Ten years ago one devastating night changed everything for Austin, Hunter and Alex. Now they must each play their part in the revenge against the one man who ruined it all.
Austin Treffen was born into a world of privilege, but behind its gilded doors lies a corruption so sordid New York's elite would never believe it–especially as his infamous philanthropic father is at its core! With everything he believed in shattered, how can Austin take down his father–risking his family name and those he loves–without any proof?
Until one earth–shattering night with Katy Michaels unlocks not only their deepest, most passionate desires but also the key to bringing Jason Treffen's reign to an end. But with an intense sexual attraction that combines a heady mix of exquisite pleasure and sublime pain, will they satiate their thirst for revenge and each other…or lose themselves forever in the darkness?
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Treffen Christmas Ball Set To Be As Glittering As Ever!
With a national honor for his good works on the horizon, celebrated women's advocate Jason Treffen is preparing to host his annual Holiday Ball. Though once overshadowed by a tragedy that occurred during the festivities a decade ago, Treffen has never canceled the event, and Manhattan's elite all clamor for an invitation. It's even rumored that Jason's son, New York's other premier attorney, will be in attendance.
The younger Treffen has skipped the event since the unpleasantness ten years ago, which seemed to have caused a rift between father and sonthe only tarnish on an otherwise glossy legacy. Could this finally be the reconciliation that the public has long hoped to see?
Reconciliation. There was no chance for it, and yet his father had bought into his reason for coming to the office Christmas party without blinking. But then, the public had bought it as well, so why wouldn't his father?
He really hated these types of events. Because they were reminders. This one especially. Ten years ago was the last time he'd been to a Treffen Christmas party. His father enjoyed the holidays, not because of any sort of religious fervor or sense of merriment, but because it gave him a chance to do what he loved best.
Showing off his wealth, his excess. Making a show of his name, his fortune. His goodwill. There was a silent auction happening tonight, the proceeds of which would go to benefit a shelter for battered women.
The irony burned. Because if Austin's suspicions were correct, very few people had left more emotionally battered women in their wake than Jason Treffen.
Of course, the media would never believe it. Jason was so high-profile. On every late-night news show, commenting on sexual harassment and abuse cases in the news. Spitting fire and brimstone on any man who dared to harm a woman. On misogynists and their power games.
But Austin knew Jason was the wolf condemning foxes for being predators.
Still, here he was, wrapped up in his brilliant, shining lie. People fawning over him, his achievements, his goodness.
And this year was no different. The largest of his three holiday parties, this one included past clients, current clients and anyone who was anyone in New York's social circle.
Everything was pristine, glittering, dipped in his father's wealth and left to sparkle before the magpies who were attracted to it all without having any idea just how tarnished it was underneath.
The same as it had always been. The same as it had been ten years ago.
Oh, yes, Austin well remembered the last time he'd been to this party. It had ended with a dear friend throwing herself to her death. And it had been his own father's fault.
No, he wasn't here for reconciliation. He was here for blood. But before he could have his revenge, he would have to get closer to his old man again. Keep your enemies close, and all that.
He wondered what Jason's reaction would be. Hell, he might kill the fatted calf. The prodigal son, returned to the old law firm.
That was the reaction he dreaded most, though it was the one he should want.
What he really wanted was alcohol.
He walked over to the bar and leaned on the counter. "Scotch. Neat." The whole bottle would be nice.
The bartender poured a measured amount and Austin knocked it back then set the glass back down. "More."
He took another hit and let the burn wash through him. He'd never thought of himself as the kind of man who needed liquid courage. And maybe it wasn't courage he needed, not really. He needed to blunt the memories. Of what it had been like to be in this building with Christmas carols playing when, suddenly, screams had risen over the band.
When people had gone running. To the balcony. To the street. He'd stopped at the window, frozen, transfixed by the broken figure below.
And he had known. In his gut, without having to be told, who it was.
He hadn't had the strength to go down. Hadn't been able to face seeing her like that. With no life in her. Her skin cold. Her body crushed. Nothing of Sarah there anymore except for her shell.
He hadn't been able to face it then. He could scarcely stand to recall what little he'd seen now. This was where the alcohol came into play. Blessed alcohol. It helped hold back some of the cold.
Ten years ago, at this very party, his life had been going perfectly.
Two weeks until Christmas, an end-of-term party that had been filled with toasts and slaps on the back. And then he'd come to the Treffen party. He'd stood next to his father, a proud Treffen, basking in the promise of a partnership in the prestigious firm, in the position he'd gotten in law school because of that name. The name that had opened every door to him for all of his life. That had seen him educated in the finest private schools, had given to him the very best connections.
A name he now had to see was destroyed.
His father's. And his along with it, because it would be inextricably linked.
That was how it worked. That was how the media worked. It was how society worked.
The silver spoon that had gotten him through life would damn well choke him now. It only seemed fair, really.
Everything felt out of control. For the first time, things felt well and truly beyond him.
Which called for another drink.
He tapped the top of his tumbler and the bartender filled it again. Austin held it up and looked through the faceted glass and amber liquid. And he saw her.
Nothing more than an impressionistic vision at first. Obscured by the glass and the unsteady golden line.
Even then, he could tell she was beautiful.
He lowered his drink and stared past the crowd of people at the woman. Dark hair twisted into a neat bun, her skin pale, flawless, her lips a deep crimson.
It was her hair that had him truly transfixed. He wondered how long it was. What it would be like to unwind it. Wrap it around his hand and draw her to him.
Damn. That was the alcohol. He had more control than that. He knew better than to let his mind wander down dark alleys. Every so often, in the privacy of his own room, he indulged in a bout of shameful, illicit fantasy. But never with a woman.
He wasn't the type of man to treat women that way. Because he knew better than to ever let the monster out of its cage.
And he knew there was a monster in him. In his blood, wrapped around his genes. He was a Treffen, and to most of the world, that meant something good.
He knew that name should only ever be synonymous with evil.
And once he, Hunter and Alex had their way, it would be.
He would go down with the ship. It was unavoidable. He was a Treffen, after all. In name, and in every other way that counted.
But right now, he was just a man, transfixed by a woman.
He set the glass back down on the bar and started across the room before he could think his next action through. He wanted to meet her.
She was something new in this stale, horrific memory. She hadn't been there that night. She was a stranger. Separate from all of the insidious darkness that surrounded this building. That surrounded his family.
She looked up for a moment, her eyes meeting his. They were electric blue, a shocking contrast with her dark hair. It made him wonder if her hair or eyes were artificial. It was so unusual. So enticing.
She turned away and headed toward the other side of the room, her stride purposeful. Then Austin saw just whom she was headed toward.
His father. Jason Treffen.
She smiled, crimson lips parting and revealing straight white teeth. She looked down, then back up, the move demure and flirtatious. It made his blood boil. Just imagining the bastard's hands on her
He started toward them, then stopped. Reconciliation. Oh, yes, that was the name of the game tonight. He was supposed to be reconciling with the bastard, not introducing his face to the marble floors.
But he did not like the smile his father gave to the woman in return. He didn't like the way she ducked her head again, like a child expecting a pat.
Maybe she was already one of his creatures.
He breathed in deeply, rage pouring through him. He couldn't handle this. It was too much on a night like tonight. At the party where Sarah had died.
Why had he left his drink back at the counter? He needed more alcohol.
The woman turned away from his father and he saw something pass across her face. Anger. Sadness. Grief. He recognized the emotions because they echoed inside of him.
Because they were with him, always. Amplified now as the truth about Jason's treachery became clearer.
Files and files of women who were being paid for vague "services." Interior design. Catering. Event planning.
Austin was still turning over the implications.
None of the possibilities made him happy. Except for the possibility that his father had used the design services of a couple of young women more than six times in a fiscal year. But he highly doubted that was the case.
It was taken care of. They were compensated.
That last conversation played again in his mind.
He closed his eyes for a moment and tried to get his head together. He was drowning in air. His tie strangling him. Icy fingers wrapping around his neck.
Sarah's, maybe. He deserved it. God knew he did.
He pictured the dark-haired beauty again, scanned the crowd for her and couldn't see her. Where was she now? Was she waiting to meet his father? Would she end up as a name on one ofJason Treffen's invoices? Payment for services rendered.
No. Not if he could do anything to stop it.
He'd let it happen once. He'd be damned if he ever let it happen again.
He started back across the room and swung by the bar, grabbing his scotch and knocking it back.
Hell, he was damned either way. But she didn't have to be.
Katy Michaels sent up a silent prayer and hoped that, for once, someone was listening. She didn't want to get caught, not now. All she wanted to do was verify that the invoices existed.
She was armed with a tip and a key from Jason Treffen's front desk attendant, Stephanie, a bright young girl with brown eyes that had permanent shadows beneath them.
Just looking at her made Katy's skin crawl.
Her eyes reminded her of Sarah's eyes. Haunted. Tired. Hollow, as if the hope had been carved out of her and an endless black hole was left behind instead.
She went into the office and stared down at the dark wood file cabinets. What an asshole. With his defunct filing system, all old and stately. It was like a big middle finger to everyone, to her, to the women he hurt, that he didn't even bother to keep this information in cryptic folders. That he kept records at all.
Had to get his damned tax write-off. Even when he was paying for sex.
He was lucky she was pursuing legal action rather than going Batman on his ass and seeking a little vigilante justice.
"I am the night," she muttered, going toward the third cabinet to the left, as instructed, and putting the key in the lock. She turned it and it gave, a small click in the silence of the room.
She pulled the drawer open and went for the folder marked "special services," then she opened it and rifled through. It was one year. Just one year and it was filled with names.
Sarah's name would have been in it ten years ago. So many women.
"Binders full of them," she said, trying to smile at her own frail joke as she snapped a shot of the first invoice with her phone's scanner. Humor was all she had left to get her through this crap. She'd taken her other crutches away from herself.
Her parents' drug use. Her sister's death. Raising a younger brotherTreywho was angry at the world. And it was much better to laugh when she was beating back her own demons with a stick.
And she definitely had her own.
Scanning invoice after invoice that represented a woman who had been abused by Jason Treffen.
She had to laugh or curl into a ball and give up on humanity. Or go back down the deep dark rabbit holes she used to hide in. Soothe her pain in the other ways she knew how to soothe it.
No. She wasn't going back there. Not again.
She scanned every doc, then put them back in the folder, and back in the drawer, which she locked. Then she stuck her phone back in her handbag and made her way out ofJa-son's office, dropping the key beneath a little potted flower on Stephanie's desk, as she'd requested.
Katy let out a long breath and started walking back down the empty corridor, back to the party.
Back toward Jason Treffen.
Talking to that scumbag had just about made her lose her mind. It had taken everything in her not to grab his glass from his hand and pour it over his head. Then break the glass on his face.
She considered the man as good as her sister's murderer, so she was short on charitable feelings where he was concerned.
The door to the ballroom opened and she froze, trying to affect an "I'm just coming back from the bathroom" demeanor. Whatever the hell that was.
Oh. Her breath left her in a rush, a current of electricity washing over her skin.
It was him.
The man who'd been drinking scotch. The man whose eyes were like an endless black hole, drawing her in, a force she couldn't deny or control.
The man who had looked at her for a moment.
Someone looking at her wasn't really that significant. It happened every day. Except when this man had looked at her, she'd felt as if she were grounded to the spot. She'd felt like he had looked and seen her.
Seen everything. More than that, she'd looked back and she'd seen him.
Had seen a grief in him. An anger.
It had been, in some ways, like looking into a mirror.
And in just a second, it had been over. She'd gone to find Jason, to put herself in his vicinity. Just because she'd promised herself she would. Because she'd promised herself she would look him dead in the eye one day, knowing she was going to destroy him, while he didn't have a clue.
And so she had.
But it had been a sacrifice, because she'd had to look away from the man. It was a moment that summed up her entire life, really. Deny, deny, repress. Push on through. Don't let the pain touch you. Don't let the pleasure touch you, either.
"It's you," he said, his voice deep, smooth. Like really good chocolate.
"Yes, it's me. I was in the bathroom." Oh, nice, Katy. That was very good.
He arched a brow. "Fascinating."
"Not so much, I know."
"I'll let it slide because I was hoping to run into you."
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I was excited to have a new trilogy to start. There wasn't anything regarding the sexual content, but I found the explicit sex very distasteful. A little "sex" is okay but this was way too much for my reading. Disappointed.
Avenge Me, Fifth Avenue, book 1, Maisey Yates Review from Jeannie Zelos Book reviews. I really wanted to like this book, its got all the elements I love but....I just didn't feel the chemistry between Austin and Katy. Somehow when they were together they had some scorching sex but Austin's constant whining “oh poor me – I must be like my father if I enjoy sex like this” got wearying after a while. Katy kept saying she was a willing partner and yet he still kept harking in it – even though he was more than happy to go for round two, three and more...The on-off nature of the couple too just didn't seem right. Austin was a real jerk, having got her jobless and homeless and then just letting her go in petulance after finding out she was a virgin and knowing she's nowhere to go to. That more than the sex side made him a callous burk for me. Apart from the fact he helped women achieve justice, and was finally determined to bring his fathers' atrocities to an end he wasn't really a likeable character to me. Katy – at 26 was a virgin, and then in one fell swoop went off with a total stranger for a session of passion. If she was cautious enough to wait that long it didn't feel right that she'd just jump onto whatever Austin said and did. Usually when there's some BDSM link, as there was here, there's a bit more about why the characters want/need/enjoy sex this way but I didn't seem to find it here. Its a good story, lots of potential and maybe its just that being the first book in the trilogy it had too much to do, and my expectations were too high. I think I wanted more insight into the personalities, more knowledge about exactly how his dad was getting away with the crimes. Still, I've the second book on my kindle and hopefully I’ll get more of the story there. It may be one of those trilogies where I get more from a second reading, knowing the back-story and more about the characters, that’s happened to me before. Stars: three - I'm hoping book two will reveal more and then if I re read this I’ll get more from it. ARC supplied by Netgalley
It started out well enough but dragged and I couldn't even finish it.
Avenge Me by Maisey Yates: This story started out well enough, it had a good storyline, great chemistry between the two main characters and it was a little kinky. The problem is that there was not much else moving this story forward. I was really looking forward to the revenge part because that’s all the two talked about and it never happened or at least not the way it should have happened. Ms. Yates went a little out of her comfort zone with this book but she didn’t deliver in the end. I was left unsatisfied and bewildered by the “nice” ending. Still I did finish the book and it was not a total snooze so in spite of my disappointment I give three stars.
3.5 to 3.75 stars AVENGE ME is the first instalment in the Fifth Avenue contemporary adult, erotic Fifth Avenue Trilogy series with each subsequent connecting storyline written by a different author. Avenge Me is billionaire attorney Austin Treffen and events planner Katy Michaels’s storyline written by author Maisey Yates. The overall focus of the series is the take down of Jason Treffen-lawyer, billionaire and Austin’s father. To the public Jason is the personification of perfection; an upstanding citizen and philanthropic family man but behind the scenes Jason is involved in illegal activities that have resulted in the destruction of many lives. For ten years Austin has felt the shame and guilt of his father’s sordid life until the day he meets Katy Michaels whose goal it is to destroy Jason Treffen and everything he represents. The relationship between Katy and Austin is immediate and familiar to readers of damaged billionaire/eager virgin storylines. From a hot and steamy one-night stand Austin and Katy’s fast track to love builds in a matter of days until Austin proclaims that he is a man incapable of love and Katy should turn and walk away. Saying this, I did not feel the ‘insta-love’ or the attraction between Katy and Austin-their sex felt more like an arrangement and convenience. Told from third person POV, the majority of this storyline focuses on the building relationship between Katy and Austin, and the take down of Jason Treffen has only started. The details surrounding Jason’s illegal activities are slowly revealed but the bulk of the information remains hidden. The secondary characters include Austin’s best friends Hunter Talbot Grant and Alex Diaz-all three men are connected through friendship, a dark history and the death of someone they once knew and loved. It is with this understanding that each instalment in the series will focus on the links to Jason Treffen and the illegal activities that have resulted in too much heartache and guilt for all three friends. AVENGE ME is an erotic storyline that felt a little choppy at times. The heroine’s need for revenge was lost in the details of her personal backstory which seem to engulf a good portion of her thoughts and direction, and detracted from the main story. As for Austin’s character, we do not get a good understanding of the man who has stolen Katy’s heart. His relationship with his parents is tense but there is very little character development or information revealed about the man. It would have been nice to see the primary characters fleshed out differently. The buildup towards Jason Treffen’s fall from grace never fully materialized as the premise focused more on Austin and Katy’s dysfunctional relationship. Hopefully, Jason Treffen’s personal and professional demise will come to fruition in the next two instalments.
Yates had me hooked right from the prologue of this novel. I found myself guessing and second guessing what would happen next. Yates had my pulse racing throughout, both from the suspense and the heat created between the main characters. I devoured this novel. This author’s creativity and ability to charm her audience are put together in a well written package that you won’t be able to put down. Not only is this a brilliantly crafted story, but it is also a hard hitting tale. This novel is so much more than just your typical romance, and the romance itself also has an extra shot of adrenaline added in. Yates uses narrative & description to her advantage, painting this world before her readers’ eyes. She also packs a very powerful message in this captivating novel. It was a very refreshing thought. The main characters’ actions spoke louder than words in this novel. Yates has created the perfectly imperfect couple to take this story forward. The raw realism in their characters makes them oh so human and impossible to ignore. Even if you can’t relate to one of the characters Yates’ development makes them very easy to understand. Yates combines eloquence, sass, and spice to capture your heart, mind and soul. She has created a novel that stands out in a sea of literature. This is definitely a must read. Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work in exchange for an honest review.
3.5 stars: Avenge Me is the first installment in the Fifth Avenue Trilogy and starts of this series with lots of unveilings, twists and turns. I was really interested to start this series since it is about revenge and a billionaire playboy brining down corruption. Austin and Katy steamed things up right from the beginning and even though the pacing lagged a bit I found myself turning pages to see what would happen (and be revealed next). This was my first book by Maisey Yates and I will definitely be looking out for future books from her in the future. Avenge Me and the Fifth Avenue Trilogy is a unique way of unfolding a story in three books coming from three different POVs and written by three authors. Imagine what would you do if you learned that everything you believed was wrong, how would you handle settling the score? This series answers the question of how Austin and his two best friends get their revenge and bring down the person responsible for destroying their friend. If you are a fan of suspense/intrigue and steamy hotness then this is a series you should check out.
This is the first of three in the Fifth Avenue Trilogy release dates are May, June and August. Each are stories about three men and women who want revenge against the man who brought death to a women who was very important to them. He must be taken down at any cost, it might cost each of them more them they are willing to part with. Austin and Katy eyes meet across the crowded room. Each could not look away, sparks fly between them. Each of them are there for their own reason they do not have time for meet, greet and get to know each other. Neither knew they were there for the same reason to bring revenge on the one man who was the cause of a young girl’s ending her life who meant the world to each. They meet again before the night is out each cannot fight the attraction and give in to their desires still not knowing who the other is. Katy’s sister jumped off a building 10 years ago after sending Katy a letter explaining enough to know things were not right and where to start looking. Katy finds enough evidence against Jason Treffen to know he has to be brought down. He must do his time and she is the women to make this happen. When Katy finds out that Austin is Jason son she doesn’t trust him. Austin feel guilty and feels it is his fault that Sarah died if he had only listen maybe she would still be alive. They really are on the same side for he is collecting his own evidence to bring his father down. He will not let his father get his hands on another Michaels women he will protect her at all cost even from himself. Austin said “Sometimes we all need to become Superheroes to bring the bad guys down.” “You know he does. Look at what he chooses to do in order to get into the spotlight? All while abusing his power behind the scenes. He’s a comic book villain.” She laughed “well, that’s a good thing. Because I sort of condider myself to be Batman.” Can these two come together to fight a life of crime, bring down Jason Treffen before he can hurt other women. Can Austin be Katy’s Robin to her batman or will his alpha male come out and Katy be the Robin to his batman bring down the bad guy? Austin has a darkness in him that he has been fighting for years, could he be his father’s son? He must fight this darkness but Katy brings out the alpha in him that makes him wants to play his dark games. Will they find away to make their fantasies come reality for Katy has a dark side that she has kept bottled up? They must find away to come together to take down the man who is guilty of so much at the same time fight an attraction they both have to take a ride on the wild side. I really like this book, it’s very different form the norm of what you expect form Harlequin. I am sure others will agree why others will not. I have read Harlequin for many years and have never read anything like this from them. It is nice to see them bring out subjects that are more about today lives. This is the first book of Maisey Yate that I have read. I knew from the first pages this was going to be a book I could not put down. The author totally hooked me throughout the whole book never once letting me down and keeping me on the edge of my seat with lines like this that had me chucking: “I’m not, though’ she said. “Sleeping with you” “No” “and I won’t.” she said. “the horse sort of left the barn already.” “What are you, a cowboy lawyer?” “Hardly.” “Yes. Okay. Granted that horse left the barn. But it’s restabled and it’s locked back up. With an electrified fence. And it’s not getting back out.” I really enjoyed Ms. Yates story line, she keeps you entertain with sarcasm, power in a love hate relationship that when the mask comes off, each knows who the other you are left with check mate and the sarcasm, the push pull never stops. You will truly love these two characters and hate Jason Treffen, you will want to bring him down yourself. I am off to read the next in this series Scandalize Me by Caitlin Crews. Maisey Yates also has the Fifth Avenue prequel Take Me (Fifth Avenue) Where it all began… due to be released on June 2nd for free on Amazon as a pre-order I am sure you won’t want to miss it go and pre-order. I do not know how long it will be for free it is at the time of this posting.
I love her books. I stumbled across one of her HP books earlier this year (maybe late last) and fell in love. She wrings emotion out of you like no HP author I've run into before. Avenge Me was no exception to that trend. I didn't know what I was going to get when I went into this book, but it was bound to be good, given Ms. Yates's talent. There was the old scandal which involved a friend of Austin's killing herself 10 years ago which caused a rift and unyielding hatred between Austin and his father, Jason - publicly Jason is a noted philanthropist and women's rights advocates, privately he is anything but (details of which come out more and more through the other books in this series). Austin wants nothing more than to see his father brought down. He's at a party (the annual party at which his acquaintance killed herself ten years earlier) when he spies Katy (the caterer). Sparks fly and he's distracted, ending up in bed with her in a very, VERY hot, and surprisingly dom/sub capacity. What interested me most about the relationship between Katy and Austin was Austin's absolute hatred of the "dark" dominant side of himself. I found it interesting that he fought so hard against it, seeing only that it was reminiscent of his father. Katy helps him heal. Speaking of Katy, Katy has her own axe to grind against Jason Treffen because it was her sister that killed herself all those years ago. She wants to find proof in Jason's own records to convict him of driving her sister to suicide. Revenge brings these two together and as the first entry in this trilogy, it was a phenomenal thing to watch as they ground the knife into Jason. Oh, it was just the beginning (the culmination of the take-down doesn't happen in this book), but what a freaking beginning. I cannot say enough good things about this book. It was delicious. It was satisfying. And man, oh man, I couldn't WAIT to read the rest of the series after reading this first book! Check it out! Five whole-heartedly dark gargoyles for Ms. Yates and Avenge Me.
Ten years ago, Alex didn't realize what his father was up to. Now issues have come to light and Alex knows he must do something to right a very serious wrong. Revenge is the only thing on his mind. Little does he know, Katy is out for a little revenge against Alex's father too. Their thirst for revenge is about to put them directly in each other's path. Can they combine their efforts for revenge without needing more from each other? The cast of characters were varied, but each had his/her place to add depth to the story and make it very believable. Everyone had their issues which added to the story and made the by-play between everyone seem realistic. I didn't feel that this story was overly romantic and even though it has a BDSM theme, it felt a little on the emotionally cold side. Of course, this story did have a more serious theme to it and maybe I'm just not used to that in a romance. The sex is explicit, the issues thought-provoking, and the story thorough. I only wish there was a little bit more of a romantic vibe to it. Overall, I really liked it and yes, I will recommend it!
Okay......the cover alone & series title are enough to make you read more than the back if book!!!! Seriiously!!!!!! This was a bit of a departure fron her usual stuff!!!If you enjoy a book possibly similar in some theory addressed in recent fifty series & LOVE the usual way maisey writes YOU MUST READ this!!! I got a bit choked up a few times regarding how both these people dealt with their demons & how they came to understand each other! Beautuful work!!! Loved all your work since i read a charity anthokogy you did with lori foster! Well done!! Traci South FL
INTRO: <br> Oh, hi there! I guess I should introduce myself. I'm Francis Ferdinand, and I'm 22 years old, and I live in Chicago. This is the story of my life. Well, the most interesting part, anyway. It all began on one mid-Spring evening, when I was driving home with my feonce, Melanie... <br> <p> CHAPTER 1: <br> With the way she had her hand on my shoulder, and the captivating look she was giving me, I was having a hard time keeping my eyes on the road, and an even harder time keeping the car between the painted lines. My breathing was labored, and whether it was from her or from all the concentrating, I had no idea. <br> "Melanie," I said. "You're making it hard for me to focus." I could hear the worry in my own voice. <br> Malanie removed her hand, huffing in fake frustration. "You're no fun, Francis." She replied. <br> "I'm serious. Our wedding is only a few days away. How can we be married if we're dead?" I asked. <br> "I was just kidding. Geez. We aren't even wed yet, and we're bickering like some old couple." She said, a smile on her face. <br> I didn't reply, and instead turned on the radio. A news broadcast had just come in as I turned it on. <br> "The famous serial killer and rap<_>ist, Tobias Campbell, has recently broken out of prison," It said. "He was last seen in southern Chicago. The local police are busy trying to hunt down this criminal before he becomes a threat. If anyone has any information, please call-" It stopped as I turned it off, not in the mood to hear it. We rode in silence the rest of the way to her house. <br> <p> Before she got out, I gave her a goodnight kiss. A few moments after she disappeared into the house, her father came out and called my name. "Francis! You wouldn't mind helping me load these guns into the truck before you leave, would you?" <br> <p> Oh yeah, Melanie's father, Robert, owns a firearms store. The man knows how to use those guns just as well as he knows how to sell them, and he's pretty good at selling them. <br> <p> "Sure, Robert." I replied, getting out of the car. He had several large boxes of firearms sitting on the front porch, ranging from pistols to hunting rifles. It only took us ten minutes at most to get them loaded into his truck so they could be taken to the shop in the morning. <br> <p> As I was driving away, looking in the rearview mirror, I thought I saw a dark figure slip into Melanie's bedroom window. I dismissed it as a trick of the light. <br> <p> The last thought I had before I crashed on my bed was how happy we would be after we were married. <br> <p> When I awoke in the morning, it was not my alarm clock that woke me. It was the phone. Since there was no phone in the bedroom, I had to race downstairs to get it. When I answered the phone, the police were on the other end with bad news... very bad news. <br> <p> <p> Please excuse any mispellings or grammatical errors. If I get 5 good reviews, I will continue the series.