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He’s my angry, intense obscenely beautiful BULLY…

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Asher Hansen began tormenting me our freshman year, not long after my father kicked him and his older brother off the compound with nothing but the clothes on their back.

They blamed Dad for their mother taking her own life. To be honest, I think I did, too.

Maybe that’s why I took it whenever Asher called me Cult Barbie and teased me mercilessly, saying the filthiest, most outrageous things.

But that doesn’t explain why his words always made me feel…fizzy inside.

To say I’ve been waiting for this moment is an understatement. It’s graduation day, a big deal for every eighteen-year-old and an even bigger deal for someone who grew up the way I did.

But for me today is about more than the end of high school. It’s about taking control of my life. Today, I’m actually going to do it. The one thing I can do to shock him. My ruthless nemesis.

I guarantee he won’t see it coming.

EXCERPT:


“What’s that, buttercup?” he asks, mocking laughter in his voice when he hears me speak up. “Are you actually going to fight back for once? This should be fun.”

I take a bracing breath and turn to face him. But the breath just rushes back out again.

That’s what he does to me, this bitter, mean-spirited, obscenely beautiful bully.

It really is obscene, how pretty he is, with dark eyelashes that make his green eyes pop and black-as-sin hair so silky looking my fingers used to itch to touch it in English.

On the first day of class, I got there early enough to score a seat in the very back. So, in order to stay close enough to make every moment of my life at school miserable, Asher—my teasing, tormenting shadow—had been forced to take the seat in front of mine.

What he didn’t know?

I didn’t find it miserable at all to spend fifty minutes staring at his silky hair and broad, powerful shoulders. Even when he turned around to sneer at me, I didn’t mind too much.

Even his sneer is gorgeous, the jerk.

“Cat got your tongue?” he asks, stepping out of the doorway to the classroom across the hall and stalking toward me.

When he moves like that, I feel like prey, and I’m nearly one hundred percent sure that’s his intention. Asher is the best player on the baseball team and rumor has it he turned down a full scholarship to play for the Longhorns at UT. He’s in complete control of his body and well aware of the things it can do.

“No,” I reply, gathering my courage. “And no, I’m not going to fight back. In fact, I don’t want to fight at all.”

His eyes go wide with a mixture of anger and…amusement.

Gambling that I’ve found a tactic that works and should run with it, I say, “That’s understandable. My father was awful to you. But I’m not my father, Asher. And I’m not a fan of his right now. That’s why I was hoping to run into you today.”

He crosses his arms over his thick chest, grinning as he says, “Okay, you got me, C.B. I’m intrigued. This new, psychotic side of you is still weird as hell, but interesting.” He taps a finger to his chin. “Now, why on earth would you think I’d give two shits that you’re on the outs with your daddy?”

“I don’t expect you to care,” I say, curling my hands into fists at my sides. “I expect you to jump on the chance to get revenge. Real revenge this time, not just bullying Dad’s favorite daughter in the halls, but really wrecking her. Breaking her.” My tongue slips out to dampen my lips as I add in a softer voice, “Ruining her.”

The second the words are out of my mouth the humor vanishes from Asher’s eyes, and replaced by a dark look.

A dangerous look.

A look that has me rethinking the wisdom of my proposition even before he grabs my shoulders and shoves me back against the lockers.

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