Title: False Start
Series: The False Series #3
Authors: Meli Raine
Genre: Romantic Suspense
Release Date: January 15, 2019
This isn’t how my life is supposed to end.
Then again, a case of mistaken identity got me here. No one is ever who we think they are. Especially my kidnapper, a man whose entire life is designed to deceive.
Powerful people want my rescuer to die. I’m just a lure. A pawn. An object.
But objects hold meaning. Emotions attach themselves without logic.
I now know that Duff will do everything to protect me.
If he gets here in time. And if I can hold on long enough.
Because my body can only handle so much. Pushed to the limits, it’s finally giving out. Giving way.
I know Duff, though.
He never will.
Read the stunning conclusion to USA Today bestselling author Meli Raine’s False series, told from both Lily and Duff’s points of view.
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Being locked in a room with a dead body is not on my bucket list.
Being locked in a room with a faceless corpse, the dim light making his exposed, bloody skull bones gleam like rubies, is definitely not on my wish list.
The scream that wants to come out turns inward, helplessness stopping it somewhere in my chest, comforted by my heart, which only wants it to go quiet. Screaming won’t fix this. I can’t find an escape by making noise.
Reality has a way of dominating.
I look down at the dead man.
Who is very, very real.
I move gently on the chaise, taking the deepest breath I can, holding it for too long. Suspending myself in time and space feels like the only out. I can’t actually leave. Second best is closing off my air supply, shutting my eyelids, not moving. Freezing in place gives me an illusion to grasp, the fleeting seconds important.
My hand slides under a throw pillow. The cool haven of hidden fabric makes me shiver.
A black spider, all too familiar, comes off the pillow my hand is under.
That makes me shiver even more.
I jump up, shocked by the intrusion of another living being.
The door calls out to me.
The spider crawls down one leg of the chaise, then makes its way dispassionately along the tip of the dead guy’s shoe.
In order to get to the door, I have to go around the dead body. In order to move, I have to feel the sensation of his blood on my skin. When I bend my arm, the dried blood on my shoulders and neck crackles. It puckers, like child’s glue spread over skin and allowed to dry for fun. For amusement.
This is anything but amusing.
I’ve had bullets rip through my flesh.
I’ve been beaten with a piece of firewood, my skull bashed in by men who killed my mother and father, men who kidnapped my brother.
I’ve had shrapnel rip through my face and been so dehydrated, I saw goddesses I didn’t know existed.
I’ve killed, I’ve maimed, I’ve driven through fire, I’ve parachuted into active gunfire.
No pain I’ve ever felt before measures up to this.
She’s in bed, so peaceful, the machines communicating for her. There’s no ventilator. This is all about Lily’s mind and heart finding their way back to some semblance of wholeness. The machines can tell us what’s wrong. But they cannot aid her.
Machines are useless now. It’s Lily’s very human body that needs to do the work to bring her back.
I cannot be a robot. A robot is a machine.
I need to be a very real, very raw human.
“What about our future?”
“Do we have one?”
I love her strange combination of shy and bold. “Yes.”
Her smile is a treasure. “Good.”
There isn’t much to say after that, so we don’t, until I park at the restaurant and turn to her, needing a kiss. Making out in the front seat of a big SUV has its perks.
Namely, plenty of room.
“Look, we’re steaming the windows!” she giggles.
“Great. More privacy,” I say as I go in for another kiss.
Breathless, she stops me. “You’re getting me riled up.”
“That’s my line, babe.”
“And we’re late for our reservations.”
My phone buzzes.
ALSO AVAILABLE IN THE FALSE SERIES
#1 False Memory
Apple Books Exclusive Purchase Link: https://apple.co/2CxcNpq
#2 False Hope
Apple Books Exclusive Purchase Link: https://apple.co/2C4Zk7b
Meli Raine writes romantic suspense with hot bikers, intense undercover DEA agents, bad boys turned good, and Special Ops heroes — and the women who love them. Meli rode her first motorcycle when she was five years old, but she played in the ocean long before that. She lives in New England with her family.