Broken Trust A Dark High School Romance - Tate James

1

I couldn’t stop shaking. My hands trembled to the point where my toothbrush clicked against my teeth as I tried to brush them.

It had been eight hours since I’d shot a man in the head.

Eight fucking hours since my entire life was ripped to shreds.

Again.

Losing my parents was still the worst moment of my existence, but the betrayal of Beck, Dylan, Evan, and Jasper ranked a close second.

“You okay?” Dante asked, perched in the bathroom doorway. He still looked rough, but I’d patched up most of his injuries, and in general, he was dealing much better than me. We were back in his Jersey apartment. I’d taken his car—which had been out in the woods, after he was lured there by Beck—and then driven at stupid speeds all the way back here.

Spitting out the paste, I rinsed my mouth. “No. Just … not fucking okay.”

He moved closer, and when his image joined mine in the mirror, it was clear how much paler than normal I was. Dante had bronzed, inked-all-over skin, and I looked like I’d never seen sun in my life.

“The first kill is always the hardest, Riles. Give yourself time.”

Bile rose in my throat, and I tried to swallow, but everything burned.

“I … I don’t even want to touch that statement,” I told him hoarsely. “But I have to ask … have you actually killed someone before? More than one someone?”

I turned my back on the mirror—it was revealing way too much of my pain and sadness, and I wanted to properly see Dante’s face when he answered.

He examined my features, like he was searching for something, before he nodded, expression serious. “Yes. I have.”

A huge gust of air burst from me, and I clenched my fists to stop them from shaking.

Dante continued. “I should have told you earlier—I’m a little more involved in the gang life than I’ve previously let on. I was trying to keep you out of danger. Funnily enough, the Grims were the least of my worries when it came to you.”

I wanted to laugh, because it was ironically funny, but I just didn’t have the heart for any emotion like that.

“What are you going to do?” Dante asked me softly, the green of his eyes darkening as anger filled them. “This is a fucked up situation, Riles, and while I will help in any way I can...”

He trailed off because we both knew there was really nothing he could do to help me.

I shrugged. “They own me now, so I have to play the game.”

Beck and the others had made that perfectly clear. There was only one way out. My brother, Oscar, had taken that route, but I was not at that place yet.

“And Beck?” Dante asked, and I was surprised that he didn’t sound as fucked off as he usually did when mentioning the heirs. “What are you going to do about him?”

Laughter finally burst from me, harsh and cynical. “Beck is dead to me. He used me. Made me care about him. All the time he’s been playing the long game for Delta. If I knew any of this shit was coming, I would have bailed long ago and just kept running for the rest of my life.”

Now I had blood on my hands. I was trapped.

That knowledge made it hard to breathe.

“One day you will control a portion of the most powerful company in the world,” Dante reminded me. “You can make them all pay then.”

I nodded, having already thought about that myself. It was my most fervant hope that one day they would regret inviting me into their world. I