The Billionaire's Bet #4: A Final Game

By: Victoria Villeneuve

Chapter 1




His lips were on mine, but I still didn’t feel safe. I was trembling in the couch, unable to comprehend that I’d just been kidnapped and saved by Dominic. All because of some stupid drug deal. I couldn’t believe I got sucked into this.

I took my lips off his and looked him straight in the eye. He seemed scared when I was about to talk.

“Dominic I …”

“Please, don’t. I can’t …”

“I’m sorry,” I said. “But I just can’t handle this right now.”

He swallowed and looked down at the couch, avoiding my gaze.

“It’s too much. Someone died right in front of me. I need time to process this, and I can’t do it here. I need some time alone.”

I knew I said I loved him and I did. I still did. I just couldn’t say what was wrong. My heart didn’t want to admit anything was wrong. I held onto the desperation, but I knew it’d be better to let go, if only for a while.

“But I thought you wanted to stay with me?” he said.

I could see the tears welling up in his eyes.

“I did. I do. It’s just that … you play such a big part in this misery I’m feeling now, it just doesn’t feel right.”

He nodded, slowly. “Okay …”

I placed my hand on his cheek and brushed it softly, feeling his prickly skin. I knew it wasn’t going to make anything better, but staying here wasn’t either. Someone had broken in and entered this place, even with all the security Dominic has. I just don’t feel safe.

“I understand,” he said.

“Thank you.” I pulled him closer and wrapped my arms around him.

He squeezed me tight, smelled my hair and then kissed my forehead. “If you’re really going to do this, could you please take a room at the casino? I can protect you there.”

“Dominic …” I said, sighing.

“Please? I won’t bother you. I promise I’ll keep my distance. I just want you to be safe, and with all those guards around, you will be.”

He had a point. “All right. If I can get my old room back.”

He smiled, his eyes still glazing with tears. “Good.” He stood up, pulled his phone from his pocket and called his assistants.

They arrived in no time and started picking up and packing my stuff like buzzing bees. They swarmed the house and stacked up my things neatly, then used a cart to ride it out of the house. It almost felt as if I was being thrown out, albeit that I knew it was on my own request.

Still, it felt strange to leave him like this.

The tension between us was sharp as a knife during the drive to the casino. He sat on the other end of the car, not moving an inch, barely blinking. If it weren’t for his loud breathing, I swear he could’ve been made of stone.

When we were in the elevator, I was struck with the sudden memory of us meeting here for the first time. It made my cheeks glow. Especially when I thought of how I ogled him and wanted to get my hands on him.

Oh, and would I!

If I had only known back then.

We’d arrived at my hotel room, and it felt like it was such a long time ago since I was last here. The entire trip here was so excruciatingly painful, I was practically swimming in sweat, so nervous.

I used the key to unlock the door and opened it. The musty smell inside and the sight of that king size bed I would sleep in all alone made me cringe. Was I really doing this?

Yes, Julie, you have to. You need some time to think.

“Hey, um …” he began.

I turned around. Dominic had his hand in his hair and pulled a strange face, like he didn’t know what to say.

“I’m here, if you need me. I’ll always be here, you know.”

I chuckled. “I know.”

“If you need anything, give me a call, all right? I’ll do anything for you.” He placed his loose hand on the wall between my room and the door.

I smiled. “Thank you, Dom. I appreciate it.”

He pursed his lips and leaned forward, his eyes narrowing. “I meant it when I said I love you. I really do. I don’t want to be apart from you, but if that’s what you want-what you need-then I won’t stop you. I might be dominant, but I’m not keeping you in my house against you will.”

He came close, even closer, so close our lips were almost touching. It was longing I felt, wanting to be together with him. I needed him by my side, but at the same time I was terrified of what could happen. I could feel the spark between us, but my mind pulled me into reality again. The reality where he was the reason I was kidnapped.

I pulled back and took a deep breath. “Goodnight, Dom.” I closed my eyes and shut the door, closing the space between us.

I stared at the wood. The intricate lines carved into it. I knew he was still there, watching, hoping I’d open the door again. In my mind I could see him breathe like a bull, snorting and pissed, probably at himself. I heard a thump and knew he banged his head against the door.

I turned around and leaned against it, trying to feel him through it, but knowing I couldn’t. I forbade myself to tear away the door between us. My heart screamed out for him, but my mind told me this was what I needed. I needed to be safe and clear my head for a few days. Being with him made that impossible.

Dominic roared like a beast. The sound made the tears burst out of my eyes. It was the howl of a man who was separated from the one he cared about most.

I sank to my knees, my back sliding against the wood.

“Please, leave,” I whispered.

I knew he couldn’t hear it. It was a faint wish into nothingness.

I heard a bang and looked up, but the door was still intact. It was the wall that had shook. Did he just punch the wall?

Dominic bellowed again, and I heard him stomp. The sound of his feet slowly disappeared into the distance, leaving me alone in the dark.



***



I spent days not thinking about anything. I didn’t want to be reminded of the cruel thing that was done to me. Whoever it had been behind that mask was after Dom’s money, and used me to get to him. I’d been in the midst of a war game and had chosen to flee the battlefield. My safety was more important, but it came at a price.

I could no longer write. For days I stared at my laptop, unable to type out even the slightest words. I was almost at the end of my latest book, and yet I couldn’t muster up the will to finish it.

My mind tried to ignore the voices in my head that told me it was because I missed Dominic.

Oh and how I missed him, even when I tried not thinking about him, he still popped into my head. Under the shower, during dinner, before I went to sleep, and in my dreams, he visited me everywhere.

I hadn’t seen him for over a week. It was the most straining week I’d had in years.

I wanted to be with someone I loved, but at the same time I was terrified. I wanted to write and be an independent author, and yet I couldn’t do it without the inspiration Dominic gave me.

My enthusiasm and fun had completely dried up, putting a shriveled smile on my face.

I gulped down the last bit of my wine as I usually did whenever I felt miserable.

Each time I looked around the room, I caught a glimpse of the masked face of the man who’d kidnapped me. Of course it wasn’t real, but his presence still haunted me. Sometimes I’d have a nightmare and wake up in tears, soaked in sweat. I’d cuddle up against a second pillow, my surrogate Dominic.

Being alone in this hotel room was supposed to make me feel safe, away from all the threats, but in reality it made me feel more insecure. Anyone could storm in at any moment, and catch me by surprise. There was no alarm installed, no personal guards to protect me, no Dominic to save me.

Hell, this room might’ve even made me claustrophobic, just thinking about being holed up in here.

Goddammit, Julie. Get yourself together.

I snorted and stood up. My book was going nowhere, and wallowing in self-pity wasn’t going to do anything for me either. I needed to get out and do something.

I got out of my room and went downstairs with the elevator that always reminded me of the first time we met. I quickly told myself that I should move on, and stepped out of the elevator. I got some chips and sat down at a roulette table, enjoying the company I had around me. It was fun being with people who were laughing. Much better than sulking by myself, and it provided me with safety in numbers.

After a few times rolling and losing, I quit and got a tequila at the bar. It was then that I noticed music played in the ballroom up ahead. I looked up and peeked through the narrow gap, seeing people dance elegantly in long dresses.

My curiosity overtook control of my body and guided me to the room. The music was soft and slow, there were tables and chairs to the side accompanied by buffets, couples danced in the centre, people were watching from the side. It was beautiful to see such romance at this casino.

I sighed and just stood there, amazed at the sweetness.

Suddenly, a hand touched my shoulder.

I cocked my head and stared straight into Dominic’s bright blue eyes. Those shimmering, beautiful eyes, so full of love, which captured my attention instantly.

He walked around me, wearing a sleek black suit. His finger gently trailed my arm, down to my hand as he stopped in front of me. “Hi, Julie.”

“Dominic?” I stammered. I couldn’t believe he was here. Not seeing him for a week almost made me believe he wasn’t real anymore, as if he’d only been a figment of my imagination. But he was actually here.

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