“Where’s Abigail?” I whisper. “Do you have her?”

He ignores me. The hand on my back drags up. He gathers up my hair and pulls it off my shoulders.

“Where’s Abigail?” I repeat. I don’t know how the fuck I’m going to convince him I don’t hate his guts if he keeps ignoring me like this.

His hand comes around. His fingers tracing the curve of the necklace.

“Can I see her?”

His fingers follow the necklace until they near my cleavage. Then they break away to trace lightly against the tops of my breasts

“Ivan,” I say, reaching up and grabbing his hand. “Please.”

Something flashes in his eyes. Fuck. It’s been so long I’ve forgot who I’m dealing with.

He snaps something sharp into the phone then lowers it to the seat.

“Yes,” he says softly, menacingly. “I have her.”

“Where is she? Can I see her?”

“Yes, you can see her after we arrive.”

He starts to pick up his phone.

“Is she hurt?” I ask.

“No, she’s not hurt,” he answers impatiently, dropping the phone back down to the seat.

Before I can relax with relief, he grabs me by the chin and squeezes painfully.

I stare into his eyes and watch all his features tighten with anger.

“You know better than to interrupt my calls, myshka.”

He waits for me to nod my head, to acknowledge it. I do know. I’ve learned this lesson before, painfully.

His thumb strokes across my bottom lip. My heart thumps sickly behind my ribs.

For a moment, I wonder if he’s going to kiss me. To me that would be a punishment…

His thumb falls away and his fingers tighten around my cheeks.

His fingers squeeze and squeeze until I let go of his hand and cry out in pain.

“Now shut your mouth before I fuck it, Amy,” he hisses.

I flinch, expecting him to hit me.

Fuck, this was such a bad idea. I’ve only been with him for a few minutes and I’m already pissing him off.

He smiles, his bright eyes glittering dangerously then he releases me. He picks his phone off the seat and mutters something in Russian. A moment later he laughs and I shrink away, knowing I just got off easy.

I spend the rest of the car ride looking out the window while his hand roams all over me. Chilling me until I feel nothing at all.

He has Abigail, I keep reminding myself. My fingers curl, my nails digging into my palms.

Outside the window, tall, familiar buildings scroll by. We drive deep into the city, then the scenery becomes less familiar as we enter a ghetto. It’s like watching a future time lapse video sped up. The houses begin to rot from neglect, crumbling away before my eyes.

The street we turn down is more field than lawns. We pull up in front of an old, deteriorating Victorian mansion.

It looks like he’s really come down in the world.

The door pops open and Ivan gives me a nudge, expecting me to get out.

I slide off his lap and out the door. The two men dressed in all black await me.

I try not to let them freak me out as I take in the outside of the house. It’s quiet around here, there’s not much going on, and I don’t see any other guards. These two will have to sleep sometime. If I can find Abigail and slip out of the house, it may not be that hard to get away.

Ivan comes out of the car behind me and his hand nudges the small of my back. I start forward, his hand guiding me up the steps of the house.

I await until we’re inside the front hallway before I ask, “Where’s Abigail?”

He doesn’t answer. He leads me down the dark hallway and opens a door on the right.

“Can I see her?”

He shoves me inside.

Slamming the door behind him, we’re thrust into the dark.

“Ivan?” I gasp, spinning around.

The light flickers on.

“Myshka,” Ivan purrs while loosening his tie. “I’ve missed you.”

I take a step back as he yanks off his tie. “I want to see my daughter.”

Slowly Ivan shakes his head and begins to unbutton his cuffs. “After I’m done.”

He takes a step forward and I take another step back, glancing behind me. We’re in a bedroom. The curtains are all closed, and a large, king-sized bed is pushed up against the wall.

He takes another step forward and I take another step back, carefully avoiding the bed.

“Please,” I plead. It feels like I’ve been doing a lot of this, pleading with him when I was expecting to manipulate him.

He closes the distance between us, backing me up against the wall. He looms over me, caging me in with his body, and then he strokes the back of his hand across my cheek.

Remembering that I wanted to use his feelings for me to give me what I want, I force myself to lean into his caress. To act like it doesn’t make my skin crawl.

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