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Beneath These Scars
Synopsis:I'm the guy you love to hate.
In every story in my life, I seem to end up playing the villain—and I've got the scars to prove it.
That role works fine for me, because I'm sure as hell not anyone's hero. I run my life and my empire with an iron fist—until she knocks my tightly controlled world off its axis.
She's nobody's damsel in distress, but I can't help but want to save her anyway.
I guess we're about to find out if there's a hero buried … beneath these scars.
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An Excerpt from Beneath These Scars
SWEAT DRIPPED INTO MY EYES as I bounced on the balls of my feet. Someone had to be calling out how much time was left in this round soon. My pride was on the line, and there was no way I would hand it over to Con Leahy. He’d already gotten the girl, and I wasn’t about to let him humiliate me in the ring in this piece-of-shit New Orleans gym too.
My muscles burned, but that was nothing compared to the heat of victory—or the sting of defeat. What had started out as a boxing lesson had quickly transformed into an all-out brawl for dominance and respect.
Only you would pay a million dollars to get your ass kicked, Titan. The voice in my head mocked me as I bobbed and weaved. But I hadn’t paid a million to get my ass kicked. I’d done it because that night at the charity auction I’d been drunk, pissed off, and determined to prove a point—he might’ve gotten the girl, but I was still the one with the power. I got a sick sense of satisfaction that every time Con bought something for his gym and these kids, he had to think of me.
I swung with another right hook. The blow connected with Con’s jaw and snapped his head to the side.
Yeah. That’s right. But my mental cheer came a moment too soon, and pain exploded in my left side.
Shit, that’s going to hurt tomorrow.
I stumbled back but threw myself forward again, shooting out my fist with an uppercut that knocked Con back a step. This was how it had gone for the last several minutes—trading punches and circling each other.
There was no love lost in this ring, that was for damn sure, and I was ready for this to be over. I would walk out of here with every bit of the respect I was owed. Fuck anyone who thought otherwise.
Con moved toward me and the circling started again. The cheers and chants from the crowd surrounding the ring in the old warehouse gym seemed to grow every time I glanced beyond the ropes. A flash of blond hair caught my eye as I stepped left and Con shifted to the right.
She threw her head back and laughed at something said by her redheaded friend, Elle. I turned my attention back to the man in front of me, but my focus wandered again when a huskier, sexier laugh echoed through the room.
My eyes strayed from Con for a second too long as I tried to track down the source of the laughter. Pain burst through my jaw, catching me by surprise, and I stumbled back into the ropes. Using their momentum, I shoved off to the side, my pride stinging from my momentary lapse in concentration. Embarrassed and now thoroughly pissed off, I surged forward and attacked.
One punch. That was all I landed before the bell rang, signaling the end of the round and my very expensive “lesson.”
I pushed off Con, and my knee might have slipped as I stepped back . . . and caught him directly in the balls. It was probably an accident. I huffed out a chuckle, but Con didn’t share my humor.
“Goddamn it!” he roared. “Are you fucking serious?”
It was like stabbing a bull with a matador’s sword, but I was ready for him. I jumped out of the way as Con charged, and shifted into a defensive stance when he swung.
“Should’ve expected a cheap shot from you, motherfucker.” Unrestrained anger flashed over his face as every shred of coaching mentality fled, along with that smug superiority he’d been giving me.
Good. You aren’t better than me, Leahy. I could buy and sell you a hundred times over.
He might’ve gotten the girl, but I wasn’t going to let him get away with her clean. I wanted blood.
“Should’ve expected you to strut around this ring like a fucking cock of the walk,” I shot back.
Con feinted and swung again, but I’d been studying his movements. I bobbed and weaved, and got the hell out of the way.
I threw my own punch as soon as I had a clean shot. It landed just below Con’s left eye, splitting the skin over his cheekbone and sending blood spattering everywhere.
The taste of victory was sweet. “First blood,” I said under my breath.
Apparently my words weren’t quiet enough because Con’s head snapped up and he glared at me with disgust, as if I needed to be put down like a rabid animal. “This ain’t a fuckin’ duel, you piece of shit.”
“It sure isn’t a friendly competition either.”
“Paid a million to get that cheap shot in, didn’t you?”
My lips twisted into a mocking smile. “I sure didn’t pay a million to have you show me up.”
Con dropped his hands and shook his head. “Just when I thought you weren’t a complete fucking asshole.”
“You were wrong,” I replied, turning for the ropes.
Con’s fists lifted and before I could react, one connected with my cheekbone. The instantaneous gush of blood told me I’d have a scar to match his, but it didn’t matter. One more scar wouldn’t hurt my banged-up face.
I roared as I charged, but I didn’t get the chance to retaliate. Shouts filled the room, and beefy arms wrapped around my body, holding me back.
“You’re not half bad when you’re not being a shady rich prick,” Lord’s voice said in my ear.
I lunged toward Con, but Lord’s grip only tightened. “Get your goddamn hands off me,” I growled at him.
Leaning closer to my ear, he lowered his voice. “When you calm the hell down and realize you’re making an ass of yourself in front of a bunch of kids and women.”
I glanced out to the crowd and read disgust on so many faces, including Vanessa’s. Like it mattered what a single goddamn person in this gym thought of me. I could buy and sell them all.
Lord was still holding me back when Con came toward us. He yanked his gloves off and wiped at the blood still dripping from the gash on his face.
“You’re also not half bad when you’re paying attention—and when you’re not throwing a knee into my nuts. But I think you’ve overstayed your welcome.”
I jerked at the arms trapping me. “Call off your dog, and I’m gone.”
“You ever want another round, it’s gonna cost you two million next time,” Con said.
“For another chance to make you bleed? I’d pay even more.”
Con nodded to his brother, and Lord let me go. The crowd had already started to disperse. The only person in the building who probably didn’t want to run me down in the parking lot was my COO, and arguably my friend, Ryder Colson. And he was nowhere to be seen.
Instead of Colson, I saw a group of women moving toward the door—Vanessa Frost in her white cotton dress, Elle Snyder in her yellow retro number, and two others I didn’t know. One looked familiar with tanned skin the color of honey, her hair in dark waves, and a curvy body displayed by a funky teal dress with hot-pink polka dots. She hooked her hands on her hips, and that husky laugh echoed through the room again. Apparently she was the one who had distracted me in the ring. My eyes didn’t move from her to take in the fourth woman.
Colson came up beside me. “Who knew there’d be so many hot pieces of ass in this shit warehouse?”
I turned toward him. “Give any of them a shot, and you’ll probably find yourself bleeding on the floor.”
Ryder shrugged off my comment. “Go get your shit. I’ll wait.”
He was gone before I could tell him he didn’t need to wait around for me. But then again, he was my only ally in a building full of people who undoubtedly would have preferred to see me KO’d on the floor of the ring. Just one more place I’d never be welcome.
Good thing I didn’t give a fuck.
I’d showed up, gone toe-to-toe with Con, and had taken back a piece of my pride. That was enough.
I was already thinking of hiring a trainer as I went for my bag.
Where do I even begin with this one! First off let me say up until this book Con was my favorite in the series… But Lucas… He stole Con’s thunder and quickly became my favorite BBF in this series! Holy Cow was he so not what I was expecting AT ALL!!!! I mean I knew that he was a jerk and I went into this thinking that this guy was never going to be seen as more than a con artist willing to do whatever to get ahead in business. But what I found was that Lucas Titan was a force in and out of the board room.
Lucas will have you breaking for him almost from the beginning of the story. That hard and rough exterior he portrays is really a total facade to the man inside dying for love and acceptance, not that he would tell you that, but you just know. He’s had a shit life, with a shit for a father and an absentee mother. The only person that he had was his little brother, and their housekeeper/butler/chef, whatever his title is. Lucas never had to answer for anything to anyone, he went from bed to bed with women never letting them close enough to see what is under the scars he bears… Until a charity boxing match with Con, puts him in the cross hairs of a woman who is his match in every way!
Yve is just a breath of fresh air, she’s not a damsel in distress though she has every reason to be. She’s fought to get above water and put the past behind her. She runs a successful business, she’s got a great sense of style and she’s truly passionate about her work. Every time something is thrown at her she uses her logical side to try to figure out how to move forward. Unfortunately the latest string of events has left her flustered and a tiny bit scared, and as the story moves on you’ll understand just exactly why!
Together Lucas and Yve have some serious chemistry, they are both bull headed and stubborn and the push and pull between them adds a ton of angsty moments to this read. I couldn’t put this one down, from beginning to end it had the lust, passion, frustration, suspense all the additives I enjoy in a good book! Meghan has impressed me from the moment that she stepped into the industry with her gift of telling a story that keeps you glued to the pages from beginning to end. I can’t wait to see what comes from her next!