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Make Me: Twelve Tales of Dark Desire, page 1

 

Make Me: Twelve Tales of Dark Desire
 



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Make Me: Twelve Tales of Dark Desire


  MAKE ME

  Twelve Tales of Dark Desire

  Aleatha Romig

  Skye Warren

  Eliza Gayle

  Claire Thompson

  Cari Silverwood

  Jasmine Haynes

  Pam Godwin

  Annabel Joseph

  Shoshanna Evers

  Annika Martin

  Pepper Winters

  CJ Roberts

  Consequences

  Copyright © 2011 Aleatha Romig

  Wanderlust

  Copyright © 2013 Skye Warren

  Play With Me

  Copyright © 2014 Eliza Gayle

  Take Me, Break Me

  Copyright © 2013 Cari Silverwood

  Take Your Pleasure

  Copyright © 2012 Jasmines Haynes

  Beneath the Burn

  Copyright © 2014 Pam Godwin

  Comfort Object

  Copyright © 2009 Annabel Joseph

  Enslaved

  Copyright © 2011 Claire Thompson

  The Hostage Bargain

  Copyright © 2012 Annika Martin

  The Man Who Holds the Whip

  Copyright © 2012 Shoshanna Evers

  Captive in the Dark

  Copyright © 2013 CJ Roberts

  Tears of Tess

  Copyright © 2013 Pepper Winters

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

  This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.

  ISBN: 9781940518053

  Kindle Edition

  Boxed Set Contents

  Consequences

  Aleatha Romig

  Wanderlust

  Skye Warren

  Play With Me

  Eliza Gayle

  Take Me, Break Me

  Cari Silverwood

  Take Your Pleasure

  Jasmines Haynes

  Beneath the Burn

  Pam Godwin

  Comfort Object

  Annabel Joseph

  Enslaved

  Claire Thompson

  The Hostage Bargain

  Annika Martin

  The Man Who Holds the Whip

  Shoshanna Evers

  Captive in the Dark

  CJ Roberts

  Tears of Tess

  Pepper Winters

  CONSEQUENCES

  New York Times and USA Today bestselling author

  ALEATHA ROMIG

  Anthony Rawlings had a plan—to teach Claire Nichols to behave.

  Claire Nichols had a plan—to survive!

  In an unfamiliar bedroom within a luxurious mansion, Claire Nichols wakes to memories of a brutal abduction. All of her recollections have one common denominator, the man she just met—Anthony Rawlings. Unbeknownst to Claire, Anthony has had her in his sights for a long time. Every action has consequences—and his actions resulted in their chance meeting.

  Facing incomprehensible circumstances, Claire must learn to survive as she comes to terms with her new reality—every aspect of her livelihood is now dependent upon the tall, dark-haired, dark-eyed tycoon. Anthony may appear to the world as a prosperous, benevolent, kind businessman, but in reality Claire learns he is also a menacing, controlling captor with very strict rules: do as your told, public failure is not an option, and don’t divulge private information. Failure to follow these rules and more, are met with serious consequences.

  “CONSEQUENCES is definitely a book you have to read. I hope it evokes the same crazy emotions in you that it did in me and you love it as much as I did!”

  —The Romance Reviews

  Nobody ever did, or ever will, escape the consequences of his choices.

  —Alfred A. Montapert

  Copyright

  Published by Aleatha Romig

  2012 Edition

  Copyright © 2011 Aleatha Romig

  All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.

  This book is available in print from most on line retailers

  2012 Edition License

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to the appropriate retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  Acknowledgements

  Thank you especially to my wonderful husband, children, and mother. I love you all!

  You have my undying love and gratitude for indulging me while I pursued my dream.

  Also, I’d like to express my sincere appreciation to the readers of CONSEQUENCES, thank you all for reading my first novel. Please know you hold a special place in my heart. I truly enjoy hearing from each and every one of you; contact information is at the end of this novel. Feel free to let me know your thoughts!

  Please know CONSEQUENCES is only the beginning of our saga. Anthony Rawlings and Claire Nichols’ story continues in TRUTH, released October 30, 2012. The conclusion of their story, and the story of so many other characters you will learn to love and hate, is CONVICTED released October 2013.

  In 2014 the Consequences Series Reading Companions will be released. This is a series of companions from Tony’s POV. They are not standalone books and should only be read after completing the entire Consequences Series.

  Thank you for riding this amazing ride! It will be worth it—I promise!

  Disclaimer

  The CONSEQUENCES series contains dark adult content. Although there is not excessive use of description and detail, (this is a dark contemporary thriller – not erotica) the content contains innuendos of kidnapping, rape, and abuse—both physical and mental. If you’re unable to read this material, please do not purchase. If you are ready, welcome aboard and enjoy the ride! Aleatha Romig

  It is not the strongest of the species that survives, not the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.

  —Charles Darwin

  Chapter One

  ‡

  The fade into consciousness happened slowly, like the melting of ice. The water was still present. It just changed form. Claire’s mind couldn’t process the entirety of her circumstance. She knew she was awakening, felt the warmth of soft sheets and a thick comforter against her skin, but it felt wrong. Where was she?

  Suddenly, the ice became liquid and her veins filled with the cold, condensing fluid. Her heartbeat intensified as the poor muscle attempted to pump the viscous solution. The sting of her swollen eyelids brought back memories of her arrival to this place. She strained to listen, to hear anything. The only sound that registered was an incessant ringing within her ears. More with curiosity than courage, she cautiously opened her eyes. Peering around the room, she discovered that she was indeed alone. Momentary relief caused her chest to contract and a sigh to escape her lips.

  Under other circumstances, she might
relish the amazing softness of the silk sheets or the grandeur of the king-sized bed. Today—however—despite the warm cocoon, her body shivered as the fog of her mind cleared. The memories of the previous night began to surface from the depths of her unconsciousness. Perhaps it had been nightmare. She tried to convince herself the memories weren’t real.

  But then, how did she get here? And where was here?

  Enormous windows, currently covered by golden drapes, allowed just enough sunlight for her eyes to adjust. For the first time since her arrival, she looked, really looked at her surroundings, seeing the four ornately carved corner posts of the bed. They were exquisite, and looking beyond, so was the room where it sat. The alluring bedroom looked larger and more lavish than any she had ever seen. The room looked like heaven, but she already knew it was hell.

  Again, she listened—nothing. The only sounds were the memories in her head. She heard herself screaming until her throat felt raw and pounding on the bedroom door until her clenched fist ached. No one heard, or if anyone heard, no one cared. This beautiful room was her prison.

  Slowly, she attempted to sit. The act in itself caused discomfort—more evidence that last night was real. Slowly shifting, she managed to see more of her cell: a sitting area with an overstuffed chair, complementary sofa, small fireplace in the wall surrounded by marble tiles, and a cozy table for two with a crystal vase of fresh flowers. The intimacy of the table caused Claire’s stomach to churn. The bile that seeped into her throat tasted vile. She tried desperately to swallow.

  Conspicuously missing were dressers or other furniture usually associated with a bedroom, yet dimly, she remembered being told that this was her new bedroom. Looking around the perimeter of the room, she saw beautiful white woodwork: built-in bookcases, shelves, and three doors. The one farthest from her bed appeared solid, firm, and unharmed after the pounding she’d delivered the night before. There was no reason to believe that it would now be unlocked. What Claire did know, with some certainty, was that it held her only avenue to freedom. She needed to find her way back through that door.

  Closing her eyes, she recalled the events of last night. As the memories started to flow from the recesses of her unconsciousness, her new goal became to stop them. She failed—seeing him behind her closed lids.

  Anthony Rawlings was so different from the man she met less than a week ago—the handsome tall man, with brown hair, and the darkest eyes she’d ever seen. He’d been polite, kind, and gentlemanly. Last night, none of those words could be used to describe him. To say he was cruel would not explain what she endured. One could say demanding, aggressive, abrasive, controlling—but above all—brutal.

  Shifting slightly, Claire realized that the slightest movement caused her muscles to ache. Her thighs throbbed, her body was tender, and her mouth felt swollen and raw. She remembered his scent, his taste, and the sound of his voice. Those thoughts instigated a revolt deep in the recesses of her stomach. At that moment, the images of him made her heart race—not in anticipation—but fear.

  This was insane. Things like this happened on crime shows and movies, not in real life and not to people like her.

  She tried to censor the memories, searching for the ones of him finally leaving the room and her futile barrage on the door. Tears fell from her swollen eyes as the visions replayed in her mind. She laid her head back on the velvety pillow and allowed herself the luxury of more sleep—an escape from this reality.

  The next time she woke, Claire knew she couldn’t put off looking behind the other doors any longer. She needed to find the entry to the bathroom. The sumptuous carpet enveloped her feet as she stepped from the bed. Despite the plush carpeting, the weight of her body made her legs cry out in pain. Sadly, she remembered crying out more than once. Her internal monologue screamed with unanswered questions: How did this happen? How did I get here? Why am I here? And how can I get out?

  The three doors she’d counted earlier were arranged with two near the bed and one by the sitting area. Claire wrapped a sheet around her aching body and slowly approached the lone door—the massive barrier of solid wood—her passage to freedom. Anxiety induced trembling, causing her hands to shake as she slowly reached for the cold metal of the door knob. If it moved, would she flee wrapped only in a sheet? Hell, yes!

  Excitement quickly turned to disappointment as the lever remained perfectly horizontal. It didn’t even wiggle, as many locked doors do. The barrier stood unyielding. Despite the expected outcome, disappointment caused the pain within Claire’s body to intensify. Turning around, she viewed her cell. One of the other two doors had the best chance of holding her desired destination. She opened the first door and revealed a closet, one the size of most bedrooms. It could more accurately be considered a dressing room given the built-in drawers, shoe racks, shelves, and hanging racks. Surprisingly, the racks and shelves were full. These clothes seemed to come straight from a Saks photo shoot, not the kind Claire would or could choose for herself. She was more the Target or Vintage type. These clothes belonged to someone who lived the life of the rich and famous. Who was that someone? Claire wondered why she was in that person’s room, and why she remembered being told it was hers.

  Opening the next door, Claire found her destination. She stepped into a bathroom like one she’d seen on television, large and very white. The coolness of the tile hit the soles of her bare feet. White marble, white porcelain, silver accents, and glass surrounded her. If it weren’t for the plush purple towels, the room would be totally devoid of color. There was a large garden tub and a full glass shower that sported large and small showerheads from every direction. The sink adjoined a dressing table with a large lighted mirror and stool.

  She turned to see the person in the mirror. The image frightened Claire as she studied the reflection. Her tangled brown hair framed an unfamiliar face. There were bruises around her lips nearly matching the color of the towels, and her left temple appeared red and swollen. Slowly, dropping the sheet, the visual evidence of the soreness she felt could be seen as red and purple bruises over her body. The vision restarted her tears. With steely determination, she gripped the lever of another door within the bathroom and found the toilet.

  A plush white bathrobe hung near the shower. Twisting the knobs to adjust the water, Claire decided a shower would make her feel better. Hot steamy water hit her skin as she stepped into the spacious stall. The prickling sensation of a thousand needles pierced her shoulders as the hot water flowed over her battered muscles. It was a sensation of both pleasure and pain. She allowed the water to continue its assault, and as time passed and the temperature remained high, her muscles relaxed. The sweet floral aroma of the shampoo and body soap replaced the odors of last night. A renewed sense of strength filled her resolve. Somehow, she would survive this nightmare.

  Claire developed a plan as she used the towel to dry her battered body. She would talk to Anthony and explain that this was a mistake. They could split ways, no questions asked, and no charges pressed. The soft robe warmed her, providing a bogus sense of security.

  The woman in the mirror looked better; however, her dark hair now fell messily in wet tangles. Without thinking, Claire began to open drawers and cabinets. Just like the closet, the bath was fully stocked. In front of her she saw thousands of dollars’ worth of name-brand cosmetics. She found everything from skin care to eyeliner. Of course, there was also an array of hair supplies. She was wearing someone else’s robe, sleeping in her bed, and showering in her bathroom. Using her hairbrush only added to the list of intrusions. Claire didn’t have many other options.

  When Claire opened the door to the bedroom, she was startled to see a tray of food waiting on the dining table. Prior to that moment, she ignored the pangs of hunger. God knows the thoughts of the previous night made her stomach turn, yet the aroma from the covered plate intrigued her. She lifted the lid to discover steaming scrambled eggs, toast, and a side of fresh fruit. On the tray, she also noticed a glass of orange juice, one of w
ater, and a carafe of coffee.

  With her stomach full, body relaxed from the shower, and no immediate path to freedom, Claire decided she wanted more sleep. It was then that she realized the bed was made, not only made, but the sheets had been changed. The room appeared as though the horror of last night never occurred. Her body screamed otherwise. She pulled back the covers, climbed between the soft satin sheets, inhaled the fresh clean scent, and closed her eyes. It wasn’t the escape she wanted, but it was a temporary diversion.

  The knocking at the door near the sitting area woke Claire. She’d been somewhere in a dream, far away. The knock and the unfamiliar surroundings left her temporarily disoriented. How long had she been sleeping? Sunlight, though not as bright, continued to seep from the edge of the drapes. The repeated raps brought her to the present. Yes, she was a twenty-six-year-old adult, yet at that moment, Claire decided to behave as any five-year-old child would and imitate sleep. Lying still in bed, she heard the door open.

  Tentatively opening her eyes, she watched as a woman quietly entered the room. Given Claire’s perspective, it was difficult to tell, but the woman appeared taller than her by a few inches with salt-and-pepper hair. Claire assumed she was about the age of her mother, had her mother been alive. As the woman approached, Claire lifted her head and spoke, “I’m sorry if I’m in your room.”

  “No, Ms. Claire. It’s your suite, not mine. I’m here to help you get ready for dinner. My name is Catherine.”

  Claire slowly sat in amazement. What the hell did she mean get ready for dinner? She was being held prisoner in some luxurious suite, covered in bruises, and this person was supposed to help her get ready for dinner. “I’m not trying to sound ungrateful. But what do you mean ‘ready for dinner’?”

 
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