Read Melting Steel: An Alpha Billionaire Romance Online
Copyright (C) 2016 C.M. Seabrook
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
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 the author's permission.
Warning: This book is intended for readers 18 years and older due to bad language, violence, and explicit sex scenes.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
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Twenty Years Ago…
I swing my sword at my enemy, ramming it into his heart, and letting out a loud cheer as his blood and guts spill on the ground.
“You’re so weird.” Abby rolls her eyes at me, then turns and starts towards her house where the Sullivan’s are hosting their annual summer barbeque. She calls over her shoulder when she’s halfway up the hill. “Race you.”
“Not fair,” I shout back.
I’m about to chase after her when I hear a woman crying from somewhere behind the large bushes that line the driveway.
“You can’t be here,” a man shouts.
“I need you. Your children need–”
“Shut up.” There’s a sharp slapping sound followed by a cry of pain. “Keep your voice down.”
My chest tightens as I push my way through the bushes in order to see better. I know I shouldn’t be here. I’m not allowed past the big trees and I’d be in a lot trouble if my dad found out I was spying on grown-ups. But the woman sounds scared.
“If you don’t leave now, I swear I’ll stop payments completely.” The man has his back to me, but I know his voice.
, Abby’s dad. I don’t like him. He’s always making Abby and her mom cry, and now he’s hurting the lady.
“John, please.” The woman’s belly is big, like she’s going to have a baby. She reaches out to touch him, but he pushes her away.
I move closer and a couple of the branches snap. Mr. Sullivan looks over his shoulder in my direction, but I don’t think he sees me.
“You need to leave.” He grabs the woman by the arm and pulls her roughly towards an old brown car that looks out of place among the line of black limos.
I look down at my wooden sword. I should do something. Make him stop hurting the lady. That’s what a knight would do. But Mr. Sullivan is scary when he gets mad, and I’m already in trouble for feeding ants to my sister’s Baby Alive doll.
I swallow hard. Feeling like a coward.
A few feet away, a young girl peeks her head around the nearest tree, then quickly hides.
“Hey,” I say, but not too loudly, in case Mr. Sullivan hears me. “Wait.”
I race after her when she runs to another tree, this one not big enough to hide behind.
When I catch up to her, she looks at me, eyes wide. They’re blue, like Abby’s, only paler. And her lashes are long and dark like her hair.
She chews her lip, and wipes her eyes with the back of her arm. She’s too little to be on her own. Maybe she’s lost. But she doesn’t look like she belongs to anyone at the party. Her t-shirt is stained and her pink running shoes have holes in the toes.
I glance back in the direction I came from. Maybe she belongs to the woman.
“Is that your mom with Mr. Sullivan?” I whisper, just loud enough for her to hear.
She nods. There are large bruises on her arms and legs, and a faded yellow one on her cheek. Something inside me starts to hurt when I look at them. I have bruises too, from falling off my bike. But hers look different, like someone hurt her on purpose.
“I’m Henry.” I move toward her slowly. “What’s your name?”
“Keeley.” She looks down at the ground and her hair falls over her face.
“How old are you?”
“I’m eight, but I’ll be nine next month,” I say proudly, standing taller.
I should go back to the house. I’ll get in trouble if someone finds me here. But I don’t want to leave the girl. I can tell she’s scared.
The woman is crying loudly again and Mr. Sullivan is really angry now. I’ve never heard anyone sound so angry, not even my mom when I cut my sister’s hair.
“Why’s Mr. Sullivan mad at your mom?”
She shrugs her shoulders, and when she blinks, tears run down her cheeks.
“It’s okay. I’ll stay with you.”
When she sits down on the grass, I sit beside her, my back against the tree, and place my sword on my knees.
We sit in silence, and I see her shrink back when Mr. Sullivan yells again.
“Have you ever seen a real dragon?” That’s what he sounds like when he yells – a dragon roaring. And just as scary.
The girl shakes her head.
“I have,” I say proudly, even though it’s not really true. I don’t care that Abby says they’re just pretend, I believe they’re real. And one day I’m going to go on a quest like the knights in my books and find one. “They’re big and scary. And they make an awful noise.” I growl in my throat and she giggles. “But if you’re brave, and your heart is good, you can defeat it”–I jump up, and swing my sword in the air– “with one blow to the heart.”
“I don’t have a sword.”
“Girls don’t need swords.” I stand taller and puff out my chest. “They have knights to protect them.”
“I want to be a knight, too.”
“Only boys can be knights.”
“Oh.” Her mouth turns down in a frown.
I sit down beside her and pull a dandelion from the grass beside me, handing it to her.
“But I can be your champion.”
“What’s a champion?”
“A knight who protects a lady. We learned all about it at school. We had to do a report on it and mine was the best. You give me a token, like a ribbon or something, then I fight the bad guys for you.”
She chews on her lip, then reaches down and unties one of her shoelaces.
“Like this?” She hands me the dirty lace.
“Yeah.” I take it and shove it in my pocket, feeling proud of myself. She’s not crying anymore. “Now I’m sworn to protect you.”
“From bad men.” She glances over to where the woman and Mr. Sullivan are fighting.
“Yep,” I say, even though the thought makes my stomach hurt. I look back at her and make claws with my fingers. “And from dragons.”
She giggles, then throws her arms around my neck. “Thank you.”
I don’t jerk away from her like I do when Abby tries to hug me.
“Keeley,” the woman’s panicked cry echoes across the parking lot.
She stands quickly. “I have to go.”
“Here,” I say, handing her my sword. I don’t know why I do it, but she seems to need it more than me. “I’m getting a new one for my birthday anyways.”
“I can’t.” She tries to give it back.
“Keep it.” I point to the three letters that I’d cut into the handle of the sword with my pocket knife. “H.W.C. That’s my name. So you’ll remember me.”
“Keeley. Get over here right now,” the woman screeches. I can see her face now, red and swollen from crying.
Keeley hugs me again, then runs off, darting between the cars, taking the sword with her.
I hope it’llkeep her safe
Until I find her again.
“Mr. Tall, Dark and Perfect is watching you again,” Britt says, leaning against the bar, waiting while I fill her order.
I roll my eyes at the nickname she’s given the hottie at table twenty-two, and shrug, trying my best not to look in
direction. But I can feel the pull of his gaze, and a small shiver races down my spine.
I’m used to men ogling. Part of working at The Cocoon Nightclub means being harassed nightly by over-plumed peacocks tossing their daddy’s money around like they’re Donald Trump, Jr.
But there’s something different about this one. And it’s not just that he’s pure, panty-soaking, sex on a stick, of male hotness. He’s got the whole smoldering, “I can fulfill every dark fantasy you’ve ever dreamt about,” thing going on.
The intensity of his gaze unnerves me, burns through me. There’s no emotion in his eyes, just raw, carnal desire.
He quirks an eyebrow when he catches me staring.
The guy knows he’s hot. I don’t grudge him for it. It’s not like he’s never looked in a mirror. But it’s the arrogance of his posture, the slight tilt of his head, the small smirk that plays across his kissable lips that warn me whatever he’s after is anything but harmless flirting.
When he starts towards the bar, my pulse speeds up, and every nerve in my body screams –
“Keeley?” Britt’s terse voice snaps me back to reality.
“Sorry.” My cheeks are warm, my voice breathless. I pour two tumblers of Glenfiddich and turn my back to the bar.
Deep breath and release.
A mix of high-pitched whining and pulsating throbs, beat steadily through the large room, and I can feel my heartrate pumping with it.
I sense him behind me. Like a sexual magnet, I can’t resist.
Get a grip, Keeley.
My hormones are on overdrive. But that’s what I get for going on a man-fast for the last eighteen months.
A fast I don’t plan on breaking anytime soon.
My life is complicated enough. I don’t need an extra dose of testosterone screwing it up more than it already is.
“Have we met before?” A dark, rich voice carries over the music, making me shiver.
I steel my spine and turn. But I’m not prepared for the impact of meeting him face to face. My breath leaves me in a swoosh and I suddenly feel like my world just got a million times smaller. All the noises around us, the voices, music, seems into nothing.
The only thing I’m aware of is
His features are strong, angular,
. Dark lashes frame coal black eyes that smolder with an intensity that makes my entire body burn. Even with my four-inch stilettos, the man towers me by a good six inches.
He runs a hand through his dark hair, mussing the waves slightly. But the disheveled look only makes him hotter.
I’ve been around “bad boys” my entire life. But this man is a whole new category of bad. He has heartbreaker written all over him. And I can tell by the way he’s looking at me that he has every intention of making me his next conquest.
Not happening, buddy.
“Do you want something?” My tone is snappier than I intended, but I can’t help feeling agitated by his very presence.
He tilts his chin, the corner of his lips twitching up, and he continues to study me as if I’m some kind of exotic prey.
Despite the wetness between my legs, and the overpowering need to let him consume me, I clench my teeth, place my hands on the edge of the bar, and narrow my eyes.
“Look, if you’re wanting some kind of show, there’s a strip club a couple blocks east of here. You might have better luck there.”
I bite my tongue, knowing if my manager heard the way I just spoke to a customer, I’d be back on my ass searching for another job.
When will I learn to keep my mouth shut?
For a moment, he looks taken back, then he starts to laugh, deep and throaty. A sound that makes my knees go weak.
Damn him, and his perfectly coiffed hair that’s begging me to reach out and brush my fingers through it.
“You remind me of someone.” He leans against the bar casually, one hand in the pocket of his slacks. Under the expensive suit and white button-down, I can tell the man’s body is hard as granite.
“Lucky me.” I have to physically restrain myself from rolling my eyes. At least twice a night I have some drunken asshole comparing me to Meghan Fox or Olivia Wilde. It’s the dark hair and blue eyes. I don’t see it. But the skanky, silver sequenced dress the club makes the wait staff and bartenders wear doesn’t help.
“Do you want a drink or not?”
Why am I being such a bitch?
I deal with guys like him every night, but for some reason I’ve let him get under my skin. I bite my lip, and breathe in through my nose. “Can I get you something?”
“Gin and tonic.” He unbuttons his jacket and sits down on one of the stools across from me.
Everything about him, his clothes, the way he moves, is precise, calculated.
I take his glass and place it in the rinser, feeling my cheeks start to burn. What is it about this guy?
Our fingers touch when he reaches out to take the drink I place in front of him.
Real or imagined zaps of energy explode through my hand. I pull back too quickly, and the man actually chuckles.
Britt has come back for a new order and is staring open-mouthed between us. I give her a look that says shut it.
“Henry?” I say, raising an eyebrow. Not the name I would have picked for him. But in a way it suits him. Stuck up. Arrogant
He gives me a half-smile, one side quirking up more than the other.
“It was my grandfather and father’s name.” His fingers, which I can’t help notice are exceptionally long, casually tap the solid black marble counter.
“So you’re Henry the third,” I mock, shaking my head. “Sounds about right. Wasn’t he the guy who killed all of his wives?”
“That was the eighth.” He smiles, eyes sparkling with humor. The third was a much better guy.”
“I’m sure,” I say, placing the last of Brit’s order on her tray.
“You know, it’s common courtesy to give your name in return.” He takes a sip of his drink, dark eyes never wavering from me.
I ignore him, turning my back.
“Her name’s Keeley,” Britt says, giving me an impish grin, before taking her tray and sauntering back into the crowd.
“Keeley.” My name practically drips off his tongue, like he’s tasting it, and my entire body responds.
I glare at him, moving down the bar to help another customer. I take my time, hoping that he’ll take a hint and leave.
“You’re still here.” I give an exasperated sigh.
“Are you always this good-natured?” His words drip with sarcasm, but the banter is light, as if he enjoys my snarky remarks.
“Are you always this pushy?”
He leans closer, eyes dark with intent. “Only when I want something.”
A tremor of anticipation rolls through me.
I cross my arms over my chest, which drives my breasts higher, exposing more cleavage. When I see his gaze lower, I quickly drop my hands to my side.
“Look. I’m sure this whole thing”–With both hands, I motion to the perfection that is him– “you’ve got going on works well enough with other women. But I’m not interested, so why don’t you head back to your table, and I’ll send a waitress over to help you.”
to help me.” One dark brow cocks, and he continues to smirk at me, like I’m there for his entertainment.
I swear my nipples harden under his lust-filled gaze.
Damn him. I need to get away. I signal Jess at the other end of the bar and tell him I’m going to the back to get some more limes. His brows furrow when he looks down at the full container of citrus fruit in front of me, but nods anyways.
My cheeks are burning. Hell, my whole body is on fire when I push through the door that leads to the refrigerator room. I’m grateful for the cool burst of air when it hits my over-heated body.
I lean against the cool wall and close my eyes. But I can’t block out the man’s face, the promise of pleasure in his dark eyes. Images of corded muscles pinning me to the wall, my legs wrapped around his narrow waist as he thrusts into me, hard and fast, until I’m crying out his name and giving into all his dark, dirty demands.
My vibrator is definitely going to get a workout tonight.
The rough fabric of my dress rubs against my hard nipples, making me groan deep in my throat. I run my hand over my breasts, trying to ease the discomfort, but it only makes it worse.
My own touch isn’t enough.
“Need some help?”
My body jolts and my eyes shoot open. I nearly trip over a crate of lemons as I try to regain my composure.
How long has he been there watching me?
“You aren’t allowed back here.” My voice cracks on the last word.
He saunters towards me, a grin playing on those luscious lips.
“Do you want me to leave?” He moves with power, confidence, like he owns the place…like he owns
. “Say the word and I’ll walk away.”
I swallow hard, knowing what he’s offering, and knowing I’m in no position to handle it. But then, it’s only sex, and it’s been so long.
“If someone found you here, I’d lose my job.”
“No one’s coming back.” The certainty in his tone makes me wonder if he made sure of it. He leans into me, and the scruff on his cheek rubs against my jaw. “Tell me you don’t want me.”
His hands wrap around my waist, pulling me towards him, his hard erection presses into my belly. Even through the thick material, I can tell he’s big –
My body molds to his and a chill races down my spine. A wave of arousal soaks my panties and I clench my thighs. I need this.
I could let him take me. Here. Now. I’ve never done anything so brazen. No one-night stands. No sex with random strangers. But there’s something about
that has my defenses shattered.
Shouting from the other side of the doorway breaks the spell.
“I have to go.” I move past him quickly, pushing through the door, and ignoring look the raised-brow look Brit gives me.
“Get off me.” I know that voice.
All two-hundred and twenty pounds of muscle and tattoos pushes past the two, much smaller and seemingly terrified bouncers.
Shit, shit, shit.
This can’t be happening.
I think about ducking behind the bar, but his eyes lock on me, and I know there’s nowhere to hide.
He storms towards me, eyes glassed over and wild.
A coldness settles in the pit of my stomach.
This is the danger I’m used to.
Damn him to hell. I need this job.
“Where is he?” Jax growls, pupils small pinpricks from whatever he’s using.
I move around the bar quickly, hoping to make as little a scene as possible, but already there are a handful of curious faces watching us.
“You can’t be here.” I clench my jaw, and try to pull him in the direction of the back, but he doesn’t budge.
“The little bastard stole from me. I want my money.” His hands wrap around my upper arm in a bruising grip. He leans down so that his hot breath warms my cheek, and growls, “And the drugs.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“I’ve got witnesses that saw your brother leaving my apartment this afternoon.”
Damn it, Drew.
I love my brother, would do anything for him, but messing with Jax isn’t just stupid, it’s deadly.
“Whatever he took, I’ll pay you back.”
His mouth twists into a scowl.
“Damn right you will.” Blond hair hangs in greasy dreadlocks around his face. His eyes are sunken in, and there are lines around his eyes and mouth that make him look older than twenty-seven.
Drugs and alcohol destroyed the man I once cared about. Made him into the monster that stands before me now. I could forgive him if he hadn’t dragged Drew into his own personal hell.
“I had more than ten thousand dollars in that bag. Either the kid gets it back to me tonight–” He trails his finger down my throat. “Or it’ll be on both your heads. Understand?”
I don’t see Henry approach, but I can feel him. And I can tell Jax does too, because his grip tightens on my arm and his focus is momentarily redirected.
Even from a few feet away I can see the tension in Henry’s body. He’s taken off his jacket, and rolled his sleeves above his forearms. Everything about his stance says that he’s ready to fight.