Blood Slave Page 34

’’Exactly.’’ He leaned back in his chair.

’’Why did you do it?’’

’’You wanted me to put a stop to Rahim\s scam. He won\ be scamming anyone anymore after what Faustino did. I suspect he may never fully recover, physically or psychologically. Faustino almost killed him.’’

’’You wanted to be certain Faustino wouldn\ create problems if he found out you\d been hiding me all along. That\s the real reason you did this, right? Admit it.’’

’’No. You needed to be free of Faustino\s ties, and any threat that may still exist. You wanted to stop Rahim. It\s called hitting two birds with one stone.’’

’’So you didn\ clean up a potential problem for yourself by getting rid of Faustino and Rahim? Faustino could be very dangerous if he was offended at my presence in your home. He knew all about your illegal drug smuggling operations. And Rahim already had a good deal of your information from Emilio\s big fat mouth. Getting rid of Rahim removed the risk that you would ever come under investigation. You solved your own issues just as easily as you solved mine. I think your motives and actions are self-serving.’’

He scowled, that disapproving look. ’’I see. Well. I never thought of it the way you laid it out. But I imagine it\s possible to view the situation from that perspective, especially when you distrust me so. You can\ see that you\ e reaching? Seeking anything negative to grasp onto?’’

I shook my head.

’’I guess there\s no way to prove my intentions.’’

There it was again, the butt-hurt look. The bastard tried to twist it all around on me. He didn\ do it for me. He did it for himself, like everything he does. ’’If you really truly did it for me, then tell me why?’’ I needed to hear him say it, hear the lie and watch his face.

’’Because I care for you, querida. I care about your safety. I care about the things that are important to you.’’

’’Of course you do. Gotta make sure your little spy is happy. Keep the lie detector happy so she does a good job! I always do my job. I take pride in my work, and I don\ need bribes or manipulations. This is my career and I take it very seriously!’’

’’Querida ... why can\ you see what\s right before your eyes?’’

’’What? What is it I can\ see?’’

’’That I love you. And I\m so very sorry I left you here with Lia. I\m truly sorry my mistakes caused you so much pain and suffering. I want to see you happy, querida. I want to see you smile again. I love you Esperanza de Salvador.’’

He was up from his chair, advancing on me. He took my hands. I tried to back away. I didn\ want to be seduced by his lies, his proximity, manipulated by my own biology. He had me in that iron grip and wouldn\ let go.

I cried in anger, frustration, longing, desire, love, hate, an impossible mess of conflicted emotions. I had tried so hard to stay away from him. It wasn\ fair. ’’How am I to know if you\ e lying?’’

’’You\ll have to trust me, Hope. Look into my eyes and trust me.’’

’’No! You can\ hypnotize me like everyone else, it won\ work! I can\ trust you. I have no one I can trust.’’

’’What sacrifice must I make to prove the obvious to you?’’

’’Nothing is obvious with you! How can you stand here and say you love me, now, when I\ve pushed you away for two months? How is that obvious? You\ve never said the words Enrique. People who love can\ help but say the words.’’

’’All these things I do for you are done out of love. Isn\ that obvious?’’

’’No. What\s obvious is that you\ll say anything in order to manipulate me. Nothing else is working. This is just a new tactic.’’

’’Tactics? We\ e not doing battle, Esperanza. I don\ want to fight you. I want to make love to you.’’

’’See, you admit it, you\ e saying these things just so you can bang me.’’

He shook his head, still holding me tight against him. It was so unfair. My hands had a mind of their own. They wanted to feel his powerful chest. I fought to keep my hands off him.

’’It makes no difference what I say or do. You choose to assume the worst. I love you, but I don\ know how to heal the breech.’’

’’I can\ read your mind. It\s all blocked up solid. If you\d open up to me I would know the truth. Until then, this ain\ happening.’’ I pulled my hands away from him, my treacherous hands. As I backed away, slipping out of his grip, he followed.

We ended up against the wall. He pinned me, an arm on either side of me. His body pressed up against mine. It felt so right to be there. I hated him for using this near irresistible connection to overpower my objections.

’’If that\s what it will take, then I\ll do it. Just this once.’’

And then it hit me all at once, a jumble of his thoughts and emotions. The walls of his mind were down, and I invaded it like a marauder.

I felt his frustration at not being able to get through the ice-cold barrier of professionalism I had erected between us. His se*ual arousal flooded over me in a warm wash of heady lust. He wanted me really bad. He wanted to make mad passionate love to me non-stop, until I begged him to stop. He wanted to rip the clothes off my body where I stood and ravage me every way possible, to own my body and soul completely. He wanted to watch me swallow as he buried his cock to the hilt in my mouth. He wanted to see the love in my eyes as I took all he had to give, the ultimate commitment.

His need, so powerful, called to me. I was instantly wet, hot, aching for him to fill me completely. My nipples turned to hard little pebbles as my body reacted to him involuntarily. I could barely restrain myself from tearing off my clothes to accommodate him.

Then I caught something else, a thread of anxiety, he feared me. Not me precisely, but the idea of attaching himself to me. The emotional investment was too much for him. Fear of loss, of losing someone who can die so easily. My multiple brushes with death served to remind him constantly of my frailty. I was too breakable. He didn\ want to love me, didn\ want the pain of losing me. Enrique guarded his heart closely, preferring to stay emotionally detached from everything and everyone.

Too many times before he\d loved and lost. I saw faces of numerous women throughout two centuries. Spaniard women, French women, English women, even a couple of dark Nubian slave girls. They all died one way or another, most sooner than they should have. Some he had killed inadvertently, in the heat of passion. He learned severe self-control through several painful accidents. When he saw me lying there in a pool of my own blood, half-dead after being stabbed so many times, the truth of my mortality hit him hard. He thought I wouldn\ make it.

All he\d ever wanted was for me to be happy. Yet at every turn I was put at risk, if not from him and Lia in the course of our intimacy, then by Lia\s deviousness. He wanted so badly to see me smile again. He\d do anything to see me smile. I hadn\ smiled at him in two months.

I felt his righteous fury at what had been done to me. He wished he could kill Lia a thousand times over to find an outlet for his murderous rage. He hated the fact that not only had she almost killed me, but she succeeded in ruining all that was once good between us. I had based so many of my erroneous assumptions on Lia\s lies. She didn\ kill me, but she killed my love for him.

He\d been in such a rage that night. He tracked down Arana, found him in a hospital emergency room. Enrique snuck into Arana\s room and fed from him till his heart stopped. No amount of CPR could bring him back. His body was three pints shy of the necessary blood to keep his heart pumping. Francisco Lopez died at the age of thirty three, of a heart attack, and no one had a clue it was actually a homicide.

I hadn\ known what happened to Arana. I had hoped to forget him. Enrique never told me. I didn\ hear it in the news, the event passed over, an unremarkable death. To ensure the situation remained undiscovered, Enrique bribed Conchita with thirty thousand to keep her silent about what she\d seen. It floored me to learn all this shocking news in a span of seconds. He had to hold me up as my knees gave out.

The strong pressure of his arms around me sunk my telepathy in deep. There underneath all the turmoil, all the shocking revelations, was the underlying truth. The reason he feared losing me, the reason he worked so tirelessly to regain my favor. He loved me. He had loved me since our first night together when I lay naked in his arms, entrusting my life to his protection.

It was the single most powerful emotion coursing through him as he supported my weight in his arms. Love. He loved me with all his heart and soul. He was so proud of me for all that I\d been through, all that I\d accomplished, all that I\d become. In spite of all my flaws and his numerous fears, he loved me. There could be no denying it. We were both in love. No point denying it.

Sublime joy brought tears to my eyes. It was the most wonderful thing in the world to be loved so completely, better than se*, better than being bitten over and over. He loved me, Esperanza de Salvador.

As I kissed him and told him how much I loved him over and over it occurred to me that maybe my name wasn\ a mistake after all. My mother knew exactly what she was doing when she named me. No matter what happens, no matter how bad things get, as long as we have love, there\s always hope for salvation.

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The End

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