“How the fuck did I lie to you, Owen?” I asked, trying not to show my growing unease. I started to walk casually toward the storage unit door next to the bait shop. My plan was to run in and lock it behind me as quickly as possible. I could hear Owen’s footsteps on the gravel quicken as I tried to pass him.

He closed the gap between us.

“Yes—LIED! Look it up!” he yelled, furious. “You told me you weren’t fucking no one, weren’t wanting no one. Truth was, you just didn’t want to fuck me!”

I’d never heard him talk with this much hatred and pain behind his words.

He drained the bottle and slammed it against the seawall rocks lining the road. The glass exploded like fireworks. He let out a laugh like a machine gun. “I thought you were different, but you ain’t no different then all the other sluts in this fucking town, are you?” A cruel smile hung on his lips. His eyelids were puffy; thin, red veins swam in the whites of his eyes.

“Owen, you don’t know what you’re talking about. Get your drunk ass home.” I tried to play it off, walking faster toward the door of the unit. The handle was just steps away from my grasp.

“Now Abby, why would I go home to my empty bed when I’ve got you right here?” He caught up to me and grabbed me by the back of my tank top, spinning me around to look him in the face, my ankle twisting on the unevenness of the road, sending a shock of pain up my leg. I regained my balance and took a step back, but Owen held on. “Especially since you’re game now,” he added. The venom in his voice more potent than any rattler.

“Owen, stop! I have to go. This ain’t funny!” I tried to turn back around, but his hands shot out and caught me by the shoulders. The burning I hadn’t felt in over a week was back in an instant. My entire arm was engulfed in flames. His grip was tight, unclipped fingernails dug into my flesh. The stench of rotten fish and whiskey made my stomach turn.

Owen glared into my eyes, talking between gritted teeth and spraying saliva on me as he spoke. “So let me get this right, you have time to fuck Jake Dunn, who you ain’t known but for a minute, but you ain’t got no time for your dear friend, Owen?” An involuntary gasp shot out of my mouth like the blast from an air gun. He breathed in my ear, his grip tightened, I was sure he was drawing blood. He pulled me closer, running the back of his dirty index finger down the side of my face, leaving an icy chill on my cheek. I recoiled from his touch. “You know, I saw you two tonight.”

“Owen, stop. You’re scaring me.” I struggled to free myself.

“Oh no, you don’t, Miss Abby,” he seethed. “Not this time.” The dip he had tucked into his lower lip sprayed out of his mouth with the emphasis of each of his words, chunks of it sliding down his lip to his chin. Owen crushed his cold, wet, tobacco spit covered lips over my mouth. My face ignited at the sensation. I managed to get an arm free, and as soon as I did, I cocked it back, and slammed my fist straight into his jaw.

Owen’s head snapped to the side. He dropped me and rubbed his face, which was already red from the blow. I turned and bolted, but in no more than three steps, he’d caught me again, pulling me into him with one hard muscled arm and crushing us together, chest on chest. I felt his erection through his jeans, pushing against my stomach. He might as well have doused me in gasoline and set me on fire. But, I wasn’t about to let the unwanted heat weaken my resolve to fight him off. I tried to kick at him, aiming for the very area of my concern. He laughed at the attempt. “Fucking stop it, Owen!” I screamed. “Get off of me, you asshole!”

This wasn’t just Owen teasing me. This was Owen taking what he wanted. I was just an outlet for his anger. The object of his revenge.

I had to get out of there.

“Now now, Abby. You know I like it when you struggle a little. It isn’t fair that little bitch Jake gets to have all the fun, now is it?” Owen trailed his tongue over my earlobe, his hot breath almost making me wretch. I stretched my neck aside, pulling away as much as I could. I screamed until he covered my mouth with one large filthy hand and began to pull me backward into the dark. I pressed my feet down into the dirt, trying to hold my ground.

Where was he trying to take me?

With his hand still over my mouth, he hoisted me up with his forearm under my breasts, dragging me over the jagged rocks of the seawall. I lost one boot, then the other. My knife was securely tucked in the last one. Still, I refused to let up on my struggle.

The rocks sliced painful cuts on the soles of my feet. With my arms locked to my sides, I tried to use my elbows to dig into his ribs. It did nothing more than annoy him. He was too big, too powerful. He just turned and lifted me, carrying me like a suitcase tucked under his arm. His other hand never left my mouth.