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"Taken is raw, dark, and full of twists--perhaps the one most surprising is that just like Molly, you'll find yourself wondering if being taken is really so very bad? It kept me on the edge of my seat, where I'll stay until I discover the answer. I can't wait for book two!"Maggie Ryan
USA Today Bestselling Author
Lost on the streets of a foreign city, Molly Clary is attacked after a book signing. An unknown hero steps in to protect her, but her relief turns to terror when her savior's true intentions are revealed.
Connor Reilly doesn't just want to save her. He wants to take her for himself.
Now Molly's fighting, not just for her life, but for the essence of who she truly is. If she's going to survive in Connor's dark new world, she'll have to learn to play his games. But if Molly plays, what will it cost her? Can a monster ever really learn to love, or will his need to dominate destroy them both?
If you enjoyed the debauched desire of the Twist Me series, then you'll devour Felicity Brandon's edgy new trilogy.
Buy Taken to begin this hauntingly addictive set.
Taken is an edgy, fast-paced, dark romance and is the first book in The Dark Necessities trilogy. Molly and Connor's story continues in Tamed, and concludes in Entwined. Read how the darkness began in The Dark Necessities Prequels...
This book contains dark and twisted scenes. You have been warned...
Release date: November 28, 2018
Print pages: 368
Content advisory: Contains dark material—discretion advised!
* BingeBooks earns revenue from qualifying purchases as an Amazon Associate as well as from other retail partners.
“Do you have time for one more?”
The question came from a deep, masculine voice. It startled Molly, who was rummaging in a box under the desk. She glanced up wearily, braced for whoever had caused the interruption, but she hadn’t counted on what greeted her. The face which met her blinking expression was lean and handsome. It was adorned with the most striking green eyes she’d ever seen, and cheekbones that would make any model jealous.
“Oh, of course,” she mumbled, reaching for the pen lying on the desk between them. For some reason she couldn’t fathom, she felt flustered as she gazed up at the man towering over her.
He thrust the paperback toward her. “I’m sorry,” he replied, the tone of his voice vibrating through her. She’d been hearing British accents all day, but none of them resonated like this one. “I know you’re just packing away, but I had hoped that you’d sign this for me.”
She smiled, taking the book from him and scanning his choice. Amelie’s Abduction was one of her bestsellers, arguably the book which had made writing for a living a realistic option. “Sure,” she beamed at him. “Who should I make the book out to?”
The stranger paused, shifting his weight as those mesmerizing eyes drilled into her. “The name is Connor Reilly,” he told her. “And thank you.” He edged closer to the desk as she opened the first page of the book, smoothing the cover back. “I’m a little bit of a super fan, Miss Clary.” He smiled coyly. “I really appreciate you taking the time to do this.”
Her pen hesitated on the paper, and she raised her head to look at him as she answered. “It’s my pleasure,” she explained, trying not to let her tiredness show. “My fans are everything. I love meeting them.”
She sounded like a commercial on cable television, but her words made his lips break into a broader smile.
“That’s so good to know,” he replied, watching her as she scrawled her name across the page for what felt like the thousandth time today.
She’d been here since seven this morning, setting up her stand for the book signing. It wasn’t her first, but she was such an introvert that these events always made her nervous and uncomfortable. She’d be more than happy to get out of here, go back to the hotel and sink into a relaxing, hot bath.
“Here we are,” she said, closing the front cover, and running her hand over its glossy surface. She gave the image a cursory glance, recalling briefly the many hours she had spent deciding upon the amaryllis which adorned it.
Connor’s large hand appeared in her line of sight, his digits closing over the edge of the book. “Thank you, Miss Clary,” he replied. “I absolutely loved this book.”
Dropping the pen onto the desk, she rose from her seat to shake the hand Connor offered her. “I’m glad you did,” she answered him. “It’s one of my favorites, too.”
Their eyes locked for a moment, her gaze grazing over the look of the dark stubble on his strong jaw. He really was pleasing on the eye, and she was happy he’d taken the time to stop by her stand. She had the idea that the expression on his face might spark the genesis of her next story. He seemed so dark and brooding as he loomed over her.
“Well, it’s lovely to meet you.” His voice broke the silence between them, as he dropped her small palm. “Thanks again.”
She watched him saunter away from her stand, his ass looking unnecessarily provocative as he turned the corner and disappeared from her view. Sighing, she dropped back to her seat, turning her attention to the box once more. What she wouldn’t give for a night with an ass like that. It had been a long time since she’d last had a decent sexual encounter. Her current relationship wasn’t exactly blowing her off the page sexually, but the image of Mr. Reilly was one she thought would stay with her for quite some time. Why hadn’t she asked him out? Things weren’t really that serious with Steve, after all, but what would have been the point? She’d be leaving London for home in less than two days, they’d barely even have a chance to get to know each other.
Packing up her final few things, she paused to look around. Nearly all of her author friends had left, and foolishly, she’d already let her fabulous assistant, Hannah, go for the day. It was no use, she’d have to carry the box herself, and flinging her handbag over her shoulder, she picked it up with another long sigh. Her heels clicked on the hard floor as she struggled out of the conference center. It was three streets over to the place she’d left her rental car, and then quite a drive back to where she was staying. For the time being, the hot bath would have to wait.
She had no idea what time it was as she stalked up the street in the rain. Her dark hair, which she’d spent so much time perfecting this morning, clung to her face, and her heart sank. She was lost, or at least, she thought she was, but all the freaking streets in this city looked identical, and the wet summer evening wasn’t exactly helping to clarify her location.
Molly glanced around. She’d parked her rental car on a road which looked just like this, but now it was nowhere to be found. The British authors she’d chatted to earlier had explained how these were classic suburban British streets, but to Molly it was all just foreign, so different from the ones back home in Pennsylvania. The roads here ran between endless lines of gray terrace houses, and the path she walked was broken by ancient trees with heavy, wet branches. She stared harder at the rows of parked vehicles, but there was still no sign of the rental car. Evidently, this was not the same street that she’d left it on. Frustration coursed through her at her own stupidity. Only she could be foolish enough to lose her way after such a long and exhausting day…
“Lost, are we?”
The unexpected voice was alarming, and she spun on her heel to see three men smirking at her. The one who’d spoken took a step closer, his face distorting into a sneer as she eyed them all. They were young, probably late teens, but clearly, they were up to no good. Who hangs around on the street in this weather?
“No, I’m fine,” she retorted, throwing them a glare before she turned and trotted away, stumbling over the ridiculously uneven paving stones.
“Are you sure?” Another face flashed to her left, its youthful owner cutting her off as he leapt in front of her. “Is that an American accent? You look a little out of place here, love.”
She gulped at the look of him. He was taller than the first, and looked much stronger. “I am fine, thank you,” she answered him, clutching the wet cardboard to her chest.
The young man’s face drew into a sneer. “Yes, you are fine. A little older than my usual type perhaps, but still…” His dark gaze seemed to be devouring her as he eyed her up and down.
“You’ll certainly do,” said another voice from behind her.
She gasped, twisting to see the other two closing in around her.
Fuck, she thought, panic bursting in her brain and sending adrenaline whipping around her body. “Leave me alone!”
Her voice was louder than she’d intended it to be, and somehow it bolstered her. She’d taken basic self-defense classes a couple of years ago. If she could just keep her head, she knew she’d be able to get away from them.
“I don’t think so, love,” said the one in front of her. “You look like you need some help. Someone to look out for you.” He laughed as he took a step closer, reaching for her left breast, a wicked grin stretched across his face.
She yelped, jumping back to avoid his grasping hand, and dropped the box to the wet path below. “Fuck you!”
She was shouting as he closed the space between them. Molly glared up at his cocky expression, and did the one thing she’d been taught to do. She brought her right knee up as hard and as fast as she could, slamming it into his groin before he could even respond.
The look on his face was priceless as tears sprung to his eyes, and he doubled up in front of her, but the moment was short-lived. “Grab her,” he snarled to the others. “We’re going to teach this one a fucking lesson.”
Two strong pairs of hands grabbed at her shoulders before she could even think about bolting. She twisted and shouted, trying to shrug the aggressors away, but they easily overpowered her.
“Get your hands off me!” Molly screeched, scratching and clawing at her assailants.
“Shut the fuck up.”
The angry voice boomed at her from over her shoulder.
“Get her in the car,” ordered the one on his knees in front of her. “The bitch is making too much noise.”
At this point, things seemed to speed up around her. It’s as though someone had pressed fast-forward on her life, and she had no control over the proceedings whatsoever. The sound of her heart hammering in her chest seemed to overpower everything else, and she watched in shock, as a fourth man appeared from behind an old oak tree. This one was dressed entirely in black, his face covered in a dark ski mask as his long legs closed the distance to the man on his knees in seconds. He grabbed the youngster by his short dark hair, and pushed him forward, slamming his face into the concrete beside her feet.
Molly gasped, eyeing the blood which stained the wet paving stones.
“What the fuck?” The voice of one of the men behind her shot past her ear, and instinctively one of them let her go as he ran to protect his friend.
The new aggressor turned to him, moving with surprising agility. She wasn’t sure who threw the first punch, but soon, fists were flying everywhere, the low, wet thud of knuckles smacking skin echoing around her. She tried to make a break for it, but the remaining one had a tight grip on her, his arm shifting to her neck to keep her in place.
She strained against the limb as her airflow became restricted. “Please!” she gasped, trying to elbow him away. “I can’t breathe!”
“One more fucking word, and you won’t breathe again.”
Molly began to panic. “Just leave me al…”
She never finished her sentence. The sound of a heavy weight hitting the path distracted them both, and her eyes flew to the two other men. She found the one in black looming over her, the other in a heap on the ground.
“Do you wanna play, too?” He shouted the question in her direction, moving toward where she stood while she fought against the arm at her throat.
“Fuck you, man!” The cry of the man holding her in place raced past her right ear. “I’ve got a knife in my pocket. You don’t want to fuck with me.”
“Get away from her, you prick,” growled the aggressor in black. “Leave now with your little friends, and we’ll say no more about it.”
There was a moment of tension when nothing happened. Anxiety rushed through her body. Hadn’t he said he had a knife? She didn’t want to die. Not like this. Not in a wet, gray city like London! The rain, now a torrent, fell around them, as the one in black edged closer to her. Caught in the crook of the other man’s arm, she continued to struggle, clawing at his jacket.
“Last chance,” snarled the man in black. Beside him, the first guy moaned, trying to pull himself to his feet, but one swift kick to the head appeared to resolve that little problem.
Molly momentarily squeezed her eyes closed, a part of her sickened by the violence, while a larger part cheered for the man in black in her head.
“Hey, no way,” cried the man still holding her in place. “This bitch is mine – go and find your own!”
The fist was so fast that she barely saw it move, but she heard the moment it connected with the face to her right. In a heartbeat, the man fell, releasing her from his hold as he stumbled backwards. She gasped, thrown off balance, and began to fall in the same direction, until a long arm reached forward to grab her left wrist. Suspended there in the rain, Molly’s eyes took in the look of her rescuer. His face was covered, and he was so damn tall. The hand at her arm pulled her toward him, and she didn’t resist as her body lurched in his direction. She landed uncomfortably against his frame, his arm encircling her waist to keep her upright.
He gazed down at her like a black ghost, only his green eyes visible. Wordlessly, he shifted her around the side of his right hip, putting his body between her and the three assailants, sprawled awkwardly on the path.
“Any of you boys hungry for more?” he asked, his tone foreboding.
The three of them blinked up at him, their expressions ones of absolute shock.
“Take her, man,” cried the first one he’d taken down. Molly turned to glance at him, his face covered in blood where he’d bounced off the unforgiving concrete. His previously arrogant expression looked broken. “Just fucking take her!”
She was shaking as he led her away from the scene, her mind unraveling as he splashed through puddles. She had tried to be brave, but where had it gotten her? The three of them could have done anything to her, and they would have too – if this stranger hadn’t interrupted.
“Get in the car.” His voice sliced through her thoughts, and she blinked up at him.
“What?” Her reply sounded small, swallowed up in the noise of the torrential downpour.
“You’re in shock.” His voice was hard, but the words seemed to make sense. “Get in the car, out of the rain, and take a moment.”
He guided her down the street, his hand insistent at her lower back, until they came to a large black sedan at the end of the road. The rain was teeming at this point, the summer shower turning into something of a monsoon. As she glanced up at him, she could barely even make out his eyes in the endless gray water. The car opened with one click of the fob in his hand, and he held the door open for her. She took one last look around the dank London street before she climbed into the large back seat, joined moments later by her unknown rescuer.
The sound of the door slamming drew her attention back to him. “Thank you,” she murmured, clutching the handbag still slung over her right shoulder. There was a moment when she remembered the box she’d been carrying, but it didn’t seem to matter after everything she’d just witnessed. She shivered as the waves of shock rolled over her small frame, the freezing British rain adding to her misery.
His body was still, appraising her in silence, and she gulped at the way he seemed. It was all suddenly so malevolent. One moment he’d been the hero, and now? Now, who was he? This was stupid – she’d been stupid. She’d allowed his actions to cloud her judgment, and she’d climbed willingly into a stranger’s car.
What had she been thinking?
“Thanks for your help back there,” she said, forcing a feigned cheeriness into her voice. “I have to be going though, I…”
She never concluded that sentence. His right arm moved faster than she’d imagined possible, and one of his large fingers pressed against her open lips.
“Shhh.” It was an order, his deep British timbre vibrating through the air around her.
“What?” She blinked at him, her lips stretching around the digit at her face.
“I told you to be quiet.” His voice was stern, and something about the sound of it made her breath catch.
She had that sinking feeling in the pit of her stomach, a sense of dread which filled up the air around her like a stench. Her eyes scanned the darkness, looking for a door handle. There had to be a way out.
“I wouldn’t do that if I were you.” The sound of his voice made her body freeze, apart from her heart which was pounding out of control. “The doors are locked from the fob in my pocket.” He sounded amused at the revelation, and a flicker of indignation stirred in her, fighting for air amongst the expanse of fear. “Things are going to go a lot better for you if you behave, Molly.”
That drew her attention in an instant. Molly? How did this son of a bitch know her name?
“Who are you?” She sounded hoarse as she asked him; the fear rising into her throat was impossible to swallow back.
His lips curled beneath the black balaclava covering his face as he replied. “You don’t recognize me then?” He lowered his hand from her face, resting it lightly against his right knee.
Molly tensed. Even amongst the panic furling inside her, that seemed an odd response. “Do I know you?” she asked, tilting her head to try and look at the man. He was tall yes, and strong, but the problem was the inside of the car was black, and all of his clothes were black. It was damn near impossible to see him at all.
In one full swoop, the hand at his knee rose to his face, pulling the ski mask up and over his head. It took a few seconds for the face smiling back at her to register, and then – when the realization hit her – she was even more confused.
“It’s you!” she gasped. “From the signing? Connor wasn’t it?”
His handsome face beamed back at her. “She remembers me,” he mused. “I’m touched.”
Molly stared at him, trying to read his expression, now that she had the benefit of it. “So, what is this, Connor?”
She heard the tremble in her voice as she asked, and she flinched at it. She despised how vulnerable she felt, and she deeply resented that this stranger had the ability to make her feel this way.
He glowered at her, the intensity in his gaze making her restless. Connor Reilly was either the hottest guy she’d ever met, or he was the scariest. Worst still was the possibility that he might just be both.
“This, Molly,” he began, moving toward her a fraction. “Is the beginning of your new story.”
She gulped, blinking at him. She barely wanted to ask, and yet she had to know. “A new story?” she replied. “What do you mean? What do you want from me?”
Connor shifted slightly in his seat, his gaze never leaving her. “Just relax,” he soothed. “I only want you to do what you already love.”
Molly swallowed. “What do you know about that?” The words flew from her mouth as little more than a hiss, her tone scathing.
Connor’s eyes narrowed. “Watch your tone, young lady,” he warned her. “I won’t have any disrespect.”
Molly balked at that. “What?” she cried. “Who the fuck do you think you are? I mean, I’m grateful that you saved me from those thugs back there, and all, but you can’t keep me in here, and you can’t tell me what to do.”
He moved like a serpent, his actions so quick that Molly barely had time to catch her breath. Connor slid wordlessly against the black leather, catching her body and pinning her back against the side of the car. She gasped, raising her hands to push back against him, but he caught her wrists with ease, holding her in place as he leaned in toward her face.
“Ouch!” she wailed, trying to wriggle free of his insistent grip on her wrists. “You’re hurting me. Please, let me go.”
Her body trembled as he pressed himself against her wet clothes. “Let’s get a few things straight, Molly,” he growled. “I am in charge here – not you. I warned you just then not to be disrespectful, and then immediately, you run your mouth to me… Not very smart, I’d say.”
He was so close to her now that she could feel the warmth of his breath against her face. The most peculiar aroma of spearmint washed over her. Molly gulped at him, literally terrified.
“Okay, I’m s-sorry,” she stammered.
His eyes flickered over her petrified face. “You will be, Molly. You absolutely will be.”
“Please,” she whimpered. “Don’t hurt me.”
Connor’s lips smirked at her. “This is how things are going to go.” His voice was calm, although there was an edge of excitement in his tone, as though he’d been planning this moment out in his head for a long time. “I am going to take you, Molly. The only question is, how you want to be taken.”
Her throat tightened at his words, and all of a sudden, it was a real effort to push the air in and out of her body. “T-take me?” she repeated, her body still pinned awkwardly to the side of the car. “Where are you going to take me?”
Connor’s gaze scanned over her again. “It doesn’t matter where I am taking you,” he replied. “All you need to worry about is how this is going to go. Are you going to behave, or are you going to resist?”
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