His rules. Her pleasure. His Way.
Italian heiress and international financier Milla Castra knows she can’t avoid him forever. Irredeemably confident and controlled Lex Duncan once shared her craving for things deliciously forbidden. He was her lover. Her Master. And the husband she’s kept secret from everyone.
But Lex will never relinquish what’s his—and Milla is definitely his. And he knows she can’t resist the exquisite pleasure that awaits in his arms. When the violence of her past threatens them both, Lex will risk everything to keep Milla safe…before she submits to the cruelest master imaginable, Fear.
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“This is non-negotiable. I’m bringing you home. Besides, the only plane available for you is our plane.”
His words awakened images of the escapades we’d engaged in during our many flights together. My skin tingled, reminding me of how long it had been since we’d touched.
I wiped sweat from my brow. “Does making these high-handed decisions without discussing them with me get you off?”
“You’re the one who knows what gets me off. Why don’t you tell me?” His eyes bored into mine.
“You are insufferable.” I ground my teeth and held back the urge to tell him I’d book a commercial flight, just to spite him. Since my kidnapping, I wasn’t stupid enough to risk my safety simply to make a point with Lex.
“I’m your husband. I have a right to bring you home.”
“Why now? Why not a few months ago or, for a matter of fact, yesterday?” I turned my back to him, closing my eyes and clenching my fists open and shut. “Please, Lex. Tell me why you’re here.”
If he’d come sooner, I might not have signed those stupid papers. I might have waited to see if we still had a chance. No, I couldn’t second-guess my decisions anymore. He deserved someone who wasn’t selfish.
“You want to know why I waited? I wanted you to heal. You wouldn’t talk to me. You needed something I couldn’t give you. And in my ever-loving stupidity, I believed you’d get that here. When I realized you were hiding from me, I decided I’d come get you. I’ve spent the last month clearing my schedule so I could spend time with you here until we figured things out. That was until a few days ago.”
Lex sighed. “I don’t know how to tell you this.” He moved behind me but didn’t touch me. “I got this in my private e-mail.”
He reached around me and gave me a printout. It had a picture of me bound against a pole, bleeding from whiplashes, and my head hanging down. There was a message underneath that read, Although she suffered, she still owes me a debt that I plan to collect.
My feet buckled, but before I fell to the floor, Lex grabbed me. The hours of my torture and captivity flashed before my eyes, and nausea invaded my stomach. I’d worked so hard to push all the memories back, and now everything seemed fresh once again.
“Easy, baby. I’ve got you.” Lex lifted me into his arms and sat with me in the nearby chair.
I couldn’t breathe. A heaviness settled on my chest. I had to get clean. I rubbed my arms, trying to cleanse the feel of dirty hands on my body.
“I’m not going to let anyone hurt you again,” Lex whispered into my hair.
His scent enveloped me, soap and light cologne. I leaned into his comfort, letting the security of his body drive my fears back. I was protected here, more than I’d felt with the ten bodyguards who’d watched over me during my entire stay in Italy. I buried my face into his chest and clutched his shirt.
I was safe if I was with him.
No, Mil, you can’t do this. You’re leading him on.
“Please, Lex. Let me get up. I can’t depend on you like this. I’ll fall apart.”
He opened his lips to argue, but then conceded, loosening his arms and allowing me to stand. He remained in the chair, staring at me, in the way that made me want to kneel and give him anything he asked.
I knew this would be hard, but how was I going to make it if only a few minutes in his presence gave me the urge to call my assistant and cancel the plans I’d set in motion?
“I’m taking you home, Mil. I’ll throw you over my shoulder and carry you onto the plane. Just know you won’t get back to Boston without me.”
I took a deep breath trying to keep my anger in check. The old Milla would have given him a piece of her mind, but I couldn’t let him get me riled up. My safety was the most important thing, and no matter how much my gut wanted to play the brat, it wasn’t smart.
“Fine,” I conceded. “We’ll go back together.”
He gaped at me in surprise. “What’s the catch?”
“Nothing. Until I can wrap my head around what’s going on, it’s better for you to take me home than for me to travel on my own.”
Lex frowned at me, looking a little confused. “Milla, I don’t know what’s going on with you. Why aren’t you fighting with me?” He stood, stepping forward, as I moved back.
I had to tell him what I’d done. He deserved to know.
“Lex, I’m not the same. Things are going to change, once we’re back home.”
“Whatever it is, we’ll work through it. That’s what marriage is about.”
“There’s something you should know before we get on the plane.” I paused. Here goes. Pain stabbed my heart. What I was about to say would hurt no matter how I told him.
I had to get it out before I lost my nerve.
“Lex. Today, I started…”
A loud commotion sounded from the terrace doors.
“Why is he in my house? He is not welcome here. He is not good for you.”
I cringed as my mother stepped onto the balcony, followed by my exasperated sister-in-law a few paces behind her.
“He does not belong here.”
“Mamma. Not now.” I stared at Lex, pleading with my eyes not to mention what we were discussing.
He nodded and mouthed, This discussion isn’t over.