Authors: Maddie Taylor
Second Time Lucky
Club Decadence, Book Five
©2015 by Blushing Books® and Maddie Taylor
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Second Time Lucky
eBook ISBN: 978-1-62750-888-9
Cover Design by ABCD Graphics & Design
This book is intended for
. Spanking and other sexual activities represented in this book are fantasies only, intended for adults. Nothing in this book should be interpreted as Blushing Books' or the author's advocating any non-consensual spanking activity or the spanking of minors.
Table of Contents:
Despite the light breeze, the midsummer heat was stifling. In south Texas, even after dark, the humidity and eighty degree temperatures were often oppressive. Usually she would have been sweltering, fanning herself vigorously, actively seeking a blast of cold artificial air in the first open tavern and ordering a salty rimmed frozen margarita. Not tonight. Instead, Mara O’Brien stood behind a wide tree, leaning against it for support, barely noticing the rough bark pressed into her skin from shoulder to hip as she stared in horror at the sixteen-story tower of fire up ahead.
It lit up the sky, casting a glow as bright as day over the chaotic scene of gawkers and emergency personnel below, the circle of light radiating nearly a block away to where the man responsible stood watching. Victor Mendoza. More like gloating was Mara’s guess seeing his head tipped back as he stared up at his handiwork. Hatred for him burned inside her, rivaling that of the raging inferno.
Needing no more incentive, Mara reached behind her and palmed the grip of the Sig Sauer 9 mm tucked inside her waistband. She eased it out and slowly took aim, squinting down the sights as her finger slid across the trigger. It had been a while, but she remembered Sean’s long ago lessons as if they were yesterday. “
Widen your stance, align the sights, focus on the gun, breathe deep, concentrate, and this time, baby, don’t drop your hands.”
So vivid were the memories, she could almost feel his arms around her, helping her with the two handed grasp as he murmured instructions into her ear.
Raw pain, unending in all this time, gripped her chest. She loved him so. But that was behind her now. Victor had seen to it.
Taking a deep breath, she focused on her target, but the orange glow of the fire in the background, the flashing emergency lights and the chaos surrounding the fully engulfed building were a distraction, to say the least. She couldn’t afford to waver. Her aim had to be true to do what needed to be done.
This was his doing, every bit of it. As well as all the pain and horror she’d experienced in her life. Okay, not her alcoholic mother or the series of deadbeat and often perverted surrogate fathers that were foisted upon her, but he capitalized on her misfortune because of them. So, even if indirectly, she could lay the entirety of her fucked up life squarely at Victor’s feet. Her insides churned at the thought of what he’d taken from her: youth, dignity, self-worth and through it all, he treated her like trash, forcing her to do unspeakable things.
She’d broken free, not once, but three times, after each escape trying to start over in a futile attempt to eke out a little bit of normalcy and happiness. Except, he found her—always—dragging her back to a life of despair while subject to his cruelty. Hell could not be worse than what he had created for her here on earth. Now, at the age of thirty, when she was finally getting back on her feet. He’d shown up again demanding more.
Tú eres mía, mi precioso puta.
” Victor had hissed in her ear as he’d dragged her kicking and screaming from her apartment days ago. “Fate keeps bringing us back together because you are mine. When will you realize I own you and that I am your only true master?”
“No!” she cried aloud, the memory of his cutting words slicing easily like a hot knife through butter and jerking her out of her painful reflections. Thankfully, the single word went nowhere in the dense night air.
Sean’s image flashed in front of her. In him, she had found safety, love and happiness, as well as a friend, lover, and yes, her master. But no more. Victor had ruined that too. Her voice shook with rage as she whispered to his back, as if he could hear. “You may have used me, you bastard, but only one man will I ever call Master.”
She had tried desperately to save what she had with Sean, but she couldn’t. Leaving him in the end and sacrificing what they had to keep her secrets safe had done nothing but cause them both pain because he found out anyway. Now he knew everything, every lurid, disgusting, filthy secret and saw her for what she was, a liar, a cheat, and so much worse.
Ironically, her exposure had come by her own admission. In telling the truth to protect him and his friends, she had neutralized the power Victor held over her, the perpetual blade at her jugular for years. He was no longer a threat, but the irreparable damage had been done.
Trying to clear her smoke-filled vision as best she could, Mara rubbed her burning eyes with the back of her hand, before lifting the gun again. Her hand trembled. Breathing in deeply, she blew it out in an attempt to settle her nerves. As she stared beyond the muzzle, to the man who stirred hatred in her gut, she hesitated. If she did this, there was no going back.
Closing her eyes, she searched for an answer within herself, right or wrong. Blocking out the chaos in front of her made the sounds and smells of the night more vivid. The wailing sirens, people shouting, the crumbling, burning building nearby, and the smoke, so thick in the humid air it nearly choked her.
The solution came to her, one she had considered repeatedly in the past, but discarded as insane. Humorless laughter bubbled up within her. Insanity, maybe it was true. If nothing else, it would be the perfect plea in her trial for cold-blooded murder.
She wasn’t crazy though, fully aware of where she was and why she was there. Maybe it was the stress of the past few months. An unamused laugh came again. Who was she fooling? The stress was more from a lifetime of pure and utter crap, except for the few years early on with her mother when it had been good and the short time she’d had with Sean. That accounted for six out of her thirty years at most.
On top of everything, Mara was exhausted, she hadn’t slept more than a few hours in the past few days and her injured leg—courtesy of a well-aimed bullet from Victor—hurt like a son of a bitch. Those were only excuses, though. She hadn’t done the deed yet and was already trying to explain it away.
A niggling voice in the back of her head urged her on.
Just do it. Take him out.
Unable to argue with the message in her head, she waved off any sense of conscience. Victor had been allowed free rein for too long. There was no justice when good men perished and scum like him walked free. He deserved to die for his crimes more than anyone she’d ever met. Lofty praise coming from Mara considering the surplus of lowlifes, criminals and bottom feeders she’d encountered in her short life. Certainly a death sentence was better suited for his deeds, more so than the innocents in the burning building or any of the men at Rossi, all former soldiers who had sacrificed so much already. All good men, like Sean.
Although it was too late for her, and apparently, very tragically for them, she could stop Victor from perpetrating his evil on anyone else ever again.
Shifting her weight as she prepared to fire. A sudden movement behind Victor drew her eye. Another man, a bodyguard no doubt was aiming a gun off to the side. Mara turned her head, following his line of sight. Horrified, she watched as he took aim at a woman standing in the darkened lobby of a building across the way. Her light colored clothes were like a beacon directing attention to herself, as did the orange glow of the fire reflected in the window she peered out of.
Mara blinked in disbelief. She knew her. “Lexie!” Mara wanted to scream a warning, but her name came out in a strained whisper. What in God’s name was she doing there? But she didn’t have time to reason it out when the only thing between Lexie and the gunman’s bullet was a thin layer of glass. Without thought, Mara moved her gun a fraction, but enough to acquire a new target. Then, she fired. As the report ripped through the air, more shots fired, the pop and crack echoing loud in her ears. Time seemed to stand still until Mara heard the metallic click of the hollow chamber. Without conscious thought, she had emptied her clip and all four bullets were gone.
Four years earlier…
Pain like a jagged knife radiated through his thigh in waves. Sitting up in bed, he used both hands to shift his immobilized leg before lying back onto his uninjured side.
“Fuck,” he cursed as the pillows slid sideways. He shoved at them with his other foot until he had settled semi-comfortably except for the pulse pounding in his damaged muscle. As he fluffed his pillow under his head in hopes of getting a few minutes sleep, he marveled how rolling over in bed, something he had done without thought for over three decades, had become a daunting and excruciating task. Two weeks ago, he’d been in Kandahar fighting insurgents with his team, now he needed help to stand and take a piss.
Sean O’Brien was seriously considering getting out. A Special Forces operative for well over a decade, the long and seemingly futile war in the Middle East was getting to him. The hit from this IED wasn’t the first injury he’d had. He had scars from bullets in his shoulder and side (luckily that one was only a graze), broken two fingers and been concussed twice. Only the IED had taken him out of action. As he got older, although thirty-one was hardly ancient, each injury took more of a toll and he, like many on his team, was finished and ready for a normal life.
His captain, Tony Rossi, Cap as they call him, and his second in command, Chief Warrant Officer, Rick Spencer were both done, or nearly so. Sometime in the next year, they would be out, heading home to San Antonio to begin life after the Army. Cap planned to open a private security firm and offered a partnership to anyone on the team who wanted it. Rick leapt at the offer, eager to reunite with his wife, settle down and start the family they wanted. Dex Russell, his best friend and their NCOIC, non-commissioned officer in charge, was also heading that way soon. Dex was an expert strategist, intelligent, shrewd with an innate ability to get inside an enemy’s head and figure out their next move. His skill had saved all of their asses more than once in the field. Tony had requested he head up the bounty-hunting arm of his new enterprise, but that wasn’t all Dex had planned. He was currently on leave, spending time in the nation’s capital before he went back to Afghanistan for the final few months of his tour. He mentioned some bullshit business in D.C., but Sean suspected checking up on him was his real business. A tough as nails Dominant, Dex was also like a mother hen to his crew, if a mother hen wielded a bullwhip and wore Army boots that is. The four of them had enough years to be done, the remaining two, Jonas Mitchell and the youngster of the group, Antonio ‘Lil T’ Minelli had some time left on their commitment to the Army, but planned to join them when they were done.