From Sourcebooks Casablanca
Saving Mercy by Abbie Roads
Fatal Truth, #1
He’s found her at last…
Cain Killion knows himself to be a damaged man. His only redeeming quality? The extrasensory connection to blood that he uses to catch killers. His latest case takes a macabre turn when he discovers a familiar and haunting symbol linking the crime to his horrific past—and the one woman who might understand what it means.
Only to lose her to a nightmare
Mercy Ledger is brave, resilient, beautiful—and in terrible danger. The moment Cain finds her the line between good and evil blurs and the only thing clear to them is that they belong together. Love is the antidote for blood—but is their bond strong enough to overcome the madness that stalks them?
“Do you remember where you are?”
“Ward B of The Center of Balance and Wellness. The name doesn’t fit. It should be called The Center of Indifference. No one here cares—except for Liz. You know Liz?” He opened his mouth to answer, but she bulldozed over him, her words coming out in a rush. “She looks like Nurse Ratchet, but her personality is all Mary Poppins. She always lets me stay up past lights-out since it’s the only solitude to be had in the whole place. Once, she snuck a cupcake in on my birthday. Now isn’t that sweet? She—” The words were speeding out of her mouth.
Not that he was complaining. He preferred her hyped-up over out-of-it, but she might backslide if she didn’t stay somewhat calm. “Whoa whoa whoa. Slow down. Take a breath. We’ve got all the time in the world here.” Had to be the meds or lack of meds—some strange part of the withdrawals—causing her diarrhea of the mouth.
She grabbed in one good breath, then tossed off again. “You know there aren’t many people to talk to in here.” She turned her voice down to a whisper. “Everyone’s crazy. I mean really crazy. Certifiable. It’s hard to carry on a rational conversation with someone who keeps talking to the demon that lives in their ankle. You ever have that happen? Where you’re talking to someone and all of sudden they lift their foot up in front of their face and start having a conversation with it? It’s a bit off putting, if you know what I mean.”
Her expression was full on seriousness, and he probably shouldn’t laugh—definitely he shouldn’t—but couldn’t help it.
A smile—no, it wasn’t quite a smile—tipped the corners of her mouth, giving her a look that said she was thinking about something pleasing.
“We’ve hit a new phase of your withdrawals. Speed talking.”
“Oh, my. Your voice. Wow. It reminds me of dark chocolate, a hot bath, and sex and—”
“Apparently your mental filter is malfunctioning.”
“—sweaty, dirty, hard fucking.”
Holy Christ. Just the words sex, sweaty, and dirty had his dick going all skyscraper inside his jeans, but when she said hard fucking—he blacked out for a moment. When his mind came back online it decided to flash him images of what sweaty, dirty, hard fucking would look like with her. Her nipples brushing against his chest as he rammed into her with a pace and depth and exuberance he’d never experienced.
He needed to change the subject, but couldn’t remember how to get his mouth to form words. He might’ve swallowed his damned tongue.
“Why do you suppose your voice sounds like sex on a summer day? It’s because I’m horny. I haven’t had sex in five years. That’s a long time you know. I have needs.”
He finally figured out how to flap his lips, while making sound to form actual words. Maybe he’d had a stroke. “Jesus Christ woman.” The words exploded out of him. “You’ve got to stop talking about sex.” He scrubbed his hand over his eyes, trying to wipe out the mental images that still played. “You’re speaking every single thought that floats into your mind. No goddamned censor. It’s gotta be the meds or the shock treatments causing it. Something.”
Her bottom lip pushed out in an utterly inappropriate—but adorably kissable—pout. “I don’t see anything wrong with talking about how I feel. Maybe that’s why I can’t get out of this place. I won’t open up. Won’t let Dr. Payne-in-my-ass into my mind. Maybe if I—”
“Christ on a crapper. You’ve got to stop for a moment.” She opened her mouth to argue—he cut her off. “I need you to listen for thirty seconds. A minute tops. Then you can talk about sex, Dr. Payne, and your feelings all you want.”
“You can’t go putting sex, Dr. Payne, and my feelings in the same sentence. Wrong. So wrong.”
“Won’t argue about that. But I need you to keep your lips closed.”
Pain pinched her features as she lifted her hands, placing them over her mouth. It should have been a comical gesture, but all he could see was her hurting. It had been five days since Dr. Payne had injured her and the fact that her body still suffered scraped his justice bone. If he ever got the guy alone, he just might uncage that part of himself that thirsted for blood.
He cleared his throat and emptied his mind of those thoughts. “There’s some things you need to know right now. Important things. Like you’re not at The Center. You’re safe in a cabin in Southern Ohio. You’ve been withdrawing from the meds for the past two days. Your short term memory is shit from the shock treatments. I’ve been taking care of you the whole time.” He spoke the sentences as if there were a list he’d memorized—probably because he’d said the same thing so many times before. “That’s why we keep having this same conversation and you can’t remember it.”
She lifted her hands off her mouth. “Cool. That works for me. Never liked that place.”
Ooo…kkaayy… She obviously wasn’t fully grasping reality. “You’re not going to remember any of this are you?”
“Probably not. Not when I’m feeling half drunk.” She put her hand back over her mouth, but her eyes sparkled with laughter.
She might be more coherent, but she definitely wasn’t fully functional. “I just want you to know. You are safe here. I won’t let you go back there. And I won’t hurt you. I would never hurt you.”
Abbie Roads Bio:
Abbie Roads is a mental health counselor known for her blunt, honest style of therapy. By night she writes dark, emotional novels always giving her characters the happy ending she wishes for all her clients. SAVING MERCY is the first book in her new Fatal Truth Series of dark, gritty, romantic suspense with a psychological twist.
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