Then he holds me like that, one arm wrapped around my waist, my lower body tightly pressed against him. His other hand is fisted in my hair, holding my head arched back. My hands are pushing at his chest in a futile attempt to put some distance between us.

I meet his gaze defiantly, ignoring the tears running down my face. I have no choice but to be brave now. If I die, I want to at least retain some dignity.

His expression is dark and angry, his blue eyes narrowed at me.

I am breathing hard, and my heart is beating so fast I feel like it might jump out of my chest. We look at each other—predator and prey, the conqueror and the conquered—and in that moment, I feel an odd sort of connection to him. Like a part of myself is forever altered by what’s happening between us.

Suddenly, his face softens. A smile appears on his sensuous lips.

Then he leans toward me, lowers his head, and presses his mouth to mine.

I am stunned. His lips are gentle, tender as they explore mine, even as he holds me with an iron grip.

He’s a skilled kisser. I’ve kissed quite a few guys, and I’ve never felt anything like this. His breath is warm, flavored with something sweet, and his tongue teases my lips until they part involuntarily, granting him access to my mouth.

I don’t know if it’s the aftereffects of the drug he gave me or the simple relief that he’s not hurting me, but I melt at that kiss. A strange languor spreads through my body, sapping my will to fight.

He kisses me slowly, leisurely, as though he has all the time in the world. His tongue strokes against mine, and he lightly sucks on my lower lip, sending a surge of liquid heat straight to my core. His hand eases its grip on my hair and cradles the back of my head instead. It’s almost like he’s making love to me.

I find my hands holding on to his shoulders. I have no idea how they got there, but I’m now clinging to him instead of pushing him away. I don’t understand my own reaction. Why am I not cringing away from his kiss in disgust?

It just feels so good, that incredible mouth of his. It’s like kissing an angel. It makes me forget the situation for a second, enables me to push the terror away.

He pulls away and looks down on me. His lips are wet and shiny, a little swollen from our kiss. Mine probably are too.

He no longer seems angry. Instead, he looks hungry and pleased at the same time. I can see both lust and tenderness on his perfect face, and I can’t tear my eyes away.

I lick my lips, and his eyes drop down to my mouth for a second. He kisses me again, just a brief brush of his lips against mine.

Then he picks me up again and carries me upstairs to his bed.

When I look back on this day, my behavior doesn’t make sense to me. I don’t understand why I didn’t fight him harder, why I didn’t try to get away again. It wasn’t a rational decision on my part—it wasn’t a conscious choice to cooperate in order to avoid pain.

No, I am acting purely on instinct.

And my instinct is to submit to him.

He puts me down on the bed, and I just lie there. I’m too worn out from our earlier struggle, and I still feel woozy from the drug.

There is something so surreal about what’s happening that my mind can’t process it fully. I feel like I’m watching a play or a movie. It can’t possibly be me in this situation. I can’t be this girl who was drugged and kidnapped, and who is letting her kidnapper touch her, stroke her all over her body.

We’re lying on our sides, facing each other. I can feel his hands on my skin. They’re slightly rough, callused. Warm on my frozen flesh. Strong, though he’s not using that strength right now. He could subdue me with ease, like he did before, but there is no need. I’m not fighting him. I’m floating in a hazy, sensual fog.

He’s kissing me again, and caressing my arm, my back, my neck, my outer thigh. His touch is gentle, yet firm. It’s almost like he’s giving me a massage, except I can feel the sexual intent in his actions.

He kisses my neck, lightly nibbling on the sensitive spot where my neck and shoulder join, and I shiver from the pleasurable sensation.

I close my eyes. It’s disarming, that surprising gentleness of his. I know I should feel violated—and I do—but I also feel oddly cherished.

With my eyes closed, I pretend that this is just a dream. A dark fantasy, like the kind I sometimes have late at night. It makes it more palatable, the fact that I’m letting this stranger do this to me.

One of his hands is now on my buttocks, kneading the soft flesh. His other hand is traveling up my belly, my rib cage. He reaches my breasts and cups the left one in his palm, squeezes it lightly. My nipples are already hard, and his touch feels good, almost soothing. Rob has done this to me before, but it’s never been like this. It’s never felt like this.

I continue to keep my eyes shut as he rolls me onto my back. He’s partially on top of me, but most of his weight is resting on the bed. He doesn’t want to crush me, I realize, and I feel grateful.

He kisses my collarbone, my shoulder, my stomach. His mouth is hot, and it leaves a moist trail on my skin.

Then he closes his lips around my right nipple and sucks on it. My body arches, and I feel tension low in my belly. He repeats the action with my other nipple, and the tension inside me grows, intensifies.

He senses it. I know he does because his hand ventures between my thighs and feels the moisture there. “Good girl,” he murmurs, stroking my folds. “So sweet, so responsive.”

I whimper as his lips travel down my body, his hair tickling my skin. I know what he intends, and my mind blanks out when he reaches his destination.