Ivan speaks a few clipped words into his phone and then hangs up. Tucking the phone into his pocket, he leans forward and grabs my hand.

I resist the urge to pull my hand away. Something about his touch makes my skin crawl.

“My apologies, myshka,” he purrs, fingers wrapping around me tightly. “But that was a very important call.”

I nod my head and set my empty glass down on the table. Ivan nods towards the glass and the waiter steps forward, refilling it once more.

Ivan pulls my hand towards him and then lifts it to his mouth, lips tenderly brushing across my knuckles.

For a moment, I wonder what is wrong with me. Something inside of me must be broken. This beautiful man is bestowing his affections upon me but I find his touch repulsive. No matter how hard I try, I can’t bring myself to enjoy it.

Neither his beauty nor his money can make up for all his horrible faults.

He’s controlling, and aggressive when he gets angry. He hurt me the last time I refused to let him through my apartment door. He shoved me into the damn wall and pulled out a chunk of my hair in front of my daughter Abigail.

I’m trapped. The best I can do right now is try to make him happy so he doesn’t kill me…

I try to pull my hand away from Ivan’s mouth and his fingers tighten around me, squeezing painfully.

I endure the compression for as long as I can before a yelp slips past my lips.

Ivan’s eyes flash and then he grins as if I’ve somehow pleased him. His grip relaxes and I let my hand drop to the table before trying to pull it back.

I watch him warily until I have my hand safely in my own lap.

Leaning back, he flicks his fingers at his empty glass and his vodka is refilled immediately.

“Amy…” he purrs huskily.

Rubbing my hand beneath the table cloth, I make my expression as neutral as possible. “Yes?”

“Finish your drink.”

Inside, I’m fuming. Reaching out, I grab my drink and it takes every ounce of self-control I have to keep from tossing it in his smirking face. He lifts his own glass and sips from it while watching me.

I bring my glass to my mouth and my stomach twists as I sip. Already, the wine is sour on my tongue and the warm buzz has become an annoying after-effect.

Our eyes meet over the rims of our glasses. His bore into mine like icy daggers until I finish the wine off completely. The glass empty, I’m afraid to set it back down on the table, afraid he’ll order the waiter to refill it.

I lean back, keeping the empty glass in my grip.

Smirk sharpening, Ivan snaps his fingers and a body peels away from the shadows, one of his beefy bodyguards coming forward. Murmured words are exchanged between the two before a long, black velvet box is produced.

My eyes fall upon the box and I’m filled with dread and trepidation. Another gift? Please no…

Setting his glass down on the table, Ivan rises and approaches me, the box in his hand.

Watching him approach, I shake my head. “Ivan… You shouldn’t have…”

Seriously, he shouldn’t have. Every gift he’s ever given me he’s used to force some kind of repayment out of me. In the beginning it was sweet, he would only ask for another date.

More recently though it’s become a kiss while his hands try to fondle me…

He plucks the empty glass from my hand and sets it on the table. Immediately the waiter comes forward and refills it.

“Ah, but I must, my myshka. Tonight is a special night, and I want you to remember it always.”

Bending over me, he snaps the box open in front of my eyes. I blink at all the diamonds, their dazzling sparkles almost blinding me.

“It’s too much… I can’t possibly accept it,” I protest softly as he lifts the strands of diamonds from the box.

Ivan clicks his tongue against the roof of his mouth as he wraps the strands around my neck. “It’s only a trinket.”

“A trinket?” I repeat incredulously. The three strands are completely covered in diamonds, and I know they must be worth thousands.

“Yes,” he says, his breath tickling my ear. “Only a trinket. When you give me my heir then I will present you with proper jewels.”

Heir? What the fuck? This is the first I’m hearing of this…

Ivan buries his face in my hair and breathes in deep.

I shudder, wanting to rip the diamonds off of my neck.

“Come,” he says, pulling away and grabbing me by my sore hand.

“Where are we going?” I ask, trying not to panic as he pulls me to my feet.

His arm wraps around my waist, bringing me close. “It’s time to retire for the evening.”

I shake my head and glance around, searching for an escape.

Source: www.StudyNovels.com