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USAT Bestselling Author Loki Renard brings you a sizzling hot coming of age capture romance between a sassy college co-ed and the hardened gang leader who has to have her.
You’re so sweet, Candi. You don’t belong in my world.
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“Time to pay.” Three words are growled at me and they consume my world. Every sense I have, every fibre of my being is focused on one man: the speaker of those words.
His eyes are locked on mine with an intensity that makes every single part of me quake with carnal, primal fear. They don’t make men like this in my world. The men I know wear cashmere sweaters and talk about golf handicaps. Some of them have promising careers as Internet video creators. Most of them will go into finance at their fathers’ firms.
Those men are far away; entirely unaware of what is happening to me. Right now, there are thick concrete walls between me and the outside world. Where I find myself is big and open and cold. There are hooks hanging from the ceiling, sharp, cruel looking things built to carry dead weight.
This isn’t necessary. Not for a good girl like me. This is a misunderstanding. A silly mistake. The rope winds down around my waist, wrists, shoulders, and between my thighs where it finds the tender parts of me and grinds against them with every panicked movement I make. It’s been wrapped around me like a harness, big hands pulling rough hemp around my tender body with a terrifyingly practiced touch.
I am hung up like a sacrifice, my toes dangling two feet from the floor, my heart pounding, adrenaline flowing uselessly. All these natural physical mechanisms for escape are pointless. There’s no getting away from the massive, tattooed, aggressive monster of a man who ripped me out of my safe little life. I am entirely at his mercy.
He looks nothing like the men I know. They have swept back hair, soft hands, and opinions on the weather. I don’t think this guy has ever had a conversation about the weather in his life. His eyes are dark, not just in color, but in intensity. When he looks at me, I feel like I’m being swallowed by a void. He is wearing a black singlet, his massive arms showing extensive tattoos of all kinds of aggressive imagery flowing into one another. Nature made him terrifying, but apparently being well over six feet with the kind of hard warrior face which makes him look like he’s going to tear everyone he sees apart wasn’t enough.
He’s wearing tight dark jeans, heavy boots. He folds his arms across his chest and his muscles bulge out even bigger, the tattoos expanding with his skin to form a brightly colored and utterly terrifying display.
“I can pay! I can pay! How much do I owe you? A hundred bucks?”
His head lifts a little.
The brows go up.
“A thousand? How could it be that much? It was just whiskey.”
He lets out a dry replica of a laugh, completely devoid of any humor. “You owe me 3.4 million dollars, blondie.”
“Three… million? You’re not serious!?”
“What about this tells you I’m not serious?” He gestures around himself, then back at me, trussed up here in my predicament.
“I don’t have 3.4 million. I don’t have one million. I have no millions.” My voice is starting to crack as I panic.
How the hell did I get myself into this?
“Oh my god, Candi! You’re so random!”
My best friend, Steffy, is screeching at the very top of her lungs. I’m grinning so wide my face hurts, and music is pounding out the open windows of the car my mom surprised me with right before I went to college. It’s one of those smart cars, a little thing she thought would be good for whipping around the city, but right now that just means its packed even more than usual, stacked with three boxes of whiskey I just, uhm found out the back of the liquor store we cruised by.
“You just robbed a store!” Steffy shrieks.
“I didn’t! I just borrowed some stuff. We’ll like, I don’t know, give them some money later.”
“They left the boxes right out in the open. It was like they wanted someone to take them. Maybe they did want someone to take them. Maybe they were like, you know, the things you can get for free? People leave them on the street?” Steffy suggests.
“Exactly,” I say. “I mean, there was a sign two blocks down saying people could take that old couch on the corner. I bet it was the same for those boxes.”
“Nobody leaves liquor on the street,” Miranda says. She’s the voice of reason, and she is not happy right now. “You just made us all an accessory to a crime, Candice.”
“Nobody is arresting us,” I say. “We’re college girls. Nobody arrests college girls.”
“You’re so entitled,” she rolls her eyes. “It’s like you think you’re untouchable. You can be arrested too, Kimberley, and then you’ll go to the same jail everyone else goes to.”
I love Miranda, but I hate how she always uses my full name. Can-di-ce. She draws it out, accenting every syllable, even adding new ones that aren’t there just for the sake of being able to draw my name out. Miranda likes to be precise about everything. She’s going to be a lawyer in a high-powered firm and make millions one day. Maybe become president.