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Hey!

So with the release of the Rules of Bennett boxed set, I figured it would be a good idea to give you a taste of what's to come! If you've been missing the Morenos, check out the first chapter of Moreno Forever, which will be featured in the boxed set!





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Chapter One

Bennett


“Question,” I stated as I sat in the passenger seat, folding and unfolding the pocket knife in my hand while I scanned the moving people on the street. Saint glanced over at me.

“What’s up, Boss?”

“Is there a stamp on my forehead that says ‘fool’ that I don’t fucking know about?” I asked.

Saint chuckled and shook his head. “Of course not.”

“I thought so.”

Saint, Nyxin, and I sat parked in an SUV in the seedy part of downtown Los Angeles, watching as Garrett and Caleb stood across the street surrounded by a gang of whores. The longer I watched them, the higher my anger mounted. With the creation of a new mafia family, that required having to hire new help. Not everyone supported my decision of killing my father, deciding to leave when the Moreno Family fell apart after his death. That left me having to start completely from scratch. New family, new men, new rules and regulations to build a new empire. My gut told me these two fucks were shady, but I wasn’t in a position to turn down people who were hungry to work. I figured I’d put up with them now and replace them when I had better options, but all that did was create another fucking headache for me to deal with.

At first, it started with them coming up just a little short or having fake bills. They claimed they were new to this, not knowing what to look for or not knowing if someone was scamming them. But then it started happening too many times to ignore. I lost count of the number of times I’d heard the excuse, “I couldn’t remember what a fake bill feels like,” or “I could’ve sworn I counted it right. I didn’t realize they shorted me.” They always had a bullshit reason for why the lack of drugs they had didn’t match with the amount of money they brought to me, lying to my face like I was a fucking idiot who didn’t know what was going on. A mistake here and there wasn’t unusual, but every single time was an enormous red flag that forced me to have to take matters into my own hands.

“I knew those guys were full of shit when they first showed up, but of course, no one ever listens to me,” Nyxin tsked from the backseat.

Saint glanced at him in the rearview mirror. “Because your assumption was solely based on the fact that homeboy still sports a bowl cut.”

“Yeah, which is fuckery all on its own,” Nyxin argued. “What grown man still has a bowl cut? I’m pretty sure they get paid enough to see an actual barber.”

“Either way, it was a bad judgement call on my end,” I said as I shifted in my seat, slipping the pocket knife into my pocket. “What’s the report on them?”

Nyxin shuffled papers behind me before clearing his throat. “O’Shea and Mason said the same thing, that the two fucks admitted to stealing product and skimming money off the top by replacing it with fake bills. Mason specifically said that Garrett and Caleb’s plan was to try to find another connect and they were gonna start their own shit.”

“Interesting,” I answered as I continued to watch them. They passed small baggies of white powder to the women that rubbed against them promising them a good time, and all I could think about was cutting those fucking smiles off of their faces.

I didn’t take too kindly to assholes who stole from me. For them to think I was too fucking stupid to notice was downright disrespectful.

And we all knew how I felt about disrespect.

My phone buzzed in my pocket, pulling my gaze from the window. I idly retrieved it, glancing briefly at the screen to see a picture of Aurora and Liam.

“Yeah, babe?” I said upon answering.

“Ah, Mr. Moreno. How lucky am I to be graced with your voice?” she teased.

I grinned. “Did you call me to be an asshole?” I asked.

“No, I just had a little question for you.”

“And what’s that?”

“Well,” she started. “There’s a chilled bottle of merlot here, a delicious dinner on the table, and a horny wife waiting for you at home. Any particular reason why you’re not here right now when you promised you would be?”

Shit. I had every intention of making sure I got back home in time for dinner after Aurora complained about the lack of time we spent together. After breaking dates and promises for weeks, I swore to her that she’d have me tonight to do whatever she wanted. But when I got the report from my guys about Garrett and Caleb, I knew I couldn’t let them live past tonight. I refused to let those dickheads think that they outsmarted me for another night, and I damn sure wouldn’t continue losing money because of them either.

I glanced back out of the window just in time to see Garrett and Caleb strolling toward the dark alley a few feet away from them with a few of the streetwalkers. “Something came up that I have to handle. I’m gonna be pretty late tonight.”

She sighed. “Fuck, again? Bennett, you promised,” she exclaimed, disappointment and frustration lacing her voice.

“I know, babe, and I’m sorry. But I finally got the information that I—”

“And it wasn’t something the guys could handle on their own? You’ve been blowing me off for weeks now because of business shit and I can already tell you that masturbating is getting pretty fucking old. Maybe I should go buy a guy to fuck me since my own husband won’t.”

I rolled my eyes. “Don’t be fucking ridiculous. You know I wouldn’t allow that.”

“It’s not like you’d know if I did or not. You’re hardly even home,” she snapped.

I pinched the bridge of my nose. I had to admit that I’d had a shit ton more work on my plate now that I’d branched off and created my own mafia family. Managing all aspects of what used to be Moreno businesses instead of just the human trafficking sector was a lot more than I’d anticipated. I had to give my father credit. How he managed to run everything on his own without completely losing his head was impressive. Every single day that I had to clean up bullshit problems like this current one made me even more homicidal. At the rate I was going, my entire mafia family would be dead if shit didn’t change around here.

“It’s not intentional, babe. You know why I’m hardly home.”

“I wish you’d find something else to say. It’s ‘not intentional’ when you break promises. When you miss meetings with the wedding planner. When you don’t have five fucking minutes to have a conversation with your wife or hold your son,” she snapped.

I ground my teeth. Even though having this same conversation over and over for weeks was frustrating the shit out of me, I couldn’t be upset. She had every right to feel the way she did. I hadn’t been the most attentive husband and father. Work had kept me so busy that I barely even had time to sleep, a new problem seeming to pop up out of nowhere. She and Liam were usually always asleep by the time I got home, only for the cycle to repeat the next day. We were supposed to be planning an actual wedding to make our marriage feel “more real”—her words; damn sure not mine—and she wanted to experience having the beautiful dress and the other unnecessary shit that came with a wedding. Because it made her happy, I went along with it, but my absence during this process did nothing but land me in the doghouse most nights.

“Aurora—”

“Don’t,” she interrupted with a deep sigh. “Just don’t. I’ll find something to do tonight and I’ll see you when I see you.”

I raised an eyebrow. “Then I hope it’s something you can do at home.”

“No, I’m going to go out. I’ll ask Carrie to look after Liam until I get back.”

“Like hell you’re going out. I’ll be home in a few hours, Aurora.”

“Then I’ll see you when I get back.”

“I swear to god if you—”

She hung up before I could finish my sentence, leaving me even more frustrated than I already was.

“She must really want me to fuck her up,” I mumbled, more so to myself as I stared at my home screen in slight disbelief.

Saint looked over at me. “Everything good on the homefront?” he asked.

I put my phone in the inner pocket of my jacket and shook my head. “Aurora’s upset that I’m too busy these days.”

“You’re overworking yourself, man. You might wanna consider delegating some shit to us so that you can spend more time with your family.”

I shook my head. After what I’d gone through with my father, I wasn’t even sure if I could even trust anyone to do business on my behalf. Dealing with that kind of betrayal wasn’t something one could get over so easily. It wasn’t every day that your own father had your ex-girlfriend killed and tried to have you killed as well. After that, I didn’t know who I could fully trust anymore. The people that I logically knew I could trust with my life sometimes made me think twice, wondering if they’d turn on me one day, too. But I had to constantly remind myself that they weren’t like that. I had to remind myself that Bruce, Saint, Nyxin, and KC had been with me from the beginning and stuck by my side through everything thrown at us. Hell, Saint nearly lost his life defending me, so his loyalty shouldn’t have even been a question. But when betrayal cut as deep as it did with my father, it could seriously fuck with you mentally.

“It’s just something she’ll have to deal with. When we’re better established and have more permanent members, shit should calm down,” I mumbled.

“Pretty sure your marriage problems are a situation that sex can fix,” Nyxin stated from the backseat. “She’s probably sexually frustrated and lonely.”

“Yeah, I’m with Nyx on that. Pretty sure a good back-blowing session will take that attitude of hers down a few notches,” Saint said, nodding.

I chuckled and shook my head. “Shut the fuck up, man.”

“Seriously though. It’s not like we’re wrong. Hell, you probably even need it, too. You’ve been really high strung these last few weeks.”

I rolled my eyes. “You’d be high strung, too, if you’ve been doing nothing but putting out fucking fires for the past couple of months,” I mumbled. Because trying to find new men, going back and forth in disagreements with the fucking Russians, dealing with thieves, liars, and idiots who think they could outsmart me, and now an unhappy wife, I was stressed the fuck out.

“All work and no play makes for a sad dick, man,” Nyxin tsked. “The only thing you have tomorrow night is that meeting with that one lady about the new shipment of girls. Maybe you should fuck your wife afterwards before we all end up dickless.”

“Speaking of girls,” Saint said, changing the subject. “Where’d the last shipment come from? The throats on some of those chicks are fucking immaculate.”

“Really? I haven’t been down into the basement in a while. I may have to check out these ‘immaculate throats’ when we get back,” Nyxin said.

I shook my head. “You guys are fucking nuts. Besides, the basement isn’t a fucking free-for-all just because you’re my main men,” I reminded them.

Saint shook his head. “Nah, I paid for the girl I had. I know the rules,” he said. “She was a fucking gem. I mean she’s built like a T-Rex, which isn’t what I usually go for but—”

Nyxin snorted. “Wait, what? How the fuck did you come up with that comparison?”

“Because she has small tits and a big ass. Small top, big bottom, like a fucking T-Rex.”

Nyxin and I laughed. I could always count on my men to make shitty situations less shitty. One of them always had a joke stashed somewhere to remind me to feel something else other than anger and frustration these days. “That’s the dumbest shit I’ve ever heard in my life,” I said with a grin.

“Call it what you want but it doesn’t take away from her amazing throat,” Saint said with a content sigh. “She literally has no gag reflex.”

“Does she really not have a gag reflex or does your dick not have enough inches to even touch her uvula?” Nyxin asked, leaning forward in the seat until he was visible between us.

“It can touch your mother’s uvula, bitch,” Saint threw back. “Anyway, this girl takes whatever you give her, so she’ll be a huge moneymaker with clients. In fact, her mouth was so good that I actually remembered her name.”

“Then what is it?” I asked.

“Katrina,”Saint answered confidently before frowning soon after. “Or was it Kennedy?”

“Fucking idiot,” Nyxin snorted.

He chuckled. “Whatever. It doesn’t matter anyway. I’m gonna start calling her giraffe from now on, so her name won’t matter.”

“Is she tall?” Nyxin asked.

“Nah. But the way she can take a dick down her throat, you’d think she had the neck of a giraffe,” he replied.

“Saint, if you wanna fuck animals, just say that, man,” I teased, laughing when he playfully pushed me.

“Oh fuck you, man. You’re the one that’s gonna end up with blue balls for a long time unless you figure out how to juggle both business and family life,” he said.

I frowned. “Can you believe she said she was gonna buy a guy just to have him fuck her? It’s like she wants me to come home and fuck her up.”

“Or…she just wants you to come home and fuck her,” Saint said under his breath, chuckling when I glared at him.

“If it were me, I’d postpone this meeting with these two dickheads for a couple of hours to put my wife in their place,” Nyxin said and tsked. “Then again, I wouldn’t have this problem to begin with because I’d be fucking my wife every night, especially if she looked like yours.”

“Mind your tongue if you want to keep it in your mouth, asshole,” I growled.

He held his hands up. “I’m just saying, man. You’re the boss; no one is saying that you have to take care of this situation tonight. You control that decision. So how about we go back to the house for a couple of hours so you can take care of business with your wife and then we can come up with a plan to deal with these assholes once they get to the club.”

I looked back to the alley just as Garrett and Caleb walked out of it, both of them zipping up their pants. Nice to know everybody is getting laid but me. Even though the guys were right, I didn’t have the same luxury as everyone else. Business waited for no one and I knew I wouldn’t be able to fully relax until those fucks paid for what they’d done.

I shook my head. “I’m going to deal with them tonight. Somebody text those two knuckleheads and tell them I want to meet them at Club Secrets. And tell them to bring me the product they haven’t sold yet as well as my fucking money. Now,” I finally said and glanced at my watch. “I want to try to have this shit done in less than three or four hours.”

“You got it,” Saint said, retrieving his phone from his pocket.

Nyxin clapped his hands together. “Well, since we’re gonna get off earlier than usual tonight, I think I’m gonna take a little time to experience these immaculate throats Saint boasted so highly about when we get back,” Nyxin said, rubbing his hands together.

Saint shook his head. “It’ll be a waste of money for you considering that you won’t even be able to reach her throat from what I’ve heard from the other girls,” he teased, causing me to chuckle.

“Oh, ha ha ha, you fuck,” he muttered.

I shook my head. “Let’s get the fuck out of here. Time’s ticking.”

*

The yellow lightbulb flickered above me as I sat on the corner of the rickety wooden desk. It’d been a while since I’d been down here, the last time being when I removed a few organs from the twins that worked for my father. I ground my teeth as the bitter memories from last year filled my head. It was always bittersweet walking into a property he used to own that I now took over. There were times were I wished I could get his advice on how to properly set things up instead of going through this trial and error phase right now, but the fact of the matter was that he was dead. Even if he were still alive, he’d still be my enemy and nothing would’ve changed that.

I thought to my son, realizing that I was slowly turning into my father. Never at home, hardly seeing my son, putting the business over making sure to help my wife raise him right. I’d promised him the day he was born that I’d be a better father to him than mine was to me. And here I was already letting him down.

“Boss?” Nyxin called, snapping his fingers in front of my face. I blinked and brought my gaze up to him, frowning as I waited for him to continue. “They’re here. Should we put the plastic down now?”

I shook my head. “Not yet. I don’t want them to see it as soon as they’re in the doorway and try to run. Let’s just play it cool right now,” I said as laughter filtered down the hallway. You fuckers won’t be laughing very soon.

I motioned for the two of them to grab four chairs and to put them in in a semi-circle in front of me. No sooner than the chairs were in place, a rhythmic knock sounded on the heavy door.

“It’s showtime, boys,” I said with a grin. “Get the door, will you?”

Nyxin strolled across the room and unlocked the door before pulling it open to reveal Beavis and Butthead on the other side of it.

“Nyx! My main man! What’s up, buddy?” Caleb exclaimed when he walked into the room. He waved when his eyes landed on me. “Boss! Looking sharp as always, my man! I’m trying to get on your level.”

I gave him a small grin and gestured to one of the seats. “Good evening, fellas. Come join us,” I said.

Garrett looked a little uncomfortable, his green eyes darting around the room as if he were looking for something. They both came over and had a seat as Nyxin closed the door, discreetly flipping the lock on it before joining us with Saint in tow.

“Here’s everything you asked for,” Garrett said as he put the bag beside me on the desk.

“Thanks.” I reached for the cigar box behind me. “Cigar?”

“Oh shit, sure,” Caleb said with a big grin on my face.

Garrett shook his head. “Nah, I’m good, Boss. Thanks though.”

I tsked. “It’s almost rude, Garrett. I’m offering you a cigar from an $18,000 box of Cohiba Behikes and you don’t want to try one? I’ll be insulted if you don’t,” I said with a grin.

He stared at me for a short moment before forcing a grin onto his lips. “Sorry. Sure, I’ll take one, Boss,” he finally said.

“Good. I felt that we had a little to celebrate, so I thought a nice cigar would help with that,” I said as I passed everyone a cigar. Pulling the cigar cutter from the small pocket lining the lid of the box, I clipped everyone’s cigar and then lit my own, passing the lighter to Nyxin.

“What are we celebrating?” Caleb finally asked, taking a long pull from his cigar and immediately coughing.

I smirked at him. “Have a little finesse, kid. It’s a cigar, not a joint. But anyway, I wanted to thank you two for the work you’re both putting in. I know you’re new to this life, but I speak on behalf of the family when I say that you guys are doing pretty well for this to be a new venture for you.”

Out the corner of my eye, I noticed Garrett’s tense position begin to relax at my words as he finally took a pull from his cigar. “Thanks for giving us a chance. I know we probably have a long way to go before we can advance to something higher than slinging drugs on the street, but we definitely appreciate the opportunity you’ve given us,” he said.

I took a puff of the cigar and slowly exhaled the smoke. “Out of the two of you, who would you say is the smartest?” I asked.“For example, if I gave you guys…say…a kilo of cocaine and told you to sell it. Who would come up with the plan to get it done?”

“I would,” Garrett answered confidently. The smug look he sported gave me the urge to slash his face, but I needed to pace myself.

“So you’re pretty much in charge of your little duo when you guys go out to sell on the street, yeah?”

“Right.”

“Interesting,” I said with a nod before puffing on my cigar again. I looked over at the bag and patted it. “How much am I to expect in here when I count it?”

“I’m actually not 100% sure. We came straight here when we got the text, so I didn’t have time to count,” he said, his eyes darting between me and the bag.

I looked to Saint. “Could you get the money counter for me, please?” I asked. He nodded and stood, walking across the room to retrieve the small machine. I pulled everything out of the bag, forcing myself to grin at the small amount of drugs. “Looks like you guys nearly sold a good bit of it. Good job.”

“The demand is high,” Garrett said with an uncomfortable smile. I fought the urge to scoff. From what I’d seen on the street earlier, I was very confident that he was paying for sex with drugs and that he’d given a lot of shit away. Just looking at the pile of money, I already knew it was short.

“Good, good. That’s what I like to hear,” I said idly as Saint put the machine on the desk. I pulled the rubber bands off the stacks of money and put three of the stacks in the machine, turning it on. The money flipped through the machine for a few seconds before stopping, the counterfeit alarm beeping. “Looks like we already have a problem.”

“Is the machine broken?” Garrett asked. “I can count it if—”

“No, it’s not broken. It’s detecting counterfeits,” I interrupted and removed the money by hand. “So now I have to go through each bill and pull out the fake ones.”

The entire room was silent as I went through stack after stack of money, pulling out counterfeit bill after counterfeit bill. By the time I was finished, the stack containing the real bills was a lot smaller than the fake ones, which filled me with irritation. I glanced at Garrett and Caleb, both of them shifting nervously in their chairs as they put their cigars out on the wooden leg of the chair they sat in. Their eyes watched the machine as it quickly counted the real bills before displaying the total on the small screen.

“Out of all this money…only $5,000 of it was real,” I said and shook my head. “You can see how this is a major problem for me, right?”

Garrett stood and moved toward the desk. “Are you sure? I made sure to check every single bill—”

“I’m very aware of what a fake bill looks like. And considering how many times I’ve had to point that out to you two every time you bring money to me, I was sure that you knew what one looked and felt like by now.” I stroked my chin thoughtfully. “Let’s do a little math, yeah?”

“Okay,” Garrett said cautiously.

I looked down at everything next to me. “You were given 200 8-balls, right?”

“Yeah, 200.”

“And they’re going for what? About $250 on the street these days?”

“I guess.”

“You guess? You don’t know how much your product is?” I asked with a raised brow.

“Yeah, $250, Boss,” Caleb quipped, looking to Garrett with nervous eyes.

I counted the remaining baggies of white powder. “There’s 32 baggies left here, so that means you’ve supposedly sold 168 baggies. That would mean that there should be…” I calculated the total in my head, “…forty-two big ones in this bag.” I held up the stack of real bills. “But strangely enough, I only have $5,000.”

“Yikes,” Nyxin mumbled under his breath before puffing on his cigar.

“There’s no point in counting the counterfeits because I can’t do shit with them. So…somebody better tell me where my drugs or $37,000 is and why it isn’t in this bag,” I said as I put out my cigar and narrowed my eyes at Garret and Caleb. Garrett held my gaze, wiping all emotion from his face, but I could see the panic lurking in his irises. Caleb looked to him nervously, as if he didn’t know what to say or if he was keeping his mouth shut before he said something that would put them in a fucked up situation.

“I swear those bills felt real, Boss. I wouldn’t have intentionally given you that many fake bills if I was trying to cheat you,” Garrett said as sweat begin to bead along his forehead.

I thumbed through the fake bills. “Yeah, you say that every time I find counterfeits in my money, so I’m going to ask you again. Where the fuck is my money or my drugs?”

“I’m just gonna tell the truth,” Caleb blurted out.

“Shut the fuck up, Caleb,” Garrett ground out.

“The truth would be nice. Please, do tell,” I asked, folding my arms across my chest. Caleb glanced at Garrett, who slowly turned red before me as he became angry.

“We…we were robbed. Yeah, we got jacked while we were on the streets. They took majority of our drugs and money and—”

“Okay, stop, because now you’re both fucking pissing me off,” I interrupted, pinching the bridge of my nose. “I’m not in the mood for bullshit stories. First, Garrett said that he swears they were real bills. Now you’re saying you were robbed. Did you two not properly rehearse the lie you were going to present to me or something?”

“I-I’m not lying, sir,” Caleb stammered, looking to Garrett to save him. Garrett only stared at the wall behind me, refusing to make eye contact. I turned my gaze to Saint and Nyxin, nodding slightly to signal that they get themselves ready. Both Caleb and Garrett snapped their eyes to their burly men who positioned themselves behind them, their guns drawn and at their side. I slid off the desk and walked over to Caleb, whose eyes widened as he looked up at me.

“You’re in charge of your little duo, right, Garrett?” I asked out loud, but I already knew the answer. “So I want you to answer my question. Oh, and think carefully before you answer. You don’t know what information I may or may not already have.”

“I swear, Boss. The bills were all real when I put the money in the bag. I don’t know what Caleb did when I wasn’t paying attention,” he replied, his eyes watching Saint’s every move behind him.

“You’re a fucking liar, man! You know I never touched that money! You never let me touch it!” Caleb protested before looking up to me. “I swear I didn’t take anything, Boss!”

I tsked. “Strangely, I believe you, Caleb. I don’t believe you’re smart enough to try to scam someone,” I said as I grabbed his hand. “But until your partner here tells the truth, you’re gonna lose a finger every single time a lie comes out of his mouth.”

“No! No! Wait!” he exclaimed as I took the cigar cutter from my pocket, and put his pinky finger through the opening that was supposed to be for cigars.

“You can thank your partner for this,” I said and released the sides of the cutter, taking his entire pinky off.

“FUCK! FUCK!” he screamed, jerking against Nyxin’s hold. I looked to Garrett.

“You wanna try your answer again?” I asked.

His breaths came in fast as he assessed the situation, guilt flashing across his features as he looked at his injured friend. “Okay, Caleb was right. We were robbed!” he said quickly. “I was going to work overtime to get the money back, but then you called us in here to bring you what we had before I got the chance!”

Another lie, but I wanted to see if he would continue digging his own grave. “Do you know who robbed you? How were you gonna get my money back if you didn’t have enough product to sell?”

“It was one of the local gangs that roam around that neighborhood. I was going to get it back directly from them by getting some people to help us rob them. I swear we were gonna get it back,” he said breathlessly.

I nodded. “I see. And when were you robbed and why am I just now hearing about it?”

“About four days ago. I’d wanted to try to get the money back first because I didn’t want you to think we were stealing from me.”

“….so you thought putting counterfeits into the bag and lying to me was a better option?” I asked with a raised brow.

“I’m sorry, man. I just wanted to find a solution myself.”

I sighed and shook my head. “That’s…what, three lies you just told in less than three minutes? You must really not give a fuck about your friend here,” I said.

Caleb struggled against me, trying to close his hand into a tight fist, but I wouldn’t let that deter me. I pried the bloody ring finger from his fist, slipping the cigar cutter down to the first knuckle and sliced it off without a word. I did the same for two more fingers as Caleb wailed in pain, but Garrett didn’t seem to be moved enough.

“We’re down to one last finger on this hand. You’re running out of chances to tell me the truth,” I said. “So how about we do it this way: how about you just answer my questions I have for you. Can you do that?”

“Y-yeah,”Garrett stammered, his skin slightly turning greenish in color as he observed all the blood coming from his friend.

“Rumor on the street is that you’ve been stealing money from me and looking for a new connect so that you and your fingerless friend here can start peddling your own drugs. Anything you want to explain about that?” I asked as I slipped the cigar cutter onto Caleb’s thumb.

“Yes! Yes, that was the plan!” Caleb screamed, as he watched the cigar cutter with wide eyes. “Fucking tell him, Garrett!”

“That isn’t even fucking true! I wouldn’t be stupid enough to—”

But he couldn’t even get the complete lie out of his mouth before I took off Caleb’s thumb. Caleb screamed and jerked around in his chair in pain, Nyxin holding him in a headlock with a gun pointed to his temple to keep him seated. I shook my head as I looked back to Garrett.

“Five times. You’ve lied five times now. It’s like you have no regard for your friend here because you don’t give a damn as long as you’re not the one suffering the consequences. So let’s shift the tables a bit,” I said nonchalantly, stepping away from screaming Caleb.

“No, no, no, no,” Garrett quickly said as I moved closer to him, stopping only a few feet away.

I grinned at him. “Oh, you think I’m gonna cut your fingers off?” I looked at the bloody cigar cutter in my hand. “Nah. That’s way too easy for someone who masterminded something as intricate as you.” I tossed the bloody cigar cutter onto the desk and swiped the money and drugs onto the floor with my arm. “Saint, bring him over here, please.”

Saint wasted no time roughly grabbing his arm and yanking him over to the desk. Garrett looked at me with wide eyes, following me with his gaze as I walked behind the desk and opened a drawer.

“Oh fuck! Oh fuck! Come on, man! It was an honest mistake!” he exclaimed as he eyed the sharpened cleaver I pulled out.

“An honest mistake that you keep lying about, right?” I asked as I came back around the desk.

“Okay, I’ll tell you whatever it is you wanna know!” he exclaimed.

“I’m listening.”

He took a deep breath, his chest quickly rising and falling. “Okay, so we did want to start our own thing. We weren’t trying to cheat your or anything; we were just going to—wait, wait, wait!” he screamed when I grabbed his hand and tied a piece of rope around his wrist.

“I’m losing my patience, so you better talk fast.” I wound the excess rope around my hand and grabbed the cleaver, lightly tapping it against my thigh as I waited.

“Okay, okay.” He took in a gulp of air. “You were right. W-we were trying to pull the wool over your eyes, thinking you wouldn’t notice until we were ready to leave. We were gonna just take a little off the top and then repay it when we started our own business, but then we got greedy!”

“What happened to all the drugs? There’s no way you sold all of that; otherwise, you’d have more of the real bills and not a bunch of fakes.”

“W-we exchanged it for sex with hookers,” he admitted, tears filling his eyes. “We’ll get you your money, I swear!”

I scoffed. “Considering how you’ve been lying to me since you stepped foot in here, why the fuck should I believe you now?”

“I can get you the money. I can get it for you right now—”

“Don’t worry. I already have people retrieving my money as we speak,” I said with a grin. “You know, I’ve been working really hard to build my empire. I don’t appreciate when people try to cheat me, Garrett.”

“I swear it won’t happen again, Boss.”

I gave him a soft smile. “I know it won’t, kid,” I said, lifting my arm and bringing the cleaver down on his wrist, chopping off his hand. A little blood splattered my face as he immediately fell to his knees and screamed in agony.

“FUCK!” he screamed. “My fucking hand!”

Saint wrapped his arms around Garrett’s body, pinning his arms to his side as I tied another rope to his other wrist, pulling it to straighten out his arm.

“Please, Boss! Don’t!” he screamed, but his pleas fell on unsympathetic years. The cleaver sliced through his bone like butter, his blood quickly covering the desktop as his severed hands lay on top of it. I cracked my neck and inhaled deeply, the coppery scent of blood calming my frayed nerves.

God, that fucking felt good.

Saint let go of him, watching as he crumbled to the floor screaming. It was only a matter of time before he bled out after cutting through his radial arteries. Caleb screamed in shock and horror as he watched Garrett convulse on the floor, not noticing when I gave Nyxin his signal. Without a word, Nyxin moved to stand in front of him, emptying his gun into Caleb’s chest as Saint did the same to Garrett on the floor.

I looked around at the bloody mess around us. “We probably should’ve put that plastic down,” I mused, grabbing a towel from the black bag behind the desk.

Saint chuckled. “I was gonna mention that when you started cutting off Caleb’s fingers, but I didn’t want to take you out of the zone when it’s something trivial. I’ll get a clean up crew in here to deal with it,” he said, just as my phone vibrated in my pocket.

I cleaned the blood off my hands as best as I could, rolling my eyes when I saw Gio’s name on my screen.

“Yeah?” I said upon answering, expecting more fuckery to appear tonight.

“Hey, Boss. First Lady is here. I wanted to know if you wanted us to keep an eye on her? She um…seems to be dancing with some random. Never seen him before,” he said.

I ground my teeth as renewed anger rushed my veins. It was one thing to try to piss me off for attention, but to disrespect me publicly when she was supposed to be the queen of my empire wasn’t something I would fucking stand for.

“Where is she exactly?” I asked, trying to keep my voice even.

“Uh…” he was silent for a moment as music thumped in his background. “It looks like she’s heading either toward the VIP rooms or the bathroom.”

“Is she alone?”

“Nah, the guy is still with her. Should we escort her or have her wait for you?”

“No. I’m in the basement; I’m on my way up,” I growled and hung up.

“What’s up?” Saint asked.

I pulled my gun from my waistband. “Apparently I need to go remind my wife who the fuck I am since she forgot,” I growled. “I’ll be back.”

I wouldn’t tolerate disrespect from anyone, not even my wife. And by the time I was done with her, she’d fucking remember it.


🤍🤍🤍


I hope you're just as excited as I am for this to release next month! Be sure to preorder your copy for only $0.99!


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Hey, y'all!

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!)





Chapter One

Sevyn


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.

The trip.

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?”

“Ted—”

“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.”

“Whatever.”

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.


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