There was only one chance to get away from the horrible future that awaited her. Deja had to take it, no matter the danger. Sneaking out of the apartment in the middle of the night was not the best choice. The city was full of predators just like the one she was running from. The last person she would ever expect to run into was a man like Dieter von Blucher. Dieter hadn't been a criminal for quite some time. There was no word for men like him. He inhabited a sphere beyond right and wrong. He was a law on to himself. He never expected to be moved by anyone, let alone the beautiful innocent that ran right into his arms on a cold winter night.
“You’re not offering anything different.” Deja turned burning brown eyes back in his direction. “But you are offering freedom after you’re done. When you….tire of me. For that alone I will accept your offer, which isn’t really an offer at all, is it?”
No, it wasn’t. That was the most brutally honest answer. Good for her.
“I won’t lie to you, Deja.” There was no point in it. Dieter took what he wanted; he made damn sure he’d never again be placed in a position where he’d depend on anyone else. “I usually grow tired of my lovers, yes. How soon is anyone’s guess. I want you, I will pursue you, seduce you even after the first time. You won’t leave me empty handed, and I will always see to it you’re protected from men like Petric. I won’t do anything to you that you don’t love. If you want to say no, you have the opportunity to do so now.”
Dieter had to grab his wineglass and take a healthy drink to hide his own grimace. God, he sounded like one of those pompous asses he’d always hated. What he heard was what so many women over the years must’ve—an overbearing prick. Given his status, his wealth, and most especially his power, it wasn’t a surprise he had developed some conceit, but what he’d just heard himself say almost inspired him to kick his own ass.
Deja didn’t reply to him. She didn’t really need to, did she? He’d basically told her how her life would be, for a while at least. But it was through a flash of fear quickly replaced by anger, and a touch of disgust that gave Dieter clear insight into the man he’d become. And he didn’t like it. Didn’t appreciate being concerned over what a woman thought about him, or worse, didn’t like being bothered by her conclusion. Since when had he given a shit what anyone thought of him?
After a few tense moments, her soulful brown eyes settled to a kind of resigned pain. Another sharp pang of something that felt suspiciously like the awakening of a conscious he thought was dead hit him. He felt small, almost like the insignificant street urchin he’d been in East Berlin, with people passing him by, not even seeing him shivering, starving. Memories he thought had been permanently banished from his psyche ran through his head in a fleeting moment. The brevity didn’t lessen the impact. This woman was dangerous to his well-being.
“So, it’s either be a well-paid whore for you or for Lazar, right?” Deja’s voice had taken on a slightly brittle quality. Dieter found he didn’t care for it at all. “Well, I think you know who I’ll choose, don’t you? Like I said before, at least I’ll eventually get my freedom.”
There was hurt there, as well as something more she wasn’t saying. There was little need to hide anything, yet he could tell she was. It was what it was. Her censure was frankly worth it. While Dieter was willing to admit to himself that this woman confused the hell out of him, made him think and feel things he had no business thinking or feeling, he wasn’t ready to admit that she would be different from any of the other women who came and went from his life. Every step he was making now would change his life forever. He just couldn’t allow himself to admit it just yet.
“Basically. Eventually. However, you aren’t anyone’s whore. Please make sure you never use that term when referring to yourself. We both know it is miles from being true.” But he could make it seem a little better, for his own peace of mind. “But to make you feel better, you will work for me. You will be my personal assistant, complete with salary and benefits. While you will start work right away, you don’t have to, uh, share my bed immediately. I can wait.”