Authors: Adriana Locke
by Adriana Locke
Copyright © Adriana Locke 2014
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means including electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written consent of the author.
The book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental and beyond the intent of the author or publisher.
Editor: Ashley Amigoni, Escapist Freelance Editing
Interior Design: Christine Borgford, Perfectly Publishable
Cover Design: Kari March, K23 Designs
Cover Photo: Shutterstock Images 76175764, 188012834
To my husband.
Thank you for believing in me. You are my rock, my best friend, and my exception.
I love you more than words could ever express.
If I close my eyes, maybe she’ll disappear.
“That was amazing. So good, Cane.”
The woman nestled against me, her hand draping across my body. She stroked my skin, the intimacy of the action curling my stomach.
I switched on the bedside lamp, letting my eyes adjust to the bright light. Glancing at the clock, I pushed her hand away.
It’s not too late. She can still go home.
Sitting up, I swung my legs over the side of the bed; my body groaned in response. I stretched my arms overhead in an attempt to work some life back into my exhausted muscles.
This girl was a decent choice for a last minute decision. Memories of her contorted in a variety of wicked ways, screaming my name, made my dick harden again.
“Do you want me to get us something to eat?”
Her nails grazed down my back and I moved out of her reach. Her touch, like her voice, was more annoying than I remembered it being a few hours earlier.
That’s because I just dumped a load.
I twisted around. Her blonde hair was spread across my pillows, black makeup smeared across her face. A part of me wanted to tell her she looked like hell, but a bigger part of me didn’t care enough to point it out. I just needed her gone.
She rolled onto her back, cheap perfume wafting through the air.
I’m going to have to do laundry. Hell, I’ll probably just have to burn these sheets to get rid of that smell.
“I was thinking I would grab us some hamburgers. I could pick up some things for breakfast while I’m out.”
I cringed at the implications saturating her voice. “You’re going to need to tone that shit down.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Look, I have things to do tonight.” Her face was familiar but her name—not so much.
“Oh, that’s fine. I can just wait here while you do what you need to do.” She flashed me her biggest smile and settled back into the sheets, looking way too comfortable in my bed.
“No. You’re going to need to get up, get dressed, and go home.” I massaged my temples with my fingertips, a migraine inching its way into my skull.
For fuck’s sake! Why isn’t this ever as easy as they make it out to be? Maybe I should get them to sign some shit, a ‘This is a Fuck and Only a Fuck’ disclaimer or something.
“I really have no plans for tomorrow, Cane.”
“We discussed this. We fuck. You leave. You know this.”
She had the nerve to look hurt.
“I didn’t think you were going to say that once we were done.”
“It was amazing. It is always amazing with me.” I flashed her a grin and literally watched her swoon.
That never gets old.
“Look, I don’t do this ‘sex and a sandwich’ thing, but that is not a newsflash.”
“Why does it feel like we’ve been here before?” Frustration took over and I took a deep breath, trying to keep myself calm. All I needed was a hot little body to dump my stress into for a little while and I had made no illusions otherwise. She agreed to this before she followed me home.
Why does it have to be complicated now?
I ran my fingers through my short blond hair, scrubbing my scalp in annoyance.
“When I was here a few months ago, we had lunch, too. Remember? We sat out on the patio.”
Remember her face. Do not triple dip this one.
“You don’t understand how this works.” I glanced at her reclining against my pillows and fought hard to not sound as brusque as I felt. “I have a bunch of shit to do. You really need to go.”
She sighed dramatically as she got up and found her jeans on the floor. I watched her ass jiggle as she pulled them on slowly, undoubtedly for my benefit.
I had to restrain myself from grabbing her and fucking her one more time, just for good measure. That would only make getting her out of my house even harder and she simply wasn’t good enough to waste any more time on.
Instead, I sat and enjoyed the show. She turned to face me as she pulled her shirt over her head, her eyes never leaving mine. She tucked her bra in her purse.
With a final glance over her shoulder, presumably to give me time to change my mind, she was gone.
And I was alone again—just the way I liked it.
Steam billowed from the cup of coffee in front me, rising quickly before disappearing into the surrounding air. A part of me wished I could vanish with it.
Another nightmare had rocked me the night before. I had woken up in a cold sweat, scouring the room for a set of wild eyes and testing the air for the stench of whiskey. I could have sworn I heard him yelling at me like he used to.
“What in the hell do you think you’re doing? I have to bust ass and work late and I get home to this? To you lying in bed with another book, no worries in the world? You are damn lucky I put up with you.”
Bile churned in my stomach, the sound of Decker’s voice fresh in my mind. My eyes forced closed, trying to block the memories accosting me left and right.
“You’ll be back.”
I shivered. Those were the last words he said before I left Boston.
He was wrong. I wouldn’t be back—not to Massachusetts and not to him. Too many years had been spent at his mercy. Years of worry, heartbreak, and agony were finally behind me.
I opened my eyes, feeling relieved to be sitting in my sister’s kitchen and 2,000 miles from my ex-husband. Kari had decorated her little house in the Phoenix suburbs a lot like our house growing up. It was cozy and warm, with a neutral palette accented with pops of turquoise and coral. Our mother would have loved it and it made me feel at home.
The uncertainty I had lived with for so long had begun to lift in the few days I had been back in Arizona. The drive to Tempe had given me ample time to mull everything over from a safe vantage point; there wasn’t anything else to do in a car for six days but think.