Home > Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1)(2)

Vicious (Sinners of Saint #1)(2)
Author: L.J. Shen


I was about to run—this conversation obviously wasn’t meant for me to hear—but he caught me off guard. Before I knew what was happening, the door swung open and I came face to face with a boy around my age. I say a boy, but there was nothing boyish about him.

The older man stood behind him, panting hard, hunched with his hands flat against a desk. Books were scattered around his feet, and his lip was cut and bleeding.

The room was a library. Soaring floor-to-ceiling, walnut shelves full of hardbacks lined the walls. I felt a pang in my chest because I somehow knew there wasn’t any way I’d ever be allowed in there again.

“What the fuck?” the teenage boy seethed. His eyes narrowed. They felt like the sight of a rifle aimed at me.

Seventeen? Eighteen? The fact that we were about the same age somehow made everything about the situation worse. I ducked my head, my cheeks flaming with enough heat to burn down the whole house.

“Have you been listening?” His jaw twitched.

I frantically shook my head no, but that was a lie. I’d always been a terrible liar.

“I didn’t hear a thing, I swear.” I choked on my words. “My mama works here. I was looking for her.” Another lie.

I’d never been a scaredy-cat. I was always the brave one. But I didn’t feel so brave at that moment. After all, I wasn’t supposed to be there, in his house, and I definitely wasn’t supposed to be listening to their argument.

The young man took a step closer, and I took a step back. His eyes were dead, but his lips were red, full, and very much alive. This guy is going to break my heart if I let him. The voice came from somewhere inside my head, and the thought stunned me because it made no sense at all. I’d never fallen in love before, and I was too anxious to even register his eye color or hairstyle, let alone the notion of ever having any feelings for the guy.

“What’s your name?” he demanded. He smelled delicious—a masculine spice of boy-man, sweet sweat, sour hormones, and the faint trace of clean laundry, one of my mama’s many chores.

“Emilia.” I cleared my throat and extended my arm. “My friends call me Millie. Y’all can too.”

His expression revealed zero emotion. “You’re fucking done, Emilia.” He drawled my name, mocking my Southern accent and not even acknowledging my hand with a glance.

I withdrew it quickly, embarrassment flaming my cheeks again.

“Wrong fucking place and wrong fucking time. Next time I find you anywhere inside my house, bring a body bag because you won’t be leaving alive.” He thundered past me, his muscular arm brushing my shoulder.

I choked on my breath. My gaze bolted to the older man, and our eyes locked. He shook his head and grinned in a way that made me want to fold into myself and disappear. Blood dripped from his lip onto his leather boot—black like his worn MC jacket. What was he doing in a place like this, anyway? He just stared at me, making no move to clean up the blood.

I turned around and ran, feeling the bile burning in my throat, threatening to spill over.

Needless to say, Rosie had to make do without her medicine that week and my parents were paid not a minute earlier than when they were scheduled to.

That was two months ago.

Today, when I walked through the kitchen and climbed the stairs, I had no choice.

I knocked on Vicious’s bedroom door. His room was on the second floor at the end of the wide curved hallway, the door facing the floating stone staircase of the cave-like mansion.

I’d never been near Vicious’s room, and I wished I could keep it that way. Unfortunately, my calculus book had been stolen. Whoever broke into my locker had wiped it clean of my stuff and left garbage inside. Empty soda cans, cleaning supplies, and condom wrappers spilled out the minute I opened the locker door.

Just another not-so-clever, yet effective, way for the students at All Saints High to remind me that I was nothing but the cheap help around here. By that point, I was so used to it I barely reddened at all. When all eyes in the hallway darted to me, snickers and chuckles rising out of every throat, I tilted my chin up and marched straight to my next class.

All Saints High was a school full of spoiled, over-privileged sinners. A school where if you failed to dress or act a certain way, you didn’t belong. Rosie blended in better than I did, thank the Lord. But with a Southern drawl, off-beat style, and one of the most popular guys at school—that being Vicious Spencer—hating my guts, I didn’t fit in.

What made it worse was that I didn’t want to fit in. These kids didn’t impress me. They weren’t kind or welcoming or even very smart. They didn’t possess any of the qualities I looked for in friends.

But I needed my textbook badly if I ever wanted to escape this place.

I knocked three times on the mahogany door of Vicious’s bedroom. Rolling my lower lip between my fingers, I tried to suck in as much oxygen as I could, but it did nothing to calm the throbbing pulse in my neck.

Please don’t be there…

Please don’t be an ass…

Please…

A soft noise seeped from the crack under the door, and my body tensed.

Giggling.

Vicious never giggled. Heck, he hardly ever chuckled. Even his smiles were few and far between. No. The sound was undoubtedly female.

I heard him whisper in his raspy tone something inaudible that made her moan. My ears seared, and I anxiously rubbed my hands on the yellow cut-off denim shorts covering my thighs. Out of all the scenarios I could have imagined, this was by far the worst.

Him.

With another girl.

Who I hated before I even knew her name.

It didn’t make any sense, yet I felt ridiculously angry.

But he was clearly there, and I was a girl on a mission.

“Vicious?” I called out, trying to steady my voice. I straightened my spine, even though he couldn’t see me. “It’s Millie. Sorry to interrupt, y’all. I just wanted to borrow your calc book. Mine’s lost, and I really need to get ready for that exam we have tomorrow.” God forbid you ever study for our exam yourself, I breathed silently.

He didn’t answer, but I heard a sharp intake of breath—the girl—and the rustle of fabric and the noise of a zipper rolling. Down, I had no doubt.

I squeezed my eyes shut and pressed my forehead against the cool wood of his door.

Bite the bullet. Swallow your pride. This wouldn’t matter in a few years. Vicious and his stupid antics would be a distant memory, the snooty town of Todos Santos just a dust-covered part of my past.

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