Shay’s dreams of becoming a doctor like her dad and brother are dashed one fateful night, but she uses the resulting notoriety to rebuild her life, becoming a successful Instagram model and clothing designer. She’s always been open about her plans to stay a virgin until marriage, but when she meets Ethan, a notorious womanizer, he puts her resolve to the test. Will the secrets that brought them together drive them apart?
Age Rating: 18+
Ears ringing, Shay staggered out of her car, trying to find her balance. Her eyes widened when she spotted the other car that was involved in the collision. It was turned upside down, just a few feet from her.
Stumbling over to the side of the other car, she crouched down to check if the driver was okay. It was a woman, and she had a head injury.
The ringing in her own ears hadn’t stopped, so she squinted her eyes then blinked rapidly, trying to clear her vision.
“Miss, are you okay?” she said, trying to get the driver’s attention. Closing her eyes momentarily, Shay felt her head throb in pain as the ringing started to lessen.
“Miss?” she repeated, reaching for the woman’s hand and giving it a squeeze. It was cold in hers. Her eyes drifting to the back seat, checking to see if there was anyone else in the car.
“Are you okay?” a voice from behind her called.
“There’s someone inside!” Shay tried to scream—they needed help!—but her voice came out a croak.
“I’ve called 911. They’re on the way,” the other person, an elderly woman, informed Shay before helping her up from the ground.
Shay nodded her head and the woman stared at her.
“Honey, go take a seat,” the woman said as Shay kept nodding.
Shay walked to the curb and sat down. Staring at the cars in front of her, she had no idea how it happened. Everything had gone by so quickly.
Her eyes watered as she remembered the cold hand in hers just a minute ago. Something in her stomach wasn’t settling right, was fearing the worst.
As the ringing in her ears calmed, Shay looked over at the other side of the road. The elderly woman’s eyes connected with hers just briefly before darting away.
Feeling uneasy with the entire situation, Shay turned and vomited in the grass behind her.
She wasn’t sure how long she sat on the curb, watching as the woman from earlier helped the driver from the other car. She wasn’t sure what was going on, but all she could do was pray.
The loud sirens came just as it started to rain. Cars were piling up behind the accident, and Shay lowered her head, tears streaking down her face.
Flashing red and blue lights arrived right after the ambulance parked. Paramedics rushed to work on the other driver, and the police diverted the traffic and talked to the elderly woman.
“Miss?” A police officer was trying to gain Shay’s attention.
“Let’s get the paramedics to take a look at you,” the police officer said, and he took her elbow, helping her up. A paramedic noticed them and rushed toward her, then wrapped a blanket around her.
As they sat her down on the back of the ambulance, she realized that there were two different ambulances. She stared straight ahead as the paramedics tended to her wound and checked her vitals.
She didn’t need the paramedics to check on her—or the hospital. She was premed, and her brother and father were both doctors. She knew what she was experiencing. She was in shock and probably had a mild concussion.
“Do you know your name?” one of the paramedics asked.
“Shay Zaia Haze,” she answered.
“Do you know what day it is?”
“I know my name, my age, and what day it is. I have a mild concussion, and I’m in shock. My vision is fine, slightly blurry, but the ringing in my ears has stopped,” she said, taking the paramedic by surprise.
He continued to ask routine questions as follow-up, and Shay answered them as quickly as possible, her mind still preoccupied with the accident. She couldn’t help but worry about the other driver.
“Miss Haze?” An officer called as he approached her.
He was the best-looking police officer she had ever seen and probably just a few years older than she was. She read his name tag—Officer Van Acker.
The officer called her name again.
“Yes?” she said as she pulled the blanket more tightly around her body.
“I’m Officer Van Acker, but you can call me Adam. Can you explain what happened, Miss Haze?”
“Call me Shay,” she offered, still staring straight ahead. She watched the paramedics tending to the body, confirming the woman was dead. Her stomach churned.
“Can you tell me what happened, Shay?” Officer Adam asked again.
“The Tesla came from nowhere, and the next thing I knew, the car was stopped and my ears were ringing.” She paused and looked the handsome officer in the eyes, swallowing as tears rolled down her cheeks. “I think I killed her.”
The following minutes went by quickly, and Shay tuned out her surroundings as she stared at the ground.
When she lifted her head, she saw the paramedics covering the face of the deceased before lifting the body and taking it away. The rain got heavier as the remaining police officers examined the accident.
“Shay, we have to take you to the station now,” Officer Van Acker informed her. “You’re being charged, but I won’t cuff you if you come with us peacefully.”
Nodding her head, she slowly climbed off the ambulance, letting go of the jacket as the officer escorted her to the police car.
She felt numb as she got into the back seat, but when she noticed the bars that separated the back passengers from the front, she instantly got claustrophobic. She shut her eyes tightly and focused on her breathing.
She heard voices in the front, signaling that she wasn’t alone. Leaning her head against the cold glass, she wondered what had become of her carefree night.
It had started off great, spending time with her twin sister, enjoying herself. Shay rarely ever let her hair down. Her life consisted of studying and living her model life on Instagram.
Her twin sister, Sky, was her opposite. She partied every day, did drugs, and slept with everyone, while Shay was a virgin, saving herself for the man she intended to marry.
With her platinum-blonde hair (dyed) and a charismatic personality, Sky was a bombshell. Shay was the plain Jane, always the reserved one.
She wasn’t shy with her body, though, which was one the few things she had in common with her sister besides being identical twins.
Shay studied almost every day, but she’d also built herself a career as an Instagram model, gaining followers for her provocative photos. She’d also partnered with a few companies to do ads.
But Sky, unsure of what to do with her life, had been traveling the world for the past few years. And whenever she came back, Shay jumped at the opportunity to spend time with her twin.
The opportunities to spend time together were few and far between. They both had different interests. But one thing they had in common was that they weren’t afraid of speaking their minds.
Although many would label Shay as the shy one, she wasn’t. Like her brother, she debated in school, excelled in cheerleading, and wasn’t afraid of public speaking.
In truth, Shay was the daring one and Sky was the shy one. Because although Sky acted wild, she was shy when it came to expressing her feelings. She was constantly hiding herself away—she even had stage fright.
In school, no one could really tell the difference between them, which was why Sky dyed her hair now. Although they loved being twins, they hated being confused for one another. They wanted to be individuals.
The night had started off with dinner followed by drinks, just partying with each other as they caught up. This had been their routine since their mother took them out drinking on their eighteenth birthday.
She’d introduced them to cocktails and told them what to avoid, and they’d enjoyed their mother’s carefree attitude.
However, Shay only indulged when Sky was around. The truth was, Shay hated the taste of alcohol. The way it burned her throat, the way it made her smell.
Feeling a bump, Shay opened her eyes, realizing the car was moving. She glanced at the rearview mirror and locked eyes with Officer Van Acker, who gave her a sympathetic smile.
After giving him a small smile in return, she looked out the window as they passed the familiar buildings. She couldn’t help but feel numb—she wasn’t sure how else to feel about the situation.
Someone had died. Someone was dead. She could see the woman’s face in her mind, feel the touch of her skin against hers.
The car came to a stop and the officers got out. Shay was nervous. She wasn’t sure what was going to happen; she wasn’t even sure if she was getting arrested or just questioned.
Everything was blurry and all she wanted was to call her brother. Her brother would know what to do.
She waited patiently as the officer opened the door for her, then got out and looked up at the big police station sign above her. Feeling intimidated already, she allowed the police to escort her in.
As they passed the busy lobby area, she noticed people sitting around waiting to get attended to and booked. She saw women in short skirts, see-through tops, and heavy makeup and knew exactly what their profession was.
Police officers walked in and out.
Shay was taken to a room in the back that looked like an interrogation room on TV. Horrible fluorescent lights, a giant mirror—presumably two-way, and a table with four chairs. It was a simple room, but it felt very intimidating.
Taking a seat on a cold chair, Shay tried to make herself comfortable. The two officers, one of which was Officer Adam, sat down across from her. She stared nervously at the other officer and gulped.
“Do you want to tell us what happened?” Officer Adam asked, leaning forward. She could see the veins on his arms.
“Out of nowhere, a Tesla came at us, and I don’t remember the rest,” she answered truthfully.
“Convenient,” the other officer remarked coldly.
Officer Adam cleared his throat. “Were you drinking tonight?”
“Can I make a call?” she asked, avoiding the topic. “I want a lawyer.” She didn’t like where this conversation was going.
“Sure.” Officer Adam sighed, then got up, nudging the other officer to get up as well.
They both left the room, and Shay instantly broke down, feeling the guilt rise from her belly. Everything was an accident! Her night wasn’t supposed to end this way! The image of the other driver was burned in her brain.
“Here,” she heard someone say. Wiping away her tears, she looked up to see Officer Adam offering her a phone. She took it, immediately typing the number she knew by heart.
“Hello?” a groggy voice answered.
“Ian—” Her voice cracked. Her tears fell freely, and she felt a slight relief at her brother’s voice.
“Ian, I need help. I need a lawyer.”
“What happened?” she heard him say, noting the urgency in his voice. She knew he was awake now.
“I was in a car accident, and someone died,” she cried. “Now I’m at the precinct and they’re charging me. Please, Ian. Please.”
“I’ll be there in thirty minutes. Until then, don’t say a word,” he instructed.
“Thank you.” She sighed in relief.
“Be calm, Shay. I’m coming,” he said before hanging up.
She continued to cry as she handed the phone back to Officer Adam. Feeling the guilt in her gut, she prayed that this was a nightmare and that she’d wake up soon.
The other officer came in. “Follow me,” he said.
Nodding her head, she got up and followed him. She was afraid where they might go, but she knew there wasn’t any other choice. Especially being biracial. She was worried her skin color would elicit the stereotypical assumptions.
“Place this in your mouth and blow into it,” the officer said as he handed over the breathalyzer roughly.
Following his instructions, she placed the plastic material in between her lips before blowing.
It instantly read 0.10% and she felt her heart drop. She wasn’t sure what the legal limit was, but she’d only had a drink or two during dinner, and nothing after.
She wasn’t drunk—she knew that for a fact. She would never allow herself to get tipsy, let alone drunk.
The officer shook his head before sighing. Another officer with a tight bun on the top of her head approached, scowling. Shay kept her head down—she didn’t want to draw more attention to herself.
“Follow me,” the woman instructed.
Nodding, Shay did as she was told. At the next table, she was asked to remove her jewelry from her body and surrender her phone. She silently followed the instructions.
Next, she was pulled to dip her fingers in ink as they took her prints—all ten of her fingers—before measuring her height and giving her a board. It dawned on her then—they were processing her.
The officer pointed in the direction of the striped background, and Shay stood in front of it. Feeling dirty, she couldn’t stop her eyes from watering.
“Turn to your left,” the officer instructed.
“We’re going to hold you in a cell until your lawyer arrives,” the officer informed her.
She nodded, and the officer roughly grabbed her wrists. She felt the metal cuffs tightening around them, then heard a click.
A hard shove on her shoulder, and she was being pushed in a particular direction. Stumbling a little, she tried to regain her composure as she was taken to the back.
Shivering at the abrupt change in temperature, she noticed the other women held in the jail cells—some were almost naked while others had torn clothes and looked unkempt—and that in the corner of each cell was a metal toilet.
“Cuffs,” the officer said as she raised her wrist.
The door to her cell opened for a brief second before Shay felt a shove on her back forcing her in.
The metal bars locked behind her, and Shay turned to stare at the door. As the other women chatted like it was just a normal day, all Shay could do was hope that her brother would arrive quickly.