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My Dangerously Alluring Crush

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Her cousin was so sure a blind date would break her single streak. Spoiler? It backfired spectacularly. Charming, regular and good looking apparently meant the complete opposite. Dorian Delacroix was nothing but a bad-boy red flag factory: captivatingly intense, shrouded in secrets, and undeniably dangerous. Sparks flew, sure, but this was a situation where escape wasn't on the menu. Being stuck with a gorgeous special activity division leader sounded glamorous, but reality was Dorian's "protection" came with a side of constant paranoia and a luxury prison for a home. But at least Vivian wasn't alone. The Shinomiya cartel aren't just after Dorian – probably something far more sinister. And could the target be Dorian's baby that Vivian was carrying?

Chapter 1

Vivian's POV

"Seriously, Gem?" I muttered under my breath, resisting the urge to throttle my cousin. She had promised a night out with friends, yet there I stood, alone outside the Irish restaurant downtown. I had begrudgingly agreed to join after her persistent calls, only to find myself stood up.

Just as I was pondering the irony of the glowing kitten's sign above, her call came through, announcing a blind date she had set up for me. Trust Gemma to always keep things interesting, whether you liked it or not.

"Relax, babe," she cooed. "I'm sure everything will turn out fine. Maybe your Prince Charming is inside, waiting to sweep you off your feet." "Don't try to sweet-talk your way out of this. I'm genuinely annoyed."

Gemma's voice droned on, but I tuned her out. "...if you don't open yourself up to love, how will it ever find you? There are plenty of fish in the sea, but you'll never catch one if you don't cast your line..."

I cut in, "You're not exactly a fan of seafood, remember that disastrous sushi dinner on your twenty-fifth birthday?" She shuddered at the memory. "Don't remind me, I still have PTSD from that spicy tuna roll!" She was being dramatic again, but moving on... when did 'love' become part of the equation? This was just a blind date, Gemma! She asked excitedly, "So, you're in?" I held up my hand, "Hold on, we're still discussing why I'm mad at you!"

She teased, "Come on, it wouldn't be the end of the world if you got some action. When was the last time, Vina? Hmm? Are your legs practically rusted shut?" I glanced around, making sure no one was listening, and admitted, "It's been a bit of a dry spell..." She let out a loud shriek, and I pulled the phone away from my ear until she finally ran out of steam.

When she came back on the line, I sighed and continued, "I know you think I'm a lost cause, but..." Gemma's voice had been firm and reassuring, "I don't think you're a lost cause, Vivian. I just want you to be radiantly happy, to the point where it's overflowing. You deserve it, because you're an incredible person, and it's been far too long since I've seen that spark in your eyes. That monster of an ex-boyfriend extinguished it, and I'm determined to help you find it again." I released a deep breath I didn't know I was holding.

"A blind date won't fix my broken pieces," I whispered, feeling a sense of hopelessness. "I'm starting to worry that nothing can." "Don't say that, Vivian. I love you, and everything will be okay. You just need to take a leap of faith. That's what this is – jumping into the unknown." I glanced up at the bar's sign, skeptical. "Jumping into the lion's den, more like it." But Gemma was right, as frustrating as she could be. Ruling things out is what had kept me lonely and stuck. It's why I lay awake at night, searching for answers in the darkness. I had been hiding from the world for too long, trying to heal.

“What does this guy look like?” I asked. Gemma gasped in delighted surprise. “Tall, sexy, and handsome. You can’t miss him. He should be waiting for you in the restaurant next to the bar. His name is Brennan.” I raised an eyebrow and headed to the window, trying to stay inconspicuous as I peered inside. I didn't want to come across as a total creep before the date even started. The restaurant was bustling with happy people - couples, families, and staff all beaming with genuine smiles. Except for one man. Seated alone in the corner, he stood out like a sore thumb. His massive frame and broad shoulders were hard to miss, even from a distance. His dark hair was effortlessly messy, and the candlelight highlighted the sharp angles of his face. But it was his scowl that really caught my attention.

At first, I thought he looked angry, but as I took a closer look, I realized there was more to it... As I gazed at him, I sensed a deep sadness that resonated with my own heartache. It was as if his sorrow was reaching out and touching the tender spots within me. He glanced down at his sleek silver watch, then suddenly looked up, and our eyes locked. I felt a jolt, my lips parting in surprise. It was impossible that he could see me - I was on the other side of the dark window, hidden in the shadows.

But it felt like he was staring right into my soul. The shared melancholy between us intensified, and my breath caught. Time seemed to stand still, and the world around us faded away. I tore my gaze away, breaking the spell. A shiver ran down my spine, unrelated to the chill outside. I was still on the phone with Gemma, and her voice snapped me back to reality.

"You still there?" she asked. "Yeah," I replied, my voice barely above a whisper. "I just saw..." I trailed off, unsure how to describe the connection I had just felt. "Saw what?"

"Never mind, it's not important. I think I'm just... I'm going to do this. I'll let you know how it goes."

I hung up the phone and put my phone away, took a deep breath, and straightened my shoulders. I gave my hair a quick fix in the window's reflection, then took one final moment to collect myself. With a sense of resolve, I pushed open the door and stepped inside.​

Chapter 2

Dorian's POV

From the moment I walked in an hour ago, I'd had a sickening feeling in my stomach. Five vodkas later, it had only intensified. What I hated most was its familiarity. I knew this place like the back of my hand, like my own voice. It brought back all the memories I'd tried so hard to forget.

The server, a new face I didn't recognize, approached me with a bright, carefree smile. "Can I get you anything else? A refill? A menu? You look lonely." I clenched my jaw, irritated. She must be new; anyone who knew who I was, what I did, would know better than to pry.

"No, thank you." I forced a polite response, but my tone was icy. The server looked puzzled, but wisely decided to retreat, sensing my unease. I reminded myself that it wasn't her fault; she was just unaware of the walls I'd built around myself. I'd spent years mastering the art of emotional concealment, locking away my feelings in a tiny, impenetrable box deep within.

As the leader of the S

Heroes

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