I stalked forward.
My hand came up.
The urge to soothe her catapulted my fingers to her cheek. My skin erupted from her delicate heat. Iâ€™d already had my single touch when Iâ€™d petted her hair. I wasnâ€™t permitted a second.
But it didnâ€™t stop me.
One second, she stood close, arching her chin at the door.
The next, she was across the cage, flying into a stack of boxes that tumbled in a clatter of butcher knives, butter knives, and sharp forks.
Her eyes turned luminous in the gloom, locking on mine with rage.
Iâ€™d forgotten myself by feeling sorry for this beaten wraith, but she hadnâ€™t forgotten her overwhelming hatred of men.
I didnâ€™t look away. But I didnâ€™t explain myself, either.
Iâ€™d borrowed her for the night. If I wanted to touch her, I could. The fact that sheâ€™d leapt away meant I could report her to her master and have her punished.
Or you could punish her instead.
The distance between us grew thicker as we breathed fast.
I waitedâ€¦wanting to know just how deep her education in pleasure flowed. Tearing her gaze from mine, she swallowed hard. Piece by piece, she hid her loathing, replacing it with reluctant acceptance.
Inching closer, her toes nudged aside sharp blades as she made her way to me and fell to her knees on the cold concrete.
Half of me jolted with insane lust. Most of me shied away with repulsion as her straggly hair covered her face but not before I saw the twisted disgust and echoing despair.
â€œGet up,â€ I murmured. Even though my voice was low, the cavern of the garage amplified it, layering it with bite.
Instantly, she swooped up. The crackle of her joints and misused cartilage in her bones sounded like tiny gunfire.
â€œDonâ€™t kneel. Not in here.â€