He continued eating without another look at me. I pushed the food around, drank my beer as the weight of the silence became denser, more obvious he had an answer and didn’t want to say anything.

My face grew very warm, though I figured the alcohol was responsible for a little of it. I looked down at my plate again. I had eaten everything; funny, I didn’t remember doing that. “Another one?” He pointed at my drink, that smile of his playing on the curve of his lips.

“Um, yeah, I guess.” He got up from the table and moved around in the small kitchen. I looked around again, still in mild shock over how it was that I had come to be here. I never believed such a thing could happen to me. I had never imagined my life could take such an outrageous turn, or at least, certainly not for the worst. Not that I ever had any reason to be optimistic. He returned shortly, bottle in hand and opened it before giving it to me.

“Don’t drink too much Kitten. I don’t want you to be sick.” I drank from the bottle, marveling to myself at just how much like water it tasted now. He sat back down, set on ignoring me while he continued to eat and drink. It was pissing me off.

“And what about you – Master?” I provoked. “What about your family?”

“What about them?”

“I assume they aren’t all kidnappers.”

He actually smiled. Not the usual half smile, the one he always tried to hide. A real smile. God, he was a beautiful son of a bitch. Not fair. “No.”

“No sisters?”

“No. What about you?”

“No.” Hadn’t we covered that? What did he know? “What about your mom?”

Caleb’s face went blank. “Dead.”

There was a great feeling of loss that swept across the table and despite my better judgment I couldn’t help but be deeply touched. If my mother were dead… I would be lost. It didn’t matter that she was an impossible woman, or that she still held me responsible for things that I knew deep down weren’t my fault. I loved her. Nothing else mattered. Not even the feeling that the love may be one sided. “I’m sorry” I whispered and meant it.

“Thank you.” He gritted.

“How did she die?” His eyes blazed with a fierceness I had yet to see, but I held my ground. To my chagrin, he broke eye contact first. He stabbed his tamale and I wondered if he had meant that forceful jab for me. He has mother issues – figures. Didn’t us all.

“What happened to your mother?” he asked. “Men came in and out of your lives, making promises, taking what they wanted and leaving?”

“Isn’t that how it always is?” I sneered. Or worse.

“Come here Kitten.” My heart thudded loudly in my ears at the sound of his suddenly baritone voice. I already recognized what that tone meant. My head shook, ‘No,’ of its own volition, making my thoughts known to him before I formulated words. “I won’t hurt you Kitten, not unless you make me. Now come here.” His voice was soft yet firm and his words pressed upon me with a grave seriousness. I stood up and slowly crossed the distance between us, stopping when I stood directly in front of him. He reached out and put his hands around my forearms, steadying me.

“You see,” he sighed, “right now you are so sweet, so docile and meek. You respect me; you respect what I can do to you if I wanted. Just as you are, all I want to do is hold you, protect you, and take away all the distress in your little face. Right now, if I made you a promise, I would keep it.”

He stood from his chair, still holding my arms. My breath hitched in my chest, my mind reeled from the alcohol and the new anxiety in my chest. I looked down at my feet, refusing to meet his eyes, though I felt them on me. His breathing seemed heavier, his hold more pronounced. He leaned down, my breath non-existent now, and he kissed me, almost tenderly, first on one cheek and then the other. And then he simply walked passed me, calling out behind him, “Put the dishes in the sink. I’ll be right back.”

I operated as if under a spell, quickly gathering up all the dishes and placing them in the sink, wiping off the table with a sponge I found. Then I returned and sat at the table. My thoughts were all over the place. Were it not for the fact I had watched him open my drink I would have thought maybe he had slipped me something, but no, I guess I was just drunk. It didn’t even occur to me that I was alone, that I could be searching for a way to escape until I heard his footsteps making their way toward me. Had he been testing me? I suddenly felt like a trained animal. Stay Livvie. Stay. Good girl.

“Well Kitten, that was really fun, but I’m afraid I have some business to attend to; so that means you’ll have to return to your room.” A cold chill ran up my spine and I shivered a little too violently.

“Please Master,” I said, looking him straight in the eyes “I can’t go in there, please don’t make me go in there.” My body began to convulse with dread and panic, but no longer that frantic and angry rush. The alcohol made it nearly impossible to disguise my emotions.

“Kitten, we both know begging won’t get you anywhere. I said I have things to do, I don’t have time to baby-sit.”

I begged anyway. “You won’t have to baby-sit, I promise. I’ll stay out of the way, I’ll be quiet; I’ll be whatever you say. Just please! Don’t make me go back into that dark room. I’ll go crazy in there.” I looked at him, imploring him with everything I had at my disposal. I could not go back in that room. I couldn’t go back to the dark, to the loneliness, to the fear within those walls.

He sighed heavily, weighing me silently.

“Tell me Kitten, what’s in it for me?”

NINE

Caleb had been surprised at the lengths to which his captive had agreed to go in order to stay out of ‘her room’. He wondered, not for the first time, what the f**k he was thinking. He knew this was the last thing he should be doing, inviting her into his space. She’d already worked her way much too far into his thoughts. The longer he was near her, the less he seemed capable of trusting himself. Especially now, when every glance at her triggered the memory of her quivering beneath him, wanting more and never realizing it. She had come a long way from the timid girl he’d met on the streets of Los Angeles. What he had done was wrong, somewhere inside him he knew that and still he couldn’t say with any sincerity he wouldn’t do it again given the chance. Or that he didn’t want to do it again. There was just something about her, something he wanted to taste and touch. Something he wanted to claim. This was the first time she had ever offered him anything and he was hard pressed to refuse.

An unexpected shiver ran down his spine and his c**k instantly lengthened. While his mind had doubts about what he wanted, his body apparently did not. He closed his eyes, trying to feel what she must be feeling as she stood a few feet away blindfolded and shaking slightly. He felt the cold tile under his bare feet, smelled the crisp scent of the candles in the air, and tasted the slightest trace of sweat on his lip. He wanted to taste her sweat. He wanted to do anything to distract him from the debacle at the kitchen table.

It had been a mistake to ask her all those questions. He didn’t really want to know. He especially loathed all that talk about mothers. He had said his mother was dead. And she could be for all he knew. Regardless, she was dead in all the ways that mattered. His passion instantly cooled at the memory of her pitying expression. Fuck pity. He didn’t need it. He didn’t need anything from anyone, least of all her. Liar.

Caleb potentially had a mother out there and according to the girl, she might still be missing him. Why couldn’t he remember her? He felt, somewhere, very distantly, he had once…loved her? But he felt nothing when he thought of her now. It was…unsettling. Breaking free of his frustrating and perplexing thoughts, Caleb refocused his attention on the girl.

He smiled to himself as he looked at her, standing in the grandeur of the oversized, old-world bathroom. In some countries it could be its own home. She stood a few feet away blindfolded and vulnerable. But this was her choice. Her shapely and tremulous form rekindled his softening erection. She couldn’t possibly know the effect she had; his little innocent captive. Her hair was absolutely unruly, having been left to dry on its own after their bath. It was as untamed as the girl, and almost as alluring.

Before entering his room she had become increasingly bashful. He suspected the reason. He had released his pleasure inside her, and then she had eaten a large meal and gotten drunk. It didn’t take a genius to figure out why she was suddenly talking her way out of his room, when she had worked so hard to get an invitation. She was very cute when she was drunk. But then, she was always cute, inebriated state aside.

But in the end, she’d gone with him. Trusted him to take care of her as he’d promised.

She gasped at the sound of him snapping the table into place, and he wondered what she thought it could possibly be. He nearly groaned when he spied her ni**les tautly pressed against the satin of her nightgown, all but entreating him to take them into his mouth and suckle them until her body succumbed to remorseless shudders. He sighed. What the hell was wrong with him? After leaving Tehran he had glutted himself on women. Done everything he had ever fantasized about doing. He’d been with so many women and yet none of them had ever affected him the way she did.


Tags: C.J. Roberts The Dark Duet Series Romance
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