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Pawn (The Pawn Duet #2)
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Born into hell. Baptism by betrayal.
His life revolves around violence. My life is on the line.
I’m trapped both physically and emotionally. A pawn in a game I didn’t know I was playing.
Until I met him.
Pike acts without emotion, but I know he feels something for me. I see it in his eyes when he looks at me. I feel it when he’s close.
I know it’s real because I feel it too.
Lust. Desire. It complicates everything.
I’m part of Pike’s plan for revenge.
What he doesn’t know is that he’s part of mine.
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Time travel is possible.
Not the Back to the Future, flux-capacitor, kind of time travel. And not the Outlander through-the-stones kind either. Although even in my scientifically fact- oriented mind, I’m still holding out hope for that last one.
But yet, it exists, not out there in the world, but within ourselves.
Time is an intangible unit of measurement that knits together the fabric of the past into a proverbial quilt of memories that make up the timeline of our lives.
Though time itself is a constant, during certain moments it can slow to a crawl or it can blur by like a speeding train.
Emotional reactions can often trigger memories that will transport us in time, to a specific moment on the quilt.
One that is either defined or destroyed.
The research has already been written, but no publication on the subject could’ve ever prepared me for my own experience with time travel.
Because in one moment, I’m in the warehouse of The Fourth Reich, unable to believe what I’m seeing before my eyes, and the next, I’m back in the van with my family, careening through the barricade into the cold dark water. Only, there’s no splash, and the cold I feel is not coming from around me, but within me, expanding through my body, chilling me to my very core.
Suddenly, I’m jolted from the van, and I’m back in Pike’s bed. My body warms as he wraps his heat around me, pulling me close to his chest. I want to stay here, in this place and in this moment. The stubble on his jaw lightly scrapes against my cheek and I’m filled with regret for ever having left him.
Pike’s arms leave me all too soon, and I’m tossed back into the cold, but this time, it’s courtesy of the water that was just poured over my head from behind. I watch as my three younger sisters take off down the beach, carrying with them a now empty bucket, and the sweet sounds of their childish laughter. Even under the warm sun, the breeze chills the water on my skin.
I continue to bounce around to different junctures of my own timeline. Some sweet and warm. Others heartbreaking and chilling.
Several times, I find myself in moments with Pike. Moments that took place over the last few weeks. It seems like such a small period of time, but three weeks is all it took for me to fall in love with Pike. Three weeks for my heart to shatter. Three weeks to glimpse the kind of life I’ll never have.
Because I did what I thought was right, choosing my plans for revenge and his safety over staying and choosing him.
At least, it had felt like I was choosing him at the time, but now, reliving moments of the recent past, I’m no longer sure that’s what I did.
Revenge has been what’s propelled me forward going on five years now. Who am I without revenge?
That’s what I am without it.
But in an instant, a pull of a single thread on my timeline, the plan has changed.
Famous physicist Leonard Susskind once said, “Unforeseen surprises are the rule in science, not the exception. Remember: stuff happens.”
I’ve come to expect surprises in my research, and even in my life, but nothing––and I do mean nothing––could have prepared me for this moment. For this surprise.
For my sister to be alive.
That thought brings me back into the present, back to the truth that’s staring up at me through the rusty bars of a small cage.
A sudden rush of dizziness and confusion, mixed with a feeling of overwhelming euphoria, take hold of me. Closing my eyes tightly, I will the excitement growing in my chest to subside because this can’t be real.
She can’t be real.
It’s just another delusion, Mickey.
I open my eyes and rapidly blink away the blur. She’s still here.
My sister is alive.
M…Mi…Mickey? Mindy mouths the words, pressing her hand against her throat to indicate that she can’t speak. She tries again, but still, sound or not, my name on her lips knocks the wind from my lungs.
Mindy touches her cracked, trembling lips with her fingers. Her arm is caked in dirt and varying colors of bruises, ranging from dark purple to yellow.
Kneeling, I lean in closer. I wrap my hands around the cold bars of the cage. Tears fall from my eyes. If this is just another figment of my imagination, it’s both a great and terrible one.
Shaky hands reach out toward me, Mindy brushes a dirty, thin finger across my knuckle, sucking in a breath at the contact. The feeling of her touch lights up my senses and makes me temporarily dizzy. She quickly withdraws her touch as if pulling her hand from a flame.
“It really is you,” I whisper, looking over this new older, yet broken version of my sister. I try and pull the door open, but it’s locked. I look around for a key or something to pry it open, but I don’t see anything in my immediate view. “We’ve got to get you out of here,” I tell her.