“Fine. Go.” Bella screamed at the spot where he’d been. “I should have known you wouldn’t keep to the deal. You’re nothing but a lowlife Dragath25 criminal. Who needs you?”
She was turning back toward the cave when the ground shook. Reeling round, her eyes went wide. Convict was steamrolling toward her, a murderous look on his face.
She’d only just begun to run when powerful arms jerked her back against hard, warm steel. Clawing, kicking, she tried to break free, but it was no use. Caged by one thick arm around her stomach and one tangled in her hair, she was trapped.
“That’s right, fighter-girl. I am nothing but a lowlife Dragath25 criminal.”
“Stop.” She shoved against his chest. It was as unmovable as the rock at her back.
“Criminals don’t stop.” He fisted her shirt, drawing her onto her tiptoes, bringing her face in line with his. His knee slid between her thighs, forcing them wide. “We take.” His hand skimmed down her body. “We violate.”
Heartbeat slamming against her ribs, she tried to fix this. “I—I shouldn’t have said what I did. I’m sorry.”
“That’s right. You shouldn’t have said it.” He wrapped his wrist tighter in her hair. “Just like you shouldn’t have ignored my direct order.”
“I understand that now.”
It was as if he didn’t hear her. “You think it’s easy to survive out here. You think this is a joke. You think I made it on this fucking hellhole this long out of sheer luck.”
“I’ve seen things you wouldn’t believe. Done things I can barely stand to think of.” Echoes of those horrors stretched tight across his face. “But I’ve made it here eight years and I don’t intend to die now.”
Her chest grew tight. She didn’t think she could bear even another few days on this place. She couldn’t imagine surviving eight years.
“I’m sorry. You’re right.” She spoke fast, the words spilling from her, more genuine this time. “I wasn’t trying to get you killed. I was trying to help. I appreciate all you’ve done. Hiding us in the cave. Saving us from the tigos. Even the water and bandages you gave my colleagues.” She cleared her throat. “You were keeping to the deal. I was the one who screwed up.”
He didn’t acknowledge her words, but his grip loosened, the tension in his body lessening. “It’s easy to die out here.”
“But people make it.” Her voice shook. “You’ve made it. I will too.”
He shook his head, something that looked a lot like regret in his gaze. “You’re soft. Delicate.” The finger that had been so predatory against her skin now felt like a caress. “Keeping you alive will be next to impossible. Even without the added stubbornness.”
A new and astonishing idea flooded through her, a live wire of awareness to her brain. It wasn’t cold-heartedness that had promoted his departure, but the exact opposite. He didn’t want to watch her die.
Excerpt from Trapped from Alison Aimes
The Kindle Unlimited release date of this novel by Aimes is set for March 1st, however, for those of you who can’t wait the week, the paperback is already available on Amazon . Learn more about the author at alisonaimes.com .