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“How…graphic of you.”

“I’m serious. Why did you look for me? Why did you even bother bringing me back here?”

“When I let you go, it was a momentary lapse in judgment. The reason why I let you go doesn’t matter. The fact is that your friend is dead, and you still owe me. You’re my property, and you will be mine until I decide otherwise.”

He ran the washcloth down my legs and brushed over the wound on my foot. I cried out, and he scowled. “You’re pretty banged up.”

“I guess that’s what happens when you’re left in the woods to rot and then walk miles barefoot in the blazing sun,” I spat. I expected him to argue with me, fight with me, but he surprised me.

“I’m sorry about that. As I said, momentary lapse in judgment.”

“Did you just apologize to me?”

“No, I said I was sorry about having a momentary lapse in judgment. I didn’t say I was sorry to you.”

“How exactly am I supposed to pay you?” I asked hesitantly. “We’ve been through this. I don’t have anything to give you,” I sighed. “I don’t have anything at all.”

“In whatever way I want, pup.”

“What if I don’t want to be yours?”

King didn’t hesitate. “Then, I’ll let Preppy have his way with you. He may seem nice, but you’ll learn that kid is a sick fuck who will smash your back door in without warning. He likes it when they scream. He likes it when they’re passed out. He likes it even better when they say no. Or maybe, I’ll loan you out to Bear’s crew. I hear Harris and Mono have a fetish for knife play.”

There was no humor in his voice.

“But if you cooperate, you’ll be mine and mine alone. You’ll be under my protection. When I’m tired of you and I feel your debt has been paid, you will be free to go.”

“Protection,” I repeated. The very thing I’d been looking for. “What happens if you don’t get tired of me?”

King chuckled. “Oh, It will happen. Always does. But until then, you’ll do what I say. You’ll live in my house.” His eyes narrowed to the space between my legs. “You’ll sleep in my bed.”

“You’re going to rape me?” My heart hammered in my chest. “Because it’s one thing to sell myself. It’s another thing entirely to have the decision taken from me. If that’s your plan, you can just shove my head under the water and get this over with now.”

“You may be weak in body, but it doesn’t seem that mouth of yours got the message.” Adrenaline sprung to life inside me, coursing through my veins, readying my body for another fight for my life.

I stood up, splashing more water onto the tile floor, my nakedness on full display. I didn’t bother to cover myself.

King surprised me by standing up and stepping into the tub, soaking his jeans up to his shins. I held my clenched fists out in front of me like I was going to box him. He laughed and wrapped both arms around my waist, hauling me into his colorful, bare chest.

“You’ll find out that I’m a lot of things, but I’m no fucking rapist. Before I fuck you—and I will fuck you, pup—you’ll be begging me for it,” he whispered against my neck.

I clenched my thighs together to try and ease the ache he created there. The adrenaline surge I was ready to use for combat changed into something else entirely. I was still ready for him. Only in a completely different way.

Traitorous body.

“But first, you need to heal. Your feet are all sliced up and your ear is bleeding again.” King stepped from the tub and lifted me out with him, setting me onto the cold tile my teeth started to chatter. He opened the cabinet under the sink and wrapped me in a soft towel large enough to double as a blanket. “And there are a few other things I need you to tell me.”

“Like what?”

“Preppy told me what you’d told him, what happened to you. But how is it that someone like you is missing in the world?”

“Someone like me?”

“There has got to be someone out there who misses these beautiful eyes.” He locked his fingers into my wet hair and tilted my head back.

“I tried to find someone who knows me,” I said with my teeth still clacking together. King dried me with the towel, treading carefully over my injuries. “The police tried, too, but there was no missing persons report that matched my description. My fingerprints aren’t on file anywhere. No paper trail.”

King unbuttoned his jeans and stripped them off, hanging the wet fabric off of the shower rod to dry. All that was left of his clothes were his black boxer briefs, his enormous erection straining against the stretchy fabric. He noticed me looking and made no move to make an excuse for his arousal. He didn’t make any move to cover himself. He smiled out of the corner of his mouth, took a few steps toward me. He lifted me up into his arms as if he were cradling a baby and carried me out into his bedroom where he set me on the bed.

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