Authors: E. K. Blair
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary
Copyright © 2013 by E.K. Blair
Cover Design by Sarah Hansen, Okay Creations
Editing by Lisa Christman, Adept Edits
Interior design by Angela McLaurin, Fictional Formats
Photography by Maxim Malevich
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owner.
All rights reserved.
I've never been more pleased, and it's all your fault.
What do you mean they cancelled? They've been on the books for weeks."
"I don't know. I didn't take the call, but we've gotta fill that slot in the next couple of days. Classes at U-Dub started today, so this weekend is gonna be busy as hell."
"Shit!" I pause for a second, frustrated as fuck. "It's too late to do anything about it tonight. I'll make some calls tomorrow and try to get another band booked. Oh, hey, if those fuckers call back, tell them to find another bar to play."
"Right, boss. You heading out soon? It's past midnight already."
"Yeah, in a little bit. I need to finish this paperwork and I'll be gone. Go ahead and go."
"See you tomorrow, man."
I try working on the inventory supply sheet that I need to get in to our liquor distributor, but my mind is elsewhere. I really need to call Gina and tell her to not come over tonight. She's starting to become so damn clingy. I can't stand chicks like that. The last thing I need to deal with is her needy shit. Gavin had warned me about her, but fuck if I listened. I was just looking for a one-night thing, but her stopping by my place and calling me all the time is getting annoying.
A clatter outside snaps me out of my thoughts. I look down at my watch to see it's nearing one in the morning.
I start packing my things up to head home, I hear more commotion from outside. I shake my head knowing it's probably just some drunk guys heading back home from a party. People are always cutting through the back alley.
I start locking everything up and make my way downstairs to the back door. "Crap," I whisper to myself, realizing I left my cell in my office. Walking back up the stairs to my office, I grab my phone off my desk. Then I hear screaming. A girl screaming.
Bolting out of my office, I quickly run downstairs to the back door and out to the small employee parking lot in the alley.
"God, please! Stop!" a girl shrieks.
Before my mind can process what I'm seeing, the bastard smashes his fist into the girl's face.
Adrenaline courses through my body, and I run. Yanking the guy off her, I start slamming my fist in his face over and over. I completely lose control of myself and relentlessly whale on him. My knuckles start to burn as the flesh begins to split open. He manages to get a few swift hits to my jaw and ribs, which allows him a quick moment to work out of my grip and flee.
Before I can charge after the guy, I catch a glimpse of the girl. It doesn't take but a split second for me to refocus. She lies there, completely unconscious, bare, with her clothes ripped off of her. My stomach clenches and my chest tightens as I slowly approach her and kneel down on my knees. Too scared to touch her, I take off my shirt and cover her naked, battered body. Her face is scratched and covered in blood and dirt. The side where the fucker's fist landed is already starting to swell and bruise, and her knees are ripped open and covered in gravel. My heart pounds and my gut is in knots.
I pat my pockets for my cell but it's not on me. I must have dropped it as I ran out here. Not wanting to leave her, I look around and spot her purse. I lean over and grab it in search of her phone. When I find it, I swipe the screen and dial 911.
As I sit next to her, she lies there, breathing peacefully. Whatever is running through her head right now has to be a million times better than the hell she's going to wake up to.
What the fuck just happened?
I stare at her. I don't know what else to do. She is so small, and when I look at her tiny hands, there is bloody flesh under her nails.
I notice a little heart tattoo on her lower hip that is still exposed. Sliding the shirt over a little to cover it, I finally hear the sirens.
"Thank God," I whisper.
Where did you meet this guy?"
I stare at my hazel eyes reflected in the mirror and apply a little mascara to my already dark, thick lashes. "I ran into him at the country club."
"What the hell were you doing there? You hate all those pretentious tartlets," she says with a dramatic eye roll.
"I know, but my parents wanted me to meet them for brunch."
"How did that go?" Kimber asks.
I turn around to face her, "Oh you know, the usual. Mom is still up my ass for majoring in dance. Thinks I'm throwing my life away. I swear to God, the woman has got to get a life and stop trying to control mine."
Lying on my bed while I browse my closet for something to wear, Kimber says, "Ugh, forget about her. So tell me, is this guy hot, or is he a loafer-wearing, country club douche?"
Sliding on my favorite white pants and grabbing a sleeveless navy blouse, I shoot Kimber a smirk. "Hot, no loafers, clean cut, and a total mama's boy. So yeah, a bit of a douche."
"Seriously? Why did you agree to go out with him?" She rolls off of my bed and starts rummaging through my shoes. Kimber is like my sister. I met her my freshman year when we were randomly paired together to share a dorm room. She's very outgoing and has a flair for dramatics. Although her sense of humor can be a bit brash, her heart is sincere. After our freshman year, we ditched the dorms and moved into this house, which her parents own. The past three years have really bonded us, and I couldn't imagine my life without her.