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EXCERPT: Perversion by T.M. Frazier


๐™๐™Ž๐˜ผ ๐™๐™ค๐™™๐™–๐™ฎ ๐™—๐™š๐™จ๐™ฉ๐™จ๐™š๐™ก๐™ก๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™–๐™ช๐™ฉ๐™๐™ค๐™ง ๐™ค๐™› ๐™ฉ๐™๐™š ๐™†๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™Ž๐™š๐™ง๐™ž๐™š๐™จ, ๐™.๐™ˆ. ๐™๐™ง๐™–๐™ฏ๐™ž๐™š๐™ง, ๐™—๐™ง๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ๐™จ ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช ๐™–๐™ฃ ๐™–๐™ก๐™ก ๐™ฃ๐™š๐™ฌ ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™ž๐™ก๐™ค๐™œ๐™ฎ ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™–๐™ฃ ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™ฉ๐™ž-๐™๐™š๐™ง๐™ค ๐™ฎ๐™ค๐™ช'๐™ง๐™š ๐™œ๐™ค๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™œ ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™ก๐™ค๐™ซ๐™š ๐™ฉ๐™ค ๐™๐™–๐™ฉ๐™š ๐™–๐™ฃ๐™™ ๐™– ๐™—๐™–๐™ก๐™ก๐™จ๐™ฎ ๐™๐™š๐™ง๐™ค๐™ž๐™ฃ๐™š ๐™ฌ๐™ž๐™ฉ๐™ ๐™ฉ๐™ง๐™ž๐™˜๐™ ๐™จ ๐™ช๐™ฅ ๐™๐™š๐™ง ๐™จ๐™ก๐™š๐™š๐™ซ๐™š.

PERVERSION, book one in the all-new Perversion Trilogy is coming September 25th and we have the first sneak peek for you!

Love is supposed to be magical.

Ours is suicidal.

The first time I met Emma Jean Parish,

she conned me into taking her p*ssy.

Her ๐‘๐‘Ž๐‘ก

When she was sixteen,

she manipulated me into giving her

her very first kiss.

At eighteen she gave me ๐‘’๐‘ฃ๐‘’๐‘Ÿ๐‘ฆ๐‘กโ„Ž๐‘–๐‘›๐‘”.

She's a con artist.

I'm a criminal.

I use her.

She manipulates me.

The attraction between us is explosive.

When it detonates

we could both wind up dead.

PERVERSION IS BOOK ONE IN THE PERVERSION TRILOGY

BOOK TWO: POSSESSION

BOOK THREE: PERMISSION

Pre-order your copy of PERVERSION today!

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Emma Jean

When I was younger, I fell in love with magic. I learned every card trick there was from library books and unmasking magic TV specials. I used to put on shows for Gabby that included escaping from complicated knots and trick handcuffs. But whatโ€™s magic besides a sleight of hand?

Itโ€™s a lie.

And lying is what Iโ€™m damn good at.

My ability to spin a tall tale or two lead to stealing wallets and conning people into taking stray pets for the thrill of it. Now, Iโ€™m using it to earn for Marco. The thrill is there, but itโ€™s muted, hindered, lost under his pile of mounting threats.

The inside of the casino smells like stale cigarettes, spilled beer, and burnt coffee. Weโ€™re not supposed to be in here. Itโ€™s Bedlam territory. But thatโ€™s also why itโ€™s perfect.

It isnโ€™t like anyone would recognize us here.

Weโ€™ve made friends with a few of the cocktail waitresses by giving them a small cut, and they donโ€™t ask questions or ring any alarms when they see us working. Iโ€™ve also been straightening my hair over the last few years since my crazy curls stand out like a reflector on a dark highway. Iโ€™ve dyed it a few shades darker than my normal honey blonde to help blend in.

Tonight is starting off well. Gabby and I are working a con weโ€™ve run a few times before.

Gabby walks away, her long dark hair swooshing behind her. She gives me a nod as she passes me by on the slot machine Iโ€™m pretending to play. Sheโ€™s just faked losing an expensive engagement ring at another slot machine. I watched out of the corner of my eye as she frantically looked around for it, then loudly announced a thousand-dollar reward would be waiting at the casino cage for whoever returned it.

She is flawless. She should be an actress. And in another life, she would be.

But we donโ€™t live in another life.

We live in Lacking and belong to Los Muertos.

Our lives are not our own.

A few people casually look around the area, then return to their machines when they donโ€™t find the ring Gabby was ranting about. They wonโ€™t either. Because itโ€™s not there.

Yet.

It's go time.

I strut over to the area Gabby just left and put a dollar in the machine. While the wheels spin, I pretend to pick up the dime store ring I already have in my hand. By the time the machine dings to tell me Iโ€™ve lost my dollar, Iโ€™m turning the ring over, inspecting it like I donโ€™t have half a dozen more just like it in my drawer back at the apartment.

โ€œWould you look at that?โ€ I mutter to myself loud enough so others around me can hear.

A man in an Adidas jumpsuit with a potbelly taps me on the shoulder. โ€œIโ€™ll take that. I saw the woman who dropped it. Iโ€™ll go return it to her.โ€

Liar. You just want the reward.

โ€œThatโ€™s so nice of you,โ€ I say. I hold it out, about to drop it into his hand when I pull it back. โ€œI bet thereโ€™s a reward for something this valuable.โ€ I start to walk around the man. โ€œIโ€™ll take it up to management. Maybe, they knowโ€ฆโ€

โ€œHere,โ€ the man says, holding up a hundred-dollar bill. โ€œTake this. Iโ€™ll take it to her. I justโ€ฆyou know, as I said, I want to make sure it gets back to the right person.โ€

Youโ€™re not even a good liar.

Sometimes, itโ€™s just too freaking easy. And this scam wasnโ€™t even an Emma Jean and Gabby original. We saw it a long time ago in a movie starring Jennifer Love Hewitt. Doesnโ€™t anyone else watch movies?

I shrug and pass him the ring. Plucking the bill from his hand, I tuck it into my bra. โ€œThanks,โ€ I say before quickly making my way toward the large glass front doors. Itโ€™s Thursday. Marcoโ€™s money is due in two days, and weโ€™re short this week.

Really short.

I walk slowly and wave goodbye to the valets with a smile on my face. โ€œAny luck, tonight?โ€

One asks me.

โ€œI think so,โ€ I answer with a smile. Once Iโ€™m down the sidewalk and out of view, I scramble to the side of the casino where I kick off my heels and change from the sequined dress Iโ€™d stolen from a dry-cleaner into a pair of cut-off shorts and my yellow Keds.

Now, all I have to do is wait for Gabby.

I donโ€™t have to wait long.

โ€œRun!โ€ Gabby yells, darting from the doors of the casino with two large men wearing tight black security t-shirts close behind. Running from security is terrifying enough, knowing that weโ€™re running from members of the Bedlam Brotherhood kicks it up a notch.

I grab my backpack and sling it across my shoulders. I move as fast as I can until Iโ€™m running right alongside her. We race through the gates, cross the street, narrowly avoiding being hit by two cars. We duck into a hole in a fence and run through one backyard after the other.

โ€œOne of those cunt waitresses must have tipped them off!โ€ Gabby says, through shallow breaths. Sheโ€™s barefoot in a black mini-dress hiked up to her ass to give her long legs room to run. Her long thick hair is wrapped around her face, sticking to her mouth.

We hit the sixth backyard. Without another word, we separate behind a clothesline. Weโ€™ve mapped out this escape plan a thousand times, but this is the first time weโ€™ve ever had to use it.

When I make it into the central part of town, to the Los Muertos/Bedlam border, I can no longer hear the shouts of the security guards. I lost them.

Hopefully, Gabby did, too.

I use a tower of stacked-up wooden pallets on the sidewalk like a ladder to scale a concrete wall, then drop down into the alley.

I grow more panic-stricken the longer I wait for Gabby. I bite the inside of my lip, pacing back and forth along the high wall. The Bedlam Brotherhood runs the security at the casino. If they catch her and find out who she is? Or worse? Who her brother is? They'll... I shake the thought from my mind. Sheโ€™ll be fine.

She HAS to be fine.

Please be okay, Gabby. Please.

Iโ€™m trying to catch my breath and pull myself together when I hear a clink echo through the alley as if someone dropped some spare change, followed by the sound of something heavy dropping to the asphalt.

โ€œGabby?โ€ I ask into the darkness. Thinking itโ€™s her, relief washes over me like rain on a barren desert.

My only answer is the flickering of a fluorescent light mounted high on the roofโ€™s edge of the adjoining building. And the hiss of what sounds like a cat behind a dumpster.

I walk over and peer around it. โ€œGabby? Are you hurt? Say something!โ€ I whisper-shout.

Someone moves from within the shadow. โ€œGet out here, Gabby. Weโ€™ve got to go before Marโ€ฆโ€

The light flickers again, for just a second. That second is all I need to see that the someone slowly stalking toward me is not Gabby.

Itโ€™s a manโ€ฆtwice my size.

โ€œWho are you?โ€ I ask, shuffling backward as the man cloaked in a black leather hood emerges from the shadows. The front of his jacket is open. Underneath, he's shirtless, covered in a sheen of sweat, and more tattoos than visible skin all the way up the front of his throat. His muscled chest and abs flex with each step he takes. The hood shadows most of his face, but when the lights flicker again, yellow eyes glow from within.

And theyโ€™re locked on me.

My โ€˜save your assโ€™ mode kicks in.

The man is blocking the only exit. My only other chance of escape is to scale the same wall I used to drop into the alley.

I keep moving backward as he approaches until my back hits the wall. I look left and right for something to use to climb on.

Thereโ€™s nothing but emptiness.

My stomach sinks, but surrender is not an option.

I swallow hard as the alarm bells scream in my head for me to run. Somewhere. Anywhere.

Thereโ€™s nowhere to go!

My legs tremble. Fear crawls like a million spiders along the backs of my legs. I push myself further against the wall as if I can squish the feeling away, but itโ€™s useless.

Fear consumes me. Swallows me whole.

He continues toward me. As he gets closer, I realize itโ€™s not just sweat glistening on his skin. Thereโ€™s something else splattered across the tattoos on his chest and on his stubbled jaw.

It almost looks like wet paint.