Episode Three: In the underbelly, trust is everything, and Dylan will soon discover that Ripley trusts no one. With the return of an old threat, loyalty is on the line, and betrayal could mean the end of everything for both of them.
They call me RIP.
I’m a killer. A murderer. A psychopath.
In the eyes of the righteous, I’m a monster, born of sin and depravity.
I want to protect her, but I’m not a good man.
I want to love her, but I no longer feel.
She gets under my skin, though, and has awakened something inside of me.
Something I’d kill for.
I’m not her savior—not even close. In fact, I’m worse than the hell she’s already suffered.
I’m her vengeance. Tit for tat, as they say.
And if she’s not careful, I’ll be her ruin.
For months, I’ve watched him.
I’ve fantasized him as my savior, my lover. My ticket out of the hell I’ve lived in for the last six years.
I never dreamed he’d be my nightmare.
Had I known what he really is, I’d have never gotten in the car that night, but life is full of cause and effect.
And sometimes the choice on offer isn’t a choice at all.
It’s the result of something already in motion, and we’re merely left to survive the ripple effect.
*This is an erotic suspense/erotic romance not recommended for readers under the age of 18 due to graphic violence and sex
I sit on the edge of the bathtub, breathing through my nose to keep from throwing up whatever’s left in my stomach. An incessant tremble runs beneath my skin, stirring up nausea in my gut.
“Were you cleaning something?” I take a small sip of the water, nervous that I might not be able to keep it from coming back up.
“Blood,” is all he says, as if I’m not supposed to ask.
To hell with that. I’d rather talk about what he did than focus on my embarrassment, because I have no explanation for why I freaked out.
“I could really use the distraction right now.” Dropping my shoulders, I sigh. “Humor me?”
His jaw shifts, and maybe I wasn’t supposed to ask him about his work. Maybe it’s all classified or the hitman equivalent. Whatever. I know Ripley’s not a good man. That he does bad things. But I’ve come to the understanding that no one in the underbelly is good. So I really don’t give a shit if I’m not supposed to ask.
“I killed a man.” His eyes are trained on me—one blue and one hazel, neither of them so much as flinching with his confession.
The line of tension that stiffens his shoulders sags, and he smiles down at me. “Is that where we’re at now, Bandit? You’re so comfortable around me to ask the details of my kills?”
“You don’t have to give me details.” I don’t even realize I’m fidgeting until I look down to see the red streak where I’ve scratched my knuckles.
“Shot him. Square in the skull.”
I keep my gaze glued to my hands, imagining the scenario. Ripley’s big menacing body standing over the man who begs for his life. Horrible. Yet somehow it takes me away from whatever nightmare I suffered moments ago. “Did you burn him with acid?”
“No. He was a merciful kill.”
“Merciful? Are any of them worth mercy?” The sneer in my voice takes me by surprise and tipping my head back, I just catch the shake of his head. “If you were going to kill me, how would you do it?”
Ignoring my question, he jerks his head toward the glass of water in my hand. “Are you feeling better?”
My cheeks warm with embarrassment, and I’m glad he doesn’t answer. It was a stupid question. “Yeah. It went away.”
“What exactly was it?”
The nervous vibration still skitters along my bones, but I shrug. “I wish I knew. Ripley? Are you going to throw me out?”
“Why are you asking that?”
“Because you’ve … not asked me for anything. Is the deal off?” I lodge my fingers though my hair, gripping tight to my skull. Teetering on the line of sobriety has fucked with my head and I’ve become deathly afraid of what I’d do for those pills outside of these walls. “I know I screwed up with the drugs. And I wasn’t … I didn’t want to steal from you. But I can’t go back on the streets. I can’t. I already know I’ll die out there. I don’t know what was up with the bleach, but it has nothing to do with drugs. I promise.”
A good ten seconds of silence follows before he says, “Deal’s not over yet.”
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Same cover as book one. See my thoughts on that review.
Episode 3 kicks off right where we left off in book two. Dylan and Rip grow closer, and we learn a little more history about both of them. We also get to see a softer side of Rip. He is still batshit crazy, but Dylan brings out something in him. I love the relationship these two have. It’s raw and filthy and powerful. The pacing of these novellas is fantastic. They suck you in from page one and don’t let up until you are smacked in the face with a cliffy that makes you want to hunt down the author and make her turn over the next book tout suite. I think this episode has the worst one yet and I am DYING to get my hands on episode four. I just know the conclusion is going to blow us all away!