Home > Branded (The Ignite Trilogy #2)(3)

Branded (The Ignite Trilogy #2)(3)
Author: Tara Sivec

I suspect my inability to let go of the past and my desire to live out one of my fantasies has something to do with my love of power. My current shrink will tell you that my need to control everything around me along with my penchant for always keeping a pack of cigarettes in my top drawer when I don’t smoke is because of my childhood. It’s always because of your childhood, isn’t it?

A quiet, pleasant teenager who helped old ladies cross the road takes a gun into his high school and blows away twenty-five of his peers. “His parents must have done something wrong.”

That nice, older man who waved to everyone and always brought chicken parmesan to the neighborhood block parties had seven mutilated corpses buried in his basement. “I bet you he was abused by his mother.”

The college student on a full scholarship who always made the dean’s list, volunteered at homeless shelters on the weekends and was the head of his youth group at church drugged and raped seventeen girls on campus. “His father probably let him play those graphic video games when he was younger.”

The sweet, beautiful girl who loved to dance and draw pretty pictures for her mother to hang on the fridge likes to brand her skin. “I bet you her mother skipped town and her father liked to take out his frustrations on her by stabbing a lit cigar into the smooth, pale skin of her eight-year-old body.”

Sometimes the shrinks are wrong, but in my case, they’re probably right. I couldn’t stop my mother from leaving, I couldn’t stop my father from using me as a punching bag and an ash tray until I was old enough to fight back and I couldn’t stop the boy I thought I was in love with from taking something from me and then running away as fast as he could. But this, this I can control. I say when, and how and why it’s going to hurt. I administer the pain myself because it’s better than letting someone else do it. If someone else hurts you, they have all the power. I refuse to give up my power.

Borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, daddy issues, mommy abandonment issues…I’ve been given all the typical labels at one point or another, but I refuse to let them define me. I’m Sicilian. I have a temper and an attitude and I like being in charge. So what if I’ve carried on my father’s discipline tradition? Who cares about a few burns here and there when I feel like life is going too well for me and I need to bring myself down to earth? My father was a genius at knowing exactly when things were looking up for me so he could knock me down a few pegs. An optimist is a fool, and I am no one’s fool. I’m a realist. Some people just aren’t meant to live happily ever after and float away on clouds full of rainbows and puppies.

I was born on October 15, 1981 to Rosa and Antonio Giordano and, for eight years, we had a nice, normal life living in the suburbs. Then my mother decided to fuck the principal of my elementary school and skip town, never to be seen again. My father used to get a cheap thrill out of telling me all about how she got remarried and had a new daughter. A better daughter. An obedient daughter. One who didn’t make her mother want to run away.

Good for her.

She was smart to run away. According to my father, I was nothing but a burden, deserving of every bad thing that happened to me and the root cause of all the bad shit that happened to him. The burns are a way for me to never forget that fact. I’m nothing if not consistent.

I slide the slim, royal blue dress up my body and run a hand through my thick, wavy red hair. The dress is a little on the tight side through the chest and hip area, but that’s exactly how I like it. My cleavage pushes up perfectly in the dress and I add a light dusting of shimmer powder to bring even more attention to that general area. After a spritz of my favorite spicy perfume, some nude lip-gloss and my four-inch blue stilettos with rhinestone straps around the ankles, I’m ready to go.

My scars are perfectly hidden for a night out in public and my dark thoughts are pushed far enough back in my mind that I do believe I’ll have a rather pleasant evening. No one sees the real me because that’s how I like it. What’s the point of masks if you can’t use them to your advantage?

I know immediately when she enters the room, even from twenty feet away, halfway through my second bottle of beer and with some chick whose name I forgot as soon as she said it prattling in my ear.

Christina? Melissa?

“It was nice talking to you, Melissa,” I tell her with a smile as I turn and walk away from her.

“It’s Clarissa!” she shouts angrily to my retreating back.


I bump into people standing around staring at artwork and don’t even apologize. My eyes are glued on the woman who stands by the door, bringing a glass of champagne up to her lips. I pause when she pulls the glass away and runs her tongue over her bottom lip. Memories from the night I spent in her bed overwhelm me, and my dick instantly hardens in my charcoal dress pants.

Lying on my stomach between her legs, I slid the black lace that covered her to the side and ran the tips of my fingers through her, spreading the wetness around. It was hard to take my eyes off of the gorgeous fucking sight spread out before me, but I wanted to see her. I wanted to see the effect of what I was doing to her written all over her face. I glanced up and our eyes met. Her cheeks were flushed with desire and her tongue darted out, wetting her full bottom lip.

Then I think about the guy who had his back resting against the headboard, holding her between his own legs and my dick instantly softens. As hot as that entire night was, I’m pissed off that I had to share her with anyone. I’d wanted that damn woman for as long as I could remember, and the only way I could have her is if someone else was there with us.

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