Authors: A.D. Justice
Copyright © 2016 A.D. Justice.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, resold, or transmitted in any form without written permission from the publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages for review purposes.
his is a work of fiction
. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination. If the location is an actual place, all details of said place are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to businesses, landmarks, living or dead people, and events is purely coincidental.
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of a copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to five years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
ll copyrights are held
by A.D. Justice and have not been transferred to any other individual. Sharing or posting of this material in any group is considered copyright infringement and
reported to the authorities. Criminal and civil charges will be pursued for damages.
: Eric David Battershell
Model: Matt Zumwalt
Cover Designer: Sofie Hartley, Luminos Graphic House
teele Security Series
Wicked Games (Book 1)
Wicked Ties (Book 2)
Wicked Nights (Book 3)
Wicked Intentions (Book 4, Date TBD)
Wicked Shadows (Book 5, Date TBD)
he Crazy Series
Crazy Maybe (Book 1)
Crazy Baby (Book 2)
Crazy Love (Book 3, Date TBD)
Crazy Over You (Book 4, Date TBD)
Drive Me Crazy (Book 5, Date TBD)
ominic Powers Series
Her Dom (Book 1)
Her Dom’s Lesson (Book 2)
Completely Captivated (Stand-alone, Date TBD)
Just One Summer (Stand-alone Novella, August 2015)
irst and foremost
, I want to thank my Lord and Savior for His continued forgiveness of a sinner.
To my husband:
I love you! Thank you for putting up with the late nights, long weekends, and the less-than-stellar kept house. Writing the book didn’t help much with any of that, either. :)
To my street team:
Y’all are the best. Thank you for being my beta readers, my sounding boards, my biggest supporters, and the all-around best people in the world. Love all of you!
To my readers:
Thank you for taking a chance on an indie author. I love hearing from everyone, so stop by my page and say hello.
To my assistant:
Tabitha Charisse, thank you for all your help and support. You are very much appreciated.
To my BFFs:
I don’t know how I managed to do anything right before I met the best friends anyone could ever ask for. A.M. Madden and Michelle Dare, I love both of you!
To the bloggers:
None of this would be possible without your help, support, and tireless pimping. I love everyone in this great group of people. I can’t name one without naming everyone because you’ve all been so helpful and wonderful friends.
my breath as I pull out yet another ovulation predictor stick. I've wanted a baby for as long as I can remember and we've been trying for longer than I care to admit. Why do women feel less than “womanly” when we have problems conceiving? It's something that should be innate and ingrained in us from birth. We're expected to meet the statistical average of having a husband, two-point-five kids, and a white picket fence that surrounds our picture-perfect lawn.
I'm actually missing all three of those.
I'm not married. My boyfriend Bobby and I have been together, on and off, for seven years…since I was twenty years old. He thinks marriage is an antiquated institution that unnecessarily puts demands on couples and sets them up for complete failure. My stance is the exact opposite of his. Marriage is a time-honored commitment that demonstrates the deep love and respect a man and woman have for each other. That piece of paper may be a government thing, but what it represents is a lifelong promise no one can take away.
I'm losing this fight, obviously.
The two and a half kids? I'd settle for one baby right now. For the past two years, I've been off all birth control while I hope and pray for a positive pregnancy test every month. Twenty-four months of begging for my period to just not show up. A few times, I've been late and so ecstatic that I rushed right out to the drugstore to get a test. Every time, it's been negative. That single dash mark on the test strip has single-handedly dashed my hopes and dreams too often.
Initially, it took a lot of convincing, but I finally wore Bobby down enough that he agreed to have a baby if I agreed not to bring up marriage again. I thought it was a good exchange, but I still secretly hope he will propose when he learns that I'm carrying his baby. Hence, yet another reason why I'm desperately trying to get pregnant every month.
Breath held, staring at my reflection in the bathroom mirror, I unwrap the stick and take my seat on the queen's throne, letting the wine flow freely. Fine—this is just my way of glamorizing the process. I'm sitting on the toilet, holding a plastic stick between my legs, and pissing all over it. Now, doesn't my original story sound much better?
“Well, what have you got for me this fine March day?” I ask the plastic fortune-teller. "Am I close to ovulating? Will it be today, tomorrow, next week? Never?"
I'm aware that talking to inanimate objects in my bathroom isn't a good sign. Just don't act like I'm the only one who does it.
Pushing the plastic stick into the monitor, the screen lights up with the results I want to see. “Oh my God! I'm at my peak fertility time!” I squeal loudly and jump up and down.
My irregular periods have made it almost impossible to predict when to use these predictors. They're also not cheap and I really hate wasting them. It's not that I can't afford them, or a baby, but I've always been careful with how I spend money. When I finally do get pregnant, I plan to take the first three years off work and stay home with my baby. I've managed to save enough of my salary, plus some, to be able to afford to do just that.
Living in New York City, that's no small feat, either. The cost of living here is insane, but I pay for the convenience it offers. My luxury apartment is close to the Manhattan firm where I put my law degree to good use. That's also why I don't have a white picket fence surrounding a nice house in the suburbs. The commute would be atrocious. The time it would take me to get in and out of the city would almost equal the amount of time I spend at work every day. Early mornings and late nights already make up most of my week, and I don't want to add to it.
Commute time is one reason why Bobby and I don't live together now. He's a chef at a well-known restaurant. and his apartment is closer to his work. We've spent plenty of nights together at one place or another, but neither of us has been too keen on selling or subletting our apartments. With my fertility time at its peak, the commute to his apartment now feels like it'll take forever. I throw my clothes, shoes, and toiletries in a bag and rush out to grab a cab.
Forty-five minutes later, thanks to a wreck, rubberneckers, and traffic in general, I fly out of the cab and up the stairs to Bobby's fourth-floor apartment. When I reach the landing, Bobby's elderly neighbor, Doris Bedford, steps out of her door.
“Layne, you scared me!” she laughs. “Did you run all the way up the stairs?”
“Yes, ma'am,” I chuckle. “It's a good thing I work out regularly to stay in shape or that sprint would've killed me.”
“Maybe I need to join the gym,” she grins mischievously. “I could use more stamina myself,” she winks.
I laugh and simply nod, mainly because I don't want her to elaborate on why she needs that stamina. Not when I'm walking into my boyfriend's apartment to insist that he impregnate me. That mental picture could make my eggs crawl back up the Fallopian tube and never come out again.
Bobby forgot to lock his door again
, I think as I shake my head and walk in. After I drop my bag on the couch, I walk down the hall toward his bedroom. When I approach the partially closed door, I hear the unmistakable sounds that alert me Bobby's not here alone. My heart pounds, my hands shake, and my palms are already sweaty as I push the door open wide enough for me to walk through it.
My whole world is crashing down around me as I watch while my boyfriend of seven years fucks my best friend of thirteen years. His bare ass is on display in front of me, and everything seems to happen in slow motion. I can't look away from this scene, regardless of how loudly my brain screams for me to leave. His arm wraps around the back of her knee as he pushes it toward her head and drives his cock in deeper. She screams in ecstasy, and then he joins her in their sexual bliss.
“I'm coming,” he says huskily. “I'm all inside you. Can you feel how hot it is?”
Apparently, that's exactly what I need to hear to jolt me out of this trance.
“You. Fucking. Bastard!” I scream at him.
Bobby jumps to the side, rolls off my ex-best friend, Cyndi, and gives me the most pathetic look I've ever seen on a man. His face is scrunched up, like he's the one in pain, and he holds his hands out in front of him wordlessly in mock surrender. Cyndi scrambles to grab the sheet and pulls it up over her naked body.
“You. Fucking. Slut!” I roar at her. “Traitorous slut and slimy bastard.”
They both look down.
“How long?” I ask.
“Layne, please—,” Cyndi starts.
“How. Long?” I demand.
“About three months,” Bobby admits.
“I'm so sorry, Layne. We never meant for this to happen,” Cyndi cries and a tear rolls down her cheek.
are the first words that come to my mind. “How could you?” I spew out at them.
Bobby grabs his shorts off the floor, jerks them on, and approaches me cautiously. “Layne, just listen, okay? Please.”
“Why should I listen to anything either of you has to say? My boyfriend of seven years, who has been trying to get me pregnant for the past two years, and my best friend of thirteen years, are fucking each other. And you think I should listen? Have you lost your damn minds?” I yell.
“We both love you, Layne. It happened once when Brett and I broke up, and I was so upset. Bobby just comforted me, and one thing led to another. We tried to stay away from each other, but we're in love,” she explains with a single shoulder shrug.
My heart is being scooped out of my chest with a spoon. My eyes fly to Bobby's, waiting for him to confirm it. He doesn't look as convinced about the love part as Cyndi does. “Well, isn't that just sweet of Bobby to comfort-fuck you so you'll forget all about your boyfriend? Guess he literally screwed your brains out, because you forgot about your best friend, too.”
“Layne, you don’t understand. I'm—,” Cyndi starts.
“No!” Bobby cuts her off.
“You're what?” I narrow my eyes and draw my hands into fists.
“I'm pregnant,” she whispers. “It's Bobby's.”
I’ve heard of out-of-body experiences, but I’ve always thought that was impossible. It was more likely that the person had a very realistic dream while in a stressful situation and automatically believed it really happened to them.
That’s a logical explanation, right?
That’s not what I’m having right now. I’m fully awake. I’ve heard some use the phrase “saw red” to describe their extreme rage. I’m definitely not seeing anything red.
“Blind rage” is another term I’ve heard thrown around. I’ve never been so mad, so hurt, and so upset that I’ve literally been blinded by it all. That is, I’d never experienced it until the moment my ex-best friend said she’s pregnant with my ex-boyfriend’s baby. In that very second, I lost all capability for rational thought, intelligent discussion, or peaceful resolution.
My sports-nut-turned-chef ex-dick keeps sports memorabilia all around his apartment. His choice of decorations was frequently a sore spot whenever we even mentioned living together. His inability to leave his inner-teen decorating preferences behind him worked out well for me. He’d won a hard plastic New York Yankees bat in a radio contest, and it was one of his prized possessions. He had it prominently displayed on a shelf in his bedroom.
Right behind my head.
I grabbed the bat and began whaling on him—his head, his back, his legs, his arms. I swung as hard as I could and beat him mercilessly with it anywhere I could reach. The cheating coward alternated between running from me and advancing on me to try to stop me. The only reason I finally did stop was because the hard plastic bent and then broke, rendering it useless.
Then the hockey stick caught my eye, and I made a mad dash to grab it off the wall. He beat me to it, though, and held it behind his back with one arm, the other arm stretched out fully in front of him with his hand up, telling me to stop. This is where the blindness starts to fade and I begin to realize where I am again.
“Layne.” His eyes beg me. “I’m so sorry. Please hear me out.”
His words stop me dead in my tracks, and I feel like I’m literally seeing him for the first time. He’s average height with blond hair and blue eyes. He obviously hits the gym several days a week, but he’s not overly muscular. When he flashes it, he has a beautiful smile that lights up his face and brightens his eyes.
My heart clenches in my chest as scenes over the last seven years flash through my eyes. He was my first everything—my first serious boyfriend, my first love, and my first sexual experience. He was the only one who believed in me when I started this journey to being a lawyer. Dual enrollment in high school gave me an early start on my degree. Taking summer classes limited the amount of time I had for fun, but it allowed me to graduate earlier than most. Bobby was my constant and steady force throughout that entire time.
And all that, for what?
He mistakes my silence for willingness to listen to his pitiful excuses.
“What have I done?” he asks rhetorically, his eyes moving quickly around the room. His voice cracks on the last word and sorrow glistens in his eyes. “Shit, Layne, what have I done to us?”
“Simple. You’ve killed us, Bobby. There is no
anymore,” I reply.
The anguish on his face is real. “This isn’t what I want, Layne. I want you.”
“You should’ve thought about that roughly three months ago. Before you fucked her. Before you impregnated her. While you were trying to impregnate me.”
My tears are flowing freely now and I don’t bother to wipe them away. One immediately follows the previous one, falling so quickly that there’s no use in trying to stop them. The shock and disbelief of finding them are beginning to wear off, and the pain in my chest is becoming overwhelming. It steals my breath and I clench at my chest with my hand, trying to soothe the pain underneath.
Bobby, seeing my anguish, takes a step toward me, but the look in my eyes tells him to stay back.
“Don’t ever come around me again. I never want to see either of you again as long as I live.” I manage to keep my voice strong as I simultaneously issue an underlying threat and convey my disgust with them. “You deserve each other.”
I turn to leave and block out Bobby’s voice behind me. He first yells how much he loves me and begs me not to leave like this. The roar in my ears, the scorching, white-hot pain in my chest, and my own strangled sobs I’m trying desperately to hold back drown out his continued pleas. I hear Cyndi’s cries of disbelief as she tries to remind Bobby that he loves her. But he ignores her and drowns out her voice with his own. It’s all too much to deal with at once and I feel my senses shutting down from the overload. I’m short-circuiting.
I don’t remember the cab ride back to my apartment. I don’t remember walking into my building, past the doorman and the security desk. I don’t remember getting into my apartment. The alternating ringing of my landline and my cell phone brings me out of my stupor. A quick glance at my caller ID shows Bobby has been calling repeatedly for the past hour. An hour that I don’t even remember being here.
After I unplug the phone, I start to turn off my cell phone and notice I have ten voicemails from Bobby. I just can’t deal with them right now, so I turn off my phone and crawl into my bed. It’s still early Saturday, barely even noon, but I don’t leave my bed until I have to get ready for work Monday morning. Staring at my reflection in the mirror, I’m not sure how I’ll pull off this look today. I’m relatively new and still very concerned with making a good impression.
Visine drops help tame my bloodshot eyes, makeup expertly applied hides the red splotches, and my hair is styled with my bangs swept to the side, long and partially covering my face. As long as I don’t have to look anyone in the eye, speak to anyone, or interact with any personal contact whatsoever, I should be fine. I just have to make it through today, tomorrow, this week, this month…
I don’t know how to do this.
But I refuse to just lie down and give up.
Pulling myself up by my imaginary bootstraps, I put one foot in front of the other and walk out my door. When the elevator doors open, the heavy fragrance of fresh flowers instantly engulfs me. The sweet scents of roses, lilies, hydrangeas, and lilacs are the most pronounced. Without conscious thought, I inhale deeply, drawing the bold aromas into me. The scents flow over my frayed nerves and soothe them, reminding me of a rural area I visited briefly during my summer internship. I round the corner and my eyes land on the security desk that’s lined with vases and vases of beautiful flower bouquets.