Chapter 121 – Torture – Raine's POV

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Chapter 121 – Torture – Raine's POV

I followed Marku out to the terrace where we had spent the evening before. It was just as beautiful as I remembered. Lush greenery, trees and flowering bushes, bathed in hues of silver and grey from the moon. The night was cool with a north-easterly breeze. My eyes landed on the large couch-bed and anxiety wound through my belly. I needed to delay, but was hesitant to bring up any topic after yesterday's fiasco. Every time I asked a question, we had ended up talking about sex. And sex was the very last thing I wanted to chat about now.

Rather than let him lead me to sit down, I walked to the edge of the pool, while he settled Queen Ileana in a distant chair. He never let her out of his sight. Even though she had shadowed our every move, she never spoke or uttered a sound, and I forgot about her presence most of the time.

She followed him obediently and took a seat where he motioned. He wrapped the chain hanging from her collar around a nearby tree, like she was a puppy needing to be contained. But she wasn't going anywhere. She kept her usual position, sitting cross legged, with her head down, her pain obvious. My heart went out to her. Even after everything she had done, I could so plainly see that her mistake had been loving Armand, when he had no love to give her in return.

I had a plan, a way to get Queen Ileana out from under Marku's ever-present watch and keep him occupied for the length of time it would take for Cage to break free, and collect the queen. Once Cage and Echo were free and Queen Ileana out from Marku's grip, Marku's leverage would be gone. At that point, it would be a fair fight.

When Seraphine returned to me in the morning, I would know if Cage could do his part. I hadn't just given Seraphine to Echo, for the night, to punish her. No, I had compelled her to give a message to Cage to let him know my plans. And I was certain Cage would compel Seraphine with a return message for me, advising if he was able to break free at that time.

Marku interrupted my plotting. With his intimidating form at my back, his hands captured my hips, holding me to him. His breath was hot on my neck, as he leaned down to my ear and whispered, "I want you out of those clothes."

"Yes, I know," I chattered, spinning around and placing my palm against his chest. "But why can't we talk like normal people?" I backed up a few steps, trying to maintain distance between us.

He snorted, "Which one of us do you think qualifies as normal?"

"I used to be normal. Boring, even." I bit my lip. My old life seemed so far away. Like a distant memory.

"I find that hard to believe. I wish I would have met you first, been the first to introduce you to our world. Things would be different now if I had." His mouth turned into a frustrated frown, and a sigh escaped his chest.

I stood in stunned silence. What did I say to that? He was being real again, showing me a layer of vulnerability. It made me uncomfortable. It was much easier to deal with him when he was being his normal cocky obnoxious self. I didn't want to think there was more to him.

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