Then Natalie stumbles into my life. Wrong place. Wrong time.
Twice, fate put her in my path.
Twice, fate placed the innocent lamb at the mercy of the monster.
I gave her a chance to walk away. Told her it would be better for her if she did.
But she didn’t listen.
And now it’s too late.
Because I’m not good. I never wanted to be. And I won’t let her go anymore. See, I’m not the hero. When I touch her, it’s with dirty hands.
I know my reckoning is coming though. I know I’ll burn for the things I’ve done, the sins I’ve committed. And I don’t deny hell is where I belong, but I want my time first. I want my time with her.
No matter what.
I go straight into my study when I get home. Even though I’m alone, I close the door out of habit. I sit with just the lamp on the desk turned on and I look at the photos. I scroll through each one. Study her face in them. I see her anger. Her fear. Her humiliation. I see it in that order. I study more too. More of her. And my dick’s hard.
“I wasn’t ever going to talk.”
I knew that. I knew it all along. She’s right. I am a pervert. Sick. Only a sick person would do this, would violate an innocent like this. It wasn’t necessary to do what I did. I just wanted to.
But I came to terms with this darker part of me a long time ago. And I’m not psychoanalyzing it now.
The last picture, the one with my hand on her hip, has my attention. The Benedetti family ring is prominent on my finger, my hand big, masculine and rough on her softly curving hip. It’s not even the gleaming pink of her pussy that’s got my eye. It’s how she’s looking at me. Watching me with those dark eyes through that veil of hair. Like she’s seeing me. Really seeing me.
I stare at them. I can’t look away. What I see, it’s not what I expect. Not hate. Not even fear. Something else. It has me curious. It’s almost as if there’s something familiar about her.
I can still smell her if I try. Was she aroused or is that just my sick brain at work? Making something up that wasn’t there. I wonder if she’s thinking about it now. If she’s lying in bed with her fingers between her legs remembering my hands on her. My eyes on her. She’d hate herself for it, I know.
I scroll back to the first image. The one of her sitting on the floor, knees pulled up, hands covering as much of herself as she can. Her chin is bowed into her chest, her hair like a curtain hiding her face from me. But if I look close, I see her accusing eyes through that fall of hair.
There’s something about this girl that I can’t put my finger on. Something that’s got me thinking about her long after I should forget.
“Insurance,” I say to myself, standing. I turn on the printer and send all the photos to it. Listen to the slow hum and buzz as each one prints. Watch Natalie’s face as each slowly slides out, stacks on top of the last. When they’ve all printed, I put them in a locked drawer of my desk before going upstairs to jerk off.
USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance, Natasha Knight specializes in dark, tortured heroes. Happily-Ever-Afters are guaranteed, but she likes to put her characters through hell to get them there. She’s evil like that.