Hostile, p.1
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       Hostile, p.1

           Cameo Renae
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  This book is sold subject to the condition that it shall not, by way of trade or otherwise, be lent, re-sold, duplicated, hired out, or otherwise circulated without the publisher’s prior written consent in any form of binding or cover other than that in which it is published and without similar condition including this condition being imposed on the subsequent purchaser.

  This is a work of fiction. All characters and events portrayed in this novel are fictitious and are products of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual events, or locales or persons, living or dead are entirely coincidental.

  Cover by Regina Wamba for Mae I Design and Photography

  Edited by Victoria Rae Schmitz for Crimson Tide Editorial

  Formatting by Inkstain Interior Book Designing

  Text Copyright © 2016 Cameo Renae

  All rights reserved.

  Published by

  Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly Publishing, LLC.

  I SHARED A COLD, DAMP room with my cousin Lily, which was a small, hollowed out cavity in the side of the cave wall. It was early in the morning, and she was sound asleep; her quiet breathing could have lulled anyone to sleep. Anyone except me. My weak body shivered. I wrapped my arms around myself and turned onto my side. It did little to warm me, and now, more than ever, I craved to be wrapped in the warmth of Finn’s strong arms.

  A hot tear slipped from my eye and rolled down my cheek.

  I’d attempted to prepare my heart and mind for the inevitable, but that was impossible. I’d soon be leaving my family, heading out to a place filled with cannibalistic mutants, with a corrupt government doing everything in its power to find me. The thought of being separated from Finn made everything ache, and it was a constant reminder that I would not wake from this nightmare.

  The only reason I hadn’t left yet was because Milton, the lab technician from the government bunker, had continued my mind-enhancing serum treatments. They were supposed to make me stronger. But I didn’t feel any differently.

  My mind and body were exhausted, and as much as I searched, I couldn’t find restful sleep. In the five days we’d been here, I’d slept a handful of hours. I knew everyone was worried about me, so I painted on a smile and tried to play my happy self. Even that was taking a toll.

  Most of the exhaustion was from the constant battle waging inside my mind. I had one day left before my serum treatments were complete, and I still hadn’t planned my escape. A whispered sigh coiled around me.

  Footsteps echoed down the slate walkway. My eyes focused on the opening of our tiny stone room, and I gasped as a large silhouette stopped in front of our doorway. Recognizing the tall, muscular frame which blocked the ambient light from entering in, I squealed and jumped out of bed and into his arms.

  Finn caught me, enclosing me into a warm hug before his lips came down over mine. Placing a hand behind my knees, he lifted me up, cradling me in his arms. My heart was dancing as he whisked me away.

  I knew where he was taking me after we went around a few bends.

  I rested my head on Finn’s chest, happy to hear the steady beating of his heart.

  Stopping at the door to the garden, he pulled out a key, opened the lock, and fumbled with the handle. When it finally opened, he carried me inside and closed the door behind us, pressing his back against it. We were finally alone.

  The moon’s ethereal glow illuminated the garden, creating an almost magical setting. The freshly sprouted herbs and plants were glistening with dew.

  Before I could speak, Finn’s lips covered mine. I wrapped my arms around his neck, securing myself as closely as possible to him. His kiss deepened, unrestrained; his arms tightening around me like he never wanted to let go. My heart swelled and ached at the same time.

  The thought of being away from him for any length of time was crushing me. For the past thirteen years, he’d been by my side. He was my life and the sunshine in my underground world. If anything happened to him, I would never forgive myself. I’d almost lost him once, and if it ever happened again, especially because of me, my heart would shatter. I was sure of it.

  Finn pulled back, enough so he could see my face. Concern filled his dark eyes.

  “How did you know?” I asked breathlessly.

  “Know what?” His head tilted slightly. The moonlight shimmering in his eyes made my chest ache even more.

  “That I needed you.”

  He slowly shook his head and a grin crept on his lips. “I was the one who needed you.”

  I squeezed him tight. “How did you get a key?”

  “Connections,” he smirked. Setting me gently on my feet, he noticed my trembling. His large hands briskly rubbed my arms. “You’re cold.”

  I immediately stepped back into his arms, pressing myself tightly against him feeling the warmth emanating from his skin.

  “I was, but you’re doing a good job of warming me up.” I folded my neck back so I could see his handsome face.

  “I do what I can.” He grinned, kissing my forehead. “I had a feeling you were up. I’ve been worried about you.”

  “I’m fine,” I lied.

  “Sure you are.” His hands rested on the sides of my face. “I know you better than anyone, Abi. I’ve been watching you deplete, day after day, and there is nothing I can do about it. It’s killing me.”

  “I…” I paused, not knowing what to say.

  “You’re not alone.” His hand gently swept across my cheek. “You know I’ll always be here for you.”

  “I know.” My eyes faltered and moved away from his. I fought back tears desperately wanting to break free.

  I couldn’t let him see how fragile I was. My tears would snitch, especially to Finn.

  As I looked into his eyes, I could see desperation. He knew I was up to something.

  Finn would travel to the ends of the world with me, fighting by my side, protecting me until the very end. But that’s what it would be. Our end.

  He leaned forward and pressed his forehead against mine.

  “I love you, Abi.” His breath felt like a warm kiss on my cheek. “More than life itself.”

  “I know,” I breathed. “I can read your mind, remember?” A beautiful smile rose on his lips. “And, I don’t think you need to read mine to know how much I love you.”

  “Hmmm…” he gave me a quizzical look.

  Loving him and being loved by him was the only thing that kept me sane in this mad world. His eyes narrowed on mine, attempting to find my darkest secrets. But Finn already knew them all…except one.

  His left hand clasped behind the nape of my neck, locking me in place. He bent over and pressed his soft lips against mine. As my lips parted, his tongue slipped between them rendering me breathless. His second hand trailed down my back, snaking around my waist and holding me tight, making my skin tingle with desire.

  Desperately craving to feel his skin against mine, I searched for the hem of his shirt. My cold fingertips slid underneath and up along his sculpted abdomen, making him tense under my touch. I continued upward, toward his solid, defined chest.

  Our lips parted for a brief moment as I tugged his shirt over his head and dropped it to the ground. I couldn’t help but pause and marvel at how perfect he was. His broad, muscular shoulders, his well-defined arms and abs, and that perfect V that disappeared below the waistline of his loose-fitting jeans.

  I could tell he’d been training. He’d gotten leaner, and his muscles were more defined. His hands were little rougher as well, calloused. The sterling necklace I’d given him, with the angel’s wings, dangled handsomely around his neck. He was my angel, everything I could have ever dreamed of. And he loved me. Unconditionally.

  His dark, smoldering eyes landed on mine.

  “What do you want, Abi?” His whispered words
made me weak.

  I knew what I wanted, and he knew it too.

  “You,” I breathed, passion igniting my core. His feathered touches set my skin ablaze, and his masculine scent swirled around me, driving me mad.

  I wrapped my fingers loosely in his dark hair, pulling him closer. His lips pressed against the nape of my neck, his tongue swirling over my delicate skin. I was hyper aware of everything around me. Every touch, every smell, every taste, and the sound of our hearts beating against our chests, each answering the other. Trails of heated kisses made their way back to my lips. His hands slipped under my shirt, but then he stopped, resting his forehead against mine.

  “I won’t do anything you don’t want me to,” he breathed.

  I couldn’t believe his restraint. Whatever was between us already had me in its clutches, and I didn’t want it to stop.

  “Can’t you read my mind?” I looked up and met his gaze, my body trembling. “I want you, Finn. All of you.”

  A smile had formed on his lips before they crashed back down onto mine, this time with an untamed passion which caused a moan to escape. It affected him. His fingers twisted in my hair, tugging my head back. His kisses were intoxicating, making me tingle. His passion unbridled, as if he knew we were saying goodbye.

  The world around us melted and pooled at our feet. I ran my hands over the taut muscles of his back, and in a split-second, he lifted me into his arms, carried me away, and set me on a smooth boulder at the back of the garden. The moonlight worked as a perfect spotlight to outline his body. I wrapped my legs around his waist as he grabbed my hips, pulling them tight against his, closing the void between us.

  The feeling of being safely encased in his arms, pressed tight against his bare chest was intoxicating. I melted into his embrace, letting his mouth take me.

  He finally pulled back, leaving us breathless, then took hold of my hands.

  “I know I promised your parents we’d wait until we’re married, but—” I placed my finger to his lips.

  “Screw the promise. I need you, Finn.”

  “You do?” His eyes locked onto mine.

  “I’ve never been more sure of anything in my life.”

  He gently pulled the ring off my right hand and gazed deep into my eyes.

  “I want to make it as official as we can get out here. A promise between us.”

  My heart thundered in my chest, and I nodded with blissful anticipation.

  “Abigail Park,” he breathed. “I give myself completely to you.” He slipped the ring onto my left hand. “I promise to love and protect you for the rest of my life. I will take care of you and share your burdens.”

  “My burdens aren’t yours to bear,” I sighed, knowing they were more than anyone should ever bear.

  “They are our burdens. And you will never have to carry them alone.” His words crushed me entirely.

  “I have no ring to give you,” I whispered, pressing my forehead to the center of his chest.

  His hand caressed my cheek. “The first day you smiled at me, down in the bunker, you stole my heart. You’ve been my best friend for the past thirteen years, and I refuse to spend my future without you. All I want, all I’ve ever wanted, is your heart.”

  I couldn’t hold back the rush of emotion. Tears filled my eyes.

  “My heart has always belonged to you. There is no one else I’d want to spend my forever with.” I lifted his hand and pressed it to my heart. “It beats for you.”

  I wrapped my arms around his waist and gently kissed the center of his chest, then leaned back to meet his loving gaze.

  “Finn Armstrong, I give myself to you. I promise to love, protect, and keep you safe, no matter the cost.” My voice trembled as I made my vow. A promise I would keep, even if it killed me.

  We were bound. We’d been connected from the beginning and destined to be together until our end. Now, I had to find a way for it to be for the rest of our lives.

  His smile filled my heart, and then his hands slipped down to my waist. I lifted my arms, letting him slip my T-shirt over my head and drop it to the ground. My chest was bare, and his heated gaze made me blush. It was the first time he’d ever seen me.

  “Finn,” I tried to cover myself, but he stopped me. His fingers gently brushed down my shoulders.

  “You’re so beautiful,” he whispered.

  “I—” His lips found mine, and his hands slowly moved up to cup me. I thought I might die from excitement.

  Wrapping my legs tightly around his hips, I pressed my bare skin against his and held on as he moved against me.

  A heavy bang on the garden door ripped us from bliss.

  Finn cursed, turning back to see what it was.

  His large frame blocked me from whoever entered. I folded my arms in front of my bare chest, embarrassed, although it was too dark to see anything.

  “Who’s in here?” Billy’s voice echoed. He held up a lamp in front of him.

  “Hey, Billy,” Finn answered. “It’s just us…Finn and Abi. We couldn’t sleep and came in here to talk and…watch the plants grow.”

  I rolled my eyes from behind him, blushing ten shades of red. I peeked from behind Finn and waved. “Hey, Billy.”

  Billy waved back and lowered his lantern. His hair was wild and sticking out in all directions. He’d obviously just stumbled out of bed.

  “I’m sorry I interrupted you,” he replied. “The wife sent me to pick a few herbs for breakfast.”

  “You weren’t interrupting,” Finn lied. “We were just talking.”

  I pressed my forehead against his back and groaned quietly. His arm reached back, and his fingers lightly brushed my side. I grabbed hold of his hand.

  “Well,” Billy chuckled. “I don’t blame you. The wife and I still like to come in here and watch the plants grow too. It’s the perfect place to be alone.” He walked to the center of the garden, bent down and plucked a few herbs, then turned and headed for the door. “Breakfast will be ready in an hour,” he said without turning back.

  “Thanks, Billy,” Finn called after him.

  “Yeah, thanks, Billy,” I repeated.

  “No problem. You two go ahead and continue watching the plants grow. I won’t bother you again.” He chuckled. “But I can’t guarantee others won’t. The sun will be rising soon.”

  He stepped out and closed the door behind him.

  Finn turned back to me and sighed, resting his forehead against mine.


  “Yeah. Dammit,” I repeated, knowing our beautiful moment was ruined. My heart shattered inside, knowing we might never get this chance again. But I couldn’t let him know that.

  He leaned over and picked up my shirt. “I won’t risk anyone seeing your beautiful body. It’s for me to see, and no one else.” He gently caressed the sides of my face and kissed me hard. “Next time, we won’t be interrupted.”

  I glanced up at him. “Promise?”

  He smiled, making my heart pitter-patter. “Promise.”

  I placed my hand over my heart. “I’ll take your raincheck and keep it right here.”

  His hands ran down the sides of my bare arms, tightening around my waist. He lifted slowly, putting me on my feet. I wrapped my arms around his neck, trying not to get too emotional. I felt so safe in his arms. Together we were invincible.

  Through the small opening in the roof of the cave, I could hear distant blades from a chopper. They were out there, probably searching for me.

  If the soldiers caught us together, they’d kill him. Those were their direct orders, and I wasn’t going to allow that to happen.

  I had to find a way to make the madness end, or at least find a place where we could all live safely. There had to be a safe haven somewhere, and I wouldn’t stop searching until I found it.

  I MET MILTON IN HIS room. Dr. Banks would soon be coming to give me the last serum injection while he supervised the procedure.

  “You look like hell,” I admitted, stepping into his mini-
cave room.

  Milton was laid out in bed, with his shoulder still bandaged; the obvious pain he was in from his gunshot wound, etched on his face. His eyes were bloodshot, and his hair was pressed to one side. He must not have been getting much sleep either. He smiled and put on his glasses.

  “You aren’t looking too heavenly either,” he noted.

  I laughed, sitting on the edge of his bed. “I know. Sleep has evaded me for days.”

  “I’m sorry. I’m afraid it’s unavoidable, especially since your brain’s being enhanced. You’re bound to experience restless nights. Maybe you should ask Dr. Banks for a sleeping pill?”

  “Maybe I will.” I shrugged.

  “They’ve saved me a few painful nights.” He gave a cheesy smile.

  As if on cue, Dr. Banks walked in with his medical bag. “Hey, Abi. Milton.” He nodded. Dr. Banks seemed to be adjusting well to this place, and I was glad he’d found his nephew, Martheus. It was helping to mend the hole left by his wife’s death.

  He looked at me, and I could tell he was concerned. He hated how uncertain the side effects were, but up until now, I hadn’t experienced anything bad enough to stop them.

  “All right, let’s get this show on the road. The last injection of serum.”

  I smiled and stuck my arm out. “I don’t think it can do much more damage than it already has.”

  “I’m so sorry,” Dr. Banks sighed. “I wish I had more information about this serum.”

  He turned to Milton, who shrugged and shook his head.

  “And I was only ordered to administer the serum. I also wish I knew what the long-term effects would be.”

  I put a hand on Milton’s leg and looked to Dr. Banks. “Don’t worry about it guys. What can any of us do? It’s my destiny, and I’m slowly learning to accept it.”

  “I wish I shared in your positivity,” Milton winced, trying to sit up.

  I shrugged. “The future is uncertain, but inevitable all the same. Whether or not we comply, it’s all part of destiny’s plan. We’re all pawns in her twisted game.”

  They both mumbled their agreement.

  “There must be a reason why I’ve been given this gift, and I’ll remain hopeful, until the day I die. Something good must come out of it.”

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