Billionaire UnveiledBy: J.S. Scott
“I’m sorry we didn’t get to you sooner,” Marcus rumbled. “You were at those bastards’ mercy for too damn long.”
“You saved my life,” I reminded him. “And it was a considerable risk for you and the rest of the rescue team. I’m just grateful you got there before I was dead.”
Marcus lifted a hand to my face, and I automatically flinched. But he simply stroked over my bruised skin as he replied, “The assholes will pay for every damn time they touched you, Danica. I swear.”
I shook my head. “I doubt they’ll ever be found.”
“They will,” Marcus contradicted. “All of them are probably dead by now. The military was contacted the moment we moved out of the area so they could do an air strike on the compound.” He paused before asking, “They’re all dead. Does that help?”
Did it help to know that my tormentors were probably no longer alive? I wasn’t certain it made a difference. “I don’t know,” I answered honestly. “They’re still not dead in my mind, Marcus.”
His touch was tender on my damaged skin, and his scent and warmth was intoxicating. Pretending I had Marcus to protect me helped. My mind was focused on him and the way he made me feel normal again.
“You’ll stay safe, Dani. Nobody is going to hurt you again,” he said with a feral growl.
Hesitantly, I wrapped my arms around his neck, shivering from just the casual contact of my fingers at the nape of his neck. “Thank you,” I whispered, my gaze getting lost in his forceful gray stare.
His head came down slowly, giving me plenty of time to avoid him had I chosen to do so. But I wanted Marcus to touch me. I wanted to feel alive.
The embrace was gentle, a coaxing meeting of mouths, Marcus trying to cajole something out of me that he couldn’t do with words.
He put his arms around me as he plundered my mouth, his hands stroking down my back and landing on my ass.
The second he pulled me forward, my scantily clad body colliding with his, I lost the sense of protection, heat, and tenderness in his kiss. His bold erection pressed against my lower abdomen, and I panicked, forgetting everything except my instinctive, visceral reaction.
My hands went to his chest, and I started to claw to get away from him. I tore my lips from his, unable to endure the flashes of memory that tore through my head. “No. Please. Don’t.”
“Dani!” Marcus said firmly, giving me a gentle shake. “What the hell happened? Open your eyes.”
His commands finally sunk into my confused brain, and I opened my eyes. I hadn’t even realized that I’d closed them to try to fend off the flashbacks, a spontaneous reaction that had just made them worse.
“Marcus?” His face was right there in my vision. “Oh, God. I’m sorry.”
“Don’t apologize for something that isn’t your fault. I’m going to ask you one more time… Are you okay?”
Tears slid down my cheeks as I looked up at him. “No,” I answered. “I don’t think I am okay. Right now, I’m not sure I’ll ever be normal again. I feel like a prisoner in my own body. It scares me.”
“I know. Things will get better. But I can’t help you if you don’t want to talk about what happened.” He hesitated, his eyes assessing my face. “You said you weren’t sexually assaulted, but I think you’re lying.”
Breaking easily away from Marcus’s hold, I swiped the tears from my face. “It’s hard to talk about that period of time,” I answered truthfully. “I was degraded, beaten down until I didn’t even want to fight anymore. But I couldn’t not try to fend them off. I don’t want anybody to know everything that happened to me. I don’t want to keep living it over and over again.”
Every emotion I had seemed to have rocketed to the surface.
I continued, with my back to Marcus. “It was like a horrible nightmare that I couldn’t escape even when I was awake. Especially while I was conscious and fairly alert. At first, it took several men to hold me down while I was raped. Eventually, they only needed a few. As I got weaker, I became easier and easier to use and torture.”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Marcus answered sharply, turning me around to face him again.
My own fury became unleashed. “I didn’t want to tell anyone. What difference would it make? It’s not like they’re going to be brought to justice in a court of law. My brothers would all want to kill the terrorists.”
Marcus’s expression was outrage. “Fuck that. I want to kill them just for touching you. Believe me, if they weren’t already dead, I’d do the job myself.”