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       Cursed Fate: Cursed Series #4, p.1

           t. h. snyder
 
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Cursed Fate: Cursed Series #4


  Cursed Fate

  The Cursed Series, #4

  By t. h. snyder

  © 2014 t. h. snyder (Tiffany Snyder)

  Published by t. h. snyder

  First published in 2014. All rights reserved. This book is copyright. Apart from the fair purpose of private study, research or review as permitted by the Copyright Act, no part may be reproduced without written permission.

  This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

  Image Copyright

  Book Cover by Design: Kellie Dennis

  Photography by Ray Feather

  Cover Model Joey Skundrich

  Acknowledgements

  My FAMILY! Roberta M Rizzotto (Mom), Angela Minnich, Jim Minnich (Dad), and Marilyn Minnich. Without you all by my side, I don’t know what I would do. Thank you for always supporting and encouraging me along the way.

  To my two wonderful KIDS, you are my world Raeghyn, and Mason. I love you both to infinity and beyond.

  My BETA GIRLS! Barb Johnson, Jennifer Maikis, Jamie Bourgeois, Mary Lou Moench, Ashley Blankenship, Carrie Moore, Ashley Lighthizer, Michelle Witt, Crystal Rearick and Marina Marinova. Thank you for taking the time out of your busy lives to join me on this crazy ride. I love you all more than words can say.

  To the amazing BLOGS that support me and never flinch when I ask them to post my teasers and such. You’re all too good to be true.

  The READERS, well hell I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you. I adore the messages you send me and all of your kind words. Knowing that I’ve touched so many of you with my stories makes my heart happy. Special shout out to Melonie Merritt, no matter how much you want to punch me in the face, this story is for you.

  My STREET TEAM, Pimpette4Life each one of you bring a smile to my face. It’s been an insane year and I appreciate you all for standing by me. Love you long time girls.

  My CURSED GIRLS, Carrie and Ashley. You make me smile and laugh every day. Meeting the two of you has been such an incredible experience and I can't wait to see how our friendships grow over time. Thank you for loving me and always trusting in me.

  A special shout out to a few AUTHORS that I know and love very much. Without your support and encouragement, I’d be lost. I love you Stacy Borel, S Moose, Joanne Schwehm, Skye Turner, JM Witt, Jaime Whitley, Magan Vernon and AD Justice.

  My POOPSIE and BFF, Christine Stanley where the hell would I be without your sarcastic wit and charm? You are my sister from another mister and I’d be lost without you in my life. Thank you for always talking me down off the ledge and believing in me. No matter what life throws at us I’ll always have your back, as I know you’ll have mine. I love your ass woman.

  My EVIL TWIN and partner in crime Kris Adams. Even though we really don't cross paths in the Author/PR world, I'm so glad we've become 'real life' friends. You get my insane mood swings, understand me like no other and can manage a 6 hour road trip without killing me. Thank you for always being there for me and trusting me like a sister. I love you always and forever.

  Kellie Dennis, you are a fantastic COVER ARTIST. I know you love me for my cover models, but I love you more for all the hard work you put into making my books kick ass. Thank you for dealing with my demands and always do so with an emoticon smiley.

  My EDITOR Missy Borucki, I’m so glad our paths crossed and you were a part of this story. Talking with you is like talking to a long lost friend, you just get me and that means the world to me. Cheers to a lifetime of friendship, I love you woman!!!

  My PHOTOGRAPHER, Ray Feather. You were awesome to work with and made the photo selection a seamless process. So glad to finally get this book out there and can’t wait for you to hold it in your hands.

  Last but certainly not least, my COVER MODEL, Joey Skundrich. You are an inspiration to so many of us and I’m honored to have you on my cover of Cursed Fate. This story has been a long time coming, but you remained patient with me and stood by my side. Thank you for trusting in me as an author, but more importantly as a friend. I hope I made you proud with Steve’s story. Never give up, the fight is so much more worth it. Love you HomeSlice!!!

  Thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

  Prologue

  Tonight was an average night, nothing to celebrate, yet that’s all I seem to do anymore. Celebrate with the bottle—just me, myself and I.

  Having just gotten home from work, I reach for the bottle and walk outside to the back porch.

  The sun has recently set; the sky quickly turning dark as I light my cigarette. The flash of the flame shines brightly and pulls me into a trance.

  Lost in thought, I start to feel the heat and quickly pull my arm back, almost singeing my eyebrows.

  As I fall into the chair, I take a long drag of my smoke and a swallow of the amber liquid. It’s my release—the only way to help myself feel numb and forget about everything I’ve done wrong in my life. I’m the bastard son, the worthless husband, and a deadbeat that can do no right.

  My life is falling apart.

  Looking down I stare at the bottle. I know I should stop, pour it down the drain, and toss it away for good…I just can’t.

  The phone begins to ring in the house, yet I don’t have the will to get up and get it. Instead I slouch down in the chair and take in another gulp.

  Having starred out into the darkness for who knows how long, the bottle is just about half way empty and I’m beginning to realize that I am in fact numb. My legs feel as though they’ve been torn from my body, my arms and hands merely weightless objects.

  A crashing sound pulls me from my thoughts. Looking down toward my feet, I see my only escape in a puddle surrounded by pieces of broken glass.

  The house phone begins to ring again. I guess I should see who is calling. It’s been ringing nonstop all night, it could be important.

  Getting up from the chair, I stumble into the brick wall. Trying to regain my bearings, I push myself from the wall and walk through the sliding glass doors.

  The ringing of the phone irritates me as I step closer.

  “Hello,” I mutter into the receiver.

  “Steve, where the hell are you?”

  “What, who’s this?” I ask scrunching my brow in confusion.

  “Oh my God, you have to be kidding me. Steve, it’s your fucking wife, Jenn. Are you drunk?”

  “Huh, well, I don’t know, maybe a little.”

  “You’re worthless, Steven. You were supposed to pick me up from work. My car is in the garage…remember?”

  My head is spinning. I can hear Jenn’s voice coming through the other end of the line, but it’s too hard to register what’s happening. Was I supposed to get her?

  “Forget it, Steve. I’m done.”

  The call goes dead and I’m left standing in the middle of my kitchen.

  Wasted…alone…worthless.

  My body slowly starts to slide down the wall onto a pile of drunken waste. Closing my eyes, I allow myself to fall into the blackness that soothes me.

  My eyes open to unfamiliar surroundings, my heart racing and pain taking over my body. I take in a deep breath and exhale, it was just a dream. A memory of the hell I put myself and
my loved ones through for far too long.

  The recollections of my life before come crashing down on me. I don’t want to think about it, let alone allow it consume my thoughts as I sleep. It’s taken me years to rid myself of the nightmares that plagued me because of the things I had done.

  My breathing begins to pick up and a sharp pain starts to fill my chest. Pushing all thoughts out of my mind, I take in another deep breath through my nose and exhale between pierced lips. I can’t, no I won’t, put myself through that hell again.

  Trying to calm myself, I begin to take in my surroundings. The walls around me are bright white, there’s a tall curtain to my left and a steady beeping sound to my right.

  Where the fuck am I?

  As I attempt to sit up, I’m forced to remain lying down. I can barely move and feel like I’ve been hit by a truck. My legs are stiff; my arms…wait my arms. Pain shoots from my fingertips up into my neck. Looking down, I see my arms have been placed in two slings. Damn it to hell.

  Holy shit! What the hell is going on?

  Closing my eyes, I try to remember what’s taken place over the past few hours. I went to dinner with the crew; Linc proposed to Jo and….fuck me. No one saw it coming until it was too late. Cliff’s voice rings through my ears, “Watch out!” But it was too late. The truck smashed into the car, hitting the passenger’s side door.

  Everything after that is a blur—that is until now.

  I’m alone in a room, uncertain of where or how my friends are doing. Dault was seated next to me in the front, while Cliff and Ashley were in the back. Oh fuck, Ashley…please dear God, tell me she’s okay. This woman just came back into my life when I needed her the most, she has to be okay.

  My eyes snap open, to the sound of a door shutting. Looking to the right I see Linc creeping toward me.

  “Hey, man,” he remarks in a whisper.

  “Linc, what the hell is going on? Where is everyone?”

  Trying to move around, the pain takes over as I press my head back down onto the pillow.

  “Relax, Steve. You’re banged up pretty bad, thankfully your injuries are nothing too serious,” he says moving to the side of the bed.

  “It all happened so fast, I didn’t see him coming.”

  My eyes burn as I try to fight back the tears. It’s my fault I’m in this bed. I can’t even begin to fathom what’s happening to my friends. No matter how much I’ve tried to change who I am, I’m still the man that causes pain for those around me.

  “Steve, it’s not your fault. That truck came plowing through the light, it could have happened to anyone of us.”

  Shutting my eyes, I squeeze my lids tight, holding back the rage building inside of me.

  My body jumps to the sound of the door slamming open against the wall. As my eyes peer open, I see Etty standing in the doorway, her body heaving as tears fall down her cheeks.

  Trying to regain my own emotions, I watch as Linc moves to stand by her side.

  “Etty, what wrong?” He asks pulling her into his arms.

  Shaking her head she backs away and moves toward the end of the bed, falling next to my legs she buries her head in her hands.

  “Etty, you’re starting to freak me out. What the hell is going on?” I ask in a stern tone.

  Silencing her sobs for a brief moment, she lifts her head and stares back at me.

  “You did this to him, this is all your fault,” she screams launching her body at me.

  “Etty, whoa,” Linc says while trying to pull her off of me. “Are you nuts? Can’t you see he’s a fucking mess? What the hell as gotten into you and why are you blaming him?”

  She looks to me with a death glare and then back to Linc.

  “Are you kidding me right now?” She spits out, a look of confusion and loss spread across her tear stained face. “If Steve would have been paying better attention he would have seen the truck coming…then none of this would be happening and Dault wouldn’t be gone.”

  My jaw drops, my mouth hanging wide open as Etty’s body falls to the ground.

  Dault is gone…like dead gone?

  “Linc, smack some fucking sense into her. What the hell is she talking about?”

  My breathing becomes erratic, my heart pounding through the thin material of my hospital gown. The beeping sound of my monitor echoes through the room as a nurse comes barreling through the door.

  Looking around the room, she moves in closer to my side.

  “I’m sorry, but you two have to leave. My patient needs his rest and by the look of things, you’re not doing much to help. His blood pressure is skyrocketing and his pulse is off the charts. You have to leave now.”

  My gaze sets on Linc who is helping Etty get to her feet.

  “I’ll be back in later. Let me find out what’s going on with the others.”

  Nodding my head, I watch as they leave the room.

  “You’ve experienced quite a night, Mr. Zotto. You need to keep yourself calm and get some rest. I’ll come back in a few minutes to check your vitals. If you need anything or if the pain becomes too much to bear, hit the call button.”

  “I will. Thank you.”

  She places her hand on my shoulder and flashes a sincere smile. Watching as she moves through the room and walks out the door, I feel my anxiety take over.

  I haven’t a clue what the hell Etty was talking about and it’s driving me nuts not knowing what she meant by “He’s gone.”

  Closing my eyes and allowing my head to sink into the pillow I let the pain meds take over and fall back into a deep sleep.

  Lying in bed, I can’t remember how I got here last night. The only thing I recall is Jenn hanging up the phone and me sitting on the kitchen floor. Looking around the room, our bed is empty…she never came home last night.

  I screwed up again and I have no one to blame but myself. The past few months have been difficult to say the least. My drinking has increased and the drugs I’ve been taking to numb the pain are just making things worse. I don’t know how or why I started to slip into this life, but my poisons are the only way I’m able to function. They help me forget about the real world, yet they’re making me a man that I never thought I’d be.

  The sound of the front door slamming shut pulls my attention to the bedroom door, someone’s here. Trying to sit upright, my head begins to spin and a pounding pain shoots through it too.

  Sliding my legs off to the side of the bed, my head snaps up to the bedroom door, to see Jenn and my mom standing before me.

  Without a word from either of them, I watch as they move through the room grabbing a suitcase and all of Jenn’s things.

  I’ve fucked up big time. She’s given me so many chances to change and now…now look what’s happening.

  “Jenn, wait, don’t do this,” I plead.

  Turning her body to face me she lets out a groan of frustration and rolls her eyes.

  “Please, let’s talk. We need to talk.”

  Standing up from the bed, I take a step toward her. She stops me in my tracks by lifting her hand in the air.

  “Don’t, Steve… it’s too late. I’m leaving and there’s nothing you can say that will change my mind.”

  My heart is breaking, tears falling from my eyes while I fall to the ground before her.

  “I’ll change, I swear I will,” I continue to beg.

  A subtle laugh comes from the far side of the room where my mom is standing. I look over in her direction to see her glaring at me, her hands on her hips.

  “Steven, get off the floor and stand up like a man. You’ve pushed us all away for too long. You’ve left your wife all alone with nothing. Can’t you see that you are nothing but a curse to all of us? When will you grow up and be a man? Your father would be devastated to see who you’ve turned out to be. I’m embarrassed and torn by your actions. This is not the son I raised and I won’t stand by and watch you destroy your life.”

  “Mom!” I shout.

  Jenn moves to her side and places
her hand on my mom’s shoulder.

  “Mary, it’s fine. Don’t get yourself all worked up over this. We came here to get my things and that’s exactly what we’re doing.”

  “Jenn, please…don’t do this to me. I need you.”

  I can barely breathe, a constricting pain collapsing my chest as she looks to me with pure hate in her eyes.

  “Steve, the last thing you need is me. I’m leaving and I won’t be coming back. You’ve abandoned me for the last time. I need to move on.”

  With that, she turns and walks out of the room.

  I slouch to the floor, in shock of what I knew would eventually happen. My body is numb, my heart is crushed, and my soul is destroyed.

  Chapter 1

  Four Months Later

  As I sit in my chair, my eyes stare a large hole into the wall of my parlor room. These walls, filled with inspiration, are what have helped to create works of art. Now all they bring back are painful memories. It’s been four months—four of the longest fucking months of my life. Cursed Magic hasn’t opened its doors since the accident, the night we lost a member of the crew and I still can’t seem to pull my life back together. I feel more lost now than I did before getting sober. Gripping onto the long neck bottle I laugh to myself, what a fucking joke that is…sober.

  Not me.

  Not now.

  Not ever.

  I’m the one that caused this, had it not been for me, we’d all still be here working together as a team. Now our business is dying and no one is willing to set foot in this place. It’s crazy how four best friends can turn a corner and fall apart in the blink of an eye. First we lost Dault, then the news that Linc isn’t expected to regain full movement in his arm pushed him to leave town. So much hit us at once that there was no way for us to pull Cursed Magic back together.

  This was the one place I could go to find myself, yet now it’s the place I go to hide from myself. Taking another sip, I pull the bottle away from my mouth and stare through the transparency of the glass. Knowing drinking alone is wrong, I debate tossing it into the trash…nah, I’m already drowning in a mental state of depression— might as well finish what I’ve started…hell, I’m no quitter.

 
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