Conflict, p.25
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       Conflict, p.25

           M. S. Willis
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  I wasn’t sure how Daemon intended to get me under control mentally, but the physical training sounded fun. I gave him a weak smile and sniffled loudly before saying, “Why would you train me, Daemon, if you don’t want me fighting? I mean, what’s the point if you won’t let me go after Chris?”

  Daemon laughed a deep belly laugh and then placed a soft kiss on my lips. “Because you have a unique ability of pissing people off. It’s best you know how to actually defend yourself. Lucky hits aren’t always going to save you. On top of that, the physical training will help with the emotional control. It’s how I was taught to keep myself under control and now I’ll be the one to teach it to you.”

  Daemon’s thumbs came up and wiped the tears from my cheeks. The gesture was sweet, but somewhat useless. The rain was still soaking us and I chuckled at the wasted effort.

  “I want to help you end this with Chris, Paige. I’m worried about your safety with that jackass running around free and I honestly believe that if we work together, we can find him and hand him over to the police. I agree that the authorities are taking too long, and I want to help you do what you need to do about him. But you have to promise me, Paige; if I train you, if I stand by your side as your partner, you will do as I say and not do anything else without running it past me first. Can you promise me that?”

  I was instantly calmed and comforted by his offer. Rather than standing in my way or making me stand on my own, he wanted to stand by my side in the hunt for Chris. I was a little annoyed that he wanted me to do as I was told, but I was sure there were ways to get around that. I mean, what could he do? Lock me up?

  I nodded my head curtly in acceptance of his offer. When he registered the fact that I had submitted to his wishes, his head came down and his mouth crashed against mine. My lips instantly parted to allow him entrance as his hand wrapped around the back of my head to pull me closer into the kiss. My body, mind and spirit soared in this moment. I had my Buddy back, even if he was now known to me as Daemon. Regardless of the name he went by, that void inside my heart was once again filled and I felt like I could fly from the emotions that were built within me.

  Daemon broke our kiss and took my hand. “Can we get out of here now? I’m really not enjoying the weather.”

  I laughed and nodded my head in agreement. As we made our way out of the woods I asked, “So how did you find me anyway? Did my parents call you?”

  Daemon stopped in his tracks and turned to face me. “Your parents did call, but I was already in my truck driving over here. When the storms started, I knew you wouldn’t be able to drive home on your bike, so I wanted to be here for you when you were ready to leave. I wasn’t very happy to find out that you had run off into the middle of the woods during a thunderstorm. Once again, you could have gotten yourself killed.”

  I balked at his statement and released his hold so I could cross my arms over my chest. “I don’t know what you’re talking about, Daemon. There’s nothing unsafe about these woods, even during a storm. I know them better than anyone else.”

  Daemon opened his mouth to respond when lightning struck a tree about a hundred feet behind us. The tall, thin tree cracked and exploded where the lighting hit and came crashing down to the ground with a loud thud. Daemon and I looked at the tree and then each other and a single eyebrow arched on his face. “Not dangerous? I beg to differ. Let’s get the hell out of here and go home.”

  He took my hand again and as we half walked, half ran down the path back to the Center, I was still in a state of shock at how my world had been completely turned upside down in a matter of hours. There were changes that happened that made me elated and grateful, but others that would take time for me to process and accept. I was nervous about the training Daemon promised he would put me through, and I was absolutely frightened about his insistence that I ‘obey.’ I was also unsure if I would be able to give up that much say in my life, but I was willing to try…for him. A small part of me felt relief at the possibilities of what my future would hold with Daemon, while other parts of me were terrified that everything could come crumbling down at my feet. I laughed to myself when I realized that Daemon had once again won the power struggle between us, but I was also impressed with his strength and his ability to better me at our game.

  As we ran out of the woods, hand in hand, it occurred to me that by losing my game with Daemon, I had gained a competent ally in the one I played with Chris. That game was still left unfinished and I was determined to be the victor. But I felt more assured, and I was more confident in my ability to succeed with Daemon by my side. Maybe Momma had been right when she said that there is power in numbers. Alone, I had screwed up and given Chris the ability to hurt not only me, but my friends as well. But that was all about to change because Daemon and I were in this together.

  We passed by my parents’ apartment and climbed into Daemon’s truck. I felt bad for soaking his interior, but I wasn’t ready to stop and ask for spare clothes from Momma. I couldn’t face them after what they’d done. Not yet. Eventually I would have to talk to them, to sit down and try to find understanding and forgiveness in my heart for the decisions they’d been forced to make. I didn’t remember the same version of Buddy that everyone else seemed to know and I knew that I would also have to talk with Daemon to gain a better understanding of the circumstances and events that I had long forgotten. I was excited to train with Daemon, and even more excited to finally put our pasts behind us and be able to look toward our future. I knew it wouldn’t be easy, but I was ready to move forward with the man Buddy had become. Much like the road to recovery Momma had always talked about, I knew I had a path that I would now be forced to walk along.

  As we drove along the rain drenched roads, my mind drifted back to that circle of women at The Center from when I was seventeen. I smiled when I remembered their joined hands and their fortitude and determination to overcome the abuse and oppression at the hands of others. Like them, I had a battle to face in order to gain back my freedom and my life. This time, I had to stand up and make the decision to let go and trust the people who were trying to help me. I had to learn to forgive and I had to learn to let people get close. It wouldn’t be easy, but I was determined to finally shake the demons that had always plagued me.

  This time, it was my turn to fight.

  Paige and Daemon’s story concludes in Book Three – Conquer – expected release date is September 1, 2013.

  M.S. Willis

  If you are interested in reading additional books by M.S. Willis or would like to know when new books are being released, M.S. Willis can be found at:





  M. S. Willis, Conflict



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