Only the good die young. But I’ve never been good.
I’ve lived a life most people only dream about. Famous men, expensive booze, and the finest drugs money could buy. But every vice has its price, and living a life of excess has finally dragged me down, forcing me back to the one place I swore I’d never return.
We met in high school, but we were far from sweethearts. I ruined his life and then walked away. Losing everything is bad enough, but crawling back to people who wish you were dead is a nightmare.
Some say absence makes the heart grow fonder.
Not always. You either forgive and forget, or fracture and finish.
Seven years ago, Shiloh West was my world. I gave up my future for her. Then, I spent every waking moment hating her for it. I’ve followed her train wreck of a career in the tabloids since she drove out of town with her nose in the air. The woman is toxic.
The fact that a judge has court ordered her back to town means nothing to me—except maybe the payback I’ve waited a lifetime to collect. I’m going to build her up and tear her down.
A better man would walk away. I’m not a better man. She thinks she has the upper hand. Think again, Starshine.
Beauty is only skin deep, but revenge goes straight to the bone.
Within thirty seconds of standing there, my senses go into overload. As usual, I smell her before I see her. Fucking rain and sunshine. One whiff and my cock stands at attention, curling into my stomach as if nudging me toward her.
“If you’re gonna be in here, Starshine, you’re gonna be naked.” I don’t have to turn around to know she’s scowling. I feel the fury vibrating off her, and it makes me smile. Choosing to ignore her, I continue to lather myself, making an unnecessary production of soaping my chest and biceps.
“I—I should go,” she finally stammers. When she makes no move to leave, I know I’ve got her.
“What’s your hurry, sweetheart? You’ve got another half hour on the clock. Leaving before your assigned time is over and without my signature puts you in breach of contract.” I glance down, making sure to drag her eyes along with mine. “And it appears I have no place to hide a pen on me, does it?”
The old Carrick was self-conscious about his body, hiding it behind layers of sweltering clothes. However, the new Cary is well aware that hours in the ring has transformed it. Men grab their women and women grab something to steady themselves when I’m around. I’m far from shy now and making Shiloh sweat a little is an added perk of my game.
Besides, I want her to look. I already know her almond-shaped eyes are glued to my ass, but I need more. There’s a raging fire in my veins that needs her so enthralled with me that she forgets to breathe.
“Cary…” She tries one last time, but I’m done pretending. My name is name barely out of her mouth when I turn to face her, fighting the smirk that’s dying to betray me.
As I expect, her eyes drop then widen as she scans what I have to offer. I fight the urge to give it a few strokes just to fuck with her.
“You’re naked,” she says, her voice barely above a whisper.
“Yeah, see that seems to be the problem here, Shy.”
“I told you, we have house rules around here. The first one is that if you’re in the locker room while someone else is naked and showering, you’d better be naked and showering too.” I don’t realize I’m moving until she takes a step backward, her palms shooting out in front of her in battle ready stance.
“I’m not taking my clothes off, Cary.”
“Fair enough.” I stalk her like prey, guiding her into a useless half circle until she realizes too late she’s backed against the chipped blue shower tile. “I’ll do it for you.”