Dire (Page 46)

“Can you dance?” Landa flipped some of her hair off her shoulder.

I said nothing. Once again I couldn’t move. Otherwise I’d have been running.

“Answer her.” Gerry snapped.

I went to open my mouth and was surprised when my voice came out. “Dance? Are you kidding me?”

“Don’t talk back to us,” Vanessa snapped.

“I’m going to say whatever I want to say. You can’t keep me here.” I wasn’t going down without a fight.

“Is that so?” Gerry stepped toward me. “Do you really think so?”

“Yes.”

Gerry made a disgusted sound. “I’ll be back to check on him later. Be sure that you have him in line.” She walked out the door.

“Thanks a lot.” Vanessa wagged a finger in my face again. “My first chance to prove myself, and you had to screw it up?”

“Prove yourself? Just let me the hell out of here.”

“No. I can make you obey.”

“Should I get the water?” The dark haired one asked.

“Yes. I’ll get the chains.” Landa hurried off.

Water? Chains?”

Moments later a bucket full of cold water was poured over my head.

I shivered. The small cottage wasn’t heated much and the cold water came as a shock.

“Sit down, Sprinkles.” Vanessa pointed at me.

“No.” I seemed to have control back.

“Sit, Sprinkles.”

“I’m not a fucking dog.”

In a flash, my body slammed into the wood floor and chains were tied around my hands and feet. “You will do as we say.”

“No. I will do nothing that you say.” I was tired of being told what to do. I’d have rather died than played their games.

My whole body convulsed as electricity seemed to run through me.

The witches laughed.

I blinked a few times, trying to recover.

When I opened my eyes Vanessa was right in front of me. “Still going to disobey me?”

“Yes.”

An even stronger jolt ran through me. Were they electrocuting me? Once I recovered I gritted my teeth. “I’m never going to listen.”

“Oh, Sprinkles. I don’t want to keep doing this. Did you see Granola? He was shocked three times. Do you really want to become like him?”

“I’m never doing anything you bitches say.”

Another jolt ran through me. This one was more intense and lasted longer than the previous ones. I couldn’t open my eyes, but I heard the sound of a loud knock.

“Who is it?” Vanessa snapped.

“It’s me. Let me in.”

I recognized that voice. I shouldn’t have been relieved to hear it, but at least Hunter hadn’t tried to electrocute me.

Vanessa exhaled loudly. “Let him in.”

I forced my eyes open. I blinked several times to bring my vison into focus.

Hunter stood a few feet away completely naked. He must have come over as a wolf. His hulking form dwarfed the small room. “I need that one back.” He pointed at me.

“Why? We’re using him.” Vanessa grinned.

I closed my eyes again. The effort to keep them open wasn’t worth it when I couldn’t move anyway.

“I need him.”

“Why? Why him? You’ve never taken the others.”

“I said I need him.” Hunter’s voice sounded louder. I forced my eyes open. He stood a few feet from me. “My reasons don’t concern you.”

“Oh, it’s the girl. Isn’t it? That little tramp you’ve obviously been with. Does she have you fetching her other men? Are you not enough to satisfy her?”

“Don’t speak of her.” Hunter growled. “I’m taking him.”

“I see how it is. You’re jealous.” She giggled.

“Jealous?”

“Yes.” She ran a hand down his chest. “You miss my attention.”

“I don’t miss you. I miss the girl I knew before.” He pushed her out of the way.

She sighed in an exaggerated way. “Fine, you can have him, but I need to do one more thing.” A final jolt ran through me, it was even stronger, and it gradually got worse. My body started to shake uncontrollably. Then just as suddenly as the searing pain and jolting started, everything went black.

Chapter Twenty-Six

Mary Anne

I watched out the front window with my face pressed against the glass like a little kid watching for Santa. The snow had started again. I used to love watching the falling flakes, but after all we’d been through, I hoped to never see snow again. I was ready to move to the tropics.

Finally, what felt like an eternity later, I saw Hunter running toward the house. He was holding something in his arms, and my chest tightened. Was it Gage?

I didn’t wait for Marni. I just headed out the door. She didn’t try to stop me. Instead she just followed me out.

I rushed over to meet Hunter, trying to get a look at what he held. I knew it was Gage, but I didn’t want to accept that he couldn’t walk on his own. “Is he okay?” I peered over.

Hunter shook his head. “No. I was too late.” He laid Gage’s motionless body down in the snow.

Every inch of me was frozen, but not from the cold. I could have cared less about the wind and snow, but Gage’s pale face had my chest clenching and my heart racing. He couldn’t die. He couldn’t. I squeezed his hand, willing some of my energy to jump from my body into his. He should have escaped when he had the chance. He shouldn’t have waited for me. I wasn’t worth it. I wasn’t worth his life.

“Please, open your eyes.” I’d never wanted to see his brown eyes more. “Please, do it for me.” Gage was more than just my fantasy, he was so much better. He was so deserving of a full and long life.

Memories from the night before flooded me. The feel of his hands on my skin, the taste of his mouth, the way his lips trailed down my body. Gage made me feel alive in a way I never imagined possible. I wasn’t giving up on him. I couldn’t. I needed him. I’d never needed someone so much. He was all I had anymore, and I knew even if I returned to my real life it would be empty without him. I’d have given up anything for him. I’d already given up my freedom, but I’d give up more. I’d give up everything.

“He’s not waking up.” Hunter’s deep voice startled me. I’d almost forgotten I wasn’t alone with Gage. I couldn’t see anything but his face.

I ignored Hunter. Of course he’d say that. He didn’t want Gage to be okay.

“Mary Anne. He’s dying. You can’t change that.” There was something in Hunter’s words that made me pause.