Home > Fractured (Deep in Your Veins #5)

Fractured (Deep in Your Veins #5)
Author: Suzanne Wright

CHAPTER ONE


Every avid reader knew you didn’t fuck with a girl’s Kindle. You just didn’t. So when the bitch in front of me slammed my purse on the floor and I heard my precious baby crack, things were destined to go to shit.

Initially, I’d ignored Marla’s efforts to goad me into a bar fight. If she’d convinced herself that a certain male vampire rejected her because of me, it was her issue to deal with. Besides, it was easy to dismiss someone who clearly had such a low IQ that it would be surprising if she could pass a blood test.

I mean seriously, who would confront a member of the Grand High Vampires’ legion—especially when that member was sitting with the other six members of her squad? And especially when many others in the bar were part of the legion? It just wasn’t done.

Pissed she wasn’t getting a reaction, Marla had grabbed my purse and slung it in a huff. As a Pagori vampire, she had some serious strength. The impact had broken my baby, which was why everyone at my table slowly rose to their feet.

“You need to go,” Paige hissed at Marla and her nervous-looking cronies. My BFF wasn’t easily riled, but if someone pushed her too far…well, things tended to end badly. That was most likely why Cassie and Alora edged closer to her, ready to hold her back.

Our behaviour reflected on the entire legion. Marla wasn’t a threat to vampirekind, just a dumb shop assistant who was plagued by jealousy issues and needed her roots done badly.

As such, despite that I wanted to lunge at Marla, I dug deep for calm. But as I looked down at my purse and recalled the telling crack, anger pumped through every vein and my fangs descended. That little device had got me through some crappy times; given me the escape I occasionally needed. I’d taken it with me pretty much everywhere; I admittedly had an unhealthy attachment to it. Now it was in pieces, thanks to Marla, and I wasn’t good with that. Not at all.

It just went to prove that I was right and you couldn’t trust people with perfect teeth.

Marla’s eyes narrowed. “What did you say to Butch to turn him against me? He was pretty welcoming last night. Now he’s giving me the cold shoulder.”

Oh it was like she wanted me to hurt her. Butch might not be mine, but I sure didn’t like anybody thinking he could be theirs. Since becoming a member of the legion, I’d learned a lot of ways to kill a person. Those ways were swirling around my head, tempting me to act on the fury riding me.

It was clear that my girls were having similar thoughts, especially since Maya’s jaguar claws had sliced out, Jude had whipped out her knife, and Ava was eyeing Marla with lethal precision. One tiny signal from me would have them all leaping at these bitches.

“You told him about what happened at the store, didn’t you?” continued Marla.

She was referring to when she had accidentally-on-purpose knocked my tub of milk on the floor, causing it to burst open and soak my jeans.

“Yeah, you told him to turn him against me. The legion sticks together, right?” she mocked.

“I said, you need to go,” repeated Paige, her green eyes blazing.

Marla put a hand on her hip. “Yeah? Well, I wasn’t talking to you. I was talking to her.”

One of Marla’s cronies grabbed her shoulder. “Come on, let’s just leave.”

Marla shrugged her off and arched a thinly plucked brow at me. “Nothing to say?”

I sighed. “Not really. I like intelligent conversation.”

She smirked, cocky. “You’re not denying what I said because it’s true.”

“You mean that I turned Butch against you? That’s your own paranoia at work. You know he’s a one-night stand kind of guy. If he rejected you, it has nothing to do with me.”

“I don’t believe you. Shall I tell you what I do believe? That the reason he has one-night stands is that you quickly turn him against any female he touches. Yeah, that’s what I believe.”

“Well, everyone should believe in something.”

“Do you think if you get rid of all the competition, he’ll go back to you?” Marla snickered. “How pathetic.”

Paige shook her head. “No, blaming Imani is pathetic. I mean, taking into account your peroxide hair, pitch-black roots, blotchy fake tan, and whiny little voice, it shouldn’t be a shock that he turned you down.”

Marla gasped in horror and slung her drink all over my BFF.

Oh the hell no.

I sucker punched her—no warning, no hesitation. Marla’s head snapped to the side, her knees buckled, and she lost consciousness before she even hit the floor. Gasps came from the little group at her back. As one, they lunged for me. So my squad and I lunged for them.

It was amazing how quickly a bar fight could escalate. None of us used our vampiric gifts. No, this was a true catfight. There was scratching. Punching. Kicking. Screeching. Slapping. Hair-pulling. And dress-shredding.

All the while, male vampires surrounded us, cheering ‘Fight! Fight! Fight! Fight!’

It was a great outlet for my anger and actually kind of fun…until my earring was ripped out. Motherfucker. Snarling, I fisted my hand in the bitch’s hair and—

A strong arm curled around my waist and started heaving me away. I knew who it was, because I’d know that masculine scent of dark spices and sandalwood anywhere.

“Put me down, Butch!”

He didn’t, but I kept a firm grip on the long dark hair in my hands—I wasn’t letting go of my prize any time soon. My girls didn’t look any more willing to end the fight than I was, which was why it took the combined efforts of the Grand High Pair’s personal squad to part us all.

Still, I managed to take a chunk of dark hair with me. Smirking, I showed it to the heifer. She waved a hand my way, and it was like something slammed into my head, through my skull…and then I was seriously freaking tired.

“Fuck,” cursed Butch.

Then it all went dark.

 

 

CHAPTER TWO

 

(Imani)

 

I’d woken up in this bed before. Several times before, in fact. But this time, I wasn’t naked. That was the only reason I wasn’t silently cursing myself.

I slowly turned my head. And there he was. Sharp-boned face. Five o’clock shadow. Sleep-tussled bronze hair. Solid chest and delicious abs. I didn’t need to look beneath the covers to know the rest of Robert ‘Butch’ Richardson was just as spectacularly masculine. Asleep, he looked no more peaceful than he did while awake. There was something untamed about him. A buzz of raw energy seemed to always hum beneath his skin.

The first night we’d slept together had been the night of Ava and Salem’s Binding ceremony a year ago; a one-night stand that had turned into a month of several wild and unforgettable one-night stands. I’d hoped it would turn into something more, but Butch had made it clear—though not in an asshole way—that he didn’t do ‘more.’ So I’d cut my losses. I wanted something that had possibilities; that had the potential to go somewhere. Anything with Butch was a dead end.

It wasn’t that he had commitment issues. He just didn’t connect with people. Furthermore, he didn’t want to connect with people. Despite having known him for over a year, I didn’t know him at all. He never revealed anything personal. Never shared anything about his past. Never confided his feelings or thoughts. He was literally a closed book.

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