A determined woman…
One last tiny sliver of hope…
Jack will find me.
The Fed wants answers. And Caroline is determined not to provide them. They pull out all the stops, testing her sanity, testing her strength, testing her humanity.
Jack will find me.
Subject to cruel and merciless treatment at the hands of a government she once trusted, Caroline clings to her sole lifeline, her only chance at maintaining her tenuous hold on reality: her memories of her husband, Jack, her children, Marguerite and Sophie, and the friends who mean the world to her.
Jack will find me.
But what happens when hope starts to fade? How long until her interrogators cross over into the unspeakable sadism she fears? How long before she finally breaks apart?
Part Two of a Six Part Saga. Conscience (approximately 120,000 words) is not a standalone and must be read after the first book, Dissident (currently free for Kindle). All books in the series end in a cliffhanger. For readers 18+. This book contains adult situations including graphic violence, explicit (consensual) sex and light BDSM, psychological and physical trauma, and an oftentimes raw, dark, and gritty plot.
Jack knelt down to kiss her again, and did it for long enough that she strongly considered yanking on his tie and pulling him into the water with her. Which may have happened before.
“Don’t even think about it,” he murmured against her lips.
Caroline pulled away from him and sighed dramatically. “Honestly, you drag a fully clothed man into a pool with you once and he never lets you forget it.”
“You wrecked a five thousand dollar suit.”
“Your five thousand dollar suits are a dime a dozen.”
“That sounds a lot like math. I thought lawyers didn’t do math.”
She laughed. “I do. Only when necessary, though.”
He crouched down to kiss her again. “This suit is probably destroyed anyway but I have no desire to be a sopping wet mess, if you catch my drift.”
She made a pouty face. “You’re no fun.”
Instead of laughing at her expression as he usually did, Jack gave her an intense look. “You know, this pool is awfully deserted. Might not be the safest place for a vulnerable woman to be alone. Any perverted old man is liable to come in here and have his way with you.”
Caroline tipped her head back into the water and smoothed her hair out. He wanted to play. She could play. They hadn’t seen each other in several days. Nothing like getting back on the horse. “I should be so lucky.”
He raised an eyebrow. “Oh, really?”
“Be careful what you wish for.”
“I’ll take my chances,” she said, lazily gliding back into the water. She floated toward the middle of the pool, enjoying the silence, grinning when she heard a small splash. It only took a moment before the water churned and Jack’s arm was around her waist. She lifted herself up and he pulled her toward him.
“Well, well,” he said. “Look what we have here.”
“May I help you?”
“Just here to swim some laps.”
Caroline felt him press against her hip. “In the nude?”
“Does that bother you?”
“Most people wear a suit to swim.”
“Not me. And I lied. I’m not here to swim.”
Her heart skipped a beat. “Why are you here?”
“For you,” Jack said quietly. “I’ve been watching you.”
He ran his thumb along her jawline. “A woman like you really shouldn’t be left unattended. You’ve been in this pool all alone for hours.”
“It hasn’t been that long.”
“It seems that long.”
Jack gave a very convincing performance. If she didn’t know any better, she’d think a stalker had just waltzed into the pool. Caroline tried to keep her voice from shaking. “How did you get in here?”
He smiled, enjoying the game. “I sneaked in through the back. You have lovely form.”
“I – what are you going to do to me?”
“Whatever you want.”
“What if I want you to leave?”
“I know you don’t want that.” Jack let his fingers drift down her neck. “I know exactly what you want. What you need.”
“I’m a married woman,” she said.
He tugged at her earlobe with his teeth. “What your husband doesn’t know won’t hurt him.”
“No.” He kissed her deeply, long enough that she was tempted to dip her hands under the water and tease his cock. Before she had the chance he pulled away, leaving her wanting more. “It’s completely right.” He traced an outline around her lips with one hand, tugging at the shoulders of her racing tank with the other. “Do you really need to be wearing this suit?” he asked.
“It’s usually required when swimming, despite your opinion.”
He nipped at her neck. “Not when no one else is around.”
Caroline moaned softly. “You need to be careful. My husband will be home soon.”
Jack chuckled. “How soon?”
She gasped as he started to slip his hand under the bottom of her swimsuit, gliding his finger along her most sensitive areas. “Very soon, I’d imagine.”
He leaned in to kiss her but pulled back at the last moment, chuckling at her little groan of frustration. “Then we’d better hurry.”
“He’ll kill us if he catches us,” she said. “He’s a very jealous man.”
“Tell me more.” He moved his hands back up to her collarbone, pulling the straps of her suit up and running them between his fingers.
“He’s possessive. Very possessive. He could probably tear you apart with his bare hands.” Caroline cried out in surprise as Jack yanked her swimsuit off her shoulders.
“What about you?” he asked quietly. “What would he do to you if he caught you with another man?”
She shivered as he continued to pull her swimsuit down her torso, brushing his fingers against her breasts. “I don’t know. Probably remind me whose property I am.”
Jack laughed. “Property?”
Caroline grinned back at him. Sometimes she had a hard time staying in character. “Come on, Monty. I’m trying really hard here. Go with it.”
He kissed the top of her breasts and continued to pull her suit down. “I’m remembering that one. Wife as property. Hmm.”
“Be quiet. See if I role play with you anymore.”
He laughed again. Her suit had sunk to the bottom of the pool. “A little help?” he asked.
She lifted up one of her legs, the suit dangling from it. Jack tossed it toward the edge of the pool and slid a finger inside her. She tilted her head slightly and he wrapped his arm around her waist, smiling as she moaned again. He slid another finger inside her, teasing her clit with his thumb.
Caroline clenched her teeth. “Holy-”
“Are you distracted by something?”
She bit his shoulder. “No,” she whispered.
“Good.” Jack resumed teasing her clit. “Your husband doesn’t know what he’s missing.”
She bit him again, harder this time. “I think he does.”
He stopped what he was doing. “Is he a pervert like me?”
“Much worse than you. He even had a fully equipped bedroom put in near the pool and weight rooms, with sex toys and everything.”
“Why’d he do that?”
“He likes me to take advantage of him after we’re done exercising in the morning.”
Jack closed his eyes. “I bet he enjoys that.”
Caroline ran her tongue up and down his neck, tasting pool water and salt. “As far as I can tell. Never had any complaints.”
He pulled her chin up so that she was looking at him. “We might be able to have more fun in there.”
That room always seemed to bring out the best in them. “Reverse cowgirl?”
His eyes widened and he started to drag her toward the ladder.
“Although I’ve never done it in a pool before,” she said.
He stopped short. “You haven’t?”
“My husband hasn’t tried to seduce me in here yet.”
Jack pulled her back into the water. “Reverse cowgirl can wait,” he said. Caroline inched her hands toward his cock. He stopped her, bringing them back up to his chest. “But so can this. Take it slow, baby. We have all night to enjoy each other.”
She wrapped her legs around his hips, leaning into his neck again. “I love you,” she whispered.
He pulled her closer. “Is the game over?”
“No,” she said. “I just needed a hug.”
“From your husband or from your secret poolside lover?”
Caroline pressed her lips to his, toying with his wet hair. “Definitely my husband.”
He swept his knuckles across her cheek. “Thank you for today. I really mean that.”
“It was nothing.”
“It was everything.” Jack planted a gentle kiss near her lips. “You’ve given so much of yourself to me and to this campaign, and you put yourself out there today for more than just objective policy reasons. You took a huge political risk to defend me. And I love you for it.”
She pressed her forehead to his. “You’re welcome. I’ll do whatever I can to help you win.”
“I hope all three C-SPAN viewers watching today could tell how much you loved me. I sure as hell noticed.”
“As long as you know, I don’t care.” Caroline wrapped her arms and legs around him again, smiling as Jack twirled her around in the water.
He paused for a moment, nipping at her earlobe again. “This will pass, sweetheart,” he whispered. “We’ll get through this campaign and it’ll get better.”
“It’s not that bad.”
“It’s not good, either. I hate what all of this has been doing to you.”
She had failed to mask her stress. Maybe she needed to try harder. “Being with you makes up for a lot of it.”
He started twirling her around again, slower this time. “You make all of this worthwhile.”
She leaned in for a long embrace. “This hugging in the pool thing is pretty nice.”
Jack disentangled himself from her thighs and pressed against her hip so she could feel his erection. “Enjoy it while you can,” he said, winking at her. “Because in a few seconds, you’re getting much more than a hug.”
Cecilia London is my pen name. I am a native Midwesterner who never thought I’d end up in Texas and yet here I am, determined to help Keep San Antonio Lame. I have been known to dabble in the practice of law. I can apply Simpsons quotes to everyday life, and I live for baseball season. I’ve been writing off and on since I was a kid, but never really thought I’d have any idea that could turn into a single novel, let alone a series. There aren’t many books about how dystopias/totalitarian political regimes come into existence, and I wanted to touch upon that topic while still maintaining a primary focus on the epic romance. The Bellator Saga is my first published work.