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Terrible Lies

Terrible Lies

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Terrible Lies

valutazioni:
4/5 (1 valutazione)
Lunghezza:
246 pagine
3 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Dec 30, 2013
ISBN:
9781482014129
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione

Terrible Lies is book #2 in the Thirty Seconds To Die Series.

Against the odds, Lexi Flynn closed the passage for the souls. Fleeing to Alaska was a heartbreaking decision that has left her feeling devastated and alone. She wishes that her life could go back to normal. But as the protector for the passage and being pursued by superhuman assassins, it’s hard to tell what normal is. Just as she hits rock bottom, Ren sweeps in as her hero.

Refusing to let her go, he attempts to rebuild her trust. What no one knows is that Ren needs Lexi to save him from his own devastation when a dark family secret is uncovered. Transformed by their decisions, their choices become irrevocable as they learn that some secrets should remain hidden.
Lexi must fight to save those she loves while dealing with the conflicting emotions of grief, forgiveness, love, and while discovering the strength of her own identity.

Terrible Lies, author S.G. Holster’s second book of the Thirty Seconds to Die series, is an exciting journey with twists, heartbreak, romance and sacrifice.

"Did our simple explanation give credence to any of it? No. They believed what they wanted to believe and saw what they wanted to see. That’s how our world operates. If anything were to change, if people really saw the underlying trajectory of humanity, I couldn’t imagine what would happen to reborns, the Sentori or any other mythical creature out there. Human beings have given society permission to keep its secrets."

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Dec 30, 2013
ISBN:
9781482014129
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

S.G. HOLSTER lives in California with her husband and their two daughters. She is the author of the THIRTY SECONDS TO DIE series.Young Adult:Her Thirty Seconds To Die series includes:Thirty Seconds To DieTerrible LiesHeartlinesRomance:DaisyphobiaUpcoming releases are:To The Edge Of The EarthYou can also find more about her here:Pinterest/sholster1Facebook S.G. Holsterwww.SGHolsterAuthor.com

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Terrible Lies - S.G. Holster

JJ

Preface

PEERING THROUGH THE windshield of the car, I was confused by the waving and expressionless strangers that lined the narrow stone street. I was dreaming.

Bright flowers overflowed from window boxes. It was quiet except for the faint ringing of church bells. I looked to my left where my mom sat next to me and then to my right where my dad smiled through me. I looked down at my hands resting on a cloud of white tulle. A sense of panic raced through my veins as I reached across my mom and opened the car door.

Everything moved in slow motion. I gathered the skirt of the dress in my arm and stepped out of the car and onto the ancient stone street. I started to run while the strangers stayed in place, waving and looking through me. The stone ground felt cool on my bare feet and as hard as I tried, I couldn’t run fast enough. I was frantically searching for Ren.

I let the bundle of white fluff fall as I turned a corner and found myself in the familiar dark, cold stone room where I was surrounded by faceless figures wrapped in black cloaks. My heart pounded as I absorbed my surroundings.

Just in front of me, with his back to me, stood Ren. The same scene played out as it had before in my dreams.

Will you die for him? A voice bellowed from the shadows. My eyes darted around the room and back to Ren where a man stood in front of him, waiting for my answer.

Yes! Yes, please don’t hurt him, I love him. I pleaded.

I turned to run, to escape and found myself standing in the snow-covered space where the angelic girl waited, surrounded by irresistible brilliance. I wanted to go to her and hold her, save her. This time she didn’t ask for my help. Her look remained vacant.

My eyes scanned the seamless surface and I noticed, off in the distance Brett. He stood frozen like a statue.

I took a step forward to go to him and as I did, she finally spoke.

He’s not who you think he is. Her sweet voice was poignant.

I know. I answered.

I woke with a start and wasn’t immediately aware of my surroundings. As I moved my eyes around the room, I realized that I was home, in my room - back in Ferndale. I lay back, staring at the ceiling, believing that everything that had happened was just a dream. Ren was just a dream and now, everything was back to normal.

I sat up, drew in a deep breath and ran my fingers through my hair. Then, looking down at my hand, I noticed the ring that Ren had placed on my finger that perfect day on the beach in La Croix. The same ring I’d given back to him.

One

THERE ARE SOME things in life you can be certain of. You just have to pay attention. It may come in different forms for everyone. For me, if I closed my eyes and cleared my thoughts, I could see it. Certainty may not always mean happiness, but if you follow your heart and believe in the magic of what could be – happiness will follow.

I had to believe there was a reason for my heartbreaking path. My emotional level had passed despair and continued on to whatever existed below that. I could only hope that the certainty would lead me to a happy ending. It had been five hours since I left Ren standing in the airport in Greenland.

While I was still on the small jet, I’d given into exhaustion and slept through most of the flight, and I dreamed. Even in sleep the trauma of what had happened in Greenland wouldn’t let me rest. There was the amazing sight of the aurora, the light shooting up from the sphere, Brett sinking into a watery grave, and Ren. His eyes held me captive with his heart-shattering stare. I’d been through so much in the last few days; I wondered how my mangled heart still found the strength to keep beating. It felt as though all happiness had been lost in Greenland.

Neko sat across from me, tension radiating from him. I’d caused this. It wasn’t fair of me to ask to go home to Alaska with him. Or even what he’d done for me in Greenland. If he wasn’t there with me, the scene would have played out just as I’d imagined it. I would have died there in the ice. I would have died fulfilling my destiny. I should have died along with Brett.

I couldn’t stop the scene at the airport from continuously repeating. Please stop.

I stole a beanie off an Indian statue at the airport when we landed in Alaska. I was cold. I thought it would make me warm. Of course, I wasn’t thinking clearly. I was completely lost. I borrowed Neko’s cell and called my mom hoping hearing her voice would make me feel better. When her voicemail picked up, it was probably for the best. I didn’t know if I could pretend to be okay. Just hearing her voice on the voicemail was enough to calm me. If going home wouldn’t have caused me more heartache, I would have booked my ticket. My parents believed that I was blissfully happy. There wasn’t any story I could come up with that wouldn’t have them suspicious that things were not okay in fairytale land.

I didn’t have a clue what my next move would be. Would I just wait for the Sentori to come and collect me? We had a deal after all. I wanted Ren. I wanted to take it all back. Even if Ren and I could be together, I couldn’t trust that there wasn’t more about him that he was hiding. Love had blinded me, but even then, after all of it, with my eyes wide open, I still loved him.

We barely spoke on the drive from the airport to Neko’s house. I was filled with guilt and fear. As Neko’s small house came into view, the truck gently rolled to a stop.

I‘ve asked a friend of mine to put you up. I think you’ll be more comfortable with her, Neko said keeping his eyes straight ahead.

I thought I’d get a room in the small town, but on the drive from the airport, Neko had told me there weren’t any hotels. Truthfully, I hadn’t thought about where I’d stay. The imposition I was putting on Neko was sinking in. I knew eventually that the Sentori would come for me and, as sick as the reality was, I’d go with them. But I didn’t want to be alone when that time came. The thought of being all alone terrified me, and so I’d live with the guilt.

It was late and staying with Neko’s friend was my only option. If I wasn’t so tired, physically and mentally, I would have made a plan of where I’d go from there. Nervous flutters kicked around in my stomach, prompting me to wrap my arms around my waist. I opened the car door and grabbed my duffle bag out of the back.

Her house is just down the path. You’ll like her. He said over his shoulder. It was freezing out. I hoped the walk was as short as he made it sound.

Around the edge of the lake, a small house loomed. A thin stream of smoke floated up from the chimney. Neko knocked on the door.

Adine, it’s us.

Adine was petite with dark hair pulled into a ponytail and a red bandana tied around her head. She had a round face and bright, happy eyes. I liked her instantly.

Hi guys! Come in. She moved to the side to let us through. You’re Lexi, she said, holding out her hand. I was sure I looked like hell. The expression on her face made me sure of it.

I felt ill. I should have gone somewhere to be alone. Thankfully, Adine was just about the nicest person I’d ever met. Her home was warm and inviting. It was tidy and without clutter. The living room, where a stone fireplace warmed the room, was to my right. On the left was a dining area that shared space with the kitchen. The TV in the corner of the living room was set on a news channel. I started feeling more at ease and comfortable in my surroundings.

Thanks for having me.

It’s no problem. You can stay as long as you like. It gets pretty boring here all by myself. I smiled at how friendly she was. Neko frowned and shot her a stern look. He shook his head. I couldn’t blame him for being irritated. It was obvious he didn’t want Adine to encourage me to stay longer. He took my bag from me and disappeared through a doorway.

What’s wrong with him?

I didn’t answer her. Neko returned, maintaining his scowl as he opened the front door. Turning to me he said, Let me know if you need anything.

Okay, I answered before he closed the door. Hey Neko – thanks. My words sounded so lame.

He’s so damn moody, Adine said, shooting an irritated look at the door.

It’s my fault. He’s angry with me.

Oh? Well, don’t let him get to you. He’s always so serious. Make yourself comfortable, I’m going to change - just got home from work, she said, tugging on the strap to her brown overalls. She disappeared through a door at the end of a short hall.

I was anxious as I sat down on a couch situated in front of the fire place. By the look on her face, it was obvious that she was curious as to why I was there with Neko.

When Adine came back into the room, her hair fell loosely over her shoulders and her baggy t-shirt and sweat pants hung on her small frame.

Are you hungry, Lexi?

Not really.

I’m going to make a salad. You’re welcome to join me, she said, looking over her shoulder as I followed her into the small kitchen. I leaned against the counter as she chopped the lettuce.

So what brings you to our little part of the world?

Um, I just needed to get away for a while. I felt like I was struggling for poise. I must have sounded pathetic. I knew I looked pathetic. I really just wanted to curl up in a ball and shut the world out. I wanted to forget about what had happened in Greenland, but the haunting memory of Brett disappearing under the icy water was making it impossible. I’d never seen anyone die before, and every time I thought about it, Brett’s piercing blue eyes made me shiver. What hurt the most was having to give up Ren. My heart would never fully recover. At that moment, I was grateful for Adine’s easygoing attitude.

Get away? Her dark eyes glanced to mine. Can you grab that bowl? she asked motioning with her chin.

Well, I just…it’s hard to explain. But Neko’s angry with me because he doesn’t believe I’m doing the right thing by being here. I really just need a few days to think. I said, folding my arms across my chest.

Well, what does he know, right? She smiled at me and I forced a smile back. Like I said, stay as long as you like.

It was obvious that I didn’t want to talk about it and Adine was kind enough to let it go.

All done, She said. I could see her tough façade soften as she appeared more relaxed.

The house creaked as snow flurries hit the side of the cabin. Adine turned a movie on and tossed a blanket at me as she curled up at the other end of the couch. I felt exhausted and fought to keep my eyes open.

How do you know Neko? she asked.

He is my fiancé’s best friend. I clutched the blanket in my lap tightly. With a loud swallow, I forced myself to stay composed.

Ren? You’re Ren’s girlfriend? Oh, I mean fiancé. She smiled. You’re the mystery girl that Neko’s grandfather’s been talking about.

What do you mean?

Oh, it’s just part of some myth that Eli is always going on about. I don’t buy into any of it. But you must have made quite an impression on him. She shook her head.

Yes, I’ve met Eli. I know all about the myth. I made a slight laugh to insinuate that I thought it was an absurd story.

So Ren’s not here with you? She went for bluntness.

Her question couldn’t have hurt more. No.

I love Ren. He’s the nicest guy I’ve ever met. I love when he comes to visit Neko, she continued on.

I lamely nodded in agreement, trying my best not to let her words shatter me more. Ren was the kindest, most loving, passionate person I’d ever met, and whatever secrets he had were never meant to hurt me. I knew that for certain. An awkward silence filled the room.

How long have you lived alone? I asked, trying to change the subject.

My parents died in an accident three years ago. Her eyes caught the flame of the candle as she stared at it. In fact Ren was with them when they died. The plane went down in a remote area. He escaped with very few injuries. Life’s funny that way, I guess. It was pretty traumatic for him. We found him on the edge of the forest twelve hours after the crash. He was pretty distraught. I’d lost my family that day. I can’t imagine what it was like for Ren. He loved my parents, too. My dad taught him how to fly.

Ren hadn’t told me anything about being in a plane crash, but I guess there were a lot of things Ren hadn’t told me. My heart sank, and I looked away from her. She’d lost her family and here I was running away from the one person I would give my life for. I guess in the end I had given my life for him, because I’d given myself to the Sentori in exchange for his safety.

I’d lost the ability to think after hearing that so I kept my responses short, I’m sorry. It must be really hard.

Well, I have my friends and work. I had to take over the business when they died.

The business?

My parents owned an airline. We deliver supplies to remote villages. Neko flies for us, that is, when Ren doesn’t have him off on some adventure. I swear those two are always running off for weeks at a time. Well, except the past few months. I guess I have you to thank for that.

Over the next few days, I settled into a routine. I woke, stared out the window most of the day and made polite conversation as best I could with Adine.

All the time spent alone had brought me some clarity, but not certainty. I was still waiting on that. I was positive that my life would never feel complete without Ren. I’d allowed myself to grieve over not being with him and the loss of what our future would have been. I held the fragile memory of our utopia, our beach in La Croix, in an intimate space in the back of my mind. I’d committed to memory every detail of the last time we’d made love, and what it felt like to be in his arms.

All that clarity didn’t chase away my nightmares, though. I’d wake up gasping for air after watching Brett fade into his watery grave. The nightmares I could hide, but the flashbacks of that day were painfully on display. What set them off I couldn’t say, but they’d flood in, momentarily paralyzing me before evaporating slowly through an ache in my mind.

It was Wednesday, I think. I’d completely lost track of the days, but what I knew for sure was that it had been five days since my heart stopped beating. Or at least that’s what it felt like. The empty feeling had me believing irrevocable damage had been done to my soul. Five days ago, I’d left Ren after saying horrifying things to him, things that were hideous, but necessary. I had to break his heart. In fact, it was entirely possible that I wanted to make him feel a bit of the pain I’d felt. I had to take him to a place where he’d hate me and not come looking for me so I could keep my end of the arrangement I’d made with the Sentori.

The Sentori were a secret society of killers in my opinion, but they believed they were protecting the sanctity of the human race by ridding the earth of reincarnated souls. I didn’t fully understand how or what they were. Brett had told me the Sentori had some superhuman qualities. Some of them were called readers and received names of people who’d been reborn. I didn’t try to understand it. I didn’t consider them completely human, just as they considered Ren and me abominations.

To ease the ache in my heart, I kept telling myself that if Ren and I hadn’t had the bond of having been reincarnated; we never would have fallen in love. Yeah, I kept telling myself that, but it wasn’t working. I would have fallen in love with him regardless. And I’d been left with nothing. I’d gone from feeling cherished and protected to the absolute emptiness of being alone. I had to forget the strength of his arms surrounding me, his kisses, his smile that was only for me and the finality of not hearing him whisper the words I love you in my ear.

I woke one morning with the same hopeless, empty feeling I’d come to consider normal, but I’d had enough. Why hadn’t the Sentori come for me? I was done being trapped in a state of purgatory, waiting for the Sentori to sentence me to whatever hell they had planned for me. Shrugging on a jacket, I grabbed the keys to Adine’s beat-up truck that was parked outside. After a few cranks, the rust bucket sputtered to life. I headed out and was surprised to find that the heater actually worked amazingly well. God knows what I was hoping for as I drove out to the ass end of nowhere and parked on a peak in the road. If the Sentori wanted me, I was going to sit and wait for them in the middle of the freezing landscape of autumn in Alaska.

I sat in that truck for hours as I watched the sun move across the sky. Feeling slightly delusional, I imagined Ren sitting beside me in the cab. We were running away, far away, where no one would find us. Then the empty silence started to play tricks with my mind. Heavenly thoughts I’d blocked out since my heart had been crushed slithered like the venom of a snake through my memory. The slippery serpent whispered its enchantments, filling every crevice. I needed to get back to civilization.

A vision of Ren’s smiling face, the warmth of his touch, the slight curl of his lip before he kissed me. Every happy memory came rushing back through the blackness illuminating it in brilliant color. I missed him…so much. I missed the way he smelled, his unruly hair, his warm eyes. I missed the way one side of his mouth curled up more than the other when he smiled. I missed the way his hands felt on me.

I started to sob.

Huge, uncontrollable, growling sobs filled the cab of the truck. I held my face in my hands and curled into a ball on the bench seat then drifted into sleep. I was jolted awake when a gust of wind shook the truck. Dusk was quickly consuming the last bit of sunlight and the temperature had dropped considerably. I was shivering and felt a little disoriented. As my eyes adjusted, the emotion I was going through before I fell to sleep reasserted itself. I missed Ren. Terribly. Whatever lies he’d told me or truths he hadn’t told me didn’t seem to matter as much anymore. I just wanted him there next to me.

My heart stuttered as another sob crept its way out. I wanted so badly to wrap my arms around him and tell him that I never

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