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Bad for You (Dirty Deeds #3)
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Shayla Perkins isn’t the kind of girl who makes the same mistake twice, especially when it comes to Sean “Stitch” Molina. So when he gives her the world’s biggest rejection, that’s it—she’s done. Until the sexy, silent, unavailable Sean makes Shay a very personal offer. Of course, it still doesn’t mean he’s interested in her. Or does it?
Sean has done things in life. Bad things. And he’s paid the price. All he wants now is to make up for his past by doing good in the present. And no one deserves more good than Shay. Beautiful on the inside and out, Shay is the kind of woman who should be cared for and protected—especially from a man like Sean. He’s tried to keep his feelings for her in check, but a single, reckless impulse pulls them closer than ever before.
Soon the two are sharing their biggest dreams and satisfying their deepest desires. But what will happen if the only way to truly give one another want they want most . . . is to let each other go?
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“I need new clothes for school. Can we go to the store?”
Mom kept her eyes ahead, going back and forth between the show she was watching and the toenail she was painting as I stood beside the sofa.
She didn’t look at me. She never looked at me.
I didn’t know why I still got sad over that.
“No. I’m busy, you little shit,” she snapped, causing the cigarette stuck between her lips to bob and drop ash on the carpet.
“But school starts tomorrow.”
“My shoes are too small, and they got holes. My big toes are sticking out.”
And they hurt my feet, I didn’t say. I didn’t want to sound like a baby. She’d yell at me for that.
Mom dipped the nail brush back in the red, gloopy polish and kept painting, kept watching her show, kept refusing to look at me.
“Sew up the holes. You don’t need new shoes,” she said.
I bit my lip and turned away.
I was going to be stuck wearing the same clothes I wore last year to school. Same shoes. Same book bag. Everyone else would have new things, and they’d notice when I don’t. There’s no way they wouldn’t notice that.
Third graders notice everything.
“Can I just get a new shirt or something?” I asked.
She stopped painting then and peeled her gaze away from her show. Keeping hold of the nail brush, she pinched the cigarette between two fingers of her other hand and pulled it away from her mouth to bark, “I ain’t made of money! You want new clothes, go out and get a damn job. It’s about time you started pitching in around here anyway, since you don’t do fuck-all else. What the fuck are you good for? Huh? Nothing! Just taking up space.”
“I can’t get a job. I’m only eight,” I told her.
I didn’t think other moms needed to be reminded how old their kids were. But I was constantly having to do it.
She waved me off with her hand holding the cigarette, ash dropping onto the sofa in the process. “Not my problem. Now, go do something before I get mad and smack the shit outta you. You’re making me miss my show.”
Tears stinging my eyes, I turned and left the room.
I knew asking for anything was a long shot, but it didn’t stop me from asking. It never did.
I wanted nice things. Newer things. I wanted what other kids had.
I wanted a different life. I hated this one. I hated everything about it.
I walked past Mom’s bedroom and saw the guy she’d brought home last night passed out on the floor. I didn’t know his name. I never knew any of their names. They never spoke to me. And I stayed clear of them.
I learned that lesson when the one pushed me into the wall so hard, I threw up and had a headache for days.
I hated throwing up, but I just couldn’t help it sometimes.
I stopped in the doorway and looked at the guy. He was hunched over, his back against the bed and his head hanging down. A needle stuck out of his arm.
Mom said she wasn’t made of money, but she always had enough for those needles with the stuff in them that made everyone so sleepy. I found those needles all over the place.
The guy’s wallet was open on the bed next to trash and empty bottles. I walked over to it, keeping my steps light so I wouldn’t wake him up, and flipped open the soft leather.
There were three one-dollar bills inside.
I thought about what my teacher had said about taking stuff that wasn’t yours, but then I thought about how much my shoes hurt my feet, so I took the money, tossed the wallet where I’d found it, and ran.
I shut the door to my room and moved quickly to the dresser. I kept my money hidden there—cash I found lying around the house.
My hand curled around the crinkled bills tucked behind my socks. I added them up with the money from the wallet. Total, I had eight dollars.
Maybe that would be enough for shoes and a new shirt. I could just wipe off my pants real good. Kids might not notice how old they were if I did that.
This plan felt like a good one. I actually smiled a little, and I never did that. Not here.
Keeping quiet, I snuck out the window instead of using the front door, worried I’d get caught, and ran as fast as I could down the street.
The closest store was a Payless Shoes. I walked inside and looked at what they had, picking out my favorite pair. They were all black with red stripes. I thought they looked so cool.
I took them up to the front where the woman was standing behind a tall counter, slid my box up beside the register, and dug my money out of my pocket. I flattened out the bills and handed them over.