By: C.M. Steele

Chapter 1

“He needs to go to the hospital, Richard,” my mother shouted at my father. He had ignored her several times before he caved in.

“Fine. Get him ready….” I drowsily lost consciousness waking up in the car some time later. It was dark outside and we were on the road to the hospital. I heard them shouting at each other but couldn’t understand what they were saying. It was at that second when we careened with another vehicle. My mother’s cries ripped through the night air and pain shot straight through my body.

I was jolted out of my sleep covered in sweat and shaking while a cold moisture ran down my back. It had been fifteen years and nothing had shaken the nightmare that I relived night after night. I searched my body like I did every time. Yep. They were still there—the scars that marred my flesh. The scars that held the pain of my loss. I could still feel the burn of raw flesh being torn apart, the iron scent of blood permeating through the air, and the agony of the screams that ripped through the night. No amount of money, penance, or hatred could ease the guilt I lived with.

I asked myself, many times, questions that solved nothing. They only frustrated me more and more. How come I had to get sick? How come my mother insisted on taking me to the hospital in the middle of the night? Why would someone drink and drive? That night the fate of many people had been sealed. My parents were dead, the drunk driver died, and I had been permanently disfigured. My life had never been the same.

I stood facing my floor to ceiling window looking out at the city below. The city I loved and hated. It was beautiful and bustling, but I didn't get to enjoy it. It was still dark out; the city only illuminated by the incandescent lights. This was my favorite time to take walks and breathe in the summer air. I disliked the way people looked at me. Pity and curiosity shone in their eyes, making me regret being in their presence. With a life in the shadows, I managed to build and expand on my father's business empire that had been failing under my uncle’s watch.

Now I was one of the wealthiest men in the world but had no one to share it with. Frustration and misery became my constant. I wanted to chuck all the fears and start living before it was too late, but it was easier said than done.

I focused on my reflection through the glass. Overall, I was a good looking guy except for the scars on the right side of my face that continued down my body. There were several gashes that never healed quite right. During the day, most of my scars were hidden under the perfectly tailored suit, but with just my boxers on, I could see them all. I ran my hands down the cracked and scarred flesh feeling them tingle. Some of them had faded over the years. Many were not as deep as they’d once been, but my emotional pain had been permanently tattooed on me.

I decided to get dressed and head out for a run. It was a balmy morning even without the sun. Dressed in all black, I made the three-mile jog. It was a peaceful feeling and allowed me to clear my head. I saw the sun beginning to peek through the horizon, so I started to make my way back to my condo.

I was about half a block away from my place when I saw a bicyclist nip the jogger in front of me. Normally, I would have passed what was obviously a female, but something sort of like chivalry triggered and I stopped to lend a hand.

"Here, let me help you up." I extended my hand to her; her dainty hand slipped into mine and I felt a cavalcade of emotions. Perhaps it was the kinetic energy from both our runs that created that electric vibe coursing through me. With a simple, almost effortless, tug on my part, she was up on her feet.

She looked up at me and she was the most beautiful woman I'd ever seen. She had deep red hair tied up in a ponytail that highlighted her pale skin. Her lips pouted in frustration, then she looked up at me. I had to be at least a foot taller and a hell of a lot heavier. She was a beautiful little thing.

Her bright eyes met mine then everything changed; the current running through me was now one of anger. I saw the fear in her eyes as she gasped. The rage I felt was mixed with a whole new emotion— desire. I wanted my bed. Her hair sprawled across my pillows, satiated and weak from me fucking her. The need to have her was more than I was comfortable with. She was perfect looking. Her eyes were a pretty green shade with a face pale as the moon and springy, red curls acting as its frame. Everything about her screamed siren, but she was no different than all the others.

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