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|Hook Me(Men of Inked #2) by Chelle Bliss|
The only thing that usually helped my mood was a good ass-kicking workout at the gym.
When I walked in the gym and the man knocked me on my ass. The impact scared the hell out of me as I fell on my ass, dropping my purse, and spilling the contents everywhere.
He was the object of my anger. It wasn’t from being knocked down; looking back I was more mortified by it than pissed. I felt helpless over the lost lives that piled up during my shift. The night before had been one of the lowest in my short career, but when I looked up into his rich caramel eyes something inside me shifted.
My brain must have been rattled by the force of my fall.
I’ve seen him before. I knew it.
I lost my breath as I stared into his eyes. I’ve never had a reaction to someone like I had with him. Something unspoken passed between us as we looked into each other’s eyes.
It took everything in me to not react when he helped me off the ground. The moment our skin connected electricity passed between us. There was a snap, crackle, pop.
I couldn’t get him out of my damn mind as I started to run on the treadmill. As my thighs burned and sweat trickled down my chest, I thought about only him.
How did I know him?
Tall with broad shoulders, muscular tattooed covered arms and completely not my taste.
The track pants he wore hid his legs, but there was no doubt in my mind that they were as solid and powerful as his upper half.
When our bodies were inches apart in the doorway, my heart pounded in my chest– if he were any closer he would’ve heard the frantic rhythm.
“Hey, Mia.” A voice pulled me out of haze.
Blinking, I looked over to see Rob leaning against the treadmill. “Oh. Hey, Rob.”
“You’re looking beautiful as always.” He stared at my chest as my body bounced.
“If you don’t stop staring at my chest, I’ll knock you on your ass,” I warned.
He snickered, covering his mouth with his hand but his eyes remained glued to my br**sts. “Promises, promises. Why don’t you let me take you to dinner?”
“Rob, I’m sure you’re a nice guy.” I coughed.
He was the farthest thing from nice. He wasn’t an ass**le, but he sure as hell wasn’t boyfriend material.
“We wouldn’t work. I’d spend too much time repairing the injuries I’d give you.”
A giant smile crept across his face before he finally looked at my eyes. “You say the sexiest shit, Mia.”
“Not happening. Who was that guy that left when I walked in?” Grabbing the towel, I blotted the sweat from my chest.
Moving his eyes to follow the path of the towel, he asked, “You mean Mike?”
“I don’t know his name. Tall, muscular, walked out right after you opened.”
Brawn didn’t equal brains when it came to Rob.
“Mike, yeah, he’s a friend of mine.” His eyes flickered between my br**sts and eyes.
If they were friends then in all probability he was an ass**le too. I had attracted more of those in my time than I wanted to admit.
“Tell me about him. I think I know him from somewhere.” I couldn’t help myself; I had to figure out how I knew him.
“He’s a fighter. He has a big fight coming up that I’m helping him train for.” Rob flexed and punched the air.
“Is that all he does?” Fighter – code word for unemployed and a workout junkie.
Rob shook his head and laughed, “Nah, he’s part owner in a tattoo shop. He’s a piercer there.”
A busty blond walked by and started to set up camp at a treadmill nearby. Rob’s eyes wandered in her direction as he licked his lips.
“Thanks. You can go now,” I said, wanting to be alone with my thoughts.
He put his hands over his heart and stammered backward as though he were in pain. “You just dismissed me like that? I’m wounded, Mia.”
“Maybe the girl over there,” I moved my head in her direction, “will have the remedy.”
“You may be right, beautiful. I’m off to find out.” Winking, he tapped my treadmill with his palm before whistling as he walked away.
CNN played on the tiny screen in front of me but I couldn’t focus as my thoughts drifted back to Mike. The powerhouse that literally rocked my world this morning was a body mutilator. He pierced and punched his way through life while I patched up the damage caused by fists and dirty needles.
I grabbed my phone from the cup holder as it began to chirp.
Lori: Girls night out. Game?
I needed a night with my friends. I needed to laugh and hear the latest gossip. I had two days off and an evening to let loose sounded like heaven and a great way to get my mind off work.
Me: I’m in. When and where?
I didn’t give a shit if I had to drive to Orlando, I’d be there. My restless night would require a nap to keep up with the ladies or I would do a face plant on the table after the first drink.
Lori: Ybor City. Be ready to party your ass off. I’ll pick you up at 9.
Me: I can drive.
Lori: Fuck no, your ass is getting drunk. I got it all worked out.
She knew me so well. Lori and the girls went out all the time. They lived without their work to weigh them down emotionally. Unlike me, they didn’t have to hold someone’s heart in their hand and try to get it to beat again. Their pressures were different but I could never stumble into work nursing a hangover.
Lori was a lawyer, Sarah a receptionist at an advertising agency, and Jamie was a bored housewife.