Authors: Lili Valente
Tags: #alpha male, #Suspense, #Romantic Suspense, #Dark Romance, #Kidnapping
To The Bone
By Lili Valente
All Rights Reserved
A Love So Deadly
© 2016 Lili Valente
Original Copyright This Wicked Rush/One Perfect Love © 2016 Jessie Evans
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the prior written permission of the copyright owner. This erotic romance is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners. This e-book is licensed for your personal use only. This e-book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with, especially if you enjoy hot, sexy, emotional novels featuring bad boy alpha males. If you are reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work. Cover design by Bootstrap Designs. Editorial services provided by Leone Editorial.
About the Book
Warning: This book will give it to you hard and fast. Once you start, don’t even think about stopping.
Caitlin is everything I never knew I needed.
But I’m not just bad for her—I’m toxic.
If I stay, I’ll destroy her, but I can’t keep my hands to myself. I keep reaching for the only good thing left in the world, but I don’t know how much longer I can hold on.
Especially when a monster lurks in the darkness, waiting for me to drop my guard so he can take what’s mine.
Take her, lock her up, and play those ugly games I know he’s played before.
What once was dangerous is turning deadly, and only the devil knows if either Caitlin or I will make it out alive.
Alert: A Love So Deadly is a full-length novel and book two in a continuing story. It should be read after A Love So Dangerous.
“And softness came from the starlight
and filled me full to the bone.”
The course of true love never did run smooth.
I can’t sleep.
I lie in bed for hours, but I can’t sleep and I can’t quit thinking about her.
It’s all I’ve done all day. I keep seeing her face in that moment before I bolted, with her cheeks flushed and wet with tears, and the shattered look in her eyes. I keep hearing the way her voice cracked when she told me she loved me, feeling the hairline fractures in my heart getting wider and wider.
She loves me; I love her.
She needs me; I need her.
All the other truths keep swirling around in my head, insisting they’re relevant, but in the end it comes back to loving and needing and wondering why doing the right thing feels so wrong. I tell myself that this hurt now will spare her bigger hurt later, but as I lie in the darkness, watching my ceiling fan spin in circles, a voice deep inside insists I haven’t given Caitlin the credit she deserves.
Life has knocked her down again and again, but she keeps getting back up. Her dad is a waste, but Caitlin never let that be an excuse to give up on making her life better. Her mom abandoned the family when Caitlin was twelve, and Caitlin stepped up and helped her older sister take care of the younger kids. Her sister left when Caitlin was seventeen, and Caitlin stood strong and stubbornly refused to let her family fall apart.
A month ago, I would have said she sacrificed herself for the kids, but now I know that’s not accurate. Caitlin is a good person, but she doesn’t do anything she doesn’t want to do. She did what she did because, at the end of the day, the people she loves mean more to her than anything else in the world. Those kids are her biggest source of pride, their happiness the soul food that keeps her going. Her love isn’t a stone tied around her neck; it’s the source of her impressive strength.
She is tougher than anyone in her life gives her credit for—even me.
Chances are she’s tough enough to hear my truth, and to walk the last steps along the road with me. In my heart, I know she’d want to do it. She’d want to know that I wasn’t alone, that the most important person in my life was with me. And she has to know that person is her, that she is…everything.
I was certain she did, but that was before I took a chainsaw to her heart earlier today.
I squeeze my eyes closed and curse beneath my breath.
Have I fucked things up again? Have I made everything worse, when all I was trying to do was make the kindest choice possible?
I wish I had parents like the ones on the television shows I loved as a kid. I wish I had someone I could trust to give me good advice. But Aaron and Deborah have never been my kind of people. We might as well be from two different planets, as was evidenced when I got back from Caitlin’s house late this afternoon and confessed to my parents that my symptoms were getting worse.
My mom spent approximately two minutes sniffling before heading into her office to arrange for plane flights and reservations for the hospice I picked out when I decided not to go through with the surgery. I sat in silence with my dad, listening to my mother’s voice drift into the sitting room until I heard her place a call to her interior decorator, to discuss having my room packed up and remodeled.
Not quite ready to contemplate every trace of my existence being wiped away, I left. My father, who I know will never forgive me for “giving up,” didn’t even say goodbye.
I know they love me. I know they aren’t as cold as they appear—this is just how they deal with their feelings of powerlessness and grief—but I don’t want my mother’s or father’s eyes to be the last thing I see. I want to be looking into Caitlin’s green eyes, the only eyes that have ever seen every secret part of me, the eyes of the only person who has ever made me feel normal, whole, and completely loved.
I turn things over and over and still can’t decide what the right answer is, but I know I can’t stay in bed a second longer. I shove off the sheets and swing my legs down to the floor, ignoring the faint aching in my skull. The pain has remained under control since I took a pill after getting back from Caitlin’s, and I haven’t had another dizzy spell since right after dinner. I should be okay to drive, and even if I weren’t, I’d still go. I suddenly need to get out of the house. I have to
somewhere, even if I’m not sure where I’m headed.
Or so I tell myself.
I tell myself I’m just going for a drive, but I’m not surprised when I find myself steering the Beamer toward Caitlin’s. It’s after midnight and I doubt she’s awake—and I’m not ready to go back on my decision to end it—but looking at the darkened house and knowing she’s inside will be more comforting than any other view in Giffney.
I turn off the headlights before I pull onto her street, not wanting her to see them sweep across the curtains if she’s still awake. I let the car idle almost noiselessly halfway around the cul-de-sac before I roll down my window, shove the car into park, and cut the engine.
Seconds later, the car parked in front of me—a dark sedan with a dent on one side of the roof—roars to life. The driver swerves away from the curb, tires squealing as he pulls away and guns it toward the stop sign at the end of the road. I flick on my lights, figuring the psycho must be smashed, and I should get his plate in case he hits someone, when I see a piece of threadbare fabric peeking out of the sedan’s trunk.
The fabric is bright pink, a garish color that’s horribly familiar.
It’s the same color as the fat cat tee shirt Caitlin loves to wear to bed. The shirt is three sizes too big, and so thin from washing that it’s transparent. Normally I would approve, but the obese cat sprawled across the front of the shirt, scratching his balls, negates any sex appeal.
I see the flash of fabric, and immediately, in my mind, Caitlin is in that trunk. Caitlin is being kidnapped by a man in a dark blue sedan driving like a maniac.
A man I might lose if I don’t follow him. Right. Fucking. Now.
I twist the key and slam the Beamer into drive, shooting off after the sedan, catching sight of him as he pulls right onto Newberry, headed away from downtown. I stop at the stop sign, cursing the white minivan that shoots past, coming between me and the sedan. As soon as the van is clear, I turn, fingers squeezing the steering wheel as my heart pounds and my mouth goes dry with fear. I weave over the center line, keeping the car, and that scrap of pink fabric, in my sight.
A voice in my head says I’m being crazy, but I can’t shake the feeling that Caitlin’s in trouble. I can’t see much more than an outline of the driver’s head, but it’s obviously a man driving the car. And why the fuck would a man have pink fabric, the exact horrible shade as Caitlin’s tee shirt, in his trunk?
He’s got a daughter who plays soccer, and she left her jersey in the trunk. He’s got a wife who boxed up a load of clothes to take to the Salvation Army and he hasn’t gotten around to dropping them off yet.
There are lots of reasons. But none of them explain why this strange car was parked outside of Caitlin’s house in the middle of the night, and is driving like a bat out of hell.
I back off the minivan’s ass, easing off the pedal until I’m a respectable two car lengths away, and slip in my Bluetooth earpiece. I voice dial Caitlin’s landline, but keep my eyes on the sedan. The driver has slowed and is keeping the car between the lines, but he’s still going at least ten miles over the limit.
Why is he in such a hurry? There is hardly anyone on the road this time of night, and Giffney isn’t that big. He’s going to get where he’s going soon enough sticking to forty miles per hour.
The phone rings and rings, until finally I’m sent to the answering machine.
“This is Gabe,” I say. “Caitlin, I need you to call me back. Right away.”
I end the call and redial immediately. The phone rings, and the answering machine picks up, but just as I’m leaving another message for Caitlin, Danny picks up the phone.
“What the fuck,” he says, his voice slurred with sleep. “It’s the middle of the fucking night, asshole. Haven’t you made my sister cry enough for one day?”
Something inside me cringes thinking about Caitlin crying, but there’s no time to apologize. “Danny, listen to me. I need you to go upstairs and get your sister.”
“Fuck you,” he says.
“Danny, please,” I insist, panic that he might hang up straining my voice. “Please, just…go make sure she’s up there. You don’t have to wake her. Just make sure she’s safe, and come back and let me know.”