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Britney King LLC

Speak of the Devil: A Psychological Thriller | Book 3 | The New Hope Series (Ebook)

Speak of the Devil: A Psychological Thriller | Book 3 | The New Hope Series (Ebook)

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Speak of the Devil is a captivating, darkly satiric psychological thriller which offers readers another savage look into a utopian cultish society where members learn why it’s best to keep your friends close and your enemies closer. 

About The Book

In the upscale suburb where Vanessa Bolton lives, she’s your average suburban housewife.

She does her grocery shopping on Tuesday, Thursday mornings are reserved for Pilates, Sundays for church. At home, she’s an impeccable housekeeper and a mother with a mediocre track record.

But in discreet hotel rooms throughout the city, she can be whatever you want her to be—provided you can afford the hourly fee.

In the rapidly expanding cult to which she belongs, Vanessa has been assigned the role of a “Siren”—a recruiter trained to use seduction to elicit compliance from her marks.

Vanessa’s latest assignment—an unsuspecting chemist merely looking for something without strings—proves to be her toughest yet. Unwilling to neatly slide into the roles society has prescribed for them, the two collide in a sensual and savage affair that threatens not only their own lives but also those they seek to protect most.
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Featuring “tantalizing suspense, pulse-pounding danger, sex, and double-dealing,” Speak of the Devil is a timely and riveting psychological thriller that is impossible to put down.

Read a sample

PROLOGUE

 

Sometimes people do bad things for good reasons. If there’s a message in any of this, surely that’s it. I am aware—suddenly hyperaware—those reasons will probably result in the unthinkable. So I guess whatever my intentions were at the start, they hardly matter anymore.

He isn’t supposed to be here. But then, neither am I.

Now the only thing that separates us is a wall, and if I don’t do what he wants, he’s going to wind up on the wrong side of it. I’ve made a lot of mistakes but letting that happen won’t be one of them. I suppose the only thing left to do now is minimize the damage and save what can be saved.

This is why my heart is racing; this is why a grapefruit-sized lump has formed in my throat, and while my breath is slow and steady, my knees wobble just enough to let me know they aren’t sure about my decision either. But when you’re summoned in this manner, it doesn’t matter whether you’re sure.

If I don’t come out, the text told me he’s coming in.

It matters not whether I want to comply—that choice was taken away long ago. If you asked me to pinpoint when exactly, even if you held a knife to my throat and demanded I tell you, I’m not sure I could. Maybe it happened slowly. Maybe it happened all at once. Who’s to say?

He’ll want me to feel remorse. I hardly feel anything at all. Controlling your emotions isn’t so hard when you’ve been trained not to have any. You’d be surprised how natural it becomes to override them entirely. The mind is a powerful thing. The body less so, when it comes right down to it. This is apparent in the way my palm coats the door handle with sweat. Nerves equip humans to survive; they can’t be overwritten like the mind, only managed.

I take a deep breath, roll my neck, and pull the door open quietly—not too much, just enough for me to slide through.

As I take one last glance at the past and step into the future, I consider what I’ll lead with. Surely not pleasantries. An apology?

It’s probably too late for that.

Sorry isn’t going to cut it.

I could ask how he found me, but I already know. Instalook.

I guess what they say is true: dopamine and serotonin, if mixed with other things, make you sloppy. My mistake. I’ve been afforded a lot of privileges in my position, but stupidity isn’t one of them.

Somewhere along the way, I slipped up, and now the option to run—the option to keep running—is clearly no longer on the table.

Life can change on a dime. He told me that the first time we met.

I didn’t believe it back then. At least not in the way he meant it. I wasn’t the only one. No one believed it. Why would they? It was easier to walk around with our false sense of security and our blanketed smiles, our veiled truths and half-hearted lies.

But now he’s here. Now I’m passing from one room to another, and now he’s standing in front of me. Now his eyes are lingering in places I wish they wouldn’t, and now I am probably about to die.

“Well, well. Look at you.”

My throat constricts at the sound of his voice, the familiarity in it causes bile to rise, washing that grapefruit-sized lump away.

He steps forward, reaches forward, and touches my hair. “Huh.” He smiles. “It’s different…”

It’s not the only thing. Everything is different. He made sure of that. They all did. Yet, in all that training, they seem to have left out one very important piece. They didn’t tell me how to plant my feet or how to force myself to stay put when every fiber of my being was telling me to jet. Therein lies the problem.

Even now, I’m surveying my surroundings in search of a way out. To anyone else, in any other circumstance, it would appear that we’re in someone’s rich grandmother’s living room, but it’s un-lived in—a stage set, down to the bowl of lilies on the coffee table. Another hotel room that’s made to look like home but isn’t.

I gather the only way out is through. I hated it when he said that.

“Fancy place,” he tells me, letting my hair slip from his fingertips. “You always did have an eye for that sort of thing, didn’t you?”

I don’t respond. Instead, I take a step back and trail my hand down my forearm. Anchoring. It gets his attention. A show of skin touched just the right way can do that.

“You look…happy.”

He used to be a good liar. Or maybe I was just a good believer. Either way, we’re not those things anymore. I’m not well—I’m a mess. Half-dressed, I reek of sex and lust and greed. If only those were the worst of my sins.

This is why he’s moving closer, and this is why I’m squeezing my eyes shut. Whoever said it’s better to see these things coming has never experienced the kind of cruelty this man is capable of.

I brace myself for the inevitable. “Surprising…I have to say.”

My eyes flutter open. Toying with me is his specialty.

“You’re full of surprises lately, aren’t you?”

I shrug. I don’t know why he’s surprised. This is what he wanted. I’ve proven him right. This not only makes me gloriously wrong—it means he’s won. I became soft. I became predictable. There are consequences for this, I realize, and his presence puts me on notice. I’m going to pay.

When he takes my chin in his hand and forces me to look him in the eye, what I see is a warning. What have you to say for yourself?

I don’t have an answer, and even if I did, excuses are forbidden.

It’s best for me, for everyone involved, if I keep my mouth shut. Maybe I can’t save myself. But this isn’t about me.

People say words don’t matter. Sometimes words are all you have. I should know; I am bound by them.

When I turn away from him, he expects that I’m going to talk. He waits patiently as I take three steps forward.

I count each one as I slide the gun from my robe.

I turn and point it at him.

My hands tremble. No one warns you this will happen. But why would they? This isn’t what they train you for.

I steady my aim.

He isn’t smiling when he steps toward me, but he isn’t frightened either. Just another problem to deal with. Just another lover’s quarrel. That’s what he’s thinking as he places his hand over the muzzle. That’s how much he trusts me. That’s how weak he thinks I am.

Finally, he flashes that signature smile. It’s his tell. He thinks he’s in control.

I pull the trigger.

At first, nothing happens.

Then something does.

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