Authors: Tara Brown
A Novel by Tara Brown
Copyright 2013 Tara Brown
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ebook may not be resold or given away to other people. If you would like to
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No alteration of content is permitted.
This book is a work of
any similarities are coincidental
This book contains materials not suited for people under the age of 18. All
characters in this fictional story are based entirely on the crazed mind of the
author and are not based on any human. Any similarities are by chance and not
This book is dedicated to my fans—thank you so much.
The interest and support has been amazing. I also must thank my husband and
children. You supported me, even when I was in my writer’s frenzy.
Cover Art by Once Upon a Time Covers
Edited by Andrea Burns
I have enjoyed writing this series and hope you’ve enjoyed
reading it as much.
Thank you Nick (sexiest proofreader ever).
A special thanks to the
Thank you all. Best
E-Friends an E-Girl could have!!! Big shout out to my TM girlies!!! And
Other books by this author
Cursed, Book One of the Devil’s Roses
Bane, Book Two of the Devil’s Roses
Hyde, Book Three of the Devil’s Roses
Book Four of the Devil's Roses
Death, Book Five of the Devil's Roses
Born, Book One of The Born Trilogy
Born to Fight, Book Two of the Born Trilogy
The Light of the World, The Light Series
A New Dawn, A Short Story
Vengeance, The Blood Trail Chronicles
The End of Me
The Long Way Home – coming soon
Handcuffs and bear spray
Knots didn’t twist in
my stomach as the plane landed. I wasn’t as excited as I had thought I would
have been. There was a level of freedom, mixed in with my
was taking over everything else and giving me a feeling of blissful
The guy behind me
pressed against me in the lineup to deplane. I moved forward into the lady in
front of me, trying to escape the mouth breather. The plane, that had been far
too cool in the air, was now a sweaty pit of anxious people ready to leave the
confines of the narrow walkway.
I lugged my carry-on
to the baggage pickup when we finally started walking. The people surrounding
me looked either tired or excited. Only a few seemed like they were unsure of
what to feel, like me.
I dragged my
white-blonde hair back into a ponytail. The mouth breather was watching me from
across the baggage-claim area. I reached into my carry-on and rubbed my hands
against the mace in my shorts pocket. I brought it with me everywhere.
I would mace mouth
breather’s ass in a heartbeat.
Danny, my brother, had
bought me a special blend of bear spray that was supposed to be lethal. I
watched the mouth breather with hatred filling my eyes. I wanted him to think
again about watching me. I stared him down until he slunk back into the
shadows. I wasn’t becoming a skin suit. I saw Silence of the Lambs. I knew
about the lotion on the back.
Bags started to go
round the conveyor belt, when I finally tore my eyes from his hiding place. I
reached and heaved mine
when I recognized the
pink bow my mom had tied on it.
My shoulder burned
within seconds of carrying it to the exits, behind the herd of people leaving.
“I can get that for
you. Give you a ride to wherever you’re going?”
I sighed and prepared
myself to grab the mace as I turned, surprised to see a young guy with a red
I grinned, “Thanks,
but I have a ride.”
He nodded at the
middle-aged mouth breather with the sweat stains and the greasy, fat face
hiding behind a pillar. “Stay away from that guy over there; he was staring at
you and muttering some creepy shit when we were on the plane.”
I looked at the
disturbing fat guy and weighed my options. If he was on the bus with me, he
could follow me and find my house. If I caught a cab he could follow it with
another cab. My guts said the redhead was the better option. I handed him my
bag, “Okay. Let’s go.”
I could take this guy,
maybe. He was thinner and more coffeehouse mellow than mouth-breather,
skin-suit-wearing stalker. Either way, there was panic and instability flying
through my brain. I had to take deep breaths.
My mind whispered
traitorous lies, like I had made a mistake or I wasn’t as brave as I was
pretending to be. I knew it wasn’t true. I was brave. I had proved that already
Maybe more than once.
I followed the redhead
to the short-term parking lot. He turned back, “Name’s Mick.”
I smiled, “Nice to
meet you, Mick. I’m Erin.” I glanced at my
wanted to be at the apartment by four in the afternoon. It was 3:54; that gave
me six minutes. I scowled as he looked at me. “Student?”
I nodded, starting to
worry. What if he wasn’t the nice, red-bearded young man he seemed to be?
He beamed, “Me too.
I’m in the marine bio master’s. You?” Never mind, he was a student. I felt a
bit better until I thought about the fact he had a beard. Divers rarely had
“At Northeastern?” I
nodded and he nodded back, “Cool, me too.” He walked to a black truck, “This is
I slung my bags in the
back, “I really appreciate this, Mick.”
He shook his head, “I
got a sister, dude. If she ever got ogled by some fat fuck like that, I’d choke
I chuckled and climbed
into the truck.
“You know Boston?”
He nodded, “Yeah, I
did my undergrad here. I’m from Colorado originally.” He started the truck and
laughed, “I can tell by the paranoid wild eyes on you, that this is your first
I did up my seat belt
and shook my
“I came with my family in the
summer for orientation.” I didn’t want him to think I was completely at his
mercy. I had come for orientation and for my father’s marathon years before. Of
course, both times all I had done was read and wander the city looking at old
buildings. I hadn’t actually paid attention to anything.
He backed out and
drove off, a bit too fast for my liking.
I studied him for a
“You allowed beards in marine bio, what with the
He shook his head and
stroked the long, scraggly bush, “Nope. Gotta shave in a couple weeks when
school starts.” He scratched and ran his hands over it all, “Had a bitch of a
time in Bali this summer ‘cause of it. My passport picture has no beard.”
I started to relax. He
seemed like a stoner. “What’s your sister’s name?”
He gave me a sideways
glance, “Lisa. She’s a total bitch. She’s sixteen and completely running the
whole house. I went home for a week and I was ready to murder her.” He
chuckled, “Sorry. I’m not… like a serial killer. Ha, wrong thing to say to a
I giggled nervously
and looked at my watch; I was only going to be a couple minutes later than I
expected. My Google map on my iPhone showed us nearly there.
“What’s the address?”
I started to panic,
“Oh… it’s in my phone.” I zoomed in on the apartment and picked a close by
restaurant, “You know where Cappy’s Pizzas and Subs is, by Hemenway?”
He nodded, “Yeah, for
“Right near there.”
It wasn’t exactly near
there, but it was better than ending up a skin suit.
He chatted and I
looked out at the river basin. It was amazing.
So much more
amazing than Grande Forks, North Dakota.
The ride was over in
exactly fourteen minutes. It was faster than the map gave us during regular
He pulled up in front
of Cappy’s. The red brick buildings everywhere were awesome. The street was old
and cool, but with modern touches, somehow blending in. I felt tiny, and yet,
somehow powerful amongst it. I would be, an official law student in a couple
weeks. That was powerful.
He dragged my bags out
and passed them to me, “If you don’t recognize me at school, it’s the missing
beard,” he chuckled and slapped me on the arm, “See ya, Erin.”
I grinned, “Thanks
He shook his head, “Stay
away from creepy dudes.” He waved and climbed into the truck and merged.
It was late afternoon,
but the traffic wasn’t too bad. I pulled the handle out on the bags and started
the short trek to the apartment on Hemenway. The building was white brick and
clean. I sighed, seeing it. It looked like the picture on the
. If the inside
had seen in the pictures, I would be in heaven. I fished the key from the bag
and hauled everything into the brown, old-fashioned, wooden doorway. The door had
to be older than anything I had ever really touched.
I fingered the carved
wood and tried to settle the leaping excitement inside of me.
I was sweating and
ready to just leave the bags at the bottom of the stairs, when I saw the old
I grimaced and started
the huge walk up the stairs. It was worth the climb. It was my first house, my
first stand as an adult. Everything was fitting into the plan too perfectly.
Minus the elevator.
That made me nervous. Things never went
When I got to the
fifth floor—the top floor, I took a minute to catch my breath. The bags
were too heavy.
I crossed my fingers
as I wheeled everything to apartment 521. My hands trembled when I put the key
in the hole. Everything was too perfect so far. I prepared for the worst.
I turned the lock,
opened the door, and just stared. I expected it to be a disaster, Murphy’s Law
said it should have been, but it too, was perfect. White, crisp walls with a
light-beige sofa and a white love seat. There were armchairs and beautiful sofa
tables. The clean lines and simple colors carried into the kitchen, where white
cupboards with glass inlays and a pale, marble counter awaited me. Everything
was modern and clean. The only thing I hadn’t noticed was the dishwasher was stainless
steel, where the rest of the appliances were white. It was an odd thing to see,
it sticking out against all the white. I would have noticed it. It had to be
new. New was good.
The floors were dark
. Everything was glass and white
and clean and crisp, except the dishwasher.
It was exactly
I wanted it to be
. It was almost
completely the picture from the Internet.
When did that ever
happen to people?
I took it as a good
omen. Like I was on the right track. I was finally getting my dream.
I set my stuff inside
and closed the door, locking all three of the locks, and leaned against the
door. The sigh that left my parted and completely peaceful lips, was cut short
by a noise.
A girl moaning maybe?
My head lifted when I
heard it again.
My hand slipped into
my pocket, clutching the mace. I walked farther into the apartment, looking
around for the source of the noise.