When Ryder Venn sets out to do a favor for his alpha brother, Joshua, he thinks it’s just an ordinary day. Little does he know the horror and adventure that awaits him. Captured and tortured by shifter hunters, Ryder wakes to the gentle care of Evie Thomas.
A few minutes must have passed before Ryder woke again. This time, less groggy, he struggled to free himself, but only succeeded in awakening the pain in his wrists, chest, and ankles, where the straps dug into existing cuts and sores. How long have I been here? He searched his memory. Where I am? He tried to assess how far the hunters might have driven him when they’d grabbed him on the far outskirts of the forest side of a nearby town, but he couldn’t.
When he forced his memory all that came back to him clearly were the beatings, the electrocutions, the burning with cigarettes and some other kind of heated weapon. Then the knotted rope being swung at his dangling balls and underside, until he bit deeply into his lip trying not to scream in pain. Ryder stopped trying to think. His head drooped onto his chest.
A noise brought his head up. It came from behind him. A door opening, bolts sliding, hinges creaking, and then a small gasp and muffled cry. Was some other captive being thrown in to be tortured? Dread flooded his foggy mind. Was he going to be tortured again?
He closed his eyes. Maybe if they think I’m still unconscious they’ll leave me alone.
A dull clunk nearby sounded as if someone put down a plastic container. Something else scraped the floor as it was placed alongside the metal chair.
Ryder pushed down panic. He didn’t know how to withstand more torture.
Gentle fingers traced a path along his cheek and a soft wet cloth was dabbed onto his forehead. Water from the cloth ran in a swift rivulet down his face and his thirst drove him to try and catch the precious liquid with his swollen tongue. It tasted vaguely of antiseptic, but he desperately licked at it.
A female voice whispered. “You’re awake. You must be in such pain. I want to take care of you, but I can’t free you, yet, anyway. Here drink first, not too quickly or you’ll be sick.”
A plastic cup of some kind was pressed to his mouth. It hurt, but he opened his eyes and drank, gulping the water.
“Slow down, there’s a lot, and I’ll bring more. I’m going to wash you now. I’m sorry if it hurts, but your wounds need dressing or they could become infected.”
The voice belonged to a pretty, young woman. In his fog of pain, Ryder registered that and her dark wavy hair pulled back in a thick braid that fell over her shoulder as she bent. She tossed it down her back and dragged a bucket closer after placing the cup on the floor next to a tall bottle of spring water.
Ryder gazed at her almost stupefied with relief he wasn’t going to be tortured.
Copyright Elodie Parkes 2015 Siren Publishing All rights reserved November 2015 release