Authors: Anna Zaires
“So why didn’t you just ask me out on a date?” I’m struggling to comprehend the incomprehensible. “Why did you have to kidnap me?”
“Because you went on a date with that boy.” There is sudden rage in Julian’s voice, and icy terror spreads through my veins. “You kissed him when you were already mine.”
I swallow. “But I didn’t even know you wanted me.” My voice shakes a little. “I only saw you at the club—”
“And at your graduation.”
“And at my graduation,” I agree, my heart hammering in my chest. “But I thought you might’ve been there for someone else. Like a younger brother or sister . . .”
He takes a deep breath, and I can see that he’s much more calm now. “It doesn’t matter now, Nora. I wanted you here, with me, not out there. It’s much safer for you—and for that boy.”
“Safer for Jake?”
Julian nods. “If you had gone out with him again, I would’ve killed him. It’s best for everyone that you’re here, away from him and others who might want you.”
He’s completely serious about killing Jake. It’s not an idle threat. I can see it on his face.
My lips feel dry, so I lick them. His eyes follow my tongue, and I can see his breathing changing. My simple action clearly turned him on.
Suddenly, a crazy and desperate idea occurs to me. He obviously wants me. He’s even willing to do things to make me happy—like letting my family know I’m alive. What if I use that fact to my advantage? I’m inexperienced, but I’m not completely naive. I know how to flirt with guys. Could I do this? Could I somehow seduce Julian into letting me go?
I’m going to have to be careful about it. I can’t have a sudden about-face. I can’t act like I despise him one minute and love him the next. He needs to believe that he can take me off the island and that I would willingly remain with him for as long as he wants me. That I would never look at Jake or another man again.
I’m going to have to take my time and convince Julian of my devotion.
For the rest of the dinner, I continue acting scared and intimidated. It’s not really an act because I do feel that way. I’m in the presence of a man who casually talks about killing innocent people. How else am I supposed to feel?
However, I also try to be seductive. It’s small things, like the way I brush my hair back while looking at him. The way I bite into a piece of papaya that Beth cut up for our dessert and lick the juice off my lips.
I know my eyes are pretty, so I look at him shyly, through half-closed eyelids. I’ve practiced that look in front of the mirror, and I know my eyelashes look impossibly long when I tilt my head at exactly the right angle.
I don’t go overboard because he wouldn’t find that believable. I just do little things that he might find arousing and appealing.
I also try to avoid any other confrontational topics. Instead, I ask him about the island and how he came to own it.
“I came across this island five years ago,” Julian explains, his lips curving into a charming smile. “My Cessna was having a mechanical problem, and I needed a place to land. Luckily, there’s a flat, grassy area right on the other side, near the beach. I was able to bring down the plane without crashing it completely and make the necessary repairs. It took me a couple of days, so I got a chance to explore the island. By the time I was able to fly away, I knew this place was exactly what I wanted. So I purchased it.”
I widen my eyes and look impressed. “Just like that? Isn’t that expensive?”
He shrugs. “I can afford it.”
“Do you come from a wealthy family?” I’m genuinely curious. My captor is a huge mystery to me. I stand a much better chance of manipulating him if I understand him at least a little bit.
His expression cools a little. “Something like that. My father had a successful business, which I took over after his death. I changed its direction and expanded it.”
“What kind of business?”
Julian’s mouth twists slightly. “Import-export.”
“Electronics and other things,” he says, and I realize that he’s not going to reveal more than that for now. I strongly suspect that ‘other things’ is a euphemism for something illegal. I don’t know much about business, but I somehow doubt that selling TVs and MP3 players results in this kind of wealth.
I steer the conversation toward a more innocuous topic. “Does the rest of your family also use the island?”
His gaze goes flat and hard. “No. They’re all dead.”
“Oh, I’m sorry . . .” I don’t really know what to say. What can you say that will make something like that better? Yes, he kidnapped me, but he’s still a human being. I can’t even imagine suffering that kind of loss.
“It’s all right.” His tone is unemotional, but I can sense the pain underneath. “It happened a long time ago.”
I nod sympathetically. I genuinely feel bad for him, and I don’t try to hide the glimmer of tears in my eyes. I’m too soft—Leah says that every time I cry at a depressing movie—and I can’t help the sadness I feel at Julian’s suffering.
It ends up working in my favor, because his expression warms slightly. “Don’t pity me, my pet,” he says softly. “I’ve gotten over it. Why don’t you tell me about yourself instead?”
I blink at him slowly, knowing that the gesture draws attention to my eyes. “What would you like to know?” Didn’t he find out everything about me in the process of stalking me?
He smiles. It makes him look so beautiful that I feel a tiny squeezing sensation in my chest.
Stop it, Nora. You’re the one seducing him, not the other way around.
“What do you like to read?” he asks. “What kind of movies do you like to watch?”
And for the next thirty minutes, he learns all about my enjoyment of romance novels and detective thrillers, my hatred of romantic comedies, and my love of epic movies with lots of special effects. Then he asks me about my favorite food and music, and listens attentively as I talk about my preference for eighties’ bands and deep-dish pizza.
In a weird way, it’s almost flattering, the way he’s so utterly focused on me, hanging on to my every word. The way his blue eyes are glued to my face. It’s as though he wants to really understand me, as though he truly cares. Even with Jake, I didn’t get the sense that I was anything more than a pretty girl whose company he enjoyed.
With Julian, I feel like I’m the most important thing in the world to him. I feel like I truly matter.
* * *
After dinner, he leads me upstairs to his bedroom. My heart begins to pound in fear and anticipation.
Like the other two nights, I know I won’t fight him. In fact, tonight I will go even further as part of my escape-by-seduction plan.
I will pretend to make love to him of my own free will.
As we walk into the room, I decide to brave a topic that has been nagging at the back of my mind. “Julian . . .” I ask, purposefully keeping my voice soft and uncertain. “What about protection? What if I get pregnant or something?”
He stops and turns toward me. There’s a small smile on his lips. “You won’t, my pet. You have that implant, don’t you?”
My eyes widen in shock. “How do you know about that?” The implant is a tiny plastic rod underneath my skin, completely invisible except for a small mark where it was inserted.
“I accessed your medical history before bringing you here. I wanted to make sure you don’t have any life-threatening medical conditions, like diabetes.”
I stare at him. I should feel furious at this invasion of my privacy, but I feel relieved instead. It seems that my kidnapper is quite considerate—and more importantly, not trying to impregnate me.
“And you don’t have to worry about any diseases,” he adds, understanding my unspoken concern. “I’ve been recently tested, and I have always used condoms in the past.”
I don’t know if I believe that. “Why aren’t you using them with me, then? Is it because I was a virgin?”
He nods, and there is a possessive gleam in his eyes. He lifts his hand and strokes the side of my face, making my heart beat even faster. “Yes, exactly. You’re completely mine. I’m the only one who’s ever been inside your pretty little pussy.”
My breath catches in my throat, and I feel a gush of liquid warmth between my thighs.
I can’t believe the strength of my physical response to him. Is this normal, that I get so aroused by someone I fear and despise? Is this why Julian was drawn to me at the club? Because he sensed this about me? Because he somehow knew about my weakness?
Of course, given my plan, it’s not necessarily a bad thing that he turns me on so much. It would be far worse if he disgusted me, if I couldn’t bear to have him touch me.
No, this is for the best. I can be the perfect little captive, obedient and responsive, slowly falling in love with my captor.
So instead of standing stiff and scared, I give in to my desire and lean a little into his hand, as though involuntarily responding to his touch.
Something like triumph briefly flashes in his eyes, and then he lowers his head, touching his lips to mine. His strong arms wrap around me, molding me against his powerful body. He’s fully aroused; I can feel the hard ridge of his erection against the softness of my belly. He’s stroking my mouth with his lips, his tongue. He tastes sweet, from the papaya we just had.
Fire surges through my veins, and I close my eyes, losing myself in the overwhelming pleasure of his kiss. My hands creep up to his chest, touch it shyly. I can feel the heat of his body, smell the scent of his skin—male and musky, strangely appealing. His chest muscles flex under my fingers, and I can feel his heart beating faster.
He backs me toward the bed, and we fall on it. Somehow my hands are buried in his thick, silky hair, and I’m kissing him back, passionately, desperately. I’m not thinking about my grand seduction plan—I’m not thinking at all.
He bites my lower lip, sucks it into his mouth. His hand closes around my right breast, kneads it, squeezes the nipple through the dual barrier of the bra and the dress. His roughness is perversely arousing, even though I should be frightened by it.
I moan, and he flips me over, onto my stomach. One of his hands presses me down, pushing me into the mattress, while the other one lifts my skirt, exposing my underwear.
And then he pauses for a second, looking at my butt, lightly stroking it with his large palm. “Such curvy little cheeks,” he murmurs. “So pretty in white.”
His fingers reach between my legs, feel the wetness there. I can’t help squirming at the light touch. I’m so turned on I just need a little bit more before I come.
He pulls down my underwear, leaving it hanging around my knees. His hand caresses my buttocks again, soothing me, arousing me. I’m trembling with anticipation.
Suddenly, I hear a loud smack and feel a sharp, stinging slap on my butt. I cry out, startled, more from the unexpected nature of the attack than from any real pain.
He pauses, rubs the area soothingly, and then does it again, slapping my right cheek with his open palm. Twenty slaps in quick succession, each one harder than the rest. It hurts; this is not a light, playful spanking.
He means to cause me pain.
Forgetting all about my resolution to play along, I begin to struggle, frightened. He holds me down easily, then transfers his attention to my other butt cheek, slapping it twenty times with equal force.
By the time he pauses, I’m sobbing into the mattress, begging him to stop. My backside feels like it’s burning, throbbing in agony.
Even worse than the pain is the irrational sense of betrayal. To my horror, I realize that I had begun to trust my captor, to feel like I knew him a bit.
He’d caused me pain before, but I didn’t think it was on purpose. I thought it was just because I was so new to sex. I hoped my body would adjust and there would be only pleasure in the future.
I was obviously a fool.
My entire body is shaking, and I can’t stop crying. He’s still holding me down, and I’m terrified of what he’ll do next.
What he does next is as shocking as what he did before.
He turns me over and lifts me into his arms. Then he sits down, holding me on his lap, and rocks me back and forth. Gently, sweetly, like I’m a child that he’s trying to console.
And despite everything, I bury my face against his shoulder and sob, desperately needing that illusion of tenderness, craving comfort from the one who made me hurt.
* * *
After I’m a bit more calm, he stands up and places me on my feet. My legs feel weak and shaky, and I sway a little as he carefully undresses me.
I wait for him to say something. Maybe to apologize or to explain why he hurt me. Was he punishing me? If so, I want to know what I did, so I can avoid doing it in the future.
But he doesn’t speak—he simply takes off my clothes. When I’m naked, he begins to undress himself.
I watch him with a strange mixture of distress and curiosity. His body is still a mystery to me because I’ve kept my eyes closed for the last two nights. I haven’t even seen his sex yet, even though I’ve felt it inside me.