Publication Date: August 10, 2015
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I storm into the campus pub and scan through the crowds searching for her frantically. After scaring off that shithead, Greg, yesterday and taking Nicki back to my place she’d fallen asleep on the couch. When I woke up the next morning, she was gone. I figured she went back to her apartment to get away from me. We’re still in that stupid fight after all. But when I’d knocked on her door a couple of hours ago, she didn’t answer. And I freaked out. Greg’s still out there. It had taken me ages and dozens of text messages to everyone I know on campus to finally locate her.
My entire body tenses and anger flares up within me as I spot her. Fucking hell. She’s dressed to kill. Damn. The black skirt she’s wearing barely covers her ass and her white top is no better. It’s so low cut that I can see the tops of her red lacy bra. Mmm…lace. At least she’s wearing her leather jacket so that’s something, I guess. Don’t get me wrong, she looks so fucking hot, but looking like that in front of other men is not flying with me. That’s for my eyes only. Christ, Nicki! She’s sitting up at the bar with two preppy assholes all over her. They’re flirting. One of them has their hand on her right thigh. The other is playing with her hair. I can tell right away by her wild gestures that she’s been drinking. Hell, no.
I storm over there.
“Let’s go,” I command, ignoring the guys and eyeing her right in front of me.
“Hey, man. We’re in the middle of something here,” one of the guys, with way too much gel in his hair tells me.
“Yeah, I can see what you’re in the middle of. Now, back the fuck off.”
“No, John!” Nicki cries. “We’re having fun. Go away.”
“Get your ass off that stool now,” I growl at her.
“No,” she says, pouting at me like a little kid who’s just about to get her candy taken away for bad behavior.
“Nicki, last chance,” I warn.
The guys move to say something, but I cut them off by snarling, “She’s mine.”
They obviously see the wild look in my eyes, because they hold up their hands and back away. Yeah, they know what’s good for them.
“I’m not…yours,” Nicki tells me, slurring her words. “You’re every girl’s. Not just mine.”
“Yes I fucking am. If you’d just listen to me instead of being so stubborn, you’d get that!”
She shakes her head and turns back to grab her beer on the bar top.
That’s it! I lunge at her and grab her waist. She squeals as I throw her over my shoulder and carry her out of the bar in a fireman lift. I ignore her slurred protests to put her down.
By the time I have her buckled into my truck and start the engine, she’s calmed down a bit. I pull out of the parking lot and head back to the apartment.
“That was fucking stupid, Nicki. Greg’s still out there. What if he found you in this state instead of me?”
“He’s going to anyway, John. Better that I’m drunk than sober for it. Maybe I won’t remember it this time.”
Her voice is barely above a whisper as she says, “When he rapes me.”
Her words rip right through me and before I can stop myself, I’m making a dangerous sharp turn and pulling the truck off the road. I bring it to a rough stop and cut the engine. Nicki gasps in surprise. I unbuckle my seatbelt and rush out of the truck around to the passenger side. I haul open the door and command, “Get out.”
She’s too shocked to argue and I watch her struggle with her seatbelt in her drunken state before she finally manages it. She stumbles as she gets out.
As soon as she’s out, I push her against the side of the truck, my hands holding her arms hostage beside her.
“Listen to me. I stopped him last time around, okay? What makes you think I’d let him do anything to you this time around? He’s not fucking touching you! You got me? No man is gonna lay his hands on you, but me!”
She shakes her head back and forth. Tears spill down her cheeks. “I’m scared.”
“You’re stronger now. No one can hurt you now.”
“I…I don’t know.”
I shake her. “You do know! You do!”
It takes a while, but she finally nods slowly and bites her lip. “Okay.”
“Tell me what you need to put you at ease.”
“I…will you…train me?”
“Train you? You already know how to fight.”
“The guys always hold back with me. I don’t want you to. Will you…do that?”
Shit. Looking at her right now is like we’ve been transported back four years. She’s that scared little girl again. Seeing Greg has reduced her to that. “Yeah, I’ll do it.” Whatever she needs to push away the fear that the asshole sparks within her. That’s not the Nicki I know. She’s stronger than that.
“Why did you come for me tonight? We’re not talking.”