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Secret Passion Updated

Hi everyone!
First of all, loved reading all the amazing comments on Fateful Love. Whether you were in a lecture, daydreaming or just thinking about this story, your feedback really made my day. Thanks for that!

Secret Passion readers, here's the next installment EPISODE 43: Hell is Here. Please mind all the warnings, this is dark stuff, but that's what this story has been heading to right from the start. I wish it was more fluff, but there's always Baby Hold On/Mind Games for that ;)
With this update, Secret Passion crosses 800 pages on Microsoft Word.
To put that into perspective, that's like three normal sized novels :O
And it's still going lol

Also, I'm happy to say that I'll be posting a release date for Heartless as well as more about the novellas for those interested this weekend--if life hopefully cooperates. *fingers crossed*

Happy Friday to each one of you!

**N**No copying, distributing, or distortion of any material allowed. Please notify if you notice this work posted anywhere else**
DDisclaimer: the characters of Arnav and Khushi etc are trademarks of Star Plus India. No copyright infringement intended. The fanfictions posted on this site are solely for fan enjoyment.

Secret Passion Episode 44: Devil's Lair Revisited

Horatio hummed under his breath as he pushed open the oak doors, not bothering to knock. His long-time attorney looked up from the file he was reading, his beady eyes glinting as he spotted him.
"My dear friend," he said, rising to shake his hand. "It's been so long."
"That it has."
His friend waved him over to the leather sofas. "Usually I have to deal with your minions."
"The matter was too important for me to send anyone else. I trust no one but myself to see this through."
The lawyer arched a brow. "I'm intrigued, old friend. What is so urgent?"
"A divorce."
His friend choked. "I had no idea you had married."
"I would never marry," Horatio said with finality, his hands clenching at his sides.
"Never met anyone interesting enough? I don't blame you. I regret my marriage every damn day."
Oh, but he had met someone. Long ago.
The most interesting, captivating creature. A woman who had set his heart afire from the moment he'd glimpsed her quiet beauty, leaving him thunderstruck. She had shaken his world. Uprooted his mind.
The calendar might say it had been over three decades since that night, but sometimes, it felt as if it was only yesterday that he'd stood before Samaira, his heart in his throat, his blasted best friend at his side.
"There was a girl once..." The confession slipped from his tongue.
His friend's eyes shone. "Did you make the mistake of loving her?"
Loving her, his muse, his everything, had never been a mistake. But his slimy friend would never understand that, thought Horatio uncharitably.
"Ahh, I can tell from your expression that you did. How did it end? Not well, I guess... Did she marry some other bastard?"
She had. She had married the biggest bastard of them all. She'd given him two kids, her love, her body... Everything had belonged to Arav. DAMN HIM!
"She died." His voice was so quiet, it hid the festering rage he felt within. He forced himself to smile. "Let's get to the matter at hand. I need these divorce papers drawn up as soon as possible."
"And who are the lucky soon-to-be divorcees?"
His eye twitched. "My godson, Arnav Singh Raizada, and his witch of a wife, Khushi."
"I've seen some of the media coverage on them. Can't say I'm surprised they're calling it quits after that sex tape was released."
"His wife didn't even try to understand him. She has too few brain cells to realize he was a boy back then, completely immature and over his head. Whoever recorded him in those tapes took advantage."
"The side effects of being rich and successful... I'll have the documents prepared right away, but your godson will have to be present once that happens."
"He'll be here to sign everything in person in ten days," Horatio declared. "Have everything ready by then."
Ten days.
In ten days, it would all end.

"Ten days?" Arnav raked a hand through his hair, patting Angeli's back as she nestled into his chest. "It's going to be impossible to have everything set by then."
NK's mouth was thin. "Everything I've been able to find out, confirms it, Naanav. The Devil's Lair will have some kind of gathering in ten days. They have it every month apparently and the top Masters always attend. If there is a Master H, he'll be there."
Aman bit back a curse. "That's not enough time. We should call it off. I don't think it's right anyway for Lia to--"
"I can speak for myself, Aman," came her voice from the doorway.
He gave her a hard look and then turned his head aside. She tried not to let it show how much it bothered her. The slight soreness between her legs though wouldn't allow her to forget it.
"Aman has a point though, Lia," said Khushi, glancing down at Ahaan in her lap. "Please think about it again. There's no need for you to put yourself in danger like this."
"I know that! I promise you all that if it gets to be too much, I'll get out. I won't go through anything I find too crazy. Please, trust me."
"We do," said Arnav. "We all trust you, but we are all worried for good reason. The Devil's Lair is exactly that. It's a hellhole."
"I can do it. I know I can."
Khushi studied the determination shining her eyes and slowly nodded. "We know that too. But please know that you even considering taking this step for our children's sake is more than enough. I don't know how to thank--"
Lia squeezed her free hand. "Please, don't. We're friends, aren't we?"
Khushi smiled. "Of course, we are."
NK's head swiveled between them and then to the clock. "If you are going through with this madness, you need to leave. The induction for new trainees begins soon."
"Any idea what might be awaiting us there?" Aman asked, his eyes narrowed on the other man. "Your sources mention anything?"
"Not a word. They were all tight-lipped about the whole thing. But there's something about that event in ten days... it's very important."
She glanced at Aman and quickly looked away. "We'll be there."
The man she'd slept with looked angrier than ever at her words.

From the upstairs window, Khushi watched the SUV lurch forward and disappear from the main gate. Her hold on Angeli tightened and she brought the baby closer to her chest, nuzzling her downy-soft hair.
Her eyes stung with tears as she thought of Lia. What would she face in that hell? She was on her way to confront the devil himself and Khushi hated that she could not do more to help her.
"Aman is with her," came her husband's voice from the doorway. "He won't let anything happen to her."
She turned to find him standing there, Ahaan in his arms. "What if they separate them? What if her old employer recognizes her?"
"I doubt the owner of that mansion would remember her. People like that often overlook those working for them. They think they control everything."
"I hope you're right."
"I am. And I am right too about Aman. He'll take care of her."
"I know he will," agreed Khushi. "He's a really great guy."
"And he has feelings for her."
"What?" Khushi glanced up, surprised. Her hand swept over Angeli's back as she rocked her in her arms. "Aman and Lia?"
Arnav gave her a small smile, mirroring her pose with Ahaan. "God, you are so oblivious when it comes to love. It took you forever to realize you were in love with me so maybe I shouldn't be so surprised."
Her face warmed. "I did not take forever." To her, it felt like she'd always been crazily in love with him.
"Sure, baby. You first pretended to hate my guts and then when you decided you could stand me a little bit, you fought yourself every day. Every time I had you in my arms."
"You overwhelmed me!" she retorted in explanation. "I'd never felt that way before and it confused me so much."
"Confused you to the point that you almost got engaged to that fucking Karan---while being married to me."
"I did not! Take that back, Arnav Singh Raizada. That was all my aunt's idea and it never came to fruition. I put a stop to it."
"I know you did." He leaned over and grazed her forehead with his lips. "I was kidding."
"Well, it's not funny. And what do you mean that I was married to you then? If I recall, you were convinced then that the sindoor meant nothing. That you would never marry--me or any woman on this planet. We almost separated because of your stubbornness!"
He smiled at her, not a bit fazed by her temper. He appeared more amused than anything, and so handsome that Khushi felt her heart pound all over again. "Thank you for the reminder of my stupidity, wifey. Anyway, I have something to ask you. Well, both of you."
He nodded very seriously. "Me and Ahaan here were wondering if you girls would like to join us on a picnic outside."
Khushi looked out the window again. It was a beautiful, sunny day, but the warmth didn't seem to seep into her skin. "I... I don't think I can. Not with Lia--"
Her husband took hold of her hand and Khushi jolted at the slight touch. It had been a week since he'd touched her. A week since they'd slept in separate rooms. She ached for him. So much...
"Baby, Lia wouldn't want you to stand here for hours, pale and worried. There's nothing more we can do. Please, let's take the kids out back. It'll get all of our minds off of things."
She slowly nodded. "Fine..."
Arnav grinned down at his wide-eyed son. "See, your mom agrees eventually, but you have to work at it. Really work at it."
"And Angeli," said Khushi, kissing the baby's soft cheek. "Your dad talks too much sometimes, but we still love him, don't we?"
His warm brown eyes shone at her, drifting to her parted lips. "Talks too much? I can think of a way you could shut me up, wifey."
She laughed in spite of herself and the family of four exited the bedroom, hand in hand.

Lia felt her stomach drop as the car came to a stop. Aman's hands flexed on the steering wheel as he turned to survey her pale face.
"It's not too late. Stop this now, Lia."
"You can't change my mind." No one and nothing could.
He swore. "Fine then. It's a five minute walk from here to the Devil's Lair. To keep suspicions low, it's best if you take a taxi or wa--"
"I'll walk, thank you."
She started to leave, but he grabbed her hand, the innocent touch branding her skin. Memories of the night before, of silken flesh and tumbled sheets, flashed in her head. It took everything in her to pull away, to move out his reach when all she ached to do was dive into his arms and never let go.
Not that he could ever know that.
"Take this," he told her.
The mask he handed her was icy blue, lacy and delicate. It would cover the top half of her face.
"I'll be wearing this one." He held up a black mask that would leave only his mouth and chin exposed. "Remember, once you enter DL, you do not know me and I don't know you. If things get out of hand, use your signal and--"
"--itch the bridge of my nose three times. We've been over this enough, Aman. I've got it. It'll be fine. But please, don't rush forward to rescue me. Once inside, you cannot show any reactions."
His eyes bored into hers. "Neither can you."
She held out her hand. "Wish me luck?"
He growled an oath and shoved his hand into her hair, pressing his mouth to hers firmly. It was over all too fast.
"Good luck, Lia. I'm with you. Remember that."
Swallowing, she pushed open the door and stepped into the sunshine.

Her footsteps slowed as she approached the building that would change everything. The doorway to hell.
But if Angeli and Ahaan's well-being was threatened by a monster that lived and breathed in this darkness... well, she would find him. Find him and destroy him.
He'd be sorry he ever messed with the Raizadas, that he ever overlooked a girl named Lia Stumpost.
Chin set, she tied the mask into place and walked into DL as if she owned it. A masked man stood just inside the main gate. He took her offered card and with a thorough sweep of her body, gestured her inside.
"Ballroom two is for newbies."
Lia wasn't sure what she'd been expecting, but this, whatever it was, fit. It was dark like a vampire's crypt inside and almost too clean. The sterilized scent in the air reminded her of the mansion she'd worked at, the cold, too perfect veneers here extending to every masked face she glimpsed. She kept an eye out for a black mask, but didn't see one.
Ballroom two was already quite full, men and women gathered before a slightly raised podium. It was silent, no one moving, no one seeming to even breathe.
And then a woman stepped out of the shadows and onto the stage. She was beautiful, the gold mask accentuating her skin--all her naked skin.
If the fact that she stood undressed before them all rattled her, she didn't let it show, looking confident as she smacked a thin leather whip to her palm.
"Welcome, inductees. I am Mrs. X. Only a select few get to enter our club every month so congratulations on making it even this far. But please do not assume you will remain long. Out of the thirty of you, only three will advance to induction and only one will attain this..."
A collective gasp sounded as a ruby red mask was revealed behind a curtain--the very same Payal Raizada had once worn with great glee.
"The one chosen to wear this will be the luckiest of you all. For her or him, there awaits a night unlike any other... a world from which there is no return... one you can't even imagine..."
Lia looked out of the corner of her eye for a black mask. Where was he? Aman had said he would present himself as a millionaire, more interested in watching than participating. They were hoping his bank balance would be enough to keep speculation low and allow him to come and go undetected.
But what if that hadn't worked out? Had he been discovered?
"We begin," said the naked woman, "With perfecting you. Each of you will find a submissive waiting to prepare you. Follow them where they lead. I will see you soon."
There was silence as they were led away, one by one. Two young women caught hold of Lia's arms.
She tried to give them a friendly smile. "Where are we going?"
The one to her right frowned. "No questions. Head down."
Lia was quick to obey, her neck starting to hurt as they led her down a long corridor and then into a lavish suite.
She tried not to fidget as she slipped out of her clothes. The women pulled her to a long table and began waxing her--every inch of her body.
Her teeth clamped down on her bottom lip and she fought not to cry out. When the torture was finally over, one began painting her nails while the other brought out a pair of gleaming scissors. The sight of them made Lia freeze.
But the woman only fingered her hair. "How short?"
"What will be best?"
"It depends... do you want to stand out or not?"
"I'm not sure... I'd be so very grateful for your knowledge and expertise. What would be best to attain the red mask?"
They laughed. "The red mask? We have been submissives for over three year and yet to receive that honor. You believe you can earn it?"
Lia kept her face impassive. "I have a chance to win that mask. If you would help me, I would be sure to recommend you both for the following month." She could tell how much her words affected them by how they grew still, their voices lowering in unison.
"You would do that?"
"Yes, of course."
They exchanged a glance, nodding to one another before turning to her. "Then our advice is to do nothing."
"The masters expect new inductees to do something drastic with their looks. They will be intrigued by you if you decide to remain as you are."
"Okay, thank you... By the way, you wouldn't know if Master H favors that type of look as well, would you?"
"Master H? You know of him?"
Lia felt her mouth go dry. So there was a Master H? "No, but I have heard great things."
"As have we," the girl answered in plural. "We have never encountered him yet sadly, but who knows, maybe through you, we will." They surveyed her body. "We have a feeling you will please the masters, Missus--"
"M-mrs. M."
Lia could have kicked herself the second the name popped out of her mouth. She should have known to pick a name ahead of time. And now she'd gone and picked--
"This way, Mrs. M."
Dutifully, she followed them out, glancing at the pile of clothes behind her longingly.

Aman Mehra was so on edge, he felt he might explode. Someone made the mistake of stumbling into him in the cover of darkness and he almost knocked them out. His hands fisted and unfisted at his sides.
Where the hell was she?
He was gathered in ballroom one with all the regulars. His cover of a rich millionaire from South Africa had given him the perfect excuse to go about undetected. No one much cared as long as he paid for top membership.
"Where are the fucking newbies?" complained the man who'd bumped into him.
"I heard there's a lot of them," said a woman behind him. "Wonder how they'll whittle them down this month."
"I could take each and judge them on how well they suck me off," offered another to loud laughs.
Aman almost--almost--turned and slammed the laughing man into the nearest wall. He wouldn't allow him or anyone else near Lia. He'd--
He forced himself to cool the hell down. He would blow their covers within seconds if he kept this up. He had to calm down. Immediately.
But it was not that easy. After the night they'd shared, he felt fiercely protective of Lia. She might well walk around as if nothing could ever harm her, but he'd seen her at her most vulnerable. That woman didn't deserve this hell. He should kidnap her. He should snatch her up and run out the nearest exit and--
"Ladies and gentlemen," announced some woman in a gold mask, "Join me in welcoming this month's recruits. In just ten days, one of these lucky inductees will gain the honor of the red mask."
What red mask?
He didn't have a chance to make sense of the words though. Because just then, around thirty small poles began ascending from the floor. People laughed and jumped away as they glimpsed the inductees, their hands bound above their heads, anchored to the strip pole, their naked flesh on display.
He saw her almost immediately and felt his breath catch. Unlike the others with overly flamboyant hairstyles and makeup, Lia had left her hair alone. He was grateful she hadn't cut it, mostly because it hid most of her delectable breasts from the crowd around them.
But even that wasn't enough to make her go unnoticed. With her makeup minimally done and her beautiful bare body, devoid of any hair, tied to the pole as if in offering, Lia took his breath away. She was getting a lot of attention from the crowd as well.
He hated it.
"Our first elimination begins now," said the woman in the gold mask. "I ask you all to stand before the inductee you'd like as yours. The top fifteen will continue forward. Everyone else, best of luck next time."
Aman made his way toward Lia, but he decided to stand before the woman next to her to keep from looking suspicious.
It wasn't like Lia needed his vote. She was easily in the top five by his estimate.
As he watched, the losers were untied and escorted out.
"Congratulations to those who survived the voting. Now, for something harder." The crowd laughed and clapped, masked faces glazed over with excitement.
"In my hands is a pouch." Mrs. X held up a small velvet bag. "Each inductee will withdraw one slip of paper from inside--while remaining tied as you are. The paper will either say pain, pleasure or piercing. If it's pleasure, Master B has graciously volunteered to give you his mouth between your legs for a duration of five minutes. If it's pain, Mistress S will wear this strap on and take you hard for ten minutes. If it's piercing... well, that's self-explanatory, but the site of the piercing will be decided by me. Let's get started."
Aman felt his stomach roll and he fought not to charge up to Lia and drag her out, then and there.

OhmyGod. OhmyGod.
The words ran through her mind as the options were read out loud. Lia shook as Mrs. X stood before the first tied up inductee. He picked out a slip of paper from the pouch with his mouth and Mrs. X snatched it away, her voice rising with fervor.
"And it's my favorite, PAIN!"
The crowd clapped and Mistress S stepped forward. Lia saw but a second of it before she had to look away, feeling queasy. The inductee was whimpering pitifully, his hands white-knuckled on the pole.
Her eyes met and caught Aman's. He raised a hand to his nose. She understood the signal, but shook her head.
She wouldn't quit. Not so fast.
She could do it if she was lucky enough to pick piercing. She wasn't afraid of that.
Or so she thought.
But when the girl before her got a piercing in her left eyeball, Lia realized that hell was indeed here. In this darkness, where another's pain held no meaning. Where the crowd laughed and drank champagne in the face of such horror.
She began to turn to Aman, set on leaving, but Mrs. X stopped before her then, holding the pouch out.
She had no choice.
Bending her head, she caught a slip of paper with her teeth. The other woman plucked it away. "PIERCING AGAIN! How boring, but we will keep it interesting, I promise you."
Her contacts traced over Lia's naked body, gleaming with speculation. Lia held onto the pole as she awaited her fate, feeling as if she would vomit any second.

The Raizadas returned inside the house with their bellies full and the children yawning heavily.
"Aww," cooed NK, smiling down at them. "They're so sleepy."
"You share something in common with them then," Arnav muttered. "I saw you yawning too."
"You catch everything, Naanav!"
"Any news from Aman or Lia?" asked Khushi.
"Not yet, I'll go and check again."
Arnav swept his palm down Angeli's back, rocking her to him. "Call us the second you hear anything.
They went upstairs to the nursery with his promise, setting the twins down for their afternoon nap. Khushi could have happily remained there, staring at the two small faces that meant the world to her, but her husband had other ideas. He caught hold of her hand again, guiding her out.
"What is it?"
His jaw hardened. "It's us. How long is this going to go on for? How long will you keep punishing me?"
She glanced away. "It's not a punishment."
"Really?" he scoffed. "It's been over a week since we shared a bed."
"A week is hardly anything! I just need some time to--"
"I've given you enough time!" His voice rose, his hands clasping her shoulders. "I miss you, dammit! I miss seeing your face when I wake up every morning. I miss having you in my arms as I sleep. I miss being inside you."
Khushi's eyes fluttered close and her body clenched, needing him too. "I... just need some time. Please."
"Am I allowed to kiss you?"
Her head snapped up to his, their eyes locking. Slowly, she nodded. He cursed under his breath and then pushed her into the wall behind her. His hands cupped her face and then his mouth was on hers.
Khushi shivered as her husband's tongue boldly stroked hers, pistoning in her mouth like the act itself.
He called this kissing? It felt like he was consuming her. Branding her. Her eyes flew open as she felt his mouth close over breast, wet and hot.
"This counts as kissing still," he said, drawing his tongue across her nipple.
She shuddered and didn't have the strength to refuse him. He picked her up then, his mouth capturing hers as he led her away. The next second, Khushi felt the mattress beneath her, his body covering hers.
This was dangerous, she knew. She didn't have the strength to resist him. She never had.
He drew off of her, even though she had not meant for him to.
"What?" he said irritably, his mouth reddened. "You want me to stop? It doesn't feel like you do."
She took a deep breath, watching as his eyes slid lower. "We should go slow..."
"Slow? It's been a whole week, Khushi!"
"Stop saying that like it's been an eternity!"
"It feels like it has! How long will this go on, baby? Just tell me. Please."
"I... I don't know," she replied truthfully.
He shook his head, rising to his feet. His body was rigid with tension. And then his eyes returned to her, narrowed and speculative.
"Will you go out with me?"
It was the last thing she'd expected him to say. She'd been prepared for him to shout some more, not stare at her so. "What?"
"I'm asking you out. It's what I should have done when I first met you. What we never did. I am allowed to date my wife, aren't I?"
She slowly nodded and his face brightened as he grinned at her. He leaned down and kissed her forehead.
"Tomorrow night, 7 PM. Meet me at the front of the house."
"What are you planning?" she asked him as he began walking away.
"You'll see soon enough..." He turned at the door to study her. "And baby?"
"Wear something sexy."
"S-sexy?" The word came out all breathless. "You know I'm still wearing mostly my maternity clothes. I don't own anything sexy."
"AR Designs is just a call away," he reminded. "And Khushi... it doesn't matter what you wear, you are hands down the sexiest woman I've ever seen."
She didn't say anything, but her expression must have given away her doubts.
"You are, love. Now, excuse me, I need to take another cold shower."
Her eyes trailed after him and it took everything in her not to run after him and insist he shower with her.
Why was she punishing them both? Why couldn't she move on from the tapes?
But it wasn't so easy... every time she closed her eyes, all she saw were those hideous images. Too many hands and mouths and her husband, in the midst of it all.
She needed time to forget. A week wasn't asking for much in the grand scheme of things. And besides, now she had their date to look forward to.
Suddenly, there was the sound of running footsteps. The door slammed open and Arnav stood before her, his face no longer smiling, but drawn and tense.
"Aman and Lia have returned."

Lia clutched the front of Aman's shirt as he lifted her out of the passenger seat. She clung to him, burying her face against him, hiding from the others. She didn't have the strength to face them. To answer their questions.
She loved her friends, but right now, she just wanted to sleep. And cry.
"Is she okay?" came Khushi's concerned voice.
"She will be," replied Aman.
"What happened there? What did they do to her?"
"We'll speak later, NK. Let me take her up to her bedroom. She needs to rest."
They both did. It had been a draining experience. Mentally and physically.
Lia held onto Aman as he took the stairs and then set her on the bed. He started to move away and she made a noise of protest at the back of her throat.
"I'm not going anywhere. Let me just lock the door."
Her fingers unclenched from his shirt and she watched as he returned to her, his face hard. He drew her dress off. Her underwear hadn't been returned and his eyes ignited as he found her bare before him again.
But it wasn't because of passion.
But those... the two piercings she'd endured while tied to a pole.
"Don't look at me," she whispered. "They're so ugly."
"They're not... We could pull them out."
She shook her head. "It feels too sore."
"Want me to get you some ice?"
She wasn't used to having anyone worry about her. It was a feeling that was heady. Beautiful. Dangerous.
"I'm okay..."
"The hell you are!"
Lia stared down at herself, at the two metal barbells slicing through her poor nipples. It had hurt like hell, but it could have been worse.
"At least it's not my eyeballs."
Aman's jaw flexed. "You're not going back there. You got off lucky tonight. It won't be like that always. Anything can happen in the next nine days."
"I have to finish this, Aman."
A muscle ticked under his eye. "You won't stop, will you? Not even after this."
"Let's just take it one day at a time," she managed, her throat feeling sore. "I got through today in the top five. Just nine days separate us from that event which Master H will attend."
"Master H? Who knows if he's truly the one behind it all? If he even exists? You can't keep risking everything based on a guess."
"He's real," she told him, explaining what the women who'd readied her had divulged.
Aman laid back on the bed beside her, closing his eyes. Lia slowly snuggled against his side. Her sensitive skin burned at the contact and a pitiful sound escaped her lips.
Aman's eyes flew open and before she could draw away, he dragged her back to him. His eyes held hers as his mouth lowered between them, covering one nipple.
"How does it feel?"
"R-really good..." His mouth on her was the best thing she'd ever felt, the cool wetness easing the pain.
As she held him to her, her hands plunging into his hair, his tongue swept over the piercing, his mouth gently suckling. Lia closed her eyes and allowed herself this one moment of pleasure.
Tomorrow, she did not know what awaited her.
Pain... pleasure... or  destruction.

SSecret Passion Episode 45: Dates and Danger

Lia squared her shoulders as she approached the guards outside of the the Devil’s Lair. They were the same two faces--the ones that had dismissed her the day before as a newbie.
Tonight, they gazed at her with fascination, not hiding their interest. Her lips compressed as one slid his hand down her back, escorting her to the main door when there was no need for it.
She turned and glared at the masked man, placing herself out of his reach. “Don’t think you can touch me. You’re no master.” Thank God, for that small mercy and yet, he came closer, his face hard and angry as it loomed overs hers.
“But I am better than you. Higher ranked.”
“For now.”
He looked as if he’d retaliate but then he was gone, having been called away by another masked stranger. The look in his eyes promised vengeance. Thank goodness he had very little pull to do much about it.
Lia made sure no one else was near, her lips barely moving. “Did you get that?”
“Yes,” came Khushi’s voice in her ear from the tiny device they’d embedded in her earrings. “NK says we can identify him from his voice alone, but once inside, the camera we placed in your piercings will allow us to unveil even more people.”
“Perfect. I want to bring this whole operation to its knees. Let the world know who’s a member of this so-called club.”
“I’m with you. Arnav, Aman, NK are all with you and of course, Ahaan and Anjeli too. Please know that. The darkness you are about to enter may seem lonely and bleak, but you are not alone, Lia. You are loved.”
Lia felt her throat constrict as she joined the line of newbies in the ballroom. She had never had a friend like Khushi Raizada, someone so caring, with a heart of gold. Her resolve strengthened as her thoughts drifted to Angeli and Ahaan. Those two cherub-like faces had taught her how to love. Before them, she had not known what it meant to live for another, to place their well-being before your own.
But the babies had a filled an emptiness in her she hadn’t even realized was there. She couldn’t bear to imagine a shard of darkness coming anywhere near those two innocents. They were not even six months old, having no idea the extent some would go to harm them.
Her nails dug into the skin of her palms and she said nothing as the same two women escorted her to a dressing room. This time the grooming session was not nearly as painful. She was once more told to undress, her piercings left in place.
The earrings were not nearly as lucky.
“Those must come off.”
“Why?” Lia asked.
They looked surprised she had even spoken. “You must not do that if you are to succeed. You must never talk back. You must do as you are told. The masters want you bare. No accessories.”
“Good luck, Lia,” came Khushi’s voice. “Find Aman as soon as you can.”
She couldn’t reply, not with two curious faces watching her. Head bowed, she took off the earrings and set them on top of her clothes. At least the cameras were still on, virtually undetectable thanks to an ultra-exclusive device NK had found online.
The ballroom was packed again, masters and high-ranking guests teeming the floors. Lia and the fourteen other newbies were paraded naked to the front, where they kneeled before a slightly raised podium.
Mrs. X stepped up before them, her smile wide and gleeful as she gazed at them. “Welcome newbies to day two. By the end of today, only ten of you will move on to the quest to attain this.”
The red mask was back and Lia sneaked another peek at it. What did winning it mean? No one back at Shantivan had been able to find out more, not even any of NK’s sources knew the nature of the prize. But it was important, everyone agreed. Very important.
She had to win it. She had to do whatever it took to attain it. She must.
“Tonight’s theme will be one of my favorite activities. Sucking.”
The crowd broke into applause and a few laughs. Lia felt herself go rigid, her breath suspended.
Mrs. X grinned at the audience before turning her attention back to them. “You will find that forging alliances is one of the most critical practices here at DL. You form an alliance with your master, one of trust and obedience. As a new recruit, you have no say in whom we give you to, and this exercise is to teach you why. You will be given the opportunity today to choose your own dom. This person will be with you for the next few days leading up to the masking. Choose wisely. Choose a master who will control you well, who will make you yield and beg like no one else. This has nothing to do with looks. I have found in my great experience some of my most sinfully delicious encounters were with those I had little in common with. That mismatch is sometimes electrifying if you find the right person. I tell you all this even though I know few of you will actually listen. But it is how we teach you that you are wholly unequipped to choose for yourselves. We, the masters who have been here for decades before you, will help you attain your true self.”
Yeah, right, scoffed Lia mentally. This club could try to pass itself off as another BDSM group, but they were not like the others. There was something dark and oppressive here, like a mutation gone wrong. Danger lurked in every shadow, behind every mask.
She tried to contain her relief as the announcement was made. It took everything in her to school her expression and show no reaction. Inside though, she was doing backflips. Thank God, she would be able to choose her dom.
If Aman did not appear before her within a matter of seconds, she would make him pay hell for it later. He had to appear. He had to be somewhere nearby…
“Make your choice wisely,” the gold-masked woman said. “You may now approach anyone of your choosing and kneel before them once you have. They have a right to decline you, however.”
Lia stood up on shaking legs, her eyes whipping over the masked faces, fighting to locate him. There were so many black masks though! Why hadn’t he thought to wear one a bit different? She had no idea where to find him in this crowd.
The masks followed her, eyes drifting over her naked body so much so she felt sickened, longing to be away from their penetrating stares. She was grateful her hair was long and hid most of her breasts at least. Her head swam as she noticed most of the other recruits before their dom, bowing down.
Where was he? She would kill him! She would make him--
A man stepped out of the shadows to her right. He was average height and lean, his black mask covering all but his mouth and chin. It was his eyes though that she recognized--bright and intent on her face.
She went to Aman and kneeled before him. He didn’t say a word, but he stepped closer, so she was positioned between his legs, her head near his knees.
“I believe that was the last one,” said Mrs. X from the podium. “Congratulations on pairing up. Now it’s time to put your alliance to the test. Your task on day two is simple: pleasure your dom. Expose them now. Unzip, unfurl, lift away any impediment in your way. You will not be punished.”
Lia’s hands trembled only slightly as she lowered Aman’s zipper. She hated having him exposed to all the nosy eyes as much as she hated parading before them all, stark naked.
“Focus on me,” he whispered, his voice so low she barely heard it.
She steeled her spine and took him in hand, hoping she wasn’t trembling.
“Now suck,” came the command from the stage. “Make your dom lose all control. If you are too slow or inexperienced at the task, you will be eliminated.”
Lia gazed up at Aman for a heartbeat, mouthing the words back to him. “Focus on me.”
He closed his eyes and she wrapped her lips around him, having no idea what to do. She began bobbing her head, sucking him as best as she could. It seemed to be the right thing as his hands plunged into her hair, guiding her, seeking the heat of her mouth.
She was so glad that they had slept together before all this. She would have never been able to manage this if not for those stolen hours in her bedroom. She was glad too that it was him with her, Aman Freakin’ Mehra. The man she found herself thinking about all the time. The man whom she fought with almost every day.
She could not deny that she was hopelessly attracted to him. Sucking him off like this wasn’t a task as the piercing had been and for that she was endlessly grateful.
“I’m going to come,” he growled, his hips pistoning.
If her mouth wasn’t so occupied, she would have told him that was the idea. He had to come and soon.
Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed a pair near them already reaching that point. The newbie obediently swallowed, licking away every drop.
Something made her pause and she recalled the advice the women had given her. To surprise the masters. They expected her to swallow. Her eyes flashed up to Aman and she tugged on his pants.
He noticed after a few tries. His eyes blinked open and he stared down at her, her lips stretched around him. She pulled slightly away.
“Come on my face.”
“Do it,” she whispered, lowering her head once more.
He filled her mouth a couple more times and them pulled away, coming spectacularly all over her upturned face.
She was the filthiest of the newbies and Mrs. X clapped for her the loudest. “Well, I think we have a winner, masters. The five of you who failed to perform, follow the guards out. The rest of you will be escorted with your new ally to a private suite to get better acquainted.” She winked lewdly. “But fear not, everyone else, we will enjoy the show on these screens.”
Lia felt her stomach roll as ten giant screens appeared at all corners from the ceilings, each showing a live recording of a similarly designed room. Aman hauled up Lia by her elbow. As they neared the door that would lead to their assigned suite and the escort vanished from beside them, handing her a moist towel to clean her face with, he squeezed her hand.
“You ready for this?”
“Yes, but are you?”
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“You need to do unspeakable things to me once we cross this threshold. We need to get a lot of attention.”
He shook his head. “We got enough attention out there thanks to your brilliant idea,” he said dryly. “Too much attention can be bad too. There are a lot of competitive, highly deceptive people here. People we don’t need as enemies.”
“Fine, what do you have in mind then? We can’t go in there and just… cuddle.”
“I wasn’t suggesting we do. We’ll have to have sex, there’s no way around it, but I’m going to keep your body covered as much as possible.”
She nibbled on her bottom lip. “I don’t know if that’s a good idea. I have to win that red mask, Aman.”
“And you will. But this way, we keep interest on you. They will want to know you more the less we give them.”
She slowly nodded. “Okay.”
Aman turned the door knob. “And I don’t want any of these creeps to see more of you than necessary. If I had my way, they’d never see an inch of your body.”
His furious words robbed her of breath and as they entered the luxurious suite, Lia feared that her eyes might give it all away. Give away how much she wanted this man. Swallowing, she forced herself to focus on the task ahead. Her eyes flickered to the camera blinking above them and bile gathered in her throat.
She wanted nothing more than to feel Aman’s touch again--but not like this. Not with an audience watching them. It felt so wrong. So different from the times they’d been alone.
“Focus on me,” he mouthed. “Only us.”
“Only us,” she whispered, her voice barely audible. But she knew he heard; his face hardened and his fingers plunged into her hair. His kiss was hot and explosive. She wanted to respond, to claw his shoulders and meet him halfway, but the rules here were different. She instead forced her body to go limp, letting him do as he wished. He all but tossed her on the mattress, following her down.
His kiss this time didn’t just steal her breath, it stole her heart. All over again.

Horatio tipped back his glass as he watched the proceedings on the mounted screens, idly stroking the rim of the glass. Mrs. X slid onto the bar stool beside him, her gold mask angled his way.
“What do you think of the newbies? Anyone catch your eye yet?”
He shook his head. “This is the first time I’m seeing this month’s batch.”
“You missed my Pain, Pleasure, Piercing event yesterday. It was so much fun. There are a few that show great promise. I especially like that one.” She pointed to the monitor directly above them. “She surprised me by not dolling up the first night. And yesterday, she took her nipple piercings like a champ. Her body is hot as well.”
“I can’t see very much of it,” Horatio said moodily, his lips thinning. “Her partner is covering her.”
“He’s enjoying himself.”
“Who the hell is he?”
Mrs. X shrugged. “An independent investor from outside of the country, I believe.”
“He paid well, I take it?”
“Extremely. He is another one to watch out for.” Her tongue slipped over her lips as she watched the pair, the way the man on screen moved, owning the woman beneath him. “I have to admit that despite being a dom myself, I would love to submit to him. He is delicious.”
“But not in the running for the red mask,” Horatio reminded, stroking his erection. “You can have your fun with that stud later, Mrs. X. It’s the woman beneath him that intrigues me. I’d just like to see more of her.”
“A private taste, perhaps?”
He gave her a sly grin. “Perfect. Send her to me as soon as it can be arranged. And get rid of that investor.”
Mrs. X smiled at him. “I’ll happily take him away. He won’t miss her once I’m through with him.”
They clinked their glasses, watching the TV screen with unabashed lust.

“I can’t wear this.”
Khushi held up the slinky sheath dress with the tip of one finger, her lips turning. The twins watched her with curious eyes from the bed, their small hands moving this way and that.
“I don’t know what your father was thinking, kiddos, but this is not happening.” The dress in question was pretty enough, delicate and red in color, but it was made to cling to her body, to expose far more of her than Khushi was used to.
Her eyes darted to the clock. Ten minutes till she had to meet him outside. At least her makeup and hair was done, that was one less thing to worry about. She frowned at the dress.
A knock sounded on the door. “Khushi? Are you ready?”
“No, I need you to call AR Designs. I can’t wear the dress they sent over!”
“I chose it,” came her husband’s reply.
What?” He’d chosen this--this itsy bitsy dress that barely covered the essential areas? “Arnav, I don’t care who picked it, but I’m not wearing it.”
“Let me in, love. I’ll help you find something else.”
“I don’t have anything else!” She stalked over to the door and threw it open, standing on the threshold wearing her lingerie and black stilettos. Her husband’s eyes froze on her and then slowly slid down, traveling over her exposed skin, leaving heat in their wake.
Swallowing, Khushi took a step backwards. Unlike herself, Arnav was dressed in a tailored business suit and maroon tie, the royal blue of his suit bringing out the color of his eyes. With his hair slicked back and his face sporting just the right amount of stubble, he was enough for her to lose her entire train of thought.
He reached for her hand, the touch burning into her skin. “Actually, I think you’re dressed just right. Let’s stay in tonight, baby… in bed.”
How much she wanted to. How much she ached to give in. “I agreed to a date, Mr. Raizada. You’re presuming too much.”
“Am I?” he purred, stroking her wrist. Lifting her hand, he pressed his mouth to her pulse. “I know your body better than you do, Khushi. I know that right now, you want nothing more than for me to strip you bare. I can feel it. I can taste it.” His tongue stroked her skin and she all but combusted.
“Fine, I’ll wear the dress,” she threw out, surprising even herself. “Can you take the kids and I’ll meet you downstairs as planned in five minutes?”
He stepped away from her with great reluctance, the glint in his eyes telling her he knew exactly what she was doing. Delaying the inevitable.
But he said nothing, his expression softening as he lifted the twins into his arms. They snuggled into his chest and he bent his head, dropping a kiss on each tiny face.
Khushi felt her heart squeeze as she watched them. Together, they were her world and to see them like this felt like her most cherished dream come true. Ahaan and Angeli would share a bond with their father that neither she nor Arnav had been lucky enough to have. Her husband may have worried once about the kind of father he would make, but seeing him now, so careful and doting, she knew she’d been right all along. He was already the dad the twins needed, one who loved them with everything in him. And in their own way, they loved him, their smiles extra wide as he made silly faces at them. Angeli giggled out loud and the sound warmed Khushi’s heart.
Though the outside world may have trouble believing it, this was the role Arnav succeeded the most at. Not as a businessman, known for his ruthless aggression, not even as a husband, but this. Being Angeli and Ahaan’s dad suited him best.
“Don’t take too long,” he told her, glancing her way.
She didn’t feel strong enough to say anything without giving into him, her chest constricting as she watched the trio exit the bedroom. And then she shook her head as if to clear it and tugged on the dress.
It was just as she feared. Too low-cut, too short, too clingy--all wrong basically. She threw on a shawl that did not match in the slightest and with her head held high, marched out.
She found her husband waiting for her at the bottom of the stairs, looking so handsome in the dim light, her footsteps faltered. It made him look up and their gazes clung as she crossed the remaining steps--right into his arms.
He held her to him as if she was made of porcelain, as if he feared she’d break if he held to her too tightly. Her eyes fluttered close and she willed herself to forget everything--the fact that they hadn’t shared a bed for weeks now, the knowledge that at this very moment Lia and Aman were facing hell itself--and just gave in to him. She embraced him as she’d been dying to, inhaling the familiar scent of his cologne, luxuriating in the comforting strength of his hold.
A throat cleared behind them and Arnav spun around, stepping in front of her so she could barely see NK. “What is it?”
“Sorry to interrupt, Naanav, but I was wondering what time you two would be back. I don’t mind babysitting, but it would be nice to know how long for.”
“Give us an hour.”
“No prob, enjoy you two.” With a wink in their direction, he was gone.
Khushi tugged on her husband’s sleeve.
He turned to face her, his gaze heavy and brooding. “What is it?”
“I don’t know how I feel leaving NK in charge.”
“Don’t you trust him?”
“Of course I do, but there’s not one, but two babies that he needs to handle and what if Ahaan decides to get cranky or Angeli needs to be fed again?”
“We’ll be close by and just a phone call away. Besides, the twins usually nap around this time. I just checked on them and both are asleep.”
“What if they decide to wake up early though? Poor NK, it feels wrong to leave him like this.”
Her husband rolled his eyes, pulling her bodily toward the door. “Poor NK owes me a favor and like I said, we’re not going far at all. Relax, baby. We’ll be back in under an hour.”
Everything could go wrong in mere minutes though. Khushi frowned as he helped her into the SUV. He got behind the steering wheel and glanced at her.
“Are you going to behave like this all night?”
“Like what?”
He pointed toward her face. “Like I’m forcing you to leave the kids behind.”
It sure felt like that was exactly what he was doing. “We don’t need to go on this date, Arnav. We’re married.”
His hand settled over her naked thigh, squeezing, as he turned the wheel left. “I’m glad you still remember that important fact, wifey, but I think we do need a bit of time to ourselves from time to time. Please, just try to relax. NK hasn’t even called us yet.”
She tried. She really did. Closing her eyes, she told herself not to worry. To relax… But it felt like her body had forgotten what that word meant anymore.
“We’re here.”
Her husband’s voice was low and slightly amused. Khushi looked from him to the building they’d parked before. Shantivan?
“Why are we back here already? Arnav, I can handle being away for a little while. I promise.”
He jumped out and came to her side, opening the passenger side door. “I know you can, love. But the plan all along was for us to have dinner here.”
“Here?” She could only stare up at him, her jaw slack. “At home?”
He gave her a nod, his eyes twinkling.
“And what was the point of that drive around the neighborhood? To see if I would crack in under five minutes?”
“Maybe a bit… You lasted all of twenty seconds.” His smile was beautiful and his teeth very white as he grinned down at her. The happiness she glimpsed in his soulful, dark eyes made her forget why she was upset by his prank.
She took his offered hand and stepped out into the cool night air. “Don’t pretend like I’m the only parent here struggling. I know you have a hard time leaving the twins too.”
“True, baby. Thank God, I can do most of AR Designs’ work from home.” He led her to the back of the house, to where the gardens were in full bloom. His gaze lingered on her face, sliding down to the dress she’d forced herself to wear. “Plus, I didn’t want you wearing that dress in front of anyone else.”
“I should have known you--” Her voice fell away as she glimpsed the elegant table that had been set for two in the greenhouse, candlelights and an assortment of flowers of every hue drawing her eyes. Her gaze flashed to him, finding him observing her with quiet, brooding interest.
“You did all this?”
“I might have had a little help. Do you like it?”
She crossed the steps that separated them and walked right into his arms. “I love it.”
He seemed to shudder against her, his hands sliding beneath the shawl to her exposed skin, his touch leaving her hot and aching. His lips grazed her temple. “Come on, dinner’s getting cold.”
Khushi held his hand as they walked into the glass-encased building. It reminded her of something out of a fairy tale, the type of stories Payal and she had once spent hours fawning over.
“You’re frowning.”
She forced herself not to think of her cousin. “It’s nothing…”
“Tell me, baby.”
She knew he would not rest until he knew what had caused that reaction. “I was just thinking of my family.”
His smile was rueful. “And here I thought this date would make you finally think about us. Our marriage.”
“I think about that all the time,” she managed, glancing away.
He held a forkful of some type of pasta to her lips, watching with a pleased expression as she obediently chewed and swallowed. “Good?”
His smile deepened, but she knew him well enough to realize the slight strain in it. He wasn’t being his normal self and she knew exactly what was taking a toll on him. On both of them. “Maybe… maybe it’s time.”
Arnav’s entire body stiffened. “Time for what?”
Khushi lifted the fork to his lips this time. “For you to move back in. For us to share a bedroom.”
“Do you mean it?” At her nod, he swallowed. “I thought for a second you were going to say something else entirely.”
“What did you think I meant?” she asked, confused by his quiet acceptance. Here, she’d been hoping he’d reach over and kiss her senseless. Twirl her in wide circle amidst the blooming petals. But there was an odd tension on his face, not a trace of the type of joy she had hoped for.
“It just came into my head that you might say it was time for… us to separate. For us to divorce.”
Divorce?” The word felt a bit stuck in her throat. She could only stare at him, eyes wide with disbelief. Her fork slipped out of her suddenly numb fingers. After a brief moment of shock, something else whirled within her, a blend of confusion and white-hot anger. “How could you have thought that? Do you think I could divorce you? Do you really think I could live a moment without you?”
His dark eyes traced over her, his face all harsh lines. “You’ve been doing a damn fine job of it ever since you told me to move into the guest room.”
“I told you why I needed that!”
“I know you did! And that doesn’t make it any easier! I might understand your reasoning, but that doesn’t mean I am happy about it. I told you from the start that my past is ugly. But I can’t change it, Khushi! I wish I could, for your sake, for our children, but I can’t!”
Another time, perhaps even days ago, his anger and temper would have been enough for her to leave and end the conversation then and there. But she couldn’t… not now when he’d bared his soul to her. His every sorrow.
Rounding the table, Khushi took his face in her palms. “I love you, Arnav Singh Raizada. I love you regardless of your past, regardless of anything. I thought you knew that.”
He pulled her down onto his lap, his breathing heavy as he pressed his head into the side of her neck, breathing her in. “It was so easy to believe you’d stopped loving me… that you regretted marrying me… loving me.”
Her fingers rifled through his hair and angling his face upwards, she pressed kisses to every patch of skin within her reach. Slowly. Lovingly. “Our love isn’t a weakness for me to regret. It’s my biggest strength. It’s what keeps me going, even when everything else goes wrong. I can face anything, any darkness, as long as you’re beside me.”
“God, I love you.” He pulled her in for a firm and very thorough kiss, his tongue slipping between her lips. “Don’t ever do that to me again, Khushi. I can’t live without you.”
“I’m sorry… so sorry. I needed time to process everything, but I didn’t know how much it would affect you. I’ll never leave you, Arnav. Never.”
“Say it again.” His hands caught hers, his gaze suddenly very vulnerable. “Tell me you will always be with me, no matter what life throws our way.”
She pressed her lips to his, the word a whisper between them. “Always, love. I’m yours.”
“Fuck.” He kissed her hard then, his hands everywhere as he reacquainted himself with her body, her feel… Drawing away, he grinned at her, his hands sliding through her now hopelessly tangled hair. “Come to bed with me.”
She swallowed, weaving their fingers together. “Yes, please. I need you.” Arnav covered her lips again and then swung her up into his arms, striding out the greenhouse doors at a quick clip. They had just entered the house from the back door, kissing and giggling like two teenagers in the kitchen, when a loud wail broke out.
“Oh no…”
Arnav groaned, his hands tightening on her. “Shit… I think that’s Ahaan.”
Another wail sounded. “And that’s Angeli.”
He pressed a kiss to her lips. “So... later then?”
Khushi smiled against his mouth. “It’s a date, Mr. Raizada.”

Lia woke the next morning feeling as if she’d been run over by a car. No, a truck. Her body ached everywhere--including in places that had never bothered her before. She hadn’t even known it was possible to be this sore.
Her eyes blinked open to find Aman still fast asleep beside her. They were both wearing their pajamas and she smiled as she studied his. Who else but Aman would sleep in dog-adorned pajamas? Did he like dogs? He’d never mentioned them.
It was a reminder that though she knew his body better than her own, in some ways, he was still a stranger. A loveable, stubborn stranger.
It was only because of him she’d gotten through the live recording last night. Her stomach rolled as she recalled the cameras, the invasion into their most intimate of moments. Though he had taken her hard, as the Devil’s Lair demanded, there had been touches and glances all the cameras had failed to capture. They had made the night not as frightening as her first day.
Lia frowned down at the piercings and Aman turned then, his eyes slowly coming into focus.
“Good morning,” she told him.
“Morning, Mrs. M.”
Her cheeks heated and she threw the closest pillow at his laughing face. “Don’t call me that!”
He ducked the second pillow easily. “Isn’t that your name there? Mrs. M?”
Assigned name,” she lied.
She glared at him, jumping to her feet. “Yes, really!”
“So you didn’t choose it?” He stalked to her, caging her in with the heat of his body, the look in his eyes. Everything else vanished for Lia. Everything.
“Well? Are you going to answer or not?
Her eyes darted to his. “What… What was your question?”
His smile deepened at her dazed expression. “Never mind. Get ready. We need to be back at that hellhole early today.”
An hour later, walking back into DL, Lia couldn’t help but wonder why Mrs. X had called them all back so early. She wasn’t ready to face it all again.
“You have to,” she told herself. “Day three. You can do this.”
The attendants got her ready within fifteen minutes, touching up her lipstick below the icy blue mask. This time, as they guided her out of the dressing room, it wasn’t to the main ballrooms.
“Where are we going?”
“No questions,” snapped one.
Keeping her head bent, Lia tried not to flinch as they paused before an unmarked door. To her surprise, Mrs. X stood inside, her smile wide and ugly.
“Step to the wall, Mrs. M. You two get out of here.”
The attendants scurried away with quick bows, and Lia tried not to show any reaction as she faced Mrs. X alone. What had she and the other masters planned? Her gaze suddenly fell on the thick leather cuffs attached to the wall, her body stilling.
“Stand with you back to the wall, I’ll strap you in.”
Lia kept silent as her ankles and each wrist were shackled. The hold was tight, almost painful. Mrs. X gave her another sickly smile.
“I’ll leave you now, but don’t worry, you won’t be alone for long.”
The words would have frightened her, but she remembered the announcement from the previous night. Aman was her dom now, her ally till the night that red mask would be given. She was safe--for now.
But the man who stepped inside the room ten minutes later was not the man she was in danger of falling in love with. He was too short, his bare body all wrong, his belly much too big to be Aman’s. The two men who followed after him were strangers too--one old and thin, the other overweight with a ruddy complexion.
All three wore masks she didn’t recognize.
All three gazed at her in a way that made her skin crawl and hives threaten to break out. Her throat constricted and a deep, choking fear took hold of her. No… it couldn’t be… Where was Aman?
She couldn’t keep her expression distant and cool and the man closest to her, chuckled. “I see we have managed to surprise you. No worries, though my dear, we are all three masters, far more well-versed in how to pleasure you than that man who took you last night.”
No… No! She couldn’t do this… She couldn’t bear them anywhere near her, let alone for one or all three to touch her!
Her body flailed like a fish out of water, the shackles holding fast, keeping her spread wide and vulnerable before them. “NO! Don’t come near me!”
As the oldest one, his eyes cold as ice, stepped toward her, Lia felt a heavy chill assail her, leaving her utterly terrified.
“Relax, my pet. You will enjoy this…”
The hell she would!
Before she could tell him so, the door banged open and a man in a black mask appeared on the threshold, his body tense and almost shaking with rage.
“Get the fuck away from her,” growled Aman.

To be continued…
Episode 46: Undone

Not sure if this pic will be included in the next update or not… I usually don’t include pics unless they’re from IPKKND, but a few of you asked who I pictured as Lia. In my head, it’s Jennifer Winget. I’m not even following Bepannah or any other show at the moment, but I think she’s brilliant. Would love to hear what you all think about this chapter!
-- Tina


  1. Love you Tina

  2. Whoa girl! You are on a roll! So Excited about SP's next chapter and congrats on crossing 800 Pages!

  3. Yippppeeeee
    Loved the update
    I so wanted to see Aman and Lia together. Hope to see them in future. Khushi and Arnav again proved that they are made for each other and will face all difficulties together like pro. Please write few scenes of twins with their parents.
    Love u so much hope u r fine.

    1. You get a few scenes like that in Epi 45 ;)
      I'm good hun, hope you're doing well also <3

  4. Hi Tina,

    Thank you for the wonderful update. AS usual it was interesting and intriguing to know what's going to happen next.

    MR.Horatio is a devil incarnation. Wonder what his end will be.

    Payal has already seen and been with Mr.H many times right than how come she dint earlier realize that he's a old man. Anyways it too late coz she's gone. Poor she din't realize that she's going to die and was busy cursing khushi.

    Mr.H downloaded payal's website in his computer and is using payal's code name as Mrs.C and typing to everyone in online. Why can't khushi come on the website she might get some clue. or if khushi continues to read arnav's mom's diary she might come to know the person who is causing all the problems in their life.

    When Arnav was out from Rita he was only with one person at that time and even celebrated his 21st birthday with his uncle, and he was the person who send the girls for him to have some fun. Does arnav know about that? if so how come he's not able to remember and connect the dots. Arnav has been taped everytime when he was with the girls, atleast he must get some clue from all this to know who is behind him.

    Its so scary to think about Lia going to the club and collecting information. Hope so Mr.H doesn't recognize her otherwise she will be dead on the spot. Will Aman be able to protect her?
    will they able to collect whatever they need and get out safe from that place. Arnav has to protect them cause they are risking their life for arshi and the twins. Wonder where this is going to lead and what twist is coming on their way.

    Until you update the next chapter, Please post us the balance part of faithful love story.


    1. It is a pleasure to always read your feedback <3 Thanks so much for your kind words. Yes, Horatio is a devilish character for sure. Hope you liked the finale to Fateful Love as well!

  5. Loved the update, brilliant. Arshi relationship gets tested and gets stronger. Hope nothing bad happens to Lia and Aman protects her. Eager for the next part.

    1. Arshi's relationship gets tested a lot in SP but so far they've always found a way out of it ;) Thanks for reading and commenting so consistently hun! Means a lot to me <3

  6. Waiting for next chapter

  7. Amazing Tina.
    Waiting for next update.
    Let master H divorce plans fail pls.
    It was awesome. Loved it

  8. Loved part 44, brilliant. Brave Lia going through hell for her friends. Hope H plan fails, want his downfall. Arshi on a date. Eager for the next part.

  9. Ouch, that would have been very painful for Lia to go through the piercing. But Aman is there to take care of her. First day in devil's lair went successful but how are they going to pass the rest 9days. Hope they find out everything soon and come out of that place safely.

    Eagerly waiting for the Date and there is danger also. Wonder which couple is going to face the danger.

    How come Mr.H is very confident and preparing the divorce papers and has given the lawyer the word saying in ten days time his god son will come and sign the papers. wonder what is he upto now?

    Waiting for the new story of arshi and as well as Desert heat.

    1. Thank you for the lovely feedback hun. Yes, the next few days leading up to the red mask unvieling are crucial. Make or break ;)

  10. Feeling pity for wat Lisa went through 😒 but brave girl proud of her.loved arshi family timeπŸ‘πŸ‘ŒπŸ˜ŠπŸ’

    1. She is very brave or sure! Glad you liked the chapter!

  11. Wow amazing chapter! What the hell is happening to lia ���� I feel so sorry for her.
    I understand khushi’s situation as she still feels those flashbacks. Want everything to be settled again! ����

    1. Lia is caught up in a situation that is very dangerous. Her intentions are right on but she's underestimating DL's darkness. Hope you like the next chapter!

  12. He is so loving the torment he is creating,so sad for Lia that type of club is not for the normals .Hope Khushi and Asr reconnect their trust love the update .

    1. Horatio is enjoying everything sadly. He's pretty twisted. Hope you enjoy Epi 45--it has a lot of Arshi moments ;)

  13. Why I am having a feeling that 10 days and things will come out in open that can cause destruction or can make everything alright.
    10 Days Arnav-Khushi with their twins relationship will be tested, Aman-Lia too relationship will be tested along with Arshi as well as NK.

    Things are getting quite dangerous and dark too but will all of them Arshi,Aman,Lia and NK will get to see the light or not, is the real question??

    Lia and Aman has taken upon themselves to find some info. about Mr.H, i rally hope they are successful.
    On the other hand Arnav and Khushi should too try to find with other means like Khushi having Arnav's mother diary. Something will definitely come up from there.
    For Arnav his past should get him the answer that have been needed in this present situation.

    Whereas Arshi relationship is concerned they both have to be their for each other in the times like these, though its not easy for Khushi but this is what she had to prove that her Love is strong enough to get passed this Storm.

    1. Thank you for the amazing feedback hun <3
      Yes, the 10 day deadline is a turning point for everyone.
      It's make or break time.
      Hope you like the next update!

  14. Loved it....want more....I do really hope Lia would be okay...this is too dangerous :(.....waiting eagerly for the next update....I do really hope this all ends without more pain and destruction....

    1. Glad to hear you liked the update! And yes, poor Lia is over her head though her intentions are the best. More soon <3

  15. Love it. Awesome πŸ˜ƒπŸ˜ƒ

  16. It's nice. I really pray that divorce will not happen to both of them but they r able to find the culprit...

    1. I think all SP readers will agree with you completely :)

  17. Just love it.Master Horatio is really a psycho.Does he think Khushi will ever leave Arnav?Lia is sooo brave and Aman is afraid for her.I just love this episode.DL is really hell.

    1. So glad to hear you enjoyed the update! And yes DL is hell with Horatio as the devil himself :(
      More soon <3

  18. Awesome part.. Lia salute to your woman.. she went through a hell for ArShi's twins.. aman was there for her and it took all of his strength to stop himself from taking Lia away from that hell hole.. Lia is selected in top five.. don't know what will happen next but don't want any thing bad to happen to Lia-Aman.. ArShi had a picnic with their kiddos.. good to see Arnav not giving in to his needs and still holding as Khushi needs some time.. looking forward to ArShi's date.. What was that divorce between ASR and his witch wife Khushi?? Arnav's so called godfather is gone mad in his obsession.. feels this can work as a hint for Arnav to understand the mastermind behind all the wrongs happening with him.. loved the awesome update..

    1. Thank you for the amazing feedback hun <3
      Yes, Horatio is obsessed with the Raizadas :(
      Glad you liked the update, more soon!

  19. Like I'm so in love with Lia and Aman together ... I just hope nothing with happen to either of them... They both deserve happiness too and I can't wait until Arnav, Khusi and the babies be in peace... That piece of shit H needs to go, he needs a painful death 😠😠😠😠 .... thank you for updating eagerly waiting for more... until then stay safe and take care

    1. So happy to hear so many SP readers loving Lia and Aman. I love them together too! Glad you liked the update! More soon :)

  20. Master H s definitely a scary villian with infinite patience...

  21. Amazing chapter. Horatio is planning something. He’s so certain about the divorce and is preparing the papers. I wonder if he’s got another thing like the tapes to separate Arshi or if he’s going to trick Arnav into signing those and create a misunderstanding.
    Whatever it is, they’re going out on a date and I’m hell scared.

    Lia was very brave in here but I wonder for how long she’ll be able to endure it. Her affair with aAman is certainly kicking off.

    Will be waiting for next chapter.

    1. You nailed it--Horatio is definitely up to something...

      Glad you liked the update hun! More soon <3

  22. loved it.lourel24

  23. Arshi are one step closer...but my god... im so afraid for Lia.... i admire her strength and Aman. Im glad they have each other in this hell. What the hell is going to happen at DL in 10 days?? oh my the red mask?? so every month they choose a person to sacrifice? Now one know what the meaning of attaining the red mask is? the 1st round itself has me scared...wonder waht the other rounds are? and he said Arnav will be signing the Divorce papers in 10 days too? why would Arnav do that what is Horatio planning??

    1. Yes, every month someone is sacrificed though they have no idea--like Payal.
      The 10 day deadline is really going to end up being make it or break it time.
      More soon <3

  24. Felt really bad for lia and aman but loved lias dedication and love for the twins and really wanted to help arnav and khushi ...hope her help get justice to arnav and khushi and really Mr.H should suffer his life from arnav hands ....hope Mr.H truth will come out soon in front of arnav...poor arnav and khushi is really missing each other but khushi still not coming into the terms and maintaining her distance from him...shes right from her POV....
    Thanks about desert heat and i'm eagerly waiting for that ....

    1. Thanks for the feedback hun! Yes, Lia is brave for sure and her intentions 100% pure in heart but it's leading to very dangerous situations.
      Hope you enjoy the next update as well as DH soon <3

  25. Whoa! I loved the Arshi scene. Any scene of Arshi is a treat for every fan out there. It's good to see that Lia and Aman are being successful in their plan. I just hope that Lia doesn't get hurt in all of this. Will be eagerly waiting for next.
    P.S: Jennifer Winget is the perfect portrayal of Lia.

    1. Yay glad you liked the update and agreed, Jennifer totally fits Lia :)

  26. Divorce was never a option so Mr H vs stick it where the sun don't shine.First time leaving a baby behind it always seems like you will miss everything if your not around love the update amazing as always .

    1. thanks hun, glad you enjoyed it! And yesss, Master H needs to go away!

  27. Hope Aman's entry doesn't blew their cover and Aman-Lia are not caught by those sick people who have ajeeb shauks and than enjoying those.. Happy for ArShi.. Khushi too can't live away from her Arnav.. however Arnav's thoughts made her so angry but good they both spoke and finally the tension is over between them.. Arnav and his date plan was superb.. loved the awesome update.. Thanks Tina for the update..

    1. Glad you liked Arshi's date hun <3 More soon! :)

  28. Loved part 45. Aman and Lia working together at the hell to bring down the big culprit. Arshi reunite and come out stronger than ever. Cliffhanger ending to the chapter. Eager for the next part.

    1. Happy to always read your thoughts <3 And yes, I left it at a cliffhanger but more soon!

  29. I feel very sorry for Lia ��. Nice chapter as usual. Will be waiting for the next with eagerness. It's nice to put a face to Lia but am hoping you put one to Aman also.
    I watched Jennifer and Guatum in saraswatichandra and loved their chemistry.
    Till you upload another chapter, take care

    1. I have seen a few episodes of Saraswatichandra and agreed, their chemistry was great in the show!
      More soon in SP <3

  30. Yayy an update! First of all Di, you made me cry again. Arnav bearing his soul to Khushi always makes me cry like a baby. And second poor Lia and Aman. What they are going through to find the truth is commendable. But now that they've (sort-of) blown their cover I wonder what would happen... As always great read and thank you for updating. Looking forward to the next chapter obviously.

    IF- ZyrahAyok

    1. Aww I don't want to make you cry but i agree, Arnav when he is vulnerable is so hard to resist <3 More soon hun :)

  31. Loved it....but I am getting worried sick...this is getting way more dangerous......worried sick to know what is coming next... <3

    1. Always nice to see your name pop up here hun <3 Thanks for the feedback. and yesss, you are picking up on something dangerous that will be intensifying next update

  32. Wow....seriously wow... but very much intrigued to know what happens next...please dont let anyother misunderstandings rise between khushi and arnav ... abd what with the divorce that arnav's uncle is getting ready... let that not create any problems between arshi... oh shit aman has finally come to rescue.. cant wait to see what happens with the three masters

    1. Thank you for the great feedback hun! I hate misunderstandings between them too but so far in SP they've managed to get through each one... let's see if that continues...

  33. Hi Tina,

    Thank you for the wonderful update.

    Heyyy Finally, arnav and khushi enjoyed their date without any disturbance and cleared the difference between them. Looks like we will get to see more arshi romance in next update.

    God, its so scary, to see Lia in devil's lair and her facing the challenges there everyday. Somehow Aman is protecting her from danger. But how is he going to do it hereafter....... when Mr.H eyes has fallen on Lia and he wants her for himself. Will he recognize her ? The girl who was babysitting in his house.

    Thank goodness Aman barged in the correct time to stop the shit happening.... But i think he made the wrong move to enter like that. Hope so in his anger and rage he doesn't reveal himself and lia.

    7 days more to face the hell to see who's going to break it and make it.
    Arnav please be active and save them before anything can happen to them.

    Is lavanya also the member in Devil's Lair?

    Thank you for fateful love story and yes i enjoyed every bit of it.

    Thank you once again


    1. Loved reading your feedback hun as always <3 Yes, Aman may have blown their cover with that entrance :)
      Glad to hear you liked the date, a bit more romance next chapter too. As far as Lavanya--kudos for remembering her, you're right, she will be back and very soon ;)

  34. Loved it......but i m scared for Lia.....hope nothing bad happens to her n Aman in this scary place with three masters around n they can keep their secret intact in front of everybody.....Pls Tina, don't let anything bad happen to them.....i m scared ... ....Happy that Arshi solved their misunderstanding n confessed their love to each other...curious n eager for next update..........

    1. Aww Aman and Lia have each other in that darkness, they just need to find a way out--together. Same as Arshi, who've finally managed to clear the air between them. Thanks for the lovely feedback as always <3

  35. Loved it from the bottom of my heart...Was surprised that Lia is jenifer it’ Truly amazing but little scared what will happen to her and Aman hope they will be fine.....And our beautiful couple finally they are together again they had been into so much..waiting for next chapter love you

    1. Yayy glad you liked the update <3 much love to you hun!
      More soon in SP ;)

  36. OH my god.... im so scared for Lia... oh no oh no.... i thought she was safe too.... grrr that Horatio is pure Devil...apt for DL....
    oh Aman is here to save her...but will he be able to??? this might just get risky for them ...
    So glad that Arshi are back together...and stronger then ever... awwww Arnav was so sweet to have the date in SHantivan! :)... ahah wonder how NK is fairing with the 2 little angels :P
    eagerly waiting for the next!!

    1. Yes, agreed 100% Horatio is DL's devil for sure.
      Glad you liked Arshi's date <3 I imagine NK got lucky and the kids napped during most of the date--waking up just as their parents wandered inside ;)
      More soon!

  37. Finally..arshi got past tht misunderstanding..anymore to come?u are truly a brilliant writer exploring things..Mr.H eyes now fallen on Lia just like expected..but I do have a thing i my mind about the upcoming story..lemme see if our thoughts are same;)
    And btw Lia is is indeed long as must be as strong and intellectual like soft faces for him pls:p

    1. Deal, let's see if our thoughts align... I will give u a clue and say mine are running in a much darker light...
      Glad you like Jenny as Lia! you're all free to pick your own Aman. honestly, he's not that clear in my head so I don't picture any particular actor but Jen as Lia just fits.
      More soon in SP <3

    2. With u on this..I ll let u knw wht I have in mind once u unfold the story;)For Aman its Harshad for me..Waiting for another hot shot update <3

  38. felt bad for lia and aman but loved their passion for twins ...luckily aman is on time to save lia from creeps ...lets see how he is going to manage from their trap....finally khushi understood how much arnav went through without her and felt his turmoil....

    1. Yes Arshi made some headway and things got resolved but poor Lia and Aman, for them things got much much worse.. more soon! <3

  39. Can't wait for the next chapter xxx

  40. Tina dis part was juz wow...I mean u truly an incredible writer I truly love ur FFS and also I m soo happy day u will be re writing desert heat and shameless. Desert heat is one of d most amazing and close to my heart. Infact secret passion too is in the line..coming to the story I also imagined Lia as Jenifer and Aman as Karan Wahi in my head.So finally our love birds Arshi solved der issues n reunited. I m also loving d part of Aman n Lia d way dey have started growing feelings towards each Oder n der little moment's r amazing.
    So at last I guess dats Me H who sd lia that relax my pet!! So Aman came it will be amazing to see what happens next.
    Thanks for giving us Updates Tina.

    1. Aww I love Karan Wahi, he's such a great actor and person <3 Glad you're liking Lia and Aman's romance as well as Arshi's <3
      And yes, your guess is correct--that was Master H who said "pet". Awesome catch!
      More soon in SP and DH hun <3

  41. hey tina
    m so happy that uh updated
    arshi are together yay..
    i so wanted to see more of them :( bt its okkk finally they resolve their issue !!!
    hopefully next update we will able to see more of arshi romance
    eagerly waiting fr next update:)

    1. Yes, a bit more arshi romance next update... I wish it could all be fluff and romance, but this story is a bit darker and it's hard to suppress that for some reason. More soon in SP hun <3

  42. Sorry for late one!
    But this one was definitely a treat.
    Aman and Lia has gone a step further in their plan but things will never be easy for them, will it ??
    I am happy that they both are standing with Arshi and the twins as well as they both are with each other too.
    The further Aman and Lia went, they will have to conquer the dangerous paths adorned in front of them and now Mr. H himself have come out in open.

    Now coming to Arnav and Khushi, there love has already broken thousand of barriers coming between them and now also this has happened. Their love is their biggest strength and no matter Mr. H planted a misunderstandings of Divorce they will come out of this too.

    Waiting for the next one!!

  43. Hi Tina, it was so good to find you again and your this blog.. I thought you have stopped writing SP.....

    I have read till arshi come back to Delhi for bridle fashion show.. I was just wondering what happen after that..

    When I found this blog n was happy to see you have been updating SP...

    It's was such a he'll roller coaster ride.. shock that H is his so called uncle... that evil H brutally killed payal n took the twin immediately after they born n gave them some chemical to drink instead of milk..arshi was so broken ...but as you said there always a light of hope n Lia came as that n got twin back to arshi..
    But hope you have planned that evil H gets servere punishment for not only spoiling samira, Anjali, Arnav but trying to harm twin ..
    Hope as arshi always stand together in future too they will ...
    Aman lia loved the way both are fall in love..hope you keep them safe too..

    No more harm to arshi , twin, Aman, lia and nk but punishment to all evil..

    Looking forward...
    Please don't disappear

  44. Yesterday only I found your blog again and today got message from you that some st***d reader comment upset you ...

    Please yaar who have been flowing your story n waiting for update consider them too..

    I am sorry to hear there something tragic happen in your life.. pray to God for strength. Courage for you..

    1. Thank you so much hun *hugs to you* I got upset yesterday and reacted strongly, I'm over it (mostly) today.

  45. Hi dear.....was so excited wen I opened ur blog to find u have
    updated....Mr H is just one despicable man. He is an idiot if he thinks he can separate Arnav & Khushi....he just cannot fathom the depth of their love for each. Lia is one strong her. Aman really cares for her....beautiful couple. Just wish Lia gets thro dis torture. I hope Mr H has a slow & painful death for all the pain he has inflicted on the others.

  46. Thank you for the update. Amazing Tina!! I wish I could write as good as you! Please update soon.

  47. Lia is really brave . Her and Aman are true to Arnav and Khushi . Fantastic


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