Page 48 of Corrupt Kingdom

“Ivy,” he whispers my name like a prayer. “Can you hand me the clothes?” And just like that, the spell is broken.

“U-Um . . . obviously. Please put them on.” I sound out of breath and like a total moron. He chuckles again. This gruff man has obviously lost way too much blood if he is laughing so much all of a sudden, and even though I’m sure he’s delirious with pain, I still want to slap his face.

Asshole.

“Here.” I throw the pile of clothes I have laid out at his head.

He ducks, laughing all the while.

Okay, strike my earlier remark. He’s so damn sexy when he’s like this that I can’t help but smile. Even though I hate myself for admitting it. But he’s so carefree at this moment. It’s easy to forget he’s a bad man.

I’m only human, after all.

“Put your clothes on and then get in bed. You need to rest. I’m going to go shower.”

“I’m fine,” he counters, sounding annoyed. “This is my place. I’ll do what I want.” He sounds like a petulant child. It’s a bit comical, considering the man is lord of the underworld, but

I don’t say anything else.

I leave the room, giving him privacy and me the space I need to get myself in check. Hurt Cyrus is almost endearing, and that is not good. I need to hold on to my hatred. That will get me out of here unscathed.

My room is not as nice as the one I’ve just come from, but it has everything that I need. When I step into the large shower, I bask in the warmth that cascades over me. I want to wipe off the memories of my near escape just as much as I want to rid myself of the blood and grime.

I moan as I lather my hair with the coconut shampoo.

It feels so good. With my eyes closed tightly, images of a naked Cyrus assault me, and I groan. Whether in frustration or annoyance, I’m not entirely sure. I’m trying to escape him, not pine for the man. But I can’t really be blamed. He is perfection personified.

My hands make their way from my scalp down my neck, and I relish in the feeling as

I imagine they’re his hands running all over my body. I inhale deeply and sigh on an exhale. Maybe if I give myself release, my brain will start functioning again. Maybe I can beat the building Stockholm I fear I’ve developed.

“Stop it, Ivy,” I chastise myself aloud. I finish quickly, needing to find something for dinner.

My stomach is rumbling, so it’s time to eat. Added bonus, eating means I can keep myself occupied for a while. I run a brush through my hair, throw on a white slip dress that I had found in the armoire, and head out the door and down to the kitchen.

Rummaging through the refrigerator, I make a mental note to find out when the boat is coming back.

After the day we had, we’re sure to be hungry, so I browse through the freezer and pull out some frozen food that he left the last time he came.

Needing something to make the process less drab, I turn on the meager radio that I had found in the greenhouse and tune it to the first station I find.

It’s some upbeat station with dance music that has my hips moving as I heat the food and set the table.

Wine would complement this meal well.

What am I saying?

Alcohol with a criminal is not a good idea. In fact, it’s the worst I’ve had yet. No. I’ll be keeping my wits about me tonight.

I’m quickly learning that Cyrus is dangerous in more ways than one.

26

Cyrus

I watch as her hips sway and head bobs to the music. She’s captivating, and I can’t get enough. Something inside me starts to thaw when this woman is around, and it is hazardous.

My life isn’t conducive to such feelings. The more I care about her, the more I have to lose. But here I am, allowing it to happen with every swish of her body.

My mind reels at how her father could’ve been so careless with something so damn valuable. He deserves to die at Boris’s hand, and that I won’t stop. She’s worth all the fucking shit that would come down on me once Boris realizes that I have taken her.

Fuck him.

They can all come.

All the men he works with.

I’ll burn down the fucking world before I allow that man to touch something that belongs to me. And she does.

With every minute we’ve spent together, I can see her walls breaking down. I’ll bend her to my will, and have her, but on her terms. I won’t take what isn’t offered, but I have no doubt I won’t have to. Her body begs for me, and it won’t be long before she utters the words herself.

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