Authors: Kelly Carrero
By Kelly Carrero
Copyright 2013 by Kelly Carrero
This book is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to persons either living or deceased is purely coincidental. Names, places, characters and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. The author holds the rights to this work. It is illegal to reproduce this novel without written expressed consent from the author herself.
Cover Design by Robin Ludwig Design Inc.
Formatting by Polgarus Studio
Growing up, I used to think about what my dad would have been like if he had been older than fifteen when I was conceived. Would he have stuck around and watched his little princess grow up? Would he have even thought of me as his princess at all? Or would he still have thought that I was a mistake he was not prepared to be a part of?
Neither of those scenarios were anything like the truth, if what my mum had just told me was true. My father was nothing like what a father was supposed to be. He was a monster.
“That can’t be,” I said, my voice barely audible. I reached for the arm of the lounge, trying to steady myself.
Before my legs gave way, Aiden, who already had one hand on my hip, grabbed me with his other and transported us to sitting on the couch beside my mother.
Mum turned to face us, her features contorted with a mixture of guilt and sorrow. I’d never seen this side of her. She had always seemed so confident and in control of life. She lowered her eyes as if she were afraid to watch my reaction. “I’m afraid it’s true.”
I didn’t want to accept that what she was telling me was true. I didn’t want to believe my father could be the one doing this to me and hurting everyone I cared about. “How can you be sure? You told me you’ve never seen or heard from him since you told him about me.”
She raised her eyes to mine and placed her hand on my knee. “Honey… it’s him.”
Anger boiled inside me. I was angry not only about finding out the person who had been playing this sadistic game with me was my father, but also because my mother apparently had to have known it was him from the beginning. That was probably what she was hiding from me when Chelsea was kidnapped. And to think, she didn’t tell me. She had lied to me. Maybe if she had told me when this all started, then I wouldn’t have had some psycho trying to carve me up, and Ben would still be alive.
“Try to calm down,”
Aiden said to me silently.
“Calm down?” I said, turning to Aiden. “Are you serious?”
He didn’t say anything, just sent calming endorphins my way, but this time, I didn’t welcome them. “She’s been lying to me my whole life, and you want me to calm down so that
feels better about all of this!”
“Jade,” Mum said with a catch in her voice.
“Don’t even…” I shook my head in frustration. “I can’t do this right now.”
Both Aiden and Mum called my name as I phased out.
I transported to Aiden’s house in Australia and landed myself so that I was sitting on the white leather lounge.
“Where are you?”
Aiden’s voice rang through my head. I didn’t answer him.
I was furious, and I didn’t know how to let go of the hurt and betrayal that consumed every fibre of my being.
My mum was supposed to be the one person I could trust more than anyone, and she had lied to me. Hell, she’d been lying to me my whole life.
“Tell me where you are?”
he asked again, and again, I didn’t answer. I couldn’t. I was afraid that if I did, I would lose the last bit of control I had over my anger and completely flip out. Why couldn’t I do some of that calming shit on myself?
My phone beeped in my pocket, but I didn’t bother to look at it. I was sure it was a message from Aiden, asking where the hell I was because I wasn’t answering him. And if it wasn’t Aiden, I still didn’t want to talk to whoever it was.
A second later, Aiden appeared, standing next to the bi-fold doors in the lounge room. The moment I saw him, a much-needed calmness washed over me, which got stronger with every step he took in my direction. “I thought you’d be here.” He sat down on the coffee table in front of me.
I didn’t say anything. I brought down my mind barrier and allowed Aiden into my thoughts. I was glad he was there, but I still couldn’t trust myself to say anything without fearing I would fall apart or, worse, throw a hissy fit at the fact that my life was a lie. My mother had been deceiving me since I was born. My father was some psychotic asshole who was playing with the lives of people I cared about and was even prepared to see his own daughter get carved up.
A father is not supposed to be like that. And a mother should want to protect her daughter from someone like him—or at least warn her of him so she could protect herself. But no, my parents were nothing like what normal parents should be.
Aiden held out his hand, his green eyes tinged with sadness. I knew what he wanted to do, and I knew I desperately needed his help. I placed my hand in his and was instantly met with calming endorphins racing through my veins. He looked at me again without saying a word, but he didn’t need to. I knew what he was thinking even though he still had his mind barrier up.
I slowly nodded and waited for him to fix me. A few seconds later, he was done. I still felt the betrayal of my mother’s words, but I no longer wanted to rip out my hair. I was once again in control of my emotions. “Thanks.”
“You know I’m always here for you.”
I smiled. So far, he was proving to be the one person I could trust—the one person who hadn’t deceived me—besides Chelsea. “Chelsea.” Crap. With finding my mother and everything that followed, I’d completely forgotten she had seen what I could do when I rescued her and her mum from their house as it was being blown to bits. And nobody had altered her memory.
“I don’t think she would have told anyone. She wouldn’t do that to you.” Aiden sat beside me. “But I do think we’ll need to have a little catch-up with her soon.”
I knew by “catch-up,” he meant screwing with her mind to make her forget I was the one who had saved her and her mum. But after finding out almost everyone I cared about had been lying to me my whole life, doing the same to her felt wrong. I didn’t want to be that person, but I knew I had no other choice. I couldn’t let her in on our secret. “I’ll call her later, okay?”
“Okay.” He put his arm around me and pulled me back towards his chest. He was breaking our eye contact, which made me think he was going to try to talk to me about my mother. The calming endorphins he sent my way did little to damage my theory. He sighed. “You know you’ve got to talk about her sooner or later.”
“I say later,” I said quickly.
“You’ve at least got to hear her out.”
He sighed. “Yeah, I think you do. I think you owe—”
“I don’t owe her anything. She’s the one who’s been lying to me my whole life, and you think I owe her a chance to explain how she could let my father manipulate my life. How she could think it was okay to keep the truth from me when my best friend was being held captive, being tortured or abused for all she knew? Yeah, I don’t think I owe her shit.”
“No,” I said, preparing my next lot of insults on her pathetic attempt at motherly love.
Aiden gently slapped his hand over my mouth. “If you’d let me finish, I was going to say I think you owe it to yourself to hear what she has to say. Then, when you have listened to her reasons why she did what she did, you can make an informed decision on whether you want to cut off all connections with her. But until you do hear her out…”
I twisted my head around to look at him.
Aiden looked at me, his eyes piercing through my built-up anger, softening me from the inside out. He brushed a few stray strands of hair away from my face and let his fingers linger against my cheek. His eyes softened, and he exhaled deeply, taking all of my pent-up anger away with his breath. “I know you, and I know your mind will be flooded with unknowns.”
We sat there in silence. He was right, of course, but that didn’t mean I wanted to go back to see her just yet. I was still upset and thought it would be best to give ourselves a little space from each other. My phone buzzed again, reminding me I hadn’t looked at the message I thought Aiden had sent me.
“It wasn’t me,” he said, as if he could still hear my thoughts.
I pulled the phone from my pocket. The message was from Chelsea.
We need to talk!
Crap. I so didn’t want to get into this with her right now.
How’s your mum?
I asked, changing the subject, hoping she would bite and get carried away on another Chelsea ramble.
“We’re going to have to see her soon,” Aiden said. “Maybe we could go see her now. She’s probably at the hospital, needing her bestest friend there to comfort her.”
I frowned. “Way to load on a guilt trip.”
My phone beeped with another message from Chelsea.
Mum’s doing okay. They have her in a medically-induced coma while they clean up her burns—but they’re hoping to bring her around in the morning.
I thought I was safe. I hoped she had forgotten about how I’d saved her and her mother from the explosion but I was wrong. Another message came through shortly after.
BTW—your secret is safe with me, but it won’t be for long if you keep avoiding me. : )
I threw my phone onto the lounge by my feet. “Not now,” I warned Aiden from what I knew he was about to say.
He sighed. Then a couple of seconds later, he poked the side of my stomach. “How about we get out of here for a bit?”
“And do what?” We didn’t have many options at the moment. I was avoiding my best friend and my mum, which meant I was also avoiding going back to the house in England. We could no longer hang out with Ben, and I sure as hell didn’t feel like going to Surfers after his accident. There was always Lucas, but if we went over to his apartment, there was a good possibility we would run into Georgia. And I really didn’t feel like dealing with any of her crap with everything else going on.
Aiden shifted me slightly as he lifted his feet onto the edge of the coffee table. “You’re right. We may as well just sit here, avoiding everything for the rest of our lives,” he said sarcastically.
“I’m glad you’re finally seeing it my way,” I said with a smirk. “Don’t suppose you can do something to make me fall asleep for the next couple of days?”
“I’ll see what I can do.” I instantly felt him inside my mind, and it freaked the crap out of me—not because I had anything to hide, but because I was worried he was actually going to put me to sleep.
Before he could get to work on taking me out for the next few days, I phased out and relocated to the other side of the room, with my back pressing against the wall. “You know I was only joking, right?”
“Were you?” he asked, as if he really did think I was serious. “’Cause it was actually a pretty good idea.” He got up off the lounge and stalked over to me. “You’d for sure be able to avoid speaking to Chelsea and your mum if you were asleep.” He phased out and reappeared in front of me. Aiden tilted his head to the side, eyeing the centre of my forehead as if he was looking through to my mind, visualising what he would have to do to make it work. “And no one would ever know. They’ll just think you’re exhausted from everything that has been happening over the last few weeks.”
I drew in a sharp breath.
He was once again inside my mind.
“You idiot.” I shoved him away from me.
He laughed. “Had you worried there for a moment didn’t I?”
“No,” I quickly snapped back, but my remark was useless. He knew I was lying.
He blinked out and reappeared with his arms wrapped around my body. “I’m sorry. But it was just too tempting.” He transported us back to the lounge, where I curled up into his side.
It wasn’t as if I was really mad at him. I did deserve it. I had a really bad habit of wanting to hide from confronting issues that might result in a highly emotional situation.
“Anyway,” he said, letting me off without harping on about my shortcomings. “How about we…” He trailed off when my phone beeped with a new message—probably from Chelsea.
“Are you gonna get that?” he asked when I didn’t make any attempt to see who it was from.
“Fine.” I stretched out my leg and pulled the phone towards me with my foot. I just about dropped it when I saw the message was from an unknown number.
You took something from me.
Now I’m going to take something from you… DD
I stared at the phone in my hand. A million thoughts ran through my mind. I’d taken my mum from him, although technically, he took her away from me first, and I was going to see the repercussions. He was going to take someone from me. But who did he mean? The bastard didn’t even give me a clue. All I knew was that he was going to take someone I cared deeply about, because that was what he did, whether that be my mum or one of Aiden’s family members. “Chelsea!”