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“What in the hell did you just call me?”

It takes my fog-filled mind a second to clear before I understand what is being asked.

The warm body I just took roughly starts to buck, pushing against my hips.

I open my eyes and the vision that filled my mind only seconds before is completely different.

The straight, blonde hair is gone, having been replaced with bright-red curls.

The bronze skin, that lickable and silky skin, was replaced with someone much paler.

And when she turns her angry eyes on me, it isn’t the deep-brown eyes I’m used to looking back at me with a mix of compassion and kindness. Nope, I’ve got twin green eyes blazing with unmasked fury.

“What in the HELL did you just call me?” she asks again.

When I don’t answer her right away, she starts to fight. And I mean fight. I get an elbow to the eye, a foot to the thigh, and worst of all, her nails clip my cheek when she slaps me across the face.

“I’ve been warming your sheets for the last two months, Asher Cooper, and you just called me another woman’s name? Two months where I thought we were going somewhere and you just did THAT?”

This is probably when I should calm her down. There is nothing worse than a woman who feels used…even if that’s exactly what it was. But being that I’m already halfway to wasted and the majority of my brain is still scrambled from just coming hard…I don’t think before I open my mouth.

“Now let’s calm down, Chrissy.”

“It’s fucking Clarissa, you idiot!” she screeches and starts to slap me against the chest.

“Jesus Christ, woman. Can you calm the hell down?”

If anything, she gets a little more fuel with her little fists. I can feel her nails scoring my skin every few slaps.

So what do I do? The only thing that makes sense to my liquor-filled mind.

I leap off the bed and run.

I can hear her scrambling to catch me, but she doesn’t stand a chance. Even drunk off my ass, she wouldn’t catch me.

I pass the dresser, snagging my cell off the top before I leap over our discarded clothes and slam the door to the bathroom, turning the lock right as her fists connect with the wood. She must be kicking as well as banging against the wood because the whole frame is vibrating with her fury.

“You stupid douchebag!”

I lose track of everything she screams through the door. Then I can hear her destroying the room. I can hear thuds of the furniture being overturned and glass shattering against the hardwood.

I grab the towel I used earlier off the floor, giving it a sniff before wrapping it around my waist. Shit. Okay, I probably deserved a little of that. I’ve been taking Chrissy—no, Clarissa —the bartender at Heavy’s, home for the last few months off and on. There was never a promise of a relationship. Hell, every time I’ve taken her home, I’ve been drunk off my ass. Maybe I should have explained a little better to her that all this would ever be is sex. I’m in no damn shape to give myself to anyone.

Especially not when the only woman I want is the one who acts like I’ve got the fucking plague whenever I touch her.

No, I want one woman, and until I can figure out what has her running scared every time I hint at something more than a friendship, I’m better off with my good friends Jack and Jim.

After a few seconds of silence, I take a chance and click the lock, cracking the door open slightly. Peeking around the opening and seeing the room completely trashed is enough of a distraction for the small fist to come flying out of nowhere and smashing right into my already sore eye.

“Son of a bitch!” I roar.

“You got that right, you sorry piece of shit. The next time you want to warm your dick up, why don’t you make an effort to actually remember the name of the body you’re using!”

She gives me a good shove, and before I can regain my feet, I fall flat on my ass.

And the only thing I can think is, How in the hell did I let my life become this?

Spying a full bottle of Jack, unbroken, in the chaos that used to be Maddox’s guest room, I pull myself off the floor and, without bothering to get dressed, fall back on the bed. Then I proceed to drink myself into oblivion.

Chapter 2—Chelcie


How do I lose my keys twice in one week?

Ever since I moved into Dee’s old apartment, I swear I’ve been falling apart at the seams. It doesn’t help that everything is changing around me so rapidly that I can’t seem to hold on tight enough.

New town.

New friends.

New home.

And…the baby.

A fresh wave of loss washes through me when I think about the father my child will never know.

Shifting my weight, I drop my bags of groceries on the floor, switch my purse to the other arm, and start looking for my phone.

“Come on… Where is the damn thing?” I mutter to myself, checking each pocket before dropping down to kneel on the carpeted floor and dumping the contents of my purse out.

Are you kidding? Gone. My phone is just gone.

Careful to steady my balance, I drop lightly on the floor next to my door.

I want to cry—I really do—but I know it won’t change anything. It’s insane how quickly everything can change around you. It could be worse. I know that, but right now… Right now, it feels a hell of a lot like rock bottom.

I take a deep breath, resting my hand against my slightly rounded stomach, and blink back the tears that keep threatening to burst through my carefully built wall.

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