Authors: J.L. Beck
A KINGPIN LOVE AFFAIR: VOL. 3
Copyright 2015 by Josi Beck
Cover design by Sprinkles on Top Studio LLC
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All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means- except in the case of brief quotations embodied in articles or reviews- without written permission of its publisher.
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarities to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental and not intended by the author.
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Copyright 2015 by Josi Beck
All rights reserved.
Table of Contents
ALSO BY J.L. BECK
Project: Killer (Project Series #1)
Injustice (Kingpin Series #4)
Dangerous Ties (Ties Series #1)
Tainted by Her
Severed Ties (Ties Series #2)
Project: Rouge (Project Series #2)
To the bitch who claimed Devon far sooner than anyone else.
Thank you for loving the ‘D’ as much as I do.
I HAVE THOUGHT many times on how to write a little note to my readers—which honestly is weird as shit being I write every day all day long. Writing is my life, it’s my vision, and it’s literally, why I breathe. However, as I sat in my office thinking more and more about what goes into all of this, I continued to come to the realization that these books would be nothing without you, the fans. I am the author I am because of people like you. The people who read my books, the people who love them or hate them, the ones who leave reviews. Without the good AND the bad, I would be half the person I am.
I KNOW MANY authors say they love their fans or they would be nothing without them. It may sound cliché, but I literally would be nothing without you. I am not only grateful for you all, but I consider you each like a small member of my family. You support me, you push me to do better, and you genuinely care about me. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I would meet such amazing people. With that said, please know these books would only be half what they are without you. And I mean that sincerely. You’re amazing, and I want to let you know I love the support you give me. <3
“DEV! DEV, WHERE are you going? You can’t do this to me! Please, come back to me. I can’t do this without you! I can’t be alone—”As my chest cracks open, and as I watch him take a step away from me, his face is etched with deep sadness.
“I can’t do this with you. I can’t be what you want me to be. I can’t force myself to make this work. It’s over.” The words rip through me as my mind catches up with my body. Tears stain my cheeks and my body shakes uncontrollably… How could he… Was our love ever enough?
I wake up with a gut-wrenching scream ripping through my throat. The t-shirt I fell asleep in is stuck to me, my body covered in sweat as I force myself to catch my breath. Breathe, Teg, just breathe. But for the life of me, I can’t catch my breath and a part of me doesn’t want to. A part of me wants to stop breathing because then maybe my heart won’t hurt. It wouldn’t be a battered, damaged, lifeless, blood pumping organ only existing in its own personal world full of mayhem.
When they tell you about love in books, they forget to tell you not every single love story has a fairy tale ending. That sometimes you have to jump through hurdles and go months, maybe even years, with heartache before discovering what love really is. They don’t tell you about the nightmares that will come. The ones where no matter how much you try to reach the person you once loved, they get further and further away from you. No matter how much you yell, scream, and shout out their name, they can’t hear you. They forget to tell you how you will find yourself crying more than you smile and never feeling anything except the coldness that has surrounded your heart.
They say distance makes the heart grow fonder, but I think it just makes you think. Think about what you had with that person, the love you have lost and what you could’ve done differently to save it. When I look back on my love story with Devon Mitchell, I want to feel more than just what we were. I want to know that deep down we had tried everything possible to be what we were. This is our love story…
THE PAST—EIGHT YEARS AGO
I WOULD LIKE to say I saw the end of us coming, or I saw the heartache and change in him months before the actual incident, but I didn’t. For whatever reason, I was blinded by his love or maybe it was so much more than that. Let’s take a trip down memory lane.
“Tegan, you better be ready to go in five seconds, or I’m leaving you here. It might be your graduation, but no one is going to wait for you.” My mother was, well, a mom. She didn’t sugarcoat shit, and she most definitely didn’t tell me anything I wanted to hear. Ever.
“Coming,” I yelled, adjusting my hair in the mirror. It was the end of May, and though it wasn’t hot enough to turn the air conditioning on, it was still warm. My thick auburn curls stuck to the back of my neck, and as I pulled them away from my skin, I wiped the sweat away.
Great. I was a sweaty mess. Excitement bubbled just under the surface as I put my cap on and sprung from the bedroom. For one fleeting moment, I stopped in the middle of the hall allowing all the feelings to sink in. I was a high school graduate, I had a wonderful boyfriend, and a new life was just within my grasps. I could see the future in clear sight. My heart was beating out of my chest as I started walking down the hall toward the steps that led downstairs.
“Tegan, I will not—” My mother’s words halted as I came into her line of vision. She took me in, her eyes running over my cap and gown.
“You look beautiful…” she said softly, her motherly tone disappearing. I could tell she was proud of me. Words weren’t needed when her eyes filled with tears. That was her way of saying,
Way to go, Teg. You have defied all the odds bestowed before you.
“Thank you, Mom.” I thanked her, not wanting to ruin the moment by throwing in an ‘
I got it from you’
joke. My mother was a single parent and she worked her ass off to get where she was. Nursing school was no walk in the park with a one-year-old. However, she did it and managed to get me where I needed to be. If anything, it was I who should be proud of her.
“Ready to go?” She switched the subject blinking away the tears. Just like that, her walls came back up, blocking her heart from the pain. She had always been that way. Forcing herself to be distant, even from her own daughter.
“Yup, let’s go,” I mumbled, gripping my wallet. Even with all the events that played before me, I was still excited about this evening. Headed out to the car, I got in and buckled up. As I waited for my mom, my thoughts turned to Devon. I was more excited to see him than to actually graduate.
“You have all your stuff for your classes in the fall ready?” Of course, the conversation would switch straight to more school. My mother didn’t like my… what did she call it? My
infatuation with boys
, and one, in particular. She thought Devon was the devil, a man who would lead me astray and away from the important things in life. She had no idea how wrong she was.
“Yes, classes are done. I’m registered. I have the dorm map. I have everything ready. You sound more nervous than I do,” I remarked, rolling my eyes as I stared out the window and into the open field. It was a good thing I wouldn’t be too far from my hometown. I wasn’t sure I could handle it.
“I am nervous—for you, of course. I know how different college can be, how leaving home can change your life.” I couldn’t tell if she was referring to her own past or my future, but I didn’t like where this conversation was headed.
“You need to calm down. The only thing I’m doing with my life is going to college and spending time with Devon. I haven’t done anything wrong. Hell, I’m still a virgin, Mom. If I wanted to whore myself out, I already would have.” Anger was laced with my words as I spat them at her. I didn’t mean to hurt her, to say such harmful things, but I was tired of being compared.
Her hands gripped the steering wheel harder as she pulled onto HWY 80 heading toward the high school. The rest of the trip followed me in silence as we both seethed in our own rages.
By the time we parked in the high school parking lot, I was about ready to scream. The tension in the car was similar to wearing a turtleneck in the middle of July. Unbearable, itchy, and sweaty. I wanted out.
I reached for the car door handle, not even caring about saying goodbye. It wasn’t like me to walk away from something without resolving it, but I had no intention of getting into this conversation. I knew Devon, I knew what my future entailed, and I knew none of her fears would become my reality.
“I just want the best for you, Tegan. I don’t want you to end up like me, throwing everything away for some boy who never really cared…” I could feel the hurt in her words and see the anguish in her eyes. She was scared. She was afraid because when she looked at me, she saw herself.
“I’m smart, Mom. I got this.” I patted her on the hand, giving her a reassuring smile before exiting the car. I didn’t want to have to explain to her how much Devon meant to me. I didn’t even want to tell
how much he meant to me.
“It’s about damn time you made it here. For a second, I thought you might miss your own graduation,” Caroline, my best friend said. Her blonde locks were blowing in the wind, and her green eyes were looking down at me. She was tall for a girl. At close to five-nine, she ended up being taller than most of the guys she dated. Me? I was a messy five-one. Fun size, as Caroline liked to call me.
“As if I would miss one of the most memorable days of my life,” I joked, scanning the crowd of classmates for
. We were all standing on the makeshift stage they had somehow assembled outside.
“I haven’t seen him yet…” Caroline whispered in my ear knowing I was looking for him. She knew my feelings. She knew what Devon and I shared was bigger than some high school fling. It was dumb to think someone was your soul mate in high school, especially when everything was so full of change.
“Fudge sickle,” I cursed under my breath, turning around to find my seat. If I couldn’t find him, then I could at least look for something I could find.
“Hey, wait for me,” Caroline yelled as I weaved through the masses. Many of the people before me wouldn’t remember me. I was a wallflower. I cared more about school work and getting somewhere than partying or becoming popular. No one told you this, but after high school, your popularity would mean nothing because wherever you started over, you would be back at the bottom.