But things are not all sunshine and roses in Elodie’s life. As she learns to explore her sexuality with the brothers, there’s a darkness hanging over her. She’s survived so much already, but there is more yet to come. Will the brothers be able to save her in time, or will they lose the only woman they’ve ever loved?
*Note: Contains BDSM, anal sex and sex toys
Elodie finished her shift, working hard the rest of the day and night, feeling like she was going to drop at any moment. Her feet had never been so sore before. And she wasn’t going to think about how much her back ached. She doubted even a hot bath would cure what ailed her tonight. But as ready as she was to put her feet up, she didn’t really relish going home to her empty apartment. When she’d woken this morning, she’d discovered that her cable had been shut off. Apparently she was farther behind in payments than she’d thought. Thank God, she had one of those pay-as-you-go cell phones, or she’d be without a phone by now too. Couldn’t anything go right for her? It seemed if it could go wrong, it did.
After clocking out, she gathered her things and headed out to her car. She’d had to park around the corner in back of the diner. It wasn’t an ideal place to be at night, in the dark, because there weren’t any lights back there. The light over the rear entrance had a short in it and never worked properly, so the owner just quit turning it on.
The door slammed shut behind her, and she dug blindly through her purse in an attempt to find her keys. If she’d been smart, she’d have pulled them out before she stepped into the blackness of the alley, but she was just too damn tired to think clearly. Finally, her hand closed around the cold metal of her keychain, and she pulled it out, keys jangling. She walked briskly down the side of the building toward her car, one hand gripping her purse.
A shadow stepped away from the building, directly into her path. She froze, aware that she’d have to go through him to get to her car, and the door to the diner was too far away. The shadow moved closer until she could make out his features. Casey Woods, Mayor Woods’s illegitimate son, and known troublemaker. What he could want with her, she had no idea. She’d seen him around town, but they’d never really talked before. He’d been two years behind her in school.
“Give me your purse,” he said, his voice raspy like he was getting over a cold. As he drew nearer, she saw his eyes were bloodshot and his skin was pale. She quickly assessed him, saw his jittery hands and determined that he was in need of a fix.
All of the money she’d earned today was in her purse. If she gave it to him, she’d have nothing. Even her phone was in the purse, along with her license and her favorite lipstick. Something told her he wouldn’t allow her to remove any of the items, especially not the hard earned cash that she so desperately needed. With a hand that was steadier than she’d have thought possible, she held the purse out to him.
He stepped closer and jerked it from her grasp. “Now the keys.”
She swallowed hard and clenched her hand around the keys. That damn car was the only thing she had left; she couldn’t part with it willingly. Maybe if she refused, he’d decide it wasn’t worth the hassle and just leave.
“You can’t have my car. I need it.”
“So do I, bitch. Now give me the keys.”
She shook her head and backed up a step. With wide eyes, she watched as he pulled a gun from behind his back and pointed it at her. As if in slow motion, she saw him pull the trigger, watched the gun kick, and a moment later felt the bullet slam into her. Either he was a lousy shot, or he didn’t intend to kill her. Blood blossomed on her shirt near her left shoulder and the world spun. She pressed her hand over the wound and sank to the ground, her knees hitting the unforgiving pavement. The heat of the day seeped through her jeans and burned her skin. Even though it had been hours since the sun went down, it was still a hot and humid night. Sweat beaded on the back of her neck and drenched the cups of her bra.
The metallic scent of her blood filled her nose as dots swam before her eyes. Casey stepped closer and wrenched the keys from her hand, pulling on her shoulder. She cried out in pain and watched, helpless, as he ran to her car. He jumped inside, started it, and peeled out of the alley. As the taillights disappeared around the corner, she called out for help, hoping someone would hear her.
Lightheaded and dizzy, she sucked in a lungful of the balmy air before sinking into oblivion, her body slumping to the ground. Lying face down on the pavement, blood began to pool under her shoulder.
Where to find Paige: