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If You Dare: Chapter 10

After

Wes

The locker room reeks of BO and ass. That’s how you know we went hard at practice.

“So is that Violet Harris chick kicked off campus?” Trey asks me.

The hairs on the back of my neck rise at her name. I hate the effect she has on me, even when she’s not around. The rest of the team listens in, and I slam my locker shut. “Nah, they’re letting her stay.”

Trey frowns, pulling his jeans up over his boxers. “That’s bullshit, man.”

“I thought so too. But now I’ve got new plans for Violet Harris.”

Twisted delight swells in my chest. Since I left Dean Forrester’s office, I’ve come up with a long list of ways I’m going to make Violet pay for what she did. Each bit of torment far more satisfying than getting her kicked off campus.

A wide grin spreads across Trey’s face. “Yeah? I want in on this.”

Of course he does. Trey is the most sadistic fuck on the team. His goal on the ice isn’t to stop the opposing team from scoring—it’s to wipe out as many of their players as possible.

Which means he won’t hesitate to follow whatever instructions I give him, no matter how fucked up.

Luke rounds the corner, leaning against the row of lockers with brows pulled together and mouth a thin line. “Let’s hear these plans.”

This time last year, he wouldn’t have even entertained the idea of doing anything to hurt Violet. To hurt anyone. He’s the goalie in a contact sport for a reason—he’s big enough to sideline a guy if he has to, but he’d rather keep his hands clean.

Guess Violet is the exception. Maybe his feelings for Chloe went deeper than I realized. He hasn’t been the same since we lost her.

I take in the faces of my teammates, my friends, all of them ready and willing to follow their captain’s orders. Exactly as I expected.

The judge didn’t serve justice. But the Devils will.

“I’m going to get the justice my sister deserves, no matter what it takes. We’re going to make her life a living hell here. She’s going to regret stepping a toe back on this campus.”


Violet

If I’m not leaving campus, I’ll just have to become invisible. Wes won’t torture me if he forgets I exist.

Despite the heat, I wore a hoodie and sweatpants to class today. I pull my hood up when I head for my dorm to hide out until dinner with Aneesa. This is how I’ll get through this semester and the next. Then Wes will graduate and I’ll finally be free of him. No longer have to worry about what he has planned for me.

Chloe would be so disappointed to see how I’ve regressed. She’s the one who pushed me to step out of my comfort zone freshman year, to help me stand out. But now that’s the last thing I want to do.

I hike up the straps of my backpack, and the hairs on the back of my neck stand up like they do when someone’s watching me. I’m always being watched on this campus, but I naively hoped my feeble disguise would stop the stares this time.

Carefully, I peer around to see who might be watching. But the small grassy lots in front of the brick buildings are vacant, everyone in class.

I dare a glance over my shoulder. A tall, broad figure with his hood pulled low to hide his face is trailing behind me, hands in his pockets.

Wait. No. That’s not his face under the hood.

That’s a mask.

An all-white mask with a cluster of pinprick holes at the mouth.

Shit. Who the hell wears a mask on campus in broad daylight? Is he following me or just headed in the same direction? His clothes don’t give anything away. Inconspicuous, plain black shirt over a pair of dark jeans.

But the combat boots—

No. Not him.

Anyone but Wes.

Part of me wants to break into a run. But there’s no way I could outrun Wes Novak. He’s a hockey player in the best shape of his life. He practically sprints across ice—he could close the distance between us in seconds.

Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Wes can’t be following me for any good reason. He said he didn’t want me on this campus, warned he’d do anything to make my life a living hell. He’s going to hurt me, and there’s nothing I can do to stop him.

Maybe somebody will spot us—a timid girl hurrying down the sidewalk and a suspicious masked man following her—and they’ll intervene.

All I have to do is make it to my residence hall. Nobody can get into Nohren without a student ID registered to the building. Wes can’t do anything to me once I’m inside anyway. Minus the stairwells, cameras monitor our movements in every corner. If he hurts me, I’ll have evidence.

Not that they’ll be able to identify him.

My heart’s pumping wildly when I finally reach the door, but I breathe a little easier when I swipe my card and the automatic door swings open. I’m almost there. Almost away from him—

Feet rush toward me, thundering up so fast, I don’t have time to move. All I can do is squeeze my eyes shut and brace myself.

The footsteps pass me with a small breeze. When I open my eyes, Wes is strolling through the door.

I let him right in.

The RA at the front desk glances up when we enter and an amused smirk pulls at her lips. “A little early for Halloween.”

Wes shrugs off her comment, and she drops her eyes back to her computer. Of course. Students have worn stranger things on campus. He’s not streaking, so why should she care? As far as she’s concerned, he’s probably going to surprise his girlfriend with a mask kink.

Besides, he’s Wes Novak. The captain of the hockey team can wear wherever he wants.

Do whatever he wants.

I dart for the elevator, hoping he’ll head for a friend’s dorm and forget all about me. But when I step through the open elevator doors, he follows me inside.

My lungs shrivel. I expect him to keep his back to the doors, block my exit, but he hits a button for the next floor and stands right beside me. His looming presence makes me gulp, the scent of his cedarwood cologne wrapping around me in a lover’s caress that chills me to the bone.

We stare at each other’s reflections in the shiny elevator doors, his stormy blue eyes glaring through the holes in his mask and glued to my face. Melting me where I stand.

The walls close in on me as the elevator lurches, my body growing a thousand degrees hotter.

I’m literally trapped with Wes Novak.

I can’t see it, but there has to be a camera in here. He won’t hurt me, knowing the evidence will follow him.

Except that’s why he’s wearing a mask. To hide his face. Will anyone believe me if I say it was him?

My nails bite into my palms. Shit, shit, shit. I don’t know what to do. My mind scrambles for a way out of this, away from him, but comes up empty.

The elevator grinds to a halt on the next floor. My empty lungs ache, longing for air I don’t dare give them.

“This is your stop.” His low command echoes in the metal box, loud and clear despite the mask.

I double-check the buttons, but this is the second floor. My dorm is on the fifth floor, the number lit up. “No, it isn’t.”

Wes reaches the elevator doors in a single step. The pressure in my chest eases at his departure.

Until he stops with his hand against the open doors. “I said this is your stop.”

Oh shit. That wasn’t a reminder—it was an order.

The last thing I want to do is go anywhere with Wes.

I grip the handrail behind me. He’ll have to drag me out of here.

When the muscle in his jaw contracts, I know I’ve made a mistake.

He smacks the Stop button and strides for me, scooping me up in his arms so fast, I don’t have a chance to fight him off.

“Put me down!” I hiss.

He carries me like I’m air. Under different circumstances, if that night hadn’t happened, I would be swooning. One of his arms supports my back while the other is hooked under my knees. Like I’m his bride and he’s carrying me to our wedding suite.

Except that night did happen, and I’m not the girl he’s carrying to his bed. I’m his victim, and he’s carrying me to my crime scene.

“I’ll scream,” I warn.

“God, I hope so.” The words come out in a guttural groan that makes me blush. Almost like the thought of me screaming . . . turns him on.

When he backs into the door to the stairwell with a creak, my heart drops before he dumps me onto the ground. I collide palms first with the unforgiving concrete.

Pain lashes through my hands and knees. But I barely have time to register it before I’m hauled back by my bag onto my feet and pinned against the wall.

My hands are already trembling, but Wes looming in front of me is enough to melt me into a puddle.

“I warned you, Violet.” His distorted voice rakes down my spine like fangs.

“I’m sorry,” I sputter, tears spilling down my cheeks. The words I’ve been aching to say to him for months, but he’s never given me the chance. “I’m so sorry, Wes—”

His hand wraps around my throat in a viper’s death-grip. “Don’t fucking fake-apologize,” he growls.

“I’m not. I swear I am s—”

Wes squeezes tighter, shutting me up. Stopping the flow of oxygen. He could crush my windpipe with one hand. I claw at his arm, trying to pull him off me, but it’s like fighting a tree.

“I could kill you right here. No one would have any idea who did it.” He leans in, the edge of his mask brushing my cheek. His soft breath drifts through the holes to cup my ear, sending goosebumps down my arms. “No one would care.”

Some wild, absolutely insane part of me stirs at his voice in my ear, his hand wrapped around my throat. Adrenaline shoots through my veins as my air is restricted and liquid heat pools between my legs.

I almost think he’s about to kiss me, and if I could catch my breath enough to speak, I’d beg him to. Maybe that brush of our lips would remind him of what it used to be like between us. Before I ruined everything.

But then he squeezes my neck with both hands, the pleasure vanishing as he lifts me off my feet. His hands are my noose. The last thing I’m going to see before I die is Wes Novak’s ice-blue eyes salivating at the light leaving mine.

“You deserve to die for what you did.”

He’s right. I deserve this. If he kills me right here, it’ll be a death I earned.

“Maybe if I kill you, I’ll get acquitted too. I’m sure the judge would understand.”

Just as my vision goes black, the pain pulling me under, Wes releases his grip on me.

My feet hit hard concrete. I gasp for air, clutching at my throat with scraped, bleeding palms, the pain in my hands long forgotten. I don’t know what hurts more—my head or my throat.

I’m unable to run. Unable to move. I’m completely at his mercy as I take ragged breaths, each one tearing through my scorched throat. He squeezed so hard, bruises will appear on my neck by tomorrow. No idea how I’ll explain those to Aneesa.

If he lets me live long enough to see her again.

Wes is still looming over me, peering down through his mask like I’m shit on his shoes. “But I’m not like you. I don’t go around killing people. You got lucky there.”

When he steps back, my gaze lands on the bulge in his pants. My mouth goes dry. Oh my god. Choking me and nearly making me black out made him hard.

Hurting me turns him on.

I never thought Wes Novak had it in him to be sadistic. To get off on inflicting pain. Eliciting fear.

He leaves me with one final promise. “By the time I’m through with you, you’re going to wish I’d killed you.”


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