Authors: Cassia Leo
by Cassia Leo
Copyright © 2014 by Cassia Leo
All rights reserved.
Cover art by Sarah Hansen at
, or parts thereof, may not be reproduced in any form without expressed written permission from the author; exceptions are made for brief excerpts used in published reviews.
All characters and events appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real events or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
he stunning conclusion
of the Unmasked series from
New York Times
bestselling author Cassia Leo.
y entire life
has been unmasked.
verything I thought
to be true has been called into question.
hom do I trust
? What do I believe?
ith two men
promising to keep me safe and one promising to give me my life back, which path do I choose?
asked or unmasked
he true soldier
fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.
At one time, I thought I understood this quote from G.K. Chesterton quite well. It’s a quote about war and a soldier’s purpose. It’s about fighting not because you detest your enemy, but because you must protect the ones you love. But it all becomes so murky when your enemy and the one you love are one in the same. The rules of engagement shift. The front line is blurred. And the stakes are higher than you could ever fathom.
From the side of the house, I watch as my enemy, my Alex, cautiously approaches the front entrance to her cottage in La Palma. She opens the door and gives it a gentle push. Then she enters one slow step at a time.
Following behind her, I walk softly so I can maintain the element of surprise. Alex’s hearing is better than the average human’s. This is what happens after eight months of living in the dark. All your other senses are enhanced. Which is probably why she yielded to me so willingly when I touched her. Her skin ached to be caressed. Her tongue longed to taste my flesh. And her sweet pussy yearned to be filled.
I wait until she’s walked at least six feet into the living room before I lightly shut the front door. The sound of the latch clicking into place gets her attention. For a moment, she’s frozen. Waiting for another sound. Waiting for me to breathe.
I take one long stride forward so her back is less than a foot away from my chest. “Ready to play,
?” Her left arm swings back and I easily catch it in my left hand. “There’s those killer instincts again. I told you they’d get you into trouble.”
My right hand flies up and I jab the needle into the side of her neck. She struggles for a few seconds before she collapses in my arms. Right where she belongs.
“What… what did you give me?” Her voice is muffled by the drugs, but her eyes are locked on mine as I carry her to the bedroom.
“Fentanyl. Don’t worry,
. It’s safe for you
She opens her mouth to respond to this, but all that comes out is a soft mumble. She’s almost out. I lay her down on the floral comforter and her eyelids flutter as I begin tying her wrists and ankles to the bedposts. By the time I’m done restraining her, she’s asleep.
I dig into my back pocket for the small silver case containing a single syringe of Narcan to reverse the effects of the Fentanyl. The Fentanyl will wear off in less than an hour. I’ll only use the Narcan if absolutely necessary.
I conduct a cursory check of the cottage to make sure we are indeed alone, then I drag a dining chair into the bedroom and keep a close eye on her heart rate and breathing as I wait for her to wake up. Forty-three minutes later, her eyelids flutter open. Her eyeballs roll around a little in their sockets as she fights off the drowsiness. Finally, her eyes focus on the ceiling for a moment before she feels the restraints. Then she begins to panic.
“There’s no use struggling, Alex. You’re in no condition to fight.”
She struggles against her bonds, her torso bouncing off the mattress as she tries to gain enough leverage to free herself. “Untie me!”
“Really, Alex, you should stop that. At least give your body a few minutes to recover from the drug before you get too excited.”
“Fuck you! Get these off of me!”
I stand from the dining chair near the bedroom door and walk toward the bed. “Alex, I’m only going to warn you once more. Stop struggling. It’s not good for the baby.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. I missed the part in
What to Expect When You’re Expecting
where being drugged and tied to a bed is recommended for a healthy pregnancy. You don’t give a flying
about this baby!”
“Don’t say that,
,” I whisper, taking a seat on the edge of the mattress. “You must never say or think that I don’t care about our child. I care a great deal about you and the baby. That is why I’m here, Alex. That is why you’re here. We need to talk. And something told me you’d be less than receptive to my side of the story. This was the only way I could get you to listen. So you
“Nick will be here any minute now,” she replies, refusing to look at me.
“You needn’t worry about interruptions. I have an associate watching Nick. If he comes anywhere near here, he will get what’s coming to him.”
“You’ll kill him like you killed my father? Are you planning on killing everyone I love?”
I grit my teeth against the anger that floods my veins when I hear these words. “You don’t love Nick. You don’t even know him. He’s a traitor. He’s gained your trust so that he can turn you in and get a reward. He’s using you, Alex. I find it hard to believe that a woman as intelligent as you would not even suspect that.”
“Are you calling me an idiot? Is that your strategy to win back my affections?”
“Not at all,
I have one strategy and that is to tell you the truth. Nothing more.” I reach across and she turns her face away when I attempt to touch her cheek. “I have no tricks up my sleeves. I’m not trying to seduce you or confuse you. I just want an opportunity to be honest with you, the way I should have been from the beginning. That’s all.”
She squeezes her eyes tightly shut, but a tear escapes the corner, rolling down over the bridge of her nose. “You killed my father, Daimon.”
“Just the sound of my name on your lips gives me hope. Please let me explain what happened with your father. It’s not as simple as you think it is.” I wait a few moments before she draws in a long breath and nods. “First things first, how are you after taking such a hard fall on the street yesterday? Are you hurt? Are you in any pain?”
She opens her eyes and turns her head slowly toward me. “That was you? You saved me?”
“Yes, I saved you… and the baby. I knew the moment you walked out of that clinic in a daze that you were carrying my child. I can’t tell you how happy that made me.”
Her lips tremble as her eyebrows squeeze together. “My child will never know his grandfather because of you. Does that make you happy?”
I shake my head, trying not to allow my emotions to get the best of me. “Alex, please hear me out.”
“Only if you loosen my restraints. I’m very uncomfortable.”
“You know I cannot do that.”
She turns her gaze toward the ceiling and lets out a long sigh as tears stream down her temples. “Please, Daimon. Please let me go. I’ll do whatever you want. I’ll listen to your side of the story. Please don’t make me talk to you like this. It’s humiliating.”
My stomach clenches at the sight of her pleading, but it’s just a gut reaction. I’m not stupid. I know Alex is putting on a show for me. She’s a great actress. I learned that the hard way at the masquerade ball. And I’m an excellent student. I have no desire to learn that lesson twice.
I reach toward her face and this time she allows me to touch her. I brush the tears from her skin with the back of my fingers and she nuzzles her cheek against my hand. Part of me knows she’s pretending, but another part of me knows she’s craved my touch. I saw her touching herself and imagining it was
hands on her;
cock inside her.
Pulling my hand back, I try to ignore the hurt expression in her eyes. “Alex, listen to me. Your mother and father were extorting the princess.” She rolls her eyes and turns away, realizing I’m not giving into her wily attempts to persuade me. I ignore her show of frustration and continue. “Your biological mother, Princess Amica, gave birth to you at their estate in Beverly Hills with the help of a midwife.” When Alex hears the word midwife, she perks up a little. She can see where this is going. “Amica did not want you when she became aware of your condition. She asked the midwife, Lisa Carmichael, to drop you off at a hospital where you would be safe.”
“I have no reason to lie to you, Alex. Remember, I was sent to kill you. You are only alive because of me. I would not have kept you alive if you had not worked your way under my skin.” She closes her eyes as I stroke her cheek. “If you had not become a part of me, I wouldn’t be here, laying everything on the line for you.”
I trace the curve of her face down over her jaw and to her neck. She draws in a sharp breath as my fingertips move over her collar bone and down to the center of her chest. She probably doesn’t even realize how her back is arched upward, seeking my touch.
I lift my fingers from her chest and lay my hand on her cheek, then I lean forward and kiss her forehead. Her body relaxes and I sit up, gently laying my hand on her abdomen. I imagine my child can feel the warmth of my hand as I finish telling my side of the story.
“I was sent to get rid of you. The princess did not wish to be extorted any longer. She didn’t want the prospect of her dirty secret being made public by your parents. She could kill your parents or she could make you disappear. Taking into consideration your father’s military background, you were the easier target.”
Alex narrows her eyes at me. “When were you hired?”
“Four months ago?”
“Yes. I was given explicit instructions not to investigate your parents or your history. I was supposed to investigate your daily routine to determine the best way to get to you. But something didn’t feel right.”
I run my hand over her abdomen and up to her ribs. Her back arches slightly toward my touch, wanting more. Stopping just short of her breast, I can feel her holding her breath.
“Please stop,” she whispers breathlessly.
“I’ll never stop.” I move my hand up, cupping her breast through the fabric of her camisole. “Not until you’re mine. Not until you’ve forgiven me.”
I squeeze her breast and her hips curl upward. She wants to be fucked. I let go of her succulent flesh and move my hand down to her abdomen so I can continue.
“I knew I would not be able to get to you with your father watching every move you made. So I made a plan to confine your parents in the very basement where they had kept you. But I miscalculated your father’s strength and agility. I should not have tried to restrain him on my own. He fought with me in the basement until he got away and escaped in my Mercedes.
“I knew the only way to lure him out of hiding was to threaten you. As expected, when I began following you on Hope Street, he pulled up next to me and attempted to shoot me. But I shot him first, with a tranquilizer gun. I got into the car and immediately drove your father through the gas station and around the corner to a second location where his body was switched with that of a sexual predator my buddies and I had been investigating. His life had no value to anyone. He was an easy kill. I drove his body back to the gas station and called it in to the police department.”
“And my father? What did you do to him?”
I swallow hard. “Unfortunately, your father woke from the tranquilizer before I had a chance to restrain him in the basement. He fought once again and I had to shoot him in self-defense.”
“I have no reason to lie to you, Alex!” I shout, losing my patience. “You know what else I did? I engineered the attack on Hope Street where you were stabbed.”
Her jaw clenches with anger, but her eyes are locked on me. “What? What are you talking about?”
“I needed to gain your trust so I could get close to you. You trusted no one. But I had a strong feeling you would put your trust in me. I took a chance and orchestrated the attack so I could offer you my help. And it worked.”
“Why? Just to get close to me? To kill me?”
“To get to know you.” I look her in the eye and her gaze softens. “I told you before. I needed to know why the princess wanted you dead. It was the moment I traced the curve of your lips that I realized you could be related to the princess. That’s why I left your apartment in a hurry. I stole some hair from your hairbrush on the way out and you didn’t hear from me for over a week as I had it tested against a sample I procured from the princess. They were a match. And that’s when I knew I couldn’t kill you. Because you posed no threat to anyone except the princess’s reputation.”
“I… I don’t know what to believe.”
I lean forward and kiss the tears as they slide down her temple. “Please,
. I would never lie to you. I love you.”
I pull my head back to look her in the eye. She opens her mouth to respond when she’s interrupted by the distinct sound of two muffled gunshots.