The Struggle

The Struggle

Page 31

But I was going to be here for her now.

Smoothing a hand over her wet hair, I brushed the strands back from her face. The bruises stood out starkly against her pale skin. Rage caused my hand to tremble as I tugged the comforter up to her shoulders.

Alex was probably going to cut off my balls the next time I saw her. Well, that was only if she got to me before Josie was back to . . . to herself.


Of all the moments for Josie to wake up and find her way outside, it had to be right then. First, I needed to explain to her what she saw outside. Then I’d explain it to Alex, but I wasn’t sure how Josie could accept this—accept this new reality.



When I opened my eyes, I didn’t know where I was.

The room was dark and I was lying on something soft, which didn’t make any sense to me, and—oh my gods, I was naked under a sheet. I was on a bed and I was naked. A hundred horrible fears poisoned my brain. Had Hyperion—? I couldn’t even finish the thought. My heart leapt into my throat as I realized my arm was resting against a hard, warm surface that felt an awful lot like a chest.

Panic exploded like buckshot racing through every cell. My body moved before I could slow down and process anything. Jackknifing off the bed, pain flared all across my body as I threw my legs off the bed. I toppled forward, my knees cracking off the stone floor. Eyes wide, I scanned the dark room as my heart thundered in my chest. Where am I? What is happening? The form on the bed—the body on the bed—moved, sitting up.

I scuttled across the floor, my palms slipping off the smooth stone. A scream built in my throat, but I couldn’t get enough air in my lungs.


Stilling at the sound of the voice, I drew my knees up. I knew that voice. Seth. It was his—that deep voice that was musical in quality, slightly accented. But that didn’t make sense, because how could I be here with Seth? Unless everything had been a nightmare—no, no what had happened wasn’t a nightmare. It had been real.

The shape on the bed suddenly moved closer. Feet landed on the floor and took a step toward me. A strangled sound left me as fear overrode my senses. I can’t do this anymore. I can’t do—

The shape froze. “It’s okay, Josie. You’re here with me. You’re safe.”

That voice—it had to be Seth, and I’d heard that word before. Safe. Alex had told me that when I . . . when I woke up earlier. I struggled to push the cobwebs of sleep and confusion aside.

“Seth?” I whispered.

“Yes. It’s me. It’s just me and you in here. I’m going to turn on the light. Okay?” he asked, and when I didn’t respond, he turned. I heard a click a few seconds later, and buttery soft light flooded the room. No longer in the darkness, the events of the last couple of hours rushed to the surface.

Seth stood in front of the bed, his arms at his sides. He was bare-chested and was wearing a pair of loose sweats. Blond hair fell in a mess of waves over his forehead and curled over the tips of his ears.

I remembered.

He’d found me in the shower and he held me while I cried. I wasn’t in that horrible room anymore. I wasn’t being dragged from the dank cellar to serve as a battery pack for Hyperion or Cronus. I was here with Seth. I remembered seeing him outside on a balcony, embracing another woman.

Sucking in a shallow breath full of pain, I curled my arms around my knees to try to hide my nudity. Not that Seth hadn’t seen it all and then some, but I was uncomfortable and overexposed.

Especially with the way he was staring at me.

His amber gaze roamed over me, and even though most of all the private parts were hidden, I knew he was seeing the network of bruises and red marks—the bites and torn, frayed skin. I knew this because of the way his striking face was tight and drawn. It was in the way he spoke next.

“Josie, babe . . .” Seth’s amber eyes glimmered as he crouched in front of me, not coming any closer. “I . . .”

As he trailed off, I squeezed my eyes shut. What was I doing? Other than sitting on his floor naked as the day I was born? My throat felt raw as I forced my tongue to move. “I woke up and I didn’t remember where I was. I thought I was still back there. I’m . . . I’m sorry.”

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