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The Skull Crusher (Skull 2) Penelope Sky 2022/8/5 16:52:08

Cassini and I didn’t speak for the next few days.

She stayed in her room and ignored me as much as possible. She didn’t want anything from me—not even sex.

It was like she hated me.

She would definitely hate me once she realized what was about to happen.

When it was time, I stepped into her bedroom and found her on the couch in her living room. “Come with me.”

She slowly turned her head and looked at me, vibrant pain in her eyes. She didn’t give me smartass back talk or tell me to leave her alone. The look she gave me was full of disappointment, like she despised me with every fiber of her being.

“Don’t make me ask again.”

She turned off the TV then rose to her feet, her eyes still lacking that innate light she always possessed. She approached me with her gaze averted, like looking directly at me was too much.

She didn’t ask where we were going.

I didn’t want to tell her anyway.

We stepped inside the elevator and hit the bottom floor. My men were already ready to go, so I climbed into the black SUV that she and I would share privately.

She got into the passenger seat, buckled her safety belt, and then looked out the window.

It was unlike her not to ask questions.

I pulled onto the road, and the men followed behind me.

With one hand on the wheel, I kept thinking about the deal that was about to go down. All I had to do was hand over this woman, and I would finally get what was mine. That skull diamond never should have been his in the first place. It was a mistake to sell it to him.

Just like Cassini shouldn’t have been his in the first place.

We drove through the city in silence, and she still didn’t say a word.

I used to be annoyed with her back talk, but now, her silence was much worse. She was indifferent to me, like I wasn’t even in the car with her. I was just a ghost. “You don’t want to know where we’re going?” A part of me wanted her to fight me, wanted her to demand her freedom. It wouldn’t change my mind, but at least she would be returning to Lucian with some fire under her tail.

“Yes.” She kept her gaze out the window.

I turned to her, my heart slowing down. “You do?”

“You’re taking me to Lucian.”

My heart stopped beating altogether, just for a second in time.

“He’ll torture me. Then he’ll kill me by crushing my skull—just the way you do to your enemies.” Her voice dripped with indifference, like her own death didn’t scare her at all.

That night I came home, she must have eavesdropped. She must have been waiting for me, after all. “If you knew, why didn’t you do something?”

“Like what?” she asked. “If I told my brothers, they would get involved and get themselves killed. If I slit your throat in the middle of the night, your men would turn on me, or Lucian would hunt me down. If I ran away, you would just find me again. Or Lucian would. Unfortunately, there’s just no way out for me. There’s never been a way out for me. There’s no point in fighting it. You’re doing exactly what you said you would do—and I’m an idiot for thinking you would change.”

Her defeat hurt me, deep inside my chest. I’d never given up in my life, even when I was outnumbered and outresourced. But this woman had no chance. She’d never had a chance. Evan tricked her for a paycheck, and Lucian wanted to torture her. I used her to get what I wanted. This woman had been a slave for most of her adult life.

She didn’t look at me once. “Every time I think there’s a glimmer of hope, I’m wrong. And those moments hurt far more than anything else. Hope is a dangerous thing. I would rather die and get it over with instead of wasting more time on hope.”

I hated the tone in her voice. It didn’t sound like her at all.

I kept driving, and I was approaching the edge of the city. Soon I would emerge into the countryside and approach his private estate. My foot stayed on the gas, but it itched for the brake.

I didn’t owe this woman anything. She’d been a power move since the beginning. I only used her for vengeance and as a poker chip. But every fiber of my being didn’t want to do this, even if this woman would never mean anything to me.

I pulled over to the curb.

She finally turned to meet my gaze, her eyebrows raised at the sudden stop.

I stared at the empty street ahead of me, knowing this was a bad choice. Keeping this woman would only hurt me in the end. I would never get back that skull diamond, and Lucian and I would be at war with each other until one of us killed the other. It was definitely the wrong decision to make.