Six weeks. It’s been over a goddamn month since Emmy ran from me.
It took me three days to find her—thanks to the tracking device I had placed on her car—down in some small Podunk town in south Florida. Even if she had been trying to hide, she’d done a shit job of it. One search for her parents would have brought me right to her.
It took me longer to actually get eyes on her than it had to find her. She was holed up in some cheap-ass hotel for three weeks. She called in her meals and never left the room. And unfortunately, I had to leave and rush home when things out of my control needed attention and I again had to pull Asher’s head out of his ass. Now I’m back and I’m not leaving until I get my hands on her.
She doesn’t want to be found. I know that, but damn if I’m going to let her run off and get away for good. I’ve pushed and pushed her away. Every bone in my body has screamed at me to take what she’s been offering for years. I’ve seen her, I know what she wants, but I won’t let my demons hurt her. Not my Emmy.
Since day one, she’s been the greatest temptation, but I refused to take everything innocent that is Emmy and let my blackness take her. Because that’s what will happen. It will wrap around her soul and slowly choke the life out of her. Just like every other person I’ve allowed in.
I’ll taint her. I’ll ruin her. And in the end, it will destroy her.
One smile from her made me fall. So I pushed her away. I told her that she would never be what I need—that I would never want her. God, if she only knew. I crave her and everything she keeps trying to hand me. I crave her and everything she could give me. My very being calls out to her, and I work daily to refuse it.
So I pushed.
Until she ran.
But that ends right now.
Looking up at the gaudy neon lights thrown on the top of this hellhole, I know that was my first mistake.
A motherfucking strip club.
This is not a place where my angel belongs. Just the thought of her inside this club makes my skin crawl. I can feel my anger becoming a force of its own as the blackness in my soul threatens to burst through. It’s burning inside my veins and demanding blood. My nostrils flare, making my breaths come in loud pants. My fist clenches—demanding something to pound into, something to destroy. My skin feels tight. Every vein in my body is pulsing with each wild beat of my heart.
I’m going to explode.
The bouncer doesn’t even give me a second thought. He gives me a brief glance as I pay the twenty bucks to gain my access into the hellish place. I immediately rip my sunglasses off, taking in every inch of the room. Black walls with dim lighting, stereotypical red carpeting and leather booths lining the room. They have the name right with the smell of this place—sex and sin with a mixture of smoke and sweat. There are three stages set up around the room, the center one being the largest and two smaller ones to the left and right, with a bar against the back wall and one on the top floor.
The whole top-floor bar area is set up on a glass floor, giving these douchebags around the room the perfect view between the barely dressed servers’ legs. Taking my eyes off the top floor, where the bartenders are clearly working the glass floor to their advantage, I scan the room again, squinting my eyes to see through the dim lighting and heavy smoke.
That’s when I spot her.
“What. The. Fuck,” I snarl under my breath.
The anger I felt earlier burning through my body starts to boil. It’s almost as if my body becomes a force of its own. The monsters inside me wanting free.
There she stands, not even five feet away, looking exhausted, wearing next to nothing. Her skirt—if that’s what you want to call it—is more like a napkin someone cut in half. From the way she stands—slightly to the side—I can just make out the perfect roundness of her ass peeking out the bottom of the hem. Her pert tits are pushed together and held in a tight bikini top, the fabric so thin that I can see the outline of her nipples clear as day.
My eyes take in every inch of her exposed skin and I want to roar with rage.
No one should see her like this. No one but me. And even though I don’t have the right to feel this way about her, there isn’t a damn thing that can stop me now.
She hasn’t seen me yet, so I stalk over to where she’s standing. She turns right when I’m about to reach out for her and her eyes go wide, shock and alarm clear in her beautiful, honey-brown eyes.
“What the fuck are you doing, Em?” I bite out.
She shrinks back at my tone before she catches herself and goes stiff. I can tell instantly that I’m not going to like anything she has to say.
“You heard me, Emmy. What in the hell are you doing in this place?”
She tilts her head slightly, taking me in. Her eyes leave mine and roam the room before she gives a stiff nod. When she turns her focus back to me, I go stock-still at her words.
“I’m exactly where I should be, Maddox. I’m home.” Her tone is submissive, and that fury inside me goes from a boiling fire to ice cold.
With that, she turns and stalks off towards the bar. And I see that not only is her ass hanging out, but so are her hot-pink boy shorts.