Home > Paint It All Red (Mindf*ck #5)(12)

Paint It All Red (Mindf*ck #5)(12)
Author: S.T. Abby

They both grow quiet for a moment. “She knew they’d come for her,” Logan says quietly.

“Yeah, and if she hadn’t been here, there’d be two different bodies lying at our feet right now,” Leonard says, sounding as if he’s defending me.

So he’s compromised?

I touch my cheek, finding that my fingertips burn the exposed flesh the bullet grazed. That’s going to leave a scar. Stupid fucker.

I should have stabbed him harder, dragged out the pain. I would have if not for the fact a child could have walked in and saw the horrors for herself.

“Find out who these two are. I’m sure they’re linked to the sheriff somehow.”

“Why come after the widow, though?” Leonard asks.

“Because I have something you need,” Cheyenne tells them, apparently surprising them with her reentry. “My daughter is packing a bag and putting on clothes. My husband went to the basement regularly, and I never thought anything of it. He’d go down there for just a few minutes at a time. There’s a loose floor plank down there, and I never questioned why he wouldn’t fix it until today.”

I listen as footsteps disappear into the basement, and very cautiously, I try to hear if anyone stayed here. It’d make sense for one to stay here, considering a child could walk down and into the massacre show I’ve left on display.

“Get the daughter to the car without letting her see this,” I hear Logan saying as he comes up the stairs again. “And take this with you.”

It feels like I’ve been in this closet forever.

“Where are you going?” Leonard asks.

“With you. Come on. There may be more coming if the sheriff doesn’t hear back from them.”

I blow out a breath, relieved when I hear the rustle of them leaving. When the front door shuts—the best it can, since it’s broken—I finally peer out of the crack I make in the door.

When the coast is clear, I dart to the backdoor, and with light footsteps finally leave the damn house behind.

I hear the sound of doors opening and closing as I retreat into the woods, cursing the leaves for crunching under my feet as the chill kisses my bloodstained skin and hair.

My retreat isn’t too quiet, but they’re so caught up in getting her out of here, that I doubt they notice. Finally, I find the path I beat out earlier, the leaves too damaged and broken to crunch beneath my feet, and I quicken my pace. I’m leaving a bloody trail right to my house if I go directly there.

Searching the area around me, I strip out of the hoodie I’m wearing. Then I kick off the boots, opting to wear socks only. Just as quickly, I peel away the top layer of pants, pulling a bag out of the back pocket. I unfold the bag then toss all the bloody apparel into it. My leggings catch a chill from the night, but there’s also a chill that shoots up my spine.

My eyes dart around, but all is silent. Nothing is moving.

Why does it feel like someone is watching me?

I finish closing up the bag, checking to make sure no blood is dripping. After one last wary glance at my surroundings, I turn and start jogging in my socked feet back to the house, ignoring the way the twigs and acorns try to hobble me.

Pain is something I learned to ignore a long time ago.

But ignoring the sensation that someone is watching me is harder to let go of.

Maybe I’m being paranoid, but I doubt it.

I turn again, but hear nothing and see no motion.

Then, like every fucking horror movie I’ve ever seen, a chill rides up my spine, and I know without a doubt someone is directly behind me.

I drop the bag and spin, bringing my elbow up to collide with a face, but a hand grabs it, and my breath seizes as another hand comes around, grabbing my other arm. In one smooth motion, I’m shoved against a tree, and a hard body bears against mine.

The only thing that halts my lethal reaction, are the familiar blues staring directly into my eyes.

My breaths turn painful as I heave for air that escapes me. It’s not because he’s hurting me, it’s because it hurts just to see him.

His eyes are hard as they level me, and his grip stays tight, even though we both know I could escape him if I wanted to. The problem is doing it without hurting him.

“I won’t be arrested,” I say softly.

“So you’ll do whatever it takes to stay free?” he asks, his voice not as hard as his eyes. He runs his gaze over my face, taking me in.

“No,” I whisper hoarsely. “I won’t do whatever it takes, but I won’t be arrested either.”

His gaze lingers on my lips. “You could break away with ease right now, couldn’t you?”

His eyes pop back up, holding my stare.

I don’t speak. I don’t have to.

He doesn’t need to hear the words aloud, and I’m not quite prepared to admit all I’m capable of to him.

He doesn’t ease his hold, but his grip doesn’t tighten either. “Leonard is escorting Cheyenne and Alyssa out of town, but since you were hiding in the closet, I’m sure you heard all that.”

I suck in a breath, and his lips twitch.

“You’ve been the huntress for so long that I’m sure you’ve forgotten what it felt like to be the hunted. But I’ve been looking everywhere for you, Lana. And I’m a lot better than you give me credit for.”

I start to move, but instead of gripping me harder, he eases his hold and brings his hand up to my face, cupping it as he studies my eyes.

“I had no idea you were Victoria when I fucked up. I never would—”

“Does it really matter?” I ask bitterly, hoping those damn tears don’t start falling, even as they crowd my eyes and turn him blurry. “I’m still the twisted monster of the night, while you’re the honest hero in the light.”

Even through my blurred vision, I see his expression soften. “I wouldn’t have fucked you and left you naked on my bed if I’d have known. So yes, it makes a huge difference. I thought you were suffering an obsession disorder that had you killing as Victoria’s proxy. It’s a lot different than you being Victoria, because a proxy killer is most definitely suffering a psychotic break and is highly unstable. In my mind, you were being manipulated by Jacob Denver, and I was being played as a pawn.”

My heart is thumping painfully in my chest, and I almost wonder if he can feel it too.

“Jake can’t and wouldn’t ever try to manipulate me. And as far as you go, I never asked for any case information. You came on to me. And—”

Usually, as everyone is aware, I hate surprises. But my heart ends up beating to a new rhythm when Logan surprises me by crushing his lips to mine.

At first I try to weakly push him away, but the tears start falling as he kisses me harder, his hands going from restraining to needy as he pulls me flush against his body. My arms go around his neck as I give in, kissing him back as the tears streak down my face.

He lifts me, his kiss almost consuming me, and every pent-up emotion flows into it, making it powerful and destructive at the same time.

My legs wrap around his waist, and he pushes me against the tree again as he devours me, taking in every taste and flick of my tongue as it battles his. I’m not sure if it’s angry or sensual, but I know I can’t just let go right now.

Even though I know I should.

Something cracks near us, and we both break the kiss, our eyes darting over to a fox as it runs by. My breath gets shaky as I turn to face Logan again, seeing the softness in his eyes that wasn’t there the last time we were this intimately placed.

“I never would have hurt you like that if I’d known,” he says softly.

I swallow hard. “You didn’t hurt me physically. And as far as the sex goes, I could have stopped it. I knew you knew. I knew what was happening. I just loved you enough to take your anger, knowing I deserved it.”

He groans, his forehead pressing against mine.

“You didn’t deserve it. For the first time in my life, I have no clue what to do, Lana,” he whispers with such tragic honesty that it slices through me.

Part of me wants to corrupt him, to make him see what I’m doing is a twisted version of the right thing, despite the torture and massacre I still have planned. But to do that would be stealing his soul and condemning it to join mine.

Just knowing he hasn’t told the others and he’s holding me to him right now is more than I ever realistically expected. But to go forward with me would be to irrevocably damn him to my same fate.

“I love you,” I say on a broken whisper, because I’m just too weak to turn him away so soon.

“I love you,” he says back, thawing my heart completely as the tears start leaking again. “Which is why I’m begging you to end this now and go away with me,” he adds, his voice cracking.

He has no idea what an offer like that does to someone like me. Leave? Stop now? Walk away with him as a prize?

It’s so tempting, and if not for the fact the sheriff and his deputies still live, still spread dark shadows over everyone’s halls…I’d do it. I’d walk away from the revenge. But I can’t walk away from all the innocent lives still being scarred.

People just like Cheyenne and her daughter who would have been killed by a man who is supposed to protect them, all to conceal his darkest secrets.

Hot Series
» Unfinished Hero series
» Colorado Mountain series
» Chaos series
» The Young Elites series
» Billionaires and Bridesmaids series
» Just One Day series
» Sinners on Tour series
» Manwhore series
» This Man series
» One Night series
Most Popular
» Paint It All Red (Mindf*ck #5)
» All the Lies (Mindf*ck #4)
» Epoch (Transcend Duet #2)
» Transcend (Transcend Duet #1)
» Naked Love
» Look the Part
» A Place Without You
» Pricked