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Keep Me

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Chapter 1

Julian



There are days when the urge to hurt, to kill, is too strong to be denied. Days when the thin cloak of civilization threatens to slip at the least provocation, revealing the monster inside.

Today is not one of those days.

Today I have her with me.

We’re in the car on the way to the airport. She’s sitting pressed against my side, her slim arms wrapped around me and her face buried in the crook of my neck.

Cradling her with one arm, I stroke her dark hair, delighting in its silky texture. It’s long now, reaching all the way down to her narrow waist. She hasn’t cut her hair in nineteen months.

Not since I kidnapped her for the first time.

Inhaling, I draw in her scent—light and flowery, deliciously feminine. It’s a combination of some shampoo and her unique body chemistry, and it makes my mouth water. I want to strip her bare and follow that scent everywhere, to explore every curve and hollow of her body.

My cock twitches, and I remind myself that I just fucked her. It doesn’t matter, though. My lust for her is constant. It used to bother me, this obsessive craving, but now I’m used to it. I’ve accepted my own madness.

She seems calm, content even. I like that. I like to feel her cuddled against me, all soft and trusting. She knows my true nature, yet she still feels safe with me. I have trained her to feel that way.

I have made her love me.

After a couple of minutes, she stirs in my arms, lifting her head to look at me. “Where are we going?” she asks, blinking, her long black lashes sweeping up and down like fans. She has the kind of eyes that could bring a man to his knees—soft, dark eyes that make me think of tangled sheets and naked flesh.

I force myself to focus. Those eyes fuck with my concentration like nothing else. “We’re going to my home in Colombia,” I say, answering her question. “The place where I grew up.”

I haven’t been there for years—not since my parents were murdered. However, my father’s compound is a fortress, and that’s precisely what we need right now. In the past few weeks, I’ve implemented additional security measures, making the place virtually impregnable. Nobody will take Nora from me again—I’ve made sure of that.

“Are you going to be there with me?” I can hear the hopeful note in her voice, and I nod, smiling.

“Yes, my pet, I’ll be there.” Now that I have her back, the compulsion to keep her near is too strong to deny. The island had once been the safest place for her, but no longer. Now they know of her existence—and they know she’s my Achilles’ heel. I need to have her with me, where I can protect her.

She licks her lips, and my eyes follow the path of her delicate pink tongue. I want to wrap her thick hair around my fist and force her head down to my lap, but I resist the urge. There will be plenty of time for that later, when we’re in a more secure—and less public—location.

“Are you going to send my parents another million dollars?” Her eyes are wide and guileless as she looks at me, but I can hear the subtle challenge in her voice. She’s testing me—testing the bounds of this new stage of our relationship.

My smile broadens, and I reach over to tuck a strand of hair behind her ear. “Do you want me to send it to them, my pet?”

She stares at me without blinking. “Not really,” she says softly. “I would much rather call them instead.”

I hold her gaze. “All right. You can call them once we get there.”

Her eyes widen, and I see that I surprised her. She was expecting that I would keep her captive again, cut off from the outside world. What she doesn’t realize is that it’s no longer necessary.

I’ve succeeded in what I set out to do.

I’ve made her completely mine.

“Okay,” she says slowly, “I’ll do that.”

She’s looking at me like she can’t quite figure me out—like I’m some exotic animal she’s never seen before. She often looks at me like that, with a mixture of wariness and fascination. She’s drawn to me—she’s been drawn to me from the very beginning—yet she’s still afraid of me on some level.

The predator in me likes that. Her fear, her reluctance—they add a certain edge to the whole thing. It makes it that much sweeter to possess her, to feel her curled up in my arms every night.

“Tell me about your time at home,” I murmur, settling her more comfortably against my shoulder. Brushing back her hair with my fingers, I look down at her upturned face. “What have you been up to all these months?”

Her soft lips curve in a self-deprecating smile. “You mean, besides missing you?”

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