Read A Safe Surrender: A Donnelley Brother's Novel (Donnelley Brothers Book 2) Online
Authors: Alannah Carbonneau
A Safe Surrender
A Donnelley Brother Novel
By Alannah Carbonneau
Copyright © 2014 Alannah Carbonneau
This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this ebook with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
Ebook formatting by
Table of Contents
Other Books By Alannah Carbonneau
The front door slammed and I jumped. The digital clock on the stove read 10:54 p.m. and I knew, by the lack of text messages I’d received, and the fact that Rhett was walking in this late, meant he’d spent the last six hours at the Old Bar. It was the place half the town spent their evenings, but for Rhett, it was a place he cultured his violent anger toward the world.
Lately, that anger had been unfairly directed at me.
“Kami!” His drunken slur ricocheted through the little house. The heavy sound of his steel-toed boots pounded against the hardwood of the hall floor, echoing in daunting waves off the walls. I’d cared about the floors for the first few months that we’d lived here. I’d cared about the money I’d worked back-to-back shifts, exhausting myself, to save. I’d slaved to scrounge up enough to pay the damage deposit for this rickety one bedroom house.
I didn’t care anymore. Now, I stayed as quiet as I could when he came home like this - in one of his dark moods.
They scared me.
When he was like this - he scared me.
“Kami, fuckin’ answer me,” he grunted, and I knew by the unmeasured steps that he’d stumbled. “When I’m talkin’ to ya.”
“I’m in the kitchen, Rhett.” I called out, bracing myself for another long night.
It didn’t take him long to find me sitting here at the small circular table, with my cup of tea, now cold, sitting between my hands.
He grinned, but it wasn’t nice and my heart started to race in painful, violent beats. I schooled my features, hiding my fear. This wasn’t hard. I’d been doing this since I’d found myself in the cruel game that was the foster system when I was eleven. I’d done it then, and I’d do it now with Rhett. I would swallow my fear and remain calm, because allowing Rhett to catch sight of my fear, only informs him, that he has the power over me - a power to hurt me.
Speaking monotone, I announced into the charged air of the room. “I made you dinner.”
Rhett’s eyes swung to where the plate of food, now cold, and more than likely crusted, sat on top of the counter. His jaw tensed and he dragged his booted feet across the kitchen. Little pebbles of mud broke off the soles of his boots to litter the floor. I pretended I didn’t notice or care that I’d just mopped.
“Look at you makin’ dinner for me.” He grinned maliciously. “Playin’ the pretty little housewife.”
“I was hungry.” I answered before I’d thought my words through. I tried to recover, to back-peddle - anything to dim the anger in those dangerous blue eyes. “I thought you might be too.”
His lip curled and I knew I’d done it. I watched as Rhett reached out to curl his long, thick fingers, around the lip of the plate. He slid it slowly off the counter. The sound of the ceramic of the plate scraped against the countertop, sending chills travelling the length of my spine. I tensed - and then he whirled around, throwing the plate across the room - toward me.
Stiffening, my breath caught as the plate missed my face by a mere inch, to slam against the wall behind me. I heard the slap of food against chipped paint, before it fell with the shattered plate, to the floor.
I didn’t stand, or move, as I pleaded. “Rhett, please don’t do this.”
“You fucking bitch!” He roared, his hands flying through his surfer blond waves. “You’re sittin’ in here judging me for going out after a long hard day at work, aren’t ya? I do all the work around here and yet you’re judgin’ me!” His voice was vibrating.
I wanted to tell him that his claims weren’t true. I worked every day, seven days a week, two different jobs, to pay the bills he skipped out on. Just because I didn’t work construction, or what he considered manual labor, meant in his mind, I didn’t work at all.
Rhett continued at my silence. “I fucking
you,” he lowered his voice, leaning down to catch my chin in his painful grip. “You were rotting away in the system and I saved you, you selfish bitch.”
“Don’t do this.” I spoke calmly despite the fact that everything inside of me was trembling in fear and betrayal. I loved Rhett.
He hadn’t always been this way.
“There you go tellin’ me what to do, again.” His fingers tightened and I bit back my wince. “You think that because I come home to you every night that you have the right?” He chuckled and the putrid stench of whiskey on his breath washed over my face. “You don’t.”
I didn’t say anything. I simply stared up at him, not knowing what to say.
His fingers tightened again and I was certain that by tomorrow morning, I would have little round bruises where his fingertips were currently digging into my jaw.
“Say something!” He roared. “I know you’re thinking. I know you’re judgin’ - you always are.”
“I love you.” I whispered, because it was true. Rhett
saved me when he’d taken me away from the hell that was my life in the system. I’d been so thankful to him. Yet, after almost seven years together, something had changed. Rhett had changed. I just didn’t know why.
“Don’t say that shit to me.” He released his fingers from my chin and I experienced a rush of relief that was killed by the painful crack of his open palm against the side of my face. The sound of the slap split through the breathy silence, and his anger, as my head whipped to the side.
Rhett wasted no time in diving his fingers through my hair, knotting the thick strands around his calloused knuckles. Pulling my hair, he forced me to stand on shaky knees. My hands pushed against his chest in a desperate and feeble attempt to push him away.
He laughed. “You’re so damn beautiful when you struggle.”
Biting down on my bottom lip, I tried to hold my tears at bay. This man had hurt me so many times before and I’d never found it in me to leave him.
to leave him.
If I didn’t, he would kill me. Of that, I had no doubt.
“Answer me.” He growled, shoving his nose into my hair and inhaling deep.
“Thank you.” I forced the words from my throat. In this moment, I hated him. I hated the man I’d once loved.
Rhett didn’t say anything as he pulled me along behind him through the small house to the bedroom. His hand disentangled from my hair to pull the hem of my dress up over my head. Standing in the center of he room as his anger turned to something much more terrifying, I shivered. Lust was truly petrifying. Lust was just as unpredictable as anger and its consequences twice as devastating.
He turned me around, forcing me to lie facedown on the bed.
I heard his zipper.
I curled my trembling fingers into the bedspread and clenched my teeth.
And then I felt him.
Darkness swallowed me whole. For the few minutes Rhett pounded inside me, grunting and breathing heavily - I didn’t feel. I didn’t think - I didn’t fear - I didn’t even feel remotely alive. I’ve heard of this. I’ve heard of people doing this, climbing out of their body during traumatic experiences.
Well, that’s what I was doing.
Rhett had hit me before. In the last few months I’d grown used to the sting of his hand on my face, the ritual of applying concealer beneath a thick layer of cover up, and of wearing sunglasses.
But this was new.
This had never happened before.
Rhett had never taken me against my will. And maybe this wasn’t necessarily against my will.
I hadn’t fought him.
I hadn’t even asked him not to do this. I hadn’t begged, or sobbed, or scratched, or even bit. I hadn’t done a thing.
Not a thing...
No matter the absence of my fight, I knew this wasn’t right. Rhett was sick. Something was eating him from the inside out, and if I didn’t get away from him, it would eat me too. Things like this weren’t one-time occurrences. After this delicate line was crossed, and the game of guilt began, it was a never-ending cycle.
Rhett grunted, pulling out as he always did. I watched him scurry from the bedroom with his cock in his fist from where I continued to lie lifelessly on the bed, my body draped over the side, my knees now hitting the floor. He was running to expel his load into the bowl of the toilet. Rhett had never come inside of me, and that was something I was growing more and more thankful for. There was a time when I’d thought of having children with Rhett, but that ship had sailed. I was happy - freaking ecstatic - that I hadn’t taken myself off my birth control.
The shower turned on and I blinked dazedly. On weak arms, I pushed myself up from the bed to grab a nightshirt and shorts from the dresser. Pulling my long, loose waves into a high bun on the top of my head, I padded to the bed.
As I moved, I wondered how I hadn’t found it in me to cry. The man I loved had practically raped me - and I wasn’t even crying. I wasn’t shaken or even upset.
I was just done.
Sliding my legs between the sheets, I laid my head against my pillow and closed my eyes. I listened as Rhett finished his shower and walked back into the bedroom. He paused by the door and I felt his blue eyes on me. I wondered what he was thinking. What was going on in that mind of his? Did he regret his actions? Did he even care about me anymore?
A sigh tore from his throat and he walked to the bed. I felt the sheets rise from my body as he pulled them back to slide into the bed. The mattress shifted and the bed creaked as he moved closer to me. My stomach clenched, feeling sick at his nearness. He covered my shoulder with his large hand and I was thankful for the material that separated skin-to-skin contact.
“I’m sorry, Kami.” His words sounded pained. “I was drunk.”
If he thought I was going to forgive him, he was even more far-gone than I suspected. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t open my eyes or even allow myself to breathe.
I felt his nose in my hair as he inhaled. “You know I love you, baby. I just lost control.” He rubbed his hand over my arm. “It’ll never happen again.”
Still, I didn’t speak. Rhett growled low in his throat, but he didn’t persist. Rolling over, he faced his back to me and fell into sleep. It wasn’t long until his steady snore claimed the silence.
I didn’t sleep at all.
The alarm on my phone sang into the silence and I peeled myself off the bed. My eyes were dry from staring into the darkness all night and my head was pounding, but I didn’t care. My alarm was the excuse I needed to get myself away from Rhett. Over the course of the night, I’d decided that enough was enough. I couldn’t do this anymore. I wasn’t in love with Rhett anymore. I didn’t wish him ill, and I didn’t want to involve the law, but I didn’t want to stick around to wait, on pins and needles, for another of his episodes. He’d crossed so many lines, I wasn’t sure that there was one he wouldn’t attempt to cross. He had taken so much from me. I didn’t want to wait until he tried to take my life.
Rhett lifted his head from the pillow and his sleep filled voice sounded in the silence. “What time is it?”
“Three.” I answered.
“You work today?”
“I work every day, Rhett.” I opened a dresser drawer to pull out my workout attire. I worked in the office at a gym. My shift started at 4:30 a.m. “You know that.”
“Do you work tonight too?”
“I do.” My tone was clipped.
He dropped his head back to the pillow. “Are you still mad at me?”
“Why would I be mad at you, Rhett?”
He dragged his hand over his face, groaning loudly. “Do you have to do this so early?”
“No.” I replied coldly as I walked to the door of the bedroom. “I have to shower.”
Rhett didn’t say anything as I moved from the bedroom into the bathroom across the hall. Flicking on the light, I gasped at the reflection staring back at me in the mirror. I’d been right when I’d guessed there would be bruises. Along the right side of my jaw, there were four bruises where each of his fingers had been and one on the left for his thumb. My cheek was still red and slightly swollen where he’d hit me across the face. Sighing, I hurried to start the shower. I’d be skipping breakfast today again. Applying concealer was an art that took time and I didn’t have a whole lot of time to my mornings.