Now that The Destruction of Sevyn is live, I'm sure you all are anxiously awaiting The Sins of Luther! So to give you something to look forward to while you wait until September 14, 2020, check out the prologue for The Sins of Luther!
“An urgent manhunt in Miami is underway as the fifth body of the month has been discovered,” the news reporter droned on. I walked past the television in the dining room and entered the kitchen, grabbing a bottle of beer from the refrigerator before going back to the dining table with the rest of the guys.
“Turn that up some,” Curtis said to Jake, who held the remote. Jake turned up the volume as I settled into an empty seat next to Paul, my eyes glued to the television.
“This is one of the most gruesome scenes I’ve seen in my 35-year career,” an aging, sweaty man on the screen said, New Gruesome Murder Scene Discovered on the banner under the talking man. “This is the kind of thing you hear about in old cold cases; it’s not one that you think you’d see during your own career.”
“The Jane Doe was found hidden in tall grass along the Grove Trail, cut in half with her face mutilated. The body was discovered by a passing jogger and her dog, the witness saying that the scene will give her nightmares for weeks to come.”
I fought the urge to roll my eyes as the camera cut to a tanned woman dressed in a sports bra and shorts, her hair pushed back with a neon green headband.
“My dog and I were out for a jog as we are every morning and at first I thought someone had just tossed out a mannequin. And then Ian, my dog, started barking and wouldn’t move away from it and that was when I knew something was wrong,” the woman said, her voice breathless as she ran a nervous hand over her sweaty hair.
“Who the fuck names a dog Ian?” Paul muttered, shaking his head. “You know what I hate? Pets with human names. And I mean human names that you wouldn’t think belonged to a pet if you heard the person talk to them.”
“Not everyone wants to name their pet Spot, Lucky, Socks, and Fluffy, Paul. Grow up,” Victor said, cutting his eyes at him from across the table.
“I’m just saying. I don’t want to be in a situation where someone has a dog named Paul and I have to differentiate whether they’re talking to me or the dog.”
“You and the dog would be on the same level, so would it really matter?” Ryan teased.
Paul glared at him. “Oh, fuck off.”
I shook my head and kept my eyes on the tv, listening for any signs that the police had an idea of what was happening. Even though we did our best to stay off the radar, we could never be too careful.
“Though the identity of the woman has not been confirmed, police believe that the murder is in connection to the earlier murders of Josh Cannon, Tyler Fox, and Hunter York. Along with the murder of Senator Tate’s daughter Carrie Tate, three other families have reported their daughters missing, including local celebrities Micah and Heather Langdon,” the news reporter announce.
I ground my teeth at the mention of their name as the camera panned to their fake ass faces as Heather dabbed at her fake ass tears. My skin heated as I watched her force sadness and worry onto her Botox-filled face, knowing that she truly didn’t care that something was happening to Sevyn. My mind reverted back to the letter Sevyn wrote, my anger slowly bubbling to a boil the longer I stared at the tv screen.
“Whoever has our daughter, please bring her home alive,” Heather pleaded into the camera as she dabbed at her eyes, hidden behind a dark pair of sunglasses. “If it’s money that you want, we’ll pay you anything you desire. Just bring our little girl home.”
She laced my drink with abortion pills and made me miscarry.
She laced my drink with abortion pills and made me miscarry.
She left me in the bathroom alone, bleeding and scared.
She left me in the bathroom alone, bleeding and scared.
The longer Heather was on the screen, the louder those two lines from Sevyn’s letter sounded in my head. It started low, like a soft whisper until it ballooned into a deafening scream that I couldn’t take anymore.
“Fuck!” I bellowed, jumping to my feet and throwing my beer bottle against the wall. I always knew Sevyn’s family were pieces of shit, but I didn’t think it was to this extent. I wouldn’t even doubt that as soon as the news crew left, they’d be off to the airport to head on another excursion despite the fact that their daughter was missing and in grave danger. The show that Heather and Micah put on to seem like worried parents was comical to people that actual knew them but knowing what they did pissed me off to no end.
The guys all looked at me with wide confused eyes, Tony frowning at me.
“The fuck?” he said. My chest heaved, too many emotions crashing around within me to know what to feel first.
Grinding my teeth, I forced myself back into my seat, trying to keep my anger at bay. I needed to stay cool. There was still a lot of work to do and I couldn’t afford to lose my head; at least not yet. The guys still stared at me, waiting for me to explain my outburst. When I didn’t immediately speak, Ryan shifted in his chair and looked me in the eye.
“Sevyn’s parents, right?” he asked with a quirked eyebrow.
“Yep,” I replied, my voice tight.
Curtis scoffed. “I’m surprised that woman’s tear ducts still work. That Botox has her face as stiff as this table,” he said and chuckled.
"They’re just as guilty as Sevyn is,” I murmured, my eyes burning Heather and Micah’s face into my memories. “It was their money that made Sevyn get away without so much as a slap on the wrist.”
“Speaking of Sevyn, I have some concerns,” Paul started. “Now that you have this letter, what’s going to happen now? Ever since you’ve read it, you’ve been on edge and it’s making me nervous.”
I narrowed my eyes at him, my lips tilting up in a slight grin. “Why are you nervous? Think I’m going to turn on you?” I asked.
He frowned. “You’re unhinged, not stupid. I’m worried that you’re going to do something stupid and put us all in jeopardy. I mean you still haven’t told us what you were going to do when we asked you if things changed,” he said.
Ryan’s brow furrowed as his eyes drifted between Paul and me. “What’s he talking about? What letter?”
I nodded to the folded sheets of paper still on the tabletop, not wanting to touch them again. It was as if someone had ripped a time capsule of shattered dreams and broken hearts out of a diary and folded it up with a kiss of pain. Secrets that went to the grave with one person and remained vaulted for years within another, lives forever changed by circumstances happening behind the scenes that I didn’t fully understand. As Ryan read the letter, the news still went on in the background.
“Police are now on the hunt to find Sevyn Langdon, Sarah Andrews, Rebecca Colt, and Allison Penn, who are all assumed to be in grave danger.”
Tony snorted. “They won’t be finding Rebecca unless they go out back and dissect one of those gators back there,” he said as he tossed a few peanuts into his mouth.
“We’re looking into security footage from the girls’ last known location, which we believe to be Club Envy downtown,” the police chief said. “We’re doing our best to get a lead before someone else gets hurt.”
I fought the urge to smile. Perfect. If they were looking into Club Envy, we were still nowhere near to being on their radar. We’d taken the girls from Club Toxic, a block or two away from Sevyn’s house. So far, we were in the clear, which was perfect for the change of plans that might have to happen. Whether or not the guys would agree with what I was thinking would be a different story.
“I hope this letter doesn’t change anything,” Jake said, tossing back the rest of his beer. “I mean it sucks that all that shit happened back then, but you need to stay focused.”
“You do remember that no one that we bring here leaves here alive, right?” Victor asked with a raised eyebrow, looking up from the letter that he read with Ryan.
“I know the fucking rules,” I ground out.
“So, then she’s still dying in a couple of days. There’s nothing to panic about then,” Paul said with a shrug.
“Can you all just shut the fuck up?” I snapped. There were so many aspects that I hadn’t digested. It was so easy to focus on hurting these women when I didn’t know the whole story. There was shit that I hadn’t known all the details about until after they’d gotten here and immediately turned on each other. But then to read about my own part, the catalyst that practically started the engine on this bullshit was enough to punch me in the gut. While the news didn’t knock me down, it did make me falter a bit. Even if I killed Sevyn, her parents would still roam around the world freely. They’d probably pretend to mourn their loss so that they didn’t seem like complete heartless dicks before they jump back into their normal life as if they’d never had a child at all—much like how they’d already lived their lives for as long as I’d known Sevyn.
But I wouldn’t let them get away with it. Not this time.
After a few moments, Ryan passed the letter to Tony, who read over Victor’s shoulders. “I can already see the wheels in your head turning based on the look on your face,” he said with a frown. “Spit it out already.”
“The other girls will die if that’s everyone’s concern,” I said, making sure to make eye contact with each of the men around the table. “But I need to hold onto Sevyn a little longer than I’d planned.”
Jake, Victor, Tony, and Curtis all groaned and mumbled under their breath at my words.
“Seriously, Luther? What if—”
I held up my hand to cut Tony off. “You’re acting like I said she was gonna go free tomorrow.”
“We only agreed that we’d be out here for a week. I can’t stay any longer than a week so if you keep Sevyn here longer, you’d be on your own,” Ryan said, the other guys nodding in agreement.
“Once everyone else is disposed of, I wouldn’t need you here anyway. I have my own agenda with Sevyn that involves her parents. And I can’t get rid of her until I get to them,” I said, my tone sharpening toward the end of my sentence.
After a few moments, Jake’s eyes lit up before he wagged his finger at me. “I see what you’re doing,” he said with a nod.
“I don’t fucking see it,” Victor said with a scoff. “All I see is a first-class ticket to getting caught and arrested.”
“Actually, I think I get it, too,” Curtis said with a nod. “I mean with parents like Sevyn, I’m pretty sure they have top security systems and accounts that would make it hard to get into if we didn’t have someone who already had an in.”
“Exactly,” I said with a nod.
“Wait a fucking minute. You mean you’re going to use her to get back at her parents?” Ryan asked, his tone flat.
“Did anyone forget about the ‘NO ONE THAT’S BROUGHT HERE LEAVES ALIVE’ clause of our brotherhood agreement for this house?” Victor all but shouted over us. I rolled my eyes.
“Don’t be such a pussy. I know what I’m doing. Besides, how the fuck else could I use Sevyn to get to her parents if I can’t take her from the house? Having her parents come here will bring the police with them,” I said with a frown.
Paul shrugged. “Luther’s right. It’s not like we can send them a message telling them to come here at a certain time without the police. These people live for attention.”
“Yeah. I’m sure they’ll have the fucking news crew with them too and that’s not the kind of attention we want out here,” Curtis said with a nod.
Ryan exhaled deeply. “This doesn’t seem safe, Luth. You know I support you with damn near everything but grooming her to take out her parents could take longer than the time we have.”
“I can come up with ways to get her to where I want her to be,” I said.
“Do you think she’ll actually kill them?” Tony asked.
Even though I wanted to appear confident in my plan to groom her, I’d be lying if I said I thought she would. Sure, her parents were pretty fucked up to her majority—if not all—of her life, but I didn’t think she was angry enough at them to want them dead. She couldn’t even choose which of her friends she wanted to die in order to save herself from punishment; there was no way I could see her killing anyone in her current state.
“I guess time will tell,” I finally said.
After a long bout of silence, Ryan nodded. “I trust that you know what you’re doing. But I fucking swear to God if this blows up—”
“It won’t,” I stated flatly. “You can’t say you trust me and still question my ability to keep this under control. I can handle Sevyn just fine.”
“Fine. But just remember that we won’t be here after the other girls are killed. It’s easy to keep things under control when you have six pairs of eyes to help you. Sevyn probably hasn’t made any sudden moves because it would be stupid to do that with all of us here. That could change when it’s just the two of you.”
“Then I’ll handle that when the time comes,” I bit out, growing irritated. Ryan raised his hands to surrender, shaking his head.
“So, you want to go after her parents. What exactly are you targeting them for?” Paul said, cutting through the tension of the room.
A part of me wanted their heads for their major role in getting everyone responsible off the hook. Another part of me wanted to kill her for what she’d done to Sevyn and my baby. But I couldn’t tell the guys the latter without it filling them with more doubt that the letter was fucking with my head and possibly putting our freedom in danger.
“To teach Miami a lesson,” I finally answered. “The Langdons walk around with their money and act as if they’re untouchable. They may think they can’t be touched, but they aren’t indestructible.”
“Hell yeah,” Paul said with a nod. “It’s time to teach those rich fucks a lesson. I think it’ll also send a bigger impact to have them killed, even more so once all the other girls have been killed.”
“Okay, okay, and when the parents are dead, what happens with Sevyn? You still haven’t answered that question yet,” Tony said.
I shrugged. “Then I suppose she dies.”
“He supposes she dies,” Victor mocked, taking a swig from his beer as I frowned at him.
“Have I ever given any of you a reason to doubt me?” I asked, my eyes traveling around the table.
“No, but you also haven’t brought someone you had a history with here either,” Ryan noted.
“Look, I think we should at least give him the benefit of the doubt here. He hasn’t given us any real reason to show concern,” Paul said as he gestured with his hands as if to tell everyone else to cool down.
“I mean it’s something to be concerned about. We all know the only way for someone to leave here alive is to kill someone and I doubt Sevyn would do that,” Curtis said, shaking his head.
Tony scoffed. “Not to mention, killing someone would lead to them being inducted into the Brotherhood of Vengeance. Unless Sevyn plans on having a sex change, I don’t think she’d particularly fit in here.”
Ryan frowned at him. “That’s sexist, dude.”
“What? It’s called a brotherhood; b-r-o-t-h-e-r-h-o-o-d. She’s not a guy.”
“I mean we could become the Family of Vengeance if Luther ends up with her for some reason.”
“I’m not going to fucking end up with her,” I said with a frown. “Do you know how pissed my mom would be if I brought her home to dinner as if she wasn’t responsible for my sister’s suicide?”
“Speaking of your mom, are you going to tell her about the letter?” Victor asked.
I ground my teeth. My mother was adamant on Sevyn’s life being taken and if I even breathed a word about how Sevyn’s truth affected me, it could possibly upset her and make her question my motives.
“I don’t know,” I finally said. “I can only deal with one thing at a time. She’ll know when it’s time for her to know.”
“So, what’s the next step?” Jake asked with a sigh as he leaned back in his chair.
“The rest of the girls will still be killed as I planned for them to be,” I said. “I’ll deal with Sevyn; you guys just focus on the other girls.”
They all nodded and turned their attention back to the news, which still showed coverage of the latest crime scene. I stood up from the table, a couple of the guys cutting their eyes to me briefly before turning back to the television. Grabbing the letter from the table, I headed out of the dining room and strolled toward my room where Sevyn was probably waiting in fear.
“Luther, wait a second,” I heard behind me. I stopped and turned around to see Ryan lightly jogging toward me. “Let’s walk and talk.”
I fought the urge to roll my eyes as I followed him to the front door, walking out onto the porch when he opened it. We walked down the steps and strolled across the yard in silence for a bit. I could feel his eyes on me, but I kept my gaze glued to the trees ahead.
“We’re walking but not talking. Get on with it,” I said, unable to keep the annoyance out of my voice. I already knew what this conversation was about. Even though the guys said they trusted me, them constantly questioning me didn’t feel as if they found me trustworthy.
“I just wanted to see where your head was at,” he said. “I’m sure that letter probably changes how you feel about some things.”
I squinted against the sun when I looked over at him, frowning. “What makes you think I feel anything to change my mind?”
“I mean you’re keeping her longer than the original week, right?”
I sighed inwardly. “To get to her fucking parents, Ryan. You guys don’t think about the bigger picture sometimes.”
“What’s the bigger picture then?”
“The fact that her parents are one of—if not the most— important and influential people in the city. People would notice if they’re gone. I wouldn’t doubt that they now have a whole brigade of security to protect themselves now that Sevyn is missing. They aren’t stupid. They have a shit ton of money and resources at their disposal that they wouldn’t hesitate to use to remain untouched,” I ground out.
This much I already knew from past encounters with them. After the verdict was read in court, the Langdons had so many bodyguards that followed them around everywhere that you’d think they were the fucking king and queen of England if they ever arrived at a place you were at. There was no fucking way I’d be able to touch them if they had that same level of security now, especially not without being caught.
“Look, I know you guys are nervous about the slight change of plans. But I need Sevyn in order to get to them. Even though I know her parents and how they operate, Sevyn knows shit that I don’t. It would make things easier to have someone familiar with them and the way they move so that I can deal with them without jeopardizing everything I worked my fucking ass off for.”
“Okay, okay,” Ryan said, holding his hands up. “I just wanted to know where your head was and to make sure you were operating on some kind of plan and not any unearthed emotions. Emotions make us vulnerable to mistakes and I don’t want you doing anything that’ll ruin you.”
“So, when all of this is over, then what? Are you going to make Sevyn take them out or will it be the final act she has to witness before she meets her own demise?”
I breathed in deep and slowly let it out. That part was what I was still confused about. After learning what I now knew, it was almost as if she and I shared equal parts of the blame for my sister’s suicide. Maybe my punishment was that I’d have to live with that for the rest of my life and reveal to my mother that me being irresponsible with someone’s heart was what started all of that shit. But to kill Sevyn would be permanent. I mean could she really pay if she were dead?
“I need to figure that out. I still have time.” When Ryan raised an eyebrow at me, I rolled my eyes. “I’m almost certain I’ll have to kill her. I can’t see her killing her parents or anyone for that matter. She won’t leave my possession until she either kills someone or she’s in a body bag.”
“As long as you have some kind of plan, I’ll always have your back. If you ever need anything, you know I’m here,” he said with a nod.
I smirked at him. “That’s why we’re brothers, doofus,” I said, giving him a playful shove.
We were quiet for a while as we turned back around and headed back to the house.
“You know, I’m kind of curious as to what your mom is going to say,” Ryan suddenly said before he turned his gaze to me. “When do you plan on telling her?”
I ran a hand through my hair. “I know I need to tell her soon, but I feel like that’s something that I need to tell her in person, you know?”
“True. I think it’ll have a greater impact if she can see the letter with her own eyes and hold it in her hands instead of listening to you read it.”
“Right. I just don’t know how she’ll react to it though, especially when she’s adamant on Sevyn being dead at the end of the week,” I said. And also when she learns what I’ve done, I reminded myself bitterly.
“Well, who knows? Either way, if you need to go into town to talk with her, we’ll keep things handled here until you get back. But the end of the week is quickly approaching, so you’ll want to do it sooner than later,” he said as we walked back onto the porch.
“Yeah. I’ll text her before I go to bed and let her know I’m coming tomorrow to talk,” I said.
Ryan clasped me on the shoulder with a cheeky grin. “Well, good talk. It sounds like you’re still in a good head space, so I won’t worry too much. You seem like you have it handled.”
“Don’t I always?” I asked with a smirk. He chuckled and opened the door, entering the house as I followed behind him. As soon as I secured all the locks on the door, I headed straight for my bedroom.
Sevyn and I definitely needed to talk.
When I opened the door, she was lying down, her form underneath the blankets slightly moving with each breath she took. Considering that she hadn’t moved when I walked in, I assumed she was asleep until she lifted her head and looked at me. I closed and locked the door behind me and moved over to sit on the chaise lounge. She slowly sat up, keeping her eyes glued to her lap as we sat there in silence.
“Why’d you wait seven years to say something about this?” I finally asked. She looked around the bed, grabbing the pen and pad from the foot of it and began scribbling on the pad. I ground my teeth. I already knew this conversation was going to be annoying as fuck considering that she didn’t have much of a voice right now. I knew that I wouldn’t get to ask her all of the questions bouncing around in my head today, but we’d definitely talk about it. Answers to all of my questions would be the first thing out of her mouth as soon as she was able to verbally respond.
After a few moments, she finally stopped writing and turned the notepad around to face me.
It’s not like we were talking back then. No one knew where you were after you graduated college.
I rolled my eyes. “You know that’s not a good excuse, right? I’m talking about before all the shit that happened with Logan. Aside from you thinking she told me your secret, you could’ve confronted her and she would’ve forced me to talk to you. So that’s not a good reason for why you’re just now telling me this shit,” I said with a frown. I stared at her for a long moment. “And even if Logan had told me your secret, that wouldn’t have been the reason I broke up with you. I may be an asshole, but I wasn’t that cruel back then.”
A strange look passed over her face as she stared at me. I’d expected her to write something down to communicate to me, but she didn’t. Instead, she just pushed a lock of hair behind her ear and bowed her head. A part of me wanted to know what she was thinking about. After reading her letter, it was surprising to know that she’d felt that way about me back then. What I had with her was just a summer fling to me. Sevyn was the rich girl who could have anything and anyone she wanted, so I didn’t think about how it would affect her when we broke up.
I glanced up at her. Her head was still bowed, the silence in the room nearly deafening. Even before I’d actually taken her, she didn’t look the way she did the last time I’d seen her in court. She wasn’t the confident, self-absorbed rich girl that I was so used to seeing all these years. And with everything she’d gone through since being in my possession, she wasn’t the same person she was at the club. She was broken, completely destroyed by my hand. I had no idea how I could turn this practically useless woman into a weapon, but I never backed down from a challenge.
“There’s something I actually need to know,” I said. She looked up at me, her brows furrowed. “Even though you couldn’t ‘reach’ me as you claimed, your parents are the most powerful in Miami, right? If I did hurt you the way you claimed, why didn’t you just use your parents to get back to me?”
She frowned and immediately began scribbling on the pad furiously. A smirk pulled at my lips as I waited to see what her response was. She tossed the pen next to her on the bed before flipping the pad over.
I tried that, remember? And when I did, you laughed in my fucking face and said the most hateful, hurtful shit to me. That was when I thought you didn’t want to be with me because Logan told you I was pregnant, and you were trying to push me away so that you wouldn’t feel guilty for not wanting to be with me.
Now it was my turn to frown. I flipped through my memory bank to try to remember what the fuck she was going on about. I didn’t remember her trying to ruin my life or future or humiliating me. If I didn’t remember, it was probably because it was a weak attempt at best that didn’t deserve any kind of reaction. Or even better—I probably ignored her, which was worse than any other thing I could do. I shook my head. I definitely didn’t ignore her; she’d said I said something to her, and it was irritating the fuck out of me that I couldn’t remember.
“What the fuck are you talking about? I don’t remember anything like that happening,” I said, my voice flat.
She returned back to writing on the notepad for a few moments before turning it to face me.
Yeah, I doubt you did because you were high and drunk out of your mind. But I remember it perfectly clear.
“Then refresh my memory because I don’t know what the fuck you’re talking about. You opened Pandora’s box, so get ready to fucking talk about it.”
She flipped to another sheet on the pad and scribbled something down before showing it to me.
In order to do that, we’d have to start from the beginning and go through that summer from start to finish. And I highly doubt you want to relive some of the shit you did to me.
I rolled my eyes. “It’s not like we have anything else to do other than waiting for you to die.” She rolled her eyes in response but didn’t write anything down. “If you wanna take a trip down memory lane instead of giving me a straight answer, then fine. Buckle up and start fucking driving.”
And I’d advise her to drive fast.
I hope you enjoyed the prologue for The Sins of Luther, coming September 14, 2020! Pre-order your copy for the special pre-order price of $2.99 on Amazon, iBooks, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo here!