“I thought paying for his brother’s life with a diamond was punishment enough. At the time. Ever since then, I’ve been catching him off guard, slowly circling in before I finally finish the job. I know he won’t sell the diamond because it’s too valuable. I know he won’t move against me either, not when I’m so powerful. So now he has to suffer the consequences of his actions. I call it a slow torture.”
I realized I was in the middle of a war between two very powerful men. It was personal on both sides, and neither man would let this go. “Then why haven’t you finished him off?”
“Because I’d rather witness his humiliation. He knows he’ll never be truly safe until he finishes what he started. He can either return the diamond or become my exclusive supplier. Either way, it’ll make him look like a pussy in the eyes of our world. And I’ve got all the time in the world…”
I pulled the covers to my shoulders and kept the phone pressed to my ear. I didn’t have a lock on my door, but if I heard Lucian’s footsteps coming, I would just shove the phone under my pillow. Listening to Balto’s voice somehow comforted me even though his power exuded through the phone. “How long ago did this happen?”’
Then it was shortly before Lucian claimed me as his.
“Are you going to kill him?”
“Depends on his behavior. I would much rather keep him as my little bitch.”
I pulled the pins out of my hair so the strands could come loose against the pillow.
“Do you want me to kill him, baby?”
After tonight, I wanted Lucian buried six feet under. He’d treated me like a dog and struck me like I was one of his employees. I was supposed to be his wife, but he didn’t care about giving me any serious medical conditions. If he wanted me to have his baby someday, he was damaging my chances of conceiving.
Now I was tempted to find a way out, even though my promise kept nagging at me.
“You want me to come over?”
The idea of being with Balto sounded like the nicest thing in the world. Tonight had been painful and terrifying, but if he did come over, he would see the bruises on my stomach. I’d rather hide that as much as possible. “I think we should wait a few days…he’s storming around the house right now.”
Balto didn’t question me. “A few days, then. Nothing more.”
He turned quiet as he listened to me breathe over the line. “You looked beautiful tonight.”
“I almost ripped that dress off you and fucked you then and there.”
I wouldn’t have resisted if he did.
“And made that asshole watch.”
I would have to pretend not to enjoy it so I wouldn’t be punished later.
“But I have a better idea. I’m going to fuck you harder than I ever had before. I’m going to fuck you deep, fuck you right. I’m going to pump so much of my come inside you that I’ll leave a mark. My come will drip from your pussy and your asshole. So every time your husband tries to fuck you, I’ll be there first.”
Lucian was in a grave mood over the next few days.
Anytime he was home, it seemed like he wanted to burn his own home down. The scar on his left hand was impossible to miss, and with every passing day, it seemed to be getting worse rather than better. The color deepened, as if the burn had become infected.
He went to work every day, and when he was home, he pretended I didn’t exist. He obviously wasn’t in the mood for sex.
That worked out for me. The last thing I wanted to do was sleep with him after he’d slammed his fist into my stomach—twice. The bruises had faded over the course of the week, but they were still slightly noticeable.
I had no idea what he was doing.
When the weekend came around, Lucian didn’t go out of town like he usually did.
That meant I was stuck with him, stuck with his brooding, sour attitude. He was probably too ashamed to operate business as usual. Word had spread that Lucian had been outsmarted and burned by his enemy. He was too humiliated to show his face.
Since he was home, I couldn’t sneak out of the house. I wanted to run to Balto’s building and do what we did best. After watching him treat Lucian like a stupid boy, I was hotter for him than ever before. But with my dictator husband lurking around, I had no choice but to stay put.
Later that night, the house went to sleep, and I went to bed.
I laid the phone on my chest as I stared at the ceiling. I was in bed, tucked under the sheets in the dark. It’d been a while since Balto and I had been together, and my body was writhing in withdrawal. But there was no way for us to be together at the moment, so there was no point in contacting him.