“Our dinner.” He reaches in and pulls out another bag, handing it to me before he sits close on the blanket.

I know what’s in the bag, but I check anyway. I can’t believe he’s remembered so much. Most afternoons we’d share a hero. Roast beef and provolone, mayo only on his half.

“I can’t believe you remembered all of this.”

“Of course I remembered.”

I try to force a smile at Vinny, but he sees on my face that something’s bothering me.

“What’s the matter?”

“Nothing. I guess I’m just surprised that you remembered all this.”

“Remember? Liv, those months with you…I’d never forget.”

When we spent time together all those years ago, I never doubted that there was something between us. I was young and inexperienced, but my heart told me he cared about me too. Then it just ended. And I spent the next year of my life feeling stupid for thinking he felt something for me too. To say I was devastated would be an understatement. It crushed my faith in so many things…young love, trusting my judgment on boys, giving my heart to someone else. “Then why, Vinny? Why did we stop spending time together after you left school?”

Vinny sighs, raking his fingers through his dark blond locks. It makes his unruly hair even more wild and only that much sexier. “My life was just so screwed up. My mom had problems, I’d just got kicked out of school, and I didn’t understand things about myself.” He reaches for my hand. “You were young, Liv. You weren’t ready for what I needed from you.”

Softly, the words escape my lips before I can catch them. “I didn’t care about any of that. I just needed you.”


I watch Vinny’s throat work as he swallows. For a second, I catch a flash of the boy I once knew in the man, only this time, he’s forlorn instead of angry. But the flash quickly passes, shuttering over the sadness. “You needed someone better. I would’ve dragged you down.” His words are spoken resolutely. It’s clear by his clipped tone he intends the conversation to be over. We’re both quiet for a long time, neither of us wanting to speak first.

I don’t even realize I’m staring at our joined hands, avoiding eye contact, until Vinny finally puts his hand under my chin, forcing my head up to meet his gaze. “Do you understand?”

“Sort of. I guess.” My tone wavers. Because, the truth is, I really don’t understand.

“I cared about you, Liv. A lot.”

I can tell he’s sincere and it makes me feel better. A little at least. I smile half-heartedly at him as he runs his knuckles gently along my cheek. “You better eat. When I look at you sitting here, it reminds me of all the things I never got to do with you.” His sweet smile is replaced by a dirty grin. “To you. I have a whole list of things I wanted to do to you.”


Eating breaks the tension that was building between us and we spend the next hour laughing and catching up, filling in all the missing pieces from our years apart.

“So what made Nico take you back to train?”

“My dad.” Vinny rubs his chest as he speaks, unconsciously reaching for the dog tags beneath his shirt. I doubt if he even knows he’s doing it.

“Your dad?”

“Yeah. The local chapter of The Angels MC do a bike run to raise money for the Children’s Hospital every year on Veteran’s Day. Most of them are vets like my dad was. So I started riding with them in his honor when I turned seventeen and got my first bike. Last year they needed to raise more money. The hospital’s working on funding a new wing for families of kids with cancer to stay while the kids get their treatment. So I asked Nico to ride, get some of the guys from his gym to join too.”

“And he said yes and then started training you again?”

Vinny laughs. “Nothing with Nico Hunter is that easy. He asked me if my dad would be proud of what I was doing. I was out of control, doing too much partying. I got a four hour lecture, but in the end he agreed to ride for the fundraiser. After it was over, he told me to be at his gym the next morning at 6AM. I thought he was going to train me. Instead he made me take a drug test. I passed. Then he made me come back at random times for a month. One day I showed up and he told me to get in the ring, instead of handing me a cup.”

“Sounds like you had to earn back his trust.”

“Yeah, I’m still working on that part. I haven’t touched anything except booze in six months, but I still get randomly tested.”

“Does it bother you?”


“That it’s taking you so long to earn back his trust?”

Vinny doesn’t respond right away. Instead, he looks into my eyes and holds my gaze for a minute before speaking. “I don’t mind working for something important to me.” His eyes drop to my mouth and back. Slowly, he leans in and kisses me. It’s gentle and sweet, full of meaning, and I feel yet another crack in the wall I’ve built around my heart to protect myself from this man.


It’s almost 3AM before Vinny finally drives me home. I’ve been with him for close to ten hours, yet it feels like the night’s ending too soon. Vinny parks and jogs around to open my door, giving me his hand to help me get out. He doesn’t release me once I’m standing. Instead he pulls me flush against him, his grip tight as he holds me close without saying a word for a full minute.

“I want to come up, but I’m not going to ask.” He speaks into the top of my head, his cheek still buried in my hair.

I pull back my face, enough to look up at him while I speak. I’m just about to respond, tell him that it’s too fast and I can’t invite him up yet, when he takes my mouth in a kiss. His large hand wraps around the back of my head, holding me in place while he gently traces the outline of my mouth with his tongue before sucking my lip into his mouth and biting down roughly. My innate reaction is to pull back from the pain, but it’s no use, Vinny has my head in his grip and doesn’t give me the chance to respond. Instead his tongue infiltrates my mouth and he kisses me with so much passion that I can’t help but feel it throughout my body. My skin heats, every nerve courses at warp speed with electricity pumping through my veins, and I kiss him back as hard as he gives it.

“Soon, Liv,” he mutters between impatient kisses when we come up for air. “I want you in my bed. Underneath me, on top of me, bent over…fuck, we’re going to invent new ways for me to have you.”

Most Popular