Authors: Tess Oliver
Bluefield Bad Boys #1
Copyright© 2016 by Tess Oliver
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locale or organizations is entirely coincidental.
All Rights are Reserved.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Table of Contents
“I’ve been waiting for you, Kellan.” Lilly leaned back on her hands, bracing them against the table as she spread her knees wide.
“Huh. Seems you forgot your panties, Lil”
“Nope.” She lifted her hand off the desk and twirled the lacy panties around her forefinger. Lilly was one of those girls every guy had had wet dreams about in high school. Even now, seven years after graduation, she was still a master at the art of teasing.
I scrubbed my hand through my hair and glanced back to make sure no one, especially Lilly’s homicidal boyfriend, had followed me into the room. The club owner had thrown a metal table, a metal bench and a few rusted lockers into a storage room and called it a locker room. Everything about The Hole, the local bar and front for a backroom gambling club, was makeshift. The whole place was a health inspector’s nightmare, the relics yanked out of the local dump to pose as furniture, the cracked beer mugs and wobbling barstools, the gritty sound system and the flimsy fight ring mat, which smelled like a mixture of blood, sweat and the dirty dishwater the owner, Scott Lowe, used to rinse off the sticky remnants of a night of fighting. But for some damn reason Dawson, Tommy and I spent half our spare time in the pieced together shit
“Lilly Upton,” I said with a sigh as I walked over to the lockers, “it seems you’re trying to get me killed before I even step into the ring with Jigsaw.” Lilly’s boyfriend, Jake, had earned the nickname Jigsaw because he tended to leave his opponents in pieces. I hadn’t stepped into the ring with him in months, but the last time we’d fought, it had been called a draw. We’d both been itching for a rematch.
“Now, that is
a nice thing to say. You know I always come to see you when I’m in town,” Lilly crooned.
I shoved my phone and hat into the locker and grabbed out the hand tape. I walked over to the table where Lilly still sat with her thighs spread wide open in invitation.
She reached up and rubbed her fingers along the beard stubble on my jaw. “I get hot just hearing your name, Kellan Braddock. And when I heard that you were fighting Jake tonight, well . . .” She licked her bottom lip, dropped the panties on the table and took hold of my wrist. Her green eyes glittered wickedly as she pushed my hand under her skirt and against her wet pussy. “Do you see what I mean? Now, why don’t you put me out of my misery, sweetie, and fuck me right here on this table Or are you afraid it will sap your energy for the fight?”
I shook my head. “Got plenty of energy. But if Jigsaw walks in on us, I think we’re both going to see an early grave.”
Lilly smiled. “Can’t think of a better way to go, can you?”
I walked back over to the locker and yanked off my shirt. Lilly watched with interest as I kicked off my boots and jeans.
Her laugh plinked off the tile wall. “Looks like you’re just as ready as I am.”
I grabbed my fight shorts and a condom from my jeans before I shoved the pants back into the locker. I walked over to the metal bench. It scraped the rough cement floor as I shoved it in front of the door. Not that a metal bench would stop a monster like Jigsaw from coming into the room, but I figured it’d give me a few seconds to at least push Lilly safely out the back window.
“Nice perfume,” I noted as I settled in between her thighs.
“Thanks. Jake bought it for me.” She wrapped her arms around my neck and kissed me. Her hands smoothed over my shoulders. Her fingers stopped at the tattoo on my arm. She pulled her mouth from mine and sighed. “Do you know how many hearts you broke with this damn tattoo? Including mine?” She leaned over and ran her fingers along my arm. “I see you’ve added some ink to cover it. Shame her name is still visible.” She clucked her tongue. “And off she went, clear across the country to get engaged to someone else.”
I clenched my jaw, shoved my hands up her skirt and wrapped my fingers around her ass. I yanked her closer to the edge of the table and pushed my cock against her pussy just enough to make her suck in a long breath. “Do you want to reminisce about the past, Lil? Or do you want to fuck? Cuz I’m expected in the ring in ten minutes.”
Lily wrapped her legs around my waist. “You always know exactly what I want, Kellan Braddock.”
An email came through from Bloomington Publishing House. An email was never good news. An email was never a job offer. I barely glanced at the first line stating how much they appreciated my interest in the position, but . . . There was always a
, it seemed. Sometimes it was followed by
or the even less inspiring
just not a right fit
. That was my favorite as if I was interviewing to wear a tight spandex suit instead of to work as an editor. I’d left behind my perfectly wonderful editor position in Pennsylvania to follow my fiancé to New York. He’d gotten a job on Wall Street, the kind of job he’d been working his entire adult life to nab. I’d had no choice but to give up my own life for his.
I shoved my phone back into my purse and headed through the tall sliding glass doors of the high rise. I had planned to surprise Chase for lunch but I was hoping I would have good news to share. This particular interview had left me feeling ridiculously optimistic. Obviously dozens of interviews had made me slightly delusional.
Sparkling white marble and copper trim made the reception area of the Moore and Associates office anything but receptive. It was a cold, inhospitable place to work, but Chase got up every morning with a huge grin and his phone stuck to his ear making trades and deals. I badly wanted something I could wake up to with enthusiasm, other than the new pumpkin spice coffee I’d bought, which was, in dull morning terms, sheer delight.
Margo or Margaret or whatever the heck the receptionist’s name was barely lifted her fake eyelashes as I walked past. Chase wasn’t exactly corner office material yet, but he had a good sized, nicely polished office near the hub of assistants and junior brokers working in the main room.
The constant ringing of phones and frenzied sales pitches followed me along the green tile floor to Chase’s office. The wooden blinds were down over the front window, which meant he was either on a conference call or out. I decided to wait inside tucked comfortably into one of his tufted chairs. It would give me a chance to wade through the million links Mom had sent me to check out wedding stuff. The wedding was eight months away, and I was already sick of it. Unfortunately, Chase, my mom and my future mother-in-law had scoffed at my suggestion of us eloping to Las Vegas. After all, I was just the bride to be and had no real say in the matter.
I hoped Chase’s bottle of brandy was out for a quick sip. Chase wouldn’t care either way that I didn’t get the job, but I was feeling plenty downtrodden about the whole thing. Rejection was not great for self-esteem.
I opened the door, and suddenly, being turned down for the job was the best thing that had happened all day. Chase stood over his desk with his pants around his thighs and his white ass staring at me, almost mocking me as it contracted and thumped against Cynthia, the pert little woman who Chase had hired as his assistant. Cynthia’s usually crisp pencil skirt was shoved up above her waist, and she groaned like a sick kitten as Chase slammed against her. His massive mahogany desk, the one he’d taken weeks to choose and that came with a three year payment plan, wobbled beneath them.
I wasn’t sure what was making me move or breathe or stay standing on my feet. The whole thing was weirdly surreal. Shock. That’s all I could come up with. Shock was keeping me upright. The two were so engrossed in their
business they hadn’t even heard my footsteps or my stunned, disgusted gasp. I’d left the door wide open. Unfortunately, the clamor of phones and voices in the center room was drowning out the couple’s lovely sound effects.
I walked calmly over to the blinds and pushed the button to lift them. The tall red head woman who worked at the desk just across from Chase’s office was the first to notice. Her mouth formed an O, and she immediately leaned out of her cubby to grab the attention of her neighbor.
“Having a nice day at work, sweetie?” I asked, the waver in my voice was the first indication that I was about to come apart at the seams.
Chase swung around, his brown eyes wide with shock. A small crowd had gathered outside the window. My fiancé’s face went from the pink shade of wild sex to the chalky white shade of nausea. He yanked free of Cynthia. She fell to her knees in front of the desk. A string of long, high-pitched screams followed as she struggled to pull down her tight skirt. She nearly crawled on her hands and knees out of the office. I almost felt sorry for her. Almost.
The expression on Chase’s face was somewhere between horrified and suicidal as he swung shut the door and lunged for the switch on the blinds. They rolled down at a snail’s pace. Impatiently, he reached for the bottom and yanked on it, ripping the blinds from the window.
I wasn’t completely sure how I was holding it together, but the last thing I wanted was to break down in front of him.
He grabbed roughly hold of my arm and dragged me out of view of the window. “Fucking hell, Rylan, you might have just cost me my job.”
I laughed. “Me? I wasn’t the one bent over my three thousand dollar desk. How is that desk by the way? Holds up nice for a good afternoon romp, I see. I came by to ask if you wanted to have lunch and discuss some wedding plans. But since I’m feeling a little sick to my stomach now and since the wedding plans are pointless, I think I’ll just leave.”
The first hint of tears burned the back of my eyes. I blinked them away. I tried to squiggle out of his grasp. His gray slacks and expensive Italian leather belt, a birthday gift from me, hung open. He was a man who I’d dropped everything for, my nice job, my friends, the cute little house I’d been renting. Now he’d pulled something so unimaginable, I was still trying to figure out if I was actually awake or stuck in some tawdry nightmare.
I tried, again, to free myself from his grasp, but it only made him tighten his hold more. He seemed to be searching for words to explain away what had just happened. I was pretty sure no such words existed. And so the slick talking, big shot salesman was speechless and, from what I could tell, thoroughly embarrassed. But I was certain he was more concerned about how he’d face his coworkers and eventually his boss after the lascivious show he’d just put on for the entire main floor.
“If you think I’m going to run out of here in a big drama scene, you can stop worrying. I’m saving the drama scene for when I’m all alone. I won’t even give you the satisfaction of seeing me with a broken heart. Actually, interestingly enough—” I finally wrenched my arm free of his hold. I tapped my chest. “I’m not even sure I’m feeling properly heartbroken.”
My mind unexpectedly floated back to my high school years and to Kellen Braddock and the way he used to make my stomach flutter just by walking into a room. He’d been a teenage infatuation, an infatuation that had ended in true heartbreak and disappointment and a hurricane of tears. What I was feeling right now, in Chase’s posh office that smelled of a mixture of wood polish and sex, was not heartbreak. Disappointment yes, but not heartbreak. And the disappointment fell more on my shoulders. I was disappointed in myself for becoming too dependent on the man standing in front of me with another woman’s coral pink lipstick on his disheveled collar.
Chase flinched at my words. “Ry, just go home, and I’ll meet you there in a little while. I need to talk to Jasper. He’s a manager and has the ear of the owner. He’ll know what to do.”
I watched with a layer of amusement as he calmly buttoned his pants and buckled his belt.
“Yes, in this situation the most important person, the first person you should talk to, is, naturally, your boss. Because this affects him gravely, while this is nothing more than a missed lunch date and awkwardly bad day for me.”
He reached for me, but I ducked out of the way. “No, you don’t get to touch me. When you get home, after you grovel at your boss’s feet to ask forgiveness, rest assured that you won’t need to rehearse any bullshit apology for me because I won’t be interested in anything you have to say. You’re not the man I thought you were, and another thing—the sex just wasn’t that mind-blowing. There were a lot of theatrics added in for your benefit. You seemed to need it.” I glanced at my engagement ring, a glistening two carat diamond that he’d insisted on buying. It had been far more showy than anything I would have chosen for myself, but stupidly, I’d gone along with it, just like I had gone along with everything else. “This rock, I’m keeping. I earned it.” I turned to leave.
“You’re overreacting, Rylan. It was just a—”
I spun back around. “A midday fuck? I’m not overreacting. If I were, then I’d be screaming and crying and wasting tears on you.”
His expression softened, and I was sure I was looking at Chase’s version of heartbreak. I was glad to see it. “Come on, babe, let’s talk about this later. It was just a stupid decision. It won’t happen again.”
I stared at him. I thought about that first day I’d met him on campus. I’d been grumbling angrily at the vending machine that had swallowed my money and produced no coffee. He’d stepped in and saved the day with one solid smack on the machine. I thought he was brilliant and incredibly handsome. I hoped, then, that I’d found the person who could make me forget all about the boy I’d left behind in Bluefield. But considering my engagement to Chase had just come to an ugly, abrupt end and the first place my mind had gone was to Kellan, a person I hadn’t seen or talked to in seven years, it seemed I hadn’t found that person after all.
Unshed tears made my eyes ache as I took a deep breath. “Don’t you see, Chase? I’ll never be able to trust you again. I gave up everything to follow you here, but I can’t stay. I don’t want to stay.” I hurried out before he could say another word.
Curious onlookers quickly averted their eyes and pretended to be engrossed with the papers and computers on their desks. I stared straight at the tile floor as I scurried to the elevator. It felt as if a hundred pairs of eyes were boring holes through the back of my sweater as I waited the interminably long period of time for the elevator to arrive. I was relieved that Chase hadn’t followed. He might very well stay hidden in his office until the entire building cleared out for the night. I know I would.
I jumped inside the elevator and crossed my arms tightly around myself, working hard to keep from falling apart. I hurried out of the building and ran for the small park on the street corner.
Crisp fall weather was withering the tree leaves into papery yellow foliage, creating a perfectly autumn landscape. The colors reminded me of Bluefield. Homesickness tapped lightly at my chest as it often did. I’d left my hometown with hardly a glance back. My parents had viewed my life away from home as a vacation opportunity. They’d always traveled to me. I also knew deep down that they’d come my direction to keep me away from Bluefield and from the boy who they’d considered an unsuitable match. Kellan had been the one giant source of discontent between my parents and me, and I’d fought and defied them every step of the way. But in the end, it had been Kellan who dropped me. No explanation or apologies for why he’d decided to ignore my existence. That had been true heartbreak. There couldn’t have been any other explanation for the bitter, sickening feeling that’d invaded my entire body and soul when Kellan turned away from me. It had made leaving Bluefield that much easier.
Two pigeons eyed me optimistically for a lunch treat as I sat on the park bench. I pulled out my cell phone. There was only one person who I could think I wanted to talk to, and the second I heard his deep, confident voice I crumpled into a distraught, little girl. “Daddy, it’s me. It’s all gone to hell here. I’m ready to come back home.”