Authors: Zoey Parker
This is a work of fiction. Any names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons--living or dead--is entirely coincidental.
A Sinful Vow copyright 2016 by Zoey Parker. All rights reserved. No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission.
A Sinful Vow
Inked Angels MC
Chapter 1: If Only
If only I had known everything that was about to happen.
Maybe then I wouldn’t have fallen so hard for him. It was an easy fall—swift and sudden, with Blaze’s hazel eyes staring me down as I tumbled over and over through my nightly fantasies. Every time I fell asleep, I dreamed of his muscular arms wrapping themselves around me. I felt his breath hot on my ear and the surging electricity that raced up and down my spine. I heard every filthy word that slipped between his lips.
Blaze was impossible to resist. He sat on his porch every day when I walked home from high school. His limbs were long and relaxed in the Texas sun. The cigarette in his hand never wavered, never betrayed what he was thinking. He just smoked and watched me walk past, bright eyes glinting with mysterious intentions.
Blaze knew what he did to me. He had to; although I did my best to ignore him. I stared straight ahead and held my books to my chest, attempting to hide the breasts that threatened to erupt from under my tank top. I was desperate to stay hidden from him. Some little voice in my head told me that if I gave him any bait, he would pounce, and that would be the end of it—the end of me.
Not that it would have been such a tragic fate. As much as I hated the cigarette smoke curling around his face, Blaze exuded an animal attraction that kept poking and prodding me when I was at my most vulnerable.
My dreams at night were hot and relentless. If I was being honest with myself, I wanted more. But the tattoos that lanced across his shoulders, marking him as a young prospect of the Inked Angels MC, screamed danger.
I knew I shouldn’t be having thoughts like that about Blaze. Luke, my older brother, would’ve killed me if he ever found out. Luke was an Inked Angel, too. He had the same skull inked into his right shoulder, and he bore the scars and leather to back up everything that the skull implied. Luke had warned me a thousand times to stay away from anyone with that mark—it meant nothing but trouble for a girl like me.
Luke himself was uncontrollable, had been ever since our parents had both disappeared when I was five.
Without either parent around to keep him in line, Luke ran wild. He joined the Inked Angels and quickly gained a reputation for taking on suicide missions, the kind that no one else would be fool enough to accept. But Luke did it, and by the skin of his teeth, he’d made it out alive every time. His daring was enough to skyrocket him up the ladder at the clubhouse, and it wasn’t long before he was being groomed for the presidency.
Or so I heard. Luke made damn sure that I was kept far away from anything involving the Inked Angels and their business. Headlines popped up in the newspapers from time to time—
Ten Dead in Motorcycle Club Shootout
Local Club Involved in Major Heist
—but whenever I asked Luke about it, he would only stare me down, clench his jaw, and angrily command me to mind my own business.
So the MC had always been a distant thing to me, almost an illusion; Luke made sure of that.
But then Blaze joined.
Suddenly, this handsome neighbor boy with the filthy mouth had shown up wearing the ink and walking with the swagger of a full-blooded Inked Angel. He was still only a prospect, but when Blaze pushed through the doors of the local bar, every girl in the joint swooned and nobody dared to challenge him.
For the first time, it made it all seem real to me. This club, with their leather and the roar their motorcycles made as they tore down the street, had always seemed more fantasy than anything else. It wasn’t until Blaze joined them that I realized how deadly serious the Inked Angels were.
If only I knew how deadly things would get.
* * *
Shadows were stealing over the sky as I walked home. My backpack was heavy, crammed with textbooks and papers. I had been staying late to study in the library, since there was never any peace and quiet at home with Luke and his friends hanging around at all hours of the night.
The cicadas were humming in the bushes on either side of me. My shoes rasped against the concrete of the sidewalk. Everything else was still.
I rounded the corner onto my block. The houses were squat and nestled close together. Lit windows framed families eating dinner. They all looked so happy and complete. I wondered sometimes what that would feel like, to sit down with a mother and a father and talk about normal things. I had never had that kind of a home.
It almost made me want to cry. I looked at my driveway at the end of the street and saw a car on cinderblocks and several motorcycles propped up along the curb. Motor oil stained the asphalt and beer cans littered the yard. Why did I deserve this? All I ever wanted was to be normal. To be happy. Instead, I got skull tattoos and the empty void where my parents were supposed to be.
I reminded myself that I was blessed; at least, that’s what people said. Teachers often told me I was beautiful, though to be honest, I didn’t understand why. Whenever I looked in a mirror, I saw only brown hair that refused to lie flat and eyes with colors that didn’t match. I glanced down at my body. The gentle rise of my breasts attracted more leering creepers than anything else. I’d taken to wearing full-throated shirts just so the pathetic boys in my classes would stop staring at me. I wore my backpack low, too, to hide how my jeans strained to keep my ass from wiggling all over the place.
I sighed. I needed to get the hell out of this town.
Blaze’s house was dark and quiet as I walked past. I couldn’t help but sneak a look at the window, just to see if I might be able to catch a glimpse of his muscular body silhouetted in the night. But there was nothing. Just cicadas and shadows.
I turned onto my driveway. In spite of the bikes out front, it didn’t look like anyone was home. The blinds were drawn and no noise came from inside. I started to walk past the broken-down car that hadn’t moved in years.
Out of nowhere, an arm snaked out and wrapped itself around my shoulders. I tried to scream, but a hairy hand clamped over my mouth.
“Shh, girl, shhh,” whispered Travis, one of my brother’s friends. His eyes were bloodshot and the stench of booze rolled off of him in waves. “You’ll wake the neighbors makin’ all kindsa noise like that.”
I bit his hand covering my mouth. He recoiled. “Damn, girl!” he barked. “Ain’t no need for that! I’m jus’ tryin’ to say hi, is all. Play nice, okay?”
I spat back at him. “Hi, okay? Now get off me and let me go inside.”
Instead of letting go, Travis drew me in closer. The smell of sweat and whiskey was overpowering. All I wanted was to get out of there, before something bad happened.
“Aw, c’mon now, ’Livia, that’s no way to treat a friend of the fam’ly,” he murmured. His lips were brushing against my ear. I wanted to vomit. “You done yelled at me, and bit me. That jes’ ain’t polite, and now I think you owe me an apology.”
I squirmed, but he was much bigger and stronger than me. There was no escaping. “What the fuck do you want?” I hissed. Travis just grinned.
“Well, now that you ask…I think a big ole smooch would be a pretty fair trade for all my pain and sufferin’.” His grin stretched wider. I saw tobacco juice clotted between his teeth.
Travis knew he wasn’t handsome, but the skull on the back of his cut was alluring enough to draw in plenty of the kind of sluts who hung around the Inked Angels clubhouse. He was a coward without the logo, but as soon as he put it on, he walked like he was Casanova himself. His fingers tightened against my neck, pulling me in.
“No, get off of me!” I yelled.
“Aw, you bitch, shut up and do what I tell you,” Travis slurred. I felt his hand grab the roots of my hair and yank me towards him. His other hand started to slip down my hips, reaching for my ass. I tried to wriggle free, but he was too strong, too big, too drunk.
Right as his lips were about to touch mine, I felt a sudden jerk. I opened my eyes. Travis lay on his back on the ground in front of me, stunned and confused. Standing over him was a brawny man with his back to me. The streetlights were too dim and flickering for me to see who it was at first.
But wait…I knew that mop of blond curls. I knew the slant of those shoulders, taut against the leather jacket he wore.
It was Blaze.
He raised one fist and slugged it across Travis’ face. The drunk asshole went limp almost immediately. Blood spurted from his nose, which now hung at a grotesque angle. Blaze swung again. I heard a crunch and a cry of pain.
Blaze hauled Travis up by the lapels of his cut and spun him towards me. Travis’ face, which had seconds ago been brimming with liquid confidence, was now swimming with fright. Spit and snot coated his lips.
“Apologize to her, you son of a bitch,” Blaze growled. He didn’t raise his voice, but he didn’t need to, either. It was thick with pent-up violence. “Say you’re sorry and beg for her forgiveness.”
Travis trembled in Blaze’s grip. “I, uh…sorry you didn’t want that, miss,” he managed to choke out.
Blaze slammed Travis back onto the concrete. He let out a gasp as the breath flew from his lungs. “Is that what I told you to say?” Blaze roared. “I told you to apologize, you fuck, nothing else. Here’s what we’re gonna do: you’re gonna repeat after me, word for word. And I swear to God, if you so much as stutter, I will gut you from your balls to your forehead. You’ll be pissing through a tube for the rest of your life. You got that, fuck face?”
Travis couldn’t even speak. He just nodded his head. Bruises were already starting to blossom along his jaw where Blaze’s fist had knocked the sense out of him.
Blaze started to speak, and Travis repeated every word through fat, swollen lips. Fear tinted each syllable.
“I’m sorry for what I did, Miss Olivia,” he said. “I swear on my balls and my life that I won’t ever touch you again. Please, please let me beg for your mercy.”
Blaze dropped him to the ground. Travis fell in a heap, almost on the verge of tears. “Now get the fuck out of here, and don’t let me see you come near her ever again for the rest of your life.” Blaze poked the pathetic wretch with the toe of one boot. Travis recoiled in fear, shivering.
“Was that not clear? Scram, bitch!” Blaze repeated. Travis took off down the street, blood spattering the pavement where he ran.
Blaze turned to look at me for the first time. The street lamp overhead caught his gaze. It reflected opaque and emerald at me. There was so much swimming behind his eyes.
I gulped. Even just this was too much. I felt vulnerable, bare. But it was intoxicating to feel the power that shone from him. His breath was beginning to slow into long, deep drags that made his chest stretch against the crackled leather.
“Th-thanks,” I murmured. I looked down at my feet. It was hard to keep eye contact with him. “You didn’t need to do all that, I was fine.”
Blaze tilted his head to look at me. “You sure you’re alright? That son of a bitch didn’t hurt you?”
“Yeah, I’m fine,” I said. My voice was still quiet. I saw a spot of blood on the ground next to my shoe. Silence hung in the air between us.
Suddenly, two fingers pushed gently against my chin. I raised my eyes to look into Blaze’s. They were even brighter now. He looked across my face, and when he spoke again, his voice was low and smooth, like a panther’s at rest.
“You’re sure?” he said. I nodded slowly.
Something in his eyes shifted. He looked me up and down shamelessly, drinking me in. The violence in his frame had shifted into something slightly different. He had this jungle cat gaze that looked like he wanted to devour me but would savor every taste while he did it. And I felt a warmth rising in my stomach, a warmth that recognized that look and wanted it, too. Without knowing what I was doing, I let my arms drop to my sides.
Blaze’s brow softened. The night around us seemed to hold its breath. “Can’t say I blame the poor bastard for wanting a taste of you, though,” he said, still studying me.