Chapter Six

Hans opened his eyes and stretched, then rolled over. Cassie was still sound asleep next to him, and he couldn’t think of a single reason to leave this bed. After spending nearly three hours driving along the roads of Veneto, they returned home where they made love until dawn. If all their arguments ended in such a pleasurable way, he may consider instigating a few in the future. Provided it was just for fun.

Yesterday’s emotions had drained him, and he felt exhausted. Not so much physically. He could endure a great deal of physical punishment, but emotionally he was still as innocent as a child. He’d never allowed his heart to become full of another person before.

A part of him wanted her to leave and allow him to go back to the person he was. But there was another part, a bigger part, that feared her leaving. When he first saw her, he knew he had to have her, but it was a physical attraction. The woman was beautiful and most likely the sexiest woman he’d ever seen. Her spirit intrigued him, her determination humored him, and her passion stimulated him. He’d never known a person willing to surrender so much, for someone they barely knew.

Cassie admitted that she used the girls as an excuse to be with him, but she was still acting as the cloak that protected them. In a way, he was eager to sell the little bitches, so she had no excuse to resist him, but he was worried what would happen to her when he did. They were the moving force to keep her going day after day. What was going to happen when they were gone, and the little mama bear didn’t have her cubs to protect?

With a sigh, Cassie stretched her arms over her head and rolled onto her side, then opened her eyes. She saw the beautiful emerald eyes watching her, and she smiled.

“Good morning,” she purred softly.

"Good morning,” he answered.

“How long have you been awake?

“Just a couple of minutes,” he said, reaching up and caressing her cheek. “I was wondering if I should wake you for breakfast or wake you for a precursor to the meal.

“You’re such a pervert,” she smiled.

“Damn right,” he chuckled, then leaned across her and pressed his mouth to hers.

Cassie wandered the house waiting for the breakfast Hans ordered to be delivered. The place was warm, comfortable, and very homey with furniture she would expect to buy for herself, and not for a man worth…how much was Hans worth?

The sitting room had a large red sofa with two matching chairs and a piano, the dining room faced the front of the house and was bathed in sunlight. The table glistened with a high polish, and the chairs were wood with hand quilted covers across the seats. There was a china hutch in the corner with a beautiful set of dishes, that looked to be more feminine, than Hans would have bought.

She investigated the four bedrooms and found each one smaller than she would have expected, with antique furnishings, and what appeared to be hand sewn quilts covering them. There was a bathroom in the hallway upstairs that the three guest rooms shared, and a master bath, far smaller than the one at the castle. The tub was an old clawfoot porcelain bowl with a handheld shower attachment, and there was only one toilet, and a pedestal sink. It was small, but quaint, though Cassie had to admit, she liked the castle’s bathroom much more.

Hans watched her move about the kitchen and smiled. If he had been any ordinary man, he’d expect her to be preparing a meal, asking for help, or telling him to take out the trash. But he was far from ordinary. He had spent the past hour reviewing the shipment of the new girls to Germany and was once again delighted with the skill and training of his men.

Liam met the plane in Austria, then flew the cargo helicopter back to Hennhofen. The women had been blindfolded and bound so they couldn’t escape or bring attention to their containers, then placed in small wooden crates. They were removed and boxed in the hanger of the small airfield Hans owned, then put into the helicopter and taken back to the castle.

With the women gone, there was no fear of Cassie stumbling across the hidden training center below the stables. The entrance had been locked up, and concealed behind a wooden wall, and there would be no new women brought to the property until after they left. Cassie was free to roam to her heart’s content.

Turning around, Cassie blushed, seeing Hans leaning against the door jam, watching her inspect the kitchen. It was a beautiful room, with all new appliances and a wooden floor. There was a back door that led to an enclosed patio, and beyond that was an inground pool. Cassie had already looked out onto the back of the property when she was looking through the upstairs rooms, and saw the stables, the pool, and the garden where a stone barbeque stood.

“What do you think?” Hans asked, pushing away from the wooden jam and walking to where Cassie stood next to the granite island.

“It’s a beautiful home,” she answered, reaching out and wrapping her arms around his waist. “It’s not exactly something I’d have expected you to own. It’s not your style.

“It belonged to my Grandmother Hannah,” he smiled, then kissed her forehead. “Dolf was the only Hennhofen - besides me - who married for love. He built this place for her and sent her here often, so he could conduct business at the castle without her knowledge.

“You mean she never knew about the lower levels?” Cassie asked with a frown.

“In those days, the lower levels were a cold dungeon with small cells. And no, she never knew about it. Dolf married Hannah out of love, and he never wanted anything to take away the image of him, that she held in her mind. They were married ten years before she accidentally stumbled across the reason he was rich. By then, they had three children.

“You have cousins?” Cassie asked with a frown.

She’d never considered him having a family, even an extended one. Somehow, it made him seem more of a normal man, instead of a perverted fiend.

“My father had two younger sisters, but they died from polio at an early age. Oma contracted the disease as well but managed to outlive Dolf.

“Did you ever know them?

“Yes, I knew them both, but I don’t remember much about Dolf. Oma died when I was a young man, but I remember a great deal about her. She was my saving grace, and Rosa’s.

“You’ve never told me much about your family. Did you get along with your parents very well?

“No,” he said, but was interrupted from any further discussion when the front bell rang. “Breakfast is here.

Cassie smiled when he kissed her briefly, then stepped out of the room. She could hear his heavy step echo through the hallway and the creaking of the front door. He said something in Italian, then called out for her to join him.

“Darling, I want you to meet Eva. She’s my housekeeper and an old-time friend.

Cassie reached out to shake hands with the middle-aged woman, when she was pulled into a tight hug. Eva was shorter than Cassie, but she had a kind smile, and her dark eyes seemed to sparkle when she looked up at the blonde.

“Oh, mia cara,” she said, holding Cassie by the hands. “Hai scelto una bella donna, ragazzo mio.

“Grazie,” Hans answered, slipping a warm arm around his wife’s waist. “But Cassie does not speak Italian, Eva, though I will teach her a phrase or two for when we’re alone.

“Oh, you,” Eva said, nudging Hans’s elbow. “Do not let this one upset you, mio caro. He means well, but is too much like, how do you say, flirtare?

“Eva thinks I’m a flirt,” Hans smiled, watching Cassie’s eyes brighten with her amusement.

“She’s right, you are a flirtare.

“Ah, she is on to you, ragazzo mio.

“I’ll let the two of you talk about me behind my back,” Hans chuckled, kissing Cassie on the cheek. “I’ll go serve breakfast. Eva, will you stay and eat with us?

“No, amore mio, I must go. I have fruit on the stove I am cooking.

“We’ll only be here for a couple of days, but I hope you and Santos will come for supper before we have to leave. I’ll even attempt to cook for you.

“No, you cannot cook. I will bring lasagna, you will bring the wine.

“That’s a deal I can live with,” Hans chuckled and kissed the woman’s cheek before turning around and walking down the hallway to the kitchen.

“What are you making with the fruit?” Cassie asked, walking the woman to the door.

“Conserva l'albicocca. Apricot preserves.

“I love apricots, but I haven’t had them in months, not since before going to Hennhofen.

“Then I will bring you some. I make it every year. My Santos, he loves it. He eats more than I can bottle.

Cassie laughed with the woman and offered her a hug before closing the door, with the promise they would get together the following evening.

She smiled as she heard Hans’s cheerful whistling from the kitchen and looked around the stone hallway. If she were asked to stay here the rest of her life, she wouldn’t object. Here, they were normal. Hans wasn’t abusing women, and she was free to meet neighbors and friends, and walk about unwatched. This was what she always thought marriage was supposed to be like.

Cassie sat on the sofa playing a game on Hans’s tablet. He had no fears of her checking on her former life or trying to contact anyone, since she didn’t have access to his internet passwords. But she seemed content just playing the games he’d downloaded for her.

He had hoped to talk with Gisela today, but his pilot told him she was sick and went back to Austria last night. It seemed suspicious, but he did mention that she and her husband had been trying to have a child. Perhaps this was the first stages of a pregnancy.

Hans glanced to Cassie and smiled. They had skipped the natural method of contraception several times over the past few days, but she had started her bleeding time this morning, so he was safe for another month. He knew his time was running out to produce an heir, but he wanted a child with Cassie, not someone to take over the castle when he was gone.

He knew Cassie wasn’t willing to go through another miscarriage, or an ectopic, and he would not try to trick her, but the subject was one they would have to discuss. There was no escape for him, and he desperately wanted to share a family with the woman. All he had to do was convince her of the same thing.

“Tony just sent a message,” Hans said, looking at his cellphone. “He hasn’t told Justina that we’re coming. He wants our visit to be a surprise. He’s sending a car to pick us up at the airport and take us to the house. If you’d like to, we can stay the night. He has a huge property with plenty of rooms.

“He’d have to, considering his collection of women,” Cassie grumbled.

“We’re not getting into that, and you’re going to mind your manners while we’re in his home,” Hans said, walking over to kneel beside her. “I will not have you upsetting your friend, or mine. Do you understand?

“Yes, Master,” she said with a frown, when he ended his comments with his training order. “I know how to behave in public. Just because I think he’s a perverted pedophile, doesn’t mean I’ll say anything in front of the others.

“You won’t say anything at all, or I’ll embarrass you by spanking you in front of all of them. Now, answer me. Would you like to spend the night or not?

“I don’t know. I’ll decide after I’ve seen how Justina is being treated. If I have to sleep in a room next to his while he’s assaulting my friend…”

“Making love,” Hans corrected her quickly. “A man does not assault his wife. He makes love to her, and Justina enjoys it. Tony’s children are homeschooled, and do not know that there is anything wrong with having more than one woman in the house. I do not want your usual underhanded comments to cause questions or concerns for the children.

“Why don’t you go visit them, and I’ll stay on the plane,” Cassie said, standing up and walking to the bar in the attempt to get away from him. “That way there won’t be any concerns with my 'underhanded comments', or my 'rude behavior'.

“Cassie don’t act like this,” Hans said with a deep breath as he sat down on the sofa. “We’ve had a very pleasant day so far, and I don’t want your temper to ruin it for us.

“My temper?” she asked in a snorting laugh. “You deliberately went out of your way to start an argument. You’ve ordered me to behave, you’ve insulted me, and now you’re patronizing me. How is it I’m supposed to control my temper when you act like that?

Hans started to disagree with her when the old man’s advice came crashing back into his mind, and he understood what he was being told. She’s always right, even when she’s wrong.

“You’re right, I’m sorry,” he said at last, causing Cassie to frown at him. “I didn’t intentionally try to start a fight, and I wasn’t thinking when I asked you to behave. I know you’ll be respectful, and I know you won’t try to cause problems. Just please save your comments until we’re alone. I’ll absorb them like a sponge and help cleanse you of the anger they cause. Alright?

Cassie continued to stare at the man. She wasn’t sure if he was apologizing or trying to turn the tables. Either way, she was determined to prove to him how refined she was.

Gisela stepped out of the taxi, ordering the driver to wait. She looked up at the sign above the building and frowned. New York Bureau of Missing and Exploited Persons. She wasn’t sure how the woman was connected to this place, but the news article was about the only thing she’d managed to pull up concerning Hennhofen, and anyone named Cassidy.

After hearing their argument when they left the plane, Gisela knew she couldn’t go back to work without having an excuse for getting into Hans’s bag, or a good lie to cover her tracks. For the time being, she would allow the blonde to take blame for it and claim she was ill. It gave her the time she needed to try and learn more about the bitch who took her place.

Gisela opened the door and walked inside, looking around at the photos hanging on the walls of missing women. They were all attractive, and she knew from listening to the news, the women were either dead, or held as sex slaves somewhere. Either way, it had nothing to do with Hans’s wife.

“May I help you?” a middle-aged woman with dark curly hair and dark skin asked, walking up from the back to greet the redhead.

“I am hoping so,” Gisela said with a forced smile. “I am trying to find a friend, but I am sorry, I only have a photo of her. I was told she was in New York, but it has been a long time.

“We don’t look for missing persons, only for confirmed kidnappings,” the woman said with a frown.

“Oh, I am sorry. My English, it is not good. She is not missing, only…misplaced? I was told she had connections with this place and wanted to see if anyone could help me find her.

“What’s her name?

“She’s married, and I cannot find her…oh, my English,” the woman said, reaching into her purse and taking out the photo she’d printed from her phone, then handed it to the woman.

“She looks familiar,” the dark woman said. “Let me ask my boss. If she’s been here, he’d remember. He has a great memory for names and faces.

“Thank you,” Gisela said, then turned to the photos on the wall, trying to calm her nerves.

Several minutes passed by before the door in the back opened again, and she turned to see a tall attractive man with dark hair walk out towards her. He was followed by the woman who greeted her, and in his hand, was the photo she’d brought with her.

“Hello, Miss…”

“Please, just Gisela.

“I’m Travis Boyd, manager of the Bureau. I understand you’re looking for Cassidy Wynn?

“Yes, that is her,” the redhead said with a sigh of relief.

“I’m sorry to tell you, she passed away. Cassie was in a terrible accident several months ago. She never made it back from Germany.

“Oh, no, that cannot be,” Gisela said with a confused frown.

“I’m so sorry,” Travis said, taking her by the elbow. “Come into my office and we can talk.

The two walked into the man’s office and she sat down trying to figure out what was going on. If they were speaking of the same woman, then one of them had their information mixed up.

“How…when did you meet Cassidy?” Gisela asked, taking the bottle of juice, he handed her, and watched as he sat down across from her.

“It was during the spring. She came here to interview me for a story she was writing. Here, I have a copy of it.

She watched him stand up and walk to a filing cabinet, then removed a thin photo album and handed it to her. Inside was a world of information, she could never have gotten online. He had the newspaper report the blonde had written, then the report about her death, and the memorial held at the Bureau, as he called it.

The newspaper had multiple articles about the accident and the damage it had caused on the mountain road, and how the village was virtually cut off from all outsiders until it was repaired. The last article was a memorial service held at a place called The Twilight Bar by a man known as Pop. There was mention of a fund being set up to benefit missing and exploited people, and a referenced article of how Cassidy’s death was so close in time as that of another reporter.

“This is…a lot…” Gisela said, trying to sort it all out in her mind.

“I’m sure it is a lot to absorb at once. We’ve had several months to get over it. Fortunately, she didn’t have a family, or children who would have to adjust to the loss.

“But I just saw her,” Gisela said, looking up from the photo of the woman printed in the paper. “She was on her way to Italy with…a man I know.

Gisela didn’t want to admit that she was married to the Baron. She didn’t want Hans to get into trouble because the woman was using him to hide from the government, or whatever people like her ran away from.

“That’s impossible,” Travis said with a frown. “She’s dead.

“No, she’s not. That photo, it was taken from her passport. She claims to be living in Hennhofen Germany.

“That’s where she was killed,” Travis said. “She went there to find out what happened to her friend who was reported as being killed in an avalanche. Neither of them ever returned.

“It is not possible. I saw her.

“I did some research on the place after her death was reported. There wasn’t a lot to learn, but the one thing I found very interesting was how there were no women in the village of Hennhofen. They are all sent away at a very young age. I didn’t think much about it at the time, but now…”

Travis stopped talking as he stood and paced the room. He’d dealt with hundreds of stolen and exploited women over the past twenty years, to know when something wasn’t right.

“I heard a rumor of a European organization who stole women and sold them as sex slaves,” he continued, more to himself than to the woman. “The rumor was, they only select women without families, so they are easily forgettable.

Travis turned to confront the woman. His eyes wide as he thought about having his first lead to a crime that could recover dozens, if not hundreds of women.

“You said she was with a man. Do you know who he was?” he asked the woman as he returned to his chair and rummaged through the stacks of paper for a pen.

“No…yes…I mean…he couldn’t be involved,” Gisela answered. “He’s a good man, and very wealthy. He has a title, and a castle…”

“Are you talking about the Baron of Hennhofen?


“His name has come up more than once throughout my career. It was thought that his father was involved with illegal selling of women. The rumor is, the castle was originally built for the purpose of selling and trading women.

“That’s impossible,” the woman said, closing the photo album. “Hans…he is kind…and gentle…and loving…he would never do anything like that.

“Perhaps, but maybe there’s someone else who would, who is using the castle.

“I have been to the castle,” Gisela said proudly. “There was not anything like what you’re suggesting going on. I would have seen something.

“It’s more than likely they are hiding the women, and their dealings. I need to get into the castle. Is there any way you can introduce me to the Baron?

“No…I cannot…I must go now…”

“Wait,” Travis called after the woman as she left the office, slamming the door behind her, and practically running to the front door.

“Please, wait, this is important. Please,” Travis called after the woman, but she was out of the door and back into the taxi by the time he’d managed to get out of his office.

“Damn it,” Travis said, slapping his hand on his leg.

“What’s the matter?” the dark woman asked with a frown.

“That woman claims to have seen Cassidy Wynn, and she was with the Baron of Hennhofen, Germany.

“Isn’t that where she was killed?

“Yes, and where her friend was killed. And, they are both orphans.

“You don’t think this guy has anything to do with that organization we heard about?

“I doubt it. He’s too publicly recognizable, but he may know who is involved. I have to try and find out. I need you to get me an application for a passport. I’m going to Germany to see what I can find out. If Cassidy is still alive, she could need help getting away from her captors.

Gisela sat at the airport in Berlin, fighting the nervous feelings tearing at her insides. She couldn’t believe Hans could be involved in any of what that man in New York said. It was impossible. He was kind and caring. He would never go to the extreme of kidnapping women and selling them as sex slaves. But how did Cassidy Wynn get involved with the Baron? If she was supposed to be dead, did that mean she was stolen and sold.

With wide eyes, Gisela understood what had happened. The Baron was a busy man, who didn’t have time to find a suitable wife. He needed a woman in his life, and he wanted her to be a specific type. He must have bought her from the people who stole her. From the sounds of their lovemaking, she was definitely being used for sex. And what a better match for the Baron, than an intelligent woman who was beautiful and sexy?

Taking her phone out of her pocket, she pulled up the internet and found the Bureau’s phone number. She walked into a less crowded area of the airport and dialed the number. She wouldn’t do anything to bring harm on Hans, but that didn’t mean she wouldn’t turn in his wife. Maybe Travis Boyd could take her back to her old life, and she could lead him to the people involved with her disappearance.

“Mr. Boyd, this is Gisela,” she said speaking into her phone. “I will not do anything to cause harm to the Baron, but I’ve been thinking about it, and you’re right. Cassidy must have been stolen, and the Baron may have bought her. If I help you get close to her, will you be able to rescue her, without causing any repercussions for Hans?

“I can’t make any promises, but I will do what I can to protect him,” Travis said excitedly. “If he is innocent in all of this, which I tend to believe he is, then the most he will be guilty of is buying her, and nobody said he did. He may have helped rescue her, himself. We’ll never know unless I can get close enough to speak with her.

“The Baron is having a holiday party in December, and I have an invitation. I can get you into the castle, and you can take her when you leave, but you cannot cause any harm to Hans, or I won’t help you. Promise me?

Travis drew a deep breath. He could use Hans as a witness and make certain his identity is kept out of the report. He’d done it in the past, and if it helped rescue Cassidy, then he’d be willing to make the deal.

“I promise I won’t involve the Baron. But if he’s guilty…”

“He’s not. I know Hans, and I know he’d never do anything as disgusting as you are saying. I will be in touch in a few weeks, once I have everything arranged.

Gisela hung up the phone and smiled as her plane was called. She was ready to tell her husband she would have a child, until she learned about this. Now, she would hold off for the time being. If Travis Boyd could get Cassidy out of the picture, then there wouldn’t be any reason to keep her husband happy. She would have Hans again, and he was more than any one woman could handle. But she was certainly going to try.

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