Come Hell Or High Water: Excerpt #3

“Pull the proverbial trigger—or don’t— something deep inside of me usually says. It’s how I choose who lives and who dies. I wish I could say it was something more elaborate, something deeper, but it isn’t. It’s pure gut instinct, and really, what could be more honest than that?” — Britney King, Come Hell or High Water 

Due to the release of Come Hell or High Water last week I thought it would be fun to share a few excerpts…

If you’re new to this series be sure to check out the bottom of the post.

Hope you enjoy. 🙂


“Kate,” you said. “There’s something I want to show you.” I guess you could say it all started with that sentence. I lived here a year before you showed me this room. A whole year, Jude, and we didn’t speak of it. Not until after Olivia was born did you shove the built-in bookcase aside, take me by the hand, and let me in.

“This,” you said, “is a panic room.”

I looked at you sideways, anger bubbling within, quickly rising to the surface—too quickly to shove it back down the way I’d wanted to—that familiar feeling of being betrayed seeping into my pores. Back then, I couldn’t have imagined something good like her could happen to this room, this house, to us.

“I hope you’re not mad,” you said, as you studied my profile.

Of course, I was mad! “I don’t understand…” I told you once I’d almost gotten my bearings. I don’t know if you saw how hard it was, or if you could tell how dry my throat had gone, how the words refused to rise as easily as my anger had.

“A person can survive in here for months,” you said with a smile you shook off quickly. You read me well, and you know when you should and shouldn’t act too satisfied with yourself. “But that isn’t the point—it’s meant to be a quick escape should you need one…”

I shifted slightly and crossed my arms. “I know what a panic room is.”

You turned toward me. “Don’t you want to go inside?” you asked, motioning through the door.

I sighed long and heavy. “I just don’t get it.”

You cocked your head, and I could see you were considering my tone. Is this going to be a fight? That’s what you wanted to know. “I’m showing you in case you ever find yourself in trouble again…”

I shook my head. “That’s not it—”

You watched my face, and you waited for me to speak. I could see that you were trying to be patient. I could also see it was taking its toll. You wanted me to show you appreciation—respect— when all I had were questions.

“What I don’t understand is… how a person can live in a house and miss a whole room.”

Your eyes lit up. “That’s the point.”

“Well, it’s not my point.”

“I thought it would make you feel safer,” you said, throwing up your hands, deciding you couldn’t be as patient as you’d hoped.

“Yeah, well,” I told you, turning away. “You thought wrong.”

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