“Now we go for a little drive. Are you ready for this?”
He smiled approvingly. “That’s my good girl. I have a feeling today’s going to make up for what I missed out on eight years ago. Let’s find out shall we.”
If it had been any other woman, Ollie wouldn’t be surprised by the fact that he had been waiting twenty-five minutes instead of the fifteen she’d said she would need. But Jaxxon didn’t dilly dally or spend ages colour coordinating her stuff and nor was she the type who would pack everything with the utmost precision. That could only mean that she and McKenzie were having some kind of row. Maybe she’d told him she was leaving for New York and he had lost the plot over her jetting off again. Or maybe he was dumping her and she was putting his bollocks through some serious pain. On the other hand, maybe they were shagging like rabbits.
Whatever the reason, he was tired of waiting. Sighing, he fished out his mobile phone from the pocket of his jeans and tried calling her. No answer; her phone was switched off. He was just about to jump out of the car and go fetch her personally when something collided into the side of the car. His eyes insisted what he was seeing wasn’t real: Ant with blood pouring down one side of his face pressed against the window, banging his fist on it and mumbling something too fast for him to understand in a somewhat hysterical voice.
Ollie leant over and unlocked the door and Ant slid in beside him, panting. “What the hell happened to you?” And why was he even there?
“Someone has Jaxxon.”
“Her stalker, he has her.” It all came out in a rush. “He took me from outside my house and brought me here to use as a hostage but she wouldn’t go with him unless he let me go first. He thought he’d knocked me unconscious but he hadn’t, I faked it, and now he has her.”
Panic like nothing Ollie had ever before experienced blast through his system. “I’m gonna kill the bastard.”
The hammering on the front door snapped Connor out of his reverie. Jaxx? Was she back? Lightning-fast he was at the door, swinging it open…only to find Ollie and Tony’s son looking back at him. It wasn’t until the kid quickly looked away, red in the face, that Connor realised he was still na**d. And that the kid was holding a bloody tissue to his head. “What the -”
“You still have the bugs on Jaxxon?” asked Ollie as he barged in, uncaring of McKenzie’s indecent state. He was the one who’d kept Jaxxon distracted while McKenzie and his mate planted the trackers.
“What’s happened?” He was already searching out his phone to get in touch with his mate and find out her location.
“It’s her stalker. He had Ant at first but he doesn’t know much about him except that he drives a navy Ford Escort and Jaxxon called him Sean.”
The bottom fell out of Connor’s stomach. “What did this Sean look like?”
Ant shrugged. “Mousey hair. His face had acne scars all over it. They already knew each other. He said something about finally getting to do what he tried to do eight years ago.”
As the boot door flew open and the dim morning light met her eyes again, Jaxxon squinted. The bastard had kept her squashed in the stuffy, oily space, whistling away like he didn’t have a woman curled up in the rear of his car with tape across her mouth and a thin rope pinning her wrists behind her back. He also had rope for her ankles but hadn’t tied them up; he said he’d wasted enough time already and needed to get her away quickly. And now here they were…at an old warehouse?
Oh how original.
Yes, she should be taking this more seriously as opposed to rolling her eyes as though she was dealing with a toddler who was having an extremely bad tantrum, but she had been the victim how many times before? She was just so tired of it now. So tired of being played with like she was some toy. So tired of being a vessel for someone else to practice their dominance levels on. So tired of people wanting to have control or power over her. It was all so familiar and mentally draining that she couldn’t find it within herself to panic. It was anger and infuriation and loathing that was prevailing over all else. Besides, the bastard wanted her to be a quivering wreck and if he thought she’d give him what he wanted then he was very mistaken.
“I was going to take you to the alleyway where we almost had our fun last time,” he told her as he peeled the tape from her mouth, giving her a quick kiss. Before she could spit at him he twirled her around and, knife at her throat again, roughly guided her into the musty, dull building. “But I figured you’d be a noisy one and there was no chance I was letting anything stop me this time around.”
Jaxxon managed not to gag at the way he was sniffing her hair and licking her neck. “So that’s what all this is about? One act of sexual rape that you never got a chance to commit?”
He roughly grabbed her breast, just like he had last time. “Oh there’s plenty more to it than that.”
“Oh do tell.”
He sniggered at her attitude. Even in a situation like this she came out with smart remarks. “Do you know how old I was when I first decided I was going to have you? Twelve. You and your sister turned up with a social worker at Nick’s uncle’s house. I said to Nick ‘that one’s mine’. You hardly even looked at me.”
And that was because she had felt the callousness pouring off him and Nick in waves. So had Leah – a girl who was never one to stay away from a boy stayed well clear of those two and the rest of the little gang. “You know, when I was twelve and I was in a pet shop with Leah, I pointed to a big white rabbit at the back and said ‘I want that’. I never got it. Do you see me chasing after the sodding thing eight years later?”
“Always the comedian,” he grumbled as he urged her quickly up a flight of stairs. “I can promise you that you won’t be laughing or making jokes in a minute when I’ve got you underneath me. You know, I’m not sure what will turn me on more: you screaming in pleasure, or in pain. Probably pain.”
“You haven’t got the equipment to make me scream in pleasure,” she scoffed. Yes, she was pushing his buttons. What was the point in behaving herself? The result would be the same no matter how she behaved.
He tugged painfully on her hair. “What was that?”
“I got a glimpse of your jimmy that day in the alley. You’re about as well hung as a gerbil.”
“You cheeky bitch!” On finally reaching the second floor where he kept the mattress for when he brought his girls, he threw her away from him toward it. Unfortunately she didn’t stumble and fall like he’d expected. Always so bloody awkward.
“That’s why you have to use a knife to get a girl to go with you. You’ve got nothing to offer her that’ll make her come to you.”
He snickered. “Trying to make me snap Jaxxon so I’ll slit your throat in a fury and then this will all be over?”
She frowned. “That’s actually not a bad plan. Why is it that I hadn’t thought of that but you did with your two brain cells?”
“You make out like I’m stupid and yet I’ve managed to follow you around and mess in your life without being spotted. Did you know that I’m not the only one who follows you about? I saw quite a few ‘watchers’ while I was tailing you. They weren’t so discrete. Even that Ant kid’s obsessed with you. I used to always see him peeking into the windows of the annexe of a night, trying to catch you getting undressed. I could have saved him the bother and told him how you always close the curtains. Why do you think I kept robbing them when you were living in the flat?”
“That was you?”
“Oh yeah. But then you had to go and get yourself famous and I had to hunt you down when I wanted to see you. I had to hunt down what’s mine. Can you believe that?”
“I’m yours because you claimed me with your eyes when you were twelve?” she asked incredulously but he ignored her.
“You were off in a different world then; me forgotten. You had your money and your new car and your designer gear and your celebrity friends. Me? I had nothing. Not even Celia and that kid of mine to keep me entertained.”
“Best news I’ve heard all week.”
“Then you had the cheek to actually leave the country. You went on your big posh holiday and even had McKenzie join you.” He growled. “McKenzie…Now that is a man I hate. You always ran to him, always gave him that big smile. Never once did you look at me like that.”
He honestly found that confusing?
“But him, you looked at him like the sun shone out of his arse.”
Shit – he was starting to advance on her with baby steps now. She didn’t want to back away from him; that would take her closer to that blood stained mattress. But to go to the side would take her dangerously close to the gaping hole in the floorboards.
“Yeah, you shagged him over and over like the little slut you are. I watched you that time in the woods, you know.” He smirked at her gasp. “I even kept that thong you left behind.”
Somehow that seemed like one of the worst things he’d done. “You perverted bastard.”
“I wanted to kill him that day. Both of you, actually. It shocked me that; wanting to kill you. I’d never wanted to hurt you before.”
Her mouth fell open. “You tried to rape me.” He shrugged and waved a hand, as if that was somehow different. Now it was her who was feeling homicidal. “I’m pretty sure even the Devil himself would be disgusted by you.”
“I’d have thought you’d have been calling me the Antichrist.”
“I wouldn’t give you that much credit. You’re not all big and powerful Sean, which you already know otherwise you wouldn’t have that knife in your hand.”
“You don’t like my knife?” He held it up and admired it lovingly. “I enjoy caressing my girls from head to toe with it. I think you might like it. You did in my fantasies anyway.”
“If you really had this big plan to have your wicked way with me, why try to poison me with those chocolates?”
“I just wanted you ill so that you couldn’t go on that tour. Then I find out that not only did you not eat them, but you were sneaking off early. Did you honestly think I’d let that happen? That I’d let you get away from me again?”
He seemed to genuinely want an answer. “Going by the fact that you kidnapped me and brought me here, I’m going to say ‘no’.”
“I had planned to have this place set up all nice but you went and forced my hand. I had to act quickly before you were halfway across the world. I wasn’t ready yet.”
“Sorry, I know the feeling of people messing about with your schedule.” She took slow, subtle steps toward the hole.
“This bravado won’t wash with me, Jaxxon. I know you’re scared.”
“Sean, I’d like you to consider this for a minute: you’ve been following me without showing your face, you’ve been leaving notes like some juvenile, you broke into my apartment but then scuttled off into your little hole, you’ve been acting like some sort of peeping Tom, and then not only did use a kid to try to get me to do what you wanted, but you’ve tied my wrists so I can’t defend myself. The picture I’m getting from that is of one bloody big coward. Forgive me for not feeling the need to quiver.”
“You should be quivering. Not only do I intend to force my way inside you and plow into you while you fight me and scream, but I’m then going to do it over and over. Until you bleed.” A malicious grin dominated his face. “Ever taken it up the arse, Jaxxon? You will tonight. I can guarantee you’ll bleed then. Maybe I’ll invite Nick round when I’ve had my fill of you.”
“I think you better had just to make up for your gerbil dick.”
“Maybe I’ll even invite the other lads too. What do you think? Would you like a nice, big reunion?”
“You just can’t move passed that failed rape in the alleyway, can you?”
“That afternoon would never have happened anyway if you had just chosen me in the beginning over McKenzie.”
Anger and disbelief swirled through Jaxxon. “What?”
“You knew I wanted you, you knew -”
“Hang on a minute, at what point did our roles reverse and you became the victim?”
“You chose him!” he shouted, spittle shooting out of his mouth. “You looked down on me!”
“Oh you can stop right there with that talk! No way am I letting you blame me for what you tried to do to me back then. You did that because you wanted to. It was never that you wanted me. No, you didn’t want a girlfriend. You wanted me crying in pain while you forced me to do whatever you wanted. And that’s because you’re a sick twat.”
A smirk spread across Sean’s face as he watched her steady herself at the edge of the hole. She’d be able to see now what he already knew; there was an almost identical hole in the floor below, as if something extremely heavy had once crashed through both floors. She wasn’t going anywhere and she knew it. He cracked his knuckles. “Just think, I’m about to finally get what I’ve been wanting.” He was expecting a snarl, he got a smile. “Something amusing about that?”
“It’s just that I haven’t the faintest idea why you would think you’re getting what you want.”
When she peered down at the drop he understood. “You wouldn’t do that. You wouldn’t pick the coward’s way out.”