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He looked like the devil himself.

“I thought I made it clear that I owned you,” he growled. His nostrils flared. “Your debt has yet to be paid, pup.”

“So, kill me already, and get it over with,” I said hoarsely, in the loudest voice I could muster, which was barely a whisper. “Either let me go, or just fucking kill me!”

King scoffed. “That would be too easy.”

“What then? What do you want from me? I heard you. Nikki’s dead. Your money is gone, and I can’t pay you back. I don’t have anything you want.” I struggled to throw him off, but I was as effective as a gnat to a tiger.

“Oh, but I think you can pay me back, Pup. You do have something I want,” he said, running his fingers up my arm to my shoulder. He grabbed hold of my throat in his large palm and squeezed with calloused fingers, not enough to choke me, but just enough to remind me he could.

“Please, just let me go! I’m nothing! I’m no one! You don’t want me. Last night, you walked out of that room because you didn’t want me. Remember? So just let me go. Please. I’m begging you.”

I’d stopped struggling because it was pointless, the only thing I had that could possibly get to him were my words.

And I was failing miserably.

“But that’s where you’re wrong. Last night, I thought you were a scared little girl, unable to handle what I want, what I can do, what I need. But that doesn’t matter anymore. Because now you’re my property, and I can do what the fuck I want with what’s mine.” He emphasized this by squeezing harder on my throat.

I opened my mouth to protest, to tell him that I wasn’t his and never would be when suddenly King’s lips came crashing down over mine with such force that the back of my head was pushed down further into the mud. There was nowhere for me to go, nowhere to get away. His full lips were soft, but his kiss was anything but. He sucked my lower lip into his mouth and licked at the seam of my lips with his tongue.

King was hard and scary as hell, so was his kiss. And if his words weren’t getting his point across, his kiss told me that he owned me. It made me forget for just a second that the man behind those lips was a raging psychopath.

The rain continued to assault us. For once it wasn’t my mouth speaking before my brain. It was my body. Because as much as I told myself that I didn’t want his kiss, my body was very much saying that it wanted it. Wanted him.

I opened my mouth to protest, but the second I did, his tongue touched mine, and he groaned. The contact produced a spark, an energy that radiated through my entire body, pooling between my legs.

King used a knee to spread my legs apart, then settled between them. Not once did he take his lips from mine as he rocked his erection against my core. My body hummed at the friction, and I moaned into his mouth. His hands flew to the back of my neck, pressing me up against him as he kissed me until I was dizzy.

It was an entirely new type of hunger.

With a deep, throaty growl, King abruptly ended the kiss. Sitting back on his knees, he reached down and ran the pad of his thumb across my cheek. He looked down at me as if he were seeing me for the very first time. His expression soft. His lips swollen from our kiss.

My chest heaved as I again tried to catch my breath. Without King lying on top of me to shield me from the cold rain, a chill ran down my body. My teeth began to chatter. His eyes drank me in as they skimmed over my face, then down the rest of my body. I could swear that it felt as if he were actually touching me, not just looking at me.

“Go,” King snapped, jumping to his feet like he’d been electrocuted.

“What?” I asked. I somehow managed to get to my knees, still holding up the now wet and heavy sweatpants, the draw string already pulled as tight as it would go.

“Just fucking go!” he roared, standing up fully.

He took a menacing step toward me. His sudden proximity forced me backwards. I stumbled over a rock and fell back onto my ass.

“That path will take you to the highway,” he said, pointing to the ground behind me. I turned and found the path, but when I turned back around, he was gone. The crunch of the brush under his boots faded quickly, swallowed by the sounds of the storm.

I was free.

But I was also truly alone. In the dark. And that clouded over the elation I should have felt.

My chest grew tight. I pressed my hands against my heart to try and physically tame it from leaping out of my body. Faster and faster it beat until I thought it would come to a screeching halt. Again, I couldn’t catch my breath.

Panic set in.

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