Blood Ties—Chapter 2

Blood Ties (Dinero de Sangre Book 2)

Blurb:

In this twisted dark cartel romance, revenge and hate collide with the past…

As Ada adjusts to the hellish predicament she finds herself in, one thing becomes painfully clear—Domino isn’t the only monster with her life in his hands.
And by no means is he the most dangerous.
Jaguar brings with him a wealth of mystery—and violence—that threatens to rock what little ground with Domino she’s managed to gain.
In the end, Ada will have to make a choice with both her life and her body on the line.
Only one man can offer her mercy should he choose to.
The other…
Doom. 
If only she knew which fate would hurt less—losing her freedom, or losing her heart?

Chapter 2

Disclaimer: The following material is copyrighted.

“I said get in.”

I snap to awareness at his hostile tone, but he doesn’t seem inclined to follow up with violence. Yet. He’s already gotten the water going and steps beneath the spray first.

Numbly, I set aside the clothing I procured for myself on a nearby row of pristine gray countertops. When I face him again, I’m still wrapped only in a sheet. As the seconds tick by, I take my time fiddling with the twisted fabric to study him in full.

Based on Jaguar’s demand, I have until Tuesday. On its face, I’m not even sure what that date symbolizes, or what I plan to do in the meantime. It’s not like I have a wealth of options—I could either escape, kill Domino outright, or convince him not to sell me. The sad part? I’m not sure which of those aims is even remotely achievable.

I already tried the first plan to no avail.

Killing him is a far more tempting option.

But seduction… It’s the only method I’ve had even a modicum of success attempting—though, I assume that depends on what one might determine as success. I’ve gotten him to listen to me, anyway, and let his guard down long enough to sleep in the same bed.

Twice.

That must mean something.

“Don’t make me tell you a third time.” His voice, aided by the roar of rushing water, comes as a low rasp I know better than to challenge. Without fanfare, I yank the sheet away from my body and stagger toward him, wincing as I walk directly through a cloud of warm steam.

“Wait.” He meets me as I cross the threshold, grabbing my wrist. I wince before I realize what he’s doing—unhooking a brown watch from my wrist. I’ve forgotten I’m still wearing it, one of his, taken from his closet.

He throws it onto the counter, near my pile of clothing, and turns his back to me. “Sit—” He nods to indicate a long bench on the other end of the space. The surface is textured so that I have purchase on it, even while wet. Shuddering, I find myself fixated by the only sight in view—him, his naked body facing away from me, his hands braced over the stone wall.

The angle strains the coiled muscle along his back and upper thighs, conveying better than words how this morning’s impromptu visit has affected him. He’s pissed, though damn good at hiding it. For someone so solidly built, I marvel at the fact that he was once a sickly boy who needed a heart transplant just to have a shot at survival.

Or so he says.

Were he anyone else, I’d use his past as a delicate attempt to start a conversation and pry what little information from him I could. It would be so easy were we still in Terra Rodea, and I had the cloak of my father’s power to hide behind. Why wouldn’t it be? I’ve been bred to manipulate men and women alike, all with a coy grin.

This iteration of Domino Valenciaga makes me rethink my entire approach toward people—and my life as a whole. From day one, none of my attempts at friendliness—or otherwise—ever worked on him. Maybe I never was as charming or as pretty, or as sexy as I thought?

Or at least, not until he ensconced me in his private estate in the middle of only God knows where. Here, away from the city where I always believed I had influence, I could finally get him to fuck me.

And I hate myself for being proud of breaking down his barriers in such an insignificant way.

“Why don’t you let me go now?” The question springs from my lips before I can rethink the pros and cons of asking it. “After all, if my father is dead—” I choke, barely able to spit out that word. “Then I’m of no danger to you. You have no worry of anyone seeking revenge.” 

“If?” He scoffs at the phrasing, his head lowered, hair hanging damply. “Don’t be flattered by your presence here, Ada-Maria. I’ll still give what’s left of you to Jaguar when I’m done.”

It’s a horrifying threat that robs the air from my lungs, just as he intended it to.

And…

It’s a lie. I’m not sure at first. Not until I parse over that subtle dip in his inflection. No, I don’t think he intends for me to go to Jaguar.

Not anytime soon, at least.

And the confusion sowed by that thought is more than enough to dispel any exhaustion I may have felt. I sit forward, newly electrified with a desire to get a rise out of him. It seems to be the only way we communicate effectively.

Via taunts.

“You had no problem letting Alexi go to him,” I point out, cringing at the feel of her name in my mouth. I hate the thought that he had his cock in her first. That he enjoyed her first.

That he did so without the excuse of hateful lust and that she had the nerve to smile after. She smiled like his attention was comparable to heaven itself—that elated fucking smirk porn stars spend years trying to emulate.

God, I hate her.

I hate him more. Enough that I don’t take the tensing of his entire body as a warning sign like I should.

“Is that what this is about?” I continue stupidly. “Revenge? He stole your woman, and so you have penis envy—”

Finally.” Pulling away from the wall, he whirls on me. “That mouth says something relevant for fucking once. Say it again.”

Penis, I presume, because he grabs his, cupping his fingers along the engorged shaft. I feel my eyes bulge. How could I miss the extent of his erection until now?

Does the topic of Jaguar fucking his women get him so horny?

No, I realize as he stalks in my direction, spraying droplets of water as he goes. It’s anger that arouses him. Rage. Disgust. All things inspired by me alone.

When he’s close enough, he cups my chin, tilting it. I grit my teeth experimentally, wondering if I have the strength to resist the intention written in his gaze.

I don’t. He merely flexes his fingers, and my lips fly apart.

“These lips,” he murmurs, shocking me further by stroking the underside of my jaw with his thumb. “Some men would kill to have a mouth like this at their disposal.”

Still holding me, he returns his opposite hand to his cock. In this position, I’d only have to lean forward to have access to him—and the way he tilts his hips in a silent demand makes it clear that’s exactly what he wants. Me at his beck and call like a worthless whore. Like trash, as disposable as he claimed I am. My cheeks heat with shame.

Though why should I feel that way?

I’m not the man absently praising a woman he hates. He assumes there’s power in degrading me. But I am a Pavalos.

We were born into power and taught from day one how to claim it. The catch is that I never had to do so without my father’s commands, but there is no better time than now to start.

Meeting his gaze, I hold it, leaning forward of my own accord to graze the tip of him with my tongue. He lurches, and I savor the brief moment of triumph. He claims to own me, but he can’t own this.

If I ignore the man, his cock is a beautiful specimen. He’s circumcised, his arousal so thick already, he’s practically pulsating. Were I the whore he claimed I am, his beauty alone would make his personality easy to overlook.

Warily, I cup him in the palm of my hand, testing the formidable weight. Aided by the warmth of the water, he’s molten, and I feel a jolt shoot through my core.

“You look at my cock like it’s a lollipop.” His cool remark complicates my desire to ignore him. To thwart me further, he grips my chin, forcing me to meet his amused stare.

“Let’s see what that beautiful little mouth can do. Open it.”

I bristle at the command. No. This moment feels as fragile as he proved my body can be against his violence. If I let him dominate me in this arena, I might as well roll over and present my throat for the killing blow.

This brief power, and my sexuality…

They’re all I have, and I own both by delivering a slow, savoring lick to the underside of his shaft despite his warning.

His shock is a thing of twisted beauty. He groans, his head shooting back while the hand on my chin slides down to my throat, almost in a grateful caress. Then he squeezes so tightly my eyes bulge.

“I told you to open,” he grates.

Choking down any doubt, I lick him again, going slower, so slow the entire world seems to come to a screeching halt, hinging on the time it takes my tongue to clear the length of his shaft.

Dios mío…” His voice is constricted with a grudging hint of something that could be pleasure, paired with his low grunt of annoyance. The hand around my throat sinks into my hair, cinching a fistful. “I told you to—”

I cup him again, curling my fingers around his impressive width. Then I stroke, up and down, each time with increasing amounts of pressure.

He breathes out roughly, his head still tilted back, eyes on the ceiling above. The shower spray continues to pelt us in that faint, fine mist, but the sensation acts like a cloud, obscuring us from the rest of the world.

In here, only the two of us exist, battling for control of this secluded realm. I aim to win. I have to—there isn’t any other choice.

“Damn you.” His anger is palpable in the vibrations running through me as he speaks. “Obey me. Open your fucking mouth—”

“I want you to make me come, instead,” I gasp out, the first request that pops into my head. My aim is merely to test how far I can push him—nothing else.

And his soft, startled grunt shouldn’t make my stomach flip. His brows shoot together, eyes like slits, and I nearly back down. Almost. But I’m genuinely curious of the answer to a question only he has ever made me bold enough to ask.

“Can you? Just with your cock, nothing else?” It’s a fantasy I used to mull over in agony while in my old bed, forced to make do with my own fingers, while the Domino I thought I knew ignored me.

Here and now, the real man doesn’t even try to disguise his interest. His expression shifts as he processes the challenge. When he grazes my windpipe with the tips of his fingers, I expect him to grip it, forcing my mouth open. Instead, he withdraws…

Only to snatch a length of my hair in the same breath. Viciously, he tugs, yanking me to my feet, wrenching me around so that my back is to him, my hands forced to brace against the wall of the stall.

He gives me no forewarning. No preparation. Only the water basting our bodies provides him any lubrication as he slams inside of me with a ferocity so intense, I cry out—that and the fact that I’m already wet for him. He hisses as my readiness drags him deep—so deep that his balls smack against my inner thighs, driving home the depth he’s reached.

It should hurt, I think.

But it doesn’t.

It stings, and it burns, and it’s terrifying just how good it feels.

I should hate this man, vomit at his mere touch.

And yet, he has me moaning in a way I never have. Only as he abruptly withdraws do I realize he imparted that single thrust. Nothing more.

“You think you can command me,” he murmurs against my throat. Then he bites, raking his teeth down to my shoulder. My startled cry nearly drowns out his next words. “I am the one in control here, Ada—” He jerks me around to face him, his eyes glowing, teeth bared. “Do you understand that?”

“Yes,” I croak. But, before I can talk myself out of it, I run my hands down his chest, hoping to further distract him. I’ve already found the ridge of his surgical scar by the time he angles his gaze toward my rebellious fingers, his brows furrowing. “But I was just curious,” I murmur, letting my voice meld with the hum of the shower spray.

He inclines his head, betraying the fact that he’s listening to me at all. Yet, he has enough pride not to ask me the question my coy answer demands.

So, I give it to him anyway. “I was curious,” I say, arching against his chest. This close, I can feel his breath catch, his muscles going rigid. Especially when I bring my mouth near his ear. “I wanted to know how quickly I could come on your cock. How good it could be… So that when you sell me, I can be confident I’ll please my buyer—”

Snarling, he snatches my throat, bucking his hips at the same time. Fire. I’m suffocating and stuffed…and it’s…

Incredible. A cry builds and sticks in my lungs as he tightens his grip, shoving me down onto the bench. He releases me, only to snatch my legs, one in each hand, and hike them against his hips as he pistons.

The harsh surface beneath me bites into my lower back like a brutal anchor as my thoughts become less coherent with every punishing thrust.

I’ve never been used like this. Ridden is the only term I can think of to describe it. Taken.

And thoroughly enjoyed by the bastard doing so.

Grunting, Domino throws his head back, his throat cording, nails piercing my flesh with every stroke. He couldn’t hide his pleasure if he tried, and the more I watch him, the easier it is to forget. And hate.

And ignore how long I craved to have him inside me just like this.

Soon, it’s too dizzying to look at him. I just close my eyes, surrendering to the pleasure ripping through my body, piece by piece. My impending orgasm is a death sentence and looms closer with every harsh stroke of his cock. Each brutal shove as he draws me into him.

But it isn’t until I hear his voice, hoarse and grated, “Fuck… Ada—” that I finally feel it hit with the force of a crushing blow.

I hate that it feels as good as it does.

I hate that he’s proved my little dare to be a reality—he can make me come like this, with only his cock, deployed as a weapon however he sees fit.

I’m still writhing when I feel him pull out, shoving me away. Boneless, I slump off the bench, landing on my knees against the damp floor as the water continues to pelt us both.

I hear him move, and I look up to find him snatch a rag from a built-in shelf and briskly wash himself off. Then he throws it aside and steps from the stall, storming into the bathroom, presumably to get a towel.

I don’t know how much time passes before his voice finally reaches back to me. “We’re done. Get out.”

The water shuts off a heartbeat later, leaving me drenched, but still unclean. His seed mingles with the droplets of moisture dripping down my inner thighs.

A fact he is well aware of, I realize, as I look up to find him barring the entrance, a cream-colored towel slung around his waist. He doesn’t offer me one of my own. Instead, he jerks his chin. “I said get out.”

Rather than argue, I stand, surprised to find myself limping after him. I must have struck my hip when I fell, but I welcome the pain. Every fiery, throbbing jolt grounds me, reaching past the drunken haze of sex to reinforce the grim reality lurking beneath.

He’s a bastard who sold me and killed my parents.

What the hell am I doing here?

I go still mid-step, pondering just that. I’m so lost in the daze that I miss the second he comes for me until it’s too late. He already has a grip on my forearm, forcefully steering me back against the row of granite countertops.

Without a word of explanation, he snatches my hips, lifting me unceremoniously so that I’m sitting on the hard surface—with him standing in between my legs. I instinctively try to close them, but he doesn’t budge, fixated on my left thigh. Already, a deep red mark is visible, stretching from my hip to my knee. I can tell merely from how it aches that it will bruise.

“At least I’ve proven I can ignore pain,” I croak, hating how conditioned I sound already. Broken. “That will please my buyer, too. You might get a better price—”

He hisses through his teeth, silencing me mid-taunt. I just watch him instead, riveted by the slow, careful way he drags his finger along the mark, pressing down so hard I wince. It’s as if he’s remembering every mottled bit of flesh, noting how easily I bruise.

Not to denote on some fucked-up seller’s manifest.

But so he can do it all over again.

And again, and again.

“Get dressed.” He pulls away without remarking on the pile of clothing I’ve already selected for myself. I’m sure he can tell from the shape and color who they belong to.

He must be too distracted by his own thoughts to engage in another battle of wills so soon. Or, he’s preoccupied with another matter entirely. His hand lands on the counter just beyond my reach, snatching up a familiar brown object as I flinch—his watch. Coiling his fingers over it, he cocks his head toward me. “By the way, Ada-Maria,” he adds, his voice ragged. “At La Guarida del Tigre, they won’t care how much pain you can endure. They’ll only want to hear how loudly you can scream. I suggest you think about that as you process how little time you have left.” Still sporting his towel, he strolls onto the balcony and disappears from view.

I collapse, landing hard on my knees, tasting blood as I bite my lower lip to smother the scream still building in my throat. I almost succeed, reducing the noise to just a pathetic gasp that echoes for a split-second before I scramble to my feet, drowning it out.

I eye my carefully selected outfit and consider just leaving this room naked. I feel trapped again. Like even if the thought felt like my own, wearing his shirt would only cement this strange hold he thinks he has over me. Ownership. The ability to decide whether I live or die.

And how.

But as my gaze flits to the doorway again, I realize that the second option is far less appealing, knowing that Alexi Rojas is lurking somewhere beyond this room as well, ready and waiting to gloat.

I snatch the shirt and pull it on, then scramble into the boxers. By the time I cross the balcony and re-enter his room, Domino is already dressed, buttoning a crisp black shirt all the way up to his neck.

I watch him, hating the glimmer of appreciation that hits my chest before I can help it. He can seem so graceful when he wants to.

And so cruel when he needs to.

He rakes his gaze over me before strolling into the hallway. Automatically, I start to follow, and I’ve barely reached the threshold when I find the door slammed in my face.

A harsh click warns that he locked it, though I test the doorknob anyway. It won’t budge.

“Domino!” I slam my hand against the wooden surface, but the only response I hear is the sound of his steps retreating down the hall, away from me.

The bastard locked me in, but for whatever reason—in the grand scheme of everything he’s done within the past twenty-four hours alone—this unnerves me the most. It heralds a different mode of operation apart from his usual indifference when it comes to my captivity.

This is possessive. Or selfish. Is he keeping me from Alexi on purpose, afraid of what she might say? Or of what I could learn…

Though, the most likely explanation is that he’s gone to fuck her uninterrupted.

Of all the people in the world to trigger the crippling jealousy biting through my chest, it has to be them. A childhood enemy and a longtime hidden threat, both who hate my family and me for their own reasons.

The devil himself couldn’t have picked a better pair. They belong together. I hope he fucks her raw in the shower and they both trip, earning lethal concussions that will make my escape a literal walk in the park.

I try not to imagine it—but it’s too late; I already am. His body hunched over hers, that sly, stupid smile on her lips, her perky tits bouncing.

He wouldn’t bite her, I bet.

He wouldn’t fuck her hard enough to bruise.

He wouldn’t swear one minute that she was his and sell her to a stranger the next.

The only man who should be on my mind is Jaguar, my supposed buyer—or at least the owner of the place Domino sold me to, La Guarida del Tigre. Despite my limited knowledge of the Spanish language, I can hazard a guess as to the meaning—The Tiger’s den.

“The world is a zoo,” my father told me once, his voice roughened by his nighttime cigar. It was the hour before he usually retreated to bed, when he’d exchanged his suit for a robe and slippers. That wasn’t the most jarring change, though—that time of night was one of the rare few when his trusty Domino wasn’t by his side, already having retired for the evening.

The lack of his “shadow” humbled him somehow. He could have been a normal man—if you ignored the gleam in his eye that warned he was always scheming, no matter who was in his orbit.

The world is a zoo, Ada-Maria. You can either be a warden or a beast. Do you understand that? He reached out, grazing my chin with the tips of his fingers. Without me, all those bastards would be salivating to eat you alive. No matter what happens with this fucking indictment, you remember this—you are a Pavalos. Without me, you are nothing but a morsel they can’t wait to devour. Together, we will always hang on to the keys to this kingdom. Loyalty, that’s what matters. You fucking remember that…

His voice fades beneath the squawk of a nearby bird, and I shiver despite the stifling heat.

If that memory serves a purpose, it’s to remind me that Domino is no longer my main obstacle. In fact, I should ignore him entirely.

The world is a zoo, and I need to fend for myself, damn him and the cage he’s designed around me. Shedding his shirt, I give in to the petty rage and step onto the balcony naked. The sun is just starting to rise, though hidden behind a swath of gray clouds. This section of the estate feels more secluded than the sprawling terrace. I can only see the tail end of the structure from here, as well as the shadow of two people strolling across the second level of it.

Alexi. I’d recognize her slender frame anywhere, her clothing so skimpy it just resembles lines of color across her torso and hips. She’s standing beside someone taller, their bulky frame etched onto my psyche.

Domino.

He locked me in here just in time for a morning stroll. I don’t know what feels worse—knowing that I’m just a hole to him? Or realizing that he doesn’t even think highly enough of me to throw the fact that we’ve fucked in Alexi’s face.

He’s hiding me here out of shame.

How sweet.

The rush of anger blinds me to everything else—like the fact that another figure is standing within view of me, though from a different part of the property. On the far right, a section of circular, flat stone is visible—near the front of the house, I realize, though positioned diagonally from the terrace as a whole. Set within a section of hedges and tended flower beds, I assume it’s a driveway, given the set of black cars parked there. Beside one, holding the driver’s side door partially open, stands a man whose shape makes me go rigid. Him, I don’t recognize as easily as Domino.

Not until I hear his voice.

He whistles, his laughter booming enough to echo across the property. “Well, good fucking morning,” he calls to me.

My cheeks sear as I realize that he can see me—and my lack of clothing—clearly. Automatically, I raise my hands, attempting to shield myself.

Then I stop, my fingers raised just beneath my nipples.

From the corner of my eye, I see the distant shape of Domino go rigid, like a speck of darkness over the otherwise bright landscape. I know he’s watching me. I can practically feel his eyes raking over my skin with that unspoken possession.

Don’t. I can almost hear him voicing the warning in his signature unstable rasp. Don’t you fucking dare.

I don’t take my eyes off him, even as I lift my hand and wave toward the figure in the driveway. He chuckles, whistling even louder. Something in the sound sends a shiver of unease through me. It’s primal, like the way one of my father’s dogs would snarl when it had a bone it didn’t want to share with the others.

A warning.

When I look back at Domino, however, he’s gone. It’s like he vanished, leaving Alexi standing alone.

At least until I hear a door open and slam with the force of a gunshot.

In this twisted dark cartel romance, revenge and hate collide with the past…

Ten years after a devastating betrayal, revenge has come back to bite Ada Pavalos.

Literally.

Once her family’s trusted bodyguard, Domino Valenciaga is out for blood.

Or her heart.

Whichever goal takes more violence to achieve…

In this twisted dark cartel romance, revenge and hate collide with the past…
As Ada adjusts to the hellish predicament she finds herself in, one thing becomes painfully clear—Domino isn’t the only monster with her life in his hands.
And by no means is he the most dangerous.
Jaguar brings with him a wealth of mystery—and violence—that threatens to rock what little ground with Domino she’s managed to gain.
In the end, Ada will have to make a choice with both her life and her body on the line.
Only one man can offer her mercy should he choose to.
The other…
Doom. 
If only she knew which fate would hurt less—losing her freedom, or losing her heart?

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