me out of an intense fog that had nearly derailed my life. He’d had no accent on the phone, yet in the bistro I’d easily detected his Spanish heritage. The dark timbre sent a shower of tenuous sensations straight to my core. I’d known one day he’d come for me, making good on a threat that seemed perversely more like the kiss of a promise, the draw to him unmistakably cruel yet undeniable.
How in God’s name hadn’t I been able to see through his façade, the pretense of bullshit he’d tossed at me only a few hours before? He’d dared to enter an establishment I owned, my beloved Corks and Books, pretending to be someone he wasn’t. And how had he managed to break down my defenses?
I sensed he was walking closer and then a stream of moonlight provided a partial silhouette. The intruder was tall, his massive frame sending a wave of tremors throughout my system.
“Don’t you recognize me, my sweet kitten? Tell me. Have you thought of me at night, wondering when I’d come for you? Have you fantasized about what I’d do, craving what you know only I can provide?” He stepped further into the shimmer staining the floor and I shuddered.
The limited light inside the bistro had kept me from fully recognizing him, but now, as he stood here, it was as if I’d always known him. Torment swam beneath the surface of the man. While his face remained expressionless, his eyes bore anger and hatred, taunting me for months for an unknown reason. Darkness enshrouded him, pulling against his godlike features. They appeared entirely different than those of the gorgeous man who’d enjoyed a glass of wine with me at the bistro while holding an intellectual discussion regarding my favorite book.
A stalker. He was nothing but a monstrous pursuer who’d disrupted my life. He’d accomplished his goal of hiding his real identity when he entered my bookstore, acting as if we’d just met. I fisted my hand, fighting off the sickening urges pulsing through me like a wildfire.
“What do you want?” I knew the answer. I’d pretended his warning wouldn’t occur. Four months had passed since then, every week allowing me to forget what he’d said would happen.
“What do I want? The answer is not what I want, but what I’m going to take. But you already know that. Don’t you?” His long, dark lashes fanned across his cheeks, his dark eyes piercing mine.
I backed away, taking careful steps toward the lamp on the nightstand by my bed. Without making a sound, I wrapped my fingers around the base, trying to watch his every move. “I don’t understand.”
“You’ve been a very bad girl, Sierra. You shouldn’t have angered me by contacting the police.”
“You need to get out of here. They’re already on their way.” While I tried to have conviction in my voice, I could tell I’d failed, my tone sounding weak. “They know exactly who you are.” My lie didn’t sound convincing.
He laughed again as he continued advancing like a predator. My body was paralyzed, my mind unable to think clearly.
“You must think me a fool, Sierra, but I can tell you enjoy playing our little game. I assure you that I’ll provide you with several opportunities to savor every moment of my domination. I will so enjoy stripping away the thick armor you’ve placed around yourself, revealing more of the sensual woman hidden inside. And I will enjoy watching you bloom, opening up to the rays of sunlight showered over every inch of your voluptuous body. However, it’s time for you to be punished. I’m not an easy man, Sierra. When I’m finished with you, you’ll be begging and screaming for more.”
His words skittered into my mind, my inner voice telling me to fight for my existence, yet the attraction to him remained, a crazy moment of feeling like I was spiraling out of control.
“You’re crazy,” I whispered, trying to plan how to escape.
“As I told you on the phone, mi dulce gatita, your life for his. I’ve come to collect for a debt owed to me and to my family. And I always make good on my promises.” He flicked on the only other light in the room and a feeling of utter suffocation formed in my throat as I gazed into his eyes. I blinked several times, trying to fathom how this had happened, how I wasn’t able to see through his deceit. I’d had a conversation with him. I’d allowed him to touch me, to kiss me.
To taste me.
To slide his fingers into my wetness, his tongue pushing me into a powerful orgasm.
And I’d hungered for more.
Why hadn’t I made the connection with the voice on the other end of the phone, the one I’d found myself looking forward to, disappointed when his calls stopped cold?
The scent of him reeked of exotic spices and cedar wood, the fragrance entirely too intoxicating. I was thrown by the haze forming around my eyes as I was forced to stare into his, his harsh gaze entirely different from the eyes of the man who’d attempted to seduce me at the bistro. His eyes were a glimpse into his pitch-black soul, the bottomless caverns tearing through me. But there was also a glimmer of light that terrified me even more.
The man was going to devour me with or without my permission.
His expression was stern, commanding, yet it didn’t take away from his stunning good looks. Every muscle was honed to perfection, his angular jaw highlighted by the hint of a beard and mustache, his long eyelashes and hooded obsidian eyes finishing the dangerous vibe that he’d embraced. His presence commanded power and respect, and I sensed he would demand that from me.
I’d never give it to him.
It was time to break the spell.
“I don’t who you really are or what you want, but if you don’t leave my home, I’ll have no choice but to have you arrested.”
His smirk indicated amusement. “As I said, I take what I want and it’s long past time.”
Inhaling, he tilted his head, his eyes sparkling in the dim lighting. His face was chiseled, his bone structure aristocratic. For some reason I concentrated on his voluptuous lips, almost pressing my fingers against mine as I remembered the few minutes of heated passion we’d shared at the bistro. He’d awakened something inside of me that I’d believed long dead. Even now, my panties remained damp from his searing touch and the remembrance of his commanding whispers.
He was gorgeous, dangerous, and I’d fallen into a trap that I could have stopped months before. Even now, the gruffness of his seductive voice left me hot and wet all over.
“Who are you talking about? What debt?” I asked, horrified that I already knew the answer. When he took another step closer, I whimpered, hating myself for doing so. My phone. Where was my phone? On the kitchen table. If I could grab it and run into the street, maybe I’d be able to get away from him.
“Don’t you know, my sweet kitten? Haven’t you realized by now that you were living a lie for over a year? What you will soon learn is that no one crosses either myself or a single member of the Montenegro family without paying a hefty price. Every action has consequences.”
The Montenegro family. As in the brutal mafia syndicate out of New York?
Wait. That didn’t make any sense.
“I’ll ask you one last time. Who the fuck are you? Did you make up a lie when you seduced me in the bistro? Did you really think I’d buy your bullshit?” I demanded, humiliated I remained wet after the incredible moment of passion.
His smirk was filled with delight. “I would never lie to you. My name is Alessandro Montenegro.”
I repeated the name in my mind until finally recognition settled in. I’d been right. He was a brutal, ruthless man who’d reportedly murdered several people in cold blood. Oh, God. Oh, dear God. How could this be happening?
“Tristen? You killed Tristen, you fucking bastard.” I’d known something was wrong four years before to this day, the moment my world had crumbled when I’d received a single phone call in the middle of the night. I hadn’t been allowed to see Tristen’s body because it had been too mangled from the accident. At least that’s what I’d been told. The casket had remained closed, his family acting as if they didn’t know who I was or why I was at the funeral in the first place. Tears formed in my eyes even as a nagging feeling rushed into the back of my mind.
Tristen’s odd behavior, his refusal to talk about his work had bothered me, enough that we’d argued several times during our last month spent together.
“No, my precious flower. Unfortunately, I’ve been forced to wait for four long years to have my revenge. I plan on enjoying every minute of recouping the debt owed.”
What the hell was he talking about? “I don’t understand.”
“You will very soon, my sweet kitten. Now, it’s time for your penance.”
He closed the distance without warning, but I managed to yank the lamp from the nightstand, smashing the antique piece given to me by my mother against his face as soon as he was close, a hysterical wail erupting from my throat.
“Fuck!” he hissed, startled enough I was able to jump to the side and make a dash for the door. “You shouldn’t have done that, Sierra. I’ve been patient long enough.”
He snapped his hand around my wrist, jerking me back with enough force I was lifted off the floor before being slammed against his chest. Even as I tried to fight him, pummeling my fists against his rock-solid frame, he easily yanked my arms over my head, wrapping the long fingers of one hand around both my wrists.
Blood trickled from the wound I’d inflicted, but it no longer seemed to bother him. He radiated power, utter dominance, and the heat pouring over me was explosive. I was still attracted to him, my nipples fully aroused. While a small portion of my mind screamed in silence that my reaction was insane, my mouth watered from his rough handling of me.
When he raked his fingers down my blouse, I bit back a yelp, determined not to let this freak of a man get a reaction from me. I was shocked when he wasted no time ripping the top that I’d spent far too much on to shreds, tossing it aside.
His breathing was ragged, so much so that his chest was heaving. The scent of his desire wafted into my nostrils, filtering into every cell. I found myself drunk on the fragrance, so lightheaded I could no longer feel my feet. I struggled again until he gripped my throat, rubbing his thumb back and forth across my lower lip, his actions rough and demanding.
“I suggest you learn to be a good girl, Sierra. You won’t like what happens if you aren’t.” His words reverberated in my ears, adding to the woozy feeling in my stomach. I continued to struggle, almost breaking free twice. Each time, he jerked me back into position, his dark eyes piercing mine.
“Just let me go. I haven’t done anything to you.”
“It’s not what you’ve done but what you’ll learn to do for me.”
I shuddered at his answer, another promise of what would come. He was so strong, his fingers ripping through the thin lace of my bra, snapping the straps as if they were paper thin. Then he slipped his hand around me, unfastening my skirt. As he wrangled it to the floor, I heard myself whimper several times. The fear had left me hollow inside, fighting to process what was happening. When I stood in only panties, an expensive lacy red thong I’d purchased the day I’d lured a famous author to commit to a book signing in my little bookstore and wine shop, I couldn’t stand looking into his eyes any longer.
With another snap of his wrist, my thong was tossed to the side. I’d never felt so humiliated in my life, a warm flush now splashed across my neck and cheeks. I’d also never been so vulnerable, terrified of what he had planned for me. Before I could object, he sat down on the bed, yanking me over his lap. Then he brought his hand down several times, the pain soaring through me but also creating several waves of tingles. This just couldn’t be happening.
I wiggled, almost managing to drop off his lap. His growl was more ominous than before as he jerked me back into position, immediately fisting my hair, yanking my head up by several inches. “You need to learn there’s no escape and that we’re just getting started.”
He was like a crazed man, the look in his eyes what nightmares were made of. “Let me go.”
“But we’re having so much fun, you and I.” The moment he loosened his hold, I took several scattered pants, wincing when he brushed his fingers down the crack of my ass.
Alessandro brought his hand down repeatedly, and anguish skittered down my legs. I remained nauseous, tears forming in my eyes. None of this made any sense. My mind stayed muddled as the spanking continued. The dark stranger delivered several brutal strikes in a row, each one harder than the one before. Despite his hold, I pitched my body back and forth, repulsed to realize his cock was thick and hard, throbbing against my stomach.
He brought his hand down in rapid motions, the rhythm providing a dull thump in my ears. Visions formed, every one of them vivid and detailed. Almost instantly another sick thought of yearning shattered any concept of sanity I thought I had. He continued the harsh punishment, the savagery of what he was doing pushing me into a lull. The moment he stopped long enough to caress my skin, every muscle tightened, and I clenched my bottom.
The bastard rolled his finger between my ass cheeks, shoving it between my slickened thighs. When he dared to tease my pussy lips, I bucked as hard as possible, able to throw my arm out, striking him across the neck.
Hissing, he wrenched my arm behind my back, his fingers digging into my skin, placing one leg over mine. “I can tell you’re going to need a much stronger lesson, Sierra. That will come. I assure you that it will. You fight me yet you’re very wet. I know you enjoyed our playtime.”
“You’re a sick, disgusting man.”
“I’ve been called several vile things over the years, Sierra. I take every one of them as a compliment.”
Everything about his deep baritone added to the unyielding wave of desire. It sickened me I’d been excited by his calls and my body’s betrayal as he continued taunting me, and the fact he was sliding his fingers just past my swollen folds was intolerable. Yet as the scent of my hunger wafted between us, there was no denying a bizarre flash of electricity resonating from his heated body into mine.
“Very wet,” he said under his breath as he thrust several fingers deep inside, immediately flexing them open then driving long and hard. “Just like before. You hunger for more.”
I opened my mouth to scream, but there was nothing but strangled breaths pushing up from my throat, the pleasure far too enjoyable. I was in a fog. This wasn’t real. I would wake up soon in my own bed by myself.
Even as I repeated the words in my mind, a moment of sheer bliss activated my core, the rush of sensations pushing me toward a climax, and he knew it.
“I’ll allow you relief again soon enough, mi dulce gatita, but not until you’ve learned and accepted from here on out that I’m your master, the man who will decide your fate and whether you live or die.”
He smacked me long and hard until I had no fight left in me, tears flowing easily. Something inside of me screamed that I was going to die no matter how I reacted. I was paying for whatever treachery Tristen had done to this man. As the sickening feeling of desire mixed with the explosion of additional anguish, I shoved my mind into a safe place, pretending this wasn’t happening. Unfortunately, the vibrations dancing through me prevented my mind or my body from escaping from the penance the bastard believed I deserved. Every touch of his hand, every time he breathed across my heated skin, I was shoved further into a vacuum, incapable of thinking rationally.
Every guttural sound he made was dark and devious, but the tone remained intense and sultry, keeping my senses electrified. When I finally managed to ignore the crazy rush of desire, my rational mind returned. He’d never let me go. I might never know what happened between the two men, and I was beginning to think I didn’t want to learn. However, there was no doubt that when Alessandro was finished with his sick game, I’d be tossed into the trash.
That wouldn’t be with my help. I might as well do everything I could to get the hell out of his clutches. The moment he pulled his leg away, acting as if the round of discipline was over, I lunged off his lap, darting toward the door, not bothering to look back. I managed to grab my phone before sprinting toward the back door of my little house. I didn’t care I was naked, completely vulnerable. I would bang on doors until someone let me in. I would hide until morning if necessary. Then I’d bring the son of a bitch down. I slapped my fingers around the handle, prepared to yank it open.
Then I felt his presence behind me. Suddenly, he was within inches, hovering over me like a barbarian ready to capture its prey.
At first, he did nothing, said nothing, merely keeping me from opening the door. Then he pressed his hand over mine, squeezing my fingers with enough pressure that I released my hold. As he wrapped both arms around me, crossing them over my breasts, I took several shallow breaths.
“That wasn’t very nice of you, and I believed that we were getting along so well. Perhaps you were fooling me during our conversations, only pretending that you longed to have me standing by your bed, ready to ravish your luscious body.”
Even though his words were completely insane, the rich, husky tone of his voice enveloped me like a warm blanket, creating an illusion of comfort and protectiveness. “You’re crazy. I could never want you.”
“Your body begs to differ, Sierra, just like the moment I placed my lips against your clit. Your nipples are rock hard, and the scent of your desire tells no lies.”
“You horrible fuck.”
He wrapped his hand around my throat, caressing so gently I could be easily lulled into a moment of sweet release, but I could tell what the bastard was capable of.
“Call me what you want. That doesn’t change the fact a debt needs to be repaid.” He rolled his fingers down my chest, the tips barely touching my skin. I was electrified all over, white-hot heat coursing through me. Every word he said dripped of innuendos, all of them filthy and rough. And a part of me craved exactly what he was alluding to.
No. No! Hell, no.
I refused to allow this to happen.
“If you’re going to kill me, just fucking do it.”
He pressed his mouth against my ear, his whisper far too sensual. “If I wanted you to die, sweet kitten, you would no longer be breathing.” He rubbed my stomach before placing his hand between my legs, pressing his fingers against my swollen folds. “I prefer spending quality time with you and that begins now.”
I was breathless with excitement yet horrified and another rush of embarrassment coursed through me. “There’s nothing you can do that will bother me.” I heard the cavalier tone in my voice and cringed, anticipating additional punishment.
“That’s all I needed to hear. Now, I fuck you, something I’ve longed to do since the moment you answered the phone.” He wrapped his hand around my hair, dragging me backward then pushing me over the kitchen table.
I couldn’t speak. There were no words entering my mind.
“Either I can continue sharing in the joys of our delicious, forbidden romance, or I can provide you with painful reminders of your place. The choice is entirely up to you. Either you learn to obey me, or our time spent together will be extremely unpleasant. Do you understand me, Sierra?”
I wanted to claw out his eyes for using my name over and over again. Every syllable was grating, driving a sharp point into my brain, but I was smart enough to know the only possible way of getting out of his clutches was to agree.
As long as I could stomach the horror.
“Good girl,” he growled, the tone sending a flutter of butterflies into my stomach.
As I heard the sound of his zipper being pulled, I wrapped my fingers around the edge of the table. How had I enjoyed any moment of our conversations, including the ones at the bistro? I’d been blinded by loneliness, hungering for the passionate touch of a man. In other words, I had been an idiot for not trusting my judgment.
I continued to tremble, trying to think of anything that would have led me to believe Tristen had been working with a monster. What I hated to say to myself was that I hadn’t known him very well, not enough to be certain this man wasn’t lying. Tristen’s work had taken him up and down the East Coast as well as to other countries, which was why he’d maintained his residence in Atlanta while I remained in North Carolina. Had I been such a fool not to see his lies?
My mind shifted to what little I knew about the mafia family. They weren’t just powerful, they controlled portions of several states with iron fists, and they were known for their heightened level of brutality. The words said from the dark stranger on the other end of the line should have been a red flag. No, they should have been a bomb ready to go off, but I’d ignored all the warnings. Why?
“I know what you need, sweet kitten, and I’ll give you a small taste of what you can come to expect. If you remain obedient.” Why did his voice have to be so alluring, drawing me into the same enchanting world he’d described only two hours before?
Fuck you. Fuck you straight to hell. I didn’t dare say the words out loud for fear of angering him all over again.
Remain compliant. Do what he says. You can get through this. Even saying the words in my mind didn’t squash the tingling in my body or its utter betrayal. My pussy remained wet, slickening the insides of my thighs.
“I will never want you.”
“You can lie to yourself if you want, but I heard the desire in your voice, the excitement that increased every single time I called. You belonged to me the moment you picked up the phone for the first time.”
He meant what he said. The man believed that he could take what he wanted without recourse.
Alessandro rolled his fingers down my spine, patting one side of my bottom then the other. When he kicked my legs apart, I was forced onto my toes. I clung to the table as if it could shield me from what was about to happen. When he pressed the tip of his cock against my wetness, I tensed.
“Relax, sweet kitten. I promise I won’t hurt you, only provide you with the kind of pleasure you’ve hungered for and no man before me has been able to provide.”
His arrogance was to be expected, but it riled me, and I pushed up from the table. “You will never break me.”
“Breaking you won’t be nearly as much fun as what I have in mind. One day very soon, all you’ll be able to think about will be my touch and how it makes you feel. Only then will you truly belong to me. I will celebrate that day, savoring every moment of your full and complete surrender.”
He pressed his cock inside, hesitating for only a few seconds before thrusting the entire length deep into my aching pussy.
I gasped, lights and stars floating in front of my eyes as my muscles stretched, trying to accommodate his huge girth. I was shocked as another wave of sensations tickled every one of my nerves, lighting me on fire as no man had ever done before.
“Uh. Oh, God. Oh…” My pants were primal, my starved-for-attention body and mind yanking the brazen woman from the dark catacombs of my being. Electric sensations rocked my body, sizzling every inch. Another patch of stars floated around my eyes, only they were colorful, sparkling as if this was the best thing in the world. I hated myself that the vibrations continued to increase, making it far too easy to surrender. When I slammed my hand on the table, he chuckled as darkly as he had before, the sound enticing me even more.
As he dug his fingers into my hips, tattooing me with his brand, I tried to shut my reaction down, but it wasn’t that simple. His husky growls were cries of satisfaction, his breath just as ragged as mine. “You’re tight. So fucking tight.”
I was crazed from the burning desire, tossing my head back and forth.
He smacked my bottom several times in rapid succession then pulled me away from the table, swirling his finger around my clit. “That’s it, my sweet kitten. Take all of me. Every. Single. Inch.”
“I’m not your kitten.”
“You’ll be exactly what I want you to be.”
He was so sure of himself, pulling out then slamming into me again. And again. He fisted my hair as he’d done before, digging his fingers into my scalp, yanking me into a deep arch. The force he used was brutal, driving me into the edge of the table, the mixture of pain and pleasure sending bottle rockets off in every cell. My blood was on fire, scorched from the savage way he was fucking me.
“I can tell you want to come, my Sierra. On this night, you can take all you want.”
On this night. He had plans for me, ones that he’d thought about for months, teasing me with his velvet voice, spinning my mind out of control. I bit my lip to keep from whimpering, doing everything I could not to give him a single moment of satisfaction.
But it was no use.
As the orgasm roared through me, a tidal wave sweeping into my system, my core turned into lava. If he felt a moment of fulfillment, it obviously wasn’t enough. He thrust hard and fast, the rhythm unlike anything I’d ever experienced. As a single climax spiraled into another, echoes of his body slamming against mine were the only thing I could concentrate on.
“Oh. Oh. Oh!” No longer able to hold back my cries of passion, I heard his heavy sigh seconds before he smacked my bottom again. Then I sensed his body tensing.
I closed my eyes, a single tear slipping past my lashes, furious that I’d given him exactly what he’d wanted.
But the bastard would never have my surrender.
My muscles continued to clamp and release, finally squeezing around his cock involuntarily. When his body jerked, I realized he’d erupted deep inside, filling me with his seed.
He kept his fingers tangled in my hair, easing me to a standing position. Then he whispered words in my ear that would haunt me for the rest of my life.
“This is just the beginning, mi dulce gatita.”