My life's… complicated.
You know that feeling you’d get when you’d start to run down a steep hill?
As you ran faster, there was this single moment… just a moment… of pure joy.
You would stretch your arms out wide as you embraced the sensation that you were almost flying. You believed, truly believed, if you ran just a little bit faster, if you allowed yourself to dare just a little bit more… maybe you would actually fly. Maybe your toes would lift off the ground and you would touch the sky.
So, you dared
You ran faster.
You swore you could no longer feel the ground beneath your feet.
All you could see was the bright, beckoning azure sky.
And then it happened… you glanced down, back to reality.
It was just the barest of seconds, but it was enough.
Suddenly you realized, you weren’t flying.
You were falling.
I could feel Richard’s even breathing against the sensitive skin along my neck. His chest hair tickled my bare shoulder as I laid within the circle of his arms.
A lover’s embrace.
Except we weren’t lovers.
I didn’t know what we were, but this wasn’t love. It couldn’t be.
His arm wrapped possessively around my waist controlled as much as it protected. There was nothing in my life which Richard did not reign over; how I dressed, what I ate, where I went, who I talked too. But really, those were just artificial things. His control went much deeper. My thoughts were no longer my own; my desires, my wishes, my dreams.
All were of Richard.
All were focused on pleasing him.
I could feel the final vestiges of my soul slipping away.
Every day a little death.
Every time he bent me over a table, or forced my legs open wide, or commanded me to fall to my knees and open my mouth… the person I once was died a little, only to be reborn as his ideal fantasy woman.
I was Richard’s living doll, to be played with or punished at his will. Soon there would be nothing left of the person I once was, nothing left of my former life. It would all be a distant, fragmented memory.
My life could be divided into two distinct phases, the time before Richard and after. The time before was already a hazy blur of faces, mundane routines and the basic motions of life.
After… was everything.
After was blindingly clear. Full of bright colors, intense emotions, pleasures and pain. After, was living a life so extreme you feel the heat of the flame as it gets fed by your own desires. It unfurls and stretches towards the sky, burning hotter and brighter. Soon it will consume you… and you don’t care.
Richard had become as much my obsession as I was his.
An unholy fusing of two damaged souls.
It wasn’t supposed to be like this… it had all started out so innocently, with a chance encounter and a stolen kiss. Even now, I wondered how I could have been so naive? As if Richard ever left anything up to chance. He had planned this… every moment of our mutual destruction, from the very beginning.
These violent delights have violent ends and, in their triumph, die like fire and powder which as they kiss consume.
If ever there was a quote to fit this fucked up, twisted obsession we had for one another, that was it. Except we couldn’t claim the innocent infatuation of Romeo and Juliet. No, this was something far darker and more all-consuming. We did have one thing in common with Romeo and Juliet—this would end violently. There was no other way.
An obsession this extreme does not just fade away. We were not the type of couple to randomly have an argument over frozen pizza and then split up, only talking again to exchange small boxes of meaningless trifles like toothbrushes and unread books. That was what happened to normal couples. There was nothing normal about our relationship.
Pain, punishment, and manipulation - all to chase the high of an ever more intense, ever more consuming pleasure. We had each drawn blood in the frenzy of our own desires and yet instead of it becoming a sobering talisman it only spurred us on more.
Where would it end? In madness or death, I had no doubt. I was already half mad myself.
I could no longer tell what was real and what was part of our game. If I didn’t do something soon, to save both of us, we would be lost. Yet I knew, deep in my bones, Richard would never let me go, never allow me to simply walk away. If I were honest with myself, I didn’t think I could now if I tried. I was bound to him with chains of my own making.
These violent delights have violent ends…
Shifting my body slightly away from his oppressive warmth, I reached under my pillow, moving my fingers beneath the silk till they touched cold metal.
At that moment, Richard’s arm tightened, his fingers stretched out over the narrow curve of my waist, pressing deep into my skin. I choked on a frightened gasp. The sickening taste of blood trickled into my mouth as I bit down on my bottom lip to keep from crying out. My heart hammered in my ears, as I my body became rigid in an effort to stop my limbs from trembling.
My eyes closed as I braced for his rage at my betrayal.
Holding my breath so long I felt dizzy, the rush of adrenaline made my stomach cramp. Still, I waited in the darkness.
An eternity later, his fingers once more relaxed, resting heavily on my hip.
Willing myself to move, I carefully shifted to the side. My overheated bare skin sliding easily along the silk sheets.
I placed one foot on the hardwood floor and paused, listening for the even sounds of his breathing. I then swung my other foot over the edge and crouched by the bed. For a brief moment, I thought of covering my nakedness with my discarded nightgown, whose champagne satin shown bright in the moonlight. I abandoned the idea when I remembered how Richard had torn the delicate garment from my body only hours earlier. Its tattered remains would provide no protection for me now.
My eyes adjusted to the dim light as I scanned the bedroom, before my gaze rested on Richard.
Even in sleep, he looked intimidating. Nothing could soften the harsh angles of his jaw and sharp cheekbones or the heavy slope of his brow. He had the handsome looks and charm of the devil himself, with the same moral code. Half expecting to see his piercing blue eyes trained on me in anger, I let the breath I had been holding escape through my lips when I observed him still sleeping.
Refusing to take my gaze off him, I wrapped my stiff fingers around the smooth wooden handle of the gun, stifling a hiss as it pressed against the cut on my palm, and slowly pulled it free from under my pillow.
The Smith & Wesson .38 Special was heavier than I thought it would be. I’d never really held a gun before but for some strange reason I didn’t think it would feel so heavy. Its polished metal looked dark and sinister against the pale skin of my hand.
Tremors racked my body as I willed myself to take one step, then another, away from the bed.
This was it. There was no turning back.
Circling around, I turned to once more face his sleeping form.
Except he wasn’t sleeping anymore.
Those dark, intense eyes were trained on me.
My mouth opened on a silent scream as my stomach twisted in stark, terrorizing fear.
Had he been awake the whole time?
Had he found the gun earlier and guessed my plan?
Was this just another one of his games?
He the puppet master and me the helpless doll, dancing with every pull of my strings.
Was I once again a helpless player in a sick, macabre fantasy of his choosing?
This game… his game… our game… had gone too far.
It needed to end.
These violent delights have violent ends…
Desperately trying not to drop it, I switched the gun to my right hand and raised it chest high. It felt as if the blood had drained from my body. A chill crept over my skin as I watched him, feeling like trapped prey just waiting for its predator’s pounce.
Without saying a word, Richard kept his eyes trained on me as he carefully rose from the bed. I watched in horrified fascination as the sheet slid across his muscled abdomen only to drop away, exposing his thick hard shaft, unmistakable evidence the arrogantly confident man who stood before me wasn’t the least bit cowed by the sight of the gun.
He knew all along. I was now sure of it. My secret deadly plan had never been a secret from him. My heart felt heavy as I realized there wasn’t a corner of my mind he didn’t know intimately. He saw me too completely, knew me too well.
Stretching his arm out, he said calmly, “Give me the gun, Elizabeth.”
Hating myself for it, I took a hesitant step backward as I shook my head no.
“Baby, you don’t want to do this.”
My vision blurred as hot tears filled my eyes. My voice warbled as I whispered, “I have no choice.”
Not giving a damn about his nakedness, Richard took a determined step toward me.
“Stop! Please, don’t come any closer,” I cried out desperately. I could now taste my own salty tears as they slid down my cheeks and over my lips.
“Trust me, Elizabeth. You don’t want to start this game with me,” he growled in warning as he took another menacing step in my direction.
Once more I backed up, I could feel the plush edge of the chaise press against the back of my knees. The gun began to shake as my arms tired. I tried to steady it with my other hand. “I never wanted this game! Any of this!”
“Liar,” he snapped back. “You needed this, us, as much as I. Your soul is just as dark and twisted as my own. Don’t insult us both by pretending otherwise. Stop playing the innocent. It doesn’t suit you.” As always, his hard voice reverberated with calm authority.
Raising my hands up to cover my ears, the cold metal of the gun pressed against my hot cheek as I tried to block out the truth of his words. “No! I don’t believe you! You forced me to play this game!”
His hands curled into fists. “Forced you?” He bit out through clenched teeth. “Did I force those moans of pleasure that slipped past your lips earlier? Did I force you to wrap your legs around my shoulders drawing my mouth closer to your heat? Tell me. Was it I who forced you to scream ‘harder make it hurt’ tonight?”
My whole body shook with the impact of his words. I began to plead with him. “Stop! Please, stop! Can’t you see we have to end this? It’s too much! Too toxic. Too dangerous for us both. You have to let me go!” I screamed as I once more trained the gun on him.
His obsidian eyes shone with dark fire. His jaw clenched so hard there was a small throbbing tick on his upper right cheek. I watched him fight to maintain control, knowing how badly he wanted to just rip the gun from my hand and teach me a brutal lesson at the end of his leather belt for even daring to threaten him like this.
The silence shredded my nerves.
Would he let me go?
A traitorous voice in my head asked, do you truly want him to?
“Never,” he finally ground out. “You’re mine. Mine in life. Mine even in death. You will never be free of me, Elizabeth. I own you; mind, body and soul and I will never give you up.”
He took another step toward me. Our naked bodies now so close, I could feel the angry heat radiating off him.
Lifting the gun with a determination I didn’t feel, I pulled back the hammer.
“That’s where you’re wrong, Richard.” My voice sounding high and unnatural to my strained ears. The keen edge of desperation gave me false courage.
His eyes narrowed. For the first time, he looked down at the gun in my hand before returning his intense glare to mine. “You better shoot to kill, because when I get my hands on you, there… will… be… no… mercy.”
His words were slow and methodical. Like with everything else, he wanted to make sure I felt the painful impact of every syllable.
Trapped by his gaze, I couldn’t move.
Then, peeking through a small slit in the closed curtains, a delicate shaft of golden light stretched between us. Dawn was approaching.
A new day.
A new little death.
The high-pitched light tone of a nightingale pierced the silence. A bird who symbolized love… and freedom.
He was right. He would show me no mercy. This was the only way. My right finger began to curl.
Richard’s eyes widened. I watched as the sharply defined muscles in his chest and abdomen tensed then shifted as his toned body pushed forward in a lunge.
He was too late.
I closed my eyes and pulled the trigger.
The roar of the gun drowned out the nightingale’s soft song.
As I said, my life’s complicated.
Available May 16th!
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