EXCLUSIVE: Chapter 1 – Slut by Jettie Woodruff

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000040_00005]Genre: Contemporary Romance

Series: The Twin Duo, Book 2

Add to Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/26125656-slut

Suit (Book 1) Amazon: http://amzn.to/1McPsH0

Chapter 1

A slut born out of masculine persuasion. That’s what I thought about while I sat in the dark, a jail-cell the size of my bathroom. The noise just down the hall, stirred my roommate, a young girl covered in tattoos. She moaned in her sleep and rolled over, sleeping off a drunken night. Indecent exposure, and disorderly conduct. I wanted that charge. My lungs filled with an unfamiliar odor as I contemplated the mess I had gotten myself into. I shouldn’t have gotten close to him. The man whose so-called success, confidence, and sex appeal turned me inside out. I did. I got close, I lost control and I stumbled—straight into the pits of hell. I was on my way to prison, and I was thinking about how I’d fallen in love with my husband, if he was my husband.

Now what?

My body finally collapsed to the springy mattress, dead with exhaustion, sometime early morning. Plastic crunched below me and my eyes closed as I held back tears once again. I heard so many different legal ramifications about things I didn’t understand that day, it was crazy. All of it had my mind in worse shape than it already was. The eight hour interrogation left my throat sore from all the yelling and crying. I pled my case with tears streaming down my face, with loud screams, and faint whimpers. The case that I had no idea how to get out of. I was being accused of impersonating my twin, possible murder without a body, and fraud over the hospital bills. I couldn’t even wrap that one around my head. Who in their right mind would go through what I had to screw an insurance company? Absurd.

Sleep never came. Maybe for a few minutes here and there, but that’s about it. I even tried a chant I didn’t remember my mother teaching me, but knew it to be true. I am at peace. I am at peace. I am at peace. I may not have wanted to remember anymore before, but the game changed. I had to. My life depended on it.

The smell of must, saturated my nostrils as I relaxed with the soothing voice in my head. Unfortunately, my mind was far from a meditative state. It wandered to how many people had slept on the same bed. Probably thousands. Saliva pooled in my mouth and my stomach felt nauseous, the stench, too strong to ignore.

The unfortunate smell hit me again a few hours later, maybe three, but not much more. I woke to a bright light and unfamiliar sounds, commotion of a brand new day.

“Delgardo, Let’s go.”

The unpleasant odor instantly vanished when I sat up, shocked and confused. “Go where?” I questioned with a frown, swallowing the apprehension with the dry lump.

The cocky female cop grimaced and looked at me like I had just asked for her gun.

“Does it really matter? Get out of here. I want to go home.”

No problem. I followed the female officer out, wearing a frown, afraid of where I would end up next.

What the… I watched him look over his shoulder, cautiously while he scribbled a signature across the bottom of a paper.

“Lane?”

Lane thanked the clerk behind the counter and looked at me. Stress filled eyes and a fake smile.

“How are you?”

“Don’t you mean who are you?”

“I know who you are. Sign your name so we can get the hell out of here.” The genuine smile did little to calm my nerves.

“What name?” That’s a question you don’t ever think about asking. I had no idea what to write.

“Just scribble it. Don’t even worry about that right now,” Lane ordered while pointing to the X, and then three more. The same grouchy police officer gave me my orders and told me not to skip town. I only half listened. My finger glided across words I didn’t understand. I had to be evaluated by a psychiatric physician, and I had to sign for the release of my medical records. Those were the only words I read from all three pages.

“Greggory Richfield is going to meet us in my office before court. He’s the best you’re going to find this side of Florida.”

I dropped the pen and frowned. “I’m going to court?”

His hand landed on the small of my back and he directed me out, ushering me toward the door. “No, not you. He’s got court.”

I pretended to stumble a little to get his hands off me. As crazy as it sounded in my head, I was afraid of Paxton seeing him. He would flip. “Where’s your office? You’re a doctor, right?”

Lane opened the door to Candace’s car and I got the same weird vibe. The look told me I already knew that. “You’re asking about my job right now?”

I blew out a puff of air, thinking about how silly it was and faked smile. “My mind’s in an odd place.”

“I’m sure it is. We’re going to figure this out. Don’t worry.”

I watched Lane close the door and walk in front of his car. Candace’s car. Weary blanketed his face and showed in the way he walked.

“Why are you doing this? Why are you involving yourself in this mess? I don’t think Candace would approve. She thinks we’re having an affair. Are we, Lane. I mean, did we?”

My eyes drifted to my lap with the heavy sigh, waiting to hear what I already knew.

“It wasn’t like that, Gabby.”

“So we never slept together? I’m so confused right now.”

“I know, I know. Let’s take one step at a time. Jesus Christ, Gabby. This is like a Life Time movie.”

I laughed, I guess trying to make light of things. “You hate Life Time.”

“No, I hate that stupid DIY crap you watch.”

Lane never even caught it, what I had just said, but I did. Jesus, why couldn’t I just remember? “How do I know that, Lane? Oh, my God. Why do I know you hate Life Time?”

Lane never answered with words, only a deep exhale. I didn’t ever bother with trying to get an explanation. I had deeper holes to fill, taking precedence over why I knew Lane hated Life Time.

I focused on the Walkers instead. “I need to get a hold of someone. They raised my sister.”

“The Walkers? From Michigan?”

“Yes,” I said in a cautious tone. My mysterious life kept getting better and better in a sarcastic sort of way. Karma hated me. “How do you know about that? About them?”

“You told me, Gabby. I know everything about you.”

“Why?”

Silence filled the air except for a deep breath that I heard Lane take in from his nose.

“I feel obligated.”

“I don’t even know what that means, Lane.”

“I know. I can’t imagine what this is like for you. To have your entire memory erased like that.”

“But you believe me? Oh my, God. What if it’s true? What if I am this horrible person that killed Izzy or Gabby? What if I murdered my sister?”

“Stop it. You didn’t kill Izzy. You’re not Izzy. I mean you are because you traded her places, but that was out of love. That’s the kind of person you are, Gabby. I don’t know a more benevolent person than you. You didn’t kill anyone. Not on purpose.”

My eyebrows were quickly becoming a permanent fixation, twisted and turned inward toward my nose. “I told you about that, but not my husband?”

“Paxton Pierce is a— I’m sure he never asked you.”

Another nervous puff of air escaped my lips and I laughed. “I’m sure he didn’t either.

I just don’t understand why.”

“It’s probably for the better. Let’s just worry about clearing your name before you end up in prison.”

Great something else to worry about. “Could that happen?”

Lane was horrible at hiding his feelings. They were written all over his face, telling me that it very well could happen. I couldn’t go to prison. I had two little girls. That would kill them. They were probably worried sick about me. I knew they had to be wondering where I was, why I didn’t come home, why they woke up without me there. I hated it, and there was nothing I could do. Nothing.

“Oh, my God. What about the girls. I need to talk to them, Lane.”

“Yeah, we’ll work on that later, too. Do you have your phone?”

The ridiculous laugh quickly became a habit. Words could never define the way I felt. I was pretty much screwed. “Do you really think Paxton is going to give me anything? Do you blame him? Fuck—fuck, fuck, fuck. What the hell am I supposed to do? He’s never going to believe me.”

“Do you really care?”

The look I gave him was taken exactly the way I meant for him to perceive it, annoyed mixed with a litter attitude.

“What? I’m just saying that if you could come out of this somebody else to get away from him. I’d do it.”

Seriously? Ugh. The sarcastic tone and elevated voice showed my displeasure with his stupid comment. “He’s got my kids!”

“Calm down, Gabby. Getting yourself all worked up isn’t going to make things better. The only thing you need to worry about is clearing your name right now. He can’t keep you from the girls. Think about it. Ophelia definitely has your DNA. It’ll work out. Just relax, okay?”

I tried to pinch my headache away with two fingers, squeezing the bridge in my nose, hoping that was true. A few deep breaths helped calm my nerves, but did little for the impending pain right behind my eyes. He was right, Phi was mine, and according to my own intuition, there was no doubt about that. With a simple mouth swab, I could prove that I gave birth to her. Of course the, what if it didn’t had to surface next and I worried about that.

Greggory Richfield was in the middle of a phone call, pacing the floor when Lane opened his office door for me. The rather large man ordered someone to dig deeper with a gruff tone.

“Greg Richfield, you’re Isabella?” the man said with an extended hand.

My hand felt like a baby’s inside of his. “No, I mean, yeah, I guess so.”

“She’s Gabby. What the hell, Greg? We talked about this.”

“It’s a name,” he said like it was no big deal as he took a seat in front of Lane’s desk.

I sat beside him and mostly listened to him and Lane go back and forth, trying to keep up.

Greg was a tall man, big and burley with a scruffy beard. He didn’t look like a successful attorney at all. He looked like he ate too many cheeseburgers, and could swat planes from the Empire State Building. He was huge, a little sloppy, and he smelled, not in a good way.

“You can have your partner do the psychiatric evaluation today. The sooner we have that, the better. There’s nothing you remember about the day you wrecked? Did you drop your sister off somewhere? Was she in the accident with you?”

Lane moved from behind his desk, and came to my rescue. His hand rested on my shoulder, a gesture meant to comfort me. “Dude, I already told you. She doesn’t remember any of that.”

“I’ve put together bits and pieces from my childhood, but nothing since,” I explained while placing my hand around Lane’s wrist. It felt so natural to touch him, like I’d done it a million times before. Our eyes locked and I released the grip. A quick flinch, unnoticed by Godzilla only. Land and I both sensed it.

“I can do the evaluation. Nick is booked the entire day,” Lane said with quick snappy words. Nervous words.

“You can’t do the evaluation and you know it. We’ll be lucky to get away with your partner doing it.”

Again, I sat and listened to the banter between the two men. Lane seemed to take my misfortune very serious, but why? Why did he care about me so much?

Godzilla glanced at his crooked watch and stood, tucking his sloppy shirt to the back of his wrinkled pants. “I’ve got to get to court. Get me the evaluation and the hospital reports, ASAP.”

Lane walked him out, but I stayed put. My eyes, dancing around the room. Wow.

Lane was a psychiatrist. I knew he was a doctor from conversations with Candace, but I guess I didn’t ask what kind of doctor. A photo of Chance and Candace wrapped in a silver frame sat on a shelf next to a signed baseball, and a rush of guilt ran over me. I was a horrible person, and I didn’t like the way it made me feel. She didn’t deserve that, Chance didn’t deserve that. I arched my sore back, feeling a dull pain in my hip, and sighed. My mouth was dry, I was exhausted, and my body ached. And—I had no idea what movie played in my mind. If I thought the confusion was big before, this tripled in size. That was nothing compared to this.

“You okay?” Lane asked from my side.

“Jesus, Lane. What the hell’s going on?”

“I don’t know, but don’t worry about anything. I’m going to put you up in a hotel for a few days. Until we can figure out what’s going to happen to you.”

“Is it bad?” That was a dumb question. Of course it was bad. I got into a car with my identical twin, and one of us came out absent. Gone like the wind. Vanished without a trace.

“Don’t worry about it. Greg’s got someone looking into the DNA traits of identical twins. Hopefully you’ll get off on technicality, if not, Nick will deem you incompetent. Defendants can’t be prosecuted if they’re not mentally able. You’re not. You don’t even know who the hell you are. Fuck, Gabby. This is so screwed up. You should have left before the storm. You never freaking listen. You should have left, Gabby.”

Whoa!  My head spun even more with craziness. Lane’s tone was stressed, and I didn’t know why. “Left to go where, Lane?”

“Costa Rica.”

A sharp pain shot down my neck when my head snapped to the door. Fear engulfing my veins with anxious adrenaline. I don’t know who I thought the loud knock was, but it frightened me to the core. Candace? Paxton? The cops?

“Calm down. He can’t hurt you anymore. It’s just Nick.”

I defended my husband like he was the King of England, a sassy tone with a matching attitude. “I’m not afraid of Paxton hurting me.”

Lane opened the door, wearing a strained expression. The way his lips pouted and the quick puff of air made him seem condescending. Like Paxton.

“Yeah, sure you’re not.”

“I’ve got an open thirty minutes. That’s it. And I’m eating my lunch while I talk to her.”

I turned to the raspy voice expecting to see another Grizzly Adams. The deep tone didn’t match the body at all. Nick was my age. Maybe younger. Unlike Lane dressed in black slacks, crisp white shirt, and tie. Nick wore jeans, brown leather shoes with a tan blazer. I loved it when Paxton dressed like that. Oh, Good Lord. The man wanted me to die in prison and my mind went right to a picture of him in his preppy clothes. I was a prime example of delirious.

Lane waved an open hand to the dark-haired young man with messy hair.  “Gabby this is one of my partners, Nick. He does a little more of the psychosis stuff than I do.”

“I’m not crazy,” I said with an assured snap. Frown and tone matching the feistiness.

“Nobody’s saying you are, but you’re not capable of defending yourself right now. You don’t even remember what happened. Nick here is just going to confirm it.”

Nick looked at me with a cocked brow and a nod. It wasn’t until he waved a hand toward the door that I realized he wanted me to follow him to his office. Dick. I didn’t know. I figured since we were already in Lane’s office we’d talk there.

Unlike Lane’s egg-shell colored walls and peaceful atmosphere, Nicks was boisterous. Blood-red walls and shiny chrome furniture with glimmering accents decorated the room. I sat in front of the black marble desk and Nick plopped to the leather chair behind his desk. His head jerked, sending long bangs to the right side of his forehead at the same times his knuckles cracked. One by one with his thumb.

Paxton did that.

“Oh, Jimmy John’s. Hang on,” he said while recollecting his lunch order. Nick jumped up and ran from his office, more interested in his food than helping me. That was promising. Not—

My head tilted to the side and my eyes narrowed when I caught the headline in the framed magazine article. Curiosity forced me to the embossed document. Ohio State student, Nicholas Thomas Xavier, helps Alzheimer’s man find his family through hypnosis.

Nick talked around food in his mouth as he entered. The instant smell of steak and cheese, reminding me of the last time I’d eaten. I was given a big fat cheeseburger in exchange for information during my interrogation. I ate the tomato and cheese. That was it in over twenty-four-hours. I was hungry.

“Got that award my freshman year. The guy was three hundred miles from home.”

Anxious energy filled my body at the same time the saliva saturated my mouth.

“What?” he asked, smile changing to a frown when I didn’t speak, when I stared at him with the most amazing idea ever.

I swallowed the dry lump in my throat and walked to him in four rapid steps. “Can you do that to me? Can you make me remember before my accident?”

Nick sucked from a straw, eyes cautiously, watching me sit in front of him. “Of course I could. I think. But I

won’t. It’s against company policy. Besides; it wouldn’t hold up in court anyway.”

“I don’t care about that. I have to know if I hurt her.”

“Lane says you didn’t. I believe him.”

My fingers laced together as I placed them on his desk, hoping the added prayer gesture showed my desperation.  “Please. I’ll pay you.” Um…with what shall you pay him with, idiot?

“I’m not going to hypnotize you. Now tell me your earliest memory.”

A deep breath entered my lungs as my body collapsed to the back of my chair. My arms crossed and I sank. Inside myself, not the chair. “It doesn’t even matter,” I said with defeated words. “I’d rather go to prison than live without my girls, not knowing whether or not I hurt my sister. I don’t see much point. Do you?”

“Look—

My posture stiffened again when I went in for round two, cutting him off before he had a chance to explain. “I don’t want to look. Just one time. Please. Will you just try it? One time. That’s all I’m asking.”

“No way. Lane would have my ass. I’m not going to hypnotize you. A brain injury is a lot different than a mental illness. ”

Round three. “So is a diseased mind. You helped that man. I just need to know about that night. Please, Nick. It’s not like it’s against the law.” I wasn’t exactly sure that was the truth. That’s how it worked on television, anyway. I tossed his name in there for a little added personable desperation.

Nick dropped his half eaten sandwich and scratched his head. Paxton did that, too.

Weakness invaded the space around him, and like a hungry wolf, I sensed it. Victory to Gabriella. Total knock out.

“Forget it. I’m going to show ask you some questions, and you just need to answer them as best you can. There’s no wrong answers.”

My lungs depleted with my body while a hopeless feeling washed over me.

Purchase Suit (Book 1)

Synopsis

Suit, Book 1

When my sister, Isabella showed up, just ahead of a tropical storm, nostalgia and a need to reconnect took us on a ride…directly into the eye of a different kind of disaster. I woke from a coma unaware that I even had a twin, and married to a man with two little girls. Although I fell madly in love with the children that I didn’t remember, I didn’t feel like I belonged with Paxton Pierce. I couldn’t be who he wanted me to be no matter how hard I tried. But things aren’t always as they seem. I fought my own demons, trying not to be the submissive he required me to be, yet I craved it like a drug. I wanted him.

Once upon a time I was an identical twin.

And then I wasn’t.

Slut, Book 2

Once upon a time I was Gabriella Pierce
And then I wasn’t.
I was a liar.
A murderer.
A cheat.
And a slut. His slut.
Once upon a time I was a twin.
And then I wasn’t.

Teasers

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