Bad Wolf(5)

By: Jo Raven


“To you?” I snap, angry at having to accept his help after all, and at how good he smells, pressed so close to me—unlike the other douchebag from before.

“Well, sure, if you like,” he replies easily, “you can confess to me.”

“Shut up. Just… shut up.” All I want is to shove his arrogant ass away—only he’s already opening the door with his free hand, and we’re stepping out into the muggy air of the back alley.

The beat of the music falls away as the door swings closed behind us. His hand is still clamped on my elbow, and I’m grateful for that as we go down two steps I hadn’t noticed.

Finally on level ground, I take a deep breath stinking of trash and urine and probably vomit, when I notice two figures a few feet away.

I don’t know the girl she’s talking to, but I’d know the one with her back to me in a dark room full of people.

Sydney, her red curls cascading on her shoulders, her skirt barely covering her ass. I helped her into that skirt earlier tonight.

My head is spinning despite the fresh air and the quiet.

What is she doing here? I expected to see her with her friends, but instead she’s talking to an unfamiliar girl with pixie features and pigtails, a girl in a long overcoat, in spite of the heat coming off the asphalt. She has that coat open, showing something to Sydney.

The guy still holding my elbow—I’d forgotten about him for a second—hisses a curse under his breath, and yanks me backward.

What’s going on here? All those little bags hanging from the inside of the pixie girl’s coat… Oh God. Are those drugs?

I open my mouth to call for Syd, and his other hand presses over my mouth, stopping me.

“Come on,” Fen whispers in my ear, lifting his hand, and his scent hits me again, spicy and mouthwatering. “We’re going back inside.” He hauls me up the two steps and back into the club before I can formulate any objection. “Now.”

“Wait. What are you doing?”

“Saving your ass.” He’s still hauling me deeper into the club, his grip like a vise. “You don’t wanna be a witness to a drug deal, trust me. Stay the fuck away from that girl.”

“I can’t.”

“Steer clear of any of—” He stops so suddenly I almost fall and faces me. “What? Why can’t you?”

I swallow hard. “She’s my bestie.”

We’ve stopped near the long expanse of the bar. The guy’s looking at me, and I stare at his face. God, he’s so hot. His mouth is pursed in annoyance, his eyes narrowed, and he’s gorgeous.

That expression… it reminds me of someone I used to know, and that feeling of recognition hits me again.

“She’s bad news,” he says, and jabs a finger in the direction we came from. “You’d stay away from her if you had any fucking sense.”

Or maybe I’m mistaking annoyance for recognition? “Yeah? And what about your buddy? Talk about bad news.”

His mouth tightens more. “Stay away from that asshole, too.”

Someone is calling my name, and turning, I see Sydney. She’s waving at me, all bright smiles. Jeez. “All I’m saying is, you keep really bad company, so you’re one to talk.”

He shakes his head. “You don’t know shit. Seb is my goddamn brother.”





Chapter Two





Jarett





I know her. I know exactly who she is, and I’m about to say her name—when her junkie friend appears and starts dragging her away from me.

Starting after them, I get distracted by memories pelting me. Small things, like her taking my hand as we walk down the street, of talking about her family, about school, about everything. She talked, and I listened, and it felt like home for a while.

Until she moved away, vanished from my life, and I tried to erase every memory I had of her.

Yeah, I know her name. Augusta something. Wellston? Walton? I’m pretty sure it’s her. But she doesn’t call herself that.

Gigi. That’s what she calls herself. I remember now.

Gigi.

She’s gone in the dancing crowd, and I’m still following her. I force myself to stop before I make such a big mistake. Things have changed. I keep forgetting that. I’m not the boy who used to walk with her down the street.

I’ve fucking changed, falling into the spin of the world around me, carried away on the current, out of control.

What would Connor think of me if he saw me these days, I wonder. He’d have lectured me about right and wrong, about ethics, and then made me do a hundred push-ups and skip dinner as punishment. That was his parenting method. His philosophy of education.

But Connor’s dead. Everyone who’s ever given a damn about me is dead or dying.

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