Perfect Sinner by Maggie Cole


Gemma O'Hare

They sayevery person has a breaking point. I never gave it much thought. I assumed I was mentally tough and too strong and independent for anyone to mess with me. That was before my half-sister, Orla Bailey, stalked, harassed, threatened, and even physically hurt me.

Anything I cherished, and things I didn't even think about, she stole from me. My freedom to go wherever I wanted disappeared. I can't step outside without worrying about my safety. The ability to live on my own and get a good night's rest evaporated into thin air when I woke up with rodents and bugs crawling all over my body. When I do sleep, it's not uncommon for me to wake up screaming and crying with sweat coating my skin.

My entire life, I was carefree and confident. Those traits eroded until they were nothing but a mere memory of who I used to be. Orla's determination to ruin me affected everything, including my career, which I loved and was great at.

Now, I no longer know who I am. Most days, I believe I'm going crazy. There just isn't any way to escape the unhinged thoughts going through my mind.

Except when I'm with Nolan.

Everything about him makes me weak-kneed, even when we're fighting. When I'm with him, I feel like a piece of my old self has returned. The times he leaves and I can't go with him, everything inside me feels off. And the fact he hates the Baileys, my blood relatives, as much as I do, seems to make me crave him more.

I don't know how he does it, but all I've lost seems manageable when I'm with him. The crazy feelings I have go away, and life becomes hopeful again. The notion I could have a future and not stay stuck in this world of fear and spiraling thoughts ignites and grows.

Then Orla finds her way back to me.

No matter what Nolan does to keep her away, she always maneuvers back into my life. Each time, the desperation to end her life or mine grows. And now, I'm kicking myself.

I got comfortable. Too much time passed without hearing from her. Maybe my mind needed the break from the anxiety, but the longer she stayed away, the more relaxed I became. I hoped she was somehow in the shoot-out and the police just didn't report it. After all, they still haven't reported the death of my father. Nolan promises me he saw Liam shoot my father in the head. He insists my father bled to death on the street. And Liam claims that the police often keep mafia activity under wraps due to different dynamics.

So the possibility Orla was in one of the cars and got shot isn't out of reach. The fact my father wasn't reported dead gave me too much hope she died as well.

Yet, I should have known better than to let my guard down.

Now, her threats aren't about hurting my sisters or mom. She decided to redirect her wrath to someone else. And if I lose this person, I will go crazy. I'll end up in a straitjacket or give in to the temptation to end my life.

Last night, when I saw the text, I couldn't breathe. Anxiety rushed back in, squeezing my heart. But this time, Orla's pushed me too far. She's set her evil sights on killing Nolan. So when this is over, I'll be the one pulling the trigger.

It's ironic, really. My father wanted me to step into my role in the family. I claimed it wasn't who I was and never would be. But that was before I ever laid eyes on Nolan.

Orla may be a mafia princess, but the blood swirling in my veins makes me just as much of one as she is. The only solution is to dig down and pull out all the evil that's inherently in me, then finish her off. In the end, only she or I will be standing.

She succeeded and broke me. But I won't let her destroy the only good thing I have left in my life.