Home > The Ravishing(9)

The Ravishing(9)
Author: Ava Harrison

Dad grabbed my hand and pulled me along. “Hurry.” He dragged me behind him.

The sound of spraying bullets ricocheted, and I ducked as though it would help. A scream built in my throat, and I was too terror-stricken to release my grip on Dad’s hand.

We made it to the foot of the stairs.

“Up!” Following his direction and not letting go, I ascended two at a time. My shoulder was yanked painfully as he pulled me up behind him, and I regretted my earlier adventure as though I alone had brought mayhem with my rebellion.

Mom dashed out of their bedroom and gestured for us to follow her inside.

“No,” said Dad.

“I can’t.” She sounded terrified. “Not like this.”

“We agreed.”

“Please, Stephen—”

“Not now!” Spittle escaped his mouth as he yelled it.

“I won’t!” she bit out.

“We talked about this, remember?” His voice was calm, it almost sounded rational.

She cowered against his anger, stepping back into the room.

Dad turned to me. “Get your brother and meet us here,” he snapped.

He was right—I’d be faster.

Already taking flight, I sprinted along the hallway toward Archie’s room. When I made it through his door, I couldn’t see him. Just his unmade bed. I flung myself toward his bathroom and found it empty.

Turning sharply, I headed back to my parents’ bedroom and stopped abruptly inside.

Where the hell had they gone?

Bolting out to look for them along the hallway, I glanced through the banisters. My stomach clenched when I saw the men ascending the stairs. All of them wearing combat gear.

Jesus Christ, they were wielding military-grade weapons. A dark stranger shouted an order from behind them. In seconds, they’d be on the balcony, and they’d see me.

Pivoting, I bolted toward my bedroom. Glancing one last time through the banister at the tall man in a black suit—

His sinister dark brown eyes found me.

I leaped back, but it was too late.

He’d stripped me bare with the intensity of his scrutiny. The kind of look that tore through a soul with unforgiving darkness.

He took the stairs two at a time to reach me.

I crashed into my bedroom and slammed the door shut behind me. Then I turned the lock.

My heart beat violently in my chest.

A ringing sounded in my ears.

It was hard to breathe.

Each inhale of oxygen felt like sharp stabs in my chest.

Fear blinded me as I staggered across the room.

Once inside the closet, I tripped over my feet as I shut myself in and crouched, hiding beneath a row of clothes as though they would shield me.

Behind me, a shoebox crushed beneath my weight. Then the sound of more boxes tumbling over filled the space.

I cursed each one, hugging my knees tight to my chest as my heart battered against my rib cage.

They’ve got the wrong house.

Once they realized their mistake, they would go.

Stay hidden.

Drawing in quick breaths, I replayed these thoughts, listening for any sound to indicate they found Archie or my parents. Even after everything, I still couldn’t bear for anything to happen to them. Thank God the staff wasn’t here yet.

A drawn-out silence highlighted my ragged breaths.

SLAM.

My bedroom door was breached.

With a hand over my mouth to prevent a scream, I peered through the slats at the blur of movement on the other side.

 

 

Anya

 

The closet door flung open.

The silhouette of a man towered above me.

A sliver of light flooded in and danced across his striking face. He was thirtyish, maybe younger, with devastating features that formed a handsome man. For a fleeting second, his deep-brown eyes reflected kindness as they held mine.

Right up until his full mouth tightened with hate. The same stranger I’d glimpsed from the balcony was staring down at me. His suit clashed with the others. The tie around his neck loosened with a studied casualness.

He focused his attention as though equally fascinated. The stark contradiction of sexy yet rugged. Tattoos marked his hands to reveal so much more about him—things I never wanted to know.

If I survived, remembering his face was crucial because questions would be asked later. A rendering of him would be marked in pencil by someone trying to stir my memory. It made me wonder if they’d believe the sketched phantasm I came up with.

A description considered unreal—because his allure was too captivating. His features were too attractive for a mere mortal.

Men poured into the room behind him. They stood back a little.

One of them braved to step up. “Want me to check that she’s unarmed?”

“She’s unarmed,” he replied, not keeping his eyes off me as he knelt. “Unless she’s strapped a pistol to her thigh.” He smirked. “Have you?”

I shook my head.

Intrigue marred his face as he reached out to pry my hand off my mouth. “Anya?”

“Don’t hurt me.”

His brow furrowed. “I’m not promising anything I can’t deliver.”

I exhaled sharply. “You’ve got the wrong house.”

Swiftly, he ran his hand along my stomach. His fingers trailed upward and swept beneath each armpit.

Along my chest.

Beneath my breasts.

I couldn’t breathe as he explored me.

It was only when his hands moved to my back, and he withdrew them from my spine, that I let out my breath.

He cupped my cheek. “I’ve been looking forward to this for a very long time.”

“What do you want?”

His smirk was menacing. “To savor every second.”

Me, he’s talking about me.

There, beneath his left cuff, was the hint of a red tattoo. Half in a daze, I reached for the edge of his wrist and eased his cuff up a little to reveal an intricately inked design of the sun. His eyelids became heavy as though with contemplation, watching my intrigue wilt.

Then he removed his hand from my face and reached for my hem.

I flinched as he continued his search up my dress, and found my inner thigh.

His fingers moved fast, traveling upward with quick, detached professionalism.

I snapped my thighs closed, trapping his palm between them to stop him from going higher.

“Don’t fight me.”

“What are you doing?” I bit out, refusing to relent or give in to this stranger.

“Open,” he said huskily. “Don’t ask dumb questions.”

Keeping my eyes on his, I eased open my thighs as though hypnotized by his severity. His hand swept along my inner thighs as he continued to frisk me. “She’s good.”

“Is it her?” asked someone from behind him.

He gave a sharp nod.

My head crashed back against the clothes behind me as this heady danger morphed into confusion.

He was evil.

Like a dangerous animal you see inside a cage.

One you can’t take your eyes off.

One you would consider touching for a brief second before you remember, you’d lose a hand.

Victory danced over his expression. “Where is he?”

“Who?”

“Again with questions we both know you know the answer to . . .” he trailed off. “Your father.”

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