17| Troubles and Temptations

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I had never cared about the destruction I left in my wake—the blood, the bruises, the bodies, they were just an outcome of the life I lived and a consequence of the cutthroat world that favoured the viciousness of men.

I'd never had the need to be tender before, I had been born with the duty of my father's name and bound to it until death came to collect. To be gentle was to be weak—that's what I had been forced to learn after my mother had died, my father had beat it out of me and then he had put a gun in my hand and made me find peace.

I had lost count of the men I had murdered under the guise of obedience, the bodies had piled high before I had even reached the peak of my teenage years, my hands drenched with blood and my name carved into the bullets of my father's enemies.

I had been prepared for the brutality of this life, of gang wars and viciousness, of betrayals and cruelty—but none of it had prepared me for her.

Taking my release from women was just another outlet of my lifestyle, I didn't usually remember their names and I liked to think I made it worth their while. I fucked hard, and I fucked fast. There were no comforts in the ways I held them down and pounded into them against any surface I could find. There was no precision in my moves, just a wild necessity to chase the euphoric high that came with satisfying my needs.

The women kept coming to me even despite my dangerous reputation, but I think that was part of the reason why they wanted me. It was as much an adrenaline rush for them as it was for me, a night of wildness they'd think about for the rest of their lives.

Once it was done I'd feel empty all over again, and then they would return to their simple little lives and I would be trapped in the same vicious cycle of violence.

The release was all I thought I needed, it had become a sort of routine that kept me in line until one day she had walked into my life and slammed me off kilter.

Just one look and she lit me on fucking fire.

I craved her warmth and her touch and her attention, I craved her snide remarks and the fear in her eyes that followed after them. I craved the little sounds she made whenever I put my hands on her and the softness I felt under them as she fought against her feelings to let me do as I wanted, but most of all I craved the way she acted around me.

Lola didn't bend to my will as easily as all the other women would, reshaping themselves as they tried to get my attention so that they could finally have a taste of what it was like to be fucked by a gangster. Lola fought against it though, refusing to mould herself into a toy she thought I would like. Instead, she was unapologetic about the ways she hated and wanted me at the same time, using my own games against me as she openly chose to flirt with my brother to piss me the fuck off, looking up at him with her sweet little smile and taking comfort in his touch instead of mine.

I had claimed Lola as my own in any way that I could, sometimes she would give into me and other times she would do anything she could to defy it. Even still, I had no right to the green-eyed emotion that was stringing my body together. I had no right to be jealous of the unassuming way she touched James considering I knew my brother wouldn't cross the line I had painted, and considering I was here waiting for Lola to walk into this room so that she could find me in the midst of getting my dick sucked by another woman—the same woman who had shoved her to the ground and disrespected her in a room full of people that knew she was mine.

Maybe their reactions were just an innocent retaliation to everything that was going on around them, but the possessive need to put all three of them in their places was pulsing through me. If I had no code like my father, I would have thrown Vicky out onto the street, then I would have punched the shit out of James before I bent Lola over the bar and fucked her until she was a teary-eyed mess.

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