Sheltered by Alexa Riley



He didn’t deserve her. I knew that from the beginning. One look at her, and I knew she was too good for for him. Hell, she was too good for me too, but I still had to have her.

I’ve done my share of bad things, but this is probably the worst. It’s funny, though, because I haven’t lost a wink of sleep over it. And not for one second have I regretted my decision.

Even now as I watch her, I know what’s coming. I have to put an end to this, and she won’t like it. But I swore the first time I laid eyes on her that I’d do whatever it took to make her mine. And if that means breaking the law, then so be it. All I care about is if she’s in my arms in the end.

She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s a fighter. She’s going to fight me, fight for control, and even fight herself. She won’t want what I’m giving her, but eventually she’ll take it. Because she won’t have a choice. There will be no other option but me.

I look down at her sleeping body and she has no idea what’s about to happen. I brush a strand of hair away from her face, needing something before I go. I’m about to turn her world upside down, and this might be the last bit of peace I have for some time. The calm before the storm.

It’s still dark out, and though I want to stay longer, I can’t. I take one last look at her before I turn and walk out of the room.

Soon, I think to myself as I walk out into the night, knowing this will be the last night I’m ever without her.

Chapter 1


I sip my second caramel frappuccino as I watch people come and go. I’m in a little coffee shop that’s across the street from my new job. The one that I’ll be starting today. I should feel a little guilty for having a second one since the cost is more than I can afford right now. I don’t even want to think about the calories this thing has in it. I’ve convinced myself it’s a small reward, and that hopefully soon I won’t have to think about my bank account. It’s part of the reason I took this job to begin with. It’s the responsible adult thing to do. Even if the job sounds miserable.

I push all those thoughts away and remember that today is the first step in the direction of my new life. A life I’ve been trying to build since I was a little girl and my fourth grade teacher Mrs. Potts told me I could be anything I wanted to be when I grew up, something I’m sure she told all her students, but for me it stuck. I hung on to it like a lifeline, knowing those words could save me from the place where I grew up.

Even at the age of ten I knew I wanted something different. I knew hunger pains from not having any food wasn’t normal. I didn’t want to wear clothes that either didn't fit me right or had stains I couldn't get out no matter how hard I tried. And every time I got called trailer trash, it was a reminder of who I didn’t want to become. That name hung on me until I went into college, then I left it all behind.

But you can’t always escape your past.

I have a drive inside me to prove I’m not like my mama. That I’m something more. I’m not exactly sure what that more is, but my boyfriend Fritz makes me feel like I’m on the right path. If it wasn't for him, I’d have no idea where I would have ended up. He’s helped guide me on a path that will give me a future in which I won’t have to worry about where my next meal is coming from.

I was a little lost at first in college, unsure of what to major in, and without a single friend. I’d gotten a full academic scholarship to College of Charleston, which felt like light years away from my small town in Louisiana. I still remember the day I got the letter in the mail. Not only was I accepted, but all my tuition was covered. I picked up a few Pell Grants to help with the rest, and all I had to do was get on a bus. I knew it was the opportunity of a lifetime, and I couldn’t piss something like that away. It was my chance to finally get out of the trailer park and live my dreams.

It was the happiest day of my life. It was a little bittersweet leaving my mama behind. I knew the travel to get to my school would be too long and too expensive for her to ever try and visit. And honestly, I never really wanted her to. I love her, but really, what child doesn't love their mama? She wasn't the best at being a parent, and most of the time she forgot she was one. When we said goodbye, I think we both knew it was for a lot longer than a few months. The last time I called her I had to say my name to her four times for it to finally click who I was. This was after I called the trailer park and had her phone line turned back on. She was probably shocked to even hear it ring.

If she hadn’t inherited the trailer from my grandma, who died when I was still little, I think she would have been on the streets by now. She wasn't always a terrible mother. She had her moments. Though they may have been few and far between, she had them. She sure didn’t make it easy to love her.

I glance up as the chime over the coffee shop door twinkles. I watch a man in a suit walk in, which seems to be pretty common for this place, though it’s still pretty early. I still haven’t gotten used to how nice everyone dresses in this part of Charleston.

The guy in the suit glances over to me and I notice he’s got bright green eyes. It’s only for a moment, but I see him check me out and my cheeks heat. Then he turns, breaking eye contact with me as he walks over to the counter to order his coffee. My own eyes roam down his body, and then I turn away quickly as I realize I’m staring. What is wrong with me? I have a boyfriend. One I love and have been with for years. Guilt hits me hard.

Alexa Riley's Books