Page 7 of For the Taking

She’d made him a better man.

When she’d been taken from him, no other woman would ever match up. This was the first time he’d ever felt any kind of arousal.

Reaching out, he put his hand on Meghan’s side, beneath her tits, touching her ribs. There was slight bruising, and as she winced, he saw she was tender.

No broken bones.

Nothing to cause concern.

She looked fine.

“You have nothing to worry about.” He gripped her shoulders and turned her so her back was to him, and he inspected more of her.

Still fine.

“You’re fine. You’re stiff. Soon you’ll be back to your old self.”

“Yay, you’ve just told me I’m going to be very much alive.” She clapped her hands and then gasped. “Shit! Ouch! Yeah, don’t do that.”

He raised a brow. “Are you okay?”

“Are you showing concern for me?”

“I need to know if I have to take you back to my doctor.”

“Will I have to be given a shot of your special medicine?”

“Yes.”

“Then I am more than fine.”

“You don’t like drugs?” he asked.

“Who does?”

He laughed. “You’d be surprised.”

“Do you?”

“No.”

“Well I’ve seen what happens to men and women who take drugs. Or kids. Let’s not forget the kids.”

“You have?”

“I grew up in the system. From time to time, living on the streets was a lot safer than living in the home. Believe me, it would have been easy to give myself up to the few minutes of peace the drugs provided.”

“You never did?”

“Nope. I had no wish to. They controlled you. I already had no control over my life because I was told where I was going to go. No one asked me. I figured I would have control over every single other area, and guess what, I did.”

“And now?”

“Now, I still have control.”

“Is that how you ended up in the warehouse about to be raped and killed?”

“Don’t forget beaten.”

“You’d already been that.”

“True. I had an error in judgment. I won’t let it happen again.” She pulled on her shirt, and he helped her with it. “No, I don’t want drugs. I avoid them at all costs. I’ve shared a little detail about my past. Why don’t you give me something?”

“I’m not the sharing kind of guy.”

“Look, you clearly have some kind of vendetta against this guy. I could help.”

He laughed. “You think you could help me?”

“Yes, why not? You’re the one that also has the issue as well. We could work together.”

“I don’t work with anyone.”

“You’ve never even given it a shot. It could be fun.”

He stared at her. “You’re not trained. When I leave you, I advise you get the fuck out of this city.”

“Are you going to make the city bleed?” she asked.

Riley was getting tired of her sarcasm and just talking. He didn’t like being around noise unless he was the one creating it. Screams of pain. Pleading. Begging. He could handle all of that. Her incessant chatter, not so much.

“I don’t intend to live after what I do. My life ended years ago. I’m merely settling a score. You, Meghan Short, are a survivor. You don’t have what it takes to be by my side. You will slow me down, and I don’t have time to babysit. You will do as I say, or you will die. Plain and simple. It’s up to you.”

He stared into her eyes, noticing the sharp green. She was beautiful.

Every time he looked at her, he could see why David wanted her. She was mesmerizing.

Pulling away, he went back to the window. It would be safer for the two of them if he just focused on the war he intended to create. He’d already started it on the streets. One day he would stand before David Peace, and then he would know the true meaning of suffering.

There was no wife to kill or children to hurt.

David had all of them, wife, women, whores, children. He cared for none of them. No, the way to David was to take his power away, one street at a time.

It was the only thing Riley was going to be able to do to finally get his revenge. Only, he wasn’t going to take over.

Riley planned to kill himself taking out the enemy. It was the only goal he had.

A man with nothing to lose was dangerous.

He didn’t have anything.

David had seen to that.

And soon, David was going to realize his biggest mistake was putting a bullet in the one thing taming the monster inside Riley.

Chapter Three

One week later

With a single piece of paper, Meghan’s hero was gone. He had stayed in the motel long enough for her to heal somewhat. Her face still had a lot of purple bruises, but she could see out of both eyes now. She didn’t need to wear any kind of bandage, which was a relief.

The motel had been paid for, and now she was alone.

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