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Fatal Felons (Saint View Prison #3)
Author:Elle Thorpe

Fatal Felons (Saint View Prison #3)

Elle Thorpe



For Emmy.

I don’t know what I’d do without your rainbow edits. Thank you for all the years of making my books better.

Love, Elle x




1



Heath





“Don’t make this all be in vain. Take it! Escape.”

I stared at Mae, then at her fingers, clutched in the shirt of Rowe’s uniform. They didn’t tremble. There was no sign of the chaos that pinged around my body, riling up adrenaline until my heart beat so fast I was sure it was going to pound right out of my chest and take off down the empty prison hallways without me.

If Mae was nervous, she didn’t let on. All that showed in her beautiful eyes was a steely determination that I would not walk death row.

She was insane. They all were.

Rowe coughed, wincing as he straightened. He tried to hide the flash of pain, but I felt it like it was mine. The brown skin of his muscled torso was mottled with angry red marks from Liam’s fists. They’d turn the ugly purple of bruises by morning.

I offered to help him up, but he pinned me with a glare that said if I touched him, he’d throw a punch of his own in my direction.

My hand dropped limply by my side.

Liam would be sporting matching bruises across his knuckles. He breathed heavy, his gaze pinned on Rowe, too.

Rowe undid the buckle of his belt and then the button on his pants. They fell around his black boots, which he pulled off with a groan of pain.

I clenched my fingers into fists. I fucking hated this. I wasn’t worth his pain. I may have been sentenced to death for a crime I didn’t commit, but I wasn’t an innocent man either. I’d done things in my past. Horrible, unspeakable things that had finally come around to claim their penance.

He kicked his boots in my direction and then did the same with his pants.

I wasn’t doing this. I’d go down, but I wouldn’t drag any of them with me.

Anger flashed in his eyes, no less potent because he stood in nothing but black boxer briefs. Like he hadn’t just taken several slugs of Liam’s fists to his face and ribs, he stalked across the tiny cell, so we were eye to eye.

Electricity crackled between us.

He was pissed. More pissed than I’d ever seen him. His hot breath mingled with mine. “Put. Them. On,” he growled.

I didn’t move.

The palms of his hands hit my chest, delivering a bruising shove that sent my back into the cinderblock wall. And then he was yanking at the prison-issue clothes I wore, yanking my shirt up, his fingers grazing my abs, while I fought him off, grabbing his wrists.

Frustration poured off him in waves. He stepped back, snatching his arms out of my grasp and turned to Liam. “Hit me again.”

Liam didn’t hesitate. He threw his fist into Rowe’s midsection.

It was a hard punch, landing solidly with a smack of skin against skin, but if Rowe felt it, he didn’t show it.

It was me who cracked under the pain. It ripped through my midsection, churning my stomach until I was sure I was going to vomit.

“Again,” he demanded. He turned to me, though his words were still directed at Liam. “Don’t stop. Don’t stop until he’s gone.”

Liam landed another blow that I felt just as heavily. My hold on my patience disintegrated. Not caring if I hurt him, because he was already hurting himself, I shoved Rowe up against the wall. “Stop this,” I hissed at him. “I’m not gonna fucking watch him beat you to death!”

His gaze strayed to my mouth for half a second, and dammit if I didn’t want to lean in and kiss him.

I didn’t dare. He inched closer so his mouth grazed mine, not in a kiss, but the touch still lit me up inside. His lips trailed along the stubble of my jaw to my ear. “Well, now you know how we feel. Either you watch me die right here, right now. Or I watch you die with a lethal injection hanging out of your arm.”

I blanched.

He pulled back, glaring at me once more. “I’m not doing it, you hear me?” He snatched the shirt from Mae’s hand and slammed it against my chest. “Put the fucking clothes on, Heath.”

Something flickered inside me.

Nobody had ever cared about me the way these three did. Not my father. Not my mother, who had laughed when I told her I was in prison. Not even Jayela, who had claimed to love me but could never truly commit.

I didn’t want this to be over. A full life played out before me, taunting and teasing images of being surrounded by people who cared about me as much as I did for them. Family in the true sense of the word. The one thing I’d always craved more than anything. I’d found it here, with three people who were determined to give up everything for me.

A tear dripped down Mae’s cheek. Liam stood behind Rowe, gaze trained on me, waiting for me to make a decision.

This wasn’t over.

I grabbed the back of my shirt with one hand and yanked it over my head.

Mae let out a tiny cry, but it was one filled with relief. Then there was a flurry of movement as Rowe and I swapped clothes, right down to our socks. His boots were a size too small, but the pinch around my toes was nothing compared to the beating he’d taken for me, so I didn’t say a word.

“What’s the plan?” Mae crouched on the floor with me, both of us tying my shoelaces. “Where’s he going to go?”

Liam folded his arms across his chest. “You can’t go home. Or anywhere you would have gone before. Not to any of our places either. All of us could be investigated.”

I eyed him. “So what? I just wander around Saint View until the dog squad catches up with me?”

“Rowe’s cabin,” Mae interrupted.