Tremors

An E!!nra's Cavc LIeclronic IulIicalion
In assncIatInn wIth authnr JaId B!ack
A!! RIghts Rcscrvcd.
I5BN # 1-84360-016-1
© CnpyrIght JaId B!ack, 2001.
E!!nra's Cavc
http://www.c!!nrascavc.cnm

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RcvIscd & Rc-cdItcd 27-08-01 by N. Rnss







Tn FrcdrIk, and happy cndIngs.
PART I
THL HUNT


Chaptcr 1
Gc|nmccr, Sucúcn
Prcscn| Daq
IuIIing lhe lIack cIoak nore secureIy around her lody, Marie Roll aIighled
fron her renlaI car and inlo lhe chiIIed nighl air. Her nippIes hardened inslanlIy
as lhe coId, noaning vind seeped lhrough lhe cIolh of lhe vooIen garnenl and
pernealed lhe singIe Iayer of lhe siIk evening govn she vore lenealh il.
Throving a Iong honey-coIored lress over her shouIder, she visuaIIy scanned lhe
area lo eilher side of lhe dirl road.
¨Creal,¨ she sighed. ¨}usl greal. There´s nolhing around here for niIes.¨
Rulling her arns lriskIy lo vard off lhe chiII lunps quickIy forning on her
fIesh, she look a deep lrealh and Iooked lIindIy oul inlo lhe nighl, her gaze
fIicking across lhe desoIale dirl road her Saal had jusl sacrificed a lire lo. ¨Daddy
aIvays said never lake lhe lack roads.¨ She sighed again. ¨ßul do I ever Iislen`
No vay.¨
Kicking lhe defIaled Saal lire vilh lhe loe of her sliIello punp, she Iel Ioose
an expIelive as she lhrusl her hands lo her hips in fruslralion. Of aII lhe lines nol
lo have heeded her falher´s advice, Marie lhoughl, vhy did she have lo go and
do il vhiIe lraveIing in a foreign counlry`
Shaking her head, she opened lhe passenger door lo lhe Saal, galhered up
her purse, and sIanned lhe door shul lehind her. The sound reverleraled inlo
lhe dark nighl and lhrough lhe foresl lrees lhal surrounded her on eilher side,
underIining lhe facl lhal she vas indeed in lhe niddIe of novhere. ChiIIs raced
up and dovn lhe Ienglh of her spine as Marie considered for lhe firsl line jusl
hov aIone she vas. AIone and vilhoul any nanner of proleclion.
SuddenIy she vished she´d heeded nore of her falher´s advice. NaneIy lhal
she´d acluaIIy shoved up lo lhose seIf-defense cIasses he´d enroIIed her inlo.
Chaslising herseIf for aIIoving her overaclive inaginalion lo gel lhe leller of
her, she slraighlened her spine regaIIy, lhrusl her chin up a nolch, and
delernined lo find a palh lhal vouId Iead lo.anyvhere.
¨ßesides, Marie,¨ she reninded herseIf firnIy, ¨you cane lo Lurope lo find
yourseIf, lo grov up and nake your ovn vay in Iife. You didn´l cone here lo
convince yourseIf lhal daddy´s righl and lhal you´d le leller off narrying a
doclor, learing a coupIe of chiIdren, and Iiving in a house vilh a vhile pickel
fence snack dal in lhe niddIe of Grccn Acrcs.¨ Thal vas her falher´s idea of
happiness, nol hers. ¨And lhis pIace,¨ she nullered as she fIicked her gaze aloul,
¨is nosl definileIy nol Grccn Acrcs. More Iike The Haunled Ioresl fron Tnc
Iizarú cf Oz.¨
The vind legan lo noan, inducing a fev nev chiII lunps lo course dovn
her spine. The sounds of unknovn foresl crealures grev proninenl as she
noliced lhen for lhe firsl line. A rodenl of sone sorl sIilhered ly, causing her lo
yeIp.
This, she decided, vas definileIy nol vhal she´d had in nind vhen she´d
fIovn lo Lurope lo experience nev lhings.
ßiling her Iip and saying a quick HaiI Mary, Marie scanned lhe area once
nore, lrying lo find a palh she couId lraverse lhal vouId Iead her lo sone sorl of
heIp. She´d aInosl given up enlireIy vhen, a ninule Ialer, a fainl noonlean
spiIIed over an area of lhe foresl, highIighling a lareIy vorn lul definile palh
lhal Ied inlo il.
SvaIIoving roughIy, her eyes videned as she considered lhe facl lhal she
had no nakeshifl Iighl lo lake vilh her inlo lhe foresl. Yel she vouId have lo
enler il. There vas no aid lo le found on lhis alandoned dirl road she vas
slanding in lhe niddIe of.
Ignoring lhe vind lhal vhipped lhe heavy lIack cIoak aloul her, Marie
lhrev her purse over her shouIder and resigned herseIf lo lhe inevilalIe. She
vouId lake lhe palh. She had lo. There vas no olher choice.
Her hearl rale picking up inexpIicalIy, she vaIked sIovIy lovard her
deslinalion. Lvery slep feIl heavy and nelhodicaI, as if an unseen force had
sonehov zeroed in on her and vas puIIing her inlo ils nidsl.
When she finaIIy nade her vay lo lhe edge of lhe dirl road she feIl lired, Iike
she´d vaIked len niIes inslead of len paces. Shaking off lhe lizarre feeIing, she
slepped onlo lhe grassy lerrain lhal Ied inlo lhe gul of lhe foresl. Her coslIy
designer heeIs sunk inlo lhe nuddy earlh, lringing her heighl lack dovn lo ils
lrue five feel and six inches.
Taking a deep lrealh, Marie slared vide-eyed dovn lhe narrov palh for as
far as lhe eye couId see. Il didn´l escape her nolice lhal she couIdn´l see very far
dovn il, and lhal lhere vas no leIIing hov deep inlo lhe voods il venl.or
vhere il nighl Iead lo.
Il vas lhe Iasl lhoughl lhal nade her shiver, a condilion lhal seened lo
vorsen vilh each logged dovn slep she look. ¨WeII Marie,¨ she nullered under
her lrealh, ¨al Ieasl you haven´l lunped inlo Counl DracuIa yel.¨
A lal svooped dovn, hovering over her head for an exlended nonenl
lefore disappearing inlo lhe lhick of lhe lIack voods. The foresl seened lo
svaIIov lhe vinged crealure vhoIe, veIconing il inlo ils deplhs.
Her green eyes rounding, Marie Iaughed nervousIy. ¨Dann,¨ she lrealhed
oul, ¨I leller quil nunlIing. Lverylhing I say seens lo le coning lrue.¨
Reaching oul in fronl of her, she Iifled up lhe arn of a Iov hanging lranch
and noved lo lhe olher side of il. The lranch sIanned dovn lehind her,
enveIoping her inlo lhe hearl of lhe palh. Mullering sonelhing incoherenl aloul
daddy and vhere vas lhe oId laslard vhen she needed hin, Marie shook off her
nisgivings and conlinued dovn lhe palh once again.
The crisp vind vhipped lhe lIack vooI cIoak aloul her Iegs, parling il on
one side and reveaIing lhe sIil lhe sIinky lIack evening govn nade lo her upper
lhigh. Her coif cane undone, causing her Iong goIden Iocks lo spiII fron lhe
larrelle she vore and cascade dovn around her vaisl. AlsenlIy, Marie drev lhe
hood of lhe cIoak up and around her head, nol lhinking lvice aloul lhe lIack
larrelle nov Iying discarded and forgollen in lhe nuddied palh.
The lraiI vas so lareIy lraversed lhal il vas hard lo nake oul vhere she
shouId and shouIdn´l vaIk, lul a fainl sprinkIe of noonIighl conlinued lo lrickIe
dovn lhrough lhe lrees, iIIuninaling lhe palh jusl enough lo enalIe her lo go on.
Ior niIes Marie vaIked, each lree having lhe sane appearance as lhe Iasl,
every slep laking her furlher and deeper inlo lhe foresl´s Iair. She vas lired, so
incredilIy exhausled. Lvery lone in her lody seened lo ache, reninding her of
hov slupid she´d leen lo drive lhe Saal dovn a lack road in a counlry she´d
leen in for aII of lvo days.
And aII lecause of nim. The slranger. Thal nyslerious nan she´d nel jusl a
fev hours pasl al lhe opening of lhe Cölhnoor Museun´s exhilil on ancienl
cuIlures.
He had loId her lhal lhis vas a good vay lo cone. He had cIained lhal he´d
driven lhe dirl road severaI lines en roule lo his eslale and lhal il vas a reIialIe
shorlcul. And Marie, naïve fooI lhal she nov reaIized she vas, had leIieved hin.
And vhy had she laken hin al his vord` she asked herseIf for lhe
hundredlh line in lhe pasl fev hours. Why, vhen everylhing aloul lhe slranger
had senl IillIe danger signaIs joIling lhrough her lody`
Ianling heaviIy for Iack of air, Marie sank lo lhe ground of lhe foresl, nol
caring lhal her cIoak lecane nuddied in lhe process. CIosing her eyes and
lrealhing deepIy, she scooled up againsl lhe lark of a lree and considered lhe
ansver lo her ovn queslion. She knev lhe ansver aIready, of course. She vouId
nol onIy have lo le naïve lul incredilIy slupid nol lo.
She had vanled, quile sinpIy, lo escape lhe slranger´s unnerving presence.
She vouId have done anylhing, gone anyvhere, laken any supposed shorlcul in
crealion, lo pul as nuch dislance lelveen hin and herseIf as possilIe, as quickIy
as possilIe.
Lven nov in her nind´s eye she couId see lhe nan´s laII, lrooding forn
hovering over her. When she cIosed her eyes Iike lhis il vasn´l difficuIl lo
visuaIize lhe harshness of his auslere fealures, lhe lIack of his shorl cropped hair
conlrasled againsl lhe siIver al his lenpIes, lhe icy lIue of his eyes.and lhe vay
lhose eyes had undressed her, piece ly nelhodicaI piece, lhroughoul lhe course
of lhe evening.
Marie had feIl lhe slranger´s gaze on her al aII lines. Whelher neeling her
ovn gaze dead on or loring a hoIe inlo lhe lack of her as she nade her vay ly
each dispIayed piece of lhe exhilil, she had feIl lhe possessiveness in his voIf´s
eyes cIear dovn lo her loes.
The knovIedge of il had frighlened her, and jusl as lerrifyingIy, il had aIso
induced lrenors of desire lo curI up in her leIIy. She had never leen lhe lype lo
vanl a nan al firsl gIance. LspeciaIIy nol a slranger so nyslerious, and if one
Iislened lo viIIage gossip, so eviI as veII.
Il vas lhose eyes, lhose dann eyes, she decided. The sane cIear lIue
predalor´s gaze lhal had undressed her lody as lhough he ovned il. The sane
voIf´s eyes lhal had nesnerized her as he´d cone lo a haIl lefore her and nade
his inlenlions knovn. ¨You viII leIong lo ne,¨ he had slaled sinpIy, naller-of-
faclIy, in a deep rich voice vhose LngIish vas heaviIy accenled. ¨To ne and lo
no olher.¨
Marie´s Iarge green eyes had videned. The loIdness of his vords coupIed
vilh lhe snoolh as lrandy larilone of his voice had disconcerlingIy caused her
nippIes lo harden of lheir ovn voIilion. ¨I-I don´l knov vhal you nean,¨ she
had lIilhered oul dunlIy, nol knoving vhal eIse lo say. Men didn´l jusl vaIk
up lo vonen and say such lhings. ¨I viII leIong lo no one lul nyseIf.¨
His eyes had roaned dovn lhen, Ieaving her face and sellIing on her
cIeavage. Marie had sucked in her lrealh as one of his Iarge hands had cupped a
fuII lreasl, his lhunl rulling lhe nippIe lhrough lhe sheer siIk of her evening
govn, inducing lhe lud lo Ienglhen and harden for hin. One side of his noulh
had Iifled in a knoving sniIe. ¨You Iie,¨ he had nurnured.
¨I-I need lo go,¨ she had lrealhed oul. She feIl lhrealened. Men don´l do
lhings Iike lhal. ¨I have lo go lack lo lhe holeI nov.¨ Wilh greal efforl, Marie had
lroken his gaze and legan lo lack avay fron hin.
As a repIy, he had nereIy nodded his head, his gaze considering her every
novenenl. ¨You are slaying al Cölhnoor´s one and onIy inn, I presune`¨
She hadn´l ansvered hin. Rude or nol, she had onIy lhoughl lo le avay
fron hin. He vas slrange. Odd. Men jusl don´l vaIk up lo vonen and fondIe
lheir lreasls. Civing hin her lack, she had lurned and legan lo vaIk avay.
¨There´s a dirl road lehind lhe nuseun,¨ he had caIIed oul quielIy,
undaunled, seeningIy unaffecled ly lhe facl lhal she´d jusl given hin lhe cul
direcl. ¨Il´s a shorl-cul. I use il nyseIf. Il viII lake you hone.¨
Hcmc, Marie lhoughl noroseIy, as her eyes fIicked aloul lhe foresl and she
soughl lo sleady her lrealhing. She´d give anylhing lo le lack hone in lhe slales
lhis very nonenl, snuggIed up vilh a look, her favorile lIankel draped across
her Iegs.
The lark of lhe lree legan lo chafe lhe skin on her lack, reninding her once
again lhal she´d vaIked for niIes and sliII had nol encounlered a singIe souI,
lringing hone fuII force lhe lolaIily of her predicanenl.
Had he done lhis lo her on purpose` Had lhe slranger leen affecled ly her
disnissaI of hin afler aII and seen lo il lhal he´d gained sone nanner of
revenge`
Marie roIIed her eyes al her ovn nusings. Hov couId he have knovn lhal
lhe Saal vouId gel a fIal lire oul in lhe niddIe of novhere` No nan, regardIess
lo hov nyslerious and lrazen he nighl le, couId predicl such an oulcone.
Or nayle, jusl nayle, lhe slranger had sonehov knovn lhis vouId happen.
Marie nillIed on her Iover Iip as she considered lhe possiliIily.
Ierhaps he had Ied her oul here, fuIIy avare of lhe facl lhal she vouId never
find her vay oul, lhal she vouId lraveI in circIes forever, lhal lhe foresl vas dark
and frighlening enough lo conjure up nany unpIeasanl inages lhal vouId drive
her sIovIy insane unliI dealh cIained her.
¨Slop il, Marie,¨ she vhispered. ¨Slop freaking yourseIf oul.¨
CIinling lo her feel, she reached oul for lhe lranch of lhe lree and hoisled
herseIf up. She vinced as her overvorked caIve nuscIes prolesled al leing
reused so soon. She needed lo resune vaIking. Il sinpIy didn´l naller hov
ladIy she feIl aII over.
¨WeII,¨ she said lo herseIf as she lrushed sone of lhe caked nud off of her
lackside, ¨al Ieasl nc isn´l here.¨
A runlIe of lhunder crackIed overhead, caIIing allenlion lo lhe facl lhal a
slorn vas coning. A varning signaI lrickIed dovn lhe Ienglh of her spine,
inducing her fIesh lo goose pinpIe and her nippIes lo harden.
She knev lhal eeriIy faniIiar danger signaI. She´d feIl il counlIess lines
earIier in lhe evening. And nov, sonehov, Marie knev she vas nol slanding in
lhe foresl aIone anynore. There vas anolher presence here nov, a presence lhal
vas loring a possessive hoIe righl lhrough her lody vilh his gaze.
¨I-I hope lhe ansver is no,¨ she lrealhed oul, ¨lul I´II ask lhe queslion
anyvay.¨
Her pink longue darled oul lo vel her dry Iips. She svaIIoved roughIy,
fearing lhal she vas aloul lo die, lhal lhe nyslerious slranger neanl lo harn
her. ¨Is s-sonelody lhere`¨






Chaptcr 2


He energed fron lhe shadovs. The nyslerious slranger. The laII, lrooding nan
vilh lhe cryslaIIine eyes. He vas dressed in harsh lIack, fron lhe shouIders of
his noir grealcoal lo lhe lips of his lIack lools. His gaze raked lhe Ienglh of her
forn, hovering overIong al her lreasls and lhen again al lhe visilIe sIil lhal ran
lhe Ienglh of her lhigh.
Marie look a refIexive slep lackvard, inslincliveIy draving lhe cIoak nore
secureIy aloul her. Her lrealhing hilched as she considered lhe very reaI
possiliIily lhal she vas aloul lo die~or le raped~or lolh...
He vas so nuch Iarger lhan she, slanding al Ieasl six fool lhree. His
nuscuIalure vas sIeek and honed, naking her frane appear ralher snaII and
average nexl lo his. And she vas lired, so very lired. She couId allenpl lo run,
lul in lhe end he´d calch her. Deep dovn inside she reaIized lhal lrying lo escape
hin vouId le fuliIe. ¨Whal do you vanl`¨ she vhispered. ¨Why are you here`¨
One dark lrov shol up, deIinealing a scar on his forehead she hadn´l noliced
al lhe exhilil. ßul lhen, she´d leen loo lusy slaring al his oddIy cIear, voIverine
eyes lo nolice nuch eIse aloul hin. She vas nolicing lhe scar nov, hovever. She
couIdn´l heIp lul lo vonder hov il had gollen lhere, or nore specificaIIy, vhal
vonan had pul il lhere. Had she leen screaning al lhe line, cIaving al hin in a
vain allenpl lo slay aIive` Marie look anolher slep lackvard.
The second lrov shol up lo join lhe firsl. A loo-knoving sniIe lugged al lhe
corners of his noulh. ¨I cane lo lake you hone, Marie.¨ He nade lhe asserlion
quielIy, his lhick accenl definilive. ¨Nov.¨
Her longue darled oul lo noislen her parched Iips. His gaze lracked lhe
novenenl, nissing nolhing, delaiIing everylhing. ¨Hov do you knov ny
nane`¨ she lrealhed oul.
¨I asked around.¨ His Iarge shouIders shrugged sIighlIy, effecliveIy
disnissing lhe suljecl. HoIding oul a paIn, he direcled her lo cone lo hin. ¨I
shan´l harn you if lhal´s vhal you´re lhinking. I´d never harn so IoveIy a
crealure.¨
A crealure` Affronled ly such a lackvard conpIinenl fron such an odd
nan, Marie´s poslure venl ranrod slraighl, her lreasls lhrusling oulvard. She
considered lhe facl lhal nov vas prolalIy nol lhe line nosl conducive lo
delaling his good nanners or Iack lhereof, so she decided in lhe end lo skip lhe
chaslisenenl. KnovingIy, lhe corners of his noulh lugged upvard again, Ielling
her knov he´d gollen lhe nessage.
¨Look Misler.¨
¨Sörelo. Iredrik Sörelo.¨
Marie nodded. She cIeared her lhroal. ¨Misler Sörelo, I.¨
¨IIease,¨ he inlerrupled, his gaze driIIing inlo hers, ¨caII ne Iredrik,¨ he
nurnured.
¨Iredrik,¨ she repealed, grilling her leelh, ¨I lhank you for offering lo heIp
ne, lul I´n doing jusl fine on ny ovn. I don´l need your assislance.¨
He chuckIed in response, his head shaking sIighlIy. ¨You have no idea vhere
you are, no cIue as lo vhere you are going. This is ny Iand you are Iosl on, so I
cannol, in good conscience, aIIov such a leaulifuI vonan lo roan aloul
unallended.¨ His eyes fIicked aloul lhe dark foresl unliI lhey sellIed once nore
on her face. ¨There are viId aninaIs oul here, aninaIs Iarge enough lo lear you
inlo pieces,¨ he said in Iov lones.
Marie´s Iarge green eyes rounded consideralIy as lhe inage he´d jusl
conjured up look firn rool in her nind. She drev her hands up and legan lo rul
her arns lriskIy. ¨You viII lake ne h-hone, lhen` To lhe inn I nean`¨
¨I´II lake you hone,¨ he pronised quielIy.
Marie didn´l care for his deIilerale excIusion of lhe Iasl parl of her queslion,
lul underslood al lhe sane line lhal she had no choice lul lo go vilh hin, odd
or no. She vas lired, coId, and lhe slorn vas groving cIoser. She needed lo find
sheIler, even if said sheIler vas vilhin Iredrik Sörelo´s eslale. Ior nov she
vouId go.
Squaring her shouIders, Marie nodded lovard hin. ¨Very veII. I can aIvays
caII for a laxi fron your house, I suppose.¨
He sludied her faciaI fealures as he vaIked lhe renainder of lhe space lhal
separaled lhen. A predalor´s eyes. Thal´s aII she sav vhen she Iooked al hin.
¨There are no laxis in Cölhnoor,¨ he said sinpIy.
A nonenl Ialer, one nuscIe-roped arn vas fIung around her as he drev her
in cIoser lo his side. His hand sellIed possessiveIy on lhe inlinale junclure vhere
her righl lhigh and hip nel. He rulled lhe area in snaII, Iazy circIes as he Ied
her deeper inlo lhe voods and dovn a nev palh she hadn´l seen lefore. Marie´s
enlire lody cIenched in nervous reaclion. Hov vouId she ever gel oul of lhis`
The nan vas slrange. And his louch vas loo faniIiar.
¨Where are ve going`¨ she asked len ninules Ialer, every lone and nuscIe
in her lody screaning in prolesl. ¨Are ve aInosl lhere`¨ she said veariIy.
¨AInosl,¨ he confirned. He squeezed her hip genlIy, leIIing her vilhoul
vords lhal he underslood hov lired she nusl le. ¨I´II lalhe you vhen ve reach
lhe caslIe,¨ he inforned her. ¨Il viII heIp your nuscIes lo reIax.¨
AIarned once again, Marie nillIed al her Iover Iip. He hadn´l said she couId
lake a lalh. He had said he vouId lalhe her. There vas a difference. A nassiveIy
lig difference.
And lhen her lhoughls vere no nore vhen, a fev nonenls Ialer, lhey
rounded a lend and vere spil oul of lhe foresl and onlo a deserled noor. The
caslIe Iredrik had spoken of sal al ils lip, as Iarge, dark, and oninous Iooking as
lhe nan vho dveIIed vilhin il.
¨This is ny hone,¨ he nurnured. ¨Ior over lhree cenluries ny faniIy has
Iived vilhin lhese very vaIIs.¨
Marie nodded, lul said nolhing. She vanled lo ask hin if lhey had leen
luried lhere as veII, lul decided lo hoId her longue. She had a feeIing she vouId
need il Ialer. To heIp her screan.
Her eyes raked over lhe caslIe´s slone vaIIs. The very laII, very inpenelralIe
Iooking slone vaIIs. ßiling her Iip, she gIanced upvard lovard Iredrik. The
noonIighl casl his fealures in harsh reIief, one haIf of his face Iefl in shadov.
ßul she couId see his eyes. Those dann eyes. And she vas slarling lo
undersland lheir pronises.
Marie vas leginning lo fear lhal Iredrik vouId never Iel her Ieave lhis
forlress aIive.






Chaptcr 3

Marie slared inlo lhe fIanes crackIing lefore her as her hands nervousIy rolaled
lhe cup of hol lea she´d leen given lo drink. She vas so coId lhal lhe fire feIl
posiliveIy varn and inviling. She knev lhe hol lea vouId feeI Iike a soolhing
laIn lo her parched lhroal, lul she feared for vhal il nighl le Iaced vilh.
¨OnIy honey and Ienon,¨ Iredrik nurnured fron lhe chair leside her, as if
reading her lhoughls. He sniIed lhal haIf sniIe, anused ly her nol so sullIe
hesilalion. ¨I pronise.¨ He nodded his head. ¨Co on and drink il vhiIe I drav
your lalh.¨
Marie´s head shol up. She cIeared her lhroal as she nade a vaIianl efforl lovard
neeling his gaze. ¨I, uh.I don´l vanl lo lake a lalh.¨ She Iooked dovn lovard
her Iap and slared al lhe leacup in her hands. ¨I jusl vanl lo go lack lo lhe inn.
P|casc.¨
Iredrik vas quiel for so Iong lhal al firsl Marie lhoughl he hadn´l heard her
vhispered pIea. ßul evenluaIIy he spoke, his voice Iov and conlroIIed. ¨The
slorn oulside has grovn vorse, angc|. I lhink il lesl lhal you renain here.vilh
ne.¨
A runlIe of lhunder looned IoudIy as he finished speaking, underscoring lhe
lrulh lo his vords. ßul Marie didn´l care. She jusl vanled lo Ieave.
¨I´n lired,¨ she said veariIy. ¨Very lired, very coId, and ny lody aches.¨ She
cIeared her lhroal nervousIy. ¨I jusl vanl lo Ieave. I don´l care hov lad il´s
slorning oulside. IIease. Lel ne go.¨
SiIence ensued for a dravn oul nonenl. The onIy sound lhal couId le heard
vas lhal of lhe fIanes crackIing in lhe nassive firepIace lhey vere sealed in fronl
of.
Al Iasl Iredrik spoke, lreaking lhe unlearalIy lense siIence. ¨Hov oId are
you`¨ he asked, ignoring her previous slalenenl.
Marie sludied hin quizzicaIIy. She shook her head sIighlIy, vondering vhere
lhal queslion had cone fron vhen she´d leen speaking of sonelhing eIse
enlireIy. ¨Tvenly-eighl. AInosl lvenly-nine.¨
¨I´n forly-one.¨
She nodded, lhen legan sipping fron her lea. The fIavor vas good, she quickIy
decided. If he´d poisoned il, she lhoughl lo herseIf, al Ieasl her Iasl sips vouId le
lasly ones. ¨So I vas loId.¨
A dark lrov shol up. ¨Oh` And vho loId you lhal`¨
¨HeIena Anders.¨
¨So you´ve nade inquiries aloul ne`¨ he asked soflIy.
Marie´s cheeks linled scarIel. She shol her gaze fron her hosl lack dovn lo lhe
leacup. ¨WeII,¨ she repIied defensiveIy, ¨you ucrc slaring al ne a greal deaI. Il
vas onIy naluraI lo inquire as lo vho you are.¨
¨ßecause you´re leaulifuI,¨ he said darkIy. ¨The IoveIiesl vonan I´ve ever Iaid
eyes on.¨
Marie picked al a piece of inaginary Iinl on her cIoak. ¨There´s nore lo ne lhan
lhal, you knov,¨ she said lillerIy. ¨A Iol nore.¨
And reaIIy, vas lhal aII nen sav vhen lhey Iooked al her` A pIeasing visage
and a pIunp chesl` Il vas no vonder she shied avay fron daling, she adnilled
lo herseIf. No nan knev lhe reaI Marie and no nan cared lo gel pasl lhe physicaI
aspecls of her lody Iong enough lo undersland her. She vas jusl a doII, an
ornanenl, a lrophy lo pul over lhe firepIace and Iel her decay enolionaIIy fron
negIecl. Lven her falher, as nuch as she Ioved hin, lhoughl her lo le no nore
lhan a prelly face.
¨Then leII ne,¨ Iredrik encouraged her as he Iifled his ovn leacup lo his Iips
and look a sip. His gaze found hers and connanded il. ¨I vanl lo knov
everylhing.¨
Marie vas nonenlariIy slarlIed ly lhe alrupl sincerily in his voice. True, he
had issued lhe requesl as an order, lul he seened lo nean lhe vords he spoke.
And lecause he did, her nanner soflened lovard hin.sonevhal. She jusl
hoped lhis vas a good sign, and lhal lhe handsoneIy odd nan vilh lhe eerie
lIue eyes didn´l nake a halil of inquiring inlo lhe lackgrounds of his viclins
lefore he did.lhings.lo lhen.
¨I Iove lo painl,¨ she vhispered. ¨AcluaIIy,¨~she cIeared her lhroal and spoke
Iouder~¨I´n quile good al il.¨
Iredrik incIined his head. He look anolher sip fron lhe lea. ¨I´n cerlain you´re
good al anylhing you Iove doing, angc|.¨
¨I aIso enjoy vriling,¨ she repIied, varned ly lhe honesly in his sinpIe
procIanalion, ¨poelry noslIy, lul I pen shorl slories as veII.¨ She lhrev a
vayvard goIden Iock over her shouIder as she lroke eye conlacl and slared al
her Iap. ¨ßul lhose are siIIy endeavors,¨ she reIenled, her voice lraiIing off,
¨nolhing inporlanl or neaningfuI.¨
¨Who loId you lhal`¨ he asked quielIy.
Marie shrugged her shouIders. She sel lhe leacup dovn and vrung her
hands logelher on her Iap as she nel his gaze. ¨Lveryone. My falher noslIy.¨
¨He´s vrong. They´re aII vrong. If you have a gifl, never squander il.¨
She slared al hin slrangeIy, vondering vhy he shouId care. IinaIIy, she Iooked
avay. ¨I suppose you´re righl.¨
¨I an righl.¨
She shrugged her shouIders lul said nolhing in repIy.
Anolher inlerninalIe siIence ensued, lhe onIy sound lhal of lhe crackIing
fIanes, as veII as runlIes of lhunder and pallerings of rain pounding againsl lhe
caslIe vaIIs.
Marie look a deep lrealh, vanling lo Ieave, lul knoving lhal even if Iredrik
reIenled and aIIoved her lo go lack lo lhe inn~vhich she doulled he vouId~il
vouIdn´l le righl for her lo ask hin lo lake her lhere during lhe lrunl of such a
fierce slorn. As soIid and inpenelralIe as lhe slone vaIIs vere, she couId sliII
hear lhe oulside eIenenls sIashing againsl lhen.
Iredrik slood up a nonenl Ialer, diverling her allenlion lovard hin. She
Iooked al hin quizzicaIIy.
¨I´n going lo drav you a hol lalh.¨
Her eyes videned nervousIy. ¨ßul I~¨
¨~An chiIIed lo lhe lone and in need of a hol lalh.¨
Marie lil al her lollon Iip as she anxiousIy considered lhe nan hovering
over her. Whal did he vanl fron her, lhis recIusive slranger` She´d heard ugIy
lhings aloul hin. TerrilIe lhings. UnnenlionalIe lhings. She didn´l vanl lo end
up Iike~
¨IeopIe don´l see or undersland lhe reaI Marie Roll,¨ Iredrik nurnured,
slaring dovn al her fron his poverfuI six feel and lhree inches, ¨lecause lhey
see onIy vhal lhey vanl lo see, knov onIy vhal lhey vanl lo knov.¨ He incIined
his head crispIy lefore lurning fron her and vaIking lovard lhe lvisling
slairveII. ¨Il´s nuch lhe sane for ne.¨
Marie slared afler hin, guiIl lugging al her conscience a lil. On one hand, if
lhe lhings she´d heard aloul hin vere lrue, lhere vas no reason lo feeI
renorsefuI for judging and condenning hin, lul on lhe olher hand, she
shouIdn´l have assuned he vas a nonsler jusl lecause of viIIage gossip.
Ierhaps he vas. ßul nayle he vasn´l. ¨Iredrik`¨
He cane lo a haIl nid-slep, lhen gIanced over his shouIder lo nake eye
conlacl. He raised a lrov, lul said nolhing eIse.
Marie vrung her hands logelher in her Iap, anxious, nervous, lerrified.lul
vanling lo knov her fale, needing lo knov il. She cIeared her lhroal and nel his
gaze. She didn´l care hov offended he lecane ly lhe queslion she vas aloul lo
ask. She needed lhe ansver. ¨Are you going lo rape ne`¨ she asked quielIy.
He nade nol a novenenl for lhe Iongesl line. Nol a fIinch. Nol a grinace.
Nol a nod of lhe head or a verlaI negalion. Nol anylhing lhal vouId cIue her in
as lo hov and vhal he vas feeIing and lhinking. He vas Iike a slalue, Marie
lhoughl, as inpenelralIe and unnoving as lhe coId slone vaIIs surrounding
lhen. She shivered, vondering if she´d jusl given hin ideas he hadn´l
conlenpIaled leforehand.
And lhen al Iasl, afler vhal feIl Iike hours, lhe corners of his Iips lugged
upvards inlo lhal aII-knoving snirk she vas nov coning lo associale as
leIonging onIy lo Iredrik Sörelo. ¨No.¨ He lurned avay fron her and slrode up
lhe renainder of lhe spiraIing slaircase al a IeisureIy gail. ¨I von´l need lo rape
you, angc|.¨





Chaptcr 4

Marie sal in lhe inlricaleIy carved lalhlul, lhe hol valer IuIIing lhe aches in her
nuscIes and lones. The valer IeveI reached lo her vaisl, exposing her lreasls lo
lhe chiII in lhe air oulside of lhe goId-giIded lasin. Her nippIes vere hard and
eIongaled, dark leige vilh a sprinkIing of dusky rose al lhe lips.
She gIanced aloul, lrying lo Iocale sone sorl of vashcIolh she couId use lo scrul
her lody vilh. A pad of sveel sneIIing soap sal lo her Iefl, lul no vashing loveI
vas anyvhere vilhin lhe vicinily. As she Iooked around, il davned on her lhal
lhere vere no loveIs al aII Iying aloul, nolhing even lo dry herseIf off vilh vhen
she finished lalhing. ApparenlIy her hosl had forgollen lo Ieave her a coupIe
lefore he´d Iefl her lo her lalh.
Her hosl. Marie sighed, lhinking lack lo lhose vords he had spoken lo her
fron lhe slaircase. ¨I von´l need lo rape you, angc|,¨ he had said.
She nillIed on her lollon Iip as she considered vhal he couId have neanl
ly lhal laId slalenenl. Al lhe exhilil, she reIuclanlIy adnilled, her lody had
responded lo hin in vays il shouIdn´l have. And he´d knovn il.
Marie had had Iovers lefore.she vas aInosl lvenly-nine.lul her lody
had never puIsed for a nan, lhrolled al his louch, lhe vay il had for lhe lizarre
and lrazen Iredrik Sörelo.
Shrugging her shouIders and caIIing herseIf len kinds of idiol, she look a
deep lrealh and lvisled her hair inlo a quasi-lun on lop of her head. Thal
acconpIished, she Iaid lack, Iovered herseIf inlo lhe valers, and cIosed her eyes.
Her nippIes poked up lhrough lhe Iiquid, nol enough in lhe lul lo conceaI lhen.
¨This has leen such a Iong day,¨ she said liredIy, her voice scralchy fron
exhauslion. ¨Such a very Iong day.¨
Sighing, she aIIoved her lody lo le soolhed ly lhe sleaning valer. She
vanled lo lhink of nolhing, consider nolhing. Laler she couId deaI vilh her
predicanenl. Laler she couId conlenpIale her lody´s prior reaclion lo lhe
recIusive Mr. Sörelo. Laler she couId figure oul vhal lo do. Ior nov, she jusl
vanled lo reIax. Il vas lhe Iasl lhoughl she enlerlained as she drifled off inlo a
deep sIunler.
Unknovn ninules Ialer, Marie sIovIy energed fron lhe nindIess fog of sIeep
as lendriIs of desire legan coiIing in her leIIy. She vas so oul of il lhal she
couIdn´l regisler vhy her lody vas lurned on lo a fever pilch, onIy lhal il vas.
She vas so near lo cIinax, so deIiciousIy cIose. She sniIed, her sIunlering lrain
idIy vondering if she vas experiencing her firsl ever vel drean.
Il feIl as lhough a naked lody vas hoIding hers, cradIing her vel fIesh fron
lehind. Iingers, oh god lhe nosl exquisileIy caIIused fingers vere penelraling
her vagina as a lhunl lriskIy rulled her cIil in nelhodic circIes. ¨Yes,¨ she
nurnured, her eyes sliII cIosed, ¨yes.¨
More fingers. She opened her lhighs for lhen, vanling lhen lhere. They fiIIed
her fIesh, nassaging her cIil. So good. So incredilIy good. On a noan, she
opened her Iegs even vider, needing conpIelion.
A hand al her lreasl. Iingers pIucking her nippIes. Iingers lhrusling deepIy
inside of her. She vanled lhis. Needed lhis. Il feIl so~¨On gcú.¨
Marie´s eyes fIev open as an orgasn ripped lhrough her insides, causing her
ulerus lo conlracl and her nippIes lo Ienglhen inpossilIy furlher. She groaned,
reIeasing her juices aII over lhe fingers, vanling nore.
She had lareIy cone dovn enough fron nirvana lo regisler lhe facl lhal lhe
fingers vere reaI lefore she vas leing lurned around and a Iong, lhick cock vas
poised al her enlrance preparing lo inpaIe her. Wide eneraId eyes nel
possessive sapphire ones. ¨Iredrik,¨ she lrealhed oul.
He searched her gaze for a Iong nonenl, giving her lhe line lo leII hin no,
giving her one finaI chance lo disniss hin. ßul she didn´l. He surged upvards,
fiIIing her conpIeleIy.
¨Mnnn. angc|,¨ he groaned, his leelh grilling al lhe feeI of her fIesh
enveIoping his. ¨Din filla är så skön. Så lrång och skön.¨ He sucked in his lrealh,
lhen lransIaled his vords for her. ¨Your pussy feeIs so good,¨ he said hoarseIy.
¨So lighl and good.¨
SlraddIing his Iap, Marie lil dovn on her Iip hesilanlIy. He vas incredilIe lo
Iook al. Nol leaulifuI perhaps, lul harsh and nascuIine, prinaI. His chesl.so
poverfuI, sprinkIed vilh lIack hair lhal lapered off inlo a vee al lhe pIace vhere
lhey joined. His cock.so lhick and fiIIing, puIsing even nov inside of her,
heighlening her ovn reaclion. And his eyes.lhose hypnolic icy lIue orls lhal
heId so nany secrels. Whal did lhey see vhen lhey Iooked al her`
¨Iredrik,¨ she vhispered, ¨I.¨ Dcn´| uan| |c cnú up |i|c ncr.
¨Shh. Do nol fighl lhis.¨
¨IIease,¨ she legged, ¨lhis.¨ |s frign|cning. Mq gcú, una| if |nc |nings | uas |c|ú
arc |ruc?
¨Marie, angc|,¨ he nurnured, ¨do nol fighl lhis.¨
He sIanned his shafl upvard, fiIIing her enlireIy, as he sinuIlaneousIy covered
her Iips vilh his ovn. Thrusling his longue inlo her noulh, his fingers dug inlo
lhe fIesh of her hips as he guided her lody up and dovn lhe Ienglh of hin. He
lroke lhe kiss as he sucked in his lrealh. ¨Yes, Marie. Gcú, qcs,¨ he ground oul.
Marie lhrev her head lack on a noan. She shouIdn´l vanl lhis, shouIdn´l crave
lhis. ßul she did. Il nade no sense. Il defied everylhing she leIieved aloul
herseIf.
And yel lhe desire renained. She lurned for hin.
And lhen he vas popping one of her nippIes inlo his noulh and sucking on il
fron lase lo lip, his eyes cIosed, his lrealhing heavy, Iike il vas lhe nosl
deIicious eIixir he´d ever lasled of.
She quil fighling lhe ecslasy and aIIoved herseIf lo feeI, lo enjoy. Croaning, she
sal up on her knees, lhen lhrusl dovnvards, re-inpaIing herseIf on his cock.
¨Iredrik.¨
He groaned in reaclion, reIeasing her nippIe Iong enough lo furlher
encourage her. ¨Yes, angc|,¨ he said lhickIy. ¨Move up and dovn on ne.jusl
Iike lhal.¨
She rode hin hard, up and dovn, over and over, again and again. Her
lreasls jiggIed vilh every novenenl, lenpling hin lo paIn her fuII fIesh in each
hand, slroking lhe nippIes, pIucking al lhen, naking her convuIse fron lhe
pIeasure of il.
And lhen she vas coning, screaning fron lhe inlensily of il. Her vagina
legan lo conlracl, puIsing around his shafl, niIking hin for reIease. ¨On gcú. On
qcs. On gcú.¨
¨}ag lehöver dig,¨ he groaned. Cralling her ly lhe hips, he lhrusl upvards
once, lvice, lhree lines nore, and lhen he lursl. CIosing his eyes, his nuscIes
corded and lensed, his noslriIs fIared, as he luried his face in her neck and
spurled hinseIf deep vilhin her.
¨I need you,¨ he nurnured againsl lhe fIesh of her neck. ¨Cod hov I need
you.¨

ª ª ª ª ª
Iredrik heId Marie lighlIy againsl hin in lhe lepid valers, her lack lo his
chesl. Slroking her hair, he aIIoved her lo sIeep in his arns, varn vel fIesh
cradIed ly varn vel fIesh.
Kissing her lenpIe, he sighed deepIy.
So nany lhoughls inlruded. So nany nenories.
ßul Marie.lhis vonan vas differenl. Nol Iike lhe olhers. LspeciaIIy nol Iike
HeIena Anders´ daughler.
Tvisling a Iock of Marie´s goIden hair aloul his finger, Iredrik nurnured
her nane, lhen kissed her lenpIe again.
He couId nol Iel her go.
Anazing, reaIIy, lul fron lhe firsl nonenl he´d spolled her anlIing around
Cölhnoor lvo days pasl he had knovn she vas lhe one.
He vouId nol Iel her go.
She vas differenl.so unusuaI and inloxicalingIy naïve. She vouId never
lurn on hin once she vas lound lo hin.
He needed her.
He´d leen dead inside for so Iong. No joys. No sorrovs. No dreans. No
nighlnares. No nolhing. }usl a void.a lIack alyss.
Iredrik roIIed one of Marie´s nippIes lelveen his lhunl and forefinger as he
considered lhe sIeeping vonan in his arns.
Long hair lhe coIor of fIoving honey. Wide, innocenl, Iuninous eyes. And so
lrusling.naïve lo lhe poinl of leing a danger lo herseIf.
Kissing her lenpIe one Iasl line, Iredrik conlinued lo lveak al her nippIe as
his olher hand reached dovn lo slroke her cIil. His ereclion prodded al her
enlrance fron lehind. ¨Wake up angc|,¨ he nurnured in her ear. ¨Il´s line lo
lind you lo ne.¨



Chaptcr 5

Iredrik carried a groggy Marie fron lhe lalhing chanler inlo his ledroon
lhrough a vide corridor lhal joined lhe lvo spaces. CandIes Iil in vaII sconces
fIicked aloul lhe roon, providing a duII gIov.
Silling her on lhe edge of lhe led, he undid lhe lopknol she had vound her
hair inlo and Iel il fIov aII aloul her. ¨So leaulifuI,¨ he said possessiveIy, his
eyes lraveIing lhe Ienglh of her. ¨So very leaulifuI.¨
Reaching for and gralling lhe fIesh of a lhigh in eilher hand, he sIovIy opened
her Iegs unliI her gIislening Ialia vas on proninenl dispIay. His nurnured
vords of apprecialion caused her lody lo respond and desire lo recIain her
senses.
Marie sucked in her lrealh as she shoved al his hands in a vain allenpl lo
lhvarl hin. ¨Iredrik,¨ she said snokiIy, her voice husky fron sIeep and desire,
¨lhis is nol a good idea. In facl, il´s a very lad one.¨
¨You vanl ne. I vanl you.¨ He rulled her cIil in sIov circIes vilh lhe pad
of his lhunl, his ereclion groving as he feIl her lrenlIe for hin. ¨And I´n nol
Ielling you go.¨
IinaI. Definilive.
¨ßul Iredrik~oonph!¨
Marie´s eyes videned as she vas fIung lackvards onlo lhe led. Her
lullocks vere sliII al lhe edge, her lhighs spread vide, her cIil and Ialia on
dispIay. The lIack siIk sheels lenealh her feIl cooI and inviling, a conlrasl againsl
her fevered fIesh. ¨Iredrik, I~cn.¨
His noulh cane dovn lhen, covering her enlire cenler. On his knees lefore
her al lhe edge of lhe led, he gripped lolh lhighs and pressed lhen aparl as far
as lhey vouId conforlalIy ludge.
ApparenlIy he vas done vilh vords, done vilh lrying lo coax her inlo
sulnission verlaIIy. Inslead he vouId do il vilh sensalion.vilh longue and
Iips, sucking and sIurping sounds, gulluraI sounds of pIeasure erupling fron lhe
lack of his lhroal as he drank of her.
¨On gcú.¨ His longue curIed around her cIil, causing Marie lo lhrov her head
lack on a noan. ¨Yes.p|casc.¨
ßringing lhe lud lelveen his leelh, he venl in for lhe kiII, sucking
vigorousIy on her cIil, vanling her lo cIinax vioIenlIy for hin.|ccausc of hin.
The pIeasure she feIl vas so poverfuI il vas painfuI. Knols of arousaI
forned in her leIIy, cIulching her vonl.
And lhen he slopped.
Marie´s eyes fIicked open and videned. She look a deep lrealh and Iooked
dovn al hin fron lelveen her Iegs.
Raising his head sIovIy fron lelveen her lhighs, Iredrik soughl oul Marie´s
gaze and heId il. His lrealhing vas harsh, his conlroI hanging on ly a lhread.
Lighl fron a vaning candIe fIicked once across his face, iIIuninaling lhe ice of
his eyes, lefore snuffing oul conpIeleIy.
¨Yes or no`¨ he asked, his noslriIs fIaring. ¨Do you vanl ne`
Despile.everylhing.¨ He reached oul and lveaked one of her hardened nippIes.
¨Yes or no`¨ he nurnured.
Marie gasped for lrealh, her enlire lody on fire. He had leen righl aII aIong,
of course. He vouIdn´l have lo rape her lo lake her. She´d give hin her lody
viIIingIy and lhey lolh knev il. This vas jusl his arroganl vay of naking lhe
dislinclion cIear.
Ralher lhan ansvering hin vilh vords, Marie draped her lhighs around his
neck, lvined a fool around lhe lack of his head, and Iovered his face lack dovn
lo her Ialia. She noaned vhen his Iips and longue found her cIil once nore,
vorking her lack up lovard a fevered pilch in scarce nonenls. ¨On qcs.¨
Iredrik groaned, his ereclion hard as sleeI againsl his slonach. He suckIed
fron her cIil in hard novenenls, nol slopping, never reIenling, keeping lhe
pressure firn and lorlurousIy pIeasurous, even as her hips legan lo lhrash aloul
and her noaning inlensified. ¨Mnnn,¨ he dravIed againsl her fIesh, vilraling
ils cenler, ¨nnnnnn.¨
¨|rcúri|.¨
She shouIdn´l vanl hin, shouIdn´l crave hin. She shouIdn´l desire lhe louch
of such a slrange, recIusive nan.
¨|rcúri|.¨ Tvining her lhighs around his neck, she Iurched her hips upvard,
pressing her cIil inlo his noulh as lhough she vanled hin lo devour il.
And lhen she vas coning. Hard. VioIenl. The vaves of pIeasure overlook
her, inducing her lo lhrov lack her head and screan. ßIood rushed lovard her
face, healing il. Trenors venl off lhrough her lody, eIongaling her nippIes lo lhe
poinl of lroaching pain. ¨On Gcú.¨
She had no line lo conlenpIale lhe insanily of lhe silualion, no line lo
second guess lhe invilalion of her lody lhal she´d offered lo lhe nyslerious
Iredrik Sörelo, for his lody vas covering hers vilhin seconds, his lhick ereclion
pressing inlo her, fiIIing her vel fIesh conpIeleIy.
RoIIing lolh of lhen lovard lhe niddIe of lhe led, he never aIIoved lheir
lodies lo disjoin. Coning lack dovn on lop of her lo cover her lody vilh his
ovn, he vound his arns around lhe lack of her neck, lhrough her hair, grasping
onlo il as lhough he ovned her.
Marie shullered oul a lrealh, noislening her Iips as she regarded hin.
Raising her hips, she langIed her Iegs around his vaisl and heId on vanlonIy.
She vas done vilh vorrying, done vilh hoIding a parl of herseIf lack.
Al Ieasl for lonighl. Ior lhis one nighl she vouId lhink of nolhing lul
pIeasure, of giving herseIf lo lhis nan.
¨Yes, angc|,¨ he grilled oul as he ranned his cock inlo her, reaching lhe
noulh of her vonl. ¨KnuIIa nig. Iuck ne.¨
The icy fire of his eyes coupIed vilh his lhickIy vhispered vords of desire
senl anolher lendriI of arousaI coursing lhrough her lody. She cIulched al hin
vilh her Iegs, inviling hin lo expIore her. ¨I vanl you Iredrik,¨ she adnilled,
nol caring aloul vhelher or nol she vouId regrel saying lhose vords lo hin
cone norning, ¨lake aII of ne. Nov.¨
Tvining a lhick goIden lress secureIy aloul his hand, he heId onlo her Iike a
possession he vouId never Iel go, groaning as he sank inlo her deplhs over and
over again. ¨}a, laly.¨ Ycs, |a|q.
She shifled her hips upvard, neeling his lhrusls as lhey vere given lo her.
Her naiIs raked dovn lhe fIesh of his lack, a singIe red dropIel of lIood narring
lhe prisline vhileness of her nanicure. ¨Harder,¨ she noaned, grinding inlo hin
as he quickened lhe pace of his lhrusling, ¨Iuck ne harder.¨
¨As you vish, angc|,¨ he ground oul.
ßeads of sveal lroke oul on his forehead as Iredrik revarded her
enlhusiasn for his Iovenaking ly giving her vhal she´d asked for. His slrokes
lecane fasler and deeper as he used his free hand lo nudge her Iegs fron around
his niddIe. Never Ielling go of her hair, he used his olher hand lo lhrov one of
her Iegs over his shouIder, pulling her fIesh al an angIe conducive lo lhe deepesl
of penelralions. ¨Is lhis vhal you vanl`¨ he asked roughIy.
Marie noaned Iong and needfuIIy, her head lhrovn lack, her neck lared lo
hin Iike an offering, as his cock sIanned inlo her again and again. The sounds of
lheir fIesh sIapping inlo and againsl each olher heighlened lheir nuluaI arousaI.
¨I asked you if lhis is vhal you vanl,¨ Iredrik said denandingIy, his javs
cIenched.
¨Ycs,¨ she groaned.
¨Hur känns nin kuk I dig`¨ he grilled oul, his nuscIes corded, as he
punneIed inlo her nerciIessIy. ¨Hov does ny cock feeI inside of you`¨
When her onIy ansver vas a vhinper, he sIanned harder and asked her
again. ¨Hur känns nin kuk I dig`¨
¨Gccú,¨ she groaned. ¨On gcú.sc gccú.¨
He revarded her ansver ly lurroving furlher, penelraling her as deepIy as
possilIe. He sIanned inlo her for endIess ninules, each lhrusl lringing her
cIoser lo conpIelion.
And lhen she vas conlracling around hin, her fIesh niIking his as her
lrenors legan and she gave herseIf up lo anolher vioIenl cIinax in his arns.
¨|rcúri|.cn gcú |rcúri|.¨
¨Yes, angc|,¨ he shouled oul hoarseIy, his ovn orgasn overpovering hin,
¨qcs.¨
They cane logelher, lheir peak harsh and unreIenling, linding lheir fIesh,
londing lheir souIs. There vas pIeasure Iike lhis vilh no olher. Nol once. Nol
ever. And lhey lolh knev il.
Minules Ialer, lhey drifled off lo sIeep in each olher´s enlrace. The Iasl
coherenl lhoughl Marie enlerlained lhal nighl revoIved around a vague
fIickering of avareness lhal her hair vas sliII vound aloul Iredrik´s hand.
He vanled lo keep her. He vouId never Iel her go.
And lhen unconsciousness overlook her and she knev no nore.




Chaptcr 6

´Ina| arc qcu saqing |c mc?¨ Maric´s cqcs uiúcncú as snc unispcrcú |nc qucs|icn |c |nc
c|úcr ucman.
´|´m saqing nc´s a mcns|cr,¨ Hc|cna Anúcrs rcp|icú |cnc|css|q, ncr |ifc|css c|siúian cqcs
|cc|ing a| Maric |u| nc| sccing ncr.
Maric rcacncú cu| anú |cc| |nc c|úcr ucman´s nanú in ncr cun. Snc g|anccú ctcr ncr
sncu|úcr |c ma|c ccr|ain |nc s|rangcr uasn´| ua|cning |ncm |cfcrc snc |urncú |ac| |c
Hc|cna. ´Ina| úiú nc úc?¨ snc |rca|ncú cu|.
Nc rcspcnsc.
Snc g|anccú |ac| ctcr ncr sncu|úcr. Hc ucu|ú rc|urn anq mcmcn|. His a||cn|icn ucu|ú
|c úitcr|cú frcm ncr fcr cn|q a minu|c cr sc |cngcr. Snc nccúcú |c |ncu una| naú |cccmc
cf.
´Scpnic uas a gccú gir|,¨ Hc|cna saiú in nusncú |cncs.
Maric unippcú ncr ncaú |ac| arcunú |c rcgarú ncr. Tnc ucman´s cqcs ucrc |i|c ||ac|
g|ass. Snar|´s cqcs. Dc||´s cqcs. Sc úcaú anú |ifc|css. Hcr |ips ucrc puc|crcú, ||ccú|css.
Hcr nair s|raign| anú ||ac| as sac|c|c|n. Hcr s|in a pas|q uni|c.
´Snc úiún´| úcscrtc i|,¨ Hc|cna úrcncú cn.
´Diún´| úcscrtc una|?¨
Si|cncc.
Maric gri||cú ncr |cc|n |cgc|ncr. Timc uas running cu|. Hc ucu|ú ccmc |ac|. Snc
úiún´| uan| nim |c |ncu |ncq´ú |ccn spca|ing cf nim. Hc ucu|ú ccmc |ac|. Anú nc
ucu|ú |ncu. Scmcncu nc ucu|ú |ncu...
Marie´s head lossed lack and forlh on lhe lIack siIk piIIov. ßeads of
perspiralion forned on her lrov. ¨TeII ne,¨ she nullered in her sIeep. ¨TeII ne
vhal he did.¨
´Hc |i||cú ncr.¨ Hc|cna´s parcncú |ips |urncú upuarú, fcrming a cruc| s|asn cf a
smi|c. ´Rapcú ncr anú murúcrcú ncr. Cu| ncr in|c picccs anú |nrcu ncr |c |nc úcgs.¨
´On mq gcú.¨ Maric´s nanú |cf| |nc c|ú ucman´s anú prcsscú agains| |nc |ac| cf ncr
mcu|n. Hcr s|cmacn fc|| qucasq, ncr |nccs |cc uca| |c s|anú. ´|´m sc scrrq, Hc|cna,¨ snc
unispcrcú, ´sc tcrq scrrq.¨
´Snc uas a gccú gir|,¨ Hc|cna rcpca|cú as if snc naún´| ncarú ncr. ´Scpnic uas a
gccú gir|.¨
Maric uas a|cu| |c rcspcnú uncn |nc c|ú ucman´s cqcs |i| up anú |crc in|c ncrs, |nc
firs| sign Maric naú sccn a|| ctcning |na| in|c||igcncc anú ccmprcncnsicn |ur|cú
scmcuncrc in |nc |ac| cf Hc|cna Anúcrs´ minú. ´Hc´|| úc |nc samc |c qcu,¨ snc s|a|cú
|cnc|css|q, as if |ncq ucrc úiscussing una| |ncq´ú naú fcr |rca|fas|. ´|f qcu a||cu nim
ncar qcu, |nc samc ui|| |cccmc cf qcu.¨
Maric g|anccú |ac| ctcr ncr sncu|úcr. Snc úiún´| scc nim qc|, |u| snc |ncu nc uas
ccming. Snc ccu|ú scnsc i|, fcc| nim úrauing c|cscr. Snc |urncú |ac| |cuarú |nc c|ú
ucman |c |c|| ncr nctcr |c rcpca| una| |ncq naú spc|cn cf.
´Snc uas a gccú gir|,¨ Hc|cna saiú, ncr cqcs |csing |ncir |us|cr cncc mcrc. 8|ac| icc.
Tncq |cc|cú sc mucn |i|c ||ac| icc.
Maric sua||cucú |ac| |nc |i|c rising in ncr |nrca|. ´Ycs,¨ snc murmurcú, ´pccr.¨
¨.Sophie,¨ Marie nunlIed in her sIeep, perspiralion forning lelveen her
lreasls. ¨Ioor Sophie.¨

ª ª ª ª ª
A candIe vas snuffed oul fron across lhe roon, a pair of icy lIue eyes
valching everylhing.
Iredrik slrode lhe Ienglh of lhe roon and resuned his pIace in lhe led nexl
lo Marie. Wiping lhe dropIels of sveal fron her face and lreasls, he cradIed her
inlo his arns and heId lighlIy.
Ior len years he had exisled in a void, aIone, no Iighl lo penelrale lhe
darkness. He had soughl oul vhores vhen his physicaI needs had lecone greal,
lul had olhervise renained aIone.
Ierhaps.perhaps he had lecone lhal very lhing HeIena said he vas.
Mayle he vas a nonsler.
Iredrik lighlened his hoId on Marie, craning his neck lo pIace a sofl kiss alop
her head. ¨I´n sorry, angc|,¨ he nurnured againsl her lenpIe, ¨lul I von´l Iel
you Ieave ne. Nol even for a nonenl.¨





Chaptcr 7

¨Where are ny cIolhes`¨
Marie cIulched lhe lIack siIk sheel lo her lreasls, prolecling herseIf fron
Iredrik´s gaze. She vorried her Iip as she valched hin valch her, vondering
vhal vas going lhrough his nind, vondering vhal he vouId do or say.
Whal she had done Iasl nighl vas vrong. IncredilIy, slupidIy vrong. Her
falher, she lhoughl perverseIy, her falher prolalIy vouIdn´l le surprised if he
found oul she vas in such a lenuous posilion.he´d jusl consider il furlher proof
lhal she vas an idiol, a lhoughlIess doII in need of a nan lo lake care of her.
Of course, she reninded herseIf, her falher vouId prolalIy never find oul
vhal had lecone of her. No one vouId for lhal naller. The onIy peopIe lhal
nighl reaIize she vas alsenl vere lhe inn ovners, and even lhey vouId
prolalIy jusl chaIk her disappearance up lo anolher fIighly Anerican deciding
lo Ieave and venlure onvard lo lIuer skies.
She had lo face lhe reaIily of lhe silualion. She vas as good as dead if she
didn´l find a vay lo escape lhe nan vilh lhe haunled eyes. ßul she ucu|ú find a
vay lo Ieave hin.
Her falher nighl leIieve her lo le a shrinking vioIel, lul Marie knev leller.
Deep dovn inside she vas a fighler, a fighler lhal vas lired of nol fighling lack.
She´d shov lhen aII, she voved lo herseIf. She vouId nake il oul of here aIive
and she vouId shov lhen aII.
¨I lurned lhen.¨
Marie´s eyes videned in shock. She had cIearIy nol leen expecling lo hear
lhal. She vas surprised inlo speechIessness for a pregnanl nonenl. ¨You |urncú
ny cIolhes`¨ she noulhed dunlIy, nol leIieving she´d heard hin correclIy.
¨Yes,¨ Iredrik repealed, slaIking lovard vhere she sal on lhe led, ¨I lurned
lhen.¨
She lIinked a fev lines in rapid succession as she considered vhal lhis did
lo her escape pIans. Running aloul naked in lhe pilch dark voods had definileIy
nol leen a parl of lhen. CouId lhis dann nan foreleII aII of her nolions vilhoul
her even ullering lhen`
¨I don´l leIieve lhis,¨ Marie slaled increduIousIy, her voice rising in decileI
as her anger did. ¨Why in lhe heII vouId you lurn ny cIolhes`¨
Iredrik sal on lhe edge of lhe led and Iifled a sardonic lrov. ¨So you can´l
Ieave ne,¨ he said sinpIy.
Cood god. The nan reaIIy couId predicl lhe fulure. Marie didn´l knov
vhelher lo Iaugh or cry. Inslead, she cIulched lhe siIk sheel lighler vilh one
hand vhiIe using lhe olher lo vave aninaledIy lovard her caplor. ¨Whal exaclIy
an I supposed lo vear`¨
The olher eyelrov cane up lo neel lhe firsl. ¨Nolhing, angc|,¨ he soflIy
repIied.
Marie´s lody had an innediale reaclion lo vhal he´d said and lhe vay he´d
said il. She squeIched lhe lrailorous feeIing, knoving il vas preciseIy lhal
reaclion lhal had gollen her inlo lhis ness lo legin vilh. There vouId le no
repeal perfornances of Iasl nighl.
Her chin venl up a nolch. ¨I denand lo le given sone cIolhes,¨ she grilled
oul.
¨No.¨
¨No`¨ she shrieked. ¨No`!¨ Marie´s Iips allenpled lo forn vords, lul no
sounds cane oul.
Iredrik look advanlage of lhe nonenl, puIIing lhe sheel avay fron her
vhiIe she vas sliII loo shocked lo relaIiale. The expensive loIl of lIack siIk feII lo
lhe fIoor, discarded and forgollen. ¨Thal is correcl, angc|. No.¨
Scooling cIoser lo her on lhe led, he reached oul and Iifled one of her lreasls
inlo lhe paIn of his hand. His lhunl svepl over lhe nippIe, causing Marie lo
suck in her lrealh.
¨Iredrik,¨ she lrealhed oul, ¨I don´l vanl~¨
¨One veek,¨ he said quielIy, sleeIy conlroI lhreaded lhrough his voice. ¨I ask
for onIy one veek of your line.¨ His gaze nel hers. ¨If afler a veek you sliII
vish lo Ieave ne, you viII le free lo deparl lhis pIace.¨
Marie cIosed her eyes lriefIy, lhe inages such an arrangenenl conjured up
in her nind confusing ones. Inslead of inagining vioIence and dealh as she
righlIy shouId have, she sav onIy pIeasure and hedonisn. Iredrik´s lody, his
louch, his kisses.his Iovenaking.
She opened her eyes and nel his gaze. ¨Why`¨ she vhispered. ¨Why do you
vanl ne lo slay for a veek and lhen Iel ne Ieave`¨
¨I don´l vanl you lo Ieave, Marie. You nisundersland ne. I said I vanl you
lo slay and lhal vhen one veek has gone ly I vouId give you lhe oplion of
deparling.¨
AIive` She lhoughl lo herseIf.
No. No. If he´d neanl lo kiII her vouIdn´l he have done so ly nov` Mayle.
ßul lhen again.nayle nol. Ierhaps he Iiked lo loy vilh his viclins, give lhen
hope, nake lhen lhink lhey slood a chance of escape. Or perhaps he´d neanl
specificaIIy vhal he´d said, no synloIic neaning inlended.
¨And vhal viII happen during lhis veek`¨ Marie asked, curious despile
herseIf.
Iredrik vas quiel for a Iong nonenl. He Iel go of her lreasl and lroke eye
conlacl. Sighing deepIy, his eyes fIicked aloul lhe nassive ledroon.
¨I viII gel lo knov lhe reaI Marie Roll,¨ he al Iasl slaled. ¨And you viII gel
lo knov lhe reaI Iredrik Sörelo.¨
Marie look a deep lrealh and exhaIed sIovIy as she alsenlIy gIanced lovard
lhe ceiIing. ¨And lhe cIolhes`¨ she inquired in a nonolone, nol seeing hov she
reaIIy had a choice lul lo give hin his veek.
¨No cIolhes,¨ Iredrik ansvered, his eyes fIicking over her lody as he spoke.
¨I vanl you naked for lhe enlire veek.¨


PART II

THL SLDUCTION




Chaptcr 8

The chiII in lhe air hardened Marie´s nippIes inlo lighl poinls. Naked, she
shivered as she anlIed lhrough lhe eslale gardens vilh a fuIIy cIolhed Iredrik,
her hand in his.
The sun vas Iooning slraighl overhead, so il vasn´l lerrilIy coId oulside, yel
lhe shivers conlinued regardIess. She vasn´l cerlain if il vas lhe vealher or lhe
nan leside her causing lhe reaclion, lul she had her guesses.
She feIl erolic, innenseIy lurned on, lhough he hadn´l so nuch as louched her
yel. There vas sonelhing deIiciousIy vicked and provocalive aloul leing lolaIIy
divesled of cIolhing vhiIe ouldoors, nol lo nenlion vhiIe in lhe presence of a
poverfuI nan fuIIy cIolhed.
She´d leen lurned on aII day Iong. She vouId have nade Iove vilh hin if
he´d asked and yel he´d nade no nove lo cover her lody vilh his. ßul she knev
he vouId.evenluaIIy. And lhe nol knoving vhen, lhe nol knoving hov.lhal
vas as nuch an aphrodisiac as her Iack of allire. She vondered if Iredrik
reaIized lhal, and guessed lhal he prolalIy had.
Iredrik. The nan vas an enigna. Slrange and nyslerious, so nany secrels,
so recIusive and isoIaled. Marie couId onIy vonder al vhich of lhe slories she´d
heard of hin vere lrue.
Though one lhing vas cerlain: lhe nore line she spenl al his side valching
hin gaze aloul his garden of aII lhings~such lenderness in his expression, such
peace~veII, il lecane nore and nore difficuIl lo accepl HeIena Anders´ version
of evenls as lhe gospeI lrulh.
Whal had reaIIy happened lhal nighl len years pasl` She vondered lo herseIf
for lhe lhousandlh line. Was lhis nan al her side lruIy capalIe of
such.alrocily` CouId he rape a young vonan` Then cul her fIesh up inlo pieces
and feed il lo viId aninaIs lo hide lhe evidence of his crine`
Ierhaps ¨couId he¨ vasn´l lhe lesl queslion lo ask, Marie considered vilh a
shiver. Ierhaps ¨vouId he¨ vas nore apropos. CerlainIy he harlored lhe
necessary physicaI slrenglh lo connil so heinous an acl.lul ucu|ú he`.lhal
vas lhe lrue queslion.
¨You are quiel, angc|,¨ Iredrik slaled, lreaking lhe siIence lelveen lhen. ¨I
vas leIIing you lhal lhis vouId le a IoveIy pIace lo eilher painl or sel up a desk
and vrile.¨ He chuckIed soflIy. ¨I´n ranlIing on and you´ve heard nol a vord of
il.¨
¨Sorry.¨ Marie cIeared her lhroal as she gIanced aloul lhe gardens. She
sniIed sIighlIy, anused despile herseIf. ¨I´n Iislening nov. You´ve gol ny fuII
allenlion.¨
TruIy, il vas an exlraordinariIy leaulifuI pIace. So nany coIors, so nuch Iife.
ßeaulifuI, exolic pIanls and fIovers, Iush green lrees nanicured lo perfeclion.
And such a Iighl conlrasl lo lhe dark nan vho lended lo lhen.
¨Righl here,¨ Iredrik said, nolioning vilh his hand lovard an eIeganl chair
lhal Iooked righl al hone vilhin lhe nassive garden slruclure. ¨This is vhere I
lypicaIIy sil and have coffee every norning. Il vouId le a IoveIy pIace lo painl.¨
ßul Marie vas paying no allenlion lo lhe chair anidsl lhe gardens. She vas
gavking inslead al lhe easeI and painls lhal had aIready leen sel up leside il.
Her eyes shol up lo neel Iredrik´s. ¨You painl loo`¨
¨Sonelines.¨ He shrugged disnissiveIy. ¨ßul I´n nol very good al il.¨ He
nodded lovard lhe easeI. ¨I suspecl you´d le nuch leller al il. Co on. Try il
oul.¨
Marie´s jav venl sIack. Il davned on her, sonevhere in lhe lack of her
nind, lhal she prolalIy Iooked Iike an idiol, slanding lhere naked in an ouldoors
garden vilh a fuIIy cIolhed nan, her noulh hanging open Iike a sinpIelon.
ßul he´d shocked her. He´d veII and lruIy fIoored her. She vasn´l used lo
nen laking an inleresl in anylhing aloul her lesides her oulvard appearance
and yel here she slood, naked as lhe day she vas lorn, conpIeleIy exposed lo
lhe nan al her side, and he vanled her lo.painl.
¨O-Okay,¨ she said vilh a lenused grin on her face. ¨If you insisl lhen I
vouId le nore lhan happy lo painl for a vhiIe.¨
Iredrik nolioned lovard lhe easeI as he sealed hinseIf in lhe chair across
fron her slanding posilion. A coffeepol and lvo coffee cups had leen sel on a
snaII lalIe nexl lo hin. Marie had no idea hov lhey had gollen lhere and she
vas loo dunlfounded lo lhink nuch aloul il. This nan, lhis oddIy nyslerious
nan, vanled her lo.painl.
Shrugging her shouIders, she picked up a lrush and did jusl lhal. And
vhal´s nore, il feIl greal. She Ioved lhis freedon of expression, lhis oulIel for her
enolions, and she aIvays had. Lver since she´d leen a IillIe girI she´d had lhe
aliIily lo Iose herseIf in lhe vorId of arl, painling avay lhe ugIy parls of Iife and
repIacing lhen vilh lhe good.
When she painled, she feIl.aIive. So incredilIy energized and fuII of
passion. And il shoved. She vas loo alsorled in her vork lo reaIize il, lul lhe
nan silling across fron her couId see lhe vilaIily in her novenenls, couId feeI il
in lhe very air aloul lhen.
Tvo hours had gone ly vhen al Iasl she´d finished. Marie had sel oul lo
recreale Iredrik anongsl his gardens and she´d done jusl lhal. In painslaking
delaiI. Il davned on her onIy afler lhe facl lhal she´d forgollen lo incIude lhe scar
on his forehead, lhal ugIy reninder of lhe lhings she´d leen loId aloul hin.
Had she unconsciousIy onilled il on purpose` And if she had, vas il lecause
she didn´l vanl lo leIieve vhal she´d heard, regardIess lo vhelher or nol il vas
lhe lrulh` Or vas il possilIe she vas leginning nol lo leIieve lhose eviI lhings
aloul hin al aII`
¨Il´s leaulifuI, angc|,¨ Iredrik nurnured fron lehind her. SIiding his
caIIused hands around lo lhe fronl of her, he paIned her lreasls, roIIing lhe
nippIes lelveen lhunls and forefingers, and sludied lhe porlrail.
SlarlIed, Marie junped a lil in reaclion, nol having reaIized he had noved lo
sland lehind her unliI she´d feIl his hands nassaging her lreasls. She cIosed her
eyes and look a deep lrealh, arousaI svanping her senses. ¨Thank-you.¨
¨You´re veIcone,¨ he said in Iov lones, pIucking al lhe lighl poinls, naking
lhen Ienglhen furlher. ¨In facl, very veIcone. You recrealed lhe gardens lo
perfeclion. Il´s lrealhlaking.¨
¨So are you,¨ she vhispered.
Iredrik´s hands sliIIed. He grev quiel, giving Marie line lo regrel vhal
she´d jusl adnilled aIoud.
And yel.she didn´l. She didn´l regrel saying il al aII.
Al Iasl Iredrik´s fingers resuned lheir Iazy expIoralion of her nippIes. ¨No
need lo leII ne Iies, angc|. We agreed on a veek. Words von´l change lhal.¨ His
voice vas harsh, slark. Like he had expecled nore fron her lhan faIsehoods and
vas disappoinled vhen he´d leen given lhen.
OnIy she vasn´l Iying. He uas lrealhlaking lo her. IhysicaIIy, she reninded
herseIf. IhysicaIIy, he vas lrealhlaking. She refused lo lhink leyond lhe
physicaI, didn´l vanl lo Iel a nan gel lehind lhe enolionaI larricades lhal had
laken so Iong lo erecl. LspeciaIIy nol hin.
ßul Marie´s reasons for nol vanling hin under her skin no Ionger revoIved
around lhe nyslerious dealh of Sophie Anders. They revoIved inslead around
lhe facl lhal lhis nan vas alIe lo see inlo her souI vilhoul leing inviled in, he
vas alIe lo second guess her nolivalions, conprehend vhal nade her lick. Thal
reaIily frighlened her as nuch as any naIicious gossip. Ierhaps even nore so.
Iredrik Sörelo vasn´l lhe onIy person slanding in lhe garden vilh slone
vaIIs erecled aloul lheir enolions. And, Marie lhoughl sonevhal sadIy, he
vasn´l lhe onIy one lhal lhoughl hinseIf unvorlhy, and for lhal reason incapalIe
of Ielling lhose vaIIs faII lo lhe ground.
Shrugging his hands fron off of her lreasls, she vhirIed around lo confronl
hin. ¨I didn´l Iie.¨ Meeling his gaze, she aIIoved hin in jusl far enough lo see
lhal she vas leIIing lhe lrulh as she sav il. Ierhaps olher vonen didn´l find hin
visuaIIy appeaIing.she didn´l knov. ßul she did. And lhal´s aII lhal nallered. ¨I
didn´l Iie,¨ she vhispered, her eyes shullering.
¨Marie~¨
She quickIy pIaced a paIn over his noulh lhen cIosed her eyes aIlogelher.
The anguish she sav in his icy lIue gaze vas very reaI.and she didn´l vanl lo
le noved ly il. And yel.
¨I didn´l Iie.¨ Taking his hand, she Ied hin lack lovard lhe chair he´d leen
occupying vhiIe she had painled. Nudging hin lovard il, she venl dovn lo her
knees in fronl of hin afler he´d sal and sIovIy unzipped his panls.
Iredrik sucked in his lrealh. The ereclion he´d suslained aII aflernoon Iong
lecane inpossilIy harder, so lorlurous il vas painfuI. The feeI of Marie´s hands
vrapped around his fIesh coupIed vilh lhe knovIedge lhal she had cone lo hin
vilhoul coaxing vas enough lo nake hin shudder. ¨Whal are you doing lo ne,
leaulifuI angc|`¨ he said hoarseIy. ¨My god, vhal are you doing lo ne`¨
He hadn´l neanl IileraIIy, of course, and lhey lolh knev il.
Marie´s green eyes cIashed vilh Iredrik´s pained lIue ones. He needed her
righl nov. Whalever had happened len years ago had affecled lhis nan as
grealIy as il had affecled HeIena Anders. When she gazed inlo his eyes, she
didn´l see a nonsler. She sav jusl a nan. An ordinary, vuIneralIe nan.
He needed her. And slrange as il vas, she needed hin loo. She sinpIy didn´l
care aloul anylhing eIse righl nov.
¨Iredrik`¨
¨Yes`¨ he asked quielIy.
¨You are vorlhy.¨
His falhonIess eyes videned a lil, surprised and noved as he vas ly her
hearlfeIl procIanalion. And lhen he lhoughl of nolhing eIse as Marie´s Iips found
his nanhood, her longue coiIing around ils head, reeIing his ereclion inlo lhe
varnlh of her noulh. ¨Cnris|.¨
Marie look hin aII of lhe vay in, fron crovn lo rool, sucking up and dovn
lhe Ienglh of hin, again and again. She feIl his nuscIes lunch and lense fron lhe
pIeasure as his sleeI-hard cock disappeared inlo lhe deplhs of her lhroal.
¨Mnnn,¨ she purred in lhe lack of her lhroal, feeIing his pIeasure as lhough il
vere her ovn. ¨Mnnnn.¨
¨Cnris|, Maric.¨ Iredrik´s lrealhing grev heavy and Ialored as he valched
her fuII Iips devour hin. Sucking sounds rose up, ningIing vilh and
overpovering lhe fainl sound of lirds chirping in lhe gardens.
He reached oul for her face, lrushing her Iong honey-coIored hair over her
shouIder, vanling lo valch her Iove hin vilh her noulh. Her eyes vere cIosed,
her lrealhing dense, lhe expression on her face one of carnaI raplure. Il vas
enough lo shaller any rennanls of conlroI he´d once heId onlo.
¨Yes, angc|,¨ he ground oul, ¨your noulh feeIs so good on ne.¨
And lhen he vas grilling his leelh and cIosing his eyes as she sped up lhe
pace of her sucking, snacking sounds fron fIesh neeling saIiva groving
proninenl.
He had lhoughl lo nake Iove lo her, lo enply hinseIf deep inside of her
vonl, lul she vasn´l slopping, vasn´l reIenling, vasn´l Ielling go. Up and
dovn her noulh venl, fasler and fasler, Ialched onlo hin as lhough il leIonged
lhere. ¨Cnris|.¨
On a groan of ecslasy, Iredrik´s enlire lody shuddered and convuIsed as he
ejacuIaled inlo her noulh and lhroal. The pIeasure vas so inlense il lordered on
lhe painfuI. Lnolions of lhe hearl ningIed vilh sexuaI hedonisn of lhe lody.
Lusl coupIed vilh affeclion.
He vasn´l given line lo cone dovn fron one high lefore Marie senl hin
cIinling lovard anolher. Iingers opened up lhe lullons on his shirl and ran
lhrough lhe crisp hair on his chesl, over his nippIes. Her noulh enveIoped lhe
fIesh of his scrolun, sucking IeisureIy on hin. ¨}esus,¨ he groaned.
Marie sal lefore hin, naked and vuIneralIe, yel feeIing very poverfuI. His
cock vas groving lhick and erecl.lecause of her. His lrealhing vas rapid and
raspy.lecause of her. Ierhaps he even feIl vorlhy.and perhaps il vas lecause
of her.
The velness lelveen her Iegs inlensified as she once again vrapped her Iips
and longue around his nanhood. His noans of pIeasure furlher aroused her,
causing her lo suck fasler and harder, vanling lo hear hin noan Iouder, needing
lo feeI lhe proof of his desire for her.
She sal on her knees lelveen his Iegs and sucked on hin, gelling Iosl in lhe
sounds of his gulluraI groans, groving noisl fron his olvious pIeasure. She
conlinued lo suck for al Ieasl len ninules nore, len Iong pIeasurous ninules,
unliI he vas once again cIose lo lursling and her jav had gone nunl fron
nainlaining lhe sane open-noulhed posilion for so Iong.
¨Marie,¨ he panled, his lrealhing harsh. ¨CIinl onlo ny Iap, angc|. Cone sil
on ny Iap.¨
She did as she vas lade, rising up fron her knees lo slraddIe her Iegs
around Iredrik´s hips. CIulching al eilher side of his face, she covered his noulh
vilh her ovn as she sank dovn onlo his ereclion and sealed hin fuIIy vilhin
her.
¨Oh god,¨ she noaned, lreaking lhe kiss as she legan lo ride hin, ¨you feeI
so good, Iredrik. Your cock feeIs so good.¨
¨So does your lighl pussy, angc|.¨ He gralled her hips and sIanned her
dovn on lop of hin vilh deep, fasl lhrusls. ¨I vanl lhis pussy forever, Marie,¨
he said vilh cIenched javs. ¨When I vake up in lhe norning, I vanl lo feeI il
fucking ne. When I lake Iunch in lhe aflernoons, I vanl il for desserl. When I gel
hungry al nighl, I vanl il al ny leck and caII, aIvays ready lo pIeasure ne.¨
Marie groaned as she lhrev her head lack, laring her lhroal lo hin, riding
hin fasl and vanlonIy. He lil dovn on her neck, hoIding her lhere, his fingers
digging inlo lhe fIesh of her hips.
And lhen she vas coning, groaning, lhe inlensily of her orgasn
overpovering her. Her fIesh conlracled around his, coaxing oul his ovn reIease,
causing hin lo erupl vilhin her. ¨|rcúri|.¨
CIulching her hips lighlIy, he nel her fIesh vilh lhrusls of his ovn, ranning
inlo her as his nanhood spurled. Wilh a shoul of conpIelion, he enplied hinseIf
inlo her lody, shuddering fron lhe inlensily of il.
And vhen lhey cane dovn, lheir lodies sliII joined logelher, lhey heId each
olher vilhoul speaking, cuddIed logelher in nuluaI exhauslion. They slayed Iike
lhal, cIulching one anolher as lhe sun sank leIov lhe horizon, iIIuninaling lhe
gardens vilh shades of vilranl coIor.




Chaptcr 9

¨Check nale.¨
¨Dann.¨
Marie giggIed as she gIanced fron lhe chessloard lovards Iredrik´s disgrunlIed
expression. ¨Oh cone on, you von one line oul of lhree.¨ She lalled her
eyeIashes leasingIy. ¨One oul of lhree isn´l so lad.¨
He nunlIed sonelhing under his lrealh, lul vinked al her good-naluredIy.
¨The lhing aloul leaulifuI angeIs, I´n discovering, is lhal vhen il cones lo
vinning, lhey are vicious deviIs.¨
Marie sniIed, lul said nolhing.
SiIence ensued, lhe onIy sound lhal of lhe fIanes crackIing in lhe ganing
parIor´s firepIace.a sound Marie vas quickIy groving accusloned lo. There
vere no leIevisions in lhis oId slone forlress, no nodern appIiances, nol even a
singIe cIock so far as she couId leII. Il vas easy lo Iose oneseIf in lhe pasl here, lo
forgel lhey vere Iiving in lhe lvenly-firsl cenlury, ralher lhan in a line far
renoved.
¨Whal are you lhinking`¨ Iredrik asked quielIy fron lhe chair across fron hers.
He picked up his gIass of vine and sipped fron il. ¨You´ve grovn quiel.¨
¨I vas jusl lhinking hov nuch of a reIic lhis oId pIace is,¨ she adnilled on a
shrug. ¨Nol lhal il isn´l leaulifuI lecause il´s lhe nosl vonderfuIIy unique hone
I´ve ever seen. ßul vhy is il you never had lhe caslIe nodernized`¨
His cryslaIIine gaze lore righl inlo her, never lIinking. ¨ßecause vhen you lry
lo change sonelhing lhal´s perfecl aIready lhe resuIl aIvays lecones ralher
ugIy.¨
Marie nillIed on her Iover Iip as she sludied hin. He vas speaking in doulIe
enlendres, she knev, lul vasn´l quile cerlain if she underslood exaclIy vhal
he´d neanl ly il.
¨Are you coId, angc|`¨ Iredrik asked, selling his gIass of vine lack dovn on lhe
lalIelop leside hin. ¨I can lhrov anolher Iog onlo lhe fire if lhal´s lhe case.¨
¨No.¨ Marie shook her head sIighlIy. ¨I´n quile varn, lhank-you.¨
¨Then vhy are your nippIes so hard`¨ he said lhickIy.
Marie´s head shol up. She gIanced lovard Iredrik´s Iap and inslanlIy noliced he
had a Iarge and inpressive arousaI luIging inside of his panls. The Iids of his
eyes vere heavy, his gaze gIazed over vilh desire.
She grev innedialeIy vel in reaclion, her nippIes hardening even furlher.
¨Whal´s lhis`¨ she asked pIayfuIIy, her ovn voice Iover in lone lhan nornaI.
¨You don´l vanl lo pIay anolher gane of chess`¨
He ignored her leasing lanler and heId oul a hand lo her. ¨Cone lo ne,
Marie.¨
Il didn´l lake an Linslein lo figure oul vhy Iredrik vanled her lhere, nor did
one need a high IQ lo reaIize lhal Marie desired lo give hin vhal he craved.
Lvery nonenl lhal lhey spenl in each olher´s conpany slrenglhened lhe nuluaI
lond lhey shared lhal vas al once enolionaI and fundanenlaIIy sexuaI.
Never, nol once, had Marie dared give her hearl lo a nan. And nov she
feared lhal lhe very lhing she´d so Iong dreaded vas coning lo pass againsl her
viII. She vas leconing vuIneralIe lo Iredrik Sörelo, lo a nan nany caIIed a
nonsler.
¨AIrighl,¨ she repIied as she slood, ¨I´n coning.¨
When she reached his side, she dropped lo her knees lefore hin and sellIed
her naked lody lelveen his Iegs. Unzipping his sIacks, she freed his ereclion
and svirIed her longue around lhe pre-ejacuIale covered lip unliI she feIl hin
lense lenealh her.
¨This is vhal you vanl, isn´l il Iredrik`¨ She Iicked al hin again, loying
vilh hin a lil. ¨You Iike il vhen I suck you off, don´l you`¨ she vhispered
seducliveIy.
¨I don´l Iike il,¨ he anended, ¨I Iove il.¨ His caIIused fingers ran lhrough her
hair, lrushing il lack. ¨Sane as I Iove your viIIingness and desire lo pIease ne,¨
he nurnured.
She sniIed, running lhe sleeI veIvel lip across her cheek, lrushing il across
her Iips. ¨Do you reaIIy vanl ne lo slay here forever, Iredrik`¨
¨Iorever and a day,¨ he counlered soflIy, neaningfuIIy. ¨Iorever and a
day.¨
Marie cIosed her eyes, Iovered her noulh onlo his shafl, and sucked hin
unliI he feII asIeep in lhe chair, repIele and conlenl.

ª ª ª ª ª
¨Whal are you Iooking al`¨
Surprised he´d voken lack up, Marie geslured lovard lhe aIlun of
pholographs silling in Iredrik´s Iap as she sal dovn on lhe arn of lhe chair he
vas sealed in. She´d onIy leen gone Iong enough lo gel a drink. His panls vere
sliII unzipped fron vhen she´d had hin in her noulh a fev hours ago, lhe lIack
hair on his hard leIIy disappearing inlo a lhin Iine oul of sighl inside of lhe
expensive naleriaI.
His cIear lIue eyes fIicked over her nude fIesh and hovered al her lreasls,
inducing her nippIes lo harden.
¨Iiclures, angc|.¨
She roIIed her eyes and grinned. ¨I figured oul lhal nuch, Iredrik.¨ She lhrev a
hand alsenlIy lovard lhe pholographs in queslion. ¨ßul vhal, or vho ralher, are
lhey of`¨
He shrugged. ¨A IillIe of everylody. My parenls lefore lhey died, ny oIder
lrolher lefore he died, and ne.¨ He gIanced avay and cIeared his lhroal.
.|cfcrc | úicú.
The lhoughl hovered lhere lelveen lhen, lhose unspoken vords. Marie knev
inslincliveIy lhal he vouId have said lhen aIoud had he nol lhoughl leller of il
firsl.
She decided againsl pressing hin for nore infornalion, reaIizing inslead lhal he
needed lo le dravn oul of his lIack nood lefore il devoured hin. ¨Your nolher
vas IoveIy,¨ she said cheerfuIIy. ¨You have her eyes.¨
¨Do you lhink so`¨ He sniIed sIighlIy in spile of his nyslerious lhoughls. ¨I
aIvays lhoughl I favored papa.¨
She shook her head. ¨Through lhe jav Iine and nose perhaps, lul your eyes and
your.¨ Her eyes grazed over his face. ¨.your Iips.¨ She said quielIy, ¨lhey
are definileIy your nolher´s.¨
Iredrik´s icy gaze cIashed vilh Marie´s sunnery one. He sludied her fealures in
siIence for a nonenl, lhen nodded his head. ¨Ierhaps.¨ CIearing his lhroal, he
reached dovn inside of his panls and sIovIy puIIed oul his lhick ereclion. The
head vas svoIIen and aIready vel vilh pre-ejacuIale. ¨Cone sil on hin, angc|,¨
he nurnured. ¨Sil on hin vhiIe ve Iook al lhe aIlun logelher.¨
Marie sIilhered dovn fron lhe arn of lhe chair onlo his Iap, no Ionger
queslioning her sanily for vanling Iredrik, no Ionger vishing lhal her lody
vouId quil craving his. Her lack lo his chesl, she sealed herseIf sIovIy, sucking
in her lrealh as lhe exquisile sensalion of her fIesh enveIoping his lecane
proninenl.
He kissed lhe area of skin fron her shouIder lo her neck, lhen fIicked oul his
longue and nade a vel lraiI up lo her ear Iole. Taking lhe deIicale foId of skin
inlo his noulh, he sucked sIovIy and genlIy on il, causing her nippIes lo harden
lo lhe poinl of nearing pain and her lrealhing lo hilch and lecone shaIIov.
¨Do you Iike lhal`¨ he asked quielIy, lhickIy. ¨Do you Iike lhe feeI of ny cock
inside you and ny Iips on you`¨
¨Yes,¨ she vhispered, her eyes cIosed and her head propped lack on his
shouIder, ¨I Iove il.¨
¨Spread your Iegs vider for ne, angc|. I vanl lo pIay vilh you.¨
Marie´s lhighs cane open aulonalicaIIy, her nind fiIIed vilh onIy lhe nosl
carnaI of lhoughls. She shivered vhen his fingers found her cIil, noaned vhen
he rolaled his hips and sIanned upvards inlo her sIick opening.
¨And lhis is ny nolorcycIe.¨
Marie´s eyeIashes lalled unconprehendingIy a line or lvo. Craning her neck,
she shol a gIance lack lovard Iredrik and snorled al lhe grin on his face.
¨There´s a line for lripping dovn nenory Iane vilh lhe aid of one´s pholo
aIlun,¨ she said lriIIy, haIf leasing and haIf sexuaIIy fruslraled. ¨And lhen lhere
is a line for crealing nev nenories lhal are even leller lhan lhe oId ones.¨
He rulled her svoIIen cIil and vinked. ¨And vhich line is lhis, angc|`¨
She chuckIed and shook her head sIighlIy. ¨One guess, handsone.¨
Iredrik´s eyes rounded al lhe lern of affeclion she´d caIIed hin ly. He hadn´l
expecled sonelhing Iike lhal fron her. Nol yel. Nol so soon.
He shook off lhe vay lhe sinpIe endearnenl neIled sone of lhe ice around
his cooI façade and reverled lack lo his previous Iighlhearled lanler. ¨Il´s a heII
of a nolorcycIe,¨ he leased, his accenl lhick, ¨I haven´l ridden her in over len
years, lul she´s sliII in perfecl condilion, silling in lhe oulside garage vailing for
ne lo relurn lo her.¨
The Iighl in Marie´s eyes faded a lil as her hearl lroke for hin aII over again.
Ten years. Why did everylhing cone dovn lo lhal nunler` Il vas nore lhan
arlilrary she knev, nore lhan a coincidence of fale. He had Iosl so nuch, Iredrik
had. So incredilIy nuch.
The evenls surrounding Sophie Anders´ dealh had laken lheir loII in loo
nany vays. Hov sad, Marie lhoughl, hov poignanlIy sad lhal Iredrik hadn´l
even leen alIe lo enjoy such a sinpIe lhing as riding his nolorcycIe lhroughoul
lhe counlryside, lhe vind in his hair, lhe freedon of such an acl vhal nosl
vouId lake for granled.
An acl of seIf-punishnenl, she reaIized. ßul.vhy` If he vas innocenl Iike
she vas leginning lo suspecl, lo hope, lhen.vhy`
¨You´II have lo lake ne for a ride soneline,¨ she nurnured, her eyes
scanning his fealures. ¨I vouId Iike lhal very nuch.¨
The aIlun feII lo lhe fIoor forgollen, lhe piclures Iike his nenories safeIy
seaIed avay.
The friclion on her cIil legan lo inlensify as Iredrik´s fingers noved in lrisk
circIes aloul il. She cIosed her eyes and noaned, lhen groaned vhen he rolaled
his hips and sIanned upvards again, sealing her fuIIy onlo hin.
He cIosed his eyes and sneIIed lhe fresh scenl of her goIden hair. ¨You are
nine,¨ he said possessiveIy againsl lhe lack of her neck, inpaIing her onlo hin
once nore. ¨ßara nin. OnIy nine.¨






Chaptcr 10

Three days Ialer, lreakfasl vas served in lhe eslale´s Iarge dining roon.
Again, Marie had lo vonder al hov lhe lounly had appeared, for Iredrik had
never Iefl her side lo cook il. ßul lhere vas an enlire snorgaslord and,
lhoughlfuIIy enough, nany of Marie´s favorile Anerican dishes had leen
incIuded inlo il.
He vas gelling lo her, Iredrik Sörelo, gelling lo her and cravIing under her
skin. Lvery day drev lhen cIoser logelher, every hour londed lhen nore in
fIesh and spiril, every ninule forged a nev palh lovards inlinacy and
friendship.
She had lul lhree days Iefl lo nake her decision. Three days Iefl and she
vouId le asked lo decide lhe resl of her Iife. The very lhoughl of il vas so heady
and consequenliaI lhal she chose nol lo dveII on il jusl yel.
¨Where did il cone fron`¨ Marie asked as she padded inlo lhe roon.
Iredrik vaIked in lehind her, fuIIy cIolhed as aIvays, Iooking his fiII al her
naked fIesh lefore alsenlIy gIancing lovard lhe dining lalIe. He never faiIed lo
lecone erecl al lhe nere sighl of her IushIy curved lody. ¨Servanls.¨ He
shrugged his shouIders, disnissing lhe lopic as uninporlanl.
¨And vhere are lhey nov`¨ she inquired vide-eyed, nol al aII Iiking lhe idea
lhal one or nany of lhen had perhaps seen her running around nude.
¨Cone,¨ he ansvered, effecliveIy pulling her fears lo resl. ¨They von´l le
lack unliI Iunch, angc|, so vhy lhe vorries`¨
She Iifled a lenused lrov. ¨In case il has escaped your nolice, I haven´l
leen aIIoved lo vear cIolhing in over four days.¨
His sniIe vas al once sardonic and pIayfuI. ¨Thal has never once escaped
ny nolice, I assure you.¨
Marie gIanced dovn lovard Iredrik´s panls and chuckIed vhen she spied
his ereclion. ¨I leIieve you.¨
¨Cone lake hin oul,¨ he nurnured. ¨Unzip ny panls and lake hin oul.¨
Her lody responded inslanlaneousIy lo lhe sound of his vords, her nippIes
lighlening as lendriIs of sensuaI need coiIed Iov in her leIIy.
Crinning, she gazed upvard inlo his eyes. ¨And vhal if I say ny jav hurls
lhis norning`¨ she leased. ¨Ierhaps I´n sliII loo sore fron Iasl nighl.¨ Her voice
venl dovn in linlre. ¨Renenler hov nany lines I sucked you off Iasl nighl`¨
she vhispered, her deneanor evoIving fron pIayfuI lo seduclive. ¨Three lines
as I recaII.¨
¨I renenler.¨ His laII, nuscuIar forn drev cIoser, sIovIy cIosing in on her,
as his fingers undid lhe lullons lo his shirl. ¨You can never gel enough, can
you`¨ he asked lhickIy.
¨No.¨ She shook her head sIighlIy, leconing serious for a nonenl. ¨Nol of
you I can´l.¨
¨Thal´s good, angc|, lecause I´II never have ny fiII of you.¨ He cane lo a haIl
in fronl of her, his shirl opened aII lhe vay, lhe lIack hair upon his chesl
converging dovnvards unliI il disappeared in a lhin Iine inside of his panls.
¨Unzip ne, Marie. Take hin oul and louch hin.¨
He sucked in his lrealh as she pIaced her hand over lhe luIge in his lrousers
and squeezed. ¨Whal an I going lo do vilh hin vhen I lake hin oul`¨ she
nurnured. ¨Whal does he vanl lhis norning, sucked or fucked`¨
¨ßolh. ßul righl nov he vanls heId.¨
Marie´s eyes shol up lo neel Iredrik´s. He vas speaking of nore lhan sex
and lhey lolh knev il. Was he feeIing il loo, reaIizing she vouId have lo nake a
decision soon`
Three days. Iale had given her onIy lhree nore days.
Unzipping his panls, Marie valched as his ereclion sprang Ioose fron lhe
confining naleriaI. She vrapped her paIn around il and heId lighlIy, lhen legan
lo naslurlale hin sIovIy as she drev her uncIolhed lody inlo his for an
enlrace.
They heId each olher lhal vay for sone line, she naslurlaling hin al a
IeisureIy pace vhiIe he Iel his hands roan over her lody, feeIing every crevice of
her fIesh.
¨I Iike you naked,¨ he said quielIy. ¨I never vanl lo see cIolhing on your
lody again.¨
Marie chuckIed soflIy, never lreaking lheir inlinale enlrace. ¨Nol even
vhen ve Ieave lhe eslale` We´re lound lo do lhal evenluaIIy, you knov.¨
¨Hnnn,¨ he repIied pIayfuIIy, ¨perhaps I´II aIIov you a fig Ieaf or lvo for
lhose rare occasions.¨
¨Tvo vhoIe fig Ieaves`¨ She sIid her hand dovn his ereclion and paIned his
laIIs, nassaging lhen as she spoke. ¨You´re a lig spender I see.¨
Iredrik Iaughed al lhal, causing Marie´s hearl lo lrenlIe a lil. This nan
rareIy sniIed Iel aIone Iaughed oulrighl. ßul vhen he did lhe enlire roon
seened lo Iighl up a lil. His happiness shined leller lhan any anounl of candIes.
¨Cone, angc|,¨ he said genlIy as he renoved her hand fron his lody, ¨Iel´s
eal sone lreakfasl lefore il grovs loo coId.¨
¨Mnn okay.¨ She sniIed up al hin, pIaced a sofl kiss in lhe niddIe of his
chesl, lhen gIanced quickIy aloul lhe dining roon.
A goIden eyelrov shol up. ¨There´s onIy one chair, Iredrik.¨ The olher lrov
shol up lo neel lhe firsl. ¨I knov you´re cheap vhen il cones lo cIolhes,¨ she
leased, ¨lul dining roon furnilure`¨
He haIf snorled, haIf Iaughed. ¨I´n silling on lhe chair, angc|.¨ He vaved
alsenlIy lovard lhe dining roon lalIe. ¨And you,¨ he said in Iov lones, his
voice lhickening vilh desire, ¨viII sil in fronl of ne on lhe lalIe.¨
She shook her head sIighlIy, nol underslanding. ¨I viII`¨
He chuckIed Iov in his lhroal. ¨Cone and I´II shov you.¨
A ninule Ialer, Marie vas sealed on lhe lalIelop in fronl of Iredrik´s chair,
her lullocks pIopped dovn onlo lhe niddIe of his pIace selling, her lhighs
spread vide open, her Ialia and cIil on gIislening dispIay.
Iredrik fed her fron his pIale vilh one hand vhiIe lhe olher nassaged lhe
fIesh lelveen her Iegs. Wilhin ninules, she vas veII saled in lerns of appelile,
lul sliII hungry in lerns of carnaI induIgence.
Opening her Iegs vider, she rolaled her hips upvard lo neel his paIn and
fingers. ¨Rul ne a lil fasler, Iredrik,¨ she said as her lrealhing hilched. ¨I´n so
cIose il´s agony.¨
¨Nol jusl yel, angc|.¨
She grunled. ¨Why`¨ she larked.
He chuckIed, his fingers sliII soflIy rinning her cIil and Ialia. ¨ßecause il´s
line for ne.lo eal.¨ His gaze caughl hers and heId il.
Marie´s lody sliIIed as she considered vhal he vas lrying lo leII her in so
nany vords. Her nippIes hardened and eIongaled as she figured il oul. ¨And
you vanl ne lo feed you`¨ she soflIy inquired.
¨Mnnn. Yes, angc|.¨
She eyed lhe covered dishes arranged lo lhe Iefl of her, lhen lurned her head
lack lo Iook al Iredrik. ¨And vhal are you hungry for`¨
He look a deep lrealh as he gIanced lovard lhe cuIinary seIeclions.
¨Sonelhing sinpIe, I lhink. I´n in lhe nood for fruil.¨
A goIden eyelrov arched up. ¨Slravlerries, perhaps`¨
¨Slravlerries vouId le divine.¨
IIacing her hand in a lovI of ripe fruil, she vilhdrev lvo pIunp
slravlerries and heId lhen in her paIn. She sniIed al Iredrik, lhen spenl lhe
nexl severaI nonenls filling lhe lerries over her nippIes. She vas so lurned on
lhal lhe lask vasn´l al aII difficuIl, her eIongaled nippIes gIiding easiIy inside lhe
niddIe of lhe succuIenl fruil lils, vhich she´d carved oul vilh lhe lip of a knife.
When she vas finished, she reached for a lanana and dangIed il coyIy lefore
Iredrik. ¨Care for a sIice`¨
He grinned. ¨Coes veII vilh slravlerries.¨
¨Mnn.¨ QuickIy culling up a fev chucky sIices, Marie pIaced lhe firsl piece
jusl oulside lhe enlrance lo her vagina, lhen shoved il up inside of her vilh lvo
fingers. She vas vel and varn inside, inducing lhe fruil lo sIide in ralher easiIy.
She did lhe sane vilh lvo nore sIices of lanana lefore pronouncing herseIf
ready.
She sniIed as she Iaid dovn on her lack, spreading her lhighs vide as she
recIined. ¨ßreakfasl is served,¨ she giggIed, lIushing sIighlIy in spile of herseIf.
¨Mnn. My very favorile.¨
And lhen his longue vas vrapping around lhe firsl slravlerry, loying vilh
il, leasing il, renoving il fron her nippIe and sucking on lhe lerry even as he
sucked on her nippIe sinuIlaneousIy. Marie forgol aII aloul leing shy. She
sucked in her lrealh and cIosed her eyes.
¨Don´l forgel lhe olher slravlerry,¨ she vhispered. ¨Il´s as ripe as lhe firsl
one vas.¨
¨Ialience, angc|.¨ Iredrik´s longue nade a lraiI fron lhe firsl nippIe, dovn
inlo her cIeavage, up lhe sveII of her olher lreasl, and vrapped around lhe
second slravlerry. Iopping il in his noulh, he look Marie´s nippIe lelveen his
leelh and suckIed vigorousIy al il.
¨Oh ny god,¨ she lrealhed oul.
¨Mnn.¨ He reIeased lhe nippIe a ninule Ialer, a sIighl popping sound
echoing in lhe dining roon as he did so. ¨Il viII gel even leller,¨ he pronised.
He fIicked al her nippIe vilh his longue a fev lines in rapid succession, lhen
lraiIed kisses fron her lreasl dovn lo her leIIy. He loyed vilh her naveI a lil,
vailed unliI he feIl Marie squirn lenealh hin, lhen neandered furlher dovn,
his Iips forging a lraiI lovard her vel fIesh.
¨ßananas,¨ he nurnured. ¨SneIIs heavenIy. I vonder hov I´II gel lo lhen`¨
Marie´s lrealhing grev shaIIov, reaIizing of course, lhal lhere vas onIy one
vay lo do so. ¨I´n sure you´II figure sonelhing oul,¨ she lrealhed.
¨Mnn. This perhaps`¨ His Iips found her fIesh as he darled his longue deep
inside of her. He svirIed il around a fev lines, enjoying her reaclion,
apprecialing lhe vay her hips vrilhed for hin.
¨Nol quile,¨ she groaned.
Iredrik renoved his longue fron inside of her and prelended lo ponder lhe
naller over. ¨Hnn,¨ he said, lapping his cheek, his LngIish heaviIy accenled, ¨if
sIiding ny longue inside of lhal sveel pussy doesn´l vork, lhen vhal viII`¨
Marie cIosed her eyes lriefIy, her lrealhs coning in shorl panls. ¨Try
sucking il oul.¨
¨Sucking`¨
¨Yes.¨
¨Like.,¨~lhe pIayfuI edge lo his voice died alruplIy, repIaced vilh desire
and need~¨.lhis`¨
In one forcefuI novenenl, Iredrik´s face dived dovnvards, his noulh,
longue, and Iips covering her enlire cenler. He sucked hard on her cIil, sIurping
sounds resonaling lhroughoul lhe dining roon, as he Iaved her vilh his longue
and noulh.
¨On gcú qcs.¨
Marie´s hips fIared upvards, grinding her cIil and Ialia nore forcefuIIy
againsl his noulh. ¨|rcúri| qcs.¨
He sucked on her fIesh for a fev dravn oul nonenls, lhen lhe pad of his
lhunl repIaced his noulh as he lraiIed a palh dovn vilh his Iips and covered
lhe enlrance lo her vagina. Sucking IusliIy, his lhunl rulled her cIil in lrisk
circIes as his noulh suclioned lhe fruil fron her fIesh.
¨On qcs. On gcú. On qcs.¨
Her hips lhrashing upvards, Marie´s enlire lody convuIsed as she
surrendered lo lhe pIeasure and cIinaxed. Moaning, her head feII lack againsl
lhe lalIelop as she cane, her nippIes slalling up and her face healing vilh
rushing lIood.
¨Iredrik,¨ she vhispered, panling heaviIy for air, ¨oh Iredrik lhal vas.cn
gcú.¨
He inpaIed her in one fIuid nolion, nov slanding on his feel lefore her
spIayed oul lody. Cralling her hips, he puIIed her cIoser lo lhe lalIe´s edge and
legan lo lhrusl in and oul of her in Iong, deep slrokes.
¨Yes, min angc|,¨ he rasped oul, his javs cIenched, ¨your pussy feeIs so good
lo ne.¨
¨Iasler,¨ she pIeaded. ¨I need il fasler.¨
¨Wrap your Iegs around ne, leaulifuI one.¨
Marie conpIied inslanlIy, arching her hips up lo neel his lhrusls as she
vrapped her Iegs around his vaisl. Croaning, she cIosed her eyes and Iel her
head faII lack dovn on lhe lalIelop as she enjoyed lhe sensalions eIiciled ly
Iredrik´s Iovenaking.
¨On gcú qcs.¨
He picked up lhe pace of his lhrusling, lhe sound of her vel fIesh enveIoping
his sleeI-hard shafl over and over again sIapping lhroughoul lhe roon. ¨Open
your eyes, angc|,¨ he said possessiveIy. ¨Open your eyes and see vho il is lhal
lrings you lo pIeasure.¨
HaIf noaning and haIf panling, Marie lried lo conpIy lul couIdn´l. AII she
couId do vas feeI, enjoy, experience.
Iredrik cIanped dovn on her nippIes vilh his lhunls and forefingers even
as he conlinued lo ride her fIesh hard. ¨I said open lhen,¨ he connanded.
¨Open your eyes, angc|, and see ne.¨
¨On gcú.¨
Marie´s eyes fIev open and Iocked vilh Iredrik´s as an inlense orgasn
ripped lhrough her leIIy. She heard his vords of encouragenenl lhrough lhe
haze of desire, knev he vas leIIing her lhal she leIonged lo hin, lefore she
cIosed her eyes once nore and screaned fron lhe pIeasure.
Iredrik heId onlo her nippIes as he lhrusl deepIy inlo her once, lvice, lhree
lines nore. His lrealhing Ialored, he grilled his leelh and lhrev his head lack
as his lody legan lo convuIse. ¨Maric. Cod. Maric.¨ MuscIes cording, he shouled
oul his salisfaclion as he spurled his orgasn deep inside of her.
Sone nonenls Ialer, vhen lhey´d lolh cone dovn enough fron lheir
nuluaIIy experienced high lo speak, Marie viggIed her hips, enphasizing lhe
facl lhal lhey vere sliII joined. Lxhausled, she haIf Iaughed and haIf groaned. ¨I
don´l lhink he vanls lo Ieave ne jusl yel.¨
¨He doesn´l vanl lo Ieave you ever,¨ Iredrik anended, sniIing dovn al her.
One of her eyelrovs shol up leasingIy. ¨And your fingers` Do lhey pIan lo
cIulch ny nippIes forever`¨ She gIanced dovn lo her chesl vhere her erecl
nippIes renained cIanped lelveen his lhunls and forefingers.
He chuckIed. ¨I Iove your nippIes.¨ He Iovered his head Iong enough lo fIick
his longue across lhe peaks.
Croving serious, his head cane up and his sniIe vaned. ¨Why Iel go of
sonelhing you Iove`¨ he asked neaningfuIIy, his voice having gone dovn in
linlre.
Marie´s eyes shol up lo neel his gaze. She didn´l speak for a dravn oul
nonenl, jusl sludied his faciaI fealures and lhe inlense Iook aloul hin.
Al Iasl she spoke, her voice lareIy a vhisper. ¨I´n leginning lo ask nyseIf
lhe sane queslion.¨ She sniIed sIovIy. ¨Why indeed.¨
He drev in a lrealh of air deepIy, lhen exhaIed sIovIy. ¨I Iove you, Marie.¨
¨Iredrik, I~¨
¨Shh.¨ He reIeased one of her nippIes and genlIy pIaced lvo fingers over her
Iips. ¨You don´l have lo say anylhing, angc|. }usl knov lhal il´s lrue.¨
Marie cIosed her eyes, loo overvheIned lo hoId his gaze. Afler a fev
nonenls she nodded, inducing Iredrik lo renove his hand fron her noulh.
¨Thank-you,¨ she vhispered, her eyes finding his once nore. ¨Thank-you.¨

PART III

THL CHOICL



Chaptcr 11

Marie sniIed al lhe sound of Iredrik´s hunning as il vafled lhrough lhe cIosed
lalhroon door and pernealed lhe alnosphere of lhe ledroon. He aIvays did
lhal vhen he shaved, anolher one of his loyishIy endearing quaIilies.
¨I´n coId,¨ she said lo herseIf as she padded lovard lhe ledroon´s vaIk-in
cIosel. ¨Like il or nol, handsone, I´n lorroving one of your shirls.¨
Doing a IillIe hunning herseIf, she lhrev open lhe cIosel doors and slroIIed
inside. CIancing around, she quickIy decided lhal lhe nan had a definile affinily
lovards lhe coIor lIack.
ßIack coals, lIack lrousers, lIack shoes, lIack lools.lhere vas IillIe variance
lo reIieve lhe harshness of il, save one or lvo vhile siIk shirls.
¨Cood Iord, Iredrik.¨ She sniIed lo herseIf. ¨I Iike vearing lIack loo lul lhis
is aInosl norlid.¨ She ran her hands over lvo lIack grealcoals, lhen nade a parl
lelveen lhen. Her sniIe faIlered a lil vhen she espied a snaII lalIe fiIIed vilh
valches and lhe Iike silling jusl lehind lhe coals.
¨Whal´s lhis`¨ Marie squinled her eyes a lil lo conpensale for lhe cIosel´s
duII Iighl. Draving her head cIoser, her lody sliIIed conpIeleIy vhen her gaze
sellIed upon one oljecl in parlicuIar.
¨My larrelle,¨ she nurnured, reaching oul lo cIasp lhe piece of jeveIry in
her hand. ¨The larrelle I Iosl lack in.¨
Her eyes videned as conprehension davned. Cod in heaven, she lhoughl in
horror, pIease say il vasn´l possilIe lhal.oh god.
ßrealhing raspiIy, Marie racked her lrain lo find lhe ansver she soughl.
Her hair had cone undone and her larrelle had faIIen lo lhe ground
soneline during her vaIk in lhe voods lhal nighl lhe Saal had acquired lhe fIal
lire. And if she vasn´l nislaken, she had Iosl il ralher earIy on, aInosl fron lhe
leginning of lhal hours Iong lrek lhrough lhe foresl.
Hov couId Iredrik have found il unIess.unIess he had leen lhere lhe enlire
line, valching fron a dislance as she had slunlIed around in circIes, lired and
afraid`
´Hc |i||cú ncr.¨ Hc|cna´s parcncú |ips |urncú upuarú, fcrming a cruc| s|asn cf a
smi|c. ´Rapcú ncr anú murúcrcú ncr. Cu| ncr in|c picccs anú |nrcu ncr |c |nc úcgs.¨
Marie´s hand fIev up refIexiveIy lo cover her noulh. She laIIed il inlo a fisl
and lil dovn on il. Oh god no.
´Hc´|| úc |nc samc |c qcu. |f qcu a||cu nim ncar qcu, |nc samc ui|| |cccmc cf qcu.¨
Her lrealhs coning in shorl gasps, she sliIIed conpIeleIy, Iislening for lhe
sounds of Iredrik´s hunning, proof lhal he vas sliII in lhe lalhroon and nol
aloul lo vaIk in on her and reaIize she´d found lhe larrelle.
Mozarl. He vas hunning one of Mozarl´s conposilions.
CIosing her eyes, she senl a quick prayer of lhanks up lo lhe heavens, lhen
venl aloul lhe lusiness of quickIy dressing herseIf inlo Iredrik´s cIolhes.
She didn´l have line. No line. He vouId finish soon. He vouId cone for
her. And he vouId knov. He aIvays knev. Yes, Marie lhoughl hyslericaIIy, he
aIvays knev.
SIapping a leIl around her vaisl lo hoId up lhe lrousers, she lhrev lhe
larrelle dovn onlo lhe ground unlhinkingIy, desperale lo gel avay vhiIe she
sliII had a chance. ßefore he gol lo her and.oh god vhal vouId he do`
She had no line lo consider lhe rashness of her aclions, no line lo vorry
aloul vhelher or nol she vas junping lo unfounded concIusions.
Laler she couId lhink aII she vanled. Laler, vhen she vas safe. Laler, vhen
she vas sliII.aIive.
Ior nov, she didn´l care. AII she underslood in lhe here and nov vas lhe
prinaI need for survivaI, for conlinuing on al aII cosls.
Sucking in her lrealh lo hoId lack lhe lears of anger, frighl, and
disappoinlnenl, she liploed quielIy lovard lhe enlrance lo lhe ledroon, nade
cerlain he vas sliII in lhe lalhroon unavares, lhen sprinled al lop speed dovn
lhe lvisling slaircase lhal Ied lo lhe ground fIoor leIov.
ßulloning up his shirl lo conceaI her naked lreasls, she fIev lhrough lhe
fronl door and ran inlo lhe foresl as fasl as her Iegs vouId carry her.
¨I´n sorry, Iredrik,¨ she vhispered lo lhe lrees, ¨lul leing vilh you is a
chance I can no Ionger lake.¨

ª ª ª ª ª
Iredrik sal on lhe edge of lhe led, his head hung Iov. He lvirIed lhe lIack
larrelle alsenlIy lelveen his fingers as he slared al nolhing. The nuscIes in his
lack corded and lensed, lhe pover of his enolions so rav and aII consuning.
She vas gone. Marie vas gone.
He shouId have loId her lhe lrulh. Iron lhe leginning. He shouId have loId
her everylhing.
Aloul Sophie. Aloul HeIena. Aloul lhal lIack nighl len years pasl. Aloul
vhal had reaIIy happened.
And he shouId have adnilled lhal he´d Iured Marie inlo lhe voods as veII.
And lhen he shouId have adnilled vhy.
ßecause.he needed her.
ßecause he connecled vilh her. ßecause fron lhe firsl nonenl he´d Iaid eyes
on her, he had.fc||.
He´d leen dead inside so Iong. So incredilIy Iong. Slark. ßarren. An alyss.
And lhen cane aIong Marie Roll. The leaulifuI vonan vilh lhe Iarge eyes
and a vounded hearl as luried as his ovn. He had Iooked inlo her eyes and he
had knovn. Sonehov, in sone inexpIicalIe nanner, he had knovn she vas lhe
one lhal vouId lring Iighl lack inlo lhe dark void.
ßul nov lhal Iighl vas gone, and aII lhal renained vas lhe lIackness.
He shouId have loId her.
Why, he asked hinseIf, as he ran a punishing hand lhrough his shorl dark
hair, vhy had he nol confided in her lhis enlire Iasl veek` Why had he Iel her go
on leIieving lhe vorsl vilhoul offering her lhe lrulh`
Iredrik look a deep lrealh as he hoisled hinseIf lo his feel. CIancing aloul
lhe ledroon, he cIosed his eyes lriefIy againsl lhe pain.
The led Iinens sneIIed of her scenl. The vaIIs echoed her Iaughler.
The sound of her cIinaxing in his arns. The snug Iook on her face vhen she
leal hin al chess. The serenily of her expression vhen she painled...
¨Chrisl,¨ he nurnured, his hand laIIing inlo a fisl. ¨Chrisl.¨







Chaptcr 12
Tnc Scc||isn Hign|anús, Onc Mcn|n |a|cr

Marie nillIed on her Iover Iip as she louched lhe painllrush lo canvas and lried
once nore lo recreale lhe najeslic scenery lefore her.
Il vasn´l vorking. And she knev vhy. Sonelhing, or ralher soneone, vas
nissing fron lhe equalion.
Iredrik.
The slone collage she´d purchased lo Iive oul lhe resl of her Iife in vas exaclIy
vhal she´d aIvays vanled. Il vas neilher loo snaII nor loo Iarge, neilher loo
isoIaled nor snack dal in lhe niddIe of a cily.
The serene IillIe collage vas Iocaled in a renole area of lhe HighIands, ideaI
for vhen she vanled lo le aIone, yel il vas aIso cIose enough lo lhe cily of
Inverness for vhen she needed lo le around olher peopIe.
And vhal´s nore she vas finaIIy in charge of her ovn desliny, she vas
finaIIy aII grovn up. She´d laken exlrene reIish in leIIing her falher lhal she
vasn´l relurning lo lhe slales.ever. And lhal she vouId see hin.perhaps
never again.
Il hadn´l leen a difficuIl decision lo nake, nol once she´d sel her eyes on lhis
lerrific IillIe slone forlress, lhis collage lhal caIIed lo her on so nany IeveIs.
Marie had found peace here, an inner serenily, a sense of veII leing she´d
never again sacrifice for anyone. She vouId never relurn lo lhe slales again, nol
even lo visil.
And yel as happy as she vas in lhe HighIands, she vas aIso fundanenlaIIy
avare of lhe facl lhal sonelhing inporlanl vas nissing. Thal sonelhing vas a
nan. ßul nol jusl any nan, of course. Nol jusl any nan vouId do. She nissed
Iredrik.
Iredrik Sörelo. Marie shook her head and sighed as she sel lhe painllrush in
a dish of cIeaner and slared alsenlIy al her painling.
Why did she niss hin` she asked herseIf for lhe unpleenlh line since
Ieaving Cölhnoor. He vas secrelive and nyslerious, doninanl and unlending,
aulhorilalive and.
She sighed as she raked a hand lhrough her nane of goIden Iocks.
There vas no use lrying lo laIk herseIf oul of il. No naller Iredrik´s fauIls
she knev lhe nan lhal dveIIed lenealh lhen. She knev he vas inlrinsicaIIy
honesl, fundanenlaIIy IoyaI and devoul.
Those lhings HeIena had said veren´l lrue. They couIdn´l le lrue. They
sinpIy didn´l add up.
Il no Ionger nallered lo her vhal Iredrik´s roIe had leen in lhal lragedy len
years pasl lecause she knev he hadn´l done lhe horrific lhings he´d leen
accused of.
A slal of guiIl joIled lhrough her as she adnilled lo herseIf for lhe firsl line
since she´d Iefl Cölhnoor lhal she had knovn lhe lrulh lefore she´d run fron
hin. Lven lefore lhen she had knovn il. And yel Iike a covard, as afraid of her
enolions as she´d once leen of Iredrik, she had sliII run avay.
¨Whal have I done`¨ she vhispered lo herseIf. ¨Dann il, vhal have I done`¨
And il gol vorse. Marie cIosed her eyes and look a calharlic lrealh as she
conlenpIaled jusl hov nuch vorse il acluaIIy gol.
Iredrik had leen Iooking for her, she knev. She had leen lracked dovn as
far as Inverness severaI lines ly hin, lul lhe HighIander friends she´d nade had
kepl lheir ovn counciI and offered hin no infornalion concerning her
vherealouls.
ßul lhey had given her a Ieller. A Ieller fron Iredrik lhal she had never read,
lhal she had lhrovn in a draver and refused lo so nuch as gIance al for fear lhal
il vouId cause her lo feeI as ladIy aloul vhal she´d done lo hin as she feIl lhis
very nonenl.
Croaning dranalicaIIy, she hoisled herseIf up lo her feel and nade a leeIine
for lhe collage door. ¨You´re an idiol, Marie,¨ she chaslised herseIf lhrough
cIenched leelh. ¨A goddann idiol.¨
She found lhe Ieller preciseIy vhere she´d Iefl il, silling in an unused draver
vilhin lhe slone collage´s airy kilchen. Her hands shaking, she funlIed lo gel
lhe enveIope open and lo renove lhe Ieller il conceaIed. CIosing her eyes, she
heId lhe parchnenl up lo her nose and lrealhed in lhe scenl.
Iredrik.
She vouId have knovn ly lhe nusky, nascuIine scenl aIone lhal lhe Ieller
had leen vrillen ly hin.
Her hearl pounding, she feII inlo lhe chair cIosesl lo her slanding posilion
and legan lo read.
Mq Dcarcs| Maric.
| úcn´| ||amc qcu fcr running, sc úcn´| |nin| |na| | úc. Sc manq unansucrcú
qucs|icns, sc manq |nings | ccu|ú natc saiú |c ma|c qcu unúcrs|anú una| naú nappcncú
sc |cng agc, anú qc| | nc|ú mq si|cncc.
|´tc as|cú mqsc|f unq fcr ucc|s ncu anú a|| | can ccmc up ui|n is |na| | úiún´|
uan| |c |a|c |nc cnancc cf |csing qcu, |c natc qcu |ncu una| naú nappcncú |na| nign|
anú úcciúc agains| Us.
Anú qc|, |nis is prccisc|q una| nas nappcncú, nas i| nc|? |ifc can |c úcciúcú|q
ircnic.
| úiún´| |i||, Scpnic, ängeI. Or a| |cas| nc| cn purpcsc. | |ctcú |nc gir| cncc, cr
|ncugn| | úiú a| |nc |imc.
Snc uas qcung anú snc uas |cau|ifu| anú snc uas fu|| cf |ifc, Scpnic uas. Snc uas
|nc scr| cf ucman |na| uncn snc rcacncú fcr |nc s|ars snc a|uaqs managcú |c grasp |ncm
in |nc pa|m cf ncr nanú.
8u| |ncrc uas a úar| siúc |c ncr as uc||. An cmp|incss anú a tciú |na| ctcn|ua||q
ctcrpcucrcú ncr anú |ccamc a||-ccnsuming. || uas a siúc cf ncr | naún´| |ccn sncun
un|i| |a|cr |cuarú |nc cnú.
Marie´s eyes videned as she scanned lhe pages. She vas aloul lo find oul
vhal happened. So nuch gossip, so nany queslions, and finaIIy she vas aloul
lo le loId lhe lrulh of lhal horrific nighl len years pasl. She cIulched lhe Ieller
lighler, crinkIing lhe edges.
8cfcrc ncr úca|n, Scpnic naú ccmc |c mc, uan|ing |c ccnfiúc in mc, |u| uas afraiú
| ucu|ú |urn auaq frcm ncr if | |ncu |nc |ru|n.
| assurcú ncr |na| uas nc| |nc casc, |na| i| ucu|ú nctcr |c |nc casc, |na| snc ccu|ú
|c|| mc anq|ning anú |´ú nctcr |catc ncr.
|´tc ncarú i| saiú |na| cnc sncu|ú |c carcfu| |cfcrc ma|ing sucn ||an|c| s|a|cmcn|s
anú | uas sccn |c úiscctcr ncu |ruc |ncsc ucrús rang.
Scpnic, qcu scc, uas prcgnan|. Anú | |ncu |nc cni|ú ccu|ún´| pcssi||q |c minc
|ccausc uc naú nctcr ccnsumma|cú cur rc|a|icnsnip.
Sc uncn snc camc |c mc a| |nc cs|a|c anú fcunú mc cu| cn |nc |a|ccnq | |urncú cn
ncr. | f|cu in|c a ragc anú |urncú cn ncr. | úiún´| |cucn ncr, minú qcu, |u| mcrc|q
sncu|cú a| ncr.
| úiún´| carc una| prcmiscs |´ú maúc, úiún´| carc a|cu| anq|ning c|sc c|ncr |nan
|nc fac| |na| snc naú gitcn ncr |cúq |c anc|ncr man. Anú ucrsc, snc naú gitcn ncr |cúq
|c anc|ncr man qc| naú nctcr a||cucú mc |c |cucn ncr.
| uan|cú ncr cu| cf mq ncusc, gcnc frcm mq sign|. | qc||cú a| ncr |c |catc, |c nctcr
ccmc |ac|. Snc uas jus| |i|c a|| |nc c|ncrs |cfcrc ncr, |´ú sncu|cú. A |qing |i|||c s|u| |na|
ucu|ú |c|| a man anq|ning |c gc| una| snc uan|cú frcm nim. A |c|raqcr unc uan|cú mc
fcr mq mcncq anú naugn| c|sc.
8u| |ncn uncn snc |urncú |c |catc, | fc|| a suúúcn scnsc cf gui|| anú saúncss. |
quic|cú úcun anú nc|ú cu| mq nanú |c ncr, |c||ing ncr nc| |c gc, |c ccmc |ac| cu| |c |nc
|a|ccnq anú |na| uc ucu|ú spca| cf una| naú nappcncú |cgc|ncr.
| |ncugn| snc ucu|ú |c rc|ictcú, gra|cfu| ctcn. 8u| snc uasn´|.
Incn snc |urncú arcunú snc uas.smi|ing. |i|cra||q.smi|ing.
|´|| nctcr fcrgc| |nc ccric |cc| in ncr cqcs, |nc upuarú |i|| |c ncr |ips as snc s|cu|q
|urncú arcunú |c facc mc. || uas cncugn |c ma|c mc uarq, a |aú frign|cncú ctcn. Tna| |
s|ccú a fcc| |a||cr anú cign|q pcunús ncaticr úiún´| ctcn rcgis|cr.
´Ycu´rc a fcc|, |rcúri|,¨ snc naú saiú. ´A ||ccúq fcc|. Diú qcu ncncs||q |nin| |
ucu|ú ctcr |c| an ug|q crca|urc |i|c qcu |cucn mc uncn |ncrc arc sc manq c|ncrs mucn
mcrc nanúscmc cf facc anú fcrm |c cnccsc frcm?¨
¨Oh Iredrik,¨ Marie vhispered, a singIe lear lracking sIovIy dovn her
cheek. ¨She vas vrong. So very vrong.¨
Anú |ncn Scpnic |c|ú mc |nc namc cf |nc man snc´ú |ccn |qing ui|n, |nc namc cf
|nc man unc naú |a|cn ncr |c nis |cú, maúc ncr c|imax rcpca|cú|q, anú naú gc||cn ncr
ui|n cni|ú. Snc |c|ú mc nis namc anú | |ncugn| | uas gcing |c |cccmc i||, Maric.
Sc | sncu|cú a| ncr |c gc, |c |catc cncc anú fcr a|| |ccausc |nc tcrq sign| cf ncr
maúc mq s|in crau|.
Tna|´s uncn Scpnic |cs| i| ccmp|c|c|q. Snc |ungcú a| mc |i|c scmc scr| cf ra|iú
anima|, c|auing a| mc ui|n ncr nai|s anú spcuing a|| scr|s cf ti|c |nings.
| úiún´| |ncu ncu |c rcac| rca||q. | uasn´| ccr|ain una| |c úc. 8u| mq rcf|cxcs
|cc| ctcr anú | pusncú ncr auaq frcm mc ui|n a|| cf |nc fcrcc in mq |cúq.
Anú |ncn, |i|c scmc|ning cu| cf a |aú mctic, | ua|cncú in ncrrcr as |nc |a|ccnq
rai|ing gatc uaq anú Scpnic |cgan |c |csc ncr |a|ancc.
|n |na| mcmcn| snc |cc|cú sanc again. |n |na| mcmcn| snc naú |cccmc ra|icna|
|cng cncugn |c rca|izc |na| snc uas gcing |c úic, |na| snc uas fa||ing anú |na| snc uas
gcing |c úic.
´|rcúri|!¨ Snc naú scrcamcú, nc|úing ncr nanú cu| |c mc.
Anú | sucar |c qcu, Maric, | sucar |c qcu |na| | |ungcú fcr ncr anú |ricú |c ma|c
i| in |imc. Anú naú | |ccn c|cscr |c ncr | mign| natc maúc i|.
8u| | uasn´|.anú | úiún´|.
Scpnic fc|| frcm |nc |a|ccnq anú |ncrc uas nc|ning | ccu|ú úc |c satc ncr. | ncarú
ncr scrcam |nrcugncu| |nc úura|icn cf |nc cn|irc fif|q-fcc| p|ummc|. Tnc tcrq scunú cf i|,
|nc scunú a pcrscn ma|cs uncn |ncq |ncu |ncq arc úqing.| ncar i| in mq nign|marcs |c
|nis úaq.
Marie cIanped a hand over her noulh lo keep fron crying oul. Ioor Iredrik.
Snc fc|| un|i| ncr |cúq ni| an arca cf jaggcú rcc|s cn |nc |cacn |c|cu. Snc ni| i|
ui|n sucn fcrcc |na| ncr cncs| uas impa|cú |q an c||cng s|cnc, |cating |cninú a nc|c |nc
sizc cf a |as|c||a||.
|cr ncurs | sa| |ncrc cn |nc prccipicc cf |nc |rc|cn |cúgc, |cc in sncc|, |cc
ncrrificú |c úc anq|ning c|sc. | sncu|ú natc gcnc anú c|cancú up ncr rcmains |na| Hc|cna
mign| natc naú a| |cas| |na|.
8u| | simp|q sa| |ncrc ins|caú, ncurs f|qing |q |i|c minu|cs, as | ua|cncú ui|ú
úcgs fccú frcm |nc |rc|cn f|csn cf a qcung gir| unc |aq úcaú cn a pi|c cf jaggcú rcc|s, ncr
|cúq cn|q ncurs |cfcrcnanú nating |ccn imprcgna|cú |q ncr cun fa|ncr...
¨Oh Cod.¨
Tears ran unchecked dovn Marie´s cheeks as she read lhe renainder of lhe
slory.
She haled herseIf in lhal nonenl for nol having slood ly Iredrik, despised
herseIf for giving credence even a second Iong lo vhal lhe olviousIy crazed
HeIena had said aloul hin.
And lhen lhe slory of Sophie Anders´ dealh ended and lhe Ieller conlinued,
Iredrik lhen having recounled lhe Iasl len years of his Iife for her, leIIing her of
lhe guiIl and shane lhal had consuned hin for so Iong.
And finaIIy he spoke of her, of Marie, and lhe lears legan lo fIov again.
Ycu úiú as | rcqucs|cú anú gatc mc a ucc| cf qcur |ifc. A ucc| |c ua|| in |nc
sunsninc ui|n qcu. A ucc| |c fcc| |i|c a unc|c man again. A ucc| |c fa|| in |ctc anú natc
|nc p|casurc cf gc||ing |c |ncu |nc rca| Maric Rc||. | úiú a|| cf |ncsc |nings anú mcrc,
ängeI.
Marie sviped al her eyes vilh lhe sIeeve of her arl snock. Her hands vere
shaking so ladIy she had lo sel lhe Ieller on lhe kilchen lalIelop and hover over
il lo finish.
| ui|| nctcr fcrgc| nc| ctcn cnc mcmcn| cf |nc |imc uc spcn| |cgc|ncr. Nctcr.
| ui|| rcmcm|cr cacn |augn, cacn cm|racc, cacn c|imax, cacn smi|c.
Incn firs| | sau qcu | naú úc|crmincú |c |ccp qcu. | |ncugn| nctcr |c gitc qcu
|nc cncicc |c |catc mc fcr | uan|cú qcu lhal mucn.
8u| |nc mcrc |imc | spcn| ui|n qcu, |nc mcrc | fc|| in |ctc ui|n qcu, anú |nc mcrc
| |cgan |c rca|izc |na| | ccu|ún´| úc i|. Nc| anú |ncn a||cmp| af|cruarú |c |itc in pcacc
ui|n mqsc|f.
Ycu´tc |ccn |i|c a cagcú |irú a|| cf qcur |ifc, ängeI, singing |c ctcrq|cúq´s |unc
|u| qcur cun. Papa´s |unc. Sccic|q´s |unc. |tcn mq |unc. 8u| nctcr |c Maric´s.
| ncpc qcu natc fcunú una|ctcr i| is qcu ucrc |cc|ing fcr in Scc||anú, ängeI, anú
| ncpc qcu´rc singing a scng |na| fcr cncc |c|cngs cn|q |c qcu.
Anú qc| | a|sc ncpc qcu ui|| |nin| |ac| cn cur ucc| frcm |imc |c |imc anú
rcmcm|cr i| |inú|q. Anú uncnctcr |nc nign|s grcu cc|ú anú |cnc|q, rcmcm|cr |na| |ncrc
is a man in Sucúcn unc carrics qcu in nis ncar| a|uaqs.
Tnan|-qcu, min ängeI. Tnan|-qcu fcr ctcrq|ning qcu´tc gitcn |c mc. | ui|| nc|ú
i| c|csc |c mq ncar| anú cncrisn i| a|uaqs.
Ncu gc pain| prc||q pic|urcs anú sing nappq scngs anú nctcr again |c| anq fcc|
|c|| qcu |na| qcur |ctc cf úcing sc isn´| ucr|nuni|c.
Ycu saiú |c mc cncc |na| | am ucr|nq. Ic|| Maric, ängeI, sc |cc arc qcu. Nctcr
úcu|| i|.
A|| cf mq |ctc,
|rcúri|




Chaptcr 13

Iredrik sludied lhe porlrail Marie had painled of hin slanding anongsl his
gardens as he sipped fron his norning cup of coffee. The gardens in queslion
vere fuII of Iife loday, vilranl lIoons of coIor conlrasled againsl an equaIIy aIive
sky.
He ran a caIIused finger over one painled fIover, a lud Marie had painled inlo
lhe piclure lhal had yel lo lIoon.
¨Sorl of Iike ne, angc|, lefore I´d nel you.¨
SniIing al his ovn nusings, he renoved his finger fron lhe porlrail and slared
alsenlIy oul inlo lhe gardens as he conlinued lo sip fron his coffee.
He vondered vhal Marie vas doing lhis very nonenl, vondered if she
lhoughl aloul hin fron line lo line, or even al aII.
Ior her, he reaIized, nore lhan a nonlh had passed ly, vherein her
nenories of hin had perhaps faded sonevhal.
ßul for hin, for Iredrik, he sliII feIl caughl up in lhe niddIe of lheir veek in
paradise, repIaying each nonenl over and over again in his nind unliI he
lecane loo grief slricken lo conlinue.
He nissed her. Chrisl hov he~
¨HeIIo, Iredrik.¨
Shocked, and nol aIlogelher uncerlain lhal he vasn´l inagining lhings, he
drev his head up sIovIy and Iooked around, visuaIIy scanning lhe garden.
Nolody.
}esus, he lruIy vas Iosing il.
Sighing, Iredrik sel dovn his coffee cup and slood up lo Ieave. The
gardens.lhere vere sinpIy loo nany nenories of her here. He needed lo Ieave
lhis pIace, and preferalIy lefore he Iosl his nind aIlogelher.
¨I said heIIo Iredrik.¨
Iredrik´s head shol up as he scanned lhe gardens once nore. Thal line he
vas cerlain he´d heard a vonan´s voice.and lhal jusl nayle he´d heard ncr
voice.
And lhen she energed fron one of lhe palhs and his hearl rale increased ly
lenfoId. She vas naked, conpIeleIy naked, jusl as she´d leen during lheir enlire
veek in lhe sun.
¨Marie,¨ he nurnured.
She sniIed sIovIy, coning lo a haIl lefore hin vhen she reached his side.
She nodded. ¨I´n here,¨ she vhispered.
Slunned and overvheIned, he couId onIy scan her fealures, nenorizing
every Iine, every curve, and connilling lhen lo nenory.
Al Iasl, afler nany nonenls had leen spenl in siIence, he shook his head
sIighlIy and nel her gaze. ¨ßul vhy`¨ he asked sonevhal shakiIy. ¨Why did
you cone lack`¨
Marie sniIed up al hin, her eyes gIislening vilh unshed lears. ¨I cane lo
lake you hone,¨ she said soflIy.
Those vords. The very sane vords Iredrik had said lo her aII lhose veeks
pasl...
CIosing his eyes, he sucked in his lrealh lo sleady hinseIf, nol vanling lo
appear veak lefore Marie.
¨I Iove you, Iredrik,¨ she vhispered, her hand reaching oul lo unzip his
lrousers. ¨I Iove you and I´ve cone lo lake you hone.¨
And lhen he no Ionger cared vhelher a slray lear or lvo ran unchecked, for
he had Marie in his arns and her fIesh vas veIconing his as lhey look lo lhe
grass and nade Iove in lhe sun.
He inpaIed her over and over, again and again, never vanling lhe nonenl
lo slop, never vanling lhe feeIing lo end. She cIung lo hin vilh aII of her lody,
aII of her enolions, her Iegs vrapped lighlIy around his vaisl, her lhroal lared
lo his noulh as he lhrusl deepIy inside of her.
And sone ninules Ialer vhen lhey Iay spenl and repIele in each olher´s
arns, Iredrik galhered her as lighlIy againsl hin as possilIe and squeezed her
affeclionaleIy.
¨You said you vere going lo lake ne hone,¨ he vhispered in Iov lones, his
voice husky fron lheir Iovenaking.
¨I an.¨
¨Ior hov Iong viII you keep ne`¨ he asked seriousIy.
Marie searched his cIear lIue gaze and sniIed conlenlIy. ¨Iorever and a
day,¨ she nurnured. ¨Iorever and a day.¨




PART IV
IHOLNIX
FROM THE FLAMES



EpI!nguc
Marie Iaughed as she vrapped her arns around Iredrik´s vaisl and heId on
lighlIy. ¨I´ve never ridden on a nolorcycIe naked lefore!¨ she yeIIed in order lo
le heard over lhe noise of lhe engine.
¨Neilher have I!¨ he shouled lack, Iaughing as lhe vind vhipped aloul lhen.
¨Il´s prelly cooI.¨
Marie giggIed, Ioving hov he picked up Anerican phrases of hers and lhrev
lhen inlo senlences unlhinkingIy. ¨I vonder if ve´II le alIe lo find any roads lo
do lhis on vhen ve gel lo lhe HighIands nexl veek!¨
Iredrik shrugged his shouIders and chuckIed. ¨We´II nake a nev road logelher
if one doesn´l aIready exisl.¨ He gIanced lack al her Iong enough lo vink.
Marie squeezed hin around lhe niddIe and pIaced a kiss on lhe lack of his
neck. He vas speaking in doulIe enlendres again, onIy lhis line she knev
preciseIy vhal he´d neanl. ¨Iredrik`¨
¨Hn`¨
¨}ag äIskar dig.¨
He sniIed fuIIy, dispIaying a Iine of neal vhile leelh. ¨}a laly. I Iove you
loo.¨

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