Authors: Trevion Burns
Revenge, Book 1
Copyright 2016 © by Trevion Burns
Hot Tree Editing
Trevion's Mailing List
All rights reserved. The reproduction, transmission or utilization of this work in whole or in part in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means, now known or hereafter invented, including xerography, photocopying and recording, or in any information storage or retrieval system, is forbidden without written permission.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales, is entirely coincidental.
News and Updates:
Also by Trevion:
Stereo Hearts Series:
The Romanovsky Brother’s Series:
The Almeida Brother’s Trilogy:
Stand Alone Novels:
This book contains content matter that may be challenging for some readers, including graphic sexual violence. Reader discretion is strongly advised.
The best thing about medical school? It trained her to be a killer without ruining her manicure. Without a single ounce of guilt. Not a shred of evidence left in her wake.
It was the only thing that pulled her out of bed during four years of undergrad at Chapel Hill. The only thing that pulled her out of bed for another four years at Stanford Med.
It was the only thing that had pulled her out of bed that cloudy Sunday evening.
As she stood on the precipice of that rocky cliff, ocean waves crashing against the black boulders below, she knew it would be the only thing that got her out of bed until they were all dead.
She gazed across the beach, squinting against the soft mist that glided off the waves and tickled her cheeks. The white stone mansion across the water sat on a cliff too. It radiated in the darkness, as vivid and luminous as the fat moon above, just like she remembered.
And she remembered it all.
She remembered him bending her over the balcony’s white stone columns. The way the screams had burned her throat. The fire in her center when he’d ripped her hymen in two. She could still remember the others, all nine of them, splitting her apart, one after the other, until she’d blacked out.
She dragged in a breath. Tightened her fists. Her giraffe-print nails bit at her palms.
The best thing about medical school? It trained her to be a killer without ruining her manicure.
And before summer came to a close on that sleepy island called Shadow Rock, Veda Vandyke planned to put her Stanford M.D. to good use.
“You know, I don’t usually talk to dark-skinned girls, but—”
“So why start today?” Veda interrupted the idiot next to her.
His caramel skin reddened from his neck to his hairline, and his hazel eyes expanded. Shifting on the elbow he’d leaned on the bar next to her just moments earlier, he opened his mouth to respond, but nothing came.
Veda nodded toward the bustling engagement party before them. “You can go.”
The idiot shoved off the bar and hurried away, loosening his tie as he went. In his haste, he nearly knocked over the six-tiered damask cake that sat in the middle of the looming white tent.
Veda watched him go with her lip curled. It never ceased to amaze her, the sheer volume of men who approached her with that tired line, expecting her to be flattered—
—that they’d deemed her brown skin worthy of their time.
She loved her skin and big curly hair. She loved walking into a room and standing alone. She loved being in the minority.
And she loved shutting down small-minded men who expected her to feel anything otherwise. It brought the light of a thousand suns to her heart.
It was one of the few things that still did.
From where she leaned on the bar, facing the party, she watched him disappear into the crowd, sucking a sour apple-flavored Blow Pop between her red lips. Over two hundred people had gathered together that night, dressed only in black and red—as the invitation had requested—drinking and dancing under the white fabric tent that blew against the pleasant evening breeze.
Veda slammed her eyes closed as another body breezed to a stop at the bar next to her. She felt his virility without even having to look. The whiff of aftershave that tickled her nostrils. The vast shadow he cast. The heart-churning sensation of her space being invaded. Her space no longer belonging to her.
She clutched the bronze chip hidden in her fisted hand, letting its sharp edges dig into her palm and distance her from her thoughts.
The bass in his voice reached for her, but she didn’t turn her head to receive it. “How quickly the world forgets that man began with you, huh?”
Unable to remain disconnected from his words, or that undeniable truth, Veda snapped her head to her left and drank in the man next to her.
He leaned his elbows on the bar in a flawless tuxedo, his eyes riveted to the sucker as she pulled it from between her lips. His suit had been tailored to perfection, but his muscular arms still left their mark through the suit jacket and the red dress shirt underneath. His thick black hair looked soft and swooped naturally, moving with the same ocean breeze that made the draped tent dance. He kept it long on top and a little shorter on the sides.
“Even my own parents,” he said, “both full Italian, refuse to accept that they wouldn’t exist had it not been for the queens of the African diaspora.”
Veda squinted at his olive skin. It looked dewy, but she couldn’t tell if it was from the mist floating off the waves a hundred feet away or just his natural glow.
His full pink lips lifted the moment her eyes fell to claim them, growing wider when her gaze traveled along his five o’clock shadow. Across his thick black eyebrows. Down that straight nose. Around that chiseled face. Bone structure most women would kill for.
She gave herself permission to stare. There were cute men, there were gorgeous men, and then there were spit-shined men. This one had been spit-shined within an inch of his life. Not a strand of hair out of place. Not an inch of his suit un-pressed.
Veda’s eyes ran his body, hungry for any flaw, angrier by the second when she came up short every time. She didn’t trust any man, but she
didn’t trust this one. Too coached. Too pristine. Clearly born to the kind of wealth that required discretion at all costs, and therefore impossible to read. Impossible to know.
Not that it mattered. She hadn’t come home to get hit on by some spoiled rich boy. Even if his deep brown eyes
seem to be splitting her open like a scalpel.
“Do you crash engagement parties often?”
Her heart sped up at his words, working hard to keep it from manifesting itself in her eyes. “I’m not crashing.”
“Oh no? Are you here with the bride or the groom?”
She claimed his dark brown eyes. “The groom.”
His smile widened. “Is that so?”
Moving her attention back to the party, she ran her tongue over the sucker just as one of the many guests walked past.
Her gaze followed the hulking blond man, fell past the rolled-up sleeves of his dress shirt, and came to a stop at the jet-black tattoo on his wrist. The number 23 screamed up at her from his tanned skin.
The hairs on the back of her neck stood on end. The lollipop in her hand took on a tremble and fell to the ground when her fingers went weak.
“Goddamn, her pussy’s tight.”
Veda clutched the balcony railing, a scream burning her throat, feeling like hot lava was ripping her walls apart.
His clammy palm slapped down on the railing, right on top of hers. His strangled grunts poisoned her ears.
Her tear-filled eyes fell to his hand, drinking in the 23 tattooed on his wrist, just as the tears blinded her, making the numbers blur.
But Veda remembered.
She remembered that 23 just as vividly as she remembered the burn. The unbearable
in her pussy as he broke her hymen. Stole her virginity. Split her in two. She remembered the blood dripping down the inside of her thigh. She remembered the sensation of her heart shredding to pieces, with ten times more ferocity than her center ever could. A heart that had yet to piece itself back together, even ten years later.
Veda watched him go, unable to stop her chest from heaving. She remembered all of them except one, but out of the nine animals that had invaded her mind and heart, she remembered him the most. Not just that 23 tattooed on his wrist; she remembered his face, his scent, and his name.
He was her number one. Reason number one, out of ten, that she’d returned to the miserable island of Shadow Rock, CA. Reason number one, out of ten, that she’d crashed this engagement party. Reason number one, out of ten, that she hadn’t breathed a single breath in ten years without flashing back to that horrific night.
She couldn’t wait to watch him breathe the last of his.
“How do you know the groom?”
Veda’s eyes flew back to the man next to her, stunned. Was he still there? Her gaze traveled his smiling face.
It was his turn to squint at her, but his attention was stolen by the bartender approaching. “Two glasses of champagne, please,” he ordered before facing her completely, leaning one elbow on the bar. “So, how do you know the groom?”
Veda’s attention had moved back to the party, traveling from guest to guest, stopping just long enough to drink in the sight of her number two, number three, numbers four, five, six.
The man in the middle of the Harlem shuffle on the dance floor, with a number 5 tattooed to his wrist.
Veda’s hot eyes took in the second hand that clasped the railing from behind her, the scream in her throat now too hoarse to make a sound, his skin slapping against hers and his breath heating up the back of her ear, making it sweat. Her burning eyes stayed riveted to the 5 on his wrist. A tear fell from her eye and touched it after rolling down his hairy arm.
“I think I want in your ass,” he groaned into her ear. “Do you like it up the ass?”
Veda’s blinked as her heart skipped a beat. Her eyes kept moving through the party, stopping on the man sitting alone at a table in the far corner. He sipped a tumbler of scotch, staring blankly ahead, and the number 17 screamed out from the back of his hand.
Her eyes fell to the 17 as he locked his fingers around her neck, squeezing hard enough to cut off her air supply. She prayed for him to squeeze tighter. To end it all. But his grip loosened as the sound of his zipper coming down rang into the night air. The laughter of his friends, his teammates, ensured Veda that she was still alive and well, and the tears swore to never stop coming.
Veda forced her eyes away. She stopped herself from perusing the party anymore. It wasn’t as if she needed confirmation; she’d already spotted them all. All but the one whose identity she didn’t yet know. Nine out of ten of the men who’d stolen her soul ten years ago were at that party.
Still in that town.
Still in her body, making sure any part of her with potential to shine a light remained extinguished. Ensuring that she stayed lost. Stayed weak. Stayed stuck.
She refused to be stuck anymore.
“I like your nails.”
Veda shot a horrified look at the man next to her. Jesus, he was
She unconsciously looked down at her giraffe-print nails, filed into the shape of claws. She cursed under her breath. Not because the pinky nail had somehow gotten chipped, but because she knew she’d have to file them down to a more conservative shape before her first day of residency the following morning.
“Thank you,” she said.
“What did you say your name was?”
“I didn’t.” She met his eyes again, wondering why that maddening smile never left his face. Just like a man. Of course he was smiling. The world was his. His oyster. His oasis. His to do with what he pleased.
Even if it came at the expense of an innocent eighteen-year-old girl.
It was his.
Her chest swelled when his eyes traveled her body. Slow, sure, intentional, in a way that wanted her to see him looking.
He smoothed his beard.
Veda couldn’t help another slow curl of her lip. Not at him, but at the familiar warmth she felt rushing to her loins. Was her pussy so easily distracted by a gorgeous face?
“How do you know the groom, again?” His voice lowered in conjunction with the desire present as day in his eyes. He licked those full lips and reclaimed her gaze. When the bartender dropped the two champagnes he’d ordered, he didn’t even look his way or say thank you. Veda knew a rich boy would never dream of being so rude if he had any choice. Somehow, she knew not even a bomb going off would tear his eyes from her.
“We went to high school together,” she answered.
He nodded, standing tall and claiming the champagne glasses. He went to walk away, stopped, and then faced her again. “What high school?”
Veda nearly rolled her eyes. “Blackwater Prep.”
His smile grew. She wondered how big that damn thing was capable of getting, and if he ever wiped it off his face.
His eyebrows tightened for a moment. Never breaking his gaze from hers, he turned his back and began to walk away. “Nice to meet you.”
Veda’s eyes followed him as he went. She watched how difficult it was for him to make his way through the crowd, presumably trying to get to whomever that second glass of champagne belonged to. She noticed his natural grace as he took his time speaking to anyone who stopped him, even though it was clear he was on his way to a specific person.
She watched him bestow that unrelenting smile onto every person he interacted with. She watched him charm the pants off everyone, from one end of the tent to the other, until he finally made it to a smiling red-haired woman.
The only woman at the party wearing white.
Veda watched him kiss the bride-to-be’s cheek.
,” she grumbled.
Just as realization hit her, the soon-to-be-groom, Gage Blackwater, embraced his fiancée, looked across the expansive tent, locked eyes with Veda, and lifted his glass.
Exposed as the callous, engagement party-crashing liar she was, Veda couldn’t make her way out of that tent fast enough. She stumbled down the long pier located outside the party. It sat on chunky black boulders that led to the rocky beach, and the railing had been wrapped with strings of white lights.
Veda didn’t slow until she felt the ocean waves tickling her ankles, spilling into the creases of her high heels. She fingered the heels off and let the rocks stab at the bottoms of her feet.
She looked over her shoulder, the wind causing her armpit-length natural curls to blow into her eyes. The sprawling white tent seemed to permeate the starry sky, almost as brilliantly as the glowing moon perched above it. Music and laughter from the tent traveled down the pier, mingling with the crashing waves and disappearing with them too, rolling back into the dark depths of the ocean.
Veda sighed through flared nostrils.
She’d only planned to crash the party long enough to scope out her targets. She’d known they would all be there because Shadow Rock’s elite always stuck together. Supported each other. She was grateful that she’d managed to find the nine she could remember before she’d gotten sidetracked by that spit-shined rich boy, Gage Blackwater. The spit-shined rich boy who’d just happened to be the groom of the party she was crashing.