Rune King’s Daughter (Rune Series Book 4)February 26, 2017
Sight of Love (A Rizer Pack Shifter Series Book 2)March 18, 2017
Cara couldn’t sleep.
How could she when in the morning she would be forced into a marriage with Byron Aldrich? It didn’t matter that she didn’t want to marry him. Cara had no other alternative. Not anymore.
She could still remember what it was like before the town had walls built over ten feet high surrounding it. There were mountains in the distance, beautiful sunsets. Back then Cara thought she’d climb those mountains. She thought she would escape her father and leave all the ugliness behind.
Then they came.
The creatures who walk like men but are not men at all. They are monsters, wild beasts. Every man who has been attacked by them dies, the bodies of these men are brought back in pieces.
Cara was asked to help prepare the bodies for burial last month. Those men who’d left in a hunting party, big strong men, hadn’t stood a chance against the creatures outside the wall. There was nothing left of the men for their families to say goodbye too.
The claw marks and bites left over on the human remains recovered, were so big and deep that Cara didn’t know how it was possible any beast could be so big.
For seven years Cara and most of the people of Aldrich Town have been trapped behind the walls. At least Cara felt trapped. It was a cage and it was only going to get smaller for Cara when she married Aldrich.
The man was in his forties, while Cara was not even twenty years old yet. Cara knew him to be a cruel man, just like her father.
If it had not been for Cara’s uncle Mortimer she might not know that there were men who could be kind. The men of the town are angry. Many of them take out their frustration on anyone weaker than they are. When this happens it is up to Aldrich if the person causing trouble gets to stay or is pushed outside the wall to be killed by the creatures outside.
Aldrich owns the food. Aldrich owns the weapons. He owns the wall. Aldrich owns the people of his town because without him they starve, are defenseless, and die.
When Cara’s father took to beating her the neighbors called in Aldrich. Cara was thirteen years old when he came to her house that night to answer the complaint. He arrived with a rope, ready to tie up her father because he was not so much interested in justice as he was interested in not being bothered.
When he saw Cara he entered the home and sat down at the dinner table with Cara’s father. He promised to spare him if he kept her untouched by other men. Aldrich said he’d return for her when she was ripe.
Cara didn’t understand most of what he’d said but she knew she didn’t like how he looked at her. She didn’t like the way Aldrich would follow her home from the school after that. Then he’d taken Paulina to wife and Cara thought she was free of him.
She knew she was wrong two days ago, when Aldrich came knocking. Her father opened the door for Aldrich. When Cara saw who it was her body froze with fear. There was a rumor that Paulina died.
Cara had refused to believe it. After all Paulina was only twenty-three when she died. Aldrich married her when she was nineteen. How could she be dead when she was so young?
Cara heard people say that Aldrich never let Paulina leave his house. Since her father rarely allowed Cara to leave without an escort, she thought it must be the same kind of restrictions for Paulina.
Once though when she passed by Aldrich’s house on her way to work, Cara saw her. Paulina was standing in the window glaring out at the light as though she’d been in darkness for so long she couldn’t adjust. She was bruised, too skinny, and she was crying.
Cara remembered that look of desperation on Paulina’s face as Aldrich approached her. She stood backing away from the table. His hazel blue eyes were cold, like metal in the winter.
Her hands were shaking. She fisted them. Cara didn’t like the pleased look on Aldrich’s face when he saw the clear sign of fear. Cara narrowed her eyes daring to meet his gaze.
Aldrich’s cutting eyes widened, the bloodshot red vessles in his eyes darkened. His pale face and pointed chin lowered as his heated gaze ran over her. Alrich’s gray teeth looked sharp. He pushed up the sleeves of his red shirt. “Take off your dress,” Aldrich commanded her. His eyes opened wider as he spoke. His hands opening and closing like he wanted to grab her.
Cara looked to her father. He was the only one who could protect her from Aldrich. Sure, her father was hard hearted, and short tempered but he did love her. Cara was certain he would do something.
He nodded to Cara, telling her without words to obey Aldrich.
Cara’s face burned with anger. With the stab of betrayal.
How can he just stand there?
“No,” Cara said.
Aldrich towered over her. He was crowding her space trying to intimidate her to his will. Cara pressed her lips together as they too began to tremble.
Aldrich’s hand shot out taking hold of her long blond braid yanking hard and pulling her head back. Tilting her chin up so that she had to look at him. His rough hands groped her breasts as he breathed into her face. “You need to see who is in charge, don’t you?”
Cara was terrified but she couldn’t stand his hands on her body. Reaching up she drug her nails across his face and kicked him as hard as she could to be free of his grip on her.
Only a small grunt sounded before his hand wrapped around her neck and he began to squeeze. He was choking her, yelling in Cara’s face as she fought for air. “I’m going to teach you to obey, Cara Warden. You will be my wife.”
Her name on his lips was a death sentence.
Aldrich held her up in the air, her feet dangling. The whites of his eyes were bright as he bared his filed teeth at her. His sharp chin stabbed into her cheek as he pressed his face into her hair. He groaned a disgusting sound.