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The Truth About Him (Everything I Left Unsaid #2)

By:M. O'Keefe

The Truth About Him (Everything I Left Unsaid #2)
Author: M. O'Keefe





ANNIE

Annie McKay came to slowly. Aware in pieces of her surroundings.

The pebbled linoleum of the trailer floor dug into her cheek. Her ankle was twisted, wedged against something hard.

The hot copper smell of blood made her stomach roll and she gagged.

"Annie, I'm sorry."

That voice … oh God.

It was Hoyt. Her husband. Standing over her.

For heartbeats, lots of them, she wasn't sure he was real. Perhaps she'd tripped and fallen, hit her head coming back into her trailer. She was hallucinating. Pulling Hoyt out of old nightmares. That made much more sense.

Because there was no way he could have found her here.

I was careful. I was so careful.

Two months ago, she'd run from him. Taking only the bruises around her neck and three thousand dollars from his safe. Desperate and scared, she left in the middle of the night and made her way in circles to this place, a patch of swamp called the Flowered Manor Trailer Park and Camp Ground in North Carolina.

Hundreds of miles from Hoyt. From Oklahoma. From the farm where she'd lived her entire life.

And she'd been happy here. The happiest she'd ever been. Not even two hours ago, she'd left Dylan and his magical house. Her body had been flush and alive and pleasured. And her mind had been clear.

She'd had plans, real plans, for her life, not just panicked and terrified reactions.

Everything had been about to get better.

"Annie?"

This is not a hallucination.

Be smart, Annie. Think!

"You hear what I said to you?"

She lay there silent. Hoyt hated her silence. Apologies were to be met with immediate acquiescence, his guilt promptly assuaged.

But she said nothing. Because fuck him.

"Get up."

She kept her eyes closed, because she wasn't ready to actually see him. Not here. Not in this trailer. Her home.

Hoping to feel her phone still in her back pocket, she rolled onto her back.

Please, please, she prayed, please be there.

But there was nothing under her butt. The phone was gone.

"There you go. It ain't so bad, is it? Get yourself up off the floor." He said it like she'd fallen, like she'd landed on the floor through her own clumsy, stupid means.

Despite her best efforts to restrain them, hot tears seeped under her lashes.

"Come on, now." His hands touched her hip and her armpit to help her up and she flinched away, her body screaming in pain. Unsteady, she got herself to her feet. She opened her eyes and the world swam. She grabbed the edge of the table, landing half on, half off the cushion of the settee.

"You're getting blood all over the place." His familiar hands, with their small scars and close-clipped nails, held a pink washcloth toward her. It was the washcloth from her bathroom. He'd probably gone through everything, touching all of her things. Everything was contaminated now.

There was no way she could take the washcloth. Not from his hand.

"Fine," he muttered, tossing the washcloth on the table. "Do it yourself."

Pissed, he stomped off to sit in one of the captain's chairs at the front of the trailer.

The reality of Hoyt in this previously Hoyt-less place was shocking.

She forced herself to look at him. Really look at him.

He was a big man. Over six feet tall, and he used to rodeo when he was younger, so his legs and arms and chest were thick with muscle. He had white-blond hair that made his eyebrows and eyelashes nearly invisible, which gave his face a terrible expressionlessness. A vacancy. She'd never ever been able to tell what he was thinking.

Sincerity looked like deceit. Anger looked like forgiveness.

She used to think he was calm. Other people did, too; at the very beginning of their marriage that's what everyone said about him.

He's so steady, they'd said. And she'd clung to that. With both hands and all her fear after Mom died. She'd clung to the version of him she wanted to believe in.

But it was a lie. Everything about him was a lie.

And Annie had been a fool.

That he was so totally the same, wearing what he always wore-jeans, his brown cowboy boots, and the dark blue Western shirt with the pearl snaps, his bone-handled knife in its sheath on his belt-made it even more surreal.

New place. Same nightmare.

Her missing phone was balanced on his knee. He'd taken it from her, gone through her pockets, while she lay unconscious on the floor.

Because he was an animal.

"I'm sorry," he said with utter and terrifying sincerity. "I know at home, you were scared. What I did … that night in the kitchen?" He said it as if she might have forgotten. "It was too much. I understand that."

An incredulous laugh she could not let out stung her throat. Do you? Do you understand that?

"It won't happen again. I swear it won't."

"How did you find me?" She tried to clear her vision, get her brain to focus.

"Do you believe me?" he asked. "That things will be different?"

No. Not in a million years.

"I believe you," she lied, putting her heavy, throbbing head in her hand. "Just tell me how you found me."

"It was actually pretty cool." He smiled, with what she guessed was modesty, like she was about to be real proud of him. "The Bassett Gazette has this widget thing-that's what they call them-on their website and it shows a map of the United States, and on that map are little pins that track the places where people are logging onto the website. The gal I talked to at the office was real excited about it, said it showed that there were people all over the state reading their newspaper online. And there was this one dot … this one little dot that I started to follow. You know where that dot went?"

Sick to her stomach, she nodded. She thought she'd been so clever.

"It went around in circles for a while. And then it went north to Pennsylvania and then back south. And then it just

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