God of Malice (Legacy of Gods #1) by Rina Kent
I try to free my wrist from his hand, but he tightens his hold until I’m sure he’ll break my bones just to peek inside them.
It’s been only a minute since I met him, but I honestly wouldn’t be surprised if he did break my wrist. After all, he wanted to take a picture of me falling to my death.
And while that’s odd, it’s downright terrifying, too. Because I know, I just know that this American stranger would be able to do it in a blink and not think about the consequences.
“Let me go,” I say in a clipped tone.
His lips tip at the corners. “Ask nicely and I might.”
“What’s the definition of nicely to you?”
“Add a please or drop on your knees. Either will do. Doing them both at the same time would be highly recommended.”
“How about neither?”
He tilts his head to the side. “That would be both pointless and foolish. After all, you’re at my mercy.”
In a swift movement, he pushes me to the edge again. I try to stop the brutality of his movement, but my strength is a mere straw in the face of his raw power.
In no time, my legs are hanging on the verge of the cliff, but this time, I grab hold of the strap of his camera, his shirt, and any surface I can dig my nails in.
He’s so cold, it freezes my fingers and leaves me breathless. “Please!”
An appreciative sound slips from his lips, but he doesn’t drag me back. “That wasn’t so hard, now, was it?”
My nostrils flare, but I manage to say, “Can you stop this?”
“Not when you didn’t finish your second part of the bargain.”
I stare at him, probably looking dumbfounded as hell. “Second part?”
He places a hand on top of my head, and that’s when I notice that he’s tall. So tall that it’s intimidating.
At first, he merely caresses a few strands of my hair behind my ears. The gesture is so intimate that my mouth goes dry.
My heart beats so loudly that I think it’ll rip from my rib cage.
No one has ever touched me with this level of nonnegotiable confidence. No—not confidence. It’s power.
The overwhelming type.
His fingers that were just stroking my hair dig in my skull and shove down so hard, my legs give out. Just like that.
I think he’s pushed me to my death, after all, but my knees bump against the solid ground and so does my heart.
When I stare up, I find that gleam again. Earlier, I thought it was a flash of light, some semblance of white in the black.
I thought wrong.
A shade of absolute darkness.
Pure sadism shines in his irises as he holds my head hostage, and the worst part is that if he lets go, I’ll surely tumble backward.
A frightening smirk lifts his lips. “Being on your knees is highly recommended indeed. Now, should we begin?”
This can’t be real.
And yet, as my eyes clash with the stranger’s muted and absolutely lifeless ones, I’m unsure of whether this is real or if I’m caught in a nightmare.
Probably the latter.
It’s not even about his savage hold on my hair, which I’m sure if I attempt to fight, he might tear from my skull—or worse, use to yank me over the cliff like he’s been threatening ever since I met him.
In hindsight, I should’ve been ready for something like this, considering my family.
I’ve always thought I had unusual family and friends. Heck, Grandpa is a ruthless sociopath. So is my uncle. My brother is even worse.
But maybe since I’ve known them all my life, I’ve normalized their behavior. I’ve accepted it as if it were a given. Because they’re functioning members of society, and I’ve never been their target.
I was blindsided and thought I could handle people like them if I met them in real life.
But then again, nothing could’ve prepared me for being in this position with someone I’ve just met.
The sound of crashing waves comes in sync with my chaotic thoughts. The cold air seeps through my jacket to underneath my top, chilling the sweat clinging to my skin. I’ve been on fire ever since the rush of life flowed into my veins earlier so the sensation is welcome.
Despite my instinct that keeps screaming at me to run away, I’m well aware that any sudden movement will probably get me killed.
So I swallow the saliva that’s gathered in my mouth and respond to his last statement, “Begin what?”
“Payment for saving you.”
“You didn’t.” I throw a trembling hand around. “I’m still on the edge.”
“And you’ll remain that way until you give me what you promised.”
“I didn’t promise you anything.”
His head cocks to the side and so does the camera, following the axis of his body with haunting, methodical motion. “Oh, but you did. And I repeat, whatever you want, remember?”
“Those were words I said in the heat of the moment. They don’t count.”
“They do to me. So either give me what I want or…” he trails off, craning his neck toward whatever’s behind me. He doesn’t need to voice it. I can tell where he’s aiming.
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