Felix nervously picked at her cuticles as Jorge arrived and plopped down several bags of hoagies. Felix had never seen Jorge before, but she recognized his type - stiff-lipped and built like an army tank. The pilots headed for the cockpit with a benign greeting to the cabin's occupants, offering Felix nothing in the way of reassurance.
Rather than close the door, Carlos paced in front of it, glancing outside then at his cell phone. "What is taking him so long?" he said to no one in particular. Who else was he waiting for?
Suddenly, a thought occurred to Felix. What if Donovan was planning to join them? She could get this shit over with right here and now. How close was Ryan? Could he get to the plane in time?
"Finally," Carlos said as he waved someone up the stairs. Felix held her breath as a middle-aged, heavily-bearded man walked onto the jet, nodding at Carlos on his way past. What the hell was her hypnotherapist doing here?
As Dr. Florence walked down the aisle, he caught her eye and smiled. "Hello, Felix. How have you been?"
"I'm hanging in there, Dr. Florence. How's the hypnotherapy business?" Felix didn't know whether to feel relieved or annoyed that Donovan hadn't made an appearance, but she figured she should let Ryan know the company she was keeping as she waited for the plane to take her to her doom.
Carlos closed the door, and the Learjet taxied onto the runway as everyone helped themselves to sandwiches. Carlos wiggled his eyebrows as he handed a foot long to Felix. "You like hard salami, right chica?" he said. "We ordered your favorite, with extra mayo."
Felix wanted to take the hoagie and hit Carlos across the face with it, but she hated to waste a perfectly good sandwich on an asshole. Once they were airborne, she opened the wrapper and indulged in the carb-heavy meal. She wasn't exactly famished after the cherry pie she enjoyed with Ryan, along with the amazing sex afterward. Both were enough to satisfy her until the next full moon, but the added calories would boost her energy level, and Felix had a feeling she would need the boost.
Taking care not to disturb the transmitter, Felix finished her sandwich just as the sound of a telephone rang inside the cabin. Shane clicked a button on his laptop, answering a Skype call. The face that appeared on the screen made Felix's stomach leap into her throat.
"Hello troops. I hope you had an uneventful evening." Donovan's fake smile beamed out of the screen, and Felix occupied herself with crumpling up her wrapper and stuffing it into the hoagie bag.
"Everything went off without a hitch, Donovan," Shane said, who hadn't lifted a finger since Felix arrived.
"And you retrieved the valuables without damaging anything?" Donovan said. "I don't see her." Shane shifted the laptop to face Felix, and she grudgingly offered a wave. "Ah. Hello, Felix. So nice to see you in our company again. I hope the boys have made you feel comfortable."
"Sure, Donovan. Everything is peachy." Felix swallowed the sassy mouth she often used when it was just her and the boys, and she leaned into the aisle in the hopes her transmitter might pick up Donovan's voice.
"Good to hear," he said, although she could tell by his impassive expression that he was ignoring her sarcasm. "You are probably wondering where my personal Learjet is taking you. I have decided to take a special interest in you, since you have proven to be an extremely useful member of our family. I have arranged for a breakfast meeting so you and I can chat about your future. You should be arriving at one of my homes in just over an hour."
"One of your homes, huh? Where is it? I haven't been given any information since we left the park."
"I can't tell you that. It would require an element of trust, which I'm afraid you've lost, Miss Taylor. In fact, your little disappearing act caused me a good amount of distress, and I have spent the last few days chewing out my wife, my dogs, and my fingernails. If we are going to keep morale cohesive, we cannot let dissension go unreprimanded. So, I have asked Hector to administer a fitting punishment."
Felix stiffened, digging her fingernails into the expensive leather seat as she looked around the cabin. Her eyes stopped on Hector, who was unraveling the whip from his belt loop. Shit. That could not be a good sign.
"Hector is an expert at bullwhip cracking," Donovan went on, his voice dripping with menace. "He spent many years as a gaucho in Buenos Aires, and he has proven to be quite an asset to me. Don't worry, Felix. I have asked him not to cause you long lasting marks. I don't want to be responsible for permanently disfiguring those lovely tattoos."
Hector walked toward Felix, stretching the whip between his hands as Donovan delivered his sentence. Andy jumped out of his chair, planting himself between Hector and Felix.
"This is insane," he said, bunching his hands into fists. He looked pitiful as he tried to defend her. Andy barely reached to Hector's shoulders. "You can't use that thing on Felix. She's on our side."
"Is she?" said Donovan. "Call me suspicious, but I can't help questioning her loyalties. This is the best way I can think of to make sure we don't lose them."
Of course, Donovan's idea of retaining someone's loyalties was to beat the shit out of them. Felix knew to expect harsh consequences, but she hadn't expected to be bull whipped, and she had a feeling Ryan was squirming in his seat. Could he hear what she was hearing? Her mouth had been hanging open for most of the conversation. Carlos stood and held his hand out to Felix. She was surprised to see him frowning.
"I am sorry about this, Felix," he said. "It will be better if you get it over quickly."
Felix lifted out of her chair, feeling every muscle in her body tense. She ignored Carlos' outstretched hand. Instead, she locked Hector in her gaze, forcing him to acknowledge her as a human being and not a bull. He met her eyes with no problem and no remorse. He was a machine, and Felix knew he would show her no mercy. She faced him head-on, refusing to let him see how scared she was.
"How do you want to do this, Hector?" she said. "Should I go first, so we can share the experience?" She stretched her hand toward the whip, and he jerked it away. The plane's cabin filled with laughter, although Felix didn't look to see who was joining in. Was Dr. Florence enjoying the floorshow?
"Hector has very little room for humor, Felix," Donovan said from the safety of his computer screen. "I suggest you remember that any time you are dealing with him. We have already agreed on how you will receive your punishment, like any child who has disobeyed her superiors. There should be no clothing separating skin from whip. I would say one lash for every day missed."
Felix was already shaking her head when she saw Hector staring at her ass. "You're all fucked! I'm not dropping my pants in front of everyone."
Felix heard two clicks as concealed weapons prepped for use. Apparently, she was the one who was fucked, and it only took a second for her to realize humiliation and a whip she could survive, a gunshot not so much. With all the poise she could muster, she turned away from her audience and unzipped her jeans, pulling the waistband down far enough that Hector's whip would have at least four inches of uninked skin to damage.
The crack sounded just before Felix felt the sting, and she fisted the table, imagining her knuckles meeting with Hector's chin as pain radiated up her spine. Donovan's chin was next, as the whip ripped across her ass a second time. These were masochistic men with severe personality issues, the whole lot of them, and they needed a few lessons in manners. It sure wasn't going to be Felix, not by herself, but with the help of a the feds she would exact her revenge...eventually.
Glaring through an open window, she took another lash, directing her focus to the pitch black sky and away from the pain. Did Ryan know what was happening? Could he infer from context? Was he pounding the dashboard of the Dodge Charger because there was nothing he could do to help her? Felix was familiar with the feeling of helplessness, and as she tensed against the sting of the final lash, she promised herself she would never be caught with her pants down again.
PLAYLIST SONG: Heathens by Twenty-One Pilots
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Inked and DangerousRomance
Felicity Taylor has a beautiful mind and a future with promise, until something happens to blow it all to hell. How does she respond? She gets inked, buys a Harley, and teams up with a bunch of crooks, not necessarily in that order. Ryan Clark is a...