She wanted happily ever after.
He thought he had it.
Underneath the perfect exterior of Calista Bennett’s marriage lay an ugly truth that threatens to drown her when she is betrayed.
Across town, Nickolas Mikos isn’t doing much better after his life is plunged into his new reality by his wife’s lies.
Life can change in the blink of an eye. Can Cali and Nick comfort each other’s raw pain enough to allow for a second chance at happiness, or will their fears and anger prevent them from uncovering the blessing in the betrayal?
I’m sorry, Cali. I know it isn’t what you wanted to hear, but the test was negative.”
Her hopeful apprehension morphed to dread. “Are you sure? Should we do another?”
Dr. Galloway smiled indulgently. “That won’t be necessary. The tests are very reliable. I’m sure you took one at home as well, didn’t you?”
“Yes.” Her dejected reply was barely a whisper.
“Then you already know taking it again would just be a waste.” The OBGYN doctor wheeled his rolling stool closer to the exam table to pat Cali’s knee in a fatherly way. “I know you and your husband are anxious to get your family started, but you’re only twenty-four. You have plenty of time. We have a lot of options we haven’t tried yet.”
Cali struggled to hold back her tears. How could she tell her kind doctor how important it was for her to get pregnant?
“I think it’s time for us to do testing on your husband. Since we haven’t found any smoking gun on your side of the equation, it’s time to take a look at Mr. Bennett’s sperm count and mobility. That will help me decide our next steps.”
“I don’t know about that, Dr. Galloway. Kevin is so busy with his job. He joined his father’s law firm last year and is working crazy hours. I doubt he can come in for an appointment.” Cali didn’t know how to tell the good doctor her husband had made it very clear giving him an heir was her responsibility, and the only help he planned contributing to the process was a ‘daily hard fuck.’ The array of bruises scattered across her body were proof he was living up to his hard promise.
Calista trembled as she realized her temporary veil of protection had fallen with the negative test result. Kevin was gentler with her during the weeks of the month she might be in the process of forming a fragile new life. For the last year, each month the results were negative, he not only deemed it his responsibility to punish her for failing him yet again, but he then proceeded to make up for lost time. The next two weeks of her life were going to be hell.
No. She couldn’t tell the kind doctor that.
“What would he have to do?”
“Us men have it pretty easy, to be honest,” the doctor grinned wolfishly. “You poor women get poked and prodded with all kinds of needles and drugs. Your husband just needs to come in and give us a deposit of his sperm. He’ll have a private room and will be able to bring along reading or viewing material he might need to help. All in all, the men have it pretty good in this deal.”
How right he was. “Okay, I’ll talk to him about it.”
“Sounds good. Keep your chin up. We’ve done a lot of tests, and I see no reason why you can’t get pregnant. It’s gonna happen when the time is right and not a minute before.”
“Thanks again, doctor.” She forced a smile to hide her growing sense of dread. “I’ll see you next time.”
As Calista redressed, she said a small prayer that Kevin would be in a good mood when he got home today. He’d been out of town on business the last two days. Since passing the bar exam, he’d been working eighty hours a week or more, and in truth, he was gone so much, it made her life less stressful most of the time. Unfortunately, he still checked in at home often enough to dump his dirty laundry and contribute his duty to operation ‘give me an heir.’
Sitting at a stop light on the drive home, Cali once again questioned why she stayed with her husband. He’d changed so much since they got married almost two years before. He had always been dominant… demanding. The problem was he’d begun to take the definition of dominant to a whole new level. Cali used to think of herself as a submissive. Lately, she felt more like a well-worn doormat.
Cali was just doing a final check of her makeup in the large vanity mirror when she heard the garage door opening one floor below. She had taken extra care in her preparations for tonight’s Bennett, Bennett, and Moore post-holiday party. She knew how important it was to her husband.
She may not have understood why Kevin had singled her out when they’d met during her senior year at the University of Virginia, but she certainly knew now. Cali had been flattered when the president of the university’s most prominent law organization had set his sights on her. As a final year law student, he’d been charming, sweeping her off her feet with gifts, assurances of love, and romantic gestures.
Now, a few years later, she knew what a mistake she had made believing a single word he’d said. He had made it abundantly clear after she had said her ‘I dos,’ she was his showpiece. His grandfather and father were managing partners in one of Washington D.C.’s most prestigious law firms, specializing in international tax law. The fact Kevin had the last name Bennett had assured her husband a top spot at the large firm straight out of law school. It also meant she was married to a man who had unlimited resources to make her life a living hell should she try to leave him. She ought to know. She had tried. Just once, a year ago. She’d learned first-hand as ugly as it was being married to him, trying to leave him was worse.
Cali had been lost in thought, missing his arrival in their master suite. She caught his reflection in the mirror as he stood in the doorway. Her stomach churned at the sight of his predatory glare that reminded her of a hunter, about to pounce on his prey.
“You’re as gorgeous as ever, my dear. I see you took my advice and wore red.” His words may have been complimentary, but they didn’t distract Cali from the danger just under the surface of his handsome exterior. He had proven his mood could change on a dime.
“Of course, I wore red. I didn’t think it was a suggestion, rather an order.”
“Of course, it was an order.” He took deliberate steps closer, never taking his eyes from her reflection. “But an obedient wife wouldn’t be so crass as to point out that distinction. I keep warning you, Calista. You’re being groomed. You’re not going to hear other partner’s wives talking in that tone tonight. You’d do well to watch and learn, my dear.”
He had stepped up behind her as she sat at the make-up mirror, resting his manicured hands on her bare shoulders. His touch was deceptively gentle. She never forgot how hard those hands could turn when he was angered which was why she had made it her new life’s mission to keep him as happy as possible. Just like a good little wife.
“Yes, sir. I’ll remember that.”
“You do that. What a shame. It looks like you’re almost ready. I had hoped to fit in a little exercise before we left for the party.”
She hated to exercise with her husband. It was his code word for delivering her ‘daily hard fuck.’ She had hoped he would delay at least until after the party if she was already dressed.
“I wanted to be ready when you got home. I know how much you hate to be late.”
“How thoughtful of you.” His steely blue eyes were cooling. “And here I was thinking it was because you didn’t want to tell me the results of your appointment this afternoon.”
Cali’s heart was thundering so hard, she felt the pounding in her ears. She froze with panic, made worse as Kevin’s hands slid from her shoulders to circle her throat, slowly constricting until she had to fight for her next breath. She pushed against the marble countertop in a feeble attempt to free herself from his grip, but he pressed her forward, making her thrashing futile. Her husband cut off her airflow until she began to see stars, finally releasing her while leaning down to whisper menacingly into her ear.
“You’re such a disappointment to me, Calista.”
Cali gasped, filling her lungs with precious air, hating the tears streaming down her cheeks from the exertion. Trails of dark mascara marred the reflection of the beautiful woman with long black hair staring back at her from the mirror.
“I only ask one thing of you.” His quiet rage was simmering hotter. “I plucked you out of poverty and gave you the life of a princess. Yet you insist on keeping that ridiculous job teaching other people’s children when what you should be focused on is providing me with the child I need to fulfill the requirements in my grandfather’s will. He hasn’t been well, and I’m going to hold you responsible if the old man kicks it before I have time to claim my share of the pie with an heir.”
Fear helped her fight down the urge to remind him she was trying to create a baby, not an heir. “I was disappointed too, Kevin. I was late this month, and I really did think we had a chance.” Cali should have stopped there. “Dr. Galloway wants you to make an appointment to come in to be tested as well. He needs your test results to decide what the next course of action should be.”
Cali knew immediately she had made a grave error. Kevin’s blue eyes had turned to ice, venom flowing from them.
“How dare you blame me for this, you bitch? You have one fucking job in this marriage, and when you can’t get it done, you decide to put the blame on me?”
“No… that’s not… I mean it’s just…” Her voice quavered. “It’s a formality, that’s all. The doctor does this with all couples who have problems conceiving.”
He wasn’t placated. “Like I have time to go in to be poked and prodded. I’ll be damned if I’m going to turn into a pin cushion because you can’t do your job.”
She wanted to scream that everyone knew it took two to create a child, but she wisely kept that retort to herself.
“He promised you wouldn’t be poked or prodded. It’s easy for the men. You’ll just need to give a sperm sample.”
“Ah, is that all? I just need to go jack off behind some lame curtain like a lab rat? Well, no thanks. I provide sperm samples each and every day I fuck you. In fact, I missed a day yesterday. I think you need a reminder of exactly how frequently I have provided sperm samples in this marriage.”
She should have been prepared, but she hadn’t expected things to escalate so quickly. Kevin gripped her biceps in a vice grip and yanked her to her feet just long enough to smash her body forward. She was sprawled across the marble countertop, her forehead smashed against the oversized mirror. Cali squeezed her eyes closed, trying to shut out the vision of her husband’s icy eyes as she felt him flipping the skirt of her dress over her back just before he ripped the lacy underwear from her body. He insisted she wear stockings and garter belts with skirts, so she was now bare.
It only took him a few seconds to fumble with his zipper before she felt his hard erection spring free. It was inside her in one hard thrust. She was grateful she’d been careful to lube both her pussy and ass thoroughly after her shower. She had learned the hard way to make sure her body was prepared at a moment’s notice to take Kevin’s punishing cock.
She tried so hard to hold back the scream but failed miserably. His responding chuckle reminded her she was married to a sadist.
As he set a fast pace, Cali’s fight turned internal. As much as her brain hated what he did to her and how he made her feel, there was no denying her body betrayed her time and again. Kevin liked to use the natural lubrication flowing copiously from her body as proof she actually liked to be treated like his punching bag. Cali may have started to hate her husband, but she hated her own body more.
He fucked her like a machine, pistoning her to her first humiliating climax. She lay limp across the counter, receiving all he gave her, his ridiculing laughter only raising her humiliation. She was too lost in her orgasmic fog to recognize the few second intermission in the action. The piercing pain of his cock shoved balls-deep in her lubed rectum consumed her. She barely made out his grunting words.
“Lucky you lubed yourself. This would have hurt like a bitch if you’d forgotten.”
Cali lay boneless, receiving her hard fuck of the day, knowing it was unfortunately early enough there was a good chance he might go for round two when they got home from the party. She had learned the trick to surviving this particular exercise was to relax into it. Her husband had grabbed her hips, gripping her hard enough, she was sure he was leaving fresh bruises over the faded ones from past exercise sessions.
They were in a race. Her body was beginning to betray her again. She couldn’t fight him, but she went to work, waging war against herself, trying desperately to hold back her orgasm, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of dragging it from her.
He didn’t play fair. He leaned down and pressed his chest to her back. She wasn’t fooled into thinking he wanted the added intimacy of their sweaty skin caressing each other. No. He only did this so he could reach her clit with his left hand. He wasn’t trying to bring her satisfaction, rather humiliation as her body exploded into another strong climax. He joined her a minute later, collapsing on her, almost cutting off her breath again. He added salt to her wounds as she lay recovering.
“That’s the only good thing about you not being pregnant. We have a few weeks before I need to start making deposits in your pussy again. I do love taking this ass of yours. It’s nice and tight, just the way I like it.” He pulled out as abruptly as he had inserted, slapping her ass with his open palm while stepping away from her. “I’m gonna take a shower. Put yourself back together. We’ll leave in thirty minutes.”
He didn’t wait for her answer. He didn’t need to. He knew she was too afraid to do anything but what he asked.