Chapter Five

Gisela stood outside the door, listening to the sound of the lovers beyond. She was angry that he had brought a woman on the plane when he knew she would be there. Then to learn the bitch was his wife. It was all too much to accept.

If it wasn’t for the few visits a year the Baron took, her life would be dismal. She kept herself fit for him, even to the point of denying her husband a child. The way Hans touched her, the way he spanked her and restrained her hands during sex…the memories were the only thing that kept her going. Then he brings this woman on board and takes her to bed instead. It was bad enough she was a beautiful blonde, but an American? Was he insane?

Gisela turned around, wiping the tears from her eyes. She recognized the woman’s accent as soon as she opened her mouth to speak, but that didn’t explain why Hans would take her as a bride. Sure, she was attractive, and she had an amazing figure, but that was far from being the best way to start a life together.

And how did he meet her, anyway? He hadn’t taken the plane out in months, and to her knowledge, he hadn’t gone to America in over a year. It was cold weather, but it hadn’t started snowing, so the chances of her being a tourist was unlikely, and the way she reacted to him, they were very familiar with each other. Even a whirlwind romance wouldn’t cause them to act like long time lovers.

Quietly, she walked back to the table and sat down in the same chair he had sat. The sounds of their continued passion echoed through the stillness, and she closed her eyes, sliding her hand up the inside of her skirt. He told her that underclothing was prohibited as part of her uniform, and she was happy for that. She liked the way he stared at her, as if he were starving, and the way he would touch her…but it looked as if those days were gone.

The pain from him not remembering her name lingered in her heart. She had been learning English to help her with his guests, but he wasn’t aware of it. She hoped to surprise him with her new talent the next time she saw him. She just wasn’t expecting the next time to be with a wife on his arm.

Memories of their past trips invaded her mind and she again felt the tears of rejection sliding down her cheeks. It was always the same with him. Very orderly, very routine, and very passionate.

Once they were in the air, he would ask if she had obeyed his orders and she would lift her skirt to show him her nude body. He praised her obedience, then demand she perform a sexual act, either on herself or on him. Afterwards, he would take her, hard and urgent. They would make love on the table, on the sofa, in the bedroom, even in the cold storage area, chained to a seat, and gagged. She would spend every moment onboard with him, sucking him, or letting him fuck her anyway he wished.

Now, he had her. That…blonde. That…American. He would not need for her anymore. She would be nothing more than a well-paid flight attendant, with a husband who had no idea how to satisfy her. Even the movies she brought home didn’t encourage him to be creative. She was forced to spend her time satisfying herself instead, longing for another trip with the ruthless Baron.

Gisela sighed as she stood up, wiping the tears from her face. She would have to make the plane ready for landing, then she would spend the next three days in Italy, until Hans was ready to return. It was always like that. She was never allowed to be onboard unless he was, and sometimes not even then. She knew the pilots made a return trip to Innsbruck with supplies for the castle, or the town, then make a third trip back to pick them up.

It was the same in every country they went to. There wasn’t any other reason for him to go to Italy, or China, or even Paris, except to buy supplies. For all those trips, even the times when the plane was sent to return special guests to where they came from, she wasn’t allowed on board.

She thought she was there for his pleasure, and for more than pouring coffee, and she liked that idea. She liked the feeling that she was a special treat for him to indulge with. She liked being ordered, and intimidated. She liked it when he made her undress, then slipped a collar around her neck, or handcuffed her. The sex was outrageous and insane, and she liked it more than she liked shopping.

With a deep sigh, she stood up and walked around the table, collecting the meal they hadn’t even touched. Then saw Hans’s computer bag sitting on the chair, and the computer he left next to his drink. She looked around to make certain she wasn’t being watched, then slowly opened the lid. The screen flickered on, but it asked for a password, and she didn’t know it.

Closing the lid, she looked at the bag then nervously looked around a second time. The door was still closed, and if he was making love to his wife the way he did with her, he should be nearly finished and ready to return to his work. She’d heard his primal growl and knew it wouldn’t take him long to dress again. If she was going to snoop, she had to do it quickly.

Gisela opened the flap on the bag then briefly searched it, uncertain what she was looking for. She had a strong desire to find something to use against the blonde who stole him from her. Surely, she married the Baron for his money – and his body, of course. She was undoubtedly in Germany illegally, and if she didn’t have permission to be in the country, it would be Gisela’s obligation to have her deported.

Inside the bag was Hans’s wallet, complete with more than a dozen credit cards, his driver’s license, photos of him with friends from different locations around the world, and a large stack of colorful paper euros. She bit her bottom lip and removed four yellow, €200 notes, and stuffed them in her vest pocket before reaching into another part of the bag. She found Hans's and Cassie’s passports and opened each one.

Hans had several stamps from different countries filling the pages, but Cassie’s was blank, except for the stamp from Austria. It looked brand new, but if she was an American, there had to be a stamp entering Germany, if not other areas of Europe. The rest of the bag didn’t hold much information at all. There was an inventory list with numbers she couldn’t decipher, and plans for an auction they were going to attend in April.

Gisela drew a deep breath and returned the papers to the bag, then opened Hans’s passport again. Even his photo looked amazing. He was so handsome and rugged. It just wasn’t fair that woman got him. Unless the Baron decided to travel alone, Gisela knew her time with the man was over.

Closing the small book, she slipped it back inside the bag and opened the one belonging to his wife again. Her name was Cassidy Hennhofen, of New York. There was no other name listed, so there was no way of finding out what her maiden name was, but she did have a birthdate, and an address. Perhaps she could find something online about her. It was just strange that there were no stamps from New York, or anywhere else for that matter. It was as if it had just been printed, but that didn’t make sense. Unless she had a new one made after she was married.

Gisela shook her head. Speculating wasn’t getting her anywhere. She would have to try and see what she could find on the internet. She would have three days at the hotel, and then she’d take the return trip with the couple. Hearing their laughter, she took her phone out of her vest pocket and snapped a picture of the passport as the pilot came on the speaker.

“Wir werden in fünf Minuten landen, Euer Gnaden,” the man’s voice said.

Gisela dropped the passport into the case when the door started to open, then hurried down the hallway to the galley. She wouldn’t have time to look for anything until after they landed, but she was determined to find out who this woman was and send her back where she came from.

Hans smiled as he moved to the table and reached for his shoes. The trip had been much more pleasant than he predicted, and it was thanks to his new bride.

“Shouldn’t we get buckled in or something?” Cassie asked, stepping out of the bedroom.

“I would love to strap you in restraints,” Hans said, chuckling.

“I wasn’t asking the perverted fiend, I was asking my husband.

“As your husband, I would still love to strap you in restraints.

“There isn’t time to embrace your dark side, again.

“Damn,” Hans grumbled playfully, then swatted her bottom as she passed him by.

He gathered his laptop and slipped it into the case, frowning when he couldn’t close the flap and lock the fasteners. He pulled it out with a frown and reached into the bag. At the bottom was his wallet and Cassie’s passport. Both of which had been taken out of their perspective pockets.

He opened the passport and checked it out, then tucked it back into its holding spot, as well as the list of women at his Italian villa, and the supplies he would need to order before going home. He took his wallet and tucked it awkwardly in his pants pocket. He hated carrying a wallet in his clothing unless it was in a suitcoat. It was heavy and bulky.

“Were you in my bag?” Hans asked, fastening the closures around his computer.

“No,” Cassie answered, glancing at the concerned frown on the man’s handsome face. “Why? Is something missing?

“No, I don’t think so. It’s just…I must not have put the passports back when we left the airport.

“I saw you put them in a pocket in your case.

“That’s what I thought, but they were out, and…”

Hans took a step away from the table when his eye caught the sight of a yellow piece of paper on the floor between the chairs. He picked it up and his frown deepened.

“What’s that?” Cassie asked with a yawn as she buckled her belt around her middle, feeling the rumble of landing gear lowering beneath her feet.

“It’s a 200 euro note,” he answered.

Hans sat down next to her and placed the bag on the floor at his feet. He buckled the strap around his waist, then reached for hers and cinched it up a little snugger.

“What’s the matter?” she asked a moment later as the plane’s wheels touched down on the runway, jerking the plane slightly.

“Are you sure you weren’t in my bag?

“What would I want in your bag for?

“Any number of things,” he answered in a firm voice that hinted at his internal anger. “There’s money, your passport, my cellphone…everything you would need to…”


It was Cassie’s turn to frown. She thought they understood each other. She thought they had found a level ground to stand on, but now…

“Why would I want to do that when you still own Anne and the girls?” she asked in a tone that assured him she was more insulted than he was angry.

“You could contact the military, Bundespolizei…any number of agencies.

“Right. Like the nice men who drive the padded wagons and carry around white jackets? Are you insane? When would I have had time to go through your bag? I have been under your watchful eye all day.

“Willkommen in Venedig Italien,” the pilot said over the speaker. “Ihr Auto wartet vor dem Terminal und die Villa ist auf Ihre Ankunft informiert.

Hans didn’t say anything as Gisela stepped out of the hallway. He unfastened his belt and stood up, reaching a hand out for Cassie.

“We’ll stop for supper on the way to the villa,” he told her, frowning when she stood up, brushing his hand away. “It’s about an hour drive and it will be nightfall by the time we arrive.

“Aren’t you afraid I might alert the authorities to your illicit activities?

“It won’t make much of a difference,” he said, watching the flight attendant remove their suitcases from the cupboards near the exit. “I own the restaurant, and the people only speak Italian. I know you don’t speak anything but English, with a few exceptions, so the most that will happen is you’ll have a sore bottom tonight when we’re alone.

“Don’t threaten me, Your Lordship,” she snapped, pushing away from him. “I’m not in much of a mood to play your stupid games of master and the slave.

“Cassie, I’m sorry,” he heard himself saying. “It’s just that…”

“Your stuff has been gone through, and I’m the logical person to blame. You wouldn’t have considered the other three people on this plane, just me. I’m the new one. I’m the one who has told you a dozen times I’m not going to stay with a man who…like you.

Cassie paused when she saw the curious expression on Gisela’s face, then turned back to Hans.

“Maybe you should consider talking to your flight-whore,” she said in a low voice. “She’s had complete access to the plane while we were in the bedroom. Maybe she figured you deserved to be fucked for a change.

Cassie walked away from the man and toward the door, leaving him to stare at her back. He knew she had a right to be angry, but he didn’t exactly accuse her. At least he didn’t come out and say he thought she was guilty. And she was right, she had been in his sight all day. If she was wanting to ransack his belongings, she would have had to be in two places at once. Even as amazing as she was, that was a feat she had yet to master.

The small restaurant was alive with the sound of voices. Hans had dismissed his driver at the airport, insisting he would drive them himself. He didn’t want witnesses around in case he decided to beat his wife - or the other way around. It was best of they spent a quiet evening alone.

They stopped half way between the airport and his villa and sat at the small table reserved for when he was in town. They hadn’t spoken a single word since leaving the plane, and it didn’t appear as if the silence would be broken any time soon.

Hans took the lead and ordered their supper, much to Cassie’s delight, and there was nothing with potatoes or sausages. She enjoyed the fettuccini and alfredo, salad, and wine, though she ate very little of it. Her mind was consumed with the accusation of being a snoop, and/or thief. It wasn’t something she was accustomed to, and she didn’t like taking the blame for someone else’s actions.

Her silence didn’t stop the fact that someone had been in Hans’s bag, and she was certain it was that redheaded flight attendant. But why, was another question. What was it she could be looking for, other than money?

“This is ridiculous,” Hans grumbled, pushing his half-eaten lasagna aside, and picking up his glass of bourbon. “Are you going to keep pouting the rest of the trip?

“I’m not pouting,” she said in a soft voice, so the other customers couldn’t hear them.

“I said I was sorry. What more do you want?

“I don’t want anything from you, now or ever,” she answered, pushing her plate away and standing up.

She caught Hans off guard when she left the table, winding her way through the room until she reached the entrance. She had no idea where to go, or which direction to start walking, but that didn’t stop her from leaving.

Cassie began walking down a narrow road, past old homes and shops. She’d always wanted to come to Italy, but her mind was overwhelmed with anger and she didn’t take the time to look around her. She passed by an elderly couple who stared at her, but she offered little more than a smile as she looked back down to her feet. She felt like crying, but she had promised herself the day Hans brought Sophia up to see her, she would never again allow that man to make her cry. It was times like this, she could easily remember he was the monster who stole innocent women for a living.

Hans paid the waitress as he passed by her, then headed out the entrance. He looked up and down the street but couldn’t see her anywhere. The last thing he needed was for one of his investigators to spot her and take her to the villa. He’d been down that road with her once already, and he wasn’t willing to start all over.

“Are you looking for a young blonde?” an old man asked in Italian, as he and his wife approached the restaurant.

“Si,” he answered.

“She went that way,” the man said, pointing in the direction they had just come from. “Son, would you like a piece of advice from a man whose been married for sixty-two years?

Hans stared at the man with a curious expression, then nodded silently.

“She is always right,” he continued with a grin to his wife. “Even when she is wrong, she is right. Remember that, and there will always be peace at home.

Hans offered the man a small smile and thanked him, then unlocked the car door. He didn’t want to disillusion the man, but that was not how to control women. Allowing them to think they were right…that was insane. How could there be peace at home, when the woman was wiping her feet on the man’s ass?

He drove in the direction the old man told him, until he came to the end of the road. He turned the corner and continued to drive down the small, narrow streets. He couldn’t imagine Cassie had gone this far in such a short time, and the thoughts of his men prowling the streets came back to his mind. He was about to go through the roundabout and return the way he came, when he saw her, sitting on an old wooden bench outside a small appliance store.

Pulling up to the curb, Hans shut off the engine and climbed out of the car. Cassie didn’t look up when he approached her. She continued to stare at the vine covered fence across the street. Hans sat down beside her but didn’t say anything and didn’t attempt to touch her.

“I didn’t know where to go,” she said softly. “I have no money, no identification, and no name. I’m in a foreign country with no friends, and no one to turn to except you. Once again, I’m forced to rely on my captor for my existence.

Hans started to open his mouth to remind her that she was his wife, not his hostage, when she stood up and walked to the car. She didn’t wait for him to open the door, then sat down and pulled her buckle around her chest. He sat there for a long moment staring at her. He had no idea what to say or what to do. The woman had a way of punching him in the gut without ever touching him.

They drove the rest of their trip in silence, like they had since leaving Venice. The words of the old man kept coming back to his mind and he sighed. Even if he knew how to make her happy, that didn’t mean she was right. He may have been wrong to accuse her, and she had every right in the world to be angry with him, but the circumstantial evidence was compelling.

But she had a point. She hadn’t been out of his sight all day. There was no way she could have ransacked his bag. But he couldn’t believe Gisela went snooping, as Cassie suggested. The woman had been in his employment for years, and he knew he could trust her. She’d never tried to take money from him before, and she knew she didn’t have to. He would give her anything she needed, just as he always had.

Hans pulled his car off the main road and onto a smooth dirt path. He drove for several hundred meters until they reached a tall wrought iron fence. He pulled up to the small keypad at the front of the closed gate and punched in a code. The gate opened with a loud creak, followed by several popping and grinding sounds. He pulled through it once it was open, then glanced in the mirror to watch it close again.

Cassie stared out the front windshield but made no comment as they pulled up to an old stone home. It was little less than a mansion, and she sighed. Another of the Baron’s elegant extravagances.

Three steps led to the single wooden front door, and it opened as soon as Hans shut the car off. A middle-aged man in a familiar polo shirt and jeans stepped out, then took the steps in a bouncing manner. He opened Cassie’s door and bowed.

“Welcome to Casa dei Segreti, Baroness,” the man said in perfect English, as he smiled cheerfully to her.

“What does that mean?” Cassie asked the man.

“It means House of Secrets,” Hans answered as he stepped around the car to join her.

He said something in Italian to the man who nodded then closed the car door. Cassie glanced over her shoulder as Hans led her up the front steps, watching the man open the trunk and take their luggage out.

“House of secrets,” she repeated under her breath. “That figures. Is there a torture chamber beneath our feet here, as well?

“No,” he answered, assuring himself it wasn’t a lie.

“Where do you hold the women until you transport them back to Germany?

“Cassie, you’re stepping outside the box again,” he told her, stopping at the top step. “We had an agreement. If you’re not willing to embrace my side of life, then stay in the safety zone.

Cassie didn’t comment as he opened the door and waved her in. She paused inside the foyer, as she looked around. It wasn’t what she expected when they drove up. The place was smaller than it looked from the exterior, and she found herself standing in the hallway between a small sitting room, and a dining room with a long wooden table and eight chairs. Each room had a warm fireplace and all the walls were the original rock, just as the exterior, or traditional plaster. There were paintings of landscape everywhere, and not a single portrait of sad looking women.

“There’s a library down the hallway, along with the kitchen and breakfast nook,” Hans told her, pointing to each open doorway. “The laundry room is down here as well. I have a woman from the village who comes in and cleans twice a week, so if you need something washed, you’ll have to do it yourself. And we’re on our own for meals. The guards oversee the security of the property, but there is no fulltime staff here.

“Do you know how to cook?” Cassie asked, turning to look at the man’s set expression.

“Not really, but there are restaurants nearby, and a microwave. I’m not here that often, so there’s no point in having a full staff on the payroll. The men take care of themselves and the property. They have a house outback where they stay when they’re on duty. I have seven fulltime men, and six part-time. You’re free to explore the house or the grounds as you’d like. There is a stable with a couple of horses, and there’s a village nearby for shopping. The bedrooms are upstairs. Ours is the furthest door on the right and my office is down here next to the library. That’s where I spend most of my time when I’m at the villa. If you want to go shopping, let me know and I’ll take you, or arrange for a driver. Until you’re familiar with European laws and driving styles, you’ll have to rely on others to see you around.

“You mean I’m free to leave the house? Without an armed guard escorting me?

“When the fuck have you ever had an armed guard escorting you?” Hans snapped, ignoring the man who walked in with their luggage.

He looked at the couple with a frown, then took their bags up to their room, allowing the two sometime alone.

“What about the time at the pool, or the outing just the other day? There were more rifles around then I cared to count.

Cassie’s anger was full blown as the two confronted each other. The day had been a roller coaster of emotions, and unlike the castle where they could go in different directions to avoid one another, they had been stuck to endure each other’s company.

“That was different, and you were never on your own. The guards were there to keep the others in line.

“So, I only have to worry about being shot when I have one of the girls with me? I’m just as capable of trying to escape as they are. More than they are. They’ve conformed to your perversion. I’m still fighting you.

“If you’re that goddamn unhappy, then leave. Nobody’s stopping you.

Hans reached in his bag and took out her passport, setting it on a hall table, then took the thick wad of cash out of his wallet and laid it on top, along with his car keys.

“There’s everything you need to start a new life. Go back to your fucking cat for all I care. I’ve had enough of your bullshit to last a lifetime.

“It’s Sophia’s cat, not mine!” she shouted after him as he marched down the hallway to his office, slamming the door behind him.

She could never remember being so angry in her life. She gathered the items he laid out for her, and left the house, slamming the front door as hard as she could. She climbed into the driver’s side of the small black Porsche, and started the engine, but struggled to adjust the seat. The man was much taller than she was, and the seat was pushed back.

Finding the electric control for the seat, she managed to pull it up to a comfortable position, then stared at the gear shift. She didn’t know how to drive a stick, but it couldn’t have been that hard. She was an honor student and on the Dean’s List three years in a row. Surely, she could figure out how to drive a damn car.

Cassie jerked the car down the driveway, drawing the attention of every guard on the property. Hans stood at the window to his office watching her, then drew a deep breath and ran his hand through his long hair. He was tired of the fighting, but was he willing to let her go? Did he really want to try and live without her?

He watched the car stall, then smiled. Her pride wouldn’t allow her to come back, so it would have to be up to him. Turning around, he left the office and walked quietly down the hallway to the main entrance. Cassie managed to get the car started again, but it jerked twice, and stalled. Hans waved his guards back when they came to see if there was a problem, then walked casually down the drive. He stepped to the window of the car and knocked, causing Cassie to jump.

She screamed once, then tried to find the controls for the window. Aggravated and angry, she slammed her hands on the steering wheel, cursing aloud.

“Cassie, the button is on the door,” he told her in a calm voice. “Push it.

Drawing a deep breath, she found the button and pushed it, watching the window slide down.

“What do you want?” she asked with an angry glare.

“If you’re going to leave, you should at least know how to drive the car. Would you like me to give you a few lessons before you drop the transmission in the driveway?

“Really? You’ll give me lessons on how to get away from you? That doesn’t seem very likely, now does it?

Hans didn’t answer, he just reached in through the window and unlocked the doors, then pressed the button to remove the top, turning the small black car into a convertible. Cassie stared at him as he walked around the car and opened the passenger door, then sat down and put his belt on.

“You have to learn to coordinate your feet,” he told her. “The clutch and the accelerator. Press the clutch in and shift it into first gear, then slowly let it out while you’re applying the gas.

Cassie frowned as she stared at the man, then did as he instructed. Within half an hour, she was moving up and down the driveway like a pro. She smiled and laughed twice, and Hans could feel her anger cooling in the evening air.

“Let’s see how you do in traffic,” he told her, pointing toward the front gate.

“I don’t know if I’m ready for that,” she told him nervously.

“Sure, you are. Just go slow until you’re comfortable with it, and if there’s anyone around you, wave them past. There’s a school not far from here. We can practice more in their parking lot.

Cassie moved slowly to the front entrance and paused, wondering if he was going to tell her the password, or just tell security to open the gate. This was her last obstacle before leaving his life forever. If he gave it to her…

“The code is 1020,” he told her, watching her turn and stare at him with wide eyes. “You’ll need it to open the gate.


“You are leaving me, aren’t you?” he asked in a soft voice as he reached across the back of the seat and moved a single strand of hair behind her ear.

Cassie didn’t say a word. She couldn’t. Her voice was caught in her throat and she couldn’t speak around the lump that blocked off her air.

“I’m sorry I yelled at you,” he told her gently, caressing her cheek. “I guess anger is one of the passions we share.

“I didn’t go through your bag,” she told him as tears fell to her cheek.

“I know you didn’t,” he answered, realizing he told her the truth.

There was no possible way she could have gone through his stuff, which left only his crew. It was an event he planned to sort out the first opportunity he got.

“1020, baby,” he told her, tipping her chin up to look at him as he wiped away her tears.

“I don’t want to…”

“I’ll never let you go. 1020.

Cassie sniffed and looked at him again, seeing the half-grin she loved so much. She reached out the window and typed in the code, then turned when the gate started popping and grinding.

“Put your belt on, then go to the end of the road and turn right,” he told her.

Cassie followed his instructions, securing the seat belt across her chest and putting the car in gear. She drove the sleek little car to the end of the dirt road and turned. She no longer thought about driving lessons, or angry words. She felt free with the cool night air blowing through her hair. She realized with a flash, she never wanted to return. She wanted to keep driving and take this man as far away from his life as she could, and never look back. Together, they could start over, and together was how she wanted to spend the rest of her life.

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