The doorbell rang. Pissed at the intrusion, she stared at the door. The bell chimed again.
“Who is it?” she yelled and muted the TV.
The voice didn’t sound like Mitch’s but maybe the liquor had gotten to her hearing.
“What do you want?”
“Are you going to let me in?”
That sounded more like him, didn’t it? Maybe he’d learned what had happened to her today and knew she shouldn’t be alone. He’d hold her while she cried and ranted. They’d fuck until the top of her head exploded.
As she stood, her robe gaped. She pulled the halves together, then made her less than steady way to the door and twisted the lock. Stepping back a little, she pulled the door toward her.
A stranger stood in the space she’d created. “What—“
He shoved her backward across the room, kicking the door shut as he did. Following her, he jammed the back of her legs against the couch and twisted her around. She landed face down on the couch. He straddled her, grabbed her hair, and pulled her head back so she could barely breathe. Her right arm was jammed between her and the back of the couch, and he knelt on her left. No matter how frantically she bucked and squirmed, she couldn’t stop him from jamming a ball gag in her mouth. He pushed her face back into the couch, then buckled the gag in place.
Terror lanced through her. Her attacker’s strength was much greater than hers. Even more frightening was the realization of how easily he’d silenced her. She managed to turn her head to the side, but his weight still made breathing difficult. He scooted back until he straddled her thighs then grabbed her arms and forced them behind her. A leather strip bit into her arms just above her elbows. Her terror grew as he cinched her elbows within inches of each other.
In contrast to her strained breathing, he didn’t seem to be short of breath as he climbed off her and stood.
Staring at what she could see of him, she cursed her half-drunk mind. She was vaguely aware that she should be even more afraid, yet there was something comforting about not really caring.
“You don’t remember me, Willow?” He jerked his head at her drink. “How much of the bottle’s left?”
How did you know I bought—The question died as she stared up at the face of the man who’d rescued her earlier today. He’d exchanged his dress shirt and tie for jeans and a T-shirt.
He sounded so calm and reasonable she relaxed a little. Then she acknowledged that he’d issued a command and again felt overwhelmed.
“I said, get up.”
There was something fierce and cruel in the not-so-simple sentence. Her shoulders already ached from being pulled back, and she’d started to drool. The way he stood on wide-spread legs left her with no doubt of which of them was in charge. Trembling as she hadn’t done since childhood, she squirmed around on the couch until she was sitting up and her feet were on the carpet. Her robe had come untied. One breast was exposed as was much of her belly and mons.
Leaving her, he walked over to the opening between the living room and kitchen and turned on the overhead light. He studied her as she fought to free her arms. When he reached into his back pocket, she feared he was reaching for a knife. “No, please,” she tried to beg but only muffled sounds came out. She was barely restrained so why did she feel so helpless?
He pulled out a digital camera and began taking pictures of her. Every time the flash went off, she jumped and frantically looked for somewhere, anywhere to run. The closed front door seemed to be mocking her. Not only would she be hard-pressed to open it with her arms the way they were, her captor would surely stop her.
Damek! That’s what he’d said his name was.
“I’ve been watching you for several days.” He placed the camera on the coffee table. “As a result, I know a lot about your housing situation. I made gagging you my first order of business because there’s a remote chance someone might hear a scream. Having neighbors who work nights made things easier for me. Otherwise, I might have had to grab you elsewhere.”
He hadn’t told her she couldn’t move. Even if he had, she couldn’t stand still. Shaking even more, she paced from one end of the couch to the other and back again. Was this what a caged animal felt like?
“Remote capture appeared to be problematic,” he continued, “because you avoid isolated places. What is it? You’re afraid of being where there aren’t crowds?” He frowned. “No, that’s not it because you wouldn’t be living here. This really is a dump, hardly where I’d expect an accountant to be living.”
How did he know what she did—or used to do—for a living?
He jerked his head at the space between her legs. “I’ll be shaving that pussy.”
What was he saying? That he intended to keep her with him? The possibility brought bile to her throat. She frantically swallowed as best she could.
“I’m going to check out your living conditions before we leave,” he said as calmly as if they were discussing the weather. “Which means I’ll be leaving you to your own devices for a few minutes. You’d like that, wouldn’t you? It’d give you a chance to try to escape.”
He hadn’t touched her since gagging and restraining her. Whatever his intentions, he wasn’t going to kill her—at least not now. He didn’t seem interested in her exposed breast, not that that comforted her.
“One thing about having worked for Carnal Incorporated as long as I have.” He reached into another pocket and pulled out a black sleep mask. “I come well-prepared