Authors: Lauren Stewart
an Urban Fantasy
Hyde, Book II
Copyright © 2012 by Lauren Stewart
Off the Hook Publishing
Cover design: Olivia Rivers
Other titles by Lauren Stewart
Hyde, an Urban Fantasy
No Experience Required, a Summer Rains Novel
Second Bite, a Vampire Novella
Five percent of the author proceeds for this book will be donated to a children's charity.
So by purchasing Jekyll, you are also doing good for others. Thank you.
“When the people of the world all know beauty as beauty,
There arises the recognition of ugliness.
When they all know the good as good,
There arises the recognition of evil.”
Eden felt someone nudge her arm. Oh man, where’d she end up this time? Her head felt like it had been used as a battering ram, her body like it hadn’t been used in eons. Heavy, sore, feeble. She was lying down on something soft, that much she knew. So she wasn’t on Mitch’s front step again.
“Eden, are you awake?” The voice was familiar. Vaguely. Definitely too feminine to be Mitch’s. Not to mention too nice. “Eden?”
Cracking open her eyes was a task in itself, one she was almost too weak to do.
A woman with black hair stepped backwards and leaned against the wall, the end of her ponytail hanging over one shoulder. And she was smiling.
Don’t trust it.
When death came for her,
be smiling too.
Eden looked around the room. It was sparse—the twin-size bed she was lying on, ugly gray walls, and…not a lot else.
. There was a door. One she intended to walk through immediately. She jerked up painfully, but her wrists were strapped down.
“Let me go!”
“You need to stay calm.” The woman came forward hesitantly, as if she wasn’t sure what to do. So Eden told her.
“Get these things off of me!”
After a quick exhalation, the woman said, “We only used them so you wouldn’t hurt yourself.”
. As if straps would stop someone who was determined to hurt themselves. The woman should be more concerned with what Eden would do if she
take them off.
As soon as the teeth of the Velcro ripped apart, Eden swung her legs onto the floor, throwing her hands onto the mattress for balance as a wave of nausea hit her.
“You shouldn’t move too quickly. Give your body a chance to get used to moving again.”
“Where am I?” she asked. At least it wasn’t the morgue. Anything else she could deal with. Eventually. But right now, she was having trouble just sitting upright.
Holding her hands out in front of her, the woman said, “You’re safe.”
“Forgive me if I don’t take your word for it.” Even as disoriented as she was, Eden knew it was wrong to be here. Her instincts were screaming, ‘Get
, and get
The woman nodded. “Fair enough. How can I convince you?”
“Well, for starters you could show me the exit. Then we could go out sometime and get to know each other better. At least, I
that’s how it’s done.” Where was Mitch? Where was Carter? Why couldn’t she remember anything?
No. She’d worry about that later. Right now, she needed to focus on getting out of wherever she was. Because nothing was safe for her anymore.
was safe for her either. Everything else was a blur, but
Trust no one, especially anyone who would keep me in cuffs.
As Eden stumbled towards the door, the woman backed up, blocking her way. But the expression on her face—wariness with a little bit of panic—proved she knew she wouldn’t be able to even slow Eden done. Good, that was a good place to begin.
“Wait! You’re in a clinic. You’re safe now. No one is going to hurt you.”
A clinic? She looked down at what she was wearing—typical god-awful hospital gown. Considering how much Chastity hated clothing, the fact that Eden was wearing anything at
was a shock. She checked her wrists, turning her hands over multiple times, looking for signs of bindings stronger than the ones she’d woken up in.
What she saw instead were countless pale lines of scar tissue up and down her arms, on the palms of both hands. Already healed, leaving only thin reminders of two fights, one of them ending in someone’s death.
The memory flashed in her mind.
She remembered getting those wounds. The fight. The fight with Jolie and…and Hyde. Then afterwards, a look of horror on Mitch’s face when he’d seen what he’d done to her. Followed by the look of defeat when he closed the door in her face, shutting her out of his life because he couldn’t deal with it anymore.
Chastity had taken her innocence, and Mitch had stolen back the sense of safety she’d had when she’d been with him. Part of her wanted to lie back down on the bed, curl into a ball and weep for all she’d lost. How quickly she’d lost it.
But another part of her wanted to shove the stranger up against the wall and scream at her until she told her what the hell was going on. How she got here, what had happened after Mitch had given up on them. And on her.
Weakness can wait. Getting out can’t.
“I want out of here now.” She spoke through her teeth, her hands in tight fists at her sides.
“Okay,” the woman said nervously.
As soon as she stepped out of the way, Eden was at the door, easily pushing it open despite its apparent heft. She peeked out to make sure she wasn’t going to walk into something even worse and then stepped into the hallway.
The woman grunted as the door swung into her. “We had no intention of forcing you to stay.”
“Golly, thanks.” Eden looked down the empty hallway, one way and then the other. There was nothing. No indication of which way to go. No signs that said,
‘Over here, Eden. Go this way to get out.
’ Damn it. “Which way?” she shouted. “Which way to get the fuck out of here?”
Did I just say that?
“Fuck,” she said again. The word felt smooth on her lips, but abrasive on her mind. How could that be? A rush of dizziness hit her head, forcing her back a step.
Hyde…I killed Jolie…reading Carter’s letter in Landon’s unmarked police car…the tap of a gun on the car window…a fight
. Little pieces of memories appeared, different than the flashbacks Chastity had given her. Less like a movie playing in her mind and more like the truth. Truth she knew and had lived. The part of her she’d never been able to understand or accept felt familiar, like a good friend. But Chastity wasn’t her friend or anyone else’s friend. Who’d want a friend with no impulse control, no moral compass?
“What’s wrong with me?” she whimpered, her body starting to shake. She felt cold. Not because she was barefoot on the tile floor. Because she felt naked, exposed, all the way to her soul.
“We don’t know.”
Eden flipped around to face her, advancing.
The woman rushed back into the room they’d just come out of, yelling, “Security!” into a small box on the wall. The sound of her fear echoed through the hallway, until it was overtaken by the sound of a door around the corner opening and multiple feet hitting the tile. Someone was coming.
Two large men in black t-shirts and pants came around the corner, straight for her. Before she had a chance to comment on their matching attire, a fight-or-flight war started between her
. What were the chances she could outrun them? Down an unknown hallway that might lead anywhere—to a dead-end or more guards. Could she fight them? Could Chastity? Damn it. The weakness of her body wouldn’t allow either of them a chance. But she’d try. Hell yeah, she’d try. She wasn’t going to just lie down anymore. Not for anyone.
There is no way this isn’t going to hurt.
The men slowed when they got about ten feet away. They must have weighed at least 250 a piece.
. Five hundred pounds of professional muscle against 125 of untrained and terrified girl. But she had a lot more to lose than they did. She hoped that would be enough.