Part 1631 – An Unexpected Offer

I hope Dave is okay.

I hope that creeper Caten hasn’t done anything to him.

I hope he isn’t hurt or crying. I hate seeing him hurt.

My Dave.

My sweet, silly, flirtatious Dave.

Hank followed Preyuna into Mark Caten’s office. He stopped next to Dave as Preyuna approached Caten’s desk. “Hey.” he said softly. “You all right?”

Dave nodded and gently squeezed his lover’s hand. “You’re here.”

“Love you, babe.”

The full mask concealed Dave’s mouth, but Hank could see the smile in his eyes. “Love you too.”


“Well. I’m here.”

Mark Caten ended his phone call and smiled at Preyuna. “Hello, cupcake.”

“What do you want?”

“I want a great many things, cupcake. Many things. Some I can acquire with the right amount of pressure and persuasion. Others…” His smile fell away. “Others I can’t.”

“And where do I fall on your list of ‘things’ you want?”

He laughed out loud. “Oh, cupcake. My supremely decadent poisoned cupcake. Don’t you know by now? I don’t have to want you. I already have you.”

Preyuna flexed her hands and resisted the urge to transform his mouth into an elephant trunk.

“A client of mine sent me an e-mail this morning. He found out that I have the Queen of the Fae as my one and only. He, of course, became all curious and intrigued. He would like me to lease you to him for the next month or so.”

Preyuna’s hands tightened into fists. “Lease me? As if I were a building or a car?”

“You don’t seem to fully grasp his offer, little Dum-Dum cake. He wants you to come live with him for the next month. Or so.”

“Live with him.” Her fists loosened. “I would…Are you saying you’d let me leave you? Are you saying you’re willing to just hand me off to someone else? Is that it?”

“Pretty much. Fair warning: He hasn’t my debonair good looks and ineffable charms. He couldn’t fit into an Armani suit, not even if he bought the extra large size.” He noticed her expression. “What’s the matter? You don’t look happy.”

“What do you care about my happiness?”

“Nothing, really. My happiness is the most important thing in the world and it will always be that way. I’m just wondering. You’ve been whining and whinging at me about ‘Ehhhh. I hate it here. I hate you. Let me go home.’ waa-waa-waa pop plop fizz fizz fuss. This is your chance to leave me for someone else and you’re not jumping at it. I find this intriguing. Could it be you don’t want to leave me?”

“You are an insufferable moon-sick llama’s child. You. You think that you are everything. You aren’t. You are not the one I desire.”

He stood. “So?” He stepped closer to her and put his hands around her neck. “Should I e-mail him back and say yes?”

She looked into his eyes.

This is my chance to get away from him. Maybe this other man will take pity on me. Maybe he will let me go home.

She frowned.

Take pity.


I don’t want pity. I want admiration. I want respect. I want to be treated like the queen that I am.

I want to go home.

He leaned forward and whispered in her ear, “Well?”

But if I stay, Caten will never set me free.

If I leave.

She made eye contact with him.

If I leave, he will live on. I can’t let that happen. What he has done to me deserves punishment. He deserves to die.

If I stay, I can make sure that he dies.

Preyuna couldn’t help the feeling of self-loathing that surfaced as she said, “How could I leave you? I know you so well. I don’t know this other man. He might treat me worse than you have.”

He tightened his grip on her throat. “What is your answer?”

“Tell him.” She closed her eyes. “Tell him no. Tell him I want to stay with you.”

“Yes, yes. Of course, you do.”

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