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If You Dare: Chapter 18



After midnight, three texts come through from Wes.

We need to talk.

Meet me outside the university center.


My heart gallops in my chest. Finally. The conversation Wes and I have been needing to have for months.

I’m not sure why he’s changed his mind out of the blue, but I don’t care. As long as he’s willing to talk to me, to hear my apology, that’s all that matters.

I slip on my shorts and vans, careful not to wake Aneesa, a sleep mask covering her eyes.

The University Center is named for its central location on campus. But at this time of night in the middle of the week, the campus is deserted and eerily silent. I wrap my arms tight around my middle, shivering more from nerves than the chill in the air. The occasional lamppost lights my way, and I stick to the sidewalk, head swiveling to make sure I’m alone and some creep isn’t lurking in the shadows.

When I finally reach the University Center, I don’t see anyone around. Is Wes standing me up? Or maybe this whole thing was just a ploy to get me out here in the middle of the night, alone and defenseless.

Panic bubbles up until someone moves in the shadows, where he’s leaning back against the building.


I recognize his towering stature and swagger, even within the shadows.

When he emerges, the light from the lamppost behind me illuminates the solid white mask covering his face, revealing nothing but his piercing blue eyes through two large holes and the outline of his smirk behind a cluster of pinprick holes at his mouth.

Liquid heat pools low in my belly. Overwhelming terror mixed with an impossible dash of arousal.

He lured me out here. Not to talk.

For something far worse.

“Welcome to your nightmare, little flower.”

Before I can scream, a rough hand claps over my mouth from behind. “Don’t make a fucking sound.” Trey’s threat churns the acid in my gut. “Or you’ll regret it.”

He holds me in place while Wes saunters toward us, every thud of his combat boots chilling me to the bone.

Behind him, the rest of the Devils emerge from the darkness.

I’m completely alone, surrounded by twenty-five men in identical masks. Each of them following their captain’s orders.

Trey keeps his hand on my mouth until Wes reaches me. He trails the back of a finger down my cheek while his other hand clamps down on my shoulder, keeping me firmly in place. Tears already burn my eyes, yet his touch ignites a fire low in my belly.

I want to puke. Scream. Run. Throw myself at him. Kiss him. All at once.

“What is this, Wes?” I whisper.

“We’re going to have some fun, little flower.”

Trey chuckles behind me.

My blood runs cold. That’s exactly what I was afraid of.

“Ever play manhunt?” Wes asks, low rumble distorted by the mask.

“No.” I squirm beneath his hand, but his grip on me is hard as steel.

“This is how we play,” he purrs. “We give you a ten-second head start. Then we hunt you. And you better hope we don’t catch you.”

Ice slices through my spine. “What happens if you do?” I whisper.

His wolfish smile spreads. “You don’t want to find out.”

My stomach twists. No, I don’t.

“Ten. Nine. Eight—”

“Please don’t do this, Wes.” The ragged cry makes the Devils surrounding us snicker.

His eyes are flat, unaffected by my plea. “Seven, six—”

“Can we just talk? Please!”

“Five, four—”


“Better run, bitch.” Trey’s sinister warning in my ear and his slimy hand on my hip make me lurch out of their grip.

They don’t chase me. Yet.

“Three. Two—”

There is no reasoning with Wes. No talking him or any of them out of this.

So I spin on my heel and sprint off the concrete and through the parking lot as fast as I can, heart pounding and fear pumping through my veins.


Howls echo from behind me like the hockey team has shape-shifted under the full moon. A stampede of heavy footsteps follows and terror like I’ve never felt before rockets through me.

Even with a head start, I don’t stand a chance against the best athletes on campus. I can’t outrun them. I can’t fight them off.

The darkness is my only advantage. If I can disappear into the shadows, I may be able to hide. Wait them out until they grow tired of searching for me.

I veer off the sidewalk and dart between brick buildings, my feet already screaming, still raw from the miles I was forced to walk back to campus. The hoots and shouts get closer, the hockey team yipping behind me like a pack of coyotes on the trail of wounded prey.

Tears threaten to obscure the little vision I have left in the darkness. I blink them away, pumping my arms and ignoring the sting already growing in my calves.

I can’t let them catch me. I can’t let them catch me.

They will hurt me beyond recognition.

If I survive them at all.

Near the library, I spot a brick wall the height of my waist surrounded by hedges. Heart in my throat, I scramble onto the wall, skin on my hands scraping and peeling. I jump down, crouching as low as I can to blend in with the shadows.

Two pairs of sneakers slap against the concrete, slowing when they realize they’ve lost my outline in the darkness. I freeze and hold my breath, not daring to move a single muscle.

“I can’t wait to fuck her,” Trey sneers. “Been wanting to destroy that sweet pussy since day one.”

Bile rises in my throat. If there’s anyone I’m scared of just as much as Wes, if not more, it’s Trey.

He’s gotten his hands on me before. If he manages to do it again, I’m not sure I’ll escape him this time.

“You take her pussy; I’ll take her mouth,” Brody tells him. The two laugh together, their footsteps fading as they pass.

I wait for their footsteps to come back or others to arrive, but when they don’t, I take a slow, calming breath before inching back up the brick wall and bracing my hands to push myself up and over.

I’ll run back to the dorms. I’ll stick to the shadows near the buildings and blend in, escape them—

Watching me from the sidewalk five feet away are two Devils.

Trey and Brody.

“Ready to play, pretty girl?” Trey drawls.

My heart nearly explodes in my chest, and I attempt to launch over the wall and escape, but both of their hands are already on me, dragging me back.

A scream rips from my throat, my last weapon to save myself. But they only laugh, not even bothering to cover my mouth.

They’re well aware we’re alone out here. Me, and twenty-five Devils.

“We got her!” Brody shouts to his teammates. A few whoops in response before more come running.

Trey bends down to my ear and hisses, “I’m disappointed. I expected a better fight.”

I flail in their arms, but it’s no use. A repeat of the day they forced me to my knees in the hallway, holding me in place and preventing my escape.

Except this time there are twenty-five of them and no chance of anyone saving me.

Trey’s threat rings in my head. Now that he’s got his hands on me, he’s going to destroy me.

They throw me onto the concrete in front of six other pairs of legs. More are slinking through the darkness to surround me. Terror makes my head pound, the pain in my hands and knees already throbbing. My heart racing so fast, it could compete in the Olympics.

I scan the eyes behind the masks in front of me. None of them belong to Wes.

How can he let this happen to me? How can he orchestrate this? I get that he wants to punish me. But this is worse than I ever thought he’d be capable of.

I expect them to wait for their captain to show up, but Trey grips my hair, yanking down and forcing me onto my back.

I claw and kick at him, but several pairs of hands quickly pin me down. Their laughs and masks swirl above my head.

An errant hand drifts up my shirt, another down my shorts. I squirm, eyes stinging as I try to get away, but they don’t budge.

Trey leans down before cupping my breast and squeezing. “God, I love when they fight.”

He yanks my shirt up so hard and fast over my tits, I gasp. The night air kisses my newly exposed skin, and Trey groans.

Someone roars a warning from the darkness. “Fuck! Cops!”

A series of curses and shouts and most of the hands leave my body, sneakers squeaking as the Devils run for it.

Except for one pair of hands still holding me down. A mask still hovering above my head, staring at me with ruthless intent.

“Trey!” Brody shouts, nudging his shoulder. “Come on! Cops!”

“I don’t give a fuck,” Trey seethes, green eyes boring holes into my skull as his hand fumbles with the button on my shorts.

But Brody yanks his arm. “Let’s go, man!”

Trey gives my tits one last painful squeeze, a promise to return for more, before he releases me and takes off with the Devils.

I gasp in a long breath before a sob racks through my body. In the silence, I let the horror over what just happened, what could’ve happened, settle into my bones and make my limbs tremble until I force myself to stand.

I need to get the hell out of here before any of them decide to risk coming back.

But when I get to my feet, I realize I’m already too late.

One of the Devils has already returned. Or he never left in the first place.


The smile beneath his mask is sadistic. A wolf that’s found his dinner.

“Wes,” I whisper, one last attempt to appeal to the human heart I hope is still beating somewhere beneath the predator’s skin. “Please, don’t—”

He takes a step toward me, and another cry escapes my lips. “The cops will find you.”

His grin widens, head tilting just slightly. A predator amused by his prey. “There are no cops.”

I try to replay the warning shout in my head. In the moment, overwhelmed by terror, I didn’t recognize the voice belonged to Wes.

Of course there isn’t anyone here to rescue me. Wes simply wanted me all to himself.

I bolt, spinning on my heel and racing down the sidewalk and into the parking lot.

I dare a glance over my shoulder. Wes is sauntering after me, so confident he’ll catch me that he doesn’t bother breaking into a run.

We’re completely alone now. Predator and prey.

Pavement gives way to dark grass below my feet as I sprint for the woodline. Before I break into the trees, I find Wes behind me one more time.

Sprinting after me like I’ve stolen his most prized possession.

Like I killed his sister.

I crash into the woods, twigs and leaves crunching beneath my shoes and low-hanging branches smacking my arms and face. One sharp enough to draw blood across my cheek. The pain doesn’t register yet, buried somewhere deep below the terror.

His boots smash into the woods behind me, entirely too close. He’s closed the distance between us in seconds. If I keep running, he’ll track me and catch me.

I duck behind a tree and glue my back to the bark, heaving but trying to keep my breaths quiet. All I can hope for is that I can hide long enough that Wes grows bored and leaves me here. To resume the hunt another day.

My ears strain, trying to pick up the crunch of his boots across the ground. But there’s nothing. Did he head in the other direction?

I’m alone. I’m alone. My heart hammers, on the verge of exploding. Maybe I’m going to survive another night.

Soundlessly, I peer around the massive trunk of the tree—

Wes slams me back against the bark, knocking the breath out of me.

When I part my lips to scream, one hand clamps over my mouth and the other around my throat. “Don’t you fucking dare.”

Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. I’m dead. This is where he kills me.

My feet scramble to kick his legs, my nails dig at his arms. I manage to pry his hand off my mouth, but he keeps me pinned. “What do you want from me?” I plead.

Wes leans close, hot breath hitting my ear through his mask. “Get out of my fucking head.” His growl fills me from my ear to my toes.

God, I wish I could. Wish I could erase my existence from his memory. Except part of me aches at the thought of us forgetting everything we shared before Chloe died.

While she was still here, I thought . . . I thought I was falling for Wes. And I thought he was falling for me. I don’t want to erase those moments. They’re some of my happiest memories.

But that’s all they are now. We’ll never, ever get that back.

His grip around my neck tightens. “You should be dead. Not her.”

“I know,” I whisper. “I wish that’s what happened.”

Something in his eyes changes. Like he didn’t expect that. How could he not? He knows how much I love Chloe. She’s always been a better person than me, destined for bigger things. She was going to be an Olympian. Known around the world for how she sailed across the ice. How she made every movement look effortless. How she made life look effortless. More people loved her, more people were devastated by her loss than would ever be hurt by mine.

If one of us needed to end up in a grave, it should’ve been me.

A shout from the parking lot pulls us out of our staring contest. “Novak!” Trey has returned for his captain.

I kick out at Wes, managing to shake him off with the element of surprise.

But I don’t get far. He knocks me to the ground, hard as a brick wall behind me. I cry out as the pain lashes through my body. He flips me so I’m on my back and plants a hand over my mouth, his body flattening me into the earth.

My heart slams against my ribcage, but Wes doesn’t yank my clothes off. He doesn’t move, listening for Trey to find us.

When the shouts grow distant, he returns that laser focus to me.

I should be terrified. I’m entirely at the mercy of someone who hates me. Who wants me dead.

But all I can think about is the way his lips felt against mine when he finally kissed me for the first time. The way my heart soared and my toes curled. And all the times I’ve imagined us in this position, in my bed, in his bed, on the floor. Wherever he wanted to take me.

His piercing blue eyes remain glued to my face. He’s trembling with restraint until something clicks and his restraint dissolves as his hand moves to his belt. “Don’t make a fucking sound.”

The leather hisses as he pulls it free from his jeans. I’m pinned beneath him as he straddles me, his other hand fastened across my mouth. My hands tremble, but I’m not consumed by the same overwhelming terror I felt with the rest of the team.

Part of me—an insane, unhinged part—wants to know what Wes is going to do with that belt.

He leans forward, mask filling my vision as he slides the cool leather behind my neck and loops it around, tightening and securing it against my throat. So tight, I gasp in a breath, panic rising as my airway is restricted.

With one hand, he holds the belt out, keeping it tight. “If you scream, I’ll make sure you stop breathing.”

His other hand finally drifts from my mouth and down my shirt.

Even with his threat wrapped around my throat, I could scream. But I don’t. Trey would be the one to find us, and he wouldn’t have rescue on his mind.

He’d join.

Wes inches the hem of my shirt up, the opposite of Trey’s rough touch. Like he’s trying to talk himself out of this with every new inch of my exposed skin.

When my shirt is over my bra, he tugs the wire down, making my tits pop out.

His throat bobs, and his breathing turns ragged beneath his mask.

“You like this. Don’t you?” A finger suddenly slips down between my legs, into my shorts, and swipes up.

I jerk and gasp, unexpected pleasure electrifying me.

With that one stroke along my panties, he knows exactly how wet I am for him.

He reaches for his fly and tugs down.

“Hey!” An authoritative female voice shouts.

Wes freezes as a light sweeps through the woods.

Oh my god. A security guard. Finally, someone’s found us.

Except the crazy half of my brain is screaming at her to leave us alone.

Before the flashlight can land on him, Wes removes the belt from my throat, scrambles off me, and runs.


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