Authors: Laurie Roma
Copyright© 2014 Laurie Roma
Cover Artist: Sour Cherry Designs
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
WARNING: The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. No part of this book may be used or reproduced electronically or in print without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in reviews.
This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, and places are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, organizations, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
To all of the people who work and volunteer at rescue centers and animal shelters. Thank you for all the good work that you do.
And to the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces, who inspire people with their bravery and courage every day. You are the true heroes that legends are made of…
The Breakers’ Bad Boys, 1
Copyright © 2014
“Umm, excuse me?”
Jared “The Hammer” Caufield froze in place just as he’d been bending over to grab a towel to wipe at the sweat rolling down his face. It was late, and most of the other men who frequented his gym had already gone home, leaving him in peace and quiet to finish his own workout. Unfortunately, the heavy muscles of his massive body that had relaxed during his cool down session tensed up again at the soft, timid whisper of sound.
He knew that sweet voice, and every time he heard it he went instantly hard as stone.
Hammer had opened the Fight Hard Training and Rehabilitation Center about two months ago. The facility was members only, although he had been surprised just how well it had done since he’d opened the doors and started signing people up. As an ex-Army Ranger and former professional MMA fighter, he had the means and knowhow to make it a success.
Created out of an old, gutted warehouse, the gym was a well lit, large space, with several separate areas sectioned off in the lower level for the practice of various disciplines. There were basic weight machines and treadmills located in the front of the gym, and an area with hanging boxing equipment off to the right. To the left was a set of
judo mats used for floor work and grappling. In the back were two full size boxing rings, which were frequently used for sparing matches between the members, and were even used to host a few local matches when needed. On the second level, they had created a treatment center for former athletes like him who had injuries or needed rehabilitation.
When Hammer’s career as a professional fighter ended due to a knee injury, he had been at a loss as to what he wanted to do with all his free time. After a few months of doing nothing, starting a gym seemed like the perfect plan to keep himself from going crazy. During his rehab, the more he had thought about the idea, the more he’d liked it. Now that Fight Hard was open, everything was exactly the way he wanted it. The only pitfall to his success was the Sinfully Sweet bakery across the street…for two very distinct reasons.
One was because he had a sweet tooth that went against all of his training, despite his being retired. And the other reason was currently standing right behind him.
Hammer finished bending over and grabbed the towel from the bench, wiping at his face and neck to buy himself time to calm his frantically beating heart and to will away the erection that had sprung to life just from hearing her sweet, siren’s voice. He wanted Kalista Redford, the owner of the bakery, more than he had ever wanted another woman in his entire life. From the first time he’d seen Kalista, or Kali as he thought of her, he’d known she was the woman for him.
And his hunger only grew every time he saw her.
Too bad she was already taken. No matter how much he wanted her, he didn’t poach… although he was pretty damn tempted. Kali was already dating someone else, some pencil-dick bank manager or something. Whenever Hammer saw the fuckhead, he wanted nothing more than to pound him into bloody dust, but he had a feeling that Kali would never forgive him if he did that. Much to his regret.
Hammer liked to tell himself that her relationship would have never stood in his way if he had truly wanted to claim her, but she was too sweet and innocent for him. She deserved far better than a roughneck fighter. Kali was the type of woman who needed candlelight and roses, not to be bent over, taken like an animal and fucked hard like he craved. No, he couldn’t do that with a woman like his Kali. She was like some sort of mythical fairy that no man should be allowed to possess. She always smelled of her creations, like vanilla and a hint of mystery that was her own natural scent. It made his mouth water and made him hard as hell.
He couldn’t count the number of times he imagined taking her down on the mats, ripping her clothes off and spreading her wide so he could feast on her. Since he had met her it had been a strain on his control. It was easier when he had been in the middle of rehabbing the warehouse, with the work crews constantly needing something, but seeing Kali everyday now that the gym was complete was like pure torture.
Hammer knew he should stay the hell away from her, but he found himself visiting her shop far too often for comfort. Whenever he saw her through the window of her shop or went into her bakery, it killed him to see her shy smile of welcome. She knew what his favorite flavors were, and sometimes she even had something new for him to try, as if she valued his opinion. Kali always served him a cup of black coffee that she flavored with cinnamon, vanilla, or some other spice depending on what kind of treat he got. It was always the perfect pairing, and when he was done, he worked both the sugar and lust out of his system until he felt like he was going to drop.
No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t seem to stay away from Kali for very long. Hammer usually visited her shop at least three or four times a week, but he really wished he could stop in everyday just to see her smile without her thinking he was stalking her or something. They remained friendly business owners, and in the months since Fight Hard had opened its doors, she had never come over to his gym, as if she wanted to keep her distance as well.
But she was here, now…
Turning slowly, Hammer braced himself for the sight of her, not that it did any good. Seeing her was always like a shock to his system. Kalista was a petite woman, with short red hair, highlighted with gold streaks, and she had the most startling green eyes he’d ever seen. She had delicate features, but her body was all woman with lush, full curves that made him want to grab hold of her and never let go.
God, she looked beautiful.
Even in jeans and a pretty purple v-neck shirt she looked like a little fairy princess, too beautiful to be real. She was holding a white, quilted coat folded over her arm, and the way she held her arm tight to her chest seemed to push up her breasts so he could see an intriguing hint of her cleavage in that small gap at the top of her shirt. The sight made his mouth water with the need to taste.
He wanted his hands and mouth on those breasts, wanted to suck on those tight, little nipples he could faintly see puckered beneath the thin material of her shirt. Damn, he figured she had no clue what the sight of her did to him, but she would if she chose to look down at his dick.
Christ, she took his fucking breath away.
He shifted his stance slightly to hide his reaction, and tried to think of anything that would help him gain some damn control over his body. He was a man of discipline, and he used his training to center himself enough to cage his raging lust back so he wouldn’t jump her and take her down like a lion would a gazelle.
Their eyes met briefly, then hers skittered away as they always did whenever she made eye contact with him. He fought the urge to grab his shirt and cover up his bare chest. He knew what he looked like. Covered in tattoos and rock-hard muscle, he looked like the dangerous predator he was. He shaved his head so it only showed a hint of dark hair that matched his dark-brown eyes. He knew he made her nervous. Of course she would be when he literally towered over her. Shit, he knew he made grown men nervous if he stared at them for too long.
At six foot four, Hammer was a big man, and he hunched his shoulders in a laughable attempt to make himself look smaller. Not that he could. Hell, he was built like a fucking tank. His size had always been an asset in the ring, but he cursed it whenever he was near Kali. She was small, delicate, and almost a good foot shorter than he was. She had no clue that he would never hurt her or that he would rather cut off his own arm than raise it to any woman in anger.
In fact, any violence against women made him sick.
Growing up, he had been forced to watch his father hit his mother and quickly learned how to take the brunt of the anger himself. For years he had suffered in silence…until he had hit puberty and grew. No longer able to use his family as his own personal punching bag, Hammer’s father had resorted to another type of violence. One fateful night, Edward Caufield had tried to kill his wife and son by shooting them both. Hammer had taken a bullet in his side before he had been able to get the gun away from his father. In the struggle, his father had been shot and killed.
And they had finally been set free.
After that fateful night, the people of Breakers swarmed in, giving them love and support. Breakers, Texas was a the sort of town where the citizens took care of one another, but he and his mother had always been too ashamed to reach out and ask for help. Once people found out what was going on, there was no more hiding allowed.
His mother had found her calling working at a local diner. She was sweet and kind, and everyone loved her. His father had refused to let her work for years, but with him gone, she seemed to blossom being around people. Still searching for his place in the world, Hammer had joined the Army when he turned eighteen. It gave him comfort knowing his mother was being looked after when he left, and it allowed him to focus on his future. For years he had found a home with the Rangers, but when he left the Army five years ago he found a new career fighting in the ring.
Long ago, he’d learned to channel his anger through his study of martial arts. As his studies continued, the smoldering rage that had always burned in his gut had eased. People often found it odd that fighting had taught him control and patience, but it did. It helped him focus, and he quickly learned that just because he could, it didn’t mean he should.