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The Devil's Plaything (Ceasefire Book 2) by Claire Marta (1)

Chapter One

The voices murmur on the edge of my awareness. Soft, concerned. There’s no escaping consciousness. Stirring from the peaceful darkness I’ve been drifting in I raise my heavy eyelids. A tidal wave of sound, colour, sensation hits me hard. Wincing, it takes a second for my eyes to adjust.

“Miss Smith, you’re finally back with us.” The woman’s voice beside me is gentle and calm.

Pain surges in my skull, ripping through my body to each and every nerve ending. Groaning, my hand flutters up, pressing against my forehead to contain the headache. Fuck, what the hell have I been drinking? I have the mother of all hangovers.

“What happened?” I ask before swallowing, getting some moisture into my parched throat.

“You collapsed.” I’m handed a glass and a white pill. “Now lay still and take your medication while I go get the doctor.”

Giving the owner a sideways glance, the nurse’s uniform finally registers. A hospital. What the fuck am I doing here? The last thing I remember… Frowning, I try to recall something, anything, but all that’s there is a big empty hole. Popping the pill into my mouth, and hoping to fuck it’s a painkiller, I wash it down with the water.

If my brain would stop trying to squeeze itself out of my ears I might have a better chance of working out what the hell is going on.

Looking around groggily, I examine the sparse room. It’s the standard white walled place with medical equipment. Instead of one of those paper gowns I'm still dressed in a pair of cream trousers and a dark blue blouse.

An eager face of a woman standing in the corner is unfamiliar. A petite blonde with a bad case of resting bitch face.

“Sarah, my God, I’m so happy you’re both ok.” She babbles, giving a trembling smile the second we make eye contact.

I stare back blankly.

That name. I don’t know it. It rolls around on my tongue like an out of place puzzle piece that doesn’t have a home.

“Ethan will be so happy you’ve woken up! He’s on his way.” She continues happily, unaware I don’t have a clue what the fuck she’s talking about. “They want to check the baby is ok. You fell pretty hard.”

My hand automatically moves to my stomach. Round and hard, it’s immense! The huge swell of a bump is undeniable and an unwanted surprise. Gaze swinging down, I stare at it in shock. How did I not notice this straight away?

What the everlasting fuck? I’m as big as a whale.

I don’t know how to feel. How can I be carrying a child and not even remember? What the fuck is going on? Overpowering emotions thunder through me. I’m in dire need of a scream, but now probably isn’t the best time.

Door swinging open, a good-looking male comes bustling into the room. Dark ash blonde locks cut short, brown eyes with a cute dimple and teeth to match, he flashes a smile the moment he sees me.


Before I can stop him, he’s across the room in a few steps, his lips pressed to mine in a gentle kiss. “You scared the crap out of me.”

Recoiling, I push him away with a hand on his chest. “Who the fuck are you?”

The relief in his expression slides into confusion. “Sarah, that’s not funny.”

“I’m not joking.”

“Ethan.” He replies slowly. “I’m your fiancé…you don’t remember?”

“I don’t remember anything.” I admit with a sense of unease.

There’s a change in the room as everyone tenses.

“Surely you know Kelly? Best friends since you were ten years old?” He gestures at the blonde who’s now staring at me with distress.

Sitting up, I clumsily swing my legs off the bed. “No.”

The urge to get out of here grows with my sense of panic. This is not good. Surely, I would feel some kind of connection with these people. Why wouldn’t I remember them?

“Kelly, go find the nurse.”

Nodding, the blonde rushes out of the room without a word.

Ethan blocks my attempt at escape. “Just stay calm, sweetheart, everything is going to be fine.”

Bullshit. I don’t care who he says he is. I don’t remember anything, not even something as simple as my own name. If that doesn’t scream something abnormal then nothing else will. These people are strangers to me. This place unknown.

“Why can’t I remember anything?” I question, slapping away his hand as he tries to touch my arm.

“The doctor will figure it out... remember the baby and try not to get stressed.”

His soothing tone sets my nerves on edge.

I don’t want to be here.

This all feels wrong, but I don’t know why.

Bustling back into the room, Kelly is joined by a prim looking nurse and a portly Doctor.

Peering over the top of his round glasses, he gives me a considering look. “Miss Smith? I hear you’re having a problem remembering things.”


“Let’s start with some simple questions. Your full name and month you were born.”

“Sarah Smith. March thirteenth.” The answers reel out of my mouth without any thought.

“And where in London do you live?”


Stunned, I sit staring at him. How in hell do I know all that and where did it come from?

“I thought you said you didn’t remember.” Ethan accuses, yet he can’t hide his relief.

Doctor, whatever the fuck his name is, answers before I can formulate a sentence.

“Your fiancé had a fright and a fall, maybe she was confused, hmm? As long as she takes her medication it shouldn’t happen again.”

Danger. It jangles my senses making the hair on the back of my neck rise. I know for certain if I don’t answer correctly I’m going to be in more crap than I’m in right now.

“Yes, it was just the shock.” I agree quickly. “So, I can go home?”

Forcing a smile, I keep it pinned on my face until my cheeks ache.

I have no idea how long this amnesia is going to last. Maybe seeing things in my life will help jog my memory. Give it a kick start. For now, I’ll have to play along until something clicks, but there is no motherfucking way I am remaining here.

“Let’s check the baby first to be sure everything is as it should be,” the Doctor suggests.

Ethan makes a grab for my hand. “That’ll be fantastic, won’t it, babe? I can’t wait to see her.”

I don’t like pretty boy’s attitude. Caution and paranoia are riding me hard and I’m not about to ignore them.

“Sure.” I agree, forcing my muscles to relax.

He squeezes my palm in response. Battling the urge to drag it free, I let my fingers go limp.

“I’ll wait out in the hall.” The blonde gives him a flirty smile.

Impassively, I watch them. Jealousy doesn’t raise its ugly head. In fact, I don’t feel even an inkling of anything but relief now that I have one less person to deal with. If this idiot is mine shouldn’t I feel some kind of territorial ownership? Some desire to claim he’s mine?

She leaves in a hurry with the nurse shooing her out.

Slipping onto a stool beside me, the Doctor gathers equipment.

“Please pull your blouse up, Miss Smith. This won’t hurt at all.”

Obeying the doctors request, I bare the rounded bump, eyes on the ceiling.

Cold gel smears over my stomach. I breath in and out slowly through my nose.

“Right then, let’s see how it’s going, shall we?” Cool metal greets my skin.

Glancing down, I realise with the size I am we would’ve had the gender scan by now. I have to be at least seven or eight months along. I’m still trying to comprehend and process the image. Still having trouble believing what I’m seeing. Ethan is the father? A man I don’t recall. Who I must’ve had sex with multiple times. Who I have a relationship with. Yet he’s a foreign presence at my side.

“There we are.” The doctor says, attention glued to the black and white screen. “Heartbeat strong. Your daughter is moving nicely.”

My throat is so thick with emotion I can barely swallow. I can make out the tiny limbs along with a head on the gritty grey screen. It’s true. Holy shit, I'm going to be a mother. I know I’m not ready for this by the wave of overwhelming shock. Was she planned? Have I named her yet? Thought about baby clothes, toys? Too many questions circle inside my head. Reality is like a baseball bat to the face—painful and frightening.

A lock of blonde hair falling across his forehead, Ethan beams proudly, still clutching my hand.

“She looks healthy. Nothing to worry about.” The doctor assures me, his smile kind. “I’d still like to take some blood to run tests to be sure and I’m sure you’d like a scan photo to take home.”

“Whatever you need.” Ethan agrees, not letting me speak.

I smile back. Fuck, what else is there to do.

Taking a wad of disposable tissue he hands me, I wipe away the left-over gel before pulling my blouse back down.

“Right, let’s get you home and settled.” Ethan tells me with a nod at the doctor.


Maybe the answers I seek will be there.



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