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Page 5

I’m sorry, Kyrie.

  “Why are you fighting this, you silly man? Don’t you remember all the good times we had together?” She was sitting beside me again, acting calm and cool as if she wasn’t forcing this on me.

  “I remember never being able to satisfy you, that’s what I remember. I remember nothing I did was ever good enough. I remember you screaming at me when I came too soon. I remember you convincing me to let you tie me up, and then you didn’t let me go. Just like this. You had me tied up for hours that night in Cyprus. That’s what I remember. ” I spoke through gritted teeth, tasting the revulsion on my tongue, at the back of my throat like bitter bile. “You’ve always been a goddamn psychopath. I realized that the first time we fucked. You always wanted more. Something else. Something even more fucked up. ”

  I was slipping. Regressing. My speech was reverting to the way I’d spoken back then, vulgar language with the English accent. I’d worked hard to distance myself from who I’d been, worked hard to clean up my speech. I’d stopped cursing, straightened my accent as much as possible, spoke properly, formally. I forced myself to speak, look, and act like the man I wanted to be: a respectable, legitimate businessman. Fifteen minutes with Gina, and I was regressing.

  She just grinned. “Oh, Valentine. You have no idea. ” She was stroking my length, almost idly. Petting. “I’ve been practicing for this. I know you, Val. I knew you’d fight me. But you can’t. You can’t fight me. You’re trying right now. You’re trying to think of something else so you won’t react. Aren’t you? But just—just stop fighting for a moment and feel. It feels good, doesn’t it? It hurts, just a little. I’m just getting started, Valentine. Fight all you want, but you’ll give in to me. You’ll give me what I want. ”

  I fought it. Fought hard. Kept my eyes closed and denied her, denied myself sensation. “Never. ”

  “Maybe you need some…inspiration. ” She let me go and slid off the bed. “Watch. ”

  I kept my eyes shut. I knew what her game was. I wanted to think of Kyrie, but refused. I wouldn’t think of her in this situation. I wouldn’t betray her. Not willingly.

  “WATCH. ” She spat the word out, furious. Something cold and sharp touched my Adam’s apple. “Don’t toy with me, Valentine. ”

  I opened my eyes. Gina was standing near my head, a short, wicked-looking black folding knife held to my throat. Her face was expressionless, a blank mask. She kept the razor-sharp point to my throat for a few beats, then pulled it away and folded the blade into the handle. As soon as the knife was closed, the mask fell away. I recognized the look on her face as what she thought of as “seductive. ” Pouting, slightly smirking lips, puppy-dog eyes. She wouldn’t kill me yet, I knew that much, but if I didn’t cooperate to some degree, she’d find some awful and inventive way to punish me. So I watched.

  I watched, and for the first time in my life, watching as a beautiful woman stripped down to nothing in front of me failed to incite any kind of reaction in me. She wasn’t Kyrie. Until Kyrie, I’d never loved a woman. Girls were girls, and they’d never meant anything to me beyond a few hours of fun and pleasure. They were all largely interchangeable. A naked woman was something to be appreciated and, if circumstances permitted, thoroughly enjoyed. And then Kyrie happened, and love happened, and everything changed.

  Gina was a beautiful woman. A work of art, really. But she was just that: art, sculpture. Her makeup was perfect. Her hair was perfect. And even as she reached behind her back and unzipped the dress and let it fall to pool around her ankles, she was careful to make sure nothing was out of order. She paused after the dress was off, making sure I appreciated the hours spent in the gym, the diets, the expensive lingerie.

  On any other woman, those would be positive qualities. But with Gina, that’s all there was. It was window dressing, disguising the cruel, empty soul beneath. Her eyes never left mine as she reached behind her back and unclasped her bra, then held an arm barred across her chest, keeping the bra in place as she withdrew first one arm and then the other. When the straps were off her shoulders, she let the undergarment drop with a flourish, setting her massive tits bouncing. Ugh. She’d had implants. An additional twenty pounds, even on her svelte frame, couldn’t explain the jump from small C-cup to large DD-cup. She’d also pierced her nipples; a thick silver bar was positioned horizontally between each nipple.

  Piercings and implants were fine. If that’s what a woman was into, if that made her feel good about herself, great, fine. It simply wasn’t to my taste. My personal preference was for natural bodies, no implants, and no piercings. I liked a woman as she was. That, at least partially, was why I’d been so attracted to Kyrie. She was the epitome of feminine beauty to me. She needed no makeup, no expensive clothing or lingerie or implants to be lush and gorgeous. Her breasts were naturally big, firm, high, and taut, with large areolae and thick pink nipples, unadorned and begging to be tasted. The curves of her body were…perfect. Wide, swaying hips, strong, thick thighs, long legs. She wasn’t stick-thin. That look had never appealed to me. I’d dallied with a few model-thin women before Kyrie came along, and they were beautiful women in their own way, and certainly other men found them desirable. But to me, Kyrie was what I wanted. She was perfection to me. Curves. Flesh to hold and feel and clutch and kiss.

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  A slap across my face brought me back to the present. “Look at me, Val. ”

  “My name isn’t Val, Gina. My name is Valentine. ”

  “But I’ve always called you Val. ”

  “You don’t get to do that anymore. ” I lifted my chin and let her see the depth of my revulsion and derision. “You can keep me tied up here as long as you want. You can drug me and cut me and threaten me all you wish. You can take whatever you want from me. None of that will change a thing. Not a thing. I won’t love you. I won’t be attracted to you. I won’t want you. I won’t even like you. ”

  She wasn’t wearing any underwear. Whether she’d shed them while I was spaced out thinking of Kyrie or whether she’d never been wearing them, I couldn’t remember. She was shaved bare—there was not a single hair anywhere on her body below her neck.

  “You’re lying. You want this. You’re trying not to want it, but you do. ”

  I didn’t bother arguing with her. I just kept my eyes focused on hers, refusing to give her the satisfaction of my gaze on her body. She sashayed closer to me, putting a sway in her hips, a bounce to her cleavage. Her black eyes watched mine, and I saw them narrow at my lack of reaction. She didn’t falter in her runway walk, though it was obvious she was aware of the sun shining through the window behind her, outlining her, the wind skirling through the room, tossing her hair.

  Finally, she was at the bed. Leaning over me, staring down at me. Climbing onto the bed. Straddling me. She put her hands on my chest, curled her long red fingernails into my skin and muscle, gouging deep. That had always been her thing, digging in with her nails. Establishing dominance, maybe? Or maybe it was supposed to be erotic? I never liked it, and had told her so on more than one occasion. If she got lost in the heat and throes of ecstasy, Kyrie would occasionally scratch me or grab my shoulders hard enough to leave indents. With Gina…it was intentional. It was meant to cause pain and to remind me that she could draw blood if she wanted.

  There was nothing I could do to stop her. Try to buck her off, maybe. That’d work once maybe, if that. Eventually she’d just tie me down and do what she wanted anyway. And, aside from that, the struggle was half the fun for her, I think. Seeing me fight it, seeing me reduced to this, tied up and at her mercy? That was the fun for her. Or at least part of it.

  She slid her body along mine, writhing her core against my pained, imprisoned member. Shudders of revulsion shook through me.

  “Don’t do this, Gina. ” I couldn’t help it—I had to try. “Please. This isn’t how you want this. ”

  “Oh, no?” She ground herself against me, teasing. I slid through