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He’s bossy, moody, and overprotective.
He’s also a pro athlete who needs to focus on winning games and staying out of the headlines.
I’m fiercely independent and need a man like I need a second period each month.
So when our worlds collide, I never expected him to be the one to jump in and save me. Especially not when my roommate disappears, leaving me with her baby.
I’m clueless about babies—and it shows. Good thing Alexei isn’t. With six nieces and nephews and an apparent hero complex, the dude is both sexy and more than capable. It’s a combination that makes it easy to forget we’re just playing house.
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She’s petite yet curvy with a nice ass and beautiful tits. But that’s not the first thing I notice about her.
The first thing that strikes me is that her coat isn’t warm enough for a Chicago winter.
It’s dark out, and barely above freezing. She’s standing on a street corner discussing something with a man in hushed tones, waving her hands dramatically as she speaks. It’s nearly midnight, and the street is almost deserted.
She has long dark hair, a trim build, and a full pouty mouth. And she seems to be pissed off. Curious about her, I stalk closer and then slow my pace.
“Fine. Tell me what it’ll take, sweetheart,” the guy says to her.
She stiffens and puts one hand on her hip. “I’m not for sale, asshole. I did my job, but that’s it. When you step outside those doors, the fantasy ends.”
They’re standing outside a dingy club, the kind of place that smells of rancid smoke, cheap beer, and meaningless sex. I should know. I’ve been here once or twice for bachelor parties and those kinds of things. My friends would call it a titty bar. But my friends are mostly pro football players, and their manners leave a lot to be desired.
The place isn’t really a strip club, more like a topless bar where beautiful women serve drinks in their underwear. It all seemed innocent enough, until now . . . until a sinking feeling washes over me as I watch this woman get propositioned in the street as she’s trying to leave work.
The guy laughs, the sound abrasive, like he doesn’t believe her. “Three hundred bucks. Come on, baby. It’ll be fast.”
She chews on one of those pouty lips as she weighs his words, contemplating what looks to be a life-changing decision . . . and not life-changing in a positive way.
Don’t do it, lady . . . just say no to what this asshole is offering you.
Part of me knows I need to mind my own damn business, that this guy just wants a quick fuck. Who am I to judge how this woman chooses to support herself? The other part of me—the fierce protector in me—says this is a situation that I can’t ignore. I won’t allow this asshole to force a woman to do something she’s not comfortable with.
I walk over, my legs moving of their own volition.
“Excuse me,” I say, interrupting them.
Her gaze swings over to mine, and the guy she’s with does a double-take. I tower over him by at least half a foot. Now that I have a better look at him, I see the guy is middle-aged, round in the midsection, his hair graying at his temples. I also know I can take him if it comes to that.
He shoots me a look that’s half pissed off that I interrupted his bargaining session, and half panicked that I may kick his ass. The latter is definitely what he should be more concerned about if he tries any shit. I may just decide to do it anyway, despite the fact I just promised my agent I’ll behave myself and not end up on any more tabloid news sites.
“The lady said to leave her alone. I suggest you get the fuck out of here.” I glare down at the guy.
His eyes narrow, but he takes a step back and holds up his palms. “Fine. Going.”
He takes off down the street and disappears around the corner, leaving me standing across from the woman. She’s probably no more than five foot three, a hundred twenty pounds soaking wet. No way she could have defended herself against someone his size. More importantly, she shouldn’t have to defend herself from that prick.
“Were you really going to go home with that guy?”
She shakes her head. “No. He didn’t want to take me home. Just wanted me to show him my boobs and have me give him a hand job in the back seat of his car. He may or may not have mentioned something about finishing himself off on my breasts too.”
I wait to see if she’s joking, but sadly, I can tell what she’s saying is the truth.
Then she looks at me, with the prettiest shade of blue eyes I’ve ever seen, and my heart almost stops. “For the record—guys are gross.”
I chuckle at her surprising honesty. “Not denying that.”
Men can be real creeps. I’ve seen the evening news. Sadly, there’s just no arguing against her logic. Some of us are still good guys, but I don’t say this to her. I just let her believe what she wants.
“I’m Alexei,” I say, offering her my hand.
For a second, she just looks at my hand, and I don’t think she’s going to take it. But then finally, after deciding that she can trust me, at least for something as simple as a handshake, she places her small palm in mine and shakes my hand. She’s freezing.