Marked (Primal Obsessions #2) - Cara Wylde



“You can do this, Rosalie!”

I’d been giving myself pep talks all throughout the night and the early morning. Now, after Jack, my husband, had left for work, I needed to set my plan into motion. I had made a decision and I would stick to it. I would not chicken out again.

“Yes, Rosalie? You got this, girl. No more fear.”

I got up from the bed a good five minutes after I’d heard his car in the driveway getting further and further away. I reached under the bed with my right hand and pulled the small Ziploc bags.

Today was the day I was leaving him. Forever.

Today was the day I was leaving him, my house, my youthful hopes, my past, but most importantly, my pain behind. I cradled my left arm to my chest.

Last night he’d come home angry again. I didn’t even know what lesson he was supposedly teaching me, but that didn’t matter. I’d learned my lessons. Staying here meant pain and suffering, and five years of abuse was enough.

I opened the door to our walk-in closet, dragged my backpack out from underneath the old crap I had hidden it under, and started filling it with the few things I wanted to bring with me into my new life – mostly clothes, bare necessities, hygiene items, but also photo albums from happier days. Or just photos. I’d married Jack when I was nineteen and madly in love, and I’d thought the sun revolved around him. I’d been so happy and woefully naïve. Since then, I’d realized my mistake. Everything had to be for him and about him, and God forbid I disobeyed his orders.

But not anymore.

No more.

No more pain, no more beatings.

“You can do this, Rosalie!”

I went into the kitchen and threw in some fruit, biscuits, dry and canned food into my bag. Then I retrieved my cash stash from the cereal box, ignoring the two credit cards I had, which were so easily traceable.

He never ate cereal in the morning, or ever, really, which made the unassuming cardboard box the best hiding place in the whole house. Because he rummaged, oh, how he rummaged, always fearful I was hiding things from him. He meant affairs, but I’d never even looked at another man.

I sighed and glanced around one last time. The days we’d spent together here, figuring out how to decorate the space, where to put more recessed lighting, the money we saved together for better furniture and appliances… I was running away and leaving everything to the bastard who ruined… well… everything.

I was getting worked up again, but that was fine. It was better to get angry and bitter than afraid and whimpering again. I did not want to back out now. I couldn’t. I just couldn’t.

I dragged the heavy backpack behind me, locked my front door for the last time, took a deep breath, then glanced around one last time at the quiet, still sleepy neighborhood, full of people who pretended to be my friends, but gossiped about me and Jack behind our backs, never helping, never meddling. I would not be missing them.

Truly no one was out there. No early bird neighbors jogging who could easily tell on me, none of Jack’s brute friends somehow just dropping by, looking for him, even though they full well knew he was at work.

We lived in a small, quiet neighborhood, and I would have thought we didn’t belong, but the place wasn’t one where nice and kind people lived, so Jack did just fine.

I was finally going to be free!

After half an hour of walking and thankfully only bumping into a jogger or two, I reached my first destination: Walmart. I wasn’t stupid enough to think I could run away on foot, and I didn’t want to leave a paper trail for Jack to follow, or to learn my destination from a bus terminal clerk, so I was going to do something insane and wild, and maybe stupid, but I was out of options.

I was going to steal a car.

I raised my head up high and walked around the parking lot as if I was just getting back to my car, sneaking glances left and right, looking for that one distracted person who was busy loading up groceries.

Finally, I found my opportunity. An old lady was struggling with her toilet paper haul. Was I really going to steal an old lady’s car? I looked around again, but everyone else had more sense than this woman, whose driver seat window