Once again Lucifer looks me directly in the eyes, staring into me as if he can see inside me. “Not tonight.”

“But… but…” Marshall starts to sputter.

Lucifer’s face hardens, his features as cold and harsh as the blizzard swirling in his irises. “Simon, remove him.”

“No. No! I’ll go!” Marshall says, panicked, and though I can’t see what’s going on due to the huge body blocking my view, I can hear a great deal of shuffling going on behind Lucifer.

Marshall grunts loudly and then there’s a thump. “Hey! I’m going, I’m going!”

The bedroom door opens and then slams shut.

I jerk in Lucifer’s arms in surprise but then feel all the fight go out of me. No matter how much I squirm, no matter how much I try to free myself from his grasp, I can’t escape him. If anything, I feel like all my struggles have only tightened the grip he has on me.

Head dropping forward, I quiet my panting so I can listen to Marshall stomping and continue to throw a tantrum about being removed from his own home.

After a minute, Lucifer sighs and I feel his grip loosen a little. “James, assist Simon. If Marshall wakes the children, feel free to make him regret it.”

“Yes, boss,” the second shadow answers and I don’t even hear him as he walks out. I only know he’s gone by the sound of the closing door.

A moment later there’s some muffled arguing coming from the hallway then all goes quiet.

The seconds tick by. My panting slows as I catch my breath.

All at once I am suddenly aware that I’m alone with this strange man.

The air thickens.

Slowly, I lift my head and peer up at him. He’s looking down at me so intensely I gasp.

My gasp seems to amuse him, and a slow smile spreads across his lips.

I stare at him in disbelief, my mind racing a mile a minute, trying to process everything that just happened. My mouth feels dry and my stomach is twisted. I want to believe this is a nightmare, that I’m still sleeping in my bed.

My husband didn’t just trade me and our children away to save his own neck. He couldn’t… He wouldn’t…

Yet the fingers tightening around my arms remind me that he did.

I can’t let this happen. I can’t accept this. I have to protect my children. He cannot have them! I won’t let him hurt them.

Gathering up every ounce of courage I have inside me, I lift my chin and say, “You can’t have us. We’re not objects you can own or trade away at whim. I am a person, a person with rights, and I will not stand for this!”

Lucifer’s eyes twinkle at me and it’s so condescending I just want to spit in his face.

My anger only seems to amuse him even more. Head tipping back, he chuckles with mirth and just as I start to struggle again, he lifts me up.

It only takes him two long strides and then he throws me.

I go flying through the air and land on my bed with a grunt.

He’s not far behind me, and quickly I get to my hands and knees, scooting back as he approaches.

Long, strong fingers going to the bottom of his suit jacket, he begins to unbutton it as he asks me, “Who’s going to stop me?”

3

Lucifer

I don’t rush as I unbutton my suit jacket, there’s no need to hurry. I have started my claiming of this woman. There is no choice now but to go on with my desires for her. Rushing now would only cause unnecessary problems for us both.

Standing before her as she kneels on the bed, I can’t help but smile as she looks up at me so defiantly.

“I will!” she hisses at me.

I know she doesn’t mean to look so sexual right now, I know she is trying desperately to cling to the hope that she is in control of her life. She isn’t.

Pulling my coat off, I turn my back to her as I make my way over to the walk-in closet.

Raising my hand to the last of my men at the door, I say, “You may go, Peter. Secure the house before you leave.”

“Yes, sir,” he says as he closes the door on us.

Opening the door to the closet, I turn on the light. Spotting suitable hangers, I grin to myself as I hear the rustling of the sheets on the bed.

Stepping back out of the closet, I watch as Lily races towards the bedroom door.

“I wouldn’t leave the room, Lilith,” I say quietly.

Her footsteps instantly halt as she pulls open the door. One of my men is still standing guard on the other side. He takes a step toward her and she quickly closes the door, taking a step back.

“Turn around.”

“Why?”

I hang my jacket on the hanger then turn to the closet again. “Don’t mistake my words as a request, Lilith.”

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