Alpha, p.3
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       Alpha, p.3

         Part #1 of Alpha series by Jasinda Wilder
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I lifted the dress. “Will this do?”

  Harris looked up, examined the dress, then nodded once. “Yes. ”

  I dug the one set of lingerie I owned out of a bottom drawer. It wasn’t expensive, but again, it was perfect for me. Deep crimson lace, the perfect shade to offset my tanned skin and blonde hair. I stepped into the bathroom, locked the door, and dropped the towel. I examined myself in the mirror.

  I was medium height, a touch over five-seven, with naturally tanned skin and thick blonde hair. I was curvy enough, on the heavier side of average for my height and build. I saw myself as being pretty on most days, and sexy if I tried hard enough on a good day. Nothing special, but not ugly.

  I put on the lingerie, then set about doing my hair. I did it in loose, spiraling curls, pinning my bangs to one side. I slipped my dress on, zipped it up the back, and then applied my makeup. I didn’t wear much, just some foundation, blush, eye shadow, and lip stain. Nothing heavy or overdone. I put on a pair of teardrop diamond earrings and a matching necklace, a high school graduation gift from Daddy. Finally, after about thirty minutes, I was ready. I looked at myself in the mirror again.

  Not bad, Kyrie. Not too bad. I nodded at my reflection, summoned my nerves, and stepped out.

  Harris had my suitcases packed, and was closing the drawers of my dresser. He looked me over. “You’re very beautiful, Miss St. Claire. ”

  Page 7

 

  I ducked my head, oddly pleased by his compliment. “Thank you, Harris. ”

  He nodded. “Now, if you’re ready?”

  “Everything is packed?”

  “All your clothes and underthings, jewelry, and the phone charger. I assume everything else you need is in your purse. ” He lifted the suitcases and moved toward the front door.

  I followed him, then paused as he opened the door. “What about my apartment?”

  He set the suitcases in the hallway, waiting for me to exit so he could close the door behind me. “Everything is taken care of. ”

  “What—what about Cal? And Mom? And—”

  “I repeat, Miss St. Claire: Everything is taken care of. All you need to do is follow me. ” He watched me, his pale green eyes calm, patient.

  I let out a shaky breath. “All right, then. Let’s go. ” I shouldered my purse, shut off the lights, and locked the door.

  I followed Harris outside into the late evening sunlight. There was a low, sleek black Mercedes-Benz parked away from the other cars, angled to take up two spots. He set the cases by the trunk and withdrew a key fob from his pocket. The hatch opened, and then he placed the cases inside. He had all this done before I even had a chance to put a hand on the door.

  Harris opened the back right passenger door, held it for me as I slid in, and then closed it gently. Within seconds, he was in the front seat, and the engine roared to life.

  He drove us to a small airport, passing through a security checkpoint, and then he parked on the tarmac beside a huge private jet. I swallowed hard as I stared out the tinted window at the airplane. Was this really happening? Ohgodohgodohgod. I was nothing short of terrified.

  “If you wish to make a phone call, now is the time, Miss St. Claire,” Harris said.

  I dug my phone from my purse and called Layla.

  “What’s up, Key? Wanna meet for drinks?”

  I let out a breath. “I—can’t. ”

  “Why not? What’s up?”

  I blinked hard. “I’m going away. ”

  “Wh-what? What do you mean? Where? Why? For how long?”

  “I don’t know, Layla. I don’t know. The checks? All that money? I’m about to meet the man who sent them. ”

  “Who is it?” Layla demanded.

  “I don’t know. I don’t know anything. A man showed up at my door an hour ago and said he was here to collect me. I’ve been collected, Layla. ”

  “Does he know you’re calling me? Are you, like, in danger?”

  I forced myself to breathe calmly. “I don’t—I don’t think so. I don’t really have a choice, but I’m not in danger. Like, I don’t think anyone is going to kill me. I am scared, though. What’s going to happen to me?” I whispered the last part.

  “Kyrie…Jesus. This would only happen to you. ” I heard her breathe, sounding as shaky as I did. “Where are you?”

  “Oakland County International Airport. About to board a f**king massive Gulfstream or something like that. A big private jet. Right now I’m sitting in a Mercedes-Benz. ”

  “Ohmigod, Kyrie! So whoever this guy is, he’s loaded. ”

  “Yeah. ”

  “And you owe him—what, a hundred and twenty grand?”

  “Yeah. ”

  “How are you going to pay him back?” Layla asked.

  I blinked hard, fighting tears of fright. “This guy, Harris, he said my benefactor isn’t interested in money. ”

  Layla sucked in a sharp breath. “He’s interested in you, then. Something tells me you’ll have to put out a hell of a lot to pay back that much money, honey. ”

  “Layla!”

  “Just sayin’, babe. It’s true. ”

  “I’m not a whore. I’m not going to use sex to pay him back. ” My voice shook.

  “You may not have a choice. ”

  “I know. That’s why I’m so scared. I mean, I’m no prude. You know that. But…what if he’s, like, eighty? Or some kind of…sultan? You know? Those girls who end up in slavery in Saudi Arabia?”

  “I’m scared for you. ”

  A knock on the window startled me. Harris opened the car door. “It’s time, Miss St. Claire. ”

  “I have to go, Layla. ”

  “Be—be careful, okay? Call me as much as you can, so I know you’re alive. ”

  “I will. ”

  “So…I’ll talk to you later, Key. ” She tried to sound casual about not saying “goodbye. ” I loved her fiercely for that.

  “Later, babe. ” I used the fake accent that always made her laugh.

  She laughed, and then hung up on me. I sniffed, smiling, feeling somewhat reassured by talking to Layla.

  Harris closed the door behind me, and then gestured to the movable stairway leading up to the door of the jet. “Ready?”

  I shook my head. “Not even close. ”

  “Understandable. There’s champagne and other refreshments on the plane. Shall we?” He touched the small of my back with three fingers, a gentle nudge.

  I ascended the steps on jelly-weak knees, and entered the jet. It was…stunning. Like in a movie. Cream leather seats, flat-screen TVs, thick carpeting, a silver bucket of ice sitting on a special tray near one set of seats, with a bottle of what I assumed was hideously expensive champagne. A flight attendant in a navy blue suit was already on board, ready to wait on me.

  I glanced at Harris in shock.

  “You’re entering a whole new world, Miss St. Claire,” he said. “One with many privileges. Sit, relax, and try to calm yourself. You will not be harmed, you will not be entering into any kind of slavery. You are merely…changing situations. ”

  I nodded, unable to speak. I sat, buckled in, and held on to the arms of the seat as the jet taxied and took off. When we were airborne, the flight attendant poured me a flute of champagne, which I sipped slowly and carefully. I needed to take the edge off my nerves, but I needed my wits about me for whatever came next.

  The flight was a little over three hours, and then we landed with a gentle bump at a private airfield. I had no idea where we were.

  I exited the plane and followed Harris to a waiting car, this one a stretch limousine. He held the door for me, closed it, and then slid into the driver’s seat. He said nothing, only waited as someone else loaded my suitcases into the trunk.

  I’d half expected to see someone sitting in the shadows of the limousine, but there was no one. Only long expanses of black leather, lights, and a radio, and more champagne. I folded my
hands on my lap and waited as Harris drove. It was a long journey, and we got closer to what looked to be New York. We went over the Brooklyn Bridge and into Manhattan. We wove through thick traffic, heading uptown.

  Page 8

 

  After almost an hour of driving, high-rises piercing the night sky all around, Harris pulled the limousine into an underground garage.

  My heart was hammering as Harris led me, sans suitcases, to the elevator. The elevator rose quickly, leaving my stomach in my heels. Harris was silent, standing beside me, hands folded behind his back. The elevator stopped, the doors opened, and we stepped out. We were in the foyer outside what I guessed was a penthouse. Thick, dark slate-blue carpeting, navy blue walls, wide mahogany French doors, a flowering tree in one corner, and a floor-to-ceiling window revealing a breathtaking view of New York City.

  Harris stopped by the doors and turned to face me. “This is it. As far as I go. ” He reached into his suit coat pocket and withdrew a length of white cloth. “If you agree, I will put this blindfold on you. By allowing me to put it on, you are agreeing to willingly follow every instruction given to you without hesitation. If you do not agree, I will take you home, and repayment of the funds will be expected forthwith. ” He blinked at me, waiting. “Do you so agree?” His voice was formal.

  I took a deep breath. “I don’t have a choice, do I?”

  Harris lifted a shoulder. “There is always a choice. ”

  I searched myself. Could I do this, knowing what would likely be expected of me?

  I lifted my chin, summoned my courage. “I agree. ”

  Harris nodded once, and then moved behind me. I felt him place the blindfold over my eyes, the white cloth folded several times so I couldn’t see a thing. He tied it gently but firmly behind my head, and then I felt his hand on my back, the same three fingers he’d used to nudge me onto the jet. I heard a door handle turn and the faint hush of a door sliding across thick carpet.

  A push, and I made my feet carry me forward. Two steps, three, four, five.

  “Until the next time, Miss St. Claire,” I heard Harris say behind me, and then the click of the door closing.

  It was a decidedly final sound.

  I stood, shaking, trembling, blindfolded, waiting.

  I heard a footstep off to my left. “Hello?” I asked, my voice tremulous, breathy.

  “Kyrie. Welcome. ” The voice was deep, smooth, lyrical, hypnotic, rumbling in my bones and thrumming in my ear.

  A finger touched my cheekbone, warm, slightly rough. The fingertip scraped ever so gently across my cheek, up over my ear, brushing a loose tendril of hair away.

  “Please, don’t be afraid. ” He was close. I could feel the heat emanating from him. I could smell him—spicy, masculine cologne, soap. His voice, God, his voice. It made me shiver. Confident, almost kind, warm. “I have waited a long time for this moment, Kyrie. ”

  “Who—who are you? Why am I here?”

  A pause.

  “You don’t need my name just yet. As to why you’re here?” His voice lowered, hushed, a growling murmur that made my stomach clench. “You’re here because I own you, Kyrie. ”

  “What—what are you going to do to me?” I hated how weak, how afraid I sounded.

  “Everything. ” His voice was thick with promise. “But nothing you won’t enjoy. ”

  2

  INTRODUCTIONS; THE ARRANGEMENT

  I gulped, probably loud enough for him to hear. “If you won’t tell me your name, what do I call you?”

  He chuckled, and the sound of his laughter caressed me, mocked me. “You and I are completely alone, Kyrie. If you speak, it can only be to me. You need call me nothing. ”

  “So I don’t have to call you ‘sir,’ or ‘master’?”

  His voice went sharp and cold. “I am not a dominant, Kyrie. You are not my slave, nor my submissive. ” He moved, now standing behind me. He was close to my ear, and I felt him at my spine. “I own you, but you will submit to me willingly. ”

  “I will?”

  “You will. ”

  “Why?” I wanted to turn, to touch him, to take the blindfold off. Something prevented me, and I didn’t dare examine what it was.

  “For the period of one year, I mailed you checks for ten thousand dollars, one every month. You cashed and used them all. You spent my money, Kyrie. You lived on my generosity. My reasons for this will remain a mystery to you…for now. But you are in my debt. You would have been homeless and starving without me. Your mother would not have received the care she needs without me. Your brother would not have a home or an education without me. So…I don’t just own you, Kyrie. I own your mother, and your brother. They are both wholly dependent on you, and thus, on me. ”

  I swallowed again, blinked away tears. “What do you want from me?” The words were barely a whisper, almost inaudible.

  “Kyrie…Kyrie…” His voice soothed and stroked me, deep and soft with tenderness. This man, his voice…it was magical, so expressive, so changeable. The power in his voice terrified me. He could manipulate me with the mere tone of his voice, frighten or calm me with mere words. “You need not be so afraid. Allow me to reassure you somewhat. As I said, I am not a dominant. I do not derive pleasure from inflicting or receiving pain. I derive pleasure from control, from obedience. You will do what I say, comply to my wishes but, I promise you, you will always find my wishes to be for your own pleasure, and for your own benefit. I will never hurt you. Never. I will not strike you. I will not bind you, or if I do, it will be your own compliance that keeps you bound. ”

  “Why?” I blinked behind the blindfold, squeezed my eyes shut, and felt a tear trickle down my cheek. “Why me? Why will I obey you?”

  Obey. I hated that word. I’d never been obedient. I didn’t always do what I was told—or at least not easily. Even as a little girl, my parents learned it was best to ask me nicely rather than command me. Forcing me into something with brutish commands would bring out the sharp side of my very short and very explosive temper. This man, unseen, unnamed, expected me to obey him. Felt that he owned me.

  Now my tears were of helpless rage, because…I had a sinking feeling he was right.

  “Because you care. Because you have honor. ” That same rough, yet tender, pad of his finger slid across my cheek, near the corner of my mouth, wiping away my tear. “You will obey me because you must. I do not, and never will, expect you to repay me monetarily —”

  “No,” I couldn’t help snapping, “you just expect me to f**k my way out of debt. ”

  “Incorrect, Kyrie,” he responded. His voice was calm, but sharp as razors and cold as the vacuum of space. “Here is another promise I will make you: You and I will not engage in penetrative sexual intercourse unless you ask for it. And you will, Kyrie. That’s my promise, here. You will ask. You’ll beg me for it. But it won’t happen until, and unless, you ask me for it. ”

  Page 9

 

  “You’re very sure of yourself,” I said, trying to sound stronger than I felt. In truth, the raw sincerity and utter surety in his voice shook me to the core. He believed what he said to be nothing but the unquestionable truth.

  “Yes, I am. ” Now his voice was a mere breath of heat on the shell of my ear. “I will make sure you beg me for it. ”

  Holy shit. What was I supposed to say to that? I could barely stand up. The potent mix of emotions this man engendered in me had me trembling, knees knocking. I was turned on, I had to admit. And that scared me. So badly. I didn’t want to want him. I didn’t want to be owned by him. But somehow, with nothing but a few words and touches, he had me aching in ways I’d never thought possible.

  “See?” His fingertip traced the apple of my cheek, ran beneath the swell of my lower lip. “Already you begin to understand. You’re turned on, Kyrie. I can smell it on you. Your nostrils are flaring. You’re trembling and blushing. You hate it, though, don’t you
?”

  I didn’t answer.

  “Don’t you? If I ask you a question, I expect an answer, Kyrie. ”

  “Yes. ”

  “That’s okay. Hate it all you want. Fight it. Try as you might, you can’t help it. I own you, Kyrie St. Claire. And soon you’ll come to accept this. ”

  “Never. ”

  “Ah. Rebellion. There’s your spirit. That temper of yours, Kyrie. It’s gotten you in so much trouble, hasn’t it?” He sounded amused. “Mr. Edwards is still recovering, you know. You smashed his nose into smithereens. ”

  I reeled. “You…you know about that?”

  “Of course I know about it. I know everything about you. ” He stepped away, his voice slightly distant. I heard the tinkle of glass, of pouring liquid. He took my hand in his, pressed a tumbler into my palm, lifted it to my lips. “Drink. ”

  I touched the liquid to my lips, tasted the fiery burn of expensive Scotch. “Eeew. No. ”

  “Drink. ” His voice was a whip. “I dislike repeating myself. ”

  I drank. My esophagus was coated in lava, and then it hit my stomach like a hundredweight of bricks. My blood turned to fire, and my head spun. “God, that’s gross. ” But, even as I said it, I felt my body going light, heated by the Scotch and lifted up as if I were a hot-air balloon. I drank again, and it wasn’t as bad.

  “Yet you drink again, of your own volition. ” I heard a smile in his voice. “You drinking the Scotch is a very apropos metaphor for the way you react to me. You don’t like it at first, but it burns away your resistance, and soon you find yourself going back for more. ”

  I drank again, a small sip, and the lava on my throat, in my stomach, the fire in my blood, wasn’t so bad. It emboldened me. “You said you don’t expect me to pay you back monetarily. Yet you said you won’t have sex with me unless I ask for it. So what do want from me?”

  “Merely yourself. Your utter and immediate obedience in all things. Your life. ” I heard him swallow. “And here’s why you’ll find yourself obeying. Beyond the heat in your loins that you feel, and the way you react to the mere sound of my voice…you’ll obey because you know the hold I have on you. I will continue to provide for your mother and brother as long as you obey me. They will be very well cared for, in all things. As will you. The kind of treatment you received on the jet is a mere glimpse of the life I will provide for you. ”

  “And if I don’t comply with your every whim?”

  “I will send you home. You would sign an ironclad nondisclosure agreement, and you’d be free to go. ”

  “Just like that?” I put all the sarcasm and bitterness I possessed into those three words.

  “Just like that. ”

  “And I wouldn’t have to repay you?”

  “No. ” He paused for effect. “Except, you wouldn’t receive another dime. And you still have a very long way to go to finish your degree. The jobs you’re trained for right now will never offer the funds necessary for you to take care of your mother and brother. And even if you could stay afloat long enough to finish your degree, and get a job in your field, do you really think a social worker could ever make enough money to pay the kinds of bills you’ve got hanging over your head?”

 
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