Ransom at the Ritz: Chapter 4

Her insides writhed with hatred. “I owe you nothing”, Rowe spat. “Oh but you do“, Jace countered. His lip was bleeding profusely. “I bought you and your sister, Elle the night we met. Elle was disposable. You are the one I always wanted.” Jace mopped his lip with his sleeve.

He stared at Rowe with a hungry expression. “You are lovelier than I remember.” He slid his free hand behind her neck. Rowe shuddered at his touch. “Are you afraid of me?” She shook her head. “You loved me once”, Jace prompted. He pulled Rowe in for a kiss. Confusion and alarm overwhelmed. Memories of young love clouded her senses.

Rowe pulled away. A different Jace stood before her. Here was the rescuer she met years ago. He saved her and Elle from a life of going to the highest bidder. His eyes softened. The hard lines of his face lessened. Rowe placed her hand on his shoulder. “I care about you.” Jace grimaced. “What did I say?” His face darkened. “You care about me”, he said with disdain. “What is wrong with that?” Jace narrowed his eyes. “I do care about this Jace, who is kind and gentle. However, I will never love you again. That was a different time.” Rowe dropped her gaze. He flushed. Jace slapped her face. Rowe staggered. She fell into someone.

Gray steadied her. He looked pointedly at Jace. A loud ringing echoed in Rowe’s ears. She saw Jace signal to the bedroom.

Dahlia tried to tend to Jace’s lip. He knocked her hand away. Jace beckoned the group to gather.

Gray led Rowe to a chair in the adjoining bedroom. “Sit down”, he instructed. Rowe looked over Gray’s shoulder. Neither Jace nor the group was watching them. Rowe heard Gavin giving instructions.

“You need to sit down Rowena”, Gray insisted. She remained standing. “What happened to you?” Gray did not answer. His face screwed up with concentration. He seemed to be struggling with something. Rowe drew closer. She placed her hand on his face. Gray’s eyes tightened but he did not pull away. “What did Jace do to you?”

His expression softened at Rowe’s gaze. “Does it hurt?” He gingerly touched Rowe’s side. “It did before. Now it is a dull ache.” He nodded. “You better sit down.” Rowe sat without objection. Gray turned to leave. She reached out to his arm. “Gray, I know Elle’s death wasn’t your fault. This facade is not you. The real Gray would not hurt anyone.” He did not look at her. “Rowena, I allowed it to happen.”

Rowe looked at the group. Dahlia was watching them. Her expression was unreadable. She let go of Gray’s arm. He knelt before Rowe. “There is only way you can escape. Beat Jace at one of his games”, he urged.

Gavin’s raucous laughter echoed from the other room.

“How can I do that? Is that what you tried to do?”

Dahlia left the group. She sauntered over to Gray and Rowe. “Jace wants you Gray”, Dahlia called. “Beat him for good Rowena”, he whispered. Gray stood to his feet. “Thanks Dahlia.” He linked his arm with hers. Dahlia glared at Rowe. They left the room together.

A crude song broke out in the other room. Gray joined the group. He belted out a few ending notes with Gavin. The group cried for an encore.

He did not fool Rowe. She could see Gray hurting. Only one reason for this change made sense. Jace broke Gray.

Copyright © 2014 SarahHardy. All Rights Reserved.

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