Scorched Earth: Wrath & Vengeance Series Book 3
Scorched Earth: Wrath & Vengeance Series Book 3
Scorched Earth: Wrath & Vengeance Series Book 3

Scorched Earth: Wrath & Vengeance Series Book 3

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The Furies are back. But the rules have changed...

Four years have passed since Evelyn Figueroa and Aleksandr Sokolovsky were able to achieve the impossible and escape the clutches of the Furies. Physically and emotionally scarred, the duo has been able to enjoy a peaceful reprieve from the deadly monsters that tormented them.

But the Furies have returned, and they’ve changed the rules of the game. Not only are Evelyn and Aleksandr fighting for their own lives, but even their loved ones are being hunted. Determined to secure their freedom, they come up with a dangerous plan – find whoever started the curse and end it by any means necessary.

Their plight takes them from the blood-stained sands of their ghost town, into a desolate island off the coast of Australia. But no matter what they do, the Furies are close behind, toying with them, playing with their emotions, and feeding off their fear. Aleksandr and Evelyn realize that even their resolve won’t be enough to fight back the monsters that will stop at nothing to kill them.

Death is closing in. And no one is safe.

157 pages

Chapter 1

There was never silence in a mental hospital.

Classical music drifted out of the overhead speakers, trying to cover the beep of monitors and a thousand murmured conversations. Everything was new and pristine, but that never stopped the gears of the wheelchairs from creaking.

Evelyn hated the sound. She cringed every time the nurses wheeled one of the patients down the long corridor, the tires squeaking against the highly polished tiles. The now familiar scent of disinfectant and lemons made her stomach churn, and the plastic of the chair carried the chill of the air conditioning.

Ten minutes. It taunted her. Ten minutes. I only lasted ten damn minutes. It was a failure she couldn't tolerate. A complication that lingered after her last encounter with the Furies. Before the creatures of ancient Greek legend had returned to her life, she had been able to tolerate her mother's presence for hours. Now, their visits were measured in minutes.

Evelyn raked her hands through her short hair, the crinkled curls coiling around her fingers. It didn't help to stop the memories. The Furies had only forced her to relive the single moment in time. A day when the chemicals in her mother's brain had shifted out of sync, turning the whispered voices into a screaming army. On that day, Ana Figueroa had been convinced that the only way to save her young daughter was to kill her before the demons could.

Evelyn couldn't breathe as memories played across her mind. She hunched forward, braced her elbows against her thighs, and clutched her hands together until the joints ached. The Furies had chosen that one forgotten moment in time, but it had broken a dam inside her, and Evelyn was drowning in everything she had suppressed

I'm terrified of my mother. Guilt crushed against her lungs and forced her down a little more. She hung her head between her knees and sucked in deep breaths. It didn't help. Not in a place like this. Not with reminders of her greatest fear pressing down around her like floodwaters. Encountering Furies had taught her more about herself than she would have ever learned. She knew herself. Knew what she feared more than her mother or death or even the demonic forces themselves. The truest terror she had ever known was the idea that her mother's unidentified condition was hereditary. That one day she'd have a room here, all for herself.

As she sat there, head drooped between her legs, Evelyn focused on sucking air into her cold lungs. The simple, repetitive task was soothing. Her heart began to slow. Feeling better, she slumped back in her seat and rested her head against the wall, staring up at the sunroofs that spotted the ceiling. Gray clouds littered the winter sky, casting shadows down the length of the corridor as they drifted. It was peaceful and her mind turned quiet. Only one part of her memory remained.

Swan Lake.

It was the tune her jewelry box had played. She had knocked it over while trying to hide from her mother, making it the honorary theme song for her mother's murder attempt. Clenching her jaw, she struggled to drown out the notes. Forget how the metallic cling of the jewelry box had slowed. How it had continued even as her mother had torn the room apart in search of her.

An icy chill crackled along her spine as she realized that the song wasn't playing in her head. Her eyes were drawn to the speaker system set high on the wall.

Swan Lake continued, each note the distinctive ping of a music box instead of a piano. Her eyes widened. Swan Lake grew louder. Turning from a soft melody to the pounding of drums. Louder. Louder. Drowning out her thundering heart and all the sounds of the hospital. Louder still. Then nothing. One blink and she was flung back into normality. Blinking her dry eyes rapidly, Evelyn glanced around. The music had changed to something she didn't know. Everyone was moving about as normal. People coming and going from the communal conservatory at the end of the hall.

Calm down, she commanded herself with an edge of bitterness. Don't lose it here or they won't let you leave. Sighing, she ran her hands over her face and smoothed down the hem of her dress. The squeak of a wheelchair made her wince, every repetition of the sound eroding her nerves a little more. She kept her eyes on the chessboard pattern tiles as the person drew closer. Go on, a mocking voice laughed in the back of her head. Take a look. You'll be joining them soon enough.

Her eyes stayed on the floor, tracing the lines of grout between the large white and black tiles. The wheelchair squeaked again. Followed by the slow, sucking slide of the rubber against ceramic. Squeak and slide. Lethargic and monotonous. The shiny plate of the footrest had just entered her vision when the patient began to whistle, the sound just as slow as they progressed.

Swan Lake.

Evelyn snapped her head up. A scream lodged in her throat when she met the dark, deranged eyes of Olga Sokolovsky.

"You're dead." The words croaked out of her throat as Olga latched onto Evelyn's forearm.

It's not real. No amount of reassurance could convince her that the sharp nails weren't digging into her flesh. Pain shot up her arm, intensifying as she tried to wrench free. Olga grinned. A savage baring of her teeth. The hot, humid puff of Olga's breath washed across Evelyn's face, playing across her senses, another layer of proof that it wasn't in her mind. Evelyn clenched her jaw, fighting back a tremble that threatened to shake her apart.

"I saw you die."

Olga giggled, tightening her nails as they sliced into Evelyn's forearm. Blood seeped down her skin and dripped onto the pristine floor.

"Welcome home, Eve!" Olga laughed.

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