Home > Ruin & Rule (Pure Corruption MC #1)(14)

Ruin & Rule (Pure Corruption MC #1)(14)
Author: Pepper Winters

I whispered, “You need to sit down. I’d guess you only have a few more minutes before you pass out.”

“Shut up.”

My heart did a weird skip-shuffle. Part of me willed him to fall unconscious. Escape and freedom would come gift-wrapped and easy if he was no longer an issue. But it went back to the one thing I desperately craved.

Answers to my voidless world.

The stronger part of me had no intention of letting this man pass out and leaving me with nothing.

He stalked to the stairs, breathing harder with every movement. He paused with a foot on the bottom rung. He looked up to the landing, a flicker of rage shadowed his features.

“You can’t climb up there. You’ll pass out. Who knows if you’ll break a bone or two when you fall.”

He shot me a hate-filled glare, gripping the banister. His entire body looked as if he wanted to dismantle his house and burn the staircase.

He took another step, hauling himself up with the aid of the curved handrail. His leather jacket creaked as he breathed hard.

I prepared for him to pass out. I didn’t know if I should stand close by to try and catch him, or avoid him to let him crash on his own.

I couldn’t decide, so I just watched. And waited.

He paused, then sighed angrily. Throwing a quick glance at me, he stomped back in his large boots and grabbed my wrist. “Don’t think you’re smarter than me,” he grunted.

Dragging me silently to another door, he kicked it open to reveal a huge sterile room with soft pewter on the walls and massive frames hanging in perfect symmetry.

The lights in the house were hidden, so it seemed to light up as if by magic with no discernable lightbulb. Kill didn’t give me time to study the picture frames, dragging me over the bare, white-tiled floor to the huge kidney-shaped desk with four large computer screens all linked together with two keyboards in front of them.

The soft hum of machinery and glare of the screens were the only liveliness in the entire mansion.

“Where is everybody?” I asked as he threw me into an office chair, sending the coaster wheels sliding a little with my weight.

There was an emptiness about the house—a silence that wasn’t possible if there were other people dwelling within.

Kill grabbed the only other chair, sitting heavily. His jaw was tight, eyes narrowed against the immense pain he must be feeling.

“I live alone.” Grabbing his gun, he placed it loudly and pointedly on the desk. “Doesn’t mean you’re not in danger. Believe me when I say that makes it more dangerous than ever for you.”

I nodded, looking briefly at the picture frame towering over him. Equations. Billons of mathematical equations, all scribbled and transcribed in a mismatch of cursive, print, and handwriting. No color. Just black and white.

At first glance, it looked like an image might exist in the bold equations but it was only an optical illusion.

Kill grunted, “Stop looking over my shoulder and pay attention.”

I obeyed, looking into his vibrant green eyes, feeling once again that link of remembrance… connection… love.


I slapped away the thought. I didn’t know the meaning of it. I’d forgotten people I once loved. I’d forgotten my parents, any lovers, or siblings, or friends. How could I forget them, yet feel as if I loved this horrible, bleeding man who’d kidnapped and meant to sell me?

I am broken.

I wanted to rattle myself and see if the shards of my soul tinkled like chipped china. I needed to find a way to put myself back together again, and fast.

Kill sucked in a deep breath as a fresh wave of pain made his fists clench. “You said you can help. Why?”

I rested my hands on my naked thighs, wishing the T-shirt covered me more. “I’m a vet. Or at least I was a vet, or training to be one… Regardless, I know how to stem bleeding.”

I hope.

No, I knew. Something inside throbbed with the knowledge of how to heal, how to stitch and tend.

He raised an eyebrow. “How old are you? You look too young to have that qualification.” His head cocked, belying the eagerness behind his innocent question. Was that to figure out how he knew me or purely disbelieving about my skills?

I don’t know.

I waved my hand. “Do you really need to know? I thought you said you didn’t care who we were or what our names are. Tell me where your first aid kit is, and I’ll help you.”

I wanted answers but I didn’t want to show my weakness by asking. If I didn’t prompt, how much extra could I learn by his error and slipups?

He locked his jaw, deliberation glowing in his eyes. Finally, he sat up and with a pained groan slipped his bloodstained jacket off his shoulders.

I gasped, rolling forward on my chair. “Oh my God.” The sight of blood didn’t faze me but the knowledge that he hurt cut me in a way I couldn’t describe.

He gritted his teeth, looking down at his shredded T-shirt. “Aw, shit. Hoped it wouldn’t be that bad.”

So much blood.

He swayed a little, his head bowing, before he muttered, “Bathroom to the right. Under the sink.”

“I—I think… you need to go to the hospital.” The amount of blood made the wound look unsurvivable. Stomping around, driving motorbikes in the dead of morning, and keeping me hostage certainly hadn’t helped the situation.

He looked up, gaze blazing green. “No fucking doctors. Go get the—”

His eyes rolled back, his jaw went slack, and he slumped forward.

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