Vengeance in Bloom

By: Jennifer Michael

Fifteen Hours Earlier


I’m that girl people hate. I’m that girl I hate. I’m high on emotions and fantasy-worthy sex. His hands on my skin. The heat from his touch. The feeling of our bodies together. The electricity when he’s in the room . . .

I’m a lovesick dope, high on endorphins.

I never meant to fall for him. It wasn’t in the plan, but damn if I couldn’t help it. I’m in the middle of things I can’t stop, things I’ve no control over. No control over the way I feel about him and no control over the things in motion beyond us. I need to get my head screwed on straight. There is a bigger picture.

A dark cloud hovers over all of us. Yet, here I lie, in Burke’s bed, sore from his rough treatment this morning. The ache between my legs from the force with which he slammed inside me still throbs, and I wish he were still here with me. He’s not. Burke and Kai left a few minutes ago to go to a prison, and I’m doodling imaginary hearts inside the pages of my mind.

Teagan’s screams alert me to a change in the atmosphere. My bubble in this bed bursts into pieces as the sound of footsteps echoes and bounces off the walls. The grunts of men here to inflict harm pierce my ears. The fear in Teagan’s voice is heartbreaking and even more so when sound from her ceases. I scramble from the bed and debate my next move. Clothes would be an obvious choice, but my brain function is a bit muddled. My movements are shaky as I try to pull myself together. This is not the time to fall apart. I pull on my jeans and T-shirt, which I’m pretty sure is inside out but I don’t care. I grab my shoes and shove my feet into them, completely forgoing my socks.

My phone.

I need to find it. I’m frantic as I spin in small circles. My eyes bounce between the room and the door, which is still closed.

Where the hell is it?

I need to call the police or Burke or someone. Fuck, I left it downstairs last night. I strain to hear and try to place where the intruders are in the house. Do I barricade myself in? What about Teagan? Whoever is in the house did something to her. Hurt her. I can’t abandon her.


My shaking hands reach for the door.


My fingers twist hesitantly around the knob.

Everything goes dark as I slam my eyes closed.

Crashing and banging ring throughout the home and fry my nerves.

I force my eyes wide open and pull the door open.

I expected to be greeted by assailants, people here to hurt me, but the hallway outside Burke’s room appears to be empty. They are here. I can hear them, but they aren’t outside the door. The hairs on the back of my neck stand, as I know they could be around any corner. As quietly as I can, not wanting them to find me, I race toward Teagan’s room. I need to find her. We need to survive this together.

Grunts and masculine laughter follow each crash from downstairs.

Why haven’t they come to find me yet?

Teagan’s door is wide open, and I know they’ve already got her. Her room has been demolished; no fixture is left in its place. Panic erupts inside me. I need my phone. I need a weapon. I need to somehow find Teagan and get the hell out of this house.

“Your friend cried when I came for her. Will you cry? I like it when they cry.”

The voice is way too close. Too low. Too . . . excited by the possibility of hurting me. The heavy scent of body odor and cheap cologne hits my nose. It pollutes my lungs, and I can taste it on my tongue. I turn and am faced with the worst-case scenario. A large man blocks my only exit; perspiration runs down his face. He sneers at me and vulgarly grabs himself. He inches closer. My instincts beg me to flee, but I have nowhere to go.

“That’s it, baby. I love to see the fear in your eyes. Fuck, it’s sexy.”

“Where’s Teagan?”

“That one made my dick hard as steel. I need to release some of the energy I worked up, listening to her desperate cries and weeping pleas. Are you a fighter, baby? I like it when they fight.”

This isn’t happening.

The man continues toward me.

This isn’t happening.

I should run.

I need to try.

He undoes the button on his jeans.

My feet won’t move.

Paralyzed by fear.

This isn’t happening.

He exposes himself without bothering to rid himself of his pants.