Twisted Love (Twisted 1) - Page 53

I’d shied away from it growing up, going only as far as the barbecue seating area. Even then, I’d get so nervous I would excuse myself halfway through parties and run to the bathroom to bring myself under control.

I wasn’t sure what compelled me to come out here this morning, but the lake’s siren song enveloped me, coaxing me closer—like it was trying to tell me a secret it didn’t want others to hear.

I was better with water now after all my lessons with Alex, but a tremor of unease still spiraled through me when I thought about the watery depths before me.

Deep breaths. You’re fine. You’re on solid ground. The lake will not rise up and drag you—

A car alarm blared in the distance, and I flinched, all relaxation techniques forgotten as my nightmare played out in broad daylight.

I picked up another stone from the ground. It was smooth and flat, the type that would make really pretty ripples. I drew my arm back to throw it, but I smelled something sweet and flowery—Mommy’s perfume—and got distracted.

My aim veered, and the stone thudded onto the ground, but I didn’t mind. Mommy was back! We could play now.

I turned, smiling a big gap-toothed smile, but I only made it halfway before something pushed me. I pitched forward—down, down, off the edge of the deck, my scream swallowed up by the water rushing toward my face.

“Ava?” My father’s worried voice penetrated my daze. “What are you doing out here?”

I forgot. He came out here every morning to exercise, rain or shine. He was religious about his morning routine.

I spun, trying to escape the images flashing through my brain, but they wouldn’t stop. Old nightmares. New revelations.

No. No, no, nononononono.

My father’s gold signet ring flashed in the light, and I saw his face.

And I screamed.

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