When he was dead, I wiped my shoes on the grass then walked up to the first man I saw. “You’re in charge now. Take care of the shipment and keep the operation going. Cross me—and the same thing will happen to your skull.”
Four days came and went, and Balto didn’t come home.
It was a cruel punishment.
At first, I was relieved that he wouldn’t hurt me, but then I realized there were things worse than physical pain.
Like being locked in a tower.
I spent my time reading, watching TV, and eating everything he left for me in the fridge. Time passed so slowly, but I refused to call him because I was too proud. I’d tried to get some leverage over him, but he continued to hang up on me.
A mischievous idea came to mind, so I pulled on a new piece of lingerie and stood in front of the full-length mirror. I snapped a few pictures before I texted them to Balto. Look at what you’re missing.
The three dots never appeared.
He never texted me back.
I sat in the living room and waited for the time to pass. He had to come back eventually, as much as he enjoyed torturing me. I didn’t just feel vulnerable, but I felt neglected, like a dog that had been abandoned.
Next time, I would think twice before pissing him off. He definitely served me a cold dish of revenge.
The elevator beeped, and my heart nearly jumped out of my chest. It’d been four painfully long days, and now he was finally back. I should be too pissed to be excited, but I was relieved I wouldn’t be alone in this building any longer. The strongest man I’d ever laid eyes on had just returned to the fortress. Now I didn’t have to worry about all the evil men who wanted to do terrible things to me. Balto was like a scarecrow—he could chase all the birds away.
I rose to my feet to greet him, wearing his boxers that were rolled a dozen times to stay on my hips. I wore one of my camisoles without a bra, lounging around the house because I had nothing else to do.
The elevator doors opened and revealed the man I’d missed every moment since he left. With the same blue eyes, sharp cheekbones, and powerful shoulders, he was a beautiful man. He stepped inside, looked me up and down, and then whistled. “Damn. Look at those legs.” He was in a blue t-shirt and black jeans, and his muscular arms stretched the cotton. He approached me, his eyes devouring me like he’d never seen me before. “I would love to feel them wrapped around my head.”
The excitement slowly drained from my veins when I detected something different about him. It looked just like him, everything identical. But that smile was different. The choice of words was different. Balto was a man of few words and rarely complimented me like that. If he really wanted me, he just grabbed me by the hair and took me. His eyes didn’t roam with desire. There was never any time for that.
He stopped right in front of me and dragged the backs of his fingers down my arm, starting from the shoulder and moving to my wrist. He watched his hand glide over my body, as if he’d never touched me before.
Balto had not had a change in personality since I met him. He was always exactly the same, even when he was angry. With little emotion, he was a simple man. But this man was so identical, he had to be the man I’d been waiting for.
“You are beautiful, sweetheart.” His fingers moved to my hair, and he gently felt the strands.
My eyes widened in alarm because Balto had never called me that. He used a very different nickname and never deviated from his choice. I glanced at his left hand and noticed the iconic ring was missing, the skull diamond he never took off. He wore it to bed and in the shower. He told me he never removed it. If he didn’t have it on him now, then it was missing. And if it was missing, he’d be angrier than a hurricane.
So this couldn’t be him.
I stepped back. “Don’t touch me.”
His hand remained in the air where he’d been touching my strands. His eyebrow rose, but his smile didn’t falter. “I don’t bite.”
“Well, I do. Get out.”
“Wow, you really do have an attitude.” He stepped forward even when I stepped back.
“Yes, especially when I have a weapon.” I snatched the lamp sitting on the end table and yanked the cord out of the socket. The base was heavy, so it should do some real damage.
He watched me, amused by my rage. “I hope you have something better than a lamp.”