Rough Hard Fierce (Chicago Underground Boxed Set)(2)By: Skye Warren
“Then it’s yours?” He stepped forward. In the small room, that brought him right next to me. In a flash he’d twisted my arm. With a cry, I dropped the test to the ground. “Is that what you been doing in this room every time I’m on the road? Fucking around?”
“No,” I cried, and it didn’t matter that it was the truth. I’d never fucked around, not on purpose. Even that one time, when I hadn’t wanted it, it hadn’t been here. The truth didn’t matter, though. Trust didn’t matter.
He picked up the pregnancy test and stared at it.
I begged him, but only in my mind. Try to understand. Support me. Please.
I need you to be my dad now.
“Get out,” he said, his voice low. “You want to spread your legs and get yourself knocked up? Get the fuck out of my house.”
I stood there, frozen. Even when he picked up my lamp and threw it to the wall.
It shattered and fell to the carpet in a thousand pieces.
Shelly grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the room—and out the front door. The white strip of plastic came flying out the door after us. It landed in the dirt at my feet. I looked up at the house, knowing it would be the last time I was ever here.
Maybe the old manufactured double-wide wasn’t much by some standards, but it was my home. And maybe my dad was gone more than he was here. But this had been my life. I hadn’t wanted it to end. Hadn’t been ready for it to be over. How was I going to live now?
I pressed a hand to my stomach. How was I going to support this baby?
I didn’t know the answers. The only thing I knew was that I’d figure it out alone. Or with Shelly. But I would never again trust a man. I’d never give him the chance to hurt me or throw me out.
There’s a certain sultry walk a woman has when she’s bare that can’t be faked. No hose and no panties. The nakedness under my skirt was as much about keeping me aroused as it was about easy access.
I’d perfected the art of fuck-me clothes. A surprising number of men asked me out, even at a grungy club on a Saturday night. Cute little college girl, they thought, out for a good time. I saved us all time by dressing my part.
Tonight’s ensemble consisted of a tight halter and short skirt with cheap, high-heeled sandals, bouncing hair, and bloodred toenails. The scornful looks of the other women didn’t escape me, but I wasn’t so different from them. I wanted to be desired, held, touched. The groping fingers might be a cheap imitation of intimacy, its patina cracked with rust and likely to turn my skin green, but they were all I deserved.
My gaze panned to the man at the bar, the one I’d been watching all night. He nursed a beer, his profile harsh against the fluid backdrop of writhing bodies. His gray T-shirt hung loose on his abs but snug around thick arms, covering part of his tattoo.
Dark eyes tracked me the way mine tracked him.
His expression was unreadable, but I knew what he wanted. What else was there?
He was hot in a scary way, and that was perfect. Not that I was discerning. I needed sex, not a life partner. There were plenty of men here, men whose blackened pasts matched my own, who’d give it to me hard.
A woman approached him. Something dark and decidedly feminine roiled up inside me.
She was gorgeous. If he wanted to score, he probably couldn’t do better, even with me.
I tried not to stare. She walked away a minute later—rejected. I felt unaccountably smug. Which was stupid, since I didn’t have him either. Maybe no one had a chance with this guy. I was pretty enough, in a girl-next-door kind of way. Common, though, underneath my slutty trappings—brown hair and brown eyes were standard issue around here.
I glanced up to see a cute guy wearing a sharp dress shirt checking me out. Probably an investment banker or something upstanding like that. Grinning and hopeful. Had I ever been that young? No, I was probably younger. At nineteen I had seen it all. The world had already crumbled around me and been rebuilt, brick by brick.
“Sorry, man,” I said. “Keep moving.”
“Aww, not even one dance?”
His puppy-dog eyes cajoled a smile from me. How nice it might feel to be one of the girls with nothing to worry about except whether this guy would call tomorrow morning. But I was too broken for his easy smile. I’d only end up hurting him.