Hideaway (Devil’s Night Book 2) by Penelope Douglas
DEVIL’S NIGHT is returning! Hiding places, chases, and all the games are back…
Buried in the shadows of the city, there’s a hotel called The Pope. Ailing, empty, and dark, it sits abandoned and surrounded by a forgotten mystery.
But you think it’s true, don’t you, Kai Mori? The story about the hidden twelfth floor. The mystery of the dark guest who never checked in and never checks out. You think I can help you find that secret hideaway and get to him, don’t you?
You and your friends can try to scare me. You can try to push me. Because even though I struggle to hide everything I feel when you look at me—and have ever since I was a girl—I think maybe what you seek is so much closer than you’ll ever realize.
I will never betray him.
So sit tight.
On Devil’s Night, the hunt will be coming to you.
You have no idea what I seek, Little One. You don’t know what I had to become to survive three years in prison for a crime I would gladly commit again.
No one can know what I’ve turned into.
I want that hotel, I want to find him, and I want this over.
I want my life back.
But the more I’m around you, the more I realize this new me is exactly who I was meant to be.
So come on, kid. Don’t chicken out. My house is on the hill. So many ways in, and good luck finding your way out.
I’ve seen your hideaway. Time to see mine.
*Hideaway is a romantic suspense suitable for ages 18+. While the romance is a stand-alone, the plot is a continuation of events that began in CORRUPT (Devil’s Night, #1). It is strongly recommended that you have read Corrupt prior to reading this.
If you want to read 4 Deleted scenes of Hideaway, you are in luck. Penelope Douglas is the best!
Hideaway Deleted Scene 1
This scene originally took place after Kai and Bank’s inspected the hotel for the first time with Michael and Will.
Walking into Sensou that evening, I immediately stopped and pinned myself to the wall next to the door, letting the group of people leaving squeeze through the walkway first. People in black karate uniforms, or whatever they were called, and some in just plain workout clothes carried their duffels out, laughing and chatting, not one of them sparing a look in my direction. Granted, that wasn’t unusual. I was good at not being seen.
When they left, I started again, making my way for the front desk.
“Yes, hello,” a man in a blue cap with a clipboard spoke to the desk clerk ahead of me. “I have a delivery for Kai Mori.”
The young woman reached for the clipboard. “He’s in a private lesson. May I sign for it?”
“Uhhh,” he mumbled, sounding uncertain. “It’s a large delivery. He usually wants to check the merchandise before I take off.”
Merchandise? I peered around the guy, trying to be discreet, to see his clipboard, but his hand kept moving, and I couldn’t make out what was on the invoice.
I cleared my throat. “I have something for him, too.” I gripped the handle of the steel case I held in my left land and grabbed the clipboard with my right. “I’ll take these back to him.”
“Hey, wait a minute,” the delivery guy burst out, pointing at me.
But I bolted down the hallway, turning my head and jerking to the chairs in the lobby. “Park it. I’ll be back.”
I didn’t wait around to see if he or the clerk would follow me as I charged down the dim corridor. The two main rooms, for large classes, sat on the other side of the lobby and featured several visible floors above with mezzanines to look down on the great rooms, as well as smaller rooms off to the sides on the second, third, and fourth levels. Most of which, I gathered from my research, were used for storage and extra office space.
Slowing my steps, I raised the clipboard and studied the paper on it.
Marchella Dining Set $29, 900
Villarosa Buffet Table $ 5, 700
Sanctuary King Bed $ 8, 400
What the hell? I scanned the sheet, my eyes falling on other pieces of furniture—side tables, chairs, dressers, appliances. The address at the top was for Sensou. Why was he having these things delivered here?
Using my spare thumb, I flipped the page. Another invoice, dated about six weeks ago, for the delivery of other furniture. Two more beds, a dozen chairs, a kitchen table, a desk, and some artwork. All delivered here as well.
But unless these things were hiding in a room upstairs, they weren’t here. What was he doing with all this furniture?
I dropped the clipboard to my side and started walking again, not sure why any of this mattered. It probably didn’t, but then again, any information people deemed to hide was valuable.
Who was the furniture for? Was he keeping a mistress? Maybe that’s why he didn’t invest a stitch of time or money into his house? He must sleep elsewhere.
I shook my head, a knot twisting in my stomach. I didn’t want to know. But I did, too.
I walked down the hallway, passing the office, the men’s and women’s locker rooms, and a couple of smaller classrooms without doors. Coming up on the third one, I could hear the sound of sticks slapping against each other in quick time.
“What are you doing?” I heard Kai snip.
Stopping and hanging back, I peered into the room, instantly spotting him, his body tight and rigid, as he circled his student. His glare looked pissy, and I felt more amused than I wanted to. He was so uptight.
Of course, so was I.
And then his “student” came into view, and the amusement left. Rika walked in a slow circle, matching his predatory stride but keeping the same safe distance from each other.
He was with her more than her fucking fiancé.
“Oji waza,” she answered him, but I had no idea what that meant. She held out her arms, the shanai in her right hand as she challenged him. “What did I do wrong now?”
“Counterattack and then initiate,” he commanded, wiping the sweat on his face with forearm. “Don’t stop. Let’s see it.”
He positioned his sword, and she did the same, the tips touching before he stomped his foot and let out a loud growl and advanced.
She snapped up her sword, stopping him before she whipped her nearly four-foot bamboo stick at him instead, taking large strides as she gripped the handle of the weapon with both hands.
Why weren’t they wearing their gear? Kendo had special robes, armor, and helmets to protect the fighters.
Too fast, she bolted to his side and smacked the stick to the back of his neck. I watched as he hunched forward, absorbing the hit, giving her just enough time to sweep his legs, push him backward, and send him crashing to the mat on his back.
“Ah!” he growled, squeezing his eyes shut as he landed.
Rika’s mouth fell open, and she dropped the sword, shooting her arms up into the air and smiling.
“Ugh,” Kai groaned as he rubbed the back of his head.
“Oh, yeah,” she boasted, dancing around and smiling. “Uh-huh. I told you we needed our gear on, but oh no. You said I’d learn better if I got hurt.” And then she darted out her head, putting her hands on her hips. “So did you learn?”
Snarling, Kai pushed himself to his feet and bent over, swinging his staff off the floor as she danced around, doing fist pumps.
“Don’t laugh,” he chided. “Humility, Rika, remember?”
Which made her laugh more, completely pleased with herself.
I watched as his face softened and he rolled his eyes, a small smile playing at the corners of his lips. He hooked an arm around her neck and kissed her forehead.
Not like a lover—more like a brother—but I still clenched my jaw and dug in my eyebrows at the sight. There was an intimacy there. A connection between them.
Did he love her?
Damon was right. They were all under her spell. I knew she wasn’t responsible for getting them all sent to prison, like we all thought last year, but when my brother couldn’t abide her presence, they chose her over him. I saw his side.
“Good job,” Kai said. “And don’t forget the screaming. It’s important for intimidation.”
He walked with her toward the doorway, and I straightened, backing up against the wall of the hallway.
Rika stepped out first, stopping when she saw me. She only paused a moment, though, before casting him a glance and continuing down the hall, pushing through the women’s locker room door.
Kai approached me, his eyes heavy on me. I handed him the case.
“The tools you requested,” I said. “And the rope is in your trunk. Lev, Ilia, and David will be here in the morning for training, and you have an instructor set up, correct?”
He took the clipboard out of my hands, shooting me a look like I shouldn’t have had it.
He started walking, looking at the invoice as he spoke to me. “And for you, as well.”
“No thanks,” I answered flatly. “I’m a self-starter.”
I could hear his quiet laugh as I walked behind him.
After the hotel this morning, he’d kept me busy all day, getting supplies to get onto the twelfth floor, going over the contracts with Gabriel, and hunting down old employees of the Pope for him to talk to. I didn’t even try, though. Did he really think I would make this any easier for him? He could send me back to Thunder Bay. By all means…
“I also set up an appointment tomorrow for a landscaper,” I continued, “and a few contractors to come out to your hovel to give an estimate on what it’s going to take to get the place ready for Vanessa.” I shoved my hands in my pocket, stealing looks at the taut muscles in his bare back that moved as he walked. “But really, it would be much easier if you just moved.”
The comment was snide, but it was true. It would be cutting it close as it was, getting the furniture moved in and the wedding planned, much less having to contend with renovations, too.
“Cancel the appointments,” he said without looking back.
“Fine.” You can deal with her when she gets here then.
Or maybe he wasn’t planning on his new wife living with him at all. How about that? Hm.
“I’ll text you the dimensions of her bedroom, and you buy the décor you want,” he instructed. “When I say so, you can start setting up her room. The rest of the house is off limits to you. Got it?”
“Her room?” I inquired, unable to hide the amusement from my voice. “Don’t you mean your room?”
He stopped at the front desk and set down the case, but I didn’t miss the arched brow he shot me before turning to the delivery guy.
“Let me know when you need anything else, sir,” the guy said, handing him keys.
Kai signed the invoice and swapped with him, handing him the clipboard while he took the keys.
Keys. So that’s what was happening. Kai wasn’t having furniture delivered here. He was having a truck of furniture delivered here. He didn’t even want a driver seeing where it was going.
Now I was intrigued.
Hideaway Deleted Scene 2
This deleted scene was originally set before Kai takes Banks to his house for dinner. He’s in Thunder Bay, searching for Will, but Banks has found Will first.
“Damn him,” I ground out under my breath, glaring at all the cars around the old church.
St. Killian’s sat ahead, surrounded by darkness, late as it was, but the newly refurbished windows glowed brightly from the lights on inside. I could just make out the thin puffs of chimney smoke spilling into the sky above.
What was he thinking? Michael would kill him.
Stepping on the gas, I jerked the wheel and pulled over to the side of the recently-paved driveway, knowing Michael and Rika hadn’t laid sod or planted flowers yet that I could possibly ruin. Not until the renovations for their Thunder Bay home were completed anyway.
I climbed out of the car and walked for the rear entrance, the front still surrounded by scaffolding as the workers repaired the outside.
As teenagers we came here often. The old cathedral had been abandoned since the 1930s, and with the catacombs below, it became a nice, big place to get lost with a hundred or so other people. The cops never came out this far, and the nearest neighbor was a mile away.
I treaded through the dirt, turned up with all the construction going on the past year, and looked up, seeing light spilling from the back door.
Banks stood at the bottom of the small flight of stairs, leaning on the railing with her hands in her pockets.
She stood up straight as I approached.
“Can I leave now?” she asked.
I stared at her eyes, green and gold and piercing under dark eyebrows. A warm color she was very skilled at making look cold.
I kind of wanted to laugh at her attitude.
I also kind of wanted to wrap my hands around her fucking neck, too.
Maybe she was temperamental all the time or maybe it was just with me. She definitely didn’t skip to do anything I asked her to do, that was for sure.
I’d been unable to get a hold of Will for two days now, and when I couldn’t track him down in the city, I’d told her to see if he was in Thunder Bay since she had to run an errand back here earlier tonight anyway. Small town and all, it didn’t take long for me to get the text.
And if he was at St. Killian’s, Michael and Rika’s nearly-renovated home that they hadn’t even moved into yet, then it was best I came alone to get him out of the way before they showed up. I asked—or told—Banks to stay and wait in case he took off before I got here.
“Go,” I told her.
She pushed off the railing and walked around me, the hair on the back of my neck standing up as she passed.
Raising my eyes, I looked at the light spilling out of the back door, finally noticing all the laughter and chatter coming from inside. Shaking my head, I charged up the stairs.
I entered the back of the old church and stepped inside to what-was-now the kitchen, taking in the people standing around. A few girls, a couple of guys, all looking young enough to still celebrate spring break.
Food littered the large cutting board island—pizza, liquor, two-liter bottles, and drinks spilled over the sides onto Rika’s new black slate tiles she’d picked out last month.
I dragged in a hard breath, smelling the stench of smoke filtering into my nostrils.
I bolted through the kitchen and walked into the great room, seeing at least twenty more people, none of whom I knew, loitering on the new furniture or lounging on the carpets. I scanned the small crowd, looking for Will, but then the echo of a basketball bouncing through the cathedral hit me, and I followed the sound with my eyes. Looking up, I spotted the carved stone railing of the second floor.
I headed for the stairs.
What the hell was his problem? Inviting himself in to have a party in a house that wasn’t his and being an asshole about it to boot? This place was a fucking mess, and Rika was going to be heartbroken. The house was about ready for them to move in, the kitchen and bathrooms were nearly done, and other than some painting to be finished, some lighting to be installed, and the appliances to be delivered, it was nearly complete. They’d already started having furniture delivered, their hunt for the perfect pieces having begun months ago.
It was going to be a perfect house. And while I hated that it had lost some of its mystery now and the catacombs under the church weren’t accessible to just anybody anymore, the place would’ve been sold off or torn down eventually. At least now it was staying in the “family” so to speak, and it was preserved.
I swung around the bannister, heading into the open area upstairs where I knew Michael would eventually have a pool table, couches, TVs, and all the fixings for a man cave. He’d already installed the basketball hoop.
Will strolled around the floor, dribbling, his legs looking heavy and his expression a glower. I slowed, watching him shoot a basket as I headed for him.
Strangely, he was alone. That was hardly ever the case.
“Why aren’t you answering your phone?” I called out to him.
He kept his head down, refusing to look at me. “Why are you such a dick?”
“What the hell does that mean?” I snapped. “What did I do?”
I’d barely interacted with him in days, and the last time I saw him—at the Pope—he certainly wasn’t mad at me.
“Just…” He tightened his lips, pounding the ball harder and looking like he wanted to say something more. But he finally just mumbled, “Just fuck off.”
I pinched my eyebrows together, shaking my head. You know what? Fine. I was fucking tired and worn out, and I didn’t need this tonight. He was alive, he was safe, and he could go self-soothe with whatever fucking vice made him happiest.
I turned to leave.
“What were you and Michael meeting about today?” he asked behind me.
I turned around, seeing him sway just slightly, the ball tucked under one arm, and the neck of a Budweiser in the other hand.
“At the Cove?” he said, pointing out, “It’s a small town, Kai.”
Yeah, okay. So what? Michael and I had a meeting. “Since when do you need to be present for every conversation I have with Michael?”
Guilt pricked at me. I knew why Michael wanted to meet with me alone, but I also knew Will had a right to feel slighted.
“You know, I’m not stupid,” he said, his eyes looking heavy as he dropped the ball to the floor.
“I never said you were.”
“You don’t have to.” His eyes narrowed, angry. “I’m the tag-along. The extra muscle. Good for a laugh, right? Just don’t use big words around me or involve me in the business or let me participate in the adult discussions, because I won’t understand.”
“That’s not true.” But I dropped my eyes, seething nonetheless. “You know what?” I raised my gaze and approached him. “It is. It is true. Get yourself together. I’m tired of you being so numb with booze and whatever else you’re snorting, swallowing, or smoking that you’re barely around anymore.”
I walked away, starting to pace. We’d spent nearly three years paying for our mistakes. Three years! We were humiliated and bastardized in front of this whole damn town. We lost our friends, the respect of our families, and we lived in a seven-by-seven-foot shithole, while everyone else our age was finishing college. At least I completed my degree inside—I had to do something to get through every goddamn day—but we’d committed felonies. And they were on our records forever. I just wanted to redeem myself, while Will thought he could come home and everything would be the same as it was before we left.
“You think you’re the only one hurting?” I lowered my voice, but the bite was still there. “You think you’re the only one trying to forget? You think I don’t need you, too? Michael doesn’t know what we went through. He wasn’t there, so maybe I might need you a little bit, too. But no, I’m too busy babysitting,” I growled. “You think I need this shit every after everything that’s happened? Get a grip. Start acting like an adult, and maybe you’ll be treated like one.”
He stared down, and I could see his tight lips, trying to hold back anger or tears—I wasn’t sure which. My stomach twisted.
I wasn’t Will. We all handled our demons in different ways, I got that, but his choices since he’d gotten out weren’t making his life better. It was a constant cycle of the numb wearing off and chasing it down again. Eventually, though, the girls and booze and drugs wouldn’t be enough.
I clenched my fists, staring him down. “Michael wants to buy the Cove,” I told him. That’s why we’d met today out at the abandoned theme park on Old Pointe Road that Will must’ve heard about. “He wants to get some investors, tear it down, and build a resort.”
Will shot his head up, his eyes suddenly worried or maybe….frightened.
“You better get your head straight,” I warned him, “because if you don’t, I’m going to let him do it.”
The Cove had been sitting deserted for years. It was prime real estate, right on the coast, and unlike the rest of the area, there was a deep harbor and a solid sea floor. Perfect for a marina. Michael wanted us to buy it, with help, of course, and put in a golf course, a hotel, restaurants, hiking trails, private bungalows, and anything else customary for a five-star resort. And having a marina would be a huge perk for yachters to frequent the place, bringing in lots of wealthy business.
And bringing it away from Gabriel’s Meridian City Hotels, as luck would have it.
Unfortunately, Michael knew Will would never agree to it. The Cove was special to Will for reasons I didn’t completely know.
And Rika would take Will’s side, just because she wouldn’t agree to do anything that would unnecessarily hurt one of us. Michael wanted to run the plan by me today to have at least one person on his side before bringing it to them.
But I was still undecided. It was a big venture, and I wasn’t sure we were ready.
Will’s chest heaved, taking in shallow breaths as he turned around and drifted toward the couch against the rock wall. Dropping his ass down in this seat, his head immediately fell into his hands. I could hear his heavy breaths from here as he fisted his fingers in his light brown hair.
I made my way over to him, accidentally kicking an empty bottle of Jack. I spun across the floor, clanging against a chair leg.
I stopped in front of him.
“I’m really sorry, you know?” He shook his head, still buried in his hands. “I don’t mean to be like this, but I…I don’t want to think about everything. I don’t want to remember anything. I’ll do better tomorrow.” He looked up, his green eyes pooling and making my stomach churn. “It’ll be better tomorrow.”
God, he looked lost. The pain etched across his face, the misery in his eyes…
“I just feel…” he said, searching for words, “so alone.”
I leaned down and grabbed him, pulling him up to his feet and quickly swinging one of his arms around my neck. He let me lead him toward one of the bedrooms down the hall. Most were still empty, but I knew there was a bed and mattress in the master suite already, because…
Well, because Michael and his Rika, that’s why.
Walking him into the room, I took in the new paint, the chandelier, and the king sized bed, which luckily had sheets and blankets already. The master bathroom sat off to the right.
“Even in high school, I was never your equal,” he mumbled. “You were smarter, never did stupid shit, you had respect…just like Michael.”
I unloaded him on the chair and turned around to peel back the covers.
“But I didn’t feel inferior, even though I knew I was,” he went on. “Damon was around. It was balanced. Two positives, two negatives, you know?”
“The four of us, we were so fucking perfect.” I could hear the smile in his voice as he remembered. “Michael’s leadership, your control, Damon’s lack of control, and my… search of the ultimate good time. We gave each other something we all needed. It’s not the same anymore. It’s not balanced anymore.”
I nodded, finally seeing what the problem was. Just like I had told Michael. Will was lost without Damon. He was right. We were perfect. The perfect storm. An ideal fusion of four deviant hearts who weren’t dangerous alone, but put us together and it was fucking fire.
How in the hell did we find each other?
“I don’t fit in with you guys anymore,” Will said quietly.
I frowned. How could he think he wasn’t important?
But before I could turn around, he grabbed me and wrapped his arms around my waist, hugging me. “Hold me,” he whimpered like a girl.
And then started laughing.
“Come on, man,” I whined, tearing out of his hold. I turned around to see him hunched over, still laughing.
Idiot. Reaching over, I yanked him up and threw his ass on the bed, making sure he swung his legs up before I covered him up. He was only in his jeans anyway, so he could sleep like that.
I left the room and trekked back downstairs, kicking everyone out and then grabbing a couple of waters out of one of the coolers before heading back upstairs. I doubted there would be any aspirin in the bathroom yet, so tough luck for him.
I set the waters down on the pillow next to him. “There’s water here,” I told him, seeing his eyes closed. He groaned once, telling me he heard me.
I leaned down, my voice stern. “If you wake up and have to piss, get to the bathroom. Michael’s already going to kill you for partying here, and you don’t want Rika on your ass because you leaked on her new floors. You hear me?”
He gave me another sleepy groan, and I stood up straight, turning off the lamp.
I wasn’t sure if he’d get himself straight on his own. One thing you could guarantee about any of us was that we didn’t want to look weak, especially in front of each other. The shit he was doing to himself were symptoms of another problem, but I had yet to determine how big or small that problem was. Or what it was, exactly.
I turned and headed out of the room, hearing his voice behind me.
I stopped and turned my head, seeing him still lying on the bed.
“I shouldn’t have burned down that gazebo,” he said. “Why didn’t you stop me, man?”
Hideaway Deleted Scene 3
This scene originally took place after the flashback scene of how Damon and Banks first met. She’s in his bedroom and gets called downstairs.
Within days of arriving, moving into my cubby in the tower and spending hours upon hours of being his shadow, I loved him. We were our family.
Nik and Damon.
I looked over at the tanks, seeing Volos and Kore II basking under their heat lamps. Standing up, I walked over and removed the lid, gingerly picking up Volos and helping him curl around my hand. He should be dead already. Kore passed years ago, but Volos was hanging on. Perhaps for his master.
He rested peacefully, not moving, and I ran my fingers down his scaly skin.
After the first meeting with Damon, I’d researched his snakes on the Internet at the library and found out Volos was a milk snake and Kore was a corn snake. Both completely harmless.
Although what Damon said was true. Any animal bites when it’s provoked. Their bites, though, weren’t venomous.
“Banks!” A pounding hit the door downstairs, and I recognized Lev’s voice.
I put Volos back, careful to be gentle, and replaced the lid. He’d held out this long, and I was worried he wouldn’t last, especially with Damon this close to coming home.
“Banks!” Lev called again, and I walked for the door and jogged down the stairs.
Opening up the door at the bottom, I saw Lev standing there, his eyes bloodshot and cheeks flushed, probably from drinking. It was late, and the guys were winding down.
“Marina’s husband is back with his bullshit.” He jerked his chin, indicating the direction of the kitchen.
“So?” I shot back. “Handle it.”
“Come on,” he whined. “A man can’t tell another man what to do with his own wife. You need to handle this.”
I arched a brow and stepped out of the stairwell, slamming the door behind me.
“You good-for-nothing coward,” I spat out, barreling around him and walking for the stairs.
Bunch of lazy sons of bitches. Goddammit.
I charge down the steps, feeling him right behind me as I swung around the bannister and headed straight for the kitchen, where we could almost always find Marina. Her fucking husband tended the grounds here, both of them living on the property, but once in a while he liked to show up and remind her who was really in charge of her.
Not Gabriel Torrance, not all the men on the staff here she served and spent more time with than him, and certainly not her.
He was a man without a castle and a serious chip on his shoulder about that fact.
I entered the kitchen, passing David and Ilia in the hall, standing close but not getting too close, as Marina’s quiet sobs broke the silence.
Bill Rutledge stood in front of her with his back to me, holding a belt in his hand as he faced his wife.
I didn’t know what provoked him this time, and I didn’t give a shit.
Glancing around him, I looked at Marina, her eyes flashing to me for a moment. Tears covered her cheeks, half of her blonde hair tied back but much of it had come loose, and her shirt and apron were mussed. Her face was red, but I didn’t see any blood.
She wasn’t usually here this late, but I could see a pot on the stove and the burner lit. My father probably ordered her back to make him something.
“Hi,” I said, breaking the silence.
Bill turned his head, scowling at me. “Out,” he ordered. “This isn’t your business.”
And then his eyes flashed behind me, indicating the guys trailing in behind me now.
I stepped forward, instantly smelling sweat on him. I held out my hand. “Give me the belt.”
He scoffed and shook his head, taking another swig of the beer in his hand.
He wasn’t going to make this easy.
And I nearly closed my eyes with the pleasure of anticipation. I could feel the swirling in my stomach, the heat flowing down my arms, the hard beat in my chest…
I liked this part. Cocking my head, I took a step closer. “She’s had enough. Give me the belt.”
He turned around, facing me, and I stared up into his blue eyes that were wrinkling at the corners from years of working in the sun, and his blond hair, wet with the sweat of exertion.
He narrowed his eyes on me, stepping up into my space. He swung the belt off to his side and got in my face.
I couldn’t hold in the little smile that escaped. Years ago, no one would dare touch me out of fear of dealing with Damon.
Now, every day, I fought to make sure no one challenged me out of fear of dealing with me.
“Do it,” I told him. “Hit me.”
And I turned and planted my palms on the table, leaning over just slightly. “Come on.”
Marina stopped sobbing, and not one of the men in the room spoke.
I turned my head over my shoulder, speaking to him. “You’re delaying Mr. Torrance’s dinner. I’ll take her place, so do it.”
I felt him shift behind me, and every muscle in my legs wanted to tremble. I breathed shallow, digging my nails into the wooden table as he moved behind me.
Come on! Come on. You can hurt me. You’re going to put me in my place, aren’t you?
“Do it,” I whispered, breathing harder and dropping my head back as I closed my eyes. “Do it, do it, do it, do it…Make me scream. Make me cry.” My skin crawled and every hair stood on end.
Every animal bites when it’s provoked. Let’s do this, you son of a bitch.
“Do it. Scare me. Come on! Make me scream. You can do it. I want it!”
I slammed my palm down on the table, and I heard Marina suck in a breath.
But everything remained silent. It was like no one was breathing.
I waited for the first lash—if he fucking dared—but nothing happened. Turning my eyes on him behind me, I found him just standing there, staring at me.
He’d backed up. He knew he wouldn’t be getting any tears or screams out of me.
But he didn’t want to lose face in front of the men, either, so he sniffled and shrugged, suddenly acting like this was all no big deal.
“It’s fine,” he replied, laughing at himself. “I just had two too many, I guess.”
Standing upright, I turned around and approached him. I took his beer and kept my eyes on him as I tossed it into the garbage.
He hesitated only a moment but took the cue to get his fucking belt back on.
“You have a problem with Mr. Torrance’s cook, you talk to me,” I told him. “You hurt her and she can’t work, then you’ll be dealing with him. If any of this is confusing, David will explain it on the drive back to your house.” And then I looked to the men, prompting them to get his ass out of here. “Guys?”
David stared at me, looking lost in thought for a moment, but then he blinked, coming to. He wrangled the guys and led the way out the back door. Bill didn’t even look at his wife as he grudgingly followed them.
I heard more sniffling and saw Marina out of the corner of my eye approach.
“Thank you, sweetheart,” she said, her voice trembling.
She reached out and touched my face, but I pulled away.
This wasn’t for her. It wasn’t, I told myself.
What she allowed to happen to her in their house was her problem. When her husband messed with the flow of this house, it became my problem. Nothing more.
“Gabriel’s waiting for his dinner,” I told her, walking out of the kitchen. “Fix your face.”
Hideaway Deleted Scene 4
This scene originally took place after David, Lev, and Ilia took Banks home from the cemetery, before she goes to her room and climbs in bed.
“Those fuckin’ guys,” David cursed from the drivers’ seat, lighting a cigarette. “Little shits, all of ‘em.”
“Connected little shits,” Ilia added.
I sat behind him on the passenger’s side, staring out the window as they went on talking about people they didn’t know. In was common to have that animosity for the people they worked for. And I felt the same about the girls at the party, even though I shouldn’t have made assumptions.
But it was easy to be bitter when you knew you’d never have a chance to own the types of cars you were paid to wash every day. Or hate people who were simply winners of the birth lottery, lucky enough to be born into money and never knowing what it was like to work for anything.
But Kai was different. He was nice.
Part of me wanted to explain what actually happened when I was dropped into the grave, and hey, I could even turn it around and blame it on them, but…no. I didn’t feel like apologizing for something that wasn’t my fault and something I wasn’t sorry happened.
I had my first kiss at the bottom of an empty grave. I’d always remember that, wouldn’t I?
“Hey,” I heard David say.
I turned my head and looked up, seeing his eyes on me through the rearview mirror.
“Don’t think I don’t see that little smile on you like you think he’s gonna give you something good.” He shook his head once. “Not happening. Ever. Chances are, Damon will either bolts your knees together for the rest of your life, or you’ll be marrying one of us. That’s as good as you got to look forward to, Little Girl.”
The smile I didn’t realize I had fell, and I turned my eyes out the window again, somber as we passed the gates and left the cemetery.
There was no way I’d stay here and live this life forever.
“Lots of people come from nothing and make something of themselves,” I replied more to myself.
But Lev laughed next to me as he leaned back in the seat. “Yeah, like me. Look at me.”
“And totally, me, too,” Ilia chimed in.
“Yeah, we all came from nothing and made something of ourselves,” David mocked me in the rear view mirror. “I hold down three fucking jobs, including delivering pizza part-time at night to scratch together enough to get myself a fucking teacher education and change the world, right? I do my homework on the bus to city college every day. That’s me.”
I shook my head, averting his eyes.
“Yeah,” Lev joined in with a French accent. “I’m going to go to culinary school and make ze best dishes for all ze starving children in Ah-frica.”
He kissed his fingers. “Muah!”
“And me, I’ll just get a factory job,” Ilia played along, “a good, honest living to support my church-going wife and my kids, Betty Sue, Tommy, and Vlad.”
“Vlad?” Lev asked, perking up.
Ilia shrugged. “Should have at least one good Russian name in there.”
They all laughed as if I was so naïve. Like the idea of hope was a ridiculous waste of time. But they had to want more at one point, didn’t they? How did they become so jaded?
“Thing is, baby,” David said, and I met his eyes in the mirror, “when you got no money, life can just get too damn hard. Some people make it out. Most don’t.”
Lev sighed next to me. “Shit just gets too damn hard, and Gabriel pays.”
“And a month turns into two years really fast,” Ilia added.
I frowned, staring out into the night and the trees blowing past my window. The car was becoming suffocating, the air thicker and thicker.
No wonder they drank all the time.
No wonder they fought and did everything and anything they could to numb themselves. As far as they were concerned, it was all over already. Nothing would ever be better than it was right now.
And no wonder I’d been so smitten with Kai Mori. He was different.
And he was the only one, aside from Marina, who made me feel like the world could be bigger.
David pulled up to our gate, and it immediately opened, allowing him to pull through. Everyone remained quiet as he continued down the long driveway, and I peered up front to see the digital clock read just after ten p.m.
My brother wouldn’t be home until at least dawn. Was Kai still planning to go to the Pope tonight? He must’ve gotten that key after our conversation this morning, before he knew that he’d run into me again.
I didn’t like the idea of him there without me.
David parked around the back of the house and shut off the headlights, killing the car.
He looked at me over his shoulder. “Get to your room and stay there.”
Yeah, yeah…I pushed open my door, and we all got out, David, Lev, and Ilia heading toward the shop and their bunks, while I opened the back door, leading into the kitchen.