What do you do when the man who you love more than anyone else in the world terrifies you"
This is a question Shyla must confront and it takes her to her breaking point.
The only person who can bring her back is the same person who is capable of destroying her beyond repair.
Shyla has seen a side of Taylor she can never forget. She now understands that not only is he capable of immense tenderness, but ruthless violence. She must decide if she will fully trust Taylor and embrace both his light and darkness, as it is clear both exist equally within him.
Their pasts continue to cast a shadow over their relationship as Shyla attempts to convince Taylor that the only way they can truly embrace the future is to reopen and repair old wounds.
Taylor swears anything he has ever done was to protect Shyla, but Eric’s words haunt her and cast doubts on Taylor’s intentions.
Taylor will do anything for Shyla.
Now she must decide if that is actually good thing.
The series MUST be read in order. This series contains adult situations.Books in Series:Strapped Series by Nina G. JonesBooks by Author:Nina G. Jones Books
The room erupted into a muffled chorus of desperation and terror. Just before the ceremony there seemed to have been a unanimous consensus. The children had to go first; they had to be given the rich milkshakes that had been tainted with cyanide. It was when the parents saw their children slipping away, most with violent convulsions, that the cries began. Some were quiet, but occasionally, a loud wail of horror cut through the chorus of weeping.
Alan said something into the microphone, something about keeping to the mission, that they would be in a better place. Lyla didn"t quite hear it, it was background noise to the deafening hum of fear and despair. What she could hear beyond his words was the quiver in his voice: a thin layer of panic over his booming oration. His daughter and her mother had vanished about two weeks ago, and that had broken something in him. He had become increasingly paranoid, certain that the government, led by the devil himself, would persecute them. He and his disciples would leave this ungodly world, with his beloved Lyla by his side.
Lyla trembled, she had to stay calm, she only had one chance, but the tremor came deep from within her cells. The violent shaking of her hands would destroy her plan, yet the movement was involuntary. Then she remembered something from years earlier, during a time in her life that felt like a dream or something she had seen in a movie. She was such a different person, just an innocent teenager about to play Hermia in A Midsummer Night"s Dream. She always trembled before going on stage, and the director told her to close her eyes and take several deep calming breaths. She did just as instructed, and when she opened her eyes and looked down at her hands, she couldn"t believe they were completely still. And so, eight years later, she did the same thing she did as that 15 year-old-girl. She shut her eyes to filter out the madness of the dead children scattered on the floor just below her, and of the dying moans of the adults who had also taken the poison so that they could follow the little ones. There was nothing she could do for them now. She could only save herself and Taylor.
She heard Alan"s voice again, but this time it was not through the mic, it was close to her, and she realized he was addressing her directly.
"The boy." She opened her eyes and turned to face him. "The boy." Taylor was the only child who had not been given the milkshake. She looked over at Taylor, who was sitting on an altar next to her, wrapped in the blanket she had drawn around his thin shoulders. His bluish-green eyes, just like hers, turned dark with an emotion that might have been fear. Her baby had been through more than any child should be able to bear, and he had grown a hard shell around him. She knew he was terrified, but he stared at the scene unfolding in front of him with an empty expression. He would not let Alan see how scared he was, but he was old enough to understand he was about to die.
Luckily Alan was distracted by his increasingly desperate struggle to control his flock. Some women tried to head for the door, but others stopped them. They had made a commitment and they would all follow through.
"Taylor"" Lyla said softly. He didn"t look. "Taylor, sweetie. Look at me, please." Tears blurred her vision. She held him closely in her arms. "Remember what we talked about" This is going to put you to sleep, that"s all." She grabbed the cup that she had prepared for them and placed it to his lips. "It"s vanilla, your favorite."
"Like I told you, she"s gone. She"s in a better place than here, with her mama. Now drink, there"s no time to worry about her."
"I don"t want it, mom."
"Please. Taylor, you have to do this. We talked about this. I would never hurt you."
"But you said when I wake up you won"t be here anymore."
"I know honey. And I am sorry, but it"s the only way. Now hurry before Papa comes." She pressed the cup against his lips. "It only works if you drink it all, quickly."
And he did, he gulped it up, because she mentioned "Papa" would be back and he preferred eternal sleep to Alan"s wrath. His eyes closed quickly and Lyla held him close, violently trembling with him in her arms. "My baby!" she called out. "My baby!"
At her cry, Alan"s dark presence hovered over her. As she covered Taylor"s head with the blanket, Alan reached to pull it open.
"Don"t you touch him ever again!" She beat at his chest hysterically. "He"s safe from you, he"s better off dead!"