Monsters have stalked me my entire life.
From my father’s failing drug business to the evil men he sold me to, I have seen the worst of humanity only to find safety in the arms of the greatest monster of all.
I call the Butcher of the Bay mine.
Betrayed by his oldest and most loyal friend, I was stolen away from him and have once again been sold at auction. Time is running out for my Monster to find me and his greatest allies are no where to be found.
But one thing is for sure.
This time, I won’t go quietly.
Odie is gone, the message ‘The Jackal Sends His Regards’ in red across the window view. The Jackal has take his Odie, blood will be spilled. The Wolf answers his call and finds her location. What follows is a bit of a bloodbath, a ‘rescuer’ that is also a predator will be no more. One thing is certain, Odie didn’t go quietly or easily so they both fear for her life.
We learn some interesting things about Harbin through Roxas, and this is the first time we hear the possibility of a war with the Chaos Demons MC.
A shopping trip with Odie makes me smile, and she also dives into her painting once again. This time she feels the need to purge her past. Her live is with Illi now and she likes it just fine. Illi has a list already of those who hurt her, now she puts faces to the names.
This is a favorite scene.
My head still hurts if I try to turn the TV on or look at my phone. He tries to talk me into staying in bed while he is gone but frustration begins to climb up my spine at laying down for so long.
So I go searching for my paints.
I might be once again damaged by the things that have been done to me but I’m not broken. I’m not that hollow shell of a girl I was the first time I arrived at the apartment. I get to watch the sunset out of the large window again before Illi goes out for the night. I sit on the small rug with a cup of coffee clutched in my hands and right before he leaves mon Monstre joins me, sitting behind me and pulling me back so I’m tucked up on his chest.
“I’m okay, mon Monstre. I’m alive and I’m happy.” I murmur, and he grunts under his breath at me.
“Baby girl, you’re the strongest woman I’ve ever met. I’ve never been prouder than when I saw what you did to that rapist cunt. I’m not worried about your mind, I’m worried about your concussion. I can’t have you in pain, baby. I start thinking about bleeding the whole fucking Bay dry for you when I see you wincing. I shouldn’t have been so rough with you but I can’t fucking regret it.”
I chuckle, softly so I don’t do exactly that. “I’m going to paint today. I’m going to spend the entire night here doing what I love while you work. Nothing would make me happier than having you last night and then spending my day doing this.”
His chest rumbles, the noise entirely satisfied, and he kisses my shoulder. “Take the day, baby girl. Take as long as you need to rest up. Paint me something.”
When he finally leaves, his leather jacket tucked over his weapons but in no way hiding them from the world, I finish my cup as the sky finally changes from the beautiful pinks and oranges and into the inky darkness of the night.
I could paint that for him.
I could paint our reunion sky, the one that means so much to us both, but that feels… futile. Silly, and unproductive.
I know what I should paint, I know what would help us both the most, but can I be brave enough to do it? Could I paint the faces ingrained into my soul, give them life again on my canvas? Would bleeding myself out in the oils help rid myself of their stain or would I send myself spiraling, down so deep even mon Monstre couldn’t find me?
I’m brave now.
I’m not broken and I won’t be frightened by the memories of men who are already dead, their foreheads marked with targets they cannot see but must know somewhere in their souls that the Butcher is coming for them.
I find the biggest canvas in my supplies. I’d planned for it to be a portrait of mon Monstre and myself, something to hang in our bedroom as a testament to us but this feels important. I cannot be the smiling beauty on the arm of her man with this stain. I must purge it from me and be done with that part of my life.
Their deaths might be the last act Illi needs but me? I need to paint it out.
I may burn this canvas when I’m done.
I start to squeeze out oils onto my palette, mixing and fussing with them until the colors are right. I don’t know if I take hours or minutes but it feels as though I’m putting it off. Playing with this instead of the real work that needs to be done.
Finally, I grab a pencil and start to sketch the outlines out. I start on Javier, one of Alcatron’s men. He’d visited me only twice, both times bragging that he’d won me in a bet. He’d been rough with me, pinching and slapping, but he was the least painful and the least sadistic of the men.
Once the outlines are good enough I take a break, drinking some water with shaking hands. I check the clock and my phone but there’s still hours until mon Monstre is due home. I could continue with it. I eat a little bit of bread and cheese, staring at the pencil lines like maybe they will fill in and the man himself will step out of the painting. Can I handle the oils being added? Am I strong enough?
Maybe I’m not, but I want to be.
I step back up to the canvas with a deep breath and dip my brush into the first color. I stare at it for too long but as soon as I lift it, it’s as though my inner switches off and the memory takes over me. I’m not scared but I feel possessed.
I add the paint, layer after layer. Building the textures and the colors until the man staring back at me could jump off of the canvas and attack me all over again with how perfect the likeness is. I try not to think about him, to just paint what I see in my mind but it’s impossible. I have to think about every single touch, every insult, every degradation. I have to think of it all to get him out and on the canvas.
I don’t notice the passing of time. It’s only when I’m finished and look away from my work, blinking owlishly and attempting to remember where I am, that I find Illi on the couch watching me.
He’s already showered for the night, the sweatpants low on his hips and the tattoos on his chest splayed out proudly even as he scowls over at me. No, not at me. At my work.
“Is that Alcatron?” He says, his voice dark and laced with violence.
I shake my head. “It’s Javier. One of the other men.”
He nods and rubs his chin, the frown still deep over his eyes. “Can you tell me about him? Tell me everything the painting doesn’t. I need to know exactly what he was responsible for.”
I wipe my hands off on the cleaning rag and then join him on the couch. “I can talk about it. Are you sure you want to hear it though?”
His jaw tightens and he gives me a curt nod. “I need to know he’s dying the way his crimes deserve him to.” I take his hand gently in mine, threading our fingers together and rubbing the scars on his knuckle with my thumb.
Then I take a deep breath and tell him everything.
Every last second of my time with Alcatron.
When I’m done he kisses me deep and possessively, carrying me to bed even though I’m covered in paints. He doesn’t care about the mess, only that I’m here with him and pouring my trauma out for him to bear witness to.
I wake the next morning lighter.
Like purging him from my soul actually lessened the load he was weighing me down with. The smile on my lips is a relief. I’m not broken, I’m not what they did to me. I can heal and I can love again. I can paint out the horror and tell everything to that man who loves me and nothing about our relationship is broken by it. I can make love and take every inch of pleasure and pain from my beloved and enjoy it fully.
I might not be whole, but someday I might be.
Bree, J. The Butcher of the Bay: Part II (Mounts Bay Saga Book 2). Kindle Locations (1286-1337). Kindle Edition.
We see more of Colt Graves and the Devil too. Such an interest group of folks. If you haven’t read Hannaford Prep you really should to understand some of the dynamics here that are so very important.
Illi works on his list, and Odie travels with him to visit her home in France as well. A nice honeymoon of sorts.
I really loved the telling of Illi and Odie’s story, perfect for the two of them.
5 Contented Purrs for J.
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J Bree is a dreamer, writer, mother, farmer, and cat-wrangler.
The order of priorities changes daily. She lives on a small farm in a tiny rural town in Australia that no one has ever heard of.
She spends her days dreaming about all of her book boyfriends, listening to her partner moan about how the wine grapes are growing, and being a snack bitch to her two kids.
If you want to hear more about all things Mounts Bay then join my readers group! There’s a lot of creative ways to dispose of a body in the Bay so come join the fun.