by Alla Kar
His second chance may cost him his sweetest addiction …
The truth about NEVEAH’S cheating fiancée hit hard—but not as hard as her right hook to his jaw. After ridding herself of him she travels back home to Huntsville, Texas to her father and his boxing gym where she grew up. When she finds a beaten man in the woods beside her home, her entire life changes and things get—complicated.
Ex-con RAGE only wants two things—for the man that set him up to release his sister, and for him to burn in Hell where he belongs. After being released from prison, he heads straight to the man that put him there, only to be beaten and tossed in the woods for dead. When he’s found by the most beautiful girl he’s ever met, he knows he’ll have a chance to rescue his sister even though she doesn’t realize she needs saving.
Neveah and her father, nurse Rage back to heath, offer him a job at their gym and quickly find out that he’s amazing in the ring. Without them knowing who he is, he knows he’s been given a second chance to live his life. The only condition is that he has to stay away from Neveah, which is a promise he soon realizes is hard to keep. The feisty southern beauty normally gets what she wants, and Rage wants to give her everything.
With the truth lurking in the shadows, Rage must decide if he’s sweetest addiction is worth giving up his second chance.
“Do I have to?”
My dad glanced over the rim of his glass of orange juice. “Yes. I’m late to open the gym and the guy needs to eat. Just bring it out to him, Neveah.”
Dammit it all to hell. I bit the inside of my lip and pulled at my bright pink yoga pants. He’d seen me peeking in his window the night before and I did not want to relive that embarrassment. I had hoped we could avoid each other until he was gone.
“Whatever,” I mumbled.
Dad sighed, and ran his fingers through his hair. “You’ve got to get used to him because I offered him a job at the gym when he gets better.”
“You what!” I yelled.
Dad frowned. “I thought you were all for helping this kid out? You’re the one that didn’t want to take him to the hospital because he asked you not to.”
Yes, I had. That was before he’d caught me watching him like a creepy sixteen-year-old. “Okay, Dad. I’ll freaking do it.”
Dad gave me a bored look. “Are we going to do the whole teenage whiny bullshit again? I thought you’d outgrown that.”
I rolled my eyes, then eyed the bowl of soup for Declan. “Aren't you late?”
He smiled. “I’ll see you later. Call your Aunt Shelly today.”
Dad kissed my forehead, grabbed his things, and then hurried out the front door. The silence that fell over me was the loudest silence I’d ever heard. All I could think about was his food getting cold. God. I palmed my forehead and sighed.
Better get it over with.
Lucy and I walked the short distance to the guest house but I stopped hesitatingly in front of the door . The soup was burning my hand but my feet were still stuck to the porch. I pressed my ear to the door but I couldn’t hear anything.
Lucy whined while pawing the door. I hurried and knocked before she decided to start barking like the night before. No need to get caught again. How humiliating.
The door felt heavy against my palm but I used everything I had and shoved it opened. Greedily, my eyes searched the room and I found him lying in his bed, the covers thrown on the floor, in nothing but a pair of my dad’s red Underarmour underwear which looked completely different on him than my dad.
Shit. Shit. Shit. He’s looking at me.
“Oh,” he said, like he was shocked to see me. But he didn't grab for the covers, he stayed sprawled in front of me, his thick thighs wide and his chest sweaty from the heat. I was hardly winning the battle with my eyes not to look at the bulge lying between those said thick thighs. “I thought you were Wes.”
My fingers tightened around the bowl and my gaze traveled down the ridges of his taut stomach.
“Stop that,” he growled.
I jumped backwards and hit my head against the wooden door with a thump. “Stop what?”
The way his eyes swept me from head to toe had my body burning from the inside out. “Stop staring at me.”
Embarrassment flooded me. There he was with bandages wrapped around his bruised body and I was ogling him like a piece of meat. And it was worth every second. “I’m not.”
His dark brows shot up to his hairline. “Oh really? It looked like it to me.”
Lifting my chin, I gave him a smartass smile. “Well, I guess you need to go to the eye doctor. I was just bringing you your breakfast because my dad asked me to.”
Those dark eyes watched me carefully until I squirmed in the doorway. “Well, are you going to bring it here or do you want me to get up and get it?”
I gritted my teeth before taking a leisurely step inside. Lucy bounded forward and took liberty on herself to plant her front paws on the side of his bed, begging for attention. No shame in her game.
Declan’s gaze cast down to Lucy. “Hi girl. You found me the other day, didn’t you?” he cooed, running his fingers against her head.
Something wicked swelled between my legs. I need to get out of here. But—once again—my feet were taking a permanent residence on the floor. Lucy’s tail wagged in a steady rhythm as he cooed and brushed his knuckles against her which only drew attention to how massive his forearm was.
God, I need to get out of here—like yesterday.
Stepping forward, I offered him the bowl of soup. Dragging his eyes from Lucy to my own, he carefully eyed the bowl and then let his gaze travel back up my breasts to my eyes. I’d only been this close to him when he was covered in mud and blood. Now that his face was cleaned, I could see every flawlessly imperfect thing about him. The fresh scar on his lip only intensified how full they were. A five o’clock shadow was light on his strong jaw.
And his fucking eyes. Things were stirring inside of me that I had never felt in my short twenty-one years on this planet. He reached forward, the tips of his fingers skimmed down the path of my own until he palmed the bowl and brought it down to his chest.
His brows furrowed, his hand jerked outward, his fingers encircled my wrist before flipping my palm upward. Shock raced through me, but I didn't snatch away as he examined my reddened palm from the bowl. “It’s fucking hot. Why didn't you put it down?”
Oh God. What was I supposed to say? I’m so incredibly attracted to you that I couldn't risk getting too close to you? “It’s not hot.”
God, how lame can I be? I dropped my gaze to the wooden floor.
His fingers tightened around my wrist, he jerked me closer to him, and my body pulsed from the bluntness of it. “Stop lookin’ away from me, it’s annoying.”
I gasped and jerked away from him. “I’ll look wherever I want to look, thank you.”
He looked down to his abs, and my sex clenched tighter. “Obviously.” He meet my gaze. “I saw you earlier, and last night.”
Damn it all to hell! The heavy pressure in my ears doubled from embarrassment. “I wasn't lookin’ at you last night. I was checking on you.”
The leg closest to me dropped to the floor with a loud plop but he didn't move. “I saw you checking—Angel.”
Shit. Fuck. Shit fuck! “You’re mistaken but I’ll let it go.”
A wide grin blessed his face, and he could have been the fault Adam wavered with Eve. The seductive evil that was so fucking beautiful that you didn't care the consequence. “You like to be in control, don’t you?”
What? I nearly gasped but bit my tongue to keep my mouth at bay. Heath had always complained that I had to be in control of every situation but in reality he was just weak. “No, I don't” I snapped.
“You do,” he said back. “But that’s okay because I’m the master of control, and it’s tough shit for whoever doesn't like it.”
Something about the tone of his voice told me that he was probably telling the truth. And by the look of him he’d have another woman underneath him in two seconds to fill that void the disappoint left behind.
“I’m not falling for your tricks,” I said. “I know you want me to fall for this bad boy bullshit but asshole really isn't my style.”
Oh shit. If looks could kill. His jaw twitched and he sat his soup to the side. “I’m not trying to seduce you, Angel. I've already got you. I’m trying to make sure you don’t fall for my bullshit, and into this fucking bed because it doesn’t need to happen. It won’t happen.”
I stepped back like I’d been slapped. I was sure he'd liked what he'd seen when I walked in here. “Fuck you. I wouldn't fuck you if you were the last fuck on earth.”
The bed squeaked, his arm snaked around my waist and he drug me closer to him. Mouth parted, eyes on my lips, his minty breath heaved against me. “Take it back,” he whispered against my mouth.
Warmth settled between my legs, and I went liquid. If he hadn't pulled me against his chest I would have been a puddle of goo on the floor. My fingers sprawled against his tanned skin and my breasts brushed against his own. “Let me go,” I whispered, aware of how his eyes hadn’t strayed from my opened mouth.
Wetness puddled in my panties as he brushed the pad of his thumb against my lower lip. “I wish I didn't have to.”
But he released my waist and allowed me to stand which didn't go very well. I stumbled to the left, and caught myself on the small nightstand at the same time he reached forward to catch me. “Careful,” he whispered, and I didn't have to look to hear the smugness in his voice.
“I’m leaving,” I whispered helplessly. “Eat your food. I’ll be home today if you need anything.”
“And how do you expect me to get you?”
“Oh,” I said, meeting his gaze. “Here is your phone.” I dug it out of my butt pocket and handed it to him.
He kept eye contact but reached for his phone. “You looked through it.”
I swallowed, too stubborn to lie. “Yes.”
“And what did you find?”
I looked over at Lucy who had her head rested on her front two paws, watching us. “Nothing. I found nothing.”
He nodded. “Good.”
We watched each other for several seconds, the obvious he’s bad news weighing between us. I needed to leave because the small voice in the back of my head was telling me to ask questions that I was sure I didn't want to know the answers to.
“Call me if you need anything.”
He nodded once, and I felt his eyes on me as I swayed my hips, my insides practically begging me to stay. Once I shut the door, I used it as a crutch because my wobbly legs were threatening to betray me. God he was tense. I was tense. I was turned on beyond oblivion, a feel of desperation flooded me with need.
This isn’t going to be good.
Alla Kar lives in the deep south with her husband, chihuahua, and pitbull. When she isn't bringing alpha males, southern gentlemen or anything new adult to life, she's obsessing over Dancing With The Stars, Once Upon a Time and The Walking Dead.