“You are truly a beautiful creature, precious in every way.”
His whispered words were those usually said out of love, swept against a burning desire that refused to let go. Two hearts beating in sync. Two souls creating a world of wonder. Two lives merged together as one capable of surviving.
Not of coercion.
Yet his deep baritone tickled my skin, creating a pool of dampness between my legs, an ache in my already hardened nipples. “Gabriel.” Just saying his name was enough to ignite the embers, the eruption of electricity a dancing live wire.
Chuckling darkly, he wrapped his hand around my throat, his strong fingers holding me in place. His possession. His toy. He lowered his head, pressing his lips against my cheek, sliding his other hand down the length of my arm until he was able to yank the cold steel bands that he’d snapped around my wrists.
I would never forget the sound of metal clanging against metal or the stark words of lust whispered moments before he took me.
“You are forever mine.”
I was nothing but his prisoner, a woman who had difficulty remembering her life before. He was all consuming, a man of true power and sexual prowess, a single look creating butterflies in my stomach.
I’d never hungered for anyone like I did this man. A beckoning finger caused heart palpitations. A single crook of his fingers and my pussy quivered. I craved having his cock in my mouth, spewing cum down my throat. I longed to have his thick shaft plunging into my asshole, spreading my muscles. I couldn’t get enough of his dangerous passion even though I knew he was pulling us both into toxic quicksand.
Or maybe I’d always committed to becoming his accomplice.
Yet he’d saved me, keeping me from the treacherous wolves. But what did that mean in the end?
He rubbed the rough pads of his fingertips along my shoulder, moving ever so slowly in a soft line against my breasts. I had difficulty focusing as he continued his slow progress, sliding them over the rounded portion of my hips until he began to caress my bottom.
“You will always be a very naughty girl,” he mused as he pressed kisses against my shoulder blade.
“Yes, sir.” I closed my eyes, savoring the dazzling sensations more than I should, the ache that continued to build.
Gabriel slipped his hand between my legs, cupping my mound as his breathing became ragged. His hunger knew no bounds, the savageness of his cravings uncontrollable.
And I fed off his filthy needs as he did mine.
Two creatures who could never survive without the other. A chill snaked down my arms and legs, the realization suffocating.
“I will take care of that.”
The hard snap of his wrist I’d anticipated, the same delicious tingling of my skin sending a rush of adrenaline into my bloodstream. I would never have believed I craved his firm hand, the harsh discipline he’d been forced to use in order to keep me in line.
“Your necessary training,” he’d whispered. “A new beginning.”
I’d bought every word, fixating on obedience as our passion increased.
He smacked my bottom from side to side, awakening the sleeping girl inside, allowing her to break free from her internal cage. The pain was extraordinary, the flames searing every nerve ending.
I closed my eyes as he spanked me, opening my legs wide in a blatant invitation even as I yanked on my bindings. I was thrown into raw ecstasy, my pulse skipping as lights flashed in front of my field of vision.
“I will always be your master,” he mused, dragging his tongue all the way down the length of my spine. “And give you what you need.” He twisted the anal plug that I always wore, stretching my muscles and sending a shower of jagged sparks dancing into the center of my body.
I envisioned the jeweled end, the adornment appropriate for our special day. He’d thought of everything.
Sinner. Savior. Saint.
The words were so appropriate. But who was who?
When he cracked his fingers against my swollen pussy lips, I could no longer hold back a strangled whimper. “Yes. Yes.”
“You crave pain and pleasure.”
His words weren’t a question. They were a bold statement of the change within me, the ebony petals of the flower spreading wide open to the bright sun. “Yes. Yes, sir.”
He cracked my pussy several times then slid his fingers into my wetness, thrusting savagely.
“Oh. Oh. Oh…” I was breathless with sheer joy, the rapture keeping me on edge. This was our intoxication, a drug that we both required. This was our sin.
This was also our damnation; moths flying too close to the flame.
I met every brutal thrust with one of my own, arching my back as he yanked back my head, his fingers digging into my skin.
“Does that feel good, baby?” His gruff voice was little more than a whisper, but I heard every word. I felt the vibrations of his throat. He was entangled in the building heat shared between us, the eruption that could not be denied.
“Yes, sir. Mmm…”
“So wet. So hot. I can’t wait to fuck that tight little pussy of yours, to fill you with my seed.”
As he resumed the spanking, moving from side to side in rapid succession, I released a strangled scream. Not from agony. Not from anger.
From utter bliss.
I was lost in the rapture, ready to beg him to follow through with his promise, but I would wait like a good little girl. I would obey him.
There was no sense of time, no premise of life outside of his care, his rules that I’d learned to accept. This was my reward.
His breathing was heavier, the guttural sounds a reminder of the true beast that dwelled within him. A predator. A man I’d called a monster.
But he was so much more.
He was my savior.
I knew the instant he couldn’t wait any longer, his hand sliding away, his nails dragging down my back.
I spread my legs even wider, moaning as I clawed the bedding, rattling my chains once more.
He slipped his cockhead just inside, issuing a rumbling growl as he thrust the entire length of his cock inside.
I opened my mouth in a silent scream, bucking hard against the heat of his body. “Fuck me. Yes. Fuck me, please.”
“My bad little girl. My forever.”
There was nothing as dazzling as the feel of his throbbing shaft as he plunged in savage motions, rocking the bed as he’d done so many times before.
Every part of my body tingled, the dazzling jolts of electricity exploding into the flames.
He was my everything.
There would never be another. I was his as he was mine. We’d weathered the slide into hell, our souls colliding. We were as one.
His breath continued to skip as he fucked me, our bodies molding together. The tingling sensations shifted once again, stealing my breath. There was no holding back what my body desired.
The same body that had betrayed me only weeks before, allowing his powerful darkness to consume me.
Unable to hold back, a powerful climax rushed into me, sweeping up from the very tips of my toes. “Oh. Oh.”
“Yes, baby. Come for me. Come on my cock.”
As the wave catapulted me into another round of ecstasy, one orgasm shifting into a second, my muscles clamped around his delicious cock.
In the few moments when there was no sight or sound, only the meshing of our souls, I heard the words that had haunted me.
“My salvation,” he roared, filling me with his seed.
There was no one on the face of this earth who could truly understand the meaning of being caged like an animal unless they’d been forced to face the horrible reality.
I’d been arrested for a crime I hadn’t committed, all because of revenge. Now I could truly put the past where it belonged even as the ugliness continued to march through my mind, trying to eat away at my special day.
Just one more task, one more test to prove my worthiness.
The memories were bittersweet, the tragedies allowing a new beginning, even though I’d been forced to go through hell.
I’d been one of the unlucky few, a girl who’d been required to consider having her freedom stripped away, her humanity taken. My life had been about family and friends, worrying about the upcoming final exams before graduating from college, and concerns about my future.
Then one night had altered the course of my future.
Up until that point, there’d been no consideration of being forced to accept cold steel bars surrounding a bleak concrete space as my new home.
Or the penance I’d been required to face during the wretched ordeal.
That was all I could expect, spending years locked away like a common criminal.
Then everything had changed with the stroke of a pen as if by magic. I laughed softly at the thought, my skin tingling.
I was no princess, but there had been a knight in steel armor who’d rescued the fair maiden from the horrors. Now there was a beautiful rainbow dancing across a cloudless sky and fields of green to explore.
And no one was going to take it away from me again.
Perhaps I’d deserved both the harsh surroundings and the daily interrogations, one detective after another insisting that I was nothing but a monster. Was I partially responsible?
I no longer knew the answer, time holding no place in my world. Days had turned into nights, the evolution of nightmares impossible to describe.
I’d learned a thing or two about monsters in the last few weeks. They didn’t always come in blood-coated packages, wielding a steel blade or a gun with unlimited ammunition clips. There were some who were more sophisticated, their weapons of choice charisma and influence.
And dark sensuality, the kind luring you into a passionate embrace, pleasure unlike anything experienced before.
While both were equally frightening, a beast who knew how to thwart the system, using the power of money and the stroke of a pen to gain exactly what he desired was even more terrifying.
But I’d forgiven him for sweeping me into his world, accepting my place as his prize.
Somehow, I’d caught the eye of the devil himself, a man so sophisticated and beautiful that I’d been drawn into his toxic web. I’d thought I was a fighter, refusing to allow anyone to break me.
No matter how commanding they were or if their husky voice created a wave of longing I’d never experienced before, I would not surrender.
To be taken.
But I’d been wrong.
My pussy tingled at the thought alone, betraying me once again as it had from almost the beginning.
As it had that very morning, only hours before when he’d come to me, ordering me onto my knees as he stood in front of the window in order to savor the morning sun. I’d watched as his eyes filled with wonder even as I sucked his glorious cock, squeezing his balls in my fingers.
He’d changed as much as I had, his entire world turned upside down from our connection. There was no turning back, no way of stopping the clock.
I fisted my hands, ignoring the sensations as butterflies pooled in my stomach. I wanted to cry, to scream out, but I wouldn’t.
Once upon a time I’d been important. To my family. To my friends. To myself.
Then I’d miscalculated my importance, allowing my guard to fall. That would never happen again. I would never trust anyone outside of my little world.
I was just a thing, a prized possession.
Correction. I was his possession, a toy to be punished as necessary for all my sins.
He’d been right. I deserved to pay the price, to accept my penance.
But he’d been forced to accept love.
While the six by six concrete box had been replaced with a room with a view, I’d been just as much as prisoner as I had before. Only this time, I thought there was no way out. Closing my eyes, I fingered the beautiful diamond, a symbol of our love. Forever meant a golden ring and a new name. Yet there was still a chance my new world would be taken away once again.
No. No. No.
I had to do this. I had to make everything right. I was the only one who could change destiny.
I took a quick glance at the door, knowing soon I’d hear the snap of the lock, the creak of the beautiful wood. There was little time left, the decision not one I’d made lightly, but there was no other choice.
Not if I wanted to keep what was left of my sanity.
The soft comforter had been gifted, a privilege for being a good girl. The vibrantly upholstered chair positioned so the early morning light would cascade across the soft cushions had been another. All for obedience. For my acceptance of my place.
For allowing myself to adore a beast.
I’d earned them, as well as other trinkets and clothing, books and jewelry, but this could never be my home.
The room was filled with beautiful possessions: the draperies sent all the way from Italy, the bookshelves hand carved from artisans and filled with my favorite books, and the insanely gorgeous rug one I’d seen on the pages of a magazine. He’d spared no expense to make me happy, pretending that our relationship was anything but unholy.
I’d been a part of his world, discovering the beauty of his estate, indulging in fine wines and expensive foods. Yet this wasn’t home.
This was just make believe, a decision forced on me by my father.
Then why did I enjoy every moment of being near him?
I moved slowly to the rear of the chair, dropping ever so silently to the floor. As I reached under, I closed my eyes, holding my breath as I’d done so many times before. The slender handle was comforting, the only reason I’d been able to tolerate the last few days. Swallowing, I pulled the knife into the light, studying the serrated edge, the sharp point. Everything in the house was kept just so; cutlery perfectly polished, knives sharpened after each use.
As I stood, my legs began to shake, my mind reeling from what I was about to do.
Killing a man in cold blood was something I’d never done before.
After slipping the blade under my dress and into the folded napkins I’d fashioned into a holder, I bit back a whimper. Then I smoothed my hands down the beautiful frock the color of the Aegean Sea, a hand-beaded creation from the finest designer in Paris. I’d been allowed to pick it out, an unconventional choice for what most people considered a festive event. To me, this was nothing more than additional chains.
Perhaps I should have chosen the color red.
The color of hearts.
I should feel like a princess, cherished by an adoring man.
Instead, I felt like a mannequin with strings attached, a puppet waiting for her master.
I was waiting for his summons.
He’d lured me with an offer he knew I wouldn’t refuse.
He’d provided me a chance for atonement.
He wasn’t supposed to be my hero.
But he’d become that and so much more.
He’d become my obsession.
The man I’d fallen in love with.
The dark abyss was the ultimate cage…
Two weeks earlier
Within two hours, the helpless bird, a woman so beautiful that she deserved to be in a cage would be in my possession. I would control all aspects of her world, including her pain as well as her pleasure.
And I couldn’t wait to exact my revenge.
I’d spent my entire adult life being called all three and a hell of a lot more. While I’d never taken much time to contemplate whether the terms bothered me, I was aware both had created fear in the toughest of men. I wasn’t going to apologize. Not for my personality and certainly not for my business tactics. I’d learned to be fearless, absolutely ruthless when it came to my involvement with my family’s corporation.
Now I was worth billions, the subsidiary achieving unequaled heights. I should be revered by my family instead of being hated.
I’d been sent to America to embark on a new chapter several years before, my brothers taking various honorary positions within the family enterprise. They’d been coddled their entire lives. I’d been nothing but the black sheep. It was funny how fate had intervened. I’d recently learned my brutal father had finally succumbed to diseases brought on by excess, something I loathed in all human beings. Weaknesses were unacceptable on any level.
He would certainly laugh in my face given my past proclivities. Booze. Women. Violence.
That was a lifetime ago.
Unfortunately, it had reared its ugly head, bringing back all the sordid memories.
Only two weeks before I’d been tasked to take over the helm of the family enterprise, my father’s will very specific. I’d survived the penance my father had bestowed on me after one long weekend of debauchery in my youth, the single mistake a thing of horror I’d yet to overcome. Perhaps his direction was my reward for doing so, but his angry words all those years ago were ones I’d never forget.
“You’re nothing but a fucking disgrace to this family. You disgust me. I refuse to protect you any longer. This is the last time I get you out of your predicaments. You’re either going to mature or end up dead. I’m not certain any longer if I care which one.” He stood behind his desk, puffing on his cigar as he glared into my eyes before shoving a folder across the polished mahogany surface. My actions and carelessness had brought shame against our family, intolerable on any level.
I’d merely laughed in his face.
Sadly, the papers enclosed within the file had given credence to his anger. I’d been excised from his sight, my name erased from both company and family records on Irish soil, but not before he’d inflicted his personal brand of punishment. I’d been given one possibility of resuming my place in his good graces. Even the hot-headed young man I’d once been had known better than to ignore the opportunity.
I’d paid the price, suffering in ways few could understand, including my brothers. Maybe my father’s method of forgiveness was entrenched in the forty-page document sent mere days after his death through my stateside attorney. I’d only read the first part, awarding his great company to my tender loving care. I hadn’t attended his funeral and if I had, no one could have held back my need for retaliation.
Inhaling, a cold shiver slithered into every tense muscle. While I’d yet to make my decision whether to resume my former life, the complications that had recently arisen were ones that required handling.
If not, the situation would be deemed just another failure, a possibility for my brothers to challenge my father’s will. That I refused to allow to happen.
I stood on my veranda, the morning air cool against my skin. Even the light breeze had an invigorating effect on portions of my body that rarely saw the light of day. I rolled down my sleeves, studying the way the sun rose over the mountains, shimmering against the snowcapped peaks. The adrenaline rush was unexpected, my heart pounding.
My father would have called this a glorious day, a moment of reckoning. I wasn’t so certain I wasn’t entering into a pact with the devil. Unfortunately, the contract I was about to enter into was the only recourse given the conniving bastard had died prior to fully understanding my wrath. I’d trusted few men after arriving in America, but Luis Toro had proven his worth on several occasions. An outstanding employee, a man in my inner circle.
Until the day he’d stolen from me.
Even dead men paid a price for betrayal.
I heard the sound of the door and took a deep breath, allowing the fresh air to penetrate my lungs. I’d remained behind closed doors for far too long.
“Welcome back,” I said absently. “I hope your time off was enjoyable.”
“I certainly wasn’t on vacation and you knew that,” Jefferson huffed, obviously annoyed that I’d bothered to ask.
“Yes. Family business can be… difficult.”
His heavy sigh was one of exasperation. “Gabriel. Are you certain you want to go through with this? Even this isn’t like you. I’m not even certain it would be considered legal.”
The sound of my attorney had been expected, the final contract awaiting my signature. He’d arrived back in town just in time. Jefferson Williams had been tasked with keeping me in line once I’d arrived in Denver. While he’d initially attempted to play my surrogate father, he’d learned the hard way that I had no desire for a new family. None. My emotions no longer existed, other than bouts of rage. While a trusted advisor, he often overstepped his bounds in attempting to provide advice as if he were blood.
Dealing with Mr. Toro had been one of them. The phone calls I’d made to Jefferson during his absence had been necessary, although he’d been incensed at my interruption. However, the opportunity had been far too important to push aside.
For anyone or any reason.
Fortunately, an agreement had been determined, one that made my cock twitch from my sadistic desires. Oddly enough, Toro had thought of his… repayment himself.
I’d never known of her existence, even though he’d worked for me for years.
“As you said yourself, Jefferson, there is really no other choice. By accepting our enemy’s generous offer, a debt will be repaid, one that is long overdue.”
“And I suppose you have legitimate plans for the use of your… prize. She certainly has no money to speak of. The house her father left her is worth less than two hundred grand. Why bother?”
Prize. My attorney had used the term far too loosely during the last few days of discussions. I’d initially rebuked the last will and testament of Luis Toro, wanting nothing but the pompous asshole’s blood, but by my choice. His murder had been unexpected. However, my decision to enter into the contract hadn’t been because of the goodness in my heart. It had been for a single reason only.
One picture had been enough to convince me.
Even the mere thought of tasting her made my cock press hard against my linen trousers, the desire peaking given what was about to transpire. I couldn’t wait to have her in my possession, fulfilling the terms of the proposed contract.
To punish her as necessary.
To taste her pretty pink pussy.
To break then rebuild her to my requirements.
Money I didn’t need. Power was something else entirely.
“It’s about honor, Jefferson. And loyalty. Luis Toro lost sight of both. This is his way of making it up to me.”
Jefferson huffed. “You do remember there is other business to take care of.”
I gave him a harsh look. There was always business to tend to, contracts to go over. However, even I deserved some time away.
“Fine. I expect there will be dozens of reporters at the scene today. It will be tough to get her out of there,” Jefferson grumbled.
“Take Darren and Kito with you for support.”
“What do you expect them to do, pull out their guns in order to keep the reporters away? That certainly wouldn’t be good for business.”
His disgruntled laugh pissed me off.
“How I choose to handle the business of Masters Enterprises is entirely up to me. If you are uncomfortable with the conditions of this contract, you can certainly choose to terminate your employment. And I assure you that Kito and Darren are excellent at their jobs. Just make certain you are as well.” I could feel the cold vibe from where I stood. Yes, this was an entirely different role I’d chosen to play, but the only one I could tolerate. I loathed the fact security might be needed. That would lead to additional finger pointing in my direction, not something I needed.
“That won’t be necessary, Gabriel. I will honor your requests. And for your information, everything in the house is ready as commanded.” His voice held a certain tremor of anxiety.
“Excellent. And the particulars about the day?” I turned slowly, walking back into my office. As expected, he trailed behind me, placing the paperwork in the center of my desk, exactly where I required it.
“Without the deal, the judge would accept the recommendations of the prosecutor. Given Mr. Rivers’ popularity, everyone wants this to come to a conclusion,” he answered as he shifted from foot to foot. I’d made him nervous from the day he’d met me, my eyes never leaving him. “Given the circumstances, the term will be significant, a minimum of ten years.”
While I was well aware that she’d been framed for a crime she hadn’t committed, it was a perfect setting in which to offer guidance as well as a way out. However, the bastard who’d framed her would see an untimely end. Bobby Rivers was a true monster, sought after for his abilities to eliminate problems for the rich and famous, including several of the men who were considered my adversaries. Everyone had dark secrets hiding in their closets, the kind that if brought into the public eye would mean ruination. Bobby’s creative methods of eradicating problems so far had gone unchecked by law enforcement. In fact, Bobby was well liked, his prominent father a long-time Denver citizen and philanthropist, giving generously to several charities.
His father was also part of a network of powerful men who used their influence to control almost every aspect of the state. And they certainly didn’t like me very much. I snickered at the thought. I’d ceremoniously taken away a good portion of their wealth during the last ten years.
I’d done my research on Bobby the moment Luis’ odd request had crossed my desk. Bobby was a dangerous man. What I wasn’t certain of was the connection the two had together. There had to be a tethering in order for Alessandra to be in the middle.
Bobby was no match for the likes of me, but I would remain in the shadows as long as possible.
“You’re certain there will be no issues with the judge presiding over the case?” Jefferson asked. “This is not something that’s normally done, and I assure you the judge has been pressured by the Rivers family and other prominent politicians who believe Bobby to be an angel. As you might imagine, the entire town is seeking justice. I only hope that attorney you hired introduces your unusual offer well. I also hope the decision isn’t overturned later on.”
“Jefferson, have you ever seen me fail in any endeavor I determine to take on?”
He stiffened as he stared at me. “You bribed a standing judge?”
“I did what was necessary and nothing more. Judge Taylor and I had a fabulous lunch together. He is very much looking forward to the money and jobs I plan on bringing into the city when I build the new manufacturing site. That will increase his stock shares. He is also a very strong man. I doubt he’ll waver under pressure.”
“My God. You’ll stop at nothing to get what you want. Be careful, Gabriel. You’re walking a fine line between legitimate and criminal business activities.”
I slammed my hand on my desk, staring him straight in the eyes.
Exhaling, he looked away. “I’ll make certain everything goes according to your… plans.”
I’d sensed several forceful methods of control occurring in the underbelly of the city, the network attempting to put an end to the upcoming land contract I’d fought very hard to win. I’d even received a few implied threats disguised as statements of concern from the very men who would do almost anything to watch the Masters empire crumble.
My gut told me that Bobby Rivers had been hired by one or all of the men within the network. What I didn’t know was the reason why Alessandra had been framed, making Bobby look like a victim. I also had no idea who’d murdered Mr. Toro, the evidence inconclusive. There were too many questions, including why the contract had been offered in the first place. While I didn’t like to go into any business transaction without all the information, for the woman so beautiful, I’d decided to take the risk.
“Hmm… I hope that is the case, Jefferson, because if any issues arise, there will be consequences. As far as Stephen Cantor, the attorney already appointed for Alessandra, it was explained to him how vital this contract is. I seriously doubt he’ll fuck it up given the wrath he would face.” I walked around my desk, easing my favorite fountain pen from the righthand drawer. Everything in my world had a particular place.
“You’ve certainly thought of everything,” Jefferson stated with an obvious hint of disdain. I was in no mood to start another argument.
Sighing, he remained quiet as I shifted through the papers, scanning the changes I’d requested. While the man was astute, he was right in that one mistake could prove to be costly. Mr. Rivers, his family, and the entire city wouldn’t take too kindly to the fact that Alessandra would be set free. What a shame.
Finally satisfied, I signed, handing the contract back to him as I lifted my head, making certain he was forced to gaze into my eyes. “Make certain every detail goes according to plan. I expect this transaction to go smoothly. I refuse to tolerate any level of incompetence.”
“Yes, sir. I have no doubt that everything will go without a single problem. I’ll let you know when your package arrives.”
“See that you do.”
He hesitated, his breath skipping.
“What is it?” I asked in passing, already dismissing the conversation.
“You won’t want to hear this, but your brother called.”
My reaction wasn’t as immediate as he would have expected nor was it as violent. While I longed for revenge, my success as well as the contents of my father’s will would do that without me lifting a hand. “Which one?”
A cold chill trickled down my spine. As brothers, we were all entirely different variations of our father, although I was more brutal. However, Liam had taken after our mother. Caring. Honorable. Quiet. Passionate. Everything I wasn’t. He’d been the baby bird who never left my side, looking up to me instead of our father. Then everything had changed on one wretched night. Not one time had he attempted to contact me. Not by text or email, certainly not by phone or any other social media. There was only one reason he’d done so now.
“He’s actually called three times in an attempt to get your number. What would you like me to tell him?”
I took a deep breath, contemplating my answer. “Tell him that if he ever attempts to contact me again, he will regret it. With. His. Life.”
Jefferson sucked in his breath, a wave of shock and frustration shifting across the desk.
“Do as I say, Jefferson. Concentrate on my prize.”
“Why, certainly, Gabriel.”
After retrieving the contract, he backed several feet away before turning around. I could almost smell his fear even more so than normal. This was an entirely new situation, but one that had already allowed my sadistic hunger to breach the surface.
No one fucked with Gabriel Masters.
Alessandra Toro would pay a significant penance for her father’s incompetence in addition to the price of her freedom.
As of the close of business today, I would own her.
Every. Beautiful. Inch.