Skin
Author:Kylie Scott

That’s what you got for trying to buy girls with canned goods. Devil. She’d shelve him at 235.

 

His bloodstained shirt was gone. In fact, he wore only a scowl and a faded pair of blue jeans. He wore them well. No wonder she hadn’t been able to escape; the man didn’t have an ounce of fat on him. It’d been a while since her last yoga class, what with the apocalypse and all. Exercise had never been her strong suit. This man, however, appeared the epitome of lean and mean. He had the same long, hard lines as a swimmer. It took some effort to peel her eyes away, despite her profound hatred.

 

“What?” he grouched.

 

Poor baby. If only she didn’t have the stupid gag in her mouth she’d have given him what for.

 

Roslyn tried to communicate several things with her eyes. Firstly, that she still believed him to be a fucking idiot. But secondly, and most importantly, she needed to pee and get a drink of water.

 

He made no move toward her. His gaze remained hard, unyielding. The jut of his chin looked distinctly unimpressed.

 

She blinked and cocked her head. Please.

 

He scowled some more. Then he winced, fine lips wrinkling in pain. His face had to hurt. Her enemy moved closer, looking down on her with wary brown eyes.

 

“If I remove the ball gag, do you promise not to scream?” he asked.

 

She nodded.

 

His lips tightened. “Do you realize that by screaming you alert everything to our presence here? That you put us both in danger?”

 

Huh. Well, no. It hadn’t occurred to her. Thwarting him and escaping had been the only things on her mind, and rightly so. Because if she stopped to think about it, there wasn’t anyone out there to hear her and come running to her aid, was there? No. There had been absolutely no point in hollering her heart out. It had been sheer instinct. And his face seemed deadly serious, giving her pause. Had she put them in danger?

 

“You need to think before you go making a lot of noise again.” Nick leant over and released something on the side of the gag. The pressure eased and he slipped the rubber ball from her mouth. Oh yes, what sweet relief.

 

Her jaw cracked as she slowly worked it back to normal. It ached. To think that some people did this for fun. Clearly, they were crazy. She’d stick with the vanilla sex and leave the kinky crap to the couples in her smuttier books, thank you very much. She swallowed hard and wet her lips, tried to shift up the bed. Partly to ease the tension in her shoulders and neck, but also because she hated having him that close.

 

“Thanks,” she croaked.

 

“Let me get you a drink.”

 

“Problem.”

 

“Mm?”

 

“I need to visit the bathroom.”

 

Nick reached for a bottle of water and unscrewed the lid, carefully filled a glass waiting on the bedside table. For ages it had sat there taunting her.

 

“I have a solution, he said. “But you’re not going to like it.”

 

She jerked back and the water splashed on her neck. Cold shivers skittered across her skin. “If it involves something disgusting like golden showers, then you’re right.”

 

The man stopped and stared. “You have a hell of an imagination.”

 

“Says the guy who ball-gagged me.”

 

“No. Of course it doesn’t involve anything like that.” With the glass of water in hand he sat on the edge of the bed beside her. There was nowhere for her to go. His spare hand reached out, to lift her head or something, and no, no, no. She panicked, rearing back again and hitting the bed-head. Which smarted.

 

“You wanted a drink,” he said.

 

“I don’t want you touching me.”

 

Nick’s gaze narrowed but he moved back a smidgeon. He took his sweet time before speaking. “Alright. My solution is to put a chain around your ankle attached to the bed. But it won’t stop you from trying to attack me again. It still requires a level of trust. That’s the problem.”

 

“You want to leash me like a dog?” she gritted out.

 

He studied her, face blank.

 

“You were right. I don’t like it, Nick.”

 

He placed the glass of water on the bedside table and set his ankle on his knee, his big body hunched over. If it was to try and make him appear smaller, less harmful, it didn’t work. The guy seemed no less dangerous, especially without a shirt on. The tattoos on his shoulders were old school, black and gray ink. Nicely done, if you liked such things. Normally, she really did, but not this time.

 

“Roslyn, what were you going to do if you got away from me?”

 

Good question. Her mouth stayed shut.

 

“That’s what I thought,” he said. “You can’t go back to the school. Those idiots just about pissed themselves when I showed up. They’d hand you straight back to me. And even if I was willing to let you go, you know you can’t trust them now. Don’t you?”

 

Being cuffed, she couldn’t stick her fingers in her ears and sing or something to block him out. But it didn’t mean she had to listen to him. It was a nice, high ceiling—infinitely more appealing than him and his words.

 

“You wouldn’t be able to survive out there on your own,” he said. “Not for long.”

 

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