Home > Crossing the Line (Whitecap #1)

Crossing the Line (Whitecap #1)
Author: Jessica Prince

 

Prologue

 

 

Cheyanne

 

 

Three and a half years ago

 

I’d managed to rack up more regrets in my twenty-two years on this earth than most people could accumulate in an entire lifetime.

It seemed like, no matter how many mistakes I made, the lessons I was supposed to have learned never really stuck. I wasn’t sure if my problem came from poor decision making or if maybe I was just cursed, but I guess, in the end, it didn’t really matter.

The downward spiral that was my life started when I was just a little girl. My parents had died when I was only seven years old, and after that, everything went downhill pretty damn quickly. My twin sister and I were shipped off to live with our next of kin, a cousin of my mother’s we didn’t even know, and to say the woman and her husband were lacking in affection was a laughable understatement. They seemed to forget we were even around half the time, and when they did remember . . . let’s just say it wasn’t pleasant. They didn’t beat us or anything like that, but their complete disregard was so bad, it was almost negligible.

It wasn’t long after we moved in that, out of nowhere, my sister was taken away, and I never saw her again. Losing my parents had been a crushing blow. But losing Charlotte was like having an arm and a leg ripped off my body. She was my twin, my other half, and without her, I never could manage to feel whole.

As I got older, I clung to the relationships I’d formed with an iron grip. I’d hold on too tight, eventually stifling friends or boyfriends to the point they’d take off. I couldn’t really blame them. It was way too much responsibility to put on anyone: taking care of the broken little girl who was desperately looking for someone to love her. But still, it never failed to break my heart, time and time again, whenever one of them let me go.

That all built up to me making the first of my most profound mistakes when I was only nineteen.

I let myself be pulled in by a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Graham Knightly had a talent for saying and doing all the right things. He promised me everything I’d ever wanted: love and affection, money and security . . . family. He’d distracted me with shiny bobbles and velvet words, and the view from behind my rose-colored glasses was so beautiful I didn’t see him for what he really was until it was too late—pure evil.

We’d gotten curious stares at the start of our relationship. After all, I was only nineteen and he was already thirty-one, but I convinced myself they were just jealous that I had him and they didn’t. In the beginning I’d liked the age difference. It meant he was already established. He had a successful career in politics, a beautiful house, a bank account—which was a whole hell of a lot more than I could say for the boys my own age.

We’d only been dating a few months when he proposed, just weeks shy of my twentieth birthday. I’d said yes with stars in my eyes, thinking that day was the first day of a new life—a better life.

That was the second worst mistake I’d ever made, because the honeymoon wasn’t even over before he pulled the veil back and revealed the truth that had been lurking behind it the whole time.

He didn’t want to love me or give me a better life. He’d wanted a pretty, young thing on his arm during fundraisers and galas and public events as he ran for office, someone who’d make him look like a family man in the eyes of the voters, a trophy to hang off his arm and look good in photos. He’d wanted a woman that other men would covet and other women would be jealous of. Someone naïve and easy to manipulate. He’d wanted a girl with no family to her name so there’d be nobody to ask questions, someone he could control completely.

When I wasn’t doing my part in all of that, I was his own personal punching bag, the doormat he liked to wipe his shoes on at the end of every night.

The beautiful life I thought I’d have turned into the very worst nightmare I’d been trapped inside of for two years. During an event last year, someone made a joke that all sociopaths were either serial killers or politicians. At the time, everyone had laughed, thinking it was hysterical and totally unfounded, but I was the only one who knew the truth. I was the only one standing in that circle of people beside the man I’d married while he played the role of doting husband and knew the joke that had just been told was based on unquestionable fact.

I was the only one who knew the much-adored senator liked to beat the hell out of his wife night after night, that he smiled as he punched and kicked her, that he laughed hysterically as she writhed around on the floor of their bedroom in agony. I was the only one who knew the word “no” could set Graham Knightly into a rage, leading him to take whatever the hell he wanted anyway.

Sure, there were people who suspected, members of his security team, friends he kept close who were just as sick and twisted as he was, but I was the only one who knew as a definitive fact that he was a monster down to his very soul.

And now, sitting on the bed behind the locked door of our extravagant bedroom—my very own gilded cage—staring down at the little plastic stick in my hands, I was also the only one who knew about the tiny life currently growing inside of me.

And that changed everything.

Before this, I’d been resigned to my life. Well, that wasn’t really true, it was more that I’d been beaten down to the point I just didn’t give a damn anymore. However, that was back when it was just me, when I wasn’t responsible for the wellbeing and safety of another human being. But now I had someone else to live for, someone to protect and keep safe from all the evils in the world, even if that evil was its own flesh and blood.

Staying was no longer an option.

For the life growing inside of me, there was only one choice.

I had to run.

 

 

Chapter One

 

 

Sawyer

 

 

Now

 

“Hey, Sawyer.”

“Morning, Sawyer.”

“Hi, Ms. Darcy.”

The early morning hustle and bustle of Whitecap, Oregon was in full swing, and it was so different than what I’d been used to back in Ohio. There were more people on the sidewalks, heading to work on foot, than there were cars on the streets. It was the quintessential small town, where everyone knew everyone and neighbors brought baked goods to all the newcomers to welcome them to the block.

It was that warmth and acceptance that made me pick this place over all the others I’d stopped in when I was on the run. The fact that you could hear the waves crashing along the shore and smell the salty sea air also played a big part in my decision. It gave the whole town a peacefulness that I wanted to give my child once she finally came into the world.

So once I landed in Whitecap, I’d shed the skin of the past, of Cheyanne Knightly, and became Sawyer Darcy, a soon-to-be single mother who was just looking for a place to settle down and build a life.

The people had accepted me graciously, and the picturesque seaside town had become my home, as well as my hiding place from the evils lurking in the world—one in particular who I knew would probably never stop looking for me.

I waved and smiled, returning greetings from the people I passed by.

“Hey there!” I looked across the street to Monica Killborne who was in the process right that moment of opening Drip, the local coffee shop, for the day. “How’s it going, Sawyer?”

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