Excerpt: Breaking His Hold on me

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“We’ll be there in about an hour and we need to talk about what you’ll do and say.” His hard tone and body language sent flashes of blind obedience though her mind and she shook her head, voice flat.

“No, we don’t. You wanna tell me the camp rules and way things work? Fine, but save all that other crap. You don’t own me anymore. That life ended with the war I survived alone!” Kenn was speechless and it allowed him to hear the unhappiness, made him pay attention to her words, sensing there might be something he could use to keep her quiet. The proposal he’d had in mine clearly wouldn’t work.

“I won’t embarrass you, Kenn. I won’t go to him and I won’t run my mouth right away and in return, you remember I’m a person, not your property. You don’t own me.” She repeated, stubbing out her butt. “You never really have.” Kenn’s stomach burned at her words, her tone, even hating her using the short version of his name. It made her sound less needy, less weak, and he knew who was responsible.

“This is all his doing, isn’t it?” He accused angrily and her response was quick.

“Because of Brady, I’m here and alive, two things you didn’t want to happen!” He said nothing and enjoyed the hurt in her voice.

“Can’t you be even a little glad to see me?”.

“Woulda been easier if you hadn’t brought your lover along.” He sneered and Angela looked back out the window, seeing a bullet ridden speed limit sign, irrigation pipes, and dark stretches of cornfields lined by thin cedar trees.

“You left me there to die, Kenn. Don’t think I don’t know that. I did what I had to and I went through hell to get here.” He gave her a disbelieving once over.

“You look fine.” She nodded, smiled tauntingly.

“I am. Now.” Clearly implying Marc was the reason for that, Kenn let out a frustrated hiss.

“Send him on his way!” Angela shrugged, standing her ground, hand close to her hip.

“Don’t think I can. We’ve become close.” Kenn stomped on the gas, throwing her back in the big seat.

“I’ll kill you both!” Angela nodded, afraid but suddenly overwhelmed with what had been caged before. Anger.

“You’d better make sure I’m dead. I owe you a lot, and if you miss, if you underestimate me, it’ll be your body they bury, not mine!” Kenn barely controlled his hands, almost sure she’d been hoping he’d hit her again so she could shoot him, and while he was fast, he wasn’t sure he could grab her arm in time if Brady had taught her to fire from her hip holster. Damn! He had to get her under control. His mind skipped ahead, seeing embarrassing explanations, denials, a trial. There was no way assaulting a woman would be overlooked.

“My… problems are not going to be made public.” She stated, lighting another smoke, and Kenn shrugged, realizing she was reading him, trying to stay one step ahead.

“The camp will make it their business to find out. Adrian arranged it that way to keep the bad people out.” Angela laughed harshly at him.

“Guess one slipped through.” Kenn flushed with shame instead of the angry denial she expected, almost pleading.

“A truce? A week or two and see how things go before you start spreading lies and make me do something ugly?” Angela smiled coldly, knowing she’d just won the first of many rounds. That wasn’t the proposal he would have made in the past.

“A truce? Hmm… Okay. You have seven days to convince me I should take you back.” 

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