Light meets dark. Secrets meet truth.
It's been three years, twenty-five weeks, and five days since Isis Blake fell in love, and if she has it her way, it'll stretch into infinity.
After a run-in with her momâs ex-boyfriend, she scrabbles to remember what sheâs lost to amnesia. Her ex-nemesis Jack falls deeper into a pit of despair, and his girlfriend Sophia does all she can to keep him to herself. But as Isisâ memories return, she finds it harder and harder to resist what she felt for Jack, and Jack finds it impossible to stay away from the only girl whoâs ever melted the ice around his heart.
As the dark secrets surrounding Sophia emerge, Isis realizes Jack isnât who she thought he was. Heâs dangerous. But when Isis starts receiving terrifying emails from an anonymous source, that danger might be the only thing protecting her from something far more threatening.
***This book contains language and sexual scenes, some of which may be unsuitable for younger readers.
***This is the second book in the Lovely Vicious series.
âAre you alright, sir?â
I look up at the voice. A bellboy smiles cheerily at me. He has no idea who I am, or what Iâve been through, yet he has the nerve to smile. Itâs been nineteen days since Isis Blake forgot about me. And yet he has the nerve to ask if Iâm alright.
I light another cigarette.
âGet out of my face.â
His expression falls, and he backs away. âS-Sure. Have a nice night.â
I scoff and lean against a pillar of the grand marble roundabout of the Hilton hotel. I watch ridiculously fancy black cars shuffle in and out, dropping off equally puffed-up old rich people. Bellboys and concierges scurry around, calling taxis and directing valets. Revolving glass doors with gold accents constantly whirr and hiss over the mindless chatter. Women shriek with laughter, men guffaw; all of them oblivious, happy idiots. I can see the truth in their clothes and posture â five of the men are cheating on their wives. Two of them with far younger women, one of them exclusively with prostitutes. He not-so-subtly taps the ass of a passing blonde in a peacoat. She hides her grimace with an actressâ grace. When she sees me, she clips over in her heels with a mildly happier smile.
âJaden! Oh my god! Itâs been forever!â
âThree months, Lily.â I correct.
âThree months, forever, same difference.â She laughs. Perfume wafts off her - the expensive, strong kind. The kind you buy when you have to cover up the pervasive smell of sex.
âFinished with work?â I ask, and jerk my head at the man still watching her lecherously, his wife oblivious and clinging to his arm. Lily sighs.
âYeah, for the night. Iâm about to head back to my place. What about you?â
âMayorâs daughter.â I motion to my tuxedo. âWinter ball.â
âBet you were the hottest guy there.â
âIt was a Catholic girlsâ school.â
âAnd the hottest guy sheâll ever have.â
Lily is just a few years older than me, but sheâs been in the Rose Club far longer. Lily isnât her real name, just like Jaden isnât mine. I donât know her in real life, and she doesnât know me. But sometimes we work in the same hotels, and sheâs one of the few girls in the Rose Club who isnât annoyingly bland. So we talk.
âSeriously.â Lily elbows me. âIâve seen her. She looks like an inbred Pomeranian on her best days.â
âNow now,â I blow smoke into the sky. âLetâs not be nasty. She paid good money. And I respect and appreciate money.â
Lily watches my face carefully as she waits for a taxi to cycle past. She furrows her thin brows.
âWhat about your own prom?â She asks.
âWhat about it?â
âAre you going to that? Do you have a girlfriend? Or a date?â
I took Sophia to my Junior prom. But itâs not Sophia who pops into my head. An image of Isis grows strong, dressed up in some silk dress. Red? Or blue? Purple, probably, to match her hair. Sheâd dance and drink and start at least four fights. It would be awful. It would be hilarious. I smirk at the thought, but it quickly fades.
âNo. Iâm not going to the Senior one. Itâs pointless â Iâm graduating in five months, anyway. High school barely matters anymore.â
She plucks the cigarette from my lips and grinds it under her heel. âWhen did you start smoking?â
âWhen did you start seeing fit to mother me?â I snarl.
âItâs not good for you.â
âNeither is whoring.â
Lily glowers. âWe both have our reasons for doing that. You donât have a reason to smoke. Unless you want to die early and painfully.â
âAnd if I did, it would be none of your business.â
Lily looks wounded. She hails a passing cab, and pauses in its open door to look back at me.
âYouâre one of us, Jaden,â She murmurs. âSociety looks down on us. Customers objectify us. All we have is each other. So it is my business.â She pulls out her Rose Club card â white with pale gold stripes â and hands it to me. âIf you ever need anything, or if you wanna talk, call me.â
Sheâs gone before I can throw it back at her - gone before the gaping chasm in my chest has the chance to begin to bleed. I shake it off. Iâm Jack Hunter. No one makes me bleed.
Except one girl, at a party, nearly five months ago.
I light another cigarette to cover the stench of weakness emanating off me. The women at the hotelâs entrance are eyeing me. If I so much as flinch in their direction, theyâll accost me, flirting with tired tactics and worn eagerness. They are just as bad as the men. They covet things that look nice. And when they canât have what they covet, they squabble; quickly turning on each other in sickening displays of predatory possessiveness.
I consider throwing Lilyâs card in a nearby puddle. She has no idea what Iâm going through. I have no idea what Iâm going through. She canât help me. Besides, her help is offered solely because she has designs on me. Even an idiot can see that much.
âNot everything with a vagina likes you, dipshit!â
I whirl around at the sound of the voice. Itâs so clear, so perfectly loud and obnoxious that it has to be her. But no purple streaks bob out of the crowd to greet me. No warm brown eyes crinkle with a smirk.
I fall against the pillar again and laugh, putting my head in my hands as reality slips through my fingers. Get it together, Jack Hunter. Youâre going to Harvard in seven months. Your mother is waiting for you to come home. Sophia is counting on you. Her surgery is imminent. You canât go crazy. Belina needs your help. People are depending on you. You have a life to live, and no matter how much you wish on stars, no matter how much you bargain with God, or with the doctors, that life does not include Isis Blake any longer. Youâre a stranger to her.
The hole she burned in the ice must be mended.
There is no warmth, anymore. You barely tasted it, barely felt it on your skin. It brushed against you for a single second. Something so small should not retain this much weight. It is illogical. You are illogical for letting it affect you so much.
There is no warmth, Jack Hunter. Not for the likes of you.
You have blood on your hands. You have duty, and guilt, and you canât escape that. No one can help you escape.
Not even her.
âJaden!â A shrill voice makes me look up. Cynthia, the Mayorâs daughter, waves me over to the limo. Her dark hair is over-curled and looks ridiculous. Her pink dress is too tight and low cut. Her circle of simpering friends have dropped their purses off and re-touched their makeup, and now theyâre on their way to an after-party. Weâre on our way. Iâm being paid to be one of them, after all.
I stub my cigarette out and put on my best smile.
Don't miss part 2 & 3 of Chapter 1 from SAVAGE DELIGHT!
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Sara Wolf is the author of ARRANGED, a college-aged romance series centered on an arranged marriage. Sheâs currently working on her next New Adult romance series. Sheâs addicted to the Vampire Diaries, loves chocolate and romantic angst, and canât get enough of damaged heroes.