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“You're going into the cage, because you're my mine and you'll sleep where I say.”

He swung the door open and gestured for her to enter. There was no way that was going to happen. She stood outside the cage, her arms folded over her chest, shaking her head furiously. This was so far beneath her. It was beneath anybody. And he expected her to accept it.

“What the hell is that?” She pointed to a silver bowl on the floor which had suddenly caught her eye.

“You must know what a water bowl is, Ellie.” His drawl was amused.

“You expect me to drink from the floor?” She looked at him, utterly shocked. “Mav, every second you get more fucked up than you were the second before.”

He smirked, unashamed. “You'll earn everything in this house. Even simple things, like glasses and cutlery. Until you start adjusting your attitude, you'll eat and drink from the floor.”

“Fuck that,” she said, her temper flaring. “Take me home. I'd rather take my chances with some gun slinging madman. I'll hire my own security. I don't need your help.”

“True,” he said. “You could hire your own security. You could even hope that they're not working for the same people looking for Aiden. You could hope that the men who came to your place with guns, who somehow walked right past the security in your building, haven't paid off every other group in the city. You could leave here right now, if you wanted. I'm not going to stop you. You and Aiden can take your chances without my help, but Elliot, if you want my help, these are my terms.”

Fuck. He held all the cards and he knew it. She was entirely at his mercy.

“You know, Mav, you better hope that I never get the upper hand,” she swore. “Because everything you do to me is going to come back double. I promise you that.”

“Into the cage,” he said, ignoring her threats as he swatted her skirt clad rear hard enough to make her take a step forward. She grabbed at the bars on either side to prevent herself from actually going into the cage, and wedged her feet on the outer bars too.

“You realize this makes you more like a naughty animal than ever, right?” He smirked again and took advantage of her splayed legs to deliver a firm swat not to her bottom, but between her thighs. His fingers caught her bare pussy under her skirt, the sudden sting on her lower lips making her leap and close them. Another hard slap landed on her butt and she was in the cage and the door was closed.

“Let me out!” She turned and made the strident demand as he stood outside the cage, his arms crossed over his chest, a satisfied smirk on his handsome face. She wanted to slap him so badly she could feel her palm itching.

“You're going to learn that only one thing will work with me, Ellie,” he drawled. “And that's submission. The sooner you settle down and accept your place here, the quicker you'll enjoy some sort of freedom.”

“You're fucked, Maven,” she growled back at him. “When I get out of here, I'm going to call the cops on you.”

He reached into his pocket and took out a phone. “You want me to call the police for you? I'll call them if you like. You can tell them that you're being held as my little fuck toy and spanked for misbehavior in return for my help keeping your drug addict criminal brother alive. I'm sure they'd be very interested to hear everything you've got to say on the subject.”

Fuck. He'd called her bluff again. Going to the police wasn't an option because criminals weren't the only people looking for Aiden. The police were too, and thanks to him being a flight risk, she knew he'd never get bail. Once they caught him, he'd be sent straight to jail, and Aiden wouldn't last in jail. She didn't know if he'd last on the outside either.

“You haven't done a thing to help him since I got here,” she complained, changing the subject. “All you've done is torment me.”

“Now I have you nice and safe, I can start to do something for him,” Maven said as he put the phone away. “I don't want to hear any more threats out of you. You agreed to this, remember?”

“I didn't agree to being kept in a cage...”

“You agreed to be mine,” he said. “And you are. Now you stay there and get some rest. I'm going to get some work done.”

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