Beloved 2

By TakersLover

Chapter One

Tess took a deep breath and smiled as she drove down the nearly deserted street. She'd driven non-stop from New Orleans and was looking forward to a long hot shower, and a good night's sleep wrapped in the arms of her fiancee, Lieutenant Dwayne Johnson - one of Miami's most decorated homicide detectives. Guilt had eaten away at her since she left Louisiana about the night she'd spent with Kane. She and Dwayne had no secrets and she wanted nothing more than to confess everything, but how could she tell him she slept with a man who vanished into thin air?

Her smile widened as she pulled into the driveway of the small three-bedroom house. All the lights in the house were off except for the porch light, so instead of waking him up, she pulled out her set of house keys and let herself in, locking the door behind her. When she turned around, she found herself looking down the barrel of a cocked 45.

Dwayne dropped his arm to his side. "Jesus Baby, you scared the shit out of me." He said as he pulled her to him and wrapped his arms around her waist.

"I scared YOU? You're not the one who just walked into a loaded gun." She wrapped her arms around his neck, trying to calm her racing heart. "What's gotten you so jumpy anyway?" She asked after a minute.

He tightened his arms around her and closed his eyes. "I'm sorry, Baby. It's just this case I'm working on. It has all of us a little on edge." He answered referring to the men in his department.

Tess pulled away, still keeping her arms around his neck, and looked into his soft brown eyes. She could see the stress beginning to take its toll and was worried, as he never let a case get to him like this. "You're not still working on that Voodoo case are you?"

He smiled. "It isn't Voodoo, it's Black Magick. And yes, I'm still working on it. I know who did it, and how. I just don't have any proof." He stroked her cheek with the back of his fingers and gazed into her eyes. "You know, I can think of better things to talk about than murderers and black magick." He said, wanting to change the subject. Leaning forward, he pressed his lips to hers in a tender, long over-due kiss.

Tess smiled, breaking the kiss, and said, "Mmmm… I like the way you think Mr. Johnson."

"You do? Well, let’s go to the bedroom and I'll tell you what I've been thinking about all month long." Dwayne replied, then picking her up, he carried her into the bedroom.

Setting her down gently next to the bed, he kissed her again as his hands explored her body while slowly removing her dress. He moaned as she brought her lips to his neck, sucking and nipping at his warm, caramel skin. Slipping his hands behind her, he unhooked her bra and slipped it off then ran his hands down her back to her bottom. Slipping his thumbs into the elastic waistband, he slowly pulled the panties over her hips and down her long legs, then lightly ran his fingertips up the length of her body as he stood up. Making quick work of his pajama pants, he laid her back on the bed, covering her body with his.

Tess ran her hands over his well-toned body, enjoying the feel of his muscles rippling beneath her fingers. She opened her legs for him as he positioned himself over her, and inhaled sharply as he entered her.

His thrusts were fast and hard. He needed this, as did she, and his control was lost as she engulfed him again and again. He felt her body arch against him and her fingernails dig into his back as she screamed out her orgasm, and soon followed her over the edge.

Rolling off of Tess, Dwayne pulled her close to him and held her tightly. He couldn't tell her of the danger he was in, or that by having her with him, he was putting her in danger as well, but he had to. 'Tomorrow.' He thought as he closed his eyes and buried his face in her hair. 'Tomorrow I'll tell her everything.'

"Hello." Tess answered groggily. "Just a second." Holding the phone up behind her head, she let it slip from her fingers and gently land on Dwayne's head. "It's for you."

Pulling himself from a wonderful dream, he answered sleepily, "Yeah."

"I take it you haven't told her about me yet."

Dwayne bolted upright. "What do you want?" He growled at the man on the other end.

"Have you been to the warehouses down by the docks lately?"

"No." Dwayne answered. His heart was racing. He knew that the man wanted him to go down there and what he would find when he did.

The man chuckled. "No, of course you haven't. You were too busy fucking that pretty little woman of yours." All the color faded from Dwayne's face and a feeling of dread overtook him. "What, no witty come backs?"

"What do you want?" Dwayne asked again, his voice a little lower.

"The same thing I've wanted all along. Drop the case."

"I can't do that." Dwayne saw Tess sit up out of the corner of his eye. He put his arm around her and pulled her close, wishing she couldn't hear the conversation.

"No?" The man's voice became deadly. "Then you tell Tess I'll see her real soon."

"You leave her out of this!" Dwayne yelled into the phone.

"Too late. You've already brought her into it." Dwayne heard a click then the phone went dead.

"Are you okay?" Tess asked. She'd heard enough to know that the call was about a case he was working on and that she had probably been threatened in some way.

"Yeah." He answered pushing the "off" button on the cordless. "Maybe you should go back to New Orleans, stay there until this thing blows over."

Tess sat up pulling herself from his embrace and looked him squarely in the eye. "No! My business in lingo right now until I can rent a building and set up shop here. I'm not making any money, and everything I own is in storage. You practically begged me to come down here now instead of waiting until I closed on the house, and now you want me to turn around and go back! I won't do it."

"You don't know this man, Tess. He's dangerous. He'll hurt you just to get to me." Looking deep into her blue eyes, he raked his fingers through her hair and lowered his voice. "I love you."

Tess' expression softened. "I love you too, Dwayne. But he isn't the only murderer out there and this isn't your last case. I refuse to spend the rest of my life in hiding because someone you're investigating is pissed off at you."

Dwayne knew it was useless to try to change her mind, and as much as he hated to admit it, he agreed with her. Sighing, he climbed off the bed and walked to the closet. Pulling a small metal box from the top shelf, he carried it to the bed and opened it. "I want you to have this." He said handing her a 9mm handgun. "Do you remember what I taught you about shooting?"

Tess nodded. "I remember."

"Good. Keep this on you at all times, take it everywhere, and if someone tries to grab you, don't hesitate to use it." Dwayne instructed.

"I'll need a permit." Tess said as she turned the gun over in her hands, studying it.

"I'll take care of it." Dwayne hooked his fingers under her chin and lifted her face to his. "Please watch your back. If anything ever happened to you…"

Tess placed her fingers over his lips, silencing him. "We are going to be fine. You're going to put this creep behind bars, and I'm going to open my antique shop." She scooted closer to Dwayne, straddling his lap. "Then we're going to start filling those two empty bedrooms of ours."

He moaned as she pressed her lips to his and kissed him passionately, then fell back on the bed, pulling her down with him. His hands roamed down her back to her bottom, caressing her soft warm skin, and slid between her legs, his fingers slipping into the moist folds of her nether lips.

The phone rang then and Tess chuckled as Dwayne reached for the receiver, cursing the son of a bitch on the other end. "What?" He answered testily. "Uh huh… Give me twenty minutes." He pushed the "off" button and dropped the receiver back into its cradle, then looked at Tess apologetically.

"You have to go." Tess said for him.

"I'm sorry."

"Don't be. I knew what I was getting into when we first started dating." She kissed him once more then climbed out of bed. "I need to get up anyway. I'm meeting a realtor this morning to go look at some properties." After slipping into his robe, she walked to the bedroom door then looked back at Dwayne and smiled. "I love you Dwayne Johnson." Not waiting for a reply, she turned and walked to the kitchen.

Dwayne smiled lovingly as he watched her walk away. After a five-year engagement she knew all to well what life with him would be like, and yet she still wanted to marry him. Forcing himself out of bed, he took a quick shower, dressed and walked to the kitchen.

"I'll see you later." He said taking the bagel Tess had fixed for him. He took a bite of the bagel and kissed her quickly before leaving the house.

Tess watched him leave and, smiling, began putting everything away. Noticing the time, she went to the bathroom and took a quick shower then dressed in a black skirt, which fell to the middle of her thigh, a sleeveless lavender silk blouse and a pair of black leather pumps.

She left the house humming softly to herself. She had been lucky to get an appointment with the realtor on such short notice. Sitting down behind the wheel, she pulled out a piece of paper with his name and address written on it. "Peter Griffith." Starting the car, she backed out of the driveway and headed for the real-estate office.

He stood leaning against the brick wall his heavily tattooed arms folded across his massive chest, thinking about the dreams that had invaded his sleep for the past two nights. Dreams so real that he could feel her body beneath his, taste her mouth as they kissed, and smell her sweet scent as she poured out her juices. The dreams had come after calling upon the ancient gods to aid him in finding the woman he needed. He had seen her - and felt her, tasted her, smelled her - but he wasn't shown her name or where she could be found, and she was in the arms of another man, a scarred man who bore a striking resemblance to him. He had no doubt that the man was his great-grandfather, Glen Jacobs, but the woman, whom Glen lovingly referred to as his Beloved, was a mystery.

Seeing a car pull up infront of him, he quickly pulled his thoughts back to the task at hand - sending a message to Detective Johnson. He watched as a young woman climbed out of the car and walked toward the door of the real-estate office next to him.

Tess looked at the giant of a man standing next to the door, suddenly having second thoughts about going in. She smiled and nodded a friendly hello as she reached for the door.

"Tess Collinsworth?" The man asked pushing himself off the wall.

Tess smiled. "Yes. You must be Peter Griffith." She answered holding out her hand for him to shake.

Returning her smile, he took her hand in his much larger one and shook it. "Actually, it's Mark Calaway."

"Where's Peter?" She asked suspiciously.

Mark's smiled widened slightly. "An emergency came up and he asked me if I'd show you the properties."

"Oh, okay." Tess replied. She was starting to feel a little uncomfortable under Mark's emerald gaze, and realized that he was still holding her hand. He held on firmly as she tried to pull her hand away for a moment before letting her go, which only made Tess that much more uncomfortable.

"I thought we'd take my truck." Mark said motioning to a large black pickup, "If that's alright with you." He said, giving her a warm smile. Tess was apprehensive, but agreed. Placing his hand on the small of her back, Mark led Tess to the truck and opened the door for her, watching appreciatively as she climbed in. He had to admit Glen had great taste in women. Wiping the smile from his face, he climbed in behind the wheel and started the truck.

Chapter Two

Dwayne climbed out of his car and walked into the warehouse, knowing what was waiting for him inside. A hush came over the large crowd as he made his way across to where the victim still lay. The scene was the same as all the others had been. A beautiful young girl was lying naked on an alter surrounded by white candles that had either just burned out or were about to, her arms and legs tied to the alter. A dagger lay beside her body, the wound from it running from her throat down to her naval. Blood covered the alter and dagger, pooled beneath her lifeless form, and drizzled into a pool on a large pentagram painted on the floor beneath the alter, filling the warehouse with a sickening odor. The alter itself was engraved with ancient symbols and covered with a black velvet cloth.

Dwayne closed his eyes to fight back the tears that were threatening to fall before anyone else could see them. He had learned over the years to keep his emotions buried inside him as he investigated a murder, but these murders were different. These had a purpose, but what that purpose was, he didn't know. What he did know was that he was going to be investigating Tess' death if he didn't stop this man, and soon.

"What do you think?" Detective Layfield asked stepping up next to him.

"You know what I think." Dwayne answered coldly. "Did they find anything?"

Layfield shook his head. "Not a thing. Do you think he raped her?"

"I'll bet next month's salary on it. Have them go over everything again. I have to stop this bastard." Dwayne replied with an urgent undertone to his voice.

Detective Layfield looked at Dwayne curiously. "Why the urgency?"

A picture of Tess lying cut open on the alter flashed in his mind. Dwayne rubbed his temples and took a ragged breath. His emotions were coming dangerously close to taking over, and that wasn't going to help him solve this case. "He's going after Tess." Not waiting for a reply, he turned and walked out to his car.

Dwayne drove absently across town to face the man he knew was guilty. He knew the route well, as he had been there so many times before, and allowed his mind to run rampant as he drove with thoughts of what Calaway had done and was going to do.

Pulling into the driveway, he jumped out of the car and bounded across the yard to the front door. "Calaway!" Dwayne yelled as he pounded hard on the door, only to be answered by silence. "Calaway!" Cursing loudly, he kicked the door and hurried back to his car. Pulling out his cell phone, he dialed his home number as he backed out of the driveway. No answer. He swore again and headed for the real-estate office, hoping to either catch Tess there or find out where they had gone.

The short drive to the real-estate office seemed to take an eternity. He knew that it was his fault that Tess was in danger. The sale on Tess' house was taking longer than expected and he thought that they had the evidence they needed to put Calaway away for good. He had convinced Tess into moving down, and that she could go back to New Orleans to sign the closing papers when the time came. Of course that was before Calaway had gotten out of jail on a technicality.

Dwayne's heart sank as he made his way through the sea of police cruisers in front of the real-estate office. He stared blankly at Tess' car parked a few feet away fighting a wave of nausea that crept up on him. "This can't be happening." He muttered aloud.

"You're out of your jurisdiction, Johnson." A man said behind him.

"I'm investigating a murder, Davis." Dwayne replied turning toward the older man.

"A murder, huh. Talk to me." Davis said knowing Dwayne wouldn't leave his jurisdiction on a routine case.

Dwayne leaned against the hood of Tess' car and took a deep breath. "I've been working on this case for the past several months. This guy kidnaps young women, then rapes them and sacrifices them in some sort of ritual. This morning he told me he was going after my fiancee."

"What does that have to do with this office?" Davis asked, indicating the real-estate office behind him.

"She came here this morning to meet an agent and go to look at some places. This is her car." He said tapping the hood with his hand.

"What was the name of the agent she was meeting?" Davis asked pulling out a small black notebook from his jacket pocket.

"I don't know." Turning, he pulled out his keys, opened Tess' car door, and sitting down in the passenger's seat, began rummaging through the small trash bag which was hanging over the stick shift. "Peter Griffith." He told Davis, handing him the paper.

"Jesus." Davis muttered. "Peter Griffith is dead. His partner found him this morning." He hated having to tell Dwayne the news, but knew it was better that he hear it from him than on the news.

Closing his eyes, Dwayne lowered his head and asked the obvious question. "Was she in there?"

"No, just Griffith." Davis answered solemnly.

"He has her." Dwayne said absently, as a feeling of complete helplessness came over him. "I have to find her before he kills her."

"Where are we? This address isn't on the list." Tess said looking at the list of addresses that Mr. Griffith had e-mailed to her as they pulled into the driveway of an old house. They were only a block from the busy highway, and surrounded by several privately owned businesses. This man's overall size was intimidating and the way he looked at her sent shivers up her spine, and she wondered again how smart it was to ride with him.

"This one belongs to me." Seeing the fear building in her eyes, he quickly continued. "I don't usually show my own property, but when Peter told me what you were looking for I thought it would be perfect for you." His tone was calm and soothing, and the gentle look in his eyes covered his intentions well. "Shall we?" He asked, climbing out of the truck. Tess looked at the house questioningly biting her lower lip, then took a deep breath, climbed out and joined Mark at the front of the truck.

Placing his hand on her back, Mark led Tess up the steps, then pulled out a set of keys and unlocked the door. Returning his hand to her back, he led her inside. As hard as he tried, he couldn't erase the image of her and Glen from his mind or keep his hands off of her, and she had seen his desire for her in his eyes more than once on the way from the real-estate office. He almost regretted what he was going to do to her. Although he would enjoy burying himself deep inside her slender body, he didn't want to kill her, but it was the only way to gain ultimate power. He still didn't have the alter, but he could create an exact replica, which, he hoped, would work.

"This would be perfect." Tess said as she walked out of the living room and into the hall where Mark was waiting.

The sound of her voice broke his thoughts and brought him back to the present. "I was hoping you'd like it." Mark replied absently, stepping closer to her.

Immediately, she back away from him until her back was against the wall. Just as she turned to go into the study, he put his hand on the wall, blocking her path. She turned the other way and was blocked by his other arm. Her breath caught in her throat as he loomed over her, his face hovering inches from hers and coming closer. His eyes captured hers, holding her spellbound as he covered her mouth with his and began exploring her warm recesses with his tongue. A moan escaped from deep in his throat, the sound of which broke the spell and brought Tess back to her senses. Pushing against his chest, she caught him off-guard and broke the kiss, then quickly ducked under his arm and through the doorway next to her. She knew she should leave, but the house was the perfect place to set up the shop and she didn't want to offend him and lose it. The sooner she opened the shop, the better. Men had come on to her before and she knew all too well how to handle it, and this man was no different from the others, just bigger. Besides, if he wanted to rape her, he'd have done it by now.

Mark gritted his teeth to keep from screaming out in frustration. He'd never had trouble taking a woman before. Then again he never wanted a woman the way he wanted this one. 'Damn those dreams!' He cursed silently as he pushed himself away from the wall and followed Tess into the study. She was standing behind the desk facing the door, flipping through an old, brown leather book - Glen's Book of Shadows. As she came to the last page, she closed the book, picked it up, and turned it over, examining it reverently. Her eyes widened in recognition when she saw the pentacle engraved on the cover, and she let her fingertips glide over it, lightly tracing the ancient symbols which were embedded in it. Without taking his eyes off her, Mark made his way across the room silently and stood next to her.

"Kane." Tess whispered, unaware that she had spoken the name aloud or that Mark was standing beside her. She couldn't believe that the words she'd just read were that similar to the ones she'd read in the mausoleum, or that the pentagram and symbols she was staring at were the same ones that were engraved on the crypt door. "Where did you get this?" She asked looking up at Mark.

"I found it in my grandmother's attic after she died. It belonged to my great-grandfather." He didn't know why he was answering her question; it wasn't going to change her fate.

"Kane was your great-grandfather." Tess stated quietly and sat down in the chair. Turning her attention back to the book, she opened it to page the one in the mausoleum was open to.

"Kane?" Mark asked kneeling infront of her. No one had known his magickal name except those in his coven, who had all been burned to death, and those who read his Book of Shadows, and no one since he died had seen the book, except for Mark. She didn't seem to hear him, so he hooked his fingers under her chin and lifted her face. "Why did you call him Kane?"

"It's the name on the mausoleum. That is his name, isn't it?" Images of Kane flooded her mind as she looked at Mark, reminding her again of the passion they'd shared.

"You know where he's buried?" Mark asked calmly, overwhelmed at the thought of finally finding the tomb - and the alter.

"Yes. I went to visit him right before I moved down here." Tess answered.

"You went to see him?" Mark's lips slowly curved into a smile as Tess nodded her head, her cheeks turning a bright red under Mark's knowing gaze. The dreams had actually been reality. She met Glen and, somehow, physically had sex with him. Any doubts as to whether or not she was the woman he had been looking for were gone. Now, he had to get her to go back to where ever she came from without Johnson interfering. Capturing her gaze again, he brought his mouth forward to meet hers.

A car door slammed shut outside infront of the house, pulling Tess back to reality. She stood up quickly and backed away from Mark, then walked around the desk and out into the hall. Mark caught up with her easily. He grabbed her gently by the arm and turned her to face him, once again pinning her against the wall.

"What do you want?" She asked. Her voice was small, making her sound weak and vulnerable, and she cursed herself for it.

"Don't you know, Tess?" Mark asked seductively, his lips brushing hers, as he stroked her cheek with his fingertips. "I want you." His fingers slid lightly up her cheek and into her hair as his mouth covered hers in a searing kiss.

Tess' body stiffened as Mark pressed his body into hers, his erection throbbing against her belly. The heat from his body was smoldering, his scent intoxicating, and she felt her will power fading rapidly as her body began to melt against his. As if they had a will of their own, her hands slid up his belly, across his chest, and around his neck, pulling him closer. The world around them faded as he deepened the kiss, including the sound of a slamming car door and squealing tires.

Marks hands roamed over her body, sending his desire for her rushing through his veins. He'd held many women over the years, but none had felt this good. Slowly, he pulled away, breaking the kiss, and looked deep into her eyes.

Tears filled her eyes as she gazed up at him. Although she wanted him to stop, she also wanted him to continue, and she couldn’t allow that to happen. "Please, take me back to my car."

Her voice was barely more than a whisper, but he heard her clearly. His fingers slipped from her hair and glided down her throat and over her chest. Covering her breasts with his large hands, he gently began kneading them through her blouse and had to contain the moan that threatened to escape at the feel of her nipples hardening beneath the silk. The look on her face was one of unwanted pleasure, and he knew she was fighting hard not to give in to her desire. Slipping his knee between her legs, he lifted it, pulling her skirt up with it, and pressed it firmly against her warm center. Through his thick denim jeans, he felt the heat and moister there as her betraying body readied itself for him. "Don't fight it, Tess." he breathed into her mouth as he covered it with his.

Chapter Three

Tess sat behind the wheel, staring at the front door. She'd been driving around in a daze all day, not wanting to have to confront Dwayne, trying to find the words to say. She didn't know how Mark had gotten her to willingly return his advances. Normally, she would never have allowed herself to get into that position, but not only did she not make him stop, she had returned his affections and continued thinking about him long after he'd taken her back to her car. It was a wonder they hadn't ended up in bed. God knows she couldn't have said no to him, although she still couldn't figure out why. Taking a deep breath, she climbed out of the car.

Tess looked down at the pile of broken glass she had just stepped in then at the empty mirror frame on the wall next to the door as she closed it behind her. "Dwayne?" She called out tentatively as she cautiously walked down the hall and into the living room. The room looked like a disaster area. The couch was laying upside-down on the opposite side of the room, the end tables and coffee table had been thrown across the room, lamps were broken, magazines were scattered across the carpet, the television screen had been shattered. "Dwayne?" She called into the silence, fearing the worst - that the man he'd been investigating had come to stop him permanently.

Turning toward the bedroom, she saw Dwayne standing in the doorway watching her, his face a mask of rage. "What happened?" She asked trying to ignore the evil look in his eyes.

Dwayne straightened and stepped forward, quickly closing the distance between them. "What happened?"

"Yeah," She replied nervously, looking down at the mess. "Who did this?"

"I'll tell you what happened." Dwayne's voice was low and very dangerous. He took a step closer and grinned when she began backing away from him in fear. "I went to talk to a murder suspect this morning only to find my fiancée in the arms of another man."

"What are you talking about?" It was a stupid question, but it flowed out of her mouth before she realized what she was saying. Tess’ back hit the wall, stopping her abruptly.

"You know damn good and well what I'm talking about!" He roared. His hands flew to the wall as she turned to run, preventing her escape. Bringing his arm up, he pressed it firmly against her collarbone, easily holding her in place. "What were you thinking?"

Tess' heart pounded in her ears. In all the years she'd known Dwayne, she'd never seen him this angry at anyone, least of all her, and it scared the hell out of her. She opened her mouth to answer, but the words weren’t there, which only made things worse.

"If I were you, I’d leave." His voice was strained and his body trembled with rage. He straightened, releasing his hold on her, then took a step back and turned to leave. At the last second he came around and hit her hard, sending her spiraling to the floor.

Tess stared up in shock at the man she thought she knew, unaware of the blood that trickled down the side of her face and the pain that should have been present from the impact of the blow. A sudden loud noise came from the back yard. 'Run!' A voice screamed in Tess' mind. Seeing that Dwayne was momentarily distracted, Tess grabbed the strap of her purse and bolted to the front door, not stopping until she was in her car. Her heart raced as she sped down the street, and didn’t slow down until she was a good ways away from the house.

Her body trembled uncontrollably and tears filled her eyes as she drove blurring her vision. Seeing a gas station ahead, she pulled in, unable to drive any further and parked as far away from the road as she could and away from the other cars. She held on tightly to the steering wheel after turning off the ignition, trying to get a grip on what had just happened. A shiver ran up her spine as she remembered the anger and hatred she'd seen in Dwayne's eyes.

Leaning her head back against the head rest, she closed her eyes and thought back to that morning. She remembered hearing a car door slam while she and Mark were in the study, but she never saw anyone come into the house or heard anyone leave. Not that she would have. Mark had drawn her in with those incredible eyes and sensuous voice, and had captivated her. She had been completely at his mercy. There was no telling when Dwayne had walked in and seen them, but judging by his behavior it probably wasn't until after she began returning his kiss. She could still taste his mouth and feel his hands caressing her breasts. 'Don't think about it.' She commanded herself, but hard as she tried, she couldn't stop.

Detective John Layfield stepped out of the convenience store grinning with his bag of doughnuts and a big travel cup filled with coffee. He knew it was cliché, but he couldn't help it... he loved doughnuts. Opening the driver's side door, he happened to glance up and saw a car parked at the opposite end of the building and a woman sitting behind the wheel with her head resting against the seat. Looking closer, he saw that her eyes were closed and she looked rather pale. He quickly put his purchases in the car and closed the door. He'd learned long ago to trust his instincts when dealing with any type of police situation and right now they were telling him that something wasn't right.

As he drew closer to the car, he saw blood on the side of the young woman's face, and peering in the window, he saw that the blood was coming from a cut on her left eye. He knew that head wounds usually looked worse than they really were and that they tended to bleed more, and he noticed that she wasn't as pale as he had thought. But still, he wanted to make sure she was okay.

She jumped when he tapped on the window and jerked her head toward him, relief immediately replacing the fear that filled her eyes. She glanced from his face to his badge which he held up, showing her who he was, and back to his face, then quickly rolled down the window.

"Is something wrong, Officer?" She asked seeing the concern in his eyes.

"I was hoping you could answer that for me." His eyes shifted briefly from her eyes to the cut. "Are you okay, ma'am?"

"I'm fine." She answered softly, not understanding why he would ask. "I just needed to pull over for a minute. I was just leaving." She reached for the ignition.

Reaching his hand out, he gently touched her arm, effectively stopping her from starting the car. "Are you sure you're okay?" She nodded her head in response. He'd seen his share of domestic disputes and there was no doubt that that's what happened to her. "What's your name?"

"Tess Collinsworth."

She seemed to be alert and level headed, so he decided to let it go for now, making a mental note to ask his former partner if he'd heard the name. He glanced once again to the blood drying on her cheek then pulled out his card and handed it to Tess. "If you need anything, please, don’t hesitate to call."


He stood reluctantly and walked back to his car. He transferred to homicide to get away from these types of cases, but no matter how hard he tried, he kept getting pulled back in. Letting out a heavy sigh, he looked in the rear view mirror at the woman in the car, and then pulled onto the street.

Tess watched the detective leave then briefly looked at his card and slipped it into her purse. She couldn't understand why he'd come over to her. It's not like she was breaking any laws. That wasn't important right now. Right now she had to figure out what she was going to do. She couldn't go back to the house, for fear Dwayne would explode again, she didn't have any family, the buyers had already occupied her house in New Orleans, and, since Dwayne had been her only close friend, she was left with nowhere to go. 'You could go to Mark.' She frowned at the little voice in her head. "Not in this lifetime." She mumbled. Dwayne was a reasonable man. She knew that seeing her with Mark had been quite a shock and that he probably didn’t know what he was doing when he hit her. Surely would have calmed down by now.

A strange feeling came over her suddenly, the feeling of being watched. Looking out across the parking lot, she searched desperately for Dwayne's car, ignoring all the others. After a few minutes she gave up and started the engine when a pain shot through her head. Her hand flew to her temple and she froze instantly when she felt something wet and sticky there. She brought her hand down and stared in disbelief at the blood that covered her fingers. Pulling some tissues from her purse, she looked in the rear-view mirror and cleaned the blood off her face the best she could. There was no way in hell she was going back to Dwayne. Her cell phone rang just as she stuffed the last tissue into the small trash bag and she instinctively knew that it was Dwayne. She held it for a moment, looking at it, then turned it off and put it in the glove compartment. Turning out of the service station, she headed for the city limit.

Dwayne slammed the phone down in frustration after having called Tess for what seemed like the thousandth time and getting no answer. She would never turn her cell phone off. Then again, he would never hurt her. He sat on the edge of their bed and buried his face in his hands. In the darkness, he could see the shocked expression in her eyes and the blood trickling down her face. He'd never hit anyone that hard before and by all rights, she should have been knocked unconscious. How she found the strength to run was beyond him, but she had, and he wanted her back, if for no other reason than to make sure she was alright and to apologize for what he had done.

He didn't know what happened to make him snap like that. When he walked into Calaway's house, he'd seen Calaway grab her arm and force her back against the wall, then push himself on her until she finally gave in to him. He knew that Calaway was more than capable of controlling people's minds, which is what he'd obviously done to Tess and more than likely to him as well.

With a registered sigh, he picked up the phone and dialed his partner's number. He was going to need his help to find Tess, which unfortunately meant he would have to tell him what happened.

John walked through the house, his eyes wide. "What the hell happened?"

Dwayne ran his fingers back through his short hair and sat down in a chair. "I went into a rage."

John's head snapped around and he stared at his friend for a moment, thinking he hadn't heard him correctly. Dwayne was the calmest, most level headed person he knew and he knew that something drastic must have happened to make him do something like this.

After not hearing John reply, Dwayne continued, not looking up. "I went to the real estate office this morning to find Tess. The man she was meeting was dead and she wasn't there. Calaway had somehow convinced her to go with him." He stood up, walked to the window and looked out. "I went over to his place to get her back. When I walked in, he had just grabbed her arm and pinned her to the wall, then he started kissing her. She tried to get away..." He broke off, unable to continue and felt John's hand on his shoulder.

"It wasn't her fault." John said, telling Dwayne what he should have already known.

"That's just it. I knew it wasn't her fault. But the more I tried to tell myself that, the angrier I got."

"Where is she now?" John asked, intending to help Dwayne keep her safe.

Dwayne shook his head. "I don't know. She came home a little while ago, but..." He took a deep breath before continuing. "I don't know what came over me. I watched her when she first walked in, and all I could see was her in Calaway's arms. The longer I watched her, the more I wanted to hurt her."

John's eyes widened in shock and his jaw dropped. "You didn't hurt her." He stated flatly.

Dwayne closed his eyes and nodded. "I hit her."

John turned on heel and stormed across the room to keep from beating his partner into oblivion. Having grown up with an abusive father, he had no tolerance for such violence, especially against women. Seeing a picture lying on the floor, he bent and picked it up. "Is this her?" He asked remembering the woman he'd seen at the gas station earlier.

Dwayne walked over and looked at the picture of Tess sitting on the hood of her car. A small smile tugged at the corners of his lips. "Yeah, that's her."

"I saw her." John looked up to meet Dwayne's startled gaze. "About two hours ago. I stopped at a gas station to get some doughnuts and coffee. She was sitting alone in her car in the back of the building."

"Was she okay?"

John could hear the concern playing full in Dwayne's voice. "She had a cut on the outside of her eye, but she seemed alright. She was alert and focused." He paused briefly before finishing. "I thought maybe her husband or boyfriend had done it, so I gave her my card and told her to call if she needed anything."

"Thanks." Dwayne smiled weakly. "I don't suppose you saw which way she was heading?"

John sighed and shook his head. "No, she was still sitting there when I left." He watched as Dwayne impatiently began to pace the floor. "So, what do we do now?"

Dwayne stopped pacing and looked up at John. "We?"

"That is why you called me, isn't it?" He grinned as he saw the surprise in Dwayne's eyes. "Besides, you aren't the only one working on this case. I'm just as anxious to stop this guy as you are."

Dwayne smiled in spite of himself. "I was going to go back to Calaway's."

"Do you think he has her again?" John asked stopping on the front porch to wait while Dwayne locked the door.

"It's possible. Tess would be pretty upset, which would make her vulnerable, and if he could convince her to go with him..." He stopped suddenly, a terrible thought surfacing in his mind. "John, I never told her his name."

"What do you mean?" John asked, a feeling of dread falling over him.

"I told her about the murders and how dangerous he was, but I don't think I ever told her his name. Not even this afternoon when I attacked her. She has no idea who she's dealing with."

Chapter Four

Dwayne and John walked into the house late that night. Dwayne went into the kitchen to get a beer while John went to the bedroom to call his wife, since the phone in the living room had been ripped out of the wall. Dwayne's stomach turned at he thought of what he'd done to Tess. Never in his life had he lost control like that, and never had he felt as helpless as he did right now.

They had searched everywhere but found no sign of either Tess or Mark Calaway. He had checked to see if she'd made any calls from her cell phone and if she had used her credit card, which she hadn't, but she had withdrawn $300.00 earlier that evening from an ATM machine downtown. That was the last anyone had seen of her. He checked every hotel and motel in the Miami area, but to no avail. Everyone in his department was trying to find her, and the fact that Calaway had also disappeared only added a state of urgency to the hunt.

"You okay?" John asked after watching Dwayne silently from the door.

Dwayne's head jerked up. He'd completely forgotten that John was there. "Yeah."

John studied him a moment longer then pulled his keys from his pocket. "I'm going to head on home. Maryann is pretty pissed that I didn't call her sooner. I swear, I don't think this baby will ever get here."

Dwayne chuckled softly as she stood to walk John to the door. Maryann could be quite worrisome, especially while she was pregnant. "I'll see you tomorrow. And tell Maryann it was all my fault."

John looked back grinning. "I did." He stopped on the front porch and turned to face Dwayne. "We'll find her."

Dwayne took a ragged breath. "If anything happens to her..."

"He didn't hurt her this morning when he had the chance, and when was the last time he left one of his victims alive? She'll be fine." John said trying to reassure himself as well as Dwayne.

"Yeah, you're right. I'm going to make some calls to New Orleans. Maybe someone's heard from her." He took a breath and smiled slightly. "You'd better get home before Maryann tears you a new one."

John smiled brightly at the sound of his wife's name, and then rushed to his car.

Dwayne stepped back inside and began making the calls and leaving messages. After calling everyone he and Tess knew in Louisiana, he fell across the bed and stared into the darkness as the day's events finally began to catch up with him. It seemed like a lifetime ago that Tess had woken up in his arms, happy and safe. "I love you, Tess." He whispered into the silence. Unable to fight the exhaustion any longer, he closed his eyes and felt a tear roll down his cheek as he slipped off to sleep.

Mark stood over the bed watching Tess as she slept. He'd implanted detailed images in her mind of her and Dwayne and the events that took place earlier that day. He had been watching through a living room window from the backyard, feeling very pleased at how smoothly things were falling into place. That is, until Johnson hit her. He'd wanted him to get angry enough to where he'd either leave Tess or throw her out, he never intended for her to be hurt. He was caught off guard - something which seemed to happen alot when she was around - but immediately intervened, throwing a trash can against a wall, giving Tess enough time to get away.

A slight movement caught his eye as Tess bent her knee slightly, then sighed softly and settled down again. His gaze shifted back to her face, wanting to make sure she was still sleeping, then followed the outline of her body under the bedspread. A smile spread across his lips as he remembered seeing her clothes lying across the chair when he came in.

Kneeling beside the bed, he carefully lifted the bedspread and pulled it down, revealing her naked body beneath. Reaching out, he gently pulled the hair back from her face then softly glided his hands down the length of her back, his fingers barely touching her skin. He could feel the heat and moister between her legs as his thumbs slid along the inside of her buttocks and down between her slightly parted thighs. A soft moan escaped her throat catching him off guard, again. His head snapped around and, seeing she was still asleep, he breathed a sigh of relief. Slowly his hands continued their trek down her legs then started back up, stopping again when he reached the top of her thighs. Taking a deep breath, he inhaled her intoxicating scent. It took all off his self control for him not to strip off his clothes and take her right then and there. Keeping one hand on her thigh, he reached down with the other one and adjusted his jeans to relieve some of the pressure on his throbbing erection. He had to get her back to that mausoleum, and soon. Leaning over, he kissed the small of her back then pulled the covers back up and kissed her cheek.

Tess' eyes flew open and in an instant, she was sitting in the middle of the bed, searching the darkened room. After getting her bearings, she ran a shaky hand through her hair and laid down, recalling her dreams in vivid detail. The first had been a nightmare; or rather memories of what had happened. But it was the second one that worried her. Mark was there, kneeling beside the bed, touching her almost lovingly as she slept. She could still feel his breath on her skin as he kissed her goodbye. "He's going to drive me insane." She muttered to the small digital clock beside the bed, which read 4:18 a.m.

Seeing how she was wide awake, she crawled out of bed and took a quick shower, grumbling while she put on the clothes she wore the day before. After checking out of the hotel, she drove to a nearby truck stop to have breakfast. Her mind drifted back to Dwayne once again, and her heart broke when she thought about what he had done. Something wasn't right. Dwayne didn't have a violent bone in his body and more self control than anyone she'd ever met. It was almost as if something had taken over his body. She pulled her cell phone out of her purse, then taking a deep breath she turned it on and dialed his number.

Dwayne bolted up from a horrible dream and impatiently snatched the phone from the nightstand. "What?" He growled to the party on the other end.

Tess' eyes filled with tears at the tone of his voice. Silently, she pressed the button ending the call and turned the phone off again, then laid some money on the table and left, still unsure of where she was going.

Dwayne slammed the phone down. "Damn it, Calaway!" He cursed as he swung his legs over the side of the bed and leaned over, holding his head in his hands. His mind began working immediately to figure out where Tess would have gone while pushing more disturbing thoughts to the back. If only she'd call to let him know she was okay... "Ah shit." He picked up the phone again and dialed *69 only to have the operator that that number couldn't be accessed, then called a friend at the phone company. It was just as he feared - Tess had called from her cell phone. Unfortunately there was no way to tell where she'd called from.

His heart tightened when the phone rang again. "Hello?" He answered gently, hoping against hope that it was Tess.

"What's wrong Dwayne? Hoping to hear from Tess?"

"God damn it, Calaway! What have you done with her?" Dwayne could feel his anger rising quickly, and started pacing the floor.

"I haven't done anything with her...yet." Mark grinned at the image of Tess' naked body surfaced.

"Where is she?" Dwayne's patience was wearing thin. He was in no mood to play these ridiculous games with this lunatic.

"What makes you think I know where she is?"

"Cut the shit, Calaway! I know you have her, and so help me God, if you lay one finger on her, it'll be the last thing you do!"

"Don't threaten me, boy." Mark took a deep breath in order to remain calm. "Listen Johnson, I don't have Tess, but I do know where she is, and if you ever want to see her alive again, you’ll back off."

"Tell me where she is." Dwayne's voice was uneven, almost desperate.

"In time, after I get what I want."

"And what is it you want?" Dwayne asked, not really expecting an answer.

"Besides Tess..." Mark chuckled softly at Dwayne's silent curse. "I want what every man wants...power." Mark looked up and saw Tess coming out of the department store wearing one of the outfits she'd just bought. "Well, I'd love to stay and chat, but it looks like we’re ready to leave."

Dwayne opened his mouth to respond but was cut off by a dial tone. Immediately, he called John and told him to meet him at the station in a half an hour, then dressed and headed out the door.

Mark laid the cell phone on the seat next to him as he watched Tess get into her car. He had no choice but to follow her since he didn't know where she was from or if she was going back there. "Oh, she'll go back." He said quietly as he pulled into traffic behind her. "She just needs a little persuasion."

"Shit!" Tess cursed, realizing that she'd used her credit card to make the purchases. She didn't want Dwayne to be able to follow her. Sighing heavily, she pulled into a bank. Since she already screwed that up, she may as well go all the way.

"I need to call this in. I'll just be a moment." Mr. Preston told her, standing.

She watched as he walked down a hall and into an office. 'Why can't he use his phone?' She wondered silently. 'Dwayne is tracking my credit card.' Although this didn't surprise her, it annoyed her to no end. Who was he to tail her like some common thief?

"I'm sorry that took so long." Mr. Preston said sitting behind the desk once again. "Are you sure you want to carry that much cash? I could get you a cashier's check or some traveler's checks."

"No thank you. Cash will be fine." Taking the envelope, she put it in her purse and stood to leave.

Mr. Preston stood with her, extending his hand. "Do you mind if I walk you out? I'm dying for a cigarette."

"Of course not." She answered, giving him a friendly smile.

"I hope you don't mind me asking, but what do you need with so much cash?"

"I'm moving. I've had problems in the past with checks, probably due to incompetence, and I wanted this move to go as smoothly as possible."

"Where are you moving to?" He asked opening the driver's side door for her.

"Maine." She answered simply. He was asking alot of questions and she didn't like it.

"Have a good trip Ms. Collinsworth, and be careful. You may want to think about getting a lock box for the money."

"That's a good idea. Thank you again, Mr. Preston." Closing the door, she pulled away rather quickly before he could start another conversation.

"Maine, huh. I don't think so, Tess." Mark said as he pulled out behind her. The only parking space available was the one next to Tess' car and he had overheard everything. Fortunately, the man kept Tess distracted and she hadn't noticed him. Looking at his watch he growled. This day was passing way too slowly.

"What's going on?" John asked sitting down behind his desk.

Dwayne looked up from the phone records he'd just gotten. "I heard from Calaway this morning. He says he doesn't have Tess, but he knows where she is, and that I'll get her back after he gets what he wants."

"What does he want?" John asked thinking this might be a way to get her back safely.

"Power." Dwayne answered calmly.

"Power? What in the hell does he mean by that?"

"I don't know. What I do know that he's planning on killing my fiancée and there's not a damned thing I can do about it; that he knows where she is and I don't, and that she is so terrified of me she won't even talk to me on the phone." Leaning forward, he rested his elbows on the desk and put his head in his hands.

John listened silently to his friend, trying to imagine what the man was going through. He couldn't conceive of something like this happening to Maryann and his heart went out to him. "Do you think she'd go back to New Orleans?"

Dwayne let out a big sigh and shook his head. "I don't know. She knows it's one of the first places I'll look for her, so if she doesn't want to be found, no. Then again, she knows people who'd probably hide her once they see what I've done."

"Why don't you go down there." John suggested. Dwayne's head snapped up, but before he could protest, John continued. "I'll stay here and man the phones and I can get Ron to fill in for you until you get back."

Dwayne thought about it for a moment and nodded. "I think I'll do that. I'll run it by the Captain." Dwayne's phone rang as he stood up. "Hello...yes... Savannah? Maine? Are you sure it was her? I see. Thank you very much."

Dwayne turned to John. "She's in Savannah. The guy said she just cashed out her credit card and she's on her way to Maine."

"She told him that?" John asked suspiciously.

"Yeah. What is it?" Seeing the look on John's face, Dwayne sat down again.

"Something doesn't seem right. We've had some of the best detectives in the country looking for her for a day now and haven't been able to turn up anything. Now all of a sudden, this banker not only sees her, but knows where she's going?"

"You think it was Calaway?" Dwayne's voice was tight. Just speaking his name made him want to hit someone.

"Either that or Tess lied to him." John answered honestly. "Think about it for a minute. She knows we're looking for her. She knows not to use her credit card or make any phone calls. If she's going through all that trouble to hide from us, why would she tell a total stranger where she's going?"

"Unless she was trying to throw us off." Dwayne said picking up where John left off. "She would never consider going to Maine, she hates cold weather, she wouldn't come back here, and she couldn't go east unless she bought a boat, so she must be heading west. She has to be going home."

Tess laid down in bed that night exhausted. She had no intention of going to Maine, but she would be damned if she'd help Dwayne find her. Her eyelids felt unusually heavy and, unable to hold them open any longer, she closed her eyes and fell into a deep sleep.

Once he knew she was asleep, Mark expertly picked the lock on the door, silently slipped into the room, and, made his way to the bed. He had waited for this all day. Laying his hands on her head, he opened his sixth charka, connecting with her mind almost immediately, and began telling her to go home, to go see Kane, and reminded her once again what Dwayne had done to her. He watched her eyebrows draw together and her face contort in pain as she relived the incident, and smiled. Closing the connection, he pulled the hair away from her face and lightly stroked her cheek, allowing his mind to run rampant with thoughts of what was going to happen. This was more than he could take. He unbuttoned his jeans, releasing his sex from its confines, and took it in his hand, firmly stroking it while placing his other hand on her breast. Gently, he caressed her, enjoying the feel of her soft warm skin beneath his fingers, then heard her moan as he rolled her nipple between his finger and thumb. Lightly running his fingers over her tummy, he slid them between her legs. She was wet, her body was ready for him, and he cursed this fact under his breath. His hand moved faster over his penis, slowly bringing him satisfaction. His eyes lingered on her womanhood and watched as his fingers delved between the pink folds, as if they had a mind of their own, and held her firmly, pressing his middle finger against her clitoris. Catching him off guard, she slipped her hand over his and began moving it back and forth, encouraging him to touch her.

His hands stilled as he looked back to her face. Her eyelids were fluttering wildly, but she was still sleeping. A smile spread across his lips as the thought entered his mind - she thought she was dreaming. The herbs he'd slipped into her drink earlier were working better than he thought they would. His smile widened as he began stroking himself again. She squeezed his hand, as if trying to get his attention, and began moving it, again encouraging him to pleasure her. Her body moved slightly in rhythm with his hand and soon, he felt her juices flow, spilling out of her and onto his fingers. He could feel his release approaching quickly and stroked himself faster, while her body stilled. Bringing his fingers to his lips, he licked her juices from them, reveling in her scent, and then throwing his head back he bit down on his bottom lip to keep from screaming, as his sperm spurted onto the carpet.

Mark sat still for a moment, giving his body a chance to calm. He watched her roll away from him in sleep, and sighed as he pulled the blanket up to cover her. How in the hell was he going to control himself after that? She had muttered his name while he touched her, not Johnson's, and that didn't sit well with him, not in light of what he was going to do to her. After straightening his pants, he leaned over, bringing his lips to Tess' ear and whispered. "Go home. Go to Kane." Gently he kissed her cheek and slipped out of the room unnoticed.

Tess groaned as she looked at the small clock beside the bed. 4:23 a.m. "I've got to start getting more sleep." Yawning, she climbed out of bed and showered, then checked out of the hotel, intent to get on the road as soon as possible. She didn't know why, but she had a strong desire to see Kane again. She only hoped that the same caretaker that was on duty during her last visit would be working when she got there, and that Kane would be in the mood for company. She couldn't help but wonder why, after those disturbing yet erotic dreams about Mark, she wanted to see Kane. Shouldn't she be headed back to Miami to find Mark? Or on the phone trying to work things out with Dwayne? Before the thought could fade, she pulled her cell phone out of her purse and dialed Dwayne's number.


Tess could hear the worry, exhaustion, and a hint of hope in his voice, and she hated herself for putting him through this hell. She knew he loved her, but she couldn't acknowledge the fact. It was as if there was some sort of wall between her conscious and subconscious mind that kept her from feeling anything for him but fear, like something, or someone, were controlling her mind. 'Kane.' The name echoed again in her mind.

"Tess? Baby, is that you?"

His voice rang in her ears, and she opened her mouth to answer, but her voice wasn't there. Tears filled her eyes as she pressed the button, ending the call.

Dwayne threw the phone in the seat next to him, then picked it up again and checked for a dial tone. He knew it was a long shot that she would go home and his logical mind was screaming for him to turn around, but something deep down inside was urging him to go ahead. If he was right, he could save Tess from Mark, but if he was wrong, he would be sealing her fate.

Mark breathed a sigh of relief as he watched Tess put the phone down next to her. He had to take her soon, before her own will overcame his, but he couldn't do that until they reached the mausoleum. She was stronger, much stronger, than he’d thought and she was dangerously close to ruining all of his plans.

Chapter Five

Tess drove non-stop back to Louisiana. Her body had been fighting with her mind for the past four hours to stop and get a hotel room for the night, but the more she debated stopping, the stronger her desire was to see Kane. Her body lost in the end and she kept driving. The streets were nearly deserted which, she thought, was a little unusual, but she was too tired to think about it. She felt like a zombie as she pulled into the cemetery and parked next to the blue station wagon. Turning on the dome light in the car, she looked in the rear view mirror and groaned. "Man, I look worse than I feel." After running a brush through her hair, she climbed out and walked to the door, smiling when the boy opened the door for her and let her inside.

"Hi." Tess gave the boy her best smile.

The boy smiled back at her. "Hi. I didn't think I'd see you again." His eyes roamed over her body as he spoke.

Tess' stomach turned as she watched him devour her with his eyes, but she couldn't let it show, she had to get back inside. "I didn't think I'd be back."

"I suppose you want me to let you in again."

The expression on his face and the tone of his voice told her that he wasn't going to make this easy for her, and she was in no mood to play these games. "I was hoping you would."

His eyes traveled down her body again. "What do I get in return?"

Tess had to take a deep breath in order to suppress the urge to smack him. She’d already had enough of this and was going to end it now. Walking over to where he was standing, she stood infront of him, their bodies nearly touching, and ran her hands up over his chest. "I know what you want." She said seductively, her lips brushing his. "If you let me in tonight, I'll give you a night you'll never forget."


"No tomorrow night." He drew his eyebrows together in protest, but she continued before he could respond. "I'll go check into a hotel and catch up on my beauty sleep - I'm not any good without sleep - then, tomorrow night I'll come back and..." She slid her hands down his torso and slipped one between his legs, grasping his bulge firmly and began to stroke him as she covered his mouth with hers. She slid her free hand into his long hair, cupping his head and pulled him closer.

After what, to him, seemed like an eternity, she pulled away, leaving him breathless. He groaned in protest and reached out to pull her back to him.

Taking a step back, Tess avoided his grasp easily. "Did you enjoy that?"

The boy could only nod.

Tess smiled. "Do you want more?"

The boy nodded again.

Tess stroked his cheek with her fingertips. "I do too. So do we have a deal?"

The boy cleared his throat. "You'll come back tomorrow night? After you sleep?"

Tess nodded. "Absolutely."

"Okay." The boy pulled the keys from his pocket and fumbled to find the right one, then led her to the back to the service entrance and unlocked the door. He smiled as he watched her walk out into the night. "The guys are never going to believe this." He turned to go back to the front to lock the door and found himself standing face to chest with a giant of a man.

"You're not going to tell them anything." Mark grabbed the boy by the throat and threw him into the wall. "You don't think I'm going to let you fuck her, do ya?" He caught the boy as he tried to get away and hit him, knocking him to the floor, and then reached down and took the boy by the neck. In one swift move, he twisted the boy's neck, snapping it like a twig, and let him fall to the floor. Taking the keys from his pocket, Mark let himself out the service door and walked into the graveyard to find Tess.

As he walked, Mark looked around, taking in his surroundings. He recognized this place. He'd been here several times, but had had no luck finding where his great-grandfather was buried. "Where did you go?" Listening carefully, he heard footsteps in the distance and quickly followed. In no time, he caught up with Tess and followed her soundlessly at a distance.

The mist swirled around Tess' feet as she walked and she could feel the air around her turn cold as the spirits passed by her and pushed against her, as if they were trying to stop her, while voices whispered in her ear, telling her to turn around and go back. Fear crept up inside her and sent an icy chill running down her spine. Something wasn't right. She stopped and looked around, her eyes piercing the darkness, searching for any signs of danger, but she found nothing. "What do you want from me? Why can't I go see Kane?" The breeze picked up and again filled her ears with whispered warnings of the danger that lay ahead. "What danger?" Tess fell to her knees, confused and frustrated as images of Kane's alter entered her mind. It wasn't enough that she was losing control of her mind, now these ghosts were trying to keep her away from the only safe place here, and the only place she wanted to be.

Mark watched Tess closely. "Who are you talking to?" She was on the verge of breaking his control over her, and if he didn't do something now, he was going to lose it. Closing his eyes, he delved once again into her mind, seeing and hearing everything she could see and hear. 'Go to Kane.'

"Stop!" She screamed as she jumped to her feet. "Stop it! All of you!" Without warning, she bolted toward the front gates of the cemetery.

"Shit!" Mark cursed, running after her. Luckily he was faster than she was, and was able to pass her.

Tess stopped in her tracks as Mark leaped out in front of her, blocking her path. Turning on heel, she ran toward the back of the funeral home.

Immediately Mark took off after her, cursing under his breath, and caught up with her easily, tackling her to the ground. He felt his sex begin to harden as she struggled beneath him, and had to fight the urge to rip her clothes off and take her right there. Eventually, she stopped fighting and Mark rolled her over onto her back, keeping her pinned under his weight. "Shhhh..." He stroked her face, wiping the tears from her cheeks. "Good. Now, I want you to tell me where the mausoleum is."

Tess felt the spirits around her move then heard Kane's voice whisper in her ear. 'No.' "No." Her voice was barely audible.

Mark gritted his teeth to keep from screaming. Looking deep into her eyes, he pulled her in to his gaze, regaining his control of her mind once again, and then asked calmly, "Where is the mausoleum?"

Her tears fell freely as she gazed up into his angry eyes. She didn't want to answer, but couldn't stop the words from coming. "It's in the back."

Pushing himself off her, Mark stood and pulled Tess up roughly by the arm. "Take me there." Without letting go of her arm, he turned her around and gave her a firm push.

Tess walked numbly through the graveyard, almost unaware of the long fingers pressing into her flesh, and the man walking beside her. Her mind was filled with cries and warnings from the spirits, the deadly sound of Mark's voice, and the images of Kane's alter. A vague realization of what was going to happen to her set in her mind, but she was unable to react, all she could do was walk.

Mark looked around curiously as she led him beyond the graves and into what looked like a wooded area, questioning his power over her briefly before Tess reached out to clear a path through the overgrowth. His eyes widened as the mausoleum came into view. Letting go of her arm, he reached out and touched the door, tracing the Pentagram, then across to the plaque embedded in the wall beside it. "Kane."

'Run!' Kane's voice screamed in Tess' mind, pulling her from the trance. Seeing that Mark was distracted, she turned to run, but she hadn't taken two steps when Mark saw the movement out of the corner of his eye and turned, tackling her again. She landed with a thud on her stomach on the hard stone steps, and Mark landed on her, knocking the wind out of her lungs.

Grabbing a handful of hair, Mark pulled her head back. "You're not getting away that easy." He growled, then stood up, pulling her up with him.

"What do you want from me?" Tess asked, trying to hide her fear from him.

"I think you know what I want." Still holding a handful of hair, he jerked her head back, causing her to cry out, and with his free hand, grabbed her crotch, rubbing her roughly through her jeans. "And after I take that, I'm going to use you to raise my power."

"What are you talking about?" Tess struggled to get away from him, but to no avail.

"Sacrifice." Mark pulled her close to him, bringing his face to hers. "Human sacrifice." He watched her body stiffen and her eyes widen in fear at his words then went on to explain. "Your body will give me pleasure. Your death will give me unlimited power." His eyes swept down her trembling body and he licked his lips in anticipation. "I've been looking forward to raping you all week." Tess shook her head in protest only to be rewarded with laughter. "Don't worry honey; you’re going to feel everything. I only regret that Johnson won't be here to watch."

Pulling her back up the steps to the door, he slammed her head first into the wall, rendering her unconscious. He smirked as he looked down at her motionless body. It truly would be a pleasure making her scream. Turning his attention back to the door, he braced his feet and pushed hard. Slowly the door began to move and soon stood wide open.


Mark smiled as Dwayne's voice filled the still night air. Picking Tess up, he carried her into the crypt and dropped her in the middle of the floor, then stood behind the door and waited for Johnson to find them. He didn't have to wait long.

Dwayne called out Tess' name again and again, but was rewarded only with silence. He had gotten lucky while driving to her old house and had seen her car and Calaway's truck parked out front. Unfortunately, the teenage boy was already dead when he arrived. "Damn it Tess, where are you?" He muttered to himself. Closing his eyes, he took a deep breath and listened closely for any sounds of life.

'Here.' A voice whispered in his ear. He spun around in the direction of the person who had spoken, but found no one. 'Here.' The voice came again from right infront of him. Pulling his gun from the holster at his side, he cautiously began walking in the direction the voice was coming from, and soon found himself standing infront of a thick patch of trees. Confused, he turned around, thinking he had run into a dead end, then heard what sounded like a moan coming from the woods behind him. Without thinking, he turned and headed in that direction, having to push his way through the thick overgrowth of foliage. His eyes widened as the mausoleum came into view. He’d been here several times while he was growing up and had never even known this place was here.

A moan interrupted his thoughts and he immediately saw Tess lying on the floor beside the coffin. Stepping inside, he bent to attend to her and felt a sudden sharp pain shoot through the back of his head, and then everything went black.

An evil smile crossed Mark's lips as he tied Dwayne's hands together behind his back and secured them to the wall, then smacked his cheek hard to wake him up. "Wake up, lover boy... It's show time."

Dwayne groaned at the dull throbbing in his head as he opened his eyes. His vision was blurred, but cleared in no time. He looked past Mark to Tess, who was trying to sit up.

Mark looked back over his shoulder and nodded. "Just in time."

"Just in time for what?" Dwayne asked, trying to stall the inevitable as long as possible while he tried to find a way to get himself and Tess out of there safely.

"Don't play games with me, Johnson. You know damn good and well what I'm going to do to her."

Dwayne's heart tightened as the image of Mark's latest victim surfaced in his mind. "Why are you doing this?"

Mark looked at him coldly then decided that it wouldn't hurt to let him in on it. He wasn't going to let him live anyway. "She's the chosen one, Kane's Beloved, and the one whose sacrifice will give me unlimited power."

"You think that murdering Tess is going to make you stronger?" Dwayne wasn't sure he wanted to hear the rest of this. He had a feeling that things were only going to get worse.

"I'm not going to murder her. She's going to ask me to kill her." Mark chuckled at the confusion and anger consumed Dwayne.

"No." Dwayne said disbelievingly. "Tess would never..."

"Oh but she will. Just like all the others." But she wasn't like all the others, and Mark knew it.

"How are you going to make her do that?" Dwayne's thoughts of escape were all but forgotten as Mark began to explain.

Mark looked over at Tess, who had finally managed to sit up, then back at Dwayne. Leaning forward, he brought his lips to Dwayne's ear so that Tess couldn't hear. "I'm going to rape her. The pain I'm going to inflict on her and the humiliation of having her fiancée watch as another man takes his pleasures with her will be more than she can stand. She will beg me to kill her, to put her out of her misery, and I will oblige." Before Dwayne could reply, Mark wrapped bandanna around his mouth, effectively gagging him then turned his attention to Tess.

Tess could hear Mark and Dwayne talking and tried desperately to focus on them and to clear her vision. Dwayne had found her. Now he would arrest Mark and take her home, or so she thought. She felt a hand cup her chin and lift her face, and knew instantly that it wasn't Dwayne. Jerking away, she shook her head, finally bringing her vision into focus, and looked up to see Mark squatting infront of her, and past him she could see Dwayne sitting against the wall bound and gagged.

"Looks like your man made it after all." Mark commented grinning wickedly down at Tess. Reaching out, he grabbed her tee-shirt with both hands and ripped the fabric easily, then, before she could react, he grabbed the front of her bra.

Tess cried out as the elastic cut into her back and shoulders. Her instincts took over then and she quickly rolled away from him and started for the door.

Mark caught the waistband of her jeans and pulled her back to him. The denim ripped easily in his hands and he smiled as she cried out again as the lace of her panties tore into her flesh. Quickly, he buried his knee into the small of her back and wrapped one hand around the back of her neck, effortlessly holding her in place while his free hand ripped open the front of his jeans, releasing his erection. The moment he loosened his hold on her, she bolted out from underneath him and ran for the door, only to be slammed chest first into the wall beside it. "Leaving already?"

"Let me go!" Tess demanded angrily as Mark pressed his body into hers, squeezing her painfully between him and the cold stone wall. Pulling her arms up, she put her hands on the wall and pushed with all her might, but trying to move Mark was like trying to move a brick wall. "No!" She screamed as he lifted her up and impaled her. Squeezing her eyes closed, she tried desperately to wake up from this nightmare only to be thrust deeper into it. Mark pulled out of her suddenly and she landed with a thud onto the hard floor.

Grabbing a handful of hair, Mark pulled her up and brought her around so that she would know Dwayne was watching her, and laughed as the detective struggled in vain to get to them. Tightening his grip on her hair, he pulled back hard and let go, sending her crashing to the floor. Her hands flew to her head as she instinctively curled up and rolled onto her side. Dropping down beside her, he grabbed her by the shoulder and forced her onto her back, positioning himself over her.

Tess fought back as hard as she could to stop him from entering her a second time, landing a few good blows in the process, but he was too big and too strong. She turned her head away from Dwayne as he thrust into her. Never had she felt so humiliated in her life, and for a moment she wished the floor would open up and swallow her whole, but her humiliation quickly turned to anger when she heard Mark moan in pleasure. Looking up, she could see the satisfaction written all over his face, and she would be damned if she was going to make it this easy for him. Seeing his eyes close, she balled her hand into a fist and swung as hard as she could, hitting him square in the jaw.

Mark's eyes flew open and glared down at her. "You wanna play rough? Well that's fine by me." Rearing back, he hit her hard across the eye, then reared back and hit her again and again before he was satisfied that she had had enough, at least for the moment. Pulling her legs up, he bent them at the knee and held them down, pressing her thighs into her chest.

Tess felt Mark slide out of her and gasped as he pressed the head of his penis against her anus.

"This is going to hurt like hell." He growled.

Tess' body stiffened and she screamed in pain as he forced his way into the tiny hole, ripping her literally into. Unable to move or even to breathe, she lay beneath him as he violated her.

Dwayne's muffled screams filled the tomb along with Tess' as he struggled with the ropes. The more he struggled though, the tighter the ropes became, and knowing he would need his hands later, he finally gave up the fight. Unable to look away, he watched helplessly as Mark beat and sodomized the woman he loved. Mark was going to die. If it was the last thing he ever did.

Mark's thrusts became harder as he neared his release. Knowing how much pain she was in and that she was probably ready, he buried himself deep inside her and roared as his seed spilled into her. Pulling out of her, he looked down and smiled in satisfaction as he saw her blood, mixed with his sperm, trickle out of her, then let his gaze travel up her body. She was trembling uncontrollably and, by the look in her eyes, she was probably going to go into shock. He knew how to remedy that. Sitting back on his haunches, he adjusted his pants then knelt down beside her and turned her head so that she could see Dwayne.

Tears filled her eyes as she gazed over at Dwayne. She tried to turn away, but Mark held her face in place, forcing her to look at him as he spoke.

"Look at him Tess. He just watched you have sex with another man." Her tears fell as she watched Dwayne shake his head furiously, trying desperately to tell her without words that it wasn't her fault, but Mark's words drown out Dwayne's silent pleas. "He looks pissed. What do you think he'll do about it Tess? We both know what happened the last time he was angry with you." He gently pressed his lips to her cheek, never once taking his eyes off Dwayne. "What do you think he'll do?"

"He'll kill you."

Dwayne couldn't stop himself from smiling at her, but the smile faded almost instantly when Mark tightened his grip on her jaw and turned her face toward him. He wasn't sure what made him angrier – the fact that she wasn't begging for death yet or that he'd lost all control over her. Growling in frustration, he stood up and picking her up, he carried her to the alter and dropped her on top of it then pulled a long dagger from the pocket inside his coat. He traced the outline of her face with the blade leaving a soft pink line behind. "Are you ready to die Tess?"

Tess looked over at Dwayne then at Mark, her expression unreadable, then took a deep breath and spit in Mark's face.

Mark stared at her as his anger boiled inside him. The ritual long forgotten, he raised the dagger over her heart and brought it down fast. At the last possible moment, Tess thrust her hand forward, knocking the dagger out of his hand and sent it flying across the room. "You bitch!" Mark grabbed her by the hair, jerked her roughly off the alter and hit her, sending her to the floor once again. Walking over to her, he kicked her hard in the ribs, then in the back, anywhere he could. A cold gust of wind blew through the crypt suddenly, bringing Mark back to his senses. He took a couple of deep breaths then picked up Tess’ limp body and once again laid her on the alter. Not wanting to repeat the incident, he tied her hands and feet down before retrieving the dagger from across the room.

Dwayne watched in horror as Mark began chanting something in an ancient language. The candles suddenly burst into flame, the air began to move around them, and he could swear that he heard voices coming from somewhere inside the walls. Tess' screamed stopped Mark long enough to plant his arm across her throat, crushing her larynx then he continued chanting. Seeing Tess gasping for air, he began to struggle against his restraints again, but the ropes cut deeply into his wrists, forcing him to stop. He could feel his warm blood turn ice cold as it trickled down his hands, the pressure from the ropes began to loosen, and he froze when icy fingers brushed against his skin. The ropes continued to loosen and as they fell to the floor he heard a voice whisper in his ear. 'Save her.'

Not wasting any time, Dwayne leaped up off the floor and charged at Mark full force, knocking him off his feet just as the dagger reached Tess' body. The air stilled immediately and the candles all went out, leaving them in darkness and silence once again. Seeing his gun lying a few feet away, Dwayne made a move for it, but Mark caught his leg and pulled him back.

Tears flowed down Tess' cheeks as she watched Dwayne and Mark fight. Mark was considerably bigger and stronger than Dwayne, but the fear and anger that had built up over the past few days gave Dwayne all the strength he needed to fight back.

Mark reared back and hit Dwayne hard, knocking him to the floor. As he fell, his head hit the corner of the coffin, knocking him out. Mark wiped the blood from the corner of his mouth as he retrieved the dagger. Standing over Tess, he brought the dagger up over his head. "You're going to pay for that."

A shot rang out and Mark fell to his knees, a look of total disbelief on his face. Another shot was heard and he fell to the ground. Tess looked over and saw Dwayne standing there, his gun aimed at Mark. Slowly, he walked over and knelt next to Mark to feel for a pulse. After a moment, he stood up and put his gun back in its holster and untied Tess' feet, then walked to the opposite side of the alter and untied her hands. Reaching out, he tenderly stroked her battered face and looked into her fear filled her eyes. "I'm so sorry, Baby."

Tess pressed her fingers to his lips, silencing him, then reached out and touched the bump on his forehead. She opened her mouth to say something and felt Dwayne's fingers on her lips.

"Shhhh... Don't try to talk."


Dwayne turned toward the door, glad to see New Orleans’s finest standing there, and raised his hands above his head. "I'm Detective Dwayne Johnson, Miami Police." He said showing them his badge.

"Detective Johnson, I'm Captain Marshall, NOPD." A man said walking toward him. "Captain Conner filled me in on what was going on." The paramedics made their way into the mausoleum and Marshall pulled Dwayne aside while they loaded Tess onto the stretcher. "I'll need a statement from both of you." Dwayne nodded, not taking his eyes off Tess. "Go on. I'll meet you at the hospital."

"Thanks." Dwayne replied, grateful that he wouldn't have to leave Tess yet. Turning, he looked down at Mark, who was also being loaded onto a stretcher. He'd shot a few people in his career, only as a last resort, and always regretted it afterward, but this time it was different. Not only was he satisfied that Calaway was dead, but the thought of what he'd done to Tess made him want to kill him again.

"Detective?" Dwayne turned to the paramedic. "She's looking for you."

Dwayne looked over the man's shoulder and saw Tess watching him and quickly hurried to her side.

A few days later, Tess stood on the steps of the mausoleum. Dwayne, reluctantly, agreed to bring her back before they left for Miami and was waiting for her at the car. She felt Dwayne's strong arms wrap around her and pull her close to him. "I don't understand Tess. Why did you want to come back here?"

Tess melted against him and smiled. "I just wanted to thank Kane for saving us, and say goodbye." She could barely speak, but the doctors assured her that she would recover completely.

Dwayne looked around so he could see her face. "You think he saved us?"

"Yes." She looked up and met his gaze. "Who do you think untied you?"

Dwayne opened his mouth to answer but was speechless. He had told her everything that had happened, as did she, but had nearly forgotten about that, and about the voice that led him to her. He heard Tess chuckle softly and gave her a gentle squeeze. "Then I suppose I should thank him too."

Tess pulled away from Dwayne and laid a bouquet of wild flowers down infront of the door. "Goodbye Kane." She whispered, then turning, took Dwayne by the arm and walked away.

The End
©TakersLover 2001

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