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"I don't care if you admit it or not, as long as you know how much you want it—how much you want me like this." He pulls over a small table that was at the far end of the room and climbs on it. His dick is so close to my face. I open my mouth and try to take it in, but he doesn't let me.

Instead, he remains just out of reach. I pout and watch him as he pulls something out of the drawer—oil. He rubs it on his shaft, taking it in his hand and pumping his hand up and down.

Sean lowers himself slightly and reaches for my breasts. He holds them together as he pushes his hard length between. He slides between my girls repeatedly as his fingers tighten around my nipples, teasing them. Sean dips his head back and makes a guttural sound in the back of his throat. He's so hard, so close.

More things, more requests I thought I'd never say. "Come on me, and then feed it to me. I want to taste you when you're done."

He doesn't say anything, he just does it. Sean forces his dick between my breasts hard and fast, fucking my girls hard. He shudders, and I feel the warm trail of sweetness as he slows his hips, pressing into me one last time, covering me in him.

Breathless, he rises to his knees and holds himself out to me. I can't quite reach. He does it on purpose—he must. He moves his wet cock along my lips, watching me as I struggle against the collar, trying to take him in my mouth. He finally pushes himself between my lips and moans.

I'm engulfed by sensations and emotions so intense I wish my hands were free so I could worship his dick the way I want. It's perfection, smooth and hardening again with every flick of my tongue. He growls, gripping both sides of my head. He presses himself over my lips and down my throat, moaning my name, saying how sexy I am for taking the length of him at once. Every last inch of him is in my mouth, tip to base. I stroke him with my tongue and he rocks into my face, fucking me the way I wanted.

As he grows harder, he gets thicker, longer. His thrusts become more forceful and I want him to do it. I want all of him, nothing held back. He pounds into me three times, then holds his cock in place. He gasps, and his voice is liquid sex. "I can't believe you did this to me."

I feel the pulsing, and he pulls back. I suck hard to keep him there, wanting more. Sean slides the tip of his dick over my lips, pushing it into my mouth, and I suck hard, trying to pull him all the way in before he pulls out again. He makes a sexy sigh of resignation and holds my face, pumping into me, pushing all the way in until I feel him pulsing and coming in my mouth. I suck him savagely, milking every last drop from him, and when he pulls away, I lick my lips.

Sean leans on his side, gasping, covered in sweat. "Oh my God, Avery. I never—" He flops down on his back and covers his face with his arm, still breathing hard. "God, that was amazing."


Morning comes and goes. Sean is asleep next to me in the blood-colored bedroom once again. We planned to stay up last night, wearing ourselves out until we passed out this morning in order to sleep before tonight. The thing is, I can't sleep. There are no nightmares. I just can't doze off. I lie here, staring at the ceiling, wondering about everything.

Like Henry. He was such a great guy when I met him. I wonder which version of him is real, the dashing English nobleman or Jack the Ripper. Maybe he was high or something the night he went nuts on me? His intolerance of Sean is obvious, regardless of everything else.

Why do I care if he's a good guy or a bad guy? I'm with Sean.

It's not about that. Thoughts start to simmer at the back of my mind. They have no words yet, no pictures to help me discover what I'm thinking. Then there's a bubble of truth—it's about you, Avery. Then another—picking paths. Soon the pot is boiling, and I can't stop it. My mind wraps around the hot pot with nothing to keep it from searing my skin. My heart pounds harder and my breathing shallows. Suddenly it's too hot, and I don't want to think about it anymore. But the thought is still there, plain as a black mark on a white page.

Vic Jr., my brother, had to start somewhere. People aren't born evil.

Constance. Sean's mother, she had to be kind as a girl. People choose paths.

Mom. The woman I knew wouldn't be in bed with a guy like that, never mind everything else. I didn't know her as well as I thought. I faulted her for things I was clueless about.

Sean. The man sleeping next to me was once a wide-eyed little boy with no nefarious thoughts at all.

Mel. Surviving justifies anything.

Isn't that what they all have in common? Isn't that why I feel an anxiety attack ready to bop me in the back of the head like a two by four? Because it's not just them and they didn't do this to me, to my life—I did. I made my choices, and I have to live with the consequences. Trying to outrun them turns people cold, like Constance. Reveling in it leads down my brother's path. He's a bloodthirsty nut. If he had a brother instead of a sister, I doubt incest would be on his mind. Or necrophilia. Maybe it would be. Sex is power, and that guy is power thirsty. He'd do anything and everything to get it. I shudder under the blankets even though the room is warm.

It's past noon. I can tell from the way the light cuts through the center of the drapes, casting a long golden slab of light on the dark carpet.

I watch Sean for a moment and want to ask him where he was the night he came back covered in blood, what he did, but I know better. Leave the past in the past. Bury it and walk away.

There's a problem with that theory of dealing with life. Inner conflicts, thoughts, and actions never shown the light of day have a way of turning into something dark and despicable in the shadows. Demons will kill you faster than anything else. I have a hissing gaggle of them following me around, waiting for me to crack—that thought terrifies me most—because I know who I'll become.


I have on a pair of sweats I found in the closet. I don't want to ponder on the size of the women's clothing or that tank. It's like Henry stocked his house with Avery-sized things. I shake my head and banish the thought.

Good people can do bad things. I already have, but if things get out of hand tonight, can I do what I need to do? Can I execute the Plan B Mel and I created? Can I deviate to my own sick, twisted plan and end this once and for all?

Vic isn't only aiming for me. He's got sights on Sean, his brothers, Mel, Marty, Henry, and even Gabe. Memories of the gruff old man pass behind my eyes as I wander the empty house. He told me so many times to get away from Black. She's the one who started this. Sh

e's the one who moved from selling sex to selling murder. I blame her, but she's a distraction. She needed Vic to pull this off. If we take him down, that'll end it.

If I take Black out, too—I cut off both heads. I'm not new here, I know the heads will just grow back, but it'll take time. In the meantime, everyone in New York with a price on their head can breathe easy, their debts forgiven.

I'm walking along an upper corridor with a cup of coffee in my hands. My hair is pulled back into a messy ponytail, and I'm barefoot. I sip the cup as I stare at the madness on the walls. Henry's infatuation with Henry VIII is concerning. This particular passage shows his timeline, from young boy, to idyllic young king, to insanity. He took what he wanted and left a path of carnage in his wake. He killed his best friends and advisors—and, of course, his wives. I knew he killed them to bypass the divorce issue, as if that justifies murder, but I didn't understand the accusations. As I travel down the hall, I see the list of crimes and cringe. I wonder if the king himself thought up those charges or if the power hungry people around him did it. Either way, this wall shows a good man's descent into Hell.

I wonder what my wall will include.

"Avery?" Marty's voice is soft, as if he didn't mean to startle me. I turn and almost don't recognize him. His head is shaved, and there's a gash on his temple with fresh sutures. He's wearing black cargo pants and a dark gray shirt with something resembling Kevlar woven into the fabric over his chest and torso. "I didn't know you were up."

My eyes go wide, and I rush him, yelling a million things at once. "Where were you? I thought you were dead!" I crash into him and pound my fists on his chest. It feels like he's back from the dead. I didn't even want to think about where he's been.

Marty stands there like I'm some crazy girl he ran into at the mall, as if I shouldn't be upset. "I'm here now."

I make a strangled sound in the back of my throat and slam both palms on his chest. "Where were you? Don't do that to me, again." I deflate and suck in a sharp breath, and step away another pace.