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Sarah Ruiz thought she had it all – until someone entered her life who was hell-bent on destroying her.
Sarah Ruiz is a business owner, a fitness trainer and a mom. Married to the ever-so-charming and wealthy Alex Ruiz, Sarah appears to have the perfect life. But behind closed doors, he revealed a side of himself that destroyed her love for him. With five beautiful children and unable to leave her situation, Sarah knows she must make changes.
Sarah’s journey to freedom take a turn when a man, Gabe Benoit, promises to help her. Thus starts a whirlwind of romance, intrigue, seduction, blackmail and manipulation. No matter which way Sarah turns, she is backed into a corner before she can even realize it. When she finally has promise of a better future, she must use every ounce of her strength to work her way through the web of lies and find truth on her journey to independence.
Sarah bit her lip to keep from moaning. As the elevator rose, the motion of Alex’s hand got faster and faster. As soon as the doors had closed, Sarah felt his hand slide underneath her skirt. The bellhop’s back was to them, and he didn’t notice as Alex cupped her from behind and let the tips of his fingers stroke her.
As soon as she saw The James Hotel, Sarah was overwhelmed with excitement of not only a fabulous New York holiday but also a lifetime of taking trips like this with her dashing husband. People treated him like royalty. Whether it was his striking Cuban good looks or the aura that surrounded him, he commanded attention, without having to say a word. Now, as he worked magic between her legs, she knew he had command over her, too.
When the elevator came to a halt at the top floor where The Presidential Suite awaited them, he removed his hand as quickly as he had inserted it, leaving her wet and ready to do anything and everything he wanted.
The bellhop left the luggage cart outside the door and tipped his cap to Alex, who handed him a folded bill. The door had a numbered lock, and Alex quickly punched in the code. Sarah was dying to have a peek inside.
“Wow!” she said softly as she looked around. In the center of the room, a large leather sofa faced a lit fireplace. A white shag throw rug sprawled on the floor in front of it. Large, red floor pillows beckoned her to come and stretch out in front of the flame.
A door to the left was slightly open, and Sarah guessed that was the way to the bedroom. To the right was a bar and kitchenette. She lay down in front of the fireplace on one of the pillows while Alex brought in the bags. He peeked briefly into the bedroom and then came and stood over her.
“Oh no you don’t. Come with me this way,” he said. He reached down, grabbed her hand and brought her to her feet.
“Can’t we lay in front of the fire?” Sarah asked. Despite her attraction to the plush carpet and warm blaze, she allowed him to lead her into the bedroom.
Sitting on top of the thick satin comforter was a woman in a see-through purple and black negligee. The lace didn’t quite cover the tops of her thighs, and her long, dark hair fell behind her on a pillow. Her legs were quite long. She had them extended and crossed at the ankle. She sat with her back against the headboard and casually sipped a glass of champagne.
A tray perched next to the bed held two more champagne glasses, a large bowl of raspberries, a dish of fresh whipped cream, and the most luscious chocolate mousse Sarah had ever seen.
Sarah glanced at it all, then looked back at the woman in their bed. Her bed. Shit! Sarah could see her pussy. What the hell is this? she wondered.
“Hello, Victoria,” Alex said.
Victoria smiled and raised her champagne glass in a toast. “Hi, Alex. Hi, Sarah,” she said.
“Who is this?” Sarah looked at Alex. Her confusion turned into a scowl on her beautiful face.
“This is your surprise,” Alex said with a Cheshire Cat grin.
“I’m not sure I understand.”
Alex turned to Sarah. He grabbed the front of her blouse and ripped it open. He put one hand behind her head and pulled her face to his. He kissed her hard.
Sarah, her desire for him already hot from the elevator ride, kissed him back. Then she pulled away.
“Wait. What is this?” she asked again.
“This,” Alex said eagerly as he removed his pants, “is going to be amazing.”
His cock was sticking straight up already. He reached again for Sarah. “Baby, make love to me with Victoria here. Let her help us have a great time.”
He kissed Sarah’s neck and shoulders. She tried to process this. He wanted them all to make love?
“I thought we already had a great time together,” Sarah said.
Alex lifted his face to her and looked her in the eye. He cradled her face between his hands and kissed the tip of her nose.
“Of course we do, baby, but this is an experience that will take our fucking to the next level. I promise, you’ll love it. We’ll be gentle with you, won’t we, Vic?”
Sarah let her eyes wander to the bed, where Victoria still sipped her champagne. What were they going to do? She wondered if anyone she knew had done this kind of thing before. Is this how rich people live?
Sarah looked back at Alex. “Is this what you want?”
Alex laughed softly. “Oh, baby, you have no idea. Do this with me. You’re so sexy.”
Sarah’s head was a little fuzzy from the wine she had enjoyed on the plane. She said, “I’ll be right back,” and went back into the living room of the suite. She walked over to the bar and grabbed a bottle of Jack from the shelf. She twisted off the plastic cap and took a long swig. It burned her throat as she swallowed. She caught her reflection in a mirror above the bar.
“You can do this,” she said to herself. “He is your husband. This is what he wants, so it must be OK.” She wasn’t convinced that it was OK, but her pep talk and the booze gave her the strength to see what awaited her in the bedroom.
Alex was lying naked on the bed next to Victoria. They were close, but not touching one another. Sarah still wore her ripped-open blouse and skirt.
“Strip for me, baby,” Alex said.
Sarah slowly removed her blouse and freed her breasts from the constraint of her bra. She slid her skirt and panties down together. She had no self-consciousness about her body—but she could feel Alex’s eyes burning with passion as he looked at her fresh Brazilian wax.
“You’re beautiful,” he said. “Come here.”
She crawled onto the bed from the foot and slowly made her way toward him, avoiding Victoria’s legs. Victoria got up from the bed and picked up the bowl of raspberries.
“You’re going to let me have my way with you, right?” Alex said. It wasn’t really a question.
Sarah nodded. She had a lump in her throat and was quite sure she couldn’t speak.
Alex flipped her over so she was on her back, lying sideways across the bed. Her head was near where Victoria stood.
Victoria picked up one of the raspberries and dipped it in the whipped cream. She placed it lightly on one of Sarah’s nipples and gently traced the dark circle, leaving a trail of white. The raspberry was cold, and Sarah sucked in her breath. The feeling was amazingly sensual. Victoria dipped the raspberry again and repeated the process on the other breast. She looked Sarah in the eye and licked the raspberry before putting it into her own mouth.
Then she took another raspberry between her fingers and, with the touch of a feather, traced Sarah’s lips. She pushed the berry into Sarah’s mouth and let her finger slip briefly inside, too. Almost involuntarily, Sarah sucked on the woman’s finger.
Am I really doing this? she wondered.
Alex held his cock and began to stroke himself. Victoria leaned over and began to lick the whipped cream from Sarah’s nipples. Sarah lay there, not sure what to do next.
As if reading her mind, Alex said, “Put your hands on Victoria’s back.”
Sarah raised her arms and placed them onto Victoria’s back, and ever so softly moved her hands across the material.
They stayed like that for a minute, with Victoria licking and sucking Sarah’s nipples—until Alex said, “My turn, ladies,” and climbed onto the bed. Victoria stood up and poured herself more champagne.
Alex placed his hands on Sarah’s hips and lifted her on top of his cock, which was harder and longer than Sarah ever remembered it being. Sarah straddled him and slowly slid down.
“Stay right there, baby,” he said to Sarah. Victoria was waiting patiently, having removed her lingerie. He reached up and took Victoria’s hand, inviting her to join them. Without hesitation she placed her legs on either side of Alex’s head and lowered herself onto his hungry tongue.
Sarah and Victoria were now eye to eye, facing each other atop Sarah’s husband.
This is fucked up, Sarah thought.
She arched a suspicious eyebrow at Victoria, who simply smiled back at her. It wasn’t a challenge—she actually looked like a kind woman. That thought made Sarah give her head a shake, and she closed her eyes. She began to rotate her hips in large, leisurely circles on top of Alex, pressing herself hard onto him as she moved. Gyrating like this always brought her to orgasm, and there was no way she was going to go through this night and not allow herself that pleasure.
At some point they shifted positions and Sarah once again found herself supine. Alex was on top of her, driving his hard cock into her with the force of a jackhammer. Victoria went back to playing with Sarah’s breasts, taking breaks to pour champagne into Sarah’s mouth from time to time. Sarah appreciated the fact that Victoria did not try to climb on top of her face the way she had done to Alex. Sarah had no desire to go there.
Victoria delicately placed two raspberries into Sarah’s mouth and whispered, “Don’t eat them.”
She then covered Sarah’s mouth with her own. Using her tongue, she tried to take the raspberries back. They began a wet, slurpy game and, as the champagne and Jack Daniel’s kicked in, Sarah soon found herself in a tantalizing blur of sex and lips and breasts and bodies.
They continued for what seemed like hours. Sarah fought to keep her eyes open as exhaustion overtook her. She vaguely recalled Victoria getting out of the bed and retrieving clothes from a small duffel bag. The last thing Sarah remembered before drifting off to sleep was seeing Victoria pick up a wad of cash from the dresser as she exited the room.
The next morning, Sarah’s head ached with the throb of a hangover—the kind of hangover in which you wonder if the memories flashing through your mind are really of yourself or from a movie you once saw.
Alex was still asleep. She lay there for a full twenty minutes after waking, not wanting to move so he didn’t stir. She slowly got out of bed and tiptoed to the bathroom. She felt sticky and dirty. The showerhead was strong, and as she lathered the soap over her body her head began to clear and questions flooded her mind.
How many times had Alex and Victoria been together?
Was she a… prostitute?
Most frightening to her was, Is this what married couples do?
She didn’t like the sadness that permeated her insides or the idea that her love wasn’t enough for him. He said it himself: “Let her help us have a great time.”
She brushed her teeth and studied herself in the mirror. Did she look different now that she was experienced in threesome sex? She didn’t think so. If anything, she looked too young and innocent to know so much about what happens behind the closed doors of The Presidential Suite in New York.
She could hear Alex talking to someone and prayed to God that Victoria wasn’t back. She strained her ears and mercifully heard the hotel room door close and the voices stop. She left the bathroom.
“So did you have fun?” Alex asked her. He offered her a cup of coffee from the food cart brought up by room service.
“Um, did you have fun?” she asked right back.
“Oh, yes. I love you so much. Thank you for being open. I hope it was good for you,” Alex said. He untied his robe and she could see his manhood sticking up again, ready for another round. She felt awful. Yet she wanted to make him happy.
“Alex, why did you marry me?” Sarah asked.
“Why would you ask that?” he said. He took her coffee from her and guided her to the bed. He laid her backward tenderly, one hand behind her head as the other slid up into her robe and came to rest in the space between her breasts.
“I love you,” he said, as his mouth engulfed her own. He kissed her long and hard, languidly moving his tongue around her mouth as his hand massaged her chest.
She kissed him back, feeling her own desire for him grow. She allowed him to remove her robe, and his own, and they spent a long morning making love over every inch of the king-sized bed.
Sarah traced her finger along Alex’s chest, resting and thinking about Victoria.
“Have you ever done that before?” she asked.
“Done what? Made love? Of course,” he joked.
“No. I meant, with two other women.”
“Once,” he said. “It was a long time ago.”
“Did you enjoy it then?” Sarah asked, although she figured she knew the answer.
“Actually it was the worst night of my life,” Alex confessed.
“It was the night my mother died,” he said. Sarah was quiet. The air was heavy, and she felt his body stiffen.
“Would you tell me what happened?” she finally asked.
“One night, I was out at a club and picked up a couple of women. I was eighteen, had a lot of money, we had been drinking, and I actually recall very little of what went on in the back of my car.” Alex began.
“Was this in Cuba?” Sarah asked.
“Yes. I arrived home feeling like a champion. But when I walked in the kitchen, my mother was in a heap on the floor. I rushed to her side. ‘Mama, what happened? What is it?’ I asked. She leaned into me and sobbed. She was out of control. I just held her. I didn’t know what else to do. Then I heard my father’s voice.
“‘It’s Tomas,’ he said.
“‘What do you mean? Papa, what happened?’ I asked him.
“Papa stood and motioned for me to follow. I stood up, but Mama grabbed my leg and dug her nails into my skin.
“She screamed at me, ‘Please do not let them hurt Tomas. Please.’
“‘Why would they hurt Tomas?’ I asked her, but she didn’t answer.
“‘Alejandro! Vamos!’ Papa yelled. He was so angry.”
Sarah glanced at his face. She could tell that the memory of his father’s anger still stung. His eyes were focused out the window, perhaps picturing the scene he carried in his head.
“I looked back at Mama, who was face down on the kitchen floor. I wanted to stay with her, but knew I had to go with my father.
“We got into the car drove into the night. Papa didn’t say a word. My stomach shriveled when I recognized where we were going. There was a car waiting. It was night, but I knew the two men who were standing on the cliff. There was a third figure kneeling between them. He had a black cloth sack over his head, and as we approached I recognized the shirt the man was wearing. It was my brother Tomas.”
Alex paused again and Sarah held her breath, not wanting to move for fear he would stop telling the story. Alex coughed lightly then continued.
“I looked at Papa. I am sure my eyes glowed with fear. Papa shook his finger at me, ‘Not a word,’ he said.
“‘But, Papa,’ I whispered.
“Papa turned to me and grabbed the front of my shirt. He shook me hard. ‘Tomas stole one million American dollars from the cartel. They caught him trying to escape. You and I are here to witness what must take place. We cannot fight it or else all of us will be brought to the same end. Do you hear me? You, me, your sisters, your other brothers, Mama. All of us. He has shamed us all and we must comply. Not. A. Word.’
“I saw something I had never seen before in my father. Terror. I hated him in that moment. I hated what was coming. I hated the powerlessness to save my brother’s life. My father worked for the cartel. There was nothing we could do. The rest was a blur to me.
“I saw the men fling Tomas from the top of the cliff.
“I saw the Cuban night pass by as I stared out the window on the drive home.
“But then, the worst of all, I saw my mother’s lifeless body, hanging from the rafter in the kitchen when we got home.”
Alex stopped speaking. Sarah sat up and looked at him.
“I’m sorry,” she said. She knew those two words couldn’t possibly be enough.
Alex pursed his lips and shook off his emotions. “I left Cuba, determined to start a new life here. One that wasn’t controlled by anyone.”
Sarah wiped her eyes with the edge of the sheet. She noticed Alex’s eyes were dry. The clouded look passed and he reached for her again. “I never told anyone that story,” he said.
“Thank you for telling me,” she said softly, stroking his cheek. She didn’t like the threesome and the way she felt inside as she thought about it, but she had a surge of compassion for this man she married. She sensed that he had been through much more than he told her, and she hoped it would work itself out in time.
The raw sexual pull between Sarah and Alex was unlike anything she’d ever experienced. The animalistic hunger that seeped from him made her desire and fear him at the same time. He was insatiable in bed—always wanting more. She’d never known any man who could get so hard so quickly, and every night she fell asleep spent.
Feelings of shame from the encounter with Victoria lingered. Just when she thought they were gone, she’d recall something that happened that night with a pang in her heart. And if the memories didn’t come back on their own, Alex was sure to relive it for her.
“Oh, baby, remember how great it felt to have me pound your pussy while Victoria licked your hot breasts?” he would ask gruffly while they were in bed. It jarred her from any pleasure she might have been feeling and instantly draped a shroud over her heart.
The third time he brought it up, she happened to be looking at his face as he said it. His eyes were closed, and his mouth twisted into a grimace. Sarah realized he was saying that for his own benefit—to draw himself back to that moment in that room—and the thought turned her stomach. Who was he thinking about when he came inside of me?
She tried to be the perfect wife. She wanted him to see that she could fix the wounds his brother’s betrayal had seared onto his heart. A natural first step, she thought, was to begin a family of their own. She loved children and knew that once he had his own little ones who needed him he’d feel complete.
Three months into her pregnancy with Enrico (or Eric, as they called him), her hopes for a utopian life hit a brick wall. Sarah went up to Fort Lauderdale to shop for baby clothes. She hadn’t told Alex where she was going, hoping to surprise him with the cutest little football jersey ever made. Alex, however, didn’t find it cute.
When she got home, she found him in the kitchen, pacing. He fumed that she had gone out for the day without telling him where she was going.
He raised his voice, yelled some things at her in Spanish, and before she could process the magnitude of his anger, she felt the crack of the back of his hand across her soft cheek. She sank down to her knees on the tile of their perfect kitchen. She raised her eyes to him, one hand holding her cheek and the other protectively on her stomach. The look on his face frightened her so much, she thought she would vomit.
Then she did vomit.
She remained on her hands and knees. He didn’t move, except to inch backward from the puddle. She stared at her fingers as he spat the words for the first time: “You have nothing without me. ”
She continued to stare at her hands, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of seeing her cry. “Why would you do that to me?” she wondered aloud.
“This is my house. If you don’t like it, you know where the door is.” He turned on his heel and left for the evening.
He didn’t bring up Fort Lauderdale again, but that incident was the beginning of a new pattern. Each time Sarah caught a glimpse of the life she dreamed of, cruel words and an occasional backhand buried her dream deeper and deeper into the Miami sand.
Following one such instance, she mentioned leaving him. His laughter was laced with hatred.
“Really? And just where would you go?” He shook his head, laughed again, and went out to one of his clubs. She felt like a child who threatened to run away.
The birth of Enrico brought them together for a time. Alex took great pride in his new son, and Sarah and Enrico were inseparable. His smile filled her with such happiness that before long she was pregnant again. The rest of the kids came closely together—four pregnancies, five children. Her final pregnancy delivered twins, a boy and a girl.
Sarah’s life became all about juggling children and managing Alex’s moods. She came to recognize when Alex’s demeanor was darkening and would be on alert against sending him over the edge. Even so, Alex’s harsh words and rough nature pervaded even the parts of their relationship that were supposed to be the most gentle and intimate.
One morning, shortly after the twins turned two, Alex told her to pack a bag.
“Why?” Sarah asked.
“We’ve got tickets to see Holyfield fight Bates tomorrow night in Dallas. We’re taking a private jet with some business associates of mine. I need you to look real nice. Go get a dress.”
She grabbed her purse and car keys and headed for The Chanel Store. She made a couple of selections and took them to the fitting room.
The first dress was an exquisite one-shoulder gown that fell above her knees. The silk hugged her curves perfectly. Lead-colored sequins twinkled like stars across her body.
Any woman would have been damn proud to carry her figure, but Sarah placed a hand on her stomach and sighed. It wasn’t as tight as it used to be. Head tilted, she stared at her arms, her legs. She turned to see how she looked from behind. She leaned in close and studied the face of the woman whose eyes looked back at her.
“Dammit!” she said finally to the woman in the mirror. One word came to mind. Tired. Her body, her eyes, even her hair, looked tired.
Later in life, Sarah would recall that moment with startling clarity. The moment she knew that if things were ever going to be different, something needed to change. Alex was a good provider—actually, he was a great provider—for his family. When he was calm, they had seemingly normal, fun family times. Yet the volatility of his personality and the disgust she felt each time he brought up the threesome stayed with her. Tenderness had melted away from their lovemaking and she felt dirty after each time. His crude sexual remarks weighed on her soul like sandbags and were starting to noticeably wear on her physical appearance.
“No more,” Sarah said to herself. She knew then that she was not going to be one of those moms who used her kids as an excuse for why her body and life weren’t how they should be. That wasn’t fair to the kids or to herself. She knew what she needed to do, and she was determined that nothing would stand in her way.
That weekend, Divine Providence gave her plan an opening. One of the guys traveling with them was a fitness trainer.
“Can you train me?” she asked him outright, after they had chatted for a while.
“Excuse me?” he said with surprise. “You want to start training?”
“No, I am going to start training. I need a coach. Would you train me?”
“All right,” he said cautiously. “When do you want to begin?”
“As soon as we get home,” she said. “I’m not waiting any longer.
The decision to put less energy into trying to make Alex happy, and more toward training and to her children, ignited her spirit. She knew she would get her body in incredible shape and use her nutrition knowledge to begin her own business, one that would eventually support herself and the kids.
Her muscles remembered well the form they had before her pregnancies, and it wasn’t long before she was in extraordinary condition.
She trained with the guy from the fight for a few months, then left him for someone who was a better fit with her own philosophies toward fitness. She believed strongly in getting fit using a combination of natural ingredients, clean eating habits, and hard work. With encouragement from friends at the gym, she began competing in fitness modeling competitions. Certifications in personal training and sports nutrition allowed her to formally start training clients herself, and she developed a small, but impressive private client base that included a few professional athletes.
Alex was enthusiastic about her training and showed her off to his friends and business connections. Alex saw her achievements as his success. Behind closed doors, he took every opportunity to remind her that without him she wouldn’t be able to afford the trainer, the trips to competitions, or the gym that he had built at their home so that she could see clients. He also continued to take every opportunity to make her feel like nothing more than a sex object—at his beck and call whenever he got hard, which was constantly.
The more clients she gained, the more she knew she could not risk her industry reputation by having Alex throw her out. She was caged.