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He might as well have been burning my fucking skin, because I felt her pain in every muscle of my body. The hurt I felt for her was more hurt than I’d ever felt for myself.

She wasn’t just mine.

She was a part of me.

“Does that make you feel like a man motherfucker?” I shouted above Doe whose screams stopped abruptly. Her eyes rolled back in her head. Tanner turned off the torch and she slumped forward, twitching as if she’d just been electrocuted. Smoke rose off of her burnt skin.

He yanked on her hair and her head fell backwards. Her eyes and lips were partially opened, devoid of the life that was in them just yesterday. Her cheeks were covered in dried blood, and fresh dripping red. He released her hair and her chin fell lifelessly onto her chest. “See? She’s just being punished. That’s what happens to bad girls. They get punished. And Ray here has been a very, very bad girl.”

“What’s the fucking point of all this?” I asked.

“The fucking point? The fucking point is the same one you were making to me when you were fucking her on the bed where we made our son!” Tanner screamed. “And now you’ve tainted her! You’ve ruined what was mine!” Tanner ran his hand down Doe’s hair, petting her. “All will be okay though…” He walked over to the kitchen and opened one of the cabinets, producing a rusted fishing knife. “As soon as I resolve one last problem.” Tanner ripped her shorts and panties down her legs. He pushed her knees apart, exposing her pussy.

“What the fuck are you doing?” I growled as Tanner knelt down in front of her and held up his knife.

“Oh, you didn’t know? Seems my wife here has gone and gotten herself knocked up again!” He looked back at me over his shoulder. “But I’ll fix that as soon as I cut your bastard out of her.”

Chapter Thirty-One

Doe

Burning.

Inside and out I was burning up. Sharp unrelenting pain seared through me and even in my state of partial clarity I could feel the flames traveling deeper through layers of skin, muscle, and bone.

It was a scream that brought me back into consciousness. No, a roar. A guttural roar with such strength behind it, it literally dragged me back from the precipice of the unknown. Through the narrow slit in the one eye that wasn’t swollen shut, I saw Tanner leaning over me. But just beyond the blond curls, there was King.

He was sitting in a chair with his hands behind his back, just as I’d seen him before Tanner had taken the torch to my back and shoulder, his bright green eyes the darkest I’d ever seen them.

And then he wasn’t.

The muscles in his arms and chest tightened, the chords rippling under his tremendous strength. With the roar that had brought me back to life, he pulled his hands apart with such force that the back of the wooden chair shattered into a million pieces.

It was like I was watching him in slow motion. Angry King was a beautiful thing to behold. And when I’d told Tanner I’d known true fear, this was the fear I’d been talking about.

Tanner was about to meet him too.

Before King was able to take a single step, a bloody hand came up from the floor and reached for King’s belt, pulling a small gun from behind his buckle. Tanner’s head snapped back to King. He dropped a rusted knife he’d been holding and reached for his gun. He stood, fumbling with it, unprepared for King to be unrestrained.

Unprepared for my father to still be alive.

And armed.

My father raised himself up onto his knees, aimed the small gun, and fired. “No!” Tanner cried out, taking the bullet in his shoulder.

My dad fell back to the ground with a thud.

“Dad!” I yelled as loud as I could, unsure of whether I’d produced any sound.

And then I was sliding, across the floor. “You want her motherfucker? You come and fucking get her,” Tanner seethed. Kicking out his knee he pushed me through the hole in the side of the boat.

And then I was falling backward into the cold water. Searing pain worse than the burn itself exploded in my shoulder. I opened my mouth to scream.

Water filled my mouth and lungs.

So this is what dying feels lie, I thought as I drifted further and further away from my body.

I knew I was dead. I knew it because when I opened my eyes Preppy was staring down at me with the same ridiculous smile that made me want to become his friend all over again. Colorful tattoos covering most of his exposed skin, light purple shirt, bright pink checkered bow tie, and his favorite white suspenders.

He looked like demonic easter.

“Babe, I know you just got mangled by that motherfucking psycho, cause I watched the entire thing, total bummer I couldn’t cut the kid’s fucking cock of for you and make him choke on it, but I just have to tell you before I bust…your tits look fucking fantastic in that tank top.”

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