By: Tara Crescent

I frown at him. “I speak pretty fluent French,” I say. “I hate when people listen to my French and switch to English. It’s rude.”

I am the one being rude, but his smile just widens. “D’accord.” Okay. I notice, at that precise moment when he smiles, that he’s really good looking. Two dimples dance in his cheeks. He has short dark hair, with just a hint of a wave in it. Stubble coats his chin. His shoulders are broad and his body, from what I can tell, is the definition of perfection. He is wearing a suit that makes him stand out in this poor corner of Paris.

I am very aware that I set off in a run after my altercation with Lucien. My hair is damp with sweat and sticks to my forehead. My shirt clings to me. I’m dishevelled and unkempt but he doesn’t seem to mind.

We chat in French. I have exaggerated a little. My French is very good, but I am not a native speaker. But he is, this stranger with eyes that are as blue as the ocean. His pronunciation is impeccable, his accent flawlessly Parisian.

His name is Marc, he tells me. He doesn’t offer a last name and I don’t ask. I tell him my name is Rachel. A lie, of course. My real name is not to be revealed. I’m on a mission and my cover is critical.

There is passion dancing between Marc and me. I feel something for him that I’ve never felt before for a man. Lust. Arousal. Flushed pleasure when his fingers caress mine, a certain blushing acquiescence when he insists on buying me a drink.

His hands cup my jaw as the night goes on. “Come home with me?” he asks directly.

Lucien’s angry words are still on my mind. “Fix this. You are useless to me this way.” And though I am angry with him, I understand the truth of his words. I have always known that I might have to play the seductress, if the situation warrants it. I’d do anything to get Dylan McAllister. Yet I am terrified of sex and I recoil from a man’s touch, knowing from hard experience how close lust is to cruel violence.

But I want Marc and this makes him a means to an end. I have never felt lust before. I should embrace this feeling and go home with this man. I will use this tight, pleasurable feeling in my lower belly, the heat in my cheeks and the painful ache in my erect nipples. I will fix my inability to enjoy sex. I will free myself of the fear in my heart when a man desires me.


The time I spend with him is the most incredible night in my life. It is a night in which I feel genuine pleasure from the act of sex for the first time.

I stay with him all night. In the morning, he drives me back to an apartment complex in Clichy sous Bois. He looks unhappy when he sees the badly maintained building, but he doesn’t harp on about it. Instead, his eyes rest on mine. “Can I see you again?” he asks.

My heart breaks. My life doesn’t have room for relationships. Not as long as Dylan McAlister is still alive.

But by this time, after four years of Lucien’s training, I’m skilled at lying. “I’d really like that,” I say. That part isn’t a lie. What follows is. “Let me give you my phone number?” I reel off a number to him, and he punches it into his cell phone and dials. The phone in my pocket rings, and I smile at him.

“Now you have my number too,” he says in explanation.

He kisses me goodbye. I let him. I stand and watch him drive off and then, I pull out the cheap burner phone, remove the SIM card and toss it in the trash. A swift twist of my hands, and the flip phone breaks into two. I toss each part of the phone in two different trash cans on my way back to Lucien.

I’ll never see Marc last-name-unknown again. I tell myself it is for the best.


“Are you listening to me, Jenny?” Madame Lorraine gave me a strange look and I realized I was zoning out on her again. I shook myself internally. I had to keep my head in the game. Truth be told, though I put a bold face on it for Lucien, I was petrified at the idea of this auction. I’d sworn I was done being someone’s sex slave. Yet this was the only way to get to Dylan.

This auction is for consensual sexual submissives, I reminded myself in an effort to keep my fear at bay. This will be nothing like what Dylan McAllister did to you. But that wasn’t entirely true, was it? I couldn’t know. After all, Alexander Hamilton was an associate of Dylan’s. Perhaps he too got his thrills from kidnapping and raping women.

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