Welcome, and join us as we count down the final 10 days before Beyond Ruin by revisiting some of our favorite Mad, Dylan, Scarlet & Jade moments from the past six books! We’ll be posting an image each day on social media, but here on the blog we’ll be doing a longer excerpt and maybe even a few notes about the scene. 🙂 And today is…
Dylan Is Actually Scarier Than Everyone Else
Well, this is awkward. Nothing big, just the two heroes of our next book having a friendly chat about murdering the hero of a previous book. Erm, yeah. Not Mad’s most shining moment, to be sure. But important, because this right here is the moment Mad started to care too much to be rational. Pre-emptive strikes and vengeance aren’t usually Mad’s style–especially not when they involve putting down an unconscious man one of his friends happens to be a little bit in love with–but Finn hurt Jade.
Dylan, on the other hand…whoa boy. Dylan might be the scariest person in Sector Four. Because he’s not afraid of Dallas. He’s not afraid of death. He doesn’t seem to be afraid of much of anything…except losing control.
We’ll see how that goes in Beyond Ruin.
* * *
The first thing Dr. Dylan Jordan did was fill a syringe with enough potassium chloride to stop a fucking elephant’s heart.
He didn’t use it, but it was there, within easy grasp, and its mere presence made him feel better about digging a bullet out of a man he’d much rather kill.
“Why are we saving him?”
Adrian Maddox could move silently when he wanted to, that much was certain. Dylan tilted his head without looking up. “Because he brought Trix back.”
Mad eased the door shut and crossed to the opposite side of the bed. “How do we know he didn’t take her in the first place?”
“You saw her,” Dylan answered absently as he reached for a pair of forceps. “Did she look like a woman who was scared of him?”
“No.” It came out grudgingly, and Mad crouched down to put himself on eye level with Dylan. “But we both know that doesn’t prove a damn thing. Just means it’ll hurt more when he betrays her.”
Such a clever, beautiful, vengeful man. “Someone else might buy that…but I’m not someone else,” he murmured. “You and I both know what this is really about.”
Of course Mad denied it. He would always deny it, because he wanted to be the sainted hero. “It’s about him posing a danger to the gang. It’s about the people he could hurt.”
It was about Jade, pure and simple, and the fact that Finn had been the one to hand her the drugs that had nearly killed her. Dylan embraced the knowledge, because owning it was the one thing that could keep him from lunging for that deadly syringe.
“Say we let him die,” he mused aloud. “What then?”
Mad’s gaze held a new edge, a darkness that had been there since the night he’d wound up trapped in that cave-in. “Then the people we care about are safer.”
“Are they, Adrian? Or would it just make you feel good?”
“They’re safer,” Mad insisted, but after another heartbeat he squeezed his eyes shut with a whispered curse. “And I want him dead. I want him dead before he has a chance to hurt Trix. I want him dead before Jade has to look at him and remember what happened to her every time he drugged her. I want him dead.”
Satisfied, Dylan confessed, “So do I.”
“Then why?” Mad rose abruptly and paced away. “Why save him?”
The answer was simple, visceral. All-consuming. “Control.”
“Control? Of what?”
“Of myself.” Dylan stripped off his gloves and picked up the syringe. “Potassium chloride. A high enough dose results in hyperkalemia and disrupts cardiac muscle function, resulting in fatal arrhythmia. I’m told it burns like a motherfucker going in, too. Real bad way to go.” He set it down again, closer than before. “I have it here to remind myself—I could use it, but I won’t. Control.”
Mad’s gaze locked on the syringe, his brow furrowing. “You already had the needle ready.”
Dylan allowed himself a small smile. “It isn’t much of a test of my self-control otherwise, is it?”
“No.” Mad resumed his pacing, prowling like a wild creature trapped in a too-small pen. “You care. I wasn’t sure before, but you wouldn’t be this pissed if you didn’t…care.”
He cared too much. It had dragged him to the very edge of darkness, left him staring into an abyss so deep and hopeless that sometimes he thought death was the only escape. But he couldn’t seem to stop, so he’d embraced that, too.
He put on a fresh pair of gloves and nudged the box toward Mad. “Help me dig this goddamn bullet out of him, and we’ll continue the conversation over drinks. O’Kane’s best, perhaps? I think he owes me.”
Mad caught his wrist, strong fingers burning against his skin. “And if he gets out of that bed and hurts the people we care about?”
“Then we’ll deal with it.” He kept his voice low, a soothing, secret whisper just for Mad. “Trust me.”
“Okay.” Mad’s thumb slid in a slow circle, the calloused pad scraping the inside of Dylan’s wrist. “I do. I have. You know that.”
The tiny touch sparked more than heat—warmth, curling low and spreading up to make his chest ache. Mad had always been tough, tough enough to survive, but there was a vulnerability in him, as well. Nothing as prosaic and delicate as fragility, but an openness. Holes in his armor, places where things touched him so deeply they could shatter him from the inside out.
Dylan almost shuddered, but he locked it down—just like everything else. “Put on the gloves and help me,” he said quietly. “Then we’ll go get that drink.”
* * *