Be My Hero(6)

By: Linda Kage

I tugged my arm out of her grip. "Well, where is she?"

Instead of answering, she jerked backward as if I was tainted. Stomping on something by my ankle, she released the trap I'd been stuck in. I cried out from the rush of blood that shot to the injury and created a shit ton of pressure. As I gritted my teeth and clutched my leg, Madam LeFrey turned her back on me.

"Go away now," she said, as if she were afraid of me. "Don't come back."

"But . . . wait! How do I find her? What's her name?" When she didn't even slow down, I growled out my anger and pain. "Damn it. Can't you do some spell to draw her here? I just want what you showed me." Why would she show me that if she wouldn't help me get it?

When she reached the porch, she glanced back. "No spell can touch this. It's bigger than any spell. It's fate."

Before I could say anything else, she scurried into her house and slammed the door, leaving me to find my own way home on a bum ankle.

Though I was no longer held prisoner, I just stayed there. Breathing hard and rattled in more ways than one, I held onto my injury and filled my head with all the damn glimpses the witch had given me. A cool mist on my face told me it had started to rain.

I knew I'd never be the same again. Up until tonight, I had convinced myself that my life would always be shitty and hopeless. But Madam LeFrey's glimpses made everything even worse. Because now I wanted something. I wanted it so damn bad I could taste it. I wanted that future and happily ever after. And if I never found that girl, if I never found even a portion of those glimpses, the disappointment would probably kill me.

Eva's Prologue


Five Years After Pick's Prologue

I snuck in the back door half an hour after curfew. Someone had turned off the lights in the kitchen, so I hoped everyone had already gone to bed.

To be on the safe side, I slipped off my sandals with the extra-hard heels that were über noisy and padded barefoot across the cool tile. But when I reached the entrance to the back hall, I noticed the light in Daddy's office was on.

He'd left the door cracked open too, which he never did, so I guessed he was waiting up for me, trying to catch me coming in late. Again. A shiver of dread curled up my spine as my limbs went cold.

Even though fear made my breathing quicken, I wasn't about to give up on my attempt to sneak in. Tiptoeing with each step, I held my breath and tried to become one with the floor. I'd just reached the large Oriental rug when the first creak under my toes gave me away. I halted in my tracks, closing my eyes and cursing in my head.

Please don't let him have heard that. Please, please, plea—

"Eva." The baritone I hated most in the world boomed from Daddy's office, making me jump. "Get in here. Now."

For the briefest moment, I considered running. Maybe I could outrun him this time. Maybe—

I bit my lip and shook my head. Running was bad. He'd only come after me; the fucker loved a chase. And he'd catch me, he always caught me, and it always ended worse when that happened.

But lately, I'd been able to talk my way out of it. Maybe I could reason with him tonight.

Swallowing the dread rising up my throat, I pulled back my shoulders and lifted my chin with all the false confidence I could muster. I hadn't been confident about anything—especially myself—since I was twelve, not since the first night he'd snuck into my bedroom. But I'd been bluffing my courage for two years now. All I had left was one big fake bluster. So I bluffed my confidence all the way to his office.

Setting my fingers on the cool surface of his door, I opened it just enough to peek inside.

When I saw the whiskey decanter on his desk sitting beside the crystal tumbler full of ice and that dreaded amber liquid, my hopes crashed. I inched a step in reverse.

Yeah, no way was I talking him out of anything tonight, not when he'd been imbibing that. My breathing increased its pace. It'd been four months since he'd last touched me. They'd been a good four months. I wanted to make it to five months.

He sliced me with a lethal glare when I crept backward another step. "Sit down."

My hands balled into fists at my sides. Oh, how I wanted to defy him. How I wanted to spit in his direction and tell him to go fuck himself. But with a single arch of his brows, he held me captive. I was powerless but to obey his command.

An urge rose for me to wrap my arms around myself and hide away every bit of flesh I exposed. I hadn't meant for him to see me dressed like this; I'd worn the short, tight skirt and halter-top for all the boys who'd been at the party I'd attended. I'd wanted them to watch me and want me. I'd needed one of them to take me to some private corner and erase haunting memories of other, awful hands.

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