Lexie – 17 years old
“See you tomorrow, Lex.” My coworker Eddie waved as he exited the store, rushing through the rain with his jacket pulled up over his head.
“Bye Eddie.” I mumbled to myself, rounding the counter and stepping behind it. Pulling my textbooks out of my backpack behind the counter, I set them up near the chair on the side where the small shelf was.
The owner of the Stop and Go didn’t mind if I worked on my homework while on shift, as long as I stopped the moment a customer came in. Finals were coming up and I needed as much study time as possible. This summer I was taking design classes through the local college that would set me up for next year. I had big dreams and if I wanted to go for them, I had to put in the work.
I pulled my phone out of my jeans pocket, setting it down next to my books before sitting down in the chair.
Right on time, my phone dinged loudly. I grabbed it, opening the text message thread.
Mom: Staying at Mallory’s for dinner again?
Me: Yes. I will be home after we have our study session. Probably around 11pm.
I was lying but unfortunately, I didn’t have much choice. There was no way that my dad would be okay with me working. Especially evening shifts at a gas station. He looked at me like I was a China doll that would break at any moment.
Sure, I probably acted that way. I was shy, timid and quiet. It was just who I was. I was born with a birth anomaly known as Heterochromia. It was extremely rare affecting less than 1 percent of the world’s population. I had one vibrant emerald, green eye and one stormy steel blue eye. Each one a replica of my parents’ eyes.
I preferred it when people didn’t notice me.
My mother checked in every single day, right at 6pm if I wasn’t home. Even if I told her where I was going to be, she sent me a message at the exact same time each day.
I didn’t like lying to my family, but I needed this job. I didn’t have a friend named Mallory, either. That was another lie. I didn’t have any friends.
With the way my dad treated me, I was worried that once I graduated, he wouldn’t let go. Our family had more than enough money to send me to school anywhere that I wanted to go. But if I truly wanted to get away, I knew I would most likely have to rely on scholarships and my own money to do it.
We were staying in my parents’ hometown for the summer and when we had first arrived, we had stopped at the small gas station on the outskirts of town. I had noticed the help wanted sign in the window and applied the next day. Two days later, I had been hired.
The bell over the door jingled loudly as it opened and I quickly stood up, walking over to the front counter. My heart began to beat rapidly as I watched the man that entered. He came in every night around the same time.
His name was Marco, and he was four years older than I was. The only reason I knew that was because on my first shift here, I had ID’d him when he asked for a pack of cigarettes. He had glared at me but produced his wallet that held his ID.
He hardly spoke, never smiled and never made eye contact. He responded in grunts and growls, like he was some feral animal and only spoke when he would ask for his cigarettes.
As much as I hated eye contact, somedays I truly wished he would look at me. Those gorgeous deep grey eyes were captivating even when they were focused solely on the one spot he had burnt a hole through over the past month and a half.
Not literally. But I had managed to place a smiley face on that spot that always held his attention. He hadn’t even noticed.
His sharp jaw line clenched as he stalked around the store, his slightly crooked yet perfect nose twitching as he walked past the hot convenience store food that spun on the racks in the center. He was beyond sexy in a rough, manly way that I had never even known that I was attracted to.
He was always dressed in jeans and a plain t-shirt, his muscles rippling with each movement under the material, threating to burst through it, his fully covered tattooed arms on display.
I felt my neck and face flush as he approached the counter, setting down his usual energy drink, protein bar and small slushee, his dark brown hair falling into his eyes as he lowered them to the smiley face sticker on the counter.
God, why did he have to be so sexy?
He pulled cash out of his pocket, counting out the exact amount before I even told him, pushing it forward.
“No cigarette’s today?” I asked as I paused my movements of reaching for his usual.
He shook his head, his eyes coming up to meet mine. I inhaled sharply as those stormy eyes clashed with my mismatched ones, shivers running down my spine. Staring straight into them was so much more than I had imagined.
“Someone told me they’ll kill me.” His deep gravelly voice washed over me, touching all the way down to my toes as they curled in my runners.
I had told him that. Almost every time I had slid them over the counter. Jesus, was he quitting because of what I had said to him? What did that mean? My heart tripled in beats and I suddenly found it hard to breath.
Reaching for the cash on the counter, my fingers shook trying to pick up each coin. One fell from my quivering digits, rolling across the counter, back to the God of a man before me.
He slammed his hand down loudly causing me to jump as he stopped it from rolling further. Picking it up, he reached forward, placing it into my open hand. My breath hitched when his fingers brushed over mine, tingles of excitement shooting through my skin. His hand quickly jerked back, shoving it straight into his pocket.
Without waiting for me to finish picking up the money, he grabbed his items, turning on his heel and left the store without another word.
Once the money was in the register, my shaky legs led me back over to the chair and I slumped into it, my hands raking through my hair. That had been our most intense interaction yet.
To anyone else, it would have appeared as minor. Like it wasn’t a big deal. But he had touched me. He had looked at me. The man that I had seen nearly every day for the past month and a half, the man that I had dreamt about nearly every single night, had actually acknowledged my presence.
I let out a shaky breath, quickly standing as the bell over the door rang out once more. I smiled at the man as he stalked to the back of the store, his hood pulled up over his head. Unease washed over me as I watched his eyes dart to the camera in the corner, his ballcap under his hood hiding his face from it.
He grabbed a few items from the shelves without even looking at them and walked fast towards me. Instinctively, I took a step back and he looked up at me with surprise which morphed into a disgusting, front tooth missing, grin.
He was over the counter before I even had time to think, one hand around my waist from behind, the other holding a gun to my neck. “You’re going to open that drawer and slowly take out the money, placing it a plastic bag. Then you are going to follow me to the back where the safe is. Nod if you understand.”
Fear took over as I nodded my head, following his instructions as I grabbed one of the bags from below the counter, opening the drawer and started putting the money inside of it.
“Good girl. Now let’s go.” He led me out from behind the counter towards the back hallway and rooms, leading me straight towards the office. He knew exactly where it was. He pulled out a key, opening the door then pushed me threw it.
I cried out as I landed on my knees, the contact with the hard floor sending shooting pains up through my knees and legs. Fighting back the tears, I crawled forward toward the safe, punching in the code and pulling it open. I didn’t bother trying to fight. My life wasn’t worth the couple thousand dollars that sat inside the safe.
Pushing me to the side, the man began to toss the money inside the bag, tying it at the top when he was done and setting it on my boss’s desk. “I have to say, you were the added bonus and the reason why I took this job.”
I scrambled backwards as he came toward me, a predator stalking his prey, a sick and twisted smile on his lips which he slowly licked.
My mind screamed at him, screamed at my body to fight back but I was helpless, my body betraying me as I cowered in the corner.
I felt the hot liquid spray over my face before my mind even registered what was happening. The man’s body slumped over to one side, thick red liquid pouring onto the ground beneath him.
"Sfinge.” I looked up at the man now standing over me, holding a gun in one hand as he knelt down and reached toward me. I hadn’t even heard a gunshot. “Look at me, Sfinge.”
Of all the places my mind went, it was to that word. Sfinge.
“Sphinx.” I whispered the word as I felt my head spin, black spots taking over my vision as my body fell forward into the man’s arms.
“Are you a fucking idiot? What the hell were you thinking?” The loud screaming pulled me from the darkness, my eyes opening to see two sets of feet in front of me. Just behind them, I could see the outline of another body, lying on a tarp. The robber. We weren’t in the office anymore. “Why in the fuck would you bring her here? Do you know who she is?”
I quickly closed my eyes.
Think Lexie. Think. How to get out of this?
Shit. They were going to kill me, weren’t they?
“I panicked Victor. She fainted. I had no idea if he hurt her or not. I had to get them both out of there.” I recognized that voice. It was Marco’s. I would know it anywhere even if I had only heard it a few times.
“That is Lexie fucking Vanderbrooke you dumb shit!” The other voice roared loudly, causing me to jump slightly.
“That is why I brought her, Victor. What if she was fucking hurt?” Marco’s voice was hard and unwavering as the sound of shuffling feet moved closer to my body. “Get a cleanup crew to the Stop and Go now. I will deal with them.”
The sound of heavy feet stomping over concrete floor rang through the room before total silence took over.
“I know you’re awake. Open your eyes.”
I shook my head, squeezing my eyes shut tightly.
He sighed, his feet shuffling beside me. I screamed when I felt my body being lifted from the ground and my eyes shot open.
“Don’t scream. Keep your mouth shut.” He growled the words as he walked with me toward a door at the edge of the room. He pushed it open, tossing me onto my ass on the counter before turning on the water in the sink. We were in a tiny bathroom that only had a toilet and a sink, no windows.
My eyes were already darting wildly around looking for the nearest exit.
“Don’t even think about it. Arms up.” Grumbling, he grabbed the bottom of my t-shirt, pulling it up with force and off my body, tossing it to the side. I moved to jump from the counter but one of his large hands landed in my lap, pinning me in place. “Hold still.”
I yelped when a cold cloth was pressed to my chest, rubbing roughly. “Wh... wh... what are you doing?”
He pulled the white cloth from my chest and shoved it in front of my face, the red smears covering it. “Blood.” He grunted, removing his hand pinning me down to rinse the cloth before bringing it up to my face. He was much gentler as he washed my face thoroughly.
I sat there, frozen in place, as Marco cleaned my face, arms, chest and neck.
He stepped back, his eyes moving over my body, studying it as they went before grabbing the neck of his own shirt and pulling it off.
I tried to scramble backwards, my mind going to the worst places imaginable as one hand landed in the sink, and I fell sideways. His hands darted out, stopping my flailing movements before shoving my head through the neck hole of the shirt and forcing my hands through each arm hole.
He yanked it down roughly, covering my bare torso before his fingers reached out and grabbed my chin firmly, forcing me to look directly at him. “You went home early from work because you weren’t feeling good. You shut down the gas station and locked up. You didn’t see anything. You didn’t see anyone.”
I stared at him blankly, my mind trying to catch up to everything that was going on. The man that he had killed. The man that was going to attack me. He had saved me. Marco had saved me.
“Y... Y... You...”
“You went home early from work because you weren’t feeling good. You shut down the gas station and locked up. You didn’t see anything. You didn’t see anyone. Do you understand what I am saying little Sfinge?” His stormy grey eyes darted back and forth between each of mine.
“You saved me.” I whispered the words as emotions took over. My body acted on its own accord, flying forward and wrapping my arms around his neck, my lips pressing to his.
His eyes widened in surprise momentarily before closing, his long dark lashes brushing over his skin, strong hands sliding over my hips and pulling me closer. My mind had no control over my body as my lips began to move, parting slightly as his own parted.
His tongue pushed through the opening, sliding into my mouth, exploring every inch. An involuntary moan escaped as his tongue stroked sensually alongside mine, his fingers digging in harder as he pulled my body flush to his. His lips and tongue began to move faster, desperately licking and sucking, devouring me.
I sucked in a sharp breath, stealing his when I felt his erection pushing hard against my core, my hips instinctively pushing forward. Growling, he pulled back, his eyes once more meeting mine, his pupils wide and dilated. He released me so suddenly, I fell backwards, my head slamming against the mirror behind me.
“Don’t ever touch me, Sfinge.” He took a step back, his eyes moving over my body slowly. My eyes did the same, taking in each portion of his perfectly chiseled abs and chest that were completely covered in tattoos. Even beneath them, I could see the dozens of scars that littered his body. “I am going to take you home now. You aren’t going to say a word about tonight to anyone. If you do, I will fucking kill you, do you understand?”
He took a step forward, so he was once more standing between my legs. I nodded my head slowly as I gulped loudly, my hands beginning to shake as the adrenaline faded from my body. I believed him.
It was in that moment that it hit me. It hit me hard.
I had just had my first kiss and it was with a man who was a murderer.
**** (Does happy does) Woo! The time has come! I am beyond stoked. Can you tell!?
I’ve been working double time just to get this story going and get it out to you amazing readers!
⚠️ IMPORTANT PLEASE READ ⚠️
THIS NOVEL IS AN EROTIC ROMANCE RIDDLED WITH MATURE SITUATIONS! If you are a minor and reading this... yikes. Maybe exit right about now. If you choose not to, don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Besides graphic sex scenes and vulgar language, there is also violence, gore and there will even be depictions of childhood abuse through flashbacks. There WILL be warnings and you will be able to skip these parts and have it summed up differently without having to read it. If this is a concern for you, please make sure you read my warnings in the beginning of chapters so you are aware.
As previously stated, this is a spinoff. You don't have to read my other novels first but it is recommended!
Hope you lovely readers enjoy this adventure. I know I’m excited! ****
THIS STORY IS RATED 18+. There will be intense sexual scenes. Very fucking vulgar language 😉 as well as violence and some gore. I’m not going to sugar coat it for you. (And also some hilarious sexual innuendos, inappropriate debauchery and all around funny shit.)
NSFW! I am looking at all you thirsties that are coming back for more of my Zondra goodness.
In the words of the great Joshua Jenson: Marco and Lexie will be locking legs and swapping gravy, playing a game of Mr. Wobbly hides his helmet, stirring the up-skirt yogurt, harpooning the salty longshoreman, doing the horizontal greased-weasel tan...
Okay... I think you get the point.
This book is a spinoff from the Distorted Windows Trilogy but CAN be read as a standalone. However, I do recommend reading my other works first. It will give some great insight to the other side characters in this novel.
Recommended reading order:
The Devil’s Looking Glass
The Rise of Raven
Lusting After Lucian
His Shy Sphinx
Ace’s Secret Addiction - coming soon
For all my long time readers, you finally got to see how Marco and Lexie first met! What are your thoughts?