Today we have the excerpt reveal for UNLEASHED by J.L. Drake. Check it out and preorder your copy now!
Tess was under the Devil’s watch while I suffered behind bars with my demons… The ace in my pocket brings power, and the temptation to flip overwhelms me. I’m playing chicken with the reaper, and it’s only feeding his thirst.
The smell of blood is a drug. It fuels me. Consumes me. I am lost.
The Devil stole me, but I refuse to belong to someone else. I’m a fighter. I will do whatever it takes to get back to my family.Treachery and betrayal surround us.
The only way out is to turn the greatest loss into the greatest victory.
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Maybe it was the stress of the past two weeks or the emotional roller coaster I had been on, but somehow, I managed to fall asleep.
I peeled my eyes open at the vibration of a closing door. The last twenty-four hours came rushing toward me, and I shot straight up in…bed?
What the hell? I tried to process where I was.
The room was small, and there was a thin layer of dust covering everything. The bed and a two-drawer dresser were the only items in the room. There was a bathroom in the corner and a closet.
Call me crazy, but I thought I’d be in some basement chained to a wall, not waking up in a bedroom that smelled like—I sniffed in deep and placed the scent—pancakes.
I flipped the covers off and looked down at my clothes. Nothing had been removed but my shoes. I quietly moved around the room checking things out. I leaned down and pulled open the top drawer of the dresser to find a set of clean clothes.
Weird. They were my size.
I couldn’t help but think this was much like Savannah’s moment when she awoke in the safe house, only she was safe. I was not.
Or was I? It was a giant mind fuckery of an event.
I raced to pull on the fresh clothes and hopped on one foot to the window and tried to push it open. Two nails stuck out on the sides, keeping it locked it in place.
I tried the other in the bathroom, and it was the same. Locked.
Shadows moved under the door, alerting me I was about to have company.
I looked around for something to use as a weapon, but all I came across was a bottle of water on the dresser.
Slowly, the door handle turned, and there stood Allen in his church collar.
“Holy Lucifer,” shot from my trembling lips as I fell captive to his stare. Part of me wanted to cry. Allen was like an older version of Trigger, but just as you felt remotely comfortable, the devil would flicker across his pupils and remind you of the darkness that filled his soul.
“No, not Lucifer, but if you care to bare your soul, I’m listening, Tessa.”
“Tess,” I corrected him.
He tugged on his collar before he stepped into the room. He looked around like he was approving how nice it was.
“Look,” he bent down and sat on the arm of the chair, “I’m not in the business of kidnapping.
Never really cared for it, so most were dead by hour four.” He shrugged. “But what I do care about is taking back what’s mine.”
“Which is?” I folded my arms to hide the shakes.
“Devil’s Reach and to return the favor my son so lovingly did for me.” His head slowly rose, and a smug smile played across his dry lips.
“So, how do Gus and I fit into this?”
“Gus doesn’t. He was just being Gussy. Always had a moral probe stuck up his ass for the ones he cared about. He’s like a tick that burrows into your skin and attaches itself to your veins and never leaves unless you either cut off its head or force it from your body.”
His eyes widened. “You, Tessa,” he slowed my name down, “you’re my son’s weakness, my ace in this game. You,” he pointed to me, “will be mine.”
“Ha!” burst out of my mouth before I could stop it. “Not a chance. I don’t do seniors.”
He licked his lips, annoyed at my comment. “As flattered as I am you thought I would consider you, I don’t do hand-me-downs.” He brushed the arm of his jacket free from dust. “When I say mine, I actually mean…” He paused and glanced at the door. I followed his line of sight to Zay standing there in jeans and a fisherman’s knit sweater, wearing the same blank expression he always did when he was around me.
“Now that we have that cleared up…” He stood, and I saw the blood on his cuff. He noticed and raised his cuff to get a better look. “Rick was a fighter.”
“Tessa,” he purred out my name, “don’t bother running. You have no shoes, and the cornfield will slice your feet to pieces.” He smacked Zay on the shoulder as he left. “All yours.”
Not a chance.
“Hungry?” Zay asked quietly.
“Can I get you anything?”
“A lift to town.” I dripped with sarcasm.
He gave an amused smile. “We’ll grow on you.”
“Like a tapeworm, maybe, or a tick.”
He unfolded his arms and dropped them heavily to his sides. He stepped into the room and stopped a few feet from me. “He’ll only take so much lip, Tess, and me too.”
“Good to know.” I folded my arms.
“Trigger might like it—” I slapped him across the face with my open palm. Trigger’s name was too hard to hear right now. I sucked in a sharp breath, waiting for him to react. He closed his eyes for a moment, waiting for the sting to pass.
I knew because my hand hurt like a bitch.
“I won’t sleep with you, Zay,” I muttered to fill the silence.
He stepped back and stood in the doorway. “Like I said, we’ll grow on you. Now, let’s go.”
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About J.L. Drake
Bestselling author J. L. Drake was born and raised in Nova Scotia, Canada, later moving to Southern California where she lives with her husband and two children. When she’s not writing, she loves to spend time with her family, travelling or just enjoying a night at home. One thing you might notice in her books is her love for the four seasons. Growing up on the east coast of Canada the change in the seasons is in her blood and is often mentioned in her writing. An avid reader of James Patterson, J.L. Drake has often found herself inspired by his many stories of mystery and intrigue. She hopes you will enjoy her stories as much as she has enjoyed writing them.