Punished (Dark Road #2)
Author: Krys Fenner
Genre: YA Psychological Thriller
Release Date: Late June 2015
Hope springs eternal for everyone except Bella Kynaston. She survived the rape, but making it through the trial is another deal all together. As lies come forward, more questions arise leaving Bella to suffer more punishment than she believed she deserved. Sometimes ending it all seems like the only answer. Will she find the peace she so desperately seeks if the pain permanently ended?
Jeremiah believed he’d done the right thing, even if the timing hadn’t been ideal. The only way to protect Bella was if he stayed out of her life. Or so he thought. When Bella starts dating David, Jeremiah thinks David could save her. As it turns out, things progressively get worse. Could Jeremiah be the solution? If so, can he get to her in time? Or will he suffer the worst punishment of his life and lose her forever?
Taking up half the back wall was a huge mirror. Bella readjusted her hair so the scar was covered. God, could she watch as Bobby used the assortment of colored ink bottles on her body. Or stare at herself from that long chair? Her gaze flicked from the chair to the mirror and stopped on her reflection. She inched a step back.
“Do you have something in mind?”
Bobby’s question snapped her out of the downward spiral her mind started. She half nodded and handed him the design. A skull and bones with a tattered pirate flag. Deuteronomy was scrawled in Old English between the tips of the dagger-shaped bones as if it was the name of a ship. The 8 and 5 filled the eye sockets. “This. On my lower back.”
“Okay. Do you want a sugar skull? It’s a bit more feminine.”
“I don’t know what that is, but no. I want that exact design.”
“Okay. Let me get this scaled down.” Bobby disappeared into a back room.
Her eyes settled on the mirror once again. The girl who stared back at her had dead, hollowed hazel eyes, not the vibrant hazel they used to be; skin faded to caramel rather than its natural mocha color; flat black hair, no longer its full, rich midnight; nothing compared to the beautiful man who stood beside her holding a thin hand in his own. Her gaze drifted to David. Tall, well-toned, shiny blue-black hair and piercing blue eyes. What the hell could he see in her? Nothing, but damage. Bella removed her hand from David’s grip and stepped to a wall with picture frames. She needed to distract herself, otherwise she’d never go through with the tattoo. It was important she did. “Do you have one already?”
“Yes. Why do you look surprised?” David cracked a smile.
“I guess I just didn’t peg you for someone who would mar his body.”
“I don’t see it that way. It’s a form of art. Besides if it is defiling, then why are you doing it?”
Oh, he really wouldn’t like the answer to that. It matched her darkened soul. Because she desperately needed to feel something besides the emotional pain that weighed her down. Not that she ever intended to disclose those truths to anyone. How could she answer him without actually answering him? “What? I don’t look like the type of person who would get a tattoo?”
“No, but looks can be deceiving.”
“That they can.” Bella muttered.
“You okay? You seem a little on edge since we got back here.”
Thankfully, Bobby picked that moment to walk back into the room. His arrival saved her from an honest response. He patted the chair for her to join him. “Ready?”
“Umm, yeah. So, uh, how do I... how do I sit in this thing?”
“For the low back, you’re going to straddle it.”
Of course. Every inch of her expected him to say those two awful words. But there was no way she could stare at her reflection for however long this would take. She fidgeted with the hem of her shirt. A hand landed on her shoulder and Bella jumped.
“Just me. Are you sure you want to go through with this?”
Bobby looked at Bella. “All your information is stored. If you’re not ready today, you can always come back.”
“No. I want to get it done, I just...” The law said she couldn’t get a tattoo because of her age. Sarresh had helped her with a fake ID, but Heather’s version looked real. For today, she was already eighteen. She had to get it done. There was no room to chicken out.
“Will some adjustments help?” David asked.
How did he know? After all he’d done to help her through this, she owed him. And she knew exactly what they had to do. “Yes.”
Bobby nodded. “Tell me what you need.”
“Can we turn the chair away from the mirror? And can you put a smaller mirror behind me, just where you’ll be working and give me a hand-held one. I have to be able to watch.”
Bobby stood and made quick work of her requests. “Will this do?”
“Yes, thank you.” Bella inhaled a deep breath and swept one leg over the armless chair. It was still awkward, but her nerves had settled more than she could’ve anticipated.
David smiled. “If you need a hand, I’m here.”
“Just talk to me. Yeah, that’ll be good.” She glanced to the hand-held mirror as Bobby tucked a sheet of paper into her pants and swiped a wet, cold wipe along her low-back. Watching made the minor touch easier to handle.
“I’m just wiping your back. I’ll transfer the design, get the colors together and then we’ll get started. Let me know if you need a break at all.”
“Do you think I’ll need one?”
“It depends on your pain tolerance. This is a fleshy area so it’s a good place for a tattoo.”
Pain tolerance? Any other time and she might’ve laughed. She’d taken pain killers that morning. Would she even feel the sting of the needle as it danced across her skin? Maybe she shouldn’t have taken the pills. No, that would’ve been dangerous and unpredictable. Besides, maybe she would still feel some delicious lick of pain. The whirring noise pulled her back into reality and she instantly turned her gaze to Bobby. With a simple nod, she adjusted the mirror.
David leaned back against the wall. “What would you like to talk about?”
“Tell me about the tattoos you have.”
At the age of 16, Krys Fenner fell in love with Psychology and Creative Writing. At that time she wrote her first short story dealing with sexual abuse and forgiveness. Psychological issues in her family filled her with the desire to help others using her own experiences. So in 2004, she earned an Associate of Arts in Psychology. And while her sister is the one with dreams of becoming a Psychologist, Krys Fenner returned to Creative Writing. She is currently working on a Bachelor of Arts and plans to continue on to a Masters degree, where she can major in her first love (Creative Writing) and minor in her second (Psychology).
Giveaway: (1) ebook copy of Punished - Open INT!
Blitz Wide Giveaway: Print copies of Destroyed + Punished and swag - Open INT!