Elizabeth's emerald gaze darted over my shoulder to the exit.
My body tensed, ready to pounce.
Her foot slid to the right, as she slowly turned her body in the door's direction.
"I wouldn't if I were you," I warned.
The sudden bark of my voice echoed off the bare brick walls and visibly startled her.
She leaned forward slightly... then my little bird took flight.
Running in an arc, she bolted for the door.
I was too quick for her.
Lunging, I stretched out my arm and caught her around the waist, pulling her struggling body against my chest. Her delicate frame no match for my strength. I could feel each thin bone and soft curve of her body as I pressed it to mine.
So easily breakable.
Elizabeth screeched and clawed at my forearm. "Let me go! Let me go!"
Wrapping another arm securely across her shoulders, I tightened my grasp on her. The pressure against her ribcage stifled her breath and ceased her struggles.
Taking the soft lobe of her ear between my teeth, I bit down. "Never," I growled.
My blood was up. I wanted this fight with her. Needed it.
Releasing my hold, Elizabeth stumbled forward before swinging to face me.
Pushing her damp curls away from her face, she just stared at me with those wild, beautiful eyes of hers. A single tear coursed down her flushed cheek.
I would never get my fill of this woman... of this.
I wanted to swallow her screams and taste her tears. The wicked beast inside of me craved to devour every innocent glimmer of light within her soul till I had filled it with the same shadows as my own. I knew there was darkness inside of her. It called out to me. There was nothing in my life so enthralling or so challenging as drawing it out. Forcing it to the surface to come play my twisted, depraved games.
Backing up a step, keeping her palms defensively before her, she breathed, "It was a mistake to return."
Reaching for my belt, I slowly slipped the long leather strap through the sterling silver buckle as I took a threatening step toward her. "Yes, it was."
What was the point in denying it?
She had angered and betrayed me.
As I told Andrew, life had consequences.
Especially when you dared to fight me over something I wanted to possess.
And I would possess Elizabeth. In time, I would burn away all her defiance until she finally accepted that her fate lay with me... and only me.
Scrambling backward, her chest rose and fell with each quickened breath. I could see the sharp outline of her nipples through her still-damp t-shirt. Closing my eyes for a moment, I imagined her in the shower. Soft, warm water caressing her skin as foamy, iridescent bubbles clung to each curve. My cock swelled and pressed painfully against the zipper of my jeans.
"Richard, I love you, but we have to end this. It's too toxic. It's become too twisted," she pleaded.
I nodded as I pulled my belt free. Running my hand down the long, thick length of leather before folding it in half in my right fist. "The only way you escape me, Elizabeth, is in death. You were mine from the first moment I laid eyes on you. Nothing has or ever will change that."
I took another step toward her. My intent clear.
With a cry of alarm, Elizabeth scanned the wall before grabbing at one of my displayed swords. She chose a rather ominous Russian Cossack saber. Pulling it free of its hardened black leather and gold sheath, she exposed the long, flat, razor-sharpened blade.
Holding the hilt with both of her small hands, she extended the heavy blade in front of her, pointing it at my mid-section.
"Don't come any closer," she warned. Her voice sounded high and thin with a slight warble.
She was afraid.
She should be.
Keeping her gaze locked with mine, I took two deliberate steps in her direction. Wrapping my left hand around the blade, I ignored the harsh sting of pain as its sharp edge sliced into my fingers.
Elizabeth gasped, her cherry lips opening in shock as I placed the point of the blade over my heart.
She tried to back away, but the wall prevented her. Keeping my grasp on the blade, I lifted it higher till the point leveled over my heart. Refusing to take my gaze off her, I let the tip sink into my flesh.
"Oh God," she whimpered.
Releasing the blade, I stood there. Watching as small drops of my own crimson blood trickled down the blade's bright silver edge.
"Do it, Elizabeth. Thrust the blade into my heart."
Tears streamed down her cheeks.
"Richard, please... I can't... don't make m-"
"Do it," I yelled, my harsh intake of breath driving the point in a little deeper. Hissing through my clenched teeth at the pain, I reached past the blade and placed my left hand over her trembling grasp. "Drive it deep into my heart because that's what you will do if you leave me."
This might take my sadistic manipulation to new levels, but I didn't give a damn. I would not go back to my colorless, jaded existence. It was her and her love or nothing for me.
With a cry, she dropped the sword.
Kicking it aside, I pounced.