Bad Boy's Revenge:A Small-Town Romantic Suspense(5)

By: Sosie Frost


He waited on my porch. Silent. Staring.

Maddox was free.

And he’d come for me.





Chapter Two – Josie



Nothing I did could save me from him now.

My breath caught somewhere between my chest and the imagined words I’d whispered to him in the worst moments of my loneliness.

The last time I saw Maddox, the police were shoving him into their cruiser. The EMTs hid me in the ambulance. I didn’t remember much. My shop was burning. Granddad was already in transit. And the love of my life stared at me, his eyes blazing as fierce and hot as the flames that consumed my world.

He’d saved me from the fire.

And then they took him to jail.

Maddox stood in my doorway, as huge and intimidating as I remembered. His leather jacket clung to his body, so much bigger than the last time I saw him. He’d bulked up in jail. Massively. The town feared him when he was just lean muscle and attitude. Now he grew silent and imposing.

He was still the most amazingly beautiful man I’d ever seen.

And he couldn’t be here. Not now. Not when I was so close. It’d ruin everything and jeopardize everyone.

Tears prickled my eyes, but not out of relief. Not because my fractured heart healed itself as the man who controlled its every beat replaced the scattered pieces with the only thing more dangerous than his presence.

Hope.

And fear.

If he was back, then none of us were safe.

“Maddox?” I didn’t recognize my voice. Didn’t recognize the word on my lips.

It wasn’t possible.

But I was so glad it was…and I was terrified of what would happen.

“Josie.”

Maddox’s voice seared through me, igniting everything I’d buried deep down, hidden in ash and misery. The word sizzled through me. Hot.

If fire came to life, it’d take the form of Andrew Maddox. Someone violent when uncontrolled, beautiful when tamed, and unpredictable and strong, even as the world attempted to extinguish it.

Once upon a time…his touch warmed my every chill. The intensity of his stare could suck the air from the room. In his darkest moments, his midnight eyes trapped me in desire.

Then, I never wanted to be apart from him. Now, I couldn’t let him near. Losing him wasn’t a punishing burn. That loneliness was cold. I lived in isolation and longed for the strike of a match.

“You’re out of jail?” Why did I ask the question? Part of me feared it was true…the rest trembled, imagining some sort of reckless escape from the law.

Maddox’s lips teased a smirk. “Does that surprise you?”

“Yes.”

“I was innocent.”

That wasn’t what the judge said, and it certainly wasn’t what the town thought. Enough rumors and whispers and frightening stories passed through the three streetlight town about Maddox before the fire. I believed some of them. I ignored the rest. Then I caused more when I fell in love with him.

Now he was home. Out of jail.

I couldn’t protect him here.

How was I supposed to send him away?

His dark hair obscured most of his face. He kept it just long enough to frighten people when he popped the collar of his leather jacket and waited in the shadows. His chin jutted, hard and chiseled, and his nose, never perfectly straight, matched the severe angle of his jaw.

“Josie.”

I dared to look up, even knowing how much I’d lose if I met his gaze. He used to hate when I compared his eyes to my favorite dark chocolate brownie recipe, but nothing else came close. Espresso maybe? Chocolate ganache? I used to get hungry with Maddox…but what I craved most wasn’t dessert.

“It’s been over a year.” He spoke as if I hadn’t counted every hour, minute, and second we’d been separated. “Too damn long, Sweets.”

I melted like a truffle every time he used the nickname. “What are you doing here?”

“I’m here for you.”

“I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

“It’s the only thing that makes sense.”

Maybe to him. He always knew what he wanted. He always got what he wanted. I had no idea if he was right or wrong for me, only that I never considered the consequences when he took me in his arms. That danger made him all the more attractive. He was tall, dark, but he wasn’t classically handsome. Handsome implied trustworthiness, someone gentlemanly and tender.

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