Home > Beyond Innocence (Beyond #6)

Beyond Innocence (Beyond #6)
Kit Rocha

Blurb

For years, Jared has existed on the fringes of both Eden society and Dallas O'Kane's Sector Four gang. He travels between these worlds, protected by his money and power--money he earned selling his body, and power that comes from knowing secrets. He's untouchable—until he starts a new life gathering intelligence for the O'Kanes.

Lili Fleming walked out of Sector Five with a gun, the bloodstained clothes on her back, and an icy determination to survive. She finds herself in a world where people live hard and love harder, and nothing's more terrifying than how much the O'Kanes wake her up, make her feel—especially Jared.

Emotion is a risk he can't afford, and a complication she doesn't need. But neither can resist the lust simmering between them, and the sparks that could either melt the ice around both their hearts…or get them killed. Because the only thing more dangerous than loving an O'Kane is loving a spy.

Chapter One

Two pills stood between Lili and damnation.

She tried not to look at them as she applied her eyeliner, her hand steady from years of practice. The rest of her was shaking, but the line was perfect—smooth black kohl along her lower lash line. She could smudge it into a smoky shadow, but that might be too subtle for the night's festivities.

Her gaze dipped to the two white tablets lined up beside the empty bottle. Just two. She'd come to Sector Four with so few possessions to her name—a gun, a nightgown, and a fur coat. But that coat had deep pockets, and she'd filled them with high-end drugs before she fled her home. At the edge of the desk, seven empty bottles traced the desperation of her last few months, her attempts to cope.

After tonight, she'd have to do it on her own.

She jerked her gaze back to the mirror. No, subtle wouldn't cut it. These O'Kane women were bold. Brazen. Survival meant adaptation. She had learned to play wife when her life depended on it. Now she would learn to play something else.

Whore.

She could hear her dead husband snarling the word at her, taunting her with the most degrading insult he could imagine. Nothing was so crass and despised in Sector Five as a woman who denied a man her body until money exchanged hands. Except perhaps a woman who denied a man her body altogether.

Making that mistake had almost gotten Lili killed.

Forcing back the memory, she thickened the line beneath her eye. She wasn't bold or brazen, but she wasn't meek and submissive, either, no matter how successfully she'd played that role. The makeup was her mask. If she applied enough of it, she could disappear into someone else.

The pills would make it easier. Lex hadn't wanted to let her keep them, but Lili had begged. She'd been numb enough to survive the shame of that. Hell, she'd been so numb there had been no shame. She'd lost her family and her life—she hadn't been ready to give up her peace of mind.

So Lex let her keep the pills, but she made it clear there would be no more. And Lili had tried to make them last. She rationed them out, saving them for when her own reserves of icy numbness just weren't enough.

Two pills left, and not even the strongest ones. She'd sacrificed the last of those to endure the most recent fight night, insulating herself from the raw violence and terrifying lust. Every horrifying warning her mother had ever whispered about sex paled in the face of brutal reality—a man, bloody from battle, slamming a woman against the side of the cage to sate his urges in front of the entire sector.

It was uncivilized. It was barbaric. But the women of this sector faked enjoyment with a finesse that made Lili look like a clumsy novice. Either that, or they were like the dead-eyed girls who'd clung to her father's men—so broken and hopeless they'd convinced themselves they wanted to be pawed at and violated, because wanting the inevitable made it easier to bear.

The liner pencil slipped from her grasp, and Lili realized she was trembling. Curling her hands into fists, she shoved back from her vanity and stalked to the bathroom. No fancy tub or pristine counters piled high with fluffy towels here. Her shower was tiny, the tiles newly laid and crooked. The bulb over her head was bare. The walls were unrelieved cement.

But she had a sink, and a glass on the edge of it. Lili filled it with water and returned to the bedroom. In the mirror, her reflection stared back at her, a stranger in garish makeup and leather, with too much skin on display.

She had the too-short skirt. The too-tall shoes. The dark lipstick and lined eyes, the corset that all but demanded men stare at breasts she'd never even shown to her husband. But she didn't have the ink, and she would never have the attitude.

Without those things, she'd never be an O'Kane. Just a confused girl playing dress-up.

Closing her eyes, Lili swept up the pills. They were bitter on her tongue, and she washed them down with the entire glass of water. The drugs were good, some of the best Sector Five had to offer, and especially popular inside Eden. She'd overheard her father's bodyguards laughing about it once.

I guess it makes that high-strung Eden pussy more agreeable.

Well, where's the fun in that?

Agreeable. A word that covered a multitude of sins, figurative and literal. The well-bred ladies of Eden took the drugs to numb themselves to the ways their husbands violated their bodies.

Lili needed to be numb to watch the O'Kanes violate each other.

She set the glass aside and checked her reflection one last time, while she still cared enough to make it perfect. Her hair was a disheveled mess of curls, the front held back from her face by twin braids that circled the crown of her head. Her fingers itched to smooth everything into place, more out of habit than desire. Tidy fit this place about as well as restrained did.

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