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|Beat of the Heart(Runaway Train #2) by Katie Ashley|
Tears sparkled in her dark eyes. “I’m sorry, AJ, but I have to go.”
“Come with me,” I shouted over the crowd and house music. Taking her hand, I led her through the mass of people to the backroom where we’d first met up earlier in the evening.
Once I closed the door behind us, I asked, “Is this about what just happened with Kylie?”
Mia snorted. “No dumbass, it’s about the fact the drinks here suck.”
I held up my hands. “Look, I’m sorry. That was a douche question. Of course, you’re pissed about that. But she’s just an old girlfriend of mine who thought we’d started something up again a few weeks ago. There’s nothing there. I swear.”
Mia shook her head. “It’s not just her. Your past seems to be everywhere. I couldn’t even go to the bathroom without running into some skank who’d blown you before and had ideas she was getting her hooks into you again for a repeat performance.”
I grimaced when I realized who she was talking about Lyla—one of the Sugar Magnolia girls. “Nothing would have happened with her. I’m here with you.”
My words didn’t appear to mean shit to Mia because her expression remained sad. “I’m sorry, AJ, but being in your world tonight was a bad idea—it just showed me how much we’re a bad idea.”
My brows furrowed in confusion. “What are you talking about?”
She closed her eyes for a few seconds before opening them again. “I know it’s only been a week, but I like you. I like you a lot, okay? I don’t know where this is heading, but I know that if things keep up like they are…” She drew in a ragged breath. “The bottom line is I’m not cut out for your world. I have too many of my own issues with men coupled with my insecurities to deal with your groupies.”
“Dammit, Mia, I swear that Kylie and those other girls don’t mean shit to me.”
“But they mean a lot to me. I don’t know how to deal with it. You were just supposed to be about me getting back in the game, not being tossed right back out into the same shark-infested waters as before.” When I winced at her words, she reached up to cup my cheek. “I wish I could do this, but I can’t.” When she started to open the door, my palm landed on the wood, slamming it shut.
Desperation and anger rocketed through me. “So that’s it? We’re totally fucked as a potential couple just because I have a dick. That’s bullshit.”
“You don’t understand—”
“No, I don’t think you understand. When I’m in a relationship, I’m in it for the long haul. I have never cheated once on any of my girlfriends. Ever. I was a freakin’ altar boy back in the day, and that makes me take fidelity pretty damn serious. Get it through your thick skull, Mia, I’m not Dev—I’m not going to do that to you.” When Mia continued staring down at the grungy carpet, I huffed out a growl of frustration. “Look at me dammit.” I reached over and cupped her face in my hands, forcing her to meet my eyes. “I mean it. I’m not Dev. Don’t walk away from me just because you think I’m someone I’m not.”
Pain replaced Mia’s sad expression. “I wish that it was just about Dev, but there are other…bad experiences from my past that make this hard for me.”
Realizing I wasn’t getting anywhere with her, I decided to change up my game. With a sneer, I replied, “Where’s the ball-busting, Sicilian Mia that went toe to toe with me the first time I met her? The last thing I ever would have thought is that you’re a coward.”
Her dark eyes narrowed at me. “How dare you call me a coward! If you knew what all I’d been through.”
“We all have our shit. Quit acting like a martyr to your past.”
“Fuck you!” she spat, before she reached for the doorknob. I knocked her hand away before gripping her shoulders and whirling her body around. When I molded myself against her, she struggled against me. “Stop it, AJ,” she hissed.
I silenced her by bringing my mouth down hard against hers. At first, it was like kissing a brick wall, but the moment I slid my tongue against her lips, a tiny moan escaped her. Her reaction must’ve spooked her because she tried to jerk away. Instead, I tightened my arms around her. “Don’t run away. You want this…you want me.”
Jerking her chin up, she glared at me. “It doesn’t matter what I want. Considering my past, I wanted a lot of shit that fucking wrecked me. So, let me go.”
A volatile mixture of desperation and fury swelled in my chest, and I fought to keep my head on straight and not explode. I’d never met a woman like Mia, but at the same time, I knew if I let her out the door, I might not ever see her again. I was not going to let that happen—not while I was still breathing. I shook my head at her. “I’m not going anywhere, and you’re sure as hell not going anywhere,” I hissed against her mouth. My hands swept around her back, searching out the zipper on her dress. Once I found it, I jerked it down before pulling both of the straps on her dress down. As my hand came around her ribcage, I grazed her breast, and she sucked in a breath. Before I even touched her breast, the nipple had hardened in anticipation.
“What do you think you’re doing?” she questioned breathlessly, as I continued to palm her breast.
“I’m about to fuck some sense into you,” I growled, as I jerked the hem of my shirt over my head.