Franklin Delano Roosevelt! Ben swore. His car skidded as he braked hard.
Thumping and a small crash sounded from her father’s den on the other side of the house.Rose? You okay? Mercy kept snooping through the cupboards, wishing she had Rose’s sense of smell to find the pie.
Darn it! Levi! Opening the dishwasher, she’d discovered the empty glass pie pan.More thumping sounded. Mercy slammed the dishwasher and went to see what her sister had knocked over. The front door was wide open, and she pushed it closed as she passed by, following the sounds to the den.She rounded a hall corner and spotted her sister on the den floor. A man straddled her bleeding body. He looked up as Mercy froze and he lunged for her, knocking her to her knees as she spun around to run.
In the hallway his weight landed on her back, crushing the breath out of her lungs. She fought, swinging her arms and kicking her legs with every fiber of her muscles. She flung her head upward and was rewarded with a satisfying chunk as she connected with his nose.He grabbed her hair, yanking her head back, and punched the side of her face with his other hand. A section of hair ripped out of her scalp. Mercy’s eyes watered and her neck throbbed where it overextended. She stopped fighting.
Is this what happened to those other girls?
He released her hair and leaned harder on her back, speaking in her ear, his breath hot on her skin. An odor of fear and excitement reached her nose, rancid and oily. Her brain refused to compute his words of terror.I don’t want you to look at me differently and suddenly see someone else…someone you couldn’t ever want. I could say the same exact thing. There are ugly parts of me, Paisley. Sins I’m still paying for.
Is that where you were this week? Paying for those sins?Two heartbeats passed while his jaw ticked. Yes, in a way.
Did you cheat on me? I asked softly, using intonation to make sure he knew I didn’t think it was possible. Did you sleep with someone else? Touch someone else?Fuck, no. How could you even… He shook his head. That’s not a possibility. You’re the only woman I want. My smile must have tipped him off, because he rolled his eyes. You’re killing me, Paisley.