Better When He's Bad (Welcome to the Point 1) - Page 29

When he pulled back his bottom lip, it was slick with moisture and blood. His eyes glittered like jewels and there was no pretending that I wasn’t pressing up on the tips of my toes as high as I could get to reach all of him or that my hands were clutching desperately at his broad shoulders.

“If I had to guess what you needed from me right now, what do you think that would be?”

I wanted to knee him in the groin, but he shifted just in time and clasped my hand in his much larger, more battered one.

“Let’s get some stuff and go put the groceries away.”

I had a sneaking suspicion “put the groceries away” was code for “break into that box of condoms.” I was getting run over by him, and I wasn’t sure if I should be thrilled or terrified by it.



I NEVER MET A girl who was more stubborn, more complicated, or more fun to rile up than this one. She came by that redheaded temper naturally. I tried twice to get her to let me buy her a pair of pants that would actually fit her tiny waist and long-ass legs, but she just gave me a dirty look and wandered off. I wasn’t sure if it was because she was mad I wanted to spend blood money on her, or because she was pissed I didn’t like her tomboy look. It didn’t really bother me, I could see she was hiding in plain sight now, and I felt it was like my duty as a red-blooded male to get her over it. After getting just a peek at what she was covering up with all those ugly, baggy clothes, I knew it wasn’t right for her to feel like she had to blend into the drab and dreary of all that was the Point.

She wandered off to get a little breathing room and I added some plain black pants, a couple T-shirts, and a normal person-sized black sweater to the hoodie, jeans, and package of T-shirts I grabbed for myself. I was going to have to swing by my place in the city and grab some stuff if I was going to be hanging out in the burbs for the foreseeable future, and she was just going to have to deal with me trying to drag her out of her prickly shell. It was fun to watch her wind up so tight she looked like she was going to snap. I liked the flush under her freckles and the way her pretty pink mouth got all red. I liked the way her green eyes went almost black, and most of all, I liked how new and untouched she seemed, like everything I did to her, every way I touched her, was a new experience. It made all the other bad shit going on seem inconsequential.

I met her at the cash register and noticed she was refusing to look at me or talk to me. I laughed a little under my breath, which had the cashier passing a nervous look back and forth between the two of us. I wish I had snagged some lacy, frilly underwear to throw into the pile just to set her off, but it was too late as I grabbed the paper bag and followed her out of the store.

“What kind of chick doesn’t want to shop?”

She glared at me over her shoulder and tossed that fiery hair to the side. Man, I couldn’t wait to get my hands all tangled up in it and bury my face in it. It was like flames, red and orange, spinning and twirling around her pale face.

“This . . .”—she wagged a finger between her and me—“is already convoluted, scary, and out of control. You very well might want to hurt my brother, I have a sinking feeling you might end up hurting me, and none of that means you get to take me shopping like I’m your girlfriend or something.”

“You don’t have anything, Copper-Top.”

She made a face at me and I grinned at her.

“I have my pride. I have my brother. And I have enough sense to know that the deeper in with you I get, the worse off I’m going to be when you decide I’ve served my purpose.”

I just shook my head at her and went to move around her because she came to a screeching halt in front of me. I went to open the trunk of the Runner when I finally noticed what had made her go so still. I put a hand on the curve of her back and looked at the guy leaning against the side of my car. I swore out loud and handed her the bag and the keys.

“Give me just a second.”

She went to grab for me, but five years of anger and resentment had just surged to the surface. I heard her call my name, saw the guy’s eyes widen as he pushed off my baby and tensed for the blow that was coming from my wildly thrown fist. There wasn’t a lot of force behind it because my side was still jacked up and I could feel more blood start to leak out of the bandage. He shook his face and lifted a hand to work his jaw back and forth.

“Not even out a month and you’re ready to go back for assault on an officer?” I wanted to take that stupid badge on his belt and cram it down his throat. I made a move to lunge for him again, but a pair of tiny hands planted in the center of my chest and shoved me back.

“Knock it off? Are you nuts? Wait, don’t answer that because clearly the answer is yes!”

I looked down at her and back up at the smirking cop and felt my hands curl into tight fists.

“Dovie, this is Officer Titus King . . . otherwise known as the ass**le that arrested me and let me rot for five f**king years.”

Titus gave me a steady look and then switched his attention to Dovie. I stepped around her and got back in his face.

“You have some nerve looking for me.”

He held up his hands in a helpless gesture and took a step back. “I heard you were out. I wanted to tell you that Gus has been asking after you since you went away. I thought maybe you would be interested in some honest employment for once in your life.”

“Oh, now you’re interested in helping me out?”

I wanted to get my hands around his throat and squeeze until his head popped. He sighed and put his hand on the butt of the pistol riding low on his hip. He was done letting me vent, the message was clear.

“You were caught red-handed, Shane. What in the hell was I supposed to do? You were in the car, you and you alone. Race wasn’t there, Novak, as always, had pristine hands and a rock-solid alibi, and it was just you, the Aston Martin, and enough incriminating evidence to put you away for a f**k of a lot longer than five years. You’re lucky that’s all you got. The owner of the car died. You do remember that, right?”

I wanted to punch him again, but Dovie didn’t need to hear all the gory details of what Race and I were into before it all blew up in our faces.

“Get bent, King. I don’t need this from you. I’m not on parole, I don’t need a babysitter.”

“You’re right, but you need a goddamn guardian angel the way you live. Go see Gus, Bax. For once in your life make the right choice. I don’t want to put you back in prison.”