Authors: Jennifer Labelle
By Jennifer Labelle
Copyright © 2015 by . Jennifer Labelle rights reserved.
First Print Edition: September 2015
Limitless Publishing, LLC
Kailua, HI 96734
Formatting: Limitless Publishing
No part of this book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form without permission. Please do not participate in or encourage piracy of copyrighted materials in violation of the author’s rights. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to locales, events, business establishments, or actual persons—living or dead—is entirely coincidental.
This one’s for my wonderful husband, children, and loyal fans, thank you all so very much. You mean the world to me, and I hope you enjoy this one as much as the last.
Table of Contents
It was so dark wherever this was.
Teegan tried to get up and groaned, feeling groggy. She was cold, sore all over, and her head hurt.
Where the hell am I?
She could have sworn she’d just heard Liam call out to her.
She tried feeling around and whimpered, “Oh my God.” The confined space seemed to close in on her, and panic set in as what happened came back to her in a flash. Kissing Liam, picking out and buying pizza ingredients, the grocery store, Dylan and LJ, the truck, and Oliver.
The ceiling was low, she could barely see, and she didn’t have much space to move around. “No,” she whispered and began to cry. Her throat was dry, and she licked her cracked lips.
How long has it been?
She shifted her body so she could try to squirm toward a small crack of light to her right. It turned out to be the bottom of a door.
She was weak and had to try a couple times before she gained enough strength to sit up and feel around for a knob, but she came up empty-handed. Whatever kind of door this was, it was sturdy and unable to be opened from the inside. There wasn’t enough room to stand, so she sat on her knees and pushed her shoulder against the door. Her hope dwindled as the thing refused to budge. With a cry of desperation, she ignored her sore muscles and tried spinning around to kick the door in instead, but it stayed shut. She was stuck.
Dear God, why?
Whatever Oliver’s plans, she’d probably have a better chance of trying to escape once she was out of her confined prison cell in God only knows where than she would while being stuck here. Maybe if she could see where they were, a plan would come to mind. If pissing off Oliver again would get her out, then so be it. She’d endure her punishment but would be damned if she allowed him to break her. There had to be a way to get out of this alive, a way that would bring her home to the people she loved. So she decided to get loud.
“Oliver?” She kicked at the door repeatedly. “Come on, let me out.”
Bang, bang, bang
. “Somebody please help me. Anybody? Please, please, pleeaassse…”
Bang, bang, bang
. When no one answered, she leaned her head against the dirty floor and sobbed harder than she ever had before.
She was at his complete mercy, and there was no way to warn her family.
Please tell me this isn’t how it ends.
Ten Years Earlier
“Oh shit!” Teegan whispered in a panic and threw him off her. “Get under the bed, quick.”
He did as she said, knowing they only had a second before they’d be caught.
She was thankful her nightgown was still on as she threw the blankets over her and pretended to sleep restlessly. She’d have to come up with another explanation for her blasted headboard hitting the wall. They’d been too absorbed in the moment and had been careless of any consequences.
Her door creaked open, and her mother peeked in. “Teeg?”
Teegan lay there pretending to sleep restlessly. She exaggerated her movements and purposely smacked the headboard, praying her mother would buy in to her dramatic acting and wouldn’t find Liam under the bed.
“Teegan, honey, are you all right?”
Her heart beat faster as she felt the edge of the bed dip, and her mother wiped her hair from her forehead. “Teeg?”
“Mom?” she whispered, trying to sound out of sorts, as if she’d just woken up.
Good Lord, please just leave, please just leave.
“What are you doing here?”
“Strange noises were coming from in here, and they woke me up. I thought I’d make sure everything was all right. You were very restless—”
“It must have been a nightmare.” Teegan gulped. “I’ve been having a few of those lately. It must be the stress of starting college. You know, leaving home and all that…”
“Well, you can always go to college somewhere closer to home.” Her mother’s mouth twitched to fight a smile. “And of course we’ll always be here whenever you want to come home after you’ve left us for school.”
Teegan looked around the room nervously, trying to figure out how to wrap this up. Poor Liam was stuck under the bed. “Thanks, Mom. I have a bit of time to work through the jitters, but right now I think I’d like to get back to sleep.”
“All right, baby.” Her mother stood and headed toward the door. She stopped as she opened it. “I love you, Teeg.”
“I love you too, Mom.”
The light from the hallway slowly dimmed as the door creaked shut, and she sighed in relief. “That was a close one. I must be a better actress than I thought.”
“Very close,” Liam whispered, laughing quietly as he crawled out from beneath the bed. “But maybe I should just go.”
“Please don’t.” Teegan scooted toward the end of her bed to reach for him. “I’m not finished with you yet.”
“Really?” He smiled and embraced her. “I think I like the sound of that, Ms. Hallowell, but the bed isn’t an option right now, so what do you propose we do?” He leaned forward to close the distance between them and brushed his lips lightly over hers.
She nipped his bottom lip and then rolled her eyes. “Honestly, Liam, I’m pretty disappointed with you right now. You’re the one that’s supposed to be more experienced, yet I seem to have more imagination than you do right now.” She looked around the room, noting several possibilities, and then watched as his gaze followed hers.
“Hmm, my little nympho, I believe you’re right, and I have to say I’m liking the sex goddess I’ve created here,” he teased, and it made her giggle.
“Oh, shut up already.” She playfully shoved at him as he helped her off the bed and lowered her to the ground. “I love you, Liam.”
“Me too, Sunshine.”
They parted their lips, and their tongues met with equal desire, circling, tasting, as they loved their moment as one.
Her first love. Oh how she missed it.
As she came out of the memory, she wondered if Liam still lived in Digby and if he was single. She sighed while looking out the window of the Greyhound bus destined to bring her home again so many years after she’d run away, only to sprint back ten years later to save herself from a monster.
She was determined to pick up the pieces in her life, to start fresh, and to never let anyone, especially Oliver—the live-in boyfriend from hell—dictate how she lived again. Teegan was proud she’d finally had enough courage to leave and smiled to herself at the thought of how shocked Oliver would look when he came home to find the apartment empty. He’d be outraged when he finally figured it out.
She wasn’t turning back, though. She’d had enough of the abuse Oliver dished out and sighed, wanting nothing more than to revel in old memories of the only love who had meant anything to her.
The one man she had never been able to forget.
Ten Years Earlier
Her brother jumped at the sound of her voice. “Damn, Teeg, are you trying to give me a heart attack?” He nudged her arm playfully while looking relieved it was only her.
“Where have you been?” Teegan asked. It was hard to say with him, but she guessed he was back from either sneaking around with his girlfriend or getting into mischief with his friends. “Geez, James, you should be more careful sneaking in at this time of night. It could have been Mom or Dad coming down. They would’ve been pissed.”
“Whatever.” He rolled his eyes. “We’re eighteen, Teeg. Mom and Dad have to stop treating us like babies and realize we’re old enough now to come and go as we please.”
“Come on, James. They’re not that bad.”
“Says the favorite to the black sheep.” He chuckled and shook his head. “What the hell are you doing up so late, anyway?”
“I was thirsty.” She shrugged, and he followed her into the kitchen. “Sooo, you going to tell me where you’ve been, or what?” She went to the fridge to grab some juice and placed two glasses in front of them. After filling them, she took a sip and sat back at the kitchen table.
“Susan’s,” James said and grabbed his own juice before leaning against the counter.
She smiled. “I like her. Did you two have a good night?” She wiggled her brows and then started to laugh.
He snorted. “Like I’d tell you.”
“Oh, ew, James, I didn’t mean to imply I wanted details. That’s just gross, loser. I was only teasing you.”
He laughed. “It’s not like you’d know what I was talking about anyway, virgin.”
“And you would know that how?” she challenged, hating how predictable her life was. James always read her like an open book. But despite their teasing, they were actually pretty close for stepsiblings. They were seven when their parents married, and the rest was history. They were the same age and hung out with a lot of the same people. Only Teegan was the bookworm who followed the rules and was the dependable one, while James abided by his own set of rules, coming and going whenever he pleased. Being the boy had its perks.
“You’d better be.”
“Oh spare me the bull, James.” She rolled her eyes and chose to ignore that comment. Otherwise, she’d be angry. He had no right to judge or dictate morality. He was correct about her, though, and that did kind of piss her off. She was a virgin, and her innocence drove her nuts sometimes. She vowed to get wild one of these days, but right then she’d settle for taking the focus off herself. “So do you do this often?”
“Just the past couple of months. Sometimes Susan comes here, sometimes I go there.” He shrugged and downed the rest of his juice.
“I guess I hadn’t realized you two were that serious.”
“Serious? Not really. We’re just having fun. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like her a lot, but we’re not considering marriage or anything.” He shook his head. “That right there is one of the reasons I know you’re so innocent. Who’s busted now?”
“Yeah well, it’s hard to lose your innocence when you have a brother that threatens everyone who tries to take it,” she said defensively.
“Hey, hey—” He stood straighter. “I’m only looking out for you, Teeg. I know what guys our age think about, and I don’t want you to get hurt.”
“I can take care of myself, you know, and besides, it’s not like anyone’s interested, anyway.” She hadn’t had a date in months, and it was starting to affect her self-esteem.
“Oh, I know a few.”
“Really?” She perked up. “Who?”
“Good night, Teegan.” He smiled and roughed up her hair a bit on his way past.
Damn him. She knew he’d said that on purpose to bug her. Now she’d probably be up half the night guessing who he meant.
“Oh, come on, James. Just tell me.”
“Nope.” He walked away. “You’re attractive, Teegan, don’t ever doubt it. Being your brother isn’t easy sometimes, but the least I can do is keep you away from my degenerate friends.”
“Come on, James.”
“Nope,” he called, not bothering to look back as he made his way to his room. “Pleasant dreams, sis.”
He wasn’t really, though. And she smiled, remembering how much better she’d felt about herself that night. James had always managed to know how to perk her up when she was down, and that moment had been the beginning of it all.