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You know that group of people in school that everyone fears? Popular. Beautiful. The in-crowd?
That was my family. Kind of.
We were above that group. We held court over everyone else. We were the best looking. We were the mysterious and elusive ones. Most of the girls wanted to (and did) date the guys, but they didn’t want to be one of us. They couldn’t be. They were our prey.
We were the feared.
But like every family, nothing is as it seems. That was my truth.
Kellan was in his own league. He was our leader and he was the one no one messed with. No one dared. He was ruthless, powerful, and no one could match him…
Except for me.
I was about to find out just how different I was from my family.
**Evil is a full-length paranormal romance stand-alone.
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When I was grabbed from behind and thrown against my locker, I wasn’t surprised to see Matt Rettley’s smirking expression. He was heavily muscled, striking blue eyes, and blinding blond curls to match. Matt might’ve been the high school football quarterback most girls’ dream to squeeze, but to me—he was the aggressor.
And a part of me liked it.
“What?” I asked. He had my hands pushed up against the lockers. I glanced at them and wondered at the different skin colors. Of course, I didn’t have a skin color. I wore black, all black, all over. And his hands were golden tan since summer was just around the corner.
“What do you mean ‘what?’ You know what.” Matt pushed closer. “I saw you eyeing me in the cafeteria today. You don’t eat. You don’t think I know what that’s about? You trying to be all skinny for me? You think it makes me hot?”
One of his hands slid to the back of my neck and filtered through my long black hair before it rested on the curve of my back. He pulled me close, and bent to whisper into the crook of my neck, “You just breathe, and I think it’s hot. Right, baby? Do I do it for you, too?”
I glanced over his shoulder, felt my brother’s approach, and whispered, “Maybe if you died.”
Matt tensed and then shoved me against the locker again. As my head hit the metal, I saw Kellan rip Matt away, hurling him against the next locker.
It was odd. I never saw Kellan’s approach, but I always felt him. Just like he always felt when I needed him.
I watched as Kellan threw Matt against another locker, snarl something into his ear, and rear back to throw a punch. I felt the crunch of bone more than I heard it and knew that my brother had just broken another umpteenth jaw.
As a teacher turned the corner, Matt rushed around the other corner. No one wanted to get the Bradens in trouble.
“Kellan and Shay Braden, why is it always you two? And if it’s not the two of you, it’s your other two siblings. All the time.” Mr. Mirchak approached, shaking his head. “Who’d you fight this time, Kellan?”
I should’ve felt something, maybe remorse, but there was nothing. Matt had assaulted me. Kellan felt it and protected me. And if Matt chose to run away, then that was Matt’s decision. But still…I should’ve felt guilty.
Kellan drew to his full height of six one and squared his lean shoulders against the portly forty-something teacher. He shook his head and drawled, “Do you see anyone, Mr. Mirchak?”
The balding teacher shook his head. “I never see anyone, Kellan. That’s the problem. But I know that someone’s going to show up with a busted eye, maybe a shoulder. I don’t know, but there’s always something.” He turned away, but mumbled over his shoulder, “…too damn scared to say a thing…”
Kellan waited until the teacher had turned the corner before he flashed a smile. “What do you think?”
I rolled my eyes and kicked my locker open. “You didn’t have to break his jaw.”
“Right.” Kellan fell against the locker beside mine and studied me intently. “At least this way, he’ll shut up all the time. I’m getting tired of his mouth. The guy thinks he knows you too much. He doesn’t know anything.”
“Still…” I muttered as I bent inside to grab my book.
“Still,” Kellan mimicked me and yanked me out. “Why didn’t you do something, Shay?”
“What are you talk—?”
“Don’t. Not with me,” Kellan interrupted. “You could’ve stopped him long before I came around the corner. You knew I was coming. Why didn’t you stop him?”
“Maybe I wanted to hear his rhetoric on how hot I must be for him.”
“Don’t be funny, Shay. You’re not the funny one, remember?”
I smirked. “That’s funny. I don’t think that role’s been taken in our family.”
Kellan’s hand tightened on my arm. He pulled me closer and bent his head to my ear. “You always wait for me. Why?”
Maybe I couldn’t bring myself to do what he enjoyed. Maybe I liked knowing he’d always protect me or that someone would protect me. Maybe…maybe I enjoyed the sick pleasure knowing that someone like Matt could never really hurt me, though he didn’t know that fact. Or maybe…I whispered, “I don’t know, okay?”
I didn’t know. I had ideas. I had possible scenarios, but the only truth was, I could’ve easily broken Matt’s hold on me and I didn’t.
“It’s done, I guess. No harm.” He caught my swift look. “No harm done…to us.”
“That’s better.” I grinned and eyed the book in my hand.
“Are you going to class?”
“I don’t know.” I should. I was the “good” student, but there was something tempting about the summer wind. Living in Minnesota made it difficult to stay away from the summer lakes. The water always beckoned…