Killer Curves

By: Naima Simone

She screeched to a halt at the bottom of the stoop steps as if a road block had sprung up before her. A road block that warned Caution: Betrayal Ahead. Shock encased her, but the bright flames of anger quickly dissolved the icy disbelief.

“What?” She stared at her front door, her voice low, trembling. “Please tell me you didn’t just say my ex-fiancé will be spending the weekend with my family. With me.”

“When we invited him, you two were still together. We couldn’t just rescind his invitation. He’s still a business associate of your father’s, and John loves him like a son. That didn’t change just because your relationship did.”

Tears, sudden and hot, burned her eyes and clogged her throat. Pain radiated from her chest. Not because in a matter of days she would be facing the man who’d eviscerated her pride and esteem before he’d walked out the door. God knows she wasn’t looking forward to that, but once—just once—she wished her parents would take her side. Okay, Phillip was like a son. But she was their daughter. Besides, would they be so eager to include him if they knew how he’d treated—mistreated—her? Too bad shame had kept her lips sealed…still did.

She squeezed her eyes close, refusing to allow one tear to drop.


“Thanks for letting me know, Mother. I really have to go, so I’ll call you later.”

She didn’t wait for Mallory’s reply, instead she ended the call and stared blindly down at the phone’s screen for several long seconds. As if any moment, her mother’s telephone number and name would pop up. As if she would call back to promise to retract her invitation to her asshole ex.

As if.

Sloane tucked the cell into her purse and climbed the brownstone’s stairs, her tread heavier than only minutes earlier. If the celebration wasn’t in honor of her parents’ thirtieth anniversary, she would say to hell with it and skip the party. But she couldn’t. She loved her parents; they didn’t see eye-to-eye on her appearance, her career choice, or her personal life, but she wouldn’t deliberately hurt them. And not showing up next week would fall squarely in that category.

Possessing a conscience truly sucked sometimes.

Slipping her keys free of her pants pocket, she grabbed the door knob.

God, she smothered a groan. What if he brings his new girlfriend—

The front door creaked open.

Stunned, Sloane stilled, the hand clutching her house keys frozen midair. Her heart thudded in her ears like a bass drum. Ice slid through her veins, replacing blood with a burgeoning, oily fear.

She’d closed and locked the front door before leaving for school that morning. She was certain of it. With the emails and phone calls, she didn’t take chances. So why…

Her breath burst from her lungs in rapid, loud puffs that seemed to boom in the eerie, suffocating silence. She pushed the door and it swung wide, the creak like nails scraping down a chalkboard. The light spilling in from the street lamps did little to dispel the shadows in the foyer and hallway. Swallowing, she stepped over the threshold.

And gasped.

Horror filled her.

The pretty, delicate table she’d found at a Charles Street antique shop lay overturned on the floor, pieces of the Tiffany lamp that had sat upon it scattered across the hardwood. The gilded, oval mirror that had hung on the wall now occupied a corner, bits of glass clinging to the frame like silver tears. Her purse and bag drooped down her arm, and they dropped to the floor with a dull thud. She barely noticed as she moved farther into the foyer. Something cracked under her foot. A glance down revealed one of the Thomas Kinkade Victorian lighthouse figurines she collected. Shards of the porcelain as it’d been broken—destroyed.

A harsh sob escaped her. She lifted her hand, encircling her neck as if she could manually contain the whimper. Grief welled inside her like a geyser. Her home, her things. Who would do—

A floorboard groaned.

She knew that sound. When she’d bought the brownstone, the squeaky step at the top of the staircase had been delightful, part of the old building’s charm. Now…

She slowly lifted her gaze, her pounding heart lodged in her throat.

He stood on the second floor landing, one foot planted on the creaky step.

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