Saved Mafia Bride by Mae Doyle


Fear and anger wash over me in waves, both emotions trying to take control as I do my best to keep my breathing steady. If I turn to look at Gavin I’m sure that I might do something stupid, like spill my guts on what’s really going on. Instead of letting something dumb like that happen, though, I keep my face turned to the window.

It’s getting darker out and we’ve been in the car for a while. Nervously, I turn to glance at him, just enough to see that he’s still gripping the steering wheel like he wants to kill it. His jaw is tight and hard and I have to rip my eyes away from him before I do something I’ll regret forever.

Like try to see what it would feel like to kiss him.

The very first time I met him in the parking lot outside of the bakery where I was supposed to start working, I’d wanted to get to know him better. He’s handsome, but not in a traditional magazine sort of way. There’s a huge scar on his face that I want to reach out and touch even though I’m pretty sure that he’d snap my fingers clean off my hand if I tried.

We’re on the interstate now, zipping past other cars like we’re really in a hurry to get somewhere and I feel my stomach twist. This probably isn’t good that he wants to drive me like this, wants to take me somewhere. I clear my throat, trying to gather the balls needed to say something to him.

“Where are we going?”

“Home.” One word, one syllable, but I feel my stomach drop. Turning, I look in the backseat like that’s going to give me any clue of where he’s taking me, but what I see makes me want to throw up.

Suitcases. They’re stacked up in the backseat like he’s going away on a long trip.

Or going home from one.

A chill runs up my spine and I wrap my arms around me, surreptitiously reaching over to try the door handle. It clicks uselessly under my touch and I let it go, hoping that Gavin didn’t notice.

“Child safety locks are on,” he tells me, glancing at me just long enough for me to feel a warmth spread through my core at his gaze. “You’re not getting out, Clara. Not until we’re home.”

I bite my lower lip. “Where is home?”

This makes him chuckle and the sound wraps around me like a noose, making it hard for me to breathe. In this moment I realize just how badly I’m fucking up. I should be fighting him.

I should do whatever it takes to try to get away from him.

And what the hell am I doing? Just sitting here like I’m out on a Sunday drive with my boyfriend when I know full well that if I don’t get the money I need soon that I am really and truly fucked.

“Please,” I say, reaching over and grabbing his arm. His skin is warm and I feel his muscles tense under my touch but I try to ignore how good it feels. “I have to get back. I have to pay someone and if I don’t work, I don’t have the cash.”

“So you thought you’d strip? Rather than ask me for help?” There’s a low warning in his voice that wasn’t there a moment ago and part of my brain is screaming at me that I’m in danger, but I’m too damn stubborn for my own good.

“I don’t know you!” I’m screaming now, but I don’t care and don’t think that I could stop even if I had to. “I don’t know you, you don’t know me! Why the fuck would you want to help me? Or even care about me? You act like you know me, but you don’t, so why the fuck would you care that I chose to strip to pay the bills?”

I don’t even realize that he’s angling the car over to the side of the interstate until we hit the rumble strips and slide to a stop in the wet grass. His eyes are wide as he stares at me and he’s breathing heavily, almost panting, watching me to see what the hell I’m going to do.

“Well?” I shout, waving my arms at him like I’m going to be able to scare him off. “What do you have to say for yourself? You can’t pretend like this is okay.” I slam my elbow back into the window. “You can’t just keep me here!”

“I can do whatever the fuck I want with you, Clara, because you belong to me.” Gavin leans forward and I shrink back against the window to try to put some space between the two of us.

Behind him, cars zip by on the interstate. Nobody slows down to help us. They probably don’t want to get involved, or don’t realize that I’m honestly fucked.

“I don’t belong to anyone.” My head pounds as I spit the words back at him. How many times have I reminded myself of that to try to keep my head on straight? How many times have I tried to convince myself of that?

Too damn many to count.

“That’s where you’re wrong.” He flips open the console between the two of us and pulls out a vial. I flinch away, suddenly understanding what he’s going to do to me, but it’s too late. Even as I throw myself against the car door to try to get away from him, I feel the prick of the needle in my arm.

And then that’s all that I feel.