Ines Johnson

Smart Baztard

smartbaztard

Since his youth, Prince been a crusader for justice. Standing up to schoolyard bullies,

chasing drug dealers away from the community center, and challenging racists and bigots out in the street. Though he’s gone from the local MC club to FBI Agent working in the Civil Rights Division, he never left the streets behind. He’s also never forgotten the sweet, innocent, untouchable girl next door. When a case hits close to home, he’ll have to face the friends he left behind and the girl who’s never left his mind.

Since she was in pigtails and knee socks, Gabby knew she was going to marry Prince. When he left, she was heartbroken. But now he’s back and sexier than ever. She’s in designer skirts and stilettos now and she’s no longer playing games like when they were kids. She has just one week to convince Prince that they are meant to be.

When the case Prince is working puts Gabby in harm’s way the rules he lives by no longer make sense. Will he be able to let out his inner bad boy to save the woman he can’t live without?

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Chapter One

Prince’s eyes glazed over the string of dental floss that most of the girls wore. Their swimwear was a sea of solid colors that had already been solved by many hands. Bored with the flesh on display, he looked down at the cube in his hands.

Prince had solved his first Rubik’s Cube at eight-years-old. At that young age, he’d known intuitively that if he repeated certain patterns, he could solve each color, side by side. Twenty years later, his fingers worked the cube until he’d made a cross-pattern with the yellow blocks. Then he executed a sequence of turns to make L-shapes with those same blocks. A few more twists and turns and he’d have a solid yellow side. The simple algorithm was so ingrained in his mind that his fingers solved the problem without the aid of his eyes, allowing his gaze to once again take in the party around his next door neighbor’s pool.

His gaze fixed on a tasteful 1950’s style bikini that fully cupped a pair of generous breasts and completely covered a heart-shaped ass. It was the complex color pattern that caught his attention. A Rubik’s Cube had six faces. A bikini had three; four if you counted the back.

Fuck! He was looking at her ass. Prince turned back to the array of dental floss.
He could look at any ass, except hers. But the pattern on her bikini bottom stuck in his mind and he snuck another glance. On the fabric were blocks of the colors; white, red, green, blue, orange, and yellow — just like a Rubik’s Cube. The yellow blocks would make a cross-pattern if she just turned to the right. Two twists to the left and the necessary L-shape would form. He worked out the pattern at the apex of her thighs. He knew the exact sequence to solve the triangular pattern on her left breast. He only needed to reverse it on the right breast.

When his gaze met round, pink lips that revealed pearly white teeth, he was stumped. He’d come to the end of the algorithm. He knew that returning Gabby’s smile would be a miscalculation, so he looked away.

“Fuck, if I don’t love the smell of coeds in the spring.” Prince’s best friend, Chief, leaned back in the lawn chair and surveyed the field around the pool. His plaid shirt was open revealing copper-toned chest hair that matched the purposefully shaggy red mop on his head and the sculpted ginger mass on his chin. His legs were spread as his light eyes looked over his domain like the Highlanders of his ancestry.

“Coed is another word for jail bait,” said Sully. The other man tilted back a light brown beer bottle and then leaned forward in his chair. But his dark eyes locked on the shapely legs of a scantily clad brunette like she was an icicle in the desert sands of his homeland.
Prince’s eyes found Gabby again. His attention always came back to her, a pattern from his youth. Five minutes of quiet and he’d have to look up to see what mischief the little girl next door was getting into. If he heard a light trickle of giggling followed by an indignant screech, he would know that his date had found gum in her hair, or a bug in her salad; all the handiwork of little Gabrielleia Hernandez, upset that Prince gave anyone but her his attention.

But those childish games were a thing of the past. Gabby was no longer an adolescent. She was a grown woman. He was too old to play with her like they used to and she was far too young to be anything but jailbait.

“College-fresh women are completely and wholly legal,” said Chief. “Tell him, counselor.”
Chief directed the comment at Prince. Prince twisted the cube in his hand and pulled on his legal training. “Technically, the federal age of consent is twelve.”

Sully choked on his beer.

Chief dry heaved. “What the fuck, Prince? I said prove me right, not make my balls shrink.”

“Once someone reaches eighteen,” Prince continued, “they can consensually have sex with another person who is at least eighteen and neither party can be prosecuted for said sexual activities.”

Prince’s eyes went again to that nineteen-year-old pert ass. A man’s hand was on Gabby’s ass, passing to the right instead of the left. Prince felt the corners of the Rubik’s cube dig into his palms. He’d been working the red face of the puzzle. That color bloomed in his mind as he stared at the hand on the ass, wanting to twist it until it popped out of its socket and off his property.

The word mine sounded in his head. Prince clenched his fists. He shook his head. He took a deep breath in, then relaxed his fingers. But the thought wouldn’t budge.

Gabby had been his. Or rather, he’d been hers. She’d claimed him when she was just five years old, telling anyone who would listen that she was going to marry Prince when she grew up.

It was cute when she was five and he was fifteen. But when she turned sixteen and began to develop a C cup and she still proclaimed that they would one day be married, it was no longer cute. It was no longer proper. Neither was it proper that he was noticing things about the little girl who’d once been his shadow. And so he’d started making himself sparse, until finally she took the hint and moved on.

Gabby stepped away from the hand of the skinny excuse of a man she called her boyfriend. She turned and raised a perfectly arched eyebrow at him; a clear sign that she had little attention to give to him. She walked away, but the boy gave chase. It was clear that Gabby was done with him. And he wasn’t happy about it.

Prince tensed. But he held his seat. He knew that Gabby could handle herself. She’d grown up the only girl on the block with a group of older males watching her every move. Her brother, Hawk, lounged in a chair on one side of the pool with Prince’s brother, Eagle. Even if Gabby couldn’t handle the skinny prick, those two would be on hand in a split second.

“Like I said,” Chief was saying, “freshmen girls are legal. See, bruh, you have plenty of opportunities to put that law degree to use here at home.”

“I’m heading down to Washington, D.C. for the interview with the bureau next week,” said Prince.

Chief rolled his eyes. “This fucking shit again.”

Any talk of Prince’s plan to work with the Federal Bureau of Investigation made his smooth-talking friend clam up. Since their youth, Prince, Chief, and Sully had been united in their vigilantism against bullies and injustices. Standing up to schoolyard bullies, chasing drug dealers away from the community center, and challenging racists and bigots out in the street.

But they were all grown men now. It was past time for them to put down their capes, or motorcycle jackets, and get real jobs. That’s why Prince was considering this job with the FBI, working for the Civil Rights Division in the Hate Crimes Unit.

“Both of you are selling out,” said Chief.

Sully ignored Chief, like normal. The man had always been cool as a cucumber. He didn’t work for the Department of Justice, but his allegiance was pledged to the United States. He was in the Army and he was soon headed off for a second tour in the Middle East.

“It’s not selling out,” said Prince. “We’re still all about justice. It’s just we do it legally and not like some cartoon comic book superheroes.”

“No superhero wears a fucking badge,” retorted Chief.

Chief shed his leather jacket. Prince watched as the Baztards Motorcycle Club emblem folded into a neat triangle, just like Prince had designed it to.

“Whatever,” Chief said eyeing the fresh meat around the Hernandez’s pool. “I’m about to show these little minnows how the big fish do it.”

“If you make any of my friends cry, you’ll have me to deal with.”

Chief’s proprietary grin turned into a pained wince. He turned and met with the arched eyebrow of Gabrielleia Hernandez. Gabby was a couple of inches over five foot. The top of her head met Chief’s chest, and she had to tilt her head back to glare up at him. But the way Chief’s head hung, it was as though a kitten brought down a lion.

“Aw, Gabs,” said Chief. “You know I’m just talking shi-” He cleared his throat. “You know I’m just messing around.”

“Hmmm,” she nodded, then came close to his ear. “You see the blonde in the yellow bikini?” Gabby cocked her head towards the pool. “She’s been talking behind my back all year long and then smiling to my face. Go get her.”

Chief chuckled, gave Gabby a peck on the cheek, and then took his marching orders to go get that two-faced blonde. Poor girl. No one crossed Gabby without consequences.

Gabby watched Chief approach her frenemy with a wicked grin. Then she turned back to Prince and Sully. Prince held his breath, but she didn’t turn to him.

“You doing all right, Sully?” she asked. “Can I get you another beer?”

“Thanks, Gabby, but I’m about to call it a night.” Sully rose and pulled on his club jacket. The night was warm, but he’d rode his bike and the leather would protect him from the elements.

“Hawk says you’re headed back overseas soon?”

“Yeah, second tour. Afghanistan, this time.”

Gabby winced, pressing her lips together in a slight grimace, but quickly turned her frown upside down. “Can I write to you? I don’t want you to get behind on The Real Housewives.”

“Can’t walk around Kabul not knowing if Bethany and Jill ever make up,” Sully said with a grave face that made Gabby giggle.

He bent down and gave Gabby a kiss on top of her head. She put her arms around him for a hug. Sully startled. He wasn’t so good with affection and Gabby always doled it out in spades. When she released him, he nodded to Prince and then headed out of the Hernandez’s backyard. That left Prince alone with Gabby.

Prince hated the awkwardness between the two of them. It had never been that way before. Gabby had been attached to his hip before she could crawl. She’d been his shadow since she could walk. She’d struggled to keep up behind him when she could run. But then her increasing breast size came between them. Her widening hips made him take a step back. Her lush lips, whose pout he used to find adorable, had his eyes glued to the floor. But looking down he saw the pink polish on her toes and it made his pants feel uncomfortable.

“Hey,” she said. Her voice had been high pitched for most of her life. Now it was husky and sex-ladened. “I made these for you.”

Gabby produced a small plate of sandwiches. Charcoal chicken with a homemade, creamy chipotle sauce. Prince groaned and grabbed for the sandwiches. He took a bite. It was delicious as always. Gabby was an amazing cook. He’d devoured the first one before he remembered his manners.

“Thanks, Gabs.”

She grinned, and just like that he saw his Gabby. But it was strange that she didn’t come any closer to him for a hug. She was always hanging on him, snuggling up under him. Not anymore and he was sorry for it.

“So, how was your first semester at college?” he asked.

Gabby shrugged. “They didn’t kick me out.”

Academics had never been Gabby’s strong suit. Social situations, cooking, and music were.

“How’s orchestra going?” he asked and then finished off the second sandwich.

“I made first chair last month,” she grinned.

“That’s my girl.” He reached up his hand, and she slapped it with all five of her fingers. Unfortunately, it was the hand he’d used to shovel food in his mouth and he got some of the chipotle sauce on her palm.

Gabby giggled and reached for a beach towel. She wiped her fingers, and then his.

“I hope you’ll come to the end-of-year concert,” she said as she dropped the towel back onto one of the lounge chairs.

Prince didn’t miss the hope in her voice. He also didn’t miss that she held onto his now cleaned fingers. He had been a constant fixture at her concerts since she picked up the cello. He’d never missed a recital or concert.

“Sorry, Gabs.” He rubbed his thumb over hers just like he’d done when she was a little girl. The move often settled her when she was upset. “I may not make this one.”

Gabby lowered her lashes and pressed her lips into a tight pout. Prince had to look away. He could not resist the pout.

“I might be out of town.” He might as well get this over with. “I got offered that job with the Bureau.”

Her eyes widened, and the pout fell away, replaced by open-mouthed astonishment. “In D.C.?”

Prince had the urge to fold her into his arms like when she was a toddler. To kiss the booboo. To rock her to sleep. But he didn’t have a chance to do any of those things.

“Gabby, can I talk to you?”

Both Gabby and Prince turned to her boyfriend. Their hands were still entwined. Prince had forgotten. For a long time, it had been so natural to hold her hand. That word sounded again in his mind; mine. But he knew that wasn’t right. She could never be anything more than the little girl he used to hold, the girl next door that he used to watch over, the teen he’d watch out for. Slowly, he unfurled his fingers from the young woman’s and he let her go.

“I’m going to take off,” Prince said.

He didn’t look back as he walked away. He wasn’t ready to go home, and so he headed for the pool house. Before he went in, he chanced a look back.

Prince watched as Gabby put her hands on her hips and squared off with the boyfriend. He remembered when those hips were straight lines. They were all curves now. When she put her hands on her square hips as a little girl, there was no way anyone would win an argument against her. Now, with all those curves, well, there still was no way anyone was winning an argument against her. Gabby had always been able to bend the men in her life to her will, and this skinny prick would be no different.

Prince watched as the skinny prick’s head drooped. Gabby raised a hand with her finger pointing to the gate. After the prick shuffled off, she turned back to her guests. She plastered on a smile that would make her mother proud and continued to play hostess.
Prince grinned. Nothing could shirk his girl. He shook his head. She wasn’t his girl anymore. She never would be his girl. Which was why Prince needed to get out of here and take that job in D.C.

Chapter Two

Gabby waved to the last of her friends. The pool party had been a success, but she felt like a failure. She was struggling in school, but that wasn’t new. She’d spent a good deal of the evening fighting with Charlie, again, more old news. At least now she was free of him and his nagging. She’d heard her brother and Eagle complain about women constantly calling and hanging on them, seeking their attention, and tracking their movements. She felt a weight lifted off her now that her boyfriend was kicked to the curb.

Having a boyfriend hadn’t been at all what she expected. Charlie hadn’t had a lot of interesting things to say. He hadn’t wanted to play board games like she used to do with Prince. He was a vegetarian, for god’s sake, and picked at most of the food she’d made him. All he wanted to do was get his hand up her skirts and down her panties. Or bathing suit.

Well, he could take his non-interesting, vegetable grubbing, nagging self onto the next girl, because she was done.

“Gabs?”

Gabby looked up at her best friend, Diniece, who stood in the gate between the backyard and the street. Diniece had pulled a pair of jeans over her long brown legs and swept her intricate braids up into a ponytail.

The two girls had met during Freshman Orientation and had been inseparable ever since. Diniece had been instrumental in getting Gabby to go out and explore the social side of being a college student. And for a time, Gabby had actually managed to push aside her deep-seated feelings for the guy next door. But the moment she saw Prince tonight, all of those feelings came back.

Gabby had seen Prince looking at her in her colorful swimsuit. She’d chosen it because the colors reminded her of a Rubik’s Cube, Prince’s favorite game. His gaze had been locked on her ass as though he was trying to figure out how to solve the puzzle of her. And when he’d held her hand, she’d felt the same electricity she’d always felt between the two of them.

“I’m gonna head out with Cheryl and Walt,” Diniece was saying. “You coming?”

Gabby had seen Prince go off into the pool house and she hadn’t seen him leave. The last thing she wanted to do was go out and feign interest in frat boys. “I’m gonna stay here and clean up a bit. But you go on ahead.”

Diniece cocked her head to the side and regarded her friend. “I can stay behind and do the ice cream after a break up thing with you.”

“No need,” Gabby sighed. “Charlie wasn’t worthy of a tub of ice cream.”

“Okay, girl.” Diniece brought Gabby in for a hug. “Shopping therapy tomorrow?”

“Definitely.”

Gabby watched her friend walk out the gate and then she turned to the pool house. Technically, it was the Hernandez’s pool. But with Eagle and Hawk being best friends and Gabby constantly clinging to Prince as a child, and not to mention their mom and her dad working closely together, the families both claimed it.

Gabby opened the door to see a large man sprawled out on the couch. Prince had a beer in one hand and the remote in the other. He looked up to see her close the door. His unfocused eyes went wary, and then shifted to concern.

“Hey, monkey?” He sat his beer and the remote down and stood. “What’s the matter?”

The nickname had come about when she was three and would wrap all of her limbs around him in an effort to escape bedtime, or nap time, or going to daycare, or for any reason that she could think up to stay with Prince.

Gabby was the first to admit that she could be manipulative. She had to be when she was surrounded by three large males who could best her with their pinky fingers. She learned to bat her eyelashes, pout her lips, and play on the protective instincts of her brother, Eagle, and Prince.

“Was it that prick?” He came to stand before her. “Where is he? What did he do?”

Gabby shook her head, batting her eyelashes. “He’s gone. It’s over between us.”

“Yeah, I thought so.” Prince scanned her body as though looking for any evidence of wounds. Finding none, he looked into her eyes. “What happened?”

“Last night, Charles wanted me to do something that I didn’t want to do.”

Prince’s nostrils flared like a lion ready to strike. It made Gabby feel tingles in her belly.

“Don’t go ballistic,” she said. “I thought I wanted to do it. But when he did it, I decided I didn’t like it. He got mad that I wouldn’t let him try again. So, I broke up with him.”
Prince bared his teeth when he spoke. “What did he try to do?”

Gabby tugged her lower lip in her mouth before she responded. She felt her cheeks flush as she said the words. But she was unsure if she was embarrassed by what Charlie had done or if she felt excited talking sex with Prince.

“He finger popped me,” she said.

“Finger popped?” Prince whispered the words. His brown skin looked like it was turning green.

“He stuck his thumb into my vagina.” She knew she didn’t need to clarify, but her words worked.

Prince’s protective instincts kicked in. He looked ready to murder poor Charlie. Gabby knew she just needed to turn that mindless aggression to a better cause.

“I don’t understand how that was supposed to feel good?” She crossed her arms over her chest and gave herself a squeeze. “I didn’t like it. His hands were rough and it hurt. I mean, it’s not like I was ready for sex. But I was willing to take a step. Now, I don’t know if I’m interested.”

“He didn’t know what he was doing.”

“I figured,” she said taking a step into Prince. “I mean you have rough hands.” She trailed a finger down his forearm to the fleshy part of his thumb. “Whenever you touch me it never hurts.”

He took a step back, but her hands snaked around his hips and locked at his low back.

She unloaded the rest of her arsenal, looking up at him from under long lashes, and then there was the pout. She knew Prince could never resist the pout.

“Gabby…” Prince warned, his tone no-nonsense.

But she had one more card to play. And this one never failed. She tilted her head and changed tactics.

“It’s just that… You’ve always been my best tutor. And it’s been so hard not having your help to navigate college. And now there are all these intimate situations.”

She tightened her hold on him. He didn’t retreat. Her body was pressed flush against his. She could feel his heavy breaths that began in his belly, rose to his chest, and landed on her forehead. He wasn’t holding her, but she had him.

“I just want to know what it’s supposed to feel like,” she said. “You know, for when the next boyfriend goes down there.”

Prince’s body tensed, and he cursed under his breath.

“Please,” she said again. “Show me what’s supposed to happen. I trust you more than anyone.”

She felt his breaths rise and fall a little faster. She felt the rumble in his belly as it pressed into hers. Something firm pressed into her belly as well.

Prince’s hand slipped a little lower on her waist. She watched the calculations play out in his hazel eyes. She’d never been this close to her goal, and she wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass her by.

Gabby knew that she and Prince were meant to be. It was one of her first memories. She’d never understood why they had to wait until an arbitrary number of years to pass for them to be together. But she was of age now. There was nothing stopping them, except his hesitation.

“He pinched me down there. Was that supposed to feel good?”

“No,” Prince growled with disgust. “When a man touches a woman… there.” He swallowed, but he didn’t back away from her. “It’s a sensitive area. You have to treat it with care.”

“So you would rub me softly, with the pad of your finger?”

“Yeah,” he breathed. “Softly.”

“Which finger?” she asked. “Your thumb? Your index finger? Your middle finger? Is there a difference?”

His eyes were foggy as they gazed at her. The fingers of his right hand trembled as they rested on her hip, like they were fighting to hold still. “With my index finger. You have most control over its dexterity.”

“Because you use it to write with? That makes sense.”

“Yeah.” He swallowed and then gulped down another breath of air.

“Would you make circles?” she asked. “Or a windshield wiping motion? Or something else?”

“I…” He had to swallow again. His thumb was on the waistband of her bikini bottom. It made little circles just below her belly button.

“Prince?”

“Yeah, Gabs?”

“I feel achy down there. Like I’m hot and swollen. That didn’t happen before. Is that normal?”

“Yeah, monkey.” His thumb slipped inside the waist band and rubbed circles in her tight curls. “That’s perfectly normal.”

Gabby felt it was safe to unlock her arms from his waist. With one hand she slipped one side of her bikini bottoms down and then the other until the garment hit the floor. “So there’s nothing wrong with me?”

“No, sweetheart,” he sighed as he looked down at her bare torso. “You’re perfect.”

Prince’s thumb burrowed through her damp curls and found the hood of her bud. Gabby’s knees buckled at the impact of his rough finger pad. Prince caught her with his free arm.

“I feel like I need to lay down,” she said.

Prince scooped her up in his arms and carried her over to the couch. The moment her butt made impact with the cushion, Gabby spread her legs. Prince let out a chocked sound as he hovered over her, staring down at her bare sex.

“What happens next?” she asked, running her bare toes along the cushion. She could feel his hot breaths cool her sex as he panted above her.

Prince lifted his gaze to focus on her. His eyes cleared. Gabby froze for a moment. Had she made a miscalculation?

“You need to learn how to do this for yourself,” he said finally.

Gabby breathed an internal sigh of relief. “Show me.”

Prince swallowed. He took a deep breath and let it out, and then he reached for her. With one hand on each thigh, he opened her legs wider. His gaze was cool and assessing.

“This is your clitoris. Your bud is average size so you don’t need a firm touch. Just light circles in a clockwise motion-”

“Like this?” Gabby reached down and swirled her index finger around her swollen bud. It didn’t feel as good as when Prince had briefly touched it with the pad of his large thumb. But having his eyes on her was bringing her to her climax quicker than when she touched herself in the dark of her dorm room with him in her mind.

“Good girl,” whispered Prince. “Just like that.” He pressed her thighs open wider, stretching her labia apart, pulling at the hood surrounding her bud.

His hot exhale against her swollen bud made her belly tighten. His slow inhale while his gaze fixed on the juices running down her legs made her core clench.

“Prince…” she moaned.

“Keep circling, monkey. Let it happen.”

And so she did. She let the waves of sensation build inside her. She let that spring that resided in the center of her belly coil around until her toes began to curl and her breathing shallowed.

“A little faster. That’s a good girl.”

Her hips were now lifting off the cushion as she made passes over her bud. She wanted to press her legs together to help relieve some of the tension, but Prince’s grip on her was absolute.

“Slow down, monkey.”

“I don’t want to.”

“Trust me.”

Gabby was used to having her own way. Prince was one of the people who typically gave it to her. But the soft plea in his voice had her fingers slowing down their motion. And the effect of the halted progress shattered her.

Slowing down her touch made the orgasm come at her even faster. But as it came for her, it built up steam, like a snowball rolling down a mountain. It picked up other snow, packing it on until it was a boulder that came rushing down the north face.

The orgasm knocked her back. Her hips arched off the couch. Her back bowed. Her heels dug into the couch cushions. A desperate gasp escaped her lungs. She had to shut her eyes to try to contain some sense of herself. Behind her eyelids, she saw stars and colors collide, reform, and then burst.

When she opened her eyes, she saw Prince. He was staring at her with a look in his eyes she’d never seen before. Was this it? Was he finally coming to understand that they were meant to be? Was he finally realizing that he loved her?

Not in the way that he’d loved her as a child. Not the adoration he showed her as a little girl. Was he finally seeing her as the woman that she was, the woman who was meant for him?

Gabby raised her hand to his cheek. His upper body shook on its impact. He inhaled and his eyes grew larger. He turned his face to her fingers. He swallowed once, twice. Then he opened his mouth and attacked her index finger.

He pulled it into his mouth and sucked. His eyes closed and he sucked her finger. A groan sounded deep inside and still he continued to suck. He let go of her finger with a long lick.

Then his head slowly turned back to her, back to the core of her. He took one breath, and then he was on her.

His mouth latched on to her entire core. His tongue worked in circles, figure eights, and a back and forth motion that had Gabby trembling.

He let go, coming up for air, and her hips followed him. He dipped his head and lapped up the juices that had spilled down her thighs. He suckled first the right and then the left labia. He stuck his tongue deep inside her virgin hole, swirling and burrowing until another orgasm made its way up the hill. It picked up speed and then crashed into her so hard that she wrapped her thighs around Prince’s head.

Prince patiently unfolded her thighs’ grip from his head. All the while not breaking the hold his mouth had on her. He moved his attentions up to her clitoris. He made that same pattern of circles, eights, and swipes at her bud. He sucked on her until Gabby was a writhing mess and a third orgasm rolled through her body.

The third one shook her so hard her eyes teared. She closed her legs, placing a protective hand at the apex of her thighs. She curled into a fetal position as the pleasure continued to assault her in aftershocks.

“Fuck,” she heard Prince whisper. “Fuck.”

Yes, she thought. That’s exactly what she wanted. For her Prince to fuck her. She rolled over onto her back and gazed up at the man of her dreams, the man she knew she was born to spend the rest of her life with. She smiled up at him, intoxicated by his touch, under the influence of his tongue, and punch drunk with pleasure.

But Prince was not grinning. He wasn’t even smiling. His hands were in his tightly curled hair. His eyes were filled with horror. His mouth was set in a grim line.

“What did I just do?” His voice was hoarse, and the words were forced.

Gabby blinked, trying to make her mind understand what could possibly be the matter. But her limbs still weren’t working properly. She couldn’t hold herself up, much less sit up.

“I don’t know what came over me,” he said as he backed away from her. His movements staggering and uncoordinated, like he was drunk as well.

Gabby opened her mouth, but her throat was raw from all the moaning. She couldn’t form words to stop his hasty retreat. She couldn’t reach out to grab him as he backed away from her.

“I’m so sorry, Gabby. That will never happen again.”

He turned out the door and was gone.

Of course he comes back! But you’ll have to get the book to see what antics Gabby pulls to get her man -and let me tell you, she pulls ever punch!!!

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