He might have killed her, but he fell in love with her instead.
Finding herself alone again, after a passionate three-way romance, Sabine is overjoyed to make a fresh start in the South of France with a new job and a new man. It is 1961, and the post-war world is changing fast. Rich people begin flocking to the French Riviera in search of the good life. But criminals are also attracted to this new source of money. Russia is still a closed Communist state, but some are able to bribe their way in and out of the country for the rich pickings of the Mediterranean life. Sabine’s world comes crashing down, when she finds herself a pawn in a power game, and is taken hostage by a gang of Russian criminals. There begins the most tumultuous year of her life. A year packed with love and tragedy. This is a fast-paced, hot and steamy story, that will have you on the edge of your seat, as Sabine tries to overcome danger and heartache. Will she ever find her rainbow’s end?
How could she be attracted to the man who had kidnapped her?
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It was after five p.m. when Alexis returned. He seemed like a man on a mission; and I recognized the look on his face. He wasted no time, and turned to lock the shop door and drew down the blind.
“That bastard, Sergei. I can’t stand the man, but I have to do business with him. I wouldn’t trust him further than I could throw him. But now, let’s forget him. I want to do some business with you.”
I saw the familiar glint in his eyes. He was not the most romantic of men, in terms of words, but the language that came via his eyes was easy to understand and impossible to resist. He grabbed my hand and led me into the stock room behind the shop. Taking hold of me around the waist he drew me towards him.
“I’ve been thinking of this moment all day, and I can’t wait a second longer.”
He kissed me hard, leaving me with no doubt as to the urgency of his need. His lips forced mine apart, and his tongue entered my mouth. Lowering his hands to my hips, he pulled my body in tightly to his, his arousal very obvious.
I responded with equal enthusiasm.
“You mean I didn’t satisfy you enough last night?” I demanded.
“My love, I could fu*k you three times a day, and still want more. I take one look at your beautiful breasts, or your delicious ass, or your sweet face, and I want you every time.”
“Max, it’s Sabine. I’m sorry to wake you, but I’m worried about Alexis, er Monsieur Dubois.”
Well that’s a bit stupid, I thought, calling him by his full name, when Max knew very well that I was ringing from Alexis’s apartment. Max seemed immediately awake and at attention.
“Is he not there, Madame?” He always called me by my formal title. Max didn’t believe in too much informality, even where his fellow employees were concerned.
“No. He went to the casino for dinner, with some business associates, and told me he would be back at ten p.m., but he hasn’t returned. The casino closes at two. Even if he wanted to gamble, he would have been back long before now.”
There was a brief pause, while Max was clearly reviewing his options. He resumed the conversation.
“I’ll immediately alert the hotel security guard, and I’ll ring the police to see if an accident has been reported. Did Monsieur Dubois leave in the hotel car, or in that of his dinner guests?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Very well. Stay in Mr Dubois’ room. I’ll ring you back when I have anything to report.” He put the phone down.
I replaced the receiver and sat up in bed, my mind in a turmoil. I knew Alexis didn’t much care for gambling, and I knew he was in the company of that awful Russian man, Sergei. I was doubtful that he would have wanted to remain in his company for any longer than necessary. Maybe he was engaged in a poker game? He did occasionally play – but usually only with good friends, and not at the casino – usually either here, in his apartment, or in the villa of one of his friends. It would be so embarrassing if I raised the alarm, and something like that had happened; Alexis might be annoyed with me checking up on him. After all, I was not yet his official girlfriend. On the other hand, if something had happened to him, they needed to find him as soon as possible. Any delay might prove costly.
It was a long fifteen minutes before Max rang back.
“The hotel car took M. Dubois to the casino. But received a call a few hours later that he wasn’t required to drive him home—that he had alternative transport.”
“Was it Monsieur Dubois himself who cancelled the car?”
“No, someone else called him.”
“So, what can we do now? Do you think we should call the police?”
Max’s calm, reassuring voice came over the line.
“Not yet. One of the security staff has gone to the casino, to see if he can find out where he went. He will ring with any news. Just stay and do nothing until you hear from me again.”
I prowled the apartment, not wanting to get back into bed. I’d never been there alone before. Alexis had always been present. Part of me wanted to look around to see if I could find any clue about the man I thought I knew, but actually knew little. I was reluctant to snoop into any of his cupboards and drawers. My guilty look would give me away immediately if Alexis asked me. But this wasn’t a normal occurrence. The man might be in danger, in need of help. Or was I just being melodramatic?
I knew Alexis kept a handgun in the drawer of the bedside table. I’d seen it once when he went in there for something, and he laughed at the shocked look on my face.
“It’s my wartime revolver,” he told me. I never handed it in when the war was over. It’s just for my peace of mind—in case an intruder breaks in.”
I sat on the side of the bed and looked at the closed drawer. Should I take a look? The temptation was too great. I reached out and slowly opened the drawer. The gun was missing. I bent to see to the back of the drawer, in case it had been pushed backwards. Still no gun. My heart skipped a beat. Alexis must have taken it with him, and if so, he must have been expecting trouble.
He looked up at me, removing his spectacles, with which he had been reading some documents, and placing them on the desk in front of him. Resting back in the chair he studied me for a few seconds, before speaking.
“So, you are Sabine. My men were right when they described you as beautiful. But then I would expect Alexis to want only the best.”
While he talked, he watched me intently, and I stared back, just as intently. I remained silent, so he continued talking.
“You have spirit, I see. Are you not afraid of me?” He spoke excellent French, with a Russian accent.
“Should I be afraid of you?”
He laughed quietly.
“Under different circumstances, you would be the kind of woman who I would like in my bed. I can’t bear women who wail and cry at every little misfortune. I find them most tiresome.”
I didn’t wait for permission to speak. “Why am I here? What do you want of me? Are you expecting a ransom for me?”
He put his head back and laughed. “How much do you think you are worth, as a ransom?” I didn’t reply, so he continued talking. “100,000 Francs, maybe? Or perhaps more than that? If I were to take you back to Russia, I’m sure I could find someone who would pay such a large amount of money for you. However, that’s not why you are here.”
“Well then, why am I here? It’s obviously to do with Alexis. Is it connected with him being attacked at the Casino, and the fire at the hotel?”
He didn’t reply, but merely issued some instructions in Russian to the two men, before turning back to me.
“You must be bored, down there in the cellar. I’ve told the men to get hold of some reading material for you. I assume you enjoy romances—all women like to fantasise. Or do you prefer something a little more…enticing…perhaps?” His eyes glinted, and I knew what he was inferring. I felt my cheeks go warm, and I was angry with myself for losing my bravado somewhat. He just laughed.
“Is there anything else I can get for you? Do you paint by any chance?”
“Yes, I do.”
“Well then, I will provide you with some painting materials. My intention is not to make you suffer while you are here. I will also allow you a short walk outside every day, for some exercise. But bear in mind my men are armed, just in case you think this will give you an opportunity to escape.”
He appeared to have done with me, and replaced his reading spectacles, returning to the papers on his desk. The man to my left jabbed me on the arm, as a signal for me to turn and leave. I had just reached the door when my captor called my name. I stopped and turned around.
“You may eat with me this evening. I’ll have the men bring you up at seven.” Then he returned to his papers, and I was dismissed.
I had to admit that I was coming to like the enigmatic Russian more and more. There was no doubt he possessed a sexual aura, a mixture of good looks, power and a physical presence. Under other circumstances I would be sexually attracted to him, for sure. But these weren’t ordinary circumstances, and I tried to ignore him when he was watching me with those dark, smouldering eyes. The last thing I wanted to do was fall for my gangster captor.
The sexual tension got to me sometimes, and in the privacy of my darkened room, I indulged in stroking and massaging myself to rid myself of the frustration I felt. Sex had always been an important part of my life, but right now survival was more important. Nevertheless, I sometimes became aware of my body becoming heated and on edge, when I saw he was studying me in his intense manner. If I was sexually frustrated, I was sure he was too. Perhaps he went with women, on the occasions he was absent from the house. I had no idea.
One day, in the late afternoon, I was coming from the bathroom, wearing a thin robe they had given me, and with my wet hair wrapped in a towel, and carrying my clothes. In the corridor, Gustav was approaching from the opposite direction. He stopped in front of me.
“Ah, good, you’ve finished in the bathroom. I feel sticky from the heat and need to bathe before dinner.”
I was embarrassingly aware that my thin robe was sticking to me because of the heat and the moisture, and that the front of the robe was gaping a little. I couldn’t really do anything about it because of the clothes I was carrying. I could see admiration in Gustav’s eyes. I’ve been around men long enough to know when they are sexually aroused. I lowered my eyes to his groin, to look for a suspicious bulge in his pants, and hurriedly raised them again when I realised what I had done. It had been instinctive, and I hoped that Gustav hadn’t noticed. But, of course, he had. The corner of his lips turned up with amusement, and his eyes glinted.
“You make a very delectable sight, Sabine, standing just a few metres from my bedroom, and clearly naked under that robe.”
He stopped talking and just stood in front of me. I began to feel uncomfortable. Yet at the same time, I was definitely turned on by his magnetism, and my own unfulfilled needs. After several seconds he gave a brief laugh.
“Well I had better bathe. I’ll see you at dinner. Oh, by the way, wear the red velvet dress tonight.” He stood aside to let me pass. I hurried back downstairs to my room and sat on the bed for a moment to regain my composure, and stop trembling. There was no doubt about it, I was sexually attracted to my captor, and, seemingly, him to me. What, if anything, was I going to do about this?
Sabine is the follow-on book to Nothing to Regret, but can be read as a standalone. However, you would get a better understanding of Sabine's past if you were to read Nothing to Regret first - which is currently on sale for 99c.
(LINK for Nothing to Regret https://bookgoodies.com/a/B07PGJM4NV)
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