Violet is haunted by increasingly aggressive text messages from a stalker. The latest comes late at night, when she and Tattoo Thief’s guitarist, Jayce, are at the hospital for a friend.
My phone pings with a new text message and I flinch like the text causes physical pain. Jayce’s eyes flick to me and then to my phone.
I want you to spread your legs and think of me tonight, sexy Violet.
Jayce reads the text faster than I move to cover it. My face heats and I’m sure my skin is tomato-red with shame.
“Looks like your boyfriend misses you. It’s after midnight.” Jayce’s mouth is a hard line and he puts a few more inches of distance between us. I feel colder without him next to me.
I thought we’d had a moment, but then the text showed up and ruined everything.
The texts always ruin everything. First my job, and now my peace. I need to change my mobile number but since I’m jobless, I’m afraid to spend the money to make the switch.
I shake my head, letting my deep red hair fall in my face to protect me from Jayce’s piercing gaze. “I don’t have a boyfriend. Must be a wrong number.” I stuff my laptop in the side of my camera bag in preparation to go.
“Bull. The text said Violet.”
“It’s nothing. I don’t know them. It’s—a mistake.” My voice wavers and I wrap my arms around my stomach. My lying sucks. As if to prove that point, my phone pings with another text and I shield it from Jayce.
Think of me in your room, watching you sleep. Waking you up. Seducing you.
Cold fear slithers down my back and makes me shake so hard I drop the phone.
My address is on the Internet with my photo. If this guy is serious, he knows where I live. He could get inside my building—all it would take is a helpful neighbor. He could get inside my apartment.
Jayce bends down to retrieve my phone from the industrial carpet, and he doesn’t even pretend he’s not looking at the screen when he hands it back.
His face is stormy.
“Either you tell me what’s going on, or I’m going to force the issue.”
“It’s none of your business,” I mumble.
“Fine. Get up.” Jayce tugs my elbow and I wobble to standing. He hoists my camera bag and throws the strap over his head, settling it across his broad chest. His jaw is set. “Let’s go.”
I pull away from him but his firm hand anchors my elbow. “Where?”
“I’m taking you home. Even though you’re lying to me, it’s after midnight and if you don’t know who they’re from, those texts were a hell of a lot more threatening than your typical booty call. Unless it was a booty call. Was it?”
Jayce’s eyes narrow as he looks at me for confirmation that I truly don’t know the sender. I drop my chin and shake my head.
“So we’re going home.”
Something inside me rears up, defensive against his pushy command. “No.” I square my shoulders. At five-nine, I’m only a few inches shorter than Jayce. I swipe at my eyes and blink hard, trying for a stoic mask. “You’re not going anywhere with me. I’m fine by myself.”
Safe Violet and Smart Violet are at war. Safe Violet knows I could really use an escort home, considering the creepers who could make good on the threatening texts. But Smart Violet knows Jayce is the worst possible escort because being a nobody is all I have left.
If I were a celebrity, my photos would explode like a virus.