Authors: Shyla Colt
Dueling Devils M.C. book
Centuries: Fallout Boy
Counting Stars: One Republic
Demons: Imagine Dragons
Sweet Nothings: Calvin Harris Ft. Florence Welch
Stay With Me: Sam Smith
Bottom of the River: Delta Rae
Love song: 311
Open your Eyes: Snow Patrol
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
This is a work of fiction. All
characters, places, businesses and incidents are from the author’s imagination,
or they are used fictitiously and are definitely fictionalized. Any trademarks
or pictures herein are not authorized by the trademark owners and do not in any
way mean the work is sponsored by or associated with the trademark owners.
No portion of this book
may be reproduced in any form (electronic or print) without permission from the
author. Please do not participate in piracy or violating the author’s rights.
Editor: Leanore Elliott
Photo by: The Reed Files
Colt, January 2015
my amazing readers who give their incredible support, my family who puts up
with my late night writing sprints, especially the Mr. who shares me with the
bevy of characters who live in my head.
paused at the end of her living room and glanced up toward the entry.
and Gia stood by the door, whispering to one another. The six-foot plus biker
had his large hand wrapped around Gia's waist. He stood at an angle.
couple made her sick. She rolled her eyes at the protective position.
she needs protection from me.
Imaginary slivers of glass cut her from the
inside out. She has everything and I have lingering nightmares along with a
face not even a mother could love. Jealousy reared its ugly head.
well for herself in so many ways. It’s not her fault this happened to me. We
both knew the risks and took them.
The rational side of her brain
understood, but her heart. That traitorous organ had become twisted, black and irrevocably
used was nothing new. From the day she hit sixteen, when her virginity was auctioned
to the highest bidder, her body had become nothing more than a tool to keep her
fed and clothed. She could deal with that. It’d been another thing entirely to
be abused and beaten down so low mentally and physically, she never got a
chance to catch her breath. Life after she'd been caught trying to escape had
been hell on earth. Every day she woke, expecting to find herself trapped in a
ring of fire. Feeling like a voyeur, she cleared her throat.
looked up at her and scowled.
don’t like you much either
. Mentally Taffy smirked.
face clouded over with a troubled look.
Her joy at her previous best friend’s
discomfort broke open the scabs she wore on the inside. She knew something was
wrong with her, but she didn’t know how to fix it. The best thing to do for
everyone was to stay away. “I think we’re all done here,” she stated. The
smallest piece of her that had survived screamed out in protest.
me alone. Please help me.
Taffy drowned out the sorrowful pleas by wrapping
herself in the blankets of bitterness, anger and indifference.
I need to do
this on my own.
Gia has already done more than she should have. I will not
be a burden.
you sure you have everything you need?” Gia asked. Her eyes searched Taffy's
wondered what exactly she hoped to find. “This is more than I’ve had in a long
gesture made Taffy feel like an asshole. Every word from her mouth was a sharp
razor blade that slashed Gia, the only person who gave a damn about her.
sooner they leave, the better.
you’re sure.” Gia held her gaze.
If you need anything, you have my cell. Chase is the super, so to speak. She’ll
be checking in with you sometime today and giving you the run down. Mostly, my
girls live here, but there are some bikers. They’re all Dueling Devils, or
guests. They won’t come at you crazy.”
man who thinks he won’t get caught, will come at a woman, any way she’ll let
face fell like a cake in an oven. “Not everyone is like that—”
of them are,” Taffy snapped.
want you to feel safe, Taffy. I would never leave you somewhere you might be in
luck with that.
“No one can make me feel safe, Gia. That’s
long stripped from me. “
stared at each other in a stalemate. Gia wanted her to be someone who’d died
the night she escaped the island in order to survive. Taffy had buried all the
softness. Taffy glanced away first, conceding victory for the staring match.
be back later this week and we’ll see about getting you a job?”
please,” Taffy said. Being beholden to anyone made her feel antsy.
We’ll leave you in peace then.”
uncertainty in Gia’s voice did funny things to her stomach. She hadn’t felt
anything more than contempt, fear and numbness for so long. It was like submerging
a frostbitten limb into hot water. She shrank away from the foreign sensation
that burned her.
guided Gia out of the apartment with a hand on the small of her back.
the tattooed giant be so gentle perplexed her.
How can a dangerous outlaw be
so soft at the same time?
door closed behind them with a click.
locked the door and silence echoed in the dwelling. She rested her head against
the cool metal as relief flooded through her body. This was her peace, solitude,
silence and only her company. She pushed away from the door and went to explore
her place. The one-bedroom was more than adequate for her needs. It came fully
furnished with a soft, dark grey couch that felt like suede, an accent chair
with grey and yellow flowers and a 34-inch TV that rested against the wall.
the left, a dining area held a circular walnut-stained wooden table for two and
a tiny but efficient kitchen with new appliances. The walls were a warm
off-white, and an inch long beige carpet was clean and soft looking. She toed
off her sneakers, beside the couch and walked the floor. The soft strands of
carpet gave under her feet. A short walk down the hallway led to a small
bathroom with a mid-sized tub, shower and sink. The light yellow walls reminded
her of sunshine and the white fabric in front of the clear shower curtain gave
it a homey feel.
closed her eyes, pulled back the rusty door on her supply of hope and let
This is a new start.
Long lost optimism rose inside her
like a bird with a freshly healed wing while flexing the still bruised
Please let this work for me. It's my last chance.
couldn’t get it together and they sent her packing, she had nothing and nowhere
to go. None of that matters.
Above all, I’m a survivor. I will do what I
have to as long as it keeps a roof over my head and enough space to finally
for her mental pep talk, she straightened and continued down the small hall to
her bedroom. The room was petite, yet held everything she needed. A queen-sized
bed with a flowery comforter and a white sham rested in the center of the room.
The ordinariness stole her breath. Everything she wanted sat in front of her, delivered
on a silver platter. A small white desk sat against the far wall and matched
the small dresser. Soon, her closet would be full of clothes of her choosing.
She ran her hands over the smooth wood of the dresser, dreaming of the day she
could count herself as independent.
deep breath brought fresh air into her lungs. There was no cloying incense,
perfume, or cologne. No walls opened up to reveal a playroom. She could still
smell the scent of leather and feel the sting of the flogger on her flesh. She
didn’t mind pain when it was meant for pleasure. The torture intent to break
her, killed most of her soul and a vast majority of that had been mental.
those moments where she wanted to lay down and die, she focused on thoughts of
Larissa happy and at peace to stay sane. At first, the escape had been
positive. The thought that her friend had escaped and was living a life free
without fear had been a circle of light in the darkness. Until—it wasn’t. When
the hope dried up and shriveled like rotting fruit, the happiness went sour and
turned into acidic bitterness. Guilt streaked through her. She’s the one who
put me in up here.
knock sounded at the door.
jumped. Tension made her shoulders tight. Her muscles gave a twinge of pain.
She walked to the door and peered out the peephole.
slender woman stood there. She had shoulder-length dark blonde hair that framed
a tan oval-shaped face with cheekbones sharp enough to cut glass and sky blue eyes
hardened by experience.
woman wore a look Taffy knew well. Keeping the chain on, she opened the door.
“Can I help you?”
you Taffy? I’m Chase.”
name clicked in her memory. “Of course.” She removed the chain and stepped
back. “Come on in.”
complied and shoved her hands into her black skinny jeans. “You settling in
the place is great.”
nodded. “It is. We’re lucky to stay here. Not every place here is so nice or
protected. I run a tight ship here. Someone gets out of line or comes at you
wrong, I want to know about it, so they can be taken care of.”
voice sounded low and serious. It commanded respect and planted a seed of
belief. She looked like a woman who stood by her word.
Mostly, we don’t have too many problems. Not with the regulars. Sometimes, a
Nomad or a brother from another chapter comes in and we have to set him
straight.” Chase shrugged her shoulders. “It’s part of the life.”
in the fast lane.”
get wise or get run the fuck over.”
snickered. Chase reminded her of the girls back home. The older ones who’d been
around long enough to see how things flowed down the pipeline. They had a
sisterhood. No one could understand what they’d been through like each other.
your sister having your back could be the difference between life and death.
thought pushed her to leave her comfort zone. “I get the feeling we learned
that lesson a long ass time ago.”
tilted her head back and studied her. “Yeah, I think we did. Are you going to
be around awhile?”
other place to be,” Taffy admitted.
got a gig yet?”
shook her head. “I wish. I plan on looking later this week.”
can you do?”
necessary,” Taffy said.
exchanged a look. A kinship sprang up between them.
know, Demon called the other day looking for someone to work in the office at
the garage. The girl at the shop got into it with a guy she was dating and
split. Can you do office work?”
can work a computer and learn the rest.”
easy shit. Keeping track of appointments, running the cash register. If you
have sticky fingers, I’d advise against it. Demon doesn’t play about his money
or give second chances.”
not a thief,” Taffy snapped.
held up her hands. “Don’t kill the messenger. I’m covering my ass. If I vouch
for you without asking this shit, I’d be putting my ass on the line with no
nodded. “I can do this.”
me talk to him and I’ll get back to you. I work there. It’d be nice to have
another girl who’s not a spaz with me.”
work in the office?” Taffy said, shocked. The girl had a wild streak a mile
long. Picturing her in a buttoned-up suit with perfectly coifed hair did not
tilted back her head and laughed. “Hell no. Nine to five, answering phones and
dealing with people ain’t my style. I work on the bikes.”
Taffy studied her closer. Her average height, lanky build along with the cool
and collected manner must be a mirage. To survive in this world, doing what the
other men did, she must have a core of steel.
old man taught me. He used to ride and I grew up in a place very similar to
this one. I came across them one day, and then just never left.”
leave your life?”
got bad and I got ghost.” She shrugged. “Home’s more than a set of coordinates.
So, I’ll go make that call and get back to you. You have anything to wear, if
he tells you to come in tomorrow?”
we might need to go shopping then,” she said more to herself than to Taffy.
watched her face as her eyes narrowed. She could practically see the wheels
turning in Chase’s head.
work it out. Give me like fifteen.” Chase turned around.
paused and glanced over her shoulder. “Yeah?”
are you so nice to me?”
eyes widened. “All I did was give you a shot. Everything after that is up to
you. This is the same agreement the Dueling Devils offered me once. I figured
I’d pass that along. Unless you object.”
I’d hate to find out I was already wrong about you.” She winked and strode to
the door with a confident strut that made her long legs seem endless. The red
tennis shoes she sported were a splash of color against the landscape of black
she wore from head to toe.
of her wanted to think she’d found her a new friend, but she refused to be that
Time will tell if Chase is friend or foe. For now, she’s a means
to an end. If I’m going to start this off right, I need a new identity….Symone.
I always loved that name.