Unconditional, page 1
Copyright © 2014 K.S Kamat.
All rights reserved. Including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof, in any form. No part of this text may be reproduced in any form without the express written permission of the author.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or to actual events or locales is entirely coincidental.
The author acknowledges the copyrighted or trademarked status and trade mark owners of all the word marks mentioned in this work of fiction.
Cover design © Arijana Karčić, Cover It! Designs
Proofreading : Andrea Fraser
This novella is for all those who have supported me through my writing, and for those who are reading this book. This is for you.
Novella contains strong language and violence. Recommended for mature readers.
Table of Contents
A Note from the K.S.Kamat
About the Author
Life was never easy, especially if your name happens to be Maddox Taylor. The man remained glued to the bar since the time he’d entered, eyes searching only for one person. The dank little strip club came to life during the late hours. He preferred calling it the devil’s hour.
The smell of alcohol and sweat permeated the air, making it difficult to breathe. Swarms of groggy, dizzy people waved at the half-naked waitress for either a drink or a lap dance, hand warming if that’s what you want to call it. She was a willing candidate as long as you knew how that same hand worked around the wallet.
Enter a petite woman in tight short clothes; her eyes scanned the surroundings nervously. Maddox’s gaze remained on the woman as she carried a tray of drinks around. Even though Maddox remained seated in the farthest end of the bar, he could still recognize that look of disgust that crossed her face. He rummaged the pocket of his slacks for the smart phone, swapped the touch screen and checked for the picture attachment.
A picture of the same woman appeared on the screen, a zoom shot taken inside the bar. He double checked the provided details.
Age: 20 years old.
Maddox pressed the call logs and speed dialed a number.
“Quinton, I’ve spotted the package.” He informed his partner in crime. “Delivery will be quick.”
The conversation lasted only a second longer. Maddox never took a risk over the phone; code language was always safer means of communication, also difficult to crack, should the police decide to track any devices. The only difference was that the police rarely intervened where Taylor’s business was concerned. They knew better then to knock at the devoted troublemaker’s door. It would be like begging the devil to bite.
Maddox downed his fourth drink and summoned a dark haired, blue eyed stripper.
He was one step closer to formulating his plan. The game was laid. He’d wait until she took the bait. His father wasn’t even worth invading his mind, but taught him to go by rule.
An eye for an eye.
“The man in the posh suit wants you.” Alex told the woman pouring drinks. The silent watching types were always the ones who demanded her. Scarlet knew that like she knew her name.
Scarlet glanced at the man Alex had pointed towards. The man’s eyes leveled with hers. He was watching her.
The rest of the club didn’t matter to him, not even the topless woman on stage. Scarlet didn’t remember seeing that handsome face before. Was he a new customer?
Just as she was ready to glance away, he raised his glass towards her. A shudder ran down Scarlet’s body. She wondered if he would be any better than the men that wanted her in the past. She straightened her dress and walked towards the stranger, trying for an easy grace which she never pulled off successfully. He was maintaining eye contact until she reached his table. She could now see his features more clearly, his pointed sculpted nose, the square masculine jaw and the waves of dark hair that framed his face. Superiority glimmered in different shades. Scarlet couldn’t help but wonder if there was more to the man than what she saw.
He gave her a warm smile, one that she wasn’t accustomed of getting from the usual customers. “Sit down, Scarlet.”
Scarlet slipped in the seat opposite him.
“Tell me your name.” He was the first who’d ever asked her that. Others were content with just Scarlet. Nobody knew the girl who’d been stolen three years ago.
He smiled all too knowingly, working his charms; the dimples made him look almost angelic. Wait, what? Angels didn’t come to strip clubs. At least not for her. “Your given name, love.”
She pressed her lips together, unwilling to give him what he wanted. He could have her body, but not her real name. Nobody had earned that right. “I go by Scarlet.”
“Playing a little hard to get, are we?”
To that she remained silent.
“How about I offer you a drink?” He asked.
What did this man want?
She found her voice after a momentary pause. “So you’re the type who likes to take advantage of drugged, unconscious women.”
“You can tell?” he was quick to ask. “I can assure you, Scarlet, that I’m nothing like you’ve ever imagined or come across. Taking advantage of unconscious women isn’t my style, just so you know. I like my women wide awake.”
His confidence almost made Scarlet weak. She could tell he was playing her.
Drinks were served, the finest champagne. He analyzed her. She could feel his eyes studying her with interest. She was a subject of his intrigue.
Scarlet took one sip of the champagne and waited. Nothing happened. No dizziness. No drowsiness.
“What do you want from me?” she asked him.
“Follow me to my car.” It was an order. There was no room for debate.
“And why would I do that?” His jaw hardened at her cross questioning.
She continued, “I don’t follow anyone home.”
“Do as I say and I’ll go easy on you, Scarlet.” He leaned in. She got a whiff of his expensive cologne. The idea of being intoxicated by the likes of him sickened her. “You have only two choices. One, follow me and I won’t hurt you. Two, fight me and you will regret. Decide.”
“Fuck off!” She climbed to her feet instantly. He was too quick for her to even realize.
Before she even had time to call for help, he grasped her arm, gave it a harsh tug as she collided into his hard chest, almost falling into his lap. A sharp pain pierced through her bare thigh, making her knees buckle and her head woozy.
Scarlet only remembered hearing him whisper close to her ear. “This wouldn’t have been necessary if you would have listened, darling.”
Her world was plunged into a dark void.
Darkness. That was the first thing that Scarlet realized as she tried to open her eyes which were blindfolded. Her breathing became an erratic rise and fall. She began to fumble, to feel her hands, which were numb and trapped together. The concrete floor below her was a fine testament of the fact that she was somewhere she wouldn’t even want to see in her nightmares. She tugged at the restraints hooked above her head, but only heard the clanking of chains. The metal was designed to bite into her skin if she tried to pull at it.
“Let go of me.” She tried in her soft voice at first. “Please.”
She didn’t ge
“Please let me go.” She continued in a raspy voice.
“I’ll do whatever you ask me. Please just remove this blindfold.” Lying was the first step to gaining trust.
As the words left her mouth, she felt fingers reach the back of her head and the black fabric come off, exposing her to a large concrete room, with only one window at the top. It was sort of a gray dungeon, or at least customary built to get the look. Even with the darkness, she could tell it was morning. She wondered if she’d slept through the entire night.
Scarlet’s eyes tried to focus. She saw the man from the bar sitting right in front of her on a wooden chair. She blinked several times. He looked like a changed man, almost like a quick transformation. The expensive looking tailored suit was replaced with almost normal looking denim and a leather jacket, which made him look relatively younger.
He smiled at her, like someone would do to greet casually while shopping in a supermarket. “Did you sleep well?” He studied her carefully.
The tears started to flow uncontrollably. “What do you want from me?”
He ignored her question. “You slept through breakfast, darling. Are you hungry?”
As if to answer that question, Scarlet’s stomach growled in response.
“Well, that answers my question. Ryan, bring in the breakfast.”
A younger guy with long blond hair wheeled in a trolley. He placed a large tray of food in front of her, which was stacked with rich food that she hadn’t eaten in a long time. Pancakes, omelets, croissants and fresh fruits. Vera, the woman who practically owned her, only allowed toast for breakfast. Every single day. Scarlet tugged at the restraints hard, which only gave her a jolt of pain.
He raised a finger towards her. “I will unlock your restraints only if you promise to not fight me. I want obedience.”
Scarlet nodded. She didn’t intend to obey him, no matter how hungry all that food made her. She just wanted an opportunity to be out of the restraints. He used a little key to unlock the cuffs on her wrists. As soon as the chains loosened, she climbed to her feet and made a run towards the open door. He didn’t follow her. Just stood there watching like a predator.
Scarlet ran as far as her legs took her, through the long passageways. Every door in the passageway seemed identical, almost like a prison. She’d reached the double doors. All it would take was for her to somehow get through the door, and that’s when another beefy man blocked her way, standing guard. He got hold of her wrist and twisted it until she yelped. Scarlet threw in a punch, but missed by a few inches.
He dragged her all the way back to the same room. “I would have loved to play with you, baby, but Maddox doesn’t share.”
So the man who kept her captive was called Maddox.
Maddox stood at the exact spot he’d been in. He acknowledged the man who’d fetched her with a nod. “Thank you, Quinton.”
“Put her on leash. She can bite.” Quinton suggested as he left Scarlet with the man, closing the door behind him. She could sense his eyes on her. It gave her a feeling of being his dog, a dog who’d somehow ran away.
Scarlet did not move from her place. Her body felt weak, yet her will for putting up a fight was strong. Maddox glowered at her, challenging her to speak.
“Let me go!” Scarlet screamed at him.
Maddox shoved her hard against the wall. She dug her nails in his cheek and dragged it, drawing blood. His hand snaked around her neck, and choked her until her windpipe could take no more.
He gritted his teeth as he growled, “I want complete submission. Remember this, Scarlet; you’re not getting out of this place. Not now, not ever. The sooner you get this engraved in your mind, the better.”
She coughed as his hand loosened her neck. She slid to the ground. Maddox kneeled on one foot and pushed the tray of food towards her. “Eat.”
She looked into his gray eyes and saw nothing. No emotions. Just pale pools of gray. She realized it was the calm before a major storm. Knowing what might await her; she took her chances and spat at him. Surprise only flashed for one second as his palm forcefully collided with her right cheek. She could bet it had gone beet red without the blush she used to apply.
“You belong to me,” he said as his fingers dug her jaw line. He applied more pressure. “Say it.”
Scarlet had never feared anyone. In the past three years, she’d endured things she thought would only be seen in movies, from electric shocks to mental and physical abuse. What could this man possibly do which could be worse than that? Maybe he’d kill her? By doing that, he’d only do her a favor.
“I’d rather you kill me. I don’t belong to anybody.”
That earned her another loud smack, which fuelled the anger that had been brewing inside her for so long. Her palm twitched and she reciprocated his action by smacking his face in return. He grasped chunks of her hair and yanked it from the roots. She uttered a low moan of agony and bit his hand hard, but that didn’t make him wince, not even remotely. The man was a tough cookie.
Scarlet watched as the veins in his arms tightened. She’d knowingly signed her own death warrant. He got hold of her arms and locked it back in the cuffs.
A metallic taste of blood on her tongue gave her the rush. She liked to believe that she’d at least put up a fight, a good one at that.
“Lesson number one, never attack your captor.” His arm continued to bleed from her bite. “It doesn’t seem like you’re going to learn that anytime soon. So, I’ll give you a few pointers to survive this. Obey me, and I won’t touch you. Fight me again, bite me again, and I’ll give you over to Quinton. He doesn’t take much liking to disobedience. He will beat you and fuck you, make you beg for death. If you don’t want that, you’ll learn to behave.”
With that, he was gone and so was the food trolley.
Scarlet thought she was dead at first, but every time she convinced herself that she had left the body, the sound of the door would wake her. It only opened for one thing, to check if she was still breathing. None of those people checking on her were Maddox. There was no food brought in for almost three days. She could only produce dry heaves and could hardly move a limb, let alone think, slowly slipping into a world of nothingness.
“Water.” She murmured without realizing it. Her body was doing all the asking. “Water...”
Her eyes were closed, but she felt an arm slip around her back and cradle her like a ragged doll. She didn’t fight this time. Drops of water touched her lips and down her throat. Scarlet glanced up and saw her captor’s face clearly, or was he an angel? Were evil kidnappers capable of kindness?
Maddox smoothed her hair away from her face and helped her eat food. She chewed the food slowly. The taste of real food made her cry. She wondered why people took food for granted. Certainly, they were never kept in the dark for days, thirsty and hungry. Scarlet’s eyes grazed with unshed tears. She devoured the food he had to offer.
“Better?” Maddox asked her, concern laced his features. “Want more?”
Scarlet shook her head. “Why are you doing this to me?” she sobbed.
“Lesson number two, never ask the captor for the reason of captivity.” He responded, devoid of any emotions just like before.
“I deserve to know!” Scarlet insisted.
“Alias, Diego Voltiac. Leader of the most wanted mafia syndicate. He is your father and the man who ruined my family and childhood.”
“My father was a good man.” Scarlet’s hands were balled into fists. “He would never do something like that.”
“He did.” That caring look in his eyes was gone, covered by a thick blanket of vengeance. He forced her chin upward. “I was only eight when your father shot my mother right in front of me, and sold my brother to slavery. He ruine
“I don’t believe you.”
“I’m not asking you to.” Maddox responded, rising to his feet. He turned to face her, betrayal written all over her face. “It doesn’t matter what you think. The fact remains. You understand how it is, right? In order for me to ruin him, I will attack all his little pawns and have him in check. You are merely that one pawn in the game. An eye for an eye.”
Maddox started to storm out of the door when her soft voice stopped him in his tracks, “You’re going to make me suffer, aren’t you?”
“Yes.” He wasn’t looking at her.
“At least look at me when you’re saying it, you coward.”
Maddox turned, staring into her soulful sad eyes. His expressions were the same, with not a single emotion of regret or remorse. “Yes. I’m going to make you suffer.”
That hurt her more than how much Vera had tortured her for the past years. “I hate you.” She mumbled.
He smiled. “The feeling is quite mutual.”
Scarlet had the same routine for another week. She spent her time staring into the gray walls of isolation and thinking. She hated Maddox, so much that she’d be likely shooting his brains if she were asked to choose between a three headed green monster and him yet, every time that he walked into the secluded room with food or a change of clothes, she wanted him to stay. She wanted him to spend time with her. Maybe it was Stockholm syndrome screwing her brain.
There was something about this monster that was better than the previous one. Maddox knew he was a monster and he wasn’t pretending to be someone else.
Maddox never touched her like the other people did in the past. He never tortured her, the way Vera’s men did. What was it like to witness your mother shot right in front of you? What was is it like to know that she was the daughter of the man who hadn’t shown any mercy for his family. It was complicated. She didn’t know what to feel anymore. Scarlet anticipated his presence. Anticipated his touch. There was a thin line between love and hate.