I stared out into the night feeling a phantom chill race down my spine. My leather-clad hands were stuffed in the pockets of the black trench coat I wore. The sky was dark — not a cloud or star in sight but what else could I expect when I was standing in a city like this? The moon shone its silver rays upon us but even that was murky, the light being drowned out by the city lights that would have held a certain type of magic to it if it weren't something I saw every bitter day of my life.
What the fuck was I even doing here?
Apparently, I couldn't stay away. I woke up that morning after Miranda had decided to tell me the truth to find her gone. And I was genuinely okay with that. I went about my day trying to get at least a sliver of information about the people following me. However, I didn't want to involve either of my brothers which made things difficult. I didn't want to drag the cub into th
ACEI stuffed my clenched fists into the pockets of the black jeans I wore and rose my chin in natural defiance. This was a bad idea. Matter of fact, this was probably the worst idea that had ever wormed its way into my fucking head and yet, I didn't or couldn't find one good reason to stop myself from doing this. To just turn back and maybe take the Harper's advice.Squaring my shoulders and loosening a breath, I prepared myself for what lay ahead. A cocky smirk tugged at my lips. One that was practiced. One that I used to scare the people I did business with. The elevator doors parted and I looked straight ahead as I stepped out. Silence - pin drop silence - descended upon the room but I didn't care to even glance at the morons gawking at me as if I had fallen from fucking heaven.I snorted at the thought. It made more sense if I crawled out the depths of Hell. No part of me was made for Heaven and I lik
ONE YEAR LATER MIRANDA I paused my sketching and cocked my head to the side to inspect it. The natural light in my new apartment was God sent when it came to me curling up on the balcony and sketching my hours away. I was happier. At least, I felt a little happier. Lighter even. So much had happened in a year and I wasn't certain how I made it through but I had and now I wore a smile on my face that felt a little less fake than the ones I used to wear. Guilt still ate away at my very soul but I knew, wherever Ace was, he was safe and probably happy. Hopefully happy. That agent never bothered me again. Not after Ace had upped and left to another country. No one knew where he was but I knew he kept in contact with his brothers so he was alive. I thought about him more often than not. He had told me to follow my heart and do what made me happy and I took his advice even when my father had tossed the words 'You're a disappointment' and 'You're throwing a good future away for what' my
MIRANDA Jake, short for nothing because his parents' looked at him the day he was born and said to themselves 'This face looks like a Jake', made up for his boring, simple name with his looks and — above all — his knowledge. I had the pleasure of having a short conversation with him before the class could begin and I learned that he was both well-spoken and the complete opposite of my sister. Whereas she could have ruled a town named 'Grumpyville' her counterpart was all sunshine, rainbows, and freaking unicorns. He smiled more than me and every smile that graced his soft-featured face was nothing short of genuine. He was nineteen but had been teaching self-defense since the age of sixteen with his mother — who had taught him everything she knew since she was a marine back in the day. I watched as my sister swiftly took him down, following his instructions to intimate the move so the class would understand with a visual representation. The only thing this class was watching, however,
MIRANDA Highway to Hell by AC/DC blared from the speakers as I drove toward the Astor Mansion — because I had no clue what else to call that massive house. It seemed like a fitting song when it came on from my sister's playlist since I had planned and orchestrated five deaths so far — five because a year ago I had given Ace the idea to kill Gabby's piece of shit husband. Quinn had heard about what happened last night and insisted I come over, leaving me no room to argue. It wasn't the first time I had been in the Astor house after Ace and I went our separate ways. Whenever I found myself there I always walked by Ace's room thinking I'd somehow get a glimpse of him. Each and every time I did that the crushing disappointment only hollowed out my chest further. He wasn't there. I wouldn't be getting a glimpse of him even if he were. I sighed and then scowled when the music cut off and my phone's ringtone replaced it. Daniel's name flashed on the dashboard and I smiled a million-dollar
ACE Fuck! My imagination nor memory did not do the woman standing in front of me justice. I thought one year of not seeing her face or hearing her voice would be enough to end my infatuation with the little thing but I was mistaken. So fucking mistaken. Those big, round eyes of hers traveled down my frame. They were the kind of blue that made me believe God had carved out a piece of the sky just to bless her face with those perfect colored eyes. She had grown out her lush mane of chestnut waves, leaving it to brush those sharp shoulders. My gaze traced the line of her high cheekbones, down her straight nose, and lingered on her pink-stained cupid bow lips that were set in a pout. I wanted to see her smile, or at least bare those blinding white teeth at me. She had a long knitted sweater on that hung from one of her shoulders, the rust color brought out her tanned skin and black tights that clung to her
MIRANDAHe kissed me as if my lips offered him the oxygen his lungs burned for. He kissed me with the intensity of a thousand suns, hot and consuming. My entire body felt alive, soaking up his body heat. I was all too willing to burn for him, because of him. If he hated me so much, I was willing to let him show me exactly how much wrath he held in the cage of his ribs. If he hated me so much, I wanted to taste that hate on his tongue. And, if he hated me as much as he said he did, I wanted to feel that hate suffocate me.As morbid as it sounded, I wanted it. I wanted everything he could offer me. Every fucking drop, because I was greedy and starved. He had left for a year, leaving me pining for what I had lost and thought I'd never get back. But I'd fight to get it back. I'd fight till my last heartbeat. I'd find till my last breath. I'd fight until I was drained and even then, I wouldn't give up. Because I was sorry. I di
ACEI couldn't sleep. It was already a little over one in the morning and my mind wouldn't slow down enough for me to rest, let alone fall into the embrace of sleep. I kept replaying the conversation between Miranda and me on that rooftop — or the lack thereof. Maybe fucking her wasn't one of my greatest ideas.Yeah, it definitely wasn't.But I couldn't help myself. Not when her lips were so soft they reminded me of silk. Not when her body was so hot it reminded me of lava. Not when her tongue was so sweet it reminded me of candy apples. And definitely not when it felt as if she had fallen out of my deepest dreams. No. I couldn't help myself because she was my temptress. She was put on this Earth to test my very being by bending my principles and molding my heart to fit hers.Thoughts like this were what plagued me often over the last year. I could run away from her but I could never
MIRANDAI filed out of the room with the rest of the students while nibbling at the end of my pencil and glaring at the piece I had just worked on. We had to pick a culture, do research on it, and then design something true to the culture with a modern take. I was still figuring out what culture to choose from, on the fence between Hispanic and Indian, so I designed something for both. My indecisiveness was getting so bad that I was close to going eeny, meeny, miny, moe and just choosing whatever my finger landed on.I let out a small grumble before slamming my sketchbook shut. My head tipped back, letting the sun warm my face as a smile graced my lips. This morning my sister, Jake, and I had gone out for breakfast. I hadn't been home since the night with Ace and I owed my sister an explanation so I gave her the truth. Her reaction was staring at me with a gaping mouth and wide eyes.It had been a little o