Bend, Don't Break (Serpentine Book 2)

By: Skye Callahan

Irrevocable, Volume 2





Foreword


When I started writing Irrevocable, I had no intention for the story to go beyond that single book. Even though James was the first character from the story to appear to me, I told the entire story through Rose’s eyes because there was information that James had that was best left unrevealed. The struggle for survival was best told through the eyes of a girl who suddenly found herself losing mercy and at the mercy of a man she couldn’t quite figure out.

Not until she learned his secrets.

Just weeks before the release Irrevocable—after copies had gone out to advance readers for review and the final proofreading was happening—James decided that he wanted more. Then, readers expressed an interest to know more about him.

As everything came together, I realized that although Rose’s story was done, and she’d told her happy ending with James as she experienced, there were bits of the story that she didn’t know or didn’t share; because although they were part of the story, they were parts best understood through James.

And the idea for Bend, Don’t Break was born.

Since you already know most of the story from the Retreat, I didn’t want to do a simple retelling from James’ point of view. I wanted to give you something new, allowing James to express his interpretation of events and explain his motivations while addressing new issues.

I feel that there’s so much to learn about this couple before they got their happy ending—and maybe a little more to their happy ending than you already know. That’s why James and I decided to begin his story just after the raid (Irrevocable, Chapter 21).

After the raid on the Retreat, thrust back into the real world—into his old life without the object of his desire—this is James’ story....





Chapter 1

Alive


“How many women did you have sex with while you were there?”

It was the third time Dr. Combs had asked me that question. And for the third time, I wanted to avoid it.

I had just gotten out of that hell, and I still had the bullet hole in my chest to prove it, but it didn’t stop my boss from pushing the psychiatric evaluation. What he expected it to accomplish right now, I had no clue—I was tired, cranky, and I didn’t give a damn about getting my old job back.

Dr. Combs cleared her throat, and my jaw clenched. Some things were left unspoken—better suited to the imagination of nightmares and horror movies than to be discussed openly with any other living person.

I didn’t even want to admit the number of women to myself; even though I could see every one of the girls in my mind.

Kat, the red-headed braggart who thought she owned every man who walked into the Retreat.

Gabby, the indignant curly haired brunette.

Raini, a gorgeous but frail girl who was transferred in right after I went undercover. I had feared that one more night in Ross’ bed would kill her before her first week was up.

Alley, a blond sweetheart who belonged to Miles, my unconventional friend.

Silver, the girl who simultaneously ruined and saved me.

She was the only reason I was alive, and the only reason I had what was left of my soul—except she wasn’t real. Like my undercover alias, Kirk, she was forged from necessity and determination. Now she was gone, and that missing piece was more painful than the hole the bullet had ripped through my side.

That crazy, obstinate woman wouldn’t back down. During the raid on the “sex retreat”, Ross had turned the gun on me, but she knocked him off balance and I ended up with a graze along my left side rather than a hole through my heart. The bullet splintered two ribs in the process, and left a long and bloody gash, but they’d managed to clean it up in surgery, and so far it was healing without complications.

Now, somewhere out there Rose was learning to live her own life again.

At least that’s what I hoped. The day after I was shot, my superiors had me transferred to another hospital and put under protective custody until they were sure I was “safe”.

I was fairly positive they were more concerned that any real threat to my life would come from me since there were very few people who knew of my undercover involvement in the operation.

The only company I was allowed was Dr. Combs, my new shrink. I didn’t want a shrink. I wanted the woman who saved me—the only person who stood a chance of bringing me any kind of peace.

The woman I could never have.

All I wanted to do was close my eyes and wait for the doctor to leave. But that would put me in a worse situation since she’d just report me for being difficult.

One fucking week.

I still had a hole in my fucking side for Christ sake.

“I want to talk to Trent—this no visitor thing is bull shit.”

“It’s for your own safety, and we can’t do anything until you cooperate.”

“Don’t preach to me about cooperating.” One of the machines next to me screeched and a stabbing pain radiated through my arm, but I’d felt much worse. “I gave up my life to do what was asked of me and I succeeded.”

“You need to relax,” she warned, reaching a hand toward me.

I shook it off as best as I could in my current condition. I didn’t fucking want to relax. I wanted what little I had of my life back.