Sneak Peek of Vengeance

Read the first three chapters of Vengeance now, before its release on 10/14/22.

Chapter 1

“To your happily ever after.”

The glasses of the women around me clink together, but I just toss the shot straight back. I don’t think any of them notice, anyway. A friend might, but these aren’t my friends. Bridesmaids that my mother has picked for my wedding tomorrow, where I’ll marry a groom that my father has picked. A bride shouldn’t be feeling any of the emotions I am at her bachelorette party, but here I am, with a mixture of dread, hopelessness, and rage swirling inside me. It’s not that Percy is a bad guy, even. He’s actually quite nice. Handsome, with a decent sense of humor, he even goes out of his way to bring me flowers and the chocolates he knows are my favorite. But any prospect he had at being a man I would consider marrying went out the window when my father decided he would be my husband. Any and all attraction I might have felt fled my body in a rush the moment my father told me, not asked, that I would wed Percy to secure the bond between our families. More like the business deals between our families.

For Percy, I think he might even really care for me and want this marriage. I wish a part of me wanted him back, could accept all that he’s trying to offer me, but I just can’t. My parents have decided what has seemed like every moment of my life. Either they made my decisions, or I made decisions in defiance of them, which felt like they were controlling those situations in some way, too. Them making the choice of who I would marry has taken any joy out of what was something I felt I wanted someday. A husband and a family. I can’t see Percy as anything more than a means to get away from my parents at this point.

I try my best not to let my real feelings show. Playing along with my bridesmaids’ games, which only go to show me just how little any of them know me, or care to. Smiling on the dance floor as we move to song after song. Laughing along as they make jokes about my last night, and the complete loss of my freedom. If they only knew. I’ve never known true freedom. Tomorrow is simply me going from one prison to another.

“Back to the dance floor!” one of my bridesmaids exclaims.

Everyone begins moving as one, but I wave them on.

“I’m gonna get another drink. I’ll be there in a minute.”

“Boo. Party pooper,” one of them jeers, but they go on without me.

I release a relieved breath the moment I’m alone. Or, alone as I can be in a club. I’m so sick of drinking from penis-shaped straws, pretending I care about any of these women, and forcing my mouth into a smile. All I want is to get in the elevator, go up to the twenty-fifth floor, crawl into my bed, and pretend tomorrow isn’t happening. But then, I look towards the bar, and suddenly being in someone else’s bed is a much more intriguing idea.

“Damn,” I murmur to myself as my eyes go up and down the body of the man standing at the bar.

With him looking towards the dance floor but facing me, I’m able to get more than an eyeful of him. His face deserves every single second that my stare lingers on it. Full lips, the scruff of his beard around it, as black as the hair on his head that’s shaved close to his scalp. Shame, I would like something to grab onto while he’s between my thighs.

I chuckle to myself at that thought as I focus on his eyes next. I can’t see their color from here, but I like that there’s a certain…danger in the way his brows draw down over them. Like he’s looking for prey right now. Hell, maybe he is for all I know.

He brings his glass up, opening his lips to take a sip. I can’t say watching someone drinking has ever made heat rush through me, but watching him… His throat bobbing with his swallow, his tongue sweeping along his lips when he takes the glass away, it all makes me so filled with desire that I have to rub my thighs together in an effort to satisfy the ache building there.

I follow his glass down, gaze stuck on his fingers wrapped around it, more thoughts filling my mind. Those fingers trailing along my skin, sliding into my pussy easily from how wet I already am without a single look or word from him. Him bringing those fingers up so he can slip them into my mouth, making me taste myself before he does. Or before I taste him. Because with my eyes moving over his body now… Oh, I’d lick every single inch of him.

He must be at least six feet tall, his black suit fitting him in a way that clearly shows it was tailored just for his body. And what a body it is. Broad shoulders, wide chest, long legs, shoes so big that they have my brows raising with naughty thoughts about what his shoe size might mean. My stare begins to drift back up and I can’t find a single thing about him that I don’t like. Even his black leather belt turns me on more. Then, he’s moving and my eyes snap up to his face, to find his eyes on me.

He’s coming towards me, his lips lifting on one side for a far too sexy smirk as he gets closer.

“Oh, shit,” I mumble.

I remind myself to have some type of damn composure as he reaches my booth. He doesn’t stop there, though, not to lean over the back of the seat to talk to me like I assumed he would. No, he walks around the edge of the booth and comes to sit right beside me, so close that our thighs touch. I only get a glimpse of his striking blue eyes for a second before he leans closer. He’s a stranger and I should be backing away at how close he is, especially when his mouth comes mere inches from mine, but all I want to do is lean into him more. I want more of the scent of him that’s surrounding me right now. I want more of the heat I can feel radiating from his body. I want more of his presence, which is feeling more and more like his dominance over me. Finally, his mouth goes to where I guess he always meant for it to. Right at my ear. He’s so close that I can feel his beard tickling the side of my neck.

“You look like you had some downright filthy things on your mind as you were staring at me,” he says.

And Lord, if his voice isn’t like sex itself rushing over me. It matches his looks perfectly. Dark, dangerous, and enthralling.

“And what if I was?” I ask.

I’m surprised my voice doesn’t come out with the breathlessness I feel like I’m experiencing. My entire body damn near vibrates with lust. I’m past desire already, from just a man being close to me with his mouth at my ear. What is happening to me? I have never been turned on like this. I haven’t wanted someone so viciously, so violently, like I do him. I want to tear his clothes off right here in the club. I want him to fuck me right here for everyone to see, for everyone to hear my moans. Because just the very look of him, the confidence with which he’s come over to me, tells me that he could draw all kinds of sounds from my mouth.

“If you were, then I’d tell you to come with me right now so I could make every one of them come true.”

I back up a little now, although I regret it the moment there’s distance between us. But I need him to see my arched brow.

“Are you so sure you could do that?”

That smirk appears again in an instant. “Fucking positive.”

I lick my lips and his eyes drop down, following the movement of my tongue. Desire blazes in his eyes as they meet mine again.

“You come to my room,” I say.

Sexy or not, I don’t know him, or what he could have waiting in his room.

“I don’t give a shit where we go, as long as we’re fucking when we get there.”

“God,” I breathe.

“You can call me that if you want to.”

“Or I can call you your name. Which is?”


“Veronica. Or Ronnie.”

“Are you ready to go, Ronnie?”

I have to smile at the way he chooses to use my nickname, as if he knows me well enough to. Well, I guess when a woman is practically agreeing to a one-night stand with you, you do know enough about her. I look towards where my bridesmaids are still on the dance floor. No friends of mine, I’m sure none of them would have any problem running to Percy and telling him I left my party with some guy, especially if they thought it would put them in my position of being at the altar across from him.

“You don’t want to stay here with them,” Holden says, making me look back at him.

“How do you even know I’m here with them?”

“Because I’ve been watching you since the moment you got here.”

“Oh, really? Then, why are you just now coming over to talk to me?”

“Because I was waiting for you to notice me.” He leans in closer again. “And now that you have, I’m wondering why we’re still wasting time sitting here talking.”

I spare them another glance on the dance floor before grabbing a pen from the table. Sloppily, I scramble a note telling them I’m tired and going back to my room. And to not disturb me. I don’t need any of them coming to my room and hearing the sounds I’m pretty sure will be made inside of it.

“Let’s go.”

Holden smiles and takes my hand in his to pull me to standing. Just that action, that he doesn’t offer me his hand, or wait for me to place mine in his, but just takes what he wants… It sends a new wave of lust shivering down my spine. His dark chuckle tells me he notices it. We walk out of the club, the music dulling the moment the doors close behind us. The lobby is bright and seems much too plain for the things I’m hoping Holden is about to do to my body.

Holden lets my hand go to place his to my lower back as he leads me towards the elevator. With my space between the end of my black lace crop top and the waist of my mini skirt, his hand is against my bare skin. His fingers flex into my skin and I have to suppress a moan as we wait for the elevator doors to open.

When we step into the elevator, three other people try to follow us in, but Holden puts up his arm to stop them.

“Catch the next one,” he tells them.

I throw my head back in laughter at the looks of utter shock on their faces as the doors close.

“Are you that excited?” I ask.

“We passed excitement back in the club,” he says, and then questions, “What’s your room number?”


He presses the floor for the twenty-fifth floor and then, it’s a silent ride up. It doesn’t really feel like words are needed, though. Not with the way his eyes move all over me. Stopping for a moment on my cleavage, then dropping down to my legs. Up to my neck, over my face until he’s meeting my eyes again.

“Where would you like me to start?” he asks.

I inhale sharply at his wording. Start, as if this night will last forever.

“Or would you like me to decide?” he continues when I don’t answer.

“You decide,” I tell him. “I only want one thing from you.”

“What’s that?”

“That you make this a night I will never forget.”

Because I truly need it to be. A night I can cling to for all the boring nights ahead of me. A memory I can call to mind when I have my hand between my thighs for years to come. A final rebellion before I give my life over to my parents’ demands.

“You don’t know what you’ve just asked for.”

“I do.”

“You don’t,” he counters with a grin. “But I’m happy to give you exactly what you want.”

Chapter 2

We walk down the hallway; my heels and the thud of his shoes the only sound as we go. When we reach my room, I get my keycard out of my pocket, but as I’m sliding it into the door, a gasp escapes me when Holden’s hand comes to my inner thigh.

“Open the door, Ronnie,” he says.

As if I can even move with his hand drifting up my skin, bringing my skirt with it. But I need to get inside this room, need to have all of our clothes out of the way. Because, with him moving closer behind me, his body pressing against mine, I can feel his cock, hard and thick, prodding into my lower back. That’s not at all where I want to feel him.

Just as I turn the knob, his fingers are brushing against my clit through my panties. A shuddering breath leaves me as I take the keycard out and push the door open. He doesn’t remove his hand as we walk inside; doesn’t let a bit of distance come between our bodies as the door closes behind us; doesn’t let my panties get in his way for long, pushing the fabric aside as we step further into the room.

He shoves me against the wall and brings his leg between mine, making my thighs widen. His finger begins rubbing a circle into my clit, his cock against my ass now. Trapped between him and the wall, my hips can barely arch, but God, do they try, desperate for more of his finger and for his cock to slide between my thighs and rub where I’m throbbing for him.

“What were you thinking in the club?” he whispers into my ear.

I can’t answer, though, and he should know I can’t because it’s all his fault. His finger rubs harder, faster, and another of his fingers slides through my wetness until it’s teasing my opening.

His teeth nip at my earlobe, and I jerk against him.

“You’ll quickly learn that silence does not work for me,” he growls out. “Now. What. Were. You. Thinking?”

I whimper, but begin speaking. “I was thinking about your head between my thighs, about your fingers doing exactly what they are right now, then making me taste myself when you slide your fingers into my mouth.”

He hums, low and dark. “What else?”

He’s definitely doing it on purpose. I know that now. Each time he asks me a question, he works me harder, making it that much harder for me to answer. This time, he’s sliding his fingers into me, two of them, stretching me, filling me, causing the formation of words to seem like far too difficult of a task.

“I…” The single word shakily leaves me, but it turns into a moan as his licks a trail up the side of my neck, until his mouth is back at my ear.

“Tell me.”

“I was thinking about how God damn sexy you looked,” I say, my voice hitching when he hooks his fingers inside of me.

“Go on.”

 “A-and that I wanted to lick every inch of you. I was thinking that you looked dangerous.”

His breath ghosts along my skin as he laughs.

“You have no fucking idea.”

His fingers leave me in a tortuous instant, but before I can even begin to truly grieve their loss, Holden turns me around, still leaving me trapped between him and the wall as he slams his mouth down on mine. There is no tenderness in his kiss. The only thing soft are his lips, but with the way he presses them hard to mine, that softness is erased. Not that I mind. Not when one of his hands is gripping my hair at the base of my skull and the other finds my lower back, making sure there isn’t even an inch between my body and his. Not when my skirt is bunched at my waist and being this way means, finally, that I feel his cock against my clit, my swollen clit. Not when his tongue licks along my lower lip, again not asking, but demanding that I open for him.

And I don’t hesitate to do just that.

I don’t even try to suppress the moan this time. I couldn’t. It seems to tear from the very core of me, rushing through my body until it claws up my throat and then vibrates against his tongue. His hand tightens in my hair, tilting my head so he can get even more from me. I, of course, give it to him. His tongue circles mine, his hips arching against me, beard scratching against my cheeks. I widen my thighs, desperate for him to keep rubbing against me. He breaks his mouth away from mine and our heavy breathing fills the room as our stares lock.

I never even got a chance to turn the lights on, but with the curtains to the balcony doors open, the glow of the moon casting in allows me to see him perfectly. His blue eyes blaze, like a stormy sky, lust and…something else. An anger? Rage? Hatred? Just as my brows furrow at the look, wondering if it’s truly what I think, or if that’s just an animal part of him coming to the surface for what’s next, his lips move, and my eyes drop down to his mouth.

“Get your clothes off and get on the bed.”

“I’d rather you took them off for me.”

“I’d rather watch you get undressed as I jerk my cock.” My brows raise and he smiles. “What are you waiting for?”

He steps back, giving me the first bit of distance since we entered the room. I find I hate it. I want him as close to me as possible. Well, I guess the quickest way to make that happen again, is to do just as he said. I bring my hands behind me, unzipping my top. With no bra on, when it falls down my arms, my breasts are bare to him. And he doesn’t waste a second before letting his gaze drop there. His tongue peeks out to lick his lips as he begins to remove his suit jacket. I step out of my heels while his hand goes to his shirt, slowly, far too slowly, undoing the buttons. I don’t reach for my skirt zipper until his shirt is on the floor and he’s unbuttoning his pants.

I let my skirt drop to the floor and then watch him begin to lower his pants and boxer briefs. Even those are black. He’s gonna kill me before he’s ever even given me pleasure. And with his cock in clear view now as he steps out of his clothes and shoes, pleasure is definitely coming my way. Even if he weren’t stroking it, even if it weren’t for the precum on the tip begging to be licked off, it would still be a thing of beauty. Long, thick, hard just for me. Tonight, I get to do whatever I want with it, and he gets to do whatever he wants with me. A night I’ll never forget. Him being able to give that to me becomes more of a reality with each moment we spend in this room together.

“Did I tell you to stop?” he asks.

I look back up at his eyes, but it’s only briefly, because his hand moving has my gaze going right back to his cock. His words do get me moving again. Only my panties remain on me, so I decide to tease a little. Instead of lowering them, I begin my walk to the bed, looking at him over my shoulder as he watches me. His hand moves faster as he starts making his way towards the bed as well.

I climb onto the bed, laying down before I finally slip my thumbs under the waistband of my panties. Arching up, I bring them from under me, sliding them down my legs just as slowly as he unbuttoned his shirt. He grins as he gets to the end of the bed, as if he knows that I’m playing the same game he did. But then my panties are gone, and I widen my thighs, making sure he can see how I’m glistening for him. I don’t need to see it. I feel it. The wetness coating my inner thighs, the way I’m hot and aching between them, and how empty I feel without any part of him inside of me.

“Wider,” he says as he begins climbing onto the bed.

I widen my thighs more, but apparently, not enough for him. He pushes on them until my muscles ache, his eyes solely on my pussy. He’s so close that the tip of his cock slides between my lips, moving with his every breath. Not nearly enough, though.

“Look at you. Your pussy’s begging for me. Were you wet for me before we even left the club?”


“Would you have let me fuck you in the elevator on the way up?”

I don’t even have to think before answering, “Yes.”

“In the hallway?”


“Would you let me bend you over that balcony so everyone can hear you scream my name while I fuck you?”

“God, yes.”

“I know you will.”

“And how do you know that?”

His eyes snap up to mine now, that same look from before in them as his lips curve up into a smirk.

“Because you’re fucking desperate for my cock. You won’t get it yet, though. Not until it’s covered in your spit.”

Then he’s climbing over my body. Confusion fills me as his knees go to the sides of my head. But then his cock is inches from my lips, and I realize what he wants. His words only confirm it.


I part my lips and those inches between my mouth and his cock disappear when he flexes his hips forward. The tip of his cock pushes past my lips until it’s sliding along my tongue. He’s hot and heavy in my mouth, and my eyes stare up at his gaze on my lips wrapped around him. He doesn’t stop moving forward, though, until he’s at the back of my throat. My hands fly to his waist, fingers digging into his skin as my throat struggles to work around him. He only arches forward more and I gag around him. Even as my mind tells me to fight for air, lust rushes through me, making my clit ache with how badly I want so much more than this. How much all of this, him over me, his cock choking me, and the way he stares down at me with utter command in his eyes right now, is making me feel like a woman who can give and take whatever she wants.

When he groans and arches forward just a little more, my hands push on him, but his hands grasp mine, stilling them on him.

“Swallow,” he demands. “Swallow around my cock. Let me feel your throat work on me.”

I swallow and his eyes flutter shut as he breathes, “Again.”

I swallow again and he slides back, only to push forward again. Each time the tip of his cock goes so far that I feel like my mouth is too full, I swallow around him. He groans, he grunts, and I could even swear I hear him sigh my name. Then, his hand leaves mine and goes to the top of my head, fisting my hair so he can control it as he slides in and out of my mouth. I move my tongue on him, side to side, teasing the vein along the underside, loving the sounds I make leave his mouth.

“Your mouth feels so fucking good,” he pants. “I bet your pussy feels so much better.”

With those words, he keeps my head still while sliding his cock out of my mouth. He climbs to the side of me and then off the bed. I do not at all mind the view as I watch him walk over to his pants and pick them up. He gets a condom out of the pocket and rips the corner of it with his teeth, his eyes on me the whole time.

“Go to the balcony,” he says.

His words from before run through my mind and I hurry to do as he’s said. He begins to slide the condom down his length while I get off the bed. I see him tear the blanket off the bed before I look in front of me to open the balcony doors. Even though it’s summer, this late in the night, and this high up, there’s a slight chill in the air. I don’t even give it a second thought as I reach the railing and turn around to find Holden joining me.

He drops the blanket to the floor and crowds me against the railing. The cold steel digging into my back is a complete contrast to his warm hands coming up to cover my breasts as he kisses me again. This kiss is him nipping at my lips, our tongues lashing, my teeth sinking into his bottom lip and pulling until he pinches my nipple to return the pain. His beard rubs along my skin until lips are at my neck, sucking the skin into his mouth so hard, I’m sure it’ll leave my mark. I can’t have marks on my wedding day. I wish I cared enough to tell him to stop. All that leaves my mouth is a plea for more.

His hands leave my breasts, one trailing down my belly, then ghosting over my clit until he’s sliding them through my wetness, covering them in the evidence of how much I crave him while his other grips my ass, so tightly that I’m sure there’ll be marks there, too. Quick motions have him turning me around until all I can see are the city’s lights as Holden slides his hand from my ass to my hip. He uses his grip there to move me back with him, putting space between me and the railing. Then, his hand comes to the back of my neck, pushing down until I bend over and his own thighs come between mine, widening them.

His cock is right at my pussy, teasing, taunting, promising me pleasure, but not yet following through. Then, it’s there. At my opening, the slightest bit of pressure from the tip of him being against me. His hand flexes on my neck just as his fingers hook to gather my wetness on them before leaving me. He slides just a little more into me and I hiss at the bite of pain at him stretching me. When he leans over me, and with his front pressing to my back, he slides in some more, giving me more pain, but also my first hint of pleasure on his cock. His mouth is at my ear when he speaks. I find he likes doing that, and that I like him doing it even more.

“That’s the least of the sounds I want to hear you make on this balcony,” he whispers.

“Then fuck me so I can make all the sounds I want to. That you want me to.”

“You won’t be making sounds right away. You’ll be too busy sucking on my fingers.”

His fingers press to my lips, and I realize they still have my wetness all over them. Just like I told him I thought about at the club. His fingers in me, him making me taste myself. I open for him, and he slides his fingers in. I don’t get a chance to close my lips around them, though, because as he slides his fingers into my mouth, he slides his cock into my pussy. All at once, every inch. He slams into me, and I gasp around his fingers.

“Suck em,” he grunts as he pulls back.

I close my mouth around them, and he drives into me again. My moans and gasps are muffled by his fingers as he fucks me. He straightens, but his hand on the back of my neck keeps me right in place, bent over, back arching, and thighs spread wide for him. My teeth sink into his fingers when he gives me vicious thrusts, so hard and good that I go to the tips of my toes as the pleasure from it takes over me, sending me rushing to the edge of bliss.

He rips his fingers from my mouth and with nothing to muffle them now, my moans ring out in the air as his wet fingers go to my nipple and he pounds into me. The only other sounds are his groans behind me and our bodies slapping together. His fingers release my nipple, but only move to an even more sensitive area. My swollen clit. His fingers rub it in circles and the edge that I was rushing towards quickly becomes an edge that I’m barely able to stay on, teetering between the tension rising and coiling in me and falling over into the abyss of pleasure that he promised me from my first look at him.

He slams into me again and again, fingers bruising on my neck. I sigh his name, I moan his name, I damn near purr his name, but clearly, it’s still not enough for him.

“I said I wanted you to scream my name,” he growls out.

He doesn’t wait for me to obey him, though. He makes sure I do. His fingers pinch my clit, and the sound that leaves me as I come is a strangled gasp that turns into a broken moan. He doesn’t let up, instead driving into me harder, mercilessly rubbing tight circles into my clit until I give him the scream of his name that he wanted. I spasm around his cock, my hands gripping the railing so tightly that my fingers ache. It’s too much, and yet my body is already begging for more. I’ve found relief, and already I’m yearning to feel that coiled tension all over again. My legs feel like they can barely support me any longer, like Holden’s hands and his cock are the only things keeping me up, and yet I know that I’ll keep standing here if it means that he’ll keep giving me the pleasure that he is.

My body twitches from the way he’s still working my clit, my pussy spasming around his cock every time it enters me, desperate for him to stay inside of me. His grunts tell me that he notices all of it. Then, as if he hasn’t drawn enough sounds out of me, he licks up my spine and makes some sound I don’t even recognize as my own escape my lips. He chuckles when his mouth is at my ear again, licking my earlobe and making me shiver on him. I tighten around his cock, and he groans.

“You feel like fucking paradise.” He slides out of me and over my whimper at the loss, he says, “Now come ride my cock, so I can find heaven.”

I see now why he brought the blanket, as he stretches it out beneath him before lying on it. My legs, that felt too weak to even hold me up before, are shaking as I drop to my knees to straddle him. But already, I’m finding renewed energy. When I reach between us to wrap my hand around his cock to bring him to my opening, I find it soaked. I look down to find it covered in my cum, and his next words make it clear he’s looked down and seen the same.

“Look at how badly your pussy was dying for someone like me.”

I look at his face to find an arrogant grin on it. I put him to my opening and begin to slide down on him just to erase it. And it does fade, that smirk disappearing so his teeth can sink into his bottom lip as my muscles clench around him. His hands go to my hips, his fingers gripping me tightly as my hands go to his chest. My nails dig into his skin, not caring a bit about the red whelps I see appearing there.

“Look at how badly your cock was dying to be inside someone like me,” I tease him right back, but the words come out breathy and slowly between pants.

“From the moment I set my eyes on you, I knew we’d be in this room, just like this.”

I slam down on him and a hard breath bursts from him as I lean down until our noses touch.

“You didn’t know shit,” I say as I tighten my pussy around him. “Because I could have told you to fuck off as easily as I told you to fuck me.”

He moves quickly, his tongue licking at my lips before I even truly realize what’s just happened.

“If I had to get down on my knees in that club and lick you until you understood leaving with me was your only good choice, then that’s what I would have done.”

“And just why would you have done all of that to get me back here, when I’m sure you could have had any girl in the club?”

He sits up, and then we’re chest to heaving chest, mouths inches apart, eyes staring into each other’s, although I’m sure my brown ones aren’t nearly as mesmerizing as the blues of his right now.

“Because the only woman I was leaving that club with was you.”

He flexes his hips up, making his cock hit a spot inside me that’s so good, a shuddering breath leaves me. Then, no more words are said as I slide up and down on him, and he arches up each time to meet me. My arms wrap around his neck, my fingers clenching his shoulders as his arms, wrapped around my lower back, keep me close to him. With each stroke into me, his groin rubs against my clit. With each brush of his lips against mine, tempting me with a kiss that neither of us gives. With each time he enters me, taking me right back to that edge I just flew over, my eyelids get heavier. My head gets harder to hold up. My body tightens more with the tension rising in me. Then, one arm tightens around me, holding me so firmly to him that all I can do is circle my hips, rocking in his lap, my clit rubbing against him. His other hand comes to my throat, holding, gripping, choking. My eyes are certainly open now, staring right into his, finding the same lust burning inside of me in his gaze. That fire rushes to between my thighs, and he takes that heat, making it into just what I need to slowly begin to fall apart. He’s not content for my breaking to be slow, though. No, he speeds it up, his lips dragging along my jaw until his mouth drops to just under his thumb. His teeth sink into my skin, and I moan his name, loud and long.

“Say my name again,” he grunts against my neck.

“Holden,” I gasp when he slams me down on him.

“Yes,” he sighs.

Then, both his hands go to my ass, and I am nothing but a woman with her head thrown back and sounds of pleasure dripping from her lips as he fucks me. He drives into me, making me slide up and down on him, matching his frenzied pace until he grunts with his release. His fingers ache on my ass, but not a single part of me wants him to let up. The vision before me is too perfect for me to want that. His eyes closed, brows furrowed, mouth open to let out sighs and grunts and groans. Only when he begins to slow down do his eyes flutter open, blue peeking out from behind heavy lids.

He stops moving, except to lean forward and bring his lips to mine once more. This time is different, though. Soft, gentle, just a meeting of lips again and again, until he suddenly freezes beneath me, against me. He moves his head back, slowly, as if he doesn’t want to, but must. And when I meet his eyes again, that rage is back in them.

“What’s wr–” I begin to ask, but he cuts me off with a question of his own.

“Is that dress yours?”

I don’t even have to look to know he’s tilting his head towards the wedding dress hanging on the back of the door not far from us inside the room.

“Do you care?”

“No, but I thought you might. Or should, I guess, is better to say.”

“I’m getting married tomorrow, but that means nothing for tonight.”

“No? What if I were to show up at your wedding tomorrow to steal you away from whoever you’re marrying?”

I chuckle. “Steal away.”

“Careful what you wish for, beautiful.”

“Is that right?”

He only smiles up at me then, before trailing his teeth along my chin. I shiver, more than ready for him all over again. He seems to consider it for a second, licking his lips as his eyes move over my face, but he shakes his head instead of giving into what we clearly both want.

“I better let the blushing bride get her beauty rest for her big day then, huh?”

I give him an exasperated face. “Did anything we just do make me blush?”

“Oh, I saw your skin flushed plenty while I was fucking you, but no. No blushing.”

“Exactly. So, I can guarantee I won’t be blushing tomorrow.”

“Still, I should go.”

Yes, he should. It’s not like either of us expected more than a few hours with each other. Anything more than what we just shared. But still, I don’t want him to leave. I rise anyway, though, moving out of his lap to sit on the blanket. He stands and walks into the room, and even though he’s still here, even though he’s a stranger and I shouldn’t feel anything at all, I feel lost without him against me, inside of me.

Get it together, I reprimand myself as I stand up.

I go inside the room, closing the balcony doors, acting like the sounds of him dressing behind me aren’t making me want to plead for him to stay. When I turn around, he’s tightening his belt and stepping into his shoes. I suddenly feel extremely naked, even though our bare bodies were against each other’s just minutes ago. Walking to the bed, I grab the sheet off it and begin to cover myself, but it’s only on me for seconds before Holden is pulling it away. I hadn’t even heard him walk over to me.

“Don’t cover yourself,” he says, running his fingers between my breasts and down my stomach. “Beauty like this shouldn’t be covered.”

He drops the sheet to the floor and steps back to get his fill of me. Then, his eyes meet mine again, and I know this will be the last time I see his piercing blue gaze.

“Goodnight, Veronica.”

I liked it when he called me Ronnie much more.

“Goodnight, Holden.”

He walks to the door and puts his hand on the knob. Before turning it, though, he looks at me over his shoulder, his eyes not meeting mine this time.

“Have fun at your wedding. You never know, I might just pop up there.”

I chuckle. “I’ll keep an eye out for you.”

He leaves then, without another word. Without another look. And I’m left in a too-empty-feeling room, staring at the door, wishing one man would come back and stop being the thing of the past that he instantly became the moment he left. All the while, my wedding dress is like a burning brand behind me, reminding me of the man my future belongs to.

I haven’t slept for a single minute when my bridesmaids come bursting into my room, smiles on everyone’s face but mine as they bid me a good morning on my wedding day.

“What happened to you last night?” one of them asks.

“I started feeling nauseous, so I figured it was time for me to go to sleep before I had a hangover on my wedding day.”

“We partied until the sun came up,” another giggles.

Yeah, I’m much happier that I came back to my room with Holden than stayed around for that. Of course, I keep that thought to myself.

“Are you ready to head over to the church? Your mother said the makeup artist is already there.”

“Yeah,” I say as I push the sheets aside to get out of bed. “Just let me change my clothes, and we can go.”

“I can’t believe you’re marrying Percy today. I’d give anything to be in your shoes.”

And I’d give anything to be free of Percy, and my parents.

But that’s as unlikely an outcome as me seeing Holden again.

My phone vibrates on the nightstand, and I ignore whatever else any of my bridesmaids say to unlock it. A text from my mother, of course, because it’s not enough for her to send her little spies in here to wake me up.

Mother: I want you at the church at precisely 10:30.

I look at the clock at the top of my phone.

Thirty minutes.

I have thirty minutes to shower the scent of Holden off me. Thirty minutes left to pretend I’m not going to my doom.

Thirty minutes.

Not nearly long enough, not that any amount of time would be.

I glance at my wedding dress on my way to the bathroom. Or my funeral dress, as I’ve labeled it in my mind. Seems fitting. I’m wearing it to a wedding I don’t want, to enter into a marriage I never asked for, and to ultimately fulfill the wishes of parents who see me as nothing more than a pawn.

It certainly feels like death, even if I know I’ll go on living after this day.

Well… I guess there’s always the hope that Holden will come and whisk me away from it all. I laugh out loud at that.

“What’s got you smiling so much?” a bridesmaid asks.

“Just thinking of last night.”

Only, the part of the night that happened after I left them behind, though.

But now, it’s time to face the day. Wedding balls and all.

Chapter 3


“Richard Edwards.”

The woman taps a few times on the tablet before smiling up at me. “Enjoy the wedding.”

The muscular man behind her steps aside to let me in, and I almost laugh. If I had said my real name, Holden Caldwell, no one would have let me anywhere near this church. Certainly not the father of the bride, anyway. Little does he know, I was closer than he would have ever preferred to his precious daughter last night.

I walk into the church, rage already thrumming through my blood, but looking around at the extravagance here, my blood feels like it begins to boil. Every single thing this family has, these greedy fucking Hastings, has come to them at the expense of my family. And clearly, no expense was spared for this day, his precious daughter’s wedding to another rich, silver spoon fed bastard.

Everything is gaudy and over the top. Typical. I’ve been following this family for long enough to know that everything they do is gaudy and over the top. Always needing to show just how much money they have. All I see, though, is what they’ve purchased with money they stole, and the lives they decimated to steal it. My life. My mother’s life. My father’s.

They will soon know how that feels. To lose everything. To have everything you love taken from you, violently torn from your heart, shattering your soul into unrepairable pieces. I started their downfall last night, while I was inside of Veronica, and her parents slept peacefully, thinking today would be the day they’ve always dreamed of. I plan to turn today, and all their days after, into nightmares.

I slip into a pew that only has one seat left, to blend in better. I wouldn’t want Veronica to recognize me. Not too early, anyway. I’ve been planning this for years, just waiting for the perfect opportunity to publicly embarrass them before privately ruining them. And precious Ronnie’s wedding turned out to be the perfect event.

The church slightly darkens as the double doors at the entrance of it close. The grand chandeliers that I know were not here before, because I came to make sure I knew every exit out of here weeks ago, cast enough light to barely make it noticeable. Then, soft music starts playing, followed a few seconds later by a video beginning over the altar where the bride and groom will stand directly under.

I smirk as I watch it. The groom down on one knee proposing, both of them at their engagement party, on and on. She smiles in each of them, but nowhere near like she smiled for me last night. Never with the light in her eyes that she looked at me with. I know for a fact that she’s never had sex with Percy, but even if she had, I’m sure he wouldn’t get even half of the sounds out of her that I did. Every frame of this video is a lie. The woman in the video is a lie, just like her parents are.

Their lies tore every facet of my life apart. Years ago, and yet I remember every single thing they did like it all happened yesterday. My father’s screams. My mother’s cries. They will pay for all of it.

“Thank you everyone for coming,” Percy says as he waves and walks down the aisle, the priest in step behind him.

They reach the altar, the groom looking up to watch the video play. His smile tells me he doesn’t see the lies in his bride’s eyes. The video stops just as the music changes to a louder traditional wedding tune. Women I recognize from the club last night walk down the aisle, arms linked with groomsmen, followed by children dropping rose petals and another holding a pillow with rings sitting atop it.

Those rings will never be exchanged.

Then, everyone raises. Everyone but me. I see the bride just fine from where I’m seated. The rage I feel at the sight of her is nothing compared to the all-consuming hatred that rushes through me when I set eyes on her father. His face is arrogant as he walks beside his daughter. If only he knew how I had her screaming my name while she was bent over a balcony railing last night. He wouldn’t look quite so smug. If only he’d seen all the marks that I purposely left all over his daughter. He wouldn’t be able to forget about them as he walked her down the aisle.

Shit, I damn sure can’t forget.

The entire time I’d watched her in the club, drinking, dancing, pretending to be enjoying any part of her party, all I could think about was how I wanted to ruin her. How I wanted to get her back to her room, because I knew she would choose her own room over mine, and choke her in what she’d think was pleasure, but was, in fact, me letting out just an ounce of the pain her family has caused to reside inside of me. How I wanted to pound into her to unleash some of the rage threatening to overwhelm me.

But then we’d gotten to the room, and things…changed. I enjoyed fucking her. Not in the vengeful way I’d expected to, but I couldn’t take my eyes away from the way her body moved for me, with me. I couldn’t help but want more of the sting of her nails into my skin. I couldn’t stop longing to watch her fall apart on my cock one more time. I had to remind myself again and again why I was there, not just to fuck her, but to find ways to humiliate her, to get ammunition to use against her later, and yet… The reminders did not help. I kissed her when I’d promised myself not to. I held her close when I’d sworn that I would treat her as nothing more than a whore. I didn’t want to leave when I had every single reason to go.

I’d spent every moment since I left Veronica’s room trying to figure out what the fuck was wrong with me in that room. What on this God damn earth had come over me to make me long for more of my enemy? I couldn’t understand it. I still don’t. I’d stepped into the elevator looking at a woman I wanted to tear apart, piece by piece, but by the time I left her room, I wanted every single piece of her that I’d previously yearned to tear apart. But none of the confusion still flowing through me is going to stop any of the plans I’ve so carefully laid out for today.

Not a one.

Father and bride reach the groom, and the priest tells everyone to sit. Then, I have a perfect view of the dress. I must admit, even if I wish it was more begrudgingly, that she’s beautiful. Her dark brown hair is in a bun today, the crown that holds her veil on her head surrounding it. The veil doesn’t cover her face, though, letting me get another look at her brown eyes, the pink freckles covering her cheeks, her slightly curved up nose, and pink, full lips. Still pouting, even now when she’s looking at her father with just a touch of venom in her eyes. That look is in total opposition to the softness of her dress.

And God, the dress is gorgeous on her.

When it was hanging on her door, it was not done justice. But now… Thin straps show off the scattered freckles on her shoulder, the plunging neckline displays her cleavage, and the skirt billows out at her waist, hiding an ass I’m sure I would have dreamed about had I slept at all since my fingers were gripping it. She was right in choosing this one over all the others she was shown at the bridal shop. I should know. I watched her try on each one.

“Who gives this woman to this man?” the priest asks.

“I do,” her father proudly states.

And oh, is Veronica his pride and joy. Stanley and Beverly Hastings’ only child. Their daughter who got perfect grades throughout school and college, had the perfect smile in every picture, and the looks to match, and was on her father’s arm at more events than anyone could count. Charities, galas, balls. Always in a dress made just for her, wearing jewelry worth more than most people made in a year. She was everything a man like Stanley Hastings could want in a daughter. And now, he was using her for what he could, in the absence of her being a son who could further his business. He’s marrying her off to secure more business. I wonder if Veronica even knows she’s just a pawn in her father’s games? Is she playing along, or is she being moved on the board without even being aware? Given her words last night when I mentioned her wedding, she’s not quite in love with her groom, but does that mean she’s using him the way her father is using her?

She is a Hastings, so I certainly wouldn’t put it past her. She was not just raised by monsters. She is a monster just like them. I’ve seen enough to know that.

Stanley places Veronica’s hand in Percy’s, and bride and groom exchange smiles. The groom’s is genuine. The bride’s is rehearsed, as if she’s spent a lifetime perfecting it. But the eyes never lie.

Veronica and Percy face the priest as he begins talking of unions that last a lifetime. I, on the other hand, don’t listen to more than the first few words because I’m looking down at my phone, making sure everything I’m about to set into motion is ready to go. It is. Of course, it is. I didn’t leave a thing to chance.

“Does anyone object to this union?” the priest asks.

And finally, the moment has come. Finally, after decades of pain, and years of planning, the beginning of the end of the Hastings has come. I begin to stand and the eyes of those around me come to me, but those aren’t the eyes I care about.

“Oh, I must certainly fucking object,” I say loud enough that my voice rings out in the church.

The gasps that follow are just as loud. Veronica’s eyes come to me, her brows furrowed for only as long as it takes her to recognize me. Then, oh, I love to see it, how that confusion of hers is replaced with panic, fear, and a little anger.

“What is the meaning of this?” her father bellows.

He and his wife stand as I step out of the pew. I walk down the aisle slowly, savoring this moment, savoring the astonishment in Stanley’s eyes, the puzzlement in Beverly’s, and the horror now in their daughter’s. She probably thinks she has some idea of why I’m here, what I’m about to say. But she has no idea whatsoever.

“And what is your objection?” the priest asks as I reach the steps that lead to the altar.

I chuckle. “There are many, but I would say the biggest one is because I was fucking the bride last night.”

If I thought the gasps before were loud, these are thunderous.

“You bastard!” her father shouts.

He begins to rush towards me, but his wife yanks him back towards her, whispering something in his ear. Stanley looks around, and I don’t even have to look back to know everyone is watching him. My, my. We wouldn’t want to make a spectacle of ourselves. That’s against the Hastings way. Sneakiness. Under-handedness. That is their way. I know it all too well. Just as well as I know that, as much as it is clear Stanley wants to tear me limb from limb right now, he won’t embarrass himself in such a way. Not in front of all these lofty guests.

“This is an obvious lie,” Beverly says with all the dignity she can. “Security, escort this man out so the nuptials may proceed.”

“Is this true?” Percy asks, his voice weak, hollow.

I look away from the pair of liars to stare at their daughter now. Her eyes flit back and forth between the man she fucked last night and the man she would have been fucking tonight, had I not always planned to never let this marriage happen.

“Is. This. True?” he repeats, a little sterner this time.

Oh, the anger is coming now, replacing that look of devastation in his eyes. I could almost feel guilty about the pain I’m causing him. He never did anything to harm me. But I have zero guilt for the ways I will use and hurt any and everyone in my pursuit to destroy the Hastings.

“Of course it’s not true!” Veronica exclaims. “I’ve never even met this man before.”

“Come now Ronnie.” Her groom flinches at me using her nickname. “Surely you remember how you moaned my name last night. If it weren’t for the makeup on your neck, which, very well done, everyone including your groom would be able to see the mark I left there.”

“You are a lying fuck,” she hisses.

“Get him out now,” Beverly practically growls under her breath.

Men begin to move towards me, but I press the button on my phone that I have been longing, yearning, craving to. The screen above the altar comes alive again, only this time it’s not pictures of the lovely couple, but of Veronica and I. Images carousel across the screen while the guests gasp and murmur behind me, stills taken from the video I recorded with a camera hidden in my shirt button. Veronica putting the keycard into her hotel room door. Her standing inches from the wall inside the room as she reaches back to unzip her top. The top falling from her arms, beginning to reveal bare breasts beneath it. Anyone with eyes can see the desire in her gaze, her lips curved up in a smile at what we were about to do.

“I could show more, but…” I shrug. “We are at a wedding, after all.”

“Veronica, explain this,” Percy demands.

“Surely, these are old photos he’s trying to use against my Veronica,” Stanley states.

I snicker while turning to look at her parents once more. “I can assure you that were it not for me using a condom, my cum would be leaking out of your little Veronica right now.”

My head whips to the side with how hard Veronica slaps me. The sound of the impact seems to echo through the church.

“Why the fuck are you here?” she screams, shrieks, really. “Why are you doing this, you sick bastard?”

“Because. I. Can.”

“So, you did do it?” Percy questions, disgust in his voice. “You fucked him, didn’t you?”

“I-it was n-nothing,” Veronica stammers out. “He means nothing.”

“According to what she said last night, you mean nothing,” I tell him.

Veronica charges at me, letting her bouquet drop to the floor to extend her hands towards my neck. The security guards finally do spring into action then, two restraining her while a few drag me down the steps. I’m past the first few pews when I see Percy shake his head and walk off.

“Percy, wait,” Beverly calls out. “This can all be remedied.”

“She’s never wanted me!” he shouts, pointing an accusing finger at Veronica. “This just makes that absolutely clear. I will not marry her. Ever.”

Veronica isn’t even looking at him, though. Her eyes are squarely on me, fire blazing in them, her mouth twisted into a snarl as she shouts curses at me. Beautiful, wicked thing. I expected tears, sobs, begging for Percy not to end things. But she gives none of that. Interesting.

“This is obscene. You would not dare to end things on the word of this imposter. He spews nothing but lies.”

“Pictures don’t lie!” Percy yells. “Her reaction to him isn’t a lie.”

He’s got more spunk in him than I thought. I half expected him to be crying by now, too. I can see how hurt he is by all this, though. Pity.

“You will follow through on what we have agreed upon,” Stanley demands.

I’m halfway down the aisle now, but the security guards are seemingly more interested in the show taking place before them than actually escorting me out. We all together watch as Percy’s father comes to his side, putting his hand on his son’s shoulder. A support the groom clearly takes strength from, squaring his shoulders before he speaks.

“There is nothing you can say that will make me marry her now,” he says with a calmness that makes his words seem quite final.

“Oh, fuck you, Percy!” Veronica screams, making everything explosive again in seconds.

She releases herself from the men who were holding her back, viciously shaking them off.

“I fucked him just like I’m sure you probably fucked some stripper at your bachelor party. Don’t you dare fucking look down on me like you’re any better.”

“I’m not a fucking whore.”

Veronica throws her head back and bellows out a laugh. “I’d rather be a whore than your wife.”

The church goes so deathly quiet. Percy brows furrow with his incredulous expression. Stanley looks at his daughter with eyes so wide that he looks like a cartoon character. Beverly’s hand flies to her mouth, while the priest crosses himself. The next laughter that fills the church is mine. I can’t fucking help it. I planned this all, but shit, even I couldn’t have made those words come out of Veronica’s mouth at a more perfect time, or in a better way.

“Get him out. Now!” Stanley shouts.

The guards grab me again, much more roughly with the eyes of the man who’s paying them on me. I smirk at Veronica as I walk backwards to the door.

“I will fucking find you and ruin you for this,” she promises me.

Little does she know, she won’t have to look far.

She won’t have to find me, because I’ll be waiting for her.

Sunlight shines down on me as I’m taken through the doors and pushed onto the church steps. I quickly find my footing, just in time to look up and see Beverly making angry strides towards her daughter. Veronica is still looking at me, eyes nothing more than hateful slits. I smile at her and wave my fingers.

“See you soon, Ronnie.”

She thinks me ending her wedding was my goal. But this is only the beginning.

Now, for the next part.

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