there’s only one place for forgiveness:
Redemption Island. Find out what happens on the island of redemption in L.B. Dunbar's newest release!
The island knows what you’ve done.
The instant the noise echoed through my tent, I leaped for the entrance. Standing upright, I stared at the empty darkness, the low embers of my campfire still smoldering but drowned of color by the rainfall. Drops instantly soaked my hair. On the other side of the fire ring, the outline of a female body did not surprise me. It was as if she emerged from the darkness, sleek with curves, slick with the moisture of rain. Instantly, I went hard at the thought of her body. She’d been damp when I touched her, her body responding despite her struggle. The luscious bend to her hourglass form vibrated under my palm on that night. The memory was instantaneous and just as sharply retreated.
Angry energy vibrated off her. A snap of lightning illuminated the sky and the glint of metal at her side caught my attention. A long, serrated knife rested at her thigh, grasped in her tight, tiny fist as if an extension of her arm. My eyes shot up to her face, pinched and focused on me. She hadn’t spoken, and seconds beat, slowing down my heart rate to a crab’s crawl over sand. Her chest heaved but other than that, she did not move.
A thousand questions filled my head as I stared at her narrowed eyes. Rain plastered her hair to her forehead. Her damp clothes clung to her, accentuating an outline I’d experienced too hastily. The thought made my dick leap, standing erect at attention, but I doubted she was here for another pass with me. She’d made her intentions clear after that night—she killed my best friend.
“Have you come to kill me?” I muttered, uncertain if she could hear me over the patter of rain hitting the tent canvas behind me. I should have been afraid, but I wasn’t. My heart rate accelerated with the thrill of her anger. She remained fierce in her stance, despite her smaller frame, her intentions clearly etched in her wet face.
I stepped toward her. Lightning crackled, again brightening the sky, and she flinched. The hesitancy cost her, and I rounded the fire ring. Her head rose. Her shoulders straightened, but I noticed her shiver.
“Come inside,” I offered, hoping to lure her into my tent. The rain was cold, and she was soaked. She stood like a caged animal, ready to leap, and I used my softest tone to tempt her. “You’re all wet.” The innuendo was clear. The thought rose the hairs on my skin, and I smiled slowly in hopes to calm her. This smirk had worked a million times to earn women in my bed. My body hummed with the desire to have her. I didn’t even give a thought to the knife at her side until she raised it level with her head.
Her chest rose with calculated breaths, but I held out my hand, offering to take the weapon from her. She didn’t accept my offering, and we stood in a match of wills while the rain continued pelting our faces with sharp stings, like repeated slaps for attention.
Look at me, she seemed to say with the negative energy rolling off her skin.
I want you to see me, I responded with bitterness in my mouth.
Neither words were spoken aloud, but that slapping rain forced our intentions to speak.
I turned my back to her. A mistake when presented with a woman who held a weapon, but I expected her to follow me. If my death was what she wanted, she’d have to work for it. Curiosity got the best of me, and I spun to face her. To my surprise, she stood immediately behind me. She hadn’t made a sound as if she floated over the ground. Her breath mixed with mine in the cool mist rain. Half a step and her breasts would drag over my chest. The solid length in my shorts stood erect and ramrod ready, hanging on a thread of desire to pull her into the tent and enter the warmth of a feminine body. The ends of my fingers curled with the need to grab her and tug her close to me.
She still had not uttered a word.
I risked that half pace and drew up against her. My lids closed with the nearness of her. My body vibrated as it craved a female instead of the large palm of my fist. Her warm breath came out harsh against my neck, her exaggerated exhale only increasing the tremors of my body.
“Why are you here?” The deepness to her voice was nearly a growl, guttural and irritated. It snapped me out of my fantasy. Was it possible she didn’t recognize me? Could she have forgotten what happened? The thought was ludicrous. Even I knew the answer—no woman would forget what we’d done. That was Rick’s purpose.
Make her never forget you’re in charge and make her demand to be taken again.
I wanted admission into the club. Submission was the trend, and my dominant nature fed off the thrill. I needed to learn more. She was my first victim. I ignored her questioning tone. I would never forget her face. I’d already seen all of her, but not in a way a man should see a woman. The proof was on the tape. The one mentally engraved in my brain.
As if she read my thoughts, I sensed the slow rise of metal to my left. She dragged the long dagger dangerously close to my arm, slowly lifting it as if she were skinning an animal and taking care not to damage the carcass. Level with my neck, she paused. Her violet eyes alit with hunger, desiring revenge.
“Kill me,” I hissed. Our hearts beat in rapid tandem. “Will that make it better for you?” My sharp words exhaled outward, brushing over her too close face. “You’ll have one more death to live with.” The final comment answered an unasked question. She knew me. She knew damn well who I was, and I knew her.
Her body visibly quaked under the pelting rain. Her clothes were saturated, leaving nothing to the imagination. I could almost see her heart beating under her skin. My thick hand came to her wrist, and I forced the knife to my neck.
“Do it,” I whispered, spitting at her, allowing my words to wash her cheeks as they mixed with the rain. Her eyes leaped from her concentration on my neck to my face. The movement cost her. I lowered her raised fist and twisted her wrist, forcing her to spin, pinning her arm to her back.
This was the position I’d desired her on that night. I didn’t want to look at her. I couldn’t face her. But I had seen her. The universe had returned her to me, or some sick twist of fate wanted me endlessly tortured. A hundred things passed through my head. Curses and comments, lascivious and lurid. I wanted to own her again, but something stopped me. The press of her back to my chest or the racing of my heart caused me to pause. This cost me.
As my forehead lowered to rest on the back of her head, her head shot back, connecting with my nose. I dropped her wrist as a searing pain ripped upward to my skull. My eyes watered, and I sucked in a sharp breath.
“You—” I stopped myself from the obscenity. The idea of her as a caged animal returned. She was acting on instinct, I reminded myself.
“I wasn’t going to hurt you,” I said quietly to the space between us, as she had already escaped around the fire ring. Her retreat only taunted me. She was a little mouse, and I was a lion ready to pounce. She continued to run.
“Don’t make me chase you,” I threatened louder, watching her disappear between the heavy foliage. Instantly, she was lost, swallowed up by the thick greenery and a dark night, and I choked on my words. I didn’t mean them. This was no longer a game. I wouldn’t follow her. She had nearly killed me. She wanted to kill me. The thought made me pause.
“I didn’t do anything wrong,” I screamed to the jungle. My voice bellowed over the trees, hoping to God she heard me. I hadn’t. No, you didn’t do anything, echoed through my head, cursing me in reply.
“I’m sorry I didn’t do anything,” I added, muttering to the saturated sand below my feet. I was sorry, sorrier than I’d ever been.
Welcome to the island.
This is no fantasy.
You’ll face fears.
You’ll face travesty.
You’ll face yourself.
One deserted island.
Two heinous crimes.
Two convicted hearts.
When decent people do bad things,
there’s only one place for forgiveness:
The island knows what you’ve done.
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