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ON’T YOU DARE contradict me, you dumb bitch.
“D When will you learn to show me respect?”
Just as my father finished saying those words, his hand landed on my mother’s cheek. The slap knocked her to the kitchen floor.
I couldn’t stand watching him beat her. Why did he do it? Wouldn’t it be easier if they got divorced? After all, they didn’t love each other.
I hated my father, Josef, more than anyone else on this Earth.
God, to think that his blood flowed through my veins! How could we be so different?
I was sick to death of the constant beatings he gave my mother and me. It was his fault I was aggressive and got into fights in school, but I’d sworn never to lay a hand on a girl. Never!
My heart beat so hard I thought it might burst. “Don’t hit Mom,” I said in a voice I barely recognized as my own.
Josef turned to me, his eyes piercing, though bloodshot from drinking. With his overgrown beard, shaggy hair, and bulky body, he looked like a werewolf who’d stepped out of some horror movie. I was afraid of him, but I couldn’t let him abuse the only person who truly cared for me.
“Are you trying to boss me around, you little shit?” Just three long strides and he was in front of me. His fist struck my chest, and I flew back, hitting the wall behind me.
I coughed as agonizing pain shot through my ribs and reached my lungs.
I still hadn’t recovered from the beating he’d given me three days ago. I looked up to see him unbuckling his belt. He was going to lash me with it to teach me to not meddle in his business ever again.
“Please, Josef, don’t beat him.” My mother’s sobs tore through my heart. “I beg you.”
Something had to be done to end this. How much more would we have to go through? How much longer did we have to endure?
My father turned to her and screamed, “Shut your fucking mouth, bitch.”
Just then, my eyes fell on a dirty frying pan on the table. I grabbed it and lunged toward the man I hated with all my heart and soul.
Josef tried to stop me, but lost his balance and fell to the floor. I took advantage of the opening and hit him on the head with the frying pan, over and over again.
I was quite muscular for my tender ten years, and now it was as if my strength had somehow tripled. My blood coursed through my veins and pulsed in my ears. The whole world around me disappeared as I recited the mantra in my mind:
Hit him. Hit him as hard as you can.
I had lost my mind.
I have no idea how many times I hit him, but when I stopped, I realized that what I’d done was irreversible. Josef’s face was mutilated beyond recognition.
How could I have done this? I was just a child. Maybe the devil had possessed me?
I looked at my mother. Her eyes were wide with shock.
She’d put her hand over her mouth, suppressing her sobs. “Mom…I think he’s dead.”
Miami, Florida, 17 years later a world tour with my pop rock group, Blackstone, and I
WO WEEKS HAD passed since I returned to Miami from
still couldn’t recover from the wild life: all-night parties, easy girls, alcohol, and cocaine. I was only 27 years old, but I was exhausted. My life had become a roller coaster. I would plunge down, narrowly escaping death, and then shoot up again, high into the sky. It was then and only then that I felt truly free.
This whole thing repeated day after day.
Why did I do this to myself?
I had no idea what it meant to be in love, because I always avoided getting emotionally involved. I knew the reason for that was hidden in my past, which still followed me everywhere—like a black shadow. Sometimes I simply couldn’t take a breath and felt like I was suffocating, and I also had nightmares. But no one can choose their parents or the childhood they’re given.
However, we’re all born into this world with a certain mission. I knew mine was music. It was the only thing that gave me peace.
I’d always dreamed of being on top of the world, and eventually I’d managed to reach it. Fate had smiled and nudged me out of the dark hole I’d been in. Blackstone now enjoyed worldwide fame, and the bars and nightclubs I’d opened as investments in Europe and the States were always jam-packed with partiers.
In short, I led a life others could only dream of. I had fame and enough money to buy anything I could want.
And yet… Something was still missing.
I often asked myself, What do I need?
It wasn’t women. As the lead singer of a rock group, I didn’t need to make much effort to attract hot chicks—the music had already done that for me. I rarely had to spend the night alone. True, I never fucked any woman more than once. But I didn’t feel the need to do so. One night was more than enough. The chicks I spent the night with knew not to expect more from me anyway.
I was good at making them scream, grip the sheets tight, and dig their nails into my back. And then…then it was mission complete. They were left happy with their evening, and so was I.
* * *
I’D GOTTEN UP at 6:30 and had already been running along the coast for two hours. As usual, I tried to outrun the demons pursuing me, but they were inside, so there was no way of ever losing them.
The air was heavy and humid. I was out of breath, and my legs were barely holding me up, but I needed to be outside. Jogging allowed me to let off the tension that had built up, to push aside the memory of my latest nightmare.
The sun escaped the clouds to spread its rays over the ocean, showering it with blinding sparks. Luckily, there weren’t many people out who could recognize me at this hour. The shore was deserted other than dog owners here and there on their morning walks with man’s best friend.
I appreciated my fans, but sometimes it was all too much for me. I missed my days of freedom—to simply sit at some bar, sipping my drink and enjoying life. Being famous certainly had many advantages, but there were downsides too.
I needed to find a place where nobody knew who Ryan Wilder was, where nobody would want a selfie or ask for an autograph. Where nobody would paw at me, screaming, “I love you. Marry me!”
How could you want to marry someone you didn’t know? I’d never be able to understand that, but it was definitely a common declaration from my female fans.
A couple on the shore drew my attention. I slowed my running and listened to their conversation.
“Travis, I trust you,” the woman said. “We can do it. You just need to hold me high.”
She had a mellifluous voice, and she was young—no more than twenty years old. Dressed in a tight vest, which highlighted her nice breasts, and denim shorts, which revealed her long, tight legs, she was impossible not to notice.
I won’t hide that, as a man, I always fix my eyes on a woman’s body first. You might say, “We get it. Fifty percent of your brain is occupied with music and the other half is filled with thoughts of sex.”
Even if that were true, would there be anything wrong with it? Of course not.
My eyes shamelessly scanned the chick’s body until they reached her face. Fuck… She was beautiful. And that smile? Simply stunning.
“Come on, Trav. We can do it. This isn’t the first time we’re trying a difficult acrobatic move.”
I’d started walking toward them without even realizing it.
“Emily, it’s dangerous,” the guy responded. “What if you fall?”
Her boyfriend didn’t seem very sure of himself. He wasn’t particularly tall, but he had well-developed muscles.
The beauty shook her head, swaying her hair, which was dyed bright red and tied neatly in a ponytail.
“I won’t. You ready?” she asked.
He widened his legs slightly to assume a more stable position and nodded. “I’m ready.”
The chick ran over to him and put her foot in his cupped hands. He lifted her up.
Damn… This girl was so graceful.
She spread her arms, freed one of her legs from the man’s hands, and raised it behind her as she leaned her body forward. The man tried to keep hold of her, but I sensed he was at the end of his strength. I started running the moment her body tilted forward.
I caught her securely in my arms, stopping her plunge toward the sand, which could’ve ended tragically. I turned her toward me and, gazing at her, stopped breathing.
Her eyes were blue—just a shade darker than mine—and surrounded by long, curved lashes. She had high cheekbones, a small snub nose, smooth skin and lips. Fuck…Her lips were thick and looked so soft… I got the urge to bite them.
She was gorgeous.
Pressed against me, her breasts moved up and down. She was scared, and who in her place wouldn’t be? She’d been about to hit the ground headfirst.
I narrowed my eyes in disapproval as I chided her. “What the hell do you think you’re doing? Are you trying to break your neck?”
She opened her mouth, getting ready to say something, and then she closed it. She opened it again, but it seemed nothing would come out.
I smelled a whiff of strawberries, which made me even angrier. This girl had a divine scent, but clearly she wasn’t all there in the head if she practiced such dangerous acrobatics.
I was furious that she hadn’t been thinking about her safety. But in spite of my anger, my body responded. Something twisted in my stomach, and a powerful tingle engulfed my groin, making it throb.
I was hard. Incredibly hard.
I wanted her to be mine—and to punish her for putting herself in such danger. I wanted to take her back to my house, throw her on my desk, spank her butt until it was flaming pink, and then give her a good, hard fucking.
I managed to tear my eyes from her tempting lips, which I just knew could suck me to ecstasy.
I turned to the man, who seemed at a loss for words. The thought that he was most likely her boyfriend made the blood boil in my veins. “It’s your duty to protect her, rather than help her break her spine.”
He said nothing and stared at me as if he’d seen God step down from the heavens above.
I hadn’t even noticed I was still holding the petite redhaired girl. Reluctantly, I put her down, and when I was sure she was steady on her feet, I took a step back.
“Don’t you think you’re a little over the top?” She put her hands on her hips and raised her chin. “Travis is strong enough. He would’ve caught me.”
It didn’t bode well for me that she was stunning even when she was pouting.
Pushing my sunglasses up, I regarded her. “If I were in your shoes, I wouldn’t repeat that dumb stunt ever again.
Next time there might not be anyone to save your ass.”
She gasped, but I paid her no mind, turning my eyes back to her boyfriend. I gave him my most withering look—the one I’d inherited from my father. A look I hated, but which brought fear and respect from the people who saw it.
I turned back to her. “It wouldn’t have hurt to say thanks, would it?”
Without waiting for her reply, I continued jogging.
Emily “D babbled on, but I wasn’t listening at all. AMN, THAT WAS it. We missed our chance.” Travis
Running gracefully, like a real athlete, the only man who’d ever made me angry—and who’d also unlocked something inside me—receded into the distance. As he did, the feeling I’d been suppressing for years suddenly woke up. It made my skin tingle with pleasure and caused butterflies to flutter in my stomach.
It’d been so nice to have him hold me in his arms, pressed tight against his powerful chest.
Unfortunately, no matter how hard I tried to be different, I was just like my mother, an easy mark for an attractive man.
As people say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. Though I’d kept my heart locked away for as long as I could remember, I couldn’t escape my genetic fate.
Still, I shouldn’t give in to his charms. No! He likely cared nothing about me.
Millions of women across the world must feel this way whenever they saw him. Ryan Wilder was a sex symbol, a rock star. Of course I’d be attracted to him.
I looked lustfully at his disappearing body—wide shoulders, tight hips—and realized ominous cracks had appeared in the wall I’d built to protect myself from men.
Immediately I felt disappointed. Why wasn’t I stronger?
“You’re not listening to me.” Travis’ voice tore me away from my thoughts.
“Sorry. What did you say?”
“I knew it.” He sighed, ran his hands across his face, and regarded me tensely. “You know full well that Ryan Wilder owns Wild Angels. We won’t be able to win the audition for best dancers, and we won’t get the job. Appearing in nightly shows would open so many doors for us. Offers from other places would start flooding in… And who knows, we might get offered a part in some Hollywood movie—”
“What movie is that?” I said, laughing. “I have a French accent—”
“Which is barely noticeable. Anyway, Sophia Loren speaks with an accent and look how famous she is. Oh, and your compatriot Vanessa Paradis managed to bag Johnny
Depp, the eternal bachelor.”
Travis continued to list European actors who’d made it big in Hollywood. He truly seemed to believe the fairytale that he and I would become famous one day.
But I harbored no such illusions.
His words flattered me, but I could clearly distinguish the possible from the impossible. It’s important to be realistic about one’s chances in life. The only thing I dreamed of was proving myself as a good dancer. I was certain I was talented at that.
Travis and I had met two years ago. We’d both been working as dancers in a small, privately held music theater, getting paid fairly decent money—just enough to pay our rent. We’d rented an apartment together, which we shared with our friend Misty. She worked as a waitress at a bar called Wild Angels. She was the one who’d told us last week about the audition.
Ryan Wilder and his crew were recruiting new talent. Surely there could be no better opportunity than that.
And rumor had it that the winners would also join the band for their next tour. There was chance for us to visit amazing countries on faraway continents.
But Travis was right; Ryan Wilder had, unfortunately, not been particularly impressed by us. And I’d behaved awfully.
What had been up with me, goddammit?
It was true: the least I could’ve done was thank him. But when he’d started talking to us like we were children, I’d seen red. Anyway, there was no point in making excuses now. I could’ve been more careful and polite, given that he’d likely be one of the judges at the audition.
At least we had a whole month until then—a month during which Ryan would most likely forget all about us.
In the meantime, we’d train every day, for hours on end, so we could ultimately prove ourselves as the best.
* * *
One month later
I’M HAPPY TO say we were outstanding at our audition. We performed the dance we’d prepared absolutely perfectly— even the difficult acrobatic moves—to a tune by Blackstone called “Close To You.” Travis and I were pleased, and the judges had had very good things to say about our performance.
The only person who’d said nothing—and I mean nothing, zip, silence—was Ryan Wilder. He’d just looked at me angrily, his teeth clenched tight.
That didn’t bode well. If he were to say no, it’d be over for us. All our dreams of success and the life it could bring would come to an end.
Unfortunately, we didn’t get a final answer right away, and we had no choice but to dig deep for patience and wait. We’d gone back to the waiting room, which was packed full of other dancers, so we had to sit on the floor.
“I’m starting to have doubts about our winning,” Travis said, flipping a lock of hair off his forehead. His brown eyes were filled with pessimism.
“Don’t start that again,” I chided. He was my best friend, and I felt obliged to give him some strength. I couldn’t leave him looking so browbeaten, always assuming the worst. He who only thinks of bad things will have something bad happen to him sooner or later—or at least that’s what my great grandmother always used to say.
“Think positively. Our performance was flawless. We didn’t make a single mistake.”
Travis put his arm around my shoulders and kissed me on the head. “You’re right.”
“Of course I’m right.” I smiled and gave him a little dig in the ribs with my elbow.
I decided to find the ladies room, and one of the assistants told me to walk to the end of the long corridor, take a left, and after that a right. From there she assured me I’d have no trouble finding it.
I’ve never been very good at following directions, and of course, I ended up in the wrong room.
When I went in, I wished I’d never set foot inside.
One of the walls was smoked glass, which enabled me to see into the adjoining room. There, the judges from the audition sat at a round table. I panicked that they’d see me and was just about to sneak back out when Ryan Wilder’s voice nailed me to the floor.
“I don’t want her, Mike. Emily Delon is very talented and dances like a goddess, I agree. But I don’t want her to work at Wild Angels. And that Travis… I don’t trust him at all. With his incompetence, I know she’ll end up with a broken neck some day. I won’t let it happen in my bar.”
“You’re talking nonsense, for fuck’s sake. They both did a great job. She’s very flexible, she’s not afraid of anything, and she gives it everything she’s got. Didn’t you see the performance they pulled off? A true masterpiece. I still have goose bumps from it,” another man said.
But I didn’t dare turn to see who he was.
I was frozen on the spot, like I’d been paralyzed. I knew I should leave, that I shouldn’t eavesdrop, but my legs refused to obey the orders issued by my mind.
“When she raised her leg above her head, my eyeballs almost popped out of their sockets. She managed to keep her balance on the shoulder of that Travis guy on just one leg. Damn, that girl is pure gold. Beautiful, talented, sexy… And I think that’s precisely why you have a problem with her. You’re afraid you won’t be able to resist her charms and you’ll end up sleeping with her? You’re afraid—” Enough.
I was done. Opening the door, I flew back out of it.
I felt sick as I walked down the corridor. What the hell had I done to Ryan to make him not want me? Was it because of the beach incident?
Black spots appeared before my eyes, and everything started spinning. I leaned on the wall for a moment, then tried to continue forward, but failed miserably. I slid to the floor.
Life would go on… I had to get it together rather than let some man hurt me and crush my self-confidence. Even if that man was Ryan Wilder.
The chill emanating from the wall against my back had a calming effect on me. Trying to bring my nerves under control, I inhaled and exhaled deeply.
You can do it, Emily. You’ve always managed to do it. With or without the dumb Wild Angels and their shitty audition. They can all go to hell. Every last one of them.
“Are you okay?”
I raised my head and was met by a pair of lovely blue eyes, sexy tousled hair, and a handsome face. Of all people on this planet, why was the only one I didn’t want to see ever again—Ryan Wilder—now hanging over me, looking concerned?
Concerned… He must be playing some kind of joke on me. Clearly, in addition to having a lot of musical talent, he had great acting skills, because one thing was certain: he didn’t care about me, not even slightly.
It took all the strength I had to stand, still leaning on the wall.
“What have I ever done to you?” I hissed. Even though I wasn’t particularly short, I still had to look up so I didn’t end up facing his chest.
He looked at me in confusion. “What are you talking about?”
“Don’t pretend you don’t know. I heard what you said to the judges. By complete accident, I stumbled into the adjoining room and—”
“You eavesdropped on us.” He frowned, but that didn’t make his perfect features ugly at all.
Dammit, he was too gorgeous and manly. A true Romeo, and he knew it.
“I told you it was by accident. I was looking for the restroom and—oh, whatever.” I could feel the adrenaline spreading through my veins, and knew I must be bright red with rage. I probably looked terrible, but I had to tell him everything. “Just because you’re handsome and all the women go ooh and aah when they see you doesn’t mean you have to behave like a… I’ll spare you the rude words. You know what I’m talking about. You don’t want to work with me, but you can’t find a single good reason for not hiring me.”
He ran his hand through his hair, which seemed incredibly soft. “That’s not true. I said I don’t want you to break your neck in my club.”
“You call that a reason? You have a choreographer. Just because this time I incorporated acrobatic moves into the dance doesn’t mean it always has to be like that. I wanted to impress you, to show you we have potential. And your people were impressed. The only person against Travis and me was you, and I’d bet that was right from the start. You have no right to kill off people’s chances on a whim. We were the best, and the others said so too.” Tears started to burn my eyes, but I didn’t let them roll down my cheeks. I couldn’t let him see me so crushed.
“Emily, that’s not true—” he began.
But I didn’t give him an opening. I’d gathered steam and had to finish what I’d started. Without any interruptions.
I put my hand on his chest to stop him from getting too close to me.
It was as hard as steel, and the feel of his body immediately turned me on. A second ago I’d felt like crying, but now I had the urge to undress him.
Dammit! How was this even possible?
Such conflicting emotions only existed in the trashy romance novels my mother like to read. It wasn’t like I’d never been close to a man. While we danced, Travis would touch my hips and waist, and I’d do the same to him. But he’d never had such an effect on me.
Making a huge effort, I focused on the fact that I was angry. “I don’t want to hear your excuses, Ryan, because I’ll never accept them. I feel deliberately snubbed and wronged. There’s nothing you can say to make me feel better. And you know what? I don’t want to work for you anyway. You don’t appreciate me.” I turned away from him and headed back down the hall toward the exit.
I needed to get away from here. Wild Angels was suffocating me, or to be more precise, Ryan Wilder was.
Yes, he was sexy as hell, but he was a devil too—a beautiful, blond devil. To top it all off, he had amazing blue eyes, baby blue. They were somewhat narrow, which made him seem dangerous, like a man you shouldn’t try to screw over.
He was the most masculine man I’d ever met. Which pissed me off more than anything else. Why couldn’t he be a little uglier? That would actually do him some good. Behind that beautiful façade was an evil man who didn’t give a shit about anyone.
I continued to rage, but I realized it was mostly because I felt rejected. I was livid because he didn’t like me. That shocked me and crushed my self-confidence. It was like I’d been hit by an avalanche and was buried somewhere deep in the snow, where nobody could find and rescue me.
What was the point of having talent if there was no way for people to see it?
Sex, wild parties and alcohol.
When you're the lead singer of a rock group, you don't
need to make much of an effort to attract the attention of a hot chick--the music had already done that job for you. And when you make her scream in bed, tightly gripping the sheets or digging her nails into your back--it is mission complete.
Everybody calls me the devil. I think they dubbed me that because they believe I'm heartless. Perhaps they're right...
I don't know the meaning of the word "love" and I've always tried to avoid emotions. I suspect the reason for that is hidden in my past. I really have no idea and don't want to try to find the answer.
The only question I'm still seeking answer to is: Why, since I met her, can't I think of anything other than the petite French woman with thick lips and the body of a goddess, Emily Delon?
Beautiful Devil is the first book in the Rockstar Duet. Beautiful Devil (Book 2) will release one month later on September, 18, 2018.
✮ BEAUTIFUL DEVIL: THE ROCKSTAR DUET BOOK ONE
is NOW AVAILABLE FOR ONLY $0.99 CENTS!
READ FOR FREE WITH KINDLE UNLIMITED ✮
✮ Pre-Order Your Copy of Beautiful Devil: Book Two –
Releasing September 18, 2018 ✮
For so many years, I'd lived under the shadow of death, without love, without letting anyone get close to me. My soul yearned for true love.
Emily Delon was innocent, far too pure for my demonic soul, but I managed to make her mine anyway.
But could our love defeat the dark shadows hiding in the future?
Sharlyn is happily married and mother of a lovely boy. She is addicted to coffee and love to travel around the world with her family.
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