Realizing all of this while laying snuggly in his arms, I distance myself the tiniest bit, fluffing the pillow under my head to get more comfortable. I take a deep breath, feeling calmer and more in control almost immediately. I won’t let myself get so sucked into his world I can’t see straight. I may have sold my body as a sex slave, but my heart, my mind, my spirit are all still mine. I still want to be Sophie when this is all said and done. If I’m to survive my six months with him, I need to remember I’m playing a role – living out a very expensive fantasy he’s created – nothing more. Ignoring the ache pleasuring him created between my thighs, I close my eyes and try to relax.

My body’s natural physical reaction and my growing attraction to him causes my blood to pound in my ears. It’s not something I can control, which both excites and confuses me. Perhaps it’s my limited experience, but my body’s sexual response to his nearness is unexpected and frustrating – especially because he seems in no rush to do anything about it. Sharing his bed, being the one to pleasure him makes me want to discover my own body’s pleasure. But for now, I clamp my thighs tightly together and pray for sleep to take me.


I shouldn’t have forced Sophie to her knees last night. For all the pleasure I derived, it’s been overshadowed by guilt, which ratchets up with each passing hour. I feel like a fucking schmuck.

When she cowered away from my touch last night, it put everything into perspective. I don’t do regrets or self-loathing, so needless to say I’m distracted and edgy all day long. I bark orders to my assistant, I’m short with clients and skip several of my meetings. All due to my shitty mood. The strange thing is, I don’t regret buying her. That fuckwad at the auction would have taken her home if I hadn’t. And I don’t even want to know the sick things that bastard had planned. I’d overheard him bragging before the auction began about his playroom – complete with whips, restraints and canes. A girl as soft and pure as Sophie wouldn’t have lasted the night in his company. At least there’s solace in knowing I haven’t ruined her. Yet.

As I cruise up the hilly road toward my private drive, I glance out at the sun sinking into the Pacific Ocean. It’s a view I’ll never tire of, even if this house is tainted with memories of the biggest mistake of my adult life. Stella.

Just thinking of her puts a bad taste in my mouth and I force my thoughts to return to my situation with Sophie. Watching the last sliver of orange dip below the horizon, I vow to exercise more self-control. Just because I’ve bought her doesn’t mean I need to violate her with every passing thought. Christ. I wince realizing that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

I know all too well what it’s like to have your trust and sense of well-being completely fucking shattered and I won’t be responsible for taking anything from Sophie she’s not willing to give. If and when we fuck – it’ll be because she wants it. My devious mind immediately launches into various scenarios where I can entice her to want it… Fuck. Abstaining is going to be harder than I thought. Excuse the pun.

Chapter Nine


As my feet pound the pavement, my breath pushes past my parted lips and my underarms and lower back grow damp with perspiration. I’ve been here a week and it feels nice to be back in the familiar routine of jogging. I lose myself in the rhythm of my feet thumping dully against the pavement. Despite the heat, it feels good to use my body. My lungs scream at me, my muscles pushed to the limit and yet, I make a silent promise to myself. One more mile.

As I jog, my mind wanders to Colton as it so often does. My brain recalls and catalogs a million little facts about him. How warm he is curled around me at night, the heavy thud of his heartbeat against my back as he drifts off to sleep, the curious way he watches me move about his home like he enjoys seeing someone – me – in his space. There’s something I like about it too. I feel free from the constant worry over Becca. Of course I still think of her constantly, wondering about her treatment and pray that she’s going to be okay, but part of me likes not having to face it every day.

Despite his silence and relative disregard for me, there are lots of little things about my new master I’m growing fond of. The deep rasp of his sleep-laced voice in the morning, the way he always sets out a cup and saucer for my morning coffee before he leaves for work, the slow curl on his mouth when he treats me to a rare smile.

He’s not an over-eager, fumbling man in anything he does. He’s sure, calculated and strong. Which to me is incredibly sexy. Remembering the soft brush of his mouth against mine the few times he’d kissed me, and the confident way he’d handled his large cock, placing it on my tongue and silently groaning out his release… all the muscles below my belly button clench and I fight to maintain my balance.

Even though I know I shouldn’t let my mind go there, I know he wouldn’t be anything like the teenage boys I dated in the past – with pizza breath and fumbling hands. He’d be confident and sure when he touched me. He is magnetic, charismatic and charming. It’s an irresistible combination and one that I’d be defenseless against – if it ever happened.

Even if I don’t understand this man, or his reasons for bringing me here, I appreciate his unexpected tenderness toward me. My living situation could be a lot worse and I’m grateful for him and for the money that means my sister has a fighting chance at life.

A slow smile uncurls on my lips as I realize I’ve passed the mile marker. With thoughts of Colton to distract me, running is a breeze.