I deliberate staying and calmly asking for an explanation when he gets back from his run, but then my mind starts to question things. Maybe we’ve never defined our relationship, but holding himself out as my boyfriend and telling me he wants us to make love sure sounds like exclusivity to me. I go from talking myself into there being a valid explanation to thinking I’m a naïve idiot all within the span of ten minutes.

The need to clear my head wins out and I decide to get dressed and talk to Vinny later. Only I’m not quick enough. Sitting on the bed, I’m in the middle of putting on my shoes when Vinny strides into the bedroom.

“You’re supposed to be naked in bed.” He flirts as he takes off his sweaty t-shirt. His shorts hang low on his hips, the sight of his defined abs a distraction I don’t need.

“I was. Until you had a visitor.” Standing, I look around for my bag, I must have left it in the kitchen last night when we came in.

Catching on that something is awry from my icy tone, Vinny stops, arching one eyebrow and has the nerve to look like he has no idea what I’m talking about.

“What visitor?”

“Krissy. She said she has what you wanted the other night.” I push past him as he stands in the doorway.

He follows. “It’s not what you think, Liv.”

“Really?” I turn to finally face him. Not even the sight of his ridiculously sexy sweaty body can cool my anger. “Were you with her the other night?”

His jaw clenches. “Yes, but…”

“Get out of my way, Vinny.” He blocks the front door so that I can’t leave.

“No.” Seemingly calm, he folds his hands over his chest and settles in.

“No?” My voice rises higher.

“Give me a break, Liv. I didn’t do anything wrong. Don’t you trust me at all?” Really? He’s annoyed with me? What’s that old saying…fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice…

“How would you feel if it were you opening the door to a man who said he was with me the other night?”

He flinches. His jaw tenses and the answer to my question is clear without words.

“Fine. But hear me out. Nothing happened. I was looking for someone and ran into her and her friend. I asked her to get in touch with me if she saw the guy. I didn’t think she would come here.”

I try, I really try, to accept what he’s telling me, his voice even sounds so sincere. But history and my own self-doubt overshadow his words. Then I suddenly realize why she looked so familiar. She was the girl from the gym. The one that Vinny had waiting in the car for him the day we reconnected. It makes me feel nauseous to even think about.

“Did you sleep with her?”

Remorse on his face, words not necessary. “It was before I met you.”

“Let me go, Vinny.”

Taking two steps from the door toward me, he stands before me. “I haven’t been with anyone since the day I saw you in the gym, Liv. I’m a lot of shitty things, but a liar isn’t one of them.”

It takes all my willpower to step around him and walk out the door.

Chapter 36


I don’t even have a number for Krissy. Guess I should have thought things through before asking her to get in touch with me if she hears from Jason. I’m pissed that she came by my place, but even more pissed that Liv doesn’t seem to believe me when I tell her nothing happened.

Two minutes after I walk into the bar, Krissy walks in with her head giving friend. “Hey Vince,” she coos in her nasally voice.

“Krissy,” I nod my head. She really didn’t do anything wrong. It’s not her fault that I have no interest. For the first time, I feel badly for the way I’ve treated her…and maybe a f**k of a lot of other women too.

“Guess you got my message.” She grins. Any remorse I felt wanes as I realize she enjoyed upsetting Liv.

“Don’t f**k with Liv, Krissy.”

“I didn’t f**k with her. But you’re gonna have trouble with that one, she thinks she owns you.”

Like running straight into a Mack truck, I realize for the first time, she f**king does.


Fifteen minutes later, I have an address for Jason. Asshole ran clear across the state, rather than man up for the shit he’s got himself into. Tomorrow I’m gonna have to take a whole day from training, a long road trip to find the f**ker. Pisses me off, but tonight, I’ve got more important shit to deal with anyway.

Ally answers the door and is surprised to see me. Guess I’m surprised I’m here too. It’s almost eleven o’clock and I didn’t bother to call first. What’s the point, if she tried to blow me off, I was coming anyway.

“Ummm…” She opens the door, but doesn’t invite me in.

“I need to talk to her, Ally.”

Hesitantly, she steps to the side, allowing me to pass. I look around, finding the apartment quiet.

“She’s in the shower.”

I nod.

“And she’s pretty drunk.”


“Yeah.” She motions to the empty wine bottle on the counter. “I came home, she was slurring her words and rambling on about you and Missy.”

“Krissy,” I correct her, not that it matters.

“Nope, it was Missy. Trust me. I spent two years listening to her go on about Missy. That’s who she was talking about.”

I nod as if it all makes sense to me, but I’m actually pretty lost. What the hell does Missy have to do with any of this?

“I’m going to go over to Andrea’s. She lives two buildings over. We’re going to drink mojitos, watch a movie with a lot of naked men, curse like sailors, and wind up stalking the internet. I’ll be gone at least a few hours, so you’ll have privacy.” She smiles on her way to the door, but then stops and turns to me, a serious face replacing her smile, “Please, don’t hurt her again, Vince.”

The gnawing unsettled feeling I’ve had in my gut all day today getting the best of me, I don’t wait till she’s done. Opening the bathroom door, my voice intentionally low to not scare her, I speak quietly, “Liv?”

“Vinny?” She pulls back the shower curtain.

“Yeah, Babe.”

“Why did you pick Missy over me?” With no curtain to deflect the water, a hard stream of water hits her body and splashes onto the bathroom floor.

“I don’t understand?”

“Neither do I. I…I…I loved you.” Her words are a bit slurred, but she’s very much in control of her mind. “And you picked Missy over me.” Tears stream down her face, every inch of her body soaked with water dripping everywhere.

Reaching in, I turn off the spray of water, drenching myself in the process. Wrapping a towel around her body, I hastily dry her off before lifting her and cradling her in my arms. Carrying her to the bed, I gently lay her down and crawl into bed next to her.

Brushing her wet hair from her face, I lift her chin and force her eyes to meet mine. “I didn’t choose Missy over you. You were so young and sweet and innocent.” I pause, thinking of the right words. Although I’m not sure any words are right, since I don’t truly understand my own actions still to this day. “And I was a f**ked up loser who’d just got expelled. I didn’t want to hurt you, Liv. You trusted me, and all I’d ever done is ruin things. I didn’t want to ruin you.”

Sadness etched on her face, it breaks my heart to know how badly I must have hurt her. “I didn’t touch Krissy either.”

“I know.” A lone tear slips from her face.

I hold her tight until I eventually hear her breathing slow and I know she’s asleep. And then, I just keep holding on.

Chapter 37


I wake to a throb in my head that reminds me of how much I drank the night before. I’m content, a warm body holding me tight, but then I remember the night before. Drunk. Shower. A whole conversation about Missy. And Krissy. Ughh…the thought makes my head pound louder.

A full bottle of wine presses on my bladder and I slip from the bed, still wrapped in the damp towel from the night before. Looking in the mirror, I scare myself, wet bed head and streaks of makeup dried down my face. It’s not fixable without a shower.

I wash the makeup off my face and I’m just about to put the conditioner in my hair, when the shower curtain opens, revealing a naked, and very erect, Vinny.

He grins and steps in behind me. “Morning.” He kisses my wet shoulder.

“You’re blocking all the warm water,” I scold. He is, but I’m kidding and he knows it.

“I’ll keep you warm.” He turns me, wrapping his arms around my waist, takes a small step back and holds me tightly so we’re both under the stream of hot water.

We stay that way for a few quiet moments, until Vinny pulls his head back, looks down at me, and asks, “We okay?”

“I think so.”

“Think?” Putting his fingers under my chin, he tilts my face up, forcing me to look at him.

“I’m just a little scared.”

He exhales. “So am I, Liv.”

I nod.

“Turn around.” Vinny suds up my back, taking his time at my shoulders, rubbing a full day of stress free from my aching muscles.

I groan. “God that feels so good.”

“Turn.” I obey, dropping my head as he works his fingers into the top of my shoulders from the front. His thumbs dig into my collarbone while the tips of his strong fingers work their way on either side of my spine at the nape of my neck.

My tense muscles relaxed a few minutes later, his hands caress their way down my sides, coming to rest on my hips. His voice changes, lower and raspier, “Open your legs.”

I comply. Reaching up, he repositions the showerhead so that it’s spraying only on me. Warm, strong streams of water run over my back, as his hands continue their descent downward. His fingers glide across my clit, two fingers settling in to gently rub small circles. The taut bundle of nerves sends a current through my body, my skin reacting with goosebumps even though warm water blankets it.

Leaning forward, he takes one nipple into his mouth and teasingly tugs at it as he bites down and pulls with his teeth. I moan as the two fingers on my clit reach lower, slipping inside of me, his thumb replacing the pressure on my waiting swell.

My breaths coming faster and more shallow, I quickly find myself heading toward my climax. Sensing my body’s reaction, Vinny growls, “Don’t come.”

As if there was anything I could do to stop it from happening, the feeling of euphoria quickly taking hold of me. “I can’t,” I pant, so close to the brink, needing to free fall over and wash away all of my thoughts, if only for a short time.

Withdrawing his fingers, for a second I want to kill him, leaving me dangling, perched on the edge.

“Turn around, grab the wall.”

Desperate to get back to the place where I just was, I comply quickly, turning so my back faces him, bending at the waist and palms pressed firmly against the tiled wall, he wastes no time. Entering me from behind, with the water and my own slick juices, he easily slips into me. I feel every thick inch of him as he gloriously stretches me, seating himself fully in one agonizingly slow, incredible thrust in.

“Slow or fast?”

Oh god. He’s giving me a choice. Just hearing him say the words is almost enough to bring me back to the edge. “Fast.”

His big hand tightens on one hip, the other snakes around underneath me and lifts me at the waist, bringing my ass up slightly higher and positioning me for what he’s about to deliver. I gasp as the hard-driving thrust of his thick c**k begins to pound into me with a fury.

Holding me immobile, pinned to the wall as he powers into me, over and over, I moan his name as my core clenches around him, my orgasm beginning to form again in the distance. “Fuck!” he growls, leaning over me, his wet, hard chest pushing firmly into my back as he sinks his teeth into my shoulder. A sting of pain rushes throughout my body, turning my waning orgasm into a tsunami that washes over me, taking my ability to function with it. My body trembles as it works its way through, leaving me completely vulnerable to his strength, unable to even hold myself up.