I’m torn between what I want and what I need. Between the men in my past and the man by my side. Colin has tried to control me, to use me. But he also guards me so fiercely my heart aches.

Raincheck. Business. Don’t wait up. —C

That’s the note he leaves for me, as if I could sit around while he fights my dragons. As if I could let himself get killed in some vain attempt to protect me.

There’s no protection left for me. No redemption either.

This is my battle, and I’ve already lost.

“Dark and edgy…but don’t be fooled. There’s a wonderful love story running through this book.” ~ Charlotte Stein, author of Sheltered


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Excerpt from Fierce

Colin slammed the bathroom door shut, and I winced. He was still mad about last night. Maybe because I’d accused him of paying someone to rape me.

Okay, probably that.

And maybe he was also pissed because I’d obviously spoken with Rick, since I knew about the debt and the closing of the bakery. Well, I hadn’t broken the agreement not to communicate with him—Rick had. I’d never even made such an agreement. Besides, Colin was the one who’d fucked up, manipulating Rick and me. Being controlling. Being a hard ass.

Shouldn’t he forfeit his right to be pissed off?

Rick carried some fault as well, risking the bakery by racking up all those debts. Still, it wouldn’t do to forgive Colin so easily. He’d taken away my choice. My consent, really. With a baby and no job, I could hardly have refused his offer to move in. I would have consented anyway—I did actually, not yet knowing the truth—but that wasn’t the point. Driving me to desperation was just as bad as holding my wrists above my head. Almost.

Colin stomped out of the bathroom. The man could really throw a tantrum—quietly, though, like he did everything else. I got up to brush my teeth and get ready.

Once downstairs, Bailey fussed for breakfast. I gave her sliced bananas while I made pancakes. She was still making up for last night’s diet and didn’t mind letting me know it.

According to the calendar the next drop wasn’t until tomorrow. I had no doubt that I’d see the cop again before then, probably today. I didn’t want Bailey to be here for that.

Colin joined Bailey at the table and plowed through his pancakes in brittle silence.

I finally cracked. “What are you doing tomorrow night?”

He didn’t look up. “No plans.”

So he wasn’t going to the drop. Good. I’d pay special attention tomorrow to make sure he stayed home, even if I had to deep throat him for hours.

“Let’s have movie night,” I offered.

He shrugged his shoulders just a smidge as he took a bite. Stubborn man.

The difference between his amiable silences and his angry one was like the difference between a chilly day and a hailstorm. I didn’t enjoy the animosity between us, but I wasn’t ready to call a truce. The only thing I’d done wrong, the snooping, he didn’t even know about. Okay, so that wasn’t the best defense, but I still felt indignant.

For the first time in weeks he left right after breakfast.

The Chicago Underground Series


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