Entice (The Fighter Romance Series - Book #2)

BOOK: Entice (The Fighter Romance Series - Book #2)
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Alycia Taylor

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I stood there for a few seconds trying to recover
from expecting Paul but finding Mitch on my doorstep. He was so damned big that
he actually blocked out the sunlight. I finally recovered but it was a few
seconds too long I found out. I didn’t even speak; I just tried to close the
door. Mitch outweighed me by at least a hundred pounds so it was no contest. I
pushed, he pushed back…I was lucky I didn’t end up on my ass. He ended up in my
living room.

“What the hell are you doing?”

I went to grab my phone and he said, “Wait!” I
already had the nine and the first one pressed in before he ripped the phone
from my hand. My next plan of action was going to be screaming…which I’ve never
done before, but what else was I going to do? This man was obviously a maniac
judging by the way he’d barged in here. I started to scream for help. “Wait!”
he yelled again in his deep, booming voice. “I’m a cop. Just calm down for a
second and I’ll show you my ID.”

“Cops don’t bust down innocent people’s doors!”

“Look!” He had pulled out his wallet. Holding it in
front of my face now, I could see an ID with a smiling, albeit big-headed,
Mitch on one side and a gold badge on the other. It said he was a detective
with the LAPD.

“If you’re a cop, you have a lot of explaining to
do. This could be
. Your behavior is sending out
more of a thug vibe than a cop one. What kind of cop trashes a gym and scares a
woman out of her wits by forcing his way into her apartment?”

“I didn’t trash any gym,” he said. “I don’t doubt
that was your…friend Paul, trying to make me look bad.”

“Why would Paul want to do that? And don’t say
“friend” like that, it’s creepy!” He was insinuating there was more between us.
I didn’t like it coming from him. The big ape actually had the gall to laugh.
That pissed me off more. “What are you laughing at?”

“Typical woman,” he said, shaking his head. “Worried
about how things look or what people think. I don’t give a shit if you’re his
friend or his lover, neither or both. If you were worried about it, you
wouldn’t be sneaking over to his apartment midmorning for a quickie,” he said
in a lewd voice. “The only people in Paul’s life I’m interested in are his
sister and nephew.”

“Your son?”
I suddenly wanted him to know I wasn’t as ill-informed as he might think.

“Yes, my son,” he said.

“Why are you traipsing around like a maniac scaring
people and picking fights? Why not just go through the courts with this?
If you’re such an upstanding citizen…a cop…why wouldn’t they give
you custody?”

“I’m not worried about the custody hearing. I’ll win
that hands down. Marie is running with my kid because she knows that she won’t.
She’s been gone with him for a long time, and before she left she was wanted on
charges of child abuse and neglect. All I intend to do is find her and take her
in so she can stand trial for her charges. I also, most of all, want to make
sure that my son is safe.”

I didn’t believe him. I saw Victor…he looked safe
and comfortable, not neglected or abused. If Marie had been on the run with him
so that she could keep him and abuse him, why would she let him stay with Paul?
Wouldn’t Victor tell his uncle if he was being abused? I had also watched this
guy pick a fight with Paul and the next day our gym was trashed.
Too much coincidence for me.
I didn’t buy that Paul went
back after his MMA match and trashed it to make Mitch look bad. I needed to try
and stay calm though. This guy was a live wire and who the hell knew what he
was going to do?

“I’ll tell Paul you came by if I see him,” I told
him in my calmest tone. I felt like I was talking down a bulldog that had his
jaws primed to attack. “I have no idea where his sister or his
nephew are
. I don’t even know them. I’ve barely just met
Paul.” Mitch raised an eyebrow at that. I’m not sure what he thought he knew
about me and Paul, but the look on his face alone made me feel like I needed a
shower. “I’d appreciate it if you leave now.” Before I got the words out, the
man had his massive frame so close to me that I could feel the heat coming off
his body. I could smell what he had for breakfast on his breath as he lowered
his voice and said through gritted teeth, “You can get yourself arrested for
withholding evidence in an active police investigation…or you can be smart and
just tell me where Marie is hiding.”

I was shaking inwardly, but determined not to let
him see it. I hoped my voice was steady as I gritted my own teeth and said,
“I’ve already told you that I have no idea. Now, if you don’t leave, I’ll
report you for…your inappropriate police behavior!”

The bastard laughed, again.
police behavior, huh?
Oh please don’t report me for that! You’ll tarnish
my sterling reputation.” We had a staring contest, then. It may have lasted
five seconds, five minutes or five hours…I really didn’t know. He finally broke
the silence by saying, “Look, if you’re worried about Paul wanting revenge on
you, I’ll never tell him that you helped me out.”

“I don’t know where his sister and nephew are,” I
said again, this time, firmer. “You’re wasting your time here, and I’m not
afraid of Paul in the least.”

“Oh cut the crap. I know women. You’re sleeping with
him and that means you think you have a right to know his business…” His tone
was so disparaging that I wanted to punch him just for his trampling of women’s
dignity alone.

“You do have a low opinion of women, don’t you?” I
couldn’t help myself. I bet he had mommy issues. “I have a question for you. If
you’re such a good detective, why not just follow Paul?” Mitch didn’t answer
that, but I got the feeling from his silence that he’d been following him, with
no results. Obviously he followed us here, and obviously he knew I’d just left
Paul’s apartment. “You really need to go,” I told him again. I could see the
vein in his neck pulsating and he was opening and closing his fists like he
wanted to hit something. Since I was the only one in his path, it was safe to
say I was worried, but I still wasn’t going to give him the satisfaction of
seeing my fear. I’d never been hit in the face full-on with a fist, but I
didn’t imagine it felt too good.

“I don’t like your attitude. I think I’ll take you
down to the station and we can continue this conversation there.”

I felt like I was going to throw up. If I did, I was
going to aim for his ugly shoes and hoped that it splashed all over him. My
head was spinning. I didn’t want to believe this man, but when he started
threatening to take me in, it made me think maybe there was something to it.
Police couldn’t just go around hauling people down to the station if they weren’t
under arrest or at least suspected of something, could they? Wouldn’t the other
police have questions? Didn’t you have to check things like that with the DA,
or was that just my Law and Order law degree talking? I wasn’t sure, but as
much as he didn’t like my attitude, I didn’t like the look on his face that
told me I’d actually be lucky if he took me in. He looked like he wanted to
hurt me.

I tried to silence that part of me who hated to be
pushed around and in the nicest voice I could manage at that moment I said,
“Look. I honestly have no idea about any of this. Like I said, Paul and I just
met this week. This is all new to me. We only talked family because of you,
actually. We went for a run this morning after we found out the gym was
trashed. He of course thought you did it. I asked him who you were and why you
would do a thing like that and he said you’re his sister’s ex-boyfriend and
Victor’s father. That is all I know.”

He chuckled and said, “He didn’t mention that I was
a police detective, did he?”

“No, he didn’t mention that,” I said. “My point,
once again, is that I barely know Paul. I’ve never met his family. I would have
no reason to protect him and risk going to jail for it. I met him at the gym
and I’ve only seen him there and on our jog today…My washer is broken and he
let me use his to wash my clothes today…that’s it.”

Mitch eyed me suspiciously. I didn’t think he
believed me any more than I did him.
At least not the part
about me not being any more involved with Paul than that.
I had to admit
that I was a little bit more suspicious of Paul at this point. Why hadn’t he
told me…or mentioned to anyone at the gym after the break-in that Mitch was a
cop…a detective no less?

Mitch had once again changed his tactics. Now he had
his hands in his pockets and he was surveying my apartment. He looked at a
picture of me and my mom on the wall and said, “Pretty, happy ladies.” I stayed
silent and after a few seconds he said, “Your mother?” I reluctantly nodded and
he smiled at me. I
was worried about him seeing my
fear for no reason. He could actually already smell it. He really was like a
dog. “She’s really pretty. I like red hair,” he said with a creepy smile. “I
bet she’d be awfully disappointed if her little girl got into a bad situation
because she fell for the wrong guy.” I thought about my mother’s relationship
history and her entanglements in mine and I knew she’d be the last person with
a right to judge me. I stayed silent and continued to stand with my arms
crossed, looking at him. My stomach still felt sick and my head had begun to
pound. I didn’t know what I was going to have to do to get rid of this guy but
I wanted him out of my apartment, like ten minutes ago
“Have you ever seen Paul fight?” He
blindsided me with the question. Where was he going with it?

“I’ve seen him fight once and I’ve watched a few of
his You Tube videos,” I told him.

Mitch nodded his head. Then he said in a calm,
controlled voice, “He’s good. He’s an angry kid. He learned to fight when he
was way too young…because of his father.”

Okay, was this suddenly a Paul history lesson? What
the hell was I supposed to say to that? I finally settled on, “Hmm,
interesting. I really have some things I need to do today…”

“His dad had a gambling addiction.” I didn’t even
give that one an “hmm.” What the hell was he trying to do? “He used his own
son, putting him in fights to win money for him.” He looked at me in the eyes,
then, and smiled. “I see you’re wondering what my point is.”

“Or if you had one,” I said, sounding a lot braver and
steadier than I felt.

“I have one. My point, my dear Jessie…
I call you Jessie?” Again, all he got from me was an icy
green stare. “My point is
the apple never falls far
from the tree. I met Marie under circumstances that were…criminal, we’ll say.
Paul bashes men’s heads in for a living because that is what his father taught
him to do. It’s the only way he knows to make his way in the world. It’s not a
good way…it’s dangerous to be that angry all the time. These people should not
be raising my son…anyone’s son. I will find Marie and when I do, pretty girl, I
hope that I don’t also find out that you are helping her hide from the law. I
also hope that it’s not too late for my boy because that will definitely take
this game to a whole new level.” He turned and casually walked to the door.
Before he got there he pulled a business card out of his pocket and laid it on
the table where I threw my purse and keys when I came in the door. “That card
has my work and cell numbers on it. Think all this over, Jessie, and when
you’re ready to both do your civic duty and help a little boy who is in
trouble, call me.”

BOOK: Entice (The Fighter Romance Series - Book #2)
8.5Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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