Torrent (Condemned) (Volume 1)By: Gemma James
She sent an innocent man to prison. Now, eight years later, he’s returning the favor…
I’ve been obsessed with Rafe Mason since I was thirteen. The twisted part of this story is that I still want him, even now.
Now that he's holding me captive on an island.
Rafe has his reasons for doing what he's doing, and if I'm honest, I can't blame him. I’m the girl who sent him to prison for a heinous crime he didn't commit.
But now he's free and the tables have turned...now he's the one driven by obsession.
To my husband James, whose support and encouragement means everything to me. Thanks for believing in me, even when I didn’t believe in myself. I love you.
We’d left the gravesite two hours ago, but Mom’s lifeless eyes still accused me. The memory of finding her dead in the bathtub, the water deep and murky with her blood, embedded in my brain like a tattoo I couldn’t erase.
I stood in my bedroom, a space inundated with white lacy subterfuge, and sensed the uprising in my soul. Grief turned and boiled with a vengeance. I clenched my hands and crossed them over heaving breasts but couldn’t stop the eruption. I’d been simmering too long, unchecked. I hated my perfect room, my perfect family, my perfect life. Appearances were deceitful bitches that lied and covered the ugly truth.
“Open the door, Lex!” Frantic fists pounded, and I covered my ears to block out my step-brother’s barrage on the door. The first drop of misery fell from my eyes and despite squeezing them shut, I was incapable of stemming the mental pictures. They flickered in my head like a child’s View-Master reel.
I relived Mom’s horrified expression the night she heard me cry out, recalled the condemnation in her voice when she yelled at Zach to get out of my room. I still saw her wide eyes—the same green as mine—staring at me blankly a few days later, open and void as the life bled from her wrists.
“Let me in!”
“Go away!” I screamed, repulsed by the mere sound of his voice. A sob caught in my throat, and my body shook with the effort of holding back. I was trapped inside myself, a prisoner of rage and despair. Bursting with the need to tear into something, I dug my nails into my arms.
Her face wouldn’t leave my mind. Her beautiful face, twisted with shock and disgust at what she’d walked in on. I’d been too ashamed to explain. Now it was too late. I’d never see her again, never again inhale the sweet scent of jasmine as she embraced me.
Zach’s fault. My fault.
My nails dragged down pale flesh, almost of their own volition, and left behind ugly red streaks. Letting out a roar, I hefted a chair into the vanity mirror. My reflection shattered with an echo, a grotesque replica of my soul. I was unstoppable, insane with the need to destroy, to create the sound over and over again. Breaths coming in shallow gasps, I swept candles onto the floor, followed by pictures and perfumes. My entire makeup collection crashed onto the white carpet where the colors stained with flawless imperfection, but the pressure in my chest wouldn’t subside.
The assault on my door grew in strength, and I thought I picked up another voice blending with Zach’s. Had to be my imagination. Dad had barricaded himself in his bedroom, just like me, though he had a sedative and a bottle of Jack to keep him company.
Afternoon sunshine streamed through the lace curtains, an assault of warmth on my face, and I scowled. The skies should have opened, should have drenched the earth until it drowned. On that day, the day I’d watched my mother go into the ground, the whole fucking world should’ve cried until their eyes bled.
I grasped the lamp on my nightstand and hurtled it through the window, eliciting that glorious sound of splintering glass again, and I screamed until my voice went raw like the rest of me. The door broke under Zach’s struggle to get inside, and I fell backward, landing hard on the bed with both hands raised.
“Leave me alone,” I said with a pleading sob. He’d never gone so far as to break down my door. My room had been my only sanctuary, other than those few horrible occasions when I found him lying in wait in the darkness; those times when I wasn’t quick enough to escape within my four walls and turn the lock. “Don’t touch me!”