By: Rachel van Dyken

“We are,” he answered, pulling his cell phone from his pocket and firing a text off. “Tell me, are you always this silent?” He shoved the cell back into his fitted black pants and leveled me with a curious stare.

“Yes,” I snapped. Maybe if I was horrible to him he’d leave me alone, or release me from whatever contract he’d made with my father.

With a smirk, he nodded his head once and pressed the emergency stop on the elevator.

In most movies or books that’s where the girl either dies or gets the crap kissed out of her.

I wasn’t sure what I was hoping for, or why my body had any business arching as he neared, but arch it did, as if ready for his touch.

Which was ridiculous.

Because he owned me.

Quite literally.

And honestly, I don’t care what anyone says, it may appear sexy when you see it on TV—but it’s not, it’s horrifying. Absolutely degrading. It makes you feel like less of a person, less of a woman, more of a possession.

And I’d been fighting my whole life to be something more than that.

Because that was exactly how my father always treated my mom.

And I despised him for it.

“Listen.” Mr. Blazik braced his hands on either side of the wall.

The beeping in the elevator was starting to make my ears ring. My head swam, and I realized I’d stopped breathing. I sucked in a lungful of air that smelled like his spicy cologne.

“This doesn’t have to be difficult.”

“Then let me go,” I hissed, pushing at his chest.

He looked down at my hand, still resting against his body, almost curiously, as if he hadn’t been touched in all his thirty-two years. “Your hands… they’re warm.”

I jerked my hand back. “What? Only used to working with corpses?”

His eyes flashed as his body pressed mine hard against the wall. My head nearly collided with a light fixture as I gazed up into his cold eyes. “As of right now, I don’t give a shit who your father is, or who you are. You work for me. I own you. Give me attitude, and it’s only going to make things harder—for both of us. Now,” he said, stepping back and tugging at his collar. “Let me at least feed you since I can hear your stomach growling from here. Then I’ll show you where you’ll be staying for the next year.”

My stomach dropped. “Staying as in…” I gulped. “Living?”

“What is living… really?” He shrugged and pressed the red button, and the elevator continued to move up, finally stopping at the penthouse floor. “After you.” He nodded.

I stepped into the hallway. The floors were a black marble, the walls were a matching gray, and again, it felt cold, like someone had decorated it with only one thought in mind—that it would be easy to clean the mess left by victims of gunshot—or other—wounds from the tile rather than carpet.

“It’s—” I swallowed hard. “—nice.”

“It’s hideous.” He stepped around me. “Yet absolutely necessary.”

“Right.” I blew air between my lips. “Because of the vampires?”

His hand froze on the lock. “So you do have a sense of humor.”

“Only with friends.”

He turned his head, affording me a glimpse of the slight shadow of his jaw and his full lips. “I don’t have many of those.”

“Shocker.” I crossed my arms.

With a smirk, he twisted the lock and pushed the large black door open.


Everything was white. If the hallway was the location of a vampire coven, then the apartment was something straight from heaven.

White leather sections covered half the space in front of the living area with a flat screen TV. Large gray fur rugs covered the white marble.

White drapes hung over the floor to ceiling windows.

A diamond chandelier hung above my head.

It almost burned my eyes to blink, everything was so bright. I did a small circle, my eyes resting on the full gourmet kitchen. Stainless steel double oven, gas stove, and an incredibly large fridge that looked like it could hold at least four people inside, dwarfed the rest of the kitchen.

“Do you like it?” Mr. Blazik asked, setting the key on the white granite countertop.

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