Love Me In The Dark
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Under the cover of darkness, when the night envelops the world, Penelope Casey finds herself entangled with the man of her dreams. He exudes charisma, oozes sexiness, and what initially seemed like a fleeting encounter without introductions has now evolved into a year and a half of pure pleasure. While it may be a tad peculiar that he only graces her bed under the cloak of night, Penny is convinced that he is the perfect match for her, and she finds it impossible to turn him away. Ace Romano possesses a deep understanding of Penny that goes beyond her wildest imagination. She is undeniably stunning, fiercely independent, and cautious when it comes to relationships. However, Hawk, as he is known, battles with his own inner demons, preventing him from forming meaningful connections with others. Nevertheless, when Penny becomes inadvertently involved in Denver's dangerous underground scene, Ace's protective instincts emerge with full force. The challenge lies in Penny experiencing Ace's commanding alpha demeanor in broad daylight, which causes her to question whether he is still the one she thought he was. This is the first book of my series of Badass Sexy Honchos. Here are the other books in the series: BOOK 1: LOVE ME IN THE DARK BOOK 2: FINDING MY DREAM MAN BOOK 3: LOVED BY THE HOT DETECTIVE BOOK 4: ATTRACTED TO THE BIKER OUTLAW
ONE PART 1
The next morning, I found myself sitting at my computer in my home office, feeling like I should be getting down to work. You see, I had three looming deadlines, and the truth was, I hadn't even made much progress on the tasks at hand. I work as a freelance editor, getting paid by the hour, so if I didn't put in those hours, well, no paycheck for me. And let's face it, I had my own mouth to feed, not to mention a body to clothe. My body had quite the fondness for all sorts of clothes, and it craved them, so I had to indulge that craving to keep everything smooth and trouble-free. Plus, there was my cosmopolitan addiction to consider, and as we all know, cosmos don't come cheap. And on top of all that, I had my house to think about. I was in the process of fixing it up, making it just right for me. So, yeah, getting paid was pretty essential.
But let's be honest, when I said I was fixing up my house, that wasn't entirely true. The truth was, my Dad had chipped in and done some of the work, and my friend Troy had also lent a helping hand. So, I guess you could say I had a house that I was sweet-talking, begging, and maybe even emotionally blackmailing others into fixing up for me.
Nonetheless, the fact remained that my house needed some serious TLC. Those cabinets and tiles I wanted didn't just magically appear and say, "Hey, Penelope Casey, we want to be a part of your home, so fix us to your walls!" Nope, that was purely a wishful thought that only happened in fairy tales.
That sort of thing only happened in my dreams, and let me tell you, I had plenty of them, most of which were just daydreams.
Like at that very moment, while I sat at my computer with one heel propped on the seat, my chin resting on my knee, and my eyes gazing out the window, my mind wandered off to the Mysterious Stranger, whom I affectionately referred to as the Great MS. I couldn't help but indulge in a little daydream about our first meeting. In this imagined scenario, I was a whole lot smarter, funnier, and way more mysterious and alluring. My charming qualities would have him instantly hooked, dazzled by my sharp wit, my talent for engaging conversation, and my ability to delve into politics and global affairs with ease. Oh, and not to forget my humble tales of extensive charity work, all bundled up with irresistible looks that promised a lifetime of unforgettable experiences, even making him confess his undying love for me.
Or, at the very least, I hoped he'd reveal his name to me.
But let's face it, instead of being any of those things, I was simply drunk, and not at all the impressive version of myself that I daydreamed about.
The sound of my doorbell broke through my elaborate daydream, and I snapped back to reality, just as things were starting to get interesting.
With a sense of curiosity, I got up from my seat and strolled through my office into the upstairs hall, all the while reminding myself to give Troy a call. Once again, the doorbell needed fixing, and I had this brilliant idea of offering him a six pack and a homemade pizza in exchange for his handyman skills. But then, a not-so-appealing thought crept into my mind – bringing along his new girlfriend, who was nothing short of annoying, whiny, and constantly complaining. That changed my plans, and I decided it'd be better to give my Dad a call.
As I made my way down the stairs and ventured through my wide living room, I tried my best to ignore the chaos that surrounded me. My living room was like a display of Fixer Upper Décor, cluttered with dust rags, paint brushes, power tools, and a collection of not-so-powerful tools. Cans and tubes of practically everything added to the clutter, all of it haphazardly jumbled together and coated in a fine layer of dust. Surprisingly, I managed to navigate through the chaos without succumbing to the urge to clutch my hair with frustration or let out a scream of exasperation – small wins, I'd call it, small wins of progress.
I arrived at the entryway, marked by two narrow walls adorned with stunning stained glass.
That stained glass was the beginning of my troubles, exactly two years ago. Approximately six months and two weeks before I crossed paths with my Mysterious Stranger, I took a single step into this chaotic and dilapidated house, caught sight of that captivating stained glass, and without hesitation, turned to the realtor, proclaiming, "I'll take it."
The realtor's face instantly lit up with delight.
As for my father, he hadn't even stepped inside yet, but his eyes sought solace in the heavens above, and he sent up a prayer that seemed to last an eternity. His subsequent lecture lasted even longer.
But, despite my father's sensible advice, I went ahead and bought the house anyway.
As always, in hindsight, I really should have listened to my dad.
Glancing out the narrow side window at the door, my heart sank as I saw Roxy, my sister's friend, standing there.
Oh, shoot, shoot, shoot.
I couldn't stand Roxy, and the feeling was mutual. What on earth was she doing there?
I peeked past her, scanning the area to check if my sister might be lurking or perhaps concealing herself in the shrubbery. With Payton and Roxy, I wouldn't put it past them to surprise me, subdue me, and then ransack my house. In my more ominous daydreams, I often pictured this as a regular pastime for them. I had a strong hunch that this wasn't too far from the truth. No joke.
Her eyes locked onto mine through the window, her face scrunching up in a way that could be considered pretty if she eased up on the black eyeliner and blush, not to mention using a lip liner that matched her lip gloss a bit better. As it was, the look didn't quite hit the mark.
"I see you!" she shouted, and I let out a sigh.
Inevitably, I made my way to the door, because if I didn't, Roxy would make sure the whole neighborhood heard her. I quite liked my neighbors, and I'm pretty sure they didn't need a biker-bitch-from-hell making a scene on my doorstep at ten-thirty in the morning.
I slowly opened the door, but not too wide, positioning myself between it and the jamb while keeping a firm grip on the handle.
"Hey, Roxy," I greeted, mustering a friendly tone and feeling rather proud of my effort.
But Roxy wasn't about to exchange pleasantries. Instead, she retorted, "Forget 'hey', is Payton here?"
See! That's exactly what I was talking about. Roxy totally spent her days causing chaos.
I took a deep breath, making a conscious effort to keep my eyes from rolling.
"No," I replied.
Undeterred, Roxy issued her warning, "If she's in there, you better tell me!"
Then, she looked beyond me and unleashed a thunderous shout, "Payton! Bitch, if you're in there, you better come out here, right now!"
"Roxy!" I snapped, trying to maintain some level of decorum. "Keep your voice down!"
But Roxy seemed unfazed, craning her neck and bouncing on her toes as she continued to holler, "Payton! Payton, you crazy, stupid, bitch! Get your ass out here!"
I stepped out the door, gently pushing Roxy back before closing it behind me, and hissed, "Seriously, Roxy, you need to shut up! Payton isn't here, and she's never here. You know that perfectly well. So stop yapping and get going."
But Roxy wasn't about to back down. She shot back, "You shut up. And don't act all smart. You're helping her..." She raised her hand, pointed her finger at me, and with a quick motion, she crooked her thumb, making a gunshot noise that puffed out her cheeks and caused her lips to vibrate. I would have admired her talent for making verbal sound effects, but the intense and dead-serious look in her eyes sent a shiver down my spine.
So, instead of praising her for the one real talent I suspected she had, I opted to whisper, "What?"
In response, she dropped her hand, rising up on her motorcycle-booted toes to bring our gazes level. In a soft, yet threatening voice, she said, "D-e-a-d, dead. You and her, you don't get smart. You understand me?"
Then, in a moment of utter foolishness, I posed a question that was asked repeatedly, and the answer was always the same – yes.
"Is Payton in some kind of trouble?" I inquired, hoping against hope that maybe, just maybe, the response would differ this time.
But as expected, Roxy gave me a look that implied I might have a screw loose. Without hesitation, she raised her hand, conjuring the all-too-familiar gun gesture, complete with the sound effect, her finger seemingly pointed straight at my head. Following that dramatic display, she promptly turned on her heel and briskly made her way down my front steps.
I remained planted on my porch, watching her departure. My mind wandered, almost unconsciously noting her attire – a tight tank top, an unzipped black leather motorcycle jacket, a short, frayed jeans skirt (which would have been deemed a crime in multiple states for various fashion and decency-related reasons), black fishnet stockings, and motorcycle boots. And all this while it was around forty degrees outside! Not even a scarf in sight.
Yet, the remainder of my thoughts was entirely preoccupied with my sister and Roxy's unnerving sound effect.
ONE PART 2
I drove my car, trying to convince myself that my current plan was a good one, but deep down, I knew my first plan was the right one. It involved calling my father right after Roxy left, but now I felt that the new plan was nothing but garbage.
The reason I hesitated to involve my father was because he and his wife Lily had already disowned Payton a while back. It happened shortly after they returned from their Jamaican vacation and lost all the island holiday bliss when they walked into their living room and caught sight of their daughter on her knees, head between the legs of a shirtless man with his jeans wide open. He was passed out, his head lolling on the back of the couch, while Payton, in her drugged-up state, remained completely oblivious to the fact that her activities were getting her nowhere.
And let me tell you, the state of their living room was a complete disaster, much like the rest of the house.
As you can probably gather from this story, I was rel
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