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Tormentor Mine(86)

By:Anna Zaires

Unable to deal with that thought, I push it away just as Peter asks, “What about his work? How could he continue to function like that? Unless… you said he stopped taking on foreign assignments?”

“Pretty much.” Taking a breath to calm the churning in my stomach, I focus on watching the hypnotic swaying of the branches outside. “He traveled a few times after we got married, but mostly, he investigated local stories—like the one about the mafia bribing Chicago police and government officials.”

“The one they told you was the reason for his protection.”

I nod, unsurprised that he knows. He probably had some kind of parabolic microphones trained on me during my conversation with Agent Ryson. From what I’ve learned about my stalker in recent weeks, it’s entirely possible.

The millions he earns from every hit buys access to all kinds of equipment.

“He must’ve quit working for the CIA, then,” Peter says, and I glance over to see him watching the tree branches too. “Either because he was fired or because he couldn’t cope with the aftermath of his fuck-up. That’s the only thing that would explain the lack of foreign assignments.”

“Right.” My head throbs with a nagging tension, and my stomach continues churning and twisting, like my insides are being wound tighter and tighter. My lower back hurts too—a realization that makes me do some quick mental math.

Sure enough, my period is about to start.

We stand by the window for a few moments longer, watching the trees outside, and then I walk over to the medicine cabinet and take two Advils, washing them down with a glass of water.

“What’s the matter?” Peter asks, following me with a concerned frown. “Are you sick?”

“It’s nothing,” I say, not wanting to go into all the details. Then I realize he might find out later today anyway and add, “It’s just that time of the month for me.”

“Ah.” Unlike most men, he doesn’t look the least bit uncomfortable with that information. “Does it typically pain you?”

“Unfortunately, yes.” As I speak, I feel the cramps getting worse and thank the schedule gods that I’m not on call today. I was going to volunteer at the clinic this afternoon, but I revise that plan in favor of huddling in bed with a heating pad.

“Why aren’t you on birth control pills?” Peter asks, following me as I head upstairs. “I haven’t seen you take anything all this time, and I believe that usually helps with painful periods.”

“An expert on female reproductive health, are we?”

Peter doesn’t bat an eye at my sarcasm. “Far from it, but I did get a pill prescription for Tamila because she had bad cramps. I assume you have a reason for not doing the same?”

I sigh, entering the bedroom. “I do. I’m one of those rare women who can’t tolerate hormonal birth control. I get migraines and nausea, no matter how small the dosage. Even hormonal IUDs give me headaches, so I have to choose between misery a couple of days a month or misery all the time.”

“I see.” Peter leans against the doorway as I begin to undress. I can see the heat in his gaze as he watches me strip down to my underwear, and I hope he doesn’t get any ideas about joining me in bed. He rarely passes up the chance to fuck me.

Ignoring his staring, I grab my heating pad from the nightstand drawer and curl into a fetal position, hugging it under the blanket as I wait for the Advil to kick in.

I hear a quiet patter of footsteps, and then the bed dips next to me.

No, no, no. Go away. No sex right now. I squeeze my eyes shut, hoping my tormentor gets the hint, but in the next instant, the blanket is turned down, and a rough male hand caresses my naked back.

“Do you want me to get you anything?” His deep, softly accented voice is low and soothing. “Maybe toast or some tea?”

Startled, I roll over onto my back, clutching the heating pad against my stomach. “Um, no, thanks. I’ll be fine.”

“You sure?” He smooths my hair away from my face. “What about a belly rub?”

I blink at him. “Um…”

“Here.” He gently pries the heating pad away from me and places his warm palm on my stomach. “Let’s try this.” He moves his hand in a circular motion, applying light pressure, and after a couple of minutes, the tight, cramping sensation eases, the heat from his skin and the massaging motion chasing away the worst of the painful tension.

“Better?” he murmurs as I close my eyes in blissful relief, and I nod, my thoughts beginning to drift as drowsiness steals over me.

“It’s very nice, thank you,” I mumble, and as the soothing massage continues, I sink into a warm fog of sleep.