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Kimberly Loth Books

End of Hope

End of Hope

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But. Gabe.

She falls head over heels right into his world. However dark secrets about his past threaten to ruin everything.

Together Gabe and Liv face unspeakable horrors and must decide….is their relationship worth it, or would they be better off parting ways?


Synopsis

But. Gabe.

She falls head over heels right into his world. However dark secrets about his past threaten to ruin everything.

Together Gabe and Liv face unspeakable horrors and must decide….is their relationship worth it, or would they be better off parting ways?

First Chapter

I blinked my eyes open. Ty hovered over me. I brushed at my nose, but plastic tubing got in the way. I couldn’t smell anything. A quick glance at my hand revealed an I.V. stuck in one of my veins. What on earth? How did I end up in the hospital?

“Liv? Oh, thank god.” He let out a breath and ran a shaky hand through his hair. Worry lined Ty’s eyes. He dropped a kiss on my forehead. “Can you talk?” 

I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to remember why I was here. Nothing made sense. The last thing I remember was talking to Gabe at prom, but I still couldn’t remember what was said. 

A hand squeezed mine, and I drew my eyes away from Ty. Gabe perched on the bed on my other side, frowning.

“What happened?” I asked. My voice croaked. I flicked my eyes around the room. My brain raced through the past few days, but I was coming up blank on anything that would put me in the hospital. I wiggled my fingers and toes. At least I wasn’t paralyzed or anything, and nothing hurt. 

Ty sank into a chair and rubbed his face. “We don’t know. You collapsed at prom and have been unconscious since then.” 

Prom? Oh yeah. Candyland themed. Bad eighties music. Cotton candy. A dress that was too tight. 

I stared at Gabe. “How long?” My throat burned. 

“Two days,” he said, his jaw tight, and his arms crossed. Had I done something to piss him off? 

“I’m going to go find the doctor.” Ty stood and kissed me on the forehead once again. “I’m so glad you’re okay. Don’t you dare do that to me again.” His eyes were fierce—a rare look on him. 

He hurried out of the room, and I waited until he was gone before turning to Gabe. “What really happened?” 

“The wish was too much and nearly killed you. I didn’t know it would be that taxing. I’m so sorry.” 

Wish? Everything came back in a rush. Jasper wanted Penny and Scarlett dead. I wished him into his bottle to save them. That must’ve knocked me out. My chest tightened. I had no idea what happened after that. 

“Are Scarlett and Penny okay?” What if it didn’t work? Maybe that’s why I was in the hospital. Something went wrong. I struggled to sit up. 

“Calm down. Scarlett and Penny are fine and Jasper is gone. He’s not coming back,” Gabe said through clenched teeth. I collapsed back onto the bed. He gripped my hand a little harder. The way he said it. I wasn’t sure I wanted to know what he meant. Most of the time, Gabe seemed harmless, but the fact remained that he could kill me with a single wayward wish. 

Right now that didn’t matter. My friends were alive. “Then it was worth it.” 

“How could you say that?”

“Because it’s true. I’d do it again if I had to.” 

He frowned. “You can’t do anything like this ever again.”

“I can’t promise…” I squeezed his hand and stopped talking. It felt as if someone was stabbing the back of my throat. I would do it again. In a heartbeat. I’d never let a friend die if I could stop it, even if it meant I might get hurt. It bothered me that Gabe couldn’t understand that. 

He brushed a piece of hair off my forehead. “Do you want to rest? I can go.”

“No,” I said, panic rising in my chest. What if some crazy genie tried to kill me again? I wasn’t safe without Gabe. I gripped his hand. I wasn’t entirely safe with him either, but his protection overrode the fear that he might accidentally hurt me. 

Ty cracked the door open and finished a hushed conversation. He shoved his phone in his pocket and sat on the end of my bed. “The doctor will be here in a minute. Liv, you scared me so bad.” 

Guilt gnawed at my insides over worrying him. He was too young to carry this burden. 

The young blonde doctor perused a chart. “You gave us quite the fright. How are you feeling?” he asked without looking up. 

“Fine.” I just wanted my own bed and room. “Can I go home?” I squirmed on the bed and tried to sit up. The doctor gently laid a hand on my shoulder and chuckled. 

“Not yet. Can you tell me about the moments leading up to you fainting?”

Sure. An evil genie wanted to kill my two best friends, so I seduced him and wished him back into his vessel. Apparently that wish was too big, and I almost died. 

Geesh. He’d lock me up. 

I thought a moment for a believable lie. “I don’t really know. I just got dizzy and passed out.” 

“When’s the last time you slept?”

“Um. I don’t know. I have trouble sleeping at night. I get maybe an hour or two.” Gotta give the guy a bone. If he thinks it’s something else, then maybe I can avoid the gazillion tests they probably want to do on me. Exhaustion sounded like the perfect excuse. 

“What about water? Do you drink enough?”

I fiddled with my blanket. “Um. I drink a lot of coffee.” Oh, yeah. I was going home. This was the perfect excuse. 

“I have to say this is the most extreme case of dehydration and exhaustion I’ve ever seen. You’re one lucky girl. From now on you must get at least eight hours of sleep and drink at least two liters of water. Can you do that for me?”

“If it will get me out of this bed, I can do anything.”

He chuckled. “Good. You’ll need to stay here a few more days because we haven’t found a reason why your heart stopped yet. But if you’re doing better, then you can go home.” 

I groaned. A few more days? Really?

*

Three days later, they finally let me go. They had zero answers but couldn’t find any reason to keep me there. 

I woke to Gabe hovering over me after a glorious slumber in my own bed. 

“Are you okay?” he asked. 

I blinked, still trying to wake up. “I’m a little cold.” I shivered. The weight of at least a dozen blankets settled on top of me. “Um, not exactly what I meant.”

The blankets disappeared. 

“Then what did you mean?” A steaming cup appeared in his hand. “Tea?” That was two wishes he granted, and I had no pain in my forehead. Something was up. But first, I needed to warm up. 

“Gabe, I want you to cuddle with me.”

A slow grin crept over his face. “Sorry, I should’ve thought of that.”

He climbed under the covers and pressed up against my back, wrapping his arms around me. He buried his nose in my hair. 

“Thank you,” I said. “Um. How come my head didn’t hurt?”

“What do you mean?”

“My head always pinches when you grant a wish.”

He held me a little tighter. “I’m not sure. Maybe you’re just used to it.”

Everything still felt a little bit surreal. I’d almost died, and I had a genie at my beck and call. Life would never again be normal. Though, I had to admit, Gabe definitely had his perks. 

By the end of the week, I was sick and tired of those perks. Everyone else too. People were around way too much. Last night, I might have had a tiny breakdown in which I might or might not have thrown my red Chuck right at Ty’s head and screamed at everyone to get out. 

Thankfully, they all listened, and I finally woke up alone the next morning—at last. 

No Gran or Ty or Gabe hovering over me. 

Hell, the day before, I woke up to Penny and Scarlett rearranging my room. 

My bed was soft and warm, and cats curled up on all sides, but I’d been stuck in it for way too long. Surely our inventory at the Glittering Goddess was scarce. I needed to get back to work. 

I slid my legs out of bed and stood up. The carpet was squishy. My head spun, and my legs felt like jelly, but I made it to the bathroom. By the time I was out of the shower, I felt a thousand times better. I scrubbed my face. A wave of lightheadedness hit, and I sat on the edge of the tub. Maybe not a hundred percent quite yet. 

My head cleared, and I brushed my teeth, marveling over the normalcy of it. Between Gabe, wishes, and dead women, doing something as simple as getting ready seemed like a luxury. 

Gabe.

I thought I’d pretty much gotten used to his genieness. But over the last week, he’d rarely left my side, and wishes happened more frequently than I’d known was possible. I never quite knew when he’d grant a wish. If I used the magic words, I wish, then the wish automatically came true, but any other time it depended on whether or not Gabe was listening, or if he felt he needed to grant it. 

I’d learned to keep my mouth shut because he seemed to grant every whim I had. Even if it was something I didn’t want. Like the dozen blankets when I got cold or fifteen different kinds of chips when I said I wanted a snack. 

Things were even more complicated because I’d definitely fallen for him. I couldn’t imagine him not being there. He protected me better than Ty. 

Maybe now I could convince Ty to move out and live his own life—even though every time I thought about it, my chest tightened, and my throat threatened to close up. He’d been my everything for so long, the thought of life without him seemed so scary. 

Almost as scary as Gabe. Up until Jasper, I’d basically ignored the fact that Gabe was a murderer. But the thought had bothered me all week. He’d killed girls. Lots of them. Was there something wrong with me that I loved him now? 

I climbed down the stairs, cautiously, making each step deliberate so I didn’t fall. The smell of toast coming from the kitchen and the extra loud Lifetime movie told me Gran was making breakfast. 

Tokyo came flying down the stairs after me. 

He meowed at me halfway down, and I picked him up. He was a needy kitten, almost more puppy-like. Gabe said he looked like me. I suppose he did, with his blue eyes. He was the best gift Gabe had given me. 

Well, him or the kiss on the beach. I leaned against the wall, thinking about it. Oh geesh, I had to be careful, or I’d fall down the stairs. I wasn’t well enough yet to try to walk without concentration. 

Could I call this love though? Probably not yet. Falling for a genie wasn’t the best move. But why not? Kole had certainly been a worse choice. Or had he? At least Kole hadn’t killed anyone. 

I pushed open the door and saw Gran and Ty already seated at the table. They’d set a place for me. I poured myself a cup of coffee and joined them. 

“How are you feeling?” Ty asked, his shaggy blonde hair falling in his eyes as he stared at his phone. 

“Much better. I thought you were heading out of town this morning.” It was on my calendar. He should be in Colorado. 

He looked up from his phone. “I cancelled the trip. You need me more.”

I dropped my fork. This had to stop. “Don’t put your life on hold for me.”

Concern filled his face. “Relax, it’s not a big deal. I can take care of everything from here. I’ll just have a lot of video conferences.” He blushed. Must be a cute girl on those calls. He should be seeing her in person. 

I took a sip of my coffee, Gran’s specialty with vanilla and cinnamon. 

“Seriously, Ty. When are you going to move out and stop worrying about me?” I hated that I was holding him back. Hopefully my voice didn’t carry the anxiety I felt. 

“I’ll never stop being concerned about you, and I’m not moving out until you graduate. I won’t abandon you. Especially now. You nearly died.”

“The doctors said I was just exhausted. I didn’t nearly die. You worry too much. Plus, I’ve got Gran.” I pointed to her, and she smiled.

Ty’s face fell. “How would she talk to your teachers or deal with doctors? You need me, Liv.”

I rolled my eyes and stood. “You keep telling yourself that. I’m going out to the shop. It’s been too long.”

He snorted. “Maybe if Gabe didn’t take up so much of your time, you’d get more work done.”

Gran glowered at me like she always did when she heard Gabe’s name. 

I put my hands on my hips. “I’ve been sick.”

“That was an excuse to be alone with Gabe in your room.”

I knew how to get him off my back. “At least I’ve got a boyfriend. When are you going to get out there and find yourself a girl?”

He waved me away and went back to his phone. 

I stepped outside. He should be off on his own getting drunk and sleeping with girls. Instead he spent his evenings watching silly girl movies with me and Gran. This wasn’t fair to him. Maybe I’d wish for him to leave. It’d be painful, but good for him.

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