Book: Tough and Tender (Bad Boy Romance Box Set)

Previous: Chapter Two
Next: Chapter Four

Chapter Three


“Linda! Can you come in here a minute!”

The assistant hurried into the room. “So, what did you think about her?” she asked, trying to hide a smile. “She’s very pretty.”

“You knew?” Shane said, more as a statement than a question. 

“Knew what?” she replied, unable to contain her grin now.

“That she’s the opposite of what I requested. She’s completely different from anybody I’ve ever dated in the past. So you want to tell me how that happened?”

Linda let out a long sigh and placed the file folder she was holding on the table. “Yes, I knew. Maybe it’s time for a change, Shane. Here’s her file. Seems like a nice girl. Smart, hard-working, takes care of her dad who is in an assisted living facility. I ran a thorough background check on her. She’s behind on a few bills, but that’s the only mark against her. I wouldn’t have brought her in for the interview if I didn’t think she could do the job.”

Shane reached over and picked up the thick folder.

“Oh and you can thank me later,” Linda said over her shoulder as she turned and walked out the door.

Shane flipped through the folder detailing everything a private detective could dig up about Angela Neil. Linda was right. Angela would be perfect for the job.

He didn’t know what the hell had come over him. 

The part about Angela sharing his bed had never been in the plan. It was supposed to have been a cold-hearted agreement. Strictly business. But then he’d never bargained for wanting her like hell the moment she walked through the door.

She hadn’t been wearing anything provocative and there’d been nothing to suggest she would be interested in such a proposal. Fuck! So many months of avoiding any kind of female company was finally taking its toll. In fact no woman had switched him on so easily in a long while and it had momentarily freaked him out. He’d hoped the woman he hired for the job could be trusted to stick to the protocol.

But now sticking to any ‘protocol’ became the farthest thing from his mind.

Angela Neil embodied a woman in her sexual prime whose gaze, her smile could send heat signals zapping through the veins of any red-blooded adult male. In that somewhat modest dress, her curves had been hinted at with delicious detail.

Exquisitely feminine, she was well-spoken and had a stimulating personality that made you want to get closer, find out what made her tick. Shane couldn’t help but wonder what it would be like to lie with her, peel off each layer of that outfit and find out if that beautiful skin tone was even all over.

Shane groaned and turned sharply away from the window. It was an hour since she’d left and yet, he could swear a hint of her sexy perfume still remained. He felt like slamming his fist into a wall for how stupidly he’d handled things, blurting out like that about her sharing his bed as part of the contract. He normally had more strategy. And normally, before the car wreck that marred half his face, he could get any woman he wanted.

Shane could blame his extraordinary reaction to Angela on a lot of things. His long-term celibacy, for one. He’d meant it when he’d told her he’d been away from both female and social company for much too long. Ever since he’d returned from hospital after more than a year of treatment for his burns, Shane had found out soon enough that his new appearance would make him less than appealing to the fairer sex – or anyone for that matter. Apart from his closest friends who’d known him since childhood or his racing days, everyone else seemed repelled by what he’d become – something of a monster, whose once arresting good looks had become ravaged and scarred.

At first it had hurt like hell; seeing the rejection and disgust in a woman’s face where there had once been lust and admiration. He’d been so used to women falling easily into his lap – not just because of his money or looks, but for what he knew was his undeniable charm. Now not even those could win him the affection of a woman he wanted.

And then one day he’d decided, to hell with all of them. He didn’t require romance, or to feel the warmth of a woman’s love or esteem. But he did have needs like every other man...

Shane remembered that one time. The high-priced escort. Very practiced, very beautiful. She hadn’t even flinched when she’d seen his face. She’d undressed slowly, beguilingly. Her pale, slender flesh had been perfectly symmetrical, textbook sexy. Pert boobs, smooth-shaven sex and endless legs which she straddled on either side of his laps as he’d sat in his chair, immovable.

“We could have our very own Beauty and the Beast role-play,” she’d purred, flicking her long auburn tresses over her shoulder as her hands rested on his broad chest, scars tracking down the side of his right pectoral. “I’ve always wanted to be ravished by a man who looks like he could rip my clothes off with his teeth.”

She had done everything right. Her kisses had been wet and tempting. But it didn’t work out in the end. Shane had been indifferent, disappointed with himself. He’d told her quietly to dress and leave.

“What’s the matter? Did I do anything wrong?”

“It’s not you. It’s me. I’m sorry to waste your time. You’ll get paid in full and a little extra for the unsatisfying ending on my part,” he’d said, turning sharply away from her and shrugging back into his shirt.

“Oh, I’m not dissatisfied,” she’d said with a teasing smile. “There’s something about you that’s more than a scarred face. You’ve got a fascination...a certain magnetism that will make a woman want to look beyond the surface. I hope one day you’ll find the right one who will.”

Her words hadn’t held pity, only factuality.

It had stirred Shane’s imagination as he wondered if it were possible. In this world where appearance was everything and people judged by one’s looks and physical attractiveness; what woman would want to end up with someone that looked like him?

Shane decided he didn’t want to find out. It would break him if he tried and failed, or was rejected.

Shane never tried to pay for sex again.

So why had he acted like such a jackass with Angela? He knew he’d messed up and she probably wanted nothing to do with him or his offer to act as his girlfriend for a few weeks.

He also knew he’d have no sleep until he had her answer. One thing was certain, he wasn’t ready to see the last of Angela Neil just yet.

Previous: Chapter Two
Next: Chapter Four