Dante Malachi screwed his life up to epic proportions. His addictions nearly killed him before he hit rock bottom. Getting kicked out of the Malachi family was his motivation to clean up his act, but leaving his old life behind meant leaving her, as well. Rona’s the one he never forgot.
Rona never wanted to see Dante again. She blames him for the bad in her life — but also most of the good. When he comes back into her orbit, she knows she has to let him in — or get rid of him for good.
When a bomb threat throws them together, it’s up to Rona and Dante to decide if they want to extinguish the desire between them or reignite their fiery passion.
All rights reserved.
Copyright ©2021 Megan Slayer
Dante drove away from his brother’s guest house and growled. How dare his brother throw him out? How dare his brother demand he stop stealing money from the family? So he had no claim to the money and had treated his brothers shabbily, but Jesus. They didn’t have to throw him out.
Maybe he did deserve to be removed. He’d acted like a real dick to Kelly, Martin’s girl, and spent so much money on worthless shit — drink, drugs, tattoos… He’d run roughshod over his life.
God, he was awful.
He’d been a man on the run — from his life, his family, the explosions he’d set off. He wanted someone to hurt in the same way he had. No one knew the truth, and he hadn’t shared many details. Why should he? His attitude had pushed everyone away.
He drove off and didn’t look back. Fuck ’em. His brothers didn’t want him around, then fine. He’d show them he wasn’t just one thing — a screw-up. So his ex-wife and daughter hated him. So they refused to let him see his grandson.
He’d become someone on his own. No more illegal shit. No more expecting others to do the work for him.
He’d do it.
He had no choice.
Dante left his old life behind in search of a new one. He had business skills and the ability to talk to people. He’d find something and survive.
He wasn’t that old and had time to do something different with his life.
He owed it to his brothers to change and become the man they knew he could be. Besides, he owed it to himself to be better than his past.
* * *
One year later…
Dante pulled into the Brass Pole parking lot for his nightly shift. For the last year, he’d worked his ass off to prove to the owner, Bruce, that he could do more than look menacing at the door. He didn’t mind being a bouncer, but he’d rather work steadily with the books. Bruce allowed him to fix the mistakes in the books twice a week, but Dante preferred his time in the office, rather than at the door. The impulse to steal money never quite left him, but there wasn’t the ready cash like at his family’s clubs. Besides, he needed the job and responsibility.
He left his clunker of a car and walked into the club. Bruce stood behind the bar, rather than in his usual spot with the bouncers.
“Bruce.” Dante clocked in. “Where’s Mick? Out again?” The regular bartender wasn’t always reliable unless he was behind the bar.
“He quit. Met a girl in Sutton and left. Something about the great peanut butter and jelly sandwiches,” Bruce said. “I have no idea what the hell that means, but it’s got to be code for something. That man always talks in code about sex.” He rinsed glasses, then left them on the towel.
“Could be.” He’d never heard of sex referred to as peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, but whatever. “Do you have someone lined up as a replacement?”
“Not yet. I’ve got some guys coming in for interviews tomorrow.” Bruce wiped a tall-boy glass. “I’d have you fill in, but I’m sending you upstairs.”
“You are?” He’d graduated to doing the books those two nights, but hadn’t tended bar in six months.
“The books are fine and can wait another night. I’ll be down here at the bar because you’re not supposed to be this close to booze. No, I’m going to have you serve upstairs. Nothing stronger than soft drinks, so it’s not hard. Besides, I trust you up there. Everyone wants to go up there to watch the action, and I know you’ll actually do the job,” Bruce said.
“Oh, you know it?” He’d do exactly what he was told to do because he needed to prove to himself and everyone else that he could handle the job.
“You’ll give me lip, but you’ll do the job.” Bruce rearranged the glasses on the towel. “Look, just do it. It’s one night, and tomorrow you’ll be back in your office. I’m bumping you up to three days a week.”
“You are?” Damn. He’d moved up in the world. “Thank you.” He’d been a belligerent shit in his former life, and this structure suited him. “I’ll make you happy.”
“I doubt it. You’re not going to become a five-foot-seven blonde with D-cups who’s going to blow me.” Bruce tossed the towel onto the counter. “I never doubted you’d do the work, so here are the rules. No fucking the girls upstairs, no getting in the middle of the scenes and don’t leave the bar. Come in on one of your nights off to play if you want. You’ve got the pass to get up there when you’re not working.”
“I work every night we’re open.” He didn’t care. He didn’t need to get involved with someone. Christ. His love life had been complicated enough before. He preferred the simplicity. That and he’d never have another lover like Rona in his life. She knew how to make him happy and indulged his wilder side without involving drugs or alcohol. Sure, being single sucked and his bed was too fucking big for one person, but being alone kept him out of trouble.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Megan Slayer, aka Wendi Zwaduk, is a multi-published, award-winning author of more than one-hundred short stories and novels. She’s been writing since 2008 and published since 2009. Her stories range from the contemporary and paranormal to LGBTQ and white hot themes. No matter what the length, her works are always hot, but with a lot of heart. She enjoys giving her characters a second chance at love, no matter what the form. She’s been nominated at the LRC for Best Author, Best Contemporary, Best Ménage, Best BDSM and Best Anthology. Her books have made it to the bestseller lists on various e-tailer sites.
When she’s not writing, Megan spends time with her husband and son as well as three dogs and three cats. She enjoys art, music and racing, but football is her sport of choice. She’s an active member of the Friends of the Keystone-LaGrange Public library.