Authors: Kathryn Kelly,Crystal Cuffley
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance, #Contemporary, #Contemporary Fiction, #New Adult & College
Edited by Crystal Cuffley
Cover by Crystal Cuffley
Copyright © 2013
by Kathryn Kelly
Copyright © 2013 Cover Art by Crystal Cuffley
All rights reserved. This e-book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
Manufactured in the United States of America
This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogue in this book are of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.
Crystal, this project would still be on my hard drive, waiting for me to get around to it if it wasn’t for you and your dedication to Christopher and Meggie. He told Meggie he was
psycho. You took two photos I suggested and turned them into my dream cover.
To my betas: Leslie, Shirley, and Al. Whenever I needed reminding of the work I faced and someone—you know who—suggested Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines” to remind me Christopher thought Meggie was
the hottest bitch in this place
, I remembered it, too.
To Nanee at the Up All Night, Read All Day Blog, you gave me the final shot in the arm in the days right before the release by telling me how much you loved this story. Give me a moment here to catch my breath and give a blog roll holler. You ladies can’t imagine what you did to calm my nerves: Redheads Review It Better, TotallyBooked, Sun Mountain Reviews, The Dirty Girls, Feisty Girls Book Blog, Sinful Thoughts, The Sub Club Books, The Danish Bookaholic, Geri’s EverAfter, IntoTheNight, and On The Precipice. If I have left out anyone, please accept my apologies!
To the ‘f’ word—you and I are great friends and you will always be Christopher’s best friend, right there when he needs you most.
To all the other bloggers who agreed to review Misled,
To the writers who gave me inspiration, even though I’ve never met most of you, you brighten my day.
I’m still nervous and scared as a motherf*cker to let Christopher and Meggie go, but they gave me no choice.
Mom, this one’s for you.
He deals in a world of violence, sex, drugs, and crudity. As president of the Death Dwellers' Motorcycle Club, Christopher "Outlaw" Caldwell presides over a club in chaos after the death of their longtime president and his mentor, Joseph "Boss" Foy.
Megan Foy runs from her abusive stepfather, hoping for her daddy's intervention to save her and get her terrified mother away before it's too late. Only problem is, she soon discovers her beloved daddy is dead and the man who killed him is the man she's falling in love with.
This is a full-length novel.
Warning: FOR MATURE AUDIENCES ONLY. CONTAINS PHYSICAL ABUSE, VIOLENCE, RAPE, AND EXCESSIVE PROFANITY
Table of Contents
In each of us lives good and evil. The conundrum we face as a society is recognizing those we pigeonhole as evil and those we applaud as good. That’s the grossest mislabeling in the world, the greatest injustice. Have we not heard of the fable of
The Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
? Do we yet misunderstand how deceptive appearances can be? The sun casting a golden gleam upon us doesn’t shield us from the rain. Good and evil are wrapped in illusions we’re determined to create.
society views as acceptable…you know the one…? He gives up his seat to little old ladies. Attends church. Sings carols with good cheer. Gives a hand out and a help up. That man, too, has evil lurking in the depths of his soul. Perhaps, he’s more evil. This man has the ability to charm and smile and manipulate the world to see his goodness. When, in fact, he’s the scariest of all.
He’s a wife beater and a child molester. He tears down under the pretense of building up.
I know him well.
s my stepfather.
The crack of a hand connecting with flesh tore through the tension. Meggie jumped and wrapped her arms around her middle
, her sob competing with her mother’s pleas. She sat on the edge of her bed, body trembling, praying her mother would survive this latest beating.
Dinah wept and Meggie’s belly roiled at the tormented sounds.
Thomas,” Dinah cried. “You’ve got to stop!”
Meggie nodded vigorously. Yes, he had to stop. O
ne of these days he’d kill her mom.
Glass shattered and furniture banged. Dry heaves wracked Meggie at the heavy thud. She knew that sound, knew it
meant her mother was careening to the floor. Dinah screamed and Meggie doubled over, sweat popping off her skin, her mother’s pain her own.
Surrounded by her white bedroom furnitur
e and pastel green décor, she wondered how her home life was such a nightmare. On the outside, everyone saw the perfect family—a woman, an assistant high school principal, finding happiness in her second marriage with the teddy bear of a middle school math teacher who’d stepped in as a father-figure to the woman’s daughter.
’s scream coupled with tearing clothes. Though not in the den, Meggie had seen the situation play out enough to pick out the sounds and their meanings.
Dinah sobbed. “I don’t want to.”
She didn’t want to have sex, she meant. Meggie bowed her head into her hands, wishing for the strength and fortitude to take it upon herself to kill her stepfather.
“Let’s go in the bedroom.” Dinah’s breath caught around a moan.
grunted. “I’m fucking you right here. Right out in the open.”
Embarrassment competed with Meggie’s fear and anger.
Her mother’s next sob burned through Meggie and she covered her face.
“Don’t. Not in the den. I don’t want Meggie to hear.”
“Think she’s not fucking?”
Meggie bit into her wrist, barely feeling the injury but tasting metallic blood.
Dinah echoed through tears. “She’s a virgin.”
“No. She’s not,”
Thomas sneered. “I should know.”
Oh God. Oh God. Oh God.
Meggie stared at her bite mark, oozing red, and shook her head in denial.
Thomas’s lie and he took advantage of the stunning insinuation by taunting, “she’s been coming on to me for months. I thought it best to keep it in the family.”
Meggie wasn’t sure if she wanted her mother to believe Thomas or not. Dinah was too broken to attempt to defend her. She hadn’t even allowed the police to haul Thomas away a week ago when Meggie had called 911. Instead, she’d blamed her injuries on something asinine and stupid. For Meggie’s attempt to defend Dinah that night, she’d gotten her bedroom door removed.
“You lying bastard,”
Meggie drew in a sharp breath, her already aggravated pulse and h
eart rate throbbing in her ears. She spread her blood over her skin, attempting to refocus.
yelped and, for a few blessed moments, it sounded as if Dinah asserted herself and inflicted serious damage.
“You fucking bitch!”
he snarled. “I’m going to kill you.”
Big Joe is coming for her,” Dinah persisted in a wild, unrecognizable tone. “I called him! And I’m going to tell him. I’m going to tell him you’ve violated his baby. I’m going to tell him and he’s going to kill you. He’s going to chop your dick off and feed it to pigs.”
Meggie cheered at the thought. Her daddy was coming. She’d been trying to reach him for weeks
. Left so many messages, it surprised her his voicemail wasn’t filled to capacity. She knew how busy he was, so the fact he hadn’t answered wasn’t real surprising. Sometimes, it took her months to get a response from him. Before, he’d just blaze into town on his bike, the pipes of the Harley rumbling in the quiet suburb blocks away. He took a lot of trips, something he called runs.
Dinah had barred him from visiting at Thomas’s insistence, two years ago, Meggie always imagined going on the road with him and his boys.
“You know how hard your fighting makes me, huh, baby?”
“I’m not letting Megan live with him. When he comes, tell him she’s not interested in going with him.” He groaned and gasped. “Tell him she doesn’t want to see him. Ever again.”
moaned. “Right there, Thomas. Harder.”
Meggie’s cheeks burned and her stomach churned at
Thomas’s filthy response. And so the cycle continued, she thought, humiliated. She stretched to her pillow and retrieved the little knife she kept hidden under it. Pressing the sharp blade against her forearm, she sliced down, sucking in a breath at the brief burn and pain. Blood rushed from the wound and her tension and fear seeped away with it. The respite lasted a moment. The satisfaction dwindled in the amount of time it took the pain to recede.
Sniffling, she tightened her mouth and slashed again. Meggie swiped her tears once more and slashed at the wrist she’d bitten.
“Ah, God!” She’d gone deeper than she intended and had to grab the sheet to staunch the flow of blood, the sounds from the den both sickening and infuriating. She wasn’t sure if her mother truly liked Thomas’s attention or if she just accepted it. In the end, no matter what Thomas said or did, Dinah gave him sex. Meggie didn’t want to see her mother as a weak, pathetic woman because it went deeper than that.
Dinah had tried to run in the early days of their marriage. Both times Thomas had found her and beaten her to a bloody pulp before using his fists on Meggie. Her mother had just given up and given in. She knew her mother refused to risk Meggie being hurt again because of her escape attempts.
She raised her gaze at the sound of her mother’s whimper. Dinah stood in the doorway, her face swollen and bloody, bruises covering her naked body. She clutched the wood molding, trembling.
The sight tore through Meggie
and she shoved her knife under the bloody sheet. She stood and swallowed; her chin wobbled. Both she and her mother were wrecks but she couldn’t add any stress by allowing her injuries to show. She stepped forward, arms behind her back. “Momma.”
went sprawling and Meggie hurried to the door. Thomas stood inches away, naked, too, and smelling of sweat and alcohol. Unable to stop it, Meggie glared at him, her cheeks burning at the sight of his flaccid penis and hairy testicles. Not that she hadn’t seen him nude before but the sight always repulsed her.
The back of h
is hand shot out. Meggie didn’t jump out of reach fast enough. Stars danced in front of her eyes at the slap.
“Please. Not Meggie,”
Dinah whined, prone on the squeaky clean linoleum.
kicked Dinah’s thigh and she whimpered again. Meggie growled and launched herself at Thomas, buoyed by the thought of her father coming for her, not caring if Thomas beat the crap of her. She’d learned to cover her pain and bruises but she wouldn’t have to. She could show each little hurt to her daddy and he’d find a way to make them go away. He’d make
nails dug into Thomas’s cheek and she drew them down, drawing blood just like he drew her mother’s blood and sometimes hers. He grabbed her upper arms and slammed her against the wall. Meggie bounced and stumbled onto Dinah, who lay silent and still, but warm, the rise of fall of her back assuring she lived. Thomas yanked Meggie to her feet by her hair. She kicked, connecting with his penis and he dropped to his knees.
Meggie blew out p
uffs of air, not having much time. Steeped in drunken insanity, Thomas’s meanness and strength rivaled a dozen men. She doubted he’d even feel a bullet.
Stupid bull of a man.
Ignoring her pain, she scrambled to her mother and latched onto her hands, pulling her forward. “Come on, Momma. Help me.”
She needed to get them to
Dinah’s bedroom. Just until Thomas drank himself into a stupor and passed out. If she couldn’t convince Dinah the wisdom of leaving while Thomas slept off the vodka and bourbon, then, at least, the latest danger would pass. Thomas would be sick for a day and sober for a couple more. Sometimes, he even went a week without drinking. Sober, his hits lacked so much viciousness and murderous intent.
Dinah another inch and her mother groaned. Thomas roared to his feet. She didn’t want to leave her mother but her sense of self-preservation took over. Dropping Dinah’s arms, Meggie stumbled toward the nearest door, the half bath right next to her bedroom. His arms encircled her waist. He lifted her off her feet. Meggie screamed, struggling in his arms.
He stepped over
Dinah, keeping a firm grip on Meggie, and walked into her bedroom. Reaching her bed, he slammed her down. She sprung up and barreled into him, the maneuver useless. When his hand neared her, somehow she dodged it and, instead, sunk her teeth into the fleshy side.
“Bitch!” he yelled, crashing his fist on the side of her head and her world went black.
Meggie ached everywhere—her face, arms, hands, belly, thighs, knees, legs and feet. Even the top of her head and her breasts throbbed. Wincing, she lifted herself on her elbows, the moonlight reflecting on her bare body. Blood and bruises glimmered in a grotesque sheen and she shivered, her skin burning, her insides cold. Whatever sick twist in the universe sent Thomas into their lives wrapped itself tighter and tighter.
Feeling the pain of
Thomas’s rage sweeping through her body, she understood her mother’s decisions. It was the other times. The times when she only listened and witnessed, she resented Dinah’s inaction. She sniffled and fell back onto her pillows, tears slipping down her cheeks. The two of them gave bodies of evidence a literal meaning. On them lay a wealth of substantiation Thomas was a violent pig. Then, again, on them a mountain of proof validated Dinah had bad taste in men.
Meggie thought her mother had all types of demons to contend with. While she could always judge
Dinah, tell her life happened, she knew so many other factors were in this twisted tale; therefore, her inaction could be overlooked and excusable. Meggie’s couldn’t.
didn’t fight back. Meggie’s sense of outrage overwhelmed her at times and she couldn’t help but fight back but there was absolutely no winning with Thomas. Unless they ended up on an outpost in Antarctica, he’d always find them and hurt them. One day, he’d kill them if Meggie didn’t do something.
That her mother had done one small thing and telephone
d Big Joe was enough. Thomas wasn’t going to allow her to leave. No, he wanted to sever all ties between her and her father. But Meggie couldn’t allow that to happen. Her father would protect her and rescue Dinah. No matter what else had passed between him and Dinah, he loved Meggie enough that he’d want to see her mother safe.
swiped the backs of her hands across her cheeks, pain shooting through her at the skim over her welts, bruises and self-inflicted injuries. “Ow!”
The overhead light flipped on and Meggie blinked, the sudden brightness hurting her eyes.
She curled her knees into her chest, praying to disappear. By the time she came to, Dinah and Thomas had been locked in their bedroom. Meggie had dragged herself to her bed, just over an hour ago, taking comfort in her surroundings, which reminded her of happier times. All around her were items she and her mother had chosen when Meggie turned thirteen. A redecorated room had been her birthday present. No expense had been spared, courtesy of her father. Meggie loved Monet and had a replica of
Renoir Painting In His Garden
hanging on her wall. Another wall had a framed print of Minnie Mouse with the words
Explore the Magic Inside
. Pretty lame, she knew, but she really liked Minnie Mouse.