* Clover *
Clover purred like a contented cat on the incredibly soft sheets of the king-size mattress in the master bedroom. Mason stretched out with her, coyly smiling. A bucket of champagne chilled on ice by the foot of the dark brown bed frame. But getting drunk took a backseat to perving on her smoking hot boyfriend.
“What are you thinking?” She ran her fingers lightly down his bare chest, towards his hip, admiring his brawny physique in the dimming twilight. They pulled aside the gauzy white drapes for the picturesque sunset, but the view outside didn’t compare to the gorgeous man lying beside her.
He propped his head on his hand, “Just reliving those cute sounds you made when I fucked you in front of those people.”
She scoffed, “Um, they were clear across the lake on jet skis! Still… you’re welcome.”
He smirked with cockiness, “You will be the one thanking me by the time we go to sleep.”
She fake yawned, “Thank you and goodnight.”
She laughed as he rolled on top of her, growling playfully into her neck. Her heart burst with love for Mason. He was funny, compassionate… wickedly talented in bed. Every time she figured something out about him, she discovered another layer to his brilliant mind. They were perfect for each other. He never spoke down to her or forced his sometimes intimidating lifestyle on her when she refused to join him when he attended charity events or client dinners, trusting him to come home to her even though women contrived to lure his attention. She trusted in their relationship, in their bond after her kidnapping experience. They balanced each other out in the most eccentric ways.
Mason tugged at the panties she left on before her impromptu nap before dinner, “When you move in, I should shackle you to my bed and have my way with you whenever I want. Fuck, you’re so sexy.”
She tried not to flinch at the implication. She knew he struggled to phrase certain subjects to not cause her unease, but occasionally he flipped triggers without realizing. Like now, he was oblivious to her turmoil, busy groping her tits under her tee-shirt.
He leaned forward, filling her vision with his concerned expression, “Babe… I—”
Then he started shrieking so loud it sounded comical until her brain comprehended he was in pain. He flopped his body to the side, and she locked eyes with the devil.
“No… no no no!” she scrambled to get off the bed, but that’s when she spotted someone standing beside Bentley.
“Run!” Mason hissed through gritted teeth.
Reese and Bentley stood side by side, dressed in all black. Bentley had fired a taser at Mason, and Reese clutched a wicked-looking hunting knife. Mere seconds passed, enough for Clover to take them in before her feet hit the floor, running towards the open bathroom door. She couldn’t believe her luck when she shut herself in the room with a bolt action lock before one of them slammed into the thick wood.
Could Mason handle those two freaks without help? What about their creepy outfits? Did they color coordinate? How long had they watched them? Where the hell did she leave her phone? She began to hyperventilate.
“You can stay in there for now,” Bentley’s smooth voice crooned from the other side of the door, “That will give me plenty of time to catch up with Mason.”
“Don’t you fucking touch him!” she lamely responded.
Silence reigned as she fruitlessly searched for a way to protect herself after finding out the only window was tiny and so high up she would need a ladder. Damn fancy ceilings. There was absolutely nothing in the drawers or side cabinets. She realized they must have cleared the bathroom out beside towels and a few rolls of toilet paper. They had used the bath closest to the front of the house, so neither of them noticed anything off after returning from their day out at the lake.
“Ready, Jade?” Bentley’s question made her jump a few minutes later, “I’m sure for Mason’s sake he would like you to join us.”
“My name’s Clover, you limp dick fucker!”
Would they bust inside if she stayed put? The lock looked sturdy, but she didn’t want them to hurt Mason if she refused. She ran a hand over her face, mind racing for ideas. How had they not seen this coming? Once again, she felt like she was in the middle of a horror movie.
“Have you found a weapon? No?” Bentley’s tone was eerily calm, “If you come out, I won’t let Reese stab Mason in the leg. Let’s not forget how she loves to fuck up people who piss her off.”
“You’re psychotic!” she pounded her fists with outrage on the wood, “Why? I swear you both need shock therapy.”
His chuckles faded. Then she heard Mason shout so loud it chilled her blood. Damn them! She quietly sobbed, clutching her hair. Taking a deep breath, she knew the only decision to make was to go out there where Bentley and Reese would torture and kill them. She wept harder, realizing she couldn’t live without Mason. Perhaps offering a deal where she joined his crazy ass sweet cult would entice Bentley into leaving before he suffered further harm.
Scrubbing her tears away with the shirt she’d worn to bed, she told herself to be brave. She had survived Bentley once. She wouldn’t allow his venom to spoil what she and Mason built in the last months. With fortified breaths, she released the bolt then yanked the door open.
They were standing across the room, not even bothering to manhandle her closer. Why would they after tying Mason to a chair by his hands and feet? She quickly scanned him for injuries but found none. He had a red ball-gag in his mouth and his eyes glowered murderously in Bentley’s direction.
Bentley himself wore a pleased smirk on his handsome face. Reese stood behind Mason, clear animosity twisting her lips as she watched her step out.
“I’ve missed you, Jade,” Bentley smiled serenely, his black hair perfectly combed, allowing her to recognize the manic excitement in his sapphire orbs, “Did you miss me?”
“No one misses nightmares,” she sneered.
He frowned, “It’s been a while, so you probably require a refresher course on the rules. Sit down.”
She shook her head, “What the hell are you doing? You said you cared about me, but this isn’t right! You disgust me!”
Reese strode forward with the knife, and Bentley snapped, “Back the fuck off before you make me angry.”
She obeyed with a scowl. Some things never change. If given half a chance, Reese wouldn’t hesitate to butcher her. She shuddered, glancing at the armchair across from Mason.
“Reese wants to kill me,” she tried to reason with the man, “Why did you bring her? Please, let us go before shit gets out of hand. You can walk away!”
He pointed to the chair, “Sit before I make you.”
Mason’s eyes flash with dismay when she finally sat down. Oh right, zip ties. Her old adversaries. She glared the entire time he strapped her arms and legs in place.
“Do I need to gag you or will you do as you’re told?” he peered at her face for signs of trouble, but she kept quiet, “See, you still remember how to be sweet.”
Reese scoffed, but Bentley ignored her. She looked over and caught Mason’s gaze, conveying her love and hope for beating these rotten assholes. She would listen to his crazy ramblings, then hopefully persuade him to either let them go or leave with her so Mason could escape.
“I’ve been watching you two parade around like love-sick fucking teenagers for weeks now,” Bentley admitted while pulling a black bag from underneath the bed. “I’m sorry—not sorry, I planted cameras in your apartment.”
“You twisted dickhead!” she screamed, horrified he invaded her privacy. It was her own fault. She’d refused the police’s resources when they offered to sweep her home before she moved back in. How was she to predict he’d do such an invasive thing?
He tutted, “Perhaps we need that muzzle, after all, Reese.”
With a pleased look of an insane person, she came at her with a gag like Mason’s and roughly yanked on her hair, “Open up bitch.”
Without warning, Bentley backhanded Reese so hard she dropped to the carpet. Clover shivered in fear as the stunned girl wiped the blood from her busted lip. “Behave!” he growled, “Are you going to follow my instructions or do I have to do everything myself? Well,” he turned and gave Mason a knowing smirk, “Except for sucking dick. She does a good impression of a hoover if you get my meaning.”
“Why?” Clover hated that her voice wobbled, “She worships you! Why can’t you just be happy with her and leave us alone?”
Bentley took her chin between his thumb and forefinger, giving her a heated stare that made her heart stutter in her chest, “I love you. Not Reese, or anyone else on this earth. She means nothing. I’ll kill her and Mason before I leave you, pet.”
Reese scampered backward, a devastated grimace on her pale face. Her hope that they would walk away withered after his cold statement. She swallowed a hateful retort, feigning resignation. Reese wouldn’t hesitate to slit her throat now, but maybe she could convince the girl to free Mason if she fed Bentley’s sadistic ego once again. She didn’t plan to fold easily though, needing them to turn on each other.
“You’re bitter and heartless,” Clover hissed, “You don’t know what love is Bentley.”
He stuffed the gag in her mouth, “Trust me, I do. Love is waiting six months for you to be right here, where I can finally tell you all of Mason’s deep dark secrets. Let me guess, he never told you he had Pearl invest two percent into Love Meets You so if the shit hit the fan he wouldn’t be accountable.”
At her confused eyebrow scrunch, he sighed, releasing the ball-gag. The fool was a sucker for hearing what she had to say. Most likely because he imagined one day she’d sing his praises. Ha. Not in this lifetime.
“Who the hell is Pearl?” she watched Mason’s eyes flash with something like panic.
“Damn, this is perfect,” the fucker didn’t hold in his belly laugh as he rounded on Mason, “You claim to love Jade. Surely you told her about Pearl?”
“My name’s Clover and he can’t answer you asshole!” She wasn’t certain she wanted to learn who the mystery woman was if it made Bentley gleeful.
He scowled, “Jade, I know you’re mad but watch your fucking language.”
Resisting the urge to roll her eyes, she jeered, “Oh? Then you should know I’ll never be mother-fucking sweet to you ever again, Bentley!” She stiffened, expecting a blow, only he looked stung by her proclamation, making her even more unsettled. This entire night was like the twilight zone in psychedelic color.
“Mason turned you against me,” he murmured before punching the defenseless man in the stomach so hard he worked to catch his breath through his nose.
“Stop!” she shouted, “God, you’re such a dick! I won’t be sweet just because you hurt someone else. I won’t! Get over yourself!”
He swiftly advanced on her, and she tried to twist away, but he cupped her cheeks, planting a rough kiss on her lips. She bit him, and he hissed in surprise before laughing. Sweeping her sweaty locks behind her ear, he pinched her nipples until she squealed in agony. Mason struggled in his bonds, earning him nothing but pain.
“What can you do? I’m in control here.” Bentley swiveled to Reese who lingered on the floor, “Do you think Jade will behave if I chop off Mason’s left hand?”
She smiled up at him, “Yes, sir.”
Clover shook her head in disgust, turning the conversation around, “Who’s Pearl?”
He took a few steps towards the black bag, “Hmm… Mason should fill you in. I could explain, but you wouldn’t believe me. It’s such a well-kept secret that sure, I would love to be the one to make you all…” he placed both hands on his cheeks, making an O-face, “but yeah, let Mason tell his tale.”
Mason inhaled several deep breaths after Bentley unbuckled the spit-soaked muzzle, tossing it on the carpet in front of them. “I’m going to take my time killing you!”
He smirked, “I’m sure you would if you could. Go ahead, Jade’s waiting for you to reveal your lies. You haven’t changed. You’re still as ruthless as you were in college, only better at hiding your demons. Well? We’re all ears…”
Clover held her tongue as questions plagued her thoughts, confused, and intrigued at the same time.
Mason licked his lips, and she saw actual fear and nervousness cripple his posture when he met her concerned stare, “Pearl is…”
“Don’t leave her in suspense,” Bentley was having way too much fun, the asshole.
She gave him an encouraging smile, “It doesn’t matter. I love you.”
Bentley growled in anger, “No talking! Spit it out, Mason!”