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I Was Born Ruined (Death by Daybreak MC #1)
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WARNING: this is a reverse harem (one girl, four guys) motorcycle club romance. It’s gritty, dirty, and dark. There’s cursing, sex, drugs, and violence. Read at your own risk.
What sort of girl loves sin like I do?
I’m the princess to a dirty throne of motorcycles and madness, daughter of the president of the Death by Daybreak motorcycle club. My father’s four closest officers … men dressed in blood and death and sin … they’re my honor guard, cloaked in leather vests and tattoos. Only, there’s nothing honorable about them at all.
They’re all wrong for me.
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My first memory is of feeling protected, safe. Even now, the scent of leather and motor oil calms my nerves, the roar of an engine a siren song that I can’t resist. For years, I lived under the blanket of a lie, knowing that there were people out there who would protect me, no matter what, who had my back. It made the world seem less scary, more manageable.
Then one day—I can’t remember when—I woke up and realized it.
My protectors, my family, they were the monsters.
And their protection came with a hefty price.
My legs are cloaked in black, smooth lines of leather that hang over the edge of the crumbling brick wall. In one hand, I have a cigarette. In the other, a small paper bag wrapped around a bottle. Inside, there’s about half a liter of Jameson with lipstick smudges around the rim.
“Jump, Gidge,” my best friend, Reba, says from below. She’s dressed like a nun, in a long navy skirt that tangles in the brambles, and a white cardigan slung over slim shoulders. It’s why we get along, me and Reba. I’m sin and she’s salvation, that’s why we work. I don’t think I could handle two of me in the same town let alone the same school or party or sleepover. “I know you’re afraid of heights—” she starts, but I’m already taking another swig of the whiskey and hopping down to land in a crouch beside her.
I might be wary of heights, but I’m not sure that I’m afraid.
I’m not sure that I’m afraid of anything, not anymore.
That’s what growing up around monsters will do to ya.
“There must be easier ways to get to the bonfire,” she says, unhooking a stray thorny blackberry arm from the shoulder of her sweater. “Like, say, in a car.”
I take a drag on my cigarette and give her a look.
“Nobody in their right mind would risk giving me a ride,” I say, pushing past her and following a narrow trail through the brush. “And even if we could find somebody crazy enough to pick us up, there’s always the chance Cat or somebody else in the club might see us on the road. Can’t risk it.”
Reba sighs and pushes some of her wavy red hair over one shoulder. Yet another reason we’re friends—her father’s the pastor of a local church. Mine’s the president of an outlaw motorcycle club. She’s been trained to hate him from birth; I’ve hated him since I was fifteen. We might be complete opposites, but we have that in common.
Everybody else in this town … they’re too scared of my dad to hate him. Reba thinks she’s got God on her side. I’m not sure that I believe in God, but I sure as shit believe in the devil. I’ve seen him, him and his demons.
And they all ride in Cat’s motorcycle club: Death by Daybreak MC.
They wear leather vests and smoke cigarettes, fuck groupies and drown themselves in booze and the skunk-y sweet scent of pot. They tame wild beasts made of chrome, bury men in the woods behind my grandmother’s house, and they don’t lose a wink of sleep about any of it. I used to think of them as giants, guardians, big men with beards and tattoos and arms rippling with muscles that stood watch over me like an honor guard over a princess.
I don’t think that anymore.
“I can’t believe you talked me into going to this,” Reba whispers, her Southern accent as thick as the humidity clinging to the late evening air. It’s getting dark, and in the distance, I swear, I can see fireflies. They don’t live in the Pacific Northwest, but a girl can dream, right?
I lead the way through the brush, alternating drags of my cigarette with sips of the whiskey. It burns my throat going down, but it’s the only thing that keeps the memories at bay, locks them up and throws away the key. I’m only seventeen—I shouldn’t have to deal with this kind of shit yet. Hang-ups and nightmares and emotional triggers are for people who’ve lived and loved and experienced and traveled.
I’ve been trapped in a cage my whole life.
So why is this happening to me? Old memories flicker up from the darkest depths of my soul.
Blood drips to the floor in thick, crimson drops. It pools around the knife, stains her white shirt red. It’s too personal, the way she watches that blade, like she knows. She knows she’s going to die—and I know it, too.
Ain’t nobody wants to relive that shit; I shake my head to clear the image of my dead sister.
“It’s our last big hurrah before senior year,” I say, looking up at the yellow-brown leaves on the trees. It’s been a hot summer, too hot. Everyone in our neighborhood has a dead lawn and shriveled bushes, dusty driveways and a newfound hatred for the sun—our little Oregon town is more than ready for fall. “We have to make an appearance.”