Background info: Sophie was kidnapped at a young age by the Russian mob boss, and her SECRET boyfriend, matt, is an undercover Fbi agent. She doesn’t know he’s with the Fbi. he doesn’t know she’s a kidnap victim.
Out of the corner of her eye, Sophie watched Matt marveling at the ornate structure of the mansion as they moved from room to room. He even asked to see the kitchen pantry which was interesting. The only thing in there was food.
They passed by a couple of the maids who had been bustling to get dinner ready, but they wouldn’t even look up as Sophie passed. She’s already learned that no one was willing to be her friend in the entire household. Though, the closest thing she had to a friend was her bodyguard, Damir, and even he didn’t quite make the cut.
Matt reached out and took her hand, giving it a squeeze before giving her a quick kiss on the cheek. Heat crept its way into Sophie’s cheeks as she smiled, but even so, she felt on edge. Something was going to happen tonight, she could just feel it. And it wasn’t going to be good.
“Is there anywhere else you’d like to see?” Sophie asked, silently counting down the minutes when Blaine would be coming out of the lair where a few other men in the mob were right now.
“What about your room? Someone’s room says a lot about a person. Will you let me see?”
Sophie swallowed hard as she glanced down the hallway. They still had about ten minutes before Blaine would show up. It couldn’t hurt, but there really wasn’t much for him to see.
She nodded tentatively as she led him further down the hallway, past Blaine’s study, and then all the way at the end where her door remained closed. Very slowly, she turned the handle of her door and opened it, leading Matt inside. The room appeared very ornate and she had all the best things from a dresser to a bed to a table, and even a couch in the corner.
But even as Matt looked around, he noticed the one thing that she wished he wouldn’t have. “Are you sure you live in here? It looks completely uninhabited. Nothing on the walls. Nothing on the tables or dresser. Bed is perfectly made. What’s up?”
Shaking her head, she crossed to the other side of the room to look out the window. The mobsters began to return to their cars up front which meant that they needed to get back downstairs soon.
“This isn’t my home,” Sophie said quietly. Her emotions started showing, so she told herself to calm down. Breath. Suck back your emotions. Feel nothing at all. “Anyways, looks like Blaine’s meeting is over. Let’s head back downstairs.”
Sophie started to walk past Matt, but he pulled her back by the hand and trapped her against the wall. “Hey,” he said softly as his eyes bore into hers. “If something’s going on, you can tell me. You can trust me. I promise.”
But she just shook her head and smiled. “Everything’s fine. Come on. Blaine doesn’t like it when people are late.” Closing the door behind her, Sophie led Matt downstairs, just in time for Blaine to round the corner.
Blaine stopped short, taking Matt in with interest. His eyes raked him all the way from his hair to his clothes, stopping right at his torso before continuing down to his shoes.
“Very interesting,” Blaine mused, staring coldly into Matt’s eyes. “What did you say your name was?”
Matt reached forward and shook Blaine’s hand. “Matt Caldwell, sir. It’s very nice to meet you.”
“Likewise. Well, I hope you two are hungry. We have a lot to discuss.”
Sophie swallowed hard as her palms began sweating with nervousness. She recognized that slow but smooth voice that Blaine used. It was the same voice that he used right before he stabbed that man, Joseph, in the chest.
Matt pulled Sophie’s chair out for her before taking a seat in his own. Right as they sat down, the maids and the butler poured out of the kitchen, beginning to fill goblets with wine and serve food onto plates. Blaine took the first bite of food, and that was the cue that Sophie could start eating.
“Tell me about yourself, Matt,” Blaine said, staring over the table at him as he delicately sipped his wine. Sophie just watched the whole exchange cautiously, remembering once in a while that she needed to breathe.
“Well,” Matt started. “I’m from Texas. I graduated from Columbia University. I work in the banking business.”
“Banking, you say?” Blaine asked, taking another bite of his food. “That’s a good industry. What got you interested in that?”
Matt smiled at him. “I’m good with math and I had an in with my dad.”
The three of them quieted for a few moments, just enjoying their food, but Blaine spoke again. “So I understand that you’re dating my dear Sophie. Am I correct?”
“That’s correct, sir.”
Blaine put his silverware down suddenly, his eyes cold and hard as he stared Matt down. Oh gosh. This was going to end badly. She could just feel it. The tension felt high-strung in the air.
“Why?” Blaine asked.
Matt reached over and squeezed Sophie’s hand which only managed to make her feel embarrassed. Did he notice that they were sweaty?
“She’s a very lovely girl. She’s sweet and she’s kind and I definitely feel like there’s something there with her. I’m just glad I got the opportunity to bump into her at the airport on her way to Los Angeles.”
Blaine began swirling his glass of wine slowly, and at this point, Sophie couldn’t eat anything at all. It was coming. Surely Blaine was about to storm Matt out of the house, maybe even hurt him. Gosh no, she never should’ve let him come over here.
Finally, Blaine set his goblet down and glared across the table at Matt, and surprisingly, Matt didn’t shrink back under that glare. That glare was enough to make any man go running, even if they were part of his own mob.
“Mr. Davis, do you really think I’m as stupid as you seem to think I am?”
Sophie watched as Matt’s jaw clenched, and the already intense atmosphere somehow managed to get a little more intense. “His last name is Caldwell, not Davis,” Sophie corrected quietly, but Blaine didn’t even glance her way.
“Do you have any idea who you’re dating, darling Sophie?” Blaine asked, giving her a sideways glance before returning his gaze back to Matt. Before she even had a chance to answer, Blaine jumped to his feet and pulled out his gun, but Matt also jumped to his feet and pulled out his own gun.
Sophie gasped and her eyes widened as she jumped out of her chair, watching as both men pointed a gun at one another. “What’s going on?” Sophie asked, moving her gaze back and forth between the two of them.
“Go on,” Blaine said, almost as if he were bored. “Go on and tell her who you really are.”
Matt’s eyebrows scrunched together as his face contorted into a tortured expression. “I didn’t want to tell you like this, Sophie.”
Her eyes started watering as she backed herself up against the wall, staring at Matt, not wanting to believe he could be anyone besides who he said he was. “What are you talking about?” she asked in a whisper.
Matt’s gaze never left Blaine as he let out a shaky breath and answered. “My name is really Matt Davis. And I work for the FBI.”
Sophie’s hand flew to her mouth as the realization hit her like a freight train. Tears began streaming down her cheeks. “You used me.”
That’s when Matt looked back at her, but his expression was so unreadable that she couldn’t make out what was going on in that head of his. “I’m sorry, Sophie. You have to believe me.”
“Get out of my house!” Blaine shouted at him as he advanced closer. “No one hurts my Sophie like that and gets away with it. I don’t want to deal with the FBI so I’ll say it again. Get. Out. Of. My. House.”
Matt backed up toward the doorway, giving her one last pained look before disappearing out the front door. The room grew quiet as they listened as Matt’s car started up and flew out of the driveway as if there was no tomorrow.
But even after, no one said a word. All Sophie could feel was immense hurt. She thought that Matt cared for her. She thought that Matt wanted to date her for real. But she became blinded by her own desires, by her own selfish desires for someone to love her. Matt used her to get to Blaine. And it worked.
Silent tears rolled down her cheeks, but she still didn’t dare move. She knew what was coming for her, and she felt terrified.
As expected, Blaine turned on her, his expression furious. “You brought an FBI agent into my home!?” Blaine snarled, slapping her hard across the face, leaving behind a stinging handprint. “How dare you!”
Sophie’s eyes began watering, her voice breaking on each word. “I didn’t know! I swear!”
Blaine hit her across the face again, this time his ring cutting the side of her temple and making it bleed. His expression turned into complete rage. “I oughta keep good on my promise and take one of your fingers!”
“No!” Sophie shrieked as Blaine produced a knife and slammed her palm down on top of the table. “Please don’t! I’ll do anything! Please!”
But Blaine ignored her as he brought the knife down lightning fast, the blade sticking into the wooden table right between her fingers.
He breathed heavily and stared down at her perfectly untouched fingers. “Actually, I change my mind,” Blaine said as he released her hand. “I want you to continue looking pretty and whole. Damir, go fill the bathtub.”
As Damir nodded his head and disappeared around the corner, Sophie’s eyes widened in fear. “No!” she shrieked as Blaine roughly grabbed a hold of her elbow, forcefully steering her toward the bathroom. With all her might, she dug her heels into the ground to try and slow them down, but her tiny body against Blaine’s own build of muscles was no match for him. He easily overpowered her, continuing to drag her forward to the bathroom as her screams filled the entire house.
When they got inside, the bathtub was already halfway filled before Blaine forced her to her knees. He grabbed her by the hair and shoved her face into the water. She struggled to free herself from Blaine’s grip, her heart beating unrelentlessly with the fear that he might actually drown her this time. Sophie sputtered and gasped for air as Blaine lifted her head out of the water for a brief moment before shoving it back under again. Her lungs burned—she couldn’t hold her breath for very long.
Sophie struggled against his grip, but no matter how hard she tried, she couldn’t break free. Black dots started swimming at the corners of her eyes and her limbs began getting weak, but that’s as far as it went before Blaine pulled her head out of the water.
She only had time to gasp for air before Blaine threw her against the bathroom door, the wood splintering against the impact. Even as she fell to the floor, Blaine’s foot lashed out, kicking her in the ribs. She heard a crack that was soon followed by an intense pain. That couldn’t be good, but she swallowed her tears, she swallowed her screams—that only ever managed to make things worse.
“You are such a fool!” Blaine screamed at her. “Can’t you do something right for once in your life? An FBI agent? Couldn’t you recognize that he didn’t want you at all? He was just using you to get to me. You’re under house arrest for the rest of the week. If you walk out those doors without me giving you an assignment first, I will shoot you. Do you understand? I. Will. Shoot. You.”
Sophie nodded her head vigorously as she stared up at him from where she lay on the ground. His foot lashed out into her ribs one last time before he huffed, straightened his suit, and walked out of there as if nothing had even happened in the first place.
She didn’t dare move a muscle until she could hear Blaine’s footsteps cross the main floor, up the stairs, and then the door to his study slamming close. He’d be in there for the rest of the night, but even so, she still felt terrified for her life.
That’s when Sophie allowed herself to start sobbing quietly, wincing as she picked herself up off the ground. Her chest felt like it was on fire and she was one-hundred percent sure that she had just broken a rib.
“Here,” Damir said softly as he handed her a bathrobe which she gratefully shrugged on over her dress. She muffled her sobs into the sleeves of her robe as Damir led her into the front room, persuading her into lying down on the couch as he covered her in a blanket. He took a seat across the room but still stayed near enough to watch over her.
As soon as Sophie’s sobs quieted, she raised her head just enough to look over at her bodyguard through her bleary eyes. “Damir,” she slurred through her crying, “you promised me that you would shoot me in the head if he ever came at me with a knife again.”
Damir shrugged, his face looking sincerely apologetic. “I know I did, but I can’t do it. If I shoot you, Blaine will shoot me. He’s way overprotective of you.”
“Overprotective?” Sophie scoffed. “Nearly cutting off my finger and almost drowning me is overprotective? No. He just doesn’t like anyone else to touch me but him. The same rules don’t apply to himself.”
They were both quiet for a few moments before Damir spoke. “I’m sorry.”
Sophie shook her head exhaustedly. “It’s not your fault. You’re just doing your job.” She let out a shuddering sigh. “What do you think would happen if I tried to run away?”
“Blaine would come after you. He’ll always find you.”
“That’s what I thought too… Why hasn’t he found my dad? Why has my dad never come for me? Do you think he’s dead?” Lots of these questions she didn’t want to ask, but conversation with Damir was the only almost normal interaction she got to have with anyone.
He shrugged as he stared at the ground in front of him. “I don’t know. I’m sorry.” And Sophie knew that his apology stretched further beyond her dad. Damir never liked how she came to be involved in all of this in the first place. “Also, I’m sorry about Matt.”
Sophie chuckled dryly, her heart reining in all of her emotions so she couldn’t feel anything. It was how she coped. “I should’ve known,” she said quietly. “All I wanted was someone to care about me. To truly care about me. I just wanted a friend. Now I don’t have anyone.”
“I care about you,” Damir said softly in his strong Russian accent.
“But you also almost let Blaine cut off my finger and nearly drown me,” she pointed out. “I appreciate your sentiment, but I just can’t believe it.” Sophie shivered so she pulled the blanket further up to her chin.
She sighed again, her chin quivering, but then she winced again as she put too much pressure on her side. Very carefully, she pulled aside her bathrobe and felt along her rib cage, hissing in pain as it felt tender to the touch.
“That’s super,” she said quietly so Blaine would have no chance at hearing them even if he tried. “I’m positive that Blaine broke a couple of my ribs. I didn’t know that I had any more ribs left to break.” She was only joking, but it was the truth at the same time.
Sophie got to her feet, holding her torso gently as if that would help the pain go away. “Well, I better get to my room. I’m on official house arrest, and my room is probably the safest place I can be right now.”
“Miss Sophie,” Damir said, stopping her right in her tracks. “I truly am sorry.”
Several tears rolled down her face which she had to wipe away with her sleeve. “I know, Damir. I know.”