The Devil's Mercy - Book cover

The Devil's Mercy

E.J. Lace

I Don’t Want To


I really don’t want to do this.

I have never been good at asking for help. I hate the set. It just makes it worse knowing I’m back here, outside Mom’s studio, trying to work up the nerve to open the damn door and admit defeat.

I’ve never been good at that. Saying I was committed sounded better than saying I was stubborn. Truth is, I was extremely committed to never walking back in here.

When Cami and I were growing up, when Mom was filming, we spent most of our time here. She didn’t mind it—I, on the other hand, hated it.

Swallowing my pride, I open the steel door and walk in.

The moaning and grunts are the first thing to remind me why I hate it here.

I hate the film set.

I hate the nakedness and sex.

I immediately cringe at whomever is being filmed getting plowed into. I should have just waited outside.

I pass the first three rooms and count.

Break room.



Now, two more before Mom’s office. Just two more.

“I don’t fucking believe it!”

Shit. Shit. Shit.

“Mercy, I know you heard me.” David leans into his doorframe with a wide smile across his face.

I turn around, praying to God that he has some type of clothes on.

I open my eyes and see he has a tight pair of black boxers on with a satin black robe hanging open.

“Hey David,” I say sheepishly.

David is one of my mom’s oldest friends. He has been in the porn business for a little less time than her but doesn’t look like it.

He is six feet one and has the whole stepdad vibe down pat. Which, I mean, is the kind of film he does the most, so it fits.

“Your mom know you’re here?” he asks, knowing the answer.

“Of course she does,” I say jokingly.

“She’s gonna be so happy to see you. It’s been too long since you’ve been home.” He goes to reach out for a hug but stops midway, remembering I’m not one for physical affection.

I really appreciate that about David. Even though it’s been years, he still remembers I’m not a hugger. Instead, he gives me a thumbs up and lets me leave.

I smile and wave goodbye as I turn around and close my eyes again.

I do not want a front row seat to what’s being shot.

I hate it here.

Is it too much to ask for a room with a door and a red light to signal that people are fucking in there?

I keep my hand against the wall, keeping my head down as I pass the first door.

Just one more. Then I’m safe.

Well, safer.

My hand grazes the door handle to Mom’s office. I swing that bad boy open fast and jump inside. I press my back against the door and breathe in.

Finally, some peace from the sex banshee wailing away out there.

Mom’s office is soundproof and has no windows to the set. It’s the only good room in this place.

When I open my eyes, I see Mom’s hard wooden desk and all the pictures of us pinned around it.

“Why is my prom picture the one you framed? Coulda used my band one, it’s so much better,” I mutter to myself. I sigh, seeing the pack of cigarettes on her desk. I’ve been on her to quit all my life.

I relax against the office door and breathe in before I let my bag drop to the floor at the oak seats in front of me. Mom’s file cabinets beside me seem so much taller now than when I was a little girl.

Pushing off of the door, I pull a seat out and sink into it.

“Ugh, I don’t want to be here,” I groan out.

I tilt my head back and close my eyes. I roll my neck, trying to relax. Being on set always makes me super tense. My anxiety goes through the freaking roof here.

I let out another breath and open my eyes.

The first thing I see is a man looking down at me.


I jump up from my seat and face him. My back is against Mom’s desk, my hands to my chest in a protective stance. My first is ready to go flying.

The man just smirks, holding his hand out in front of him.

“Who the hell are you?” I snap at him.

His broad chest and tall frame tower from the couch beside the file cabinet.

He drops his hands to his sides before sticking them in his jean pockets. His black T-shirt shows his collarbone and heavily tattooed chest. His eyes crawl up my body in a sultry way.

“Eli.” His deep, manly voice is like a vice.

I roll my eyes. What a douchey name. But hey, he seems the type. I know a fuckboy when I see one.

He chuckles at me still holding my fighting stance.

“What are you doing here?” I snap at him.

Just as he flicks his eyes back to my face from crawling up my body, the door swings open as my mom’s teased blonde hair comes barreling in. Her squeals of excitement are deafening.

“Oh my God, my baby!” she screams, tackling me in a bone-crushing hug.

“What are you doing here?! I’m so happy to see you! Why didn’t you tell me you were in town? Oh my gracious, look at you! My sweet girl has grown right on up.”

My mom rambles when she gets worked up. She thinks out loud—it’s how she works through her own thoughts.

“Mom, I can’t breathe,” I wheeze.

She lets go thankfully and I take a deep gulp of air. Ever since Mom had her boobs done—again—she can’t feel how hard she’s hugging, and they are rock solid.

“Mercy, baby, what a happy surprise!” She rubs her hands down my arms and smiles.

Her long pink nails curl at the sides of my palms as she holds on to me. I can feel the weight of her jewel-encrusted nail art. How she gets anything done is amazing.

I nod back before I look pointedly at the man on her couch.

“Oh, Eli, this is my daughter Mercy, the one I told you about. Mercy, this is Eli. He is one of my best stars,” my mom gushes, batting her eyes at him.


I didn’t mean to say it out loud. I thought I had gotten better at holding back.

My mom laughs, telling me she misses me like crazy and how wonderful it is to see me. How much I’ve grown and how proud of me she is. She adds in how proud she is of Eli too.

An awkward silence settles on us before Mom starts at it again.

“So, baby, what are you doing here? You hate the set.” She doesn’t let go of me. Her nails still dig into the palm of my hands.

“Can’t I come see my mom when I want?”

I try to deflect the question. I do not want to get into that yet. I barely made it in the door. I can’t just go on explaining why I’ve run all the way back here.

“You can, but you don’t. It’s been years since you’ve come home, baby girl. Is something wrong? Are you okay, baby?” she pushes.

My mom’s doll-like blue eyes glimmer even under the lighting of an office building.

“Eli, was it? Nice to meet you.” I turn my attention away from Mom and catch Eli smirking at me. I already hate him. That cocky “oh I’m a porn star and blah blah” essence around him.

He stands up and holds out his hand for me to shake. Without pause I do. Anything to get me out of this conversation with her.

His hand engulfs mine, his catcher’s mitts wrapping all the way around as we give a polite shake.

“Believe me, the pleasure’s all mine,” he says smugly. The twinkle in his eye makes me want to dry heave.

I roll my eyes again. What a fucking douche.

“Oh my God, sissy!” My sister Cami jumps into the room with an identical squeal to our mother’s.

She’s in nothing but a candy bikini and hot-pink high heels. Her platinum blonde hair is almost iridescent, it’s so white.

“Yeah, no, I’m not hugging you until you put clothes on.” I back away from her as she stretches her arms out for me.

“Mercy, seriously? It’s not like I’m nude, and even if I was, we’re twins. Like we baked in the same vagina together,” she scoffs.

She beckons with her hands like a toddler wanting to be picked up, begging me to cross the boundary.

“How about we don’t mention that?” I tuck my hands in the back pocket of my jeans to hide them.

“What are you even doing here? You hate the set.” Cami crosses her arms in a pout.

“I can come to town whenever I want,” I huff, trying to get out of this once again.

I know it’s a shock that I’m here, and I should have made up a story or something so I wouldn’t have had to do this part. I didn’t think this all the way through. This was a mistake.

“Yeah, but you don’t. You hate this town.” She sets her blue eyes on me with the same bossy tone Mom has. If anyone is twins, it’s those two.

“So, Eli, how long have you been working here?” I turn back to him.

His smirk widens into a lopsided smile.

“Is it really that bad? Wow, Mercy, did you kill someone or what?” Cami says, amused.

“For fuck’s sake,” I grumble, running a hand through my hair. I make sure I don’t pull at it or rip any of it out. It takes a considerable amount of strength, but I manage to pull it off.

“I knew this was a bad idea. This was a mistake,” I grunt, and walk past Cami, snatching my bag off the floor and slinging it over my shoulder.

“No, baby, wait! Don’t go. We are just a little surprised, is all. We didn’t mean to push you. Please stay, we just got you back.” Mom’s voice stops me. I can hear the sadness in it.

Holding my breath, I stop in my tracks and hold the frame of the door before walking out of it. Looking over my shoulder, I can see how desperately she wants me to stay.

“We can have lunch and catch up. I missed you, baby.” Mom steps over to me and smiles.

It’s true. I haven’t been here in years. I actually never wanted to come back to the set ever again. I could have lived my whole life never coming back into this town.

But I’ve missed her too.

“Okay. But I’m not eating any of that fancy bullshit you guys keep taking pictures of and posting. Or raw anything.”

I have to be specific. I’ve learned my lesson on letting them pick in the past. I’ve seen the Instagram pictures of the kelp shakes they are drinking every morning.

They once took me to a raw foods bar, and everything was made into paste or salads. I swear Cami had a green-apple-glue shake thing that looked like baby poop and smelled ten times worse.

“That’s fine, it’s our cheat day anyway. Eli, come on, let’s go.” Mom waves her hand.

I look at Eli and back at Mom.

“He’s really coming?” I ask in a whisper, hoping she is just teasing me.

“Sure am, beautiful.” He shoots me a wink, already getting to his feet. The rolled fabric of his ripped jeans increases as he stands.

Wow, he’s tall.

The drop of his shirt makes the chest piece of his tattoos stand a little further out than I think he meant too. The colors pop and I can see a cheetah peeking out from his shoulder along his pecs.

I roll my eyes and walk out.

I hate this place.

Next chapter

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