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Mine to take, p.15

Mine to Take, page 15

 part  #1 of  Mine Series


Mine to Take
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  “No,” Mitch’s voice. Snarling. “You’re not!”

  She was thrown across the room. Ripped from the arms of her beautiful hallucination and tossed to the floor.

  She’d used all of her strength. Skye couldn’t rise.

  More footsteps were thundering. Again, coming from upstairs?

  Then Skye realized…A basement. She was in a basement.

  Her hands flattened on the hard floor. Pinpricks shot through her numb fingers.

  “You’re done.” Trace lifted a gun. Pointed it right at Mitch. “You’ll never hurt her again.”

  Mitch laughed. Laughed. “You’re the one who hurts her. I keep her safe. I love her—” He lunged forward. There was a knife in his hand. The blade gleamed as it sliced right toward Trace’s chest.

  Not a hallucination. That’s Trace. I could smell him. I could touch him. That’s Trace.

  She pushed to her knees. “No!” Skye tried to surge forward.

  The bullet erupted from Trace’s gun. It drove into Mitch’s chest. But Mitch didn’t stop his attack. He swiped out with his knife.

  Trace fired again.

  The knife sank into Trace’s shoulder.

  Trace fired. Again and again.

  The knife dropped from Mitch’s fingers.

  Before Mitch could fall, Trace grabbed his bloody shirt-front. “I told you what would happen.”

  A gurgle came from Mitch’s lips.

  Reese burst into the room.

  Trace shoved Mitch away from him. The doctor hit the floor. His eyes were closed. Blood covered him.

  Skye was still on her hands and knees. She wanted to move toward Trace, but her body wouldn’t listen to her. She couldn’t move. “Trace!”

  He lifted her into his arms. Held her close against his heart. “I’m here. I’ve got you.”

  She wanted to cry, but couldn’t.

  Wanted to scream, but her voice was gone.

  She could only shake and shudder in his arms. Trace. Trace.

  “Let me get her,” Reese said, coming close to them. “Your injured…you shouldn’t…”

  “I’ve got her,” was all Trace said. He carried her up the stairs.

  Carried her through the old, dusted interior of a house. Then they were outside. Rain was falling. It pelted down on her, and it felt so clean. Good.

  Not as good as Trace’s arms.

  He stood there, in the rain, just holding her. Police cruisers raced to the scene. An ambulance braked to a squealing stop.

  Trace held her.


  Hope came back to her.

  And her tears mixed with the rain.


  Flowers covered the hospital room. Bright, vibrant colors. Enough petals to fill a florist shop.

  The smell was heady.

  The sight was gorgeous.

  Skye wanted to get the hell out of there.

  She’d been pumped with an IV for way too long. She wanted freedom. She wanted—

  The hospital door opened. Trace stood there. The lines near his eyes were a little deeper. His face was grimmer than it had been when she first walked into his Chicago office.

  His eyes were different, too. Still as blue. Still as bright.

  But now she could see the love there. He wasn’t hiding that from her any longer.

  “Ready to go?”

  She was more than ready.

  He pushed a wheel chair into the room. “Your chariot.”

  Her brows climbed.

  “They won’t let you go without it. But don’t worry, Reese is waiting right outside for us.” He lifted her. Let his hands linger as he pressed a gentle kiss to her lips. “This place will be a memory soon.” He eased her into the chair.

  Trace started to push her toward the door.

  She caught his hand. “What happens next?”

  He bent near her, putting their eyes on level. “I take you to our suite at the hotel. I fuck you until some of this damn fear leaves me.” His gaze searched hers. “Then I spend the next fifty years making you as happy as I can.”

  “Fifty years,” she whispered. “That’s a long time.”

  “Not long enough. I figure it’s just a start for us.”

  He pushed her into the hallway. She couldn’t help but tense. I’ll always hate hospitals.

  “I’m with you.”

  He knew, of course. There were no secrets between them. Why should there be?

  The sunlight was bright outside. Reese waited, as promised, standing beside the vehicle.

  “You look good, Ms. Sullivan,” he said giving her a quick nod.

  Considering that the last time he’d seen her, Skye knew she’d looked like death, so, well, anything should be an improvement over that. “Thank you, Reese. You look good, too.”

  He winked.

  Trace eased her into the car. Buckled her seat belt. Took her hand in his.

  Reese drove them away from the hospital. Skye didn’t look back.

  “Just so you know…we found out that Mitch’s alibis were, of course, bullshit. He’d been getting interns to cover for him, and threatening to have them kicked out of the hospital if they didn’t do exactly as he ordered.”

  “He liked control,” Skye said. Control over his interns…control over me.

  The car slowed. Turned right.

  “My agents did more digging. They found out that Mitch Loxley had a history of…getting too close to some of his patients. That was why Dr. Loxley worked in five different hospitals since his residency. He liked having women…need him.”

  I will be the one you need. The only one.

  “He said he saw me dance.” Sleeping Beauty. A helpless victim, until she woke.

  “He can’t ever hurt you again,” Trace promised. His fingers tightened around hers. “No more fear, Skye, it’s over.”

  She didn’t speak while Reese drove. Too much emotion had built within her.

  When they got to the hotel, they were immediately ushered up to their suite.

  It was both familiar and foreign to her.

  She walked to the window. Gazed down at the busy street.

  Trace’s hands curled around her shoulders. “Tell me what I can do. Tell me what I need to do so that you can forget.”

  His voice was ragged, rough, and when he turned her toward him, she saw that his mask had fallen away.

  They were alone, and she was seeing him as he truly was.

  Fear and anger were in his eyes. So much fear.

  He wanted her to forget, but she couldn’t. Wouldn’t.

  She’d never forget the days of darkness and hunger. Fear. Terror.

  But the starvation hadn’t broken her.

  Mitch hadn’t broken her.

  The thought of Trace, dying—that broke me.

  He was the one thing that could destroy her. “I want you to love me,” she told him, her voice breaking.

  His mouth found hers. Trace kissed her hard and deep and she could taste his desire. “I do,” he said against her lips. “I always have.”

  When she kissed him, she tasted the salt of her tears. She never wanted to think of a world without Trace. “I want you to be mine.” She needed that, needed him, and the force of that need scared her.

  He slid to his knees before her.

  Trace…he never bowed before anyone. He—

  He pulled a discrete white box from his pocket. Opened it. The diamond blazed up at her. “And I want you to be mine. Tell me that you will be, Skye. Always.”

  “Always,” she said as a smile curved her lips. The first smile she’d had since coming out of the darkness.

  He slid the ring on her hand, but he didn’t rise. He stared up at her. “You’ve been the only thing that mattered to me since I was seventeen years old.”

  The ring fit her perfectly. So bright, the diamond sparkled.

  A light, after the darkness.

  “I don’t ever want to be without you again,” Trace told her. “Never.”

Since he wouldn’t rise for her, Skye sank down on the lush carpet with him. Her hands lifted and curled around his neck. “I’ve loved you since I was fifteen.” So simple and true. “And I’ll love you for the rest of my life.”

  They had years ahead of them. Time to laugh and fight. To have a family. To watch their children grow.

  Time to just be together.

  They didn’t need to think about death or fear.


  Trace had brought it back to her.

  She’d fight like hell to make sure that she never lost it—or him—again. She wasn’t going to be someone’s victim. She’d fought the monster. They both had. They’d won.

  We deserve our happiness.

  Skye kissed him. His arms pulled her close. Held her against his heart.

  They deserved happiness, and they’d damn well take it.

  This day.

  And every day that came in the future. They’d survived, and now, it was their turn to be happy.



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