The Italian, seductive, quiet alpha, Dominic Segretti, is leaving Livorno, Italy and headed for the Jersey Shore.
His family’s business is in danger of crumbling under the management of a man who tormented and grossly underestimated his investment in a business he grew up loving, and the hatred of a man who made his life hell for thirteen years.
He has been quietly waiting for the right moment to bring Benito Deluca to his knees. He comes to the US, armed with enough evidence to prove his case to, Josephine Steel, his aunt, and his cousins, Cyrus, Jase, Zandor, and Xavier.
The night before he plans to tell them of the corruption that could cause the demise of DeLuca INC, he decides to take a night to de-stress. He plans a night of relaxation and enjoyment for himself at the Hilton Casino on the shore.
Delaney Johnson is starting over after a break-up and graduating college. She has landed the job of her dreams in NYC. Arrangements had been made to stay with her best friend, Nikki Bassett, and her fiancé’, Abe O’Donnell.
Feeling that her luck has suddenly changed, she stops to play a few slots, just for fun. She finds herself winning big, and gains an admirer.
One hot night of uninhibited sex with a stranger takes her places she never knew she could go.
Dominic sees something in her, something familiar, something undeniable. Will this one hot night turn into many, or will the Beast’s plans crush any hope of them exploring their future?
A bottle and a half of wine, double check.
He insisted on walking me into my dorm room. Yes, that night was the first time we had sex, but I will never admit that to my girls. We have rules. Rules that my girl, Nikki, had already broken. That lucky bitch got a hot guy, too, Abe O’Donnell. He’s hot as hell, a possessive and fickle bastard, and she got him. Where were we? Oh yes, James and our first time. It went something like this. ‘We’ve waited long enough, darlin’.’ With his Southern drawl and green-ass eyes boring holes into mine, I caved. He was big and rough, and lasted all of five minutes. ‘It’s okay.’ I wanted to make sure he knew I was all right with what had just happened. ‘Better than ok, it was damn good.’ Uh huh. It’s not like it was awful sex. I mean, it was frequent, and he was on the larger than average size. Seven inches wasn’t bad, right? Apparently, two or three times a day wasn’t enough for James. That’s what he told me when I walked into our apartment about an hour and a half ago, and found him fucking the slut from down the hall. ‘I need it more, darlin’,’ he said, as he stood naked, while she threw her clothes on. ‘You put out more often, and we’ll be okay, you’ll see.’ ‘Are you kidding me?’ I laughed, as I chucked all my clothes out of the closet. ‘I’ll talk to you later?’ I heard the bitch whisper, as I snapped around. ‘You have to have more self-respect than that. Did you not just hear what he said to me?’ ‘Sex is sex.’ She rolled her eyes. ‘Well, just so you know, you just made it to the top of my prayer list. Bless your heart.’ ‘You too.’ ‘Me?’ I squeaked my response.
‘You’re doing him two and three times a day, and I’m in need of prayers?’ ‘Living together.’ I pointed between James and me. I stopped when I realized there was no point in arguing with the slut, who had been banging my live-in boyfriend. ‘Get the fuck out.’ I bent down, picked up one of my black heels and hurled it in her direction. ‘Oh, my God, she’s crazy!’
‘That’s right, skank!’ I yelled. I looked over at James; he looked back at me and smirked. The bastard was smirking, as he held onto himself, naked, hard, and watching the two of us bickering back and forth. ‘You too, you sick bastard!’ I snapped at him. ‘Who me?’ He looked shocked and pointed to himself. Oh. My. God. He was fucking clueless.
I don’t know what came over me, but I started laughing. It was a cross between a belly laugh and a snort. Then, tears started falling, as I threw everything I owned into a suitcase and two duffle bags. Before walking out the door, I looked back at him. He finally had some basketball shorts on. ‘You really gonna leave, darlin’? Where you gonna go? Can’t go home, can’t get back into the dorms, can’t–’ ‘Can’t stay here with you either.’ ‘If I,’ he stopped and scratched his head, ‘if don’t do it again, maybe you’ll stay?’ How is it that I felt more emotion emitting from James, at that very moment, than I had in the last five months? I mean he wasn’t a complete asshole. Although, our first date may have been the last time he showed an ounce of what I would consider a romantic notion. I shook my head ‘no’ as he slowly approached me.
‘Come on, darlin’; give it another shot. Just give me one more try.’ As he took my hand, I shook my head ‘no’, again. ‘Where you gonna go, Laney?’ ‘I’ll find a place?’ My voice cracked. He shook his head. ‘Not that easy, darlin’.’
At that moment the dam broke. At that moment, I fell apart. In that moment, James hugged me. It was the second nicest thing he had ever done for me. He slid the duffle bag strap off my right shoulder and then the other off my left. I just stood there and let them drop to the ground, as I sobbed against his bare chest. He wrapped his arms around me and rubbed my back. It was probably the sweetest moment in our entire relationship—until he popped wood. Before pulling out of my parking spot, I look up, hoping to see him coming after me. Hoping that he would fight for me. I give it two minutes, one hundred and twenty seconds. Waiting for a man to come and beg me to come back. The man that I just caught fucking another woman: whore, slut. Whatever you wanna call her. Pathetic. That’s what I am.
Mel opens her dorm room door and I hold up a bottle of wine. “Wanna help me drink this?” She smiles and steps back. “I’d never say no to you.” “Paige here?” I ask, as I walk in. “She’s on a date.” “Cool.” I set the bottle down and wiggle my jacket off my shoulders, as I look up at her. She has that look, the one of concern and question. “What?” “Spill it,” she says, and turns her back. She grabs two cups out of the shoebox- sized cabinet that houses their dinnerware, and red Solo cups. “It wasn’t fun anymore–” I begin. “Oh, come on. He’s what, three in a year? It’s not always about fun, Laney.” “Don’t you judge me,” I say, pouring the Red Cat into a cup. “You–,” she starts. “I caught him in bed with the whore from down the hall.” “No.” Her mouth drops open. I take a long drink and nod as I swallow. “I thought you and he had a great sex life?” “Great. Yeah, I wouldn’t say great. Frequent, but apparently not frequent enough.” I take another drink, watching her as she fills her cup. “You can stay here as long as you want, okay?” “Mels, I can’t be a fucking mooch for–”
This time she cut me off. “You’d do it for us.” “What if you get caught and get into trouble? I won’t put you in that situation. I was so stupid to move in with him to begin with.” After the bottle of wine is finished, and we male bash for a while, I stand up, and yes, I stumble. “Where are you going?” “I don’t know. My car, the Y, the … ” “At least stay here, tonight. I don’t think Paige will be back, so you can have her bed.” I don’t want to, I mean, I really don’t want to be someone else’s burden. “You’re drunk, Laney. Just stay.”
I ended up staying from February until May. Mel, Paige, and I share their closet-sized room the entire time. I never spoke to James again. Graduation was two days away. I hadn’t spoken to my parents, either one of them, in months. They both had a fit when I had moved in with James. I was adamant that I was an adult and could make that decision on my own. Both banded together, for once in my life, and stood their ground. If I moved in with him I was not getting their support. I told them they could take their support and shove it. James had lasted a bit longer than the normal five minutes that night. ‘I’m proud of you, darlin’.’ I stayed out a little later the few nights preceding graduation, not wanting to face my friends. Not wanting to face, or let them find out, what I had been hiding for six months. They didn’t know that my parents and I were at odds. I knew they would be pissed when they found out. I know I messed up by not telling them, but honestly, it hurt. So what if I didn’t want to share the hurt? I even tried to fake sick, to miss the deadline for filling out the online registration for the commencement ceremony. Did the girls allow that to happen? Yes, but–hell no. Paige rushed through the prep for her final, came home with chicken noodle soup to feed me, so I would get better, and helped me fill out the form. She even placed the order for my cap and gown at the bookstore, when I was too ‘busy.’ I didn’t have the money for them at that time, but she didn’t listen, she bought them. So, I was fucked. Two nights before graduation, Nikki and Abe come into town. They are staying in a hotel. The four of us girls, are supposed to meet up for dinner and drinks, while Abe is going to stay behind to get some work done. We walk into their hotel room and in typical ‘us’ fashion, we hug, laugh, and Nikki even cries. She is so excited to be back. She spent the last year of school doing an internship and Abe O’Donnell, thus the emotions. You should see the look on Abe’s face when the tears start rolling down her cheeks. I swear he thinks she is upset. He immediately is at her side, in true alpha male form, and she laughs. “Happy tears. I miss them,” she explains. “You sure?” he asks. “Yes.” She is beaming. “Now, don’t you have something to go do? We are about to embark on a four hour conversation of what’s gone on over the past,” she looks at us again, “almost year.” After a chaste kiss is placed to her lips, he disappears into what I assume, is the master bedroom. “We have so much catching up to do. You guys don’t mind if we stay in and eat, do you?” Nikki asks. We order sushi and go through several bottles of wine. Then, the topic of conversation centers on my break up with James. “I’m fine. Honest to God. I mean, really, what was I gonna do, stick around here? Marry him and move to his hometown where his life would be consumed by his family’s ranch and weekend rodeos? Shit, I was an idiot not to think about the future anyway. What would I be, Mrs. JD Farnsworth the second? The minute his little brother graduated high school, last year, his mom ran for the hills,” I say sarcastically. “She was sick of getting kicked around. So, let’s talk about something else, shall we?” “His dad beat his mom?” Nikki looks at me the same way she would look at a wounded bird. Paige laughs, “Hey, at least she gets it now, can’t save them all. Remember Heather? You two tried so hard to help her after she became consumed by her first love. Crazy is crazy, right, Mel?” “I’ll drink to that.” Mel raises her glass. I force a laugh, excuse myself and retreat to the bathroom. The mere mention of that girl’s name makes me sick to my stomach. I hate that bitch. Hate her! The girl everyone in high school shunned. The girl that Nikki and I tried so damn hard to help, was now—fucking my father. Not just fucking him, living with him. My mom was on the road with some cross-country hillbilly, riding bitch in a fucking tractor-trailer. My life literally turned upside down last year. Because of all the things Nikki and Abe had gone through, I made sure the others didn’t know. If I’m being truthful, I don’t want them to know anyway. It is embarrassing. I hear the door open as I sit on the cold tile floor, and in walks Abe. “I apologize. I didn’t know–” “It’s fine, Abe.” “You all right?” “I’m fine, emotional, you know. Graduation, all the pomp and circumstance.” I stand, trying to act like it was a joke. “Females, pfftttt. You live with Nikki, I’m sure you understand. Please don’t mention it?” He nods and walks out, closing the door behind him. Not two minutes later, the door opens. Nikki walks in and shuts it behind her. “Spill it.” “What?” I try to act like nothing is going on. “You don’t get emotional. Abe said you were upset–” “In front of them?” “Abe? No. He would never.”
“Why?” “Because he’s amazing. He gets it. He–” She put her hand on her hip. “You’re deflecting.” “Am not.” Tears sting my eyes. “Are too,” she says and grabs my hand. “It’s me. The girl who you talked out of making the biggest mistake of her life not too damn long ago. Now, talk to me, Laney.” “I’m not ready–” I stop when the door opens, and Mel and Paige walk in. “Not ready for what?” Mel asks, as she walks over and sits on the counter. “Nothing, God, can’t someone just be emotional? Can’t someone just not want to sit through a stupid ceremony in a damn green gown? Can’t someone–”
Paige pipes in, “Time to spill the beans, Laney. For a long time I thought it was James, but now, I know damn well it’s something else.” “My parents are getting divorced, okay? They’re both assholes, too. I haven’t talked to them in months. I don’t want to talk about it.” “Why haven’t you said anything?” Nikki asks. “Cause it’s embarrassing, alright?” “It happens. My parents divorced when I was ten. It’s not embarrassing, it’s part of life.” Mel smiles at me. “We’re here for you.”
“You can’t just walk away from them, either. I mean, family is family, messed up or not,” Paige interjects. “Yes, I can. If you three keep pressuring, I will walk out of here, too.” They don’t say a word, none of them. They know I am serious. And I am, too.
I sit on a bar stool looking at the clock. An hour before graduation, and I am shit faced. I send the girls a text, telling them I won’t be there. Ten minutes later, James walks in, alone. He pulls a bar stool up beside me and orders two shots of tequila. He pushes one over to me. I shake my head ‘no.’ “It’s graduation, darlin’. We’re gonna celebrate.” “Why are you here?” “You know, damn well why I’m here. This is my spot. So, now ask yourself why you’re here.” “Because, I’m pathetic.” I say, just as pathetic as I felt. “No, you ain’t.” He holds up his shot glass. “To graduation and what the future holds.” I give in. Twenty minutes, and four shots later, we are in the bathroom. “You gonna come with me?” he asks, as he pulls my skirt up. “No.” He pulls down my panties, “Step out, darlin’.” I do and he pulls them off; then his jeans hit the floor. He asks, “You ready for a ride?” in that damn drawl, as he rips the condom open and rolls it on quickly. “No.” I close my eyes. I am being fucking ridiculous. His fingers run up my seams and he moans. “When things hurt, this always makes it feel better, darlin’. You sure you ain’t ready? You certainly feel it.” He pushes a finger inside me and everything comes alive. I reach down and stroke him. “That’s right, girl.” He pins my arms to the wall above my head with one hand.
“Tell me you want a ride,” he hisses against my lips, as he pushes another finger inside my wetness. “I want a ride.”
In one hard swift move, James is inside me. He lifts me up. “Wrap ‘em around me, darlin’.” As I wrap my legs around him, I glance at my watch. He sees me and laughs. “You got somewhere to be?” “Nope,” I say, as my back hits the wall. “Good answer. Now, hang on.” He is brutal, which is exactly what I want right now. I want to feel his cock hitting as deep as he can, hard. After I come, he does, too. I glance at my watch again. Seven minutes, he is up by two minutes. “Feel better now?” he asks, as he hands me a wad of toilet paper. “Nope.” I clean myself up, pull my skirt down, toss the toilet paper, and start to walk out of the bathroom. James grabs my arm, “Bullshit. Nothing feels better than an orgasm, darlin’.” “Maybe not.” I pull my arm back. “But you didn’t deserve me, again.” “I just needed more than you. Doesn’t mean I don’t feel it in here,” he hits his chest, “when I fuck up.” “You have a fucking problem, you know that?” “Sure do. Just wanted to make sure you knew, it wasn’t you that I had a problem with.” My hands fly to my hips. “What the hell is that supposed to mean?” “Means, I didn’t enjoy hurting you, okay? Means, I still wish you were under me every day. Means…Hell, give me another shot. Maybe?” He scratches his head, “Come home with me.” You have got to be kidding me. “Why?” “I won’t fuck anyone but you. Hell, this summer’s circuit is going to be crazy. I’ll be getting my ass thrown around by bulls.” He smirks. “Tell me you won’t enjoy seeing that.” “No, I won’t.” “Cause you’ll be worried about my safety? I promise you can doctor up my wounds after each rodeo. Plus, where else you gonna go?” “I have friends, a degree, and big things in store.” “There are jobs on the ranch and some in town. Busy place you know? Not a lot of downtime.” I huff, “Meaning you won’t be passing the time fucking the neighbor?” “No, I won’t be.” “Why, is she ugly?” “Hideous,” he chuckles. I try to push past him and he pulls me back. “This is an olive branch, Laney. Take the damn thing. Let’s see where it leads. I said I would try, never done that before. Just. Try.”