By: Rachel van Dyken

“Repent?” I repeated. “But I didn’t do anything!”

“Maybe not.” He jerked open the door. “But your father did. And the daughter carries the sins of her father…” With one final glance in my direction he shut the door behind him.

And locked it.

I ran over to the counter top searching frantically for the key.


Maybe it only sounded like a locking mechanism, I rushed to the door and pulled. No such luck.

I banged my fists against the wall. What if there was a fire? What if I started choking on a peanut and needed 911?

“Bastard!” I hissed, kicking the door with my high heel and stomping back into the living room.

I couldn’t enjoy the beauty because it felt so wrong, so…t rapping, so final, like a high-priced cage with invisible bars. For the most part I felt like I was handling things. I mean, I didn’t have a nervous breakdown, but I wasn’t the type of person to do that.

I was logical, a realist. It only made sense that what he was doing was illegal, but I knew firsthand men like Nikolai, men like my father, they were above the law, they had the law in their back pockets.

With a shudder, I walked over to the kitchen and poured myself another glass of champagne to settle my nerves. My eyes fell to the couch and my purse with the black folder sticking out.

Blowing out a heavy breath, I chugged the rest of the glass and made my way over to the couch.

I could do this.

Reading. I could read. The words had no power over me and Nikolai had no power over me—regardless of what he believed.

The folder was thick and heavy. I sat on the couch and opened it to the first page.

It was the contract he’d asked me to sign, I imagined he would have made copies of it so tearing it up would do no good. It was a basic NDA saying if I spoke to the press or anyone about the happenings of Blazik Enterprises I’d be sued.

I skipped the fine print and went on to the next page.

Job Title: Intern.

Hah! So, he wasn’t lying about that part. Feeling a bit more optimistic I kept reading underneath the bold print.

—Don’t ask questions. Ever.

—Don’t give your opinion.

—Dress Code: Black. If an error occurs during operations and you need to get something dry cleaned, you must wait before sending it in.

—No outside phone calls.

—Eight-hour work day. Vacation available but travel must be first approved by Mr. Blazik and will be monitored.

I scrunched up my nose, what did that mean? Monitored? At least he was going to let me vacation though I had a sinking feeling we had two very different definitions of the word.

—No relationships.

—No family.

—No Internet.

Seriously? So I was basically going to be locked up in a fancy apartment for an entire year, wearing black, and doing… what? His laundry? I grit my teeth and read the next line, my eyes nearly fall out of my head at the next line.

—No sexual relationships. Must stay pure the entire year.

My cheeks heated with embarrassment. How in the world did he know I was still a virgin, and what business was it of his in the first place? Rage overtook me as I threw the papers across the table and cursed.

It wasn’t for lack of trying—the whole virginity thing. But my father had made sure no man touched me. And every time I did date it was like the men in my life panicked and backed off. The one and only time I’d gotten close to hooking up with a random guy from a bar—don’t ask, low point in my life—I went home with him and he had a freaking heart attack—at twenty-eight—in my bedroom.

He lived.

But blamed me.

What? Like my mere presence caused his heart to stop?

Tears stung at the back of my eyes as I glared at the papers. I wanted a life away from my father, away from his control, away from my family. This morning I’d been so excited about my research, about meeting a man who was my idol.

It sucked.

Meeting someone you idolized for five years only to find out he’s not the hero after all—but a complete monster in disguise.

Two and a half hours—and my monster would return.

I’d be ready.

I just needed to say that in the mirror about fifty more times after finishing that bottle of champagne.

Police suspect the Pier Killer may be a woman based on the hate crime toward women’s reproductive organs, reports reveal—The Seattle Tribune

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