“Voila. The kitchen.”
He ran a hand over the Formica surface, leaning forward and testing the strength of the structure, sending me a flirtatious smile.
“Keep smiling. That’s about the only thing that surface is good for.”
He reached out, winding a finger through the belt loops of my jeans and dragging me over to the sink, his body trapping me against the counter. “Does that mean you’ve tried it out?” His nose ran down my neck as he growled against the cords of my throat.
“It means I don’t cook. I’m a failure to Southern women everywhere.”
He hooked his hands underneath the back of my thighs, lifting me up and setting me on the counter, my shriek of surprise suppressing when he looked up at me.
Damn. The man was beautiful; I knew that from the first time I saw him. But this was a new view, one I hadn’t seen. His chin up, eyes on fire with lust and possession and love. He fisted the bottom of my shirt and tugged it up and over my head, his eyes recapturing mine the minute the black tank was gone. “I always thought cooking was a poor use for a kitchen anyway.”
“Really?” I breathed, my eyes dropping when his hands settled on my breasts. I was glad I changed into lace, the last-minute swap now making this moment so much hotter and more accessible than my sweaty sports bra would have allowed.
“Oh yeah. Especially when the kitchen is owned by a woman like you.”
“You mean one who can’t cook?” My bra straps were now hanging off my shoulders, his right hand sliding around my back and tugging at the clasp.
“No. I mean one who should be kissed at every opportunity.”
“Just kissed?” I moaned when my bra dropped free and his mouth lowered, down the curve of my cleavage, his hands offering up my breasts, gently caressing the flesh as if it was sacred.
“Kissed. Worshiped. Seduced. Fucked within an inch of her life.”
“In that case, Mr. Jacobs, the bedroom is behind you,” I whispered.
“Is that an invitation?”
“It’s an order.”
“Yes, ma’am.” He wrapped his hands around my waist, fireman carrying me through the living room, hitting the bathroom door by accident, then kicking open the bedroom door and carrying me through. The last thing I saw, before falling onto the bed, was Miller’s curious face, the door swinging shut on his chocolate brown snout.
Back when I was free, I was a reader. I never read sex slave books, but I was aware of the market, had scrolled past the bestselling titles on my Kindle as I searched for my vanilla romances. I knew, from my brief perusals, that the sex slave relationship was often romanticized, the Master an ultimate alpha male, one who ordered fabulous sex while creating a deeper bond with the captive. While those accounts were fiction, I did understand that there was a psychological break that occurred when a woman was kept like an animal, dependent on one individual for her basic human needs.
Now, in this concrete basement, my knowledge of such relationships had grown one-thousandfold. In part, because of my actual experience. But more so, because of his word vomit. The man had approached our relationship like a science, meticulously testing different practices and recording it in his binders. I didn’t know if he was training for the Slave Olympics or researching for a book, but his questions, his speeches, his explanations had taught me far more about the psychology than I ever wanted to know. I would never tell him, but a small part of me understood Stockholm syndrome. I had felt tugs of loneliness, surges of pride, bits of desire for approval. The breaks had come when I was at my weakest, their arrival giving me a peek into the rabbit hole that always existed in these walls, the ever-present risk to connect out of sheer necessity with my captor.
But that would not be my story. I didn’t have to, in the bones of my soul, be strong. That was what my memories were for. To ground me, to be my lifeline.
“God, you’re incredible,” Brett rolled me onto my back, his body above mine, his chest wet with sweat, my own breasts heaving from the exertion of our activities. Above him, the pattern of my bedroom ceiling, pale yellow painted boards that shimmered in the afternoon sun.
“You say that every time,” I chided, smiling up at him.
“I can’t help it. I’m a man who speaks the truth, it’s my curse.” He bent forward, his mouth soft on mine before he moved to my jaw, then my neck. I felt his neck move, pushing my legs apart, and I wrapped them around his waist. “No,” he pushed at my thighs, keeping them open, his body sliding down mine, the trail of his mouth leaving a teasing line across my breasts, stomach, and hip. He stopped at my open legs, a hand reverently passing over me, my back arching into his touch, the hot exhale of his breath tickling me before he lowered his mouth. I closed my eyes and couldn’t stop the curse when it ripped through me at the first contact of his tongue.
One day, I would be out of here. One day, we would be reunited.
That was the day I lived for, fought for.
I was a Daddy’s girl, always had been. My connection was stronger with him than my mother. I didn’t know why, except to say that my mother—for some reason or another—had wanted a boy. A strange thing, especially in the South. Especially from a woman who epitomized femininity, from her painted red toes to the rollers she wore to bed at night. But a boy was what she always wanted and when I’d turned up, my father was the one who’d welcomed me with unconditional love.
So yes, we were close. He was protective. And his position as Chief of Police, a position he’d held for the last twenty-two years, had often been used to his advantage as a father.
There was the time when John and I were screwing, knee-deep in Israel Duran’s barn straw, and two black and whites pulled in, lights blazing. I had been sixteen and skipping school. They’d put the both of us in the back of the squad car and marched us into my father’s office. That night, a flashlight in mouth—I found a tracking device underneath the rear bumper of my Sunfire.
There was the time when I was arrested at UGA, along with fourteen others, victims of a house-party raid. A room full of underage drinking, weed, and pills on the dining room table, and we were all brought in and kept overnight. I made the mistake of using my one phone call to call my father. Thought that Daddy Dearest might use some political sway to get me released before daybreak. A stupid, drunk decision. I sobbed into the phone, told him I hadn’t been doing drugs, and that I’d only had one Bud Light. Thirty minutes later, I’d had a rape exam, full drug panel working on my blood, and had blown a .21 on a Breathalyzer. They reported the findings (marijuana in my system, no rape, but signs of recent sexual activity) to my father, and I spent two nights in an Athens jail cell, twice what any of my friends endured. And trust me, those extra twenty-four hours sucked.