Every step hurts, and the agony tears through me with my hands still restrained behind my back. Biting down on my bottom lip, I don’t scream, and I don’t try to fight him. Not like this.

I’ll be good until I’m uncuffed. Then this fucker will get what he has coming to him.

His hand splays on my ass, immediately heating my core as I hear the jingle of keys. Craning my neck, I get the first view of where he’s taken me.

A house in the forest. A big fucking house, to boot. It’s three stories with white stone leading all the way up. My body reacts on its own; the need to run takes over, as if I could still run, cuffed like I am.

“Don’t struggle.” Jase’s words come out hard, and I bite down harder on the inside of my cheek to keep from telling him to go fuck himself. If I could struggle, really struggle, I would.

He holds me tighter with both of his hands this time, and the sharp metal of the keys digs into my thigh. Even when I keep myself perfectly still, he doesn’t let go.

With a tight throat and resentment flowing through my veins I attempt to answer him, but I can’t think of anything to say. Maybe it’s the blood pooling in my head, or maybe it’s the pain finally taking over, but I have to close my eyes just to keep from passing out. The moment I do, he takes his hand away and I hear the keys scrape into the lock along with a beep from something that startles my eyes open, followed by the telltale sound of a door opening.

The beep… There’s some sort of alarm beyond the key. It’s then that I see my purse swinging. He brought it with him, and I force myself to think about everything in that bag that can be used as a weapon.

Knowing that and gathering information keeps me calm. Anything that can help me fight.

The warmth is welcoming, even as I bid farewell to the forest that leads somewhere to freedom. I intend for the goodbye to be temporary anyway.

I don’t expect him to be careful as he sets me down in what looks like a foyer. But he is.

Thud. My heart flinches as the jangle of keys being tossed somewhere to my right hits me. And then I see him again.

His back is to me as he removes his jacket, revealing more of him. Everything is in place. The cuff links, the neatly trimmed hair on the back of his neck. He screams wealth, power… sex appeal.

My eyes close slowly at the thought, hating myself for recognizing that primal urge. They open just as slowly when his footsteps grab my attention. Even the sound of his steps hints of elite status. He walks toward me and my eyes stay on his, even though the depth of his stare dares me to defy him.

My stupid heart races, dying to get away.

He makes me feel weak and I hate him for it.

“I hate you.” The hoarse words come from my throat unbidden. The fact that they only make him smirk as he crouches in front of me, pisses me off that much more. It hurts, though. I can’t deny it does more than aggravate me to be at the mercy of this man.

Craning my neck and straightening my back so I can bring my eyes to his level only forces more weight onto my hands.

I seethe through clenched teeth, giving away the pain and that’s when he breaks his stare.

I turn away from him to my right as he reaches behind me and uncuffs my hands first. He reaches for the pair on my ankles, but pauses.

“How much?” he asks me, his voice deep and husky.

My gaze flickers to his as I pull my hands into my chest, my fingers gripping around the small cuts, trying to rub some feeling back into my wrists. I hesitate only for a moment, confused by his question. “How much what?”

“How much do you hate me?” he asks, and my heart does it again. It scrambles in my rib cage, wanting so desperately to escape. The heart is a wild thing, meant to be caged after all.

I try to swallow, swallow down the spiked lump, but I can hardly do it. Staring into his eyes, I answer him, “It depends.”

“On what?” he asks, letting his fingers drift over the metal cuffs, his eyes roaming from mine down my body. He tilts his head, looking back at me once again when I answer, “Whether you tell me the truth or not.”

Thump, thump. My heart hates me.

“You’re in no position to question me.”

“What makes you think I’m not?” Somehow my words come out evenly; controlled and daring. I revel in it as his dark eyes flash with the heat of a challenge, but then he moves his hand away from the cuffs, the small key still resting in his palm.

Tags: W. Winters Books Irresistible Attraction Series Books Romance Books
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