When I didn’t say anything, he took a step toward me and held out his hand. “Get up,” he said, waiting. His posture stiffened and his voice lowered. “I said get up. I don’t like to repeat myself.”
It was only then that I noticed he was holding something in his other hand. Two things, it looked like. A folded-up rope and a knife. I waited for the pang of fear to hit me. It was subtle and I didn’t let it show. I also didn’t obey him.
He quickly reached down and grabbed me by the arm, yanking me up to him until I was pressed against his chest, crushing the front of his suit jacket.
“You’re a light little thing, aren’t you?” he asked in a bemused voice, his breath smelling faintly of cinnamon and tobacco. “Delicate and easy to break.”
We’d see about that.
I acted instinctually. With my free hand I jabbed my palm into his nose. He yelped in surprise, maybe even in pain, and momentarily let go of me. That’s all I needed.
I pushed past him and went for the door. I put my hands on the knob and turned, pulling it toward me. There was a wonderful feeling of freedom for just that one moment where the door opened and the light from the hallway spilled in. The feeling of power that came from fighting back.
Nothing in my life had felt as good as my hand connecting with his face.
But the feeling was fleeting. All at once the door slammed shut and Javier was behind me, the rope going around my chest. He hauled me backward into him so that he was holding me tight from behind.
“Don’t you know it turns me on when you fight back?” he whispered in my ear, his voice ragged. “Though it turns me on when you don’t fight back, too. I guess you can’t win.” He sniffed. “I think you bloodied my nose.”
“Then I guess you’ll have to bloody my face,” I taunted him, my veins on fire with the strange adrenaline that was running through me.
He sucked in his breath. “No, my darling. I would never do that to your face. Just your back. I have a lot of respect for beautiful things, you know. They are usually the most dangerous.”
Oh, how I wished I could be dangerous to him, to anyone.
“You know, Luisa,” he said, holding me tighter now. I could feel his erection pressing into my ass. “We’re going to be doing this dance with each other until we give you back to your husband. You could make things easier on yourself. I don’t like to play rough with you.”
“No,” I said quietly. “You just want to cut me up.”
“I’m merely branding you,” he said. “Don’t make it sound so ugly.” He lifted his arm so that the knife was shining in front of my face. I could almost see my warped reflection staring back at me. “My penmanship with a knife is very delicate. A hard-earned skill. If your husband’s name was Javier, I think you would be quite pleased with the finished result.”
The man was completely crazy. He planned to carve his name in my back, as if he was doing me a favor.
“Come on,” he said, and quickly wrapped the rope around me so my arms were held tight to my sides. He made a few knots and then shuffled me over to the bed before he pushed me onto it, face down. I turned my head to breathe and he pressed down on the side of it, to keep me in place. “Now stay.”
He straddled me, legs on either side of my waist, and his hands stroked softly along the back of my neck until he grabbed my collar. “My shirt looks good on you,” he commented. “But it looks better off.” He reached underneath me, grabbing me by my collarbone, and ripped the shirt open before pushing it to the side and sliding most of it off until one shoulder was bare.
“He’s not going to want me when he sees what you’ve done,” I managed to say.
“He’s not going to see what I’ve done until I have what I want. What your marriage can and cannot handle is not my problem and none of my business.”
“I’m many things but disgusting isn’t one of them.”
“Well, there’s no argument there. Good or bad, there is great power in knowing who you are and owning it. So, tell me, my beauty queen … who are you?”
He leaned down so those blazing eyes of his were visible to mine.
“No one you will ever know,” I told him, relieved at how strong I sounded.
“We shall see about that.”
With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term “Hybrid Author.” Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, sexy and edgy, she’s a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA…whenever possible.Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Sound, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides. She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she’s preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her husband and rescue pup.