Secrets and Scars: A Gripping Psychological Thriller (Fatal Hearts Series Book 3)

Secrets and Scars: A Gripping Psychological Thriller (Fatal Hearts Series Book 3) by Dori Lavelle Read Free Book Online

Book: Secrets and Scars: A Gripping Psychological Thriller (Fatal Hearts Series Book 3) by Dori Lavelle Read Free Book Online
Authors: Dori Lavelle
low esteem. I craved validation. I wanted people to accept me, to love me. When I started writing the articles, I became someone people saw. They spoke to me. They wanted to be friends. It’s stupid, I know that now. But after college, I thought maybe it was the only thing I was good at.”
    “Publishing stories that shock and hurt people? For crying out loud, Alvin’s mother killed herself because of your actions. How could you continue? Your magazine ruins lives every day.”
    “Alvin’s mother was innocent, but to make myself feel better about Sage , I told myself I was only exposing bad people.” I curled my hands into fists, my nails digging into my palms. “But every time I published a story, it hurt me too. I found it hard to enjoy my success. Only… I couldn’t walk away. I couldn’t stop.”
    “Why not? Was it the money?”
    “No. I lived for the acceptance, the validation, the success. I needed it so much. I kept going, continued to dig my hole until it was so deep I couldn’t climb out.” I rocked myself back and forth.
    Owen did not reach out for me, but somehow his comfort made its way to me from a distance.
    He was condemning my actions, not me.
    Why did I care what he thought, anyway?
    Owen cleared his throat. “How do you feel about it now? After everything that’s happened, what’s going through your mind, right this second?”
    I shrugged. “I... I feel that things can’t stay the same. I can’t do it. I don’t have the stomach for gossip anymore after fully grasping what it did to Alvin... the tragic ripple effect. If I survive this, I’ll leave it all behind. I’ll get out of the business. I wish I could rewrite history, make better decisions.”
    “Shhh… The past is the past. Thankfully he didn’t die. And realizing your mistakes is a step in the right direction.” Owen reached out now and touched my hand. His hand was warm, his fingers rough against my skin. “To me, you’ll always be Chloe, not Kelly.”
    “Thank you. Chloe is the only person I want to be.” My lips quivered with relief. “I’m sorry you lost Miles. I know how close you two were. He loved you like a brother.”
    Owen drew me into a hug. “I’m sorry you lost the man you loved,” he whispered into my ear. My skin tingled at the caress of his breath.
    Within our embrace, we shared each other’s pain.
    After holding on to each other for a while, I broke our contact. “I still think Miles is a good man. Alvin is not… not anymore, but Miles is. I don’t think he approves of what Alvin is doing.”
    “What do you mean?”
    “While Alvin tortured me on the yacht, sometimes Miles came out. Well, his personality. He never stayed long, but when he did, he took care of me. He fed and washed me. He comforted me, like the man we both knew and loved. “
    “You mean Miles is fighting against Alvin?”
    “I think he’s trapped inside. But Alvin is dominant.”
    Owen groaned. “This multiple personality disorder thing is fucked up. I can’t wrap my mind around it.”
    “I know. It took me a while to get used to two people inside one body. I’m angry with Alvin, but I’m also terrified that Miles could end up paying for everything Alvin is doing.”
    “Alvin belongs in a mental institution. He needs help.” Owen’s voice rose above a whisper. “How did I not see this coming? Miles seemed so normal. He ran the company flawlessly. How could this happen?”
    “I don't know.” I inhaled. “And you’re right, he does need help. But I don’t think Alvin will allow himself to get locked up.”
    “You could be right. He’s too far gone.” Owen touched my hand again. “Can I ask you something?”
    “Anything.”
    “How do you feel about him now? Do you still love Miles?”
    A hard question to answer. “The part of me that used to love him is crushed and unrecognizable even to me. All I feel for him now is pity.”
     

Chapter Thirteen
     
    By the time dawn made an entrance, I was awake and lying

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