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“It was,” he agrees. “And I’ve taken steps to ensure it doesn’t happen again. That doesn’t mean others won’t try. Unfortunately, you’re linked to a number of people it is better not to be linked to, and now that others are dead, you remain notably alive. I can’t promise nobody else will come for you, but I can promise, if you do as you are told, and let me protect you, you will survive.”

“Thank you,” I repeat, fiddling with the piping on the edge of the couch. “I mean, I know I don’t deserve it. I don’t… I don’t know why you’re doing this for me, but I am glad you are.”

“Can a hero ever resist a damsel in distress?”

This man who kidnapped me, bound me, whipped me, spanked me… this man who intends to keep me. He’s calling himself a damn hero.

Before I laugh, I think. He has done all those things, that is true. But he’s also the man who saved my life, maybe more than once. The man who has persevered in saving me even though I threw his offers in his face every time. The man who plans to give me purpose now that my future plans lie wrecked.

Maybe he is a hero. Not to others, but to me.

He lets out a laugh. “I have never seen you look so confused. Go get some breakfast. Then get dressed. Wear something subdued. We’ll get your hair restyled today and…”

I let his words wash over me. This is my life now, an existence prescribed and ordered by Vicious. Will I ever have a choice again? Or will he overrun my will, turn me into his puppet? I suppose I’ll find out.

“Kitty.” He’s standing next to me, his hand beneath my chin, his eyes locked on mine. “This is going to be an adventure. I promise you that. Now I want something before you have your breakfast.”

“What’s that?”

“I want you on your knees, girl.”

When I fail to move immediately, he guides me off the edge of the couch and puts me on the floor. My bare knees and shins find the soft rug below.

“This is where you’ll go when we are at rest. This is where you belong.”

“At your feet?”

“Mhm.” He raises a brow. “Problem?”

“Vicious, this isn’t…”

“Isn’t what?”

“Normal. It’s not normal.”

“What is, Kitty?” He runs his fingertips through my hair and I feel little shivers running down my spine. They’re pleasant. His touch is tender. I yearned for this yesterday and did not receive it, now I welcome it. His voice is soft in tone, but rough in content. “I have much to offer you. You have less to offer me, but I ask for all of it. Your obedience. Your body. Perhaps, one day, even more.”

“More?”

His green eyes sear into mine, his hand sliding down to my neck, caressing that little spot behind my ear.

“So much more,” he murmurs, dipping down in a low, almost courtly bow to press a kiss to my lips. “Now, get up and get ready, little Kitty. You have a new life to live.”

The End


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