Title: Another Round
Author: Nikki Belaire
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: September 30, 2019
She knows I would die for her. Even if her father is the one who wants me dead.
A call I don’t expect. A job I don’t want. A hassle I don’t need. I’d protected his wife a long time ago, and now the notorious mob boss wants me to keep his daughter safe. I resist the tempting and troublesome mafia princess for as long as I can, but once I take her, there’s no going back, no giving her back. She thinks what we have between us is just a fling, but I know we’re forever. Regardless of what she says or her dad orders.
Another Round is a friends-to-lovers, older man/younger woman mafia romance and touches on sensitive topics. Reader discretion advised. No cheating or cliffhanger.
I lead her to the stool where I normally serve her dinner. She climbs up and slides her pert arse across the wood. Crossing her gorgeous legs out of habit. That tempt me more than ever knowing how close I came to having some other bastard touch them.
She takes in the mess on the floor behind me. Anxiety drawing down her face as she peruses the damage. “What happened?”
My palm cups her cheek to turn her back to face me. The only thing I give a damn about is settling things between us. Setting her straight about other men. Or the lack there of going forward. “I dropped it.”
Now she knows I’m the one who’s lying. Silky hair brushing across my forearm as she tilts her head in worry and disbelief. Making the cords tighten from her concern over my stuff. Over my anger. Over me.
I place my fists on each side of the counter behind her. Locking her in place. Trapping her between my arms. Applying old interrogation methods she won’t be able to fight. “Who was that guy?”
She swallows and licks her lips. Responding to the demand pulsing in my tone.
“Josh. Lauren’s engaged to his older brother Logan.”
Tension surges between us from the proximity of our bodies. From her squirming in her seat. From her looking up at me with no way out from under my gaze. “Are you going to go out with him?”
Never fucking happening but I want to know what she intends. What she mistakenly believes I’m going to allow her to get away with.
“We just met.”
I don’t fall for her dismissive tone. As if the idea is preposterous. As if she’s never considered the possibility. As if I have nothing to be concerned about. “Are you going to go out with him?”
My voice is low, hard, almost unrecognizable even to myself with a possessiveness I’ve never heard. I’ve never experienced until now.
“Lauren is trying to fix us up. A double date. She thinks–”
“What do you think?”
She shivers when I lean closer. My nose nudging her hair out of the way while my lips brush over her ear. A shuddering breath blows against my cheek and fireworks explode across my skin when her hand curls over my opposite shoulder. Steadying herself from me engulfing her.
“He’s n-nice. He’s easy to talk to.”
“Of course he is. He wants to fuck you.”
“That’s all you think I am?” My accusation enrages her, and she twists to the side, trying to face me again. Too small to be at eye level she stares up at me with all the bravado she can muster, leveling me with her disgust. Before I got sympathy and compassion. Now I get unadulterated fury. She’s pissed as hell at me. Almost as much as I am at her. “That’s all you think anyone would ever want from me?”
What she lacks in size she makes up for in rage. Shredding me to the core with the pain in her wracked body. The mafia princess in her full glory as she rolls back her shoulders and gives me a hard shove. “Get the fuck off me!”
Fuck that. My hands encircle her wrists, and I diminish my force to ensure I don’t crush the fine bones under my fingers. “I’m not finished talking to you.”
“Well I’m finished with you. I’m tired of being humiliated. Now let me go!”
The agony in her voice slices through me, and I still. Shocked by her allegation. I’m hung over and my damn head’s spinning from booze and lust, but I know I can’t be hearing her right. “I may have fucked up more times than I can count, but I know I’ve never humiliated you.”
Straining against my grip, she keeps fighting for me to release her. Which will never happen. “That’s all you ever do.”
“Trouble, you’re going to have to explain it to me because I’m totally confused.”
Misery surges in me with the loss of her gaze. Unwilling to look at me. Her shoulders drooping as much as her fire fades. “When I held your hand you couldn’t get me off of you fast enough. And when I kissed you, you rolled away. It’s embarrassing that you don’t want me.”
No one has ever been more wrong than her in this moment. “Look down.” She draws in a shaky breath from the huskiness of my voice. From the need in my eyes and my touch and my body. “Look down at my cock and see how much I want you.”
Her forehead brushes my chin, and I breathe deep, relishing the enticing scent of her flowery shampoo with the top of her head near my lips as we stare at my dick bulging in my pants of its own volition. “I’ve wanted you since the first moment I saw you.”
“Then why do you keep rejecting me?”
“Because I’m an idiot.”
Once again I fuck up and have no choice but to let her go. Instantly, her arms cross over her chest in protection of her wounded heart. She still refuses to look at me. I force her to, sliding my fingers under her chin and lifting her exquisite face to mine. “If things were different I’d make you mine.”
“I want to be yours.”
Fuck. She is killing me. “You know that can’t happen.”
Nikki writes contemporary romantic thrillers and admits to a weakness for bad boys, especially ones who can't live without the strong women they love. She spends more time in her characters' lives than her own. But, when she's in the real world, her passions include reading, wine appreciating, running, and spending time with her husband and daughter.