”Um… ”

”Answer me, baby, ” he commanded.

Yikes. He was scarier than Finn, Big Ben, and the entire motorcycle gang wrapped into one.

”Gia, I said answer me, ” his deep voice rumbled.

But I blinked again.

”You freaking know my name? ”

He looked me in the eyes.

Then he took a step back and ran his hand through his short-cropped black hair, shaking his head, but not for a second did he unpin me from his savage glare.

”Jesus, honey, you
e a piece of work. ”

”What? ” I muttered.

He leaned back into my face, hands on his hips.

”Giabella Jolene Gomez, thirty three, self employed as a freelance editor, you pay your taxes, your mortgage, and your bills on time. Yeah, Gia, I know your name. Your dad is Reynaldo Gomez, ex-Army, current construction foreman, married to Melinda Gomez, executive secretary to a hotshot divorce attorney who, interestingly, pulled your shti outta that mess you got into with that asshole. He has since married three other women and is currently engaged in his fourth divorce. You hang out with Micah Vasquez, a dispatcher for the Metro Manila Police Department, and Antonette De Guia, a universal worker who primarily works in retail. Enrico Tan, who would kill to get in your trousers but you have no idea and he lacks guts, is being led around by you. Your sister embodies the word ”loser ” well. You overspend on clothing. You expose too much flesh outside. And I am the only man you have slept with for a year and a half. ”

My jaw was open for the second time that day.

I then shut my mouth, only for it to open up once more.

After that, I shut it before opening it to ask, ”How do you know so much about me? ”

He said, ”Sweet Pea, I know who I **, ” and I felt a movement in my body as if he had struck me, which is precisely how his words had seemed to me—a blow. He didn notice it, or more precisely, he ignored it and continued. ”Tell me now, what the ** were you thinking entering Grind in that manner. ”

I explained ”I needed to speak with Big Ben ” since I was unable to express any of the other ten thousand and fifty things I wanted to.

He said, ”You needed to talk to Big Ben. ”

”Yes, ” I answered.

”Babe, you were flying under the radar and now you
e lit up like a **ing beacon. ”

”What exactly does that mean? ” I inquired.

”That implies you
e f*cked, ” he said.

I was becoming irritated late in the game.

”All right, ” I said, moving an inch away from the door and straightening my shoulders, ”now what does it mean? ”

”I think you realize your sister is a piece of garbage, ” he said.

Isabelle was clearly a piece of garbage. It was also acceptable to suggest that my Dad, Mama Melinda, or I might refer to her as such. Even Finn and Big Ben, to whom she owed over three million dollars, could call her that.

The person who couldn was the man in front of me, a man I knew well, although this was the first time Id seen his face in daylight. And one of them turned out to be a huge, fat jerk!

”Do not refer to Isabelle as a piece of trash, ” I cautioned.

His eyebrows sprang upward, which hurt because he was so ridiculously attractive. His dark skin, his black eyes, his strong jaw, his thick, short black hair, his brilliantly sculpted features, and his equally superbly chiseled physique all suggested that he may be Hispanic or possibly Italian.

The hardest part for me at the time was that he might have been even more stunningly gorgeous while raising his eyebrows in surprise as if he thought I was an idiot.

He questioned, ”You
e saying you don know your sisters trash? ”

”No, Im saying you can refer to her as garbage; only I can do that. ”

He gave me another glare before murmuring, ”F*ck me. ”

I said, ”I guess we
e done here, ” and began to move to open the door when all of a sudden, he held me against it again with both of his hands at either side of my neck and his thumbs at my chin, forcing me to look up at him. He was enormous, firm, sculpted, and unusually warm.

He said in a frightful voice, ”Oh no, Sweet Pea, we
e not done, ” and I had to stop my lips from opening once again since he was back to frightening more than a half-dozen motorcycle gang members. I was able to accomplish this mostly because his thumbs were present.

I commanded, ”Step back, ” and I was really pleased that my voice didn quiver.

He didn move and ignored me. Instead, he said, ”I know theres no love lost between you two and I know it still hurts for you to hear that, but that doesn make it any less true. Your sister has bought herself a load of shit, then she bought herself more, not done, she bought herself more. Shes pissed off some serious people. The best end to this scenario is she turns up dead. ”

I said again, ”Step back. ”

”The greatest thing you couldve have done when Arlene popped up on your porch was close the door, close your mind to that sh*t, and go back to work. You didn . You sashayed your a*s into Grind, got Finns focus, and, trust me, babe, you don want Finns interest. And doin that, you made yourself recognizable to a lot of people you don want to know you exist. Thats done. You now keep your head down, be wise, and stay out of trouble. That is, you stay with what you know, who you know, and where you know. You do not depart from your regularly planned programs. Do you understand? ”

”How did you get out Arlene was here? ”

His brows furrowed, and the manner they did so made him appear frighteningly impatient.

”Clue in, Sweet Pea, Im keeping an eye on you. ”

”You keep track of things? ”

”I keep track of you because you
e mine. ”

My brows began to shoot together. ”Do you want me? ”

”Im f*cking you, Babe, aren I? ”

This was beyond a doubt. I couldn see his face, but it didn stop him from speaking. He was very dictatorial in bed, and I could recognize his deep voice from anywhere.

”All right, ” I said, ”maybe we should examine our relationship at this point. ”

”Again, Gia, the reason our relationship is the way it is is so I don have to waste my f*ckin time doing stupid-a*s sh*t like talking it. ”

Oh boy. I was becoming increasingly enraged.

”I think you should take a step back and then leave, ” I advised.

”And I believe you should ensure you have me before I go. ”

”Fine, I got you, now… leave, ” I retorted.

He didn stir, and his dark eyes remained closed to mine.

As a result, I cried out, ”Hello? I got you. Now leave. ”

Suddenly, his gaze warmed and his fingers glided from beneath my jaws to the rims of them.

e pissed, ” he said gently.

Was he serious?

”Uh… sure, ” I confirmed.

”Don get pissed, ” he said.

No way, he couldn be for real.

”You can tell me Im not angry. ”

”Do you think I don have better things to do than come here, Babe? ”

He inquired.

Oh my goodness.

Did peoples heads really blow up? Because I was very positive that mine was about to.

”Perhaps you should be on your way, ” I said, my voice firm.

”What matters is that Im here. ”

”Im sorry to break it to you, but youve made previous trips that Ive loved a lot more. ”

Thats when he grinned, and thats when my heart stopped pounding.

I never saw him grin, not once, not even that first night, and if he was handsome otherwise, his face smiling knocked my freaking socks off.

The dude had two dimples, by the way.


”Do you not see why Im pissed? ” he whispered softly between his teeth.


”No, I don and theres never a good excuse for being a jerk so, again, please, if you
e so busy, allow me to stop wasting your time and just go. ”

”You messed up today, Gia, ” he admitted.

”I believe youve made that plain, darling, ” I said.

For some reason, the warmth in his gaze intensified as he murmured his warning. ”When you
e angry, don call me baby, Sweet Pea. ”

”Don ever call me Sweet Pea, baby, ” I responded.

”You call me baby while Im **ing you, ” he said, and I wasn sure if this was a demand or a remembrance, but I figured it was both.

”Don hold your breath waiting for that to happen again. ”

His gaze became deeper and hotter, and his fingers massaged my jaws once more. I attempted to withdraw my face away from him, but his grip tightened and I came to a halt.

”You shouldn make a threat you can keep, ” he cautioned, still gently speaking.

”How many times do I have to tell you to leave? ” I inquired.

”I finish things, ” he said, ignoring me.

Seriously, he wasn serious.

”Its wonderful to experience change in life; its rejuvenating and keeps your senses alert, ” I explained.

”Giabella, don push that crap, ” he advised. ”You
e not going to enjoy the repercussions. ”

On a dare, I inquired, ”Whats your name? ”

”You call me baby, ” he said, referring to my dare.

”Whats your name? ” I asked again.

”Sometimes, honey, ” he added.

”What… is… your… name? ” I inquired.

”However, I prefer baby. ”

When I realized my hands were at his waist and pushed back, I rolled my eyes to the ceiling and yelled, ”God! ” while stamping my foot.

He did not move.

When I realized one of his hands had vanished, his mouth was at my neck, his lips were on the area behind my ear, and then I felt his tongue there, I realized my error right once.

Without my consent, my entire body shook from head to toe.

He pulled his face away from my neck and into mine before placing his palm back on my jaw and uttering the word ”Yeah. ”

Then he drew me away from the entrance, and like a freak of nature, he appeared one second and vanished the next.

I regarded the closed door for a moment before moving to the window to confirm my suspicions. He has vanished.

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