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It’s what keeps you from being reckless. It’s what keeps you breathing.
Money, power and respect… they were my god given right, not the reason I joined the Satan’s Knights. I tied myself to my club and nothing else. Give me my bike, the open road and a different woman every night and I was happy.
My life was great.
Until the chaos exploded.
One reckless temptation and I finally found my reason for breathing.
I never saw her coming. The girl that would turn my world upside down and give me my heart.
Only it was too late.
One mistake can take it all away.
I’m about to lose my heart.
The thing that keeps me breathing.
The thing that keeps me from being reckless.
Drop out of nursing school? Check.
Have no idea what you’re going to do with your life? Check.
Disappoint your family? Double check.
Meet a biker and have crazy sex against a wall? Check. Check. Check.
Get knocked up by said biker? Check.
I was always the good girl, the prodigal child, the girl who said and did all the right things.
Things like this didn’t happen to me.
Until he smiled.
Until he tempted me to find out what made me happy.
Too bad it’s him.
We’ll never work, but, I can pretend can’t I?
Just for a little while.
Just until it’s over.
“The Jets don’t have a chance, not after Decker blew that touchdown,” Bones said, shoving a handful of potato chips into his mouth.
“It’s only the third quarter,” I retorted, popping open my beer and glancing down at my phone. An hour and a half had passed since I texted Lauren back. I couldn’t help but wonder what she was doing and what version of herself she was when she went out with her friend. Whether it be the good girl bit or the good girl gone bad. I’m sure she had guys dropping to their knees.
I leaned over, placing my beer on the table and texted her again.
Me: I should’ve brought my library card because I’m definitely checking you out.
Kitten: You got more game than half the men here.
Me: Where are you?
Kitten: Salty Dog.
Me: Bay Ridge? I thought you were in Manhattan.
Kitten: Bar hopping and borough hopping. I get around.
Me: As long as you’re not bed hopping.
Kitten: Even if I hopped into your bed?
I froze, staring down at my phone as the images flooded my brain. I could picture her naked in my bed wearing nothing but her glasses. Yeah, I wouldn’t mind that. Not one fucking bit. My dick agreed, hardening against my jeans.
Me: You can hop into my bed anytime, Kitten.
Kitten: You shouldn’t say things like that to a drunk girl who needs a good duck.
What? She wanted a pet? Odd thing to say to a guy when he invited you to fuck.
Kitten: Duck! I meant duck!
Me: You want a duck?
Kitten: No! Ducking auto correct!
“Get off your phone, ass wipe! You’re missing the game,” Bones said, throwing a bag of pretzels at my head. “Who are you texting anyway?”
“What does ducking mean?” I asked.
“Ducking? Like you duck,” he said, bending his head. “Like that, you get the fuck out of the way. You dodge the bullet. You duck and hide. Man, are we seriously having this discussion right now?
“No, that’s not it.” I said, scratching the top of my head.
Kitten: Let’s try this again. You shouldn’t say that to a girl who needs a good lay.
“Fuck, she needs to fuck!” I cheered, typing my response.
Me: Happy to oblige, babe.
And this night just got a whole lot better.
Kitten: Oh yeah? You think you can make me purr?
Me: I’ll make you fucking roar, baby.
Me: You still at the dog?
I was familiar with the Salty Dog it was a popular bar mostly where firemen hung out. Lauren wasn’t taking a ride on a fucking fire truck tonight, not if I had a say in it.
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A temptation so lethal, neither of us would survive.
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Jack “Bulldog” Parrish
Crazy: Mentally deranged, especially as manifested in a wild or aggressive way.
I was thirteen when I discovered the definition of the word I’d forever be labeled.
Some used it as a figure of speech but for me it was a scar I’d carry through life.
Or so I believed until I was diagnosed a manic depressive.
I’m the president of the Satan’s Knights Motorcycle Club, a man of power and control.
A man with enemies near and far.
But the truth, my truth, is my biggest enemy— my mind and I live most of my life with no control whatsoever.
I’m just a man who battles his demons, a man destined to live a life full of darkness.
She’s the light beckoning me, calling me home, away from the torment.
In a world as dark as the one I live in, sometimes I can’t help but crave Sunshine.
I was lost, broken and a prisoner of my scars.
A shell of the woman I used to be, who didn’t know the difference between living and merely existing.
Until a stranger found me, fixed and freed me. He breathed life into my soul, reminding me I was a survivor and still had life to live.
My savior is a biker.
A man tortured by his own scars. A man broken like me, maybe even a little lost too.
I want to be his remedy.
I want to heal him.
I want to return the favor and be his savior.
This is our story, a story neither of us knew how to write until we found each other.
“For every piece of clothing you give me, I’ll give you a piece of my past,” I bargained, crossing my arms against my chest as I stared at her lazily through the glass.
“Your past?” She whispered hoarsely. “Maybe it’s not your past I want.”
“Don’t know how to give you more than that,” I admitted, pushing off the door and moving to stand behind her. I wrapped my arms around her waist, bringing her body against mine and looked at us in the mirror. “Give you what I got, Sunshine, and I’ll keep giving it as long as it comes to me,” I vowed, nuzzling her hair. “You see what I see?” I whispered against her ear.
“Turn the lights off, Jack, please,” she whispered, looking away from the mirror. I ran one hand up the front of her body, cupped her chin and forced her eyes towards the mirror.
“No,” I shook my head. “Not tonight,” I said taking her hands and lifting them over her head. I had claimed her to my brothers, but I meant it when I said I wanted all of her. I wanted her to trust me enough to give me the things she kept to herself, the things that haunted her and shielded her from the rest of the world. In my thirty-eight years I never wanted to be that guy, the one that heals another person, someone who cares enough to fix what is broken beyond repair.
She ruined me.
Or maybe she fixed me.
But it was my turn to do the fixing.
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Since I was a kid all I ever wanted to be was a gangster. I wanted to be feared, to be respected, and for everyone to know my name.
And then she came into my life.
I never planned on falling in love with the mob boss’ daughter. She was forbidden but somehow she became mine. She made me crave things I didn’t even know existed and made me forget about the things I thought I wanted. My quest for power faded away and was replaced by my undying love for her.
Until reality bit me in the ass and I was sent to prison for three years, doing time for a crime I didn’t commit.
Now I’m out and she is creating a life for herself, just like I always wanted for her. Only I’m not a part of that life. I won’t ruin her any more than I already have with my poisonous lifestyle.
No matter how tempted I am.
I wanted him from the very first time I laid eyes on him.
He was everything to me, my first love and probably my last.
Then my father ruined our perfect little life, and he walked away from me.
I tried to fight for him, for our love, but he pushed me away.
When the love you crave is beautiful, yet forbidden, you can’t help being tempted.
So I’ll fight for him. For us.
Even if I’m the only one fighting.
I knew all years ago nothing would come close to making me feel the way I did whenever Anthony kissed me. Even when he was kissing me goodbye he made me feel like he cherished me. I believed him when he said he’d love me forever, his actions speaking louder than his words. I hope he knew I felt the same way.
I angled my head, giving him better access to devour my mouth. The thing about kissing someone goodbye is you don’t get a second chance to do it right. In that moment you have to put everything into one kiss and that’s exactly what we did. The last several years, everything we had gone through, everything we had felt for one another entangled in this kiss.
I savored his taste. I memorized the way his teeth felt scraping against my raw lips, the gentle lap his tongue took across them to soothe the sting. I didn’t want him to take away the sting, wishing I would always feel the burning sensation that prickled against my sensitive flesh as a reminder of my Anthony.
His mouth left mine and kept going back to press butterfly kisses against my lips before dropping his hands to my shoulders and taking a retreating step backwards. I swallowed as I dared to meet his gaze.
“Let me grab a shirt and I’ll walk you out,” he said, gruffly. I nodded wiping my cheeks with the sleeves of my sweater. He turned around to walk into his bedroom and that’s when I saw the ink taking up his entire back
The shocked gasp that escaped my mouth caused him to look over his shoulder at me. The instant he saw my face realization set into his features and he closed his eyes.
“Turn around,” I demanded, softly.
He sighed, his shoulders went lax, and he dropped his head. I took a step closer and stared in awe at the beautiful artwork covering his skin. There are beautiful clouds drawn across his shoulder blades all of them shaded in hues of gray and blue, almost matching his eyes. Through the clouds, there are rays that shoot down the center of his back like rays of an eternal light. The year two thousand five looks as though the rays illuminate the numbers. My eyes travel down to the center of his back where there is the letter A written in a familiar handwriting. My first thought is that my eyes are playing tricks on me but when I take, a closer look there is no denying it. The A inked onto his skin is a replica of the A I scribe every time I sign my name .Just when I thought there were no tears left to cry, I feel my eyes fill with water as understanding dawns on me. I push back the tears and force myself to continue my perusal of the intricate tattoo he has forever etched into his flesh. There are flames that begin just beneath the waistband of his sweat pants and travel wildly, vibrant oranges, yellows and reds, all depicting an inferno as they make their way to the A. The year two thousand ten scribed between the flames of hell. I reach out and trace the A with my index finger, feeling him flinch at my touch. He gathers his bearings and remains completely still as my fingertip continues to trace the A. My eyes fixate on the two years, two thousand five was the year it all began for us, and two thousand ten was the year it ended.
He must’ve been reading my mind because he turned around shielding his tattoo from me as he gazed in to my eyes.
“My heaven and my hell,” He whispered, roughly explaining the sentiment behind the ink that forever marks his skin. I stare at him for a moment, stripped of any words. What do you say to that? To the man telling you to forget he exists only to discover he’ll take a piece of you with him wherever he goes.
You say nothing because nothing you could ever say would be enough.
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My father was the Underboss of an organized crime family. He was murdered when I was a teenager leaving me broken. My mother died in a tragic accident, her death annihilated me. My life was in shambles until Victor Pastore, one of New York’s most notorious gangsters and my late father’s best friend, recruited me to work for him.
Everyone expected me to walk in my father’s shadow, to be the prodigal son, the next big thing to hit the mob. I was torn between filling those expectations and walking the straight line my mother wished I had. Nothing made sense and I felt as if I was just passing through life.
The only beacon of light in my otherwise dark world was the one girl that was off limits to me. The one girl who could bring me to my knees consuming my mind, body and soul.
She’s the sweetest temptation I’ve ever known and the most illicit.
My father’s a gangster. My boyfriend’s is the king of New York’s nightclubs. I am often labeled as Vic’s daughter or Rico’s girl, never just Nikki. I struggle for people to acknowledge me for the woman I am and not for the men in my life. I’m fighting a losing battle.
There is only one person who sees me for me, my Mikey.
He’s hot as hell.
He’s completely unattainable, but oh so tempting.
Present Day: Michael
It all happened so quickly. I chased the sound of her desperate cries, her dull voice begging for someone to help her. I turn the corner of the abandoned warehouse careful not to make my presence known. I breathe through my mouth because the stench in the air is so vile smelling like piss, death and filth. There is silence. I can’t make out her cry anymore. The only sound I catch is the water dripping from the leak in the roof onto the concrete floor.
Drip. Drip. Drip.
“Help me. Dear God, please help me,” she cries out. Her voice sounds weaker than before, as if she’s giving up, resolving that no one will answer her plea for help.
I step in something sticky forcing me to glance down at my foot that is now covered in blood. My eyes follow the trail of crimson to the dead body that is decomposing in the corner. I want to scream. My gut clenches thinking of all the horrors my girl must have been exposed to and how it’s all my fault.
I failed her.
I won’t fail her now.
I take a few more steps, hiding behind a palette of wooden crates, peaking between them, I spot her. My girl. She’s sitting in a metal chair. Her wrists are tied behind her back and her ankles are tied together. Her head is down so I can’t see her face but I notice she’s still wearing the same clothes as she was the day they took her. I silently will her to lift her head. I need to get a look at her face. I need to see she’s okay.
“No one’s here to save you sweetheart.” I hear a taunting voice speak to her.
I’m here to save her you fuck.
His body comes into my view as he stands in front of her, slowly bending so they’re eye level. I watch, struggling not to do anything stupid, hearing Vic’s voice in my head reminding me not to be a cowboy.
Her life is at stake.
He cups her face not so gently and forces her to look up at him. He blocks my view of her so I shift to my right hoping to catch a glimpse.
“My father will kill you.” She shouts. “Do you hear me? He will kill you! Just let me go.”
He laughs. “Your father can’t save you little girl just like he couldn’t save his best man. And when you’re dead, he won’t do anything either just like he didn’t after I killed Val. Daddy’s not in control anymore, you’re at my mercy.”
I freeze for a moment at the mention of my father. The man who has his back to me, the man torturing my girl, is the same man who killed my father. I didn’t even have a chance to process the information because his hand reared back and slapped Nikki across her face. He takes a step backward, and she comes into my view, lifting her head slowly. Her eye make up is running down her face. One of her cheeks is red, branded from that son of a bitch’s hand and yet she’s still the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen.
Something is triggered inside of me and I know it’s time to end this nightmare. I straighten my posture, my hand securely holding my gun at my side. Slowly I lift my hands, my gun cocked aiming the barrel of it straight at the back of the enemy’s head. I look at Nikki once more, she’s all the strength I need to pull the trigger. She turns her head, her dull brown eyes meet mine and for the slightest moment I see life reborn in them.
I take one hand off my gun and lift a finger to my lips, signaling her to stay silent. I want the motherfucker to be surprised when I riddle him with bullets. I hold her gaze and hope she trusts I won’t let anything else happen to her.
I’m here Princess
You’re safe now.
I gradually step around the pallet I was hiding behind and creep up behind him, keeping a steady eye on my girl. I wrap my finger around the trigger. This is it. I’m about to kill a man. I’m about to put someone else’s blood on my hands. I am about to walk in my father’s shoes.
I avert my eyes to the back of my target’s head, tearing my gaze away from Nikki. I lift the gun and then it happens…
“Mikey watch out!!” She screams.
I pull the trigger.
All of a sudden my gun isn’t the only one going off in the warehouse. The sound of gunfire erupts as I watch my bullet pierce my victim. I turn toward Nikki, hurrying to make my way to her. My victim falls face forward onto the floor, a single shot to the head killing him instantly. Nikki screams out as his blood splatters onto her. She’s shaking her head screaming no as I struggle to make my way to her.
“Mikey Get down!!” She screams through her sobs.
I don’t fully comprehend what she’s saying. I think I’m still reeling from the fact that the man I put a bullet in was about to kill her— just like he killed my old man. All I cared about was taking her in my arms and holding onto her for dear life. I needed to touch her, to feel her, to know she really was okay.
She is shaking her head violently forcing me to focus on what she is trying to warn me of. I glance over my shoulder, eyes wide as I see the ambush Victor and his men are taking part in, guns blazing as they seek revenge on the rival family that held his daughter captive for two days.
They don’t go down easily and men start appearing from all over the warehouse, firing back at Victor and his gang. I lift my gun, ready to help Victor, out of the corner of my eye I notice a man to my left, his gun aimed at Nikki. I keep my gun aimed at the men firing against Victor and look over my shoulder towards my girl. She’s oblivious to the gun pointed at her and there is little she could do to protect herself since she’s still tied to the chair. I walk backwards towards her, debating if I have time to take out the gunman.
I turn my gun towards the man aiming at Nikki but he pulls the trigger.
I’m too late.
“No!” I hear myself cry out as I run, attempting beat the speed of the bullet. I dive on top of her, my body shielding hers, knocking her and the chair she is tied to backwards as the bullet sears through my flesh.
I’m here Princess. You’re safe.
The gun slips from my hand as I roll off Nikki. I stare up at the ceiling. I hear her crying beside me, I try to reach for her hand but I can’t move. The heat sears through my body. I’m trying to contain the blood, but it pours from my wound uncontrollably. There are more gunshots fired. I hear Nikki’s cries become muffled until everything fades to black.
ABOUT JANINE INFANTE BOSCO
Janine Infante Bosco lives in New York City, she has always loved reading and writing. When she was thirteen, she began to write her own stories and her passion for writing took off as the years went on. At eighteen, she even wrote a full screenplay with dreams of one day becoming a member of the Screen Actors Guild.
Janine writes emotionally charged novels with an emphasis on family bonds, strong willed female characters, and alpha male men who will do anything for the women they love. She loves to interact with fans and fellow avid romance readers like herself.
She is proud of her success as an author and the friendships she’s made in the book community but her greatest accomplishment to date would be her two sons Joseph and Paul.