The Token 7: Thorn (A Token Novel)

BOOK: The Token 7: Thorn (A Token Novel)
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Praise for
THE TOKEN
Serial ….

 

“ …
Marata Eros’ writing style is very unique and entertaining. It added a different dynamic and twist to make this story really stand out. I was caught up in this series from the start and I cannot wait to read the remaining three parts ...”
H BestSellersBestStellars

 

“ …
I'm thoroughly invested in the serial now and will continue on with the subsequent installments. The author is truly talented and manages to capture such a unique and thrilling story through the course of novellas.
...” R. Nicole, Reader

 

“ … The Token is a series of novellas and each one is more fabulous than the one before it. Marata Eros is a brilliant and creative author, I was hooked on this series after the very first chapter and knew I would not be putting it down anytime soon. The story line is addictive and unbelievably captivating. It would be impossible not to be hooked even after reading the prologue ....”
Summer's Book Blog

 

Can true love fix Thorn? Or does being broken feel too good to give up?

 

Thorn is set to open new flesh clubs for billionaire Jared "Mick" McKenna. Before he can leave, pieces of his past are revealed, causing a shift he's unprepared for.

 

When Kiki asks Thorn to watch over the exotic Simone Balland, he agrees. An odyssey begins which forces Thorn to face the mystery of a past with abuse, survival and dark secrets only he can unlock.

 

Thorn discovers just how dangerous his choices have become, as Simone and him transcend the demons of before. Can they live as they were meant to? Or will some ghosts seek vengeance no matter how long they've been buried...?

THE TOKEN 7: Thorn

Copyright © 2014 Marata Eros

 

Kindle Edition

 

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer's imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.

All rights are reserved.
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 book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to a legitimate retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

 

 

Dedication:

 

Marie Reid

Prologue

 

“Listen to my voice.”

I struggle with calm. My inner rage is so much a part of who I am, they're inseparable. I breathe deeply then respond with more civil words than the ones I was going to say.

“This is really gay.”

That counts as benign for me.

The shrink sighs. Probably sucks and spews more CO² in a day with me as a patient than anyone in his entire career.

“It's mandated, Mr. Simon, as you're aware.”

“Yeah, I gotcha, but this whole
quack like a bird
while I'm under? It blows donkey dicks.”

I lift my eyelids, arms folded across my chest as I stubbornly blow my millionth session on the couch.

This is what our world has come to: Coddle Central. Throw poor broken Thorn a bone. His mama just died from a drug overdose, he's still suffering trauma for being falsely incarcerated at a young age. He's deep undercover so he needs stress relief.

That's all fucking fine.

What I don't like is this “memory recapture.” That's the new term for it. Some yahoo, too busy jacking himself off, decided it'd be a great idea for me to use hypnosis to come to terms with my childhood.

Because it was soooo righteous.

Yeah.

Couch time is a free service offered to detectives who “they” determine have dubious backgrounds.

That’s the polite term for shit families. Or as “they” like to coin the phrase: familial hardship.

The good doc breaks into my thoughts. “Mr. Simon... this regression therapy has been proven to be successful at reintegration.”

Maybe I like what I don't remember just fine.

I give a slow blink. “Yeah.”

“Will you try?”

I exhale forcefully. I think of Mick and all he's done for me. I think of my anger, a vast well of bottomless rage. It makes me tired. Chasing me like it does. I can't have a relationship without rage.

I can't have a relationship with trust.

Every time a woman wants more than my dick in her, I run.

I don't want to love a woman.

It's dangerous.

I can't nail down why, but I believe that down to my marrow.

“Relax in pieces, Mr. Simon—as we discussed in prior sessions.”

“Ty,” I correct.

“If you prefer.”

I open one eye, pegging Doctor Dillinger.

“I do.”

I ignore the compassion I see.

Thorn doesn't need pity.

I only need myself.

I go through the relaxation technique as Dillinger's boring voice drones on.

It's bullshit.

This regression crap never works.

 

*

 

It's dark, and I hear crying. Soft and relentless, it has a familiar quality. I pad through the dark house. Discarded needles glint as the city streetlights spear the dirty glass inside forgotten windows.

I didn’t listen to Mama about wearing my slippers. They make me look like a baby.

I avoid the eyes that follow me.
That shows disinterest,
Mama says.

And I don't want the attention they'll give me.

I ignore the men and woman wrestling naked on the floor.

I pass young, greasy people smoking pipes. The disgusting rotten-egg smell is a constant vapor inside my nose.

I stand outside the door of Mama's room. Mine is behind me and locked. The key is hot in my sweaty palm, my finger restlessly stroking the ridged metal.

My heartbeat shifts from fear to one of expectant terror. If this goes like always, my mama won't be alone.

Mama’s door swings in. Grime is piled in corners like dirty snowdrifts. The filth bleeds to the center, where a man stands above Mama.

He's the one who comes only at night.

He doesn't look like us.

His skin is like pale cream.

He's big... and in my mind, I know he's an Important Man. It's pure instinct that I understand he feels big for reminding us that we're small.

His lips curl in satisfaction when he sees me. I fight the urge to pop my thumb inside my mouth. I bite the inside of my lip to keep from doing it.

“He's mine?” the man asks as his hand fists in Mama's hair.

I walk closer. My eyes skip nervously to his hand in her hair, the size of his fist, that coiled rage.

“No!” she answers in a hoarse shout. Her eyes meet mine, round with fear.

Tight with her lies.

I look at the man.

“Then he can take the beating I meant for you.” He jerks her up by her hair.

I run to him, punching him with fists too small to inflict damage.

He tosses Mama like garbage, and her beauty falls to the floor, long hair spilling around her like a dark fan. Luminous eyes catch mine in belated warning.

He shoves me on my bottom.

A pot full of rage that has nowhere to go simmers close to boiling. I feel it swell inside me. Ready.

“Don't you hurt my baby!” she screams.

An ember appears in his free hand. It glows like a lost firefly in the darkness, and the air fills with cloying sweetness. “Sorry, Tasha. If you don't pay, someone will.”

“No, Rex...”

His hand slams into her face. “Don't say my name.”

Mama falls back. She doesn't move.

I do what she's told me to do.

I grab the bulge between his legs and twist it.

I use both hands.

 

*

 

An elephant is sitting on my chest.

I gulp oxygen and it tastes like water.

I'm drowning.

“Ty—hear me.”

I gasp as I swim to the surface.

Gotta. Break. Through.

“Tyson Marius Simon, hear me and awake.”

I sit up straight, my eyes bulging so hard they feel as if they'll burst the pockets of my face.

I take in where I am.

I can still smell the cigar smoke, and my hands tremble as they search my arms for fresh wounds that are no longer there.

My mind's eye sees my mother and how beautiful she looked in the middle of violence and dirt.

I turn my forearms over and see what my tats cover.

I was her shield.

Doctor Dillinger says nothing during my silent scrutiny. He just watches me.

“How do you feel, Ty?”

Like someone kicked me in the nutsack, but thanks for asking
.

I ask, “Did you...? Did I?”
God, this sucks ass.
I don't know what bonehead things I did while I was lying there, helpless in my sleep. I don't know what I said.

The secrets I revealed.

“Yes, you were under for quite a while. But”—Doctor Dillinger's clear amber eyes look into mine—“I thought it was best we get you out of there.”

“What did I say?” I hate not knowing.

Hate knowing.

“Your mother's name? Tasha...?” Dillinger's eyebrows rose.

It feels weird as hell to hear someone say her name.

Tasha Simon isn't beautiful anymore. She’s dead. Her funeral is this week.

The drugs she loved more than anything have taken her. I swipe a trembling hand over my face.

“What do you remember?” he asks.

My eyes burn. I've never cried in my life, and I won't start now. My hands clench into fists. I shove that shit down where it belongs: deep and unowned.

I hate what the child I was had to suffer, but I don't regret it. He'd have killed her.

Rex.

I turn over my arms and bring my forearms together. The tribal sleeves do a bang-up job of hiding the worst of it, but if you know what you're looking for, they stand out like measles.

Dillinger leans forward until his knees press into the side of the couch as I wordlessly show him I know the
why
of the damage I camouflage.

He knows what he's looking for.

Dillinger's hands dangle between his knees as he loses count of the circular burn marks dotting my flesh.

Cigar-sized.

I shrug his hand off my shoulder when he tries to give me comfort.

I can't accept it.

I have one goal.

Vengeance has a name.

 

*

three days later

 

I rub my eyes with the heels of my hands. The chair creaks under my weight as I lean back and put my laced fingers behind my head. I close my eyes.

I'm so fucking tired of using Google I could die.

There is no Rex.

I know what I have to do. I need more information. I need to visit Dillinger again to find out what I can. I can't break the lock of my memories, but there's more; I know it.

Dillinger says memory repression is a deep-seeded measure the mind uses to protect itself.

The thought of recounting any more snippets of my miserable childhood brings on an instant, physical reaction.

My palms sweat and my breathing comes short and hard. I sit up, my hands gripping the armrests of my chair in my office at the Black Rose exotic dance club.

I'm having one of those candy-ass panic attacks, so I plow through it as my eyes burn, my armpits tingling with insta-sweat.

Kiki bursts in without knocking.
Pushy broad.

She takes one look at my face and walks closer, cautiously. “What the hell is it?”

I shake my head, dropping my chin to my chest and not looking at her.

Kandace “Kiki” King is a pole dancer, one of my best. I don't supervise much anymore though. I leave that to the floor manager. Even private lap auditions, once a mainstay of my job and a sick thrill I enjoyed, are growing stale as fuck.

I'm unraveling.

Good old Thorn is hanging on by a thread. I know it. Dillinger sure as fuck does, and he's got the ear of the precinct.

They have a dumb name for it.

Trigger.

A current event triggers memories of a traumatic one.

When my boy McKenna's girl almost got done in by that whack job, Bunce Junior, it had enough parallels that now I'm on vacation from undercover.

Mandatory, with pay.

Standard with a kill in the line of duty.

I guess I took a little too much pleasure in offing that fuck.

I close my eyes. The image of Faren on the floor, covered in Butch's blood.... it echoes too many long-buried memories.

Now, like an exhumation, the ghosts have escaped their graves.

I open my eyes, and Kiki is standing there. She knows I won't give an inch. No one knows Thorn, and that's how I like it—safe. Anonymity by choice.

Her face hardens, but inside that bravado is a soft center. Kiki doesn't fool me; she never has. But she lets it go for now.

“Ready?”

I nod, standing abruptly.

I tower over her. A sudden memory comes over me.

Rex was tall.
Like father, like son.

But that's where the likeness ends. His fair skin is milk to my chocolate.

Who says dark is evil?

I say it hides in the light.

Kiki and I leave for Tasha Simon's funeral.

BOOK: The Token 7: Thorn (A Token Novel)
4.77Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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