The Token 7: Thorn (A Token Novel) (14 page)

BOOK: The Token 7: Thorn (A Token Novel)
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26

Thorn

 

People in white swarm around me like bees. I fight against swatting them away. My irritation has its own zip code.

“We were lucky, so lucky,” Tag says.

It's been hours since Juliette was admitted to the hospital. She's been cleaned, dressed, and questioned.

That prick Shepard is missing.

Her husband.

Roi... my father, and the slow murderer of a dozen women, is dead.

It should feel final. Vindication is finally mine.

Instead, I feel as if a giant came along with an ice cream spoon and scooped out my guts as I lay gasping for air.

“We won't get nailed, Thorn. They've been looking for this guy for fucking years.”

Tagger shot him, so he's on a little vacation like I was. Not because he did anything wrong. It was defensible, totally. But that's the way it works. Somebody dies by a cop’s hand, and you're a cop... an internal inquiry begins to turn its ugly wheels.

My DNA is being matched to Roi’s. Normally, we'd be waiting for two weeks, but with a foreign national involved, it'll be a rush job. I don't think my undercover career can survive this scandal. The best we can do is keep it off Mick's ass. The blood bath happened where his jet is kept, so the media will be all over him again.

I look through the glass and just make out the top of her head. Ink spills over her white pillow. My palm makes a print on the window.

I move away before she sees me.

Tag jogs to keep up with me. “Whoa, Thorn. You're just going to leave, buddy?”

I pivot, and he bumps into me.

“Here's the thing... she fucking did the stiletto tap dance on my chest.” I clench my hand and bring it to my chest. “She sucked the life outta Thorn.” I swirl my hand over my heart. “He's in there somewhere but right now—no oxygen, ya dig?”

Tag nods, his eyes kinda buggy. “I do.”

“Good.” I burst through the double glass doors of the hospital’s entrance and suck in a lungful of moist Seattle air. I turn around.

Tag's still there.

“What?” I ask.

“Thorn—” he begins in a soothing voice.

“Uh-uh.” I wave away his words like a tick trying to bite my ass.

“Come on, dude. Give her a chance to explain!”

I whirl around and our noses almost touch. “There's nothing to explain. She played me. I'd go to the ground for her.” My eyes feel dry and tight, like they want to burst. “I did.”

I walk away before I fucking cry like some pussy.

I swipe my cheeks as I move to my screaming red car. Matches my mood.

I ignore the water on my hands.

 

*

Juliette

 

“Okay, you're
so
telling Kiki what happened,” Kiki says.

I sigh, pulling on my low-slung combat-style boots. I take my time lacing them, not looking at Kiki.

“Where the eff is Thorn?”

I still don't say anything.

“Juliette, ya better look at me or I'm gonna blow a circuit!”

I look up, and Kiki gasps, stepping back. She says, “Who the fuck messed up your face?”

I grab my purse and move through my hospital room door.

She follows.

“Juliette! Stop, you pain in the ass!”

Ignoring her, I slap open the hospital’s main doors, wincing at the pain. It's phantom pain. Don't know where I got it, just have it after a fight.

She runs in front of me and grabs my elbows. My face pinches.

She latches onto the spot where that old guy grabbed me, and it hurts.

“What? God... what's going on?” Kiki lightens her grip, and I relax. “Tagger, that insensitive doofus, calls me and asks if I'll pick you up, Mick won't answer one question, and Thorn won't pick up his phone!” Her eyes search me from head to toe. “And a gang of goddamned gnomes beat your ass. What. The. Hell. Happened?”

I blow out my frustration. “I lied to Thorn.”

“You mean lie-lie? Or white lie or...?”

“Lie by omission.”

“Kinda like white lie then?” Kiki bites her lip.

I plunge. “I'm married to Shepard.”

Kiki cringes.

That's very much the reaction I would have. I move around her, looking for a cab.

My dead heart still beats.

I raise my hand when I see a yellow cab.

“How could you be married to that a-hole? He screwed you over! Tell me it isn't true!” she pleads with me.

“It's true.”

The cab stops, and I turn, giving Kiki my full attention. “You've been so good to me. I'm so sorry.”

Kiki puts her hands on her head. “This can't be happening. It's like a goddamned nightmare.”

The cabbie honks, and Kiki scowls at him.

“Don't go,” she begs. “I know there's something reasonable in this mess. Please tell me—I'm a good listener.”

I hold my eyes open, but the tears still fall.

Kiki steps into me, grabbing my hands. “Don't go, Simone—
Juliette
, whatever!”

“You go now!” the cabbie shouts through the open passenger-side window.

I turn. He's Iranian. I tell him to fuck off in Farsi.

Kiki bursts out laughing, and I do too.

“I don't have to speak the language to know that one,” she says.

The driver swears, his wheels squealing as he roars off.

“Can't stay classy, can ya?” she asks.

I shake my head. “No.”

“Come on, us tacky broads have to stay together.”

 

*

 

One week, one hour, thirty-seven minutes, and a breath of seconds since I've seen Thorn.

I wrap my arms around my knees, the borrowed pajamas soft against my skin.

It's two a.m., and here I sit. Insomnia—again.

I look at the letter for the tenth time. Registered mail from France. The postage is old. Many times it's been delivered and forwarded.

Finally it has found me.

The freedom I should feel is hollow.

The divorce decree is legitimate. Shepard is no longer my husband.

He was trying to give me a gift. Somewhere in all that callous packaging, he loved me.

Enough to let me go.

But the man I really love, who I chose—he won't have me.

Everyone has tried to contact Thorn.

He's not answering. Gone like a ghost.

Thorn haunts me.

I hear a door open and close, and my heart rate ticks up. Who could be here?

The police have taken care of everyone involved. They arrested my father, who lives in the US, for the human slave trade of his own daughter. Shepard is still on the loose, but the real evil has been expunged.

Roi is no longer King.

The dead can't rule.

A soft knock comes at my bedroom door and I look up, startled.

Kiki comes in and closes it tightly. Her eyes have lost the vestiges of sleep. Her palms flatten on the wood.

“He's here,” she says.

My heart lurches. “Who?”

“Jesus—Thorn. Duh.”

“Why?” I ask.

Kiki rolls her eyes. “Find out, fool!”

She steps away from the door, and Thorn enters.

He's so beautiful I want to cry. This man who was tortured as a boy. I want to dump myself into his arms, but I know that's not the way to fix things between us.

He glances at Kiki.

She leaves.

He and I stare at each other. His presence fills the room, overwhelming me.

Thorn crosses his arms. “I'm listening.”

“It's two in the morning.” I instantly want to kick myself.

He shrugs, and I watch his muscles like a starving animal.

“Can't sleep,” he says.

I feel my cheeks warm. “I can't either.”

Silence hangs between us.

“I—Thorn.” I hang my head. “Shepard married me to keep me from Roi. He tastes all the new girls, and Shepard knew that if he was my husband, Roi would respect that. He wouldn't have me.”

I don't look up. I can't.

“I'm sorry,” I whisper. “So sorry.”

His arms come around me, and my nose fills with the sharp scent of soap, his light cologne, and him.

Gradually, my arms go around him.

“I know.”

His voice rumbles against my chest.

I pull away, and his fingertips touch my face lightly. He traces the healing bruise on my face.

“What do you know?”

“What I need to,” Thorn says, his eyes glittering down at me.

I search his face in the gloom. “What do you know?”

Thorn smiles. “That you're never going to be married to anyone.”

My eyebrows pop.

“But me,” he finishes.

My heart stops.

“You can't know... I mean—”

His finger stops my protest. “Thorn knows.”

I shake my head

He nods. “I've always known.”

“Known what?”
Breathe, Juliette.

“That the wait is over. It's finally fucking over.”

He's lost me.
What wait?

My face scrunches, and Thorn smooths the pucker between my brows. He trails his thumb over my eyebrow and down my face. It stops at my collarbone, and he wraps his hand around my shoulder, kneading it. A little moan escapes before I can stop it.

His eyes darken from that one noise.

“The wait for what?” I ask.

He presses me to him, all of him against all of me. My eyes close, and my tears soak his shirt. Neither of us move.

“The happy, Juliette,” he says against my hair.

“I've found the happy, and it's you. It's always been you.”

He's no longer speaking in third person.

Thorn is finally him.

The End

 

Preorder
THE TOKEN 8: Kiki

Coming November 27, 2014!

A Token novel

 

 

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You might also like the
NEW YORK TIMES
and
USA TODAY
dark romance
bestseller,
A TERRIBLE LOVE
,
also written by Marata Eros....

 

Acknowledgments

 

I began The Druid Series with the encouragement of my husband and continued because of you, my Reader. Your faithfulness through comments, suggestions, spreading the word and ultimately purchasing my work with your hard-earned money gave me the incentive, means and inspiration to continue.

There are no words that are sufficiently adequate to express my thankfulness for your support. But know this: TDS novellas continued past HARVEST only because of you.

I truly feel connected to my readers. It is obvious to me, but I'll say the words anyway for clarity: a written work is just words on pages if they are not read by my readers. As I write this I get a lump in my throat; your enjoyment of my work affects me that deeply.

You guys are the greatest, each and every one of ya~

Marata
xo

 

Special Thanks:

 

You
, my reader.

My husband
, who is my biggest fan.

Cameren
, without whom, there would be no books.

Cassie C.,
my copy editor. Thank you readers, by supporting my work you've provided me with the means to give you cleaner copy.

Linda Palomera-Terpe
, my proof reader.

Ange

Beth Dean Hoover

Dii

Shana

*

Ashley H.-H.

Autumn

Caryn

Crystal

Gemma

SueBee

More Books by Marata Eros:

The Druid Series:

Reapers

Bled

Harvest

Sow

Seed

Plow

Thresher

Exotic

The Druid Breeders

Baird
(
preorder
)

 

The Siren Series:

Ember

Constantine

Brandon
(
preorder
)

 

The Demon Series:

Brolach

 

The Token Serial:

The Token

The Token 2

The Token 3

The Token 4

The Token 5

The Token 6

The Token 7: Thorn

The Token 8: Kiki
(
preorder
)

The Token 9: Chet Sinclair
(
preorder
)

 

Dark Romantic Suspense:

A Terrible Love

A Brutal Tenderness

The Darkest Joy

In Broken Love

 

The Dara Nichols Series, 1-8:

3500-5500 words each
(naughty & sexual, non-romantic encounters)

 

 

A Hard Lesson,
where Dara Nichols gets “schooled” by a few students...

To Protect and Service,
Dara gets pulled over by the cops and taken in hand...

The 13
th
Floor
, Dara attends a professors' symposium and things heat up in the elevator...

The Boardroom
, Dara's sexual encounter with her students is discovered and she receives some much-deserved discipline...

The Four Whoresmen,
Dara takes a weekend getaway at a remote ranch and gets man-handled...

The Masquerader's Balls
, Dara and Zoe get nailed by a couple of masked men...

The Ball Player
, Dara takes one for the team at the local gym...

The Cock Tale
, Dara and Zoe teach university president Craig Taylor a lesson in discipline at his own party...

 

Disclaimer
: The  DNS titles are a completely different “flavor” from the work that you just enjoyed. These are explicit erotica centered around sexual, non-romantic encounters. These short stories are more sexual in nature, whereas the dark paranormal novellas are more sensual/romantic tension/erotic romance-driven.

 

The ZOE SCOTT Series:

Smoldering Wet

The Zoe Scott Series, 1-8
(
preorder
)

 

BLOG: marataeroseroticaauthor.blogspot.com

 

Books
written under my real name, Tamara Rose Blodgett:

 

BLOG
: Tamara Rose Blodgett

 

The Death Series

(young adult dark paranormal dystopian fantasy):

 

Death Whispers

Death Speaks

Death Inception

Death Screams

Death Weeps

Unrequited Death

The Death Bundle, books 1-3

For the Love of Death
(preorder)

 

The Savage Series

(new adult dark post-apocalyptic steampunk paranormal romance):

 

The Pearl Savage

The Savage Blood

The Savage Principle

The Savage Vengeance

The Savage Protector

The Savage Dream
(preorder)

Savage Bundle
, Books 1-3

 

The Blood Series

(new adult dark supernatural fantasy and paranormal romance):

 

Blood Singers

Blood Song

Blood Chosen

Blood Reign

 

*

The Reflection Series

 

The Reflective
(The Reflection Series, #1) (preorder)

 

 

BOOK: The Token 7: Thorn (A Token Novel)
2.85Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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