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Dancer in Lingerie (Lingerie #13)
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Griffin offered to take me home but I refused, knowing he needed to get Vanessa home.
I walked to my apartment and took a short cut down an alleyway.
That was the worst mistake of my life.
Four men grabbed me. I fought them off, but when the barrel of a gun was pressed between my eyes, I knew the game was up.
But then a man appeared from the shadows and scared the men away like rats.
Tall, dark, and handsome.
His name is Bosco Roth.
He just saved my life, but he didn’t do it for free.
He wants something in return.
A kiss. A hot and passionate kiss right up against the wall.
But that kiss is just the beginning.
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We finished dinner at the restaurant then walked out into the winter air. The frigid temperature struck my skin the second we were outside, and I buttoned up my long black coat to protect my skin in the tight dress I wore. Knee-high boots were on my feet, protecting my skin to my knees. My stomach was warm from the wine and hot food, so that acted as an extra buffer from the nighttime chill.
Griffin had his arm around his Vanessa as we reached the sidewalk. In a black blazer with a V-neck on underneath, he didn’t look like the psycho badass who had ink all over his body. The only thing visible now was the black ink on his left hand—his vow of eternal love.
He took off his jacket and immediately wrapped it around Vanessa, even though she was in a long-sleeved black cotton dress. Her baby bump was noticeable, even when she wore all black.
“I’m not cold,” she said quietly to him as the jacket sat on her shoulders.
“Don’t care.” He wrapped it around her and stood behind her, keeping the jacket secure around her body as his hand moved to her bump. His hands were enormous, and it was easy for him to span her small pregnant belly with just a single palm.
She rolled her eyes, but the love was written all over her face. Her annoyance wasn’t real, and right before my eyes, she fell in love with him even deeper.
Seeing them together only convinced me of what I wanted someday. I wanted a passionate love like theirs, a man who loved me so much that he would die for me—a thousand times. And I wanted a man I would take a bullet for—because I couldn’t live without him. As a woman in her midtwenties, I was having fun and meeting new people every weekend. But now that I’d witnessed their love, I was starting to crave something more. Real love wasn’t something you just found on the street corner—it found you. My time would come eventually, but it might not be for years.
“That bump is so cute, Vanessa.” I smiled at her, seeing my cousin glow in the height of winter. “I can’t wait until we have another little Barsetti running around.”
She rested her hand on his as she leaned against him. “Me too.”
Griffin kissed her on the cheek. “I love this bump. Sexy.” He kissed her neck before he pulled away. “I’ll get the car.” He never cared about his overwhelming public display of affection for her, even in front of her family.
But that only made me like him more.
Vanessa stepped closer to me, keeping his jacket wrapped around her. “Dinner was nice.”
“The bread they have here is the best. I was on a date here last weekend, and I ate the whole basket by myself.”
Vanessa chuckled. “What did the guy think?”
I shrugged. “I don’t care.”
She smiled. “Good answer.”
Griffin pulled up in his truck, then came around to the passenger side and got the door open. “Come on, baby. The car is warmed up.”
“Let’s go,” Vanessa said to me as she let Griffin help her into the seat.
“I don’t need a ride. My apartment is just two blocks away.” It would take me less time to walk there than it would for them to drive me.
Griffin looked at me like I’d just insulted him. “Get. In.”
“No. Thank. You.” I smiled, loving the way he got so worked up so quickly. “It’s a one-way street. You’re gonna have to loop back around, which seems silly since my apartment is literally right there.”
His nostrils flared like a provoked bull. “Don’t make me ask you again.”
“I thought you told my father I could handle myself?” Griffin had always respected me as a person, not just a woman. But ever since he married Vanessa, he’d started to behave like an overprotective big brother.
“Yes,” he answered with a clenched jaw. “That has nothing to do with this.”
“Get your pregnant wife home. I’ll be fine.” Before he could keep the argument going, I turned away and headed up the sidewalk, my heels clacking against the frozen sidewalk.
Vanessa’s voice was audible from behind me. “Let her be, Griffin. Take me home.”
His door shut a moment later, and they were gone.
I felt perfectly safe in this city because I always stayed on the good side of town. I walked everywhere, and not once did I have a problem with anyone. If someone tried to mug me, I would just stab their dick with the heel of my boot.
I crossed two blocks then turned right to take a shortcut to the next street, a cobblestone alleyway next to a coffee shop. A couple of bicycles were leaning against the wall, and light chatter came from inside the fogged windows. I turned right and kept going.