Seduced in the dark, p.16
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       Seduced in the Dark, p.16

         Part #2 of The Dark Duet series by C. J. Roberts

  “I can try,” she said and Matthew realized he believed her. He still strongly believed Olivia was suffering from Stockholm’s Syndrome, but it didn’t mean she was trying to stop him from doing his job.

  “Demitri Balk has gone through a lot of trouble to cover up his past. According to this, prior to 1988 he was known as Vladek Rostrovich. Allegedly, he was a small-time arms dealer out of Russia,” said Matthew.

  “He disappears after ’88, and then reappears as Balk in ’98. In 2002, his company goes public and he becomes a billionaire seemingly overnight.”

  “What does that mean?” asked Olivia.

  “I’m not sure,” Matthew said. He obviously couldn’t give Olivia all the details. She didn’t have a need to know. However, he hoped giving her some of the information might lead her toward divulging information she was either keeping or didn’t know she had.

  Given the information, Matthew surmised that Pakistan, like many of their neighbors, bought weapons from Russian arms dealers in the 1980’s. It was the most plausible explanation for Rafiq and Vladek crossing paths. For a moment, Matthew wondered if the bad blood between Rafiq and Vladek revolved around the sale of weapons to enemies of Pakistan, but that didn’t seem like the kind of thing that would justify a vendetta spanning twenty years. It had to be personal.

  At least now, Matthew had a timeframe for when it might have occurred. Also, given the fact Olivia had been kidnapped for the purpose of human trafficking and not drugs or guns, there was a large piece missing from the puzzle.

  “Did Caleb ever mention why he and Rafiq want Balk dead?”

  Olivia cocked her head slightly to one side and looked up toward the ceiling as if answers were written there. Matthew recognized the behavior of someone trying to remember something. He found it interesting how people, with all their differences, were still inherently the same. Olivia finally responded, “Yes and no. The night Caleb told me he was…,” she suddenly looked sad.

  “What is it?” Matthew asked.

  “I think you’re right, Reed,” she said, her voice rough at the edges. “I’m going to need a lot of therapy.”

  “I’m sorry,” he said and meant it.

  “Me too,” she whispered and took a deep breath. “Anyway, the night he told me he planned on selling me, he said something about Balk needing to pay for what he did to Rafiq’s mother and sister. Apparently, he did something to Caleb, too. I remember because later I wondered if that’s where Caleb got the scars on his back.”

  “Is it?” Matthew asked.

  She looked away, getting choked up again. “No. He said it was some guy named Narweh. He wouldn’t tell me much; just that he was the one who whipped him when he was younger. Caleb said his life was hell until…Rafiq rescued him.”

  Matthew wrote everything down, hoping all the pieces would fall into place for him soon. Every piece was valuable because he knew alone they meant nothing, but together they would lead him toward realizing the whole picture. That’s what he loved. It was all he lived for: solving the puzzle.

  “Did he say anything else about this, Narweh, person? Do you have a timeframe?”

  Olivia shook her head, “Sorry, no. I know Caleb was younger than me when it happened.”

  “How do you know?”

  “He told me. We…we became very close by the end, Reed. Last time you were here and Sloan had just left, I was scared that maybe I made it up. I was scared that what I feel for Caleb was my way of surviving. Then I think about all the things he told me. I think about the way everyone gave him shit for being soft with me, and I…. I just don’t think I made it up. It’s real. The way I feel for him is real.” Olivia said.

  “I couldn’t tell you one way or the other.” Matthew shrugged, “My job is the case, not to determine if your feelings are real. Not to say your feelings are irrelevant, it’s just no one can answer that question but you.”

  “I know, Reed. I just….”

  “I know, Miss Ruiz,” said Matthew. “When this whole thing started, my job was to get your statement and bring someone to justice. It’s become something much larger than I, or my superiors had anticipated. I don’t want to hurt your feelings, or discount them, but the bottom-line is: Someone has to stop that auction. Everything else? I’m not sure,” Matthew said. He had done a lot of talking with Olivia over the last week. He’d learned a few things, but whether or not it would lead him to the auction was still unclear.

  Luckily, he had a team working on it now.

  “Why don’t you tell me the rest?”

  Olivia was staring off again, but she nodded. “Yeah, why not”


  My attachment to Caleb was evolving, but it wasn’t just that. I found myself anticipating his needs and learning the meanings behind his many silences. Some days, he was brutal and I scrambled to obey his every whim as flawlessly as I was capable. Other days, he seemed content just having me near while he attended to mundane things.

  Caleb liked to read, but when I asked, he never let me know what it was he was reading. When I mentioned how much I liked to read, he gifted me a copy of Shakespeare’s, Hamlet. I thought it was ironic he gave me a story about one man’s obsession with revenge and how it literally poisoned everyone around him. He didn’t seem to find it amusing, but let me keep the book anyway. I wasn’t sure what to make of the gesture.

  I thought a lot about the night he had sex with Celia in front of me. It was a painful memory for many reasons, but the worst seemed to be my nagging sense of jealousy. No matter the circumstance, I found having Caleb near was always better than not having him around. It wasn’t only his presence I came to crave, but also the man himself.

  Several weeks after the night with Celia, I was finally free of all tape and bandages. My ribs still hurt from time to time, but it wasn’t the horrible kind of pain that stole my breath. I opened my eyes and it was still dark in the room, but light enough to suggest it was morning. Celia hadn’t been in to open the curtains yet. I yawned and stretched out. I was careful not to hit Caleb as he slept beside me.

  I didn’t have the nightmares as often anymore, but whenever Caleb opted not to sleep in my room I found myself terrified of the dark and unable to sleep. Such had been the case the night before and I’d ended up yelling his name loudly over and over until he angrily opened my door in his boxer shorts and asked me what the hell I was screaming about.

  As soon as I had seen him I relaxed. I ran toward him and put my arms around him. With my face buried against his chest I immediately breathed in comfort and security. He had seemed annoyed, but he’d wiped my face and told me to get in bed – he’d stay.

  I knew morning would bring about a change in him, in the way he behaved toward me and I wasn’t ready to accept it yet. It was ironic, because at first, I hated the dark. I had spent so much time those first few weeks of my captivity, craving the sun and the light on my face. Suddenly, it seemed the opposite. In the dark, my master let down his guard and he was Caleb again. He didn’t correct me. He didn’t punish me. He didn’t push me away emotionally. Caleb was there to hold me until the nightmares passed. He was there to tell me I was beautiful. He was there to tell me I was going to be okay. In the dark, he seduced me. I didn’t want the seduction to end.

  I turned toward Caleb slowly, staring at his back. I’d seen his scars before, kissed them, but Caleb had never let me study them. With his eyes so firmly shut and him taking deep, even breaths, I took advantage of the situation to satisfy my growing curiosity. Even in the dim light, I made out the thick lines crisscrossing his tanned skin. They almost looked like welts, but I could tell they’d been healed for a long time.

  Unable to resist, I reached out with my fingertip and traced one from his shoulder to about the middle of his back. He groaned and shifted a little, and I withdrew my hand. I waited a few impatient seconds to see if he woke up, and when he didn’t, I went over the same spot again. The skin was raised by the slightest of degrees and I marveled over how many there wer
e. How did you get these? My curiosity made me bolder and I pressed my palm to his skin letting it travel the length and breadth of his back. There were dozens of the tiny welts. Who did this to you? Is this why you’re the way you are?

  Without thinking, I drew closer and pressed my lips to the ill-treated flesh. Caleb was soft, softer than I’d expected him to be given the firmness of him. Tiny, invisible blond hair met my lips and I smiled against his flesh. I’d never been so close to a man as I was to Caleb. Everything with him was a new discovery. Granted, most things I discovered about Caleb were horrible, but sometimes…sometimes I discovered he was soft.

  I lingered over his bare skin, scooting closer and enjoying him. He never asked me to touch him anymore. I thought about the time he asked me to touch him. I’d been hesitant at the time. I’d hated him. I was surprised to realize I didn’t hate him so much anymore. I felt so many things toward him, and yes, hate was perhaps among them, but there were others too, far more complex than simple hate.

  Caleb planned to sell me. I hated him for that. Everything else? I was shocked to realize I could, perhaps, forgive him. I struggled against the idea every day, at every opportunity, telling myself it would only leave me in ruins…but my heart. My heart, independent of my logic, had reserved a place for my tormentor and my solace.

  I was lost in my thoughts, stroking Caleb’s back when he let out a gruff sigh and swatted at his shoulder almost hitting me. I flinched and made a startled sound. Abruptly, he turned and grabbed the hand I had used to touch him. We stared at each other for a bit, my eyes wide and nervous, and his presumably confused and a little angry.

  “What are you doing?” he asked suspiciously. He held my hand as if he’d just pulled it from the proverbial cookie jar, and what could I say – I looked the part.

  Brazenly, I pulled my hand free and asked, “What happened to your back?” He looked at me as if I’d said something distasteful, and then fell back against his pillow as he expelled a big yawn.

  “You know, Kitten, when I first decided to call you that, I didn’t realize how aptly I’d chosen.” He read my perplexed expression and proceeded. “Curiosity killed the cat.” He smiled, but I didn’t think it was too funny.

  Jokes about killing me. Yeah – not funny.

  “Will you stop asking, if I tell you?” he said. He stretched. I tried not to be distracted by his nearly naked body and the serious case of morning wood he had going.

  “Why would I keep asking you if I had the answer?” I said and boldly smiled when he glared at me.

  “The better question would be: why do I put up with you?” I knew he meant it to be banter, but all he’d done was thrust our situation into awkward focus. We both knew why he put up with me and the answer was shitty.

  I was just about to lie and tell him I wasn’t really curious, but Celia finally came into the room with breakfast. Celia; things were surprisingly not strained between us. She hadn’t been happy Caleb had used her and sent her packing, but the following morning she’d come in, business as usual.

  Once, when Caleb hadn’t spent the night and therefore not been in my room the next morning, I spoke to her again. She’d actually seemed a little frightened when I grabbed her arm and asked her just what that smile she’d given me had been about.

  “Please don’t be upset with me,” she’d said, and I felt a little snotty and let her go. “He brought me here for you,” she continued. Her expression suggested I was stupid for not knowing – which apparently, I was.

  “What do you mean, for me?”

  “He cares for you. He cares for you the way I wish my master would care for me,” she said in an almost sad and thoughtful tone. “In a way, I was glad you were jealous – I could see it on your face. It was a nice change from being jealous of you.”

  She had stunned me; I’d never considered she was jealous. I’d never considered my position to be an enviable one.

  After Celia concluded her morning business, Caleb and I still lay in bed, just the two of us. The feeling grew more and more comfortable as the days and weeks progressed. I still hadn’t been able to convince him to let me roam the mansion – as Caleb informed me it was, but I could go out onto the balcony if he accompanied me. The view was breathtaking. It appeared to be the quintessential Spanish villa, surrounded by lush fields below and cactus in bloom in large ceramic pots, set on Spanish tile on an extravagant balcony. I’d only dreamed of living places like this. Though, in my dreams, I was never living there as a captive. Semantics.

  “Breakfast on the balcony?” I asked with more enthusiasm than necessary.

  He smiled. “What do you think this is, a vacation?” I felt a tight pinch in the center of my chest when he teased me. I think I’d rather come to like it. Not the teasing, but the way he smiled when he did.

  “Hardly,” I said, coyly.

  He stretched out again, and put his hands behind his head, then looked at me disbelievingly. He had a grin playing across his lips.

  “Did you…kiss me this morning?” Instant heat rose to my face turning me what had to be at least eight different shades of red. I worked hard to resist the urge to bury my face in my pillow.

  Kill me. Kill me, now!

  I couldn’t even speak, I just shook my head emphatically, but the look in his eyes told me he knew I was lying.

  “Yes. You did.” This time his teasing was a little painful. I was really embarrassed and I knew he just wouldn’t let it go, tears started to well up in my eyes.

  “No, I didn’t!” I said on a rush of breath, and I felt the heat of my tears cutting across my cheek.

  He rolled his eyes as he sat up. He put his finger under my chin and tilted my head upward. “Really? Tears, Kitten? You kissed me. Against my will, I might add. Shouldn’t I be the one to cry?” he said. He laughed uproariously as I buried my face in my pillow again.

  “Oh come on!” he said in an annoyed tone and laid his face next to mine. “I’ll drop it okay.”

  Bringing my head up slowly and wiping away my tears I whispered, “You promise?” He put his hand around my waist, pulled me close, and rolled me onto my back. Stunned, I simply looked up at him. “Absolutely not,” he said. Carefully, I tried to move, but his weight pinned me to the mattress. “By now, you should know I always get what I want.”

  As I stared up into his enigmatic blue eyes, it was hard to ignore the sensual line of his jaw. It showed the barest trace of his morning stubble. His hair was ruffled from sleep and while I thought it should make him look ridiculous, he was only more handsome. Caleb was a person, bed head and all. But of all the things difficult to ignore about the man on top of me, there was one that stood out…quite literally. He was incredibly hard between my thighs.

  “And what do you want?” I asked, softly.

  We stared at one another for what felt like an eternity. He looked at me in a way I’d never seen before. I didn’t want to give it a name or classification. I was more than content to just have him look at me with that expression on his face.

  Slowly, I brought my hands up to his face. I couldn’t help myself. Knowing how soft he could be, the urge to touch him was something I didn’t want to fight off.

  He seemed taken aback by my touch and the playful smile he held fell from his face. Our eyes met for the briefest of moments, and my fingers sensed the gentle shake of his head just before I kissed him so hard we both made a hurt sound. My brain fired synapses to every part of my body, and heat flooded my skin and pooled between my thighs. His tongue begged to be allowed into my mouth and I opened up to him. My hands weaved through his hair. He moaned into my mouth, and my hunger for him exploded from a place I had begun to suspect was there for quite some time.

  I started to get a little frightened when he reached down and pulled up my nightgown. I don’t think I’m ready for this. He spread my legs with his body, cradling himself between my thighs. His cock was incredibly hard. I wanted to say something, protest in some way, but then I felt the heat of him against
the wetness I’d created, and I could’ve sworn I heard us sizzle. He withdrew his lips from mine and latched his hot, sucking mouth onto my neck. I threw my head back, surprised by the sensation of both pleasure and pain, a sensation that only became more powerful as the son of a bitch bit me.

  I gasped loudly and my hands instinctively flexed into fists in his hair and I pulled him backward. “That hurt!” I said through gritted teeth.

  He pulled my hands free from his hair and held them above my head with his left hand. “You think I don’t know?” he said. The unmistakable look of lust had taken over his features and he appeared almost feral in his intensity.

  I was a little frightened but my desire for him wouldn’t let me care. I pulled his mouth down toward mine. My heart slammed around in my chest as the liquid fire in my veins seemed to burn me from the inside out.

  Abruptly, his touch turned soft and he kissed me so gently I wanted to cry again. “You’re so wet; my cock is covered in you,” he whispered against my mouth. I moaned loudly at his words, and I knew my mind was made up.

  “Make love to me,” I replied. My voice sounded alien to my own ears. His heart beat hard against me and his cock twitched against my pussy. He took a deep ragged breath and placed his forehead against my shoulder. In the silence, my hunger feuded with my growing shame over the idea he would say something cruel or make some silly joke. I would be undone.

  He finally picked his head back up and looked at me. I couldn’t decipher the message in his eyes. He conveyed so many things at once: need, anger, confusion, and something else. “Fuck,” he said.

  His shoulders slumped subtly and I worried this was the part where he was going to say something to make me wish I could crawl inside myself and die. I wanted to say something, perhaps offer some preemptive strike, like ‘I was just kidding’, but I couldn’t say anything. Then, to my relief, he let my hands go and slipped the straps of my nightgown down my shoulders, exposing my breasts.

  “You have the most beautiful tits.” Heat crawled over my flesh, and my nipples tightened.

  “Thanks?” I said, unsure.

  “You’re welcome,” he said through a smile and put his mouth around my aching nipple.

  I attempted to wrap my arms around him, but they were trapped in the straps of my nightgown. Overcome by a rush of sensation, I pressed my thighs tightly in an effort to close them and crushed Caleb closer to my body as I writhed under his consuming touch. He sucked and bit at one nipple and then the other, and did not neglect any part in between. I closed my eyes and swam in a sea of pleasure, pain, and longing.

  I think I love you.

  The thought swirled in my brain like an angry tornado begging me to say the words out loud, but I couldn’t – I couldn’t possibly. I felt like I might have an orgasm just then, before he was even inside me, before he’d even touched me down there. I teetered on the edge, which felt both delicious and annoying.

  Say it! I think I love you.

  He reached down between our bodies and slid his underwear past his erection.

  Oh my god! Oh my god!

  “Wait,” I said, breathless. Caleb paused.

  “What?” he asked. He sounded genuine in his concern.

  “Be gentle, okay,” I whispered and resigned myself. The look in his eyes turned devastating. It was as if he wanted to tear me apart with his teeth, and I probably would have let him.

  “Don’t worry, Kitten. I’m not going to fuck you,” he said through a rueful grin.

  Before I could ask him why the hell not, the hot pulse of his thick shaft splayed the lips of my sex. He rubbed the hard, yet pliant flesh of his cock against the swollen bud of my clit and I was paralyzed. Desperate, mewling sounds came out of my throat, and my hips instinctively rocked back and forth against the heat of him. I was going to come, and it was going to be incredible. Up and down he moved his cock against my sensitive flesh, and all I could do was pine as I tried to get my stupid arms out of my nightgown so I could touch him.

  His mouth traveled up my body and nestled at the nape of my neck. He bit me again, but this time I inclined toward him. “Does it feel good, Pet?” he asked in a voice dripping with arrogance – I didn’t care. I nodded fervently, and looked for his mouth. He let his lips dance just above mine, all the while keeping his rhythm against my clit.

  “I want to hear you say it. Tell me it feels good. Tell me how much you want me to make that little pussy of yours come.”

  Oh. My. God!

  Every muscle in my body tightened all at once. The opening of my pussy contracted, and grasped at what wasn’t there. My heart pounded and my hands grabbed at the sheets while my legs pressed against Caleb as hard as they could. Orgasm ripped through my body indiscriminately, engulfing everything in its path, and I was so overwhelmed, tears ran down my face.

  “I love you!” I screamed. I couldn’t help myself and I kept crying, even as Caleb’s hot semen splashed against my sex and belly.

  He panted hard and grabbed at his cock, expelling everything he had onto me. Then he grabbed my ass tightly and squeezed me as his mouth once again found mine. He kissed me until we both settled some, and then gently collapsed against me.

  Chapter Fourteen

  Caleb knew his weight was probably crushing Livvie, but he wasn’t quite ready to address this new and provocative situation. He supposed it was common for a person, especially a female person, to say incredulous things in the throes of passion, but he couldn’t actually say it had ever happened to him before. She had
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