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

Previous: Chapter Two
Next: Chapter Four

Chapter Three

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At the same time Keyonna came to that startling revelation, Nick Vitale seemed to suddenly return to his senses and gripped her shoulders, wrenching her from him.

His expression was glazed with a mixture of desire, shock and fury. “What the hell...?”

“Nick!”

They both turned round at the sound of that shrill voice, and Keyonna noticed for the first time that it wasn’t just Mark who’d appeared on the balcony. Behind the staring Mark stood a young and beautiful woman, her skin glowing with a rich deep tone much like Nick Vitale’s own. She was very slim, her model-like figure sheathed in a fabulous white floor-length dress.

Keyonna’s eyes widened, struck by how lovely the woman was, though she looked no more than twenty three. She had dark blue eyes and long blonde hair falling straight from her perfectly curved face. Her red-coated lips were hanging open, her expression a mirror of Mark’s who at last found his voice.

“Keyonna! How could you even...?”

Keyonna face creased in a grimace at Mark’s blustering tone, just as Nick Vitale shoved her aside, going quickly to the sexy looking beauty.

“Rachel, I can explain,” he began, but the young woman was already turning to stomp away.

“Spare me,” the blonde said coldly, her back to him as she stalked off, throwing over her shoulder, “Just you wait until I tell Daddy about this.”

Nick Vitale made to go after her, but Keyonna saw him stop in his tracks as he heard Mark say accusingly to Keyonna, “So this is the other guy, Keyonna. I just knew you were lying.”

Before Keyonna could even think of a reply, Nick Vitale turned his gaze on Mark and said calmly, “No, I definitely am not the “other guy”. But a word of advice my friend; give it up. She’s obviously more than you can handle. Trust me I know what I’m saying.”

And with that, he disappeared through the French doors after the woman he’d called Rachel.

Mark stared dazedly after the departed Nick Vitale before facing Keyonna once more.

“Don’t say another word,” Keyonna cut in swiftly, holding up a palm the second his lips parted. “If I still haven’t managed to convince you that it’s over between us, then there’s nothing else I can do or say. I’m leaving.”

He didn’t try to stop her, thankfully, and Keyonna brushed past him into the crowded ballroom where the party was still in full swing, people filling the dance floor while the lively band played popular tunes. Keyonna felt some relief in the fact that everyone else was blissfully oblivious to the little drama that had taken place just outside on the balcony. Glad too that neither Nick Vitale nor his woman friend were anywhere to be seen, Keyonna hustled for the exit.

She was still shuddering as her mind played over the whole cringe-worthy evening. Finding her purse and coat she headed straight out of the house. Once in the cool night air, she heaved a deep sigh of relief and swore that this would be the last time she’d venture into the walls of the Tucker home.

And hopefully, the last time she set eyes on that tempting devil, Nick Vitale...

Keyonna made her way out of the open wrought iron gates and began to stride quickly down the tree-lined sidewalk while trying to punch out a number for a cab on her cellphone. She suddenly became conscious of a sleek automobile grinding to halt next to her.

Nick Vitale was behind the wheel. He pushed open the passenger door for her. Keyonna stopped dead, staring at him.

“Get in,” he ordered curtly, leaning across the front passenger seat so she could look into his cold, dark eyes. “Right now.”

“You must be out of your mind,” she told him coldly, tossing her hair over her shoulder as she continued walking. She refused to look his way even as the powerfully sleek car began to slowly roll along after her.

“Don’t make me come out and bodily make you, Keyonna,” he said gruffly, and at the sound of her name on his lips, Keyonna paused in her stride and then swiveled to face him.

“I’m sure you’ve figured out by now that I’m not afraid of you, Mr. Nick Vitale,” she bit out with a scornful smile while meeting his icy glare. And then she sighed deeply. “You know, I’m getting more and more surprised at you. I mean, haven’t I embarrassed you – and myself, enough for one night?”

“Keyonna...”

Throwing her hands up at the growl in his tone, Keyonna finally let out a sound of capitulation. Not like anything worse could happen. For what it was worth, Keyonna actually felt a deep remorse. What she did had been unthinkable – uncalled for and downright stupid. One way or another, he may deserve some sort of apology. So okay, he’d been an annoying, interfering beast, but she really should have thought it through before kissing him. She’d never, ever done something so reckless in her life and now that the high had crashed down, she felt like a total idiot.

Without a word, she stepped into the luxurious confines of what happened to be a state-of-the-art Audi. The windows closed, sealing them within an atmosphere that both chilled her blood and warmed her toes. She felt Nick Vitale’s gaze sweep over her for a few moments in silence but she looked straight ahead. She let out a shaky breath as he then turned back to focus on his driving, shooting them off with a squeal of tires.

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Next: Chapter Four
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