© 2018 by Meghyn King.

Scarred

Chapter One

Scarlett hated the morning after a one-night-stand. Men whined that women were too clingy, but she’d learned the hard way that men could be just as insecure. There had been more than one incident where she had to extract herself from a man who thought they’d move on to some sort of relationship. She knew enough about behavior to know that it was human. Everyone wanted to have some sort of attachment to the person they had sex with, and maybe one day Scarlett would want that too, but all she needed now was a rough fuck that left her sore and her body satisfied. She wasn’t ashamed to admit it.

This morning was no different. She woke up to the sun filtering through the threadbare curtains. They were a pungent cream and had no backing, which left the room at the mercy of the strong light that heated the area immediately. It was barely eight in the morning but sweat clung to her naked chest like a second skin.

Scarlett groaned and glanced at the body beside her. The man from the night before was still asleep, cuddled beneath the blankets, but she didn’t need to see him to remember every inch of his body. He was a muscular god with large hands and coarse skin. Then there was his unforgettable cock, which made Scarlett feel like it would rip her apart with its width. It felt so fucking good. On the other hand, his name was a distant memory. Charlie? No, that was the guy the night prior. Maybe Will. Jee-sus, she couldn’t remember it.

It didn’t matter anyway, she wasn’t going to stay around long enough to care. She rose and sat on the edge of the bed, grabbing her knickers that lay on the floor beside it. Scarlett knew exactly where her one-night stand had thrown them last night; she made a point to always remember, to allow a quick getaway. Unfortunately, he woke up just as she stood to slip them up her thighs.

His hand felt like a lead weight when he patted her rounded ass. “Hey, gorgeous. Up for another round?”

Scarlett threw him a smile over her shoulder. “No, thank you.”

Her bra was next. It sat beside the door that led to his bedroom, and she quickly grabbed it, slipping her arms through the straps, and fixing her boobs to fit into it before clipping it up.

The guy frowned at her as he got out of bed. His nakedness drew her stare to his cock. God, what a cock. It tempted her to take him up on his offer, but she resisted it. Temptation would lead her down a dark path.

“Wasn’t it good for you, baby?” He spread his arms and let his dick swing between his legs. He was at half-mast and on the rise, and it made her lick her lips. She loved sucking cock, and had she been less resistant toward the idea of seconds, she would have been on her knees before he could blink. If it hadn’t been for that nickname…. Jee-sus, she hated that word. Baby was what you called a newborn, not a grown woman who you had stuck your cock in the night before.

Scarlett still smiled, though. If her momma taught her anything, it was manners. “It was perfect, thanks, but I have to get to work.” It was a lie, but a darn good one if she did say so herself.

Mr. One-Night Stand didn’t believe her, though. He smirked and strutted toward her. “On a Sunday? Come on, baby, let’s have another tumble in the sheets. I’ll eat you out like a starving man. Your pussy tasted so good last night.”

Scarlett grabbed her dress and slipped it on. It looked crinkled and chaotic compared to last night, but it was nothing that a good dry-clean couldn’t fix. She’d bought the black minidress especially for the opening night of the new club, but she honestly hadn’t expected to stay in it long. She’d already warned her drycleaners of the incoming garment the day before.

“Did you hear me?” Annoyance commanded Mr. One-Night Stand’s voice.

“I heard you perfectly.” She flicked her bright crimson hair over her shoulder, her manners slipping in the wake of his impatience. “And I already told you I have to work. And I was very clear that this wasn’t more than sex. If you couldn’t handle that, then you shouldn’t have taken me to your bed.”

“You’re a lying bitch,” he sneered, taking a step toward her.

Scarlett snatched her compact purse from off the floor beside the bed and pulled out her pepper spray. She was always ready for the aggressive ones if need be. Jerks existed, and being turned down for another round sometimes resulted in anger that she had no time to deal with. “I wouldn’t push it if I was you.” Her gaze narrowed on him. “I have pepper spray and training in self-defense, and I’m not afraid to use either.” It wasn’t hard to find her car keys. No matter how horny she was, she made sure she was always aware of where she put her essentials. “I had a lovely night, but that’s all it was.”

His eyebrows furrowed, and anger twisted on his face, but he didn’t make a move toward her as she exited his apartment. She’d never had to use her pepper spray thank God, but it was better to be safe than sorry. She didn’t really blame their anger, even if she always warned them at the start that it was just one night, that she didn’t do more than that. Some of them had it in their heads that they’d be so good in bed that she’d change her mind. And there were a couple who she might have been tempted by, like Mr. One-Night Stand from last night, but she had her own rules to stick by, and no one was going to make her break them. Not even for a guy who knew how to play her body like a musical instrument.

His place wasn’t far from hers, so it didn’t take her long to arrive home. As soon as she opened the door, she was greeted by persistent meows. It made her smile as she crouched and ran her hand along the ginger fur.

“Hello, my gorgeous girl,” she cooed, scraping her fingernails over Lily’s back lightly. “Did you miss Mommy?”

“Of course she did.” Scarlett’s roommate, Ebony, exited the bathroom with a toothbrush in her mouth. She was scrubbing at her teeth furiously, the toothpaste gathering around her lips. But that didn’t stop her from talking, spitting bits of the paste everywhere. “Was Mr. Hunky any good?”

Scarlett sighed and picked Lily up. She rested the cat on the kitchen bench and pulled out a tin of food for her. “His cock was good.”

“Ah. Another asshole, then?” Ebony went back into the bathroom, and Scarlett could hear her spit out the toothpaste and wash it down with faucet water. Then she returned. “Wanted another round?”

“Of course.” Scarlett grinned and spun on the spot with her arms out, as though presenting some goods to a potential buyer. “No one can resist these curves.”

And curves she did have. Plenty of them. Once upon a time—or more specifically, in high school—she was a very big girl, who was teased and bullied for her weight. It drove her to the point of a mental breakdown, and depression controlled her every thought. As soon as she was out of that prison, she left for college in New York and never looked back. She’d lost some of the weight, but still had enough curves and fat to be considered “obese” by the professionals. The difference was, Scarlett didn’t give a damn anymore. She reveled in her appearance and used it to her advantage. There was an abundance of men who liked a woman with curves. Abundance.

Ebony was different to Scarlett. She was lean, tall, and all legs, the kind of woman you’d expect on the catwalk, with her perfect skin and flawless smile. But she certainly didn’t eat like a model. She had Burger King on a regular basis, with tacos being her favorite meal on a Tuesday night. She was a naturally skinny woman, and Scarlett hated her for it. Okay, she didn’t hate her, but she was damn jealous.

Ebony laughed. “You’re such a slut,” she teased.

Scarlett waved her hand dismissively. “I’m not ashamed of liking sex.” She hated that word, but it was an inside joke between her and Ebony. If anyone else had called her a slut, she’d be more than happy to tell them where to shove it.

Lily rubbed her long body against Scarlett’s arm, reminding her she hadn’t put out her food yet. She grabbed Lily’s bowl and emptied the can of food into it. Lily ate like she hadn’t just eaten wet food the night before, or she didn’t have another bowl of biscuits in the kitchen. But Lily wouldn’t have been a cat if she wasn’t fussy. She knew what she liked, and she demanded it. That’s what Scarlett loved about cats. They were the boss of the family.

“Your sister called again.” Ebony pointed to the house phone that neither one of them used that often. It was mostly there for emergencies. “She was quite persistent this time.”

Scarlett sighed. “When is she not?”

“Are you heading home?”

“For a couple of weeks. It’s Shiloh’s wedding.” She shrugged. “Unfortunately, I can’t avoid that.”

“You could.” Ebony grinned cheekily at her.

Scarlett laughed. Yeah, right. She’d been avoiding a lot of things over the last five years, from birthdays to Christmases, and she was good at it. But she doubted that she’d get away with missing her twin sister’s wedding. “Not this time. Avoiding her wedding would get me disowned.”

Ebony snorted. “If you say so. Three weeks isn’t that long.”

“It feels like three years when you’re in Ponchatoula, Louisiana.” Scarlett left the kitchen and dropped into her favorite chair in the family room. It was battered and worn from age, but it was hers, the first piece of furniture she’d bought when she arrived in New York City. She didn’t think she’d ever give it up.

Ebony sat on the sofa beside her chair and picked up a packet of chips that rested on the coffee table from the afternoon before. “When do you leave?” she asked as she began to munch loudly on the Lay’s. She was a pig, but Scarlett wouldn’t have her best friend any other way.

“Tomorrow.” She threw her arms up in fake excitement. “Yay me!”

END CHAPTER ONE