New York Times, #1 Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author, Meghan March, continues the story of her next devastating and damaged anti-hero in Iron Princess.
He"s a mystery. An enigma.
His very identity is a secret buried beneath layers of deception.
He"s also an addiction I can"t shake. An attraction I can"t fight.
And then I found out exactly who he is"a man more dangerous than the devil himself.
Now I need him in order to save everything that matters to me.
I have to pull back. Protect myself from the danger that haunts his every step.
Which would be easy . . . if I could stop myself from falling in love with him.Books in Series:Savage Trilogy Series by Meghan MarchBooks by Author:Meghan March Books
"Ashes to ashes, dust to dust, looking for that blessed hope when the Lord himself shall descend from heaven . . ."
The priest murmurs the words I"ve heard too many times over a casket that shouldn"t be here. None of us should be here. This funeral shouldn"t even be happening.
As the priest continues to drone, I bow my head to stare at the blades of grass I"ve trampled into the dirt beneath my feet. I can"t stand to look at that wooden box for another second.
I should be sweating in the heat under my layers of black, but the block of ice lodged in my chest keeps me frozen where I stand.
I don"t feel the heat.
I don"t feel anything.
I"m not sure I"ll ever feel anything again.
I"m numb"except for the guilt.
I did this.
This is all my fault.
Fifteen years earlier
The bus from the airport was taking for frigging ever, but if I wanted to keep it a surprise, I couldn"t call for a ride. I"d spent practically my last dollar to catch that flight, and my paycheck from Uncle Sam wasn"t going to hit for a few more days. Not that it was much of a paycheck when you thought about what we went through.
That"s what I signed on for in the army. Honor. Country. Duty. Those are things a man can believe in, along with surprising his mama with his unexpected leave.
The bus dropped us at the station, and I waited for two old ladies and another guy to get off before I shouldered my duffel bag and climbed down the stairs. It was a mile to the house, but it was worth it. Ma would be surprised as hell.
I just didn"t expect that I would be too.
Fifteen minutes later, I opened the back door and stuck my head inside the kitchen. Ma"s old dog, Rudy, didn"t bark to announce my arrival.
I crept inside and shut the door behind me, and finally heard rustling coming from the laundry room. Keeping my footsteps light, I moved across the polished wood floors down the back hallway as her blond head popped out of the room.
"Surprise!" I yelled, and she dropped the basket of clothes she was carrying and screamed, covering her mouth to cut it off before her gaze swung to mine.
"Ma! What the fuck happened" Are you okay""
I kicked the laundry basket out of the way as I moved toward my mother. My mother with a fucking split lip and a bruise on her right cheekbone, despite her attempt to conceal it with makeup.
"Did you have an accident" What happened""
"Kane, you didn"t tell me you were coming home." Her voice held none of the excitement I thought it would.
I stepped forward and reached out to cradle her face in my hands. "Ma, what the fuck happened""
Her pale blue gaze, just like mine, dropped away. "Nothing. Just clumsy."
Chills rolled down my spine, and the hair on the back of my neck rose like a pissed-off dog"s. There was only one explanation that made any sense, and it was the last one I wanted to hear.
I met her gaze for a beat. "Tell me he didn"t do this."
Her gaze dropped to my chest. "Kane, don"t go jumping to conclusions. It"s not gonna do anyone any good. You know me. Clumsy old lady these days."
"You"re not clumsy and you"re not old. I"m gonna fucking kill that bastard for laying a hand on you." I released my light grip on her face to turn around. "He at work""
Her attention cut to my face, her blue eyes wide with panic. "Please, Kane. You can"t. Don"t even think about it."
"Why not"" My hands shook with the rage charging through my bloodstream. "Court in session" Good. Then they can all watch me beat the judge to a pulp."
I took one step, but she reached out and grabbed my arm, her perfectly manicured nails digging into my skin.
"And what do you think is gonna happen when you leave" You think getting him all riled up is going to make it go better for me somehow""
I turned, my jaw clenched. "Then I won"t go back."
She gave my arm another tug. "You have to. You"re making something of yourself. And if you don"t, you"ll go to prison. I"m not visiting my son in prison. You hear me""
"Tell me this was the first time he"s ever touched you." I knew no matter what she said, I wouldn"t believe it, even though I wanted to. I hoped it would calm the storm raging in my blood.
The fine lines bracketing her mouth deepened into grooves as she pinched her lips tight. Her voice shook as she said, "It was my own fault. I dropped his favorite whiskey and the bottle shattered. He"s just come off a terrible trial. I should"ve been more careful."
Listening to my mother try to justify my stepfather"s actions was like someone taking a knife to my gut.