“Who are you?” I tilt my chin to the closer of the two men and wait for a response.

“We’re friends of your mother’s.” The man stands and folds his arms over his chest. He’s trying to intimidate me with his size, only the f**ker has no idea who he’s dealing with. I don’t give a shit if he does have a few inches on me.

“Yeah? What do you want from my mother, friend.”

The guy still sitting slaps his hand on his knee. “Holy shit. You’re Vince Stone, the fighter, aren’t you?” He seems pleased with himself for the discovery.

I completely ignore his question. He still hasn’t answered mine and I feel my adrenaline start pumping up, readying me for a fight. “I’ve asked nicely twice, now I’m starting to lose my patience. Who the f**k are you and what do you want from my mother?”

“We’re looking for a friend of your mother’s…who has something that belongs to us.”

I look to my right and then to my left with dramatic emphasis. “I don’t see anyone else here…so get the f**k out.”

The guy still sitting chuckles and stands. I watch as he lifts his hand to his waist and pats what’s tucked into the band, silently letting me know that my fists are no match for his fire power. He motions to the other guy with his head toward the door and the two make their way to the exit. The one carrying stops before he walks out and turns back to me. “Listen, I’ve seen you fight. Got a lot of respect for you, man. Love to see a local kid make it big time. It’s a shame it’s gonna go down like this. But your mother there,” his chin points back in her direction, “she’s got two weeks to come up with our cash or our stash,” he pauses, “or find that dirtbag Jason she vouched for. Otherwise we’re coming back. And all the muscle in the world you got ain’t gonna help her.”

Chapter 16


“I was just about to check if you were still breathing in there. How much longer do you really think I can hold out for details?” Ally doesn’t even wait until both my feet are through my bedroom door before starting in on me.


“Coffee,” I grunt in response. There will be absolutely no talking before I get at least a loading dose of caffeine in my body. Ally isn’t deterred by my grumpy response. Instead she plants herself up on the kitchen counter, directly across from the coffee pot where I lethargically prepare the antidote to my slumber.

“I waited up till two and you still weren’t home, so I’m guessing your date with the sexy beast went well?”

“Sexy beast? I thought he was just the beast?”

“That was in high school, when he broke your achy breaky heart. I forgive him now. I mean who wouldn’t? That man is a sexy beast.”

“You forgive him? You haven’t spoken to him since high school. Exactly what has he done to earn your forgiveness?”

“He took off his shirt for that picture in the paper this morning.” Ally wiggles her eyebrows suggestively and motions to the newspaper lying on the kitchen table. It’s open to an advertisement for Vinny’s, actually, Vince “The Invincible” Stone’s, upcoming fight. Except for the date and time, there’s little writing, yet I can’t seem to stop staring at the picture.

“You can take it back to your room and use it for inspiration later,” Ally teases, a wide grin on her face. “I want details first.” My best friend folds her arms over her chest. Clearly she isn’t going to go away quietly.

Walking past her with the paper still clenched in my hand, I grab my coffee and make my way into the living room. Ally follows closely behind.

“I don’t know, Ally.” I let out an exasperated sigh. It’s not for effect while telling my story, I truly feel conflicted. “When I’m around him, it’s so easy to feel like I can fall for him again. Like we could pick up right where we left off, almost as if he didn’t walk away one day and forget I ever existed. It scares me how easy it was for him to leave.”

“Maybe it wasn’t as easy as you’ve thought all these years, Liv. Did you ask him?”

“I did. I didn’t want to, but I couldn’t help myself…I needed to know how it was so easy for him, when it was so, so hard for me.”

“And what did he say?”

“He told me what I wanted to hear.”

“Which is what? Different from the truth?”

“I don’t know, Ally. I’m afraid to believe it’s the truth. That I can trust him. That maybe we could pick up where we left off. Or better yet, start over. As adults.”

“Guess you have to decide. Is he worth the chance? The chance that maybe if you let him in, he’ll stay this time?”


I’m in a fog as I run through all of my weekend errands. My mind keeps finding its way back to Vinny at every turn. At the gym for my spin class, I think about the smooth lines of his muscular, carved abdomen stretching as he led the class through a series of kicks yesterday. At the dry cleaner, a nice looking man in an expensive suit smiles at me and attempts to strike up a conversation. But my mind only thinks about how much better Vinny would look in the three thousand dollar Armani the handsome man is sporting. All roads just seem to lead my mind back to one place.

I stop by the bookstore after my last errand. There’s nothing better to clear my mind than spending a few hours perusing the aisles and sipping a caramel latte from the in-store coffee bar. I pick up a few novels I’ve been meaning to check out. Flipping a few pages into the first chapter of one, I begin to read, attempting to decide which book I’ll be spending the evening with.

His thick, throbbing erection slips past my opening, landing on my aching clit. A low moan escapes me in a deep throaty breath and it fuels my lover’s desire. With a growl, he rears back and thrusts into me, filling me deeply in one heavenly plunge. Oh my, and I’m only on page six. I’m thinking I may have found my newest purchase, my date for tonight, when my phone rings, bringing me back from a place I was just beginning to enjoy.

“Hey.” Just hearing Vinny’s deep voice makes me smile


“Are you home?” he asks.

“No, I’m at the bookstore.”

“Looking for something for work?”

“Actually no. I was just trying to decide on a good book to snuggle up with tonight.”

“What kind of book?”


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