Touch of Hate, an all-new must-read dark romance full of twists and turns from USA Today bestselling authors C. Hallman and J.L. Beck is available now!
Betrayal cuts the deepest.
I would know better than anyone.
They never suspected me to be the villain.
That didn’t matter anymore, though, because I didn’t just want revenge, I needed it.
Leaving my old life behind, I knew I could never return, but there was something… no, someone I had left behind.
Kind. Innocent. Fragile.
She was a light in the darkness of my life.
Back then, she was always meant to be mine, even if having her meant breaking every single rule.
Now enemies or not, she would still be mine.
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I shut the door behind me, letting the dark silence of the hallway swallow me. Keeping my steps light, I walk down the hall and toward the elevators. The corridor is quiet, but that’s expected, given the time.
Once inside, I press the S button and head to the surface. Everything here at Corium is state of the art, but even this brand-new, stainless-steel elevator takes twenty-five seconds to get me from deep inside the Alaskan ground to the surface.
As it turns out, twenty-five seconds can stretch into an eternity when you’re chastising yourself. No one has to tell me what I’m doing is wrong.
I know it. Obviously, I’ve had every opportunity to stop this in its tracks. This being the connection I have with Scarlet.
I imagine drug addicts going through this cycle that’s plagued me for months. Telling myself it’s wrong and I need to quit cold turkey. No more clandestine meetings. No more secret glances and hidden smiles. One of us has to be strong. She has no intention of walking away, so it has to be me.
That attitude lasts a few days, maybe even a few weeks. I can push her out of my mind. I might even laugh at myself for ever thinking it’s possible to be free of the pull she has on me.
Then? Something always happens to bring her rushing to the forefront once again. I’ll walk in on a video call she’s having with Q and hear her voice, her soft laughter. It will stir the familiar craving deep in my soul.
I’ll remember the way she whispers my name. The dark thrill of her pleading for my touch. I’ll savor those memories in a frantic attempt at staving off the hunger that begins to grow, to consume me, replaying them in my head while I jerk off. Doing anything I can to keep myself away from her.
Soon, memories aren’t enough, and I need the real thing. She’ll haunt my every waking thought until I’m sure I’ll either die or go insane if I don’t get a taste of her, her scent, her touch—anything, so long as the craving ceases.
My craving is at its peak by the time the elevator doors slide open with a quiet whoosh. It wouldn’t seem so necessary to bask in the warmth of her nearness were she not present in the sprawling castle portion of the structure.
Having her here ratchets my need to unbearable heights. It doesn’t matter how wrong I know this is as I cut down dark halls I know like the back of my hand, always watchful for any sign of Xander Rossi’s presence. Scarlet’s father would cut our little meeting short, no doubt. He’d cut off my balls and dangle them in front of my face before shoving them down my throat.
All is clear when I reach what I know are the rooms the Rossi family takes when they visit. Scarlet is in there, checking the time and plotting her escape. It’s late enough that Xander and Ella might be asleep—well, Ella might be. Xander is most likely working the way he nearly always is. You don’t run an empire as vast as his without putting in plenty of hours.
Either way, it’s unlikely he’d notice his daughter sneaking out, which is what we’re counting on.
I watch, hidden in a recessed doorway a few rooms down from where Scarlet will emerge. My heart’s beating way too fast, and my palms are damp with sweat, which I rub dry on my jeans. River would laugh himself sick if he had the slightest idea what anticipation does to my body as I count the seconds until she appears. My greatest weakness. My obsession.
Learn more about C. Hallman and J.L. Beck by visiting their website: https://www.bleedingheartromance.com/