Traded(5)By: Rebecca Brooke
Ashton laughed, but nothing about the sound felt friendly. “A trade? What could you possibly have to give me that I don’t already have, or can’t get with the money you owe me?”
My head snapped in Dominic’s direction. I couldn’t have heard him right. There was no way he’d trade me. I might make a few mistakes here and there, but I was a good wife. I took care of all of his needs and desires—or at least I tried to. I wasn’t as skinny as he would like, or as pretty, but I tried to make up for it in other areas.
Ashton removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes with his thumb and forefinger. “Your wife. Are you fucking kidding me?” He looked back up, replacing his glasses.
There I stood, in front of a man I had never met, watching my husband for guidance about what the heck was happening.
“Don’t be dense, Elena. Turn around so he can see you. This is a matter of life or death. You need to save me,” Dominic hissed.
Searching his eyes, I could see the fear, so I made a slow circle around, unsure of what else to do.
“What the fuck, Dominic? You come in here, owing me two hundred thousand dollars, and you want me to take your wife in lieu of payment?”
Two hundred thousand.
Everything in my stomach wanted to come back up. How were we ever going to pay back that kind of money? My chest constricted. It felt like I couldn’t breathe.
“Yes and no. I’m offering a trade.” He shoved me forward. “Elena will be yours to do with as you please for the next three months. After that my debt will be paid. Plus, I gave you fifty grand yesterday.”
“That’s splitting hairs and you fucking know it. Shit, that’s only a quarter of what you owe.”
“I know, but I have no way to get you the money. It would take me forever to pay you off. I figure this is easier and faster. She’s not very bright, but she’ll do anything you want her to in the bedroom. I have her trained. You don’t even have to take care of her. Get what you want and go to bed.”
The hot sting of tears burned my eyes. My husband, whom I tried to please above all others, wanted to trade me to pay off his debts. The rational part of me had a feeling that if I didn’t go along with it, something really bad would happen to Dominic. I alone had the power to stop it.
And I would.
What the fuck?
All I wanted was to enjoy the game in peace in quiet. Instead, I’d entered the fucking twilight zone. I knew the moment I lent the asshole the money it was going to be problem. Never once in a million years did I believe he’d try and trade his wife to pay off that debt. Who the fuck does that?
My first reaction was to tell the dumb fuck to get the hell out of my face and give him twenty-four hours to come up with the rest. Then I saw the way he treated his wife. I might not have been the most upstanding citizen but that didn’t mean I didn’t have my own set of morals; one being that you never treated a woman the way Tolley just had. I couldn’t even call him a man.
In my business, I often skirted the edges of right and wrong. It was the way things were. Yes, I’d been known to use violence as a means of getting what I wanted, but it was only ever as a last resort. The way this woman flinched when he spoke, like she’d been lashed with a whip, made it clear that this was not an isolated incident.
I looked her over. She was pretty, and had the potential to be a knockout if treated right. Her hair was a deep shade of brown, the harsh lighting catching the red highlights, and her eyes were the deepest chocolate color, but she was thin, a little too thin in my opinion. Tolley, on the other hand, looked like he could stand to lose about twenty pounds.
There was no rhyme or reason as to why the words left my lips. I didn’t need another person to take care of, especially someone as meek as she appeared to be, but the sight of tears rolling down her face was somewhat compelling. Someone had to save the poor woman.
“Here’s the deal. She’ll stay with me for the next three months.” I heard her gasp, but continued. “During that time, you’re going to find a way to come up with another hundred thousand dollars. If not, I come after you.”
The words left the bastard’s lips before I’d even finished. Fuck, the guy was unbelievable. What kind of man was he to give her up so easily? The woman tried to control her tears, but her shoulders continued to shake with sobs even as Dominic walked over to her.
“You better do whatever he says so he doesn’t come after me. If he wants you to spread your legs every hour on the hour, you’ll do it.”
Blood roared through my ears listening to him talk to his wife that way. I waited for her to stand up to him, to say something, but she simply nodded, not a word leaving her mouth. Enough was enough.