Bad Wolf(6)

By: Jo Raven

So what the hell does it matter?

Maybe this is who I really am. Bad to the core. Everything I’ve done follows me. You can’t outrun your own shadow, right?

Two shapes detach themselves from the bar and approach me. My back stiffens as Mav and Angel come to stand on either side of me.

“Chasing skirts tonight?” Mav drawls, tapping an unlit cigarette on his Marlboro pack. “Who’s the chick?”

Fuck. “Nobody.”

“Well, little Ms. Nobody has a nice rack,” Angel says, and I don’t have to look at his face to know he’s leering like a sick old fuck. “Where’s your brother?”

“I’ll look for him.”

“You do that,” Mav says, “and then we hit the next club. This one was a bust. Oh and…” He slams a hand on my shoulder, gripping tight, “…you wanna get your dick wet, dude, go ahead, but not on a work night, you hear me?”

“Loud and clear,” I grind out between my teeth. “Get your paw off me.”

He tsks. “Attitude. Need to work on that, Jarett.”

My whole body is tense, strung like a wire. At least their focus is off her now. “Should I get hold of my brother and go, or stay and chat?”

“Maybe you want my fist in your face?” Mav’s grip tightens, until my teeth are gritting from the pain. “Huh?”

“Oh man…” Angel tugs on his beard and rolls his eyes. “Let him go, Mav. We should get out of here and hit the next joint, see if we can get rid of the merch tonight.”

Mav still doesn’t let go, and adrenaline spikes in my blood, turning my vision red. “Go on, Jarett. Find your good-for-nothing brother and come find us at the exit. Just don’t get lost running after any more skirts, we clear?”

“Got it,” I force out, my hands clenching at my sides. “Now hands. Off.”

Mav chuckles and lets go, amused because he’s top dog, and I’m dirt under his shoes. I’m used to that. Been that way all my life. What they don’t know is that I’m not dirt, I’m a thorn that will cut through them, and I won’t be put down.

Not as long as I have a goal.

Such as getting my brother out of this fucking mess and through the night in one piece. Living one day at a time. Following through with my promise to myself that I won’t lose anyone.

Not again.

Seb grumbles and fights me when I haul him away from a new chick he’s found and is slobbering all over, but I’m having none of that fucking shit.

“Stop thinking with your damn dick for a minute and move.” I yank him through the club, anger churning in my gut. “We need to go.”

“What’s the damn hurry? I was just about to—”

“—get your rocks off? I don’t give a shit, dude. We’re blowing this joint right the hell now. Mav’s orders.”

“Well, fuck.” He stops fighting me at last and follows me to the front exit—not that I loosen my grip on his forearm. “Job fell through?”


“Who fucked it up this time? Was it Mav and Angel, or—?”

“Shut your trap, Seb, anyone can hear you. Jesus Christ.”

“You’re not my nanny, man.”

Really? My fist itches to fly into his smug mouth that spews all that stupid-ass stuff every day, with no real repercussions.

Know why?

Cuz I’m the whipping boy. If the gang are pissed with him, they turn to me. I’m the responsible brother, even if I’m younger. I’m the sensible, unemotional, handy muscle, a watch-out for the gang’s dealings and for keeping my brother in line.

I’m my brother’s—and my mother’s—keeper.

And I’m lucky to have that, to have them. I just have to remember it in times like this when my patience runs thin and I’m in danger of decking Seb and leaving.

Leaving has always been my default state. It’s an urge I struggle with every morning. I could just walk out, walk away and not look back.

So damn tempting.

“There you are.” Angel throws Seb a hard look. “Let’s go.”

We step out of the club and hurry toward Angel’s car, an old silver Jaguar. Maverick lights up and sucks hungrily on his cigarette as Angel unlocks the car with a beep, and we climb inside, not speaking a word.

It’s midnight, according to the glowing numbers on my phone, and weariness is a weight around my neck. Weariness and tension, never releasing its claws, always coiling my muscles tighter until my head pounds and my vision blurs.

This fucking shit I’m forced to do, day in and day out, every goddamn night of the week. Of my life.

It’ll never end, will it? I’ve always known, and yet I kept hoping, until I realized there is no fucking way out.

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