Better When He's Bold(7)

By: Jay Crownover

Dovie was a doll. She was sweet, full of love and kindness, and had somehow gotten through all the barbed wire and chain link that surrounded Bax’s heart and taken up permanent residence. She was from the streets, had grown up very differently from me, and she knew inherently that life wasn’t always easy, that the things we did in the Point changed us. I knew Bax had clued her in on what was going on in the highly secured compound he had started to build shortly after the death of his dad—Novak—the man who had ruled the underbelly of the city with his brutal iron fists. But she loved us both enough not to ask questions or get between us and what we had to do. So far it was a system that was working out for everyone and my business keeps growing and growing.

Dovie was awesome, and as much as I had initially hated the idea of her and Bax as a couple, I understood now that she needed someone like my best friend to keep her safe; protect her from this place and this life. And Bax . . . well, he needed Dovie to keep him human, to give him something real and tangible to keep on living for. I needed both of them to make the takeover of the underground of the Point complete. Bax was my right-hand man. He had the connections both inside and outside of prison walls, the reputation, the presence to make shit happen, and Dovie was the conscience, the light that reminded me why someone like me needed to take over where Novak had left off.

In a place like the Point, there were always going to be bad things that fueled the day-to-day grind. When people live in a place covered in filth and grime, they have to have vices to make it through. Sex, drugs, money, gambling, murder, and all sorts of general mayhem were commonplace on this particular battlefield, and when a tyrant—an evil, horrible man—was in charge of the flow of all of those things . . . he could hold the city in a choke hold. I had no desire to do that.

I understood that those things were never going to go anywhere in the Point, and as long as I was the guy in charge of how they were running, how they were being doled out to the pitiful masses, then I could make a place that was pretty much uncivilized at least mostly tolerable to live in. It was tricky and risky, but I had always thrived on a good challenge, which was how I had ended up tangled up in the criminal underground with Bax all those years ago. It was also why I couldn’t get enough of Brysen Carter.

Everything about her was cool and pale. The disdain she felt for me practically rolled off of her elegant shoulders whenever we were within breathing distance of each other. Her denim-colored gaze tried to freeze me in place every time she looked at me, and the way she stiffened and tensed that gorgeous body whenever I got close made my dick hard . . . every single time. She was polished and perfect. She reminded me of another life I had kicked to the curb, and I wanted her like I wanted my next breath. The fact that she couldn’t stand me—obviously thought I was scum—made her allure even more potent. All I wanted to do was get her naked and rumple her up, but because Dovie was so fond of her, I maintained some sense of control. Well, control I had up until tonight.

As I pulled the car into the garage, closing the bulletproof, metal bay door shut behind me, I had to shift behind the steering wheel at the thought of her mouth on mine. Brysen Carter was a good girl. A pretty blonde from the right side of town, but, man, could she kiss like a dirty girl, like a girl from my side of town. It made all the blood-heating, spine-tingling hunger she had eating at my insides get even more insistent.

I slammed the car door and rounded the fender just as Bax came wandering out of his office. I never questioned it when he was here late. These cars, the old muscle cars, the classics in disrepair, meant something to him. He was bringing them all back to life piece by piece, which meant that since I lived upstairs in a converted loft, I had to listen to the sounds of revving engines and clattering tools well into the early hours of the morning sometimes. We shared a fist bump, and Bax ran his hands over the shaved surface of his head.

Physically, we were on opposite sides of the fence. Bax had dark hair, dark eyes, a black star tattooed next to his eye, a hard, unsmiling mouth, and a big, bulky build that was used as a weapon more often than not. He looked like a thug and a criminal but it worked well for him. We were both tall, a few generous inches over six feet, but I was a lot leaner, lankier, and had been born with all the characteristics that made for a perfect fit with my country-club background. I could hold my own, if things ever became physical, but I preferred to talk my way out of a tight spot, figured my brain was always my best weapon, not that this was reflected on the surface. I had wavy blond hair, shot through with gold and honey, that was a little long and shaggy and, more often than not, hanging in my green eyes. I looked like a trust-fund kid on vacation. I knew it, and even though I called the Point home now, I refused to change it. The way I looked made people underestimate me all the time, and since both Bax and I were still in our early twenties, trying to run a city built on the souls of those broken years before we had even been born, I needed every advantage I could get.

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