If you haven’t read my Obsession series this excerpt is could be considered a spoiler alert. The character Pete, one of my favorites, has been yelling to be heard over all the editing I need to be doing on Fated to Be, which is a completely different series. Very annoying. So I decided to give him a chance to speak. Then maybe he will leave me alone. Highly doubtful because he knows he is a favorite, even after everything I put him through, therefore takes every advantage he can to let me know he is still alive and well. Brat!
So without further ado, here is a short story from Pete’s point of view on a scene that was never in the books and he is has just recently decided to tell me. This particular one took place sometime in the third book Deceptions. I hope you enjoy it, and again…..
“Be with me, be my wife. Never leave me and the one you love will remained unharmed.” Those were the conditions, those were the bars around their gilded cage. A cage that was slowly suffocating them all.
Pete stood in the doorway unsure of what he should do. He could see the pain Kirsten was in, understood it better than most, but Alex was sitting a few feet away at his desk engrossed in some report with Brett. So comforting her the way she deserved, the way he craved, as if she were something precious, was out of the question. Not if he wanted to live.
It was not that Alex ignored her. Earlier he had noticed that something was upsetting her and asked multiple times if she was all right. Even took time out of his extremely busy schedule to have lunch with her on the beach where he made sure she had his undivided attention. But Pete knew the truth. No matter how much time Alex spent with Kirsten, or how much he told her he loved her, Kirsten would never love him in the same way. She did not even want to be here, trapped in a marriage that was not her choice on an island somewhere in the Pacific, basically selling her body to keep everyone she loves safe. Something Alex knew but refused to look at to closely, because if he did it would mean he had to admit he had become the monster they had all accused him of being.
If there was any chance of success, or survival, Pete would break Kristen out if her gilded cage and find somewhere they could live in peace. Where no one forced them to live a lie and maybe find some semblance of happiness. Unfortunately that was a dream that could never come true.
In the corporate world of money and power, Alex was at the top of the food chain. What he wanted he could have with a snap of his fingers. The Tremmel name had always been respected, even feared. With the exception of betrayal, which was dealt with quickly and violently, Alexei Tremmel had built on the respect his family held and was considered a fair even-keeled individual. Until Kirsten Tivon walked into his classroom. From the moment he laid eyes on her, he had broken every rule of conduct he had made for himself. The result was the nightmare they were all being forced to live.
No, the only escape for Kirsten, for any of them, was either Alex’s death, or her own. Something Pete would give his life to make sure never happened.
It was also why Kirsten had never tried to escape. She would never put any of their lives at risk to save her own Especially Jeremy, the one her heart truly belonged to. To say Pete never had a moment of jealousy for what Jeremy at times seemed to take for granted would have been a lie. Kirsten was everything Pete wanted in a woman. Smart, brave, funny, witty. The fact she was beautiful was lost on her. There were many times she had asked him what Alex saw in her. Born and raised on a farm, she was the farthest thing from type of women who inhabited Alex’s world of money and power. Yet Alex had yanked her out of her world and dragged her unwilling into his because he claimed to love her.
The tragedy of this love story was that both Jeremy and Alex were so caught up in the fight over who deserved Kirsten that they seldom saw what the constant tension was doing to her, or the baby.
Their was another chess piece in the game that wore on Pete’s fraying sanity. One he did not want to think about or he just may lose it and let Alex know exactly how he felt about him, about this mess they were in, and how he truly felt about Kirsten. The last thing Pete was was suicidal. Especially if it meant leaving Kirsten alone with those two idiots.
“Was there something you needed, Pete?” Alex asked.
Slowly blinking as he came back into the present, Pete tried to recall why he had come. “Uh….,” he floundered. When Alex raised an eyebrow, his eyes sliding to Emma who was now frowning at him, Pete knew he needed to get his shit together or it would get ugly really fast. “Sorry,” he smiled. “Too much on my mind with the new shipment. You wanted to know when Callahan and the new hire and that package you were waiting for arrived.”
The suspicious expression disappeared from Alex’s eyes. Even though he said he trusted his inner circle with Emma’s life, Alex’s jealousy was such that he still was distrustful of everyone around her. So much so that no one on the island would befriend her. Aside from the core group, and even they had to be watchful, Emma had no one in the island she could call friend.
Brett turned so Alex could not see his face and frowned disapprovingly at Pete before slipping his glare to Kirsten who had gone back to her reading. Everyone aside from Alex knew how Pete really felt about Kirsten, and spent most of their time covering anything Alex may walk in on that might be suspicious, like a hug that might last a little too long, or a disapproving outburst on Alex latest scheme to break Kirsten and Jeremy apart. But Brett was the only one who showed outright hostility when they were around each other. Pete was not exactly sure why, but he had his suspicions. It was another worry that Pete decided to ignore for now. They had rarely seen eye to eye on anything, so why would Kirsten be any different.
Refusing to give Brett the satisfaction of responding, which would piss him off even more- Bonus! – Pete kept his attention on Alex.
“Where is it?” Alex asked excitedly, rising from his seat.
“With the others,” Pete answered evasively knowing Alex wanted to surprise Kirsten. To be honest, Pete was excited to see Kirsten’s face when she saw what the package was too.
“I think we are done for the day,” Alex announced walking around his desk straight for Kirsten.
“But…the presentation!” Brett sputtered.
“It can wait,” Alex answered holding out his hand to Kirsten. Hesitantly she put her hand in his as she set aside her reading, her eyes wary as they started between Alex and Pete.
“What a are you up too?” she asked as Alex pulled her to her feet.
“You’ll see,” he grin mischievously.
Kirsten turned her attention to Pete, her expression questioning.
“Don’t look at me,” he quickly answered innocently putting his hands in the air as if surrendering. “I’m just the delivery boy.”
Kirsten snorted. “When it comes to mischief you are never innocent.”
“Where that may be true on most occasions,” he agreed stepping aside so they could pass then following, “this time I had nothing to do with it.”
“Alex!” Brett called in one last ditch effort to bring him back to the office.
“Later!” Alex called over his shoulder. “Right now I have more important things to do. Why don’t you and Pete take the new hires on a tour and give them their assignments.”
The disappointment that shot through Pete was painful. “Can’t it wait until tomorrow? It’s been a long day for all of us,” Pete suggested from where he stopped in the hallway.
“No, it can’t,” Alex snapped turning to frown disapprovingly at Pete who carefully schooled his features to neutral. “I leave in the morning and I want both of them to come with me. I also want to talk to…what is the young one’s name?” he asked looking at Brett who was standing in the doorway of the study still glowering.
“Robert,” he answered tersely.
“I want to talk to Robert before I leave.”
“What about?” Pete asked. Ever since that young eager boy stepped foot on the island Pete had a bad feeling about him. He was far younger and obviously vastly inexperienced than the usual hires Alex brought to the island. You had to earn the right to be allowed into Alex’s inner-domain. Callahan had many times over. Robert definitely had not.
Alex’s eyes narrowed on Pete. “Nothing that concerns you,” he snapped.
Another thing that had changed since they brought Kirsten to the island. Alex kept information, possible important information, from the inner circle, his closest friends. Yeah, no trust issues here.
Again Pete raised his hands in surrender. “Just asking a question,” he griped. “If I’m going to work with the little twerp then I thought it would be nice to know what the hell he was doing here.”
“Are you questioning my judgment?” Alex growled taking a menacing step towards Pete.
God he was tired of these mood swings. One minute happy and calm, the next ready to kill someone. One day Alex was going to snap and Kirsten would be right in the middle of it. Putting his hands down, Pete glared back. It was well known that Alex, even as good as he was, was no match for Pete in a fight. And even though one had been brewing for a long time, the only reason Pete stayed where he was was because Kirsten still had a firm grip on Alex’s hand holding him where he was. The last thing Pete would ever do was intentionally put Kirsten in harm’s way. Still, the question had been asked and Pete was going to answer it. Alex had to see at some point what his insanity was doing to all of them.
“Lately? Yes,” Pete answered angrily.
When Kirsten quietly said Alex’s name, sliding her hand up his arm as she moved to stand in front of him, speaking to him in soothing tones, Pete froze. It was not the safest place to be in the mood Alex was in, an obstacle between the wolf and it’s prey, yet time and time again it was the one place Kirsten seemed to be. As Alex’s features soften under Kirsten’s gentle touches and words, Pete wondered, not for the first time, why was it always Kirsten who risked her life to save theirs? Shouldn’t it be the other way around? After all, they were the reason she was here. Pete took a step forward, intending to pull Kirsten behind him and out of harm’s way.
“Don’t,” Brett hissed behind him.
Unfortunately the harsh warning to remember his place was not low enough and Alex heard. Stiffening, his eyes narrowed on Pete over Kirsten’s shoulder. Pete did not try to hide his anger when he heard Kirsten’s stifled whimper when Alex’s hands tightened on her waist, his fingers digging into her skin.
“Pete!” Cody’s voice called sharply in the ensuing silence. Startled, Pete’s eyes shot behind Alex to the front door where Cody stood, slowly shaking his head in warning. “I need your help outside.” When Pete’s defiant eyes moved back to Alex who had pulled Kirsten firmly into his arms and was murmuring apologies in her ear, Cody snapped, “Now!”
Grinding his teeth, Pete brushed passed Alex and Kirsten, striding out the door with a sense of angry purpose that was not lost on anyone in the hallway. He was not happy about leaving Kirsten alone with Alex. Unfortunately, because of his lack of control on his feelings, he would now have to stay away from her until Alex cooled down. God only knew how long that would take and it would be torture not to be near her to see for himself she was safe.
“What the hell was that all about?” Cody snapped once he slammed the door shut and they were out of earshot.
“He was hurting her again,” Pete growled turning on Cody. “How long are we supposed to standby while he plays his little games of whose dick is bigger with Jeremy? Do you see what it’s doing to Kirsten? It’s killing her.”
“I’m not blind, Pete, and neither are the others. And you know running is out of the question,” Cody sighed. “He will just find us and then she would truly be alone because we would not survive that particular encounter.”
“So we just sit by and watch as she slowly fades away,” Pete snapped. “I can’t do that. Not after,” he stopped before he voiced a dark period that no one in their inner circle wanted to remember. Against his will, flashes of that horror filled day filled his mind making him visible pale. Pete was not an easy man to rattle, but that day…. It was the only reason Alex tolerated Pete’s protective outbursts. He had been helpless to save Kirsten on that day, he would be damned if he allowed her to be hurt like that again. By anyone. Including Alex.
A warm hand on his arm, steadying him, brought him back to the present where he was safe and he knew Kirsten was safe. Well as safe as they could be.
“Maybe you won’t have to,” Cody said after a moment, his voice carefully quiet. Saying these words outloud were tantamount to signing his death warrant, but it had it’s desired effect. Pete was suddenly calm and thinking clearly. Any ideas on how to escape the hell they were in he would listen too.
“What are you talking about?”
Looking around to see if anyone was watching, Cody motioned Pete to follow. “Come with me and I will tell you everything.”
Copyright 2016 Heidi Barnes
If you want to know more about my series Obsession you can find them on Amazon.com in paperback and on the Kindle.
Have a wonderful weekend. 🙂