A classic, edgy sexual blackmail story from Zoe Thorn. At thirty-three Jilly St James is a ‘killer’ banker and her career is on the up and up. She is arrogant, successful and an A-list asset to her employers. But one night she takes a phone call from a mysterious stranger who has been watching her. A man who seems to know her better even than she knows herself, a man who can see behind her carefully-maintained façade, a man who gradually strips her nature bare, showing Jilly exactly who she is, exactly WHAT she is…and all she is good for…
And so begins descent into her own personal world of submission, humiliation and repressed desire.
But one night as she is forced to display herself openly for just anyone to see…another set of eyes are watching…
…a set of eyes which will change the nature of everything…
She glances at the clock, it is almost midnight. She is ready. Ready for what she wonders? She doesn’t know. She never knows. Well, not until midnight. Not until he phones. She has three minutes.
She can feel her breathing tremble.
Her face stares back at her from the mirror. A little bit more of the lip-gloss she thinks. She knows he likes it heavy. So does she. Somehow it puts a barrier between the women she has to be tonight, and her everyday self, the one she can handle. The one she tries to cling onto. The one he is slowly grinding away.
She gives her full lips one last coat. Her make-up is complete. She is that woman. The woman she has to be to please him; to please them. And she is aware that no matter what she has to please. He will not accept anything less. Somehow he owns her now, owns her secrets, and owns all of her most secret selves.
She moves from the bedroom into the living area.
As always all the lights are all off but the window blinds are fully open. One whole wall is open to the blocks opposite. Mostly those windows are in darkness, a few squares of light are scattered here and there. She has long ceased to wonder which one he watches from. She only knows that she can be seen.
She sits and she waits. She is naked, not even jewellery, nothing; like the day she was born. She is the blank canvas awaiting the artist. She lights a cigarette, the lighter flame flaring in the darkness. She draws the smoke deep into her lungs. She knows he is watching. He always is. She holds the orange tip before her, the smoke billowing slowly from her nostrils.
And she waits and she wonders. She hopes and she hates; her heart rattles and flutters; she feels dread and also desperation. She feels a skin-crawling loathing, needing to flee. But she is tied; tied by want, tied by need.
Awaiting the call.
Fear has become her natural habitat; it is in the very air she breathes. What lies before her is the unknown. The unknown she is forced into night after night after night. This is her life now. She is property, his property. Their property.
Nothing more. Just the blank canvas, the mound of unformed clay.
The very first call was exactly a week earlier. A week ago in another life. She was still Jilly St James then. Still in control. Neither of them had entered her life yet.
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