Sentinel:Devil Riders MC Book 1

By: Ashley Rhodes

PROLOGUE



CHRISSY



Chrissy’s head throbbed from where he had hit her, and she winced as a trickle of blood oozed from her nose.

This is it. This is the last time.

She’d said that to herself so many times before, but this time she meant it. Truly meant it. She hurried to her wardrobe and threw it open, grabbing armfuls of clothes and haphazardly shoving them into a case. It briefly crossed her mind just how much all this stuff was worth, and how roughly she was treating it, but that didn’t matter anymore. She had to get out, she had to get away.

A sudden banging on the door started; heavy, urgent knocks followed by a hoarse voice, the words thick and slurred.

“Open this fucking door, Chrissy!”

Her heart was pounding. It was Benny—he must have woken up again. Chrissy had thought that the cocktail of drugs and booze he’d already consumed would have been enough to keep him unconscious all night. Obviously not.

She crammed the last armful of clothes into the case and forced it closed, then took a brief moment to glance around the room for anything she might have missed that could be important. It was huge, their bedroom. Lavishly decorated, stuffed with impossibly expensive furniture and fixtures. Chrissy could still remember the awe that she had felt, the first time that he’d brought her here.

Now, all that was left was hatred and contempt.

She could have taken some of the jewelry; Benny would never notice, and it was worth a fortune. But she couldn’t. It would always remind her of him, and all she wanted from him was distance. She had to escape him, his abuse. The jewels would help, but she wasn’t going to steal from him, not make it seem that she’d been after his money all along. She wasn’t the gold-digger he accused her of being and she wouldn’t do a thing that would let him suggest it.

Fuck that.

She dragged the suitcase off the bed and strode to the door, taking only a moment to steel herself before she threw it open. Chrissy expected Benny to be waiting, his anger building. She was anticipating a confrontation—having to struggle with him physically. She had psyched herself for it and was ready to fight to get away from him. But when the door opened to reveal the corridor beyond, he was laying on the floor, unconscious. Drool seeped from his lips, and he was snoring loudly.

Benny Ashcroft, son of billionaire media mogul David Ashcroft and one of the most desirable bachelors in America had shown her his true colors. And now, lying on the floor, he looked exactly like what he was—a pathetic, utterly loathsome, cowardly, alcoholic woman-beater.

If she didn’t hate him so much, Chrissy could even have felt sorry for him. But not anymore. He’d hit her for the last time. He was a bad drunk, and it wasn’t the first time he’d flown into a jealous rage over nothing. He was a spoiled brat, and his father’s money had protected him from the consequences of his actions for far too long. But all the money in the world couldn’t make her stay. All the money in the world wouldn’t make him seem like a real man.

Fuck him.

She stepped over his unconscious form and walked out without a backward glance.



* * * *



When Chrissy pulled up in front of an unassuming suburban house, on an unassuming suburban street, she let out a sigh of relief. Although far removed from the luxury and opulence of Ashcroft Manor, it seemed welcoming. It was home. Or had been at least, until she’d moved out.

She took a deep breath and looked at herself in the rear view mirror, wiping away the crusted blood from her nose and wincing as she gingerly probed her rapidly blackening eye. There was no way she was going to be able to hide it from her Mom and Dad, but maybe it would finally be the evidence they’d need.

Chrissy’s reservations about Bennie had been growing for months now. She’d always disliked his attitude toward people, but thought he would respond to having someone care for him. About him. He was rich beyond most people’s wildest dreams, and provided for her every financial need, but he was troubled. The occasional drink had turned into binging every night on whatever he was able to get his hands on. Booze, pills, and powders were his idea of fun. And it was only escalating. Chrissy knew that she couldn’t go back, not ever again.

She had brought up her concerns with her parents, gently, a few times now. She’d told them about his violent temper, his unpredictable behavior. Each time, though, they’d urged her to ride it out.

“Think of the money, sweetie. He offers security… opportunities. Don’t throw it all away just because he likes to take a drink once in a while. He’s wonderful when he’s sober. If you throw this away, wreck your relationship with him, you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.”

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