Xander Barrett had it all.
Until it was stolen by the devil.
His life. His lover. His freedom.
A chance encounter secures his release.
But, it comes at a cost–a debt he must settle before he’s allowed to take his revenge.
Luckily, it’s a price he’s willing to pay.
Stripping a man of everything but his pride isn’t smart. It creates a monster that’s bigger and meaner than the original. Satan has spawned his match, and he’s ready to cause an exodus.
DISCLAIMER: This story contains triggering content and is not suitable for all readers, especially those under eighteen years of age.
This story is the second installment in the Centrifuge Duet, and while it can be read as a standalone, reading Amnesia, Centrifuge Duet #1 first is recommended.
Why? Because I no longer have a nagging voice in my head or the hollow feeling in my gut when I do something wrong. The two things that I associated with my conscience are gone. Poof. Like a puff of smoke, they up and left me sometime between the first time I was arrested and last night, when I watched a man I didn’t know—a man who’d never done a thing to me—bleed out over his desk after I’d slit his throat.
Nowadays, I don’t believe that many of us possess a conscience. There’s too many people willing to throw their own granny under the bus for a dollar for me to hang on to the idealistic view of the human race that I held for the first thirty-two years of my life. In this current incarnation of the world we inhabit, a conscience is no longer an asset.
It’s a liability.
Nah, me neither.
Unfortunately, I don’t get a say in the matter. Not when each afternoon at precisely three o’clock, I’m hauled out of my cell, dragged down the long, white hallway, and handcuffed to the table in one of the private visitation rooms provided by the prison. The flat-screen TV mounted in the corner of the room is turned on and I get a ringside view of my ex-fiancée getting reamed by her new husband.
I say “reamed”, not because I’m being a prick. I say it because that’s exactly what it is. He drives his cock into her like he’s trying to brand her from the inside. Hard. Fast. And, furious. He’s always furious. There’s a deep rage burning in the gaze that Dr. Jaxon Ray always manages to send straight down the barrel of the camera. If I was prone to flights of fancy—which I’m not—I’d say that he does it deliberately in some sick determination to let me know that he knows how I feel watching them.
Every thrust is a clear message, anyway.
I won. You lost.
Keys rattle in the door of my cell. They herald the start of another free porn show. Bile rises in my throat, the sickening churning in my gut commencing like clockwork at the thought of what’s to come.
Here we go again. Another epic fucking day in this freakshow that is currently my life.
“Barrett.” A cursory glance in the direction of the man who speaks tells me that the guard is not one I’ve met before.
I ignore him and remain lying on my back on the lumpy mattress, one arm behind my head in an attempt at nonchalant posture while the other is hidden by my side with my fingers curled into a fist ready for whatever this change in guard’s may bring. The flaky grey ceiling above me has two distinct dark shadows on it. One is mine, unmoving and unwilling. The second is the guard. I track the latter black blob moving toward me, the handcuffs he holds jingling ominously with each step he takes.
“Move your ass, Barrett.”
“Fuck you.” My response earns me a boot to the side. I hear the second guard enter my cell, his chuckle of enjoyment giving away his identity. It’s the usual prick who escorts me. The one who likes to wait with me and narrate the carnal joining as it unfolds on the screen. My nostrils flare when pain blooms from the connection of the first guards foot with my ribs. I roll into a ball. My mouth shut—lips sealed through sheer willpower. I’ll swallow my tongue before I give them a reaction.
“I’m not kidding.” The threat precedes a follow-up kick that has me rolling away until my knees hit the wall at the far side of the bed. “Your visitor doesn’t like to be kept waiting. I’d move my ass if I was you. This might be your only chance to get out of here.”
The pain in my body leaves immediately. I struggle to sit up, swinging my legs over the edge of the bed once I’m facing them. Apprehension pumps through my veins when I meet their smug gazes.
“Visitor?” The raspy quality to my voice is less than optimal. Clearing my throat, I try again, this time with some authority in my tone. “What visitor? I don’t have anyone approved.”
The closest guard—Mr. Chatty Porn Lover—answers first. “No shit, Sherlock. Who said anything about her being approved?”
His companion shrugs, then holds the cuffs out to me. “She might not be approved, but I think you’ll want to see her.”
My heart lurches in my chest, skipping a beat before it settles into a frenetic pace that has me sweating like a fat kid at an all-you-can-eat buffet. There’s one question running around my head at a million miles an hour.
A glance in the direction of the guards tells me that I won’t get any further answers out of them. I swallow my growing curiosity and the overwhelming desire to knock out the two pricks who separate me from the woman who owns every functioning cell in my body. I know acting on my urgency will only slow the damn process so I force myself to cooperate.
Standing, I hold out my arms with the wrists parallel. He snaps the handcuffs on and then follows the chain that connects them until he’s squatting at my feet. Sharp, efficient movements have the other set of larger steel cuffs locked around my ankles in seconds. Once I’m secured, the guard yanks on the chain that joins my bound hands and feet in a silent command to follow him. I shuffle along, one guard in front of me and one behind, intently watching me like I’m the convicted murderer I’m purported to be.
When we pass the visitor’s room that I’m usually led into, I almost let my curiosity get the better of me and ask where the hell we’re going. Thankfully, answers are provided before I give them the opportunity to shoot me down with sick glee.
The door that leads into the room next to the one I normally occupy is opened by the guard who’s leading me. I stand as tall as I can, shoulders back and head held high, determined to resemble my old self as much as I can when I come face to face with Amber for the first time in almost two years.
It takes a ridiculous amount of resolve to stop the shaking that threatens to take hold of my body as I lift my head to greet my woman. Our eyes meet. I blink furiously, unable to believe what I’m seeing. Playing it cool is no longer an option. Not with the guard behind me blocking any opportunity for escape. Instead, I let my mouth fall open and verbalise the question that’s beating a thunderous cacophony of confusion around my skull.
“Who the fuck are you?”
“Such rudeness is unbecoming from a man in your position.” The woman seated at the table in the middle of the room sniffs, her annoyance with my lack of manners clear. She smooths her skirt over her thighs before settling a satisfied gaze on me. “Considering I’m your new boss and your passport out of this establishment.”
Mum to two crazy, adorable, and creative kids.
Crohn’s Disease sufferer and awareness campaigner.
She’s also an avid tea drinker, a connoisseur of 80’s/90’s rock music, and is known for lacing everything she says with sarcasm and inappropriate innuendo.
Formerly working in finance, she was forced to reevaluate her plans for her life when severe Crohn’s Disease brought her corporate career to a screeching halt. Restarting her childhood hobbies of writing and reading to alleviate the monotony of being sick and housebound, she found her calling and is enjoying life to the max. A typical day is spent in the “real” world where she hangs out with her awesome family and “book” world where she gets to chill with her fictional characters.
Kylie writes the books she wants to read. A lover of strong men who aren’t perfect and aren’t afraid to admit it, straight talking women who embrace their vulnerabilities, and real life gritty stories, she hopes these themes shine through her writing. An avid reader of all genres, Kylie hopes to release books that keep the reader on the edge of their seat- be it with suspense, heart-stopping thrills, or laughter.