Chapter 37 – So Soon – Raine's POV

I shivered uncontrollably. I wasn't sure if it was from the cold and dank dungeon, or the ice that had frozen around my heart. It had been hours since my failed union and I still hadn't heard anything. I wasn't sure if that was a good thing or a bad thing, but suspected I only had bad things coming in my future.

As if to solidify my concern, Vladimir suddenly showed up! And he was swinging a key on his finger! He gave me his signature cruel anticipatory smile as he undid the lock and slipped inside my cell.

I shot to my feet and pressed back against the wall. My dress was virtually see-through; I crossed my arms in front of my chest to protect and cover myself as best as I could. My heart pounded as he approached. I hissed, trying to sound braver than I really fell, "What do you want?!"

His smile widened as he purred, "You know exactly what I want. You've been a very bad girl. I gave you fair warning what would happen if you said anything about the Queen and me."

"No... Please, don't,"  I cried, shaking uncontrollably. He advanced on me steadily and I knew he had no intention of changing his mind. I couldn't do this! I panicked.

When he reached me, he brought his hand up to stroke my face. I flinched away from his touch, tears falling down my cheeks.

"You see, right about now, you should be thanking me," he stated.

I stared at him in confusion.

He went on to explain, "Armand sentenced you to die tomorrow."

My knees went weak and I struggled to stay on my feet. It was one thing to guess that I was going to die. It was quite another to hear it definitively.

"But I encouraged him to give you a reprieve of your sentence," he continued lightly.

"What do you mean?" I asked suspiciously.

He smiled widely. "Yes, I bargained for you to live another year – as my pet."

This couldn't be happening! He had to be bluffing. I whispered, "Cage would never agree to that."

He nodded. "He wasn't thrilled with it, but Armand's ruling stands."

Of fuck, it was true!

"I would rather die first" I hissed.

He seemed completely unfazed by my response and drawled, "I thought you might say that, however I plan on keeping you on a very short leash, quite literally, until I have broken you and you are begging to please me...You know, just so we don't have any mishaps where you accidentally die before your time."

"No!" I gasped.

"Oh yes. So unless you enjoy being punished, I suggest you are not naughty." He chuckled, "Well at least not in that way. I fully expect you to be naughty in every other way. Do you like whips and chains, my dear? Because I do."

I stared at him in abject fear.

His gaze wandered down my body. He smiled and murmured, "Oh look, you're shaking."

He took one of my wrists and peeled it away from my chest, pinning my hand against the wall by my head. His fingertips came up to play with my already hardened nipple from the cold. I tried to hold still, afraid of provoking him further. But as he massaged my breast and pinched my nipple, I couldn't stop myself and tried to shove him off of me with my free hand.

Instantly he snatched that hand and pinned it to the wall as well. He growled excitedly as he pressed his lower half into me. I tried to squirm away from his protruding erection but couldn't break his grip. He purred, "You see, there is a part of me that doesn't want to break you too quickly. I think I'm going to thoroughly enjoy fucking you while you try to fight me."

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