It's been a while, right? Anyway, with The Sins of Luther FINALLY releasing on May 17th, 2021 (I know, I know. I'm sorry; forgive me, pls?), I wanted to give you guys something to look forward to! Check out the first chapter and then pre-order your copy for only 99 cents!
(Need a refresher? Re-read the prologue here!)
Luther and I sat in silence for a few moments. There was so much shit from our past to unpack that I wasn’t sure where we needed to start. Everything between us had shifted after the last night of my birthday trip. Things didn’t stop after that night between us on the beach but now that I knew what I did now, I wish that it had.
“So?” Luther finally said, interrupting my thoughts. I cut my eyes to him and sighed inwardly, clutching the notepad in my hand before scribbling. His eyes were hard, his posture tense as he stared at me, waiting for me to initiate the conversation. I wrote on the sheet of paper before me and then turned it toward him.
He shrugged. “What about it?”
I wrote on the sheet again and turned it to him.
Why did you continue things after we went back home?
He stared at the sheet for a long while before he met my eyes. Though they were still hard, mischief colored his irises as a slightly cocky grin settled on his lips.
“Because I wanted it to. Next.”
I wrote on the notepad again and turned it to him.
We could’ve just went our separate ways when we got back home. We wouldn’t be in this situation had we not pursued a relationship.
His eyes danced along the paper as he frowned. “We’re in this situation because you couldn’t handle rejection and took it out on my sister,” he said, his voice flat.
You’ve got to be fucking kidding me, I thought to myself as I rubbed my hand across my brow in growing frustration. I quickly wrote on the paper in annoyance before turning the pad toward him.
Right. Because none of this is your fault.
He frowned at me for a moment before he stood up and left the room. I rolled my eyes and shook my head. How typical of him. He never took responsibility for anything that he did. Even after knowing him for years, I couldn’t remember the last time I’d heard him apologize for anything and actually mean it. I could bet money that he’d probably wait until I was dead and dismembered before he uttered an apology just to spite me.
I put my head in my hands. Looking back on it now, there were so many things I wish I’d done differently. I wouldn’t have exposed my weakness to him on that birthday trip, as all he did was exploit it for his own gain. I should’ve pretended as if my parents’ neglect didn’t bother me. I shouldn’t have let me walls down and allowed myself to trust him. I sighed. None of that would do me any good now. The damage was already done and regret wouldn’t change the outcome of the shit I was now in.
Luther finally returned to the bedroom with a steaming mug and handed it to me.
“Drink this. It should help with your throat,” he said and returned to his seat in the opposite corner of the room. I looked down at the mug, the steam tickling my face as I brought it to my nose and sniffed. It smelled like tea, but I couldn’t be too sure with him. I grabbed the notepad.
What is this for? I’m not thirsty.
He rolled his eyes. “Did you not hear what I just said? It’s for your throat.” When I only continued staring at him, he sighed deeply, annoyance flashing across his handsome features. “You wanted to talk, so you’re going to actually talk. I’m not about have a fucking closed captioned conversation with you. I’m not deaf and you’re not mute, so drink the fuck up.”
The callousness he displayed was something I was still trying to get used to. He was nothing like the guy I grew up with and he certainly wasn’t the guy I’d fallen in love with. I knew all too well how grief and guilt could change a person; it’d completely taken me to rock bottom. But the darkness that brewed within my ex lover and now captor was something that he couldn’t return from, even when everyone responsible was dead.
I took a sip of the tea and almost sighed with relief when the hot liquid soothed my sore throat. I could taste a hint of lemon and honey as I took a few more sips before putting the mug on nightstand.
“Thank you,” I finally said, but the words barely came out. I cleared my throat and tried again. “Thanks.”
“So you said that I act as if none of this is my fault. Help me understand why your inability to control your emotions is my fault,” he taunted, leaning forward as his elbows rested on his knees.
“If you can’t comprehend how your manipulating ways didn’t initiate all of this, then you’re just as stupid as you are psychotic,” I croaked, the words hurting my throat as they came out. “Even after I told you the truth about everything, you’re still in fucking denial. You toying with my emotions for your own selfish reasons got us here and now you want to play the role of the grieving brother who wants to get justice for his sister.”
“Watch yourself, Sevyn,” Luther warned, his voice tight.
“Why? Because you can’t handle the truth?” I retorted, folding my arms across my chest. It pissed me off to no end that he was carrying on as if his sister was a random target and that everything happened because my friends and I were bored and wanted to fuck with someone. Even when all of us were dead, it wouldn’t change the fact that his stupid decision to make a bet with his friends and me falling for his bullshit was what started this whole thing. “Tell me, Luther: what are you going to do when we’re all dead considering that you’re the last person responsible for Logan’s death? Are you going to off yourself?”
Within a flash, he was out of his seat with his hand tightly around my throat. “You think you know everything, huh?” he growled, his grip growing tighter as I struggled to breathe.
Tears burned my eyes as I looked up at the restrained anger in his gaze. It was hard to believe that this was a person I’d known the majority of my life. He was almost unrecognizable and no longer looked like the guy who’d tried to awkwardly comfort me when I was upset about my parents or the dangerously sexy flirt I gave myself to years ago. Even though I knew he was more than capable of physically hurting me, I never thought he actually would. I always felt safe with him, never having a reason to fear him because he always came out of nowhere to defend me.
Just like at my party, I thought, just as Luther let go of me, pushing me backwards. I coughed and rubbed my throat, watching him as he returned to his seat.
“If this is your way of starting from the beginning, you’re already off to a bad start,” he growled. I winced as I swallowed, dropping my eyes to my lap.
“Regardless of the display you just put on, you still didn’t answer my question,” I reminded him, the words feeling like razor blades against the lining of my throat. “You drugged, abducted, and killed some of my friends and will finish off the rest of us soon. When we’re all gone, how are you going to absolve yourself from your own sins?”
“I have no sins,” he snapped.
I raised my eyebrows. “So does your rage give you convenient amnesia or…?”
“Sevyn, if I have to tell you to watch yourself again, I promise you it’s going to hurt,” he warned again.
I rolled my eyes and shook my head. “What the hell happened to you?”
“You and your fucking family.” He leaned back in his seat and narrowed his eyes at me. “How would you feel if someone took a piece of your family away and got away with it? My family had to watch you and every other person involved get away with bullying my sister, raping her, and ruining her life while you fucks got to carry on with yours without so much as a slap on the wrist. Did you really think I was going to let that go?”
“You’re not the only person who lost something, Luther” I snapped. “I lost my best friend AND a baby but you don’t see me trying to kill everyone that I blamed.”
Something dangerous flickered in his eyes, but he didn’t move from his seat. My eyes moved along his form. He was so familiar and foreign at the same time. Tattoos covered the exposed skin of his arms and crept up his neck. It was downright tragic that he was so sexy despite being psychotic. He was the kind of guy you knew you needed to run away from, but you could easily fall victim to their looks and slick tongue. Luther was a lethal package, bound to destroy anyone who crossed his path. I should know.
He’d destroyed me long before we reached this point.
“Are you just going to stare at me or are you going to say something?” he asked, breaking into my thoughts.
I shook my head. “Just thinking about stuff.”
“Care to share with the class?”
“Just…” I sighed. “Just kind of weird how you went from being someone that I knew would protect me to…this.”
He scoffed. “Protect you? I’m not a protector.”
“And yet you still managed to protect me whether or not I needed it.” He only stared at me. “Remember that fight you got into at my party because you ‘thought I was in distress?’”
“Sevyn! Baby! I’ve been calling you for days, but you’ve been ignoring me,” Ted, a guy I’d dated months ago, exclaimed as he came toward me. I rolled my eyes. I could smell the alcohol on him before he even came to a stop in front of me, signaling that his party started before he even left his house.
“Because we have no reason to talk. Now you’re just coming off as desperate,” I muttered, turning to walk away.
“Hey, hey, hey. Not so fast.” His words were slurred as he grabbed me around the waist, pulling me flush to his body. “I miss you, you know? We were so good together, right? Even my parents miss you.”
I rolled my eyes. The only thing his parents probably missed was the access they had to my parents and their connections since I dated their son. “I’ve moved on, Ted, and I thought you did, too. Don’t you have a girlfriend? Cynthia, right?”
He scoffed. “She and I have been done for a couple of weeks now. She was jealous because you were all I talked about.” He leaned in dangerously close as if he was going to kiss me. “I wanted to see if we could try again.”
Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed Luther looking at us with a cocked brow. His eyes were accessing the situation as he casually conversed with his friends, but look in his gaze told me that this could end badly if he had to come over here.
“Ted, we had a good time when we were together, but I’m not interested in rekindling any old flames,” I finally said, trying to pry his arm from around me.
“Come on, Sevyn. You mean to tell me you haven’t thought about me once? Remember all the fun we had! We could have that and more this time around.”
I frowned and tried to pull away from him again. “Let go of me.”
“You used to love when I held you like this. Are you trying to embarrass me?” he growled as his fingers dug into my skin when his grip on me tightened.
“You’re hurting me!”
“You’re being a tease, Sevyn. You think you can prance around in a bikini like that and expect me to keep my hands to myself? Actually, who are you trying to impress tonight, huh?”
“Why are you parading around like a slut for all these bastards, huh? Are you fucking one of them?”
I glared at him, still trying to get his arm from around my waist. “I don’t owe you an explanation for anything,” I snapped. “Let me go right now and get the hell out of my house.”
He scoffed and bowed his head, trying to kiss me. “You know you want me back,” he said, his words slurring as he pulled me closer to him.
“Is there a problem?” a stern voice asked behind me. I turned my head to see Luther standing there frowning, the look in his eyes dangerous.
Ted glared at him with bloodshot eyes. “This has nothing to do with you, pal. There’s plenty of other girls at this party, so fuck off,” he spat.
Luther stared at him for a moment before turning his attention to me. “This guy bothering you?”
“She’s fine,” Ted answered, before I could even say anything.
Luther narrowed his eyes at Ted, his body tensing slightly. “Last I checked, I was talking to Sevyn.”
Ted let go of me and stalked over to Luther until they were nearly nose to nose. Surrounding party guests backed away as a small crowd gathered in the living room.
“Who the fuck do you think you are?” Ted asked, arrogance lacing his voice.
“I’ll become a problem if you don’t back the fuck up,” Luther growled. I sighed inwardly. The last thing I needed was a fight to break out that resulted in someone calling the police or something getting broken in the chaos. I’d never hear the end of it from my parents and I didn’t want Luther to get in trouble when he was only trying to defend me.
I walked over and put a hand on Luther’s chest, pushing slightly to force him to take a step back. “Don’t, Luther. It’s fine. He was just leaving anyway.” I turned to face Ted. “Right, Ted?”
He looked at me for a long moment. More people gathered into the living room, waiting for the impending fight that was bound to happen if I couldn’t get Ted to leave willingly. Luther shuffled from foot to foot, unable to stay still as he readied himself to attack at a moment’s notice. He and Luther stared at each other before Ted chuckled and shook his head.
“Is he the one you’re wearing that slutty bikini for?” he asked me. “Are you fucking this guy?”
“You need to leave,” I snapped, pointing toward the front door.
“So you are fucking him,” Ted continued, taking a step closer to me. “I should’ve known you were a fucking whore.”
Luther pulled me to the side and stepped in front of Ted. “She told you to leave. If you’re having trouble walking the fuck out of here, I can drag you out,” he growled.
“Then drag me out, fucker,” Ted challenged.
“Luther, no!” I exclaimed, fisting the back of his shirt.
“No, no, Sevyn. Let Mr. Tough Guy try to escort me outside,” Ted taunted. He and Luther were the same height, standing at 6’4”, but Ted was 260 pounds, and stacked with a little more muscle than Luther thanks to playing football for years, but he was big in a way that made his movements slower than they would’ve been if he were leaner.
Luther grabbed Ted by the collar of his shirt and jerked him toward the door, only for Ted to slap his hand away. Although Ted swung at Luther, he wasn’t quick enough. Luther dodged his hit and landed one of his own in Ted’s gut, knocking the wind out of him.
“You sure you wanna tango with me?” Luther asked as he took a stepped back and cracked his neck. Murmuring sounded from the crowd as more people gathered, someone asking if they should call the police.
“You both need to stop,” I exclaimed.
“Sevyn, what the hell is going on?” Rebecca asked as she came in from the backyard. I waved her off and tried to pull Luther away, but he only shrugged out of my grip.
“You fucking dick,” Ted panted as he slowly stood upright. He moved into a fighting stance, his bloodshot eyes glaring at Luther as he inched closer. Luther didn’t move, nor did he mirror Ted’s stance. “What? Too pussy to actually fight?”
Having seen enough of this, I got in between them again. “Guys, stop!” I screamed. Ted roughly pushed me aside, causing me to hit the corner of an end table. Pain radiated up my side when I hit the floor as my friends rushed to my side.
“Oh my god, Sevyn! Are you okay?” Allison asked, securing my arm to help me off of the floor.
“Now you really have to go,” Luther growled. Tears burned my eyes as my side throbbed with pain. I knew Luther was only trying to help, but he only made a bad situation worse. They continued fighting as my friends tried to comfort me, but I just needed everyone gone. I was no longer in the mood to party.
I jumped when Ted knocked a lamp off the end table, sending it crashing to the floor. “What the fuck?” I screamed as they continued, moving toward the front door.
“You stole my girl, you fucking bastard!” Ted bellowed, charging toward Luther.
Luther stepped out of the way, and Ted crashed into one of the columns in my foyer, which knocked him out cold. Luther stood next to him and cocked his head to the side as he looked down at him.
“Oh, I haven’t even stole her yet, but I will,” he mused. “Out you go, big guy.”
His words both annoyed the fuck out of me and filled my stomach with butterflies. I didn’t know if his response meant that we were going to pursue something or if he was just saying it to taunt Ted. I didn’t have time to process it though, as Luther was dragging Ted out of the house and onto the front lawn by the arm.
I glared at him when he came back into the house with a grin on his face. He walked over to me and chucked me under the chin.
“Took the trash out, pretty girl,” he said, but I wasn’t amused.
“You didn’t have to do that, Luther. I could’ve handled him without your fucking help.”
He smiled. “Sure you could’ve,” he said sarcastically before walking back to the kitchen to rejoin his friends.
Luther was quiet for a moment, only staring at me before he shrugged. “That was hardly a fight. The asshole was drunk and wasn’t much of an opponent. Plus, I was bored and I thought it was potential action.”
I rolled my eyes. “You can sit here and act like you didn’t care about me or that you weren’t protective, but you were. You should stop being an asshole long enough to remember that you’re still human.”
“Well, I’m not whoever you think I used to be.”
“That’s obvious,” I muttered, looking away from him.
I could feel his eyes on me, but I couldn’t bring myself to meet his gaze. “You seem to be stuck on the person I was back then instead of the person that could snap your neck right now if you make the wrong move,” he said.
I cut my eyes to him. “Because that’s the version of you that I know. I don’t know the psychotic fuck that you are right now. You may as well be a stranger.”
He smirked. “That’s funny. You and I both know why I was known as Lunatic Luther,” he said. “Just because you hadn’t experienced the lunatic before now doesn’t mean you don’t know it.”
I couldn’t deny that he had a point. A lot of us were present the day that fourteen-year-old Luther had lost his shit at the park and almost fatally injured another kid during a fight. No one but the kid he attacked knew what started the fight, and no one would ever know because he now had a permanent brain injury that took away his ability to speak. Rumors swirled around about what possibly happened that’d started it, but Luther never spoke of it. Anytime he was asked, his only answer was, “He found out what would happen if he didn’t stop fucking with me.”
His parents sent him away for almost two years. Some people said they sent him to a mental hospital, others said he was sent to military school, and others said that his parents sent him to live with another family member. Logan wouldn’t talk about it, only saying that their family thought Luther needed “special attention” to help with his anger. The place they’d sent him must’ve been miracle workers because when he returned, he was a lot more mellow. He didn’t snap in anger as he used to, but his words and actions were always very precise. In a way, that made him more dangerous than being a firecracker because at least you knew what to expect from him when he was unhinged. As he stared at me now, his gaze menacing and calculating, it chilled me to the bone to think about what he could possibly have in store for me for the rest of my time here.
One question burned brightly in my mind. It was one that I constantly wondered about when I found out the real reason he pursued a relationship with me. If I was going to die in this house, I at least wanted to know the truth before he killed me.
“Can I ask you something and you not give me a bullshit answer?” I asked. He only looked at me, the look in his eyes urging me to go on. “What’s your why for doing what you did to me?”
He raised an eyebrow. “Haven’t I made that clear every day that you’ve been here?”
“I’m talking about the real reason you were in a relationship with me. Was it really just for money?” I ground out. “You told me I was nothing but $5,000 pussy after you broke up with me, remember?”
A muscle in his jaw ticked as he looked at me. Just saying that out loud ignited that feeling of devastation I’d felt all those summers ago. He was the first guy I’d actually fallen for and I was stupid enough to trust him when I knew his track record. I didn’t know why I thought I’d be different from any other girl he’d messed around with and dumped when he got bored. And honestly? I probably would’ve accepted that and blamed myself when things happened as the usually did with Luther and the girls he dated. It was no different from what I’d done to guys I’d been with.
But what Luther did was unforgivable.
To him, I was just worth what I considered chump change in a bet that left me devastated, alone, and angry. I couldn’t decide what was more insulting: the fact that he didn’t think I was worth more than that or the fact I was rejected by someone who wasn’t even in my tax bracket. But despite that, the only thing that hurt twas that I loved someone who never had any intention of loving me back.
And that was a bitter pill to swallow even today.
“The past is the past. It doesn’t matter anymore,” he simply said, his face wiped of any emotion.
I shook my head and looked away from him in disbelief. Sometimes I wondered how the hell I fell in love with him to begin with. His personality in general was abrasive and sometimes callous. But there were these glimpses of humanity, empathy, and affection that he’d show when we were alone, which showed me he was capable of loving me the way I needed to be loved. Either that, or he was a fucking pro at pretending.
My mind drifted back to my party.
After locking myself in my bedroom, I took off my bikini cover up and looked at my side in the mirror with a frown. It was already starting to bruise and it hurt like a bitch. I groaned.
“There’s no way I can wear a swim suit if this thing doesn’t go away fast,” I muttered, just as someone rapped on my door. I rolled my eyes, assuming it was Rebecca. “Bec, I said I didn’t want to be bothered with anyone right now!”
The knocking continued, which filled me with annoyance. I walked over to the door with a huff and ripped it open, surprised to see Luther standing on the other side.
“Why are you still here?” I snapped, hiding majority of my body behind the door to hide the bruise.
“Just wanted to apologize for fucking up your party,” he said, but the cocky grin on his lips made his words hard to believe.
I rolled my eyes. “Just go home, Luther,” I said and moved to close the door before he stopped me.
“I don’t understand why you’re so mad. I was only trying to help you,” he said. “I mean, a logical person would’ve said, ‘Thank you for helping me, Luther,” not have an attitude.”
“That’s the thing, I didn’t ask for your help.”
“Oh? And what would’ve happened had I not stepped in, hmm?” he asked with a raised brow. “He was already drunk and being aggressive. Did you think he would leave you alone willingly?”
“I know how to handle him.”
“It didn’t look like it,” he said with a shrug.
I narrowed my eyes at him. I wasn’t sure what kind of game he was playing, but I wasn’t going to fall for it. Sure, we had a good time on the beach when it was just us, but I knew how he was with girls. And yet…him still being here and showing some kind of concern gave me butterflies.
“Why do you care anyway?” I finally asked.
“Why wouldn’t I?”
“Can’t you answer a question without asking one?”
He smiled, and I nearly melted in front of him. “It’s a valid question though, pretty girl. Why wouldn’t I care about someone that I just told last night that they were mine?” he murmured.
My body warmed at his words, but I knew better. Luther was the king of manipulation when it came to getting what he wanted. I’d witnessed him do it to other girls when I’d go to his house to hang with Logan. I used to always wonder how anyone could be so dumb to believe the shit he said most times, but that was because I saw things from the other side. I saw when he’d say sweet nothings to one girl and immediately call another when she was gone. But when he was in front of you…he made it so easy to believe him. His eyes were sincere, his tone sounded genuine. Now I realized how they could fall into such a trap.
I folded my arms across my chest, pushing away any emotions that tried to creep in. “What the hell makes you think that’s actually true?”
“What the hell makes you think it isn’t?”
“Your possessive, cool guy act won’t work with me. Just leave,” I state firmly.
“Cool guy act, huh? It’s definitely not an act. Maybe I need to reiterate the fact that you’re mine since you’ve already forgotten,” he said and smiled.
“You’re fucking ridiculous, you know that?” I mumbled before walking away from him and back over to my mirror. His reflection appeared in the mirror behind me when he entered the room and closed the door, a frown settling on his lips.
“Here,” he said, holding out a ziplock bag filled with ice. “I figured you’d need that after your fall.”
I turned and looked at it. Maybe he did care after all. I gave him a small smile and closed the distance between us.
“Thanks,” I murmured. When I moved to grab it, his hand tightened on the bag. I frowned. “Well? Are you going to give it to me?”
He looked at my forming bruise and slightly brushed his fingers over it. I winced and moved away from his touch, shaking my head.
“It’s pretty tender right now. I hit the corner of the table a bit hard on my way down,” I said.
He put a hand on my hip and placed the bag of ice on my side. I flinched in pain, but didn’t pull away from him. His handsome features were tense as he stared at my side, holding the ice there.
“When’d you date that asshole?” he asked after a few moments of silence.
“It’s been a while. I thought we were on good terms since he’s dating someone else, but apparently that’s not the case anymore,” I mumbled. I took the ice pack away from him and gave him a small smile. “I’ll be fine. You don’t have to stay.”
“What if I want to?” he asked, and it was the one sentence that led me down a path of no return.
“Still stuck in the past, pretty girl?” Luther asked, breaking into my thoughts. I looked over at him to see him grinning, his tongue in his cheek as he watched me.
“What difference does it make?”
“I don’t know why that party of yours matters so much. I got into a fight with one of your ex boyfriends and we had sex again. So what?” he asked with a shrug.
I rolled my eyes. “That’s not the only thing that happened that night, Luther. But since nothing from that summer meant anything to you, I wouldn’t expect you to remember,” I mumbled.
Something unfamiliar flashed in his eyes, but I couldn’t decipher what it was. Just as quickly as it appeared, it disappeared again. After a few moments of silence, he sighed.
“The bet wasn’t my idea if that makes you feel any better,” he said.
“I don’t care whose idea it was. You still accepted it. Now look where we both are.”
His features hardened again as he stared at me. “I want to make something very clear to you,” he started, his tone low and dangerous. “Whether you were mad at me back then or not, stop using that to fucking justify what you did to Logan. She didn’t deserve any of the shit all of you did to her.”
“I never said she did.”
“Then stop fucking saying that shit that happened between us is what got us to this point. Our situation may have pushed you to act, but that was your fucking decision.”
“I’m saying that because our situation did cause all of this shit, Luther! What’s so hard for you to comprehend? It was never Logan’s fault; I agree with you on that. But she just happened to be collateral damage after you ran off to college. That’s something that you will have to live with,” I snapped.
“Yeah, it is,” he said, his voice tight. “I live with it every single day that my fucking sister isn’t here. And now I’m making all this shit right again.”
I watched him as he stood and walked over to the door. “Why can’t you just kill me already? It’s clear that you’re not going to take responsibility for anything and the sooner I can get away from you, the better,” I snapped.
His hand was on the doorknob, but he hadn’t moved. Instead, he turned his head slightly. I could see the restrained anger in the frown on his lips and his furrowed brows. After a brief moment, he turned to meet my gaze, a smirk on his face as he cocked his head.
He chuckled.“Kill you? I haven’t even started to have real fun with you yet.”
I trembled as fear etched its way along my nerve endings, watching as he walked out of the room and slammed the door shut behind him. When I heard him lock the door from the outside, I finally released my breath. Considering what he’d already done to me, I didn’t want to know what was waiting. I had to either find a fucking way out of here or figure out how I could reach the Luther I used to know. He had to be buried in the rubble caused by the darkness that destroyed him. I knew it would be a risk, but I had no choice. Doing nothing would result in my death anyway.
And if I had to pay in blood, so would he.