By: Francette Phal

“I do sincerely hope this isn’t what it looks like, Eden?”

Her senses returned just then, and her husband’s drawl had Eden closing her own eyes for a brief second, attempting to regroup herself before she had to face him. She came to her feet unsteadily, unconsciously leaning on the guy who’d not only caused this mess, but had also rescued her from impending death. When she found her footing, Eden turned to him with a tentative smile before meeting her husband’s gaze. There was nothing on Dominic’s classically handsome features that indicated his fury; he looked unperturbed, bored even with this scene, but Eden knew the truth. She’d become a veteran in reading his moods and nothing foretold it more than those cold green eyes.

“Well, I’m not sure what it looks like to you, sweetheart, but this man just saved my life.”

“Did he?” he retorted, sizing up the other man and quickly dismissing him as someone of no consequence. “And what exactly was it that he saved you from, pet?”

Caught once more beneath that cold green stare, Eden attempted another tactic knowing that she was only making it worse for herself. “I was being silly,” she said with a small laugh, raking a hand through her hair to act every bit the airhead he believed her to be. “I was sitting on the ledge, not realizing how much I’ve had to drink. This man…” She stopped suddenly looking at the man with the blue eyes. “I’m sorry…I didn’t catch your name.”


“Matt came along and pulled me down just before I tipped over.”

“Well then, we should commend Bruce on hiring such agile employees.” He smoothly took off his dinner jacket and swept it over Eden’s shoulders. “And you, dear wife,” he tugged on the lapels of the jacket to bring her closer to him, “need to be a lot more careful.” The kiss was not only meant to exhibit ownership, but it was precursor to the punishment that was to come. “Now, let’s go home.” When he made to lead them away, Eden set a gentle hand on his chest to halt his progress.

“What about the man who rescued the woman you love?” Dominic looked down at her and Eden knew she’d pushed too far, but she wanted him to acknowledge the man—Matt—for what he’d done. Eden wanted to watch her husband lower himself for a moment to the man he’d dismissed as nothing more than something he found under his shoe.

“Very well.” He disengaged himself from her and slipped a hand inside his pocket. “What’s the going rate for rescuing damsels these days? Two…three hundred?”

“A thousand dollars should do it, I think,” Eden said with a touch of spite, meeting those blue eyes that peered at her curiously.

“A thousand dollars,” Dominic chuckled drily, “I seem to recall paying a lot more for you, my sweet.”

Eden blanched and her heart slammed painfully against her breastbone at the backhanded comment. He was so much better at playing this game of malice than she was. To think that she’d set out to humiliate him just now, but he’d volleyed so effortlessly, hitting her exactly where he knew it would hurt the most. She felt so sick all of sudden, and the air outside wasn’t enough to ease the tightening in her chest.

“I’m good,” she heard Matt say, “I was just doing my job, sir.”

“Then we’ll let you get back to it.” He turned away from Matt, a sure dismissal as any, before setting a hand at the small of Eden’s back, leading her away.

* * *

He was brutal, completely without mercy as he took her. He burrowed his hands in her hair, cruelly yanking her head back to meet his hard stare. “You’re such a fucking whore.” It was his favorite thing to call her when they were in bed. Debasing her this way, making her remember exactly who and what she was, fulfilled his complete dominance over her. The diamond studded collar he’d purchased for her adorned her beautiful caramel neck, the leather chain attached to it was wound tightly around his other hand so that his every thrust coincided with the tugging of the chain. “I own you, Eden,” he whispered harshly, breathlessly along her ear. “Every inch of you belongs to me and I will brand my name on your delectable ass, my pet, so that you never forget it.” His thrusts grew erratic as he brutally rammed into her, and then, with a smack on her ass, he was finished.

When he eased out of her and rolled off the bed, Eden did not utter a word and remained completely still, trying to become one with the mattress he’d just viciously fucked her on. She even tried to keep her breathing minimal and simply listened to his movements around the bedroom. He would go to the bathroom first and rinse off his brutality like it was a coat of dirt that could be washed off with soap and water. Then he would return to the room, twenty or so minutes later, freshly clean and head downstairs to his home office where he would remain locked away for the duration of the morning. Eden anticipated that moment, waited patiently for it, and when she heard the hushed click of the door closing behind him, she finally allowed her body to unfurl from its fetal position.