Authors: Marci Fawn
By Marci Fawn
© 2016 by Marci Fawn
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
’ve killed before
, and maybe I’ll kill again.
But this blood isn’t on my hands.
Exhausted and nauseated, with my head pounding, I leave my bike in front of the seedy motel. I've been assured this is a location that is a safe place for the night. I get a few crumpled bills from my pocket and walk into the building like I own the fucking place.
I may be an outlaw on the run, I may be broke as hell and I may be in the worst trouble of my life
But I’m still Axel fucking Lake.
Nothing can break me. Many things and many people have tried, but nothing or no one has ever succeeded.
As I walk inside the small, cramped entrance room, I hear the low buzz of an old television set. A bored woman sits at the crappy, moldy, wooden reception desk, staring blankly at the screen.
I glance around her environment. I wonder what she thinks about her job in this shit hole, surrounded by stale cigarette butts. She’s young enough to do something more than this, but she doesn’t look like she wants to. Is she really happy with the way her life is headed?
Mind you, is this how I thought my life was going to turn out?
“A room,” I growl at the woman, throwing some of my cash down on the desk. She shoots me a disgusted look because of my bad attitude, but that soon turns to a lusty gaze when her eyes drink me in.
The same reaction, every fucking time. I could make this woman eat from the palm of my hand if I wanted to, and we both know it.
I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror behind her, while she fiddles nervously with the room keys. I can even manage to attract a woman when I look like shit. And today I definitely look worse for wear.
My dark hair is too long and messy, I have a few days’ worth of stubble on my jaw and I probably reek of musk. I need a goddamned shower, and I need a woman sucking me off to relieve the stress. Her lips could easily make the past few days vanish for a short while.
My eyes drink her in as she tries to straighten out the bank notes I just tossed at her. She blushes once she catches me staring, feeling the intensity of my gaze. She knows what I’m thinking; it’s written all over her face.
I could go for it with her, she’s good looking. But then she has far too much makeup on, which really ages her face. When she speaks, I can tell from her raspy voice that the majority of the cigarette butts belong to her. Her fingers are yellowed from all the smoking. I mean, I’m pretty desperate for a release, but am I willing to get it from her?
She hands over the keys, grinning widely, trying to persuade me with her eyes. But then the TV comes to life between us.
“Outlaw Axel Lake has been on the run for the past twenty-seven hours. If you see him, alert the police immediately. He is considered armed and dangerous.” The news anchor speaks in a grave tone. I lean over to take a look at the screen, just in time to see my photograph flash across it.
The receptionist and I exchange looks. Hers—one of terror, mine—one of warning. Her hand lingers between us, dangling the keys. I reach for them, watching as she cowers from my touch. Anger bubbles inside of me.
I rip the keys from her, pissed that she could be so easily sucked into what she hears on the news. She whimpers in fear.
“Thank you, darlin’,” I growl at her, flashing my fake, willing smile. Much as I’m annoyed, I need this girl on my side. If she rats me out for being here, then I’m fucked.
I wait for a few seconds, giving her a chance to respond. Luckily, she doesn’t disappoint. The coy smile creeps back up onto her lips and I feel a massive sense of relief. We’re good—she won’t sell me out tonight. Instead, she’ll fantasize about me ravaging her raw.
I blow her a little kiss, giving her one more thing to think about. Then, I turn on my heels and walking the fuck out of there.
What the hell is wrong with me?
Any other day, I would've been all over that chick. I'd be yanking her hair and ramming my dick down her willing throat in a side alley somewhere. I wouldn’t have even taken a second to consider whether she was ‘good enough’; I would have just done it. Yet today, I can't bring myself to look at her twice. It's not that she isn't my type—I don't even have a type. A nice body and a warm pussy, and I'm happy—that’s all I’ve ever needed.
But not today, apparently.
I pound up the stairs, heading past all the shitty doors hiding their sordid secrets. When I reach my own room, I unlock the door and kick it open. The room is cramped and reeks of smoke, but aside from that it looks clean enough for me. It isn’t exactly like I have many options at my disposal, anyway. It’ll do for tonight—after that, well…I’ll just figure that out tomorrow.
Sitting on the bed, I allow my crappy situation to overcome me for a second. I bury my head in my hands, running them through my messy hair. I’ve always had options before. I’ve always had choices, friends, and money. Now I have none of those; not really, anyway. I’m a wanted man and I can’t see any way out.
Everything is dangerous for me, even walking down the street. Anyone could recognize me and put in a call to the police. I just cannot get locked up for this shit. I didn’t do it, for fuck’s sake! I really should stay here, where I know it’s safe, but I’m far too hot-blooded for that. I’m too temperamental to be caged like an animal.
I pace the room for a few seconds, pleading with myself to do the smart thing, but I already know that I won’t. My brain is already planning where I’m going to go, and it isn’t long before I listen. It’s not like I have anything better to do, so I may as well head over to the bar next door that I spotted on my way in.
I take off my sweat-soaked shirt, glancing at myself in the mirror above the bed. My muscles are more ripped than ever before, but they’re disguised by all the scars that cover them. I hate looking at these; they remind me of who I am, of what I am. That’s why I prefer hooking up with random chicks. Generally there isn’t enough time for me to take my clothes off, so I never get asked the dreaded question.
‘Where did those come from?’
I jump into the shower, allowing the dribbling stream of lukewarm water to wash some of the past few days away. It isn’t as satisfying as a powerful jet of hot water would be, but it’s better than nothing.
When I’m as close to clean as I’ll ever get, I dry myself, get dressed and pull a hoodie on over my clothes. I make sure to pull the hood over my face, too. I may be risking it by going out, but I at least intend to help myself by having a small disguise.
Finally, I head outside into the fresh, cool air. I keep my hands buried deep in the pockets of my jeans and my head bowed down. I try not to look suspicious, but I definitely don’t want to make eye contact with anyone either.
As I wander into the bar, the heavy noises and potent smells begin an assault on my senses. Stale cigarette smoke, alcohol, and cheap perfume quickly become the most prominent scents. It makes for a nasty combination. But then, I start to notice a slightly softer, sweeter smell underneath it all. I can’t help but become intrigued by this. It just doesn’t fit in with its surroundings.
The bar is packed full of people; drunks and druggies, whores and desperate fucks like me. Whoever the smell belongs to, it must be someone unusual.
I raise my head like a bloodhound, forgetting all my promises to myself. I start sniffing the air, trying to locate that unfamiliar scent. I need to know where it’s coming from.
I walk over to the bar and growl an order at the bartender. “Whiskey on the rocks, double.”
He nods as I hand him the last crumpled bill from my pocket. I'm pretty much fucked tomorrow, but right now, I don’t care about that.
As the bartender slides my drink across the bar towards me, the smell hits me again. It’s more powerful now, and it’s absolutely intoxicating. Not because it’s heady or sexy, but because it’s innocent and mysterious.
I glance around, trying to locate the girl wearing this citrusy perfume, but I come up empty. None of the women that I can spot look like they wear perfume. I imagine them in some cheap, trashy supermarket body spray.
I’m just about ready to give up when my eyes land on a shadowy figure in a corner booth. The girl there is facing the wall, so I can only see the back of her head, but I’m already certain that it has to be her. She’s huddled over her drink, her platinum blonde hair falling around her face. It's forming a protective barrier between her and the rest of the world.
Despite the fact that she obviously doesn’t want to be bothered, my body has a mind of its own. Before I can even think, I’m walking over towards her. With each step, the scent gets stronger and stronger.
So good. So fucking good.
My mouth starts to water as I draw closer. By the time I’m standing behind her I’ve already decided that I want her. I don’t even need to see her face to know that she turns me on.
And if I want her, I will have her.
After all, I always get the girl.
n this city
, I’m nobody. No one here knows my name, where I come from, or anything about me. Nobody knows what I'm doing here and who I'm searching for—which is just the way I want it.
Despite this, I feel a little lost. I don’t really belong here, and that becomes increasingly obvious every single day. I can’t go back, though. My purpose is clear, and I need to get to the bottom of this mess.
My older sister disappeared four months ago, and I haven't heard a word from her since. We said goodbye, or rather, we went our separate ways, after an awful situation. I regret the way we left things more than anything. I’m afraid that I’ll never get the opportunity to make things right.
After she vanished, I stayed behind to finish school. I had no idea where she’d gone, and I knew that she’d want me to finish my education. I also felt like remaining in one place was the right thing to do so that she could come back for me.
But she never did.
I had no one else—our parents died in car accident a few years back and it’s just been me and Bridgette ever since. I had to sleep on my friend’s couch. That was okay for a while... But when I finished school and became legal, Marissa wanted me to join her as dancer in the strip club she works at.
I could never have done that, despite knowing it would make me some money. I made the snap decision to leave, to head to the city where my sister worked, and to begin the journey of finding her. Much as I’m afraid and confused, I won’t leave here until I know where Bridgette is. I can’t stop looking. I literally have no one else.
I’ve driven straight here with nothing, a stupid decision really. The crappy, rundown car that’s almost the only thing I own is on its last few drops of gas. I don’t even have enough money to fill it up again.
I stopped here outside this seedy motel. I was hoping I might actually be able to afford a room for the night to sleep this day off. Everything looks better in the cold light of day.
But it quickly became obvious I barely had enough money for a drink. I made another stupid decision and came to the seedy bar next door, spent what little I had left.
I’m so emotional and exhausted that I don’t even have enough energy to weep. Instead, I remain slumped over my drink, trying to avoid the attention of anyone else. I have nothing now. I have a small backpack of clothes in my car, and that’s it. No money, no gas, nothing.
What am I going to do?
I close my eyes for a second, just wanting to block everything out. Not just the past few days, or even the past month, but everything. My entire life has been a train-wreck. I’d give anything to be able to hit a restart button.
I allow myself to slip into a dream world, hoping to find a place that’s wonderful and perfect. But in the dark corners, only nightmares await.
the front door and tiptoe inside. My sister is an exotic dancer, and she works horrible hours so I don't want to wake her up if she’s napping. I may not like what she does as a job, but her income is the only thing that’s keeping us afloat.
I toss my school backpack onto the couch in the tiny living room that we share, creeping towards the bedroom. I peek inside. I'm sure I'll find my sister stretched out on the bed in one of her weird sleeping positions, but I don’t.
"Bridgette?" I whisper, patting the sheets. No, she’s definitely not there.
Immediately, my heart fills with worry, even though I've spent years training it not to do that. After our parents passed away, I suffered from a lot of anxiety. It’s taken me a long time to return to an almost-normal, functioning person.
I can’t stop it this time, though. Right away, I just know that something's wrong.
“Bridgette?” I cry out once more, before spotting her figure slumped in the corner of the room.
I shriek. Before I can get another word out, a heavy, sweaty hand clamps over my mouth and restricts my breathing. I let out a muffled cry and try to bite into the meaty palm, but I'm too weak, and I’m far too afraid.
"Quiet," a male voice barks into my ear, breath heavy with alcohol. "Be quiet, or I'll hurt her more… You wouldn’t want that, would you now?"
My eyes find Bridgette again. Her head is slumped to the side, and a huge bruise is blooming on her right cheek. A small trail of blood is running down her face—evidence that her nose has been broken. Her eyes are so swollen from crying that I doubt she can even see.
Despite the fact that she’s barely conscious, she makes the effort to speak to me. "It is okay, Cherie," she whispers brokenly. “I’m okay.”
The fact that she’s so clearly not okay makes me want to scream even harder. The man has his hand wrapped too tightly across my face, though.
Hunter. I’m sure it’s Hunter.
Bridgette and Hunter were together for a while. She broke it off when he started to get psychically abusive. She’s mentioned that he’s been harassing her—but I thought she meant online and in text messages. I wasn’t aware that he was actually stalking her.
He sits down onto the bed, dragging me down with him.
“Hunter…” I try to beg, but I can’t get another word out.
Then I feel his other hand start to creep down my body, ever-so-slowly, and things get much worse.
I’m dressed in my school uniform —a white blouse and a pleated navy-blue skirt. Normally I wear pantyhose, but I decided against it this morning because of the heat. That was a decision I’m bitterly regretting now.
Hunter's hand slaps my legs apart, and his fingers find their way onto my inner thigh. I gasp in fear and he groans into my ear, excited by my terror. Horrified, I realize that I'm turning him on, that this forceful shit actually works for him. The whole scenario is so disgusting it makes me want to throw up, or maybe pass out. Anything to escape this.
How is this happening to me and Bridgette? Haven’t we been through enough?
"Be a good little girl," Hunter whispers in my ear. "Be quiet and just let this happen. You always knew it was going to, eventually..."
I whimper, my eyes rolling back into my head as he fights his way between my legs. I'm trying very hard to keep my thighs together, but he keeps ripping them apart.
I squeeze my eyes shut and disappear into my imagination. I'm trying to escape my own body as his fingers find my panties. The same thoughts keep racing through my brain:
I'm only seventeen.
This can't be happening.
He's my sister's boyfriend, not mine.
She dumped him months ago. He’s supposed to be gone, it's just a dream.
A very bad fucking dream.
Stop, stop, stop!
But it doesn't stop, and I can feel his fingers ripping my panties to shreds. I scream, but once again, it gets muffled by his palm. I wince, preparing myself for the absolute worst to happen. But instead, I feel his fingers move away. At the same time a loud thump echoes throughout the room.
I open my eyes, petrified of what I'm about to see.
My sister is no longer slumped on the floor. Instead she’s shakily standing next to the bed, holding a bloodied baseball bat in her hands. She's a mess; everything in this room is a bloody mess. It’s like I’ve stumbled straight into hell.
I cover up my dignity, pulling my skirt down as low as I can, and then I look around for Hunter.
He's lying face-down on the floor, twitching the fuck out. I assume he's still alive, because low growls escape his lips along with a stream of curse words.
Bridgette grabs me by the shoulders and makes me turn around to face her.
"You have to go," she says weakly, another trail of blood running down her beautiful, broken face. "Take the cash under the floorboard in the kitchen and leave."
"I'm not leaving you!" I whimper, but she screams in frustration.
"LEAVE!" she yells. "You have to go! He'll never leave us alone; can't you see that, Cherie? You don’t need to be mixed up in my mess.”
I shake my head, heavy tears spilling from my tired eyes and falling down my cheeks. I don't want to believe this is real. I have to convince myself it'll all be okay. But Bridgette grabs me by my ponytail and drags me to the kitchen as I whimper for help. She pushes me down and lifts the slightly-crooked floorboard, giving me a stack of bills. We're both crying, sobbing helplessly.
"You have to go," she tells me. "Don't come back here. Just go somewhere else. There's enough money to start you off..."
"I don't want to," I whisper, grabbing for my sister. She moves away from me, her swollen lips set in a thin line.
"You'll never be safe here," she says, eyes narrowed. "Not with me." And finally, her resolve breaks, too, and her chest heaves with sobs as she points towards the door. "Just go...I'll deal with this."
“I’ll get help…” I start, but she quickly jumps in.
“You’ll do nothing. Let me sort this out!”
In that moment, I hear growling from the other room as Hunter stumbles into the kitchen. He's pissed and bloody. How the hell is he standing up right now?
"Get out!" Bridgette yells at me, and I scramble to my feet, bolting for the door. I give her one last look right before Hunter gets to her, and she mouths the three words I need to hear the most.
‘I love you’.
‘I love you, too’, I mouth back, and then I run out of the apartment, leaving Bridgette behind to pick up the pieces.
That is the last time I saw my sister.
up with a start and it takes me a moment to remember where I am. My breathing is shallow and rapid, and my heart is beating way too fast.
What the hell just happened?
My eyes look up to meet those of a stranger. His deep brown, brooding eyes look dark and soulless.
“I…” I start to say, but my hoarse voice just won’t work.
He has his hood pulled up, concealing most of his face, but I can still see the twisted smile on his face. His eyes might be glaring, but the way that he’s licking his lips suggests that he wants to eat me for dessert.
And I know that I’m doomed right there and then.