Tristan and Isolde Reloaded – Chapter XIX – INDECENT PROPOSAL

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 XIX – Indecent Proposal

ISOLDE

I know the woman now facing me directly. Her deep brown eyes meet mine with those unmistakable long eyelashes, curved upward. Her face is heart-shaped, delicate and very pale, as it’s always been, but indeed, I can see the lady in her. I’ve known her as helpless Frany, but now I’m looking at Lady Marie France Cassel, elite chemist; if I didn’t know better now, I’d think she is my sweet Frany’s older, aristocrat sister.

The moment she recognizes me Lady Marie France turns on her heels, places her drink on the mantelpiece behind her, lifts her skirt—shiny, black, sewn with black pearls—and she glides through the crowd away from me.

I scurry after her, but she’s faster. She seems a ghost, floating casually among human obstacles, while I bump into them, and excuse myself. I keep my eyes on her and follow out of the room to another room, different people, same smothering heat. I see her take a right into what turns out to be a dark corridor where I’m forced to feel my way along the walls, into the gardens outside.

It’s dark, the gardens are scarcely lit, and the chill bites into my naked arms and shoulders. The emerald necklace turns to metal against my skin, hitting me like a small cold whip every step I take.

“Frany,” I call after the woman who’s become a dark moving stain before me. She keeps gliding away. “Lady Marie France!”

She stops and turns, her pale face like half a moon in the night. I can’t see her eyes, but I can read her surprise.

“Yes, I know who you are, Lady Cassel,” I press, slowing down, hoping I got her. But she turns, and moves away even faster than before. I grip the folds of my dress and increase pace, my chest and neck cold, and my breath steaming out of my mouth. My lungs burn, and the dress squeezes me like pliers, but I won’t give up.

Marie France crosses a quaint little bridge over the pond, and disappears into a rusty pavilion. I’m pretty sure I hear a creak, but it could be the floorboards of the bridge squeaking under my feet. When I reach the pavilion I spin in circles, but she’s disappeared. I’m sure she stepped in here, though.

I look around the dimly lit gazebo, touching and inspecting the wrought iron benches and the chipped round table in the middle. Under it there’s a lever. I wrap both my hands around the cold iron, pull down hard, and a hatch opens. Indeed, there’s the creak, the same one from before.

I take a deep breath and climb down through the hatch, feeling a bit like Alice in Wonderland. I don’t know why, but I’m not surprised to find a secret doorway in the royal gardens of the Charlottenburg Palace. Maybe it’s because of the vision I had, because I kind of know what to expect.

My hair and dress catch in the edges of the entrance, and I can’t refrain from cursing. A tooth-like piece of copper hooked into a fold of my dress, and the only solution I see to free myself is tugging hard. The force I apply to the tug turns out too much, the fold rips, and I roll downwards on my back. Something like a metal slide batters my spine as I roll, and by the time I hit the ground I’ve groaned so loud that my presence surely isn’t a secret anymore.

I get to my feet with difficulty, not sure yet how much of my body is broken. My bones hurt, but as I touch myself I realize the scare was the worst part of it. If anything, I’ll get a few bruises by morning.

I look around, bracing myself and rubbing my upper arms. This place is deserted and frightening, like an ancient cave. The air is stale, and foul. Ventilation surely is an issue here, and the pressure is heavy on my body, too. I must have fallen really far underground.

The soil consists of damp gravel and sand, and it crunches under my feet as I step to the edge of an abyss that yawns before me without warning. I flail my arms to keep balance, but when I steady myself my eyes also adjust, and I gasp.

The countless seats carved into the earth all around the hole are empty, but limelight is focused on a scene in the center of an abandoned arena. This place seems a secret Roman ruin, a site where Roman military probably had gladiators fight when they missed home. Spotting movement, I narrow my eyes, hunker down, and strain with all I have to see from this distance. I gasp, taking my hand to my mouth.

He hangs on a cross just like in my vision. Streaks of blood seem to snake down his forearms and down the cross from his feet, while two men dressed like Roman guards stand on each side of him with spears in their hands. I’m sure the crucified man is Tristan, and panic makes the blood squirt from my heart. But, unlike in my vision, there’s no laughing crowd, and as I look better I see the man on the cross isn’t Tristan. It’s my foster father from years ago, his body like a flaccid peach glistening with sweat in the limelight. He’s completely naked, and he seems barely alive.

I feel Tristan’s wintry breath on the curve of my neck before his voice reaches my ear from behind.

“He knows exactly why this is happening to him.” He’s really close; the temperature of his big body envelops my back. It’s not heat and it’s not cold, it’s just waves of temperature field. Something I’ve never experienced before, I realize suddenly.

“You aren’t human,” I whisper without turning.

“Whether I’m human or not has nothing to do with this,” he says in a low voice. His lips touch the shell of my ear lightly, and a shiver that borders on pleasure runs all through me. I grit my teeth. There’s satisfaction in his voice at his next words. “Do you enjoy the sight?”

“Enjoy?” God, I’m trembling like a chicken stripped of feathers.

“After everything he did to you, retribution must feel good.”

I turn to look into Tristan’s face. My heart cringes as my eyes settle on him. Please, God, don’t let me be falling for a monster, for a torturer and a killer. I brusquely remember Marie France and her love potion.

“I saw her, Tristan. I saw Marie France. She led me here, and she must be around somewhere.”

He grins his thuggish grin, and the wicked dimple appears beside his mouth. “Yes, I know. Well, she had a surprise of her own. She expected me on that cross.”

“And she expected a full audience, too. That’s what I saw in my vision.”

“Your vision helped change that version of the future—to this.” He motions with his chin to the scene in the limelight. I glance at my foster father, and my fists clench on the folds of my dress.

“Tristan, please, I can’t be responsible for this.”

He stands while I’m still hunkering down. He now looms over me. “Come on, Isolde, don’t be a hypocrite. Roland told me what this piece of shit put you through, you must experience some sort of pleasure right now.”

He reaches for me and helps me up. His hand is big enough to wind around my upper arm completely, but it’s also cold and wet. I look at it, and my stomach twists. His hand, wrist and cuff are soaking red.

“Yes, I nailed him myself,” Tristan says, and he sounds like a satisfied psycho. He offers me his other hand. “Here, touch his blood.”

“What, no!” Frany! I grip his forearm, horrified. “What about Marie France? Did you intercept her as she came here? What did you do to her?”

He frowns. “I decided to let her go. Desperate as she is now, she’s going to make huge mistakes, and lead us to the others. My men are tailing her closely. We’ll get to all of her confederates, eventually.”

I glance at my foster father. “Are you really doing this for me, Tristan? When we met at the Palace you looked at me like I wasn’t worth jack. The last thing I expected—”

“Was that I’d seek revenge in your name. Exactly.” He steps closer, and his arm goes around my waist, plastering me to his body. I gasp. This can’t be happening. This can’t be freaking happening.

His wintry smell tinges my nostrils, the sleek feel of his suit licks my arms, and I think I’m having an out of body experience. It all feels like an alternate reality, me staring up into his razor sharp blue eyes from somewhere beside myself.

“I had to do something that would make this a highly incredible scenario, Isolde. Namely that I’d be down in this cave tonight, ramming nails into a man’s hands and feet in order to please you. I had to put on display my indifference to you.” His gaze is wild. The man is mighty damaged.

“Tristan, this is sacrilege,” I manage, keeping my tone extra soft. “You can’t give my foster father the fate of Christ. Please, get him down. That would please me.”

He lets go of me and squares his shoulders. “It’s pretty hard to release him now, Isolde. What you see is only the tip of the iceberg. Your foster father and I first met twenty-four hours ago, and we spent some time together since then, you see.”

I shudder, understanding what he means. I look him up and down, picturing how this monster has tortured my foster father, probably while telling him it was in my name. Now that weasel has seen Tristan’s face, and he can go to the police with it. I notice a stain of blood on Tristan’s white shirt under the suit jacket, emerging from under his lapel, wet and plastering his shirt to his pectoral.

“You intend to kill him no matter what,” I breathe, bracing myself.

“I don’t have a choice,” he states coldly.

I glance away for only a moment to ease the tension between us, and when my eyes find him again he seems even more threatening. I barely dare look him in the face as I say, timidly, “You’re the mighty Tristan Stahl. President of Stahl Biotech, head of the pharmaceuticals mafia, and you’re well connected to the very top of the world. If anyone always has a choice, it’s you.”

I drop my gaze, but I can feel those blade sharp eyes drilling into my skull.

“Well, what can I say.” His tone is deceivingly calm. “You are very smart, Isolde. You know how to manipulate words, but I’m afraid men of my caliber aren’t as easy.”

My eyes snap to him. “I’m not trying to manipulate you, Tristan. I’m trying to talk some sense into you.” I point to my foster father, raising my voice as the fist of despair grips my heart. “You’re about to take a life!”

“His life is worthless.”

“That’s not for you to decide. He’s been born into this world, he has a right to be here.”

“Well, he sure doesn’t feel the same about you, does he?” Tristan loses patience, grips my elbow, and pulls me harshly to him. I slam into his body like a ragdoll against a wall. I’m so soft compared to him, and his face is so freaking close to mine, his wintry breath smashing into my face, good God! “This man is a neo-Nazi. He believes that I deserve to live, the perfect Aryan specimen, while you should die just because your skin is a few shades darker than his. He’d never return the favor you’re doing him now, Isolde.”

It’s a struggle to keep my gaze hanging on his, but I have to. It’s either make my point now, or never. “And if you sacrifice him now to his own gods, Tristan, saying you’re doing it for me, what lesson will he have learned? He’ll only think he’s dying a martyr, and that he’s been right all along to hate the Latina bitch.”

Tristan pauses, looking hard into my eyes. “You’ll say anything to save him, won’t you?” He scans me up and down. My intuition tells me that, if until now he was only intrigued by me, now I’m in much bigger trouble. “It would seem you’re even more special than Mark expected.”

He comes so close his icy blue eyes become a blur. “Tell, me,” he purrs like a stalking tiger, “how much would you sacrifice in order to save this piece of shit?”

“Sacrifice?”

“What would you give me in order to safeguard his right of being in this world?”

Blood drains from my head. “What are you trying to say to me, Tristan?”

He splays his fingers over my back, my tits swelling against his iron body. “If you want me to take the risk and set him loose, Isolde, I’ll have something in return.” His voice goes low, deep, smoky, making the skin on my back prickle. “I’ll have your virtue.”

 

TO BE CONTINUED…

***

Enjoyed this? Stay tuned for more! Subscribe to this blog, and follow me on Facebook andTwitter 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

Chapter XVIII

 

 

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

 

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. 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 . . .

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

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

Pic source.

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?”

 

***

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

 

Pic source.

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 VII

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 VII

ISOLDE

Gertrude shoves me from behind, and I stumble over the threshold into Mark Stahl’s room. I refrain from swearing, and step to the side of the door, my eyes skimming over the pillars and vaulted ceiling.

The library downstairs where I met Tristan a few days ago knocked the air from my lungs, but I’m more resilient to the opulence of this old castle now, on second impact. Still, the place gives me an eerie feeling, a chill that makes my skin pucker. It’s like a cold whisper in my ear about things being done onto people within the confines of these walls.

There’s semi-darkness ahead. Curtains are drawn before ceiling-high windows, light only faintly making it through cracks between them here and there, licking the rug. Gertrude either has the eyes of a cat, or she knows her way around the room by heart, because she stalks confidently forward. I can see the sheen of her gloves and her patent leather shoes in the middle of the room, where she stops like a reporting soldier.

“The girl is here, as you requested, milord.”

Something creaks, like old wheels turning. A twisted shape emerges from the shadow, rolling forward. I open my eyes wider as it approaches, to see better, trying to make sense of this crumpled form. The brass spikes of wheels become clear on each side of it, then the rest of the . . . installation. I draw in a sharp breath and take a step back. My back hits the closed door.

Mark Stahl is in a wheelchair, surrounded by tubes, cables and devices. He’s like a mummy on mobile life-support, thick veins visible in his forearms and neck through flesh that looks like fruit left out to dry for far too long. He must be very old. Unnaturally old.

His glassy blue eyes, the liveliest part of him, inspect me up and down with interest. The device at his mouth – seemingly an oxygen mask – is removed with a high-tech buzz, and then he speaks. My nails pierce my palms. He sounds as old as he looks, his voice a scrape that seems to hurt his vocal cords with every word.

“Special, indeed.” His eyes lick over me. My hands claw into the fabric around my body. The whole day I’ve been clutching this darn old coat, but then again, this day has been the scariest of my life.

“Mr. Stahl,” I murmur, trying to keep my voice from jittering. “To what do I owe the honor?”

“The honor is all mine,” Mark Stahl says. Speaking seems to cause him pain, but still, he doesn’t spare words. “If you’re of such value to Marie France Cassel that she personally intervened in your life, then you’re of great value in yourself.”

He rolls closer, and I stiffen by the door. The closeness of this man is like the silent crawl of a viper. His leathery, blotchy hand reaches over, touching the rim of my coat like I’m a holy relic. There’s so much reverence in the way his fingers skim over it that I’m baffled.

“Isolde Molnar,” he whispers, “the girl who got the attention of gods.”

“The first of which was you,” I retort without thinking. A smile like a loose seam appears on his face.

“Tristan said you were a well of smart replies.”

Tristan. My heart starts in a gallop. I want to blurt out the questions, when did you adopt him, and from where, but I bite my lip. Mark Stahl looks at me from under his eyebrows, almost a cunning scowl.

“He also says Marie France wanted the glass that he’d drunk from. But I hear there was more than that involved. It was she who’d fixed his drink, your brother the bartender having been conveniently away from the bar – probably maneuvered by her people. Do you remember the exact alchemy she worked on my son’s scotch?”

Good question. I narrow my eyes, trying to remember. “I haven’t really paid attention, I was –” It hits me. “ – impaired.”

“In what way?”

I’d cut my hand, and Marie France might’ve squeezed my blood into your son’s drink; I might just be part of that alchemy. But I dread to say it. I don’t know what consequences it might have. Tristan is already unfriendly enough, and there’s this permanent thundercloud of violence hovering over him. I wouldn’t want it to explode in my face. “I was worried about the guys I was about to pass by. The ones who’d given Frany – Marie France – a hard time, and then me. I was studying them.”

“I hear my son took care of those pricks after your talk, yes?” He has a gentlemanly, protective tone. As if that’s what he educated Tristan to do, aid damsels in distress.

“Yes,” I whisper and lower my gaze. My chest caves in – I’d hoped Tristan had done it in a fit of jealousy. I’d hoped that he might feel attracted to me. I still hoped even on the hotel corridor less than an hour ago, when his features hardened as if he were made of metal, and his razor sharp blue eyes cut through me. The readiness of violence engraved in his face, his “I got nothing to lose and would stick my teeth in anyone who dares challenge me” expression, it had me chilled to the bones. But his young Scandinavian beauty still compelled me.

Mark puts his thin, dry hands on the wheels and creaks the wheelchair farther away from me. I wonder why the high-tech device makes these sounds, it looks new and powerful like a space ship. But then the entire life-support gear attached to it sways a bit as he rolls around, and I realize it’s too heavy for the chair to sustain.

“I’m going to be straight forward with you, Isolde,” he says heavily, his voice robotic. I notice he holds his hand to his neck, with another device. “You’re special. You drew our attention because you have unique talents that we saw good use for.”

My cheeks burn with embarrassment. I never could take a compliment. “I wouldn’t say –”

“You weren’t aware of these talents before you met Tristan,” he interrupts, and retreats even deeper in the shadow. “Isolde, my son and I, we know exactly why we want you working for us. But we don’t know why Marie France Cassel went through all that trouble to work alchemy between you and Tristan.” So he knows. His glassy blue gaze deepens. “There must be more to you than even we had expected.”

My face is now on fire. I have no idea how to react to this. “Thank you?” I whisper shyly, and put on what must be a dumb smile.

“No need to thank, Isolde. It’s a fact, not a compliment.” He measures me up and down with interest. “But you must beware. My son, Tristan, he’s special, too, and not in a good way. The family he comes from, you see, the genes.” His gaze fills with secretive meaning. His eyes are all I see now in a crack of light between the curtains. The rest of his face is obscured, like he’s wearing a facemask. “What Marie France did might’ve awoken evil feelings in Tristan toward you.”

That punches me in the chest. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to tell I’m road kill to Tristan. “I won’t lose my head for him, don’t worry,” I whisper.

“Good. I like to see a girl who stands fast even in the face of such painful beauty as my son’s.”

Painful beauty. Yes. I shake my head, open my mouth to say something, then reconsider.

“You know, Isolde,” Mark Stahl says in a subject-changing tone, “I’m sure we stand better chance of catching Marie France if you make your appearance by our side more often. She might come out in the open for you again. We will go visit Boris Podgor, this Russian mobster from the underground who infiltrated her, and I’d like you to come with us.” He turns his head slowly, indeed like an old viper, and scans me up and down. “Tristan will take you shopping. It’ll be a big night when we meet Mr. Podgor, and you’ll want to look your best.”

“I’m sure I can –”

“You need to look expensive. Opulent. I doubt your wardrobe contains anything proper.”

“You don’t have to –”

“Yes, I do. Just as I have to see Mr. Podgor in person, and with you on my arm.” He may be old as a turtle, but he sounds like a boss. I feel the need to lower my head.

“Thank you, Mr. Stahl.”

His tone softens even through that robotic device that helps him speak. “Please. Call me Mark.”

***

 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.

Further chapters:

 

Chapter VII

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

Pic source.