Kill Switch (Devil’s Night #3) releases February 11, 2019.
I shook my head, fighting the memories that raced through my mind. “I won’t let you have anything else from me,” I told him. “You raped me. And it wasn’t statutory rape. It was rape.”
“I can see why you might want to believe that. Maybe you feel ashamed or guilty, because you liked it.” He paused and then continued. “But be careful, Winter. I can still put you through quite a lot.”
“Oh, I’m scared,” I shot back.
There was nothing else for him to take.
He stood there for a moment, quiet and still, but then his hard voice pierced the silence.
“Mikhail?” he called.
And I jumped.
“Ke nighg-ya,” he ordered.
My dog yanked out of my grasp and trotted away on his command.
“What are you doing?” I darted forward. “Give me my dog.” And then I called, “Mikhail!”
But I didn’t feel either of them near me now. Where did they go? What was that he said? Was that Russian? Mikhail didn’t know any commands in Russian.
I heard the dog’s collar and tags jingle from a few feet away, and a lump filled my throat.
“That’s a good boy,” I heard Damon coo to him. “He’s smart. He knows who his master is.”
Mikhail went to him?
“Mikhail,” I gritted out. “Mikhail, come here.”
“Now the question is…” Damon continued, and I heard him approach again. “Do I keep him or give him to my father. I haven’t kept a dog as a pet in years. Not sure I have the knack for it.”
My nerves fired. “Give me my dog.”
“You want him back?” he asked, getting closer. “Then beg me.”
He grabbed the back of my neck, fisting my hair. “A dog is a dog and a bitch is a bitch,” he bit out. “Neither of you is very much use to the world, so I don’t care either way.”
I planted my hands on his chest, trying to pull away.
“Beg me,” Damon taunted. “Beg. Just whisper it. Just say please.”
He couldn’t take my dog from me. What was he going to do to him?
My face started to crack as I thought about Mikhail, and I wouldn’t know where he was or if he was okay. If he was hungry… Would Damon send him away?
Damon kneaded my scalp, still gripping my hair. “Whisper it,” he said, his breathing turning ragged. “Whisper it like I did your name the morning they found me in your bed and arrested me, Winter. That’s all I want to hear. A little whisper.”
His hand shook where he held me, and my stomach knotted so hard, I was in pain. Please stop. Don’t do this.
“Killing him would probably be more merciful than giving him to my father,” Damon added. “He’s not good with dogs—”
“Please,” I burst out, a tear falling. “Please just give me my dog back.”
“On your knees,” he ordered.
I closed my eyes.
Goddamn him. He knew exactly what to do. Every time.
God, I hated him.
But slowly, I lowered.
I fell to my knees, my teeth clenched but still shaking as his hand stayed in my hair.
“Please,” I whispered, tightening every muscle in disgust at myself. “Please.”
“Please,” I begged.
And I waited. Waited for him to say something—to say I could have my dog back—but he just stood there, holding me by my hair.
He just stood there.
Was this what he wanted to see? Me degraded on my knees? Me scared?
He loved me scared. It got him excited.
I almost thought I liked it, too, once.
And as the seconds passed, and he held me there as my heart thumped in my chest, it was like we were teenagers again for a moment.
When I liked the games he played with me.
Before I realized I was the toy.
The terror and the dread. But the exhilaration and the safety I’d felt in his arms.
How I’d never hated anyone as much as I hated him, but how I loved what I felt with him more than I loved anything I felt with anyone else, either. I was so stupid.
His fingers started to move, caressing me so softly as his breathing turned heavy and strained. “Winter…”
My clit throbbed once, and I broke, silently crying as shame heated my cheeks.
What the hell had he done to me?
He pulled me up, pushing my hair behind my shoulder and his voice suddenly normal.
“Good girl,” he told me. “Of course, you can have your dog. Did you think I was a monster?”
I jerked away from his hands. “It hardly matters. You already ruined my life. Long ago.”
“In the treehouse when you were eight,” he finished my thought for me. “I remember that party. It’s funny, though. That’s all you do remember, isn’t it?”
“What are you talking about?”
“The fountain,” he pointed out. “Do you remember what happened in the fountain before we went to the treehouse that day?”
The fountain? I searched my brain through my confusion, not coming up with anything that stood out as out of the ordinary. I was eight, so I couldn’t remember every detail.
“Nothing happened,” I told him.
I wasn’t letting him take what happened that day and turn it around on me. I was nice to him. Nothing I did or said deserved what happened after. Nor did anything I did or said years later in high school deserve what else he took from me.
He sighed. “I’m out of my own control, Winter,” he said “There are no choices. We are who we are, and we do what we do. It’s nature. Like game pieces, I will play my part, because I can’t resist. I can’t be what I’m not.”
I frowned. He sounded resolute. Like this was the end for me.
“I hope you won’t disappoint,” he finished.
So this was it then? He was going forward with whatever ugly desires that simmered inside his twisted brain, because he was determined to not understand the pain he caused and that crimes have consequences? He’d gotten what he deserved.
I won once. I’d do it again.
“Just pick new tactics,” I told him. “I don’t appreciate you ambushing me like some pervert in the bathroom.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Bridge Bay Theater,” I prompted. “I was alone in the bathroom today. You came in and messed with me. I thought you would’ve learned how to up your game in prison.”
He laughed once, took a drag of his cigarette, and exhaled. “I have no idea what fantasy you were concocting in your dreams, but I was in New York all day,” he said. “I just got back an hour ago.”
“Yeah, of course you were.”
“Why would I lie?”
I paused, realizing he might have a point. He had no motive to deny it. It was no secret he had it out for me and my family.
With just us, here in this room alone, he’d take pleasure in doing and saying whatever he wanted with no one else to hear.
He stepped up to me, and I could smell the tobacco on him, as well as the fragrance of his clothes, the expensive fabric and the leather of his shoes.
“I’m better than that,” he whispered down on me, and I could feel the ice on his cool breath from the drink he’s just had. “Why would I corner someone in a public space when anyone could walk in and interrupt me? I would need privacy.”
His fingers brushed my hair off my cheek, and I jerked away.
“Like a big house?” he told me. “With miles of empty forest outside and no neighbors. No traffic. Nothing.” I heard the sick smile in his voice and didn’t miss his meaning at all.
He already had it all planned out.
“Everyone else is gone, leaving her alone,” he continued. “No one to help. No one to hear her. No one to stop me. A whole night. Just the two of us.” His breath was on my lips. “In the house together. So much space to run, and only so many places to hide.”
I curled my fingers into fists, and if I didn’t know it before, I knew it now. He had changed, after all.
He’d gotten worse.
And in his head, he did the time, may as well do the crime.
Dread curdled my stomach as he brushed past me.
“Goodnight, Winter,” he said.
And I didn’t mistake the hint of excitement in his voice.