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Ain’t Doin’ It (Simple Man #4)
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Coke Solomon has lived a full life.
He’s a retired army drill sergeant, so he is more than used to getting his way.
And if he can’t have it his way? Well, let’s just say that’s never happened before…
At least not until Cora Maldonado walks into his life, demanding he fall in line, or she’ll find a way to make his life hell.
He finds out fast that Cora marches to the beat of her own drum, and a lot of times that drum takes her farther away rather than closer to where he feels she needs to be.
He can’t stand it.
He wants her, and he has to have her.
It doesn’t matter that she’s twenty years younger than him, and has a father that would rather see him dead than have his baby girl anywhere near him. Nor does it matter that his ex-wife is highly offended that she’s been replaced with a much younger woman.
Despite the odds stacking against them, he’ll fight for what he wants.
His ex-wife, her father, and their age difference be damned.
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Why get thinner when you can get dinner?
Chugggggaaaaaa chuggggaaaaaa vroooooooom.
I ground my teeth together and glared so hard at the outside wall of my house that faced the noise. It was a wonder it was still standing against my anger.
I was not a happy girl.
In fact, if there was one person in the entire freakin’ city of Hostel right now who might kill their neighbor by midnight, it was me.
“What in the hells bells made whoever was starting that truck—and it was probably a goddamn man—think it was okay to do that at” —I looked over to the clock— “twelve oh three in the freakin’ morning? Some of us have to freakin’ work tomorrow!”
The empty house didn’t answer me, and I looked at the offending wall.
If I didn’t have my bed in this room, I’d literally go to another part of the house.
Unfortunately, with none of the other rooms having any furniture, that wasn’t really an option for me.
Not if I wanted to have a good night’s rest.
Which I needed since tomorrow was my first day of work.
I, Cora Maldando, was an official animator on the newest children’s animated movie, The Young Ones.
I’d been drawing since I was a child. When I started showing my parents how good I was, they’d enrolled me in art classes by the age of five. By age nine, I was drawing comics and selling them—or my parents were. By age fifteen, I had my own deviant art account and was creating book covers for romance, sci-fi, and paranormal authors.
By the age of twenty-one, I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in art.
And now, at the age of twenty-five, I was now the newest member on the biggest team of children’s movie animators in the world.
I was still quite unsure how I’d managed to get where I was.
But that three hundred-thousand-dollar incentive bonus should’ve been enough of a ‘you’re making it.’
Now, I’d bought a house, I had a link to the mother ship in New York, NY, and I could work from home.
I still was so unsure of myself and my abilities, but my family and my bosses weren’t. They believed in me, so I was going to kick ass, even if I had to kick my own ass to kick ass.
I winced, staring at the wall again, and came to a decision.
I was going to have to do something. This was non-negotiable.
I had to be able to link up with the rest of the team tomorrow, and I couldn’t do that if I had no sleep.
My luck, I’d oversleep, not wake up until twelve, and they’d revoke my bonus.
Then I’d be homeless because I couldn’t pay my house payment or any of the repairs on the older car that I’d just acquired.
Much to my father’s chagrin.
Gabriel Maldanado hadn’t even wanted me to leave town, but I had to. I needed to be independent and to do that, I couldn’t live at home anymore. I was a twenty-five-year-old woman, well on her way to twenty-six, and I needed to have my own place.
Even though I missed my family like crazy.
I pulled out my phone and texted my dad.
I knew he’d be awake.
Cora (12:03AM): If I asked you to, would you come over and fix some guy’s truck that won’t stay running?
Dad (12:04 AM): No. He’d have to pay me. I don’t do shit for free, yo.
I grinned, knowing that it was my mother, and not my father, who was answering me.
The first clue was the punctuation. The second was that my father’s texts consisted of one or two-word sentences whenever he could manage it. If he couldn’t, he called.
Cora (12:04 AM): Whoever it is can’t keep his truck started for long, and I’m about to go over there and knife him.
Dad (12:05 AM): Shoot him. You won’t have to get as close.
I grinned, loving my mother.
She wasn’t my biological mother, but you couldn’t tell by the way she treated me.
She was my best friend, and not a day went by that I didn’t talk to her.
Moving had been harder on her than it had been on my dad. It was hard not to have your best friend around.
And she was my best friend.
Where normal people had kids their own age as their best friend, my mother had been mine instead.
Sure, there were kids around who were my age, but I was a loner. Always had been, and always would be.
But I had followed two of those kids, Kayla and Janie—the daughters of a couple of my mother’s close friends—here to Hostel. I needed to grow up and get my own life, and I couldn’t do that if I couldn’t even get out of my parents’ house.
Which led me to here.
I should’ve listened to my father.
He’d told me this was too far out, and that there would likely be something that came up that couldn’t be solved on my own.