Savage Tracker (Audiobook)
Savage Tracker (Audiobook)
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Wanting anything resembling what I had should suffocate me.
Meeting my neighbor, Obrecht Ivanov, confuses me. The moment he walks through my door, I desperately want him to command me to kneel. I swore I would never return to anything like life with my ex-husband. So why do I feel as if I can’t breathe?
Each passing day that I don’t cave into my desires, the tension in my soul exponentially tightens. I convince myself to go take care of it and stop the itch once and for all. Just one time and then I’ll be fine.
It’s bad enough my ex-husband is doing everything in his power to find me. The choice I make puts me in a dangerous and vulnerable position. It’s a good thing Obrecht is always watching me.
He’s my savage tracker…
Young and dumb is one of my most hated phrases. It feels carefree and implies it's okay to make mistakes, since you have all the time in the world to turn around and fix them. For me, young and dumb can't be my reality. I'm not stupid. No matter what names my ex-husband, Jack Christian, has berated me with, I never believed him when he screamed at me, I was an idiot or declared I was thick as pig shit. He did it so many times, it should have affected my self-esteem, but for some reason, I wouldn't give him that. Buying into the notion that I somehow became stupid seemed to be another thing he wanted to take from me. He stripped me bare of everything I had, but my belief in my brain was one thing I refused to sign over to him.
Looking back, I ignored every warning my family gave me regarding my ex-husband. So maybe I do fit the phrase, but when I think of my situation, I can't help gravitating more toward the phrase, blinded by love, or even young and naive.
When you're barely twenty, living at home with your parents, and waitressing on a small Greek island, the promises of a fairy-tale life from a man like Jack are hard to resist. In my case, it was impossible.
One look at Jack, and I wasn't sure what to do with the flutters in my stomach. There wasn't any doubt he was older, more worldly, and held ridiculous amounts of power. He appeared to have money, but it wasn't something I cared too much about at twenty. Sure, the gifts he bestowed on me for the three weeks he was in town, I accepted with excitement. Everything about him and us was a whirlwind of adrenaline and new feelings I never had before. Every breath he took held confidence I hadn't witnessed in a man before. He could charm anyone with his smile alone. Add in his American accent and dominating presence, and I didn't stand a chance. At the time, I didn't even understand what his powerful aura meant. It made me feel danger and safety all at once. He said he would protect me and never let anyone hurt me. I was his and would always be. If I hadn't been so innocent, I would have understood the balance that needs to exist between a woman and a man when one party has the virility Jack does. Unfortunately, I knew nothing about what happens when you devote your life to a controlling man who doesn't put anyone's needs but his own first.
He made a vow to me. If I moved to the United States and married him, he would give me an incredible life. We would have it all—together. I could barely breathe, contemplating the thought of him leaving and never seeing him again. It was too much to bear. So, against my parents' wishes, I let him sweep me off my feet and away to another continent.
My father was so angry, he wouldn't allow my mother or siblings to come to the wedding. Jack was only a few years younger than my father. My mother begged me not to move and claimed, "You're throwing your life away if you marry him."
Nothing was farther from the truth as far as I was concerned. Jack was a life. He represented passion, excitement, and adventure. His world was something I never saw before and probably never would without him. And dating him was unlike any Greek boy I had ever met. He wasn't my first sexual encounter, but I could have been a virgin. Everything with Jack was like experiencing it for the first time but without the awkwardness. He knew what to do, how to do it, and my body submitted to him in ways I didn't know were possible. When he commanded me, I liked it. I assumed it was because he was a real man and knew what he wanted. I never understood why tingles lit up my nerves the first time he made me kneel in front of him. Or how pride swept through me when he taught me how to open up the back up my throat to take all of him in my mouth. If anyone else had bossed me around, it would have offended me. Not with Jack. I couldn't get enough and would have willingly knelt on the floor all night if it made him happy, when we first met.
We got married in the United States since Jack said it was easier to get me a green card if we married there instead of Greece. We had a huge wedding. All of Jack's business associates filled a six-hundred-person ballroom. I knew no one except Sister Amaltheia, a nun from the Greek Orthodox church. Jack allowed me to attend the first six months we were married. I wasn't super religious, but it helped me when I felt homesick. The members almost all spoke Greek. I would go to mass then the luncheon, but Jack soon stopped me from going. He claimed it was cutting into our weekends, and when he wasn't working, my time was his. I was his wife, his property, and he never let me forget it.
Our life was nothing like the world he promised me. We married within weeks of arriving in the United States. The day I vowed to love, cherish, and obey him was bittersweet. It pained me my family wasn't here, but I was determined to have the fairy-tale life Jack promised me.
It didn't take long before Jack's charming, loving demeanor changed. I soon found myself in a foreign country with no money, no family, and a husband who was a monster. The real Jack wasn't kind, funny, or loving. The real Jack was physically violent, into punishments that included mind games, and knew how to rip your heart out and continue to tear it to shreds even when you thought he couldn't destroy it anymore. He didn't use safe words. He controlled everything in my life, right down to allowing me to use the bathroom. And after the first few months of marriage, I never again felt safe.
When Sister Amaltheia had me meet with Kora Kilborn, my divorce attorney, it gave me the courage to divorce him. I still didn't have money and couldn't move out though. Somehow, Kora convinced his attorney to have him stay out of my side of the house, or it was going to hurt his company going public. I'm not sure how she did it. Some nights, he would scream at me through the locked doors while I sat on the other side, shaking. I would call Kora, and I assumed she called his attorney. Jack's phone would ring, and I'd hear him bark out, "Larry."
It was a miracle when Sergey Ivanov swept me away from Jack and gave me a safe place to stay. It was more than I could ever ask for, and when the divorce went through, I bought the condo from him.
I've never had anything that's mine. The amount of money I got from the divorce is more than I know what to do with. Besides buying the condo, Kora wanted me to keep a bodyguard with me when I go out, in case Jack still wanted to come after me. I wasn't sure how to even arrange anything like that, but Kora called and said Sergey had men in his employment who could be my bodyguards if I wanted to hire them. Of course I said yes, thankful I had it taken care of and could breathe again.
My condo is perfect. It's brand new, luxurious, and in downtown Chicago. My building overlooks the river. I'm on a lower floor, but there is also a rooftop. It overlooks all of Chicago and Lake Michigan. It's one of my favorite spots to hang out. Plus, I keep hoping maybe I can meet some new people.
Over the last ten years, I've gotten used to loneliness. When I escaped Jack, I promised myself I'd never let another man control me. But lately, I can't stop the urges I feel to fall into my old role. Several times, I've had to erase my search history, stopping myself from going through with the crazy ideas in my head. They started as seeds, but they've germinated and keep growing.
I'm trying to kill off every vivid dream and urge I have to fall back into anything I had with Jack. Ninety percent of what we had, I shiver in fear thinking about. Yet, the other ten is clawing at me. It's digging into my loneliness, and I'm not sure how much longer I can last. I wonder if I gave in to my desires if I could scratch my itch and then move on with my life.
It's wishful thinking. Stepping into the past can only harm me. How can it not? But all I keep thinking about is how much I need it.
I've tried to distract myself. I've joined my new friends' weekly yoga and brunch routine. I found a few places to volunteer. I even ordered the faucet I wanted to replace. It's the one I wanted instead of what Jack insisted we buy.
When I ordered the faucet, I never knew it would be the catalyst for so many things. The moment it arrives, delivered by the sexiest man I've ever laid eyes on, I feel the earth shift under my feet. The icy-blue, piercing eyes, wavy dark hair, and tattoos covering his neck, arms, and hand scream he's more dangerous than Jack could ever be. His charming smile and dimple barely peeking out on his cheek make his threatening aura seem nonexistent. It's extreme opposites and makes him the most intriguing person I've ever met.
Don't be a fool again. My intrigue with Jack only got me in trouble.
He speaks, a thick Russian accent rolling out of his mouth, and my knees go weak. "I'm Obrecht. This was delivered to my penthouse by accident. Are you remodeling?" His eyebrows lift, and his eyes linger on me.
God help me.
There's nowhere to hide. It's like I have a sixth sense for it. His expression is dominant. It's full of everything I'm craving. I hold the door handle tighter, stopping myself from dropping to my knees and waiting for him to give me a command.
"No." My voice squeaks, and I clear my throat. "No, only the faucet."
Amusement twinkles in his eyes. "Do you have a plumber coming?"
I shake my head, forcing myself to maintain eye contact with him instead of staring at his feet. I admit, "I thought I would call Sergey and ask who he recommends."
His lips twitch. "He'll recommend an Ivanov."
"Oh. Okay." I stare at him, not moving.
"I'm an Ivanov." His lips curve more, and my heart skips a beat.
I tilt my head and, in a teasing tone, reply, "So you live in the penthouse but are the plumber?" It comes out, and my face heats when I realize my voice sounds flirty.
"Nope. Just for you." He winks, making my cheeks blaze with fire.
I'm not supposed to let anyone inside. Jack isn't a man who loses well. Kora has warned me not to let my guard down. "Let me see your ID, please."
He puts his arm around the box and reaches into his pocket. He hands me his wallet. "ID's in there."
Holy mother of all accents.
"Do you always let strange women go through your wallet?" I ask.
His eyes trail over me. "No. Once again, only you."
I breathe through my pounding pulse and open his wallet.
His license reads Obrecht Ivanov, has the penthouse address, and his birth date shows he's forty-five. His picture is just as panty-melting gorgeous as the man in front of me.
Who on earth takes panty-melting photos for their ID?
How is he forty-five? I wouldn't have thought over forty.
I glance at him and open the door wider. "Come on in. I'm Selena. Sorry to be rude."
"Being cautious isn't rude. Don't ever apologize for it," he firmly states.
"Are you Sergey's brother?"
He snorts. "Cousin."
"Oh." I stare at him, and there's a moment of awkward silence. I reach for the box, but he doesn't let me take it.
"I've got it. Is it for your kitchen?"
"Okay. It shouldn't take me too long." He walks past me into the kitchen.
My eyes follow him. My pulse increases as I stare at the way the fabric of his T-shirt stretches perfectly over his taut flesh. And I've never really checked out a man's ass before. If Jack had caught me looking at any man, he would have punished me. I've seemed to have forgotten all my previous rules. I can't tear my gaze off every part of him, including the tattoos on his arms and neck.
He spins and catches me ogling him. My cheeks heat again as he says, "Do you enjoy living here?"
I snap out of it and join him in the kitchen. By the time the faucet is on, I'm in trouble. The air is electric. Every urge I've tried to kill resurfaces like a ripple in the water. It expands until I feel as if I'm about to burst at the seams.
When he leaves, disappointment hits me. The loneliness I've struggled with annihilates me. For hours, I stare at the faucet, thinking about him and what it would be like to kneel in front of him.
That's part of Jack's world. I'm out of it. I cannot go back.
Every time I go anywhere over the next week, I look for Obrecht. When Monday night comes, I can't handle it anymore. I pull out my laptop and look at the clubs I know Jack never goes to.
Just this once. I'll get the urge out of me. Then everything will be okay again.
No one will know me.
The lingerie I bought when I went on a shopping spree for my new post-divorce wardrobe stares at me in the closet. I slowly put it on. The membership I applied for online to get into the club deals with code words. I memorize them all. I give my bodyguard instructions to stay in the car and not escort me inside. He argues with me, and I remind him I'm the client.
"You will get me fired," he says in his thick Russian accent.
I point to the door of the club. I hate being rude, but he can't come in, and I can't chicken out. I need this. "Do not go in there. If you do, there will be consequences."
That's the thing about "if." It represents scenarios that aren't real. The consequences I imagined weren’t anything like what happened from leaving him outside.
Every single promise I made to myself to get rid of my itch once and for all becomes impossible to keep. Obrecht Ivanov is part of my "if." He's the equivalent of being on a deserted island and having a lifeline. Once you grab hold, it's impossible to let go until someone makes you.
But I should never have forgotten Jack's threats. For the first time, I wonder if I've become stupid. The dumbest thing I ever did was believe I could escape the wrath of Jack Christian. I should have known how deep his ties with the devil are and that he can reach me anywhere. Maybe I allowed myself to live in a fantasy world because I knew Jack would never stand for another man having me. If I had admitted it to myself, I'd have to let Obrecht go. Seeing each other was a dangerous game. I told him about Jack, but he didn't flinch. He wasn't scared, nor was he willing to let me go. All it did was make him fight harder to claim me.
Once you freely give yourself to someone when you never thought you would, in ways you never imagined you could, unleashing yourself from them is impossible. When someone else comes along and grabs hold of your leash, the thing you cherished suddenly becomes a nightmare.
- Length: 11 hrs and 15 mins
- Narrated by: Wen Ross & Kai Kennicott
"Wow," I say before I can stop myself.
"Morning. What's wow?" She smiles.
I swallow hard. My mouth goes dry. "Isn't it too early in the morning to look that nice?"
Her face blushes. My balls remind me how blue they are, and I try to stop my wandering eyes from continuing to check her out like a dirty old man.
"Thank you. I...umm..." She scrunches her forehead and bites her lip.
"You lightened your hair?" I ask.
She reaches up and twists a chunk of it around her finger, and I about shoot my wad in my pants. The number of times I've dreamed of tugging on those locks is too many to count. She meets my eyes. "Yes."
"It looks great on you."
I continue to tease her. "Are you going to a magazine shoot at five in the morning?"
"No. I-I couldn't sleep, so I thought I would go for a walk."
Matvey, one of our bodyguards, steps next to us and nods to me. "Obrecht. Ms. Christian, do you need an escort somewhere?"
She nervously glances between us then explains, "I know it looks weird, but my ex isn't very nice. Kora and Sergey thought—"
I put my fingers over her lips and instantly regret it. They're the softest pair of lips I've ever touched. "I deal with Ivanov security. I know why he's here."
Her hot breath exhales on my fingers, but then she furrows her eyebrows again. "So, you know everything about my ex?"
About how he's the biggest dickhead on earth, and I still haven't decided what to do to him yet or when for hurting you?
Find out what happens next in Savage Tracker
Listen to Savage Tracker if you love:
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- Protective Alpha Hero
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "6 stars, a new all time favorite."-Reviewer
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "This book is one you do not want to miss! This is Obrecht and Selena's story and it is intense."-Reviewer