They call me Hero. I defend. I protect. I ask for nothing in return, and that makes me good. Doesn’t it?
That which makes me the ultimate predator also feeds dark impulses I’ve learned to control—until I bring her too close. For years I’ve watched her from afar, but what started out as duty has become obsession.
I work hard. I play by the rules. I’m content. My scars are quiet and invisible, and that keeps me hidden. Doesn’t it?
One fateful walk home, I’m taken by someone I didn’t know I should fear. Captive and afraid, nobody will tell me why I’m confined to this hauntingly beautiful mansion. I’m given everything; I have nothing. He takes what he needs from me, and for that I hate him. But I might have loved him once.
And just because you’re reading this doesn’t mean I survive him.
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He’s swimming toward me, closing in, and I retreat until my shoulder blades hit the lip of the pool.
“Your fate is in my hands,” he says.
“I accept that,” I say. His surprised expression is so rare that I almost lose my train of thought. “What I can’t accept is not knowing my fate. If you’ll just tell me if I’ll live or die, tell me what I’m doing here, what my purpose is, and if it’s . . . forever, I promise—I will be better.”
“You ask for a lot.” He steps within inches of me so our faces almost touch.
“Tell me that, and I won’t ask for anything else.”
He raises his hand to run his thumb over my cheekbone. The room is silent save for the acute splash echo of pool water. His fingers slide down my face and under my hair, where they wrap around the nape my neck. “You look sexy when you’re wet, Cataline.”
My eyelids threaten to close, but I force myself to hold his gaze.
He lowers his mouth to my ear. “You’d make a beautiful mermaid,” he whispers. “But, then, how would I fuck you?”
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