This is it.
This is his lair, I realize with trepidation.
The lion’s den.
The dragon’s cave.
The devil’s pit.
In spite of his large, insistent hand damn near touching my ass crack, my legs remain in place, absolutely refusing to move and I’m not sure I could convince them to even if I wanted.
And I one hundred percent do not.
He continues to nudge me forward, his hand prodding firmly, reminding me that even though he’s being gentle, he’s not asking me to go in. He’s telling me that I will.
Feeling like a foreigner in my own body, I somehow manage to convince my legs to move—or maybe they move without my consent, I don’t even know at this point—and step over the threshold, cautiously treading further and further into the room one anxious step at a time, my eyes darting left and right uncontrollably, as if expecting an evil beast to pop out of nowhere and rip me to shreds.
But I know the only beast here is the all-too-visible, blue-eyed devil of a doctor following closely behind me.
I damn near stumble over my own feet as I reluctantly walk inside, my heart racing, hammering in my chest at a billion beats a second until it’s all I can hear and the only thing I can feel, as if my entire body just turned into one mega pulse, a mere extension of the muscle about to rupture my chest. I’m going to end up passing out right here on this floor if I don’t get it under control soon. Then again, that might not be such a bad thing. But, of course, my inner voice just has to gleefully remind me that he’s a doctor and that even if I did pass out, he’d simply revive me and proceed to have his way with me, anyway.
I hear the door slide closed and, instinctively, I look over my shoulder, my heart plummeting to my feet when I see my fear confirmed. I almost bump my face right into his chest when I do, barely making out the entrance in the distance over his towering frame. I stumble backward slightly in an impulsive attempt to put some distance between us.
I catch traces of amusement in his eyes, and it’s obvious he’s getting a kick out of seeing me so flustered and out of my element.
Despite my attempts to put some space between our bodies, he advances toward me, but instead of feeling his hands on me again like I brace myself for, holding what little breath I can manage, he brushes past me, his shirt grazing my naked skin in a seemingly innocent way, and I would believe so if I didn’t know just how calculating he is.
“What is this place?” I ask, my voice strained and unrecognizable even to my own ears, laced with the mix of fear and uncertainty coursing through my body.
When he’s some feet away, he turns to face me, his big body looking unusually relaxed and comfortable, as if in sync with this place. But the edge in his eyes is as intense as ever, gleaming with something I haven’t seen before. Something I can’t put a name to.
I gulp and take a step back impulsively, as if the action will hide me from his severe, penetrating gaze.
When he finally speaks again, it’s to make a singular statement.
“This is the ER.”
My eyes bulge and my heart nearly climbs up my throat. Before I can even finish processing that statement, my brain catches fire, urging me to run like hell, my legs already pivoting on my heels.
The…ER? He has an emergency room in his house? Oh, God…oh God, he’s a psycho killer, after all. A deranged sociopath. One who tortures his unsuspecting victims with the same skills he saves lives with—
“Before you go sprinting for the hills, Ramona, I’d like to point out two things,” he says, seemingly reading my body language and the morbid expression on my face. He cocks his head to the side, a shadow of a smile toying with his lips. “One: that door is locked and, as you saw earlier, it can only be opened with my fingerprints. And, two: this is not an emergency room.”
I almost visibly sag with relief at the small reassurance, but it disappears even faster than it came when he takes more steps toward me. He stops just a foot away, his hands casually dipped in his pockets, and I hate that even now, on the verge of hyperventilating my lungs into extinction, I can’t ignore how good he looks doing something so trivial and ordinary.
“This is the emancipation room,” he says, the words simple, matter-of-fact, non-alluding.
I frown, my brows drawing closer to each other in confusion…confusion which quickly turns comical. I raise one incredulously, as though I just heard the most ludicrous, most absurd thing in all of history.
What the fuck?
I snort before I can stop myself, the subdued laugh morphing into barely-suppressed snickering. As if on cue, several lights come on and the space appears before me. Every last trace of humor dies in an instant, my chuckles stopping in their tracks as if a switch got flipped inside my body, too.
All my organs shut down for several seconds and, for what feels like an eternity, I can’t breathe. Can’t think. Can’t speak. Can’t move. Can’t even fucking blink. All I can do is stare at the sight in front of me as my brain short-circuits, struggling to process what I’m watching. My eyes dart all around my surroundings, still unable to blink, as if they’re afraid to.
Black and silver.
That’s all I see.
Every last thing in here is covered in one or both of those colors. And, strangely, everything is meticulously labeled, as though this is some sort of…I dunno, art exhibition or something.
A very kinky, twisted exhibition.
I get lightheaded as my eyes scan them.
High-tension binding rope.
Hard leather cuffs.
Metal suspension bar.
And I just about faint when my eyes land on others.
Silkened restraint rope.
And then, as if on cue, another set of lights appear, revealing an arresting, bizarre set up in the distance. I stare ahead at it, my entire body going numb. It is, without a doubt, the centerpiece of this insane display. Two massive, metallic structures stand erect, identical and opposite from each other; suspension bars…that each look like a capital H. And between them, a large, circular tub of some sort, made of glass and extending into the floor.
It hits me like a lightning bolt, and Frost’s words come rushing back to me like a bad omen.
Make SURE you drink at least three liters of water over the course of the day before you get here.
Every ten minutes, I’m going to give you a chance to guess how much water this particular condom can hold.
I want you to tell me, more specifically, all the ways in which men and women lose water…
I swallow hard against the epiphany that comes crashing down on me like a meteor, my frazzled mind zoning in on the common denominator.
Two H-bars and a glass circle.
Two Hs and an O.
“This is my lab,” Frost says, forcing my eyes back to his, no longer cold and aloof as I’ve come to expect, but alive and dangerous, like a pair of sapphire flames burning with an inferno of blatant lust. The subtlest grin tickles his full lips, noticeable only because of our proximity, one I would have missed completely if I weren’t so close to him.
“Welcome to your first session.”
To be continued…