Conflict, p.21
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       Conflict, p.21

           M. S. Willis
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  His voice was dripping with menace as he said, “There is something you need to learn, Paige. Unfortunately, it appears I’m going to have to be the one to show you.”

  Before I knew what was happening, Daemon spun me around and used his foot to pull my feet out from under me. I went down onto the bed just as he grabbed my arms and held them pinned behind my back with one of his large hands. With his other hand, he reached forward and held my face against the mattress. The position was exactly the same as the one Chris had used when he attacked me at my apartment. As soon as my mind and body made the connection between the helplessness of that night and the position Daemon now held me in, I freaked and starting fighting against him.

  His hold wasn’t painful, but it was forceful enough that even fighting, I was unable to break free. Daemon didn’t make a sound as I fought and he remained still as if my struggles were nothing to him.

  “Let me go, Daemon!” I had to turn my head to keep from being smothered by the mattress below my face. I bucked and attempted to kick him away from me, but he held me in a way that prevented my legs from being able to move. I was completely powerless to break free from his grasp and tears started pouring from my eyes. My heartbeat suddenly increased from fear and I choked on sobs as they escaped my body.

  “Stop struggling, Paige.” His words were controlled and without obvious emotion. His body moved over me and his mouth came down to brush across my exposed ear. Speaking in a whisper he said, “You need to learn that you are not unbreakable. I know you think of yourself as a badass, but you couldn’t be further from the truth in your thinking. When you stop struggling against me, I’ll let you go, but until then, I will hold you like this. Do you understand?”

  I attempted to nod my head in response, but I wasn’t able to move due to the position he held me in. Tears continued pouring down my face and I was in shock that Daemon was handling me in such a rough manner. “Let me up, Daemon, please. Please, baby, I can’t stand being held like this. That fucking bastard held me like this. Please, let me go!”

  I was shocked by the absolute terror coursing through my system. I realized instantly that, without my knowledge, I had been more affected by that night with Chris than I had believed. Being placed back in this position was bringing the emotions from that night to the forefront of my mind and I felt like I was being transported to a place I had fought so hard to forget.

  “Please….please…” I’d been reduced to begging while I still struggled against him.

  “Paige, do as I say and stop struggling and I will let you go. Get yourself under control and you will be freed, but not until you stop fighting.” He was matter of fact in his instructions.

  I continued to struggle and within a few minutes I finally started to calm down. I took in large breaths while I fought to get my body and mind under control. I stilled under Daemon’s grasp and remained quiet as I waited for him to finally set me free.

  Once Daemon was satisfied that I’d stopped fighting against him, he released me and took a step back. I rolled onto my side and curled into a tight fetal position. My head was swimming with different emotions and I couldn’t figure out whether I was more upset about the terror flooding through me, or the fact that Daemon had been the one to ignite it.

  Daemon stood above me and patiently waited for me to stop crying. I peeked up at him from behind my tear soaked lashes and his face still maintained a blank expression. His eyes, however, were full of compassion and guilt.

  “Don’t look at me like that, you bastard. Don’t act like you are sorry for what you did.” I continued crying, but my tears now flowed as a result of the anger that was starting to build within me. I couldn’t believe that the one man who I had finally allowed within my walls would be so cruel in his treatment of me.

  He was silent as he continued to stare down at me. After a few minutes of watching me, he spoke. “I’m not sorry for what I just did. I did it on purpose to show you just how vulnerable you are.”

  I rolled over and started to push myself off the bed. Fuck Daemon! If he thought he had the right to put his hands on me in anger, than he apparently had no fucking clue who he was dealing with. I was not the type to be manhandled and continue sticking around for it to happen again. As I was shoving myself up into a standing position, Daemon’s hand came down on my shoulder and he pushed me back on the bed. I started to fight again when he said, “Paige, stop. If you fight against me again, I’ll put you back in that position.”

  My body froze and I looked around for any manner of escape. I knew damn well that Daemon could overpower me, so I sought out any distraction I could find that would give me the opportunity to run.

  “You’re not leaving this room, Paige. So stop looking for a way to escape. You need to hear me out.”

  My eyes shot up to his and I glared at him with all the anger and hatred I could manage. “Fuck you, Daemon. You just put me in the exact position that Chris held me in on the night he almost raped me! You’re a fucking asshole and I’m leaving this apartment right fucking now!”

  I started to get off the bed, only to be shoved down once again. When I started fighting, Daemon crawled over me and grabbed my hands and held them above my head. He used the weight of his body to hold the rest of me in place. His face was close to mine and his eyes burned into me.

  “I am well aware of the position I put you in, Paige. I saw the pictures that lunatic left behind. I realized that if he controlled Annie in such a manner, that he probably attempted to control you in the same way.”

  My eyes widened at his statement and I became even more furious to discover that he knew exactly what he was doing by holding me down as he did. I started struggling once more, but quickly realized it was useless. I wasn’t going anywhere until Daemon decided to let me go.

  Once my body stilled, he continued. “I hated having to do that to you, but one of these days you are going to have to realize you are more helpless than you think. You have a lot to learn about yourself, Damsel, and it’s about time someone took the time to teach you before you get yourself killed!”

  I closed my eyes at his words but then suddenly opened them again to find that he was still staring at me. His lesson was understood and it irritated me that he forced me to realize my own vulnerability, but did he have to use such a fucked up method? My fury was building at the realization that he had intended to scare me, that he had purposely caused me pain. I could feel my stubborn will coming alive once again and my fear and anxiety were replaced with scorn and indignation. “In case you forgot, I did some damage to Chris both times he attacked me. I’m not as fucking helpless as you think.”

  Daemon’s head angled and a single eyebrow arched up. An arrogant grin came across his face before he said, “Is that so? I happen to think you just got lucky with Chris. Like you, Chris has no fucking control over himself and the situations around him. If he was in control, you wouldn’t have gotten in those lucky shots. But you can prove me wrong, if you would like to try. Since you aren’t as helpless as I believe, than free yourself from me now. Show me just how strong and powerful you are.”

  His head came down lower and he trailed his nose down my cheek and along my jaw. Even in the midst of our argument, my body reacted to his touch and my breath shuddered as a result. I could feel myself start to tremble underneath him and I became angry that he could affect me as strongly as he did while I was furious with him.

  His body vibrated as he chuckled softly. He made a point to look at my arms and a grin escaped one corner of his mouth at the sight of the goose bumps trailing down my skin. His eyes traveled back to mine and I felt burned by the heat within them. “Such a beautiful thing. Even now, your body knows to whom it belongs. You react to me so strongly, Damsel. It’s probably one of the most seductive things about you.”

  What the hell?!

  “How the hell do you go from being pissed off to being turned on?” The confusion must have shown on my face because he smiled again and quickly pecked me on t
he lips.

  “Have you already forgotten our agreement? We can’t walk away from each other anymore when we’re angry. You promised me we could go straight to the working it out part. I can tell just how irate you are with me right now, and trust me when I tell you, I feel the same about you. Knowing that we have to work this out due to our anger, how could I not be turned on?” He paused for a beat before adding, “But that is beside the point, I believe you were going to show me how tough you are. So, go ahead, Damsel, free yourself.”

  His grin turned into a wide smile and I melted at the sight of his dimples. I inwardly scolded my body for swooning when my mind wanted nothing more than to kick his ass. This was ridiculous. There was no way I was going to be able to free myself from him. My arms and legs were held in place and his weight pinned the rest of me to the bed. I would only be making an ass out of myself to struggle against him.

  “You know I can’t move, Daemon.”

  He chuckled. “I know.”

  I huffed out a resigned breath before saying, “You know you’re a rotten bastard, Daemon.”

  This time he broke out into an actual laugh. “I know.”

  I relaxed my muscles to indicate that I was done fighting and Daemon rolled slightly to remove some of the weight from my body. His hand, however, never released my arms. He took the opportunity to run his other hand up my stomach to just below my breasts.

  “You should know that you are currently feeling up a helpless and pissed off female.” The huskiness of my voice gave away my arousal at his touch and my statement wasn’t as convincing as I’d intended it to be.

  “I love how you try to convince me how unaffected you are, when your body and voice always give you away. I don’t like to risk teaching you something that might hide those reactions from me, but you need to learn to control yourself, Damsel. More importantly, you need to learn to protect yourself. I intend to show you both.”

  His hand finally released my arm and I brought them down from above my head. His thumb rubbed along the bruise on my shoulder and I watched his face as he looked me over.

  He sat up and pulled me into a sitting position next to him. Moving behind me, he straddled his legs on either side of my hips and began rubbing at my shoulders and neck. My muscles ached in response to his touch and it was quickly apparent how much strain I had placed on my physical body during the day. He brought his mouth down to my shoulder and starting slowly moving up my neck, alternating between light kisses and soft bites. I quivered at the contact and my head rolled back to provide him better access.

  Despite the wanton desire he was building in me, I was curious about his statement. My voice came out in a raspy whisper as I spoke. “How do you intend to show me those things?”

  I could feel the silent laughter rumble through him as he answered, “I’ll teach you to fight, Paige. That will help you protect yourself when you need to and it will also show you how to keep control over yourself physically.” His hands went back to massaging my body. “Controlling your mind, however, is a different story all together and requires a slightly different technique.”

  “Such as?” I was skeptical of where Daemon was going with this.

  He patted me on the back and removed himself from behind me. He stood up from the bed and walked towards the bathroom. “Rather than telling you, my sweet Damsel, I’d rather show you. Plus, we need to start working things out.” He winked and held out his hand for me to follow. “Come, you need a bath and I would like to help make sure you get good and clean.” The suggestive lilt to his voice made my insides tingle.

  I laughed at his suggestion, but got up anyway to follow him. My muscles were stiff and burning from the physical exertion I put myself through earlier, and the thought of soaking in some hot water was appealing. As I started crossing the room, his phone started ringing. He pulled it from his pocket and hit the button to send the call to voicemail. Taking hold of my hand, he led me into the bathroom and placed his phone down on the counter.

  He walked me over to the large tub and I was suddenly giddy with anticipation for a shared bath. I stood by the tub as he started the water and added a sensual smelling oil to the water. The smell of the oil invaded my senses as it rolled up with the steam. I felt Daemon’s hands start removing the knives still strapped to my thighs and I looked down to find him examining them before tossing them aside.

  He looked up at me and arched an eyebrow. “Hasn’t anyone ever told you not to bring a knife to a gun fight?”

  I laughed and said, “Hey, I ended up with the gun, so I guess it didn’t work out all that bad.”

  His expression grew serious and he stood up and pulled on the hem of my shirt to remove it. Once the material was off my body he tossed the shirt aside and his eyes traveled over the newly exposed skin. His hands ran up the skin of my abdomen as he said, “I’d like to know exactly how you ended up with Chris’ gun, and when I’m done bathing you, I expect to hear the full story.”

  I nodded my head in agreement and then gasped as he reached around me to remove my bra. His fingertips traveled softly down my torso before he unbuttoned my shorts and pushed them and my underwear down to my ankles. Kneeling down, he lifted one foot and then the other until he had freed me from the rest of my clothes. Daemon stood back up and took my hand to help me into the bath. The water stung when it first came in contact with my skin and as I sank down into it, the heat instantly began relaxing the tension from my muscles.

  I watched as Daemon began stripping off his clothes. He was pulling the shirt over his head and I admired the way the muscles in his arms and stomach flexed with his movement. Just as he had pulled the shirt off, his phone started ringing again. He looked annoyed as he walked over to silence the device. He picked it up and glanced at the caller I.D. and then reluctantly held a finger up to me while answering it.

  “This better be important, Logan.” Daemon’s voice was gritty with irritation.

  Daemon’s face went blank again and his free hand clenched into a fist. “Yeah, I’ll be there in a minute. Are you sure he’s gone?” Daemon’s eyes shot to mine and he held my stare. “Fine. See you in ten.”

  My heart sank to hear that he had to leave and I worried that something happened to one of his bars. He ended the call and pulled his shirt back on. He kneeled down next to the tub and ran the back of his hand down my cheek. “I intend to pick up where we left off as soon as I get back.” He breathed out a resigned huff and took one of my hands in his. “I’m going to be upfront and honest with you, Damsel; unlike the decision someone made today.” I felt shameful at his words, but he smiled and reached up to brush his hand along my hair. “Regardless…Logan called, Chris was spotted at Tomb tonight.

  The water splashed as I quickly sat up. “What?!”

  Daemon’s hands came down on my shoulders and pushed me back into the water. “Logan saw him near one of the bars inside. He called the police, but Chris left before the authorities arrived. They are scouring the town trying to find him as we speak.

  Panic flooded me and reversed all the good work the water had done for my aching muscles. I was instantly tense and frustrated and I resolved to get out of the tub and go with Daemon to the club. “I’m going with you...”

  “No.” His response was so quick and forceful. I started to balk when he shushed me and explained, “Chris isn’t there, Damsel. The only reason I need to go is to deal with the police in the bar. I’m sure there will be paperwork and other matters that I need to address. I would prefer that you stay here while I’m gone. Alex should be in the living room with David by now and you will be sufficiently safe in his company.

  Alex in Daemon’s apartment? When did I enter an alternate dimension?

  “Why is Alex in the living room?” I eyed Daemon suspiciously and a sly grin broke over his face.

  “When he’s not accusing me of beating you, he’s actually a decent guy. We had a long walk together in the woods today and had plenty of time to work out our differences, thanks to
you. It seems Alex and I have one thing in common, we are both determined to keep you alive. I explained to him that you were able to get to the woods because I had to attend to business and could not watch you. Had I been home, I’m sure your little stunt wouldn’t have worked out as well. Alex agreed and he graciously offered to help keep you occupied while I’m away tending to the bars.” Daemon’s smile grew brighter and I saw a mischievous twinkle in his eye.

  The sonofabitch! I could not believe Alex and Daemon had made a deal to babysit me together. My head started to shake in objection. “Oh no. That’s not happening. He is not babysitting me while you are gone.” The water splashed again as I crossed my arms over my chest. “No way, Daemon. I’m a grown adult.”

  Daemon chuckled. “Unfortunately, Damsel, you have left us with no other choice. You stirred the hornet’s nest today by going after that psychopath. As you can see, he has already attempted something, and I find it interesting he choose to go someplace where I would most likely be found. If I leave here, he might come looking for you, so I prefer that Alex or I stay with you at all times until things have settled down.”

  I rolled my eyes but continued listening without arguing. It was useless trying to debate this with Daemon, but Alex was going to get one hell of an earful.

  “On top of that, you can’t be trusted and David has proven that he can’t be trusted either. Now, take a long bath, try to get some rest and I’ll be back to pick up where we left off. If your shoulder starts hurting from the bruise, put some ice on it. Okay?”

  I leaned my head back on the tub and closed my eyes. “Fine.”

  Daemon laughed when he said, “That’s a good girl. We have much to discuss when I return.”

  “Can’t wait.”

  I peeked an eye open after using Daemon’s line on him and he smiled brightly at me. He pushed himself off the floor and was walking to exit the door when I called out, “Why aren’t you more upset with me for lying to you? If I was in your shoes, I’d be too pissed to talk to you right now.”

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