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“Are you going to be staying long?” Fred asked, but I shook my head.

“Just long enough to address some queries. However long that may be, but no longer.”

His nod was short and sharp. “Can I help you with anything, sir? A hot drink? Some food?”

I shook my head. “I know my way around, Fred. Feel free to head back to bed.”

“Thank you, sir,” he finished, and I flinched a little as he landed a kind hand on my arm. “I hope I’ll see you in the morning.”

I regretted my decision the moment the front door was closed behind him and I was back to being alone.

I’d felt alone in the manor on the coast. Alone in the shadowy darkness without so much as a token security person. Alone enough to jump into a car and drive across country in search of answers without so much of a hint of the morning in sight.

But it was nothing whatsoever compared to the pits of misery of loneliness in our childhood hallway.

Time to make it fucking count.

Chapter Thirteen

Paige

My life before meeting Brandon Grant felt a million years ago. The memories of everyday life were flickers. Hyper colourful TV shows in my mind and nothing more.

The days waking up in university dorms and making conversation with superficial girls who didn’t know me for shit. The evenings out pretending I was just like everyone else, laughing, joking, listening to their idiot tales of gossip. The hours of lectures that I lived for. The study that I ate up like a starving girl. None of it felt real anymore as Mr Sinister came to collect me from his huge glossy dungeon room.

My body didn’t feel like mine anymore, and hadn’t done since I’d first met Brandon Grant.

Now it seemed my mind didn’t feel like mine anymore either.

I didn’t know who I was in this place. I didn’t know what was coming my way, or how I’d hold up to it. I didn’t know why I was even here in the first place, other than not being good enough for the man who’d become my lifeline in the darkness.

“Good performance,” Mr Sinister said and all I could manage was a shrug.

I couldn’t tell him it wasn’t a performance at all. I couldn’t take pride in something so private and personal that made me feel broken on the inside — needing someone so bad who didn’t even value me enough to say goodbye.

Mr Sinister flashed me a cold smile. “You’re going to be busy with the bids for the remaining time on your contract, Miss Emmerson. Think yourself lucky your pay-out will be made in full.”

I managed a thank you, sir to that one, but nothing else.

“Take it off,” he said, indicating the satin slip.

I made no attempt to hide this time around. No attempt to hide my tight nipples or the wetness on my thighs as I peeled the slip off and dropped it on the bed.

“Good girl,” he said.

I was on autopilot as he led me back through the corridors to the room I was sharing with Rebecca. I stepped on in easily, my feet like steady soldiers pushing me right on through to the mattress she was sitting on.

He didn’t wait long, Mr Sin. The door closed behind him in seconds, leaving me in the cold glow of the overhead light as Rebecca stared over at me.

She pointed to a tray on one of the side tables. “They left food for you,” she said. “Mine was alright. Baked potato.”

I’d lost track of hunger along with everything else. My body clock was wired to crap, my adrenaline pumping.

“You’ve got to eat,” she said, and I heeded her advice, grabbing hold of the plate before I sat down alongside her.

Every mouthful felt like a lump of nothing.

“You look pretty busted up,” she said. “Did they do something to you? What the hell happened?”

I shook my head. “I had to record a message for the viewers, saying I wanted them. Convincing them to come to me.”

Her eyebrows raised high enough to show she was as surprised as I’d been. “Telling them to join the club and have a go or some shit? Why the fuck would you have to do that? I thought they were already coming?”

I shrugged before answering. “I had to tell them I wanted them to be with me. To touch me. Hurt me. Fuck me up. Whatever, really. He said my bookings were on the line, and so was my pay out if they didn’t come through.”

Her mouth was such a pretty scowl. “Jeez, that’s a fucking nightmare. How the hell would your bookings be on the line? Did something happen on camera or some shit?”

“Not that I know about,” I said. “Maybe I was just utterly crap. Maybe that’s why Brandon shipped me on up here.”


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