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

Previous: Chapter Three
Next: Chapter Five

Chapter Four

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Shane couldn’t contain his anticipation.

Tonight was to be a rehearsal of sorts. A dinner with a few of his friends and corporate sponsors with Angela present; there was a reason she would need to be there.

He already knew she was perfect for the job but still, this would be the best way to test if they could be convincing together as a couple. Especially since one or two of the guests were known spies for his mother. Valerie Davis held no qualms about using underhanded means to get information about her only son. He was sure her ‘spies’ would give her the information she needed and he was going to make sure they had plenty to report.

Shane hadn’t looked forward to an evening this much in a long time. Chandler and Beverly would be present; both were his close friends from his racing days. Chandler had worked on his pit crew while Beverly made sure everyone stayed fed and hydrated on race days.  Shane trusted them like they were family.

Recovery after the wreck hadn’t been easy, but with friends who cared about him, he’d managed to stay sane. Most of the time. The rest of the guests were part of his racing team’s corporate sponsors. They’d been good to him when he was on top and a few of them remained close friends. Probably hoping he’d jump back on the track someday but he didn’t see that ever happening.

It didn’t matter. He was looking forward to introducing Angela to them. She was so different from anyone they would expect to see with him. The past few years had been an endless circle of brainless blondes. True was he didn’t miss that lifestyle and mostly felt glad he’d been given a second chance to redeem himself. It was still hard to look in the mirror; figuratively and in the literal sense. Still, one day at a time, that was what his best friend Chandler always said.

Tonight, Angela managed once again to almost knock him off his feet with her looks. She arrived after being dropped off by his chauffeur. Her smile had been somewhat shy as he’d devoured her with his eyes. This time he’d met her at the door.

“You’re just in time,” he’d said mildly, wanting to put her quickly at her ease. He didn’t comment on how ravishing she looked in that dress...those heels. He had a thing for a woman in a dress. Her waist was the perfect size to play off her curvy hips and firm, high breasts. Her dark hair was artfully styled, leaving her fine cheekbones open to scrutiny and drawing attention to her big, bright brown eyes. Her lips...dear God, those lips. Full and soft-looking, they begged to be kissed.

Shane hated like hell that he wanted her so much. Because he knew he’d never have her. After all, he looked like a freak with the way the scars etched one side of his face. He was thankful his shirt at least covered the scars on his torso and arm.

Every time he looked at his reflection he had the vicious urge to smash the image to pieces. Fat lot of good all those expensive operations did. Once out of hospital he’d had to endure seeing people visibly recoil each time they saw his full face. Now he was used to it, even expected it those few times he went out in public. He couldn’t help seeing himself as one of those old Greek tragedy masks with one side of the face pure and good while the other was twisted and grimacing horribly.

To think he’d been on every Nashville’s ‘most eligible bachelor’ list. 

The wreck had changed all that. Now, nothing was the same.

But tonight, curiously, he felt optimistic for the first time in a long while. He realized meeting Angela had done that to him. She didn’t even have to do anything. Just coming into his life had him wanting to make things happen. He kept thinking that if he was whole; if he wasn’t some broken, scarred entity, he’d like to show her how good they could be together. If he didn’t look the way he did, he felt sure he could be a man she wanted to be with.

But he was only being a romantic fool. What did he really know about romance and love? Maybe all he wanted was a chance to get between her legs, nothing more. He didn’t believe in love at first sight and if that was what this was, then he sure as hell had to find a way to get her out of his system, fast.

For now though, he was going to stick to the original plan.

Previous: Chapter Three
Next: Chapter Five
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