Hard Bastard:A Second Chance Mafia Romance(3)

By: B. B. Hamel

“You can’t make me go,” I said softly.

“I’m sorry, sweetie. We have to go as a family.”

“You’re doing this to get me away from him,” I said.

He looked confused. “What?”

“Gage. I know you hate him. That’s why you’re doing this.”

He looked sad, truly sad. “No, honey. I’m trying to save your mother’s life.”

I stood up. “I won’t go. I won’t.”

“I’m sorry. You’re going whether I have to drag you there or not.”

I stormed away, sixteen and angry. I thought that my life was coming to an end, that my parents were unreasonable. I stormed up into my room and slammed the door, jumping into bed and burying my face in the pillow.

I cried for an hour. When I finally got myself under control, I called and told Gage what was happening.

He didn’t seem angry. He said he understood.

I didn’t understand. Not back then, not when I was just a kid. I wanted to be with Gage forever, wanted to grow old with him, wanted to get him away from his awful family and save him from a life I knew he didn’t want.

Instead, the next morning I got onto a plane and I flew with my family out to Seattle.

I had no other choice. I was sixteen and emotional, but I wasn’t a monster. I would do anything for my mother, and if the clinical trial was supposed to save her, well then I was willing to give it a try.

But the whole plane ride I just kept thinking about that meadow, about being there with Gage, his hands between my legs, his mouth against mine.

That moment felt perfect, incredible, and I wished I could live inside of it forever.

Chapter 1


Ten Years Later

The weather was hot, oppressively hot, and had that famous Ashertown humidity. I’d only been back for a few hours at most and already I was sweating through my nice white work blouse, annoyed and tired. My heels made a clacking sound as I made my way up the concrete steps toward the main courthouse and its modernist design.

Cool air-conditioning slammed me in the face as I stepped into the lobby. I’d never actually been in the courthouse before, but it was surprisingly nice. The outside looked like it hadn’t been updated since the seventies, but the inside suggested major renovations. It was all glass and modern lines, plus the ubiquitous metal detectors.

We had to be kept safe somehow, I figured, and a courthouse was the kind of place you really wanted to be careful in.

I hurried over to the front desk. The man sitting there smiled up at me as I approached.

“Can I help you?”

“I’m here to see . . . “ I pulled up my phone, embarrassed that I forgot my new boss’s name already. “Rick Shakeman.”

“Ah, yes, of course. One second.” He made a quick call while I waited. He nodded and smiled at me before hanging up the phone. “Go on up to the third floor, make a left. He’s in room 322.”

“Thank you,” I said. I turned and went through the metal detector while my briefcase went through a scanner, just like at the airport. When I was all clear, I quickly climbed the stairs and made my way down the hall.

It was my first day of work, and I was already late. To be fair, it wasn’t my fault. The night before had been a total disaster; my flight was delayed, and then delayed again, and then canceled. I managed to get a red eye, but that meant I wasn’t getting any sleep. As soon as I got to the hotel, I rinsed off, got dressed, and hurried over to the courthouse.

I never expected to come back to Ashertown. I could still remember what it was like to live in a small town, and I vividly remembered the day that my father told me we were moving. I was such a selfish brat back then, but really I was just heartbroken. I knew I’d never see Gage again, my bad boy high school boyfriend.

I was right. He stopped calling about a month after I left and I couldn’t really blame him. There was no way that we could have a relationship beyond video chatting on our computers and phone calls. I was too young to buy plane tickets out to see him, and he couldn’t afford it either. There was just no future for us.

It still hurt. I could remember crying for days when I realized that he wasn’t going to call me again. I tried to get in touch with him, but his grandmother basically gently told me not to call anymore.

My poor little teenage heart was broken into a million pieces.

Maybe it was stupid, but I never got over that. I had other boyfriends since Gage, some of them great and some of them pretty lousy, but I always thought fondly about him. I always remembered him as the one that got away, the one that could have been special.

Now, I was single and racing down a hallway to meet with my boss, and I was incredibly late. That was a pretty bad look for a new Assistant District Attorney.

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