Authors: Marian Tee
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Women's Fiction, #Contemporary Women, #Romance, #Contemporary, #New Adult & College, #Romantic Comedy, #Two Hours or More (65-100 Pages), #Contemporary Fiction
HEART RACER #5: CLICK
Book 3 of Helios and MJ’s Story
Copyright 2014 by Streak Digital Publishing
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
About Click, Heart Racer #5
Helios Andreadis, the gorgeous, rich, and powerful President of the Afxisi, will do everything it takes to rescue the girl he loves. She has gone through so much pain, most of it caused by his own cruelty. The thought of her having to suffer again, and this time in the hands of a sadistic trafficker with a ruthless and gruesome fascination for violating human flesh—
He would never let that happen. He would do everything to get her back, even if it means doing the one thing she may never forgive him for.
MJ Cartwright has always done her best to lead a sunny, optimistic life – even when all the chips are down and she’s literally black and blue from all the injuries she’s gotten from her “father”. But now, it feels impossible to even consider the mere existence of hope, with nowhere to run, no one to help her, and nothing to make her reality less true.
If all she can look forward to is being a sex slave to a monster, maybe…it’s time to give up. She would never be able to go back to Helios after this anyway.
Dank floors, pitch-black darkness, and the stench of days-old urine mingling with the odor of sweat and human waste. Things like that made it easier, safer, to just go crazy, especially when I thought of the fact that it was my pee…my waste…I was sitting next to.
A shudder ran through me, and I fought hard against the insidious urge to take the plunge and just end it.
Breathe. Relax. Keep your eyes open.
I repeated the words to myself silently in my mind while I rotated my ankles and wrists. All of them were chained, but I wanted to keep my limbs moving. Skin scraped against skin as I stirred on the ground. Somewhere along the way, someone had torn off my pants, leaving me in my shirt and panties.
Stay focused. Breathe. Be ready for anything.
Usually, those words were enough. But right now, I was feeling more than a little hopeless, forcing myself to seek comfort in make-believe.
You should have called for me sooner, brat.
His voice was a loving growl, just like the real Helios’. The voice came from the back of my mind, like Helios was standing behind me…but not letting me see him. He sounded so close it made me want to cry.
I want to see you. Please.
You’re so selfish.
You still can’t see me.
Because I don’t want to spoil you too much. You need to be stronger right now, not weaker. I’ll let you see me naked—
I just want to see you, not “see” you like that!
Are you sure?
Helios’ voice was both a taunt and a teasing purr. It made my stomach twist for a reason other than fear, which lately was all that I had been feeling.
No. That’s what I would never do right now. I’ll always be here for you, brat. I’ll keep you company while we wait until I find the bastard who took you and—
“Are you awake?” A hoarse voice, followed by the sound of rattling chains.
Helios’ voice disappeared like I had never heard it. Like it was just a figment of my imagination, which it was, but I was trying my best to ignore that fact.
His name was No. Or at least that was what they told him, he said. We were both sure it wasn’t true. The man who held us captive, the gender of his victims didn’t matter to him. What he cared about was how much fight you put up. He paid highly for those who resisted and killed those who dared bring him something weak.
No knew all about this because he had been around the longest, he told me proudly. He resisted every time.
I didn’t have the heart to tell him how wrong it was that he sounded so proud of doing what the man wanted, couldn’t let him know that I had a feeling he had already given up even if he thought he was still fighting.
“Yeah.” My voice was hoarse and knife thin. One word, and it felt like I had sliced my parched throat open. I wished I knew how many hours it took to feel this thirsty, but since James hadn’t ever thought of torturing me this way, I had no previous experience to rely on.
“You know what they say about missing persons?” No didn’t wait for an answer. “They say most people who get lost more than three days? Seventy-two hours? They’re rarely found alive…if ever.”
“But y-you’re still alive,” I pointed out, more desperately than I wanted. Inside me, panic was gradually taking the form of a monstrous little girl, tittering as she came close. I hated how contrary my imagination could be, making Helios impossible to see while my nightmares were all too vivid.
Panic came closer and closer, but I pushed her away. She fell back, still tittering.
“Am I?” No chuckled, but this was the first time something he did made me feel skittish and uneasy.
“Are you saying you’re a ghost?” I scoffed, but my voice sounded even thinner and more desperate than before. I wanted to call out for Helios, but I didn’t, telling myself that Helios was right. I had to be strong while waiting for him.
“Stop it,” I said sharply.
“I’m good at counting hours, even in the dark. Do you know that?” he asked in a singsong voice. “
“Stop it, No. I mean it.” I didn’t know what got into No, but I didn’t like this psychotic side of him. Had he finally snapped? Had it made him forget that victims had to stick together?
“You know how long you’ve been here?”
“No—” But I wasn’t sure if I was saying his name or if I wanted him to shut up.
“Seventy-one hours.” He started to laugh, and in the background I swore I could hear Panic tittering with him.
I shook my head furiously. My hair swatted my face and my lips with each vigorous shake, but I kept shaking my head because it was the only way to keep Panic from licking me all over.
“It doesn’t matter,” I whispered fiercely.
?” No was taunting me. Why?
“Doesn’t matter how long I’m here! He’ll find me!”
“No one will find you—”
“Yes, he will—”
“No, no, no,” he sang, and Panic sang along with him.
“Yes,” I shouted. “He’ll find me! Because Helios loves me—”
He answered in his singsong voice, “Who’s Helios? I don’t know no Helios. Helios made a fool of us all—”
“He’s Helios Andreadis, the President of the Afxisi—”
Lights suddenly switched on, blazingly bright, blinding me for a second. For a second, I was terrifyingly disoriented, feeling like I had been transplanted from a dungeon to the operating ward of an asylum.
Something rattled, the sound of chains being yanked down, and when I forced myself to look towards the sound, I saw a man calmly releasing himself from his restraints.
The man glanced at me—
One eye pulled down by sunken skin, the other half turned into a maze of scars, and sneering, drooling lips.
“My name is Manolito Chavez, MJ. It’s been a pleasure getting to know you, my dear. Your strength has amazed me all this time, but I knew there had to be a reason for it. You thought someone would come after you, didn’t you?”
The lips folded into a smile, making the face more grotesque. But what really made me want to throw up was the look in his eyes. He wanted to devour me, bit by bit, and he wanted me to cry with every inch he ate.
Something told me that my flesh wouldn’t be the first this man’s tasted, literally.
“And who knows? Perhaps he might have succeeded. But now that I know his name, I know what to look for. I know who to hide you from. I’m sorry to say, my dear, he will never find you again.”
No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no.
I screamed the word inside my mind. I would rather die than let him know how much he had me terrified. I tried to summon Helios, but it seemed even his image, his voice, was blocked from my mind.
NO, NO, NO!
This time, I knew I wasn’t saying his name.
This time, I knew there was no escape.
“I think I’d have killed you again if I had found you dead, Rick.”
Rick swallowed, knowing that every word spoken by the man framed on the doorway was true. He was more than a few years younger than Rick, but only the greatest fool on Earth would let something like age make him think Helios Andreadis was harmless. At sixteen, Helios had turned his back on his inheritance and moved halfway across the world to build his own billion-dollar underground racing club. That was the least of his achievements.
Standing six-foot-seven, golden haired, and with striking leonine eyes, Helios was often compared to the sun god. It should have been a comforting analogy, but the younger man’s cold hard visage reminded Rick that suns could just as easily burn people alive with its heat and, in some cases, destroy entire planets and galaxies.
“President,” Kellion Argyros murmured. “Maybe we can let Rick lower his hands first and have a peaceful discussion?” Normally, the VP of Afxisi would have a wickedly charming smile playing on his handsome face, but not now. It had been almost three days to the second since they discovered MJ had been abducted, and they had been on the road since then.
The tension eased from Kellion’s frame when Helios slowly nodded, lowering his gun. Helios had been like a ticking bomb all these days, and there was no telling what could trigger him. Even now, the memory of how Helios had gone berserk upon finding out MJ had been taken made Kellion wince. He definitely did not want that to happen again.
“Shall we sit down?” Yuri Athanas’ voice was quiet and smooth, the sound of it having a calming effect on everyone in the room. Helios shook his head, but Kellion took the decrepit-looking chair across Rick’s narrow bed. Beside him, Andreus Economou, the club’s hot-headed treasurer, walked towards the dusty window, taking a peek outside before perching himself on the window sill.
Sparing a glance at his surroundings, Yuri noted a few interesting things about the room that Rick had rented for the week. Unused towels, an unpacked bag, and the neat bed. “You really didn’t plan on staying here for a week, did you?”
Rick shook his head. “No. The men after me tend to be lazy. When they find out I’m checked in for the week, they’ll take their time to get to me. By the time they come here, I’d have crossed several towns already.” He looked at Helios. “You’re either a really good tracker…or you’re more desperate to find me than James’ men…or your brother Herod’s.”