Guess what?!? Beautiful Savage ( Savage & Ink #2) releases in ONE WEEK!!! If you loved Royal then hopefully you’ll love Jax just as much. You can pre-order now for a special price of $2.99 so don’t miss out. Keep reading to get a sneak peek!
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BEAUTIFUL SAVAGE (SAVAGE & INK #2)
#PREORDER for a special price of $2.99
I can’t fucking breathe… I don’t want to. With every breath that fills my lungs, I feel the rage building inside of me, making it hard to think straight.
If I don’t find out where this son of a bitch is within the next thirty seconds, I know without a doubt I’ll be taking a man’s life tonight.
I’ll stand here, my rough hands wrapped tightly around James’ throat, squeezing until I see the last sign of life drain from his eyes.
And I will feel nothing.
Which is exactly what I’ve felt for the last three days; since I showed up at Alexandra’s house to find it littered with pills and cocaine.
I’m numb to every emotion other than fury.
My grip around James’ throat tightens as I hold his head above the bathwater, giving him a few moments to catch his breath.
The prick can hardly remember his name at this point from the lack of oxygen to his brain, but I don’t give a fuck. Either that or he’s not talking. One way or another, he has answers that I need and I’m not leaving here without them.
“Where is he?” I ask again, my voice gruff as I lean in close to his bloodied and swollen face. “This is your last chance.”
He coughs and digs at my hands when I give his throat a firm squeeze and lift him higher out of the water.
“I don’t…” he coughs. “…know–”
“Tell me, before I rip your fucking throat out.” Anger courses through me, making me see red when I don’t get the answer I need. “Fuck this.”
Growling out, I shove him back into the water, watching with dead eyes, all the fucks in the world gone as he gasps for air and slaps at the porcelain surrounding him.
It’s hard to see him through the bloodstained water, yet I keep my gaze on him, not wanting to miss a second of his suffering.
It’s this piece of shit’s fault that Alexandra got mixed up with Jasper to begin with.
I kept her in the dark when we were kids, not wanting her to ever know who that sick fuck was; even though he’d been at my doorstep more times than I could count while growing up.
I couldn’t protect my mother from him, but I made damn sure he never set his eyes on Alexandra to chance ruining her too.
Even when I was too young to fully understand how that part of the world worked, I still knew he was bad news.
I’d seen how dangerous and greedy he was through his careless eyes.
With my hand still around James’ throat, I step into the water and kneel above his body, so I can get a better grip. Looking him dead in the eyes, I reach into my boot and pull out my knife, placing it to his cheek.
“Tell me where the fuck he is, before I start cutting you into pieces, starting with your tongue. Now!” I scream in his face, before releasing his throat with a shove.
I keep my body above his, not giving him a chance to escape even if he had it left in him, which he doesn’t.
We’ve been at this for over twenty minutes now.
“I don’t know…” he gasps out, gripping at the bathtub. “I swear! I swear! Please, don’t. Please…”
Letting out some pent-up anger, I slam my fist into his face, knocking him out cold.
I still need him alive, so I grab him by the shirt and pull him above the water, before walking across the room to grab another cigarette from the sink.
“Fuck!” I smash the box in my hand, before tossing the empty package at the wall. This is not a good time to run out of smokes. They’re about the only thing keeping me from killing this asshole.
Yelling out, I grip my hair, before reaching for the closest thing to me and breaking it against the wall. I don’t stop until everything in this small bathroom is broken and out of place.
When I stop to catch my breath, I look into the mirror, staring long and hard at the monster I’ve become for her. She is the only girl I’d kill for. Always has been.
I slam my fist into the glass repeatedly, not stopping until my skin is hanging from my knuckles.
Blood covers everything.
And I know more blood will spill until I get what I need, because I won’t stop until I’m standing above Jasper’s lifeless body and he’s paid for hurting the person I love most in this shitty world.
And I’ll kill any motherfucker who stands in my way…
The heavy breathing beside me lets me know that James is still sleeping. We’ve been screwing for almost a year now, and even though I’ve told him numerous times I’m not capable of settling down and having a normal life, he decided to follow me here anyway.
He may pretend he’s cool with us not being exclusive, but I can tell it bugs him I’m still refusing to commit after all this time.
I remove his heavy arm from my waist, before I reach over into the nightstand and pull out a random bottle of pills, popping the last two into my mouth.
I’ve stopped reading the labels and trying to keep track of what I put in my body, because honestly, none of the labels match what the bottle contains.
I’ve gotten into the habit of just grabbing and popping, needing just enough of something – anything – to numb me throughout the day.
“You’re up early.” James kisses my neck, a gesture that should make me feel something, but it doesn’t.
“Couldn’t sleep. It’s weird being back here.”
And really… it’s not early. It’s already past noon but considering we were up past three A.M. drowning ourselves in whiskey, while doing lines of cocaine, I suppose it is considered early.
He brushes my hair away from my neck, before running his fingertips over it. “Well, it’s been a long time. I’m sure it’ll feel weird for a while.”
I close my eyes and roll onto my back as he reaches over me and into the drawer. He moves around a few bottles, but I don’t hear any pills move. “Are there any left?”
“No. I took the last one,” I lie, which is something I’ve become good at.
“The last two, Alex. There were two last night after you passed out. I know because I counted them after I popped two.”
“All right, so I lied. One doesn’t do shit and you know it, James.” I sit up and reach for my thong, slipping it on. “What does it matter? We need to get more either way.”
I can feel his eyes on me, as I stand here half-naked, lighting up a joint. “Come smoke that with me while I smash you.”
“No.” I take a long drag and hold the smoke in for as long as I can, before I blow it in his direction. “I don’t feel like fucking, James. If I did then you would know, because I’d be on your dick already. I need to go into work early today. I need the money for bills. Plus, I need to keep busy before I go stir crazy in this hellhole.”
“Well, I hope you plan to shower first, because you smell like booze and weed. No one is going to let you work if you walk in looking and smelling like you’ve been at a rave party. Not even the shady bar you serve at.”
“And no one else is going to want to fuck you if you keep busting your load within the first ten minutes.” I lift a brow and place the joint between my lips as I reach for my bra and a clean pair of jeans. “Don’t tell me what I need to do, because you know damn well I’ll do the opposite.”
“Okay, so then don’t fuck me. Will that get you over here and on my dick?” He sits up, his muscles bulging as he looks me up and down.
He’s hot as hell. Probably one of the hottest men I’ve ever slept with, yet he does nothing for me.
“I’ll pass. Like I said, I’m not in the mood.”
“What the shit? You haven’t been ‘in the mood’ since I got here a week ago. Is there something I should know about? Maybe some old boyfriend I need to kick the shit out of?”
I clench my jaw and throw the joint at his head. “I’d watch what you say, James. The only person I’ve ever truly cared about calls this place home, and if you touch him, I’ll kill you myself.”
He quickly grabs for the joint, places it between his lips, and throws his hands up. “Whoa. Dick that good? He must’ve tore that pussy up for hours on end or else you’d hate him as much as you hate me.”
“Fuck you.” I jump on the bed, straddle him, and grab him by his throat. “He gave me more than you can ever give me. And I was only twelve, you asshole. We never had sex. He was my best friend and he took care of me. That’s more than anyone else has ever done for me, including you.”
James smiles and blows smoke into my face. “So, he’s the reason you’re so angry all the time, huh? Your daddy made you leave him—the one boy who made you forget how messed up that piece of shit father of yours was.” Disgust boils inside me as he slides his finger down my arm in a sexual way. “And didn’t you say some of his friends even touched you and got off to you. Do you really think this boy could’ve saved you from that? He was a kid, babe.”
“He was a man,” I grind out, angry that he’s speaking of Jaxon. “He was a man because he would’ve protected me no matter what it took. Every other asshole I’ve ever met since him has been nothing but boys wishing they were men. He’s more of a man than you’ll ever be.”
“Shut up.” He grabs my head and pulls it down until his lips are against mine. “My dick proves I’m all man. You don’t think I’d protect you?”
“You don’t,” I spit out. “If you did I wouldn’t be popping pills and drinking until I pass out with you right beside me. This is exactly why we’re not a couple. Go home, James.”
With that, I push on his chest, before I jump out of his lap and disappear into the bathroom.
I lock the door behind me, so he won’t attempt to join me like last time. There’s no way in hell I’m letting that son of a bitch get near me right now.
It’s been thirteen years since I last stepped foot into this town and I’ve been fighting hard to keep my head above water since being back here, afraid of drowning in the memories.
James just had to go and bring them up again, catching me off guard and fucking with my mind.
I was a complete wreck after we moved. I cried for weeks, maybe even months, because I knew I no longer had Jaxon Kade to comfort me. And he was the only person I’ve ever truly cared about.
He was the only person who ever made me feel safe and loved. I was never scared when I was with him.
The worst part of it all was that I didn’t even know we were moving. I never got to say goodbye. We got up in the middle of the night and left everything behind.
If I had known my dad was going to force me to leave Jaxon, I would’ve run. I would’ve stayed hidden for as long as it took if it meant I didn’t have to leave the one person I loved and trusted.
Trusting people isn’t something I do easily, and it has proven to only get harder over the years.
I’ve been fucked over so many times that I’ve lost count. I’ve been lied to, cheated on, and emotionally and physically abused. I’m sick and tired of it.
I’m so mentally and physically drained that I truly have nothing left to give. It hurts just to wake up in the morning, because I know my day will only be as shitty as the last.
Once you’re filled with as much hate and distrust that I have, everything good in the world dies.
And everything good in my world died the day I lost Jaxon.
But if he saw me now, he’d probably wish he’d never known me in the first place, because I’m just as fucked in the head as his mother was.
He was too good for me. Probably still is.
It pains me that he fought so hard to change his mother’s lifestyle and save her from the damage the drugs were causing and I ended up going down the same path as her.
I need my medicine to escape this reality, and even the pills, cocaine, and liquor aren’t enough to numb the pain.
If I found Jaxon and pushed my way back into his life, the only thing I would end up doing is ruin him just as I am ruined.
I could never do that to the beautiful, protective Jaxon I remember, yet the idea of being in the same town where he grew up somewhat comforts me, and that is exactly why I’m back after all these years.
Doesn’t mean I plan to look for him. He’s probably not even still here and maybe that’s a good thing. At least for him.
After a few minutes, I finally jump into shower and stand under the steaming water, scorching my skin.
My flesh is red from the heat and it’s hard to breathe in here, but I don’t care.
At least I feel something. Anything at all.
It’s barely past eight, yet I’ve already been tempted to strangle at least three people in the seven hours I’ve been here.
Okay, more like five or ten people, but I suppose it is better than most nights.
These assholes just don’t get that I’m not interested in them taking me home for a good fuck as they call it. I’m only interested in surviving, and apparently, I’ll do anything to do that or else I wouldn’t have taken the first job offered to me when moving back two weeks ago.
This place is a dump. It’s dirty and the liquor is cheap, which draws in all the lowlifes who think they’re exactly what I need to loosen up so I’m not such a bitch day in and day out.
It’s not surprising to say that I have a resting bitch face one hundred percent of the time and the attitude to back it up.
I’m not interested in changing that, and even if I were the men who come here wouldn’t be enough to do the trick.
“Here’s your tab.” I drop the little white paper in front of the jerk that’s been dropping pickup lines my way for the last fifty-two minutes.
Yes, I’ve been timing his idiotic ass.
He picks up the bill and balls it up. Then he flashes me what he believes is a charming smile and drops it down in front of him. “I’m not done here yet, baby. Not until you let me buy you a drink.”
“Stop playing hard to get when we both know you’re leaving here with me tonight.”
Closing my eyes, I take a deep breath and slowly release it. I’ve been working on my anger as much as I can lately and being here really tests me and pushes my limits.
I lean over the bar and get right up in his face. “You can take your cheap drink and shove it up your ass. It’s not happening. Now shut up and pay so I can go home.”
“Damn, girl.” He gives me a sour look and reaches into his pocket for cash. “Here. Keep the damn change.”
I eye him over as he stands up and walks away. He’s not a bad looking guy, but nothing lights my fuse more than a guy pushing himself on me when I’m clearly not feeling it.
“What an ass.” My roommate Tessa slides in beside me and reaches for the small pile of cash the jerk left on the bar. “After this crappy tip, he’s an even bigger ass. Wow. These assholes never cease to amaze me here.”
I met Tessa after I got the job here. When she learned I was staying at a shitty motel, she offered me the spare room at her place.
“Yup. It’s bullshit, but what can we do?” I don’t even bother counting my tip. I grab the two twenties he left to cover the bill and shove the coins leftover for my tip into the tip jar that Tessa and I will split at the end of the night. “You good without me? That ass was my last open tab and I want to get out of here before I get stuck with another one.”
“Yup.” She quickly wipes the bar off and jumps right into helping the next person who pulls out a stool and takes a seat. “I’ve got it from here. It’s slowing down now anyway.”
“Okay, great. I’ll see you when you get off.”
By the time I make it out to the parking lot, all I feel like doing is popping a handful of pills and passing out right here in my shitty old Dodge Neon so I don’t have to deal with anyone else today.
James has sent me six texts since he left my house earlier. The latest one said he’s at my house waiting for me. I have no desire to go home and pretend I want him around, when really, all I want is to be alone.
Ignoring all my messages, I sit here with my eyes closed.
Twenty minutes past—maybe more— allowing myself some time to unwind before I finally drive off, unsure of where I’m going.
It’s dark and quiet out here, almost relaxing, so I’m not really concerned about my destination at the moment.
I just keep driving.
When a motorcycle pulls up on my left at the next stoplight, it’s kind of hard not to look over at the noise to see who’s causing it on this otherwise peaceful drive.
What I don’t expect is for the guy on the motorcycle to catch my attention, but as soon as he turns my direction and I catch the way his dark hair falls over his eye, I can’t seem to look away.
He’s got this rough, edgy look that calls to me, drawing me in.
His eyes are focused on me, as if he’s amused that I’m checking him out the way I am. Even with the dark facial hair around his mouth I can see that he’s smirking, most likely enjoying having this moment of power over me.
It’s enough to have me quickly turning away and looking straight ahead once again.
He may be sexy as hell from what I can see, but I’ll never allow another man to have power over me.
The light turns green, and for some reason, instead of driving off I look beside me at the mysterious motorcycle guy to see he’s watching me, as if he’s waiting for me to take off first.
Unable to stop myself, I rake my eyes over his body, starting at his black boots and slowly moving up his muscular thighs, all the way up to his leather jacket he wears so damn well.
This guy was definitely made for that bike.
Both seem to be dangerous and powerful at first glance.
It’s not until the vehicle behind me honks two times that I finally manage to pull my eyes away from my distraction.
I’m about to drive off when the dick sticks his head out the window and screams at me. “Move, bitch! I’m going to be late because of you. Get out of the way!”
The guy beside me catches my attention again, when I notice him kick the stand down on his motorcycle and get off.
I don’t know what else to do, so I watch him as he walks over to the car behind me, reaches into the window and slams the asshole’s head into the steering wheel.
He doesn’t even bother saying anything to the guy. Instead, he walks right back over to his motorcycle, as if nothing unusual just happened, and drives off.
I don’t know what the hell has gotten into me, but when he takes a left turn, my eyes seem to follow.
My heart is racing in my chest at what just happened. It definitely has nothing to do with the asshole behind me, and everything do with the sexy, dangerous guy that just drove off.
Without giving it much thought, I finally give the jerk behind me what he wants and drive off, taking a left.
I find myself driving around for a bit, before I pull up at a place called Savage & Ink.
As much as I’d like to say I’m here only for the drinks, a part of me knows that’s a lie. I’m curious about this man who lost it on some asshole at my expense not long ago.
There are a lot of motorcycles parked out front, but I can’t tell if one of them belongs to him or not. I can only assume this is where he went once I lost him a few blocks over.
Jumping out of my car, I head toward what seems to be a tattoo parlor attached to the bar. It’s been a while since I’ve gotten some ink done and knowing there’s a shop in the area has me itching for one now.
When I step inside, I look around at the art on the wall, my mouth curving into a small smile. This is definitely the right place to get some ink done.
I don’t see anyone in the tattoo room, so I push open the second door and step into the bar area.
It’s full of bikers drinking and playing pool.
Most women would be intimated by this scene. Not me. I taught myself years ago, when I turned sixteen, that the only way a man will learn what no means is by showing him.
I still remember the look on my dad’s friend’s face when I stabbed my steak knife into his arm after he grabbed my thigh during dinner one night.
He never touched me again and my dad started letting me make my own decisions after that. He must’ve learned that day too that I wasn’t a scared little girl anymore and I’d learned to stand up for myself.
Then, by seventeen, I was living with some friends who were just as screwed up and unwanted as I was. That’s when I got into pill popping, snorting cocaine and drinking, looking for ways to escape.
I’ll be twenty-six in a few months and I’ve only gotten angrier and more bitter with time—numb to any other emotions.
Most people don’t know the true meaning of a bitch until they’ve met me and pissed me off.
I feel eyes settle on me from around the room as I take a seat at the bar and wait for the bartender to look up from the cooler.
He must be refilling it, because it’s been a few minutes and he still hasn’t noticed me sitting here.
“Mind giving me one of those beers? Actually, make it two.”
He pauses for a second, as if he’s surprised to hear a woman’s voice, before he grabs two bottles and stands up.
His amber gaze lands on me, his eyes locking with mine as he pops the cap off the first beer and slides it across to me.
I swallow as I watch him pop the top off the second one and take a swig, as if I didn’t just order two beers.
Well, shit. Motorcycle guy works here.
“Who are you here for?” he questions. “Blaine? Or one of these other assholes?”
I snatch the beer from his hand, right as he’s about to tilt it back again. He watches me as I bring it to my lips and take a drink. “What makes you think I’m here for anyone?”
He smiles and reaches for the untouched beer. I’m not sure if he recognizes me from the stoplight, but he has a look no woman could forget even if she tried. “Because women don’t usually come here alone. You don’t see all the assholes behind you, eyeing you over while thinking up ways they can get you on the back of their bike and in their bed?”
I look over my shoulder, while taking another drink of beer. “I’m not worried about them. None of them can handle me.” I bring my attention back to the man in front of me and the crooked smile on his sexy lips has me a little hot and bothered. “They can look all they want, but they won’t be touching unless they want to lose a nut. I deal with assholes like them all day.”
The crooked smile turns into a full one as he runs his hand over his short beard and leans against the bar. His confidence as he locks eyes with me has me looking lower at his firm chest in that black t- shirt he’s wearing.
I couldn’t see how toned he was when he was wearing that leather jacket on his bike, but I have to admit that his body is enough to make any woman sweat. He looks like a tattooed God.
He’s definitely the kind of guy I wouldn’t mind taking some sexual frustration out on.
I look back up to see his dark hair falling over his face while he looks around the bar, as if he’s keeping an eye out for something to go down.
“Then maybe this is the right place for you to be. Some of these dicks deserve to lose one…” he brings his attention back to me, his eyes becoming intense as they land on my lips around the beer bottle. “Or maybe both.”
I smile and lower the bottle. “Does that include you too? You’re looking at my lips like you wish this bottle was something else.”
“I’m a man, love. It’s only natural that I wish it were my dick. But it’s because I’m a man that I won’t slip it between those beautiful lips until you’re begging for it. And since you’re not I’m going to mind my own damn business.”
He goes back to working but looks back over at me occasionally as if he’s checking to make sure I’m okay.
I also don’t miss that he gives a few dirty looks over my shoulder as if he’s warning assholes to stay away or something.
Whatever it is that he’s doing seems to be working, because even after being here for over an hour, not one guy has messed with me or has attempted to talk to me.
I have to admit I like the way he controls the room. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to go anywhere without being groped by some loser.
“People here are intimated by you, aren’t they?” I can’t help but look him over from head to toe as he stands there, leaned against the wall, watching the room.
“What makes you think that?” He pushes away from the wall and the way his thighs flex when he walks toward me has me licking my bottom lip and watching closely. “I haven’t done or said anything to make you believe that.”
I lean over the bar and stop once our lips are almost brushing. The feel of his beard tickling my skin makes me want to yank him to me by it so I can kiss him, or maybe even bite him, but I don’t. “It’s in your eyes. All you have to do is look at people and they know not to fuck with you. I find it very intriguing.”
When I go to pull away, he grabs the back of my neck, keeping me in place. “People still fuck with me. Just the ones who carry knives and guns. This is only the early crowd, love. This ain’t shit compared to what I’m used to dealing with.” I swallow when his lips move around to brush below my ear.
“You should go before I have to kill someone tonight for trying to put their hands on you. I’ve already broken a guy’s nose over you. Don’t make me do it again.” His words have me swallowing. “The night crowd is beginning to swarm in. This is no place for you.”
With that, he grabs the beer I am currently sipping on and tosses it into the trash.
I stand up and slap the bar, angry that he did that. “Hey! I wasn’t done with that. That’s a waste of my money.”
“You are now. It’s on me anyway, so really, it’s a waste of my money.”
“Fuck you,” I say in his face. “I don’t need someone telling me what to do. I can handle myself.”
“Fuck you right back, baby. But even that won’t make me serve you another beer.” He nods toward the door, his eyes now dark. “Get out.”
“You’re an asshole.”
“Maybe,” he says as I stand up. “But I do what I gotta do. Always have. Always will. Now get the fuck out.”
“Fine. Thanks for the beer, bossy asshole.” Even though he said the drink was on him, I toss some cash on the bar, not wanting anything from him.
My entire body is heated with anger as I walk out of the bar and jump into my car.
It’s been years since I’ve allowed a man to tell me what to do, yet here I am allowing this stranger to have power over me and I don’t even know his name.
I take a few deep breaths to calm myself, before I drive off. I don’t even realize where I’m going until I find myself sitting outside Jaxon’s old home.
I sit here for a while, staring at the rundown house, remembering the past and trying to imagine what Jaxon must be like now that he’s a grown man.
It has my chest aching because he will always be my best memory. The only good ones I have are filled with him, yet I know I can’t go looking for him.
Seconds turn into minutes as I sit here, trying to calm myself down, before I head home and hope like hell that James is either gone by now or has found a new supplier to buy from.
After dealing with that hot asshole at the bar, I need an escape more than anything now…