By: Mimi Jean Pamfiloff

I lowered myself, kneeling beside him once again, trailing my fingertip from his collarbone between his chiseled pecs and over the hard ridges of his ripped abs. His smooth, tight olive skin seemed like it had been poured over the muscles. “I won’t ever get tired of looking at you.” I sighed, wanting to remember the feel of him underneath my fingertips.

I ran my hand to his shaft, which stood almost straight up. It twitched as I glided my fingers over the textured silky skin.

“What are you doing besides trying to drive me mad?” he asked.

“Making sure I never forget.” I glanced at him. “It’s my first time, too.”

He frowned in question.

“I’ve never been with a man who made me feel like this,” I explained.

He sat up and gripped me by the shoulders, opening his mouth to say something. Instead he kissed me with scorching emotion.

He suddenly pushed me down onto the furs and rolled on top of me, nestling himself between my thighs.

I opened my eyes, knowing what would come next and wanting to recall every second.

Rook stared into my eyes. “Thank God. He finally listened to my prayers.”

I brushed wild strands of black hair from his forehead. “What did you pray for?”

“Bitch. Wake the fuck up.” One of Warner’s henchmen stood in the doorway of my prison cell.

I catapulted upright, pressing my palm over my pounding heart. What just happened? One minute, I was here. The next, I was back on the island, reliving the night when I realized I loved James Rook and couldn’t run from the insanity of it any longer.

It felt so real. Almost like someone or something refused to let me forget.

Ridiculous. It was just a dream. I placed my fingertips to my tingling mouth. But then, why can I still smell him on my skin and taste his kiss on my lips?

“Hey. I’m talking to you, cunt,” said the six-foot man with a wide scar on the right side of his face, one hazy brown eye, and a patchwork of crosses tattooed all over his neck. Oh, wait. And a naked lady sucking on a revolver. I’ll call you Mr. Classy.

“Let me guess; you’re here to read the Bible to me,” I said, full of false bravado, hiding my utter freak-out.

He narrowed his soulless eye. “Shut the fuck up. Warner wants to see you.”

Crap. Had Warner changed his mind about letting me live a few more days? But that didn’t make sense. This was their killing room in their slaughterhouse. The drain in the floor said it all. If Warner wanted me dead, his guy would have done it. Here. Now.

“What’s he want?” I asked.

“Like I give a shit. Now move your ass.”

I didn’t want to test the man since he had a rapy vibe, so I scooted past him. Once outside, I noticed the basement they had me in contained several other doors like mine. I could only guess I wasn’t alone at Club Warner.

We went up the stairs, which led to a large empty warehouse smelling of old fish and mold, and then outside to a waiting black SUV with tinted windows.

Fuck. Where are they taking me?

Suddenly, the back window lowered, exposing Warner’s icy dark eyes.

“Go.” Mr. Classy gave me a shove, and I stumbled toward the vehicle. I didn’t want Warner to see my fear, so I pasted on a smile. He was the sort of man who didn’t tolerate weakness of any sort—something I had discovered when we first met in his office in Queens. The only reason he’d agreed to loan me money was because I’d acted tough and he thought I could be of use to him after he got a hold of the island.

“Warner.” I dipped my head. “Let me compliment you on the accommodations. If you don’t kill me, I’m sure breathing all of that rat shit will.”

Warner flashed a wicked smile. “What do you mean ‘if’?”

I shrugged. “I’d hoped you might consider letting me live if this all works out. At the very least, I hope you’ll let me watch you kill Rook.”

Why did I just say that? My heart instantly felt like it was being smothered to death. After everything, was it still hoping that Rook hadn’t lied about Cici and wasn’t involved in her death? Stupid fucking heart. I would never trust it again. It had blinded me to the truth all along. It had told me to love a monster.

“We’ll see. In the meantime…” Warner held up his phone. “Your father found a lot of blood in your kitchen.”

It was from my injured foot.

He continued, “We’re going to make him a little video to prove you’re alive.” Warner tossed a rolled-up newspaper at my feet. “Pick that up and hold the front page under your chin.”

I unfolded it and considered what face to make—something to tell my dad to be careful. Warner was not to be double-crossed. Not ever. But sadly, I could make any face I liked and my father wouldn’t know what to make of it. He’d spent so much time on the road in war zones that he hardly knew me. Cici raised me. God, I miss her so much.

Sadness and pain in my eyes, I held the paper under my chin, and Warner tapped his phone to start the video.

“Tell your father where all the blood came from,” Warner said.

“I cut my foot.”

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