And it scares the shit out of me.

In an act of pure desperation, I bite down on his lip.

He jerks back with a grunt.

“I want an annulment,” I manage to push out of my raw throat.

He stiffens with surprise then his face twists with fury.

“No,” he growls low, sounding more like a beast than a man.

I open my mouth to repeat what I just said, but his lips capture mine again, cutting me off.

He kisses me so damn hard, it’s almost like he’s attacking me, the force of it grinding me into the wall.

With each stroke of his tongue, with each hungry noise rolling down my throat, I find myself weakening. The fight seeping out of my bones as my brain turns to mush.

So I do the only thing I can do right now.

I bite him again to get him to stop.

“No,” he growls again, lower, meaner, and angrier against my mouth.

I bite him again and again, not accepting his no after no, until I finally really sink my teeth in and taste blood.

He jolts away from me.

“I don’t want to stay married! I want an annulment in exchange for my full cooperation. We don’t have to stay married, Gabriel. We can work together and be free,” I pant out before he has another chance to smother my words.

I watch him, heart hammering against my ribs, as he reaches up, his fingers exploring the cut my teeth made on his lip.

Stiffening, I try to prepare myself for his anger, for his retaliation. No doubt he’ll want to hurt me back for hurting him.

His eyes darken, going nearly black, but it’s not in anger. Oh no, it’s a heated look full of lust.

Oh god, he couldn’t have possibly gotten turned on by that…

Mouth curving into a disturbing grin, he grabs me by the back of the head and leans in until we’re nearly nose to nose.

“Free?” He chuckles, his warm breath caressing me. “Freedom is an illusion. No one is truly free… We’re all owned by someone or something.”

I try to shake my head in denial, but his fingers tighten in my hair, stopping the movement.

“You’re mine, Meghan. I own you now,” he says firmly.

With nowhere to look but at his eyes, I find myself being pulled in, sucked into their harsh depths.

“Mine to cherish… Mine to protect… You gave yourself to me. You put yourself willingly in my hands. You took the vow in front of God.”

Oh, that’s rich, coming from a man who shot up a church.

I blink at him, the spell he’s putting me under nearly broken.

“I was under a great deal of duress,” I argue.

“You had your choice and you made it,” he snaps. “No fucking take backs.”

He’s truly fucking crazy if he thinks he owns me now. That just because he bullied me into marrying him, I’m somehow his.

Growing frustrated, I decide to remind him, “I also vowed to cut off your cock if you touched me without my permission! And you’re touching me without my permission!”

Gabriel chuckles again, and the low, rumbling sound goes straight to my core, filling my belly with warmth.

How he can still be turning me on when I’m angry at him? I don’t fucking understand it.

“Go ahead,” he dares me and slowly leans away, all his muscles rippling as he motions at his waist. “You have the knife in your hand. Do it.”

Fuck, I totally forgot about the knife for a moment. My hand is so tense and sweaty I can’t believe I didn’t drop it.

I shift it in my palm, getting a better grip, and seriously consider trying.

Would serve him right.

But when I glance down to see his stomach tightening with tension and his thick erection disappearing between my thighs, I’m overcome by a hot wave of pure want.

Cocks aren’t pretty. In fact, they’re probably one of the ugliest fucking things on the planet. But to see his, to feel his, hot and throbbing against my flesh, it’s almost too much.

As if he’s testing me, calling my bluff, I suddenly feel his cock twitch against me. The shock has me wrenching my gaze up.

“Well?” he asks, his eyes fucking gleaming at me now.

We both know I can’t do it. I’m all bark and no fucking bite, and this bastard just proved it.

Dammit. Damn it all…

“You’re sick,” I hiss, the knife trembling in my hand.

Leaning in close, as if he can’t stand the distance between us, he purrs, “In sickness and in health, darlin’.”

I have the sudden urge to stab him, stab him in his fucking heart for being a smart-ass.

Instead, I clench my teeth and point out, “Funny, I don’t remember saying that.”

He goes still, so still, I can’t help but hope I’ve finally gotten through to him. That he finally understands the absolute absurdity of this whole situation.

Then his eyes light up as if he just had an epiphany.

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