Deadly Beginnings

Cover

Deadly Beginnings

 

 

Kaitlyn O’Reilly, an RN, believed she’d found love with the charming and well-liked surgeon she’d met at work. Landon Goldburg was kind, attentive, and she thought they had so much in common. Now engaged, the good doctor has quickly become the man of her nightmares. As he grows more controlling and violent, Kaitlyn wants her freedom.

 

Jock Kinncaid can’t stop thinking about the quietly beautiful—and engaged—redhead he met at a fund-raising gala months ago. He knows a spitfire lurks beneath the surface of this woman who’s invaded his dreams, and he knows she’s exactly what’s been missing from his otherwise ideal life. When a chance meeting throws the two of them together again, Jock swears he won’t let her get away this time.

 

But even as Jock vows to protect the woman he loves and Kaitlyn struggles to trust Jock and the passion between them, the deranged doctor is bent on destroying them both, even if it means killing the only thing he loves.

Title Page

Copyright

Beyond the Page Books

are published by

Beyond the Page Publishing

www.beyondthepagepub.com

 

Copyright © 2014 by Jaycee Clark

Material excerpted from
Deadly Shadows
copyright © 2004, 2011 by Jaycee Clark

Cover design by Dar Albert, Wicked Smart Designs

 

ISBN: 978-1-940846-06-4

 

All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. By payment of required fees, you have been granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right to access and read the text of this book. No part of this text may be reproduced, transmitted, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented without the express written permission of both the copyright holder and the publisher.

 

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 actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control over and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

 

The scanning, uploading, and distribution of this book via the Internet or via any other means without the permission of the publisher is illegal and punishable by law. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.

Acknowledgments

 

I have to thank a few people. My sister, Kristie, who has become a sounding board as to whether or not something is stupid. Patti & Renee for reading through several Deadly books and making me see the flaws. I have to thank my favorite editor ever, Bill Harris, he’s just awesome and he not only lets me know when something isn’t working but when something
really
isn’t working. He makes the Deadlies shine! Got to give a shout-out to my pals
Mandy M. Roth, Michelle Pillow, and Sydney Somers—you guys keep me on track in more ways than one.

 

And last, but definitely
not
least, I must thank my readers! You guys make my day, keep me going, and without you, Jock and Kaitie’s story would never be. You guys asked for it (and asked for it—some of you might have begged), and made me see possibilities! Thank you for all your support and for loving the Kinncaids as much, and sometimes more than, I do.

Dedication

 

This one is for Mom and Dad,

the beginning of our own

ragtag Clark Clan.

Love you guys!

Prologue

 

 

Why did they always think they could get away?

They never did. The poor stupid souls always, always thought they could or would eventually escape. From the very beginning, to the very end.

Something, someone was going to save them.

There was nothing to save her.

To save the others.

He knew what he wanted, he always knew exactly how he wanted things and he got them.

Her footsteps sounded down the hardwood floor to the door at the end.

Which was locked. The door was always locked. She really should know better.

“Haven’t you learned yet?” he asked her softly as he followed her, not in any hurry. He pulled the syringe from his pocket, filled it with air. “You had your chance.”

She beat against the door, weakened even though she was. He hadn’t fed her in days, she needed a lesson.

Not that she learned it. They never learned.

He only asked for perfection.

Nothing more. Nothing less. All she had to do was follow the rules. His rules. It wasn’t that hard, not that difficult.

“Please,” she begged as she sagged against the door and turned to him. The white gown she wore was plastered to her body, her hair lank and dull. She’d been beautiful once.

Now she was simply . . . ordinary.

“Shhhh,” he told her, coming closer, watching her light blue eyes.

The eyes always told the truth.

“It’ll be over soon.”

Her whimpers filled the air, the scent of her fear annoying him.

“Why do you always fear me? It’s simple really. Follow the rules, be what I know you are capable of and things would be fine. But no, you have to be stubborn. You are always so damned stubborn,” he chided. “Too bad. Your choice.”

He stopped just in front of her and brushed her hair off her face. “Look how you’ve let yourself go.” He
tsked
.

The pulse in her neck fluttered to the point that he reached out and ran his finger down it. He’d kissed her there, tasted her there. When she’d taken care of herself.

He traced the maddened heartbeat just beneath her skin, ran his finger over her shoulder, down her left arm to the hand. He carefully lifted it and stared at the solitaire diamond still on her finger. Then again, it would still be on her finger. She’d taken it off once and he’d taught her a lesson. She’d learned not to take if off again. It had taken weeks for the bruises to heal. Maybe he’d been a bit hard on her. She’d never been the same after that.

“Please, please let me go. I’ll be good. I’ll be what you want. I-I can. I-I-I know I can. P-please,” she begged.

He rather hated when they begged. Begging was beneath the woman he wanted.

“I didn’t take it off,” she continued. “I didn’t.”

“Shhhh.” He held her hand up. “You really don’t want to marry me, do you? You’d rather be free,” he stated quietly. “It’s okay. It’s okay.” He tried to calm her. It was always easier if they were calm. When they fought back, it always made it more difficult and he usually got dirty.

He hated being dirty. He hated when they were dirty.

There was no call for that if calm and reason achieved the same results.

And in the end, the results would be the same.

“I know you want to go. I know you want to leave. I’ll let you go.” He continued to brush her hair back.

She relaxed further.

“R-really? You’re going to let me go? You don’t want to marry me anymore?” she whispered.

He shook his head. “I’ve decided we won’t suit.”

Her gaze locked on him, she never saw the syringe he held. Didn’t even shift when he stepped closer into her body so she was pinned against the door.

She nodded.

He shoved the needle into her jugular and depressed it, emptying the air into her bloodstream.

Her brows furrowed and she gasped, bucked.

He watched, her eyes locked to his, even as her body jerked. He waited until her heart stopped. Until her eyes lost their life.

There were those whom he knew would argue with him, but if you watched closely enough, you could watch the soul leave through the eyes.

“Shhhh . . .” he kept telling her.

When she was still, when he knew she was dead, he shifted her to the floor. He worked the ring off her finger and held it up.

Then he looked down at the woman at his feet. “You just won’t do as my wife. I’ve found someone better.” He kissed the ring. “To new beginnings.”

He smiled even as he worked to get rid of the body, as he drove her out to the bay. This was getting old.

But this time . . . this time he
knew
it would work. This time he’d found her.

Chapter 1

 

Summer 1969

Baltimore

 

There she was. The woman he was going to marry.

Her red hair was pulled severely if neatly back from her face, and what a beautiful face it was. Perfectly sloped nose, eyes a bit wide-set and slanted. He’d bet green.

Jock Kinncaid ignored the conversation going on around him but nodded and made appropriate noises. The guy was a bore, some doctor or other who was completely full of himself.

The people were here to write checks for whatever cause was deemed important by the evening, or rather whoever was hosting this event.

At least the food wasn’t half bad.

He pulled at his collar and watched her as the doctor made some sort of motion and Jock’s woman came over.

Jock watched her. Her long black gown draped over her perfectly, yet it seemed too harsh for some reason. Wrong.

She was still beautiful.

And she did have freckles, across the bridge of her nose, on her neck, her collarbone.

He caught something flash through—he was right—amazing green eyes as she walked closer, though he almost missed it.

The doctor waited until she joined the group and then he leaned down and said something in her ear. She stilled and looked down.

The doctor then commenced answering another man’s question while he ignored the beautiful redhead.

What. The. Hell.

The band started up a song.

One Jock liked.

Well, if the doctor didn’t give her attention, Jock would take care of that.

He reached his hand out to the lovely woman.

“May I have this dance?”

She looked at his hand, her eyes meeting his on a quick blink before she looked up at the doctor.

The man beside the doctor leaned in and whispered, “Kinncaid.”

Jock didn’t smile. “A woman as beautiful as you hardly needs anyone’s permission.”

Her eyes widened as she quickly met his stare.

Jock had been born with a name, one he’d always respected and one he garnered respect for. Mainly, he knew, people just wanted his money.

The doctor nodded and said to the woman, “Don’t go far.”

She swallowed and Jock took her hand, placing it on his arm, and led her to the dance floor where others had already gathered. He felt her fingers’ slight tremble. Was she afraid to dance with him?

The trumpet sounded.

He wished Louis Armstrong were singing this.

“So, you enjoying this party?” he asked. Probably not with the doctor who was full of himself.

She looked up at him, her eyes darting to the side.

“Umm.”

Jock laughed and twirled her to the music.

“What is this song?” she asked him, smiling shyly up at him.

“This song? You don’t know?”

She shrugged.

“‘A Kiss to Build a Dream On.’” He sang a few words of it.

Her brows arched.

Her gloved hand slid against his palm as he turned them in another circle, a bit farther away from the watching doctor.

Her left hand held in his right, he could easily feel the ring on her finger.

Damn.

“You married?”

Her eyes rose to his, wide. “Do you ask all your dancing partners that question?”

“Only the ones whom I want to keep dancing with.”

She took a deep breath. “No.”

“No? The ring?” He rubbed his fingers over the back of hers, on the ring beneath the long white gloves.

“It’s his.” She glanced to the side of them.

“Ah. Soon to be Dr. and Mrs.—”

“Perhaps.”

“Oh, trouble in paradise. I’d say I’m sorry, but my parents taught me not to lie. So in that case, run away with me. I’ll make you smile. I’ll make you laugh. We’ll get into all sorts of trouble,” he told her, leaning close and whispering in her ear.

She smiled and pulled back, the smile dancing into her eyes, or almost. She pulled farther back. “You are probably enough trouble all on your own, Kinncaid, you don’t need my help.”

“You know my name. I have hope.” He twirled them again. “So do you have one?”

“One?”

“A name.” He grinned.

“Most people have them, yes.”

“What’s yours?”

She grinned a one-sided, one-dimpled grin at him. “What’s the fun in giving you all the answers?”

He chuckled. “Ah, so it begins.”

“What begins?”

“The challenge.”

Her lips pursed. “Maybe.”

They danced a bit more, and he kept his eye on the doctor. The man had issues, too tight, too stiff for this woman in Jock’s arms. She was full of passion, he just knew it. Maybe it was the red hair, or the impish look he caught like sunlight shifting through clouds, there for just a minute before shadows moved in.

He didn’t want shadows around her.

Didn’t want that damned doctor around her.

Sure as hell didn’t want the pompous ass’s ring on her finger.

He pulled her just a bit closer as the jazzy song swagged on the air. She smelled like . . . lilacs? Lilies? A sweet flower, and that seemed wrong for her. Wrong like the dress and the damned doctor and the doctor’s ring on her finger.

“You want to leave?” he blurted, leaning back to meet her gaze.

She smiled. “I didn’t want to come in the first place.”

“Then let’s get out of here.” He glanced to where the doctor had been but the man wasn’t there.

She smiled, started to say something, and then stopped as her doctor stood just beside them.

“Excuse me.” The man looked to his fiancée. “Katherine, there’s someone I’d like you to meet.”

She glanced between them and then licked her lips. “B-but the dance isn’t over.”

“That doesn’t matter, Katherine. Come.” She winced and pulled her hand from Jock’s.

He reached out and grabbed hers again. “Thank you for a lovely dance.”

Her eyes were once again shadowed. She swallowed and nodded even as she pulled her hand away and placed it on the doctor’s damned arm. Jock watched as the man put his hand over hers, leaning close to whisper something into her ear. She stiffened, and even from here Jock could see the chills on her arms between the dress’s sleeves and the tops of her gloves, but she kept walking. He noticed the man’s hold tighten on her hand.

Jock took a deep breath. Katherine.

She didn’t really look like a Katherine to him. Maybe a Kay or a Kaitie. Katherine was cold. That woman would not be cold in any way, shape or form.

She’d smiled. At him. A real, or almost-real smile. He wondered how pretty she’d be if she really, truly smiled. As it was now, he figured she rarely smiled at all. But he had gotten one true grin out of her, half, mischievous, and dimpled. He wanted to taste that dimple.

Jock watched them make their way across the dance floor back to the doctor’s group. There were few people he disliked, but that man . . . there was just something about him. The man’s dark eyes were . . . cold. Empty.

She stood just a bit behind the man.

Jock shifted and caught a flash of green as she darted a quick look his way. He merely jerked his chin up.

He needed to learn more about her, about them both.

Now, though, wasn’t the time. He’d had enough of this place.

He turned and strode to the doors that opened onto a terrace. Many people mingled outside and on the lawns. He spoke to a few. Promised some contributions and then decided it was time to go.

Jock looked around for the burnished copper hair but didn’t see it. Another study of the attendees and he didn’t see the doc either.

Well, he might not get another look at her tonight, but he would sooner or later.

Jock Kinncaid always got what he wanted.

 

• • •

 

Kaitlyn—her name was
not
Katherine—O’Reilly carefully took a deep breath and slowly let it out while they waited for the valet to bring Landon’s car around.

Landon Goldburg III, a handsome, charming surgeon at Baltimore Sinai Hospital, was not happy. It had become smart to learn his moods—and what those moods could entail.

She’d known he wouldn’t be happy the moment Landon interrupted the dance, though if she were honest, she knew it before. The moment Kinncaid had asked her to dance.

She shouldn’t have smiled at Kinncaid.

Shouldn’t have laughed, but Kinncaid was . . . easy. Smooth. Probably too smooth. Men, she was learning, were not what they appeared.

. . .
A woman as beautiful as you hardly needs anyone’s permission . . .
Kinncaid thought she was beautiful. Kaitlyn almost smiled at the thought but caught herself.

Landon had seen she’d been having a good time, so of course he’d stopped it. She realized she was fidgeting with her glove and stilled, her stomach tightening. For just a moment, she’d dared to relax. She should have known better.

Would he be quiet all the way home?

Would he demand answers, all of which would be wrong? Landon was confusing at best, scary at worst.

There was a time when she’d thought he was a wonderful man, someone she had things in common with, someone she’d always admire and respect. She knew now that wasn’t true. Landon could lie so well. His charm and smiles hid who he really was until she felt trapped.

She just didn’t know how to get away from him. He was always there. At her apartment, at work, always at work, and now in her head. That’s what scared her the most. The man was in her head and she—

“Did you have to make such a cake of yourself?” he asked, interrupting her thoughts and startling her.

There it was. She almost sighed. Landon quiet was still better than when he demanded answers, wanted to talk about whatever else she’d done wrong. And she always did something wrong. “I didn’t, Landon.”

He leaned in close to her. “You damned well did. It was embarrassing. Others remarked on it.”

She looked down at the sidewalk and wished again she hadn’t come tonight. Who, if anyone, had said anything and what was said? Had she made a cake of herself? She hadn’t thought so.

“I sim-simply danced with the man.”

“You
flirted
with him.”

She knew better than to argue with him. He hated if she talked back, and she’d learned the hard way not to.

She glanced up at him out of the corner of her eye. A muscle twitched in his jaw and the line between his brows deepened.

Her stomach tightened even more, burning. Maybe she could get another ride home? But with whom? All those inside were his friends so she wouldn’t ask any of them.

Cabs weren’t stopping. Though if one showed up before the valet brought Landon’s car around . . .

Tired, she turned to him. “No. I did not flirt, Landon. I merely danced and talked with someone. There is no harm in that.” Something flickered in his dark eyes and she swallowed. “I’ll—I’ll get a cab home until you’re in a better mood.”

Quick as a snake, he reached out and grabbed her arm, jerking her to him. How could handsome be so cold?

“Are you calling me a liar?” he asked her, his voice slithering across her skin, his dark eyes glittering at her.

She froze. Stupid, very, very stupid. She knew better, but a part of her was tired of Landon and all his restrictions and his quick temper. She’d learned, though, not to be herself, not with Landon.

“I don’t believe I said that at all, Landon,” she said calmly. She tried to twist her arm away, but he tightened his hold on her and pulled her even closer, leaning down into her face.

“Either you’re mine or you’re not, Katherine. You do
not
flirt with other men. Ever,” he hissed. “And you never,
ever
make a fool of me.”

Her arm would be bruised tomorrow.

“You are my fiancée,” he bit out, “and you should act like it.”

“I didn’t—”

“Ah, the darling affianced couple of the evening,” a voice drawled.

She knew that voice. Closing her eyes, she took a small breath and jerked her arm away from Landon’s hold. Surprisingly, he let her go.

“I’m sorry, was I interrupting?” Kinncaid asked as he nodded to the valet. “Richie, good to see you again. How’s your mom doing?” he asked the young valet attendant.

“Good, Mr. K. Thanks for asking.”

“Tell her I said hello, and if you get tired of working this gig, call. Your old spot’s always open.”

“Thanks, sir.” The young man took off smiling.

Kinncaid turned back to them just as the valet brought Landon’s Mercedes to a gentle stop near the curb.

Damn.

Landon stepped closer to her at her back and chills danced over her skin.

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