Mafia King, Dario Lucari spent years planning his revenge. Today, he executes it.
Kidnapped on my wedding day.
Held by a monster who wants vengeance on my father.
Married to him against my will.
Suddenly thrust into a world of betrayal, lies and deviance, all I have to do to escape is destroy everything I’ve ever loved, and love the man I must destroy.
How can I still be here? I clutch the sharp piece of pottery under my glove. It’s a safety blanket. A choice I can make in a situation where my decisions are meaningless.
Hovering in half consciousness, my eyes are closed when the door bangs open again and Dario enters, carrying a tall glass of water. He sets it on a dirty counter in front of me, then leans against the table, crossing one long leg over the other.
I get to my feet and approach the glass, wary but unable to stay away from it. I’ve never been this thirsty in my life; my eyeballs burn, and my tongue is cracked into layers of plaster.
Dario watches me silently, but as I reach out to take the glass, he slaps my hand away. I’m already weak and dizzy, and the force of the blow makes me stumble and spin.
“Please!” I cry. I realize I’m on my knees. I had intended to be strong, to refuse to let him see me suffer any more, but I am so, so thirsty.
“Take that stupid dress off.”
I shake my head. I’m past caring about modesty. I care about the dress. It’s ruined, but it’s mine. I worked on it for months, my fingers numb from stitching, my eyes and back aching as I labored into the night. It may be the only piece of home left to me besides my own body, and I will not take it off.
He shrugs and picks up the glass of water.
I remain defiant.
He turns to go.
And when I feel the triangle of clay inside the wrist of my glove, I think, with blinding clarity, I cannot die here.
“Okay,” I say.
He stops, turns around, but does not put down the glass.
I slip the dress off slowly, regretfully, because as awful as it looks, the fabric is still fine, soft and sweet, a reminder of who I was and what I expected so few sunrises ago. The gloves stay and so do the undergarments I wore to please Sergio because Dario just said to take off the dress and I’m weak but not dead. I’m not giving him anything he doesn’t ask for.
He places the glass back on the table. Then he sweeps a hand through the dust and dirt on its surface and sprinkles them into the water. I watch helplessly as it clouds over in the sunlight.
“Down to the skin,” he says. “Show me every inch.”
The suggestion in his command floods my dry veins with resistance.
“You said the dress.” I hold out my left hand—the one without the distorting piece of pottery under the glove. “Give it to me.”
This time, he takes a discarded nursery container and pinches out white-flecked potting soil. He drops it in the water like a chef seasoning too heavily.
“It’s going to be mud soon,” he says. “If you aren’t naked.”
“Where’s my father?” I squeak without spit. “Did he give you what you want?”
“Haven’t spoken to him since the car.”
“I don’t believe you.”
“We tried. He won’t negotiate with outsiders . . . so . . . take off all your fucking clothes.”
I do everything I can not to keep from crying as I lower my white lace underpants and slip out of my matching bra, hands shaking the entire time. I leave the gloves and garter, hoping they’re beside the point.
“I know what you’re hiding in your glove. You’re not going to kill me with a broken flower pot.”
“It wasn’t for you.”
He nods with understanding but not compassion, as if knowing suicide is on the table adds to a data point and no more, then flicks his finger at me. I peel off the gloves. The shard clatters to the floor. I am now naked except for one thing.
“Not that.” I ball my hands into fists and look at the floor. “Please.”
He says nothing. I can’t see him, so I let myself hope that he’s considering letting me keep this one strip of fabric and elastic that’s tying me to this earth, to my identity, to the one person who loved me like no other. Maybe he’ll find it arousing.
I’ll risk it, even embrace it, for that glass of cloudy water.
The sound of a plop and a splash catches my attention, and I look up to see him slowly pouring a thin line of water onto the tile.
With a gasp, thoughts of my mother are gone, and I rip off the garter before I lose another precious drop, throwing it at his feet.
“There,” I say, finally bare before him, exposed as I have never been before a man.
My breath skips, and I finally cry, but I don’t have enough water in my body to make tears or snot over this destroyed moment—the first time a man’s eyes see my skin, my nipples, my utter vulnerability.
The moment I took that dress off was supposed to be one of the most beautiful of my life. Instead, it is a violation.
He isn’t satisfied yet though.
“Stay still,” he commands.
He walks behind me, hovering for a moment before grabbing my hair and yanking it back so that I’m gazing up into the camera’s merciless eye.
“Can you imagine how good it will feel,” he murmurs, his breath hot against my neck, “when I let you drink?” He lays his other hand under my chin and slides it down as he speaks. “That cold, sweet water sliding down your throat?”
I nod helplessly, gulping what feels like a lump of garden pebbles.
“Even with a little dirt, a little dust, you’ll take it all down, won’t you? You’re just about ready to beg for it.”
“I’ll beg,” I agree with a voice I don’t recognize. “I’ll do it.”
“You need it,” he says, and I can feel the cruelty of the smile in his voice.
“Please,” I whisper. “Please… please…”
“Say it for the camera.”
Who’s on the other side? His boss? My family? The entire world?
“Please give it to me.”
“Let me swallow it,” he whispers thickly. “Beg.”
“Let . . . let me swallow it all. Please.”
“I know what your body needs. And what you’ll do to get it.”
And then, just as abruptly as he’d grabbed me, he spins me around so that I’m facing him and he pushes me to my knees.
“This will go much easier for you if you play along,” he murmurs.
I’m so weak and dizzy I almost tip over before he pulls me up by the hair on top of my head.
“Steady, principessa.” With his free hand, he opens the fly of his pants, exposing the thick bulge beneath cotton underwear.
He’s going to take it out and force me to taste his cock. Take it down my throat. Swallow his come.
I’ve spent my life waiting for this, and I don’t want it this way . . . but I want it. My body aches to just give up, taste whatever he puts on my tongue. I look up at him, offering whatever he’s willing to take as long as he gives me something to drink.
But he does not release his erection.
Instead, he pulls my head into his crotch. The fabric is damp on my lips, heavy and musty on my nose as he grinds into my face. And he’s hard. So hard. He forces the shape of his shaft along the opening between my lips, and I taste no more than an essence of him . . . but it’s enough. My clit fills and drops, weighted by a constant, brutal pulse of arousal that’s timed to the way he pushes into my face, holding my head still.
My hands steady me against his thighs, then pull him closer.
I want it.
I’ll suck him for water or a glass of sand.
Why is he keeping it behind his clothes?
“Yes,” he growls, putting both hands behind my head and pushing me into his crotch so hard his erection feels like stone on my chin.
I put out my tongue, licking the damp fabric. He stops for a moment. His growl turns into a gasp, and the clothed organ against me pulses. A warm wetness gathers at my cheek.
Then he lets me go, and I fall back on my hands, gasping as I notice the thick wet stain where he came as I licked him.
“Okay,” he says, zipping up. He’s bored again, casual as he hands the glass to me by the top. “You can drink now.”
I do. I am shameless and desperate. I hold it with both hands and savor every drop, dirt and all.
He leaves before I finish, apparently not interested in watching me debase myself further.
I lie naked where he left me, legs in the letter K, bare skin on cold tile, the empty glass a few inches from my hand, watching the clouds form in the grid above me.
The door clicks and whooshes open. The room spins when I bolt to a sitting position. A tray of food, accompanied by a whole pitcher of water, is pushed across the threshold.
The door claps shut again, and the deadbolt smacked home.
I glance at the camera. He’s watching. He has to be.
I should stand up and walk like a human, but by the time I finish making that decision, I’m already crawling on my hands and knees like an animal.
The tray contains a plastic clamshell with a sandwich inside—pink meat spills from a circle of bread split into a pocket. Hushing the raging hunger for a moment, I peek into the pocket and find cheese and the familiarity of mayonnaise. A pink container of yogurt proudly proclaims—next to a bulbous strawberry—that it has REAL FRUIT inside.
I rip it open, ready to suck it down, but I stop.
I stand carefully, my head still swimming not just from my hunger and thirst and poor night’s sleep, but from what just happened. I walk over to my discarded pile of garments and put them on again: the underwear and bra, the ruined dress, my shoes—one close by and one under the camera. I slide the garter up my leg.
I leave the gloves and shard.
Then I put the tray on the counter, right a white plastic chair that matches the one on the roof, and—dressed in silk garments that were once a hopeful symbol of my purity but are now nothing more than a painful, ridiculous reminder of everything I have lost—I hydrate and nourish myself, dreaming of the day I escape the man named Dario with shadow eyes and an empty heart.
About CD Reiss:
CD Reiss is a New York Times bestseller. She still has to chop wood and carry water, which was buried in the fine print. Her lawyer is working it out with God but in the meantime, if you call and she doesn't pick up she's at the well hauling buckets.
Born in New York City, she moved to Hollywood, California to get her master's degree in screenwriting from USC. In case you want to know, that went nowhere but it did give her a big enough ego to write novels.
She's frequently referred to as the Shakespeare of Smut which is flattering but hasn't ever gotten her out of chopping that cord of wood.
If you meet her in person, you should call her Christine.
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