1. Welcome to New Orleans

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This was home. Staring into the eyes of yet another stone cold killer, I felt the atmosphere around the pin-drop silent library darken to a bleaker shade of grey. I shouldn't have been surprised that this was happening— a crazed lunatic stalking towards me with a fucking knife, that I was certain had mutilated many a body before trapping me in this depressingly dilapidated library— advancing at double the pace my short legs could retreat, the giant goon's mouth curled up into an impatient snarl; his eye twitching like the feral animal he was.

Shooting a glance at my limited exits I considered making a dash for them, but I knew it would only end with a large blade carving into my gut. The asshole had cornered me astonishingly strategically, pushing me towards the back of the library. Bastard. Swallowing the lump in my throat, I glared at him. "Nowhere left to run lil' girl..." Little! Is he describing that toothpick he calls a dick? My subconscious snarled at this assholes audacity, demanding she be treated like the twenty two year old woman she is. "Now be a good little girl and get on your knees." He snorted, pleased by the sexual innuendo attached to his order. Men— giving commands as though they have some god given right to supremacy. My spine grew taller, stiffening in defiance.

Tossing the jagged bladed knife up he caught it with an audible slap, before it could fall back into his palm. Slicing it through the air several times he practically growled. Letting out a wild cry I backed right into a congregation of chairs that had blocked my retreat— cursing the group of engineering undergrads, that had left them strewed in their panicked escape— mid-fall. Tumbling over them, I crashed to the library floor with a painful thud. He stabbed the knife at me, forcing me to back-burner my bruised arse in order to doge his attack. "No-don't!" Our audience gasped, letting out a panicked protest; nobody had the courage to step forward. Eyes wide I felt my heart exert itself with rapid beats. I would not beg.

Snarling, the bastard scanned me leisurely. The mistake I'd made seven years ago was the gift that never stopped giving. First heartache, then fear, then betrayal and now fucking death at the hands of this inbred! "Hey, dickhead are you just going to keep staring at me like I'm a piece of meat or are you going to man up and finish what you came here to do?" I scoffed, further wounding his fragile ego.

Tilting his head the bastard traced the outline of my body, with the blade, in the air. "Careful what you wish for lil' girl..." He purred, salivating at the idea of defiling me. My fingernails shot up into my palms, I wanted nothing more then to watch the fucker fall on his own blade. Kicking one of the chairs aside, he licked his lips.

Cursing my fate, I searched for anything that could double as a weapon. "I know we're not having a party without me!" My attacker's head snapped up in the direction of the library's entrance. The brief interruption gave me a chance to spot the black Renegade bandana wrapped around his wrist. Fuck. "My ass is the party..." Following the Renegade's line of sight, I watched a familiar face strut into the building. Whistling, Jose— offical town gangster and unofficial town jester—barrelled towards us. Rolling my eyes I fought the urge to throttle him. Fucking idiot.

Before the Renegade could switch the blade's trajectory, Jose clocked him square in the nose. The audible crack, that preceded a thick stream of blood leaking out of the orifice, earned a groan of revulsion from the cowering audience. My eyes carefully followed the shimmering silver of the knife's large blade.

Public gang brawls were a sad reality in this town, no one could escape it. Mostly people— save the cops sporting a hero complex— just pledged allegiance to the lessor of two evils and learned to cooperate. The Rising Sons were bad, but the Renegade's were worse. Everyone simply accepted their necessity, without their protection the Renegade's would have long corrupted New Orleans. Despite their questionable methods, The Rising Son's had saved this town. It had become my daily endeavour to keep a healthy distance from all things gangster...or one gangster in particular— the one that had opened my world up to lust, yearning, darkness and hurt; desire had become almost a drug to me.

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