“What’s wrong, baby?” Chris prods, gently tilting my chin to search my face. “What are you thinking and not saying?”

My mind replays the moment I had burst from the door to freedom and my heart is once again in my throat. “The door was open when I went inside, and when I ran out of the building it was shut. Someone intentionally shut me inside.” I cut him a look. “And please don’t lecture me. I already know I was stupid to come here alone at night. Believe me, I know, Chris. I paid the price a hundred times over in fear inside that building.”


His eyes soften instantly and he strokes a hand down my hair. “I know you did, baby. And you can bet I’m going to have a talk with the office about security. They’re liable for the security of everyone on the property.”

“The guy who works here is creepy, Chris. I don’t have high hopes for this place providing security.”

His brow furrows. “Sara, damn it, you say that, yet you tell me you came here late at night alone.”

I grimace. “You’re cursing again.”

“You keep giving me reasons to wonder what you were thinking tonight.”

“The lady who works the morning shift at McDonald’s by my school is cranky but I still went there for my coffee.”

“Deflection will get you nowhere with me, Sara, besides a little extra of my certain wrath in store for you when we get home.”

Home. The word hums through me because I know that with Chris nothing is unintentional. My heart races with the intimacy implied and how . . . right it feels.

“Wrath?” I ask. “What exactly does that mean?”

He tilts his head slightly, and his voice turns dangerously tight. “Use your imagination. Or maybe we should use mine. Unless that scares you now.”

He’s testing me again, reminding me of the club the night before, making sure I don’t forget the woman I watched being bound and flogged. Of his confession that he has given and received pain. I lift my chin defiantly. “I’m not scared. Not of you. Not . . . with you.”

He narrows his stare on me and I know he is weighing my claim. “You’ve said that before.”

“And nothing has changed.”

“Hasn’t it?”

“It has actually. I now know the deep, dark secrets you said would make me run and here I am.”

“You did run, and baby, you only think you know my deep, dark secrets.”

“Show me.” I sound breathless.

“Show you.” It’s not a question. His gaze slips to my mouth and I am instantly aware of how deliciously brutal it can be as he adds, “There’s a price for not taking care of yourself as you claim you do so well.” His eyes lift to mine and there is mischief in their depths. “I’ll have to punish you.”

I glower at his reference to how well I take care of myself. “Don’t be a smart-ass. I can take care of myself.”

“So you say.” His lips quirk, his eyes twinkle, and his dark mood has lightened in a flash as it often does. “I’m just looking out for us both. I need you alive and well if I’m going to f**k you until you can’t forget my name.”

I feel myself heat from the inside out and I seize the opportunity to say what I had not earlier. “You’ve already done that, but if you want to be an overachiever, feel free.”

“Your wish is my command,” he assures me.

“I somehow doubt that.”

“Don’t doubt, baby,” he says, and the laughter between us fades as we stare at each other with the promise of dark, erotic pleasure between us and so much more.

My chest tightens and I touch his cheek. “I’m really glad you’re here.”

He traces my bottom lip and kisses me, a quick slide of his tongue that has me moaning with the taste of his hunger, with my own. “Let me go lock up so we can get the hell out of here.”

I grab his hand as he tries to move. “You can’t see in there to lock up.”

“I have a flashlight in the trunk.”

“What if whoever was in there with me is still inside?”

“If they make a wrong move, I’ll hit them with the flashlight.” He wiggles a brow. “I’m efficient like that, especially when I have better things to do.” He grins. “Like you.” He’s out of the car before I can stop him and I can’t stand the idea of him going inside that black hole. I get out, too, and meet him at the trunk.

“Woman—”

“Save your commands for another more enticing time, Chris. I’m not staying in the car. Haven’t you watched Friday the 13th? Michael slashes the girl in the car.”

“Michael is from Halloween. Jason is Friday the 13th.”

“Whoever he is, he slashes the girl in the car. I’m not staying in the car.”

He slams the trunk shut, and he’s now holding a long, silver flashlight. “And you think going inside the dark storage room with a guy and a flashlight is the safer bet?”

“I’m staying with you, Chris.”

“Sara—”

Lights flicker behind us and we both turn as a utility truck pulls into the drive. “Looks like the repairman has arrived.”

The truck pulls in beside us and the sound of steps on gravel draws my gaze to a man in an orange maintenance uniform walking from the office building down from this one. “The guy you don’t like?” Chris asks.

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