Outlaw's Baby: A Bad Boy Secret Baby Romance (16 page)

BOOK: Outlaw's Baby: A Bad Boy Secret Baby Romance
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33
Cherie

H
ey
. You want to go somewhere tomorrow? – Ry x

I’ve been staring at the text message for several long minutes. I just don’t know what to reply. It’s been a few weeks since our kiss in the park, and I’ve been on two coffee dates with Ryder. Both times without Ellie Rose, both times perfectly civil and without any touching. But I have a feeling he has something more serious in mind now. He doesn’t seem like a very patient man.

Finally, I force myself to type a reply, my fingers shaking as I hit the screen of my phone.

Okay, what did you have in mind?

My phone beeps with a reply not a moment later.

My driver will pick you up at 9 p.m. sharp. Don’t worry, we’ll have some fun ;) x

I stare at his text and for some reason it makes me feel uneasy. I’ve already moved my fingers to the screen, trying to think of a way to cancel only moments after agreeing to the date, but I can’t come up with a good reason. I guess I’ll have to go.

With a sigh, I set my phone down and decide to focus on my lovely daughter. Ellie Rose is just waking up from her nap, sleepily looking at me through her long and thick lashes which she inherited from Axel.

A painful pang goes through my heart, just like every single time I think of him. Fucking hell, it just doesn’t get easier, does it?

Instead of allowing myself to get upset, I focus on my daughter. I coo at her as she wakes up from her nap, and feed her dinner. I spend the whole day with her, and as per usual, I’m impressed by how fast she’s growing up. It seems only days ago that I gave birth to her, and she was only a tiny bundle of joy. But Ellie Rose is growing every day, and my days with her are getting brighter and brighter.

Once I’ve put her down for the night, I join my sister in the kitchen, sighing heavily.

“Rough day?” Bridgette asks me sympathetically. With a child of her own, she knows damn well how tough it can get. At least she has Lucas to lean on, though, while I’m all alone.

“Just the usual,” I admit. I give her a long look, hesitating about telling her about Ryder. Finally, I decide to take the plunge. “I’m seeing Ryder again tomorrow.”

“Oh.” Bridgette purses her lips and stirs her cup of tea wildly. I never did get why she wasn’t a fan of him. All I know is she quit her job at Pussies Galore, and she doesn’t like talking about it.

“Do you mind?” I want to know next, and Bridge shakes her head no. An uncomfortable silence falls upon the room, and I busy myself with making my own cup of tea.

“Are you sure this is what you want, Cherie?” Bridgette asks all of a sudden, and I turn to face her, giving her a confused look.

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, the Ryder thing.” She looks pale and nervous, like she doesn’t like talking about this. “I know he’s sweet on you, I just… don’t trust him.”

“He seems nice enough,” I try to defend the guy, but I’m not telling her the full truth. In reality, Ryder scares me sometimes. He’s so intense, and in a different way than Axel was. A more sinister kind of monster. “I’m sure he wouldn’t hurt me or anything, Bridge. You’re worried about nothing, really.”

“If you say so,” she says with a doubtful look thrown in my direction. “What about Axel?”

Hearing his name out loud makes my heart skip a beat. Axel Lake has been somewhat of a forbidden combination of words in this household, and it feels like my sister is breaking some unspoken rule.

“Bridge,” I beg her weakly. “Let’s not talk about him… It hurts.”

She comes around the counter and puts her hands on my shoulders, giving me a sympathetic look. “Darling, I know. Love hurts…”

“It isn’t love, though.” I shake my head angrily, holding back tears once more. “I mean, he left me. He left me and Ellie Rose to fend by ourselves. What kind of man does that?”

Bridge purses her lips. “Maybe we don’t know the whole story, darling,” she tries to console me. I just keep shaking my head though, and after a few moments pass, I beg her not to speak of my baby daddy again.

Reluctantly, Bridgette agrees. I know she’s only trying to help, but truth be told, merely thinking about Axel sets me off. I just miss him too damn much.

We spend the rest of the evening curled up on the couch in front of the TV while Lucas works a late shift. Bridge ends up falling asleep there, and I cover her with a soft blanket before retreating upstairs, the mellow sound of a TV show singing her to sleep.

I climb the stairs one at a time, tired and sick of everything. On days like these, I just wish I had him by my side – more than on the good days. On good days, it’s easier to pretend. Easier to keep my head held high, and say it’s all okay even when it never is.

On bad days, Axel is a painful hole in my body. A wound that will never heal up. And I don’t want it to, because even though our love didn’t last, the memories are what gets me through the night on those days…

O
n the next day
, I’m quite nervous as I get ready. Bridge has promised to stay home and watch Toby and Ellie Rose, and I’m racking my brain, trying to choose something to wear. My sister helps me, and finally we settle on a floral dress with a sweetheart neckline and straps. It’s flattering on my curves, a pretty prom dress cut. Ryder hasn’t given me a hint as to where we’re going, so I’m dressing semi-dressy, semi-casual. I just hope I don’t mess it up.

Five minutes before nine o’clock, I’m standing on the sidewalk, nervously clutching my bag. It feels weird to go out later in the evening, and I even got a little teary eyed as I said goodnight to Ellie Rose. However, I promised her I’d be back before the morning, and I’m fully intending on keeping that promise.

I’ve made a decision in my mind. Tonight, I will explain to Ryder our relationship can only ever be friendly. I’m not ready to move on, and least of all with him. There’s just something off about the man, and I’m never quite relaxed around him. It feels like he’s planning something sinister…

I don’t get another moment alone with my thoughts, as a black car pulls up to the curb in the next moment. A tall and broad shouldered guy emerges and silently opens the door for me. I blush before climbing inside, feeling more like a willing victim than Cinderella on her big night out.

The ride isn’t too long, and I watch where we’re going through the tinted windows. My brows furrow as I realize we’re going further away from the city, to the outskirts which I’m not really familiar with. Finally, the car halts to a stop in front of a dingy looking building that sends shivers down my spine.

I smooth down my dress and the same guy from before opens my door for me. Now, there’s two other men with him, just as tall and towering over me. I feel confused.

“Are you sure we’re in the right place?” I ask worriedly, but they just ignore me and exchange blank stares. “I thought Ryder would be waiting for me.”

“Don’t worry, Miss,” one of the muscular guys tells me, firmly grabbing my hand and looking down at me. “Ryder will be here soon, he wants you to see something.”

“You’re hurting me,” I point out in a shaky voice, but the guy doesn’t care. My heart pounds loudly as he drags me towards the building. It is only when we near the nearly fallen down warehouse that I can discern the voices from inside.

They’re screaming, laughing raucously and making a lot of noise. They’re all male voices, drunk and making lewd remarks. Suddenly, I feel incredibly vulnerable in my stupid floral dress, like I’m someone’s meal being served to them on a silver platter. My feelings of dread only get worse once the three men drag me inside the building and I’m faced with the scene before me.

It is an old, abandoned warehouse, indeed. It’s filled with men, all of whom are now staring intently at me. I see a few women too, tired and with caked on makeup, a sharp contrast to me in their skimpy outfits and too high heels.

“What’s going on?” I ask again in a shaky voice, and once more, I am ignored. Instead, one of the guys drags me while the other two form a shield around me, stopping me from running off. “Please, I’m scared.”

“Baby doll, want a piece of me?”

“Here kitten, come play with Daddy…”

“Look at that piece of ass. Wouldn’t mind ruining her…”

The raunchy voices of the people around us fill the air and I can feel myself blushing. If a moment ago I was wishing for freedom, I’m now glad of the three thugs around me – it feels like they’re shielding me from a much worse fate.

Finally, we come to a stop in a section in the front. There’s a small table and the guys push me down to sit on a plushy chair while they claim the rest of the seats around me. The looks on their faces let me know I have no chance of escaping, and I look around me with a terrified expression.

There’s a cage right in front of me, and I recognize it as one of those used in fighting rings. I swallow the lump in my throat. Ryder really is a strange man – why on earth would he bring me to one of these fights? And where on earth is he?

As if on cue, his tall figure emerges from the shadows. He’s grinning ear to ear, his arms extended out as if he wants to hug me.

“Cherie, darling!” he exclaims as he approaches me, going in for an embrace. I dodge his arms, which only makes him laugh harder.

“Why the hell would you bring me here?” I demand to know. “I don’t like this, Ryder… We need to talk.”

“Shut your mouth.” He looks different now, his face twisted in an ugly grimace. And in the next moment it changes again, becoming softer and smiling once more. Fuck, the guy really is scary.

“Now, Cherie, I brought you here for the show of a lifetime. Do you want to place a bet on the fight happening tonight?” he wants to know next.

“No,” I shake my head, but his eyes tell me I really don’t have a choice. “Fine. Who’s fighting? And when can I leave? Will you call your thugs off?”

“And let the crowd have its way with you?” Ryder laughs out loud. “No, I don’t think so, darling. I have plans for you later, can’t have you getting too roughed up… That’s my job.”

His snake-like eyes are sparkling and it makes the blood freeze in my veins. What was I thinking, trusting a guy like him? I should’ve known he was bad news.

“As for who is fighting,” he says with a grin. “I am.”

He looks at me like he expects me to congratulate him or something, but I just give him a blank stare, which seems to annoy him. “You’ll bet on me,” he orders me. “500 bucks on me. My cash. You get to keep it later, darling.”

He grins and a woman appears from behind him. She’s stunning in a dark and brooding kind of way. She takes the money and makes some notes, but it seems like something is off. I’d rather not know.

“Fine. And I get to leave after the fight?” I ask pointedly.

“If you really want to, baby,” Ryder tells me, before climbing into the cage and blowing me a kiss. “But I don’t think you’ll want to go, to be honest.”

I stare at him, unable to comprehend what’s going on. So he wanted to brag, and brought me to a dangerous place like this just so I could watch him fight? It doesn’t make me admire him – if anything, it makes me think he’s a bit sad, really.

I sit back down and try to take my mind off things, when a guy starts screaming into the microphone. I mute out the words mostly, just begging god for this stupid charade to be over as soon as possible. I don’t want to be here. I just want to crawl in bed next to my Ellie Rose, and dream of her daddy.

I’m drifting off into my own thoughts in moments, when I catch a glimpse of Ryder’s opponent being brought into the cage. Even from far away, I can tell he’s enormous – ripped as hell and taller than Ryder. And then, I start recognizing small features on his body.

The tattoos.

The scars.

The mop of floppy hair.

Finally, the eyes. Those dark, sultry eyes.

I’m on my feet. I’m standing against the cage, gripping the bars between my fingers with my mouth parted. The three thugs surround me and attempt to pull me away, but Ryder notices my predicament and shoos them away.

“Let her stare, boys,” he says wickedly. “Let her stare at her past and her future while they battle for her.”

My Axel is standing in the corner. My handsome, perfect, dark and scary stranger. My lover. The father of my child. The reason I was happy, the reason I am broken.

His eyes connect with mine and his mouth parts. I’m crying, big fat tears running down my face. He recognizes me, I can tell. I see the pain in his eyes, reflected in my own gaze.

He looks different. Broader, tougher. Is it really him? It has to be, please, oh god, it has to be him.

What the fuck is this? How is this happening? Why am I here?

“Cherie,” Axel breathes, in the same second as the referee shoots a gun in the air and the crowd goes wild. I watch the love of my life being taken down by Ryder, too distracted with me to fight back.

Only then do I start to scream.

34
Axel

S
eeing
her makes my heart stop. More beautiful than ever, so ill-fitting in this horrible place. I don’t anticipate Ryder’s first blow, and it almost doesn’t hurt. I’m too caught up in Cherie’s features to notice him hitting me.

I’m coughing next thing I know, coughing blood from a split lip. And then I get fucking angry. Ryder dragger Cherie, my woman, here, to torture her further. He doesn’t only want revenge. He wants to completely and utterly destroy me and everything I love.

But I’m not going to let him.

I will fight for what’s mine, I will get the girl and ruin this bastard. I won’t let him get away with what he’s doing. He has fucked up too many lives, ruined too many families. I’ll make sure he’s punished for all his wrong doings.

I get up with a growl, surprising the crowd with my remaining strength after being pounded into the ground by Ryder. I let him come at me, and I let my body become as solid as a rock. I let the adrenaline fill up my body until his blows don’t even hurt anymore. It’s like I’m soaking up his energy, just waiting for my time to strike.

No time to look at Cherie now. No time for distractions. It’s payback time.

I let him attack me one more time before growling right into his ear, grabbing him by the shoulders and pushing him against the bars of the cage. “You sick fuck!” I shout at the top of my lungs, my voice breaking over the sound. “You sick, sick bastard!”

And I start to hit him. Blow after blow after blow.

He dodges some, he takes some more. He’s a quick bastard, fast on his feet and so very determined to beat me, his will almost makes up for his lack of speed and finesse when it comes to the actual act of fighting.

We dance around each other, dealing a blow and a hit here or there. We’re both bloody – my lip is split open, blood running down my naked torso. And I got Ryder good, opening a gash on his forehead. It’s my one hope, as the blood running down his face surely obscures his vision.

I let him dance around me. I know I could take him down – or at least, I hope I can when I have to. But I want to make this slow, excruciatingly slow and painful for the bastard. So I make sure my hits are well-aimed and cause pain, but don’t incapacitate him. I want him on his feet, hating me. I want to see the look in his eyes when I do finally beat him.

He kicks, screams and throws himself at me. I throw him off like he’s nothing but an annoying insect. It’s like swatting away a fly. Too fucking easy. I should know it shouldn’t be this easy. A man like Ryder doesn’t like being humiliated, and I know he’ll want revenge for this.

There’s a small break and Rosa comes over to me, pouring water down my face and washing the blood from my body. But I only have eyes for one person. Cherie, my Cherie, right there in the front row, her face stricken and white as a sheet as she returns my gaze. And it feels like not a single second has passed when I have to get back to fighting. Back to slowly killing the man who tried to ruin my life.

I tease him some more. Well-delivered blows make him slower on his feet, his mind sluggish. I’m a bastard for doing this, it’s like playing cat and mouse. Anyone who would’ve been fair would’ve finished off Ryder a long time ago. Yet I can’t resist. I have to see him suffer.

I’ve dealt too many blows to count now, and the prick is barely able to stand up. The crowd is booing him, which must make him furious, but he still keeps coming for me. I dodge every hit, every kick. I’m humiliating him in front of his own people.

And finally, I can tell he can’t go on anymore. He’s bleeding, hurt pretty badly. So I decide to deliver the final blow. The one to settle this argument once and for all. I know Ryder isn’t going to stick to his end of the deal. But I don’t fucking care – I’m fighting for what’s mine, and there will be no stopping me.

I wait for him to come to me, almost delirious in his need to subdue me. “I win, Ryder,” I tell him with gritted teeth.

“No,” he snarls back. “You’ll never fucking win. You’ll never-”

He doesn’t get to go on, because I punch him in the stomach and he doubles over. The judge is next to us in moments, but it’s obvious Ryder isn’t getting up again. He’s done, unconscious.

The crowd erupts in cheers for me, but I’m deaf and blind to it all. All I see is one woman, one dream, and one desire in front of me. My sweet Cherie.

I drop to my knees in front of her, the bars of the cage still separating us. I should be pissed at her, angry that she dated Ryder, angry that she had a child with someone else. Yet I can’t force myself to hate her, the woman of my dreams.

I stare into her eyes and I feel tears mixing with beads of sweat. She’s looking up at me, her eyes big and hopeful. There’s only us. No rowdy crowd, no Ryder, no one else. Just me and Cherie, finally.

I snap out of it when Rosa pours a bottle of water over me and kicks me in the ribs. “You prick, you almost killed him!” she accuses me hysterically, and I stumble to my feet, feeling weak and tired. I grab her and hold her down as she claws at me with her long fingernails.

I see a figure emerging from the crowd, and I’m shocked when I recognize him as Lucas, Cherie’s sister’s boyfriend. He makes his way into the cage and drags Rosa off of me, giving me a small smile.

“Got here minutes ago,” he tells me. “Bridgette was worried about Cherie, so I followed the car. Only got in now.”

I nod and turn back to face Cherie. She’s still gazing at me, and the reality of what’s happened hasn’t fully sunk in just yet. Did I really just defeat Ryder? Will he stay true to his word and do what he promised, make me a free man once again?

Cherie’s eyes roam behind me, and suddenly, her lips part in a shocked expression.

“Axel!” she screams at the top of her lungs, before a thug grabs her and pulls her down. I growl in anger when I feel something click against the back of my head.

“Turn the fuck around,” a broken, pissed off voice tells me. “Turn here and face me, you bastard.”

It doesn’t take me long to recognize the cold object pointed at my head. It’s Ryder, and he has a gun. This is his revenge. And it doesn’t matter that I won the fight. It never did. He was going to kill me either way.

I turn around with my hands in the air, so fucking slowly. I can hear Cherie wailing behind me, crying out for me.

I face Ryder, his face crazed and vicious. “Now you die,” he tells me angrily.

“Cherie, look away,” I manage to get out as calmly as possible, and she wails louder than ever.

This is how it ends. This is how I die.

At least I got to see her one more time. My dirty girl is no more – now, she is a woman. A beautiful, stunning, one hell of a woman. And I won’t let her see me go down like this.

“You fucking prick,” Ryder spits out at me, pressing the barrel to my temple. He looks truly insane right now. “You killed my brother. You think you’re the king here? I rule this filthy kingdom, Axel. You and I, we’re both just animals. But I’m the fucking king of the jungle.”

He shoots.

BOOK: Outlaw's Baby: A Bad Boy Secret Baby Romance
13.94Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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