With a deep frown and an aching chest, I look after Aaron. The office door closes with a loud thud, making me flinch, and my eyes fall on Victor, who steps behind the chair I’m sitting on.
“Ah, dear. I bet you curse the day you fell for that stupid boy’s charm,” he mutters as he tightens a rope around my wrists. After that, he bends down to tie my ankles to the legs of the chair. “And to make sure no one hears you scream your pretty little head off...”
My eyes widen as he takes a white cloth out of the pocket of his pants. I shift left and right on my chair turning my head away from him, but there’s no escaping his firm grip, so he easily ties the cloth around my head, gagging me.
I struggle to breathe evenly as Victor walks out of the room, leaving me in a heavy silence, the pounding in my ears from my racing pulse the only sound. All I can do is sit and wait and not move too much. The rope cuts the skin around my wrists and ankles when I try to wriggle them free. Panic and dread still cause the adrenaline to rush through my veins, making me feel nauseous.
Time seems to stand still. The falling dusk outside the big office window is the only indication of how late it already is. The more minutes pass, the more nervous I get. My thoughts are a horrible mess, and the fact that I can only breathe through my nose doesn’t help at all with my attempts to calm down.
All of a sudden, the door flies open, and I yelp as Victor rushes in. He mumbles some unknown words, and along with his reddened face and furrowed brows, I assume he’s swearing vigorously in Russian. “Change of plans,” he grunts as he approaches. “You are coming with me.”
He unties the ropes from my ankles but leaves the one around my wrists and doesn’t remove the gag either. Grabbing my arm, he drags me out of the office and through the kitchen, out the back door. The van is still parked in the alley behind the bar, and Victor shoves me into the passenger side before he gets in behind the wheel. I turn my head to look into the back of the van, where I sat when they brought me here earlier. For a short moment, my thoughts drift to Daniel. I wonder what they did with him and if he’s all right.
Victor’s chuckle brings me back to the here and now. “Buckle up, dear. It’s gonna be a bumpy ride.”
He turns the key in the ignition, but just as he’s about to change the gear into drive, a gruff voice makes me flinch and Victor curse again. “No, it won’t.”
Before Victor can react, his head hits the steering wheel. My whole body stiffens as I watch how Daniel turns up out of nowhere behind Victor. Daniel slams Victor’s head on the steering wheel once more before Victor comes back to his senses and dodges another attack. It takes him all but two seconds to draw the gun I hadn’t noticed before and point it at Daniel. My muffled screams are hardly audible over the grunting and the sounds of fists flying and hitting their target. I can’t watch any longer and turn away from the fight, squeezing my eyes shut. I scoot away from them as far as possible, pressing myself against the door.
Seconds feel like minutes. My whole body is shaking with silent sobs, but my breath hitches in my throat when two things happen at the same time: a gunshot sounds and the passenger door opens. I would have hit the ground had it not been for two strong arms to break my fall. I still sob uncontrollably, but as soon as I realize I am in my safe place, relief washes over me. It’s him.
“It’s okay, Sunshine. It’s over. I’ve got you.” Aaron frees me from the cloth over my mouth and the rope, and as soon as they’re gone, I jump into his arms, clinging to him like he’s my lifeline. I bury my face in the crook of his neck as he picks me up and wraps my legs around his waist. He moves us away from the van, murmuring soothing words into my ear. Slowly, my breathing calms, and my tears stop flowing.
“I’m so sorry, Sunshine.” Aaron’s voice breaks, and he draws in a deep breath. “So sorry. Please,” he adds in a mere whisper, “don’t hate me now.”
I loosen my grip on him and lean back so I can look at him. I frown at his pained expression and stroke his cheek with my palm, checking his face for visible injuries. When I find none, my eyes meet his, and instantly, new tears fill my eyes, but this time, they’re tears of relief. Unable to utter a single word, I lower my mouth to find his lips in a desperate kiss. I’m desperate for his touch, for his warmth and his closeness—desperate for him. Never could I hate him. On the contrary, every stroke of his tongue against mine makes me fall deeper; every caress of his hands on my skin makes me fly higher. These feelings are way too strong to leave room for hate.
“I’m sorry,” he murmurs in between kisses.
I pull back and signal to him to put me down. I grab fistfuls of his shirt and narrow my eyes at him. “Stop apologizing. I don’t hate you, you hear me?”
He lowers his gaze and bites his lips. I frown, but just as I want to speak, Daniel turns up next to us. I look him up and down and gasp when I see his cut lip and the bruises that are starting to show on his face. ”Oh fuck!” I exclaim when my gaze falls on the bloodstain on his shirt over his right upper arm. ”You were shot!”
Daniel looks at his arm and shrugs. “It’s just a graze. Don’t worry.”
“Damn, I owe you, big time,” Aaron says. “You saved her.”
Daniel waves off his comment. “I happened to be at the right place at the right time. That fucktard forgot me in the back of the van. Not sure who screwed that up, but who cares. I had to make up for my earlier mistake; I should have seen them coming.”
“No, Daniel!” I scold. “Don’t–”
“Sorry to interrupt.” A police officer approaches us and looks at me. “Ma’am, we need your statement.”
Aaron takes my hand, intertwining our fingers. “Come on, Sunshine. Let’s get this over with so I can take you home.” He gives me a tentative smile that makes the hair lift on the back of my neck. I take a deep breath, hoping I’m overanalyzing the situation and that there’s not something seriously wrong.
Over the next few hours, I make my statement and learn how everything went down and how they had planned to set Jackson up. I meet Wallace, Jackson’s father, and he tells us Howard found out yesterday that the drugs weren’t at the bar but in a secret place Jackson would have taken the client to if it had been an actual deal. So he informed Wallace. They had initially planned to arrest Jackson at the warehouse, but as soon as Oliver got wind of my kidnapping, their plan changed yet again.
It’s a lot to process, but there’s only one fact that’s important right now—it’s finally over.
It’s already past 2am when Aaron and I walk into my aunt’s house. Even though I feel utterly exhausted, sleep is the last thing on my mind.
I kick off my shoes and turn to Aaron, who stands by the door, watching me with his hands buried in his pockets. “How are you?” he asks in a whisper.
I shrug. “Not sure. I’ll probably need a few days to digest what happened, but I’m glad it’s over and that you’re back with me.” I walk up to him into his outstretched arms, relishing the soothing effect of his embrace.
“Me too, Sunshine. Me too,” he murmurs into my hair, tightening his grip on me. “Come on, let’s go sleep. You must be tired.”
I shake my head as I lean back. “I need to take a shower first. Wash off today’s events.”
He nods, letting go of me. “Sure.”
I narrow my eyes at him. “You’ll come with me, right?” An uneasy feeling has been sitting in the pit of my stomach from the moment I had to give my statement. The frown on Aaron’s forehead deepened with every word I said, and while he hasn’t let me out of his sight since, he acted a little distant, hardly meeting my eye and continuously rubbing his neck. I know guilt weighs heavily on his shoulders.
“Hey,” I whisper when he frowns. “Stop thinking about it. It’s over; you said so yourself.”
“Shh.” I shake my head before I press my lips on his. “Come on.” I take his hand and pull him after me into my ensuite bathroom, where I stop in front of the shower and turn to him. Without saying a single word, I pull my top over my head and drop my shorts to the floor, leaving me in only my underwear. I don’t just need the water to wash off the dreadful memories, but also him—his hands and mouth on me, his taste on my tongue, his manly scent to engulf me, and his comforting voice to make me feel at ease.
A soft moan escapes me when I meet his gaze. His face shows so many emotions right now. I know he feels sorry for everything that happened. I also see the conflict in his eyes. His arousal is so apparent with the deep breaths he takes and the way he bites his lips. He places his hands on my waist but won’t touch any other part of my body. I go up on tiptoe. “Kiss me,” I breathe on his lips.
And finally, he does. It’s a kiss so deep and affectionate that it sends intense shivers down my spine. A fluttering feeling starts in my belly, gradually spreading through my whole body, and my heart beats wildly, making my core throb with need.
My hands wander to the hem of his shirt, and my fingers enjoy the soft feel of his skin as I slide it over his head. His shorts follow next, along with his boxers and my underwear. “Touch me,” I whisper as I pull him closer. Another long, low moan escapes me when his erection presses against my lower abdomen, and that seems to flip that stupid switch in his head. With a low growl, he cups my face with his hands, burying his fingers in my hair. He devours my mouth and pushes me backward into the shower. His lips never leave mine when he turns on the water and waits for it to warm up so he can move us under the spray.
The need for him grows stronger and stronger as he takes the body wash and lathers me from head to toe so sensually soft that it leaves me breathless. He caresses every inch of me, first with his hands, then with his lips. The desire to feel him is all-consuming, but as he still avoids that part of my body that silently begs for more, I whimper, “Make me come, Aaron.”
He chuckles—a sound that makes my heart skip a beat. “So demanding,” he says before his lips find mine and his fingers find my pulsating clit. Like usual, he knows exactly how he needs to touch me to bring me close to the edge in no time. I grab his hair, holding on for dear life. My head falls back with a loud moan as his mouth wanders along my neck to my breasts, licking, nibbling, and teasing my burning skin. He slides two fingers inside my hot core, curling them, making me cry out in ecstasy.
“Fuck, you feel amazing,” he groans, his voice stimulating me even more, making me wish he’d finally fill me with his throbbing length. But the condoms are out of reach, so I have to wait a little longer to finally feel his dick inside me again. For now, his fingers will have to do. Oh, the things they do! I’m panting like a freight train when he slides them in and out of me, again and again, pressing his thumb on my clit, while his mouth is busy playing with my hard nipples. I beg for more, faster and harder, and he obliges.
He shifts a little so his erection presses against my hip, and I wrap my fingers around him, stroking up and down. His groans get louder as his breathing becomes more erratic. “Damn, babe,” he grunts, picking up the pace, and because I want to take him over the edge with me, I stroke him faster too.
“Fuck, Aaron, yes!” I cry out as my climax starts in my lower abdomen and sends a wave of intense pleasure through my trembling body. I cling to him with my free hand and dig my nails into the flesh of his shoulders, making him hiss. He keeps his fingers inside me as I ride out my orgasm while I keep stroking him harder and faster until he reaches his release too.
For a few moments, we hold each other close, breathing heavily with our hearts racing in our chests. For a few moments, all is well in our own little world, where there’s only him and me.
Aaron is the first to move. He pulls back slightly to place a tender kiss on my lips. “Damn,” he says with a low growl. “I love that glow on your face when you come.”
I put my hand on his cheek with a sultry smile. “Then let’s get out of here so you can make me come again. And again.”