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I glared. See me. I am not yours to torment.

His fingers squeezed mine as he reached for another poker and passed it to me. I took it as tears sprang to my eyes.This one had a capital T with a birdcage hanging from it. A pure symbol that I’d captured him completely.

I stared deep into his eyes. Are you sure?He shook his head gently, stealing the pole, placing it in the flames beside the other one. You shouldn’t have to ask me that, esclave.My throat closed, and we didn’t say a word as the metal went from matte black to glowing red.

Q let me go to disappear into the bathroom. He came back with salve and medical patches for afterward.My skin flushed thinking how painful it would be, but I stopped the thought. After everything I’d endured, a burn wouldn’t scare me.

Once everything was laid out, Q turned to me, pointing at the floor. Kneel.

I did as he asked, kneeling before the man who owned my heart and soul. The master of me completely. With concentration etching his eyes and his lips pursed tight, Q lifted the hot poker, and with no hesitation, pressed it hard and fast against my neck.Q didn’t look at me once. He kept his attention on Mr. Big Nose and munched his way through the small plate of food.

That left me strangely alone with the man in the white jumpsuit. He devoured the plate of hor d’oeuvres and asked Q in English, You like our gift. Yes? He cocked his head, dragging horrible eyeballs up and down my golden wrapped body.My ears pricked. His accent was Russian, not French. My mind kicked into gear trying to work it all out.

Q stopped eating, and dabbed his mouth with a napkin. His motions so smooth and controlled compared to Russian Lumberjack. Q’s eyes smouldered with barely restrained tolerance. Oui. Very satisfactory. He threw a fleeting glance at me, before adding, Where did you buy her from?The Russian puffed his chest, glowing with pride. Why did he care if Q found me satisfactory? He bought me as a bribe to make Q do something. But what?