Consumed by Deception (Deception Trilogy #3) - Rina Kent
Prologue – Adrian
I’m thrust into the cold, dark night.
At first, I can’t keep up with my dazed head as I blink the sleep out of my eyes.
I take a moment to focus on my surroundings and make sure I’m not daydreaming about the last book I read.
Books have been my only escape since Aunt Annika left. She died all alone in a brutal car crash and my father wasn’t there for her. Instead, he was with us. My parents had taken me to the hospital to put a cast on my arm that Mom broke.
I didn’t cry. The pain in my arm didn’t hurt as much as the constant, unending ache in my chest, and the fact that Aunt Annika wouldn’t be there to hug me, that she couldn’t take the pain away anymore is what put a halt to my crying.
Dad was proud of how strong I was and that his son didn’t shed any tears. I thought about telling him everything, but before he came to take me to the hospital, Mom said she’d get rid of me as she got rid of Aunt Annika if I mentioned anything to Dad.
I wanted to hit him and Mom. I wanted to throw them both from the car because back then, I thought I’d have Aunt Annika again if they disappeared.
But she was already gone and merely has a tombstone now. One that no one visits anymore.
All the warmth and joy she brought to the house has vanished ever since Mom took her place.
Dad married my mom, even though his friends from the Bratva don’t like her.
She’s too smart for her own good. I heard one of them say.
I guess it’s because she insists on knowing everything and gets involved in as much as possible.
She fights with Dad a lot because he doesn’t want her to be ‘part of the business.’ Once, Mom said that if he would listen to her, he could be the Pakhan and he hit her across the face.
I don’t like it when Dad hits Mom. Because she hits back and then they’re both screaming, breaking things, and bleeding.
If I get in their way, Mom shoves me against the nearest wall and Dad hits her harder.
But I guess it’s better if they’re fighting, because when they’re not, Mom slaps me for the slightest mistake and Dad makes me memorize books and meet his friends from the brotherhood.
Judging by the pain in my arm, it’s Mom who’s dragging me. She’s the violent one, at least at home. Dad gets violent with her but never with me. He loses his temper whenever she hurts me, and that’s why she only does it behind his back.
I blink as I’m hauled to my feet, unsure why she’s yanked me out of bed and barely given me time to put on my shoes before she’s leading me outside.
She doesn’t usually bother me after I’m asleep.
“Hurry up, Adrian!” Mom shoves me forward, her red nails digging into my wrist and her expression pale under the soft light coming from the street.
“Mom…? Where are we going?”
“Now, hush!” Her gaze darts sideways, then she dashes to her Jeep and pushes me into the passenger seat. “Fasten your seatbelt.”
Before I can ask again, she hurries to the driver’s side and gets in. The tires screech and the car races in the direction of the exit.
My hands are unsteady when I loop the seatbelt around me. Mom doesn’t bother with hers as she drives down the empty street at a speed that physically draws me back and steals my breath.
I hold onto the seat with both hands while I study my surroundings. It’s dark but for a streetlight every so often. No other people or vehicles are in sight. I crane my head and see ‘2:25 a.m.’ in neon red on the dash in front of Mom, who keeps hitting the gas harder with each passing second.
She’s never been a careful driver. If anything, she’s the type who honks and shouts at people and calls them names. However, this is the first time I’ve seen her knuckles white and trembling on the steering wheel.
“Mom? Where are we going?”
Her head tilts in my direction and she’s wearing a weird expression, as if she’s just realized I’m here. Then she focuses back on the road. “Away from your fucking father.”
I know they’ve been fighting lately and that Dad’s guards have been whispering about her, but I thought they would reconcile, as usual. They have phases where they’re tolerant