Tristan and Isolde Reloaded- Chapter XVIII

Chapter XVIII – Party Flavours

 

ISOLDE

 

VIP treatment can be scary as heck. I’m sitting in the back of Mark Stahl’s limo, noise and cameras surrounding the car. I blink every time flashes bounce off the bulletproof glass. Mark Stahl’s pruned hand is on my knee, the white sleeve of his shirt starched and spotless. I’m sick to my stomach.

“You’ll have to get used to the attention,” Mark’s robotic voice says in my ear. The speaking device is strapped to his dry neck with transparent, thin little tubes. I struggle to repress a shudder when I look at him, an ancient turtle in a suit.

“Once they see you by my side they won’t get off your back again.” He grins. “So get used to the VIP status.”

The limo comes to a full stop, the driver walks over, and opens the door on Mark’s side. His men grip the wheels of his chair and carry him out like some ancient king. As soon as his blotched baldhead emerges from the car, journalists’ voices surge, and a bodyguard’s hand reaches in for me. I take it and step out, too, careful not to stumble on the rim of my 18th century dress with emerald green folds. The corset is tight, and my tits once again fill my cleavage, but I’ve learned how to move in such a way that they’re never in danger of popping out. Not to mention that I can count on the vintage emerald necklace to cover almost all of my chest down to the swell of my breasts.

As soon as I’m fully out of the car microphones pop under my face from everywhere.

“Was this a secret affair?” Male voice, very close.

“How long has this been going on?” A woman, close, too.

“Is there a pregnancy involved?” A girl journalist with a blurry face squashed in the crowd to one side of the red carpet. Jesus Christ, I’m actually on the red carpet, and for what?

With every step I take another camera flash hits me, making me squint. One wrong step, my feet in high heels stumble on each other, and I lose my balance. Luckily, two bodyguards catch me, one on each side. They practically carry me to the entrance, which feels like a throttle. They have to squeeze me between their barrel-like bodies to get me inside. Mark is basically carried over the throng’s heads.

“Whew, that was crazy,” the man to my right says once we’re inside the foyer. His voice is deep, familiar, and when I look up at him I recognize Demerol, Tristan’s right hand. He’s smiling down at me. By God, this man has a lot of hair.

The bodyguards set Mark down by my side. He ignores the shouted questions all around us, and keeps his eyes fixed ahead. He raises his hand, palm up, waiting for me to take it. He may seem an old frog in a high tech wheel chair, but his face demands respect. He oozes power, like there’s a huge, dangerous shadow rising from him.

As soon as my hand has touched Mark’s crumpled skin the chair starts wheeling forward, his bodyguards keeping tight on each side of us, making way. We make it through the entrance hall that is full of journalists, and move from room to room that open into each other, all opulent rococo. It’s crowded beyond belief, and hot like the in cauldrons of the underworld. It’s smothering.

“I thought this party would be much smaller. Something secret with closed circuit,” I whisper to Mark, bending slightly from my waist to his ear. My hip bumps into the top of his wheel with every step, and brushes into Demerol on the other side, that’s how tightly I’m squeezed between them. Journalists shout and slam like crazy into the bodyguards, trying to reach the mighty Mark Stahl—I learn from their yells that this is the first time Mark has shown himself in public in over a decade.

“Would I take the trouble to attend a small party, Isolde?” Mark smiles a cold smile as if only for the cameras, keeping his eyes ahead. It makes me feel like I’ve asked the most idiotic question.

“No, but the Charlottenburg Palace is a museum,” I retort. “I didn’t think it could be used as a venue for a party of such large scale.”

“It sure doesn’t happen every day,” he replies coldly. He’s been strange for a few days, and his attitude makes me uncomfortable.

We enter the Golden Gallery, the main ballroom with its gilded patterns on the walls, mirrors and high windows. I’ve seen this room empty once when I visited the museum, and it was impressive, but today it’s downright stunning. It’s hosting a theme party, women in white wigs and vintage dresses laughing on the arms of their partners.

Mark’s wheelchair glides along by my side, leading me deeper towards the center of the ballroom. People stop and stare as we approach, and laughter ceases. Some men even bow. An older lady to the right covers her mouth with her fan as she leans towards a younger one’s ear, and I can tell she’s whispering about us by the way her eyes stay fixed in our direction.

“Is this really happening, or are my eyes playing tricks on me?” a thick male voice booms, tearing my eyes away from the woman with the fan. A man with grey whiskers and rich mustache fills my field of vision. He’s wearing an aristocrat’s—or is it a military man’s?—dark blue outfit from the Kaiser’s times, knee-length boots included. He’s tall and fleshy, broad. Mark’s wheelchair comes to a stop, and I halt, too. We’re still holding hands.

“Mark Stahl in the flesh and—” The man leans back, exploring Mark. “—well, in the wheels.”

“Wolfram,” Mark greets evenly, the smile wiping off his face. He squeezes my hand. “Isolde, this is former member of Parliament Wolfram Schultze. He planted as many obstacles in my company’s way as he could back in his day. Wasn’t a big supporter of Stahl Biotech.”

Oh, wow. I like him already.

“I’m still not a fan, Mark, I must say,” Mr. Schultze says, taking my hand. He kisses it, avoiding to leer, and turns his attention back to my partner. “But I’m retired now, so no longer a problem to you.” He bends in closer to Mark and winks. “Which means I can now take you up on your offer of friendship.”

“I have no use for your friendship anymore, Wolfram,” Mark says bluntly.

“Don’t be so quick to write me off.” Mr. Schultze straightens up, and offers his arm to a woman who steps into he picture by his side. I recognize the mole above her mouth and the shape of her bright red lips—it’s the woman from my vision. She looks at me with contempt, as if she knows me from somewhere, too. Or maybe it’s just because I’m the escort of a much older and outrageously rich man.

Mr. Schultze looks around the place as if he’s searching for something or someone, and making a point to Mark. “There are people here who would love to have me on their side. I may not sit in the Parliament anymore, but I’m still invited to dinner, you know.”

“I’m sure you haven’t lost your connections,” Mark says. “Especially not the ones to the benefit of which you gave me hell.”

I glance from him to Mr. Schultze, who’s chewing on the inside of his cheek, frowning, clearly uncomfortable. “I want to make peace, Mark.”

“You want to nail me as much as always. You just changed strategy.”

I keep staring at the woman, Mr. Schultze’s partner. She’s a good-looking middle-aged lady, with a wicked vibe. In my vision she was laughing. Was she enjoying Tristan’s pain? Wait a minute—did she help set up the trap for him?

Familiar, deep baritone makes my ears perk up.

“Isn’t this an unexpected encounter,” Tristan says. He’s joining our little circle in a sheen grey suit that hugs his tall and broad-shouldered frame. I can’t help it. My eyes lick all over his figure, and I mindlessly let my tongue run over my upper lip. When I realize what I’m doing it’s too late. It’s obvious to everyone that I find him delicious, especially to the blonde with white gloves on his arm—Gertrude. My heart gives me a pang, and I swallow hard. I look away to avoid the poison in her glass-like blue eyes.

“Mr. Wolfram Schultze.” Tristan extends his hand. Mr. Schultze takes it, a bit hesitant. “I trust you remember me as well, not only my father.”

“How could I ever forget you,” Mr. Schultze replies, keeping his reserve. “Mark Stahl’s loyal Cerberus.”

Tristan gives a short laugh that vibrates against my chest. “Interesting comparison, but defense is Demerol’s specialty.” He motions with his hand curtly to Demerol, who’s still flanking me. “I’m more of an attack dog.”

“Indeed,” Mr. Schultze says, scanning my blond bad boy up and down. There’s genuine curiosity in his gaze, and respect that he seems unwilling to display otherwise. “I hear you go after those who make your father uncomfortable, rather than protect him from them.”

“I’m not very good at coaxing, I must admit. I mostly coerce.” Tristan displays a cool grin. That dimple appears in his cheek, and my knees liquefy. By God, everything about him is sexy and powerful at the same time. Mr. Schultze, Demerol, all his father’s bodyguards seem squashed beneath the weight of his presence.

“Tristan,” I whisper, reaching for him. Shoot, my arm is trembling. From the corner of my eye I see Mark raise an arch of skin that used to be one of his eyebrows. I’m being too freaking obvious, but I have to tell Tristan about the woman. This whole event here could have the sole purpose of trapping Mark Stahl’s engineered weapon of a son.

But before I can touch him Tristan plants a razor sharp glare between my eyes. It seems to split my forehead open. I freeze, and my hand drops to my side. Tristan offers Gertrude his arm, she smiles triumphantly at me, then they turn around and leave. Boy, was that embarrassing.

People come between Mr. Schultze, Mark and me, and soon Mr. Schultze is taken away in a small crowd.

“Keep an eye on him,” Mark says to me while picking up a glass of sparkling wine off the tray a waiter holds. The young man bows enough to make the famous magnate’s job easy. Mark passes me the glass. “The people he mentioned, those who want him on their side if I don’t—they’re definitely the Institute’s people. So switch that legendary intuition of yours on, get to work, and let me know if you notice anyone special.”

He sounds like a boss, and I can hear the anger behind his voice. I understand his reasons, too. I hunker down so that my face is well beneath his, and place my hands on his knees.

“Mark, that woman. The one escorting Mr. Schultze. I had a vision of her a week ago. In that vision, Tristan was being crucified, and she was laughing hard. This means that, if they have anything planned for him, she’ll know. That’s what I wanted to tell him.”

Light gradually returns to Mark’s face. “Is that why you reached for him the way you did?” He lets out a small laugh, like he’s relieved. “You looked like a schoolgirl with a crush, Isolde.”

Which is what made Tristan look at me the way he did. His contempt was a blow right to my solar plexus. I bite my lip and drop my eyes to the floor, to Mark’s shiny black shoes.

“I don’t have romantic interest in your son, Mark.” The lie is sour on my tongue. He reaches under my chin and makes me look up into his blotched face again.

“We’re prepared for this, Isolde,” he says quietly, his lips close to my face. He has his last meal on his breath, and I want to crease my nose, but I stop myself in time. “All the important ones are gathered here, thinking they can finally get their hands on The Ripper.”

The what?

“But, thanks to you, they’ve dug their own grave. Finally, we have them, Isolde. We just have to identify them.”

“Mark!” A man places big hands on each side of Mark’s arms from behind, peeking at him from around the life support gear. He must be someone who knows Mark well, since the bodyguards let him through.

Mark seems genuinely pleased to see him as well. They go on talking, and I remember to keep an eye on Mr. Schultze. I walk around with the glass of sparkling wine in my hand, taking a sip here and there, Demerol close behind me.

“If you keep so close people will think you are my partner,” I say over my shoulder when my tongue is loose enough from the alcohol. I’m a bit dizzy and I start to relax, but my eyes are soberly fixed on Mr. Schultze. He’s just turned to talk to someone, but his broad and fleshy back obscures the person completely. I crane my neck left and right, trying to get a glimpse around him, but in vain.

“If I were your partner, you wouldn’t be attending monster events like this,” Demerol says warmly. “You’d be tucked in bed, with cheap beer and a pizza instead of caviar and sparkling wine. But I’d treat you much better than Mark Stahl and his beast of a son.” His voice fades as he finishes the sentence, as if it took all his nerve to bring the words about his lips.

“I thought you were loyal to Tristan.” My eyes are still fixed on Schultze, and I do my best to ignore the staring crowd. I can feel their gazes on me, but my intuition gives me tension; something tells me it’s important to keep focused on the former member of Parliament.

“I am loyal to Tristan.” Demerol snorts softly. “I don’t have a choice. But neither he or his father would ever have to know about us.”

I can feel my own eyes widen at those words. I turn to him.

“Are you suggesting an affair?” I’m staring Demerol in the face, and it feels like watching a big, good-natured dog-man with a kind gaze and a soft voice. He takes a step closer, and hope flickers in his eyes.

“I’m proposing an affair,” he whispers.

I’m stunned. “Wow. That takes a lot of guts.”

“It may cost me my guts if they ever find out I said this to you.”

I’m lost for words, and embarrassed. I don’t know how to reject him gently. The best solution right now seems to be taking a sip of my sparkling wine and returning my attention to Mr. Schultze, but he’s not longer where I left him.

“Shoot!” I push the glass into Demerol’s hands, hitch up the folds of my dress to make sure I don’t stumble again, and begin a desperate search for Mr. Schultze. I hurry to the place he’d last been, wedging myself between people when I have to. Those who spot me before I’m close enough move out of my way of their own accord, and I’m sure it’s because of my VIP status as Mark Stahl’s partner—or his bed bunny, as I heard some whisper.

I finally see Mr. Schultze’s fleshy back clad in a dark blue tailcoat, and I slow down, breathing out in relief. But then he moves out of the way, revealing his interlocutor. My stomach shoots to my throat.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

***

Enjoyed this? Stay tuned for more! Subscribe to this blog, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter to be notified each time a new chapter is uploaded. Here’s the whole story:

Prologue – Meet Tristan The Ripper

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII

Chapter XIII

Chapter XIV

Chapter XV

Chapter XVI

Chapter XVII

 

FREE ROMANCE for everyone!

Hello, dear peeps! I have some awesome goodies for you today. Lots of hot, hot, hot FREE reads – because sharing is caring, and I love sharing the good stuff with you guys. Click HERE and see the Heart Pounding Romance Giveaway list with all the gems it has to offer. Hyperion-The Assassin is among them, so grab your copy if you haven’t gotten one yet.

Stay tuned for more free reads this month! Soon I will be sharing with you Spooktacular stories, part of a special Halloween themed project that I’m part of. Can’t wait to tell you more, very soon 🙂

Hugs,

Ana

THE EXECUTIONER Part Two is LIVE! Released by Solstice Publishing

Big day follows big day follows big day 🙂 Solstice Publishing has released The Executioner Part Two today! This has been an intense ride, in which Alice and Damian’s story has had me completeley immersed in it. Theirs is a love story that consumed not only the characters but also the author – yours truly. I just ordered my paperbacks, and can’t wait to enjoy that cozy smell of new book. But if you want instant gratification, by all means, go ahead 🙂 Get The Executioner Part Two  (new release) and, if you haven’t read it yet, The Executioner Part One.

   

And no need to stop there 🙂 If you want yet more, my short story Hyperion – The Assassin is free for a limited amount of time here. So if after Alice and Damian you’re left craving more, there’s more to get. And if you find yourself wishing for yet more consuming love, genetic and psychological engineering, and ancient mysteries, enjoy my online novel, The Devil’s Elixir! There’s no end to all the stories and the goodies. Embark on this ride with me, and enjoy dark thrills and worthwhile secrets.

 

Hyperion – The Assassin is LIVE and FREE

Hi Peeps! Got huge news again today. My romantic suspense short story, Hyperion – The Assassin, is live and free starting today! Grab your copy and tell your friends, too. if you share this with other people (either on your blog, on social media or via e-mail) I’ll be sure to reward you richly with another three free books: The Executioner Part One, The Executioner Part Two, and The Revenge of Andrey Jones – coming out mid November – but also with many other free books by other authors every month.

Here’s what Hyperion – The Assassin is about:

Hyperion is an assassin with a fist of iron and a heart of ice. Not entirely human, he’s the only one who can fight a special kind of enemy. After being sent to the Dark Forest, he sets up camp and begins observing his target from the shadows. There’s little Hyperion doesn’t see coming, and even less he can’t deal with. That is, until his target’s young wife, Ligia, steps into the picture. A woman surrounded by darkness seeks the assassin, and threatens to melt the heart that has been frozen for so long.

Get it for FREE here! and stay tuned for more goodies coming up this week.

BIG NEWS! The Executioner is LIVE!

Today is the big day, peeps! Solstice Publishing has released The Executioner Part One in all major bookstores online and POD! Grab it now and enjoy it to the max! You won’t have to wait long for Part Two either, since it’s being released with Solstice Publishing no later than September 26th.

Grab a copy of Part One, send me a picture of yourself with it (it can be a chapter on your Kindle if not a paperback), and I’ll send you Part Two as a PDF file for free, if you’re eager to know what happens next 🙂 Also, if you already read the book because I sent you an ARC or you’ve read an early version, I’d be very grateful for a review at the link where you find the book, namely here.

Thank you all for your wonderful support, and I promise there are many more goodies to come 🙂

Yours,

Ana

May I Ask a Favor

Hi peeps! As you all know by now, I’ve been busy brewing the release of my novel, The Executioner Part One, with my publisher. We’re now working on setting up a Thunderclap campaign to get the word out to folks out there, and this is the point where I’d like to ask a favor. Just click on the link below, and support the campaign – I’ll be sure to return the favour when you need my support 🙂 Also, once you’ve supported the campaign, let me know if you’d like a free PDF copy of The Executioner Part One! Drop me a comment with your e-mail address, and I’ll send it to you.

In order for the campaign to actually be implemented with Thunderclap, I need a hundred supporters by the time the campaign starts, namely on the 14th of September. This means, dear peeps, that I’d be grateful if you shared this on your social media. Each and every one of your counts for me.

Here is the notorious link. Thank you guys so much!

COMING SEPTEMBER 12TH!

The big moment is drawing near! After a fantastic ride, the publishing process is being finalized. Thank you, Solstice Publishing, for making this possible!

Peeps, stay tuned September 12th, when The Executioner Part One is being officially released by Solstice Publishing! And guess what – you won’t have to wait long for Part Two, since it will be relased within a few weeks after Part One.

Set in the enigmatic corners of Eastern Europe, here’s what The Executioner is about:

When a shady corporation that conducts experiments on humans targets Alice Preda, “muscle tank” Damian Novac is secretly assigned with her protection. Alice discovers his true identity and she’s soon love-struck, but Damian keeps a cool reserve, protecting Alice not only from her hunters but also from himself.

A villain who switched sides long ago, Damian is the biggest gun the science mafia ever created. He’s been halfway stable serving the good for years, but when his makers return to the picture and provoke him, he threatens to relapse. The ice breaks, his demons awaken, and the Executioner is unleashed once more. Only the mysterious gift buried in Alice’s psyche can tame him, but for that she’ll have to place herself in the line of fire.

Teaser 4

 

A modern retelling of the classic Tristan and Isolde

This is how the story of my Tristan and Isolde started, peeps! Meet the invincible fighter Tristan. What’s his secret?

 

Dr. Schweizer sits back in the comfort of his loge, sipping his brandy. Down in the ruins of the ancient arena, two men hang sweaty and heaving on each other. His bets are on the big one with tattoos and savage hair, but surprise! The blond guy suddenly steps back, and he crashes a fist in his opponent’s face. The savage hits the ground, clouds of sand rising into the heated air. The audience surges, and Dr. Schweizer sits up straight.

He snatches the magnifying glasses from his lady friend’s hand, and holds them up to enhance his own vision.

The young blond stands over his sprawled opponent, muscle and old scars glistening in the limelight. His eyes are arctic blue. Chills crawl down Dr. Schweizer’s back. If this boy is Stahl Biotech’s Frankenstein, he’s definitely not what the doctor expected. He’s not some monster put together of dead body parts, but rather a beast created in Hitler’s very labs decades ago. Speaking of . . .

Dr. Schweizer drops back into his cushioned seat from where he has a high view over this secret underground arena. “Can’t be him. He’s too young.”

His lady friend takes the glasses from his hand and places them before her eyes with a delicate move. “Beauty is only skin deep, Viktor. So is youth.”

Dr. Schweizer scoffs, measuring the scarred muscle pack up and down. “Beauty. You’d call this wretch beautiful?”

Lady Marie France Cassel lowers the glasses just under her eyes, long dark lashes obscuring her gaze. “I’d call him fascinating.” She pauses, looking hard at the young blond. “His face. It’s the face of a warlord, not that of a slave.”

“Pure Aryan features. The Führer would’ve sacrificed an arm and a leg for a specimen like this.”

Lady Marie France holds the glasses before her eyes again. Dr. Schweizer looks from her to the young blond brute, whose foot is on his opponent’s neck. The crowd demands an execution. The blonde’s thigh flexes, the savage’s neck snaps, and the crowd booms.

Energy surges through Dr. Schweizer’s veins as well, compelling him to stand. His eyes rest on the blond man’s face—sculpted as if in ice, no trace of emotion. He stands by the dead body, naked to his waist, those arms capable of so much damage hanging motionless by his sides.

“If it is him,” Dr. Schweizer mutters, “he’ll wipe us out. None of our fighters is a match for The Ripper, they can’t protect us.”

Lady Marie France tilts her head to the side, inspecting the fighter with narrow eyes. “Now that we know his true identity, we’ll observe him from the shadow. We’ll stalk him. Find his soft spot. Then use it against him.”

Dr. Schweizer snorts. “The Ripper doesn’t have any soft spots. He doesn’t feel. That mechanism shuts itself down completely in men like him, and all that remains is anger. It’s the only way they can live thug life at this level.”

Lady Marie France’s eyes stay fixed on the fighter. Dr. Schweizer knows—beyond the hooded gaze, she’s assessing their nemesis like a high-power computer.

“If he doesn’t have any weaknesses, as you say.” Her eyes move slowly from the fighter to Dr. Schweizer. His heart skips a beat at the touch of her deep brown gaze. “We’ll make him one.”

Dr. Schweizer stops breathing. “What do you have in mind?”

Lady Marie France’s gaze deepens, and the doctor understands. He looks to the amulet hanging from a golden chain around the woman’s neck, now resting just above the swell of her breasts.

“You think your potions can take down The Ripper?” He can’t keep back a scoff. “With all due respect, Lady Cassel, I know you’re an imperial chemist and all. But maybe The Ripper is a size too big for your skills?”

Lady Marie France’s long-nailed fingers curl around the amulet that resembles a silver cross with a white gem at its core, right where the lines meet. Dr. Schweizer knows—once the subject’s blood is in it and mixes with the essence, the gem turns red, like a ruby. Or like scotch.

***

Enjoyed this? Plenty more where it came from : ) PLEASE NOTE THAT THESE CHAPTERS HAVE BEEN WRITTEN BEFORE I’VE DECIDED ON THE NEW TITLE, The Devil’s Elixir. Therefore, you’ll find them under the title Tristan and Isolde Reloaded.

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII

Chapter XIII

Chapter XIV

Chapter XV

Chapter XVI

Chapter XVII

Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Ch. XVII – Falling in love

Wickedly handsome and shamelessly rich, Tristan Stahl is a villain. A businessman by day and an underground cage fighter by night, he fears no one, and respects one man alone – his adoptive father, Mark Stahl. It’s at Mark’s request that Tristan recruits Isolde Molnar for her “special talents”. He doesn’t expect complications from this “piece of livestock”, but working closely with her turns out challenging in more ways than one. Throw a modern alchemist’s potion in the mix along with Mark Stahl’s growing infatuation with the girl, and there you have it – Tristan and Isolde Reloaded. Enjoy!

CHAPTER XVII – Falling in Love

TRISTAN

It’s five in the morning, my men scout the area around the block, and I’m sitting at the table in Isolde’s kitchen. My senses spike in order to feel her while her brother Roland makes coffee. She’s curled on the couch in the living room, wrapped from head to toes in a blanket, shivering with exhaustion.

Roland sets a mug in front of me. It’s a bang in my ears, and my hearing adjusts automatically to normal volume, tearing me away from Isolde.

“So, what’s your story?” he demands, dropping his bulk in a chair opposite from me, a mug with chipped rim in his good hand. Demerol fixed his shoulder, but it seems to still hurt a bit.

“I already told you what you needed to know.”

“You told me that Stahl Biotech wages a sort of cold war against the Institute for Psychosomatic Research. You told me that you hired my sister because of her unusual intuitive powers, in order to predict their moves. But what’s your quarrel with them?”

“Shrinks are making drug stores obsolete, to put it simple.” I glance at my watch. I need to cut this short.

“How do you mean?”

“I mean the power to create perfect health is within you. What you need is the right guidance, not outside chemistry.”

“And the Institute discovered that? They know how to do it?”

“They know that and more.” I stand, my chair scraping the floor.

“Wait.” Roland comes to his feet, too. “Stahl, what you did to that guy, it’s not—“ He pauses, looks hard at me. “It’s not humanly possible. You didn’t just crack his facial bone, you shattered it. Half his face was completely distorted.” He glances at my hand. “What is it made of? Your fist?”

“I’m made of flesh, just like you.”

He laughs. “Sure, only you can do things I’ve only ever seen done in Marvel’s comics. It’s obvious you’re not like the rest of us.” He walks closer around the table. “I want the truth.”

“I can’t give you the truth.”

“So matter-of-fact.” He grins mockingly. “Did you give it to Isolde?”

“Don’t push, Roland.” I stand in place like a statue, unnaturally calm. Anger should flood my veins, it always does when they interrogate me, but right now it seems asleep.

“Listen, Stahl.” Roland’s gaze darkens like a man’s ready to start a fight. Is he insane? “I’ll give it to you straight—I don’t care if you’re an engineered beast. If any harm comes to Isolde because of the way you’re using her, I’ll do everything in my power to kill you.”

For the first time in what feels like ages I want to laugh. “Lucky for me not much is in your power.” I turn to leave, but then Roland speaks again.

“You’re big and powerful, Tristan, while life has been a bitch to Isolde. She was only sixteen when our mother died, and she had me to worry about, too. Luckily she was already in high school, already on the right track. She could go to college, and the social system supported us, but that didn’t spare her bullying and beatings.”

The word fires in my head. I turn on an axis. “Beatings? Who beat Isolde?”

Roland exhales loudly, and leans on the table. He looks pensively down at his coffee while he talks. “We had to stay with a foster family until she was eighteen. The youth welfare office placed us with a family in East Berlin—for integration purposes, you know, us being Latinos and all. Later we realized this integration business wasn’t benefitting us—but the family. They had a herd of children of their own, all as blond as they come, and the father was a reformed neo-Nazi. Later we found out he still had a swastika under the family portrait on the wall. Having us benefited him and his wife in a number of ways; first, they got the child allowance for both Isolde and me, while also proving that they’d mended their ways. In truth, the woman would stand watch at the door, while the man dragged Isolde by her hair and kicked her in the ribs while she was on her knees, cleaning up.”

“Enough!” My blood starts to boil, and I turn, determined to get out.

“You know why he never raped her?” Roland calls behind. “Because his wife was unemployed, always at home, and very jealous. She used to slap Isolde a lot. She said she wanted to see if Latina skin could redden.”

“Why are you telling me this?” I grunt between my teeth, looking over my shoulder.

“Because I want you to be gentle to her.”

I stalk down the hallway toward the door, but when I pass the living room I can’t help myself. I halt. I turn my head to look at her, slowly, somewhere deep down knowing what I’m doing to myself. Just for a moment.

She’s curled on the couch, wrapped from nose to feet in a grey blanket, the light from the TV flashing on her face. My insides seem to melt. I drink her in, letting my eyes rest on her arched eyebrows, her long, dark lashes, caress her cheek, slide down her nose. Her wild cavewoman hair is spread over the couch arm. My senses adjust, I can now hear the blood course through her veins, her steady heartbeat. The urge to go there and bite into her like she’s a mouthwatering peach overwhelms me, but the idea of causing her pain drives a spear through my heart. I grit my teeth and rip myself away.

Speeding down the stairs, I grab my cell from the inside pocket of my jacket. The info man picks up. “I’m listening, boss.”

“Isolde Molnar used to have a foster father. Find him.” I clench my fist so hard the muscles in my arm hurt. “And when you do, bring him to me. Down in the cages.”

 

To be continued . . .

 

***

Enjoyed this? Stay tuned for more! Subscribe to this blog, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter to be notified each time a new chapter is uploaded. Feel free to roam the site – it has many goodies to offer, from personality tests to HOT psych information.

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII

Chapter XIII

Chapter XIV

Chapter XV

Chapter XVI

 

Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Ch. XVI – The Beast

Wickedly handsome and shamelessly rich, Tristan Stahl is a villain. A businessman by day and an underground cage fighter by night, he fears no one, and respects one man alone – his adoptive father, Mark Stahl. It’s at Mark’s request that Tristan recruits Isolde Molnar for her “special talents”. He doesn’t expect complications from this “piece of livestock”, but working closely with her turns out challenging in more ways than one. Throw a modern alchemist’s potion in the mix along with Mark Stahl’s growing infatuation with the girl, and there you have it – Tristan and Isolde Reloaded. Enjoy!

CHAPTER XVIThe Beast

TRISTAN

Isolde’s brother, Roland the Callboy, is staring at us with quivering eyebrows. His Latino lover muscles ripple under a white undershirt.

“You,” he grunts at me, fists clenching by his sides. “You’re the guy from the hotel. You blackmailed—”

“I blackmailed your client, yes. But I’m pretty sure she’ll be calling on your services again, nevertheless. No damage done.” I measure him up and down, assessing the danger. He poses none. He obviously miscalculates, though, and he launches himself at me with a war cry.

He bends from his waist, and his shoulder slams into my lower belly as his arms fly around my belt line. I flex my abs to dampen the impact, and he groans loudly. I grab him under his armpits, spin him around and haul him onto the couch.

“For God’s sakes!” Isolde cries, and hurries to her brother. Roland bares his teeth in pain, taking his good hand to his shoulder.

Isolde drops onto the shabby green couch by his side, hands on his arm, looking daggers at me.

“You brute! What are you made of?” Her despair sears like acid dripped onto my heart.

“He attacked first.” Hell, I even sound like an apologizing child.

“You barged in on him while he was naked in bed with a woman only a few days ago. What did you expect, a brotherly slap on the back?”

Before I can think of anything to say Roland redirects his anger at Isolde. He pushes her away with his good hand, and my body flexes to intervene automatically. It’s an effort to stop myself.

“You! You knew,” Roland barks at his sister. “You helped him stage the whole thing, didn’t you?”

“I didn’t have a choice, Roland.” Isolde makes herself small at the other end of the couch. Roland convulses toward her, and I can’t keep back anymore. Before I know it, I’m stomping toward them.

“You lay that hand on her, and I’ll fucking break it.”

Roland’s eyes snap at me. “How did you get her to betray me, you bastard? Did you blackmail her, too?”

I stop right by the couch, looking down on the pathetic callboy with tousled hair. “No. I threatened her. I said that she’d never get a decent job again, if she refused to work for me. I said I would destroy her life. And yours.”

“Get out,” he says between his teeth.

“Make me.”

“You’re not welcome here,” he insists.

“But I’m needed.” I turn around and walk leisurely to the window, parting two blades of the blinds with my fingers. “Did you see the pack of clowns and cheerleaders downstairs at the entrance, Roland? I have good reason to believe they’re here for your sister. And that they mean her harm.”

Isolde mumbles something, but Roland interrupts her.

“Let me guess,” he spits. “They mean to harm Isolde for some shit you got her into, right?”

“She wanted information on heavy bad guys. That’s power. Power comes with danger,” I say evenly, still keeping my back at them and my eyes out between the blades at the losers outside. I still my body completely, feeling my environment.

The hallways on the floors above and below sound empty. But there’s activity on the ground floor. My ears spike, expanding hearing range. Steps dodder up the stairs. I tune out Roland and Isolde’s arguing, and spin around the moment someone raps on the door. Isolde makes to get up.

“No,” I command. She freezes. “Roland, you go.”

“But, his shoulder,” Isolde insists.

“If they see you, they might hurt you right off.” I motion with my chin at Roland. “Go. Let them in.”

“Are you sure about this?” he mumbles. He doesn’t seem very combative anymore, like he’s low on fuel.

I nod. “And don’t worry. I guarantee no harm will come to you. I promised Isolde in return for her services I’ll keep you safe, as well.”

That brings back some of Roland’s hostility. “I can take care of myself, trust me.”

He rises to his feet, and shuffles to the door, still holding to his shoulder. His bronze muscles in that white undershirt would normally have a more intimidating effect, I’m sure, if it weren’t for the rough 3 AM face and the I’m-wounded posture.

I wait at the end of the hallway, right across from the callboy. Looking through the peephole, he asks, “Who are you?”

“Please, let me use your bathroom,” a female voice replies. She sounds a bit incoherent, like she’s tipsy.

“You climbed all the way to the third floor for that? Why not stop on the first?”

Pause. “There was no one home.”

“In the entire building until you came to my door?”

“Roland,” I hiss. He turns, his dark brown eyes meeting mine. “Just let her in.”

With his gaze still on me, Roland unhooks the door chain, turns the locks, and wrenches it open. A blue-haired girl with a beer bottle in her hand staggers in, all torn black stockings and smeared lipstick. She sees me across the hall, stops in her tracks, and smiles. She starts fiddling with her hair. “Oh, hello, handsome stranger.”

When Roland makes to close the door behind her two guys in studded leather appear on the threshold. The one with earlobe stretchers and braided beard slaps a hand on the door, keeping it open, while the one with long hair and chain boots walks in. They measure Roland up and down.

“We need the loo, too, mate. You don’t mind, do ya?”

Roland glowers at them, saying nothing. While the two thugs approach, the girl leans by the door, staring at me with that drunken smeared grin, still wringing her blue hair on thin dirty fingers. I know her type well – cracked in the head, gets off watching live fights. Women like her litter the seats around the cages.

“And who are you, mate?” the longhaired guy says roughly when he’s beside me. “You the bitch’s boyfriend, of the fuck buddy?”

Both thugs laugh, checking out the living room to my left, where Isolde sits on the couch, white-knuckling the edge.

“I’m her boss.” I motion with my chin at Roland again. The rest of my body is still as a statue. “He’s the brother.”

The longhaired guy circles me, the chains on his boots clamoring every time his heel hits the floor. “The boss, eh? Too young and too pretty for a boss, but say I believe you. You fucking her?”

I keep my eyes ahead. “Not yet.”

The guys and the girl burst into laughter.

“Then what you doing here at 3 A.M.?”

I turn my head slowly, and scan him from chained boots to ugly longhaired head. I can already taste blood in my mouth, my pulse quickens in anticipation, and my palms itch.

“Waiting for a chance to smash your face in. To break your legs, make you squirm on the floor, and step on your fucking head until your eyeballs swim in your scrambled brains.”

Fury explodes in the whites of his eyes, and I run my tongue over my teeth. My heart pumps adrenaline through my whole body, and time shrinks.

The longhaired thug balls his fist, opens his mouth in a cry of battle, face furrowed and eyes reddened. His fist starts on a curved trajectory towards me. I block it with my right arm. My left first crashes into his face, molding his flesh and uprooting a couple of teeth.

He lands on all fours, and spits his teeth out with blood. Then he falls on his side, half of him in the hallway, half in the living room, unconscious. His face is deformed. X-ray kicks in, and I assess the damage – he’s got a fractured cheekbone. Won’t be waking up anytime soon, and when he does, he’ll be in excruciating pain. I raise my eyes to see Isolde watch me with an open mouth, her soft brown eyes big and amazed. Is this a good thing? Or is she disgusted?

Movement at the entrance draws my attention. The other guy starts running towards me, but Roland tackles him to the floor. The girl breaks her beer bottle on the back of Roland’s head, making him get off the thug, cursing, good hand to his bloody head. I could intervene, but should I? The girl tries to sprint out the door, but bounces off Demerol’s huge bulk that appears in the doorstep. Behind him, I hear my men disable the rest of the mafia’s thugs.

I address Demerol, pointing at Roland. “Help him up.”

Demerol looks down at the callboy, frowns as if he doesn’t quite understand at first, but then reaches to grab him under his armpit.

“Not that shoulder, I might have dislocated it,” I say.

Roland comes slowly to his feet with Demerol’s help, while two other men tie up the screaming girl and the guy with earlobe stretchers. Rubbing the back of his head, the callboy squints at me like I’m the sun.

“You fucking maimed that guy with one blow, man,” he calls. “What sort of beast are you?”

To be continued

 

***

Enjoyed this? Stay tuned for more! Subscribe to this blog, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter to be notified each time a new chapter is uploaded. Feel free to roam the site – it has many goodies to offer, from personality tests to HOT psych information.

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII

Chapter XIII

Chapter XIV

Chapter XV

Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Ch. XV – Dark Desires

Wickedly handsome and shamelessly rich, Tristan Stahl is a villain. A businessman by day and an underground cage fighter by night, he fears no one, and respects one man alone – his adoptive father, Mark Stahl. It’s at Mark’s request that Tristan recruits Isolde Molnar for her “special talents”. He doesn’t expect complications from this “piece of livestock”, but working closely with her turns out challenging in more ways than one. Throw a modern alchemist’s potion in the mix along with Mark Stahl’s growing infatuation with the girl, and there you have it – Tristan and Isolde Reloaded. Enjoy!

CHAPTER XVDark Desires

TRISTAN

Thoughts knot inside my brain, and I spin on an axis, hurrying towards the exit. I run up the grand stairs so fast the air whips around my face, and I barge into Mark’s luxurious bedroom through the high double doors.

Mark and Isolde are sitting across from each other at a small round table by the high window, curtains aside to let them admire the star-filled night sky among tree branches. Mark’s blue eyes shoot at me from his pruned old head as he adjusts his wheelchair to face me.

“How may I help you, son?” The speaking device distorts his real voice.

“I’m sorry to intrude.” I glance at Isolde. Her hands grip to each other on her lap, ankles crossed. She’s defensive. My eyes slide down the curvy shape of her body wrapped in the cream dress that, admittedly, I’ve been wanting to tear off her since the moment she presented it to me at the store. I square my shoulders and look back at Mark. “But the girl needs to go now.”

He raises the arches of skin where his eyebrows used to be. “And why is that?”

Because I don’t want your foul hands on her. My jaw tenses, and my fists ball behind my back. “It’ s been a very long night. The club, Podgor, and she’s been feeling sick.”

He doesn’t look convinced, and I take a step forward. “She saw a man die tonight, Mark, if I may remind you.”

Mark’s body slackens in his chair. He must realize he’s been overeager. Very well, then.” He gives Isolde a tired smile, and my jaw tightens.

“I’ll have the staff prepare a room for you here, Isolde,” he says. “You’ll be more comfortable than at your apartment, which I expect you to move out of as soon as possible.”

Move in here?” The words leave my mouth before I can restrain my tongue. I sound too sharp, and Mark seems taken aback.

“Yes, here. With her powers now activated, she needs a safe place. A sanctuary.”

I hate the idea so much I barely keep back a growl. I don’t want her within his reach. I don’t want her within Gertrude’s either.

Isolde surprises us both by standing up brusquely, almost knocking back her chair.

“I appreciate your kindness, Mark.” She shoots me a glare as she emphasizes his name. Is she making a point of how close they’ve become? “But I’d rather keep my own sanctuary, my own place, plus that I need to be with my brother. Make sure he stays safe as well.”

“I couldn’t agree more,” I step in, gripping Isolde’s delicate wrist in my hand that seems a hammer compared to hers. The contact sends a soft tingle through my skin, a fully new sensation, but she pulls away.

“I’ll make sure that she’s well protected,” I tell Mark, still looking at her. Her gaze is burning, defying me. “I’ll have her apartment building monitored, men at every corner, two undercover constantly surveying the entrance.”

“The back door from the inner yard as well,” Mark demands softly.

I snort. “Of course.” I’m your right hand and personal bodyguard, you sorry bastard, don’t tell me what to do. I understand he’s trying to prove his position as my boss to impress Isolde, and anger punches me in the gut.

I turn around to restrain myself, and stomp toward the door, expecting Isolde to follow. She does after she kisses Mark good-bye on the cheek – I’ve learned to perceive what happens at every angle around me long ago, it’s a must-have skill in the cages. I swallow hard, and force myself to keep walking.

Mark’s glassy blue stare stings the back of my head as we walk out. I can sense he’s growing suspicious, but right now something else takes over my mind. I’m hyperaware of the soft sound of Isolde’s steps on the stairs behind me as we descend, and that puts a ball of fire in my stomach, the most awkward sensation.

Demerol is already by my car at the curb, and hurries to hold the door at the back.

“No, the passenger’s seat,” I demand.

Isolde steps in, looking messed up, but somehow snappy. She frowns, seeming irritated. I take the car keys from Demerol, planting a razor sharp glare right between his eyes. I could slash him across the face for wanting her the way he does. His looks alone are enough to stain her.

“I’ll drive. And we don’t need company,” I grunt.

With that I slide into the driver’s seat, slam the door shut, and fire the ignition. The tires spit out gravel as we drive away, leaving Demerol behind in a cloud of grey dust.

During the ride I can’t help glancing at Isolde from the corner of my eye, and I do it often enough for her to notice. Damn it, get a grip.

She makes herself smaller in her seat, bracing herself as if she’s feeling naked, cold, awkward, all sorts of uncomfortable, but I can’t stop. I’m pulled to her like a flea to honey. By the time we reach her place I’ve played a scenario in my head at least five times, a scenario where I pull over, bend her over the hood of my car and bang her brains out. Would it be enough to have my fill of her?

She opens the door to get out of the car, but then I notice something strange out in the night, a slight shift in the headlights. I grip her wrist to keep her in.

“Wait.” My eyes narrow, infrared kicks in, and I see them. Young men and women, party people hovering in front of the entrance to Isolde’s apartment building, waving beer bottles, tattoos and crazy hairstyles. This is Berlin, and this side of town is especially prone to sorry-ass “funk”, but something’s off. It’s almost three in the morning, on a weeknight. Not exactly the peak of “party mile” time.

“What’s wrong?” Isolde inquires, her eyes narrowed to peer outside through the windshield. Despite the headlights, we’re too far from the building for her to see things half as well as I do.

“This is not right,” I say, and pick up my phone. The call goes to Demerol. “Get a team, fix an undercover, and prepare to tail.”

“Surveillance of Isolde Molnar’s place?”

“Yes.” My tone sharpens even more. “You get them over here, but then you’ll be working with me. So don’t get an extra car.”

I hang up and open the door, addressing Isolde. “Let’s go.”

She’s looking at me inquisitively as I offer her my arm. Hers hooks around it and, even though she looks uncertain, she lets me lead her towards the entrance.

The gathering in front of the block pulls to the sides and lets us through. Some stare open-mouthed, some ogle us, and some – very few – frown defiantly. There’s no power on the stairway, and my x-ray vision is helpful when Isolde skids over a stair edge. Her body slams warm into mine. As I steady her my palm sweeps up her arm, feeling her goose bumps. Is it from the cold, damp air, or from my touch?

This is a crumbling block by the railway, smeared with graffiti, and I already know that Isolde’s apartment is right by the tracks. But when she pushes the door open and hits the lights the shabbiness of it still hits me.

She throws her keys and purse on a small chest of drawers by the door, and leads me down a narrow corridor to the living room. The train shakes the walls and, right after it’s passed, she turns to face me. She’s scowling, but she’s obviously nervous too. She shifts her weight awkwardly from one leg to the other as she speaks.

“Listen, Tristan.” Her voice is dry and shaky. “You were right back at the villa – I am tired, which is the only reason I didn’t intervene much in your talk with Mark. But know this.” She even points a finger at me. Seriously? For the first time in ages I want to smile, but I repress it. “I acknowledge you as my boss, but you won’t boss me around in my private life. The world technically switched poles for me ever since I met you, and in order to keep my sanity, I’ll keep at least a bit of the old world with me – this place.”

Listening to her, I pace around the room. I stop by the old glass case she must have inherited from a grandma or something, and pick up a porcelain ballerina, feeling strangely amused.

“No one is asking you to relinquish the old world, Isolde.” I turn the ballerina in my hand, inspecting it. “Only your contact with it.” I turn around to look at her. God, how I want to bite into those carnal lips that seem made of cacao silk. “Have you ever desired to be special? Of course you have, all of you little animals do.” I walk around her like a tiger around its prey, sniffing her scent of fresh meat and lilies. She listens petrified, her whole body unmoving but for her chest, rising and falling with her heavy breathing.

“Well, now you are special,” I purr. “The people outside, I think they’re here for you. The mafia bosses behind Podgor, they’re rich and powerful, and they get wind of things extremely fast. You didn’t have the time to write an entire article about Podgor, but you announced it’s coming soon, and now they’ll do anything to stop you from publishing.”

I halt in front of her. She’s so much smaller than me, so frail, and this vulnerability makes my shaft twitch in my pants. Her eyes are stuck on my lips, as if she’s afraid to look me in the eye. A fist seems to clench around my heart, and I want to sink my hand in her rich long hair and tug her head back. To kiss her. Fuck, this needs to stop. I wrench myself away from her and stomp to the glass case again.

“You want to keep at least a sense of freedom, of independence, and I understand that, Isolde.” My tone is meant to make her feel mocked. “I’ll grant you that. But you’ll have to suffer my presence here, in your home. Often.” Why the hell did I just say that?

Her voice trembles. “To what do I owe the honor of being protected by the mighty Tristan Stahl himself?”

Protection, yes. “You’re exposed to dangers that only I can face up to,” I throw over my shoulder.

Isolde walks closer behind me, slowly, carefully. My pulse quickens, and my throat clogs for the second time in one night. I force myself to keep my back on her.

“You speak of little animals, special people, and dangers that only you can shield me from,” she says. She’s so close now I can feel her voice vibrate between my shoulder blades. She grips my elbow gently to turn me around, and this time I respond like a marionette. I meet her soft brown eyes that look up at me with the purest interest anyone has ever shown. “What makes you special?” she whispers. “Who was Tristan a moment before he met Mark Stahl?”

At that question something cracks deep in my mind, like an old gate being wrenched from its rusty locks. The showers room swirls around in my memory, the other boys’ screams, the poison spraying down on my face. Anger shoots through my veins, and The Dutchman roars deep inside me.

I reach for Isolde, determined to crush her lips under mine, and her ample breasts beneath me, but before I can act on it the door creaks open. A man walks in. Isolde looks at him, and color leaves her face.

To be continued . . .

Enjoyed this? Stay tuned for more! Subscribe to this blog, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter to be notified each time a new chapter is uploaded. Feel free to roam the site – it has many goodies to offer, from personality tests to HOT psych information.

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII

Chapter XIII

Chapter XIV

 

Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Ch. XIV – For the first time

Wickedly handsome and shamelessly rich, Tristan Stahl is a villain. A businessman by day and an underground cage fighter by night, he fears no one, and respects one man alone – his adoptive father, Mark Stahl. It’s at Mark’s request that Tristan recruits Isolde Molnar for her “special talents”. He doesn’t expect complications from this “piece of livestock”, but working closely with her turns out challenging in more ways than one. Throw a modern alchemist’s potion in the mix along with Mark Stahl’s growing infatuation with the girl, and there you have it – Tristan and Isolde Reloaded. Enjoy!

TRISTAN

I pace the study like a lion in a cage after Isolde was taken to see Mark. But then I notice Demerol by the door, watching me from under his bushy eyebrows.

“Go back to where you came from,” I bark.

He hesitates, but instead of walking out he closes the door and stares me in the face. I cock an eyebrow, ready to punch him senseless if he dares come closer, and make an example of him. It would serve all the others well, a demonstration of my punishment for disobedience.

“You don’t like it,” he dares quietly. “You don’t like it, that your father wants her.”

The suit strains over my arms as I grip to the chair behind the desk. My knuckles go white, and the Rolex’s metallic band cuts into my wrist.

“I didn’t invite you in, Demerol.”

“The way you looked at her in the limo, when we brought her back from Podgor’s club, it was different,” he continues, approaching the desk. There’s a tremor in his voice – he’s scared, but for some reason he’s also stupid, taking risks like this. “She sat sprawled by your side, unconscious, and you drank her in.”

I throw my head back as I understand where this is coming from. “That’s why you kept watching in the rear-view mirror? I thought you were into her yourself, which is also the reason why I didn’t ask you to roll up the partition. ”

He ignores my mockery, stopping on the other side of the desk. We’re face to face now. “So you were aware of my watching. Still, it wasn’t enough to make you tear your eyes from her.”

“We hired Isolde for a reason. She was close to delivering what we wanted from her, and that could’ve happened any moment, especially in that state.” I lean in like a wolf spanned to attack, my eyes piercing Demerol’s. “I don’t have personal interest in the girl.”

“I’m sure that’s what your official fiancé Gertrude keeps telling herself, but she’s growing more hostile towards Isolde by the day. So I’m afraid that theory hangs by a thread in her mind, too.”

I keep my glare steady. “I don’t owe you explanations, pooch. Now get out, before I lose my temper.”

He doesn’t move an inch, but I’m still willing to let it go until he says, quietly, “Then would you mind if I took my chances with her after your father’s done?”

Impulse fires in my head, the muscles in my arm flex to snap, and my fist crashes into Demerol’s face. The feel of my knuckles drilling through his flesh to the bone is so fulfilling I almost roar with pleasure. The next second he’s on the floor, and I’m planting my feet on each side of him. I bend from my waist and grip his collar, lifting him just enough to look him close in that furry face.

“You listen carefully, slave,” I slur through my teeth. “It’s been so long that desire has pulsed in poor old Mark’s veins, that I don’t think he’ll get enough of her anytime soon. But if he does, I have other plans for the girl.”

Demerol seems to be choking, but his small eyes blaze with fury. “Other plans,” he croaks, the vein in his forehead swelling red. “Like do her and then slit her throat, right?”

Has he gone mad? He knows I could slit his throat in a second, yet he pushes. His large, warm hands strain on my wrists, but he can’t even move me. I pull him up, swirl him around and haul him against the bookcase by the wall, folders tumbling to the floor and knocking him in the head. He trickles to the ground, a huge bear in a suit, dizzy on his ass in front of me. Seems his wits are back, and he doesn’t make a move to fight me again. He looks up at me like he doesn’t know what hit him.

“What do you care about what happens to Isolde Molnar?” I grunt. He doesn’t answer, only stares at me with an open mouth. The scene he painted flashes in my head – my very hand slitting Isolde’s neck while my shaft still throbs between the walls of her smooth, hot inside. The image sends a sharp pain through my chest, like a spear that pierces me all the way to my back, and I know I’d want to die if I ever hurt the little cavewoman.

Angry as hell at the revelation, I grab the stunned-looking Demerol by his collar, and force him up, slamming his back against the bookcase and speaking so close to his face that my spittle lands on his cheek. “Why are you playing her savior? Did you fuck her?” I’m seeing red. Blood threatens to burst through my ears. “When? Talk, or I swear to God I’ll tear you apart!” Before I know it, my fist crashes into the bookcase, splintering the wood. Demerol flinches, like never before ever since I met him in the fighter cages of our underground. He’s one of the toughest thugs I ever recruited, yet he shrinks in my grip.

“I, I, God, Tristan, I promise you, I never had her,” he stutters. “You sent me for her so often, pick her up from home, take her shopping, follow her around, and she’s, she’s, please, Tristan!” He searches my eyes desperately, so I guess my thirst for blood is showing big time in my face. “She’s a special woman. She’s the kind that won’t leave your head once inside, you know that.”

“Do I?” I purr dangerously.

“Damn it, Tristan!” Demerol looks me up and down, terrified. “Look at yourself! Look at how you’re reacting. I expected you to be mad, but I didn’t expect you to fuckin’ beat me up for her.” His eyes rest on mine, begging. “You’re into her, boss. For the first time since you and I have known each other, you desire a woman. And it’s even more serious than I thought.”

Serious. Like an illness. My hands drop off the man as I begin to understand, and I take a few steps away from him.

***

To be continued . . .

Enjoyed this? Stay tuned for more! Subscribe to this blog, and follow me on Facebook and Twitter to be notified each time a new chapter is uploaded. Feel free to roam the site – it has many goodies to offer, from personality tests to HOT psych information.

Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII

Chapter XIII

Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Ch. XIII – He loves me, he loves me not

Wickedly handsome and shamelessly rich, Tristan Stahl is a villain. A businessman by day and an underground cage fighter by night, he fears no one, and respects one man alone – his adoptive father, Mark Stahl. It’s at Mark’s request that Tristan recruits Isolde Molnar for her “special talents”. He doesn’t expect complications from this “piece of livestock”, but working closely with her turns out challenging in more ways than one. Throw a modern alchemist’s potion in the mix along with Mark Stahl’s growing infatuation with the girl, and there you have it – Tristan and Isolde Reloaded. Enjoy!

CHAPTER XIII

ISOLDE

What the –?

“No, you don’t understand,” I yelp. Then I realize – perfumed wigs and long inflated dresses aren’t ancient. They’re from the more recent centuries. Those Roman soldiers in the arena were the only ones dressed like ancient characters. It hits me. I rise on my toes, bringing my nose within an inch of Tristan’s. “A theme party, a masquerade, a ball –”

He nods. “The ball at the Charlottenburg museum castle.”

Indeed! “You mean . . .” I frown as the idea creeps into my head. “They have that planned for you?”

He cocks his head to the side, narrowing his bright blue eyes. God, he’s beautiful.

“You are smart indeed, Isolde. Mark was right about you,” he says softly. His eyes are wandering all over my face. Now I put my finger on the emotion they express – respect. I’ve actually triggered respect in the feared mogul Tristan Stahl.

He lets go of me and helps me sit back down on the couch.

“What you just did,” he says. “Mark always knew you had that ability. To be honest, I doubted the actual power of your talents at first, but Mark insisted. He was right. I was wrong.”

My brain is afloat, and I feel weak all over. Life seems to have drained from my limbs, like I’ve just heard some shocking news. But then again, all this is so much to take all at once. “Good God, I never even suspected that I’m clairvoyant.”

“I’m not sure I’d call it clairvoyance, Isolde.” Tristan hunkers down before me and swipes his palm over my forehead and cheeks like he’s checking me for fever. His eyes are sharp, but his voice soft. “Your intuition is so powerful that, given the right input information, your subconscious calculations become visions. Maybe it wasn’t even a vision, but a –”

“An experience,” I murmur, interrupting him. “Yes, an experience. I was in the scene.”

Tristan cups my face. My stomach knots, and I blink rapidly, trying to grasp what’s happening. He pauses for just a few seconds but, to me, they feel like minutes. The clock’s tic-tock is loud in my ears.

“Isolde, I don’t say this often,” he slurs darkly, “but I’m impressed. Hadn’t you seen what you just did, I may have actually fallen in their trap.” He gives me a faint smile that puts a wicked dimple by the side of his mouth, a bit smug. “It wouldn’t have killed me, of course. But it would’ve been damned close.”

“Trap?” I murmur, eyes locked on his sweet lips. Right now he seems an angelic boy whose only sins are the passions he unwittingly ignites. Indeed, how deceiving appearances are.

“Boris Podgor. They knew all along Mark and I would go for him, and they planted the invitation in the mobster’s office, knowing we’d find it. At the ball, they’d have ambushed us.” He stands, and walks over to his desk, opening a drawer and pulling out a file. He slaps it on the mahogany, and gestures to it. “Please, have a look.”

I push myself off the couch, and head slowly to the desk. I’m nervous, and the way Tristan watches me approach doesn’t help my cause. He may have a somewhat softer attitude than usual towards me, but I still feel like I’m the prey and he’s a hawk circling up in the sky, waiting to stick his powerful beak into my guts.

He steps behind the leather chair and guides it under me as I sit down. I pick up the file, which is thick. It’s on Boris Podgor, and his illicit affairs, as it turns out as I leaf through it.

“Don’t think I’ve forgotten our agreement,” he slurs. “I promised you golden nuggets to put on your blog.” He bends in over my shoulder, the warmth of his body touching my cheek. He opens the laptop’s lid, and hits a key on the keyboard. “You’ll have to write it from here, though. Our servers are safer than safe.”

“I bet,” I whisper, breathing in his scent of winter, candle wax and Christmas love stories. There’s so much emotion in my stomach right now, and my heart beats in my throat. He’s too close, the smooth fabric of his suit brushing my forearm, and giving me the goose bumps.

“But how come they sacrificed Boris Podgor?” I say, trying to distract myself before the reactions of my body expose how I feel inside. “He was their man, they used him to infiltrate Marie France into the club to manipulate her potions into your drink.” Thereby making me crush on you like a freaking schoolgirl.

“As I said, Boris Podgor was scum. A pimp, a drug dealer. But the Institute, they claim to be on the side of the good guys. So they used his services, and then rid the world of him.” Again he takes distance from me, taking a seat on the couch, right across from the desk. We’re looking straight at each other. “Should you have any questions on that file, I’m at your disposal.”

He’s at my disposal. The way his masculine baritone voice wraps around those words . . .

I read through the file, but I can barely focus while being so aware of Tristan’s ice blue eyes on me over the rim of his glass of scotch. My eyes cling to the laptop screen as I type clumsily, but blood pulses in my ears, and I can’t think of what I’m doing at all. I’m painfully aware of his open neckline that falls between his hard pectorals, of the smooth skin on his face and the way it stretches over his angular, aggressive bone structure. Everything about him is so darn sexy, from the way his suit trousers glue to the muscles in his thighs to the way he twirls the glass slightly in his hand, looking at me.

I could take advantage of this moment. I could push the chair back and walk to him, losing my dress in the process and stopping naked in front of him. Then maybe he would let his hand slide up my thigh, and pull me onto his lap, where his body would finally press against my naked flesh. But when I risk a glance at him I catch him glaring at me just like he did that day on the hotel corridor – like he could tear me apart. His eyes are once again those of a demon made of ice.

The door opens suddenly, ripping me out of my own imagination. Gertrude’s white-blond bob shines in the cozy orange light as she steps into the study, and my heart sinks. I remember Mark Stahl’s words – she is the mate chosen for Tristan. The perfect Aryan couple, Tristan and Gertrude, making Tristan’s adoptive father who’s a former Nazi happy. I can feel my mouth curl in sour jealousy.

***

To be continued . . .

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Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Chapter XI

Chapter XII