It was suggested today that I should rename Teaser Tuesdays to Torture Tuesdays since that’s what the teasers I post do to those who read them. Being the perverse creature I am (see the hashtag #EvilMurphyIsEvil and you’ll see Lor making faces at me), I decided why the hell not!
With that in mind, here’s your torture for this Tuesday. Enjoy! 😉
She didn’t know how it happened. One moment she would have sworn the footsteps—and the men’s voices—were several blocks back, and she was beginning to shake off the cloud of misery that had hung over her.
In the next instant, she was against the wall of an old, derelict office building, and three men were crowded around her.
“There, now,” crooned the one standing directly in front of her, giving her the type of smile a teacher would bestow on a favoured student. “You see? We’re perfectly decent folk.”
They were, at least in appearance. Cass had expected bums or thugs of some sort, desperate for cash for their next fix. These men all gave the distinct impression of upper-class society, even in jeans and long coats.
Still, Cass had been forced to learn from a young age that evil could rear its head in the unlikeliest of situations. Stubbornly she kept quiet, and she stood straight and tall, refusing to cower in fear.
The two men on either side grinned, slow, lethal grins that bared unnaturally sharp teeth. The one in the centre chuckled melodiously and put a finger under Cass’s chin. Her eyes narrowed to slits and she tilted her head back just far enough to break the contact.
His eyes flared, and though she couldn’t discern their colour, she could read the greed, the impatience in them.
“Now, now, darling, be nice to your superiors,” he told her in a childish singsong, putting his finger under her chin again.
“What the hell are you on about?” Cass heard herself say, and watched all three men blink in surprise and exchange looks with each other.
“It’s true, then,” the first said disbelievingly. “You truly don’t know.” He laughed as though delighted by this, flinging his head back while his laughter echoed off the walls of the forgotten buildings around them.
Fear was gone now. Cass wasn’t sure when anger had decided to replace it, but she was glad of it. Anger felt better, had endorphins rushing through her system so that she had no compunctions about balling her fists, straightening her spine and demanding, “What are you talking about?”
The laughter died, its last echoes still drifting back to them even as the first man smirked. “Well now, that’s not for me to tell,” he crooned, slipping a switchblade from his pocket. The blade flashed silver as he deployed it; Cass glanced down at it once and regretted it. When the blade suddenly came to rest against her throat, Cass went completely, utterly still.
“Lower the knife.”
The three men turned their heads as one to look up the street in the direction of the new voice, one that had issued the command in a snarl. Cass didn’t dare move with the knife still flirting with her skin, but her heart leapt as her ears took in the voice and her brain realized that it was one she knew.
“Lower the knife,” Gideon repeated silkily as he strode forwards, dark eyes flat and inscrutable. “This one’s mine.”
The two wingmen melted back from Cass, moving to flank the apparent leader of the group, who flashed a cocky grin that wobbled just slightly. “Your little toy, is she?”
Gideon didn’t look at Cass as he replied coolly, “A willing body, nothing more. You know how it goes. She’s been rather pleasing to me, however, and I’m not inclined to share.”
“So I do,” agreed the other, mouth moving into a lascivious smirk when he glanced at Cass and ran his eyes up and down her body. “For you, then, O’Faolain, I’ll do this as a favour. But if your pretty little plaything wanders into my area again, I’ll be mighty tempted to have a taste.” He moved the knife an inch from Cass’s neck and looked to Gideon. “Are we understood?”
Cass was recovering quickly now that the knife was gone. She’d just opened her mouth to protest—she was nobody’s plaything, dammit, and certainly wasn’t Gideon’s fuck buddy or anything like that (as far as Cass could tell, Sophia O’Bannion had that role covered)—when Gideon was suddenly at her side, banding an arm around her waist tightly enough to cut off her air supply.
“Not a single word,” he hissed by her ear when he felt her straighten up to object, “or I swear to God I’ll kill you myself.”