God help me…Zander isn’t the worst thing out there.
Megan Whitaker desperately wants to forget what the Malone brothers have done to her over the past two years – the haunting images and sensations still plaguing her thoughts and dreams – but she can’t. Charles may be dead, but Zander isn’t. I’ll find you and bring you back to me. She wants to believe she’s safe with Nick in their secluded new home, but it doesn’t keep her from looking over her shoulder, jumping over unexpected sounds, carrying a concealed weapon or even preparing for the worst.
Nick Ellis has seen a change in his long, lost love. Battered emotionally and physically, Megan spends her days at self-defense classes and researching things that’ll never allow her to let go of the past. And he feels guilty even asking her to, because he knows that heathen will return, it’s only a matter of time. And when he does, Nick will do anything to save her, even the unthinkable, risking everything he’s fought so hard to get back.
But there is no escaping the world of sex trafficking, nor the band of men who continually aid one another to keep it thriving. And as her nightmares begin to converge with reality, Megan realizes there are far worse people to fear than the one who haunts her dreams.
New Adult Romantic Suspense / Dark Realistic Fiction
Recommended for 17+ for mature and disturbing situations, language and sexual content.
Aghast, I blurted, “What?”
“Hit. Me,” Jesse repeated more firmly, pointing to the side of his mouth.
“In the face.” It wasn’t a question. More like a way of saying Are you fucking crazy? without the verbal expletive.
“It’s cute that you’re worried, but I’m pretty sure I can take your punch. It’ll be like someone’s flicking my face with their finger.”
My jaw dropped and I huffed with slight annoyance. I knew he was joking, because that was how he kept the air light between us. I also knew he was baiting me. Making me want to hit him. I threw my left hand to my hip and tipped my head away from him. He was on the verge of mocking me even more when I let my right hand fly. There was only a soft smack as my glove nailed his face, but there was enough force and surprise behind it that his head actually spun to the side.
“Flick!” I sarcastically spat. I would’ve flicked the air with my fingers for effect had they not been stuffed inside these hot, black mitts.
His hand went to adjust his jaw. His laughter was silent, but I saw the way his chest rapidly bounced in and out for a minute. Soon his head was nodding up and down, because he had clearly asked for that. “Alright, Million Dollar Baby. Now that you’re ready to actually engage, I want you to keep doing that. Try to get a shot in wherever you can and I’m going to try to block what you do.”
“Can I kick?”
“No, not yet. Right now I just want to work on the punching.”
I did what he asked, but it wasn’t easy getting in a shot now that he knew it was coming. I may have sucker punched him before, but now he was ready for every jab, hook and upper cut I could dish out. He slapped most of them away. I got in a few shots, but only when I was fast enough to follow up one hit with the opposite arm. But in the end, I hardly put up much of a fight. It was a little demeaning, actually. Quite the kill joy.
“Don’t get discouraged. This is why you came to me in the first place. Soon you’ll learn to anticipate my moves and be quick enough to get some real shots in.”
I let out a frustrated groan and hung my head back. I knew he was right. People always talked about getting from point A to point B when achieving goals. What they failed to mention though was how much the distance between those two points totally sucked.
We kept sparring like that for the rest of my hour, eventually letting me kick. Personally, I thought he added kicking just to have the joy of sweeping my feet out from under me. Which he did – twice.
Devon Ashley is a mom, a wife, a lover and a fighter, a coffee addict, a wicked knitster, a Microbiologist, a baker of fine yummy treats, and someone who will fight you to the death for that last Twinkie bag of M&Ms during the zombie-apocalypse. Seriously, her addiction is that important to her. Oh, and she says seriously way too much. Seriously…
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