Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Ch. XII – Revelation

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 XII – Revelation

“That’s basically saying we humans function on renewable energy.”

“We basically are,” Tristan replies, leaning back and relaxing in his seat. I look down at my glass to avoid blushing. “That’s how Viktor Schweizer survived the concentration camps in Hitler’s days.”

My eyes snap back at him. “You know that Nadine talked to me about Dr. Schweizer?”

Tristan smiles a new kind of smile that makes me think of the wise Gandalf. I suddenly see an old soul in the body of a young hustler with wild blue eyes and white blond hair.

“I knew she’d do it before she actually did.”

I lower my glass of scotch as conclusions fall into place in my head. “You manipulated her every move.”

The smile lingers on his sculpted face. “Your intuition is kicking in. Good.”

Indeed. It’s like a kind of mystical logic at the back of my mind. My eyes become slits as I talk, I can feel their corners crinkling. “You put hints in her way. What she thought she discovered in the beginning, you already had all that info.” The pattering of the rain and the candlelight have a strange effect on me, too, they put me in a fuzzy mood.

“You’re getting there.” His tone is even – he’s not impressed yet. Show him what you got, Izzy. I lean forward, studying his face.

“You planted quests in her way like in a video game. But she eventually did get to a part where she made new discoveries, like the whereabouts of Viktor Schweizer, who you always suspected ran the Institute. Of course, he was always among your main suspects, but you had no idea where to find him and, even if you did, he would’ve slipped through your fingers. But you foresaw he would open up to Nadine, make himself available, which he would’ve never done if he sniffed your workings behind her actions.” I point at him like I’ve hit the jackpot. “You played Nadine like a marionette.”

He still smiles, but it doesn’t look like my deductions blew him away. He stands and plucks the now empty glass from my hand, walking with it to the drinks cabinet for a refill.

“Good start, but not nearly satisfying. I need your intuition on full power,” he says as he takes distance. “So sit back, relax, and let it flow in from the back of your mind.” His voice is now frighteningly soft. So unlike him, so unlike any young man. He sounds like an ancient prophet.

Maybe it’s just the alcohol. I drank on an empty stomach, and now I’m tipsy – dizzy comes with the territory. I’m not even shy anymore as I ogle Tristan up and down, drinking in the athletic shape of his body molding the suit.

He comes back to me with the refilled glass, his shirt open just enough to reveal the light tan of his taut chest. Maybe it’s Marie France’s love potion, but the more I look at him, the more unusual his beauty seems. As if he’s not even human, but a fallen angel. His skin is so perfect it seems photoshopped. Unable to hold his gaze, I take the glass when he hands it to me, and look down.

I notice I’m barefoot, my shoes lying around on the fluffy dark mahogany carpet like they’ve been tossed. I cringe – having naked feet in front of someone always made me uncomfortable. I’m still wearing the cream lace dress I’d been wearing at the club, only that it’s looser on my hips and my back. Tristan must’ve unzipped it to make me more comfortable when he brought me here. I let my locks fall down the sides of my face in case I’m blushing. The pins have been removed, and now my hair is free, feeling silky against my cheeks.

Tristan is now inches from my nose, the material of his suit trousers curving on the muscles in his thigh.

“I don’t know what exactly you expect of me,” I whisper, trying to keep my heartbeat in check.

He reaches under my chin and touches it with his thumb and forefinger, making me look up. His scent of winter is fresh in my nostrils, and the feel of his skin on mine fires a tingle straight to my gut. My eyelids flutter, and I can’t keep back a soft moan. The ice in Tristan’s gaze seems to shift too, but it may be just wishful thinking on my part.

“There was a reason we took you along to see Boris Podgor, although you were never actually required to do anything.”

Indeed. What reason? But I can’t speak. My jaw is locked, my eyes hooded.

“And there was also a reason we manipulated Nadine to show you her discoveries.” Now I realize – the softness of his voice is not that of a nice person, of a friend or even a shrink, it’s the deep lure of a hypnotist.

The events ever since I met him run around in my head, firing connections to each other: Stahl Biotech searching for the true identity of the Institute’s leader, Tristan hiring my best friend as an investigative journalist and me for my unusual intuitive powers; Nadine discovering Viktor Schweizer runs the Institute, one of the Jews Mark Stahl experimented on in a concentration camp back when he was a Nazi doctor; the alchemist’s potion, Marie France squeezing the blood out of my finger right into Tristan’s drink; the alchemist planting the invitation in the mobster Boris Podgor’s office.

I don’t know at what point the stream of thought becomes a stream of images, but a princely ballroom starts swimming around me. The image is warped, and muffled music and laughter reach me as if through water. People swirl around dressed in ball gowns from centuries past, velvet caps and perfumed wigs. The scent is like insect powder, it makes the edges of my nostrils itch and burn. I’m sure the allergy is spreading all over my face.

This whole thing feels like a lucid dream at first, but then the images settle down, the colors and smells so stark my temples throb. This must be real, but how did I get here? I bump into a woman with a painted mole above her red mouth just before she leans her wigged head back and laughs. I can see the foundation like flour on the wide pores of her skin, the pearls straining around her neck.

My eyes don’t even bother to move around. It’s like I know exactly where to go, and I simply put one foot in front of the other. The dark stairwell beyond the empty fireplace in an abandoned side-hall takes me down to what looks like a huge ancient arena. Sand and gravel sting the naked soles of my feet, making a crunching sound. Torches surround the arena that unfurls before me with every step I take. Another piece adds to the picture with every footfall, until I stand in the middle of it. I swirl in place, and people start populating the seats all around, loud and cheering. The same people from upstairs, their roar growing until it turns deafening, the smell of perfumed wigs and wet sand choking me.

Something screeches sharply in my ear. I spin around one more time. Right behind me Tristan hangs on a cross, torso bare, chains around his forearms. Air leaves my lungs as I scream, but the sound doesn’t make it out of my body. This can’t be real. It’s a very lucid dream in which my eyes glide all over Tristan’s body that seems a work of art, a Greek god marred with bleeding cuts. His eyes are hooded, the blue irises opaque, his beautiful features immobile, and his mouth slack. I look at his belly, searching for signs of breathing – it’s not moving.

He’s dead. Two men with evil grins hold fork-like pokers by his side. They’re dressed like ancient Roman soldiers. Seems one of them notices me, and approaches. He reaches for me, and my heart slams hard against my sternum.

I jolt up, and I find myself in Tristan’s study. The relief I feel when my eyes find him, his body wrapped in his fitted suit and shirt, his eyes as cold as ever. His scent of winter is particularly vivid, and I realize he’s standing so close to me my chin almost touches his lapel. I’m not thinking as I put my hands on his chest, eyes up, hanging to his.

“They killed you! They killed you a long time ago!”

He smiles a lazy smile. The blue in his eyes liquefies. “No. They will kill me.”

I grip to his lapels. “But Tristan, I had a vision of you in ancient times, you were being –”

He cups the sides of my face, and I go mute. My heart starts on a rabbits’ race. I can’t believe this, his face is so close to mine, his palms big and hot. “You didn’t see the past, Isolde. You saw the future.”

 

***

 

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

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Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Chapter XI

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 XI

I’m lying face-up on a couch. My body feels so heavy, I think I’m a boulder sinking into the leather cushions. I blink to clear my eyesight, and I recognize the high shelves of books spiraling toward the arched ceiling in Tristan’s study.

I shoot up to a sitting position, and my head swims. I take my hand to it with a grunt. “Crap.”

“Here,” familiar baritone says. Tristan holds a bar of chocolate under my nose. “It’ll help.”

I look up his arm and suited body to his face. Those eyes like blue ice knock me back, but I can’t let him do this to me now. When I try to stand I go instantly dizzy, and my legs give away under me, making me drop back down into the cushions.

Tristan doesn’t say another word, but keeps the chocolate in my face. I take it with trembling fingers and bite into it. The sweetness spreads over my taste buds, and I close my eyes in delight, but the yawning cuts in Boris Podgor’s throat snap at me, and my eyes shoot open again.

“For God’s sakes,” I cry. “She killed him! The woman with the white gloves, she freaking killed him!” The scene is glaring inside my head. The heavy, rusty smell of the man’s blood still clings to the inside of my nostrils.

“If you knew the kind of scumbag he was,” Tristan says coldly, “you’d say we went too easy on him.”

I look straight into his face, scowling with everything I have. “You and your pack, you can’t go around killing people, no matter what reasons you think you have.”

His features remain as if sculpted in ice as he hunkers down before me. He’s strikingly beautiful, the Ice Prince. I remember what my mother used to say – the devil is the most beautiful of angels; in the end, he used to be God’s favorite.

“Boris Podgor used to fool girls from Eastern European countries,” Tristan says, “promising to bring them here, to Germany, to work as nurses and baby sitters. But once he imported them, he’d take their papers away, lock them up, and force them to prostitute themselves. He also made a fortune of selling a particularly nasty drug in his clubs. It’s called crocodile.” He brings his face closer, and I swear I can feel coldness oozing out of his skin and touching mine. “Have you ever heard of crocodile? It’s known as the ‘zombie drug’ because it practically eats the flesh away. Care to see pictures?”

I swallow and shake my head.

“I thought so,” he says, places his hands on his knees, and stands.

I watch him walk to the drinks cabinet, and can’t help my eyes from sliding up and down his body. Despite myself, I love the way his suit jacket stretches over the breadth of his back. I love his fighter frame. It seems God created him especially to spite me, to make me drool and suffer that I’ll never have him. Heck, I shouldn’t even want him, he’s a bad guy.

“What do you make of what Boris said?” I murmur as he pours a drink. It’s easier talking to his back, less intimidating. But my heart still beats in that way it did when I was thirteen and had my first crush.

“He said a lot. Which part do you mean?” he asks calmly.

“About Marie France and what she put in your drink.”

He turns with two glasses of scotch. Walks over, hands one to me, then returns and leans against his desk. “I’m not worried about Marie France’s potions. Mark is.”

I take a sip, studying him. The alcohol stings my dry lips, but the burn running down my guts feels good. “He must have a reason, your father.”

“He’s an old man. A bit paranoid.” He looks up from his drink, his arctic eyes sharp. “Marie France aimed to chemically manipulate my feelings. According to my people’s recent investigations, that’s what she specializes in.” He juts out his chin, and I know he’s defying not only me, but the whole world. “Too bad I’m a psychopath. I cannot feel, not like Marie France understands emotion. If her potions have any effect on me, it’s unconventional to say the least.”

Now my heart is my throat, beating to gag me. “Unconventional in what way?” I manage. I realize Marie France wanted him to have feelings for me, which backfired big time. I sipped from that glass, too, and I’m falling for him. Crap.

“Seems it only intensifies what I normally feel – mostly anger.” He drains the scotch, and sets the glass on his desk, right by the antique lamp that burns low among neatly arranged documents. “But enough on the matter. Back to business. Since Mr. Podgor had to leave us before revealing something worthwhile, we took the liberty of searching his back office. We found this.”

He fishes what looks like a shiny wedding invitation from a pile, and walks over. He hands me the shiny thing, and drops into the armchair by my side, scotch in his hand. I look at what turns out to be an invitation indeed, only not to a wedding, but to an event at the Charlottenburg museum castle. “Science Evening – celebrate groundbreaking discoveries by candlelight”.

“What?” I hear myself exclaim, flipping the invitation around to glance at its silvery-framed back, as if the explanation of its existence in Boris’s office could be there. “Not the kind of thing you’d expect someone like Boris Podgor to get invited to,” I think out loud.

“Exactly,” Tristan murmurs, twirling the glass of scotch lightly. “Except if he’s got ties with people from the field, which we know he does – through Marie France Cassel, the Institute’s alchemist, at the very least.”

I narrow my eyes, looking at him. “Speaking of the Institute and alchemy. Aren’t they supposed to focus on psychosomatic research? Why do they mess around with chemistry? I mean, pharma – chemistry – is the domain of your company, which they try to prove useless with their psychology research.”

“Chemistry and psychology are related. Think anti-depressants and calmatives.” He runs his free hand through his hair. The way it catches the cozy lamp light, the orange dance of flames on liquid white gold . . .

I swallow hard and clear my throat. “You make it sound as if, in truth, there’s nothing beyond the physical. As if concepts such as mind, soul, dignity, aspirations are nothing but a mix of chemicals and –”

“No, it’s not like that.” His voice is softer than I’ve ever heard it. It sends a burn through my limbs, and I feel like freaking ice cream melting on his couch. It’s dark outside, the rain patters against the high windows, and I begin to realize the atmosphere is romantic. I’m alone in a fairy-tale library with the most powerful man on the continent, who happens to look like a fairy-tale prince, too.

He takes a deep breath and continues, his eyes on the dark window. “They’re trying to prove that, with proper psychological guidance, people don’t need drugs or any kind of chemicals in order to heal.” His eyes shift to my face, and my heart jumps. “They’re trying to prove that human mind can beat any disease by itself, with no input but from sunlight, wind, and water.”

***

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

 

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Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Chapter X

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 X

The driver walks me to a big metallic door. The visor opens, there’s a grunt, and the lid is slammed back shut. The door is yanked open, and a huge bouncer fills the doorframe, scowling down at us. He recognizes the driver, and escorts us to the wardrobe.

Standing there in my cream lace dress that hugs my body tightly from breasts to mid-knee, my hair a tail of locks bouncing heavy down my naked back with every step, I can’t believe the attention. Everybody in line stares, including the pack of security guards.

I can still feel their eyes on me as the big guy escorts us to a glass elevator that speeds to the highest floor. The elevator is practically a glass cage outside of the building, and while I’m in awe at the city lights, I can’t bear the sight for long. Heights freak me out. By the time the doors open to let us into an elegant foyer all dark wood and soft lights, my stomach has migrated to my throat.

Beyond the foyer, there’s the club. Unlike the one I used to work in, the scents that assault me are of expensive cologne instead of sweat and beer. Men are all fancy designer suits and women wear cocktail dresses, clustered around tables with candles and drinks. What fills my ears is the soft beats of dance instead of the raking house from my last workplace.

Mark Stahl waits in his wheelchair at a table at the far end, the skyline with its city lights shimmering behind him through the glass wall. I panic – am I supposed to peer into the abyss the entire time? My stomach churns, and I drop in a black leather chair by his side instead of across from him, my back to the glass. Bodyguards gather around our table, and Gertrude takes a seat close to Mark’s wheelchair, crossing her ankles like the Queen.

She and I lock eyes, and the enmity between us thickens. Even Mark picks it up. His pruned hand settles on my knee, his sleeve perfectly starched. He seems a mummy in a suit.

“You and Gertrude didn’t hit it off?” he asks in his robotic voice. I glance at the speaking device connected to his throat, then at his hand, and then at Gertrude’s shiny blond bob with white strands. I doubt she can hear us over the music.

“Let’s say we don’t have the best chemistry.”

He pats my knee. I shift, uncrossing and crossing my legs. He lifts his hand off me to allow the movement but, to my dismay, he places it back on my thigh when I settle. “You won’t have to put up with her for very long. I’ve chosen her as Tristan’s mate. She’ll be busy carrying beautiful babies soon, and she’ll leave our entourage for a while.”

I’ve chosen her as Tristan’s mate. That slaps me across the face, especially when I see the triumphant smile stretching on Gertrude’s. I look Mark up and down, barely hiding my bitterness. Luckily, he’s not looking at me but at Gertrude, a grin on his face as if he’s a proud granddad already. The Nazi goals are still deeply rooted inside of him, I see. Words tumble to the tip of my tongue, and I can’t keep them back.

“You think Tristan would have ugly babies if he were to mate with someone like me, for example?”

The grin wipes off Mark’s turtle face. The blotches on his skin seem yellow in the club lights. “Point taken. To prove that I’m not some racist prick, I’ll confess I’d like to go through the process of making children with you myself.”

The words make my flesh curl like I’ve just eaten lemon, and I think he notices. A sad smile pulls at the wrinkled corner of his mouth. “Don’t worry, I don’t intend to put this body on you.”

“What body then? Are you a shape shifter or something?” Then I realize what I’ve just said. I bite my lip and look away, my gaze bumping into an elegant man standing right across from us, his hair slicked back. He looks like an Italian Mafioso from the movies, white shirt hugging a well-fed body.

“Mark Stahl,” he booms, and I wince. His voice is so strong, his greeting covers the music. His accent is thick. “What an honor!” He drops in a leather chair across from us and glances around, a bit anxious. “Only ze fazer, or should I expect ze son as well?”

A retinue of bodyguards shifts behind him. Between their moving bodies I spot Tristan approaching us, and my heart jumps into my throat. His neckline is open, and his suit jacket wraps his fighter body so perfectly that for a moment I wish I were it. I shake my head to lose the stupid idea.

“I’m afraid this visit is a pleasure I chose to share with my son, dear Boris,” Mark says.

Tristan glides right behind him, arranging his sleeve cuffs as if he’s getting ready for a boxing match. Boris turns, startled, and his jeweled hand grabs on to the chair arm.

“Some party you got here,” Tristan says in his thick baritone that makes my senses vibrate. “I was disappointed not to receive an invitation.”

Boris’s knuckles turn white and, by his sagging face, I can tell he’s intimidated. “Stahl’s hit man.” He realizes he thought out loud, and takes in a sharp breath. His grip on the chair edge tightens, his rings biting into his flesh. “Sorry. But zere are stories about you.” He gives out a forced laugh when Tristan doesn’t say anything, but simply nails him down with his irises that seem ice bolts. “Not zat I believe half of zem, but you know how it is.”

It’s Mark’s robotic voice that replies. “Don’t believe the stories? You should. He earned his reputation.”

Tristan bends from his waist, making Boris flinch, but instead of head butting the man – which seemed to be his intention – he picks up his glass of scotch from the table. He drains it, all the while keeping his razor sharp eyes on Boris. The way his perfect marble skin stretches over the muscles in his neck . . .

Mark points to the fruit salad on the table, and Gertrude feeds him a grape, slowly. He bites into it, making the juice squirt.

“You’ve been playing a dangerous game, Boris.” He speaks while he’s chewing. The sound is gross. “You thought I wouldn’t find out about your plan with Marie France Cassel? The alchemy she tried to work on my son?” He motions faintly to the glass in Tristan’s hand.

The Adam’s apple in Boris’s throat glides up and down. He doesn’t dare look away from Tristan. “Marie who?” he babbles. Tristan slams the glass on the table. Both Boris and I jump from our seats.

“Are you playing with me, Podgor?” Mark’s robotic voice is now threatening. Boris starts to shake, and words jitter out of his mouth.

“She knew things about me. I’m afraid of the Institute, Mr. Stahl. They’re powerful people, and they create –” he glances at Tristan fearfully, “– men like him. Had I refused, it would’ve been the end of me and my business.”

“You’re afraid of them,” Mark says. “Then you should be terrified of us.”

There’s a shuffling of bodies behind Tristan and Boris. Their men exchange blows and shoves, but the whole thing is over before I can make much sense of it except that Tristan is now free to move as he pleases around Boris, the commotion now moving toward the exit. Tables are knocked down, people yell, and many run like there’s an earthquake.

Soon only the waiters and some customers from the bar are left around us, watching with open mouths, some frozen with drinks in their hands. Tristan doesn’t seem to care, he’s not trying to make a secret of himself or his skill. He grabs Boris’s wrist and twirls him around so fast the man stumbles and smashes his shin against the low table edge. I hear a groan and, before I know it, Boris is down on his knees, howling in pain as Tristan twists his arm behind his back. Tristan’s face is a cold mask, his blue eyes almost neon in the club lights. If looks could kill. The music has stopped, and I push back in my chair, scared stiff.

“I’m a very busy man, Boris,” Mark says in his viper-like manner. “I don’t have time to waste. What did she aim at with the chemistry she put into my son’s drink, and where do I find her again?”

“Your psycho son, the freak you fished from the corpses,” Boris howls. “He’s not invincible anymore.” His scrunched eyes snap open, his eyeballs reddened and full of hatred. I can see the muscles move under Tristan’s jacket, and Boris screams again.

“Go on,” Tristan demands calmly, unfazed. Boris still hesitates, grimacing. Tristan’s muscles move again, and this time Boris screams like he’s being nailed to a cross.

“You damned Frankenstein! You’ll be sorry for this!”

“If I had a penny for every time I heard that,” Tristan says. He bends to the man’s ear. “Start talking, worm, or I’ll make your bones snap.”

Boris looks at Mark as he speaks. Despite the pain, he grins. “Marie France has hi-jacked your perfect Aryan warrior.”

Mark’s pruned hand grips tighter to the rail arm of his wheelchair. It draws my attention because the thing creaks. “What the hell do you mean?”

Tristan twists the man’s arm harder, bringing him to the border of madness with pain. “No more wording games.”

Boris turns his face to him, grinning like a nutcase, as if the pain took his mind. “You’re going to know love, beast, and you’re going to know agony. You’re going to twist on the floor like a stabbed snake. Because –” He rises on his knees, bringing his nose an inch from Tristan’s. “You’re going to kill what you love, and you won’t know that you love it until it’s gone.”

Tristan straightens up, like he’s heard everything he needed to hear, and wasn’t either surprised or impressed. Not a muscle moves on his face. He releases Boris, and shoves him forward, making him buckle over the table. His neon blue eyes settle on Mark.

“You won’t get any more out of this one.” He glances at me, then at Gertrude. “Finish him.”

Before I can blink Gertrude leaps from her seat, hitches the white silk glove off of her right hand, and metal fingernails shoot out of the tips of her fingers. She grabs Boris by the hair, and claws his throat as fast as a bullet. The last thing I see is Boris’s stunned, open-mouthed face turn upward, his throat sliced open in three ragged lines, thickening with dark blood. They yawn wider, exposing his naked reddish muscle. He falls backwards, his blood pooling around Tristan’s shiny black shoes. Life drains from my head, and I black out.

 

***

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

 

Pic source.

Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Chapter IX

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 IX 

I’m sitting on a stool in my room like a plastic doll, hands in my lap, staring at the clock on the wall. It feels like every move could destroy the perfect make-up and hair-do that professionals worked on for hours on end, swirling around me. So I haven’t moved since they left, waiting for Mark Stahl’s car. He said the driver would call when he’s here.

Nadine walks in, startling me. She places her briefcase on the floor and shuts the door furtively, as if she doesn’t want my brother Roland to know she’s home. The train speeds by the window, making the sidewall shudder.

Nadine drops to her knees before me and clutches my hands in hers.

“We need to talk.” The lines on her face bear the tiredness and worry of a stressful job. Stahl Enterprises has used her so intensely these past weeks that she hasn’t been home at all, always on the move.

“Hello to you, too, stranger,” I whisper as if just awoken from a dream.

“You need to get away from them, Isolde,” she warns. I notice her natural hairline like a tiara from which her red hair emerges, coiled in a business chignon. She hasn’t even had time to dye her hair.

“You mean Tristan and Mark?” I say matter-of-factly. I’m calmer than I should be, like I’m on crack or something. “There’s no running away from them.”

Nadine frowns. “Tristan and Mark? These two basically run the continent, Isolde, and you call them Tristan and Mark?”

I shrug. “I’m going out with the father tonight, aren’t I? It would be a bit awkward to call my date by his last name, or Sir, wouldn’t you say?” Bile rises up my throat, but I swallow it down.

She squeezes my hands tighter. “Isolde, what’s going on here? This isn’t like you. You’re not a gold digger, you don’t go kinky over old guys either, so why are you doing this?”

I press my lips together and look down at our hands. “It’s part of my job, Nadine.”

“Sleeping with that old turtle is part of the job?” she spits.

My lips curl bitterly. “Well, not just yet. They’re taking me along tonight because I might get to certain information easier than either of them. But later on . . .”

“Speaking of information.” Nadine reaches for her briefcase, opens it and shuffles through old looking papers. They’re yellow, translucent and a bit like unironed cloth. She drops them in my lap. I give her a questioning glance, and she motions with her chin towards them. “Behold and shudder.”

I frown down at the first paper. Columns with endless numbers, then names, then locations – I recognize Auschwitz and Sachsenhausen.

“These are prisoner numbers and names from the Holocaust,” I shriek. Some of them are highlighted with felt, obviously once neon-green, now faded.

Nadine glances over her shoulder and puts a finger to her lips. “Hush! Roland might hear you, and this is top secret information.”

“Then why are you showing it to me?” I push the papers back into her hands. “This could get you in an awful lot of trouble!”

“I’m already in trouble,” she says. She rises on her knees, her face now closer to mine, enhancing the air of secret. The words leave her mouth in short breaths. “If anything happens to me, I need someone else to know. Mark Stahl used to work for the Nazis. He’s ninety-six years old and very ill, but he’s keeping himself alive by means that he discovered back then.”

“I don’t understand.”

Nadine glances over her shoulder again, then brings her face even closer. “He used to be a Nazi doctor. And these –” she points to the papers now resting on top of her briefcase, “these were the people he worked on. He experimented on them and, when he got the results he was looking for, he used them on himself.” She grips my shoulders, her reddened eyes an inch from mine. “Isolde, the experiments made these people special.”

She picks up the pages and leafs through them with desperate fingers, as if she can’t find what she’s looking for fast enough. She finally points to a name, the pink polish on her fingernail chipped. “Viktor Schweizer. A doctor himself, a psychiatrist. Got rescued by the Americans. Once safe in the States, he wrote this.” She rummages in her briefcase, and fishes out a torn paper that she pushes in my hand. The lower edge is like the teeth of a shark, and the paper thin and fragile. “This is part of his report. Like most worthwhile information, it was never shared with the world.”

My pulse is so loud in my eardrums that it muffles the next train that makes the room quake. I pick up the paper and look down at it like it’s holy. “Where did you get this?”

I barely hear her voice over the scream of the train. “The American embassy. Viktor Schweizer is the ambassador’s right hand. I think he actually runs things from the shadow.”

“Nadine, how did you come upon all this?”

She gives me a clever grin, one of the few traces of sanity she has left. “I’m an investigative journalist, remember?”

I grip her hands in mine and look deep into her eyes, determined to talk sense into her. “You were careless, Nadine. Don’t you think Mark and Tristan had your activity monitored somehow?”

She snorts. “You mean like they wanted me to discover all this?”

“Not necessarily. But like they know that you did.”

Her brow furrows. “Then how come they didn’t try to stop me?”

My intuition, that for which Tristan first approached me, fires theories through my head like laser. The X file on top of the pyramid on Tristan’s desk flashes back at me. Viktor Schweizer, a psychiatrist. Mark Stahl once experimented on him in a concentration camp. The experiments worked. Now he’s back to take Stahl down – with new medical discoveries that will shake the world once released, and that will kill the entire pharma industry. I narrow my eyes. “Because Viktor Schweizer is the leader of the Institute for Psychosomatic Research.”

Nadine springs to her feet. “What?”

I nod. “You heard that right. Mark and Tristan have been trying to get to him since forever. It’s what they hired me for. Now it turns out they took you on their team for the same reason. They knew you’d be appalled when you started uncovering Mark’s dirty past, so they let you feel you were working against them, for the greater good. In truth, you’re taking them closer to Viktor Schweizer, who probably isn’t going out of his way trying fend off your investigations.” Intuition strikes again. I squint as if to peer through the man’s reasons and secrets, as if they’re hidden deep in Nadine’s face. “You’re a smart young woman with a fierce instinct for justice. The kind of person someone like Schweizer would enjoy to watch at work, and grow to trust. Sooner or later, he will make himself available to you.”

Nadine pulls a chair and sits across from me, folding her arms and opening her mouth, letting it sink in. She stares at the wall behind me. Another train screams by. Once silence sets in again, Nadine says, “And what part does Tristan play in this story?”

 

***

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Chapter I

Chapter II

Chapter III

Chapter IV

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

 

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Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Chapter VIII

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 VIII

It’s the third dress that I try on, the third one Gertrude dismisses. She stands there perched on her pumps, white jacket and pencil skirt perfectly starched, shiny blond bob flawless, ever-present white gloves covering her elegant hands. I wonder why she always wears them, but she intimidates me too badly to ask. Her expression is stern and sour, making me think of a woman General whenever our eyes meet.

I’m all twitchy and flustered because we’re at this mega high-class store surrounded by ridiculously expensive cocktail dresses, and Tristan is just walking to the glass doors from his bulletproof black car. I watch him and the bodyguards flanking him in the mirror. I recognize the bear-looking Demerol – he’s so hairy, he’s virtually furry; he’s taller and broader than Tristan, but it’s easy to see he fears his boss; he glances at him too often, as though he’s waiting for a pat on the head like a big dog.

Tristan is just about to walk in, and my heart rate speeds up. It’s that forbidding air of his that cuts me to the bone, I tell myself. He crosses the threshold, dressed in a dark gray suit that highlights his boxer build and authoritarian stance. His white blond hair is casually ruffled, his irises sparkle like ice, and his angular face looks so young and handsome it’s hard to believe he’s real. I surprise myself hoping he likes me in this dress – green always suited me, making my skin look good –, and fire whips up my cheeks. But, to my dismay, Tristan looks me up and down coldly.

“You’re not done yet?” His gaze turns to Gertrude, who shifts her weight from one leg to the other, at a loss.

“We’ll find something to suit her in a minute,” she mumbles.

“You’ve had hours. Time’s up.” Tristan walks to one of the trolleys and begins unhooking dresses from the rail. He tosses the first one away, right into Demerol’s hands, then another and another.

“Too slutty. Too widowy. Too slippery.” He freezes with the next dress in his hands. Holds it at an arm’s length, inspects it. Hands it to Gertrude, ignoring me. “This one.”

He walks over to the beige cushioned sofa and drops on it like the boss he is, pulling out his smart phone. Cheeks still burning, I take the hanger from Gertrude, barely daring to touch the expensive fabric like it’s a sacrilege. I draw the curtain to the fitting room, and breathe out in relief. This little bit of privacy is worth gold right now. Tristan’s presence takes such a toll on me that it’s hard work just being around him. I feel I have to watch my every move, my every word, my manners. Why do I even care what he thinks about me? I sure didn’t give a crap the first and second time we met. Only yesterday he had me betray my own brother, I should resent him like Black Death. But ever since the club night and Marie France’s potion I go giggly only when I think of him, and my voice fails me whenever he’s around.

The zipper gives me trouble. I grimace in the mirror, my arms twisted awkwardly behind my back, trying to get the darn thing to zip up. It’s too tight. My breasts almost spill out of the cups. I’m embarrassed to show myself in this strapless thing with my chest and shoulders bare, even though . . . I cock my head to the side.

The light inside the fitting room might be deceitful, but I like the way my Latina complexion contrasts with the cream-colored lace dress. I have far from perfect skin, and it rarely looks so complimented. Still, the dress is too small at the upper back, and it’s bursting at the seams at my hips. I decide to dismiss it, but that moment a head pops in.

“You done?”

I spin on an axis, and stumble backwards against the mirror. I slap my hand on my chest as my eyes find Gertrude’s face.

“God, you scared me.”

She measures me up and down. “She needs another one,” she calls over her shoulder.

“Why?” That’s Tristan’s voice.

“This one’s too tight. Not sure your father wants to make his appearance with –”

“Let her come out, I want to see.”

With a scowl Gertrude shoves in a pair of cream-colored stilettos that match the dress. “Put these on.”

I step into the shoes, take in a deep breath, and walk outside of the fitting room.

Tristan drops his smart phone and looks up at me with the cold gaze of a judge. I feel my cheeks catch fire like someone just bit them.

“It’s perfect,” he says. He’s sitting with an arm stretched over the back of the couch, legs apart, aggressive. His bodyguards stand flanking him behind the couch. He seems an Ice Prince indeed, powerful and defiant in his beauty. A vicious grin curls up his lips. “She looks exactly like she’s supposed to – the escort of an elderly billionaire, all tits and ass wrapped up properly.”

The contempt in his tone angers me. Before I know it I’ve stepped forward, and jutted out my chin. I haven’t been so bold since the day I met him. “Your father sees far more in me. I can help him get information from the Russian mobster, information that you, his son and chief of operations, cannot.”

Everybody in the room stiffens and holds their breath, from Gertrude to the bodyguards to the middle-aged saleswoman who’s frozen on the way to me holding a clutch that matches my dress. Tristan looks arctic daggers at me.

“Don’t make the mistake of thinking you understand Mark Stahl’s decisions, Isolde,” he purrs dangerously. “He’s wanted you on his team, yes, but remember that I remain the head of that team.” He bends from his waist and places his elbows on his knees. “To be honest, I think he likes you in a plain carnal way, Isolde. It’s been a while since he’s displayed a woman on his arm. Think about it – the mighty Mark Stahl, the man who’s kept out of sight for years, the man who runs the entire pharma industry from the shadow, wants to show you off as his escort. Doesn’t that make you wonder?” His tone drops, and he’s looking at me from under his eyebrows. “Maybe he’ll want you in his bed.”

Disgust explodes all over me. Then I hear myself say the most preposterous thing. “And how would you feel about that?”

He blinks. I realize I haven’t seen Tristan blink often, he always kept his stare inhumanly steady on me, but this time my words seem to take him by surprise. He leans back, his face regaining its cool expression in a moment. “I wouldn’t worry about it. It’s not like he’d marry you. He’ll use you and toss you away.”

I meant ‘would you be jealous,’ not ‘would you worry about your father’s heart’, but this response will do. It makes it clear once again that I’m no more than road kill to the Ice Prince. I sink my gaze and nod my head. My chest tightens so much it feels like a heavy ball, and I realize I want to hurt him. Badly. I feel the corners of my mouth curl downwards in a bitter expression. I keep my head down, and thereby my feelings to myself, bringing my hands together and pressing them against each other in front of my lower belly.

“Can he even, still, you know. I mean, he is old. And very ill.”

Tristan pauses. “Are you actually considering –?”

My eyes shoot up, finding his. The words fly out of my mouth. “I’m a virgin, Tristan.” That’s enough to stamp shock on his face, but I got more. “I figure, since I waited till twenty-six to be with a man, I might play my cards right and land myself an outrageously rich lover. Even if it’s short term, surely some advantage would come out of it.”

Tristan stares at me, while my blood seems to gurgle in my veins. I can’t believe what I’ve just said, the picture of myself that I’m painting for him. But I want to hurt him so badly, punish him for his indifference, for the brutal way he talks to me that I don’t care how I do it.

He gets up in a flash, so unexpectedly that I back off. He looks me up and down with an expression so cold that it’s impossible to gauge, and starts towards the exit. Demerol hurries to open the door for him and, as the bear-looking bodyguard holds it, Tristan stops and looks back at Gertrude.

“Make sure tonight Miss Isolde Molnar is primped according the special purpose she kindly shared with us.” He walks out the door, and tears of frustration creep up to my eyes.

***

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.

Read the FIRST CHAPTER of Tristan and Isolde Reloaded here and the SECOND CHAPTER here, THIRD CHAPTER here, and CHAPTER IV here, and CHAPTER V here, CHAPTER VI here, and CHAPTER VII here.

Further chapters:

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

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Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Chapter VI

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 VI

TRISTAN

Isolde’s brother sleeps with rich women for money. With his designer muscles from Men’s Gym and his Latino tan, he’s perfect for the jobs he does – callboy and bar buffoon. To be frank, I think he actually likes screwing older ladies.

He beams a perfectly white smile at the wilted Marilyn he meets in the hotel lobby, her lips puckered under red lipstick. By the way he scans her up and down, I think he’s looking forward to stripping her of the white fur coat covering her from shoulders to ankles. She’s the one who’d recommended “Frany C.” – Marie France Cassel – to him, asking him to get the woman hired at the club. And she’s the one who’ll lead us to her again. As was to be expected, Ms. Cassel never made her appearance again at the club after the night she manipulated my drink.

Isolde sits across from me, gathering her coat tighter around her body. She’s uncomfortable, obviously. She’s watching her brother through the glass wall that separates lounge from lobby with a look of guilt on her face – in the end, she betrayed to me the time and place these two would meet.

“You did it for his own good,” I remind her in an even tone. She just nods, and presses her lips together. Doesn’t look at me, which makes me ball my fist on my thigh. I want her looking at me when I’m talking to her. As if she senses it, she braces herself rigidly, and casts her eyes down. She makes herself smaller in her armchair, like she’s hiding.

“Relax. He can’t see you here, the pane is a mirror on the other side,” I sneer.

Again just a short nod. It hits me, and I can’t keep back a sour grin. She’s not hiding from him, but from me.

I rest back in my armchair, and study the side of her face that she offers. She has the same Latino complexion as her brother but, other than that, they aren’t very much alike. Her features are finer, her lips darker, and the small craters in her cheeks – probably the marks of chicken pox – make her look pleasantly vulnerable. Little animal. I breathe in her scent that makes me think of a stable. And lilac.

“Get used to this, Isolde.” I feel wicked satisfaction as I say the words. She’ll betray everyone and, before this is over, the only one she’ll have left will be me. “You’ll bait many people working for me. This is only the beginning.”

Demerol walks on the other side of the pane and gives the inconspicuous signal that it’s time. I push myself up from the armchair. Behind me, the men grab Isolde from her seat and urge her to follow. I know every move that takes place behind me, I can “read” the shift of air against the skin on my nape, but I still feel the need to turn. To look at her, see those wet doe eyes beg me not to do this. I curse under my breath and steel myself against it.

The elevator ascends smoothly, the numbers blinking green as we ride to the floor where Roland is banging Marilyn. We wait on the corridor outside their room for a while, my men sending away anyone walking out of the elevator to get to their rooms. When they protest, Demerol invokes a mission of the Secret Services. By the look of us except of Isolde, the story isn’t hard to buy.

I glance at my watch. Half an hour, the cameras must’ve gotten enough by now. I look at the men by the door, motion with my chin, and the one closest produces a fine wire from between his fingers. He’s dexterous with that, he used to steal cars before I recruited him. He works the lock and opens the door silently. The others follow him in, and the woman inside shrieks.

As I make to cross the threshold Isolde grabs my wrist. I stiffen and look down at her, arching an eyebrow at her boldness. She releases my hand and drops her gaze.

“He’ll never forgive me for this,” she whispers. She’s shivering. I look away and make to step in again. My men shove her from behind, signalling her to follow me. She resists.

“Don’t make me do this, Tristan,” she pleads. “He doesn’t have to know it was me who made this happen.”

Against all odds, I find myself wanting to concede. I grit my teeth. “Fine, stay here.”

I walk in coolly, my fingers skimming over the white fur hanging on a chair at the tea table. The woman stands on her knees on the bed, I see her from the corner of my eye. Roland, Isolde’s brother, is fully naked, my men holding him back by the arms against the carved wood headboard, a silken pillow resting against his private parts. The canopy hangs flowingly from the bed frame.

“Well, Mrs. Simova,” I slur as I pace, hand caressing the fur. “I’m sure your husband – the man who paid for this fine coat, that fat designer bag and, I’m sure, unknowingly, also for your lover – would very much hate to –” I pluck the small camera from the vase on the table, “ – discover who his trusted wife of over twenty years really is.”

The woman clutches the silken sheet above her breasts, her ash-blond Marilyn locks ravished, the skin on her arms sagging.

“Who are you? Why are you doing this?” she babbles desperately, her eyes darting around at the men in black who now flash more cameras in her face, producing more proof. Roland jerks from the men’s hold toward me, but they keep him back. His pumped up Latino chest heaves, and I barely refrain from ordering him thrown in the cages. Let him try to take it out on me there, the piece of shit.

“You bastard!” He glowers and wriggles. “You come in here with a whole squad to threaten a poor naked woman?”

I snort, which comes out more like a laugh full of contempt. “Poor isn’t exactly a word I’d choose to describe Mrs. Simova, young man. In fact, it’s the opposite of it that lured you to this bed, is it not?”

His knitted eyebrows form one dark line that now quivers like he’s confused. It must be the way I talk, it throws many off balance. It’s a mark of the old day I haven’t quite gotten to master over the years.

“I’ll leave out the pleasantries.” I stop by the end of the bed, squaring my shoulders. Demerol throws the picture of Marie France Cassel on the bed, right under Mrs. Simova’s nose. “You had this young man find this woman a job at the nightclub. Her true intention was to get to me, and manipulate my drink. She succeeded, and disappeared. Where do I find her now?”

Mrs. Simova takes the picture in her trembling fingers, the other hand still holding tightly to the sheet above her chest. I scan her and her much younger lover. They seem two maggots on the bed, slimy and stinking. It would be so easy to squash them. And hell knows they deserve it, both of them. Maybe I’ll send those pictures to the woman’s husband anyway when this is all over. And the callboy, I could throw down in a cage, feed him to the Dutchman. Isolde wouldn’t know, she’d be long cold by then. My insides knot at the image of her lying stiff in a coffin, and rage burns in my fists.

“Talk,” I thunder, and the woman winces.

“Frany, yes, she used to be my maid,” the woman babbles. “My husband was unhappy with her.” She gives me a meaningful, almost reprimanding look under her fine eyebrows, which are barely more than faint blond lines on a face like crumpled paper. “I’m not the only one with guilty pleasures, you see. He’s been screwing secretaries and maids for a lifetime, and this one wouldn’t give in.”

I nod, unimpressed. “Go on. I don’t have all day.” I didn’t come here with a squad to intimidate a woman and her paid lover, indeed. I’m going straight after Cassel when this is done, and I expect she has serious back up from the Institute. In the end, they create men like me.

“I don’t know where she is or what she does now,” the woman bursts in obvious despair. “I swear, I don’t.”

“No need to panic,” I say coolly. “I’ll just take the next best lead. Who got her into your house?”

She frowns. “Excuse me?”

“Who recommended her to you?” I flash a glance at Roland. “I was in contact with his sister. So Ms. Cassel must’ve known you were seeing him, and she manipulated her way into your house. So who got her working for you?”

The woman ponders. I’m sure she sees my point. “Boris Podgor, my husband’s partner. He owns a Russian restaurant down in Mitte.”

Connections bolt through my head. Boris Podgor, a Moscow scumbag who trades girls and crocodile in the underground. Particularly nasty. “Thank you, Mrs. Simova.”

I throw the tiny camera device on the bed, spin round and head for the door. Behind me, the men shift and shuffle, expertly removing all proof of our presence there, starting with the cameras. On the corridor I encounter Isolde. I make to stomp by her, and she withdraws by the wall, still clutching her coat tightly around her. Her lips form a distorted line – is she crying, or is she disgusted with me? At that thought I stop brusquely. My face snaps to her, and I can feel current flash in my eyes.

“Thank you for your cooperation.” I sound cold as ice, but on the inside I’m bustling with hot rage. Rage because I want to sink my fingers in her thick messy bun, pull her head back and bite into her full, dark lower lip until I taste blood. For a moment I picture pulling her into the next room, throwing her on the bed, and ripping her clothes off. Subduing her, branding her mine. Like cattle, she’ll be put to death when the time comes, that’s inevitable, but until then I can consume the heat of her body, the essence between her thighs. The Dutchman roars, my rod stiffens with an urgent need to feel her skin on mine. It’s so strong it clouds my head, and it’s so new I don’t bother to understand it. Just this once.

I reach for her, but the elevator doors zing open, and Gertrude walks out of it, one silky, toned leg in front of the other. She’s wearing a pencil skirt, shiny pantyhose and patent leather shoes. She’s been trying real hard to impress me, but she fails every time. Her white silk gloves give out a smooth sheen in the corridor light. She throws Isolde a bad glance.

“Your father wants to see her,” she tells me. “Right away.”

***

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.

Read the FIRST CHAPTER of Tristan and Isolde Reloaded here and the SECOND CHAPTER here, THIRD CHAPTER here, and CHAPTER IV here, and CHAPTER V here.

Further chapters:

 

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

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Cover decision – which one?

Hyperion – The Assassin is going to be released in only a few weeks! I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to finally release this story of an ancient assassin who gets entangled in a love story with his target’s wife as a stand alone. Can’t wait to share with you the story of Hyperion and Ligia! But now, the question is – which of these two covers should we go for? How about you make the decision. Which one do you prefer? I’m looking forward to reading from you!

Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Chapter V

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 V

My men bring her in a few days later. I’m waiting in the study, reading the last adjustments to her contract. I expect her intense dark eyes to spit soot at me, but there’s no trace of the confident, bold-mouthed young mare from last time in the girl now facing me. Even at the club, with her tits technically popping from her cleavage, she was more commanding.

She wears an old raincoat with a mock fur lined hood that now hangs loose on either side of her neck, no make-up, a thick and messy bun atop her head. I’ve never seen her hair open, but I expect it to be long and tangled, suiting the curvaceous little cavewoman that she is. Demerol says they intercepted her at the corner store buying eggs for breakfast, so this must be the morning package, no mortar, no paint.

“I hope my men weren’t too brusque with you?” I rise from the chair behind the desk, my eyes scanning the reality for differences to the picture I had of her in my mind a few nights ago. Except for the lacking grooming there aren’t many.

“I was taken a bit by surprise.” She looks up at the shelves upon shelves of books like they’re fairy tale, clearly in awe. “It’s quite a castle and a library you have here.”

“You an avid reader?”

“I’m a sucker for romance novels.”

Sucking. The lapping sounds of my jerk-off come back to me, and I want to splinter the rack of ancient weapons on the sidewall.

“As honest as always, but without the bitter part.” I sound hostile, which alarms her. I can see it in her face.

“Well, you’re my boss now, aren’t you? I thought I’d mind my tongue.”

Hell, what next? She’s gonna find a reason to say sex?

I rip my gaze away from her as I invite her to read the contract, but can’t help creeping from the corner of my eye as she passes me by. She leaves behind a trail of meaty smell mingled with cheap lily scent. I grit my teeth to refrain from literally biting into her.

They say humans unconsciously decide if they want someone as a sexual partner in a split second after they meet them, but I stopped being fully human a while ago. I do prostitutes to release my waste, but I never lusted for them, not even in the abusive way I want to possess Isolde. They’re human cattle to me, they stink and wobble, they’re drains and gutters. Seems I have to remind myself of that whenever I’m around this particular one.

Isolde takes the contract in her hands, and I almost expect her to go audacious enough to sit in my chair and start analyzing individual paragraphs. But instead she remains standing and skips right to the last page. She picks up a ballpoint pen from the holder on my desk, and signs with one swing of her wrist.

“Didn’t you want to peruse it first?” I inquire, cocking an eyebrow.

She tucks a strand of dark hair behind her ear, her cheeks a reddish hue. She’s nervous. “What’s the use? It’s either your way or the highway, isn’t it?”

“Pretty much.”

She looks around, awkward and shy. This doesn’t add up, she acts nothing like the first two times we met.

“So, do I come back tomorrow with a suit and a briefcase? Or will I be working from somewhere else?” she says.

“You work from here, and no, there’s no need for special attire. You start right away.”

I join her behind the desk, keeping a safe distance like a lion from a lamb, and pull file folders from the lowest drawer. I place them in the form of a pyramid to suggest hierarchy within the Institute for Psychosomatic Research. Isolde is much smaller than me, and all I see is her messy bun whenever I glance at her. An urge washes over me to grab it, tug her head back and lick her jugular, feel it pulse on my tongue. I grit my teeth to refrain.

“Here are your golden apples,” I begin to talk, determined to distract myself from the urges. “I know all there is to know about all the Institute’s important members, besides their leader.” I point to the X-marked file at the top of the pyramid. “You’ll use the others in order to get to him. I believe that my resources combined with your talents is the formula for success.”

Isolde stiffens. I bend my head a bit to get a good look at her face – fixed eyes, slightly parted lips. She appears stunned.

“What troubles you, Isolde?”

I don’t expect her to say something immediately, therefore I give her a few moments. She takes her hand hesitantly to a file right under the X one. Besides the X file, each one has a picture of its subject on the cover.

“Marie France Cassel,” I start about the person she’s staring at. “She might be among the hardest people to pin down.”

“She works for the Institute?” Isolde murmurs.

“Obviously.” Redundant questions annoy me, so I turn from her and start pacing slowly, keeping my eyes off her as well. “Madame Cassel majored in Chemical Engineering at Imperial, London, top of her class, but she considers herself a new age alchemist. She is praised in her field as very innovative, and mixes in-depth knowledge of chemistry with esoteric that she openly believes in – based on her upbringing; her parents were Goths. No one ever took them seriously, of course, but Marie France cherishes their memory and therefore always strived to prove their legacy veritable. She’s a modern witch, if you want.”

“Did she succeed? To prove their legacy real?” Isolde sounds faint, as if she’s afraid of the answer.

“To a certain extent.” I narrow my eyes at her. “Why the special interest in Ms. Cassel?”

She holds up the file. “I know her, Tristan. Her name is Frany, and she used to work with me at the nightclub.”

The news tears through my eardrums. Like everything that takes me by surprise, it angers the hell out of me. “Say what?”

“This woman was supposed to wait your table a few nights ago when you and I last saw each other. The guy you saved me from and his friends had given her a bad time, and I offered to take the drinks up for her. Then –” she hesitates. I’m forced to approach.

I grab her shoulders, my hands firm on her upper arms, but I pull her closer gently. Her scent of prey and lily makes my nostrils flare. This is what blood must smell like to sharks. “I suggest you spill all the beans.”

“Didn’t you see Frany at all?” she asks, clearly intimidated.

“Would we still be having this conversation if I did?”

Her eyes dart around as if she’s searching for an explanation on the walls and shelves. “The glass you drank from. Frany took it to some guy who looked like an undercover agent or something, leather jacket and all, saying the police is after your DNA.”

The wheels turn in my head. I narrow my eyes.

“What is it?” she inquires. “Please, Tristan, tell me what you’re thinking.”

“Marie France Cassel doesn’t need my DNA. She’s had it since forever. And she’d never work with the police.”

Isolde frowns and shakes her head slightly. “But why would she be so desperate to stop me from touching that glass and making your DNA useless?”

I grin. I’ve never been so close to the Institute before, especially through a member as highly ranked as Madame Cassel. Hiring Isolde has already started to pay off. “Let’s go ask her.”

***

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Read the FIRST CHAPTER of Tristan and Isolde Reloaded here and the SECOND CHAPTER here, THIRD CHAPTER here, and CHAPTER IV here.

Further chapters:

 

Chapter V

Chapter VI

Chapter VII

Chapter VIII

Chapter IX

Chapter X

Beautiful sexy couple portrait“>Pic credits. Pic acquired here.