Deep Domination - Lili Valente

CHAPTER ONE

Six Years Ago

Jackson

They had only been in the stuffy room at the end of the hall for half an hour, but Jackson was already sweating beneath his clothes and dangerously close to losing his shit.

The interrogation was a joke. It was clear, that in the minds of the two military police officers charged with getting his side of the story, he had already been tried and convicted. He didn’t know either of them, but they weren’t hard to read. The older, red-headed man with the crooked nose wanted to pound Jackson unconscious and his partner—a young, fuzzy-haired brunette who barely looked old enough to have graduated from the academy—alternated between flushing red with anger and paling with disgust.

And fear. She was afraid of him, too.

He could see it in her eyes when her guard faltered. She was horrified by what she was certain he’d done. She was also scared of what might have happened to her if she’d encountered him on one of the more far-flung Quantico trails, deep in the forest where no one could have heard her scream as he’d forced himself on her.

As he’d raped her.

The thought made his stomach roil and bile rush up the back of his throat. He would never do that to a woman, any woman, let alone the woman he loved. Being questioned in connection with something like this was deeply disturbing, but the fact that he was accused of violating Harley was just…too much.

He felt dizzy, sick, and panicked, but also strangely above it all, like a ghost hovering in the air watching a man with dark circles under his eyes protest that he was innocent.

It was all so fucking bizarre.

He’d spent the past two days grieving Harley with an intensity that had left his insides black and blue, crying himself to sleep and wishing he never had to wake up again. All he wanted was for her to be alive, even if it meant she was married to Clay and he would never get to hold her again, never taste her skin or hear the breathy sound she made at the back of her throat as he pushed inside her.

He still loved her, and ached for her so deeply he worried the pain might kill him. He would never have hurt her—never.

He’d said as much to the MPs at least half a dozen times, but it bore repeating until these people got the message.

“It doesn’t matter if anyone can confirm whether or not I was at home asleep four nights ago,” he said, cutting off the red-haired officer in the middle of his latest monologue.

The man and his partner both had nametags on their uniforms, but Jackson couldn’t seem to focus long enough to make sense of the letters stitched in black on gray. The entire morning had been too surreal, from the time the officers knocked on his front door to the moment he learned he was being questioned in connection with the rape of Harley Garrett.

“I didn’t rape Harley. I love her.” The reality that she was no longer alive to love hit him all over again, making it hard to swallow past the fist of emotion shoving up his throat.

“I loved her,” he continued, his voice hoarse. “So much. I would never have hurt her. And if she were here right now she’d tell you that. She’d tell you everything we did was consensual.”

“So you believe Miss Garrett was a truthful woman?” the female officer asked. She was pale now, not flushed, but Jackson was too frustrated to wonder if that was a good sign or a bad one.

“Yes,” he said, shaking his head as he realized that wasn’t the truth, no matter how much he wanted it to be. “I thought so, anyway. She always seemed to be when we were together. But two days ago I learned that she was engaged to my best friend. They’d been dating behind my back for months so…”

He ran a clawed hand through his hair with a harsh sigh, trying not to think about the fact that Clay was gone, too. Clay, who had been his best friend since basic training and saved his life more than once. Clay, who would have been the first and only person he would have turned to at a time like this, the only person in his life he’d trusted with all of his secrets.

“So maybe she wasn’t always truthful,” he continued. “But she would have told you the truth about this.”

“Why’s that?”