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Captured by Mr. Wild: Chapter 21


    the last rays of the day’s sun, pulling me back to a memory of an evening by the lake almost a decade ago. I take some deep breaths, willing myself to gain control over my body again. I’m like a loose cannon where she’s concerned. Every move she makes, every word from her lips has me captured. With her, I’m weak. And that’s dangerous.

I look into Daisy’s eyes before I roll to the side, pulling her under my arm as I press my nose into her hair and kiss it. We stay cocooned together, listening to the sounds of the forest and lake as the light fades, neither seeming to want to move.

She rests her hand on my chest, her finger drawing tiny circles, which her eyes follow, a deep line of concentration between them.

“What’s the look for?”

I feel her tense in my arms. “Nothing.”

“Liar.” I squeeze my arm around her. “You forget how long I’ve known you, babe.”

“Blake.” She lets out a sigh. “Why can’t you call me Dee?”

I clear my throat. “I like calling you babe. You are a babe. A hot-as-fuck one.” I grab her chin and smile against her lips before I kiss her. She softens in my arms and kisses me back, one hand reaching up to stroke my face.

When I pull back, her clear blue eyes search mine. “Do you think Betsy’s okay?”

“With a new bone? She’ll be loving life right now.” I laugh before glancing back at Daisy. Her eyes are glassy as she looks at me.

“I had a dog once.”

I tilt my head so I can see her face better.

“You never told me that! What kind?” I grin as I picture her walking her own dog. I can see her with a happy little terrier. Spoiling him or her, no doubt.

“Oh, he was a mongrel. A scrappy little rascal. His owner was elderly, and he needed a new home when they went into care. I promised I would look after him for them.” A sad smile crosses her face as she looks back down at her hand on my chest.

“What happened to him?”

The way her face falls and her eyes squeeze shut has me pulling her close to me and kissing her forehead.

“It’s hard when you lose them. They’re family,” I whisper softly.

She stays silent, and I rub my hand up and down her arm where goosebumps have formed.

“You’re getting cold.” Even though the air is still warm, there’s no hiding the shiver that just ran through her body.

“I’m fine.”

“Come on, Let’s go inside. Maybe I can warm you up in the shower?”

She chuckles softly. “You have a one-track mind, Mr. Wild.”

“Only where you’re concerned.” I grin as I pull us both up off the blanket and pull my shorts on, grabbing our half-drunk bottles in one hand. Daisy smoothes her dress back down over her thighs and looks at me watching her.


“Can’t a guy admire the woman who owns his cock?”

She snorts out a giggle and tucks her hair behind her ear. “How you are not married with lines like that is a total mystery!” She smirks at me. “And I’m pretty sure your cock is all your own.”

I press my lips together and lean in close.

“That’s not what my cock tells me every morning in my shower when all I can think about is you.”

Her eyes meet mine as the slightest pink spreads over her cheeks.

“And every night too.” I tip my head to the side and shrug my shoulders. “And some lunchtimes, afternoon sessions, pre-workout, post-workout…” I reel off as Daisy shakes her head and rolls her eyes.

“Come on.” I tip my head toward the house and grin as I see the earlier tension finally leave her face and be replaced with a smile.

She’s still smiling after we’re both inside, and she’s checked on Betsy and given her a load of fuss.

“If I didn’t know better, I’d still say you like her more than me,” I call from down the hall where I’m putting the blanket away.

“You don’t know better!” Daisy calls back, and I laugh as I hear her whisper something to Betsy as I walk back into the room.

“So, you do like her more than me?” I raise a brow before swooping on to Daisy, wrapping my arms around her from behind and pressing my lips to her neck.

“Yes.” Daisy laughs as I nip her neck between my teeth, making her gasp.

“I’d better up my game then, right?” I chuckle as I pull her to her feet, and she leans her head back against my shoulder. Her eyes fix on the framed photograph on the wall to the side of us.

“I don’t know. You’ve got fierce competition. I’m not sure you’ll ever succeed.”

“What?” I growl in her ear, making her giggle again before she lets out a contented sigh and wraps her arms over the top of mine which are encircling her waist.

“I love this one.” Her eyes are fixed on the photograph of the beach at sunrise, taken from up high so the curve of the cove reaches out across the frame.

“Me and Betsy got up at four am to get that one.” I rest my chin on top of her head as she studies it.

“You took it? Did you take all of them?” Daisy spins her head to the side, looking at the other images on the walls of the living area.

“Sure did.”

“Blake, I knew you used your camera a lot, but these… these are amazing! I thought they were professional prints. Now I can see what Maria was talking about.”

“Hey! There’s no need to sound so surprised. I can do more than push-ups, you know.”

I’m grinning as she turns around, her open mouth snapping shut as she takes one look at me and tuts.

“You’re so hilarious! I thought I’d really offended you.”

“The only thing you could do to offend me would be to tell me you like Betsy better than me. Oh! Wait!” I laugh as Daisy’s delicate hand lifts to push me in the chest. I catch it in my palm and use it to pull her close, pressing my mouth against her parted lips as my other hand cups her ass. “Feel free to think of a way to make it up to me if you like?”

“You’re a doofus.” She laughs before I continue my claiming of her mouth with my tongue. Each tiny moan from her speaks directly to my dick, and it takes all my strength not to lift her up and bury myself inside her against the wall.

I draw back and grin at her, before turning us both back to face the photograph. Ignoring my dick.

For now.

“It’s all about the light. The right exposure. It’s not about being perfect. But about capturing the beauty of what’s real and right in front of you.”

She turns to look at me, her eyes lighting up. “You love this, don’t you?”

I run a hand around the back of my neck, blowing out a breath.

“Honestly? Yes. I remember that morning with Betsy when I took it. I’d just signed the deal on the TV series for the first season. Everything had seemed so crazy with phone calls, meetings, and contracts that I’d just wanted to get away for a bit to hear my own thoughts.”

Daisy turns back to the picture.

“That’s understandable. Life can get crazy. Sometimes it takes a step back to see what you’re dealing with.”

I look at her sideways, her lips pursed, a deep frown line growing between her eyes. I know what she’s thinking about when she looks like this. I know who she’s thinking about. My stomach knots as I open my mouth.

“Or a trip to another country?”

She turns to stare at me with wide eyes.

I hold my breath and wait.

Eventually she sighs, her shoulders slumping as though all the energy has drained from her body.

“Yes… or another country… he doesn’t know I’m here. I never told him about my aunt.” Daisy’s gaze drops to her hands as she wrings them together in front of her stomach.

I take a deep breath, trying to clear the blood that’s rushing in my ears. I hate what her ex did to her. How he bullied her, emotionally abused her, disrespected her. Calling her a weed, for fuck’s sake!

And the way he laid his hands on her.

I hate him.

“I should have come and found you.” I reach out and cup her chin between my fingers.

Her eyes search mine before she frowns.

“You didn’t know, Blake. No one knew what he was like. Not even me, in the beginning.”

“I know, but…” I grit my teeth and clench my free hand into a fist before flexing my fingers and stretching them out.

“But nothing.” Daisy shakes her head. “I hadn’t seen any of you in years. I know we all kept in touch online, but you were over here, and I was in England. It’s not like you could have done anything. And besides, the pictures I posted of me and…” She swallows before finding the courage to continue on. “Of me and Mick were nice ones to start with. Showing a happy, normal couple who were dating and enjoying life.” Her voice drops to a whisper. “Not all bastards wear it printed on their foreheads.”

My jaw clenches. I remember those early photos before Daisy shut down all her social media accounts. She looked happy in them. Kayla would gush over how Daisy would be the next one of the four of us to get married. I always thought the dark-haired guy with his arms around her looked like a smug asshole. Trav said it was just me, but now… now I wish I had dug deeper.

“Kayla’s told me that you all assumed I was happy and doing well, and just hadn’t gotten time to keep in touch the same as before.” She lets out a sigh. “I wish that’s all it was. He was into some nasty stuff. Once I saw it, I thought he was just mixed up with the wrong people. But then I realized he was the wrong person. He was running it all, like his own dark kingdom.”

A crunching from Betsy devouring her bone draws Daisy’s eyes away from me, and they mist over as she watches her.

“I thought he was cheating on me again to start with. All the secret phone calls, the going out late at night. So, I followed him.” She gulps, her eyes coming back to mine, full of unshed tears.

“Hey.” I reach out to her, but she shakes her head, taking a deep breath.

“I wish he had been cheating again. It would have been so much better.”

“Where was he going?” I grit my teeth, my eyes fixed on Daisy as I prepare for whatever shit this asshole did.

“He was going to a friend’s warehouse. He ran a company that distributed cleaning supplies.” Daisy reaches her hand up to her eyes and drags her fingers over her closed lids. When she talks again, her voice is shaking. “They were running illegal dog fights there at night.”

“What?” I snarl as my chest expands with the giant breath I suck in.

Daisy’s cheeks are shining as tears run over them. She glances to Betsy who looks back innocently, her jaws wrapped around her bone. Betsy thumps her tail against her beanbag as she gazes back at us.

“He was getting dogs to fight? And making money out of it?” I shout, snapping Daisy’s focus back to me.

Her bottom lip trembles and I immediately regret the venom coursing through my body and out in my voice. I step forward and wrap my arms around her, holding her against me and dropping my face into her hair.

“I’m sorry. I’m not mad at you. I just… fucking asshole!” I hiss as she buries her face in my chest and her body heaves.

“I should have done something. I should have realized. I should have suspected something sooner.”

I grab her shoulders and hold her still in front of me. “No.”

She lifts her tear-stained face to look at me.

“It’s not your fault. It’s on him. Don’t you ever blame yourself. You hear me?” My eyes bore into hers, but she doesn’t acknowledge me; just drops her eyes away and shakes her head sadly.

“Is that why you have—?”

“The nightmares?” She nods. “And it’s why I turned vegan. I can’t…” She holds a hand over her mouth. “It’s the blood. And the smell. I can’t…”

“Jesus,” I hiss as I pull her against my chest again. “They were having one when you followed him?”

She nods her head against my chest as a sob escapes.

“I saw it, Blake. I saw them. Their eyes. Their fear. They use the gentle ones as bait for the ones they’ve taught to be fierce. They set them against each other, and they… they…”

My grip on her intensifies as her shoulders shake with silent sobs.

“Oh, God. It’s horrendous. I can’t get it out of my head.”

She lifts her face, and her haunted eyes meet mine. The pain in them pierces my heart like a dagger. I thought feeling out of control with her was dangerous. But this is worse.

Now I’m helpless.

Helpless against the agony I see in her eyes when she looks at me. Helpless against the despair in her voice. Helpless against the tears that fucker is making her shed.

I’m fucking helpless.

“I reported it all to the police.” She sniffs and wipes her eyes with her fingers. “Once they’d finished questioning me and had all their statements, I came here. My mum and dad needed to sell the house, and it seemed like the perfect change. Leaving it all behind for a while. Trying to forget.” She takes a deep, steadying breath. “But now I wonder if I’ve just been a coward. His trial is coming up. But the idea of facing him again. Being in the same room as him… I…”

“You. Are. Not. A. Coward.” I enunciate each word, moving my palms up to either side of her face, my fingers threading into her hair. “Say it.”


“Say it!” I urge, my eyes burning into hers.

“I’m not a coward,” she whispers, barely loud enough to be heard.

I drop my mouth to hers and kiss her tenderly, fighting the raging storm inside me from what she’s told me. This guy—this fucking asshole—is a piece of shit I’d love to get my hands on. Five minutes in a room alone with him and he’d be begging someone to kill him, to put him out of his misery. Every muscle in my body tenses as I picture just what I’d do to him.

Daisy pulls back to look at me, shaking her head.

“Don’t, Blake.”

I brush my thumbs over her cheeks, wiping away the last tears as her eyes search mine.

“I know what you’re thinking.”

“You don’t.” I give her a tight smile. There’s no way she could imagine the mental image I have. Even the horrific things she’s just told me about don’t even come close.

“Now you’re the one forgetting how long I’ve known you. Babe.” She uses my earlier words back at me, emphasising the final one, as one side of her mouth curves into the tiniest of smiles, despite the lingering sadness still held in her eyes.

Some of the tension evaporates from my body as I smile at her properly and brush a strand of blonde hair back off her face.

“Tell me you’ll stay here tonight. With us.” I rest my forehead against hers and take a deep breath, willing her to choose the answer which won’t cause all the tension to come hurtling back to my body.

She wraps her hands around the back of my neck, her lips parting.

“I’ll stay. With both of you.”

I let out the breath I’m holding and bring my lips down over hers.

Finally relaxing.

“This is some fucked up shit.” Travis tilts his head back and drains the last of his beer.

“I know.” My jaw tenses as I hold the top of my bottle and roll the base around in small circles on the dark wood surface of the bar.

It’s late and Herbies will close in the next ten minutes. I didn’t even realize that we have been sitting here for so long going over shit again and again.

My eyes rest on the photograph of mine hanging behind the bar. The one I took showing all of Hope Cove from the high viewing point me and Betsy found up in the forest. The owner, Wes, wanted it. Said he liked to look at it when he was at work and imagine he was outside in the sun. It’s probably why Cindy always picked up extra shifts. Wes would rather be out somewhere than working in his own bar.

I frown as my eyes flick to Cindy at the other end of the bar, gathering up glasses. She said she was fine with the casual hanging out after her late shifts. We always went to her place. Never mine. And I never stayed long. It was mostly just fooling around. Except that one time I went too far. That one time I let her believe there was more to it for me.

I was a real asshole.

“And Dee’s sure he’s going to go down for it?”

I look back at Trav, who’s waiting for me to zone back in.

I exhale as I let go of my bottle.

“That’s what she says. Or what she hopes, at least. The police told her after their investigation and search of the warehouse that they had evidence to place him behind the bars. And enough to show he was running it all and laundering money through his friend’s business. Along with her witness statement, it should mean he gets a custodial sentence.”

“Makes sense.” Travis nods to himself as Cindy takes his beer bottle and walks back down to the other end of the bar without making eye contact with me.

“What does?” I rest one hand on the bar and make a fist, watching my knuckles turn white as I squeeze.

“Why she hates being called Daisy now. Why she came back all jumpy and nervous. Acting like we were going to bite her head off when she knocked the drink over in the diner that first night.”

My jaw tenses as I listen.

“Be careful, man. That’s all I’m saying.” He places his hand on my shoulder. “She’s come here to get away.”

“And?” I huff, giving up on clenching my fist and going back to playing with my beer bottle instead.

“And she needs the Blake that’s her friend. Not the Blake who’s—”

“It’s not just sex, Trav!” I glare at him.

He stares back at me and gives me the look he’s perfected over the years I’ve known him. The one that says he’s not about to put up with my shit.

“I know what my past is like, okay.” I frown and rub a hand over my jaw as my eyes flick to Cindy at the other end of the bar and back again. “I’m not a total idiot. This isn’t like before. She’s different.”

“I know.” Travis looks me dead in the eye. “And if you’d let me finish, you’d know that wasn’t what I was going to say.”

I look back at him and roll my lips as I give him a small nod.

A silent apology.

He rubs a hand over his eyes.

“She needs the Blake that’s her friend.” He moves his hand away and his eyes meet mine again. “And not the Blake who’s madly in love with her.”


He watches me flail around like a fish on the hard, dry floor of a boat. Its mouth flapping open and closed as it tries to make sense of what’s happening to it. I shake my head and blow out a breath as I drop it into my hands.


“And there it is.” Travis pats me on the back. “Congratulations, man. You’ve finally grown up.”

“Fuck off.” I side-eye him underneath my hand and he smirks, drawing my own smirk to my lips as I lift my head back up. “You may be a know-it-all, but you still stick thermometers up animal’s asses when you go to work.”

“And you still go to work in order to make money to pay me to do it when Betsy needs a check-up.”

“Dick.” I chuckle.

“Jerk.” Travis grins.

We sit in silence for a minute until I clear my throat.

“This is why I like the forest. It’s much simpler.”

Travis sighs. “Someone’s finally tamed Mr. Wild’s heart.”

The sound of glass smashing causes us both to whip our heads to the other end of the bar.

Cindy lifts a hand. “My bad, guys. It slipped. But, hey, we’re closing now, anyway.”

I push off the bar stool, and Travis walks with me toward the door.

Cindy’s kneeling down, sweeping up the broken glass.

“Need a hand?” I ask, reaching toward another broom propped up against the wall.

“No thanks,” she answers me quickly without looking up.

Travis tilts his head to the door, and I prop the broom back against the wall.

Then we both head out into the night air.


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