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Curvy Girls Club novel

By Twyla Turner

2016 Copyright Twyla Turner

Cover Images:
Zsolnai Gergely

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, and incidents are
either the product of the authors imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblances to
actual persons, living or dead, or actual events are purely coincidental.
The awkward. The clumsy. The fringe dweller.
Youre not alone. Your tribe awaits.

Table of Contents:

Chapter One
Chapter Two
Chapter Three
Chapter Four
Chapter Five
Chapter Six
Chapter Seven
Chapter Eight
Chapter Nine
Chapter Ten
Chapter Eleven
Chapter Twelve
Chapter Thirteen
Chapter Fourteen
Chapter Fifteen
Chapter Sixteen
Chapter Seventeen
Chapter Eighteen
Chapter Nineteen
Chapter Twenty
Chapter Twenty-One
Chapter Twenty-Two
Chapter Twenty-Three
Chapter Twenty-Four
Chapter Twenty-Five
Chapter Twenty-Six
Chapter Twenty-Seven
Chapter Twenty-Eight
Chapter Twenty-Nine
Chapter Thirty
Chapter Thirty-One
Bonus Story: The Mia Chronicles
About the Author
Other books by Twyla Turner
Connect with Author


December, 12 years ago

Why am I so incredibly lame? Payton thought as she sighed softly, gazing longingly across the library
table at Brett Mason. This is my last chance to see him this semester and I cant form a single coherent
sentence about anything other than mathematics. Not like thats different than any other time weve
been in the same room all semester long.
Brett was the mega-popular linebacker for the football team at UC Berkeley. He was a senior and
beautiful. He had a bright future ahead of him as a pro-ball player if he could just get through his last two
semesters. Which was the only reason why Payton; a super shy, socially awkward, and uber intelligent
freshman had the opportunity to even be sitting across from him as she tutored him in college level
algebra. She, herself, was already taking Calculus I, so getting extra cash for tutoring athletes in easier
courses was a breeze.
Payton Bailey was on a full-ride scholarship to Berkeley, with a double major in Web Design and
Web Development. She excelled in school and failed miserably in life. Her thoughts always seemed
normal, but when she opened her mouth to articulate them, they came out stiff and practically robotic. She
didnt have very many friends back home in Chicago and hadnt gained any new ones since starting
college in August. What she had gained was the Freshmen Fifteen. Well, in her case, it was more like
the Freshman Twenty. But whos counting?
Payton was pretty sure that shed heard somewhere that college was supposed to be the best years of
your life. She was halfway through her freshman year and she was still waiting for those supposed good
times. Instead, she spent her free time watching Star Trek reruns and finding chat rooms that catered to
Star Wars fanatics. It was obvious she loved all things Sci-Fi.
Hey? What are you daydreaming about over there? Brett asked her suddenly.
Oh! Uh Payton pushed her glasses up the bridge of her nose nervously. Say something!
Anything! I was just thinking about the scheduled debate I have in my Stars Wars chat room later this
evening. Tonight well be going over the pros and cons of having Jar Jar Binks in Episode I. We all were
supposed to go back and watch the movie again, take notes, and then come back tonight with our findings.
I personally think Lucas couldve kept Jar Jar out. There definitely needed to be that annoying, but funny
character. Unfortunately, he was no C3PO.
Oh my God!!! Payton cringed inwardly. It was like she had diarrhea of the mouth. It just kept coming,
though she tried to stop it.
Payton looked up at Brett from under her lashes. Luckily, he looked more amused than anything.
Youre different, Payton. Understatement of the century. Cute, but different. I like it. Brett
grinned at her.
Oh wow! He thinks Im cute. Me! Payton Bailey!
Payton looked away bashfully. Unsure of how to carry on what seemed to be definite flirtation, she
reached for Bretts paper, to check the math problems he had been working on. Instead of coming up with
a witty and equally flirtatious response, Payton continued the tutoring session like nothing had happened.
The next hour passed with no more playful banter. Talking about math seemed to be the only way
Payton could communicate without completely embarrassing herself. So she decided to keep it that way.
Once they were finished with the tutoring session, they headed out of the library together. Payton
wanted to say something since she knew she wouldnt see him until the New Year. His algebra final was
tomorrow and then theyd be off for Christmas break. But for whatever reason, even Merry Christmas
wouldnt come out of her mouth. It was stuck in her throat. Lodged in deep and unwilling to come out.
Hey, let me drive you to your dorm. Its late and dark, so you shouldnt be walking across campus
by yourself. Brett offered sweetly.
O-Okay, she stammered.
Brett walked her over to a big SUV. Payton figured it was the only kind of vehicle he could fit in
comfortably since he was so huge. She loved how big he was because he made her plump, somewhat tall
frame, feel small next to him.
She slid into the passenger side as he got into the drivers seat. Payton clutched her book bag sitting
on her lap anxiously as he drove her to the dorms. Once there, he put the car in park in the parking lot out
front of her building.
So, good luck on your finals. Though I doubt you need it, seeing as how damn smart you are. Brett
looked over at her and smiled.
Thanks. Umgood luck to you too. Payton got out softly without making any awkward blunders.
Hey, I have a Christmas present for you back there. Brett pointed to the backseat of his SUV.
Come on. Come get in the back and Ill give it to you.
Paytons heart fluttered with joy that Brett would even think enough of her to get her a present for
Christmas. Shed tried to buy him something, but was so embarrassed looking at football paraphernalia
that he might like, shed run out of the store practically having an anxiety attack.
With sweaty palms, Payton followed Bretts lead and got out of the car and opened the door to the
backseat and got in. Once the doors were closed, Brett slid a little closer to Payton and she looked down
at her lap, unable to make eye contact. She felt his hand stroke down her cheek to her chin. He raised her
face, forcing her to look up at him.
Youre so beautiful, Payton. Brett complimented her and her stomach flip-flopped with excitement.
S-So, whats the p-present? Payton stuttered.
Brett didnt give Payton any time to process what hed just said before his lips were on hers. Payton
had never been kissed before, so she was unprepared for the invasion. She had imagined that her first kiss
would be slow and soft. But this was fast and harsh. Her happy heart of a few moments ago, was now
gripped with panic as he shoved his tongue between her lips.
Payton pushed at Bretts wide chest and he barely moved. Actually, he just groaned and moved
closer. She continued to push at him, but to no avail. In that moment, she knew. The only way he was going
to stop was because he wanted to. She had no power over the six-feet-three, two-hundred-and-fifty
pounds of muscled linebacker.
Come on, baby. Brett broke the kiss long enough to pant in her ear. You know you want it. Youve
been eye-fucking me all semester long. Now, dont be shy.
His tongue plunged back down her throat a second later. Terror seized Paytons heart because she
knew deep down that he would not stop. It was always something girls were told about, but nothing could
actually prepare someone for it. She beat at his chest, which seemed to only infuriate him. Brett grabbed
at her sweater and ripped it into pieces, exposing her white cotton bra. He released her mouth and kissed
down to her chest.
P-Please dont, Payton begged. Brett continued as he tugged down the cup of her bra and she
panicked at the feel of his mouth on her. I said, NO! Stop! Someone help me!
Shut up, you stupid bitch! Brett whispered angrily.
He covered her mouth with one hand as he straddled her hips and reached down with the other hand
to push up her brown corduroy skirt. He tried to pull down her navy blue tights, but Payton fought him off.
Her nails scraped and clawed at his skin. Brett released her mouth and she sucked in precious air, ready
to scream, but the back of his massive open hand connected with the side of her face before a sound could
escape her lips. Stars exploded behind her eyes and pain radiated across her face. Payton felt disoriented
from the punishing backhand. Brett took advantage of her dazed demeanor and shredded her tights from
her limp legs, before opening his jeans. Payton struggled out of her stupor and began to fight once more.
She heard hysterical screams before she felt them scraping at her throat, turning it raw. His massive hand
pressed hard against her mouth, smashing her lips painfully against her teeth and almost blocking her nose
as well. Paytons breathing was labored as she began to hyperventilate. His other hand held her wrists
against her chest as he attempted to separate her legs with his knee.
No! Not like this! I cant lose my virginity like this.
She started to feel lightheaded from lack of oxygen as he finally got her legs apart. Payton saw her
very last opening to escape and she took it. With a sharp jerk, she kneed his exposed genitals as hard as
she could and he howled in agony. Brett collapsed on the back seat, in a crumpled heap, as he cupped his
While he was distracted, Payton scrambled for the door handle and slid out from under him. When
the car door flew open, she fell to the rough asphalt, bruising her hip. Quickly, she regained the wind that
had been knocked out of her. She gripped her sweater closed and pushed down her skirt that was up
around her waist as she made a run for it.
Help! Help me, please! She screamed as tears ran down her face and she stumbled through the
parking lot.
Come back here, you fucking slut! Brett growled in pain and uncontained fury from somewhere
behind her.
Payton ran blindly through cars as he tried to chase her. She tripped up onto the sidewalk and ran
through the grass in front of her building. She ran blindly as tears clouded her eyes when she collided
with another body. They tumbled to the ground in a heap of flailing limbs.
What the hell? A feminine voice grumbled.
Help me! Payton gripped at the persons clothing.
Youre okay. The voice tried to soothe her.
No! Hes coming! Payton sobbed.
The person wiped at her face and Payton could finally see it was a girl about her same age. She had
long curly hair and a fierceness in her eyes as she looked back at Brett as he limped towards them, trying
to pull up his pants.
Get back here! You owe me, bitch! Brett shouted.
Over my dead body, pinche cabrn! The girl screamed in a mixture of English and Spanish.
What the fuck are you gonna do, bitch? Brett spat out.
The girl stood up and she was tall. Not as tall as Brett, but a few inches closer than Payton was. Two
other girls that must have heard the commotion, came running up as well. They stood on either side of the
first girl. All three blocking Brett from getting to Payton.
You cant fight all of us, asshole. One sneered.
You might want to adjust your undies. I can see your teeny-weeny. The other taunted.
Brett gripped the front of his pants, but not before his face turned bright red.
Watch your back, bitch. He growled at Payton before he turned and ran back to his car.
The three girls dropped down in front of Payton after Brett squealed his tires out of the parking lot.
Oh my God! Are you okay? The really short one asked. The side of your face is all swollen and
your eye looks like its closing.
I-Im okay, Payton said softly. I think.
Did he? The pale redhead asked, but let the question trail off as she looked down at Paytons
tattered, hanging tights.
N-No. I-I kneed him in the testicles before he could do anything else.
Good! He deserved that shit. What a dick! The first one that had come to her aid said angrily
before introducing herself. Im Mia.
Hello, Mia. Im Payton.
Im Kennedy. The redhead announced.
And Im Royal. The short one introduced.
We should call the cops. You need to press charges against that asshole. Mia suggested.
No! I-I couldnt. Payton said in a rush.
Payton, I know him. I know hes a popular football player that thinks he owns the school. Royal
added. Who knows if hes done this before. And if he gets away with it, hell probably do it again. You
cant let him get away with it.
Ill testify as a witness, Kennedy said sincerely.
Me too.
So will I.
Payton took a deep breath and looked to each of the girls. Something about the looks of
encouragement and sincerity written on their faces gave her the courage to nod her head. Mia nodded back
once and grabbed her cellphone. She pressed three numbers and then hit send.
Yes, my friend was just sexually assaulted, Mia said into the phone.
Paytons eyes flew up to the other girls at the word friend and Mia smiled at her reassuringly.
Royal rubbed her back and Kennedy held her hand. A sudden support system, shed never had before was
there soothing her.
That night would be the single worst and best night of Paytons life. The night she learned never to
trust men. As well as the night she found the three greatest best friends she could have ever asked for. Her

Chapter One

Twelve years later

Payton pulled up to her and her friends favorite restaurants in San Francisco. A sushi place called
Raw. It was their customary Saturday lunch and drinks with the girls. They had remained best friends
since their freshman year at UC Berkeley. Practically inseparable for well over a decade. Once they were
out of college and had entered into adulthood, if nothing special was happening on Saturdays, they always
made sure they met for lunch to catch up. Which often turned into dinner. Which then turned into several
drinks and another memorable CGC night.
CGC was something they had made up while in college. It stood for Curvy Girls Club. They were all
different levels of curvy, ranging from size 10 to 16. All beautiful in their own right.
Payton shut off the engine to her little silver Prius. When she got out of the car, she scanned the
parking lot and saw Royals custom made white and pink Harley, Kennedys cute red Fiat, and Mias
sleek, blue Audi TT. They were all there and waiting on her.
Payton smiled fondly as she walked into the restaurant and spotted her girls through the window, in
their usual spot on the back patio. The restaurant staff knew them well and made sure to leave their table
open on Saturday afternoons. They even knew what the women would order, so now the staff just brought
out their food once it was ready, after theyd all arrived.
Each of the four women were all very different in looks, personality, and temperament. Royal Kings
skin had a coppery complexion, extra full lips, almond-shaped dark brown eyes, and a cute little nose.
She was a size 10, but at only five feet, her compact curves were voluptuous.
Royals tastes were very much, rocker chick. She had always preferred rock music to Hip Hop.
Leather to lace. Her hair was cut in an angled bob, shaved on one side with peekaboo rainbow colors in
an under layer that peeked out whenever she moved. Luckily, her job as a fashion photographer for the
mens magazine, Diesel, gave her the freedom she needed to get away with her edgy look.
Kennedy Callaghan was striking. She was an average five-feet-five and a thick size 12. Her coloring
was very unusual. Probably due to her mixed parentage. Her mother being black and her father a
redheaded Irishman, Kennedy had the palest skin with freckles everywhere. They always teased her that
her freckles were the black trying to get out.
Kennedys hair was a deep auburn. She was currently growing it out natural, so she had this mass of
curls going in every direction that just made it to her shoulders. The fiery red complimented her cat green
eyes. Her mouth was full and wide, and her nose broad.
The stunning redhead was an author of romance novels, who often lived in the La-La-Land world she
created. The rest of them sometimes wondered if Kennedy even realized she was walking through the real
world. She truly believed what she wrote. That everyone got their fairytale happily ever after. Which was
why she was so extremely picky when trying to find a man. Shed shut him down in a heartbeat if he didnt
match her book boyfriend requirements.
Mia Ayala was also gorgeous. She was an Afro-Latina. Puerto Rican to be exact. But the African
blood that ran in her family was more pronounced in her than the rest of her relatives. Her skin was like
toasted caramel, her mouth lush and shapely. Her eyes were a pretty light brown, under eyebrows women
prayed for these days. Her hair was a thick dark brown, blonde tipped mane of spiraling curls that came
to the middle of her back.
Her statuesque body made men fall at her feet. She was five-foot-ten with small breasts and a slender
waist that curved down to the most unbelievably glorious hips, ass, and thighs people have ever seen in
real life. She had to get her clothes tailored because of her lovely shape. She was a size 9 in her waist
and above, but down below, she was a firm size 14. Her curves were dangerous and men sought her out
like their next thrill seeking adventure. And she ate them up and spit them out like a praying mantis
decapitates her mate.
Mia was and had always been, no nonsense. She was an interior designer and kept most of her clients
in line out of fear of her disapproval. She treated most men like disposable objects to use at her whim.
But she was fiercely loyal to her small circle of friends and she had a big heart that most outside of her
circle didnt know about.
Payton, even grown, was the beautiful yet shy and awkward, computer nerd. Under Kennedy, Mia,
and Royals expert tutelage, Payton became a not quite so introverted geeky chic girl, now woman.
Her skin was of the deepest mahogany. Her shapely, Cupids bow lips were just as dark. Payton had
stunningly large, dark brown eyes with enviable long lashes. All behind stylish, black horn-rimmed
glasses. Her hair was straight and landed just past her shoulders. After much debate and fighting the three
others had convinced, or coerced her into getting bangs. They now framed her adorable face.
Payton was five-seven and evenly proportioned all over. At a voluptuous size 16, plus her gorgeous
face, she could have easily been a plus-size model. But her shy, clumsy nature kept her firmly behind a
computer in Silicon Valley. One of the very few black female Web Developers/Designers that were even
let into the almost exclusive, practically all male, club-like atmosphere.
Payton strode over to her group of best friends and a procession of hugs began as she greeted each of
them. Kennedy was in her romantic bohemian style as usual. Mia had on a long, yellow sundress that
hugged every curve of her body like she often wore when she wasnt around her clients. Always on the
lookout for her next masculine victim. Royal wore black skinny jeans with silver studded black combat
boots, an off-the-shoulder white t-shirt, and a black leather jacket. And Payton was in jeans and a vintage
Star Wars t-shirt. She had almost put her hair up in Princess Leia buns, but decided against it at the last
minute, thinking, What would MRK do? Translation: What would Mia, Royal, and Kennedy do? They
had taught her that trick many years ago and it helped when she was in situations that made her feel
uncomfortable or awkward, or when she was about to make a fashion faux pas.
So, anything new since last Saturday? Royal asked the group as a whole as Payton plopped down
in her seat.
They answered in unison, Work.
Seriously, girls? Thats it? Royal asked doubtfully.
I have one scene left in my newest story, Kennedy added. The sun broke through the San Francisco
fog to set her hair on fire as it blew softly in the breeze. My newest book boyfriend, Jake, is so smokin
hot. She finished with a wistful sigh.
Thats still work, Ken. Did you do anything else? Meet anyone from the online dating site you
joined? Royal coaxed.
I write for a living. I didnt even leave my house. Hell, you better be happy I showered today,
considering I was so deep into my story that Ive been forgetting some days. Kennedy took a sip of her
wine and looked directly at Royal with zero shame.
Kennedy did have a tendency not to leave her house for long stretches when she was deep into a new
story. Sometimes they had to go check on her to make sure she hadnt forgotten to eat. And to make her
brush her teeth. She often forgot the world existed when she was creating her own.
Well, what about you, Mia? Royal turned to the Latina stunner. No boy toys over the past week?
She asked expectantly. Mia usually had some juicy stories that had them at the edge of their seats.
Not this week. Mia blew out a harsh breath. Ive been working with three different clients and
theyre running me ragged. So damn demanding and spoiled that it takes everything in me not to choke
them out. So Im too tired and emotionally drained to even think about a man. Mia finished with a shake
of her head.
Royal looked over to Payton and she immediately answered before she could get out the question.
Dont even ask. Statistically speaking, the majority of the males Im around are more inclined to seek the
company of a sexy Cosplayer. Someone whose body is similar in dimensions tolets say, Princess Leia
in the golden bikini. Not someone who is built more like Jabba the Hutt. Payton announced in her uber
intelligent, lecturing professor voice.
Royal threw her napkin at their awkward friend. Payton lacking in the hand-eye coordination
department missed catching the folded cloth square and it hit her in the face.
Oh stop that! You do not look like Jabba the Hutt! Royal scolded her. Youre gorgeous and you
know it. Dont put yourself down just because youre around a bunch of nerdy douchebags that have
fantasies of fucking cartoon characters. Trust me, Ive seen some of that hentai shit and know they have
crushes on those Japanese animated characters. Royal said indignantly.
Didnt you have a crush on John Smith from Pocahontas? Mia piped in.
Hush up, Mia. Royal grinned, before defending herself. Ill admit, he is a damn fine cartoon
character. But thats beside the point. I didnt want to have sex with him. These dudes beat their meat to
those cartoons.
Well, what about you? Kennedy spoke up. You keep asking us whats going on in our lives. Thats
obviously code for Im dying to tell you guys what happened to me this week. She cocked her head to
the side, waiting.
Uh Nothing special, really. Devon stayed the night last night. Royal admitted with a shrug.
Seriously?! Your editor?! Kennedy exclaimed.
Yeah. Royal smiled slightly.
And Mia trailed off.
And, what? She stalled.
And, how did it go? Kennedy completed the sentence.
It was okay.
Dios Mio! Dont tell me that mutherfucker left you hanging?! And after youve waited so long to get
with him. Mia asked angrily. She had a tendency to curse like a sailor when she wasnt around her
clients. I know the look of an unsatisfied woman. Believe me, her reflection stared back at me for ten
Calm down there, Sex Nazi. Royal held her hands up, palms out to try and stop Mia from busting a
blood vessel. I think he might have had performance anxiety last night. And this morning he was just in a
rush to meet his friends for golf. The excuses sounded all kinds of lame, even to Paytons inexperienced
Thats still no excuse. Youve been flirting with each other for months. On the first night you sleep
together, he should be making sure you cant even walk the next day. Yet here you are, in perfect physical
condition. You dont even look tired. Mia gestured to Royals body, then turned to Payton for a valuable
teaching moment. When youve had some good pipe laid, you will look like a damn wildebeest when
hes done with you. Hair all over your head, makeup smeared, sweaty, eyelids droopy, lips swollen
both sets, and sore all over. Polite sex is terrible sex. Remember that.
How do you know he wasnt any good? Maybe Im just good at fixing myself up to look presentable
the next day. Royal tried to defend herself.
Mia lifted one perfect eyebrow and paused for a few beats, letting Royal sweat a bit before she
continued. If he put it on you good, youd at least have a satisfied gleam in your eye. Your eyes look as
lackluster with disappointment as they did last week when you were still waiting for that asshole to make
a move. Youre surrounded by beautiful men every damn day. So why do you even want this jackhole?
Mia shook her head in disappointment.
Oh yeah, Im surrounded by beautiful men alright. Men that dont look twice at me unless Im behind
the camera that they have to look at to get a good shot. Models are not interested in me. Theyre interested
in other models, actresses, or singers. Besides, some of them are either so wrapped up in their reflection
they dont have time to notice anyone else. Or dumb. Or gay. Royal crossed her arms over her chest
protectively, sending the silent signal that the discussion was officially closed.
Come on, Royal, Kennedy said sympathetically. You so deserve better than a guy that doesnt care
if you get yours before running off to play golf with his buddies.
Payton nodded, Shes right, you know. You have a much higher probability of finding a decent man
to date if you stop expending so much energy on one that doesnt expend as much energy on you. Payton
finished. She had the strangest ways of saying the most profound things.
Thanks, Spock, Royal said to Payton and she smiled happily at the comparison. Look. I know he
seems like an asshole. But we really do have some kickass moments. I know he has more feelings than
hes letting on. And maybe hes keeping me at arms length because of work. It is kinda frowned upon for
editors and other staff to be dating. People think there would be preferential treatment. Maybe hes
waiting for me to start my photography business, she tried to reason.
Thats two too many maybes, Royal. Mia gave her a look like she would one of her more difficult
You know what? None of you really have any room to lecture me. She began, letting the harsh truth
spill over and out. At least Im trying. Kennedy, youre so wrapped up in writing your fairytales that you
dont even know what reality is anymore. And you judge every man you meet by the book boyfriends
youve made up in your head. Those men dont exist and if they did, you probably wouldnt want him
anyway. Kennedy blinked in shock, while Royal moved on to Mia.
You are still so angry about your failed marriage that you act like men are playthings that you can
dispose of whenever you want to. Like they dont have feelings or dont matter. I know some guys are
dicks, but youve bypassed some pretty rad guys because youre so afraid of getting hurt again. Mia
ground her teeth together in anger but remained quiet.
Royal then looked at Payton and her eyes widened a bit in trepidation behind her large glasses. But
Royal softened her voice just a bit for their socially awkward friend. And you, I know, have a hard time
talking to guys. Especially, after what happened back in college. But youd also have a higher probability
of finding someone to date if you tried a little harder instead of hiding behind your computer or the next
sci-fi novel or reruns of Star Trek. Payton nodded in sad agreement at her friends summation of her love
Royal sighed and looked at each one of them before continuing. I love every single one of you like
you guys are my sisters. I know I might make stupid decisions, but then again we all do. Just in our own
quirky ways. So just get off my case. Alright?
They nodded their heads reluctantly.
What are we supposed to do, though? Kennedy asked sadly. Were all about to turn thirty this year
and were all still single. Plus, its so hard for black women when it comes to love. None of us are
interested in thugs, but most of the black guys with any sense or class arent interested in dating us
anymore. And guys of other races, either stick with their own or are too afraid to date or marry a black
woman. We cant catch a break to save our lives. She admitted, taking a moment to step out of her fantasy
world and acknowledged the plight many of them faced throughout the country. What are we supposed to
do, remain alone?
Dont even think about it, Payton. Mia blurted out just as Payton opened her mouth to say
something. I dont want to know about whatever shitty statistic youre about to educate us about. And you
wonder why I dont want to get close to any of these worthless ass clowns. Better to do the dumping than
to get dumped.
Dude, thats a horrible way to think about it. You cant go around hurting people because you dont
wanna get hurt. Royal scolded.
Wanna bet?! Mia sipped her rum and coke. Besides, they dont get hurt. They get laid. Theres a
difference. If any of the men Ive been with since my divorce say that they love me, they are full of shit. I
dont even let them get close enough to know me, let alone love me. So if theyre in love, theyre in love
with the idea of me, not actually me.
She does have a point. Payton agreed. In order for someone to feel a true emotional connection
with someone else, one must spend a considerable amount of time around that person. Outside of sex, Mia
is only around a man long enough to take her panties off and then pull them back on again.
Kennedy and Royal, nearly spit out their drinks at Paytons joke. Mia just scowled. Payton had many
moments of hilarity. Made funnier by the fact that she didnt even realize just how funny she could be.
I hate you bitches. Mia pouted.
The three of them burst out in a fit of giggles as the wait staff brought out their food and Mia
continued to scowl at them. Once the staff left, Kennedy leaned in to say something, her face serious.
Lets make a pact today. A pact that well try to remain open to new possibilities. Well stay open-
minded about men we may have never considered before. To open our eyes to love. She looked at each
one of them and held her hand out in the middle of the table. You in?
They all looked at her and then each other for a moment.
Im in.
Im down.
They each put a hand in the middle of the table. One on top of the other. Payton placed her hand on the
very top.
On three. All for one. And one for love. Kennedy grinned. One...two
All for one. And one for love!

Chapter Two

Over the next few days, Payton thought about the conversation theyd had over lunch. She knew it
really was time to get over her aversion to men. Logically, Payton knew that not all men were asshole
rapists. But emotionally, she still had moments where she was truly terrified of being near a man.
Throughout the rest of college, she couldnt even be alone in the same room as a man without having
a panic attack. Working mainly with men, day in and day out helped to make her more comfortable around
them. It helped that the majority of them werent huge, hulking guys. Big, muscular men used to make her
swoon, but now they just sent Payton into a full-blown anxiety attack. She couldnt even watch football
without getting the shakes. She despised the sport.
Payton would never forget the look on Bretts face when he was convicted of sexual assault and was
being cuffed in the courtroom. Hed looked at her with the deepest hatred shed ever seen. Pure evil was
in his eyes and it sent a shiver through her soul.
After shed pressed charges and hed been arrested, the story made it to the news, since he was such
a rising star. Then other girls started coming forward because of Paytons bravery. Little did they know,
she was only brave because of the three women that stood by her side through it all.
In the end, hed gotten only five years in jail. But hed lost everything. His friends, his college career
and his pro-ball career. It was little consolation, considering the emotional wreckage he left behind.
Especially, for those young women that werent as lucky as Payton to get away from him.
Payton knew it was time to let go of the past and move forward. But she had no idea how. She wasnt
sure how to go from avoiding any and all contact with men on a social level one day, to suddenly trying to
find one to date the next.
She figured it was her best bet to start where she was familiar. Work. She felt relatively safe there.
And she knew the men she worked with. You thought you knew Brett too. The negative side of her brain
taunted her.
Payton scrunched up her face, pushed up her glasses, and tried again, ignoring her sub-conscious. She
glanced around the long table filled with her co-workers at their company, By Design. They were in the
middle of their weekly, Monday morning meeting. The majority of the table was filled with guys, so she
had a ton of options. Average. Tall and lanky. Short and round. Short and fit. Glasses. No glasses. Hipster.
Cosplayer. Gamer. The nerdy options were practically limitless.
So we all know that Comic-Con is coming in a few months. Her boss Tim started in on the next
order of business. There were fist bumps and excited murmurs throughout the group at the mention of their
beloved convention. We have to come up with new strategies to wrangle in new clients.
Tim tried to turn on the projector to start his presentation. But just like every Monday, the machine
decided it didnt want to cooperate. The ironic part was that it happened all the time, in a room full of
computer geniuses. It was almost comical how everyone took turns trying to fix the infernal thing.
As a few scrambled to fix it, Payton observed the guys in her department. Web design. Mostly made
up of super smart and computer savvy people, with a flair for art. Much like her. Though she had plenty in
common with them, Payton didnt get that giddy feeling like the girls talked about. She hoped that it was
just because she was so hesitant to date anyone. She did find a few of them pretty cute and non-
The two in particular that she was most interested in, were sitting across from her and deep in
discussion about the next Comic-Con. Zach and Ben. Zach was kinda tall and slender, with adorable
unruly blond curls and stylish glasses. And Ben was soft and cuddly like a teddy bear and a total hipster,
trying so hard to be cooler than what he was. Payton knew the same could be said for her. The girls
definitely gave her extra cool points, helping her bring out her own geeky chic style.
Man, I cant wait to see some of the girls! Ben said with barely contained anticipation. I swear,
Comic-Con was the best creation ever for helping comic book nerds get laid across the country. And by
hot chicks too!
Dude! Some of the outfits last year Zach shook his head in wonder. This year, I might have to
duct tape my dick down to keep from walking around with a tent in my pants.
Payton cringed at the vulgar conversation. She had avoided paying any real attention to what guys
talked about outside of work. She took a deep breath and mentally shrugged, figuring it was just something
shed have to deal with.
aw man, no! You liked her?! That girl had a butterface. Ben cringed as Payton came back in on
their conversation.
Better to have a butterface than a nasty body. Zach defended.
True. True. Ben nodded and then grinned slyly. You can always put a paper bag over her face
while youre banging her.
Payton scowled at the two men across from her. She felt the diarrhea of the mouth bubbling up in her
throat. She opened her mouth and it, unfortunately, spilled out.
I find it quite fascinating that two average looking men, with rather unexceptional bodies and
marginally interesting personalities, would feel that they have the right to judge a womans body. It must
be that male privilege deluding you into thinking that any girl butterface or otherwise would be interested
in two unremarkable ass clowns. Payton finished her tirade, made extra colorful by using some of the
phrases her friends often employed. The two men just blinked at her in shock as she got up and moved
seats in the conference room.
She may not have been the most socially perceptive person, but Payton knew they were wrong and
being assholes. Her other co-workers that witnessed the confrontation, looked at her in shock. The few
females in the room that overheard, gave her a conspiratorial smile. A few even gave her the thumbs up. It
was apparent that she wasnt the only one fed up with the bullshit of the males in their department.
It was also obvious that Payton was going to have to pick a different guy to try and talk to. She was
not someone with a banging body, as they put it. Or maybe it was time to hit the gym. At the very least to
tighten some things up, because she was pretty sure that if Zach and Ben thought that way, more than likely,
many others thought that way too. Though Payton avoided physical activities like the plague. Not because
she wasnt interested in fun activities to do, but because she was the most uncoordinated person to have
ever stumbled along the planet.
Even though it was the last thing she wanted to do, Payton had noticed some changes in her body from
having such a sedentary job. She was beginning to have aches and pains from the lack of physical activity.
That, combined with the guys comments and her new project to find someone to date, made her realize
that she was going to have to do the thing she dreaded most. Workout. And in front of people.
I dont even know where to start or where to go.


Payton saw Ayumi chatting with a bunch of guys that were surrounding her. Ayumi was that girl, nerdy
girls wished they could be like. Ayumi was that naturally geeky chic girl. The girl, for which, the term
geeky chic came from. Where her geekiness was adorable and her chicness was effortless. She was
Japanese American, with a cute face and fit body. Her vintage tees always fit perfectly, accentuating her
perfect body. Payton had overheard Ayumi talking about an awesome gym that shed been going to for a
few months. So she waited for an opening to ask Ayumi about the gym. When the lovesick guys who
surrounded her finally walked away, Payton made her move.
Uh Hey, Ayumi! Payton shouted and then cringed at how loud the greeting came out.
Hey, Payton! Ayumi greeted. Open and friendly.
Of course, she would, shes perfect.
Hey! I heard about what you said to Zach and Ben at the meeting today. Fucking awesome! She
exclaimed in a whisper. Youre my hero.
Me?! Payton blinked in surprise.
Heck yeah! You always say what youre thinking, no matter what. I wish I could be like that. Ayumi
confessed, to Paytons astonishment.
Uhthanks. Payton frowned, unsure of what to say after that. Arent you supposed to compliment
someone after they compliment you? Well, sometimes I wish I were you, because youre super cute in
your geekdom, unlike me. All the guys want you.
Aw! Thanks, Payton! Ayumi smiled happily before she moved to walk away.
Payton quickly remembered why shed called Ayumi over in the first place and gripped her arm to
stop her.
Um, Ayumi. I have a question. Payton nervously pushed her glasses up her nose. I-uh-am
interested in starting to go to the gym, but I dont know where to go or where to start.
Ayumis face literally lit up like a Christmas tree and she gripped Paytons hands tightly. Oh my
God! I have the perfect place for you. Youre gonna love it! Its called The Red Scots Ultimate Gym and
it has everything!
Payton nodded and tried to absorb the information that Ayumi was giving her at 100 mph.
It's owned by this awesome MMA fighter and its huge! You can do regular gym stuff, like run on the
treadmill, lift weights, and swimming. But it also has training for boxers and mixed martial arts for other
fighters. They have personal trainers to help you with your weight loss goals. It has a rock wall, Zumba
classes, kickboxing classes, spin classes, etc. They even have self-defense classes. It literally does have
everything. Its this huge complex that you could get lost in. I love it! Ayumi finally finished.
They should hire her as their spokesperson. Sheesh!
Uh. That sounds a little too complicated for me. I was thinking more like a Curves or something like
that. Payton frowned. Besides, it sounds like there would be a lot of men there. And muscular ones at
Ayumi brushed off Paytons concerns with a swipe of her hand. Oh Payton, dont even worry about
that. Everyone is super respectful and minds their own business. It isnt allowed for the members to
bother or make unwanted advances towards other members. If there are any complaints, that person gets
their membership revoked. The guy who owns it, wanted it to be a place where women also felt welcome
and at ease. I promise youll love it.
If you say so, Payton said, mentally crossing the mega-gym off of her list of places to go.
How about this? Bring a change of clothes with you tomorrow and instead of going in the morning
like I usually do, well go together after work, so you can get a feel for the place. I get one free guest per
month. If you like it, you can sign up.
Payton took a deep breath and blew it out through her nose, unsure of what shed just gotten herself
Sweet! This is gonna be life-changing for you!

Chapter Three

Bradyn MacTavish pounded his gloved hands together and hopped from foot to foot, squaring off
against one of their newer students at the gym. He grinned at the anxious young man, showing off the black
mouth guard that was protecting his teeth. Bradyn moved his head quickly from side to side, and a series
of loud pops echoed in the open space as he cracked his neck.
Lets go, lad, Bradyn mumbled past his mouth guard.
The kid swallowed loudly as Bradyn circled around the ring. The boy reminded Bradyn a lot of
himself when he was younger. Hefty, awkward, scared of his own shadow. It was obvious the kid needed
a champion. Someone who believed in him and pushed him enough to find his inner beast. Bradyn felt like
he was just the man to do it. Plus, he could use this as a warm up for his real workout later.
Bradyn advanced on the teen and he immediately backed up against the ropes, cowering in fear.
Aw! Come on, lad! I ken ye can do better than that. Bradyn coaxed after pulling out his mouth
Huh? The kid frowned not understanding Bradyns Scottish brogue.
I know you can do better than that, he tried to pronounce more clearly.
The kid nodded his head resolutely. Bradyn shoved the guard back in his mouth and stepped into a
wide stance, ready to give it a go once more. As he began to advance on the kid, something caught his eye
and he glanced over to the movement. Later on, down the road, when he looked back at this moment and
had to describe what happened, hed say, the world fell away. Thats literally what it felt like. In an
instant, all things ceased to exist for those first initial seconds. Everything became out of focus and hazy.
All except for the woman that walked towards a row of elliptical machines.
All around him, Bradyn had women with lithe bodies in tight, skimpy outfits of Lycra and spandex,
and in full makeup and sexy perfectly mussed hair. They eye-fucked him every single day. But every day,
his interest never got further than mild passing attraction.
This woman, though. Her skin was a deep, rich coffee color. Her jet black hair was pulled back into
a haphazard ponytail, with a fringe falling over her forehead and framing her face. Sexy black, horn-
rimmed glasses slipped down her nose and she continued to push them back up. It reminded Bradyn of a
schoolteacher or librarian. Her outfit was made up of a simple gray, oversized t-shirt, black cropped
leggings, and colorful sneakers.
She just reached the height that was considered tall for a woman. Under her clothing, she appeared to
have a plump, curvy body that Bradyn decided hed definitely like to see more of. And even though she
tried to keep her eyes down, and hid behind her glasses and fringe, she had the most stunningly beautiful
face he had seen in a long time. If ever.
Bradyn took her in from head to toe within milliseconds. His eyes and mind often worked quickly to
size up an opponent. They were no different when discovering a beautiful woman. Out of nowhere,
Bradyn felt a punch to the side of his face. Ill prepared for the right hook, he went down like a brick. His
six-foot-five, two-hundred-and-sixty-five-pound frame hit the floor with a loud thud.
Oh shit, man! Im sorry! The kid apologized immediately.
Dinna fash yerself, lad. Bradyn brushed it off as he wiggled his jaw, making sure it was okay. And
never apologize fer successfully hitting yer opponent. It was my fault, anyway. I got distracted.
Dude, you talk weird. The teen commented as he helped Bradyn stand.
I said, Dont worry about it. Bradyn translated. Arent ye learning context clues in yer studies?
They come in handy. Ye should use them.
Bradyn dismissed the boy and then scanned the open gym for the beautiful woman. He spotted her on
one of the elliptical machines. A cute Asian girl hed seen before, appeared to be helping her get started.
The dark-skinned woman seemed awkward on the machine as she listened to whatever the other woman
was saying. After a few beats she got her stride and the other girl got on the machine next to her. They
took an easy pace, to get started.
He wanted nothing more than to go over and strike up a conversation, but all the machines around her
were taken. And even if they werent, Bradyn knew that he would more than likely choke if he tried to
speak to her. He might have been in the best shape of his life and one of the most popular fighters in his
sport, but to him, hed always be the unpopular, fat kid on the inside.
He was teased mercilessly as a kid. Tripped, kicked, tossed in rubbish bins, etc. You name it, and it
was probably done to him. No girl would touch him with a ten-foot pole back then. It wasnt until his last
year of high school and a tragedy that befell his life that he found martial arts and a Sensei that wanted
him to succeed. After a while, the pounds melted and Bradyn got better and better. So much so, that he
started to compete. He learned as many fighting techniques as he could, he got on a strict diet and started
lifting weights. Eventually, getting into the MMA heavyweight division. A place where he excelled.
Where he once was afraid, now, he was a beast. No opponent scared him. Each one posed their own
challenges, but if he took a hit, hed just get right back up. Even if he lost, which he rarely did, hed take it
as a learning lesson and watch the fight over and over again, until he figured out why hed lost.
He feared no man, but he was terrified of a beautiful woman. His tongue always seemed to get tied up
in the words he wanted to say. A lot of women said that he was quiet and brooding. Little did they know,
he just couldnt speak half the time. Oh, he got laid if he wanted to. Then again, you didnt need to talk to
have sex. Hed learned the art of body language, to help him communicate. Women knew when he wanted
them and vice versa.
But when it came to actually wanting to be in a relationship with a woman, to actually talk to her, he
was at a loss. Just thinking about it now, had his palms sweating as he watched the woman pick up her
pace on the cardio machine. Bradyn had no problems talking to women he had no attraction to. And girls
that threw themselves at him, having sex with them without conversation was easy. It was when it was
more than sexual. When he actually wanted to get to know them. When he developed crushes. They were
called crushes for a reason. And he was crushed every time they lost interest because of his silence.
Add to all of that, that this woman was possibly the most gorgeous, he personally, had ever seen. For
some unknown reason, he wanted to know her thoughts. And he wanted to know what made her get out of
bed in the morning. Mix all of that together, Bradyn was practically frozen in place.
Hey, Red. His sparring buddy, trainer, manager and best friend Mitch interrupted his thoughts. Are
we gonna go a few rounds or what? Youre standing over here like a damn statue.
I think Im gonna go run a few miles on the treadmill, Bradyn said absentmindedly.
Uh, dude? You know that you need to start working on going up in weight, right? You cant be doing
cardio this close to your next match when you know youre gonna have to put it all back on in a few
weeks. Mitch warned him.
Och! Dinna fash. Bradyn ignored his friend and made his way over to the line of cardio machines.
There were two rows of machines. The front row was a line of stationary bikes and rower machines.
The second row was made up of half ellipticals and half treadmills. The woman that Bradyn couldnt
seem to take his eyes off of was next to the very first treadmill, but all were occupied, except the very last
one on the opposite end. Bradyn quickly strode over and hopped on the last one.
He set his stride to a quick pace, surprisingly light on his feet for being such a large man. Bradyn
pretended as if he was interested in the television program that was on the TV in front of him, but he was
actually focused on the girl through his periphery. As well as, watching to see if anyone was getting off
any of the treadmills closer to her.
As luck would have it, the third one over became available and Bradyn immediately switched
machines. He was still three treadmills away from the one next to her, but he held out hope that hed get
closer. After ten more minutes, the man next to Bradyn wiped down his machine and left. He moved again.
A woman strolled along sedately next to the dark-skinned beauty, which made Bradyn clench his teeth
in frustration. It felt like hours before the woman finally decided to vacate the machine. Bradyn saw a guy
making a beeline towards the now open machine and he practically flew to the treadmill he had been
waiting for, while giving the other guy a look that clearly said, Dont even think about it.
Fortunately, she was so focused on her workout that she didnt notice the battle of wills for the
machine next to her. Now that he was finally beside her, Bradyn felt light and energized. He took off on
the machine, running at a fast pace. Probably going a little faster than he would normally, subconsciously
trying to impress her. She didnt even look his way.
Bradyn slowed down to match her fast-paced walk. Nothing.
His mind whirled with possible ways to start a conversation.
Hi. No, too simple.
Hey! Too eager.
Ye come here often? Where are we? At a disco?!
Yer a bonnie, lass. Dude, could ye get any creeper?
Hello, Im Bradyn. Is this yer first time here? I own the gym and I havent see ye before. Not
bad. Not too creepy or desperate.
Bradyn opened his mouth. Andnothing. Not one single thought was in his head. The few sentences
hed come up with a moment ago were gone. He closed his mouth, frowned, and then tried again. Still
nothing. The Asian girl said something to his dream woman and they both slowed to a stop. He watched
as they wiped down their machines and then walked away towards the womens locker room. Bradyns
fist clenched and his mouth flapped open and closed, but no sound made it past his throat.
He watched, deflated, as she disappeared through the door. Yer a complete knuckle-heid,


The cat-n-mouse game continued throughout the week. If it could even be called cat and mouse.
Bradyn felt it was more like mouse and mouse because he definitely didnt have the balls to approach her.
He had been elated when he saw her the next day. After trying to get close to her again on the
machines and choking once more when he was within speaking distance, Bradyn went to the front desk
and asked his worker if the woman had signed up for a membership. She had. And now he finally had a
name. Payton Bailey. Not like he could actually go up to her and use it. That would be a dead giveaway
that he was totally being a creepy bastard.
It was Friday, and he knew that he had one last chance before the weekend to speak to her. Bradyn
had once again made his way over to the treadmill next to her favorite elliptical like he had done each day
since shed started coming in. Luckily, she didnt have any earbuds in, so when he did actually get up the
courage to speak, shed hear him.
Bradyn slowed his pace down, preparing to speak. He opened his mouth, to begin with, Hey, but
instead a strange grunt/grumble/cough came out and he scowled in frustration. The noise must have
startled her because she glanced over at him. The minute she took in his furrowed brow, her eyes widened
and a small Eek passed through her full lips.
The woman, now known as Payton, stumbled off of the elliptical in mid-workout, almost falling in the
process. She hightailed it to the locker room like the fires of hell were licking at her heels. Bradyn
stopped the treadmill, breathed heavily in disappointment, and dropped his chin to his chest in defeat. He
knew he had an intimidating face, especially if he was scowling. So he knew that her first look at him was
not a good impression in the least.
Thats fantastic. Nothing like the serial killer vibe to charm a lass.

Chapter Four

Payton power walked into the locker room as fast as she could. Once inside, she collapsed on the
bench in front of her borrowed locker. She started doing breathing exercises to get her panicked mind and
heart under control.
Holy Obi-Wan Kenobi! Payton thought as she pressed a hand to her chest.
If someone had asked her to describe a man that would be her greatest nightmare, that man on the
treadmill would have been it. Maybe to other women, he would be considered ideal, but for Payton, he
scared her half to death.
First and foremost, he was enormous. He towered over her. And at five-seven, she wasnt a short
girl. His sleeveless t-shirt and long shorts barely contained his bulging muscles. Muscles that could hold
her down and overpower her. Payton squeezed her trembling hands together tightly, trying to stifle the
His face hadnt helped the situation either. She didnt know whether he was attractive or not. All she
could see was that scowling, angry face. His fiery red hair, cut in a short undercut style with his short and
trimmed red beard, just added to his angry demeanor. And his pale blue eyes were like ice as he stared at
her from under a furrowed copper brow.
Payton hadnt even finished her workout. She normally was so deep into focusing on breathing and
powering through the thirty minutes of cardio that she zoned out everything around her. But when he
grunted or whatever sound that was, and she turned and saw him, it didnt matter that she still had ten
minutes left of her workout.
She quickly gathered up her things and headed for the locker room door. Luckily, no one was coming
in or going out or they wouldve thought she was a total loony tune. Payton peeked her head out the
doorway and looked in all directions. The large man was nowhere to be seen. She breathed a sigh of
relief and booked it to the front door and out into the parking lot, her hand on her pepper spray at all
Payton didnt see pale blue eyes filled with regret and disappointment, watching her drive away.


Thats so kickass, Payton! Royal exclaimed. Im so proud of you. Hell, I need to get my round ass
to the gym myself.
So do I.
Me too.
They all agreed as they watched the burgers and hotdogs sizzle on the grill.
Since it was such a beautiful early summer day, theyd all decided to spend their Saturday lunch at
the park grilling. Payton and Kennedy sat on the bench of a picnic table, facing out with their backs
reclined against the tabletop. Royal and Mia were in front of them, on a blanket they had spread out on the
soft grass.
Well start Monday after this nutritional feast of processed meats, Mia joked as she leaned back on
her hands and lifted her face to the warm sun streaming through the leaves of the tree they were sitting
Whats the gym called again? Kennedy asked.
The Red Scots Ultimate Gym. Or Just the Red Scots, as everyone there, calls it. Payton answered.
Hey, isnt that the gym thats owned by that MMA fighter or something? I heard about it on the news
a while back, Royal wondered.
Yes, though I dont think Ive seen him. Not that I know what he looks like. Payton shrugged.
Well, I think we should all sign-up and start going with you, Payton, Royal suggested.
I would definitely be more at ease if you did come with me. There is an inordinately large amount of
males that frequent the facility. I am trying to use it as a way to become more comfortable around them,
but I still have my moments. Payton thought about the big redheaded man and a shudder ran through her.
Thats still a really big step for you, Mia smiled at her in encouragement. Im proud of you,
Do they have classes? Kennedy inquired.
Yes, several. They have Zumba, self-defense, spin, kickboxing, etc. Payton informed them.
Ooh! Kickboxing! Ive always wanted to take kickboxing. Mia piped up with glee.
You would. Royal gave Mia a look.
Hey, better to get my anger out on a punching bag than on another human being, Mia smirked.
Good point. Royal nodded.
Do you know when the next kickboxing class is? Mia looked to Payton.
Wednesday at six in the evening, Payton responded without hesitation. It was no surprise to the
other women that she had apparently memorized the gym schedule. Especially, since Payton had a nearly
perfect photographic memory.
Well, Wednesday it is. Mia smiled happily at the thought of kicking the shit out of something.
Payton wrung her hands nervously, hesitant to broach a new subject. So She trailed off.
So, what? Kennedy looked at her curiously.
So, Ive decided to consider dating, Payton admitted and squinted behind her glasses, ready for
their reactions. They were just as shed thought theyd be.
They all exclaimed in unison.
Im only considering it, though. Payton prefaced and expelled a frustrated breath. These guys are
not ideal. They are extremely superficial when they have absolutely no reason to be superficial. If you
know what I mean? Plus, I dont even know how to get a man to ask me on a date.
Sweetie, in this day and age, you can ask him, Mia suggested to Paytons horror.
Me?!? She gasped, incredulous. I could never get up the guts to ask a man out. Do you even know
Sorry. Mia frowned. It was just a suggestion.
I appreciate it. But no thank you.
Well then, how about we teach you how to give the right signals to get a guy to notice you or at least
let him know that youre interested? Kennedy proposed.
Uh. Okay, Payton conceded cautiously.
Alright. Hmm Take off your glasses. Kennedy instructed.
Payton frowned but took them off.
You know what? On second thought, keep them on. Kennedy cringed at the squinty look Payton was
giving her because she couldnt see. Royal and Mia chuckled as they watched the exchange.
Okay, now follow me. Just give a little side glance and a flirty smile. Kennedy demonstrated. The
breeze blew her red curls seductively into her face and she pouted her pink lips.
Payton tried to imitate what the redhead was doing with her face. Unfortunately, her look came across
more like a deer in headlights than a flirtatious girl across the room. Kennedy scratched her temple in
confusion. Royal and Mias laughter only got louder.
Uh Lets try something else. You know, you ladies could help instead of laughing. Kennedy gave
the other two the stink eye.
No way! Youre doing an awesome job. Royal practically screeched with hilarity.
You suck! Kennedy turned away from them and refocused on Payton. Okay, how about this? Bite
your bottom lip like this.
Kennedy took one side of her full lip between her teeth and slid it out slowly. Her green eyes looked
enticing and the move drew attention to her amazing mouth. She looked like she was hungry for a kiss, and
Payton had no doubt that any man in his right mind would accept the invitation. Payton tried her best to
emulate her friend. But in the end, she looked as if she was angrily chewing on gristle. Which was when
Mia and Royal completely lost it. They fell back, collapsing on the blanket. Peals of laughter rang out as
they rolled on the ground.
I give up! Payton said in exasperation.
Mia sat up and wiped her tears of laughter off of her face. She tried to choke down her giggles as she
addressed her clueless friend.
Payton, honey. Just be yourself. Kennedy is a great friend for trying to help you along, but you know
what, mija? Mia paused. There is going to be a guy that doesnt need all of that coy or seductive
bullshit. Hes going to look at you and when you push your glasses up on your nose, hes gonna think its
so hot, hell practically cum in his jeans. When you stumble on an invisible crack in the sidewalk, his
heart is going to drop to his stomach at how adorably clumsy you are. Those things are perfectly you and
you shouldnt change them for the world. Hell, I find them cute and sexy myself and Im just your friend.
Royal and Kennedy both nodded their agreement.
Shes right, Payton. Youre perfect as is. Royal got up to sit next to her and rubbed her back
Yeah, Im sorry, Payton. I thought I was helping you, but it only comes across forced and unnatural.
You really dont need any help or advice from any of us. Youll find your own way. Kennedy assured
I hope so.


On Monday, Payton brought in the girls to The Red Scots. She only had one free pass, but after the
girl at the front desk made a mysterious call to the owner, all three of her friends got to try out the gym for
free. Tuesday, the girls came back with her, ready to sign-up for a membership. They loved the gym as
well as all the eye candy strutting around the facility. Payton was grateful that she hadnt had any more
run-ins with the redheaded giant those first few days of the week. That was probably due to the fact that
she was surrounded by her friends, who gave her a welcome distraction.
Today was kickboxing day and they were all in the locker room changing out of their work clothes,
into their workout gear. Mia was already hopping around, punching at air in anticipation of the class.
You have entirely too much energy this evening, Royal commented to the statuesque Latina.
Its hump day. She waggled her eyebrows.
Who could you possibly have humped from work to here? Kennedy asked in astonishment.
I have my ways, Mia smirked.
Payton knew her friend could meet someone in the produce section at the grocery store and then
screw his brains out in his car without batting an eye. Then shed politely get in her own car and drive
home to cook dinner like nothing had happened.
Who was it? Royal asked. Hot biker guy at the gas station? Handsome health nut in the fresh
veggie section? Sexy hipster ordering some gourmet coffee? Buff nerd browsing the bookstore?
How about neighbors hot best friend that I ran into in the hallway of my building. Mia fanned
Mia Christina Ayala!!! Royal scolded good-naturedly.
What?! Mia said innocently. Hes gorgeous! Besides, I had a taste of him on Saturday at that party
none of you went to and I just wanted a little more.
At least tell us that you did him in your apartment and not actually in the hallway, Kennedy said
with her eyes closed, hoping she was right.
Sorry, cant tell you that. Mia shrugged.
Mia! You couldve gotten caught in the hallway! Royal gasped.
And thats just indecent! Royal finished.
Dont get your chonies in a twist. No one caught us. Wellexcept for the nosy, little old lady that
lives in the building behind mine. She saw us through the window. That was probably the most action
shes had in a long time. Oh! And the cute twenty-something guys that live above her saw too. Mia
examined her nails nonchalantly.
Payton and Royal shook their heads and rolled their eyes as Kennedy began to dig through her bag.
Give me just a second. Kennedy held up her finger as she pulled out her phone. Alright, now Im
ready for the details. I have to take this shit down for my next story.
They all laughed. Kennedy had written quite a few books surrounding Mias encounters. Theyd no
doubt helped her books become bestsellers.
They made their way over to the room designated for kickboxing as Mia gave every juicy detail of
her story and Kennedy soaked them up like a sponge. Payton drowned it all out, like usual. She knew she
should probably be listening, though. Especially, if she wanted to get tips for whenever she decided to
finally have sex. But the sex conversations always made her a little uncomfortable. So she figured shed
wait till the time was right and then shed ask her friends what to do in bed.
Every room designated for the fitness classes on either side of the open gym had glass walls from
floor to ceiling that faced out into the gym. So the classes could see out onto the gym floor and anyone
outside could look in on a class. Payton wasnt so sure she liked the idea of that. She already had the
feeling that she was going to embarrass herself enough as it was in front of the class. She didnt need the
whole entire gym to see it too. And if the guys staring at the four friends walking into the class were any
indication, theyd definitely see.
Every day theyd walked through the front door, since Monday evening, men over on the cardio
machines, guys lifting weights, and those sparring in the boxing rings had all been making surreptitious
glances their way. Some were even staring rudely. But none came over to say anything. Payton was pretty
sure it was only because of the rule that members werent allowed to harass other members. Otherwise,
she knew they would be surrounding her three friends like a pack of hungry wolves. Payton doubted that
any would come her way, but she was still thankful for the gym rule. It gave her a sense of security.
The kickboxing instructor asked for the class to get into pairs. The four of them split into twos and
picked punching bags that were side by side. Royal paired up with Kennedy. And Payton teamed up with
Mia. Payton smiled and shook her head in amusement as Mia pretended to shadow box as if she were a
You know they have anger management seminars for people like you. Payton squeezed her lips
together to keep from laughing.
Oh, please! There are two perfect activities to relieve anger and stress. One I did earlier before I
got here and the other were about to do now. Sex and exercise. She raised a sassy eyebrow at Payton.
I agree with the exercise part. Ive felt a lot better over the past week. I couldnt say, one way or
another about the sex part. Payton whispered the word sex so no one would hear her.
Weve really gotta get you to come out of your shell. Mia paused to watch the instructor and then
started punching the red bag as Payton held it in place. Youre not waiting for marriage, are you? Cause I
gotta say, its never a bad thing to test drive the car before you take it home, if you know what I mean.
First of all, how would I know whether one car rides better than another if Ive never driven
Good point.
And second, no. I wasnt planning on waiting until marriage. I was just waiting on finding a nice guy
that didnt scare me half to death at the thought of him touching me. Payton explained as Mia really got
into the alternating punching and kicking routine.
I swear Punch. Punch. if I could Punch. Kick. Punch. I would kick Brett Mason
Kick. Punch. Kick. right in the nuts! Kick.
The last kick was aimed high. Mias fury over the man who had attacked Payton and affected all of
her relationships thereafter boiled over and she used all of her lower body strength to kick as hard as she
could. Payton was distracted because the giant red-haired man picked that exact moment to walk by. Their
eyes met and Payton took a shaky breath just as the red punching bag smacked her upside the head.
Darkness overtook her before she even knew what hit her.

Chapter Five

Bradyn paced his office in frustration. Hed seen Payton and her three friends walk in, and he wanted
so badly to greet them and ask them how they were liking the facility. It wasnt like approaching them and
asking how everything was going, was outside of the norm for the owner of a business. But he just
couldnt. He couldnt even speak to her when she was alone. So now that she had her whole squad with
her, his anxiety was at an all-time high.
Hed been excited come Monday. Bradyn knew he had scared her off on Friday, but hed hoped he
could make up for it by offering her a coupon for a free smoothie from the Smoothie & Shake Bar housed
in his gym. Then shed arrived with her three friends in tow and he knew his chances were shot to hell.
But he figured it would be good karma if he gave his front desk rep the okay for the girls to try out the gym
for free.
The four women had caused quite a stir in the gym. All four were gorgeous and thicker than porridge
on a cold winters day. The other three seemed to be a bit more secure with themselves than Payton was.
Especially the one that Bradyn couldnt tell whether she was Black or Latina.
Unfortunately, for the all of the men that attended his gym, they werent allowed to harass any of the
female members and vice versa. They could talk of course, but if a woman didnt appear to want to be
bothered, her wishes were to be respected. Bradyn didnt want his female members to feel the need to go
to an all women's gym because they didnt feel comfortable at his. The rule had been working out just
fine. That is until he wanted to break it himself. It was obvious that Payton didnt want to be bothered, but
Bradyn had never reacted to a woman quite like he did when the curvy, dark-skinned beauty was around.
Stop overthinking things, ye overgrown bairn! Bradyn silently berated himself.
He took a deep breath and left his office. He looked over at the ellipticals, where the women usually
worked out, though they werent there today. Bradyns ice-blue eyes scanned the open gym, but they were
nowhere to be seen. He figured they must be taking advantage of one of the many classes that were in
session at the moment.
Bradyn walked down one side of the gym. Past the Krav Maga, spin, and Zumba classes. He didnt
see any of them there, so he made his way to the other side of the gym, as he pretended to check in on the
happenings in his facility. He passed by the karate class and kept going when he didnt see them there. As
he passed by the kickboxing class, his eyes instantly connected with wide, brown eyes. A fearful look
crossed her face, just as her friend kicked the bag. The bag smacked Payton in the side of the head and she
crumpled to the floor like a deflated bagpipe.
If it was any other situation, Bradyn probably wouldve doubled over with laughter, it was so
comical. But instead, he ran into the class, towards the awkward girl that was surrounded by her friends
and a few other concerned people.
Alright, everyone. Back up an give the lass some room to breathe. Bradyn said coming forward.
He wasnt tongue-tied now, being in his element. Considering his profession, he was around people
that got knocked out all the time.
Hey, Sam. He called to the instructor. Can ye go grab some smelling salts from Mitch? And get
some ice while yer at it.
Sure, Bradyn. Im on it. Sam said before turning and running out of the room.
Paytons friends moved to the side, letting him kneel down next to her. Bradyn slid her up slightly, to
rest her head on his lap. He gently stroked the red welt that had risen up on the right side of her face. He
was so focused on her that he didnt see the pleasantly surprised looks and knowing smiles on her friends
faces as they looked at him and then at each other.
Is she gonna be alright? I didnt think Id hit the bag that hard. The tall one cringed.
Shell be fine. She might be a wee bit sore come mornin with a throbbin heid, but other than that,
shell be okay. Bradyn reassured them.
So Youre Bradyn MacTavish, right? The owner of this place and famous MMA fighter? The
redhead asked curiously.
Aye, maam. Bradyn nodded.
Im not old enough to be a maam. She scowled at him.
Sorry, Miss, he corrected.
So you sure did come to the rescue awfully fast. The one with the side of her head shaved and
bright colors peeking out from underneath spoke up.
Iuhjust happened to be walking by when it happened. Bradyn stammered guiltily.
She cocked her head to the side and raised a dark eyebrow.
We havent said anything because this is only our third day here and we didnt want to draw
attention to it if it was nothing. But weve noticed you watching her from afar every day weve been here.
Whats up with that? The edgy one asked as she crossed her arms awaiting an answer. Her body
language told him, she wouldnt take no for an answer.
Bradyn cleared his throat uncomfortably, and then glanced around to see if anyone other than the three
were listening in. He saw Sam heading back towards them, so he spoke quickly and under his breath.
I-I saw her the first day she came here. Ive been trying to get up the courage to talk to her, but I have
a wee bit of a problem talking to lassies I find attractive. Bradyn admitted.
He felt heat rise from his neck all the way up to the roots of his hair. He was pretty sure, he hadnt
blushed that hard since he was in high school.
Oh, my gosh! Youre so cute! The redhead clasped her hands together in front of her. And the
accent only adds to it.
Sam came over with the smelling salts and a plastic bag filled with ice, wrapped up in a towel.
Here ya go, boss.
Thanks, Sam.
Bradyn took the salts and was ready to crack it open, but the tall one stopped him.
What are your intentions? She asked.
I want to get to know her, but she seems a wee skittish and Im a wee gruff looking. Bradyn looked
down at Payton in adoration. Shes the bonniest lass I think Ive ever seen.
Aww! I think Im gonna cry! The redhead said as she blinked rapidly.
Okay, so heres the thing Bradyn. The rocker chick began. Payton had a bad experience in college
and shes been terrified of men ever since. Especially, big, muscular men, such as yourself. So its gonna
take more than saying Hi, I think youre pretty to crack this nut, my friend.
I would never hurt her, Bradyn said fiercely. His mind briefly went to a dark place and he quickly
shook off the heartbreaking thoughts.
Good to know, Royal said, watching him like a hawk.
You wouldnt happen to need a website for your gym, would you? Because that could be your in.
The tall one suggested.
UmmI havena found the time to get one started. But Ive been meaning to get to it, sooner or later.
Oh, thats perfect! The redhead chimed in. Payton is a web designer and shes most comfortable
around men when shes talking shop with them. That could be your perfect lead in.
Okay. Thanks. What are yer names? Bradyn asked curiously.
Thank you, all so much. Ill give it a try.
Just make sure youre not an asshole or I swear Ill beat you with my chancla, Mia growled.
Im not exactly sure what a chancla is, but Ill be sure ye willna have to use it on me, Bradyn said
Well see. Mia gave him the steely eye. Now you can wake her up.
Bradyn nodded his head and then cracked open the smelling salt. He waved it under Paytons nose
and she came awake with a gasping breath. She glanced at her friends first in confusion. Then her eyes
looked up and they connected with Bradyns. She sucked in a huge breath and scrambled away from like
he was a leper.
Calm down, Payton. Kennedy soothed. He came to help.
This is Bradyn MacTavish. Hes the owner of the gym. Mia added.
Payton stood up on wobbly legs. Bradyn followed, standing to his full height. In hindsight, he realized
he should have continued to kneel, because when he stood, she looked up at him as if he was the beast
from Beauty and the Beast. He was used to women fawning over his size. They often said that he made
them feel small and enjoyed how he could toss them around in bed like they weighed nothing. So Bradyn
had never encountered a woman who was afraid of his size. Unfortunately, there was nothing he could do
about it. He couldnt make himself look smaller, even if he tried. And to get to know Payton, he wouldve
definitely tried.
I-Its nice to meet ye, Payton. Bradyn stammered just slightly as he extended his hand.
Payton blinked down at his hand but didnt take it. Bradyn squeezed his into a fist and awkwardly
dropped it to his side. Royal nudged Payton with her shoulder.
Uh, hi. She practically whispered.
Are ye weel? Bradyn asked in concern but had to rephrase his question when she looked at him in
confusion. Are ye alright?
Oh, Im fine. My head just hurts a little.
Och! I almost forgot. Bradyn shook his head. Heres some ice fer yer face.
Payton hesitantly took the ice. Bradyns fingertips just slightly grazed hers and he watched as a shiver
ran through her. He hoped it was a good shiver, but he highly doubted it now that he knew she was afraid
of men.
Her fear immediately reminded him of someone who had been dear to his heart. Someone that his
heart still ached over their loss. He tried not to think about it most days or hed become morose. He
pushed it to the side now and smiled warmly at Payton.
Here ladies, Id like to give ye four coupons for a free smoothie or shake at the bar. Bradyn handed
the coupons to Kennedy since Payton seemed to have retreated back into her shell. I hope this incident
doesna turn ye off from kickboxing indefinitely. Or maybe ye can try another class.
Thanks, Bradyn. Thats really nice of you. Isnt it, Payton? Kennedy tried coaxing the shy woman.
Y-Yes. Thank you, she responded without looking at him.
Weel, I-Ill just leave ye to it, Bradyn nodded at the four women and strode quickly out of the
He made his way over to the sparring ring to blow off some steam. Going a few rounds with Mitch
would help clear his head. Bradyn knew that if he wanted to get close to Payton, it was going to be an
uphill battle, with giant rolling boulders thrown in for good measure.
Shes worth it.

Chapter Six

Payton! Kennedy scolded. He was trying to be nice and you totally blew him off.
Hes the guy that scared me to death the other day. Payton watched him warily through the glass
wall as he walked over to the sparring ring. I dont know about him. He has a mean look about him.
Unfortunately sweetie, you dont know how to read men. Mia began as she guided Payton out of the
room and towards the Smoothie & Shake Bar. The look you probably saw was frustration, not meanness.
I wish you couldve seen the way he looked at you when he was waiting for the smelling salts and ice.
Right?!?! Royal chimed in. It was as if he adored you! That had to be the sweetest thing, I think
Ive ever seen. No Payton, I think this is a good one.
Im already primed and ready to write about this encounter. It would make for a phenomenal story!
Kennedy said giddy with ideas.
I dont think so, guys. Payton shook her head as she held the ice pack to her face. I would never be
able to defend myself against someone as big as him. I cant. Lets not talk about it anymore.
The girls looked at her, deflated. Payton knew they were hoping shed come around. She might be
able to with an average guy, but not with some muscle-bound steroid junkie.
They all focused on getting their free drinks at the bar. Once they had all gotten what they wanted,
they turned to head back to the locker room. Paytons smack down and resulting headache kind of ruined
the rest of the workout.
As they walked past the practice ring, all four pairs of eyes landed on the giant, shirtless redheaded
man sparring. He had a tattoo that looked kind of Celtic that decorated his left shoulder and traveled down
his arm, stopping just above the elbow. Payton watched as Kennedy, Royal, and Mia all swallowed hard
as their eyes bugged out of their heads. Payton didnt see the appeal. Or at least she tried not to see it. I
mean yeah, bodies like that are beautiful. But they can also cause a lot of damage.
Maybe one of you should try to talk to him since you all seem so enamored with him. Im sure your
pheromone levels are through the roof right now. Payton rolled her eyes and started heading towards the
locker room.
Her eyes continued to go back to the large man. She watched as he body slammed his opponent and
put him in an almost pretzel-like hold. Paytons heart picked up the pace as she thought of the way Brett
had held her down. And he was just a football player. This guy was a fighter and was trained to take
down and hold down an opponent.
Paytons palms became clammy. Her breath came in short painful pants. Sweat broke out across her
forehead. Her heart raced. She knew she was in the middle of a panic attack. She picked up her pace and
virtually sped into the locker room.
Payton! Royal called out in concern. Are you alright?
Payton collapsed on the bench and took deep, slow breaths, as she consciously tried to calm her heart
Im okay, she breathed. Just seeing him take down that man, sent me into an attack.
They all looked at her sadly. The three women were no strangers to her panic attacks. Theyd been
there through many and helped calm her several times.
After Payton calmed herself, they all got their things together. She noticed Mia hurriedly throwing her
clothes, water bottle, and towel into her bag.
Ill be right back. Meet you ladies outside. Mia said quickly and rushed out of the locker room.
They all looked at each other and shrugged.


Mia half walked, half ran over to where the big Scotsman was wiping sweat off of his brow in the
sparring ring. As he pulled the towel away from his face, his eyes locked with hers and he looked at her
warily as if he was expecting bad news.
Hey, Bradyn. Mia greeted and then got down to business. So heres the plan. The three of us wont
come with Payton tomorrow, to give you the opportunity to approach her. Ask her if you can hire her to
create a website for the gym. And just be yourself. Dont think of it as asking her out. Shes not ready for
that yet, anyway.
Okay, I think I can do that. Bradyn nodded.
Oh! And whatever you do, dont freak her out by popping up out of nowhere. Or shell have a heart
attack. You have to approach her like shes a wounded animal or somethin. Slowly, with a smile, and a
soothing voice. Mia looked at him sternly. Got it?
Got it. Bradyn immediately responded, almost feeling like a he was a soldier being ordered around
by a drill sergeant. He still appreciated her help, though. Thank ye... Mia, is it?
Yes, she grinned up at him.
Thanks, Mia.
She smiled and then turned on her heel and hurried out of the building where the girls were waiting. It
was an unwritten rule that if they were together, none of them would have to walk a dark parking lot
alone. Payton gave Mia a questioning look, but she just ignored it and smiled as they made their way to
their cars.
See you, ladies, tomorrow, Payton called out before she got into her Prius.
We sure will, Mia lied with a smirk and then reached for her phone before she started the car.
She shot a quick text to Royal and Kennedy.

I told Bradyn none of us would go to the gym,
so he can talk to Payton in private.
Text Payton tomorrow & tell her you cant go.

Will do!


Mia hoped that they were doing the right thing in helping their shy and damaged friend. Her gut told
her they were. He just better hold up his end of the bargain. You hurt her, big man and I swear Ill cut


Payton knew something was up the night before when shed seen Mia talking to the Red Giant (she
aptly nicknamed him in her head). She definitely knew something was going on when she received three,
perfectly spaced apart text messages throughout the day from her three friends canceling going to the gym
that evening.

Sorry hermana,
I cant make it to the gym tonight.
I have some stupid client crap to deal with.

Hey sweets!
Cant make the gym tonight. Deep into a story.
Cant stop now. Love you!

Hey Payton!
Cant make gym 2nite.
Have 2 stay longer 4 photo shoot.

Payton wouldve backed out of going herself if she hadnt set a goal for herself. And when she made
plans and/or goals, she always followed through. She was kind of anal like that. Payton knew that she
wanted to turn exercise into a habit and that most habits, good or bad, took about a month to become a
dedicated routine. And since she was only two weeks into her goal, she couldnt back out now.
So reluctantly, Payton went to the gym after work, though she couldnt shake her bad feeling. As she
walked towards the locker room, her eyes nervously scanned the open gym floor. She didnt see the Red
Giant anywhere, but that didnt mean he wasnt nearby. She hurried into the locker room and into a vacant
bathroom stall to change into her workout clothes. She still wasnt comfortable enough to get naked in
front of a locker room filled with women.
When Payton crept out of the locker room a few minutes later, her worst nightmare was heading
straight towards her with a wide smile spread across his face. Oh for the love of Thor! Paytons eyes
darted all around, looking for the fastest escape route. Unfortunately, there werent any. Not if she didnt
want to come across as a complete bitch. What the hell! Im willing to risk it.
Payton started to turn to head in another direction. Regrettably, per her usual elegance and grace, she
stumbled over an imaginary crack, pebble, or God only knew what. Unlucky as she was, Paytons
trajectory as she fell, landed her right in the arms of the Red Giant when he dove forward to catch her.
Being a fighter obviously gave him quick reflexes.
Are ye alright, lass? Bradyns deep voice penetrated her nerve-endings and Payton shivered. She
was starting to wonder if it was still in fear or if it had somehow shifted to desire since the tremors no
longer felt unpleasant. Something she knew nothing about.
Im f-fine, Payton answered and wiggled out of his embrace.
How are ye, this evenin? The Red Giant said politely, ignoring her rude behavior.
Good. Im going to work out now. Bye. Payton never looked up from the ground as she quickly
dismissed him.
HeyuhPayton? Bradyn lightly touched her arm and she wrenched it away. Unable to look at
him, she missed the look of hurt that passed over his face. Yer f-friends mentioned that ye create
websites for b-businesses.
Yes. So thats what they were up to. If they werent my best friends, Id choke them to death.
Iuhwas wondering if ye wouldna mind terribly, doing mine for the gym? Bradyn asked
awkwardly. Id hire ye an everything. And m-maybe even throw in a month or two f-free membership.
No, sorry. I dont have enough available time in my schedule to take on any more clients. Payton
lied quickly.
Alright. No problem.
Payton glanced up at the Red Giant and noticed he wasnt looking up at her either, finding his feet
more interesting. He rubbed the back of his head uncomfortably and she realized they must be a sight to
see. Two people having a conversation, while they both looked down at the ground.
Illuhlet ye get to yer workout then, he said haltingly and then turned and walked away.
As Payton walked over to her favorite elliptical, she felt a strange feeling in the pit of her stomach.
She wasnt sure if it was regret or remorse. He really did seem like a nice guy. And the way he stuttered
and stammered over his words, sounded a lot like her when she was nervous. Was it possible that they
werent so different?
A few moments later, Payton glanced back at the sparring ring and saw him connect a karate kick to
the side of his opponents padded head and reconsidered her last thought. Nope. Were totally different
and dont forget it.

Chapter Seven

At this point, Bradyn was pretty sure he should just give up. Payton was not biting. Not even to make
money. He could only take so many hits to his ego before he had to tap out. And he was already feeling a
lot like his younger, chunky, and unpopular self.
After sparring and then taking a quick shower, Bradyn took care of some paperwork in his office. He
glanced up to look out the interior window that overlooked the entire gym like he had been doing for the
past half hour, keeping an eye on Payton. She had moved from the elliptical and was now doing some
strength training. Yeve got it bad, MacTavish.
Bradyn noticed two women on treadmills, looking over at Payton and then giggling behind their
hands. The look on Paytons face let him know that she could hear whatever was being said and whatever
it was, was not nice. She was trying her best to ignore them, but it looked as if she was on the verge of
He didnt waste any time getting up from behind his desk and striding out of his office. Bradyn
pretended as if he was making his rounds. As he quietly walked up behind the two women, he glanced
over at Payton and she looked away in embarrassment.
So gross! One of them sneered, not even attempting to keep her voice down. They should have a
designated fat gym for people like her, so we dont have to look at them sweating like a pig. Then once
they actually lose the weight, they can come to regular gyms where all the hot people go.
OMG! That would be perfect! The other one exclaimed. We should totally take a pic of her and
then post your idea on Instagram.
Bradyn felt his blood pressure rise through the roof. He had no doubt that his face was as red as a
tomato, but he didnt care. No one comes into my house an insults my girl.
If ye even think about touching that phone, Ill break it in half. I swear te the Lord above. Bradyn
growled behind them as he watched the first girl reach for her cell phone.
They jumped almost a foot high at the sound of his voice behind them.
Oh, Bradyn, you scared us. The second one tried to flirt innocently.
Ill be doing more than scaring ye, he began. At my gym, we dinna tolerate any bullying or cruelty.
An if anyone should be joining another gym, it be you two. At a gym specifically made fer arseholes, like
yerselves. Now get out of my gym, before I toss ye out.
The womens mouths flapped opened and closed in shock.
I said, GO! Bradyn bellowed and they scampered off with tears in their eyes.
Bradyn was furious and he took deep breaths to calm himself. It was as if he was in school all over
again. He couldnt believe that adults would act so cruelly. He chanced a glance over at Payton. She was
already looking at him, obviously having witnessed the whole exchange. The look on her face before she
looked away in mortification was a combination of surprise, wonder, and shame.
Bradyn wanted to go over to her and soothe her aching heart, but he knew she would shy away from
him. So instead, he nodded his head just once and strode off to the front desk. He wanted to make sure the
front desk rep revoked the womens memberships and reimbursed them for the remaining days left in the

Chapter Eight

Payton felt like a complete asshole as she watched Bradyn walk away. She had been minding her
own business, moving from weight machine to weight machine. Then shed heard those women making
snide comments about her body. Payton had thought that shed left behind bullying when shed graduated
from high school. Apparently, not. Especially, when you put a combination of men and women, fighting
for physical supremacy and attention in one building.
Just like when she was a kid, the words had cut her to the quick. The tears were immediate and quite
unwelcome, stinging the back of her eyes like thousands of tiny bee stings. Payton had tried to ignore the
women and refocus on her workout. But it was too late, the negative and harsh words had penetrated her
psyche and began to fester.
Never in a million years, had Payton expected the Red Giant to come to the rescue. To her, Bradyn
seemed like the type of guy that would be the bully, not, Rescuer of the Bullied. Which only made her feel
like the Wicked Witch of the West, after how shed treated him. But it wasnt like she could actually go up
to him and apologize.
Could I?
Payton saw him stride away from the front desk, heading towards the back of the building. His face
was stern and slightly flushed red.
Nope. No. I cant.
Payton expelled a frustrated breath. No longer in the mood to finish her workout, feeling self-
conscious and exposed. She grabbed her water bottle and headed to the locker room. Luckily, the two
bullies had already left, heads held high in righteous indignation after theyd gotten over their humiliation.
Payton started to grab her things out of her locker when she heard a conversation in the row behind
Can you believe Bradyn banned them from the gym? A high-pitched voice said.
I know! And all over that girl. A raspy voice responded.
Right?!? The high-pitched voice got even higher.
Have you seen the way he watches her and follows her around like a lovesick puppy dog? Raspy
voice said incredulously.
Yeah, High-pitch said sadly. I dont get it. I mean, she has a really pretty face and all
but he can have anyone he wants, so why would he choose her? Raspy finished the open-ended
question. Hes physically fit, so he deserves his equal.
Payton grabbed her things without thinking and ran from the locker room, unwilling to hear any more.
As she rushed towards the main entrance to the gym, she shoved her clothes into her Star Wars tote bag.
As was habit, Payton reached into her bag and wrapped her fingers around her pepper spray. She never
walked through a dark parking lot, or even a lit one for that matter, without it in her hand.
She finished shoving the rest of her clothes into her bag as she moved towards her car on trembling
legs. Her day had ended with enough humiliation to last her a lifetime. So she was ready for it to be over
and start fresh tomorrow. Payton grabbed her key fob as she approached her car when she heard footsteps
quickly advancing on her from behind. She put her finger on the trigger of her pepper spray.
The rest of her would-be attacker's words were cut short as Payton turned and fired her pepper spray.
She didnt hesitate. She didnt think. She just acted. She closed her eyes and squeezed the trigger.
Jesus H. Christ! Enough! A familiar voice with a heavy Scottish accent reached her ears.
Oh no! Payton cringed inwardly.
She released the trigger and saw the Red Giant bent over with his hands pressed against his eyes. The
crimson liquid from the spray dripped down his face, blending in with his red beard. In his hands, also
covered with red spray, looked a lot like Paytons virginal white bra that she was sure shed stuffed into
her bag.
Dammit, lass! Ye sure dae know hoo te beat a man when hes down. He gasped as he tried to wipe
away the burning liquid from his eyes, his accent thicker in his agitation. I was just trying te give ye this.
Ye dropped it in yer rush te leave.
Bradyn held out the now ruined bra. Payton reached for it hesitantly as she felt heat rise up her face.
Luckily, he couldnt see her embarrassment. Being blind and all.
Im so sorry! I-I thought y-you w-were an attacker or s-something. Payton apologized through her
Now I understand why yer friend told me not sneak up on ye. Bradyn grimaced as he tried to open
his eyes.
It was no use, they were obviously swollen and stinging.
I really am sorry. Payton apologized again.
Bradyn stood to his full height. His eyes were scrunched together and he turned as if in confusion.
I canna see, lass. Maybe, ye can point me in the right direction. He stated.
I-Ill help you. Payton stuttered nervously. For someone whose eyes looked like two pieces of raw
meat at the moment, he was being really calm and kind.
Bradyn reached for her and Payton placed his arm over her shoulder and touched her hand to his back
to lead him forward. It was the closest she had been to a man that wasnt her father, in a long time. She
always found a way to avoid physical contact with men. But this time, it couldnt be helped. She was the
one that had gotten them into this situation. So now, she had to suck it up and help him.
The Red Giants arm over her shoulders felt like heavy corded rope. Even his lower back was ripped
with muscles and solid to the touch as she guided him forward. His heat radiated off of him and made
Payton feel flush. And not necessarily in a bad way.
They slowly made their way back inside the gym. Payton ducked her head down in embarrassment as
people stared at them curiously. A big, dark-haired man jogged over to them.
What happened, man?! The guy asked with concern.
It was a wee bit of a misunderstanding. Nothing te fuss over. Bradyn waved off his friends
concern. But I wouldna mind getting help into the restroom, so I can wash my face. Dinna go anywhere,
lass. We need te talk.
Y-Youre not going to p-press charges against me, are you? Payton asked nervously.
I havena decided yet. But in the meantime, do ye think ye can get me some ice from the bar and wait
for me in my office? Bradyn looked at Payton through the tiniest of slits between his eyelids. His face a
mask of pain and discomfort.
Payton knew she had to comply since she had sprayed first and asked questions later. It was the least
that she could do.
O-Okay, she finally responded.
Payton watched as the Red Giant and his friend walked into the mens room. Once they disappeared
through the doorway, with her head held down, Payton made her way over to the Shake & Smoothie Bar.
She felt everyones eyes on her as she asked for a bag filled with ice for Bradyn. Payton then asked where
Bradyns office was located and awkwardly made her way up a flight of stairs and into his private space
with the bag of ice.
Payton looked around his office, taking in the man that had clumsily made his way into her existence.
He was obviously very organized if his workspace had anything to say about it. She glanced down at
some paperwork and saw some notes he must have taken. His handwriting was neat and masculine. All
hard lines and sharp edges. No feminine swirls or curlicues could be found. The furniture in his office
was very utilitarian and masculine as well. Also made up of hard lines, and straight and sharp edges.
Scandinavian, perhaps. Very Ikea, but more high-end. As if he got it directly out of the shop of some wood
and metalworking furniture designer. All in all, the two words Payton would use to describe his office
were sleek and simple.
Payton heard movement by the door and scrambled to one of the chairs in front of Bradyns desk as
his friend led him into the office. Though his eyes were still squinted, they were a little more open and his
piercing ice-blue eyes were on her. They looked even icier than normal, considering they were
surrounded by red because the whites of his eyes were bloodshot.
Thanks, Mitch. Ye can go now. He said to his friend.
Payton fiddled with the bag of ice, keeping her eyes downward. A throat clearing brought her eyes up
to the extra red-faced man sitting across from her. She realized she still had the bag of ice in her hand.
Payton quickly got up and stepped closer to the desk to pass him the cold compress. Bradyn gladly took it,
his fingertips slightly grazed over hers and she shivered. It reminded her of when he gave her the ice for
her face the day before.
Bradyn took a moment to press the cold bag to his hot, burning face and eyes. She really had messed
him up pretty badly. Payton waited for a few minutes, but he was remaining quiet. She started to get antsy,
so she opened her mouth to speak. Nothing came out, so she tried again.
S-So, are you calling the cops? She finally got out.
No, he sighed. But I do have a favor te ask of ye.
Anything. Payton sat on the edge of her chair, willing to do anything to make it right.
I still want to hire ye to work on the gyms website. I think after what Ive been through, ye can
surely clear yer busy schedule. Bradyn lowered the ice and looked across his desk at Payton.
His ice-blue eyes penetrated her. Payton noticed that his nervous stammering had stopped. Well,
getting your eyes practically burned out of your skull would take away anyones nervous jitters, you
A-Alright. Ill do it, Payton conceded.
Thank ye, Payton.
For some reason, her name coming out of his mouth, wrapped up in his deep voice and Scottish
brogue, made her feel all warm and fuzzy inside. Payton didnt understand it, but she supposed the flutters
deep within her stomach werent so terribly awful.
Thanks for not calling the cops and pressing charges for assault. Payton looked down at her lap.
Dinna fash yerself, lass. It was my fault for sneaking up on ye. Yer friend, Mia warned me, but I
forgot. He shrugged his shoulders. So lets just call it even.
Why do you want me to work for you? To spend more time around me than necessary? Ive been
rude to you and I unloaded a whole can of pepper spray in your face. Payton blurted suddenly.
A dinna ken, The Red Giant said honestly, gazing at her through squinted eyes. I guess Im a
They stared at each other for a few heated moments. Paytons pulse fluttered at her neck and the
muscle in Bradyns jaw ticked a similar rhythm.
Im gonna go now, Payton informed him and got up quickly.
Ill talk to ye tomorrow to flesh out the details, Bradyn responded as he stood as well.
Payton just nodded her head, her words stuck in her throat as she high-tailed it out of his office.
Her insides were a jumbled, confused, and exhausted muddled mess. The Red Giant was taking her
preconceived notions of what a massive, muscular man was supposed to act like and turning it on its ear.
He shouldve been angry with her one-thousand times over. Yet he had remained relatively calm and nice
through all of her blow-offs and her attempt to maim him. Payton was starting to rethink her private
nickname for him.
Maybe hes more like The Gentle Giant.

Chapter Nine

Once Payton was gone, Bradyn sat back down and leaned his head back against his chair, before
placing the ice pack over his eyes. His head was pounding. His eyes were burning. Yet the rest of his
body was buzzing with excitement.
He thought about Paytons questions. Why do you want me to work for you? To spend more time
around me than necessary? Ive been rude to you and I unloaded a whole can of pepper spray in your
face. In all honesty, he couldnt understand it himself. Any other man wouldve walked away the first
time he was shot down. Or at least the second. But, oh no! He was a glutton for punishment and still
wanted to be around her, even after she had nearly blinded him.
Something about Payton drew him to her. She was all two left feet walking, tongue-tying, eyeglass
pushing bundle of jumpy nerves. And he couldnt help but think about her all the time. He saw her face
before he fell asleep each night for the past two weeks and he woke up with her on his mind as well. He
had a hard time focusing on paperwork. And when she came in during the evenings, there was absolutely
no use in even attempting to work or even to train for his next match. Hed either stare out his office
window or hed find himself flat on his ass after being sucker punched for not focusing.
He didnt know how to get her out of his system. And he figured if her pepper spraying him didnt do
it. Not much would.
Bradyn heard a knock at his door and he lifted the ice off of his face and glanced over. It was Mitch.
Hey, Red. Mitch used the nickname most of his guy friends and people in the sport called him.
Hey, Mitch. Bradyn said wearily.
So dude, what the hell happened? He asked as he plopped down in the chair across from Bradyn.
Och, she just thought I was some attacker when I followed her out to give her something she
dropped. Bradyn shrugged, thinking of the intimate undergarment hed held in his hands. So she turned
and nearly burned my eyes out with some mace.
Damn man! Mitch chuckled. I thought you were red before, but when you two walked back in, not
only was your hair and beard red, but your skin was red with red liquid running down it. You looked like
a damn crime scene.
Funny, Bradyn rolled his eyes.
So you really like her, huh?
Howd ye ken?
UhRed. I think everyone in the whole damn gym knows. At least everyone who comes in in the
evenings. Its pretty obvious. And you kicking out and banning those girls earlier, didnt help. Mitch
leveled with him.
Hmm, Bradyn grunted. That obvious, huh?
Just a little, Mitch teased. But thats cool, man. Ive never seen you react the way you do with her,
with any girl before. Hell, you usually dont even talk to them. They just flock to you. You grunt. They
swoon. You both fuck. You still dont talk. They get frustrated. Its done. But I have to wonder what makes
this girl so special. Shes cute. Beautiful even. But you could have all the hot chicks with the most banging
bodies you want. So why her? Why try so hard to get the chubby chick, when she keeps trying to blow you
off? I mean, not to be rude, but she kinda seems like a nerd too.
Simple. Bradyn took a deep breath. Those other lasses are vases and shes a flower pot.
Dude, what the hell are you talking about? Vases and flower pots? Mitch furrowed his brow in
Vases are usually beautiful and purely decorative. Theyre sleek and sometimes expensive. But they
are also the place flowers go te die. They can only bring life to the flower for so long before its empty
shell eventually kills it. And if theyre not used te temporarily hold flowers, then theyre empty and meant
for nothing more than te look pretty on someones shelf or mantel. Bradyn leaned back in his chair,
placed his hands on the back of his head and smiled, before continuing. Now, a flower pot can be
bonnie, painted, or even a little fancy. They can also be chipped and round and even plain. But theyre
filled with rich soil and if treated right, they are the place where flowers go te grow. Payton is a flower
pot. Those other lasses are vases. I have no need for a vase.
Well, shit! I think thats the deepest thing Ive ever heard you say. Hell, it may be the deepest thing
Ive ever heard in general. Mitch scratched his head in wonder.
Ye need te get out more and talk to more interesting people. Bradyn chuckled But its the truth of
it. Ive had many a vase in my time, but Im thirty-two now and Im looking te grow something meaningful.
So I need a flower pot. He rubbed his hand down his bearded chin. Ye have a lass of yer own and yer
Yeah, man. But I like to live vicariously through you and the ladies you get to tap. Besides, Im no
megastar like you are. Mitch smiled good-naturedly.
Im no star. I just enjoy my sport, Bradyn denied his popularity.
Yeah. Keep telling yourself that, Red. Mitch stood and stretched. Well, Im gonna get outta here.
See you tomorrow. And try to come with your head in the game, instead of thinking about plump, dark
flower pots.
Bradyn just grinned and clasped hands with his buddy before he left. He breathed deeply and decided
to head home himself. His manager on duty could handle closing up shop. Hed earned the early day.

Chapter Ten

Aww, come on Payton! Talk to us. Kennedy tried to coax for the umpteenth time as they ran on their
Payton ignored her friend and continued to focus on her breathing. She was currently giving them the
silent treatment for interfering with her life. She didnt appreciate them forcing her to interact with the
Red Giant. They know how I feel about large, muscle-bound men. She didnt understand why they were
so dead set on her spending time with him. There were plenty of average, normal looking guys they
couldve tried to set her up with. But no, they had to choose the biggest, most muscular, and scariest
looking man to walk the face of the earth.
Luckily, he hadnt made an appearance so far this evening. Payton hoped that he wasnt in today. She
knew he wanted to discuss the website and just in case, she had done a few mockups and brought her
laptop to get a feel for what he wanted. But she still prayed that he didnt show up.
They finished up their cardio and made their way over to the weight machines. Still no sign of
Bradyn. They completed their twenty minutes of strength training. No hint of red hair anywhere, aside
from Kennedys wild curls. They made their way into the locker room as Paytons eyes darted around the
gym. Nope. Not one bulging, freckled muscle to be seen. She began to smile. It looked as if she was
totally in the clear.
Even though she was in a better mood, it still didnt make her any more talkative to her turncoat
friends. They collected their clothes, opting to shower once they got to their own homes. Payton took up
the rear as they walked out of the locker room single-file. They turned to head towards the front door.
When Mia moved from in front of her, Paytons heart literally dropped.
Only a few feet away from the locker room door, The Red Giant stood with a small smile on his lips.
As if he knew Payton was hoping he wouldnt show up. Dammit it all to Death Star and back!
Hello, Payton. Bradyn began and then looked at Paytons friends and nodded to them. Ladies.
They all greeted him and grinned. Payton wouldve poked them all in the eye with a lightsaber if she
had one.
So I thought Id wait till ye finished with yer workout before talking to ye about the website,
Bradyn explained his sudden appearance.
Uhokay, Payton said reluctantly.
Bradyn stepped to the side and held a hand out, gesturing towards the back of the building and his
Bye, Payton! Mia, Royal, and Kennedy all said in unison, wiggling their fingers.
Evil! The whole lot of them!
Her head hanging dejectedly, Payton walked towards Bradyns office. As they walked up the stairs,
she felt super self-conscious with him behind her. Her ass at his eye level. Once inside, she took a chair
on the other side of his desk and warily watched him take a seat as well. His eyes still looked a tad red
and irritated, but much better than last night.
So how does this work? Bradyn asked.
You know, you could always create your own website. There are a plethora of sites that enable you
to build your own and for much cheaper nowadays. Payton advised.
Bradyn sat forward in his chair and folded his hands together on top of his desk. He leveled her with
an intense look.
Are ye good at yer job? He asked.
Do ye have a lot of clients?
So yer not in the habit of convincing potential customers to go elsewhere and no give ye money?
Well, no.
Then why do ye keep trying te get out of working for me?
Do I smell?
Do ye find me hard te look at? Am I ugly?
NO! Payton denied as she felt the diarrhea rising to the surface.
Then what is it? I canna figure out why working for me would be so difficult.
I-I just think y-youre doing it to get c-close to me. Payton stammered, the word vomit choking her.
And thats a bad thing?
It is for me. It was right there...
Why? He cocked his head to the side. Did I get my signals crossed? Do ye no like lads?
Yes, I like men. on the tip of her tongue.
Then whats the-
Because youre the Red Giant! And I dont like red giants! Payton shouted out letting the diarrhea
of the mouth fly. She felt her face cringe and her ears heat.
Red Giant? Bradyn tested the words on his lips. Thats what you call me to your friends and in
your heid? It is, isnt it? He said after seeing a look of guilt pass over Paytons face. Which is
obviously negative.
Im not trying to be rude or anything. You just kept pushing. Payton tried to defend.
What bothers ye most? The red part or the giant part? Bradyn asked curiously.
The giant p-part.
So ye have a thing against large men, do ye?
Maybe a little. Payton looked away.
Well, Payton. Im no gonna push ye te tell me why. But I suppose I can kinda guess. Bradyn paused
and then continue with a sigh. I promise ye this, I will never hurt ye or purposely put ye in an
uncomfortable situation. Ye have my word on that.
O-Okay. Payton stuttered out.
There was nothing but sincerity written all over Bradyns face. Hmmmaybe he really is the Gentle
So lets talk websites.
Payton took a deep breath, resolutely accepting her fate. I made up some mock sites with different
styles and looks to them. We can start with that.

Chapter Eleven

Saturday evening found the girls at their favorite dive bar. It was actually called Dive, not because it
was a real one. It was more of a lounge type atmosphere that attracted thirty and forty-somethings.
Theyd already had their Saturday lunch, which had carried over to evening drinks. None of them
were quite ready to go home yet.
Payton watched as young club-goers walked past the bar on the sidewalk out front. Guys in nice jeans
and shirts. Girls in skimpy dresses and sky-high heels.
Why dont we ever go out dancing at clubs anymore? Royal asked sadly as she too watched the
twenty-somethings heading to and fro.
Because weve gotten way too old for that shit, Mia responded honestly.
We are not too old! Royal grumbled, offended.
She had barely finished her sentence before a flock of screeching girls came walking past the
window. They stumbled along in their heels like newborn foals taking their first steps. The alcohol
coursing through their system didnt help their coordination either. Little snatches of their argument made
its way into the bar.
How could you, Shannon?! I was talking to him all night! One girl whined.
It just happened. We were dancing and he just kissed me. The girl, Shannon slurred and waved the
other girl away.
The accuser looked like she was ready to beat the other girl with her purse when Shannon bent
forward and lost the contents of her stomach on the side of the curb. The gaggle of girls ran over to help
her. The accuser held Shannons hair back as she continued to throw up.
Im sorry! Shannon cried once her stomach was empty.
Its okay. I love you!
I love you, too!
They hugged clumsily and they all wobbled off to God only knew where.
Royal turned away from the window with a frown on her face. Yeah, no. Im good. I forgot for a
moment. But Ive come to my senses now.
Good for you. I knew you would. Mia winked and clinked glasses with Royal.
So whats been going on with you and the gorgeous MMA fighter? Kennedy turned to Payton. You
were so mad at us the other day, you didnt tell us whats happening with you two.
Thats because theres nothing to tell, Payton said before taking a sip of her Vodka Red Bull.
Youre so lying! Royal pointed at her. Your eyes get all shifty when you lie. Spill it, sister!
Fine. Do you want to know what your incessant meddling did? Nothing but get him sprayed with a
full can of pepper spray. And completely humiliating me in the process. As well as forcing me to have to
work for him. I dont know why you three are so dead set on getting us together anyway. You know how I
feel about men. Especially, big ones, like him. Payton finished her tirade with a scowl.
You pepper sprayed him?!? Kennedy exclaimed and Payton winced in answer.
Its because I know when a man adores a woman, at least if that woman isnt me, Mia informed
Payton, bypassing Kennedys question. And that man adores you. Not all big men are abusers and rapists.
Just like, not all average guys are nice and harmless. You just have to learn to read the warning signs.
What did he do when you pepper sprayed him?
Uhnothing, Payton admitted reluctantly. He shouted out in pain, which Im sure is a normal
human reaction. But other than that, he just asked if I could help him back inside and then he asked that in
return for assaulting him, that I create a website for him.
See! Mia cried. If he was some abusive asshole, he wouldve been furious or tried to hurt you or
somethin. At the very least, cussing you out and calling you unsavory names.
But he fights for a living! That has to be a warning sign, in and of itself. Payton defended.
He fights men his own size who willingly get in a cage with him. Besides, its a sport. Its not like
hes bashing peoples heads in randomly in the parking lot of your local Quiky mart. Royal reasoned
before chugging down the rest of her beer. It appears that youve got a good one. You just need to get out
of your own way and go for it.
What if he tries to touch me or kiss me? Payton asked with trepidation.
Then youre gonna have to be a big girl and touch or kiss him back. Trust me, youll like it. Mia
I dont mean to hurt your feelings, Payton. Royal prefaced before continuing. Especially because I
know what you went through and I cant imagine how that affected you. But sooner or later youre gonna
have to come out of that imaginary room filled with Star Wars posters, video games, and a princess bed
and step into the adult life youre actually inhabiting. Spend time with this man. Try to get to know him.
Touch him and let him touch you. Kiss him. Have sex finally! But just enjoy your damn life. We only get
the one. Just rip off the Band-Aid, already.
Payton was quiet for a few seconds. Ill have you know, I didnt have a princess bed. I had a
racecar bed, thank you very much. She raised her head proudly, ignoring Royals whole speech.
Are you gonna try or what? Royal huffed, exasperated.
Yes. But I dont have to like it, Payton pouted.
Trust me when I say, yes you will, Mia spoke up. When you finally get over your aversion to men
and get kissed till youre breathless and get some D thats so good you could cry and then make it a little
golden crown, youll like every minute of it. Youll be ad-dick-ted.
Mia, Royal, and Kennedy cackled at their inside joke, while Payton just looked at them and shook her
head in disgust.
Youre all sick.
If Im sick, then I dont wanna be cured. Mia grinned slyly as she watched a good-looking man
walk by. Youd do well to get down with the sickness, maybe then youd loosen up. Now, if you ladies
will excuse me, my Doppler Dickdar is telling me the forecast looks hot with a one-hundred percent
chance of wetness.
Mia smiled and then stood up from their table. The three women watched their friend as she
approached the handsome gentleman. He turned to look at her and a huge smile spread across his face
when he took at the beautiful Latina. Mia said something and leaned into him, lightly and flirtatiously
caressing his bicep. The three watched as he instinctively flexed his muscle to make it harder, peacocking
for their friend. Mia got even closer and whispered something in his ear, her lips gently caressing the
shell of his ear. He looked at her in awe, nodded, and then stood up. He offered her his arm and led her
towards the entrance. She winked as they passed by the girls table, her generous hips sashaying the
whole way.
Hot damn!!! Shes my hero! Royal turned away from the door the couple disappeared through,
shaking her head in admiration.
Well, lets add that one to her list of Zero Fucks Given on this Day, Kennedy said, equally
To zero fucks? Royal asked and raised her beer bottle.
To zero fucks! Payton and Kennedy shouted as they clinked their glasses.
Their table filled with laughter as they finished up their drinks.

Chapter Twelve

Bradyn spent the next week trying to get Payton to open up. Every day, he came to find her after her
workout to go over the website, much to her chagrin. And every day, she told him that he could always
call her, which he ignored. Bradyn couldnt be too sure, but he had a feeling that he was getting under her
skin just a little. She fought it tooth and nail, mind you, but he refused to give up.
Normally he wouldve given up a long time ago. He wasnt exactly in the habit of stalking women or
forcing them to do something they didnt want to do. But her friends continued to give him the thumbs up,
and he figured if they were still on board, he was in the clear. And the fact that on several occasions, he
had caught Payton staring at him curiously, as if she was trying to figure him out like he was a puzzle,
helped him feel better about continuing his pursuit of her.
Staring at him, like she was doing now as he looked over the gyms website that was still under
construction. Bradyn glanced up at her and she quickly looked away and pushed her glasses up higher on
her nose.
I like the drop-down menu and the colors. The site is easy te navigate and uncluttered, but
somethings missing. Bradyn frowned.
Pictures and videos, Payton said matter-of-factly.
But I have pictures already.
You need professional pictures of your beautiful facility. And videos of some of your classes.
Payton explained.
Alright. Ill hire someone te come and take pictures.
Actually, Royal is an amazing photographer. She might be willing to do it for you, she suggested.
Thank ye, Payton, Bradyn said sincerely and she looked away shyly. Yer a really good web
designer. Im glad ye nearly blinded me, which forced ye to work for me, he teased.
I could always spray you again. Payton tossed back, showing a hint of sassiness.
No, I think once was quite enough, Bradyn blinked, remembering how badly his eyes had hurt.
So Payton began and stopped.
So? Bradyn coaxed.
So, you seem like a decent guy. Why do you like to beat people up for a living? Payton asked
curiously, barely making eye contact from behind her glasses.
Because Im good at it? He posed it as a question.
Payton gave him a look.
Alright. A long time ago, I was a different person. I was the fat kid. The unpopular kid that got beat
up every day. I got tired of it. He shrugged as Payton looked at him in utter shock. And someone close te
me was hurt and I wasna able to protect her. So I finally took my life into my own hands. I learned Judo,
which led to karate, then te jujitsu and so on an so forth. I started getting into competitions and one thing
led te another and I found my way into the MMA circuit. I was good at it and it was good money. So I
So thats how you came to the States?
Aye, the sport is the most popular here in America. With the most opportunities to excel. So I stayed.
And Im so glad I did. Bradyn added and looked at Payton meaningfully.
She wasnt able to hold his pale blue gaze for long. W-Why did you decide to open a gym?
A lot of reasons. He sighed and leaned back in his chair. I wanted to give kids like me an
opportunity to learn how to defend themselves an to gain some self-esteem. I wanted a place where
women felt comfortable to get healthy and train, as well as learn self-defense. And I wanted to have
another career ready for when I retire. Its no an old mans sport.
That makes sense, Payton commented as she reached for her laptop and began shutting it down.
As he watched her pack up her computer, Bradyn thought about how novel these past few weeks had
been for him. He had never been able to talk to a female without stammering through the conversation. But
Paytons shyness, awkward personality, and clumsy nature put him at ease and relaxed his tongue that was
usually tied with anxiety. Her imperfections relaxed his.
What about you? Bradyn asked. Why did ye decide to become a web designer?
Payton lifted her shoulders in a shrug. I like computers and Im good at it. Numbers and codes just
come easy to me. But I also like beautiful art and interesting designs, so web design is the best of both.
Why are ye so skittish around men, especially red giants? Bradyn asked, trying to add some
playfulness to the touchy question.
That, sir, is none of your business. Payton huffed as she stood, placing her leather satchel over her
Bradyn quickly stood with her. Im sorry, Payton. I dinna mean to pry. Well, aye, I guess I do. But
thats just because I want to understand ye better, so I can put yer mind at ease.
Bradyn came around his desk and stood in front of her. Close enough to make her tense slightly, but
far enough away that she still felt she had an easy escape route. He slowly reached across the few feet that
separated them. His fingertips lightly touched the side of her face. Her full, round cheek felt like satin
against his rough calloused fingers. The contrast of her dark mahogany complexion against his fair skin
was striking. He wanted nothing more than to see the other contrasts of their bodies. His body tightened
just thinking about it.
I would never hurt ye, Payton, he said softly. She refused to look up at him, so Bradyn decided to
admit a painful truth to her. It could only help. When I was a lad in my third year at secondary school,
what yed call high school here, the first girl I ever loved was he swallowed hard and continued.
She was raped by schoolmates, right in front of me as they held me back. They beat me up and then
forced me to watch. She never got over it and killed herself less than a year later.
Paytons eyes flew up to meet his on a soft gasp. The dark irises were filled with such deep empathy
that Bradyn had to clear his throat a couple of times before he could continue.
So ye see, I could never hurt ye. I know what that does to a lass. And I vowed then that no woman
would suffer at my hands and that I would train to become big and strong so I could protect those that I
love. He rubbed his thumb across her cheek. Ive never broken that promise and I dinna plan to now.
I-Im so sorry about your f-friend, Payton whispered. A-And I believe you. This may sound stupid
and trite, b-but its not you, its me.
Thats okay. Im a patient man, Payton. Bradyn leaned down and kissed her forehead over her
bangs. Besides, we could always start as friends.
Payton took a shaky breath. For some reason, that doesnt make me feel any better.


Paytons body trembled as Bradyns thumb stroked over her cheek once more. She was amazed at
how soft his touch was when his job was to inflict pain. Her mind whirled trying to figure out what was
going on with her body. His simple touch with his large, rough hands stirred something in her that shed
never felt before. Her heart thrummed. Her skin prickled with goosebumps. Her nipples hardened almost
painfully. Her stomach fluttered with spastic butterflies. And her most private place flexed and dampened
as if seeking out something.
She braved a look up at him. His penetrating pale blue eyes gazed at her as if he adored her. They
trailed over her face and then landed on her lips, where they stopped. Self-consciously, Payton licked
them. She watched as the adoration written on his face turned into hunger. Afraid of what would happen if
she stayed rooted to the spot, she pulled away from him, for much-needed space.
I should go, she breathed.
Its late. Ill walk ye to yer car, Bradyn offered chivalrously like he did every evening.
Payton headed for the office door. There were still some late-night members getting in their
workouts. And as usual, they looked on curiously as Bradyn walked her out. She tried to hold her head up
high and ignore the stares. Of course, holding her head high and keeping her eyes straight ahead meant that
she wasnt focusing on placing one foot in front of the other. So it was no surprise when Payton stumbled.
Bradyns quick reflexes came in handy when he gripped her waist, saving her from falling on her face.
She felt the heat from his hands penetrate her clothes to her sensitive skin underneath. Payton quickly
straightened up, adjusted her t-shirt, and pulled away from his searing touch. His nearness and her self-
consciousness because of her thick waist made her face heat up. Ready to end the awkwardness, Payton
quickened her step to get to her car. Bradyns long legs easily kept up with her.
Payton stopped once she reached her drivers side door. She turned to speak to Bradyn and her
words became stuck in her throat, not expecting him to be so close.
Goodnight, lass, Bradyn said deeply before leaning down to kiss her softly on the cheek.
He quickly turned and strode away. Payton watched him go, her eyes roaming over his large frame,
noticing just how graceful he was to be so big. She raised her hand to her cheek. Payton could still feel
the caress of his soft lips and the scrape of the furry bristles of his beard on the side of her face.
Dammit! Hes totally the Gentle Giant. Payton frowned as she slid into the drivers seat and started
her car. Im in so much trouble.

Chapter Thirteen

Royal walked into The Red Scots Ultimate Gym around one in the afternoon. A few days before,
Bradyn had approached them as they lifted weights and haltingly asked her if he could hire her to take
photos of the gym and videos if she knew how to take those too. Hed been so shy and sweet that she
couldnt help but make room in her schedule for him. Plus, she figured it would give her more of an
opportunity to see what he was about. The three of them were a bit overprotective of Payton, so she
wanted to make sure she did her due diligence.
She walked to the back of the building to Bradyns office. The large Scot was bent over his desk
looking at some paperwork. Royal took just a few moments to assess the man that had taken a liking to her
friend with her photographers eye.
Bradyn was handsome in a very rugged hes been punched a few too many times roughneck sort of
way. His ears had slightly cauliflowered from wrestling over the years. His face was all hard plains and
sharp angles, giving him a very serious look when he wasnt smiling. His hair was a beautiful deep
auburn, yet his beard had a multitude of colors, starting with the same auburn and lightening to strawberry
blond by the time the hair got to his mouth. His hair and beard were groomed to perfection. Both cropped
relatively low, to keep opponents from being able to grab ahold of them during a match.
His skin was pale with freckles splattered on his shoulders, forearms, and face. Bradyn must have
sensed her in the room because he looked up and smiled. The smile instantly softened his hard edges and
gave him the appearance of a gentle giant. Royal was always shocked when she got the full force of his
pale blue eyes. They really were astonishing. Dude, Payton you really have hit the hot guy jackpot! One
day Id love to shoot him. I wonder if Payton would let me shoot them together. That would be a
kickass photo spread! All polished ebony against the palest of ivory, like the keys of a piano.
Hey, Bradyn! Royal grinned as she walked into his office.
Hello, Royal. Thanks again for helping me out, Bradyn said sincerely.
Of course. Im glad to do it. So just point me in the right direction and Ill take photos and videos of
what you want. Royal suggested.
Bradyn rose from behind his desk. At only five-feet-even, Royal had to crane her neck back to look
up at him as he stood to his full height. She noticed that he seemed to be less shy when faced with just one
of them. Or maybe it was because Payton wasnt with her.
They made their way around the facility. Bradyn pointed out things he wanted to be photographed and
Royal would oblige. She took pictures of the cardio equipment after asking the members who were using
them if it was okay to photograph them and if they would sign a waiver. They moved to the weight area,
sparring and boxing area, the Olympic size pool, the locker rooms, sauna, steam room, and Smoothie &
Shake Bar.
Next, they made their way to the individual rooms that held the fitness classes. Royal took some
photographs and then turned her camera on to video mode to film little snippets of each class in action.
Sohow are things going with Payton? Royal asked in between filming.
Uhalright, I suppose. She seems te be slightly more at ease with me. Bradyn shrugged.
You both are a hot mess. Getting two shy people to talk to each other is like pulling teeth. Royal
shook her head in exasperation.
Im actually no as shy as I was at first, he defended.
You were a bundle of nerves when you asked me to take photos of your gym. Royal gave him a
knowing look.
Well, walking up te a group of bonnie lasses, including one that Im interested in, in particular, isna
that easy. I kept thinking Id say something stupid. Bradyn admitted.
Good answer. Royal grinned at him.
Now Im just trying to figure out how to spend time with her outside o this place.
Hmm Well, she likes all things sci-fi. As Im sure youve noticed from her Star Wars tote bag.
Bradyn smiled fondly and nodded his head.
And she loves video games, too. So maybe that could be a start for you.
Thank ye, so much Royal, he said gratefully. Ye canna imagine how Ive wracked my brain to
come up with something to do with her. I know shed never accept a dinner invitation. So maybe I could
come up with something that doesna seem like a date.
Im sure youll figure it out. Just remember to go slow and be gentle with her, Royal advised.
I will. I promise, ye.
Alright. Now, lets go take a photo of you out front of the building. Royal said as she headed
towards the front doors.
Why me? Bradyn frowned.
Well, big guy, youre a huge draw for people to come to this gym. They want to catch a glimpse of
the UFC Champion. So we might as well take advantage of the free spokesperson, Royal grinned up at
Weel, since ye put it that way, lead the way boss.


Once again, Bradyn found himself across from Payton that evening, looking over the site with some of
the photos and videos that Royal had taken earlier. Though it wasnt like he could really concentrate on
the website, not with the question he wanted to ask Payton swirling around in his mind, distracting him.
Bradyn had asked Mitch and Sam and anyone else he could find, where he could take a girl that likes
Sci-fi stuff and video games. He had even scoured the internet for anything local. Everyone kept bringing
up places like Dave & Busters or Gameworks, but he wanted someplace a little cooler and less like a
giant franchise. Someplace with fewer lights, noise, and flare. A place where he could focus more of his
attention on his date. Not that he would tell her it was a date.
Finally, someone had brought up a place called, Beer & Pong. It was a place that had every video
game console since Atari, and just about every video game known to man. All inside a bar where people
could have some drinks and rent out some games to play. It was perfect.
Or at least he hoped it would be. He just needed to get her to agree to come first. Bradyn sighed,
trying to fortify himself for the battle he was about to begin. As he closed her laptop, he looked across his
desk at her. Payton had been staring at him again as she chewed on her bottom lip, deep in thought.
Itahl-looks great, Payton. Bradyn complimented before clearing his throat nervously. So
umd-do ye like video games?
Payton frowned before answering. Yes.
Ohuhtheres this place I heard of that has every video game ever made an they serve drinks
too. I really wanted to check it out, but none of my friends are really interested in video games. So I was
wondering if yed like to go with me. Bradyn mumbled quickly.
He tensed, steeling himself for the impending rejection.
Bradyns eyes shot up to Paytons wide brown ones. Today?
It was a Friday night and Bradyn didnt want to give her any time to change her mind. Hed been
pretty patient, but not that patient.
We can head there from here, he suggested.
O-Okay, Payton stuttered. Ohuhas long as I can drive separately.

Chapter Fourteen

Dammit. Dammit! Dammit!!! Payton screamed in her head as she braved a quick awkward shower in
the gyms locker room, as she made sure she avoided wetting her hair. What have I gotten myself into?! I
hate my friends!
Earlier that night before Bradyn had come and gotten her, as usual, after her and the girls workout,
her friends had convinced her that if he were to ask her to hang out that she should accept. Just to spend
some time with him to get to know him outside of the gym. Royal had told her that Bradyn seemed
genuinely interested and harmless.
After that, while Bradyn had gone over the changes shed added to the website, Payton had watched
him. She couldnt get out of her head what he had been through as a young man. That if he was being
truthful about his first love, then there was no way that hed ever hurt her.
So with the girls voices in her head and armed with the knowledge that he would more than likely
never hurt her, when Bradyn had suggested the video game bar, Payton had easily agreed. Which of
course, she was totally regretting now.
I dont go on dates. In fact, Ive never been on a date. I dont even know where to begin. I
shouldve just said no. Payton argued with herself as she shut off the shower and quickly wrapped herself
in one of the pristine white towels offered in the locker room. She sighed with relief that she had been
alone in the shower the whole time. She hadnt been naked in front of anyone other than her doctor since
her mom stopped giving her baths as a kid.
Payton dried off, grabbed some hand lotion she had in her Star Wars bag to lotion her arms and legs
with. She wasnt exactly equipped to get ready for a date at the gym. She wasnt dumb enough to think that
this wasnt a date just because Bradyn didnt call it one. Luckily, she didnt work at a place where she
had to dress in suits. She was sure that a lady power suit wouldnt be appropriate for a bar. So she pulled
back on her black circle skirt with black suspenders and a vintage charcoal gray Wonder Woman t-shirt.
She slipped on her black and white checkered Vans, pulled her hair back in a messy ponytail with her
bangs out to frame her face. She didnt have any makeup on her. But she figured if Bradyn asked her to
hang out while she had on a t-shirt drenched with pit sweat and Lycra yoga pants, hed be fine with her
without makeup.
Payton took a deep breath, trying to calm her racing pulse. It didnt work, but shed run out of time
and excuses. She gathered up her belongings and sighed heavily as she headed out into the gym.
Just as shed expected, The Gentle Giant was waiting for her outside of the locker room. His auburn
hair was combed to perfection. His matching beard was brushed to a soft polished shine. He wore nice
relaxed fit jeans and a dark blue t-shirt that hugged his massive arms and just slightly gave away the
physique that lay underneath as the fabric rested against his cut pectoral muscles. And he too wore a pair
of Vans, but his were in black with the signature white soles.
Ready? Bradyn asked.
Mmhmm, Payton answered with her lips squeezed together tightly.
If she opened her lips to speak, shed back out of the date. But shed promised the girls that shed
give it a shot. Give him a shot.
I promise, this is just an innocent hang out. Not a date. Bradyn reassured her, trying to put her mind
at ease.
It worked a little and Payton breathed a bit easier. Though she wasnt really sure she believed him,
but she pretended to, to make herself feel better.
O-Okay. Lets go, she nodded with false confidence. Fake it till you make it.
Bradyn politely walked Payton to her car and she waited for him to get into his so that she could
follow him. He, of course, drove a big SUV to accommodate his size. Just seeing him behind the wheel of
the car with the light of the console illuminating his face, nearly sent her into hyperventilation. It reminded
her so much of Brett and that awful night.
Payton took calming breaths and squeezed the steering wheel. With somewhat jerky movements, she
was able to back out of the parking spot and put the car in drive to follow him to the bar. It wasnt far
from the gym, so about ten minutes later, they were parking their cars and walking side by side down a
street filled with bars and restaurants. The area was lively with the Friday crowd. Everyone celebrating
the end of the work week and ready to enjoy their weekend.
They walked in silence, both feeling a bit awkward. Payton noticed the hungry stares that women
gave him as they passed by. She also saw the equally baffled looks they gave her, wondering why he was
with her. Bradyn didnt seem to notice any of it. He appeared to be content walking along beside her.
They made their way to the front door of Beer & Pong. Bradyn opened the door for her and Payton
walked inside of the relatively dark establishment. TVs lined every wall in the bar. A wooden counter
with bar stools under it took up many of the walls. A large square bar sat in the middle with TVs hanging
around the perimeter with gamers gazing up at them as they played a variety of video games. They high-
fived each other and drank beers and hard liquor concoctions in between turns. Other parts of the bar
were furnished with dark leather couches and coffee tables for drinks and food and console controllers,
all in front of more televisions. It was truly an adult gamers paradise. Payton tried to contain the smile
that wanted to spread across her face.
Does this pass the test? Bradyn asked.
What test? Payton furrowed her brow in question.
The cool points test, Bradyn teased and a huge beautiful smile spread across his face.
The smile lit up his naturally stern looking face. It literally made Paytons breath hitch in her throat.
The smile even reached his eyes, causing the pale blue color to dance and sparkle with delight. And the
skin around his eyes crinkled, making his face appear more handsome than she had ever seen it.
It was that smile that eased Paytons final doubts. It sent a welcoming warmth through her middle that
set free a battalion of butterflies in her gut. Her skin tingled with awareness and she felt goosebumps rise
across her skin. Her heart pounded out a steady tattoo.
Payton let her full, genuine smile break free. You have certainly accumulated quite a few cool points
for finding this place.
Is this what it feels like?! Deep, mutual attraction? No wonder the girls are always swooning over
this man or that man. I feel like I could do backflips. Calm down, dont get too ahead of yourself. The
last time you had a crush on a guy, you ended up in his backseat and nearly raped.
She tried to school her features as he led her over to the bar. Bradyn bought her a vodka/Red Bull and
himself a beer, after asking her what she wanted.
So what do ye want to play? Something newer? Bradyn looked down at her.
How about something older. Im kind of a purist when it comes to video games. Sometimes I miss
the good ol days. Payton answered honestly.
So what did ye have in mind? Bradyn smiled at her and then glanced at the incredible list of video
games the bar had.
How about Street Fighter II? Payton raised a challenging eyebrow. Id never be able to beat you
in a real fight, but I bet I can annihilate you in a video game.
Oh! Bradyn burst out. Where did the shy lass disappear te?
This is my wheelhouse. The only place where I have confidence and comfortable with it too,
Payton said proudly.
Thats a shame, Bradyn remarked as he raised his hand to her face. He stroked a single digit down
the side of Paytons face and she suddenly found it hard to breathe. As much as I adore yer shyness an
awkwardness, this side of ye islets just say verra appealing. Ye should try to come outta yer shell more
The very shyness that he was talking about decided to make a reappearance. Payton looked away
from him and moved her face from his searing touch.
Im still a work in progress, Payton said softly.
Arent we all, Bradyn replied just as quietly under his breath.

Chapter Fifteen

Bradyn walked Payton over to one of the vacant couches after borrowing the video game shed
chosen. They had only been at the bar a few minutes and he was already having one of the best times with
a female companion hed ever had. He sensed that his lovely date was relaxing and becoming at ease
with him as the minutes passed. Finally!
So who are ye going to be? He asked as they settled in and began to choose their characters.
Chun-Li, of course. Payton tried to contain a secret smile.
Why Chun-Li?
Because shes the first ever female character in a fighting game. And I always play with the female
characters of any fighting game. Besides, her Lightning Kick is everything! She said with excitement.
Bradyn loved how her face brightened talking about something she loved. Hed seen a glimpse of it a
few times when she was going over the gym website. But she was really in her element now. Her large,
dark eyes sparkled with mischief behind her glasses as she selected her fighter. Bradyn looked through the
characters he vaguely remembered as a kid and smiled before he selected the perfect one.
He looked over at Payton and saw her eyes dance with laughter and watched as she squeezed her lips
together to keep from laughing. Hed chosen Blanka the huge, green monster with red hair to fight against
her character.
You would choose him.
Weel, ye did say ye dinna like Red Giants. So heres yer chance to beat one up, Bradyn smirked.
You suck!
What?! Im just trying to be accommodating, he chuckled, unable to keep a straight face.
They started playing in earnest when they got their laughter under control. Bradyn quickly came to the
conclusion that Payton had every right to be cocky about this particular video game. Her thumbs flew over
the controller. She even did the whole thumb and forefinger pressed together while rubbing them with
lightning speed over the A and B buttons move. Bradyn didnt even get in one good punch before her
character was kicking the shit out of his. Literally. Lightning kicks. Upside-down kicks. Whatever. The
first round ended within minutes.
Weel, that was embarrassing, Bradyn chuckled to himself.
Paytons answering grin was enough to make the loss totally worth it.
I told you, she shrugged nonchalantly. As if ass kicking was just an everyday occurrence.
True. Bradyn paused, trying to think of what he wanted to talk about next. While he had her here
and her undivided attention, he wanted to take advantage of it. He wanted to know everything about her.
So, are ye from San Francisco?
No, Im from Chicago. She answered easily.
Did ye move here with yer family?
No. I came out for college and my parents and baby sister are still there.
Do ye get to see them often?
Kind of. Usually during the major holidays.
Payton is an interesting name. Is it a family name?
She rolled her eyes and chuckled before answering. No. I was born the year after the Bears won the
Superbowl. My dad loves them so much that he named me after Walter Payton. I hate football, by the way.
I hope he dinna name yer sister Walter. Bradyn cringed.
No, but close. He named her Micah, for Mike Singletary. Also a player for the eighty-five Bears
team. Payton sighed in obvious frustration.
So I take it yer Da loves football? Bradyn tried to ask with a straight face.
Thats the understatement of the century. Payton laughed softly. He used to try to force me to watch
it and get into it. He doesnt anymore.
Umnothing worth talking about. Payton skirted around the subject.
Bradyn was curious but decided to let it go for another time. If he was lucky enough to get another
time. Though he was a relatively intelligent man and he was starting to piece together what had happened
to Payton to make her so skittish around men. He wished that he could take away her fears and her
obvious pain and absorb it within himself. And maybe he could if shed give him the chance.
What about you? Payton pulled him from his deep thoughts.
What about me?
Is your family still in Scotland? Do you have siblings? She asked as she pushed her glasses up her
Aye, theyre still in Scotland. Theyd never leave. At least no fer good. And I do have siblings.
Two younger sisters. Bradyn smiled thinking of his family.
Does your whole family have red hair like you? Payton asked, smiling bashfully at the mention of
his hair color.
No. No all of us are red giants, Bradyn smirked.
Youre never going to let me live that down, are you?
Nope. He grinned as he pulled out his wallet and reached inside for a faded and creased photo.
He handed the picture to Payton for her to look at. It was a photograph of his mother, father, two
sisters and himself. His mother had stunning red waves and his father had jet-black hair. Bradyn and his
youngest sister had gotten the auburn hair and fairer coloring of their mother. And his middle sister had
gotten the black hair and slightly darker skin tone of their father. All of them had blue eyes. Two different
shades, though. Dark or pale.
Theyre beautiful. Payton smiled at the picture and then glanced at him.
Thank ye, Bradyn said proudly, then began pointing to each of his family members. Thats my Ma
and Da, Samuel and Ella. Thats my middle sister Molly, and my baby sister Evie.
How old were you in this photo?
Oh, about twenty, Id say. Bradyn leaned back against the couch. A few years before I came here.
Payton turned slightly to look back at him, looking at him coyly from behind her glasses. Bradyn
knew that she didnt realize her appeal. That her shy looks were sexy as hell.
You werent souhmuscular then, she stammered.
Ye really have a problem with muscles, dont ye? Bradyn asked, keeping his voice in a teasing
Do you miss Scotland? Payton asked, completely avoiding the question.
Bradyn let her slidefor now.
Aye. I do. But Ive made this my home now and I am happy here. And I like how the weather is
cooler and foggier here in San Francisco. Just like home. Luckily, I also have enough money to visit
whenever I can. He smiled fondly, thinking of home. And you? Do ye miss Chicago?
I dont miss the winters. I miss my family, kind of. Ive always felt out of placeeverywhere. Even
at home with my family. Payton sighed. It wasnt until I met Royal, Mia, and Kennedy that I felt that I
belonged somewhere. So I dont see myself ever leaving San Francisco or them.
When did ye meet them?
My freshman year of college.
Payton got a faraway look in her eyes that seemed a little forlorn and a little wistful. Bradyn had no
idea why her memories of meeting her friends would evoke a look of sadness and happiness at the same
time. He reached out a hand to take hers. Her skin felt like satin against the calloused pads of his fingers.
She shivered at his touch and Bradyn smiled, knowing that her trembles had turned from bad to good. He
knew they were good because she didnt even attempt to pull away from his touch.
Bradyn slowly sat forward, not wanting to scare her away. Paytons large, coffee brown eyes
widened as he came closer. He raised his hand to her smooth ebony cheek. Bradyn lightly brushed back a
tendril of hair that laid against her temple and cheek. Her lips popped open as she tried to catch her
breath. Her pink tongue darted out to wet her chocolaty, Cupids bow shaped lips. Bradyns eyes focused
on her lush lips and he felt himself lean closer, craving a taste of her beautiful mouth.
A hand rose up between them to push her glasses back up onto her nose and she quickly turned away.
Effectively shutting him down without saying a word. Godsblood this woman is harder te crack than a
bag o nuts!
Bradyn closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Hed been fantasizing about kissing her and doing any
number of delightful things to her body for weeks now. Yet, it didnt look like he was going to be getting
any closer to doing those things in the near future.
L-Lets play another round. Paytons voice quivered slightly.
Yell only beat me, but why not?
Bradyn picked up his controller, accepting the fact that he would not be getting the chance to taste her
lips this night. Instead, he settled in for a night of drinks and games.

Chapter Sixteen

Spill it, Kennedy said to Payton.
It was their regular Saturday lunch date at Raw. They hadnt even settled in at their table yet before
the curious redhead was ready to hear what had happened between Payton and Bradyn the night before.
Spill what? Payton asked innocently.
Mia gave her a look. Dont act like youre dumb, because we know better. So you might as well
spill the frijoles before we force it out of you.
Payton knew Mia would, so she spoke quickly. Theres nothing to tell. We went to the coolest place
Ive been to in a long time. It had every video game console, from Atari to PS4. And oh my God, the
games. They had thousands of- Payton stopped mid-sentence when she saw their looks of impatience.
Sorry, I digress. Anyway, we just talked. I destroyed him several times playing Street Fighter. It was
Thats it? Royal asked, looking at her suspiciously.
I mean, I think at one point, he almost kissed me. But I turned away.
AwwPayton! Kennedy groaned with disappointment. You shouldve let him kiss you!
Well, Im not ready for all that. Payton raised her chin and sniffed, petulantly.
Girl, youre about to turn thirty in a few months. You better get ready. Mia order in her usual
authoritative tone.
Were all turning thirty this year, Payton shot back.
Yeah, but were, Mia paused to point to herself and the other two, not virgins.
Whats the big deal anyway?! Im so sick of talking about sex! Payton threw her hands up in
frustration. A rare outburst of emotion from the normally reserved beauty. Its just sex. A man putting his
penis in a womans vagina. What can be so great about that?
Kennedy reached across the table and placed a calming hand over Paytons.
When you put it that way, it does sound like this simple, insignificant thing. But I promise you, it can
be the most beautiful and pleasurable thing youll ever experience if youre with the right partner.
Kennedy explained wistfully.
I suppose. I just dont see the appeal. Payton shrugged.
Thats because you need to stop hearing us talk about it and actually do it. Its the only way, dude.
Just jump. Royal suggested.
And please jump soon, Kennedy pleaded. Because I hope you know that Im turning this into a
story. The two of you are just too sweet not to write about.
Im starting to believe that none of you watched those after school specials growing up, about peer
pressure. Payton frowned at them.
This is neither high school nor are we talking about drugs. You are twenty-nine, soon to be thirty and
were talking about sex. And with a man who has been very patient with you and seems to adore you. If
we didnt peer pressure you, youd stay a virgin the rest of your life. And since I havent heard anything
about you wanting to join the nunnery, we need to give you a little push so that you can get a little push.
Inside your vagina. With a penis. Mia defended.
Royal and Kennedy chuckled at Mias choice of words. Payton had to admit, Mia certainly had a gift
for turning any situation into an opportunity to go straight into the dirtiest gutter possible.
You do realize youre all on a crazy train headed straight to hell, right? Payton asked.
Mia smirked, And Im the conductor. Choo-Choo motherfucker.
Everyone in the restaurant turned to look over at their table as they burst out into peals of laughter.
Enough about my underused vagina. What about your well-worn one, Mia? Payton said after they
all calmed down. Kennedy and Royal almost spit out their drinks at her joke.
I do Kegel exercises when I wake up and before I go to bed. You dont have to worry, my punany is
as tight as an eighteen-year-old virgins at Sunday school. Mia responded haughtily. And what about my
Whatever happened to that cute guy at the bar you went home with? You havent mentioned anything
about him. Payton asked.
Oh, yeah! I forgot about him. I need details to put aside for a future novel. Kennedy chimed in.
Theres nothing to tell, Mia hedged.
Uh oh! That means something bad went down. Royal rubbed her hands together and leaned
forward, ready for a good story. Now its your turn Spill it.
It was nothing. He was good in bed. Mia said offhandedly.
They all knew something was up.
So what was the problem? You usually replay your stories with gusto. Kennedy squinted at her.
Well After we got finished, he kinda got his ass whoopedby his mama. Mia looked down at
her napkin.
WHAT?!? They all shouted in unison.
The other restaurant patrons glanced over at them curiously and the girls cringed and quieted down.
What?! Royal exclaimed under her breath.
Oh, its no big deal. He just lived with his madre. In the basement. Mia explained, her voice
dripping with disdain.
Youve got to be kidding me! Kennedy burst out.
Nope. I wish I were.
How old was he? Payton asked.
I dont know. Old enough not to be living in his parents basement that looked like a bachelor pad he
had no plans of leaving anytime soon. Mia scowled.
And his mom beat him? Payton asked warily.
She sure did. With a belt.
Oh my God! Royal exclaimed, on the verge of another laughing fit.
She almost hit me, but I threatened her and she backed off.
You didnt?! Payton said shocked.
I sure did, Mia answered, looking at her fingernails nonchalantly.
What did she do after that? Kennedy asked, the maniacal gleam of a story idea shining in her eyes.
Thats when she started beating the shit outta him. Honey, you best believe Ive never ran so fast in
my life. I scooped up my shit and ran like the fires of hell were licking at my naked ass. I hopped in my
car and drove home as naked as the day I was born.
AAAAAAHAHAHAHA!!! The girls lost it completely as Mia smiled at them.
Im glad I could amuse you all. You know, that makes you a bunch of assholes for laughing at my
pain. She smirked at them good-naturedly.
Sorry, but that had to be the funniest shit Ive heard in a long time. Royal gasped trying to catch her
Agreed. Kennedy laughed, just as breathless.
Maybe you should be like me and stop having so much sex, Payton suggested.
Heffa, youve never had sex. Mia gave the shy virgin the side-eye. Trust me, Im taking a short
hiatus from men and sex. I have a very neglected King Tut vibrator that I need to put to use for a little
Kennedy dug into her purse and pulled out her phone. She swiped the screen until she found her voice
recorded and pressed start.
Okay, start from the beginning. I need details.
Puta! Youre gonna start paying me some book royalties since Im practically writing the stories for
you. Mia gave Kennedy the stink eye.
You know you love it. Being immortalized in books. Kennedy smirked at the grumpy Latina.
Yeah, youre right. She grinned reluctantly.
Payton shook her head and grinned at her favorite people in the whole world as Mia began to retell
her latest sexcapade.

Chapter Seventeen

Sothats it, Payton said as she closed her laptop.
It clicked shut with finality, marking the end of their working relationship. Which left Bradyn worried
about the tenacious hold he had on their almost nonexistent personal relationship. It had been two weeks
since their non-date at Beer & Pong and they hadnt hung out, aside from in his office. Even Payton
seemed a little melancholy and unsure of where to go from there.
The website really does look phenomenal, Payton. Yeve done great work, he complimented her.
She looked down bashfully before speaking. Thanks.
So that really is it, huh?
Yes. The website should be pretty self-sufficient. If there are any bugs or problems, I can easily fix
those for you anytime. And if you want a new look in a year or so, or if you want to add something, just let
me know. Otherwise, itll launch at midnight tonight and that will be it, she explained.
Payton started to pack up her laptop and Bradyn felt panic rise up to practically choke him. I canna
let her walk out an that be it!
Have dinner with me! Bradyn blurted out, forgetting his manners. Hed meant to ask her, not shout
it out as a demand. So he softened his tone before continuing. To celebrate the website being done.
He was about to go on, ready to plead with her, when she spoke.
Okay, Payton said softly. So softly that he almost missed it.
Ye will? Bradyn asked in shock and then cleared his throat and quickly mumbled, Uhwhat I
meant te say was, how about tomorrow?
Alright, Payton conceded as she picked at a piece of thread unraveling from her Star Wars bag.
Bradyn had no idea why or how his luck had changed, but he wasnt going to take it for granted.
Is it alright if I pick ye up at yer home? Ye know, like a proper date?
O-Okay, Paytons voice trembled.
She leaned forward and reached for a pen. Bradyn watched as she quickly scribbled her address
down on a pad of paper on his desk as if she wanted to get it down before she changed her mind.
W-Will I She cleared her throat and took a deep breath before continuing. Will I n-need to d-
dress up?
Umaye, sure. That would be nice.
Bradyn internally shook his head at the stuttering, mumbling, nervous mess they both made. Someone
is gonna have te take on the role of aggressor or were never going te get anywhere. He had no problem
with turning on the alpha male side of himself when he stepped into the octagon. But when it came to
women, he was a fumbling mess. His lack of confidence as a kid leeched into his sub-conscious as an
adult, fearing rejection. And hed have to be a fool to believe that his first love, Becca, being raped in
front of him didnt factor into his trepidation as well. As if any woman he got close to would be harmed
because of him.
Bradyn sighed. He knew that if he wanted to move things forward with Payton though, hed have to
start channeling The Red Scot in his personal life and not just in the cage.
Alright, then. Tomorrow it is. How does seven oclock sound? Bradyn forced his voice to remain
steady and strong and added a little bass to it for good measure.
Ituhsounds g-good.


Ugh! This is so not good! Payton slapped her hands over her mouth as she ran for her bathroom to
empty the contents of her stomach.
Kennedy ran in after her, followed closely by Royal and Mia. They were all there to help Payton get
ready for her big date. Theyd been trying to give her encouraging words and advice, all while dolling her
up. Instead of their normal Saturday lunch at Raw, they had eaten at a caf near some chic boutiques that
catered to plus size women to find her the perfect date ensemble.
In the end, Kennedy found a pretty yellow lace sundress for Payton. It was the perfect amount of flirty
and sweet, baring just enough cleavage to be tasteful, yet alluring. And it landed just above the knee. But
it was the soft marigold color against the reddish undertones of Paytons dark skin that made the dress. It
literally made her skin look like polished dark mahogany. They added a white, lightweight cashmere shrug
in case the thin spaghetti strapped dress became too chilly. And paired it all with comfortable white
wedge sandals that tied up her thick shapely calves. Which had become firmer and more muscular from a
month at the gym.
Before she ran to the bathroom to upchuck her lunch, Royal had put Paytons hair up in an adorable
ballerina bun. She left out her bangs to fall just below her eyebrows, pulling focus to her large dark
brown eyes. The longer side tendrils, Royal curled loosely to frame Paytons gorgeous face and high
Mia worked on her face. She knew that Payton wasnt one for a ton of makeup or artifice, preferring
to be as natural as possible. So she gave her a slight winged liner, to emphasize her already large eyes.
Mascara to enhance her naturally long eyelashes and a tiny bit of golden shimmer on the inner corners of
her eyes to make them pop. And she finished up the fresh-faced look with a clear lip-gloss with a golden
shimmer on her dark, shapely lips.
Payton was breathtaking if only she could stop throwing up long enough to appreciate it.
Kennedy rubbed her back since her hair was already pulled up into a bun and didnt need to be held
Calm down, Payton. Kennedy soothed. Its just Bradyn. The same man youve been working with
for weeks now. And technically youve already been on a date with him.
Its not the same, Payton said wearily as she finally sat back and flushed the toilet. I mean, it was
kind of a date, but we didnt call it that. We were just hanging out. But this, this, is an actual date. Where
we have to sit across from each other at a table and try to make inconsequential small talk, all while
hoping you dont get broccoli stuck in between your front teeth or say something imbecilic or spill wine
all over yourself.
Youre worrying yourself sick over nothing. Youll be fine! Kennedy assured her.
Do you know me? Im the biggest klutz on the planet. Food gravitates to the front of my clothes
pretty much on a daily basis. I host tiny celebrations in my head when I havent spilled anything on myself
all day and can save a shirt or dress for a second wearing before washing it. Payton scowled up at her
Has Bradyn seen you stumble over imaginary cracks in the ground? Royal asked with a lifted
Did you spill a drink on yourself during your play-date two weeks ago? Kennedy added to the line
of questioning.
M-Maybe a little.
Have you fumbled your words or spewed any word vomit at him? Aka calling him The Red Giant?
Mia threw in for good measure.
Payton frowned at them and crossed her arms over her chest in silent protest.
And after all of that, did he or did he not still ask you out? Royal asked.
Payton rolled her eyes in response, knowing shed been had.
Thats what I thought. Royal turned to the bathroom mirror and fluffed her colorful hair sassily.
Fine. Whatever. Payton grumbled as she stood on shaky legs.
So what if youre clumsy by nature. Kennedy began. Work around it. If the waiter asks you if you
want wine, get white instead of red. White wont stain. If a meal on the menu calls for something leafy and
green, avoid it. Or eat it and then make fun of yourself by smiling big and asking him, Do I have anything
stuck in my teeth? You might, but since you brought it up, it wont be as embarrassing as him having to
find a way to tell you. You see? Easy peasy.
Huh That does seem to be a logical plan of action. Payton contemplated.
Good. Mia nodded and then gripped Paytons shoulders and turned her towards the bathroom sink.
Now brush your teeth again so I can reapply your lip gloss. No man wants to kiss the mouth of some
cochina that threw up earlier. And be quick, hell be here any minute.
Mia smacked Paytons butt to get her moving. She quickly brushed her teeth and rinsed with
mouthwash for good measure, before Mia applied the lip gloss once more. Payton slipped on her large
black horn-rimmed glasses and looked at herself in the mirror. She wished that she had contacts, but shed
tried them once, a long time ago and nearly poked her eyes out trying to put them in, so she gave up. Aside
from her glasses and the deer in highlights look in her eyes, she was actually pleasantly surprised at how
nice she looked.
In a rare show of emotion, Payton turned to the girls with glassy eyes. Thank you so much, girls. I
dont know what Id do without you.
Youd be just fine. Maybe just a touch less chic, though. Royal teased and then winked at her.
Thats an understatement, Payton commented.
Alright. We better get out of here before he gets here and gets all flustered like he usually does.
Kennedy suggested as she leaned in to kiss Payton on the cheek.
Royal and Mia did the same before walking to the door of Paytons condo.
Kennedy opened the front door and smiled.
Too late, she said in a singsong voice.
Payton, Mia, and Royal all turned to find a red-faced Bradyn standing on the other side of the
doorway. He had one large fist raised to knock on the door with a ceramic flower pot full of colorful
daisies trembling in his other hand. His massive body pretty much filled the entire doorway and made an
interesting juxtaposition to the delicate flowers in his beefy hands. Kennedy clutched both of her hands to
her heart and got a weepy look on her face. Mia gave him a sideways grin and nodded her head slightly in
silent approval. Royal beamed up at him with a bright smile. And Payton just froze.
The only part of her that moved were her eyes as they took him in.
Bradyns auburn hair and beard were groomed to perfection. He wore a black fitted short-sleeved
dress shirt that fit him so well, she didnt know how the buttons were still holding up. His muscles were
practically bursting at the seams like he was going to pull an Incredible Hulk moment. He wore a thin
electric blue tie that made his pale blue eyes stand out even more. The shirt was tucked into perfectly
tailored gray slacks with a black belt and on his feet were his black Vans.
Payton couldnt exactly put her finger on it, but his casual shoes somehow put her at ease. But just
barely. Because for the first time in twelve years, Payton had just realized that she was irrevocably
attracted to this man.
Like, heart pounding.
Butterflies colliding.
Knees weakening, kind of attraction.
Oh shit! Papi knows how to clean up! Mia nodded as she looked him up and down before walking
passed him.
Hell yeah! You look rad, for sure. Royal grinned and held out her fisted hand for a fist bump.
Bradyn turned even redder at the compliments but still managed to tap his big scarred fist with her much
smaller one.
Kennedy walked passed him last. Youve got this, Bradyn. She leaned in to whisper, though Payton
still heard her. You look very handsome and the flowers were a nice touch, by the way.
Th-Thank ye, Bradyn said and somehow got even redder than he already was if that were even
Alrighty! Well just leave you two alone. Im sure weve embarrassed you enough for one evening,
Kennedy said as she walked around his large frame.
Bye! The three of them called out in unison before walking down the hall.
Dont do anything I wouldnt do, Mia shouted and then laughed. Which means wrap it up, dont
lose the keys to the handcuffs, remember the lube, and dont forget your safeword.
Payton felt her face heat up and was sure that if she had Bradyns pale complexion, shed be just as
red as he was at the moment. She reluctantly took her eyes off of her friends laughing and retreating backs
and glanced up at Bradyn to find him staring at her.
Ye look-
You look-
They both said at once.
Go ahead, Bradyn coaxed.
I-I was just going to point out that you l-look really nice. No, nice isnt right. I could be talking
about the weather. Uhyou look r-really handsome. Now you go! Payton blurted out.
Thanks, Payton. I was gonna say that ye look breathtaking. Lookin at ye makes my chest hurt a wee
bit, Bradyn said sincerely.
Paytons mouth popped open at the compliment. It was the nicest thing anyone had said to her, ever.
She felt her mouth close and then open again, flapping like a baby bird. It felt like her brain was short-
circuiting because words failed her. Luckily, Bradyn let her off the hook by thrusting the flowers at her.
Here, I wanted to get ye flowers, but I thought red roses were too presumptuous. I also think it
seems kinda rude to buy a lass something that will eventually die. So I picked flowers that reminded me
of ye and willna die if ye take care of em. Bradyn let the words tumble out of his mouth quickly.
I remind you of daisies? Payton asked curiously as she took the pretty potted flowers.
Aye. When ye let yer guard down, yer bright, fun, and colorful. And theyre perfect for flower pots.
Bradyn ended cryptically.
Flower pots? What does flower pots have anything to do with it? Payton scrunched her brow in
Nothing, really. Maybe Ill explain it another time. Shall we? Bradyn swept his hand down the hall,
changing the subject.
Uhlet me just set this down and grab my purse, Payton said looking down at the stunning flowers.
She quickly sat the pot down in the middle of her coffee table and snatched up her new white clutch
purse with a wrist strap. The only things inside was her lip gloss, ID, cash, and cellphone. Payton
couldnt apply her makeup the first time, let alone trying to reapply later. Lip gloss was as far as she went.
Payton walked back towards the front door and took a deep breath.
Ready? Bradyn asked softly.
No. But I want to try anyway, she admitted honestly.
Bradyn nodded his understanding as Payton locked her door with trembling fingers. She let him guide
her out to his SUV and her knees nearly gave out at the memories of the last time she was in an SUV with
a man. She took deep calming breaths as Bradyn politely opened the passenger side door for her.
Oh no! This is my very first date EVER and Im having a panic attack! Relax, Payton. Breathe
Are ye weel? Bradyn asked as he slid into the drivers seat.
Payton nodded between deep breaths.
Payton, yer safe with me. I willna hurt yeever. Bradyn reassured her.
I-I know. I know. Logically, anyway. But my emotions arent on the same page. Itll pass. Payton
said between painful breaths.
We dinna have to do this today if ye dinna want to. He said quietly. His voice on the edge of
No! I want to. I need to. Payton closed her eyes in frustration. I have to get over thisthis
aversion to men.
Payton suddenly felt Bradyns large hand gently cover the exposed skin of her thigh. Her eyes flew
open at the warm touch. She nearly gasped at the electricity that pulsed up her leg. The calloused pad of
his thumb rubbed soothingly over her smooth skin. The touch was calming yet exciting all at the same
time. Either way, shed forgotten all about her panic attack. Her heart was now speeding for other
reasons. And for some odd reason unknown to her, her heart also beat a steady tattoo down south,
between her legs. Only a few inches from his hand.
What the hell is wrong with me? Damn, I wish Mia were here to explain this!
Better? Bradyn asked gruffly, with a strange husky quality to his tone.
Iuhyeah. Payton fumbled.
Alright, then. I suppose wed better get going. Bradyn announced before removing his hand from
Paytons leg to start the car.
Her leg felt cold after he pulled his hand away and she was surprised that she missed its weight. But
on the flip side, her heart finally calmed down as well as the throbbing in her nether region.
This is gonna be a long and confusing night.

Chapter Eighteen

Bradyn had to distract himself with the task of driving before he jumped Paytons bones in his
vehicle. Earlier, when her redheaded friend, Kennedy had opened the door, hed had eyes only for Payton.
She was perfection in a yellow dress. Hed practically swallowed his tongue at the image she made. Her
skin was absolutely radiant. Flawless and smooth. His mouth became dry just thinking about tasting every
inch of it.
Paytons reaction to his touch had him shifting and adjusting discreetly in the drivers seat. The blood
rushing to his dick, lengthening and thickening it, felt uncomfortable in his seated position with his pants
hugging him. It was no wonder. Her breath had hitched, her eyes glazed over slightly, and her mouth
popped open. He even noticed her squeeze her thighs together. It wasnt hard with his hand on her leg.
Plus, Bradyn noticed everything about her. He may not have known much about women, but he knew when
a woman was turned on. And hed bet his gym that she was throbbing between her legs as much as he
Its a good start.
He drove to a fancy Mediterranean restaurant nestled in Union Square. Hed called to make
reservations the minute she left the gym the previous night after shed accepted his invitation for a date.
They pulled up to the front and Bradyn stepped out of the car, handing over his keys to the valet attendant.
Payton moved to open her door and he turned to her.
Stay, he said quickly, holding up a hand.
She just looked at him in confusion and he smiled on the inside. Bradyn quickly walked around to the
passenger side of the SUV and opened the door for Payton and gave her his arm to help her down. A
small, but pleased smiled touched her lips. Bradyn puffed out his chest with pride. One, because on his
arm was the prettiest woman hed ever laid eyes on. And two, being a gentleman was so worth it, to see a
womans smile.
Shall we? He asked, sweeping his arm towards the door, playfully.
We shall. Payton grinned, catching on to his lighthearted mood.
They walked in and the matre d' immediately took them up to the roof to enjoy the outdoor seating.
The evening was fairly warm with a cool gentle breeze blowing by. Bradyn pulled out Paytons chair for
her to sit and he envied the soft breeze and fine hairs that had escaped her bun, as they were allowed to
dance along her neck, caressing the silky skin there, the way his fingertips and lips begged to do.
Unable to stop himself, Bradyn let the pads of his fingers lightly stroke over the sensitive skin of her
neck. Payton trembled and Bradyn curled his fingers into fists as he walked over to sit down across from
her before he did something he would regret. Well, technically, hed never regret a chance to touch or
taste her. Hed only regret pushing her too hard, too soon.
Yer not too cold are ye? Bradyn asked, knowingly. He was positive that it was his touch that had
made her shiver, not the cool air, but he wanted to see her reaction if he brought it up.
Uhno. No, Im fine. Payton looked away bashfully.
She quickly picked up her menu, trying to find anything to focus on besides him. Bradyn let her slide
and reached for his own menu.
So, I wasna sure what food ye liked. I figured Mediterranean was a safe bet. Theres always
something for every person to enjoy, no matter their taste buds. Bradyn informed her after theyd decided
on what they wanted.
It was a good choice. I like Mediterranean food. I like most foods. Cant you tell? Payton gestured
the length of her plump body in a self-deprecating manner.
Bradyn opened his mouth to speak, but the waiter took that moment to come and take their orders. He
scowled across the table at Payton, but she made sure she kept her eyes on the napkin on her lap, the menu
or the waiter. The minute their server walked away, Bradyn leaned forward, getting his beautiful dates
Dinna do that. Bradyn practically growled. Yer gorgeous. Every inch of ye. From the top of yer
little bun there to the tips of yer painted toes. And I take personal offense when ye insult yerself. Since yer
basically saying my taste in women is fer shit.
Bradyn smirked as he watched Payton squeeze her lips together, trying to stifle her laughter.
Sorry. I didnt mean to inadvertently insult you. Payton said with a straight face, though laughter
danced in her eyes.
Bradyn felt ten feet tall that hed made her feel good and made her laugh, though she tried to hide it.
So is that why ye started coming to my gym?
Uhbasically, she hedged.
Basically? What does that mean?
Wellumif Im being honest, about a month or so ago, all of us girls decided to try to be more
open. In regards to men. T-There w-were some guys I thought I could be interested in at work, but I
overheard them say they preferred girls with nice bodies. And thats putting it nicely. Their actual
wording was quite rude and turned me off. But I figured that statistically speaking, most men would agree
with them and so I thought that it would be advantageous if I lost some weight. Payton ended with a
shrug, her eyes cast downward to her lap.
Bradyn was finding that Payton was a very honest person. To a fault. She didnt know how to not tell
the whole truth. Which was how he knew shed nicknamed him The Red Giant. He loved her candor. It
helped him know what she was thinking and feeling, so he could act accordingly.
Payton he paused, waiting for her to look up. Did ye know that I got sucker punched in the face
the first day I laid eyes on ye when ye first walked into my gym?
N-No. She blinked at him in disbelief.
Weel, I did. And by a teenager no less. The moment I saw ye, I was gobsmacked. I swear te ye, the
whole world disappeared. Including that little shit that blindsided me with a right hook. And all that was
before yed even lost a pound. I thought then that ye were the bonniest lass Id ever laid eyes on. Bradyn
laid out his own truth. He figured it couldnt hurt and she needed to hear it.
II dont know what to say.
Even through the lens of her glasses, Bradyn could see the telltale moisture in her eyes.
Ye dinna have to say anything. No every man prefers the same type of steak, for lack of a better
analogy. Im a big man and need more than a thin skirt steak to satisfy me. If ye ask me, theres nothing
better than a thick juicy porterhouse. Something I dont have to be gentle with and that I can sink my teeth
into. Bradyn proclaimed as he imagined biting gently into the flesh of her thick thighs as he made his way
Paytons silence pulled him out of his fantasy. The shocked look on her face made him sit up
straighter and clear his throat. He hadnt meant to get that carried away with his description. He literally
felt the heat creep up his neck and move rather quickly up to his roots. Nice going! Ye probably just
scared her away fer good.
I mean That is to say Bradyn fumbled over his words. Och, te hell with it! I like yer curves
and I willna apologize for it. He nodded emphatically.
Harrumph, thatll show her! He thought sarcastically. Just shut yer pus!
Thank you, Bradyn, Payton said softly.
He sat back. Shocked that she hadnt gotten offended by his tasteless comparison to her and a piece of
meat. Plus, hearing his name on her lips, he realized that shed never said his name out loud before. It was
the sweetest sound ever. Though he was pretty sure that the sound of her gasping his name would sound
even better. Baby steps.
Theres nothing wrong with trying to be healthier. But theres also nothing wrong with having some
meat on yer bones as well. Ye dinna have to kill yerself at the gym or stop eating foods ye enjoy. Whats
the point in living longer if ye hate every minute of it because everyone around ye is eatin cake and
drinking beer? Bradyn ended on a joke.
Payton laughed softly and nodded her agreement.
Youve got a point. Though its easy for you to say. Youre auhreally physically fit athlete.
Payton swallowed as she took in his physique above the table.
Bradyn felt the blood rush to his cock to fill his pants once more. For once she was looking at his
body with barely banked desire, instead of the disgust she once had for his muscles.
He shook his head to clear it of his wayward dirty thoughts and brought it back to the conversation.
Remember, I wasna always in good shape. I was the unpopular fat kid. Once I got into mixed martial
arts, I got even fitter to be a better competitor. This level of fitness for an everyday person with a 9 to 5
job is no realistic. If ye want to be healthier, go for it. Just know that yer beautiful either way. Bradyn
paused and smirked at her. Soyer liking my muscles a wee bit more, are ye?
Negative, Payton said quickly.
Too quickly. He could tell that she was fibbing.
Tell me about Scotland, she changed the subject.
Bradyn smiled and got a faraway look in his eyes as he thought about his home. It was about time for
a visit. Maybe this time Ill have someone to bring home to meet my family.
My family are Highlanders. Of the Clan MacTavish. Bradyns voice deepened and his accent
thickened. We MacTavishes are a rowdy brood. Warriors, storytellers, scotch drinkers, and the charmers
of bonnie lasses.
Bradyn grinned mischievously, using the same phrases his father would always use when boasting
proudly about their bloodline. And apparently, it worked. Payton leaned forward, fully engrossed.
The Scottish Highlands are a rough and brutal, yet beautiful place. Only the toughest and strongest
could survive


They spent the next hour eating and talking about Scotland, Chicago, and Paytons friends. Bradyn
was shocked with the ease in which he was able to talk to Payton. His tongue loosened up and actual,
coherent words fell out of his mouth. It was the most hed ever talked to a female that wasnt blood-
related. He figured there were advantages to dating someone as equally as awkward as he was. She put
him at ease. He didnt have to worry about being perfect because she wasnt either. Which, in a sense,
was perfect. At least for the both of them.
I could tell that Mia was a force to be reckoned with, but shes going te give some lucky guy a run
fer his money one day. Bradyn shook his head in wonder at the stories Payton was telling him about her
most notorious friend.
You have no idea. But shes the best. Always guaranteed to entertain. Payton got a faraway look in
her eyes. They all are. They saved my life.
How so?
Huh? Oh, nothing, she avoided the question. It was obvious that she hadnt meant to say the last
part out loud.
As anxious as Bradyn was to know everything about this woman, he knew that he couldnt push her.
When she was ready, shed tell him everything. At least he hoped that theyd continue to see each other in
order to get to that level of trust.
Uhexcuse me for a moment. I need to visit the restroom. Payton said awkwardly as she moved to
Bradyn politely stood and then slowly sat back down as he watched her walk away. She probably
didnt know it, but in those wedge heels, Paytons ass swayed seductively, hypnotizing like a swinging
pendulum. Bradyn guessed she probably didnt think she had a seductive bone in her body. Weel, shed be
Whats up, Red Scot? A voice startled Bradyn out of his daydream.
Bradyn glanced up in time to see his arch rival take a seat in Paytons recently vacated chair. Rhett
Matson. Bradyn inwardly groaned.
Rhett was also a big man, though an inch or two shorter than Bradyn. He was handsome and charming
to Bradyns gruff and brooding. Though in the short time that Bradyn had known Rhett, something didnt
seem quite right about the other man. As if his charm was all an act.
Bradyn had been a fan favorite and UFC Champion for quite a few years. No one had really
challenged him. But then this guy came up from virtually nowhere, making a name for himself. And the
rivalry was on the minute Rhett actively told people that his main goal was to take the title from The Red
Scot. After he won every match, in his post-match news conferences, hed say, One step closer to
snatching the title out of MacTavishs broken and bloody hands. Their match was due in a couple of
months. Bradyn was looking forward to it. He was ready to put this pretty boy in his place. Almost every
UFC fan was waiting with bated breath for the matchup of the century.
Matson, Bradyn said with zero inflection.
Got a hot date? Rhett grinned and flashed his perfect white teeth. Bradyn wanted to knock a couple
I dinna think thats any of yer business, Bradyn fairly growled.
Rhett held up his hands in surrender. Hey, calm down, MacTavish. I was just wondering why youre
out on a date instead of training. I want to make sure youre focused on the match. I dont wanna stomp
your ass that easily. I mean, I know I will anyway. Id just prefer it to be a little bit of a challenge.
Oh, dont worry, wee Matson. Bradyn insulted and Rhett squinted his eyes at him being referenced
as wee. Ill have ye so twisted up, yell be deep throating yer own cock.
Bradyn watched Rhetts jaw tick. He smiled inside.
Worry about your own cock MacTavish and make sure you stay balls deep in that hot piece of black
pussy, and leave the championship title to me. Hell, Id probably give away the title too if I was pounding
on that fat ass. Rhett shot back, looking at something in the distance.
Bradyn bristled and stood up so quickly that the table nearly tipped over. His fists were balled up at
his sides and his nostrils flared like an angry bull. He was seconds away from holding their match in the
middle of the fancy restaurant.
Easy, bro. Rhett stood up as well. Youll get your chance soon enough.
And with that, he quickly walked away just as Payton walked up.
Who was that? She frowned at the scowl marring his brow.
No one, Bradyn said taking deep breaths to calm the rage coursing through him.
Bradyn saw a shiver run through Payton as she stared at Rhetts retreating back.
Are ye cold? Well be getting out of here shortly.
No, Im not cold. I just got a weird feeling for some reason. Payton said as she rubbed her arms.
Bradyn could see that her normally smooth skin was raised with goosebumps.
Come on, lets get out of here.
Bradyn pulled his wallet out of his back pocket, pulled out two one hundred dollar bills and threw
them down on the table, not waiting for the check. He knew the money would cover their meal and tip, and
then some.
Take a walk with me? Bradyn asked placing his hand on the small of Paytons back.
O-Okay, she said softly.
Bradyn felt a new wave of tremors course through her at his touch and watched as a fresh batch of
goosebumps rose up on her skin. His groin tightened in response. He had never been more aware of a
woman as he was with Payton.
Why do I get the feeling that Ill be learning a lot about restraint an willpower spending time
with this one?

Chapter Nineteen

They walked a few blocks to Market St. in relative silence. Payton was so deep in thought about how
her first date was going that she was too distracted to talk. She was still in shock over her reaction to The
Gentle Giant throughout dinner. The whole time Bradyn was talking about Scotland, with his deep brogue
and playful smiles, all Payton wanted to do was stand up, lean across the table, and kiss him on his firm
pink lips.
She hadnt wanted to do anything like that since her freshman year of college when she was sitting
across from Brett at a table at the library. After what he had eventually tried to do to her, she hadnt
entertained those type of thoughts in over a decade. Shed never admitted it to anyone, even the girls, but
she kind of felt like shed brought it on herself.
Payton had wished and prayed that Brett would give her the time of day. Shed stared at him. Pined
away for him. Did everything she could to be around him. She wondered if she had opened the door for
his harsh and rough treatment of her. Like she was asking for it. She knew that it wasnt logical thinking.
Especially, considering so many girls had come forward with the same accusations. But she still had to
Now she was faced with those same feelings, yet even stronger this time around, towards Bradyn. If
she entertained those thoughts once more, would he do the same? Hed said he would never hurt her, but
she just didnt know. People were willing to say anything to get their way sometimes.
Lets take the trolley down to the pier, Bradyn suggested.
Bradyn placed his hand on the small of her back as they quickly walked across the street to catch the
little historical tram. Every time he put his hand there, Payton couldnt stop the tremors from rattling her.
They hopped on the next trolley car and Bradyn paid the conductor for their tickets. The car was
crowded with mainly tourist. It was a beautiful spring night and everyone was taking advantage of it. So
there was standing room only in the cramped space. Random strangers were brushing against Payton and
she flinched away, trying to make space for herself. She felt hands and other unknown body parts brush up
against her and she was ready to scream for a cease and desist after only a few seconds on the trolley.
Bradyn must have sensed her impending mental breakdown because he moved behind her. He spread
his legs in a slightly wider stance to go on either side of her. His chest, shoulders, and corded arms
cocooned her upper body as he reached around her and placed his hands on the pole, just above hers.
Payton felt his breath against the side of her face as he bent his head towards her.
Easy, lass. I willna let anyone touch ye. Bradyn said soothingly.
Payton knew he was trying to be helpful, but he inadvertently gave her a whole new set of problems.
As he spoke in her ear, the soft bristles of his beard and the soft skin of his lips grazed the shell of her ear
and something absolutely foreign happened to her in that moment. Paytons insides quite literally exploded
with sensations. Her senses were suddenly so hyper aware that she didnt know if she was coming or
going. Her eyes saw every detail of his large rough hands, from the tiny scars from fighting to the freckles
that traveled up his fair-colored arms. Her nose breathed in his cologne that combined with a scent she
could only describe as whollymasculine. She could swear he smelled so good that she could taste him
on her tongue and her mouth literally watered. And lastly, her skin prickled with awareness. She could
feel the slightest breeze, the cotton fabric of her dress clinging to her feverish skin, and his body that
aligned with hers from head to toe.
Which brought her thoughts to something else brand new to her. The feel of his groin against her
backside. Now, Payton knew biology. She knew that a mans penis had to be hard in order to penetrate a
womans vagina, but shed never felt a soft one, let alone a hard one. Though what she was feeling against
her lower back, definitely felt firm. And shockingly huge. That cant be right.
It was the feel of it against her, rubbing against her already sensitive skin that pulled from her a sixth
sense shed never experienced. They say that the sixth sense is some unseen perception or intuition, but
not for Payton. To her, the sixth sense was of the sexual kind. One that she didnt believe she possessed.
Until now. The feel of his hard length against her made her hoo-ha lose its fucking mind.
Paytons heart was no longer in her chest. No. It had officially vacated the premises and took a trip
down south to vacation below the equator, in the rainforest better known as her now soaking wet vagina.
Her vajai was doing the Samba in her panties to the beat of her newly located heart. Ba-boomba-
boomba-boom. The rhythmic beat and the coinciding contractions of her inner muscles had her gripping
the pole on the trolley car for more than balance. She could even feel the damp, stickiness of her
underwear against her skin.
What in the Wrath of Khan is going on down there?!? And why do I have the urge to press my butt
against his crotch?!?!
Payton felt herself begin to hyperventilate when she felt him rub his nose against her ear. Luckily, the
trolley stopped and Payton leaped off as if the hounds of hell were after her. Miraculously, she landed
without twisting her ankle and tumbling to the ground. Maybe it was Bradyns gentle hand that steadied
her and kept her from face-planting. Because it sure wasnt her wobbly knees.
Are ye good?
Yes. Fine, thank you. Payton said around huge gulps of air she tried to disguise.
Her hands were shaking and sweaty, but Bradyn took her left hand and began to stroll along next to
her towards the long pier. As if she wasnt currently sliming him with her uncontrollable perspiration.
Payton was currently waging an internal battle with her body. It was betraying her on every level and
she didnt know what to do about it. Dammit, all to Death Star and back! Why, oh, why did I not listen
more when Mia and the girls were describing their sexual encounters? Why did I have to be a prude
and zone them out? Now, I have no idea what to do!
She was so deep in thought that she didnt notice the romantic setting. The water gently lapping at the
posts of the pier. The soft light illuminating the wooden path. The cloudless sky and the few stars that
could be seen through the bright lights of the city. And the man who was holding her hand, fingers
entwined, and gazing at her surreptitiously. A bundle of nerves himself.
He stopped at the end of the pier and they gazed out at the water. Payton knew this was a perfect
place for a first kiss. Which was why her hands were a trembling mess. They shook so badly, she didnt
feel Bradyns shaking as well.
Payton, he said gruffly as he turned towards her.
Oh God! Here it comes!
Never in her life had she wanted something so badly, yet dreaded at the same. Paytons eyes zeroed
in on his lips. She saw them coming towards her. She was unsure of whether she should wait for them to
reach her or if she should meet them halfway. What is the protocol?! I dont know the proper kissing
Making a last minute decision, Payton figured it would only be polite to meet him halfway. She
quickly raised up on her tiptoes as his face descended towards hers. Her momentum, lack of coordination
and aim sent her on a collision course of clumsiness she was known for. Her forehead and nose smashed
into Bradyns at an unfortunate velocity. They both pulled back and howled in agony.
Bradyn clutched his face as he bent over, squinting in pain. Payton rubbed her tender forehead,
completely humiliated.
Im so sorry, Bradyn. Payton groaned. I thought I was being polite by meeting you halfway.
Bradyn stood up straight, pinching his nose. A nose that had decided to humiliate her further by
bleeding profusely.
Oh my God! Payton exclaimed and cringed all at the same time.
Dinna fash yerself, lass. Bradyn tried to soothe her. Ive had a bloody nose a time or two. Ill
I-I dont have tissues or anything to stop the blood, Payton said trying to think of something to use
as she watched the blood drip down his mustache, over his lips that were supposed to be giving her, her
first kiss and into his auburn beard.
Ive got it.
Bradyn pulled the tie from around his neck and placed it against his nose. Paytons shoulders slumped
in defeat. It was just like her to ruin her very first date and first kiss.
I guess wed better cut things short fer now, Bradyn suggested from behind the once pristine blue
Yeah, she said dejectedly.
This time, Bradyn wasnt able to hold her hand on the way back. Not when he had to hold the tie to
his nose with one hand and pinched the bridge of his nose with the other to try to stop the bleeding.
Once they made their way back to Market St, Bradyn pointed towards a convenient store. He walked
inside to use the bathroom. His muffled voice behind the tie mentioned that he wanted to clean himself up
a bit.
While he did that, Payton figured it was only polite to get him some aspirin and a bottle of water for
the headache he surely had, if the throbbing of her own head was any indication. Bradyn walked out just
as she was finished purchasing the items. She turned to look at him and thankfully, he looked good as new.
The blood was all cleaned from his beard and nose. Just the slight redness on the bridge of his nose
indicated that anything untoward had happened.
Here, I figured you might need these. I know I do. Payton said as she handed him the aspirin and
bottle of water.
Thank ye, Payton.
They both swallowed their pills with a swig of water and Bradyn grinned down at her. She breathed
a sigh of relief that he didnt seem the least bit fazed by her destructive clumsiness. Which made her
frown. Why would I care if he was upset or not? Dont I want him to be upset so hell stop trying to
spend time with me?
Payton knew it was time to dig deep and be honest with herself.
No, I dont want that. She sighed reluctantly. I want him.

Bradyn cut off the engine after he found a parking spot outside of Paytons building. She wrung her
hands nervously as he got out of the car and walked around to her side to chivalrously open the door for
her. Once she stepped out of the car and he locked the doors, Bradyn took her hand in his and walked her
towards the main door of her complex.
Payton thought hed say goodnight there, but he walked in with her instead. She gave him an
inquisitive look.
Yer my date and I will see ye to yer front door to make sure yer safe, Bradyn explained.
Payton smiled shyly. Thank you.
Paytons condo was on the first floor, so it wasnt a long trip to her front door. There, they stopped
and faced each other.
Payton, I dinna want ye to think that the incident at the pier has changed anything. Im willing te take
all of ye. A really smart and bonnie lass with an incredibly solid heid, even if it may be hazardous to my
health. Bradyn joked as he stepped closer to her.
So youre not mad at all? Payton looked up at him shyly from underneath her long lashes.
Bradyns breath hitched before he spoke. Never.
His large hands rose up to cup either side of her face. This time, Payton didnt dare move a muscle.
She knew what was coming, but she would not have a repeat of earlier. She wanted that first kiss more
than her next breath.
Bradyn brushed the tendrils that laid against her cheeks back from her face with his thumbs. The
calloused pads of his fingers felt strangely good and masculine against her skin. Everything about The
Gentle Giant was manly.
Yet, Payton was coming to the realization that masculinity didnt have to equate to violence and
excessive force. Bradyn was teaching her that. Just the way he was holding her face in that very moment,
made her feel cherished and protected.
Im going te kiss ye now. Dinna move. He instructed her softly, his breath fanning her face.
Payton blinked her large eyes in anticipation as she watched his face inch towards hers. His pink lips
touched hers in the sweetest softest kiss and her eyelids fluttered closed. Of their own accord, Paytons
hands crept up to Bradyns chest. His pectoral muscles flexed at her touch and she swore she could feel
his heart pound into her palms.
His hands still on her face, Bradyn tilted her head back for better access. Payton felt his tongue slide
across the seam of her lips and her knees buckled as she pulled back with a surprised Oh! escaping her
lips. She blinked up at him. His eyes were like blue fire.
Steady, lass. Bradyn soothed right before his lips dipped down to taste her once more.
Again, his tongue caressed the seam of her lips and Payton trembled uncontrollably. She realized that
it was his way of asking for permission, unlike Brett all those years ago when hed forced his tongue
down her throat. The gentle way he was asking made her open up gladly. If not somewhat shyly.
A groan escaped Bradyns throat and he clutched her head tightly as he deepened the kiss. Payton
thought that the touch of his tongue against her closed lips was sensual. She was not prepared for the
erotic invasion and total domination of his tongue as he stroked it against hers. She inhaled sharply and
her insides liquefied.
Paytons back hit her door and Bradyn pressed her against it. He had her surrounded. His body, his
scent, his taste. Everything. She knew she should feel overwhelmed and scared, but miraculously she
When did I start trusting him? Maybe after you practically burned his eyes out and he didnt get
mad. Or when you almost just broke his nose and he didnt care. Oh, shut up!
Payton pulled focus back to Bradyns talented mouth. Her tongue hadnt been much of an active
participant in the kiss. Now, she was curious to try to kiss him back. Her tongue hesitantly flicked against
his when he retreated. Payton didnt expect his reaction.
Bradyn growled low in his throat. The Gentle Giant quickly became The Red Scot MMA World
Champion as his passion and power were unleashed. He found Paytons hands clutching his shoulders. He
clasped them and pressed them back against the door, interlocking his fingers with hers. Then his body
pressed against hers. With every inward stroke of his scorching tongue, his hips rolled against her,
caressing his hard bulge against her soft and quivering center.
Paytons body told her that what he was doing was so, so good. But her brain started firing off
warning signals.
She gasped when he rolled his hard length in just the right spot and she felt her vagina spasm in
response. Bradyns mouth left hers and trailed kisses down her chin and jaw to her neck. He moved to
hold both of her hands above her head with just his left hand as his right moved to explore her body. Most
notably, her breasts.
Visions of other strong hands holding her down flashed in her mind and she flinched. Instead of the
gentle, yet passionate massage of Bradyns hands, she felt the bruising squeeze of anothers on her breasts.
Paytons breath became labored and she began to pull away.
At first, Bradyn didnt realize that shed shifted from passionate participant to panicking resistor.
Oh my God! Bradyn, stop! Payton cried out. Her trembles of passion had quickly turned into the
more fearful variety.
It took a split second for him to register that she was no longer on board. Bradyn immediately
released her and stepped back to give her space. He looked down at Payton in concern, but she couldnt
make eye contact as she tried to get her breathing under control. She felt his fingers touch under her chin
and he slowly pressed up, making her look at him.
I said I willna hurt ye, and I wont, Bradyn spoke gruffly. I will always stop if ye want me to. No
matter what. Understand?
Y-Yes. Payton stammered. I-Im sorry I ruined our date. Twice.
No, ye didnt. And dinna start getting that complex brain of yers working. Bradyn tapped her
forehead. This has been the best date Ive ever been on. In fact, its the only date Ive been on. Do ye
know why?
Payton just shook her head no, unable to imagine how a date that included nearly breaking his nose
was the best hed ever had. Or why someone like him wouldve never been on one before.
Ive never been able to really speak to women before. Im always tongue-tied and awkward. Ye
calm me. I suppose yer awkwardness cancels out mine. He grinned down at her.
If youve never been on a date and cant talk to women, how is it that you know how to uhk-kiss
so wellamong other things? Payton asked curiously.
Bradyn rubbed the back of his neck uncomfortably. Weel Theres no real nice way to put this.
Uhdating and sex dinna always go hand in hand. And ye dinna need to talk during the latter.
Oh Payton said softly.
Anyway, just know that tonight was an amazing night fer me. Bradyn reached up and stroked his
thumb over her soft cheek. And I pray that ye enjoyed tonight enough to go out with me again?
He posed it as a question, giving Payton the option. She only mulled it over for a few seconds.
Yes, Id like that.
The smile that spread across Bradyns face was worth every awkward moment of the night. His
entire normally gruff face, lit up. In a word, he was adorable.
Payton unlocked her door and Bradyn leaned in to kiss her lips softly, innocently.
Goodnight, Payton. He pulled back barely an inch, his breath fanning her lips.
Night, Bradyn, Payton responded softly.
He turned and started down the hallway and Payton shut the door. After she locked it, she fell against
it and pressed a hand to her soft tummy, trying to calm the butterflies.
So this is what the girls are always talking about, Payton said to herself.
A huge smile spread across her face that matched the one Bradyn had given her only moments ago.
Giddiness bubbled up inside of her and she ran to her bedroom, jumped and fell back onto her bed. One
word ran through her head over and over again.

Chapter Twenty

Morning! Kennedy, Royal, and Mia sang in unison.
It was an ungodly hour for a Sunday, but the incessant banging on her front door had dragged Payton
from the comfort of her bed and warm fuzzy dreams of gentle giants. On the other side of her door were
her best friends. She immediately regretted giving Kennedy the code to get into her building for
emergency purposes. Luckily, they were nice enough to knock instead of using the spare key shed given
her as well. Payton was sure that wouldve been next and she would have been awakened to them jumping
on her bed.
Mia shoved a paper cup of gourmet coffee into Paytons right hand. Royal slapped a warm danish in
the other hand. And they all pushed their way into her condo without being invited.
Why do I love them so much when I want to use the Force to choke them out more often than not?
Or maybe the Vulcan Death Grip would be better?
Start talking, chica, Mia ordered.
Couldnt this have waited until I saw you at the gym tomorrow? Payton rolled her eyes as she took
a sip of the delicious coffee. Hmmmaybe they are good for something.
Weve waited twelve years for this. Kennedy cocked her head to the side, meaning business.
Dont think we were gonna wait another second longer. Let alone a full day and a half. So get to talking. I
have a story to write and your silence is hindering my greatness.
How does writing word-for-word my love life make you great? Payton shot back. Aaahhh!!! I have
a love life!
Touch. But to be fair, I change the story up to make it mine. Youre just my muse and your story is
the foundation. Kennedy clarified. So it is my greatness combined with your great story that makes
So start flapping those jaws and give us the scoop, so I can go home and get back in bed. Royal
chimed in with an extra gravelly voice. Her voice was already raspy, but it was obvious that she was up
earlier than shed like herself. She was even still in her pajama, which consisted of pajama shorts and an
off-the-shoulder sweatshirt, sans bra with a beanie slapped on her bedhead for good measure.
Payton collapsed on her couch with an exaggerated sigh in her R2-D2 nightshirt. Well, I received my
first real kiss She paused waiting for their reaction.
They didnt disappoint.
Whoops and hollers went up in celebration. Payton cringed at the volume in which only three people
could reach.
BUT Not before I gave him a bloody nose and nearly broke it. Payton continued and it
immediately shut them up.
The hell you say!
Get the fuck outta here! You didnt?!
They all exclaimed at once.
Details! Kennedy said just before she opened her phone and pressed record on her voice recorder.
We were walking along one of the piers and he went in to kiss me. I thought it was proper etiquette
to meet him halfway. My velocity was a little too fast and my aim a little too precise. Needless to say, my
forehead cracked him right in the nose. Payton shrugged and sipped her coffee, knowing it wasnt that big
of a deal. Well, not anymore after Bradyn reassured her and even sent her a sweet goodnight text when he
got home.
What did he do? Royal leaned forward. Wide awake now.
Stopped the bleeding with his tie and told me it was okay. Payton got a faraway look in her eyes
and the girls gave her knowing smiles. Anyway, he cleaned himself up at a convenient store and I got us
some aspirin for our headaches. He brought me home and gave me a proper kiss at my door.
And Mia coaxed. How was it?
It was Sigh. Glorious. More glorious than finally seeing Stars Wars: The Force Awakens.
I would hope so. Mia gave her a look.
Uhsouhdid you know that your heartbeat goesdown there? Payton pointed to her crotch
Ay Dios mo, you have to be kidding me?! Mia looked so exasperated she could choke Payton.
Have you not been listening to anything weve said over the past twelve years? Mia asked.
Wellno. They all threw up their hands and let them drop back to their laps with resounding
smacks. I didnt want to hear all of your sex talks. It wasnt like I was ready or interested. I thought that I
was asexual, like a plant, up until last night. We rode the trolley to the pier and he pressed his body
against mine to keep weird strangers from touching me and I literally thought my body had been taken over
by body snatchers. All my senses were heightened. I swear I thought Id faint. Payton fanned herself
Thats what we call, extreme attraction, honey, Mia informed her. Welcome to the club. Im glad
you could finally join us.
I had no idea, Payton whispered with a breathy quality to her voice. Her face a picture of awe and
So how was his kiss? Kennedy asked and scooted her phone across the coffee table, closer to her
new muse. I know you wouldnt really know the difference. But was he any good? Basically, was it
I definitely got the Jimmy Legs. Payton used a reference from one of her favorite shows in
syndication, Seinfeld. Like my knees buckled and everything. He was so much gentler than Brett was. I
wish I wouldve known Bradyn back then. Maybe then I wouldnt be so messed up in the head when it
comes to men.
Royal wrapped her arm around Paytons shoulders and squeezed comfortingly.
Seriously, though. Because he had to stop when I freaked out. He got really passionate when I let
him tongue kiss me.
French kiss. Kennedy corrected. Tongue kiss sounds like something a seventh-grade boy would
Oh, sorry. Anyway, he got really excited, I guess and pressed me against the door and held my hands
up above my head, grinding his you-know-what on me. I got freaked out and asked him to stop.
Damn! Mia shook her head sadly. It sounds like the man knows what hes doing. Too bad it
couldnt have gone further. But youre making progress, mi amiga.
So when is the next time youre gonna see him? Royal asked.
Uhtomorrow at the gym? Payton posed it as a question.
Well, duh. Royal shook her head. But when are you going to hang out again?
Im not certain. We havent planned anything, but he did say that he wanted another date. Payton
smiled softly.
They all smiled back at her.
Progress Mia nodded.
They all nodded in unison.


He dreamt of soft skin the color of freshly brewed coffee without a drop of cream. Plush lips and
large innocent eyes. Bradyn came awake with the largest, hardest erection of his life and the burning need
to see her again. And he couldnt wait until tomorrow evening.
With a purpose, he jumped out of bed as if he hadnt just woken up from a deep sleep. He strode
naked into his bathroom, his hard-on bouncing with every step. He leaned into his shower and turned on
the spray to warm. He wouldve taken a cold shower to calm his aching body, but he had every intention
of rubbing one out to ease his desire.
Once in the shower, Bradyn let the water cascade over his head and down his body. He grabbed his
bar of soap and worked up a nice lather in his large hands. He soaped his corded arms and sculpted chest
and down the ripples of his abs. He headed for the part of his body that was calling her name. His sudsy
hands stroked over his thick length and he shuddered, imagining it was Payton touching him instead. His
hand slid to the tip of his cock, rounded the head, and glided back down.
Images of Payton the night before flashed before his closed eyes. Bradyn slapped a hand against the
tiled wall of the shower, the other hand continued to work him over. His breath became labored and his
chest rose and fell harshly. He felt his scrotum tighten and the bottom of his spine tingle. Saving the best
memory of last night for last, Bradyn pictured and felt the moment Payton opened up and let his tongue
plunge into her depths. The feel of the V between her legs as he rolled his hips into her was his undoing.
Bradyn threw his head back and stroked quickly as shot after shot of hot liquid poured from his body.
Aah fuck, lass! He exclaimed as he rested his head against the shower wall and let the water rush
over his back as he caught his breath.
Bradyn had never in his life wanted anyone as badly as he wanted the skittish computer geek. But he
knew it was going to take time and patience. She was worth the wait.
So with that, he finished up the rest of his shower, tied a towel around his hips, threw a little hair
wax on his hair and beard and combed them into submission. He glided his deodorant under his arms and
sprayed a few shots of cologne on his neck and chest. Then he left the bathroom to head to his closet. It
was time to pay her a visit. The seeds of an idea planted in his mind.
I said Id be patient. I never said I wouldna be persistent.

About forty-five minutes and a trip to the grocery store later, Bradyn was outside of Paytons condo.
He got out of his Expedition, pulled out his cell and leaned against the car as he typed out a text to her.

Look outside.

Bradyn had purposely parked on the street where he figured some of the windows of her apartment
faced. He watched for movement in the windows he assumed were hers. It took a few moments, but he
wasnt disappointed. He saw the blinds split as if someone was peeking out. Then they were quickly
pulled up and he saw four shocked faces in the window.
Ah, the lassies came to see how our date went. Bradyn chuckled to himself.
His phone started to ring and he saw it was Payton.
Mornin, Payton, he said after tapping accept.
Morning. Uhwhat are you doing here? She asked hesitantly.
By the canned sound of her voice through the phone, he could tell that she had him on speaker. Her
friends obviously needed to hear both sides of their conversation. So Bradyn dug deep and channeled The
Red Scot.
Get dressed. Im taking ye to brunch, he commanded and ended the call before she could respond.
He knew many women found it sexy to have a man take charge. But his hands still shook for being so
demanding as he waited for her to call him back and tell him to fuck off. Their reaction before one of
them wisely shut the blinds, eased his mind, though. For a split second, he was certain hed witnessed
them jumping up and down in excitement. He smiled slightly and released a relieved breath.
After what he saw as a kid, he never wanted to force a woman to do anything she didnt want to do.
But he didnt want to be a pussy either. It was a precarious balancing act that he was unused to. He
usually let the women he slept with take charge since he was normally a man of few words. But Paytons
reserved and introverted nature forced him to pull out his dominant side. If he wanted the relationship to
move forward, that is. If it were up to her, shed still be ignoring him five days a week at the gym.
It took about fifteen minutes for Payton and her small entourage to emerge from her building. Bradyn
couldnt stop the smile that spread across his face or his eyes from taking her in from head to toe behind
his aviator sunglasses.
Her hair was still up in a bun, but this time it was artfully messy. Sexy tendrils were purposefully left
out to draw attention to her long neck. She wore a long, black and white diagonal striped skirt that floated
around her ankles, with an off-the-shoulder yellow t-shirt. The one bare shoulder begged to be kissed.
Bradyn was finding that he really loved the color yellow against Paytons mahogany skin. If he could,
hed lay her down naked on a bed of yellow flower petals and then worship at her alter. Payton, patron
saint of flawless ebony.
Bradyn pushed off of his car and walked towards her and her friends. She awkwardly pushed her
sexy, schoolteacher glasses up on her nose. She kept her eyes down on the ground, refusing to look up at
him. So, Bradyn addressed her friends first to give her a chance to gather herself.
Lassies. Long time no see, he teased, having just seen them the night before.
Hey, Bradyn! We just thought wed come by and make sure we didnt have any reason to come and
cut your dick off. Mia teased back. Though her joke made Bradyn swallow thickly.
Be nice! The pale redhead hissed under her breath and elbowed the Latina before smiling sweetly
at him. Ignore her. Were happy that you both had a great time last night.
Mia retaliated with a shove. Its the truth! No point in sugarcoating it.
Come on you two. Royal placed a hand on either of their shoulders and began to guide them
towards the car they all came in. Lets let them go have fun.
You dont always have to be a bitch, you know. Bradyn heard Kennedy grumble at Mia as they
walked towards a red Fiat.
If it saves her from a Brett repeat, Ill be as fucking bitchy as it takes. Mia defended herself
opening the passenger door.
Shes got a point, Kennedy, Royal commented as she got in the back seat.
And then they were gone, leaving Bradyn and Payton in the awkward silence brought on by their
telling conversation.
Soare ye ready? Bradyn asked, deciding to ignore what was said but storing the info for a later
S-Sure. Where are we going? She took a deep breath and looked away from the retreating car to
brave a look at him. Bradyn smiled brightly and removed his sunglasses to reassure her.
Its a surprise.

Chapter Twenty-One

I thought we were going to brunch, Payton asked looking at the Palace of Fine Arts in front of her.
We are. Bradyn gave her a small secretive smile as he parked his SUV.
He shut off the engine and gave her a look when she reached for the door handle. Payton bit the inside
of her cheek to keep from smiling but stayed put as he made his way around to open the car door for her.
Once he helped her down, he opened the back door and reached inside. A tremor of fear ran down
Paytons spine, praying that he wasnt going to ask her to get into the backseat. Things didnt go well for
her in the backseats of cars.
Bradyn stepped back and shut the door. In his hands were a huge picnic basket and plaid blanket in
red, blue and black. Payton found herself blinking rapidly. Tears suddenly clouding her vision. Oh, my
Gosh! I cant believe this!
Whats wrong? What did I do?! Bradyn asked in concern at Paytons weepy expression.
She shook her head quickly. Its nothing. I-Ive just never been on a p-picnic before. Its very
The biggest smile she had ever seen, spread across his face like warm butter on toast.
I wanted to do something nice fer ye. But no something as common as the movies, he explained.
I love it, she said shyly.
Good, he let out a relieved breath. Payton realized that he was just as nervous as she was. Come,
lets find a good spot.
Luckily, the historical area was relatively quiet. They quickly found a spot under an old tree, in the
shade, across from the historical palace with its Grecian columns and old world charm. A large pond
separated them from the palace where swan couples swam together, entwining necks lovingly. It was the
perfect backdrop for their own romantic moment.
Bradyn laid the plaid blanket out on the soft grass and helped her sit before placing the basket on the
blanket and opening it up. He pulled out cut fruit, potato salad, a veggie salad, two types of sub-
sandwiches and some chicken wings. Then he produced plastic plates and utensils and two plastic cups.
The last items he pulled out of his magical basket of goodies was a bottle of champagne and orange juice.
Ye canna have brunch without mimosas. He winked flirtatiously.
Thats some spread, you got there.
Only the best fer my lass.
Paytons whole body yearned at that phrase. He just called me his lady! Well, the Scottish version,
anyway. Is this really happeningfinally?
W-When did you think of all of this? Payton asked, gesturing around the whole setup.
In the shower this morning, Bradyn responded as he filled their cups. He gave himself only a little
champagne since he was driving.
Paytons train of thought stopped at the image of him in the shower. Naked. She had never been one to
think about a naked man, but suddenly now, her brain was filled with tantalizing pictures. She swallowed
hard and accepted the plastic cup filled with his mimosa concoction.
Champagne glasses wouldve been nicer, but I figured theyd keep tippin over. So I went with
regular plastic cups. Bradyn explained the cheap cups as if she wasnt totally charmed by the whole
I-I love all of it, Bradyn. N-No one has ever done anything like this for me before. Payton
admitted, hating how the whole truth always slipped out. Shed never learned how to hold back some of
her thoughts. They always came pouring out like truth serum.
Thats a damn shame. Bradyn shook his head. Ye should be worshiped like a queen.
They stared at each other for several tense beats. Then Bradyn looked away and passed her a plate.
They filled their plates and ate in silence for a while. Payton was stunned into silence by his last
statement. Shed never thought of herself as a queen. Court jester? Maybe.
She felt the truth gurgling to the surface, choking her. It was all me!
Bradyn frowned in confusion. What was?
N-No one has ever done anything like this for me before, b-because I refused to let anyone in. I shut
myself off. Payton admitted.
She pushed around the potato salad on her plate with her fork, unable to make eye contact with
Bradyn as he absorbed what shed just said. She saw him put his plate down and she looked up at him,
finally making eye contact as he slid closer to her on the blanket. He took her plate and sat it to the side as
well, and then reached out and cupped her face with one hand. The rough pad of his thumb stroked her soft
No, lass. Bradyn began as his ice blue eyes bore a hole through her soul. Maybe ye succeeded in
hiding from those who were already blind. Or maybe they were lazy an dinna want to put forth the effort
to fight for ye. I am neither blind nor lazy. But I am a fighter. An I had every intention of fightin for ye the
moment I laid eyes on ye.
Under the spell of the words steeped in his rich, deep brogue, Payton went willingly when his hand
that was cupping her face moved to the back of her neck and pulled her towards him. Their lips met and
the same fire that had raged through her the night before began to blaze anew.
Bradyn pulled away a few inches and gazed at Payton. Their breath met harshly in the space between
their kiss-swollen lips, as they tried to calm their racing pulses. When he finally spoke his words hitched
Paytons breath and made her heart race even faster.
I-I wanted to bring ye here to ask ye something. T-This might sound silly and old-fashioned, but
since I believe it will be a first fer both of us, I w-want to say That is, I-I wanted to ask if ye wouldna
mind terribly to uhgo steady with me? Ye know. Be my girl? B-Be mine, exclusively. And I, yours.
Bradyn finished and expelled a huge shaky breath.
One word came to Paytons mind. Her brain started chanting it. She was scared shitless. Shed never
been in a relationship before. She had no idea how it was supposed to work. Or what to do. She was
super smart about all kinds of things. But she was hopelessly clueless in regards to men. All those things
still didnt stop that word from swirling around and around in her head. So she looked up at Bradyn. His
eyes were incredibly sincere in their pale blue depths. He also looked like he was going to have a panic
attack at any minute, so she let the word bubble the surface.
Yes. Payton finally whispered the word, putting him out of his misery.
Aye? Really?! Bradyn asked, clutching her face.
Payton nodded her head between his massive hands. Yes. She said louder and with more
Bradyn pulled her to him and captured her lips with his in a toe-curling kiss. His hands still held her
face, holding her captive as he worshiped her mouth. He alternated between soft kisses, deep strokes of
his tongue against hers, and then drawing her lips into his mouth before releasing them with a gentle
scrape of his teeth.
Payton had never been kissed so thoroughly in her life. Constant shivers ran up and down her body as
if she was freezing cold, yet she was on fire. Payton was seconds away from pouncing on him. Something
she never thought shed even want to do. Before she could, though, Bradyn guided her down to the
blanket. He brushed a tendril from her cheek and stroked a thumb across her smooth skin as he gazed
down at her.
I willna lie to ye, Payton. I want to make love to ye more than anything in the world right now. But I
know yer not ready. So I just want to explore ye for a little while. I promise I willna take it too far. Is that
okay? Do ye trust me?
Payton nodded.
I need to hear it. Consent is important to me.
Y-Yes, I trust you.
Bradyn lowered his mouth to hers, but instead of the deep kiss she was expecting, he kissed her softly
and then moved to her cheek. He laid tender kisses on each cheek, her nose, her eyelids, forehead, and
chin. The only word Payton could come up with to describe the way he made her feel was cherished.
He continued on, kissing down her jawline to her ear. Bradyn kissed and nipped at the shell of her
ear and Paytons breath became slightly labored. His nose stroked the sensitive skin behind her ear and
his breath caressed her neck. Paytons hands clenched and unclenched as she fought the need to touch him,
to pull him towards her.
Bradyn used lips, teeth, and tongue to drive her nearly insane. His lips began the path down her neck.
His teeth scraped her skin. And his tongue soothed the bites seconds later. He continued the torture down
to her one bare shoulder. Payton squirmed under his loving ministrations, her body seeking something.
Some kind of release.
Are ye alright? Bradyn asked raising up to look at her.
Uh huh, Payton nodded.
Bradyn looked around to see if anyone was nearby and with a sly grin, he grabbed the large blanket
and pulled it over the two of them, sheltering them from prying eyes.
Now, I have ye all te myself.
Payton thought that she wouldve panicked. Wrapped in his arms and cocooned within the dark
blanket. But the more time she spent with him, the more she trusted that he wouldnt do anything to hurt
His mouth found hers again as his hand slid down her neck to her bare shoulder. Then she felt him
pull her shirt down further and his fingers sought out the edge of her strapless bra as he pulled it down to
expose her nipple. His calloused fingers caressed the peak and Payton gasped into his mouth as her nipple
puckered in response. Bradyn quickly kissed down her neck, over her collarbone, down her chest, and
over the rise of her large breast to the dark tip. His tongue circled her areola and her hips bucked. He
pressed his lips together and blew cool air against her hot wet skin and her nipple became even harder as
she pressed her hips down into the hard earth.
Bradyn reached down and began to gather her skirt together, pulling it slowly up her legs. Payton held
her breath in anticipation. For once her brain wasnt doing the thinking for her. The incessant heartbeat
throbbing in her vagina had her desperate for relief. He had just pulled the material of her skirt up around
her hips and was sliding his hand towards her mound when a series of loud squawks made them jump
apart. Payton inwardly groaned at the interruption as Bradyn popped their heads out from under the
They looked towards the direction of the animal screeches and saw what looked like two swans
struggling. Bradyn pushed down Paytons skirt before throwing the blanket off of them. He quickly stood
and walked towards the water. Payton followed behind him. As they drew closer, she could see that it
was two swans that had gotten a little too affectionate and somehow tangled themselves up in a knot with
their long necks and flapping wings. Payton had no idea how they hadnt broken their poor necks
considering the awkward angles they were in.
She watched as they swam closer to the edge of the pond towards them as if asking for help. Her
mouth popped in surprise as Bradyn stepped into the water without hesitation and gently began to figure
out the puzzle that was their entangled bodies.
Och, you two have gotten yerselves into a fine mess, now havent ye? He said soothingly.
As she watched him handle the animals with such tenderness and care, her heart warmed.
I love him.
Payton blinked rapidly a couple times and felt the punch in her gut at the three words that had come
unbidden to her mind. She had no idea how he did it but the champion fighter who knew how to break
bones and draw blood, the massive redheaded giant, her Gentle Giant had squeezed his way into her heart
with his kindness, patience, and gentle nature. He was a complete contradiction.
Bradyn finally unwound the swans necks and stepped back onto the grass, his jeans soaked from the
knees down. He turned with a smile for her as he wiped his hands on the thighs of his jeans. His smile fell
as he took in her expression.
Are ye alright, lass? He moved quickly towards her.
Payton nodded hastily and swiped at the tears that had fallen down her face. She had never been in
love before and she had no idea how to process it. She was overjoyed, scared, relieved, anxious, horny
just everything. And her body felt like it would burst in every direction.
T-That was just really kind of you to help them. Y-Youre a good man, Bradyn. Payton was able to
get out without saying the three words that kept repeating themselves in her head.
She may have realized that she loved him, but there was no way that she was telling him that today.
So she swallowed down her word vomit for once in her life.
Bradyn wrapped her up in his arms and gently rocked her back and forth.
Ye make me want to be an even better man.
Payton turned her face into his wide chest and burst into tears.
I am an emotional wreck.


Its okay, lass. Bradyn soothed Payton as she wept in his arms.
He pulled back slightly and clasped the sides of her head, gently lifting her tear-streaked face up for
him to look in her eyes. His thumbs brushed away a few of the tears.
Talk te me. What has made ye get all weepy on me? Literally. He teased her as he looked down at
his tear-stained t-shirt.
Its nothing. Im just really happy. Payton said between sniffles. Im normally never this
emotional. I dont know whats come over me.
Bradyns thumb found her bottom lip and stroked it softly. Unable to stop himself, he lowered his
mouth to hers and kissed her deeply. Payton shivered against him and he released her reluctantly.
He was sure that if it wasnt for the tangled birds, he would have brought her to an orgasm under the
security of his plaid by now. Soon. He sighed to himself and then reached for her hand and led her back
over to their picnic to pack up.
Thank you so much for bringing me here. I really enjoyed this a lot. Payton said quietly.
Yer welcome. I had fun too. He gave her a wink that had her turning away bashfully.
The plaid in this blanket looks like a pattern that would be on a kilt. She said, settling on a safe
Thats because it is. Its the MacTavish tartan and it is also my kilt. Bradyn explained as he shook
it out and folded it.
Really?! She looked at it skeptically. It doesnt look like a kilt, just a big blanket.
Thats because many of the kilts ye see today are premade. Kind of like a skirt. A traditional kilt is
used for more than just clothing. When worn properly, it can be a blanket, shelter from the elements, and
was also easier to fight in during battles between clans or the English. Bradyn explained.
Wow. Thats fascinating. Payton looked at the tartan with newfound respect.
Maybe Ill show ye someday. I do wear my kilt before every fight. Which is how I got the nickname
The Red Scot. Among other things. He grinned, rubbing a hand over his auburn beard.
Bradyn picked up the basket and stuffed the plaid under the handle. He then reached out his free hand
for Payton to hold. She slid her hand within his. No hesitation.
He felt so happy he could burst. Shed accepted his proposal to be exclusive. Shed let him kiss her
longer and even lay slightly on top of her. Shed let him touch and kiss her breasts. And had been about to
let him touch her most intimate place.
Thats progress, he thought as his body tightened just thinking about their heavy petting earlier.
Bradyn walked her to his car and helped her inside after putting the picnic basket in the back. After
he was in the car and headed towards her place, he reached over the center console and held her hand.
So when is your next fight? Payton asked, her voice soft as usual.
In a month. Which speaking of, I need to get a little more serious with my training. Ive been
slacking because lately, all my attention has been on a beautiful lass. He teased her as he brought her
hand up to kiss her knuckles.
Payton smiled bashfully, her long eyelashes fluttering gracefully on her round cheeks. Bradyn grinned
at her but decided not to tease her further as he drove to her home.
A few minutes later, they pulled up to Paytons building. Bradyn turned to her and she smiled shyly.
He reached over and wrapped his hand around the back of her neck and pulled her to him as he met her
One day ye willna be so shy around me, but until then, Im gonna enjoy it while I can. He informed
her before taking her mouth in a deep kiss.
Payton shuddered before Bradyn released his hold on her decadent mouth. He got out of the car,
helped her out, and walked her into the building to her door.
See ye tomorrow evening? He asked.
Yes, Ill be there.
Bradyn stole one last kiss from her before he left. If he kissed her for a second longer, hed convince
her to let him in.
In her home, in her bed, and in the warm wet place he craved.

Chapter Twenty-Two

Are you really dating Bradyn MacTavish?! Ayumi asked, her voice loud and bubbling over with
excitement as she plopped down next to Payton.
It was the Monday meeting and before everyone could even get seated the projector was already
giving their boss major problems. Which was why Ayumi took advantage of the brief intermission to grill
The room suddenly grew quiet, except for Tim and an IT guy working on the projector at the front of
the room. All eyes were on Payton as they awaited what shed say. Zach and Ben, the two guys shed
snapped on all those weeks ago, leaned forward in their chairs across from her.
Umyes, Payton said softly.
OMGeeee!!! Ayumi squealed. Its the talk of the whole gym. And its funny because I normally go
in the mornings before work and you go in the evenings, but it got around to everyone.
Payton inwardly cringed. Other than the drama of testifying against Brett, in which she remained
anonymous, shed never been involved with gossip and definitely not the center of it.
I heard that he pursued you hardcore. That he even banned some mean girls for beingwellmean.
Did that seriously happen? Ayumi continued with her interrogation.
F-For the most part. Payton fiddled with her pen, refusing to make eye contact with anyone.
Unable to help herself, she snuck a peek at her coworkers. The looks on everyones faces varied.
From skeptical to full on disbelief to awe.
You? Ben blurted out. Youre dating Bradyn MacTavish? As in The Red Scot? As in kickass,
MMA champion that could kill you with the flick of his wrist, Bradyn MacTavish?
Yes. And your point? Payton gave him the squirrely eye.
His blatant skepticism was insulting. He raised his hands in surrender and leaned back in his chair.
Thats so awesome! Ayumi ignored the tense exchange and got back on topic. Hes way gorgeous!
In that kind of scary, rugged Ill pick you up and toss you around kind of way. He always looks so mean
and brooding when I see him. Whats he like?
Uhthe sweetest person Ive probably ever met, actually, Payton confessed. Funny enough, she
wasnt sure if she was admitting it to them or finally admitting it to herself.
Yes, Payton said, ready for the conversation to be over.
Huh. Never judge a book by its cover, I guess. Ayumi said almost to herself.
Luckily, the projector started to work and drew everyones attention back to Tim. Though Payton felt
eyes surreptitiously slid her way throughout the meeting. At one point, she just so happened to glance up
and saw Zach, the guy shed initially considered, staring at her with newfound attraction. She wouldve
never recognized the look a few months ago. But after cataloging all of the looks Bradyn gave her, she
saw the look for what it was. Interest.
Hmm The girls always did say that men were fickle.
A half hour passed of Tim droning on about company numbers and the fast approaching Comic-fest.
Everyone sighed with relief when he finally dismissed them.
Payton headed towards her cubicle when someone touched her arm to stop her. She looked back to
see Zach standing there.
Uh Hey, Payton. He said nervously.
Hey, Zach. She looked at him expectantly.
SouhI was just wondering if maybe youd like to go out for some drinks sometime? He barely
made eye contact.
Are you for real? Payton asked incredulously.
Uh, yeah. Zach looked around to make sure no one was nearby to witness his possible strike out.
The diarrhea of the mouth was fast approaching.
Let me make sure my brain is computing this correctly. We have worked together for approximately
seven or eight years. Not once in this time frame have you ever given any indication that you were ever
interested in my person. In fact, just about a month or two ago I overheard you talking with Ben about how
girls with unsavory bodies were way worse than those with nice bodies and ugly faces. My body, being
the former, by the way. Payton gestured down her plump figure before continuing with her verbal
evisceration of her coworker. But the minute you find out that Im dating a famous MMA fighter, I
suddenly go from Jabba the Hutt to Princess Leia in the golden bikini? And what exactly makes you think I
would jeopardize my relationship with Batman in order to date, Robin? And Im not just talking physical
appearances either. Im talking, all-around wonderful person that saw me just as I am and still wanted me.
No questions asked. So, no. No, I will not have drinks with you.
The word diarrhea finally stopped and Payton turned on her heel and walked away.
A simple no wouldve sufficed, Zach grumbled.
A broad smile spread across Paytons face as she walked a little taller towards her cubicle. Of
course, she tripped on an imaginary crack in the floor, nearly ruining her moment.
Luckily, no one noticed.


Aaaaaah!!! I think thats the sweetest thing Ive ever heard! Kennedy squealed. He asked you to go
steady! You two have to be the cutest things ever. She finished as she dramatically fell back on the bench.
They were in the locker room changing into their workout clothes. Payton was rethinking her decision
to tell them about her new relationship status considering the way they were acting.
Kennedy fell all over herself, Royal fist punched the air and shouted Fuck yeah! and Mia busted out
some Salsa moves in celebration.
You all have to be the most embarrassing people in this galaxy and the next. Payton hid her face as
she pretended to focus on tying her shoes.
And yet, you still love us. Mia grinned and wrapped Payton up in a warm hug. Im happy for you,
Payton smiled and warmth bloomed in her tummy at the thought of seeing him in a few minutes. They
walked out into the open gym and it didnt take long for her to spot Bradyn. He was in the middle of the
most intense workout routine she had ever seen.
There were huge, heavy ropes, free weights, medicine balls, kettle bells and more. She even spied
giant tires and sledgehammers. What in the world?!
And in the middle of it all was Bradyn. As they walked towards the row of ellipticals, Payton could
have sworn the whole world slowed down and then stood still. He was in a pair of basketball shorts and
sneakers, and that was it. The smooth, fair skin of his back splattered with freckles moved over straining
muscles as he smacked two big ropes up and down. Then his thick muscled calves knotted as he moved
quickly into lunges as he held two large kettle bells. He did several of those before he turned and grabbed
one of the sledgehammers. His chest and abs rippled as he struck the tire over and over again with the
hammer. His entire body was drenched with sweat. Beads of it dripped down his chest and rolled over
each ab before disappearing into the waistband of his shorts.
Payton had never found muscles to be attractive after what had happened to her all those years ago.
But getting to know Bradyn, realizing that he was the gentlest and sweetest man shed ever met, flipped
her views on big men on its ear. She found it hard to breathe all of a sudden and her heart pounded and
she hadnt even gotten on a machine yet.
She just so happened to glance around and found that her three friends had stopped right along with
her and were staring as well. In fact, Paytons eyes scanned the whole gym and found that women and men
alike were all staring at her man. My man!
She had to admit that he was literally a piece of moving artwork.
Payton? Kennedy called to her breathlessly.
Yeah? Payton responded, equally breathless.
When you do finally have sex with him, Im gonna need a detailed replay. Hell, while youre at it, a
video would be nice too. She said this without looking away from the Scotsman for one second.
Uh huh. Royal and Mia mumbled their agreement in unison as the both slowly nodded their heads.
Payton just swallowed as Bradyn glanced up and hit her with the full force of his icy blue eyes. A
grin spread across his face as he struck the tire five more times, finishing his set. He dropped the hammer
and wiped his face with a towel before quickly striding over to her.
Shows over. Keep it moving! She hissed out the side of her mouth to her friends.
They reluctantly walked away with a wave to Bradyn, so that the two could have some privacy.
Though that didnt stop them from watching. Or any other members of the gym, for that matter.
Without a care for who was watching or that he was sweating profusely, Bradyn walked right up to
Payton clasped her face in both hands and greeted her with a soft kiss.
Och, I missed ye, lass. He leaned his sweaty forehead against hers.
Payton couldnt find it in her to care.
Really? You seemed a tad preoccupied with beating up ropes and tires to be thinking about me.
Payton teased, finding it easier each day to be herself.
Believe me, I was. That was just me letting off a wee bit of pent up sexual tension. He pulled back
and wiped his sweat from her brow. Sorry, Im sweating all over ye like a pig.
Payton felt her ears heat up at his first comment, but decided to only address the last. Its okay, I
dont mind.
Alright, Ill let ye get to yer workout. Come see me in my office when yer finished. Bradyn
requested and then kissed her softly once more.
Okay, Payton responded shyly.
She turned and saw every eye on her. Just like earlier at work, the faces were a mixture of
expressions. But there was one she hadnt seen from her coworkers. Jealousy with a big fat helping of
Payton looked away from the few women that looked as if theyd stone her to death if it was legal.
She quickly strode over to the machines and hopped on the one next to Mia. Never in her life had she
experienced someone being jealous of her. It was usually the other way around.
Hey, guys. Payton leaned forward to look at all three of her friends as they turned towards her. A
lot of women in here were giving me mean looks just now.
And? Mia asked.
And wellI dont know. What am I supposed to do about it? Payton asked cluelessly.
Please. Keep enjoying your life, honey. Thats what you do. Because apparently, youre doing
something right. Mia sucked her teeth.
Yeah, shes right, Payton. Royal chimed in. Rarely anyone with a shitty or boring life has haters.
Hell, if we werent friends and I didnt know how much you deserve this kind of happiness, Id be
hating too. Kennedy grinned and winked at her.
Thanks, guys.
Once that was settled, they did their thirty minutes of cardio and thirty minutes of strength training. In
the month or so that they had been working out, theyd each only lost about ten pounds. Which they were
all happy with. Payton loved that her friends could give a lick about having some extra jiggly bits here
and there. Theyd rallied around and came with her to the gym only to be supportive and to be healthier.
And since her whole purpose for coming to the gym was to lose weight to attract guys, only to have found
a guy that liked her exactly the way she was. Now she was finding that she could care less if she lost all
the weight shed initially wanted to lose.
She felt great. Her clothes fit her better. And she had her very first boyfriend.
Life was good.
It got even better when she walked into Bradyns office after their workout. He had already showered
and changed into jeans and a t-shirt. She, on the other hand, was still sweaty and had pit and sweaty boob
stains. Yet, when she walked in, he looked up at her like she was dressed in a ball gown with hair done
and full on makeup.
Good workout? He asked as he got up from his desk.
Yeah. She watched him walk around towards the interior windows of his office.
Good. He closed the blinds to the people still working out so that they couldnt see in.
Payton swallowed.
Bradyn walked towards her and she walked backward. He continued to stalk her until her butt hit his
desk. Once he was only a few inches away from her, he gripped her hips and lifted her onto his desk as if
she weighed no more than a toddler. He maneuvered his way between her legs and lifted her face up to
Bradyn, Im all sweaty. Payton protested weakly.
I dinna care.
His mouth descended on hers and Payton nearly fainted at the intensity of his kiss. It was obvious that
hed been holding back the first few times hed kissed her. She waited for the panic and fear to set in, but
nothing came. Well, nothing besides the heat that spread through her body and the telltale dampness
between her thighs.
Bradyn deepened the kiss even further and then gripped her hips and pulled her to the edge of the
desk. Her damp heat through her yoga pants was now flush against the hard bulge in his jeans. He rolled
his hips into her, creating shiver-inducing friction against her clit. Payton pulled back on a gasp at a
sensation she had never felt in her twenty-nine years.
Ye feel that? He asked breathlessly.
Thats how much I want ye. He breathed against her lips and darted his tongue out to flick her
panting mouth. And when yer ready, Ill give ye ten times the pleasure of this. He emphasized with a
final roll of his hips.
Payton trembled with need. Her subconscious screamed at her. Tell him youre ready! Youre ready
now! Do it! She ignored the fact that her subconscious suddenly sounded like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Get to the chopper! Do it now!
I-Im getting there, Payton said instead, shocked by the breathy quality of her voice.
Bradyn hummed in this back of his throat as he tasted her lips once more. Payton clutched the front of
his shirt, hanging on for dear life before he pulled away from her and took a few steps back. His pale blue
eyes devoured her, telling her how much he wanted her.
I better stop now or our first time together will be on my desk and thats not what I want, he
Bradyn rubbed a hand down his face and blew out a calming breath. Payton followed his lead, trying
to calm her own fast paced heart. He held out his hand to her and she took it easily. He walked her out of
the gym and to her car, told her hed see her tomorrow and helped her inside.
Ugh! Payton groaned to herself as she drove off.
Now I know what sexual frustration feels like.

She pulled up to her building twenty minutes later still preoccupied with thoughts of her new man.
She walked through the front door and was so deep in thought about that intense kiss, she almost didnt
see the package sitting in front of her door until she was right on top of it.
It was a long, narrow white box with a red ribbon tied into a bow around it. She couldnt help the
grin that spread across her face. Shed never received a gift from a man before and her heart warmed
Payton picked up the box and quickly unlocked her door. She hurried inside, ready to burst with
excitement. She set her Star Wars bag and keys down along with the box on her kitchen table. She took a
deep breath and untied the ribbon. Payton slowly lifted the top off of the box. The contents made her yelp
and slam the top back down. She covered her mouth with her hands as she stumbled back.
Inside the box were what looked like a dozen long stem dead roses. Her hands shook as she removed
them from her mouth. She had seen a little card inside and her curiosity at who had sent her the creepy gift
got the best of her. Paytons fingers trembled as she opened the small envelope. She read the words and
then dropped the card back onto the table as if it had burned her. The sinister words stared back up at her,
taunting her.

Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
But these are dead,
And so are you.

The card was unsigned, so Payton didnt know what to think. Who would send me something like
that? It wouldnt be Bradyn, would it? Theres no way. But who else would?
Payton grabbed the box and shoved it into her garbage can with the note and then slammed the top
back down. Her breath burst harshly from her chest and her heart pounded painfully. Everything had been
perfect only moments before.
Arent I allowed to just be happy?

Chapter Twenty-Three

Bradyn knew something was wrong when he didnt get a response from Payton Monday night after
theyd made out in his office or that next morning after hed texted her. But he definitely knew something
was horribly wrong when neither she nor her friends showed up at the gym at six in the evening the next
day like they always did during the work week.
Thats when he started to call her, but his call went unanswered. He went to her condo and tried to
reach her through the intercom at the front of her building. Nothing worked and the days kept going by. He
didnt want to show up at her job and cause a scene, but that was his next step. Everything had been fine,
and then it was just like shed disappeared off of the face of the planet. Bradyn didnt know whether it
was something that he did or not. If hed pushed her too hard, too fast. Or if she was in a ditch
somewhere. All he knew for sure was that his stomach was in knots, he couldnt sleep, and he was getting
his ass kicked every day that he sparred with Mitch.
Man, youve got to keep your head in the game no matter whats going on in your love life. Mitch
cautioned him after they finished sparring for the day.
It was Thursday. Day 4 of No Payton.
I canna pretend that Im no worried about her. I love her, man. And its like shes disappeared. So
dinna talk te me about keepin my heid in the game. I could give a fuck about the fight or my championship
title. So unless yeve got some advice on how te find her, I dinna want to hear it. Bradyn finished, his
brogue more pronounced as he practically panted in anger.
Mitch held up his hands in surrender and then his eyes shifted to something behind Bradyn. I was
gonna to tell you to try and contact one of her friends, but one of them has already beat me to it. He
gestured with his chin in the direction of who he was looking at.
Bradyn turned and saw Mia storming towards him as if she was on a mission of destruction. And he
was the person she was sent to annihilate. He literally took a step back as she reached him, the look in her
eyes was deadly.
Did you do it?! She growled.
Do what, lass? Bradyn frowned and flinched as she poked him in the chest.
I swear to God, Ill rip your balls off right here if youre the one doing it.
Doing what?! Bradyn shouted back, losing his patience with the angry Latina. And where is
Payton? Ive been worried sick about her. Does this have anything to do with her disappearing?
You honestly dont know? Mia looked at him skeptically.
NO! Fer the love of God woman, what is going on?!?
Mia looked around and so did Bradyn. They were the center of attention. Most of the gym had come
to a standstill.
Can we talk in your office?
Aye. Come.
They quickly walked into his office. Bradyns hands shook as he closed the door and turned to
Paytons friend. He knew something really bad had to of happened.
Please, tell me. Im beggin ye. I have no idea whats going, but I feel like Im going te lose my mind
if I dinna find out what happened to her. Bradyn said feeling his eyes become glassy. He hadnt cried in
years, but he was awfully close.
Someone has been sending Payton creepy gifts and stalking her. She wasnt sure if it was you or not.
After a few days of it, now she doesnt even want to leave her condo. Mias voice was filled with worry
since her anger had abated.
Shit! What kinds of gifts? Bradyn ran a hand through his hair.
The first one she got on Monday night was a bouquet of dead roses with a nasty note inside. She
continued after the look Bradyn gave her. It said, Roses are red, violets are blue. But these are dead,
and so are you.
What the fuck?! What sick fuck would do something like that? Bradyn slammed his fist down on his
We dont know. Thats what I was trying to find out. She didnt want any of us to contact you. But
there was no way that I was going to let that shit slide if it was you.
What other gifts did she get? Bradyn asked with dread.
A little black doll that looked kind of like her but with its head cut off. A comic book that shed been
looking at, at the comic book store. But shed put it down, deciding not to buy it. So whoever it is bought
it and left it at her front door. Basically, letting her know she was being watched. Which is why she didnt
even leave her house today. But she still got another gift slid under her door. It was a bundle of pictures of
her going about her day the past several days. After that, I couldnt ignore it and came here straight from
her place. The girls are there with her now. I told her I was running to the store to go get her some comfort
food, but I made a detour here. I figured it was either you, and I could kick your ass. MMA fighter or not.
Or it wasnt you and I could tell you so that you could look after her like you have a right to do as her
boyfriend. Mia finished and looked at him with sympathy.
Thank ye so much for telling me. Bradyn clenched and unclenched his jaw. I canna believe she
dinna trust me enough to talk to me about this. She knows Id never harm a hair on her heid.
You deserved to know.
Did she call the cops?
No. Mia held up her hands before he could lose it on her. Shes dealt with this kind of thing before
and the way the police treated her the first time like it was her fault, she doesnt want to call them yet.
Bradyn headed for the door.
Where are you going?
To Paytons.
No! Mia stopped him. Its like all of this has dredged up her past issues, like PTSD or something.
Shed only freak out if she saw you right now.
Shes still never told me what happened to her.
Its not my place to tell you, B. I just know that shed freak out if you came.
Then what am I supposed to do? Twiddle my thumbs while some psychopath is threatening my
woman. I dinna fucking think so! Bradyn started towards the door again.
M-Maybe you can watch her building or something. Mia blurted out as she clutched his arm.
What, like stakeout her building? Like a detective? Bradyn looked at her like she was crazy.
Well, yeah. At least until we can get her to calm down and explain that its not you.
Fine. But Im going now.
Thats fine. I have to stop at the store first. You should grab some supplies too. Mia stopped him
with a hand on his arm again. And thank you, B.
Aye. Bradyn nodded and then they both headed out the building and to their cars.
Bradyn wanted to speed down the street like a maniac. He wanted to park the car in the middle of the
street, jump out and barge into her place like some kind of avenging angel. But instead, he gripped the
steering wheel and drove at a moderately fast rate. He stopped with Mia to get food, water, and energy
drinks and then continued to Paytons. He parked his car in view of the front door and her windows. And
then he sat quietly as he watched Mia wave and then walk inside.
He wanted nothing more than to hold Payton and comfort her. He knew she had to be terrified. He
was terrified for her. And he felt helpless and useless.
It brought back the feelings he had as he watched Becca get sexually assaulted. Those same feelings
carrying over when he wasnt able to get through to her that following year, before she took her own life.
Shed been the only person that would talk to him and not make fun of him. Which is what cost her, her
life. Everyone knew he was in love with his best friend and they wanted to hurt him by attacking her. And
Paytons situation was bringing back all those feelings. He felt so helpless then and he felt the same way
About an hour later, Kennedy and Royal walked out of the building. Bradyn stepped out of his car and
they walked over.
How is she? Can I see her now? He asked anxiously.
Shes doing as okay as can be expected, Kennedy informed him. But shes not ready to see you
yet. Mia told her that it wasnt you and that youre distraught, but shes still too freaked out. Let us work
on her a little more.
Bradyn squeezed his fists in frustration.
I know it sucks, but just bear with us. Royal patted his arm. For now, were switching off who is
going to stay the night with her. She doesnt want to be alone. So tonight, Mia is staying with her.
Ill keep watch out here. I want to catch this cocksucker. Bradyn growled.
We hope you do. Whoever it is, is a sick fuck. Royal spat.
Bradyn got back into his car and watched them leave. He was in for a long night. But his eyes barely
strayed as he watched her building like a hawk the entire night.


Bradyn hadnt noticed anything suspicious the previous night. It had been about seven in the morning
when Royal showed up to take Payton to work. Shed waved to Bradyn before walking into the building.
Hed watched through the rain on his windshield when he got his first glimpse of Payton in days. He
wanted to rush out of the car, run to her, and kiss her silly in the middle of the storm. But he had invoked
all the willpower that he had and remained where he was until they drove off.
He went home and crashed, spending the afternoon in a restless sleep. Mitch had called to see how
things were going and Bradyn had gotten him up to speed on the situation and that he would be back into
the gym when he was able.
Now, Bradyn was back in his car out front of her building. Earlier in the week, he had hoped to spend
his Friday night deep inside his beautiful new girlfriend. If he had of been so lucky. Even dinner and a
movie wouldve been preferable to staking out her condo to make sure some psycho stalker didnt harm
It was about one in the morning and his eyes were getting droopy, so he reached for one of his many
energy drinks. A loud crash, followed by a loud scream nearly made him come out of his skin. Bradyn
didnt even take the time to look to see what was going on before he was out of his vehicle and running in
the direction of the scream. He saw a dark shadow running from the condo and he took off. He pumped his
legs as fast as they could go, but the dark figure jumped into a car parked down the street and sped off
before Bradyn could get close enough to get much information on the car.
Fuck! He bellowed before turning and running back to Paytons building just as fast as hed chased
the assailant.
He ran up to the broken window and peered inside.
Are you lassies alright?
A screech sounded as he came face to face with his girlfriend. Payton stumbled back and almost fell,
but Royal was there to catch her. Bradyn was grateful that someone else was there with her.
Dinna fash yerself, Payton, he soothed. Its me, Bradyn. I chased down whoever it was, but he got
in a car and sped off before I could catch him.
The look Payton gave him, nearly broke his heart, if her next words didnt entirely.
Are you sure it wasnt you? She asked softly with accusation in her eyes.
Payton, come here. He held out his hand through the broken window and she looked at it like it was
a snake ready to bite her. Please, just come here for a second.
She finally stepped forward and hesitantly took his hand. As he watched the indecision on her face,
he felt like hed taken a thousand steps backward.
Payton, baby. I promise ye that I wouldna do anything to hurt ye. I think if ye dug deep, yed know
that too. Im here because I have been watching over ye the last couple of night. Bradyn said softly.
Hes telling the truth, Payton. Look. Royal stepped forward, holding something in her hand. This
is what they broke the window with.
She handed Payton a broken brick with something tied around it. With shaky hands, Payton pulled the
rubber band off of the brick and lifted up what looked like a photograph. She looked at it, turned it over,
and then gasped.
Bradyn reached for the picture and saw that it was of them kissing during their picnic almost a week
ago. He flipped it over to see what was written on the back that had upset her.

You think you deserve happiness when I have nothing?
Well, you dont.
Your days are numbered bitch! His too.

Its time to phone the police, Payton, Bradyn suggested solemnly.
Sadness covered her like a blanket. I know.
On it, Royal said as she grabbed her phone.
Can I come in? He asked.
Yeah, she responded in almost a whisper.
If it wasnt for the shards of glass sticking up out of the ledge, Bradyn wouldve jumped over the
wall separating them. Instead, he got the code from her and jogged around to the main door. Once he got to
her front door, he knocked gently. She opened it and Bradyn didnt care about anything other than getting
her in his arms, after seeing the dejected look on her face.
He stepped into her condo and wrapped her up into his arms immediately. He kicked the door closed,
lifted her off of her feet and walked her into her living room. Payton couldnt hold back her emotions any
longer and sobbed into his neck.
Its okay, baby. Im here now. I willna let anyone hurt ye. Bradyn soothed quietly in her ear.
He held her like that for a while, until she calmed and the police arrived. Payton showed them all of
the gifts shed been given that she kept. They questioned Payton, and Bradyn held her hand the entire
time, trying to infuse as much strength and support into her as he could. They asked him and Royal
questions as well. They checked around the building for footprints in the mud from the rain earlier in the
day and collected all the creepy mementos in plastic bags to be checked for fingerprints.
It was three in the morning when they finally left with a promise to call her if they found anything.
Bradyn worked on putting some plastic up to the broken window to keep the elements out.
Royal, ye can go home if yed like. Ive got her. Bradyn offered.
Are you okay? Royal asked Payton, conveying more than just her question through her eyes. Are
you sure you feel comfortable alone with him? Ill stay if you dont.
I think Im good. Thank you for everything, Royal.
Youre welcome, sweetie. Royal wrapped her up in a warm hug. You know I love you and would
do anything for you.
I know.
Good. Royal grabbed her things and headed for the door. Call me if you hear anything from the
cops or if you need anything.
I will.
Royal walked out and Payton closed and locked the door. They were finally alone. The nervous, yet
sexual tension expanded to encompass the space between them. But Bradyn ignored it, knowing that now
wasnt the right time.
He finally took a moment to take in Paytons personal space. Everything was modern with straight
clean lines. Yet it was very comfortable and functional. The walls, furniture, and floors were white, gray,
and black respectively with an explosion of color in the accents around the room. Colorful throw pillows
on the couch. Vibrant little knickknacks strategically placed around the room. And the coolest of all was
the artwork on the walls. They were lively and colorful comic book illustrations, framed in black and
spaced apart perfectly on the walls. Bradyn loved her style.
Ill stay here on the couch. I dinna like the idea of anyone being able to rip down the plastic and
being in another room while someone comes in to rob ye blind. Theyll have to get through me first.
Bradyn crossed his arms over his chest and nodded emphatically.
Y-You dont know how much better that makes me feel, Payton confessed.
Bradyn walked over to her and rubbed his hands up and down her arms as she crossed them
protectively over herself.
Ill die fightin before I let anyone lay a hand on ye. Bradyn took a deep breath before continuing,
feeling there could be a fight over his next words. Which is why yer coming to stay with me until we find
whos doing this.
No buts, lass. I canna work, sleep, eat, or train while Im constantly worried about ye. Ye go to
work, ye come to the gym, we go home together, and then do it all again the next day. Thats the only way
Ill be able to breathe easy, knowing yer only away from me for eight hours a day. So even if ye dinna
want to do it for yerself, willing ye do it for me?
Okay, she said softly.
Now, sit with me an tell me why ye dinna feel like ye could come to me when all of this started.
Bradyn pulled her over to her charcoal gray couch.
I-I wasnt sure if it was you. Payton clutched at a yellow pillow and picked at it, avoiding eye
How can ye think Id do something like that to ye? Bradyn asked as he lifted her chin up, forcing
her to look at him. I thought things were going well between us. Or maybe it was just me that felt it.
No, Bradyn. Payton rushed to reassure him. I felt- I feel it too. Its just that
Ye can tell me anything, lass. Tell me why yer so afraid of me. Help me to understand. Bradyn
squeezed her hands tightly.
Payton sighed heavily before starting. A faraway look came over her face and she stared off at a spot
past his shoulder.
My freshman year of college, there was this guy that I thought I knew. Someone that I thought I could
trust. He was a football player. This really big guy. She paused to glance at him quickly. Youre actually
bigger than he was. Which was why you scared me so badly. Anyway, I was his tutor and I had this huge
crush on him. The last night I tutored him before the end of the first semester, he told me that he had a
Christmas gift for me. He asked me to get in the back seat of his car and then he attacked me.
Bradyn squeezed her hand even tighter as she shuddered at the memory.
Luckily, I got away. I ran towards my dormitory building and thats when I literally ran into Mia, just
as Royal and Kennedy walked up. Hed chased me to my building, but they shielded me from him. That
day was when we all became best friends. But my battle with Brett was just the beginning. I pressed
charges, other girls came forward who hadnt been so lucky to get away, and he was found guilty. But he
was only sentenced to five years in prison. With the number of lives he destroyed, he should have rotted
in jail. Payton finished angrily.
Bradyn closed his eyes and took deep breaths. He tried to rein in his anger, but he wanted nothing
more than to find this Brett guy and stomp him into the ground.
Y-Youre turned off now, right? Payton asked, reading his reaction wrong.
No, lass. Bradyn sighed and then opened his eyes. I think I care for ye more than I did before ye
told me what happened. I assumed ye were assaulted, but I wasna sure. Now, I understand ye better. Im
just angry at him. If I knew who he was, Id probably try to kill him.
The actions of some fuckwit that tried to hurt ye would never diminish my feelings for ye. It just
makes me want to protect ye even more. Understand? Bradyn leaned down and cocked his head to the
side to catch her eye as she looked down at her lap.
Payton looked up at him with tears in her eyes. Yeah.
Come here. Bradyn opened up his arms and he sighed with relief when Payton barely hesitated for
a second, before crawling into them.
Not only was Payton perfect for him and fit his body like a yin-yang symbol, she was his second
chance. Hed failed Becca. He hadnt been able to stop her from being raped. He hadnt been able to
reach her in her devastating sorrow to stop her from committing suicide. But with Payton, maybe he could
save her. Maybe he could be the thing, the person who made her want to live.

Chapter Twenty-Four

Payton was relieved that Bradyn had stayed overnight and then waited with her while the
maintenance man replaced her broken window. He also waited for her to pack a bag full of clothing and
toiletries to take to his place for the unforeseeable future. He hadnt taken no for an answer. And deep
down, she didnt want him too.
She was absolutely terrified of whoever was stalking her. Payton wasnt an idiot. Something told her
who it could possibly be, but she couldnt bring herself to say it out loud. She pushed the thought aside as
she met up with the girls for their Saturday lunch at Raw.
As they sat at their usual table and waited for their favorite drinks and sushi dishes to arrive, Payton
felt a chill run down her spine. She quickly looked around the restaurant but didnt see anything
suspicious. So she turned and tried to focus on what the girls were saying.
Okay, so youre now gonna stay with him for the time being, correct? Kennedy asked.
Yeah. Why? Payton asked hesitantly.
Lets not beat around the bush. Or better yet, please let him beat around your bush. Mia chimed in,
cutting off Kennedys response.
What theyre trying to say is, we are living vicariously through you right now. And it would be
really fucking kickass if you would let him knock your back out. Royal clarified.
Aka beat up the pussy, Mia added.
Pop your cherry. Have mind-blowing sex. Whatever analogy you want to use, honey. Just do it
already! With all the drama going on in your life, you deserve to have good old stress-relieving sex.
Kennedy finished.
You do realize that you all are the worst friends ever, right? Payton frowned at them. I mean, what
decent friends continually peer pressures a friend into having sex? I feel like Im in the girl version of
American Pie.
Friends who know that you want to have sex with your boyfriend! You said yourself that you were
turned on by him. The only thing thats holding you back is this. Kennedy leaned over the table to tap
Payton on the forehead. What were trying to do is to get you out of here and get you to here and here,
she pointed from Paytons head to her heart and crotch, where you belong.
Thats the nice way of saying, Youre a grown ass woman now. So go get you groove on and get
that D! Mia high-fived Kennedy.
Bow-chicka-bow-bow! Royal sang the universal song for porn.
The three of them laughed cheerfully, as Payton took a sip of her drink, getting lost deep in her


The girls words were still swirling around Paytons head when she met up with Bradyn at the gym.
He was in the middle of sparring with his buddy when she got there. She waved at him, letting him know
she was there before going to grab a smoothie from the bar. She couldnt watch him take punches and
kicks from the other man. Even though he was wearing protective head gear, it still turned her stomach.
It only took him a few minutes to wrap up his training. He threw on his shirt over his damp skin and
led her out to her car. Bradyn got into the drivers seat of her Prius and she slid into the passenger seat.
Watching him squeeze into the little car was pretty comical and she wouldve laughed if she wasnt so
They had decided to take her car because he didnt want her car to stay out in the open and
unprotected, just in case her stalker tried to tamper with it. Luckily, Bradyn didnt live too far away. The
inside of her small car was surprisingly spacious, but not for a man as tall and big as he was and for long
He pulled into a detached garage and parked the car. Payton followed Bradyn as he walked up to the
front door and unlocked it. When he swung it open, Payton gasped to see that it wasnt a front door at all,
but the entrance into a little garden oasis that led to the real front door. Tiny pebbles made up the garden
floor with large round pavers that led the way to a little man-made stream and a flat wooden plank bridge
made out of reclaimed two-by-fours that crossed it. Strategically placed lighting gave the garden a
romantic feel in the fading early evening light as they walked to the real front door. Payton gaped the
whole way.
Bradyn unlocked the door and swept his arm inside, gesturing for her to enter. His space was clean,
modern and open-concept. Floor to ceiling windows lined the open kitchen and dining area that led out
onto a glassed-in deck that overlooked some of the city from its vantage point on top of a hill.
He gave Payton the grand tour of the three bedroom house. His master suite was large and spacious.
The bed was huge and looked so inviting, but Paytons eyes quickly swept over it, trying not to focus too
much attention on it. Or the picture of them entwined on top of it, rolling around in her head.
Ye can take my bedroom and Ill sleep in one of the spare rooms for the time being. I dinna want ye
to feel uncomfortable. Bradyn offered generously.
No, Bradyn. I cant take your bed. Ill be fine in one of the other bedrooms. Payton refused his kind
offer. In reality, her head kept saying, I want to share your bed with you, though the words wouldnt
find their way out.
Are ye certain? His ice blue eyes penetrated her.
Alright, then. Ill put yer bag in the closest room to mine.
Payton followed him into her new room. He placed her bag on the bed and then turned towards her.
He slowly approached her, like she was a skittish animal that would run at the slightest provocation.
I think Ill breathe easier now that yer here, Bradyn told her as he stroked a finger down the side of
her face.
Payton just blinked up at him with wide innocent eyes and long fluttering lashes.
Im going to jump in the shower and then we can decide what well do for the evening. Dinna go
anywhere. He grinned at her, knowing he had her right where he wanted her.
Payton smiled back and then fell back on the soft mattress once he walked out of the room. The sheer
magnitude of his size and presence could fill up a room and send her heart into palpitations. Her body
was always hyper-aware when he was nearby. And with the girls advice still leeching onto her thoughts,
Payton decided something in that moment.
She took a deep breath, got up from the bed, and walked into his room. She heard the shower running
and pictured him naked. Payton quickly shook her head to clear her thoughts when she started to
hyperventilate. She paced back and forth in front of his bed, wringing her hands nervously.
She was so lost in thought that she almost didnt hear the shower shut off. She turned at the last minute
and watched as the door to the en suite bathroom opened. It was like a scene from a movie. Everything
was in slow motion. The door opened. Steam billowed out into the bedroom. The sexy male lead,
wrapped in nothing but a towel and a smile walks out through the mist surrounding him. Droplets of water
clings to his skin as they run down the rises and valleys of his muscular body.
Her mouth flapped open and closed. Her eyelids blinked slowly. Her brain short-circuited. The
words Payton had practiced saying, stuck in her throat.
Sweet Thor, god of thunder!
Is everything alright, lass? Bradyn asked, holding the towel to his hips.
Payton opened her mouth again to try to speak, but her eyes journeyed down to the towel and what it
protected from her curious eyes. What she found, lodged the words in her throat once more. The towel
jutted outward in a clear indication that he was aroused. What she couldnt get over was how far it tented
Payton swallowed and tried again. I-IuhIwantI-I need She cleared her throat, closed
her eyes, and took a deep breath before blurting out what she needed to say. I want to have sex!
Nice, Payton. That was neither sexy nor romantic. What shed planned on saying was, I want to
make love to you. Im ready.
Several frustratingly silent seconds passed by. Unable to stand it a moment longer, Payton cracked
open one eye to look at Bradyn. Her breath caught as she literally saw his eyes smolder with need.
She wasnt even sure how he could possibly be so attracted to her or so turned on. It wasnt like she
was dressed in some sexy negligee or something. She was in her black circle skirt with suspenders, gray
vintage Wonder Woman t-shirt and her Vans. Her hair was pulled back in a ponytail with her bangs out
and her oversized glasses were slipping down her nose as usual. Absolutely nothing to inspire sonnets or
an erection.
Are ye sure?
Why now? Bradyn asked curiously, his body coiled tightly as if at any second he would spring
B-Because Im tired of waiting. Im m-more attracted to you than I have ever been to a man before.
Because Im tired of being afraid. Her throat began to clog with tears and her next words broke as she
said them. B-Because Ive n-never been cherished.
Payton could barely get out the last word before Bradyn was on her. He clutched her now tear-
streaked face urgently and his mouth descended on hers like a ravenous wolf. His kiss was almost painful
in its intensity. Their teeth gnashed together in their need to get closer. His tongue sought hers and for the
first time, she kissed him back just as passionately. Sexy groans emitted from his mouth and vibrated
against her tongue. The sensation fired off little signals that went straight to the nerve-endings in her clit.
Payton clutched at his damp bare back to steady herself.
Bradyns hands moved from her face and slid down to her ass. He clutched her ample behind before
lifting her up with little effort. Paytons thighs automatically wrapped around his waist as he walked the
few steps to his massive bed. She felt his hard length pressed against the apex of her legs. She could feel
the hard ridge against the damp cotton of her panties and knew that the towel must have fallen off.
He lowered her to the bed and kissed her softly before standing back up, giving her the chance to
view his body unfettered. Paytons eyes traveled over his chiseled body. When they reached the juncture
of his legs, her body began to tremble uncontrollably. The quivers were two parts fear, one part desire. Or
maybe vice versa. Payton wasnt quite sure which since it felt like they were switching off. And it was no
wonder. His penis was long and thick. The tip an angry purple. The whole situation looked lethal.
Payton. Bradyns voice sounded gruffer and deeper than shed ever heard it. Ye dinna have to do
this if ye dinna want to. Of course, it pains me to say that, cause I canna think of anything Ive wanted
more than to bury myself deep inside o ye. So deep I mark ye as mine. But based on both of our pasts, it
would hurt me worse to do anything to ye that would cause ye pain.
I wont lie. I-Im terrified. But I think that if I could just rip off the proverbial Band-Aid, then Ill be
okay. So pleased-dont stop. Payton's voice trembled as much as her body did.
Bradyn nodded his head and leaned down towards her. In her nervousness, Payton shot up to meet
him and their foreheads knocked together. Not as hard as their first date, but hard enough for them to both
wince and rub the injured spots.
Sorry! Sorry. Payton cringed.
It's fine, lass.
Bradyn kissed her tender forehead, before moving down her face, raining kisses on her flushed skin.
Ive never wanted anyone more than ye. From the moment I laid eyes on ye, I wanted to be near ye.
He said this between soft kisses.
He pulled down the suspenders from her shoulders. Slowly, he eased her shirt up her soft tummy and
planted kisses on the skin that he revealed. When he reached her plain black bra, Payton wished that she
had been more adventurous with her undergarments. It was too late now and her mind quickly shifted
away from that as Bradyn pulled down the satin material and exposed one dark brown nipple.
Ye calm me. She felt his breath whisper across her skin and her nipple tightened. Ye put me at
Too bad he was having the opposite effect on her at the moment. Paytons chest rose and fell rapidly
in anticipation of his mouth that hovered just above her straining nipple. She felt desperate to feel his
mouth on her. She didnt have to wait long.
Payton watched as his tongue peeked out and flicked against her already hardened bud. A small cry
escaped her lips. Her back rose off of the bed pressing her breast closer to him as her hips pressed back
into the mattress when her vagina began to throb.
Do ye like that? Bradyn asked between kisses planted around her areola.
Mmhmm Payton moaned, unable to form the single syllable word.
Bradyn quickly whipped her t-shirt the rest of the way off of her and unclasped her bra with the snap
of a finger. Her upper half was completely bare to his roaming eyes. Payton had never let a man see her
naked breasts before. She thought that shed be more uncomfortable than she was. But the blue fire in his
eyes let her know that he liked everything that he saw.
He sucked her other nipple into his mouth and swirled his tongue around it, creating spasms that shot
down to her aching core. Payton gripped the blanket as her hips pumped involuntarily. Bradyns right hand
caressed down her stomach to the waistband of her skirt. His fingers slid underneath the material and then
dipped under her panties as well. Payton squeezed her eyes shut in embarrassment, knowing that hed
soon find her drenched. His fingers found her slick opening and they both sucked in a sharp breath. Payton
had never felt anything like it.
Fuck my life! Bradyn exclaimed breathlessly. Yer so fucking wet!
I-Im s-sorry. Payton released the blanket and covered her hot face with her hands.
Bradyn brushed her hands out of the way and looked down at her with a furrowed brow.
Sorry for what? For being wet? He asked incredulously.
Obviously, Payton grumbled. She couldnt have been more humiliated.
Payton, love. To be wet just means that yer turned on. Thats one of the greatest compliments ye
could give a lad. It means Im doing something right. Bradyn grinned down at her when she finally
looked him in the eyes.
I really shouldve listened to the girls more.
Bradyns hand had stilled during their little discussion, but once he knew she was on board, he began
to stroke along the seam of her drenched opening. Payton tried to contain her reactions but was finding it
harder and harder not to move or make a sound. One thick, rough digit slid between her labia, crested
over her opening and glided up to the bundle of nerves hidden within her folds. His saturated finger
stroked the bud with the lightest of touches and Payton finally lost the fragile hold she had on her body.
Aaaah! Bradyn! She cried as her hips pumped against his seeking hand.
Thats it, lass. Let go. Bradyn whispered against her lips before flicking his tongue against her
panting mouth just as his finger flicked her clit.
Payton gasped and cried some more as he teased her with his mouth at her lips and breasts and his
hand at her most secret place. Her body trembled and she felt something building deep within her.
Och, no. Not yet, lass. Bradyn removed his hand from within her skirt and panties and Payton
nearly wept when whatever was building dissipated. I want ye to come on my tongue.
Something clenched inside her at his words. Payton quickly found out why. Bradyn wrapped his
fingers around the waistband of her skirt and undies and tugged them down her legs. Payton looked down
at him as he knelt down on the side of the bed and positioned his shoulders and head between her legs.
Her head dropped back and she once again covered her face with her hands, trying her best not to be
embarrassed by the proximity of his face to her private place.
She felt kisses that started at her knee and moved inward, towards the juncture of her legs. Paytons
legs started to quake. So much so, that they eventually traveled to her whole body as Bradyns soft lips
journeyed closer. She felt cool air hit her hot wet flesh and she realized that he was blowing on her slick
folds. Her breath expelled harshly through her lips. Then his tongue stroked up her center.
Bradyn! Payton yelled as her back came off the bed and she slid back.
What? Are ye alright, lass? I dinna hurt ye, did I? Bradyn looked up from his position at the foot of
the bed.
N-No. Payton felt embarrassment heat her face. Ituhf-feltgood.
Bradyn wrapped his hands around her thighs and growled before pulling her to the edge of the bed
once more. She squeaked and fell back at the quick move.
Then dinna interrupt a man during his meal, Bradyn said before diving back in.
He spread her nether lips and caressed her slit with his tongue. He moaned as he drank from her. This
time, instead of scooting away from him, Payton clenched her thighs together, squeezing his head. She
wasnt sure if she was trying to stop him or hold him in place, never wanting him to leave. Bradyn wasnt
fazed. In fact, it seemed to turn him on more. He wrapped his hands around her thighs to hold on. His
tongue stroked up and found her clit and Payton realized why he was held onto her thighs. Her hips
bucked against his tongue convulsively and he was holding on for the ride.
Never in her life, did she believe that shed be a loud lover. But there she was with cries and moans
escaping her mouth as Bradyn sucked and lapped hungrily at her cleft. Payton felt that same pressure build
within her core. Then he latched onto her clit and softly licked at the nub as he moaned, sending delicious
vibrations through her most sensitive place. Payton exploded.
Her neck arched. Her back lifted off of the bed. Her hands found themselves at the back of his head,
pulling him closer. And her hips rolled against his mouth as he stroked her clit and lapped up her feminine
As her orgasm subsided, Paytons hips shuddered and she collapsed back onto the bed. She felt
Bradyn rise and plant kisses over one hip and up her soft belly. He reached her breasts and he kissed their
tips softly, sending an aftershock through her body. When he finally reached her lips, Bradyn slid his
tongue into her awaiting mouth. Payton smelled her scent that clung to the soft hairs of his beard and tasted
her arousal on his lips and tongue.
Ye were beautiful, Payton. Never has a woman responded to me like that before. No to bring up
another while were making love. I-It just means a lot, is all. Bradyn confessed against her lips.
Payton was so overwhelmed with emotion, she could barely speak. So she did the only thing she
could think to do. She wrapped her arms around him, hugging him to her and holding on for dear life. She
had never had an orgasm before. Shed never even attempted to pleasure herself because she hadnt even
wanted to think about sex. To her, sex was a reminder of what had happened to her. It didnt matter what
the girls said. She blocked out at least three-quarters of what they said about the subject anyway. Tonight
was the first time she was finding out she was wrong about everything. Bradyn did that. A man she had
been terrified of and had spent the better part of a month or more pushing him away.
Are ye crying, lass? Bradyn whispered in her ear with concern.
Payton just nodded her head vigorously and refused to let go of the hold she had on him as he tried to
pull back to look at her face. He reached back and grabbed her arms, gently prying them from around his
neck. Payton quickly covered her face with her hands.
Why are ye crying, Payton?
She shook her head.
Okay, ye dinna have to talk. His deep voice reached her ears. Maybe ye can just nod or shake yer
head. Can ye do that?
She nodded and then followed it with a hiccup.
Are ye sad or hurt?
She shook her head.
Are ye happy then?
She nodded.
Ah, I see. So yer happy because yeve finally found the best lover yeve ever know, is that right?
She could hear the smile in his voice.
Paytons hiccups quickly turned into laughter. Bradyn pulled her hands from her face and grinned
down at her, his blue eyes sparkling. He leaned down and kissed away the few tears that were left. She
looked up at him with long lashes, spiked with her tears. He gave her soft pecks on her lips and then
gripped her face as he deepened the kiss, reigniting the flame.
Bradyn positioned himself between her legs. He rolled his hips, stroking his incredible length along
the still wet seam of her slit. The smooth rim of the head of his penis glided over her clit and Payton
gasped into his mouth.
Please tell me, yer on birth control. Im dying to feel all of ye around me. He groaned into her ear.
Y-Yes. Payton panted. I-I have an irregular menstrual cycle and it regulates it.
Good. Im clean. I always wear a condom and I have to get tested regularly by the athletic
commission. I have papers if ye dinna believe me. Bradyn said as he continued to tease her.
I believe you. Payton groaned. Just Please, Bradyn.
He slid his shaft down her cleft once more and positioned the head at her entrance. Slowly, he inched
his way in and Payton felt herself stretch to accommodate him. Then he stopped once he reached her
Oh God, Payton. Ye are a virgin. Bradyn grunted as he dropped his forehead down to rest against
Y-Yes. Is that bad? Payton asked nervously.
No, lass. Of course not. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. I assumed that ye were, but I
wasna sure. I-I just need to calm down a wee bit first, so I can be gentle and make this good for ye.
Bradyn kept his forehead against hers, but he closed his eyes and clenched his jaw. His body laid
flush against hers, resting some of his weight on his elbows as not to crush her. Both of his arms shook on
either side of her head as he stroked shallowly, in and out of her canal. Always stopping just before her
Payton was actually surprised it was still intact. Considering how old she was, shed figured that it
had disintegrated years ago.
Bradyn spoke as if reading her mind. Once I break through, yer mine. Im claiming ye and I willna
let ye go.
Im ready, Payton gasped.
Bradyn captured her lips as he thrust deep, tearing through her virginity. Payton hissed through the
pain as he groaned deep in his throat. His whole body shuddered and beads of sweat formed on his brow
as he held completely still. Payton realized it was taking him a lot of effort to be gentle and slow. The
pain had eased a bit, so she decided to coax him on.
Keep going. Im okay.
Are ye certain? Bradyn looked down at her, his face was just as red as his hair.
Yes. You dont have to be so polite. Mia said that polite sex equals terrible sex. Payton said and
then looked away shyly at his raised eyebrow. She hoped that she hadnt offended him. Diarrhea of the
mouth as usual.
Is that so?
Y-Yes, Payton stammered. Oh no! Im probably going to regret that.
She felt him pulse inside of her and she couldve sworn that she felt him swell even larger.
Alright, then. I want to make my woman happy.
Bradyn pulled out to the tip and plunged back in, balls deep. The breath was sucked right out of
Payton at the feeling. He quickly did the same again. With each deep stroke, his speed increased. She held
onto his biceps until he rose up onto his hands. Bradyns hips rolled into hers and she heard the sexy
smack of skin on skin. Little gasps escaped her throat as he hit a spot deep within her. She thought that
was as good or as wild as it could get. She was wrong. So wrong.
He clasped her thighs and brought them up. Then he placed his hands on the backs of her knees and
pressed her legs down to lie flush against her chest, completely baring her most intimate place. Bradyn
slid out his massive erection that a few moments ago she wouldve never believed would fit. He pumped
his hips to rub its glistening length against her drenched crease. He released one of her legs, gripped his
shaft, and smacked it against her weeping pussy. It sent little shock waves through her. He positioned the
tip back at her entrance, grabbed her leg once more, and slammed into her. The new position sent him
deeper than he had gone thus far.
AAAAH! Payton screamed.
Her screams quickly turned into a continuous stream of cries as he unleashed The Red Scot. He
pounded into her tender flesh. His thrusts carried so much force that he scooted her up the bed until her
head was touching the headboard. He released the backs of her knees, sat back on his haunches, wrapped
his hands around her thighs and pulled her towards him. Her thick coffee colored legs rested against the
fair freckled skin of his muscular torso. It was the most beautiful thing Payton had ever seen. He held onto
her legs as he slowed down the powerful thrusts and exchanged them for the slow rolling dips of a lover
that knew what he was doing.
Paytons legs began to quiver. That tightness was building within her again. This time it was slow.
The first orgasm was quick and intense. This one built gradually. Bradyns hand slid down her leg,
wrapped around her thigh to reach for her clit. His rough thumb found the slick nubbin and he strummed it
gently as he rotated his hips into her. His cock hit the perfect spot, just as his thumb stroked her just right.
Her body tensed and arched off the bed. Her toes curled and her legs shuddered as a hoarse cry
ripped from her chest just as a squirt of liquid released from her body and splashed against her thighs and
his stomach and shaft. Payton wouldve been mortified if Bradyn didnt growl and then throw is head
back in ecstasy at the sight and feel of her climax. As her slippery channel flexed around him, she felt a
ripple run through his cock before jet after jet of his release soaked her womb.
Bradyn crumpled between her legs and on top of her, his face resting against her breasts. Their sweat
slicked skin stuck together as they caught their breath.
Holy Obi-wan Kenobi! Thats what the girls were talking about?! Payton exclaimed once she
finally got her breath under control.
Bradyn chuckled. Was I finally rude enough for ye? Or was I still too polite?
Im sorry, Bradyn. I didnt mean to be rude. I-I just didnt want you to worry about hurting me when
it was feelingumrather nice. She cringed with embarrassment. Plus, you looked like you were in
more pain than I was. She shrugged and he kissed her breast before rising up to look down at her.
Id walk through hell an back to make sure yer okay. He leaned down and kissed her nose lightly.
But I have te admit, Im glad ye gave me the green light. Yer incredible.
Payton smiled bashfully and then her eyes shot up to his when she felt him harden inside of her.
Aye. Again.
Bradyn rolled over onto his side and brought Payton with him. He hiked her leg up on his hip,
wrapped his arm around her back, and kissed her passionately as he began to stroke into her. Payton held
onto him as he took the lead to guide her through her second ever sexual encounter.
It was turning out to be just as good as the first.

Chapter Twenty-Five

Bradyn woke up from his light nap and looked down at Payton still wrapped up in his arms. She was
out cold. He had worn her out and it was still early. It was time for dinner and he was definitely starving
for more than just the ebony beauty entwined in his long limbs. Hed worked off a lot of calories with her
and hed trained before that.
Slowly, he traced a finger up and over her shoulder, down her arm, and then across her back. He
grinned as she snuggled closer. Her coffee, no cream skin was luminous like the smoothest satin. He
marveled at how stunning she was and the stark contrast of their skin together. She truly was the Yin to his
Hed thought that it would take a while for Payton to warm up to him sexually. That even if they did
have sex, she wouldnt respond well at first. He had been absolutely wrong.
When hed opened the door to his bathroom and found her pacing in front of his bed, he hadnt been
able to control his bodys reaction. Hed immediately gotten hard. And there was no way that he could
hide an erection under a towel. Shed almost passed out when her eyes had journeyed curiously down to
the terrycloth tent hed been sporting. To top it off, his erection had risen in spite of the fact that hed
already rubbed one out in the shower. Bradyn had known that if he didnt calm his traitorous body, he was
going to be walking around with a hard-on all night with her under his roof. So hed decided to
masturbate in the shower. Only for him to rise from the dead once again, like he hadnt come like a freight
train a few minutes before. He couldnt have been happier when she had admitted that she wanted to have
sex. Luckily, he had taken care of business or else he wouldve come just from going down on her or after
only a few thrusts. Thats just how much she turned him on and how glorious she had felt wrapped around
Sex with Payton was more incredible than he couldve imagined. Bradyn was sure that being in love
with her helped a lot. Hed only been in love with one other girl, Becca. But she hadnt known it. Theyd
only been friends. So all of the women hed slept with in the past had been flings. The sex, impersonal. In
all honesty, hed always thought that was the way sex was supposed to be. He hadnt known any better.
Payton was opening up a whole new experience for him.
Bradyn leaned his head down and kissed her temple. I love ye, lass, he whispered softly against
her hair.
MmmI love you, too. Payton mumbled half asleep.
Bradyn grinned happily and his chest swelled to ten times its usual size. But something must have
registered in her head a split second later. She popped up with a bewildered look on her face.
Did you say something? I didnt say anything, she blurted out, fully awake now.
Calm yerself, lass. I told ye, I loved ye, though I wasna expecting ye to hear me. But if I think I
heard correctly, ye did say, ye loved me too. I mean, ye were half asleep and delirious from all of the
lovemaking I forced on ye and maybe ye dinna actually mean it. But if ye did, yed make me the happiest-
Payton cut off his nervous rambling as she awkwardly launched herself at him, making him fall back.
She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him on the lips.
I-I do love you, she said softly against his mouth. I actually didnt hear you say it, so I thought I
accidentally admitted it in my sleep.
Either way, Im glad ye said it. Its a first for me. Bradyn admitted and felt his face flush red.
For me, as well. Is it really possible to have the best/worst week of your life? Payton looked down
at him thoughtfully.
Aye, I suppose it is. Up until today, this week has been one of the worst for me as well. I thought ye
were done with me. Please, dinna do that to me again. If something is wrong, tell me. Bradyn demanded
as he clutched either side of her face with his large hands. Do ye hear me?
Payton nodded between his hands. Two loud growls rumbled in the quiet room.
Good. Now, lets decide what were doing for dinner. Im starving and if I heard yer stomach
correctly, ye are too. Sounded like a couple of angry gnomes.


Payton pulled on her t-shirt and skirt quickly, before scurrying into the bathroom. Her panties were a
no-go. They were ruined from her earlier arousal and her bag was in the spare bedroom. Shed have to
remember to grab some to pull on later.
For now, she quickly cleaned the evidence of their lovemaking and her virginity from her thighs. Her
stomach did flip flops just thinking about what theyd done. She understood everything now. Why the girls
were so crazy about men. Why they loved sex so much. Why Mia was the way she was. Now that Payton
knew, she didnt think she could go back to being a prude. She was already craving the next time they had
sex. She just hoped that it wouldnt be too long.
Maybe after dinner?
She looked at herself in the mirror to make sure she looked halfway presentable. A wide smile
spread across her face.
Staring back at her was a rough, bedraggled version of herself. Her hair was in wild disarray. The
ponytail and bangs shed been wearing were now a birds nest. Her ponytail was cockeyed and her bangs
were either stuck to her face from sweat in some spots or standing on end in others. Her eyelids were
heavy and droopy from being completely sated. And her already plump lips looked swollen a couple
sizes too big. She even spotted some love bites on her once smooth and unmarred ebony skin.
There was no way that if any of the girls saw her, theyd say she had polite sex.
Mia would be proud.
Wrapped up in the security of Bradyns house and arms and words of love, Payton forgot about the
dangers awaiting her outside. She didnt want to think about some unknown man stalking her. This
weekend was about carving out a little bit of peace for herself. Monday would come soon enough.
Payton quickly redid her ponytail to a more presentable messy look and smoothed down her bangs.
The rest she couldnt do much about. And she had a feeling that Bradyn would want to see her sated eyes
and kiss-swollen lips. So with that, she turned off the lights and headed for his kitchen.
Bradyn was already there with nothing on but a pair of dark gray sweats. His hair stuck up in spots
and his lips too were swollen from passionate kisses. Payton also spied some scratches and bites on his
fair skin and she inwardly cringed at the knowledge that she was kind of wild in bed.
Who knew?!
Alright, lass. Its already seven-thirty and Im entirely too hungry to try and cook a whole meal from
scratch. So how about we order something? Bradyn looked up at her and as usual, his piercing eyes
made her breath hitch. His bare torso didnt hurt either.
Thats fine.
Good. Here are all the menus from all the nearby restaurants. He spread out the menus on the white
quartz countertop of his kitchen island. If ye dinna mind, Id love something with a lot of carbs and
protein. I have te keep my weight up and we burned a lot of calories so far today. An I plan te burn more
later. He smirked and winked at her.
Uhokay. Payton looked away bashfully. Lets do Italian then. Meat and pasta.
Sounds good.
Bradyn grabbed his phone off the counter and typed in the number. He ordered them what seemed like
a meal for four. Payton just blinked in awe.
Some of it will be for tomorrow, Bradyn informed her after getting off the phone and seeing her
wide-eyed look.
Gotcha. Payton squeezed her lips together to keep from laughing.
I wanted to ask ye something.
Id really love it if ye were willing to come to my next fight.
You mean fight, as in, you getting in that cage thing and beating the crap out of another human being
and he possibly beating the crap out of you too? As in, blood and swollen eyes and broken limbs? Payton
asked incredulously.
When ye put it like that, it sounds awful. But it isna that bad.
No, Im sure its worse.
Come on, lass. It would mean a lot te me te have ye there, cheering me on.
Payton scrunched her face up in distaste, pushing her glasses up high.
I guess I couldIF!
If what?
If you come with me to Comic Con.
Ye mean that big festival where comic book ner- I mean fans, Bradyn quickly corrected himself at
the look on her face, get dressed up like their favorite characters and talk about sci-fi stuff?
One and the same. Payton folded her arms across her chest waiting for his response.
O-Okay, he said hesitantly. Do I have te dress up like a weirdo?
Payton gave him the squinty eye. So youre calling me a weirdo because I do plan to dress up, you
know? And its called cosplay, by the way.
No, lass. Yer no weird. Ive seen some of the lasses dress up and its cute. I canna help but think
grown men dressing up like fantasy characters is a little odd, though.
Uh huh. And no, you dont have to dress up, if you dont want to. But if I have to go watch you fight,
you have to stand next to me at Comic Con in whatever costume I decide on. Deal? Payton held out her
Deal. Bradyn took her soft hand in his rough one and shook it gently. Then he pulled her until she
leaned across the island and then kissed her soundly before releasing her with a sly grin. Now, lets
Netflix and Chill.
Hmmeven in my minimal experience, Ive heard of Netflix and Chill from the girls. How much
Netflixing will we be doing versus Chilling?
Weel, it depends on how fast ye eat. Bradyn winked. Ye eat fast enough and Netflix will be
watching us as I Chill in and out of ye all over my couch.
Even though he was being silly and playful, Bradyns words sent shivers of anticipation from her
head to her toes. Payton tried to calm her racing pulse as she watched him grab two beers out of the
refrigerator. He handed her one and then led her over to the couch.
What would ye like to watch?
How do you feel about zombies? Payton watched the screen as he scrolled through all the movies
and television shows.
I like them well enough. Why? What were ye considering?
How about The Walking Dead? I never really got into it, but always wanted to.
The Walking Dead it is.
Their food arrived before the first episode ended. They paused the show and quickly made their
plates and sat back on the couch ready to dig in and continue the show. It was at the beginning of the third
episode after their meal was finished and settled a bit when Bradyns hand made its way to Paytons thigh.
He pushed up her skirt slightly and drew circles against her skin. Her smooth skin prickled with
goosebumps as his swirling finger journeyed higher up her leg. She still wasnt wearing any panties and
she could feel her sex grow slick with want.
Once he got to the top of her thigh, his hand glided down towards the apex of her legs. Payton opened
for him without hesitation. Her thighs spread eagerly, awaiting his touch. When his index finger touched
her drenched folds, she cried out and he growled.
Fuck, lass! Yer killing me.
Bradyn pulled his hand away and quickly ripped his sweats down, releasing his hardened cock. Then
he reached over, clutched her hips and pulled her onto his lap. He quickly grasped the base of his thick
erection and positioned it at her entrance. Payton sank down on him gladly. She was still tender from their
first two rounds, but she didnt care as she threw back her head and gasped. The feel of him filling her
whole outweighed any pain she was feeling.
Bradyn pushed up her shirt, pulled it over her head, and tossed it to the side. She was left in nothing
but her skirt that acted as a curtain, covering up their intimate connection. His hands held and caressed her
breasts gently. The rough pads of his thumbs circled her nipples and made them stand at attention. He
pressed them close together so that he could feast on one nipple and then quickly move to the other. His
tongue circled and flicked at her dark chocolate buds as he rolled his hips up into her. Payton gripped his
shoulders and used them as leverage as she rose and fell on his cock. She didnt know if she was doing it
right, but Bradyns face and noises escaping his mouth seemed to say that she was. He released her
breasts to clutch her hips. He held her in place as he pumped into her rapidly. Payton felt that beautiful
tension grow deep in her belly, but Bradyn had other plans.
He shot up from the couch with her still in his arms. He walked over to the arm of the couch and let
her feet slide to the floor.
Kneel on the arm of the couch with yer ass facing me, Bradyn commanded.
Payton didnt question him. He hadnt led her in the wrong direction yet, so she knew that whatever
was coming would more than likely be pleasurable. She held onto the back of the couch to steady herself
as she put each knee on the arm.
Now, bend over. His gruff voice reached her ears.
She bent forward and felt his hands caress the globes of her ass. She felt exposed as cool air hit the
heated slickness of her arousal. He rubbed the head of his shaft through her folds and then slapped it
against her hardened clit. Payton pushed her ass back, seeking him. Ready to be filled with him. Bradyn
didnt deny her. He positioned himself at her entrance, gripped her hips, and slammed into her.
Bradyn! Payton screamed.
Her thighs immediately began to shake. It was the deepest he had been thus far. The curve of his cock
hit a new spot within her that sent decadent sensations throughout her entire being.
He eased out slowly and then plunged back in again. Bradyn leaned over her and growled in her ear.
Arch yer back for me. Payton hunched her back and he grabbed her ponytail and pulled her head
back. No, lass. Arch it downward.
Payton curved her back down and his hand slid underneath her chin and wrapped around her neck
gently as he held her head back against his chest.
Aye. Thats it, lass. He whispered against her ear and sent a shiver down her spine.
Bradyn eased out of her weeping cleft and rolled his hips on an inward thrust. With the arch of her
back, it sent him in at a slightly different angle and they both called out their pleasure.
Aaaaah! She cried.
Fuck! He barked.
He wrapped both hands around her neck, pulling her head back against him. He rested his chin
against her forehead and began a brutal pace. Payton thought the position would be uncomfortable with
her whole body arched back, but all she could feel was the toe-curling thrusts of his cock hitting a spot
that was making her eyes roll to the back of her head.
She felt every ripple of her backside and the sway of her breasts as he pumped into her. She heard the
arousing smack of their skin meeting and the wet suction of her pussy swallowing him whole. Payton
could smell their scent, the smell of sex in the air. It was sensory overload. And that newly discovered
sixth sense, the sexual one, was quickly building within her womb.
The tension kept building and when Payton didnt think she could take much more, Bradyn moved his
left hand down underneath her to her sex and circled her clit. Stars burst behind her eyelids and her body
shattered. Desperate cries spilled past her plump lips and her arms and legs gave out on her.
Payton collapsed onto the couch. Her face laid against the cushion with her ass up in the air. She felt
Bradyn smooth a calloused hand down her spine as he entered her again. She realized that he hadnt
finished yet. Her tender core fluttered around him with orgasmic aftershocks. This time he moved slowly,
rolling his hips into her.
Savoring her.
Soon she felt the swell run through his thick shaft and he shouted out her name. She felt the continued
ripples and following spurts of his climax soaking her walls.
I swear, I canna get enough of ye. Bradyn panted.
Mmm was all the response Payton could get out.
Bradyn grabbed a napkin off of the coffee table. He slid his softened penis from her quivering cleft
and pressed the napkin to her before his cum got everywhere.
Hold this, Payton and Ill be right back.
Payton held the napkin to her and sunk down onto the couch like a limp noodle. A few minutes later,
she felt him brush her hand out of the way. He removed the napkin and a warm wet washcloth touched her
skin. He cleaned her up and Payton hissed a little when the towel touched a particularly tender spot.
Im sorry, lass. Ill try to let ye recover a bit before I make love to ye again. Bradyn said sweetly.
Payton just nodded her head slowly. Sleep was quickly catching up to her. She felt strong arms lift
her up and cradle her against a warm solid chest. She propped her head against his chest and heard his
steady heartbeat, the sound lulling her to sleep. She vaguely felt him lower her to the soft bed and him
pulling off her skirt before helping her get under the covers.
She finally fell into a deep sleep when those same arms and chest cocooned her from behind.

Chapter Twenty-Six

It is done.

Payton smiled and pressed send. She knew it wouldnt be long before shed get the pings of incoming
messages from her group text. Sure enough, within seconds she heard her Mario Brothers chime,
signaling that she had a new text. Before she could even swipe the screen to open her phone, two more
alerts went off.

Does that mean what I think it means?!

Did you get that D?!

Fuck yeah! Were coming over! Whats his address?

She quickly typed out his address and sent it to them. Bradyn had just left to go train. He was trying to
make up for the days he lost playing her overnight guardian. So Payton figured while he was gone, she
could update her besties on the status of her virginity.
About an hour later, after she showered and dressed, the girls showed up with some to-go brunch,
orange juice and a bottle of champagne.
Its a celebration, bitches! Mia exclaimed as Payton opened the door to the garden.
They each walked in and gave her big hugs before she walked them to the front door.
This place is kickass! Royal complimented.
It really is, Kennedy said in awe. I wonder if he designed this himself or if he bought it like this.
Iuhdont know. I never got around to asking him. I was a little nervous. Payton admitted.
Or maybe a little too preoccupied with a peen in your cooch, Mia said crudely, though they all
laughed hysterically.
Payton was finally able to laugh along because now she understood. She was sure there were still
some things she had to learn, but at least not all of the jokes were lost on her.
Ha. Ha. Very funny. Payton said as she led them into the kitchen.
They quickly divvied up the food onto four plates and made themselves some mimosas, before
settling in at Bradyns kitchen table.
Alright, how was it? Kennedy asked as she slid her phone across the table with the voice recorder
flashing red.
Do you really have to record every word I say? Payton gave her redheaded friend a look.
Do you or do you not want your romance to be immortalized for all time?
Uhif it was only for my eyes and possibly the eyes of my children and grandchildren, maybe. The
G-rated version, mind you. No need to traumatize my make-believe children of the future. But considering
this would be for public consumption, Im not so sure.
The names and some of the situations would be different, so no one will know its the two of you.
Kennedy defended.
I really wish you two would drop this debate so that Payton could get to the good stuff. After my run
in with the mamas boy, Ive been celibate for weeks. I need to hear that someone is getting some good
loving. Mia grumbled.
Fine. Kennedy pouted as she pulled her phone away from Payton and shut it off. Go ahead,
Wellit was amazing. Payton sighed with a faraway look in her eyes.
Is he packing some heat? Mia asked eagerly, sitting forward.
If by heat, you mean, is he well-endowed? Yes. Yes, he is. Payton nodded with wide eyes. I
honestly didnt believe it would fit, but my body stretched to accommodate him. Did you know that?
Mia patted her hand sympathetically. Yes, mama. We did.
Oh, of course, you knew.
So does the carpet match the drapes? Mia continued.
Come again? Payton frowned with confusion.
Is he red down below, like he is up top?
Ohhhh! The lightbulb switched on and Payton smiled shyly. Yes, they do match.
Nice! Mia winked at her.
Did he go down? Royal asked and looked down at her crotch.
Oh my God! Why didnt you guys tell me it could be like that?! Payton exclaimed.
Uhwe did. Multiple times. Kennedy reminded her.
Well, why didnt you make sure I was listening?
We thought you were! We didnt know that you were drowning us out with thoughts of Luke
Skywalker and R2D2. Royal shot back.
Fine. You have a point. Payton pretended to frown, but couldnt hold it for very long before a huge
smile replaced it. It really was the most incredible experience of my life, though. He really knew what
he was doing. He may be shy around women, but he must have learned quickly to speak with his body.
Because let me tell you, hes fluent.
So he got you to the finish line if you know what I mean? Kennedy asked cryptically.
Now that Payton had had sex, she knew what her friend was getting at. God, yes! Four times last
night. And he wouldve again this morning, but he said he wanted to give me more time to recuperate.
Hot damn! Mia shouted and punched her fist in the air. Im so proud of you, Payton. You picked a
good one. Any man that makes sure you get yours every time, is a got-damn keeper!
I dont think it was me that picked him as much as it was him who picked me. She smiled wistfully.
Im just glad that I finally said yes and that you all pushed me to open myself up.
I know that look. Kennedy studied her face closely. Ive studied that look. Ive written that look a
hundred times. Youre in love.
Payton felt her ears heat and she looked away self-consciously.
You are! Royal shouted.
You exchanged I love yous, didnt you? Mia squinted at her.
Maybe, Payton confessed and squeezed her eyes shut.
Screeches explode around the table. Payton cracked opened one eye and saw the girls had gotten up
and were dancing and jumping around like crazy people. Kennedy grabbed Paytons hands and pulled her
up out of her seat. She couldnt help the excitement that was running through her and she quickly joined in
the celebration.
They each grabbed their champagne flutes filled with their bubbly mixed with OJ. Kennedy raised
her glass and they all followed.
To Payton. For finally finding her perfect match and falling in love for the first time. Kennedy
And for finally losing her virginity, Royal added.
And for getting dick so good that she had four orgasms in one night. Mia chimed in.
To being happy, Payton said quietly.
Hear, hear!
They all clinked their glasses together.
There was no room for talk of stalkers and the dangers that lurked around the corner. It was a moment
to celebrate. Payton couldnt have been happier, but that feeling of foreboding still niggled in the back of
her mind. She shook it off and focused on a subject that had been weighing on her mind.
I need a tutorial on the art of the blowjob, she said matter-of-factly.
The girls stopped in mid-celebration and froze. Mias eyes scanned Bradyns kitchen and landed on a
bunch of bananas. A smile quirked up one side of her mouth.
Alright, ladies, class is in session.


Bradyn unlocked the front door and walked into his home. Hed walked through this door a hundred
times but never had he felt the way he felt now. Before it had been kind of lonely, with a feeling of forced
contentment. Now, he was excited to walk in. To be greeted by his new love. Speaking of his new love,
he didnt see her anywhere.
Payton? He called out.
He heard quick footsteps and then saw the love of his life come running around the corner, straight at
him before launching herself into his arms. He only had enough to time to catch her before she was on him
like a little octopus. It was a welcome surprise, though he was certain he tasted champagne on her tongue
as she initiated the kiss for the first time in their relationship.
Are ye sottered? Bradyn asked when he was able to come up for air.
Sottered? Payton asked with a wobbly smile.
Are ye drunk?
Nooooo! Pssh. Payton scrunched her face and waved her hand dismissively. But I am tipsy.
Bradyn looked at her closely. She wasnt slurring or weaving back and forth. She just seemed
happier and more at ease with herself.
Were ye celebrating?
The girls came over to congratulate me on losing my virginity and having so many orgasms. She
said cheerfully, being her normally honest self. Maybe even more so with alcohol coursing through her
Bradyn flushed red. He was happy that hed pleasured her in bed. He just wasnt so sure he was
happy that he had been the subject or object of their conversation.
Dont be shy, Gentle Giant, Payton said as she wiggled out of his embrace. I have a present for
Gentle Giant? I thought I was the Red Giant. Bradyn released her reluctantly.
I changed my mind a while ago. When I realized you werent as scary as I thought you were. Youre
more of a gentle giant. Payton said as she pulled him over to one of the kitchen chairs.
Is that so?
Payton pushed him down to the kitchen chair. He had no idea what she had planned but thanked the
powers that be for taking a shower before heading home when she began to shimmy his shorts down his
hips and legs.
Bradyns cock was already rock solid and pushed against his boxer briefs. Hell, hed been at half-
mast since he pulled into the garage, anticipating seeing her again. Payton got to her knees in between his
legs and her fingers found the waistband of his briefs. Slowly she pulled them back, releasing his
tumescent manhood. She pulled the material down his legs and tossed them away. Bradyn found it hard to
breathe as he watched her study his cock like it was a puzzle.
Payton leaned forward and licked up his shaft from base to tip.
Ah God, lass! Bradyn panted.
Payton smiled and then lapped up the pearlescent drop of pre-cum seeping from the tip. She swirled
her tongue around the mushroomed head and Bradyn clenched his teeth so tightly, his jaw ticked
rhythmically. She wrapped her plump dark lips around his pale tip and bobbed her head just enough to
tease him. He gripped the side of the chair to keep from grabbing her head and plunging her mouth down
to the base. It was obvious that she was learning how to give him a blowjob and there was no way that he
was going to ruin her first experience by being too rough with her. So he just had to sit back and take the
torturous pleasure she was giving him.
Finally, Payton took him down as far as she could go, which surprisingly was about three-quarters of
the way down. Most women had only been able to get halfway. Then she added her hand, stroking the
inches her mouth couldnt reach. Thats when Bradyn knew that one or all of her friends must have given
her a crash course in fellatio. He silently thanked them, because she was magnificent. Her hand followed
her mouth up and down his veiny shaft and she stroked him in smooth rotations. They definitely wouldve
given her an A+.
Fuck, Payton! Thats so damn good. Dinna stop! He barked, his voice raspy with need.
She continued and Bradyn could feel the beginnings of the tingle at the bottom of his spine. His
scrotum drew up and tightened. More pre-cum dribbled from him and onto her tongue.
Payton, Im gonna come. He tried to pull away, but she held on and moaned around him.
The move was so sexy that he exploded. Unintelligible words and sounds escaped his throat as he
filled her mouth with his seed. Payton took every drop he had to give like a champ. And that kept him
semi-hard once he was finally finished.
Bradyn quickly stood and pulled Payton up with him. She was wearing superhero boxers and he
ripped them down her legs with her panties. He bent down and grasped her ass before lifting her up.
Payton wrapped her legs around his waist and he captured her lips in a searing kiss and walked her
blindly to the wall. His cock found her drenched and ready. He eased into her and pumped gently until his
dick hardened fully once more. When he was ready, he held onto her as he pummeled her center with
hard, long thrusts.
Paytons back slammed into the wall, rattling the pictures he had hung on it. Her arms were wrapped
tightly around his neck. One snaked up the back of his head and she gripped his hair tightly and pulled his
face back. Their breath mingled between them before she pulled him in for a devouring kiss. He pumped
into her and must have hit a good spot because she cried out. He made sure he repeated the move. She
practically growled before biting down on his bottom lip and her legs began to twitch around him. He
knew she was about to come. Bradyn threw in a hip roll as he continued to hit her sweet spot and she lost
Aaaah! AaaahBradyn! She cried as he felt her sweet nectar splash against his still thrusting cock.
Knowing that hed made her squirt again sent him over the edge and whatever cum he had left in him
jetted out in almost painful streams to combine with her feminine juices. Finding out that she was a
squirter was the hottest thing ever. It definitely was a boost to a mans ego and he was no exception.
Since he hadnt long since finished his brutal training and then rung two orgasms out of himself back
to back, Bradyns legs were like jelly. He quickly carried Payton to the chair hed abandoned and sank
down onto it. He maneuvered her to the side and reached down to grab his underwear and pressed the
material between them to absorb their lovemaking.
Unable to do much more, Bradyn collapsed back on the chair and Payton melted into him, resting her
face on his heaving chest. Both of them naked from the waist down. They stayed that way until their
breathing calmed and their hearts slowed down.
Bradyn rubbed and lazy hand up and down Paytons back.
Get a little alcohol in ye and ye become a little wildcat.
No need to apologize. It was just another side of ye that I hadna seen before.
Now that I know, I cant believe I went so many years without this. But at the same time, Im so
happy that I did, because Im so incredibly grateful that you were my first. Payton spoke softly against
his chest.
Im glad I was worth the wait. He said as he stroked her hair. Ive never enjoyed sex so much in
my life as I have with ye.
Paytons head popped up and she looked at him with surprise. Really?!
But Im so inexperienced, she commented. Truly perplexed.
Yer passion and responsiveness to my touch makes up for yer lack of experience. Ye make me feel
ten feet tall. Bradyn said shyly.
I do? Payton whispered.
Aye, ye do.
She just smiled and laid her head back onto his chest.
I love you, Gentle Giant, Payton said through a yawn.
I love ye, too, my little Coffee Bean. He chuckled at the new nickname that just popped up in his
Coffee Bean?
Aye. Yer skin reminds me of the smoothest richest gourmet coffee. Yer also delicious and addicting.
Hence, Coffee Bean.
But Im not little. Not even close.
Ye are te me.
Come. Take a shower with me.
Bradyn stood with her still in his arms and he carried her into the master bathroom. The rest of their
Sunday was spent lazing around, talking about any and everything, and making love off and on until late
into the night.

Chapter Twenty-Seven

The next couple of weeks were idyllic. Bradyn would wake Payton up with kisses or coffee or both.
If they had enough time before her shower, theyd sneak in a quick round of leg-quaking sex. After that,
shed drop him off at the gym and then head to work. Shed spend more time daydreaming about him than
getting any real work done. Finally, the end of the day would come and shed meet up with the girls at the
gym. Shed wave to Bradyn, hed stop what he was doing and come over to greet her with a kiss and
hello to the girls. She avoided eye contact with the other women at the gym because every time she
seemed to look up, someone was giving her the stink eye. When they finished up their workout, the girls
would leave and Payton would hang around waiting for Bradyn to get done with his paperwork. Then
theyd drive home together in her little car. Theyd eat dinner, watch whatever was on TV, or at least
pretend to, as they got in their second workout of the day. And theyd do it all again the next day.
The only thing tainting their weeks together was the constant looking-over-the-shoulder. Waiting for
the shoe to drop. She just knew that any day now, shed receive another creepy gift or another rock thrown
through a window. But nothing had happened in weeks. It almost felt like whoever it was, was laying low
on purpose just to drive them crazy waiting.
Bradyn even made frequent trips to her condo to check to make sure everything was alright. Nothing
was ever out of place or off in any way. It was like her stalker had disappeared off the face of the planet.
Which was fine with her. As long as he stayed there.
So yer getting off work early and were meeting here with the girls and were all getting a car to the
airport, correct? Bradyn asked Friday morning. His fight was scheduled for the next day in Vegas.
Payton grinned at him as he drank a smoothie in a funny black plastic looking suit. Hed called it a
sauna suit. It looked like a couple of trash bags to Payton. Hed been wearing it the last couple of days to
cut weight before his weigh-in.
Yep, Payton confirmed.
I know were going to be in Vegas, but I have to behave before my fight. So no drinking or partying
fer me. Did ye lasses have plans for once we get there tonight? He asked curiously.
I was gonna go out with the girls tonight to celebrate Kennedy getting a teaching job at Berkeley.
Why? Whats up? Was there something you wanted me to do with you? Payton asked and then took a sip
of her coffee as she sat at the island.
Nothing. If ye werent busy I was going to ask ye to come with me to my weigh-in. But I figured yed
want to take advantage of being in Vegas with friends.
Oh God! I forgot about that part! Im sorry, Bradyn. Kennedy just broke the good news to us last
night at the gym and was excited to party in Vegas. Payton cringed.
Its alright, lass. As long as yer at the fight tomorrow, Im happy. He grinned at her, putting her
mind at ease. Tonight is just interviews and trash talking. Nothing that exciting.
Okay. Are you sure?
Cool. Soguess what I get to pick up today after I get off work today?
My cosplay costume for the conference in two weeks. Payton grinned happily.
Ye never told me what yer dressing as.
Ill give you a hint. Shes kickass. And may or may not have kicked your butt on our first playdate.
She pushed up her glasses with a smirk.
Hmm I think I might know who yer speaking of.
I never wouldve had the confidence to pull it off, if it wasnt for you. Payton looked down at her
coffee self-consciously.
What kinds of characters did ye dress up as before? Bradyn asked curiously.
I dressed as Katniss Everdeen one year. Last year, I was Tiana from Princess and the Frog. Theyre
easy because theyre fully covered up. Ive always been nervous to show any skin. Payton tried to shrug
Whatever the outfit is, Im sure yer going to look bonnie in it. Ye look good in everything ye put on.
Aw shucks. Payton smiled coyly.
Alright, lets get moving, Coffee Bean before were late. Bradyn leaned over the counter to kiss
her forehead.
Okay, GG.
Ye know that sounds like a lasss name when ye shorten it like that?
Thats why I only call you that at home. Payton winked.
Once ye get comfortable being yerself, yer a feisty lass. Ill give ye that. He teased as he smacked
her on the bottom.
Payton yelped and ran towards the door. Mornings had never been so great.


Congratulations, Kennedy! The girls shouted out in unison.
Kennedy had gotten an adjunct position at UC Berkeley to teach Creative Writing and Self-
Publishing. It had been something shed been working on for some time and the university finally agreed
that there was enough interest in the course to begin classes come fall. So now was the time to celebrate
before she had to bury herself in finishing her latest novel and beginning the process of developing her
lesson plan.
Thanks, ladies! Im super excited. Its gonna be a lot of work, but Im up for it. I dont have a man,
so I have plenty of time to kill. Kennedy remarked before sipping her dirty martini.
Maybe youll meet someone there, Royal commented.
Doubtful. Just a bunch of crotchety old tenured professors. Kennedy waved away the thought.
You never know. Payton gave her a look.
Oh, look at whos the optimistic one now. Kennedy winked at her. By the way, Im almost finished
with the story that surrounds you two. But I have a favor to ask. You too, Royal.
Whats up?
So heres the thing. When creating a cover and looking through hundreds of stock photos to find the
perfect one, when you write interracial romance with curvy heroines, its next to impossible to find the
right photos. SoI was wondering if I could hire you, Royal to take some pictures for me. And I was
hoping that Payton and Bradyn would be the muses. Kennedy clasped her hands together and smiled
really big. Pretty, please!
What kind of photos? Payton asked hesitantly.
She was feeling much more confident these days, but not that confident.
Uhsexy ones. It sounded more like a question than a statement.
Im down. But then again, Im the one behind the camera. Which youre giving me some ideas for a
future project, Kennedy. I have to think on this some more before I reveal whats cooking. Royal got a
blank look in her eyes, letting them know she was deep in creative thought. Both she and Kennedy did that
The mind of an artist. Payton thought to herself as she looked back at Kennedy.
Ill have to ask Bradyn, but I dont think hell mind. Ive kinda always wanted someone to take
pretty, artistic pictures of me. Payton confessed.
She was having a lot of firsts lately and she wouldnt change it for the world.
Thank you so much, Payton! You wont regret it. I promise. Kennedy hugged her warmly.
Youre welcome.
So are you ready for tomorrow? Mia asked her curiously.
Paytons smile faded and she sighed heavily. No. You guys know how much I hate that kind of
violence. Fictional stuff like fighting with lightsabers or superheroes fighting aliens in Metropolis is one
thing. But two huge men beating each other to a pulp isnt my cup of tea. Then add to it the fact that Im in
love with one of them, and it makes me want to vomit. But I promised Id be there for him. So thats what
Im gonna do.
Well be right there with you. Royal patted her hand. So if you need to squeeze one of our hands
or turn away while we tell you whats happening, we will do that for you.
Hell, yeah we will. Mia leaned across their table at the bar and gripped her other hand.
Absolutely. Kennedy nodded.
Thanks, guys.
Deep into their conversation, Payton missed the drama that was unfolding on the television behind
her. Drama that was happening only a few block away.


Bradyn stood off to the side of the stage as each weight division was called up to weigh in for each
fight tomorrow. His fight was the main event, so he and his opponent would be weighed last. When it was
their turn, his opponent was called first.
And now for the main event. In the heavyweight class, please give it up for Rhett The Sting
Matson! The announcer shouted into the mic.
Rhett walked onto the stage, cocky as usual. He stripped off his shoes, pants, and shirt before
stepping onto the scale. He flexed and stuck out his tongue and Bradyn rolled his eyes.
Rhett weighs in at two-hundred-and-sixty-two pounds. The announcer bellowed And last but not
least to the stage in the heavyweight division is returning UFC Champion Bradyn The Red Scot
Bradyn walked onto the stage. He kicked off his Vans, pulled off his jeans and t-shirt, and stepped
onto the scale in his black briefs. And because it was part of the appeal, Bradyn raised his massive arms
and flexed. His face impassive.
The Red Scot weighing in at two-hundred-and-sixty-four pounds!
Bradyn stepped off of the scale and walked to the middle of the stage to meet Rhett to face off. They
both held up their fists towards each other and mean-mugged each other for the cameras. Flashes
exploded as Rhett stepped closer and put his forehead against Bradyns, trying to intimidate him. Bradyn
wasnt fazed.
Hows your hot little black piece of ass, MacTavish?
Bradyn just clenched his jaw together tightly.
Once I spank your ass tomorrow, Ill be sure to save some for your girl. Im sure shell love for a
real champion to spank that fat ass. Rhett smirked.
Bradyn lunged for his opponent, ready to kick his ass now. Arms from every direction reached out to
grab Bradyn before he killed the other man.
Ye keep her out yer mouth before I rip yer tongue out an shove it up yer arse. After Im through with
ye, yell wish ye were nothing more than a cocksplat on yer Das trousers, ye piece of shit! Bradyn
bellowed as he was pulled off the stage by Mitch and a few others on his team.
Calm down, man! Mitch grunted as Bradyn fought him.
Im good, Bradyn grumbled and pulled away from Mitch.
Look, Red. Im really happy you finally found someone, but shes been getting in the way of your
mindset, your training, and now youre letting him use her to get under your skin. Youve got to get your
head in the game, bro. Mitch scolded him.
Dinna start with me, Mitch. I love her. Im no ashamed of it and I willna apologize for it. I havena
told ye yet, but I plan on retiring after this fight. All I have to do is beat that ferret-faced fucktrumpet and
Ill be done. Bradyn said as his cornerman handed him his clothing.
Why are you retiring now?
Because I want to go out on a high note. Because I dinna love it anymore. I love running my gym and
would like to open more. I like working with kids like me. I want awkward kids to have a place they
belong. And aye, for Payton too. She doesna like me fighting. Bradyn sighed at his best friends
disappointed face. I always said Id give it up when it wasna fun anymore. Ive come to that time.
I cant say that Im happy about it. But I understand it. Mitch conceded.
Bradyn pulled on his clothes quickly. All he wanted to do was go back to his hotel suite and wait for
Payton to get back from her celebration. But he still had interviews he was obligated to do first.

Chapter Twenty-Eight

Payton fidgeted nervously in her seat. She sat in between Royal and Kennedy, and Mia sat next to
Royal. Earlier in the day, while Bradyn was busy doing more interviews and warming up for tonight, the
girls had forced Payton to go shopping for something to wear to the fight. She hadnt understood why her
jeans and nice top werent good enough for the event. Theyd told her that women usually dressed up for
these things, especially the woman of one of the opponents.
In the end, the girls had found her a really cute black faux leather dress. The shoulders and capped
sleeves were made of black lace. The leather started at about cleavage level and was fitted over her
breasts and waist and then flared out at the hip to stop just above the knee. It was equally sexy and sweet.
The girls paired it with a pair of black peep-toe wedge booties.
God, Im so nervous, youd think I was fighting. Payton cracked her knuckles anxiously.
Itll be alright, Payton. Hell do great. Kennedy reassured her.
I know. But I cant sit here anymore. Im gonna go back and talk to him. He said I could come back
if I wanted to. I just didnt want to bother him. Payton said standing up.
Payton, he probably wants you back there to at least wish him good luck! Kennedy scolded her.
Girl, you better go give your man some good luck sugar. Mia gave her the side-eye.
Fine. Im going.
Payton stumbled off towards the locker rooms, wobbling in her wedge heels. When she got to the
back, she showed her pass to the guards and they let her through. She asked them where Bradyn was
warming up and they pointed her in the right direction. When she got to the door, she took a deep breath
and knocked. A few seconds later Bradyn opened the door himself and a broad grin spread across his
I was hoping yed come wish me luck, lass. He said as he pulled her into the quiet locker room.
Where is everyone?
I like a little quiet time before every fight. Bradyn pulled her into his arms and kissed her soundly.
Mmmthen I shouldnt be here, Payton said after he released her lips.
Yer the exception.
Are you nervous?
Im always a little nervous before every fight.
Id be quaking in my boots.
Then lets be glad its me going in the octagon and no you, lass. He winked at her, trying to put her
mind at ease when she should be the one trying to calm him. I wanted to tell ye something.
This will be my last fight. Im retiring after tonight.
Really?! Paytons eyes widened with hope.
Aye, really.
Oh my God! Payton launched herself into his arms. That makes me feel so much better.
Good. Id hoped it would.
Payton pulled back and studied his face. Youre not just doing this for me, are you? Id hate for you
to give up something you love for me. I can handle it if you want to continue to fight.
No, lass. Like I told Mitch last night, I dinna love it anymore. Id rather spend my time building
more gyms and get more children that feel lost like I did, get involved in activities that will boost their
confidence. Bradyn explained as he caressed the side of her face.
Thats wonderful, Bradyn! It feels like everything is falling into place. Payton smiled and then a
thought came into her mind that ruined her little slice of happiness.
Well find out who it is and get them behind bars. Dinna fash yerself, lass.
Okay. Payton raised up on her tippy toes and kissed him softly.
Would ye like to see how a Scotsman puts on an authentic kilt? Bradyn grinned, effectively
distracting her from her morose thoughts.
Heck yeah!
Payton watched as he laid out his clans tartan, like the one theyd used for their picnic. He folded
pleats the middle of the plaid and then took a belt and slid it under the fabric. He shucked off his gym
shorts and was in nothing but the little red briefs hed be fighting in. His body was magnificent and Payton
grinned because he was all hers.
Her brow furrowed as he got down on the floor on his back and laid down on top of the tartan. He
grabbed one side of the tartan and folded it over his thighs and groin area, then he overlapped the other
side over him. He grasped either side of the belt and brought it around his waist and buckled it. Then he
stood up and adjusted the cloth until it was just right. The pleats hed made in the middle were perfection
in the back of the kilt and the front laid flat against his muscular legs. In the front, the plaid reached just
above the knee and in the back, it hung lower near his calves. Payton had never seen an authentic kilt
before and she had to admit that it was way hotter than the premade ones. To finish his look, Bradyn
stepped into some black combat boots.
Payton nearly swooned at the picture he made. Shirtless with muscles bulging. A sexy kilt that hung
low on his hips and combat boots that accentuated his pretty, yet manly legs.
I wish there wasnt a no sex before a fight rule. You look so hot. Payton fanned herself.
Hotter than Han Solo?
Captain America?
For sure.
Now dont go pushing it. Payton burst out laughing and then screeched as Bradyn playfully
snatched her up.
Once I recover from the fight, Ill make sure ye dinna ever say Thors name again. He promised
her, before dipping his tongue into her welcoming mouth.
Bradyn didnt release her from the toe-curling kiss until she was breathless. Thor, who?
Thats what I thought. He smirked. Alright, get yer fine arse to yer seat.
Good luck, Bradyn, Payton said seriously, her nerves kicking back in. I love you.
Thank ye, lass. I love ye, too.
Payton walked out of his locker room and started towards the arena. Right as she walked passed
another door, it swung open and an arm shot out and pulled her through the door while the other wrapped
around her mouth. Her scream never made it passed her lips.
She kicked and struggled to get out of the steel bands around her torso. Finally, the person dropped
her and she spun around. She watched as a huge man, nearly as large as Bradyn, lock the door to another
locker room hed trapped her in. Paytons pulsed raced.
When he turned, Payton recognized his face from the posters of him and Bradyn. He was Bradyns
opponent. Why would he grab me and pull me in here like that?
The man grinned at her as he walked forward. The smile was sinister. Pure evil and seemed familiar.
Payton backed up until her back hit the lockers.
You dont remember me, do you? The man said, his voice even sounded familiar.
N-No. Should I?
Yeah, you should. Seeing as how you ruined my life. He stepped closer, only a few inched from her
face. I had to get some surgery to change my face a bit and changed my name to Rhett Matson. But you
would know me by my real name, Brett Mason.
The name that had haunted her for years.
HEL- Payton tried to scream for help the moment that name fell from his lips, but he was too quick.
Brett smashed his hand over her mouth painfully, like hed done all those years ago.
What? Did you think that I wouldnt eventually find you once I got out of jail? That I didnt think
about how you ruined my life every day of the five years I was in prison? That I didnt want to kill you
every time I got beat up by another inmate? Didnt you know it was me who left you all of those gifts?
Payton couldnt respond to any of what he was saying since his hand hadnt left her mouth. Tears
streamed down her face to his hand. She was starting to hyperventilate and with his hand over her mouth,
she couldnt get in enough air. Black spots started to dance before her eyes. It was like her freshman year
of college all over again.
Yeah, you knew it was me. I can see it in your eyes. I knew Id find you eventually. I had no idea
how perfect it would be. There you were sitting with my arch nemesis for dinner at that fancy restaurant. I
was so fucking happy. You know? Two birds, one stone. I could get my revenge on you both. Ive been
waiting years to hurt you and Ive been chasing MacTavishs championship title for years too. Tonight just
might be the best night of my life. Brett finally stopped talking, which was a bad thing.
No talking equaled pain.
His free hand grabbed her breast painfully and Payton knew what he wanted. She also knew that the
likelihood of her getting away from a trained fighter was next to impossible. But she couldnt just let
whatever he was planning, happen. She had to fight.
Payton jerked her knee up in an attempt to knee him in the groin. Brett caught her foot between his
thighs, his reflexes lightning fast. He smiled sadistically before backhanding her across the face. She fell
to the floor and quickly started crawling away.
HELP! Ungh! Payton choked on a scream as he kicked her in the stomach.
Brett flipped her onto her back and straddled her. Her feet kicked and legs squirmed, trying to buck
him off, as he forced her arms to the floor next to her head, trapping her.
You didnt really think Id let you kick me in the nuts again, did you?
Rhett! Its time! Someone yelled on the other side of the door.
Yeah, Im coming! He shouted back.
He looked down at her and grinned.
Its time to beat that pussy you call a boyfriend. And then Ill come back for you. He leaned down
to whisper in her ear. After what I have planned for you, youll wish that you had just let me fuck you
back in college. Until thennighty night.
Brett lifted her head off the ground and slammed it back to the floor. Pain exploded behind her eyes
just before Paytons world turned black.

Chapter Twenty-Nine

The arena was dark. Spotlights flashed and rotated around the cheering audience with the octagon lit
up at the center. Music blared from the speakers and Bradyns chosen song, Its a Long Way to the Top by
ACDC filled the building. He always thought the title was fitting, plus the song had bagpipes in it, which
added to his Scottish brand.
The music was his cue. The crowd went wild and Bradyn absorbed it all for the last time. He wanted
to savor this moment to look back on years from now.
He released a huge breath and started down the aisle towards the octagon with his team at his back.
Mitch as his trainer, Jake his cornerman, and David his cutman. Once they made it to the octagon, Bradyn
stripped down to his briefs. David smoothed Vaseline across each of his brows, under his eyes, and
across his nose. A UFC official checked his gloves and cleared him to enter the ring.
Rhett was already there, standing in his corner and looking smug. Bradyn ignored him and jogged
around the ring a few times. He walked back over to his corner where his team was setup, just outside of
the cage and shadowboxed to warm his muscles up. The MC walked to the center of the octagon.
The MCs voice boomed throughout the arena. Ladies and gentlemen! This is the main event of the
evening! The crowd went nuts and he listed off the sponsors, fight organizers and judges. And now, five
rounds in the UFC Heavyweight Division. Introducing first, fighting out of the blue corner. Thirty-two
wins and eleven losses. He stands at six feet, three inches tall. Weighing in at two-hundred-sixty-two
pounds. Fighting out of Fresno, California, Rhett The Sting Matson!
Rhett danced around the ring and shadowboxed, sticking out his tongue, his signature fighting face.
And now for his opponent. Fighting out of the red corner. The undefeated heavyweight champion.
Standing at six feet, five inches tall. Weighing in at two-hundred-and-sixty-four pounds is your three-time
world champion, Bradyn The Red Scot MacTavish!
Bradyn raised his hands and the crowd exploded. As the ref listed off the rules quickly, Bradyns
eyes scanned the crowd. They landed on three familiar faces, but Paytons wasnt there with them. His
heart started to pound, especially when the girls looked at him in confusion. They dinna know where she
Bradyns mind set off warning bells as he walked back to his corner. He placed his mouth guard in
his mouth and shook out his muscles. His eyes focused on finding her in the crowd instead of his opponent
as the bell rang.
They came into the center of the octagon. Rhett hopped around as Bradyn stalked him. Rhett was
known for being a phenomenal striker and quick on his feet. Bradyn was an all-around striker and
grappler and if he got you to the mat, it was game over. He just had to make sure that he didnt get near
one of Rhetts deadly punches.
That strategy wouldve been fine if his head was in the game. Bradyn took his eyes off of Rhett for a
split second to look towards where the girls were sitting once more and his opponent struck. Bradyn
moved back quickly and the right hook grazed his eye. It was enough. He felt the blow cut into his brow.
His adrenaline was so high, he didnt feel any pain, but he did feel something wet slide down his eyelid.
Blood. Hed been cut.
He could barely focus on his minor injury with thoughts of Payton being in trouble among the
thousands of the people in the arena. He tried to shake it off as Rhett came at him again. He ducked and hit
his opponent with a knee to the body. Rhett stumbled back. He came back at him a second later and
Bradyn kicked him in the side.
Blood dripped in Bradyns eye, clouding his vision. His other eye danced back and forth from Rhett
to the crowd. Rhett knew he wasnt focused and took advantage. He delivered another right hook,
connecting with Bradyns jaw. Bradyn stumbled back but didnt fall. They danced around the ring and he
tried to deliver his opponent a few more kicks to the body, but Rhett blocked most of them.
The bell signaling the end of the first round chimed. Bradyn stumbled over to his corner and his
cutman man immediately started to tend to the cut above his eye.
What are you doing, Red?! Youre not even focusing on the fight! Mitch yelled.
Shes not in the arena, Mitch. Somethings wrong. Bradyn panted. She left the locker room to head
out here, but shes not here.
You cant focus on that right now, Red!
I dinna give a fuck about what Im supposed to focus on. SHE. IS. MISSING! Theres a fucking
stalker out there trying to hurt her and now shes missing. I dinna care how ye do it but find her Mitch.
Bradyn clenched his jaw as David put a cotton swab soaked in epinephrine to slow the blood, and
Avitene to coagulate it, in the cut in his brow.
Dammit, you stubborn fucking Scot! Mitch growled. Ill go find her, but while Im at it, you better
make goddamn sure youre focused on that motherfucker in the octagon. Do you hear me?!
Mitch nodded and then ran through the arena, back towards the locker rooms. Before he got back into
the cage, Bradyn looked over to the girls and the looks on their faces registered fear. He looked towards
where Mitch ran off to and they quickly got up and followed to help search for her.
Bradyn got back into the octagon and the bell chimed. This time, he tried to put aside his worry and
focused on his adversary. Rhett went on the attack and Bradyn danced around, avoiding his lightning fast
punches. He was able to avoid any major hits until the second round ended. David placed the No-Swell
against his cut making sure it didnt swell up any more than it already had. Bradyns eyes never stopped
searching for Mitch and the girls.
The bell rang signaling the third round and he walked back into the cage. Bradyn was able to get a
couple of body shots with some punishing kicks when Rhett got near him. Then he caught movement out
the corner of his eye, he lost focus and didnt see that same right hook come around and clip him in the
same spot, reopening the cut above his eye.
His vision blurred and he stumbled back. He felt his legs start to give out and then a voice rang out
among the others.

Chapter Thirty

Pain burst behind Paytons eyes as she came into consciousness. The light overhead didnt help as it
glared down into her retinas. She squinted and added pain radiated up one side of her face from where
she had been backhanded. She rolled to her side and slowly sat up. Pain in her stomach from the brutal
kick that Brett had delivered caused her to wince. She was a mess.
Brett had pulled her over to a corner behind the lockers, in an apparent attempt to try to hide her.
Payton crawled out and over to the door and pulled herself up. She tried to open it, but it wouldnt budge.
Help. She tried to scream, but it came out in a sad croak. She cleared her throat and tried again.
Help me! Help me, please! Somebody!
She banged on the door with all the strength she had, though her injuries made it difficult. With every
scream and bang against the door, the pain in the back of her head from it being slammed against the
concrete floor felt like her head was in between two giant symbols as they were being clanged together.
But she couldnt stop. She had to get out and find Bradyn. If she waited for Brett to come back, there was
a possibility that she wouldnt see anyone ever again.
Help me, please! She tried once more, even louder.
Payton! She heard Mitchs voice on the other side of the door followed by the excited chattered of
her friends.
Tears immediately began to stream down Paytons face and sobs wracked her body as she called out.
Mitch! Im in here and I cant get out!
She heard commotion on the other side and then the door was wrenched open. The site of them on the
other side made Payton collapse with relief to the floor. It was Mitch, the girls, and a couple of security
Oh my God! Payton, what happened to your face?! Kennedy fell to her knees and cupped Paytons
swollen and bruised face in her hands.
Rhett Matson, Payton whispered.
What?! They all shouted.
H-Hes really Brett Mason.
Holy shit! Mia exclaimed. I knew that fucker looked familiar.
Weve got to get her down to the octagon! But on the way, can someone explain who the hell is Brett
Mason?! Mitch said as he helped Payton to stand up.
Hes this asshole rapist who attacked Payton back in college. It was her that pressed charges that
started a deluge of other accusers to come forward. Because of her, his football career was ruined and he
was sentenced to five years in prison. Royal explained.
Fuck! Mitch shouted.
He had plastic surgery and changed his name so he wouldnt be recognized, Payton said barely
louder than a whisper as they quickly walked through the corridor.
What the fuck?! Thats some psycho shit, right there! Mia said with disgust.
Mitch picked up the pace as they walked through the arena. Payton winced with every step.
Im sorry, Payton. But Bradyn cant even focus on the fight because hes worried about you. Hes
getting killed in there. Mitch explained.
Its okay, Mitch. Payton gritted out through clenched teeth.
They practically ran down the aisle towards the octagon. Just as they reached the cage, Bradyns eyes
caught hers and then Brett punched him hard on the left side of his face where he already had a cut.
Bradyn started to stumble and collapse.
Bradyn!!! Payton screamed.
The sound of her voice must have revived him because he caught himself before he fell. The bell
sounded, signaling the end of the round. They quickly ran to his corner just as he stepped out. His cutman
immediately got to work on his eye, though Bradyns eyes were wild trying to find Payton in the crowd.
Payton! He cried out.
Im here! Im here! She called to him as Mitch brought her up.
What happened to ye? Bradyns good eye scanned her swollen face.
Rhett Matson is really Brett Mason, the man that attacked me back in college. He grabbed me when I
was on my way back to the arena. He hit me and threatened me. Payton informed him quickly before the
bell rang again. Tears continued to fall down her face.
We can stop the fight and have his ass arrested! Mitch suggested.
No! Not yet. Let me finish this. Bradyns one good eye turned to blue ice.
The ring doctor came to examine his eye to make sure he could still continue. He gave Bradyn the
thumbs up. Bradyn looked at Mitch and his best friend nodded. Then Bradyn looked at Payton and stroked
his fingers down the good side of her face.
I love ye. This is for ye. He said cryptically before shoving his mouth guard back in his mouth.
He stood and the bell rang. He stepped into the octagon once more. Payton glanced over at Brett and
his eyes were wide with shock and fear as he looked back at her.
Bradyn stalked him like a predator around the cage. He landed a kick to Bretts side. His arms came
down to protect his body as he flinched to the side and Bradyn executed a barrage of punches to Bretts
face. Brett stumbled back and a deep cut was now bleeding just under his eyebrow. Bradyn came at him
and aimed low. Brett was still disoriented from the series of blows to his head and couldnt stop Bradyn.
He circled Brett around the waist, lifted him off the mat, and body-slammed him to the cage floor.
Payton forgot her fear of Brett. She forgot her hatred for violence. She forgot her pain. She forgot
everything except for her man. She cheered loudly as Bradyn quickly put Brett into an armbar. Payton
squeezed Kennedys hand and cringed as she saw Bretts arm bend back in an unnatural way. The crowd
had reached a frenzy of cheers that reverberated on the inside of Paytons already splitting skull.
Brett refused to tapout and Payton looked away as his arm snapped like a twig. An ear-piercing
scream ripped from Bretts throat and he fully collapsed to the mat. Bradyn smacked the floor several
times in triumph. His team went nuts and the girls hugged Payton. The referee lifted Bradyns arm in the
air once he jumped up. The MC came into the ring as Bretts team helped the injured man out of the
octagon. Medics were there to assist with his arm.
Bradyn The Red Scot MacTavish is the reigning UFC Heavyweight Champion! The MC
bellowed into the mic. It looked bad there for a minute. How were you able to come back so strong in
the fourth round?
He held the mic to Bradyns mouth and the crowd calmed down enough to hear what he had to say.
Mitch pulled Payton into the octagon and she hung back as Bradyn spoke.
I got back my good luck charm, Bradyn said as he reached for Payton and pulled her into his arms.
Theres a rumor that you plan on retiring after this fight. Is that true?
Aye. Tonight was my last fight. The crowd shouted their sadness and disbelief at the news. Ive
loved fighting for ye. I wouldna got where I am without ye. Thank ye for yer years of support. Bradyn
spoke directly to the crowd, to his fans.
They responded with love and cheers.
Bradyn wrapped a protective arm around Payton and they both hobbled out of the octagon. Mitch, the
girls, arena security, and cops were all there to meet them to explain what had happened.

Chapter Thirty-One

It was late when they finally got back to their suite in the hotel. Bradyn had gotten his eye stitched up
after they explained what had happened leading up to the fight. Hed held Paytons hand as she told the
authorities about what happened to her in college. She told them about the stalking and Bradyn added that
the stalking hadnt begun until after Brett had confronted him at the restaurant.
When Payton explained what had transpired in the locker room, Bradyn had to fight down the need to
go find Brett and finish the job. He felt sick knowing that he had only been a few feet away and had
passed the locker room with her unconscious body lying in it. Mitch and the girls told the cops how they
had found a broomstick stuck through the handle of the door, making it impossible for someone on the
inside to open the door, trapping Payton inside.
After each of them completed their statements and Payton decided to press charges, the police took
Brett into custody once his arm was set and casted. He would be charged with assault, stalking, and
kidnapping. With any luck, hed more than likely spend several years behind bars. Which was fine with
all of them.
Bradyn led Payton to their bed in the hotel room. She watched him as he reached behind her to slide
down the zipper of her dress. She held an ice pack up to her face. Shed been alternating between holding
it to the back of her head and to her face.
She dropped her arms to her sides to let the dress slip down her soft curves. Even against her dark
brown skin, Bradyn saw the large purple bruise that spread across her abdomen. He dropped down to his
knees and kissed her tummy softly.
Im so sorry I wasna there to stop him. Bradyn looked up at her with sad eyes.
Stop that! Payton chided him. You couldnt have known. He fooled everyone.
I know. But that doesna make me feel better about it, lass.
Payton bent down and kissed him right above his bandaged eye.
Dont we make a pair? Payton smiled.
Aye. A couple of battered and bruised fighters.
Me? A fighter? Payton asked incredulously.
Yeve always been a fighter, Coffee Bean. Ye just dinna know it. Bradyn stood back up and
brushed the hair back from Paytons face, looking down at her lovingly. Now come to bed with me. I
need to hold ye in my arms for a while.
Payton nodded her ascent. They gingerly stripped down, their limbs sore from doing battle. They
eased into bed and Payton turned towards the wall of windows overlooking the strip. Bradyn slid in
behind her to spoon her soft body. His arm reached around, his hand quickly found her hand, and he
entwined his fingers with hers. She snuggled her bottom closer to him and try as he might, his body still
reacted to her instantly.
Within seconds he was as hard as a rock. The tip of his cock touched her most intimate place and he
felt that she was already soaked with arousal. Payton moved against him and the head of his erection
slipped into her entrance. Bradyn froze, not wanting to hurt her.
I dinna want to hurt ye, lass. I can wait. Bradyn whispered against her ear.
I want to be close to you. And you cant get any closer than making love. Payton informed him.
Bradyns cock responded and grew even harder, pushing further into her tight warmth. He pressed
forward, sliding in all the way. They both gasped as he hit her womb. Payton lifted her leg and Bradyn
pulled it back over his and held on as he slowly plunged into her depths. She felt like heaven wrapped
around him.
His hand roamed over her body, stroking her smooth skin. He cupped her heavy breast and rolled her
hardened peak gently between his fingers. Payton cried out and pushed back into him. His teeth clenched
as her muscles squeezed around him. They fluttered and he knew she was close. He reached around and
found her slick clit. He strummed the bundle of nerves and Payton bucked against him as she came all
over his hand and cock. Bradyn quickly followed her as her muscles milked the climax from him.
Their moans and pants filled the room.
Bradyn slipped from her folds and headed to the bathroom. He wet a washcloth and came back to
clean her up. Then he quickly slid back into bed behind her and held her close.
Yer my dream, did ye know that? He asked against her ear.
No, she said sleepily.
I wished and prayed for ye for a long time. And do ye know what I promised God if he sent ye to
Mmwhat? Payton snuggled closer.
That Id hold on to ye for the rest o life.


Payton helped set up their companys table in one of the many conference rooms at the convention
center for Comic-Con. Her company, By Design, knew that it was like Christmas for their workers. So
they were to switch on and off during the day, standing by their table. It gave everyone the opportunity to
check out what was going on throughout the convention. They were armed with company cards and were
to hand them out to potential clients even when they werent at the table.
Almost everyone was dressed up as some of their favorite characters. Ayumi was smoking hot in her
Harley Quinn costume. Zach and Ben tried their best to pull off the best friends and superhero duo, Steve
Rogers and Bucky Barnes aka Captain America and The Winter Soldier. Unfortunately, they just looked
sad and dopey.
Shockingly, at least for Payton, her ensemble was making waves. Zach and Bens mouths flapped
opened and closed when they saw her after she changed in the bathroom. Even Ayumi was in awe.
Payton had chosen to go as Chun-Li from her favorite game Street Fighter. The costume designer
who most of her coworkers hired to make their costumes, had made the outfit to perfection. It was the
classic blue satin dress with gold details that Chun-Li wore in the game. It had the puffed short sleeves
and fit tightly over her breasts with the high classic Chinese dress collar. A white band cinched in her
waist and the two splits on either side started at her hips, creating two flaps. One in the front and one in
the back, showcasing her thick shapely legs from hips to knees. Her calves were covered in white knee
high boots. The finishing touches were the spiked cuffs around her wrists and the funny little white
bonnets covering the two buns on top of her head with ribbons streaming down the sides.
Ayumi helped her with her makeup. She covered up Paytons fading black eye and gave her a
dramatic eye to match her costume, and finished the look with a nude glossy lip. All-in-all, even Payton
thought she looked hot. And from all the men that stopped at their table when she and Ayumi were manning
it for a few hours, they thought she was hot too. She couldnt believe that just as many men came up to her
as Ayumi. Together they had probably gotten more than half of their new potential clients.
Payton couldnt wait for Bradyn to see her. Since shed had to go to the office first and help load the
trucks with their tables, banners, and flyers and then all of her co-workers headed to the convention center
together, hed said that hed meet her there.
A commotion to the left of their table drew everyones attention. Paytons eyes scanned the room for
what was causing all the fuss. When her eyes landed on the person in question, her mouth dropped open in
shock. She didnt know whether to jump for joy, cry tears of happiness or laugh hysterically. In the end,
she went with a combination of the three.
For before her, was the love of her life, painted from head to toe in green. He wore a crazy spiked
orange-ish red wig with matching fur glued to his forearms, chest, and shins. The only clothing he wore
was a pair of frayed cutoff shorts that gave the appearance that hed just burst through them. He was even
barefoot and had metal cuffs around his ankles as if hed broke free from being chained.
Bradyn had come as Blanka. The green, redheaded giant also from Street Fighter.
He towered over everyone as he made his way through the conference room in search of Payton. His
eyes scanned the room as he ignored all the attention he was getting. A sea of cellphones rose up to
document the moment. His eyes finally landed on Payton and they flashed hot as he looked her up and
down from head to toe.
Payton couldnt help the squeal that emanated from somewhere in her throat. She ran to him and he
snatched her up in a bear hug.
Ye look good enough to eat, lass, Bradyn growled against her mouth.
I cant believe you dressed up! Payton exclaimed pulling back slightly to take him in.
I did it for ye. Dinna get used to it. He gave her a fake pout.
She patted his crazy wig and smiled.
Someone in the crowd shouted out over the din of noise. Youre supposed to hate each other, not
kiss! Thats not how the story goes.
Thats how my story ends, Bradyn grumbled as he lifted Payton into his arms cradling her like a
He growled at anyone who attempted to ask for a selfie with the famous fighter. Everyone gave them
a wide berth as he strode from the room carrying her away exactly the way her Gentle Red Giant should.

Game Over

If you enjoyed Payton and Bradyns story, please leave a review at the online retailer where you
purchased The Red Scot. Just a few words are always appreciated.
Keep reading for the bonus stories The Mia Chronicles
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The Mia Chronicles
A Curvy Girls Club Short

Mia Ayala loves men and sex and isnt ashamed of it. These are her stories.
The Mia Chronicles happen behind the scenes of The Red Scot.

Just a Look

Mia parallel parked her Audi TT in a free spot on the hill out front of her building. She grabbed the
groceries in the back before locking her car and heading towards the door to her refurbished historical
San Francisco condo. As she adjusted the bags in her hand, Mia noticed a moving truck and two guys
shed never seen before walk out the back of the truck carrying a dark brown leather couch.
Both men appeared to be in their forties. One guy was cute in an average kind of way. The other was
gorgeous. Mia thought that if she were to look up Silver Fox in the dictionary, this mans picture would be
next to the definition. She assessed him quickly with her sharp eye. Her friends often called her a
connoisseur of men. Now was no different.
He was tall with a slender, yet broad athletic body. His salt and pepper hair was cut low on the sides
with a little length on top and combed to perfection. He had a light silver beard dusting his jaw and chin.
He had a few rugged lines around his eyes that made him even sexier. He was dressed casually for the
strenuous activity. Gray basketball shorts, a white sleeveless t-shirt, and tennis shoes. But there was
something about him that screamed distinguished three-piece-suit-wearing gentleman.
In her head, Mia groaned. Ooh Papi, the things Id do to you.
To the men, as they met on the sidewalk out front of the building, she said out loud, Good afternoon,
Afternoon, they said in unison as they turned to look at her.
The minute his eyes landed on her, an easy smile spread across the Silver Foxs face. It was then that
Mia understood the lines that fanned out from his eyes. It was obvious that he was a man that smiled often.
And if she gauged his smile correctly, it was clear that he liked what he saw. She was glad that shed
opted on wearing one of her form-fitting maxi dresses. It accentuated her small waist, wide hips, and
round ass. With her curly tresses up in a pineapple on top of her head, showing off her long elegant neck.
The Silver Fox tried to be discreet as his eyes raked over her body, but Mia was no fool. She saw his
gray eyes widen slightly as he took in her curves. She rejoiced on the inside.
And the trap is set.
Mia cocked her head to the side, So boys, whos my new neighbor? Or will it be both of you? Im
Mia, by the way.
Luke. The Silver Fox introduced first.
Mia set her grocery bags on the ground and they placed the couch on the ground to free their hands, so
they could shake hers. Luke held onto Mias hand a little longer than necessary and she grinned at him
That would be me. Im the new neighbor. Evan answered.
Hmmthat could be a good thing and it could be a bad thing. On one hand, I dont want to be
tempted by the Silver Fox every day and then break his little heart when Im done with him and have to
see him every day. But I dont know if Ill get the chance to see him again after this moment.
Im the loyal best friend, suckered into helping him move when no one else would, Luke joked.
I see, Mia raised an eyebrow.
I do see. I see that you just might be around often since hes your best friend. Perfect.
Well, it is certainly nice to meet you, gentlemen. And welcome to the building, Evan. Mia said
Thank you, Mia. I was planning on having a housewarming/divorce party next weekend. Youre
more than welcome to come if youre free. Evan offered kindly.
Why, thank you, Evan. She smiled brightly at him and then turned her radiant gaze to his friend
before continuing. Id love to cum.
Awesome! Itll be next Saturday and starts at 7. Evan informed her.
Ill be there. Now, if youll excuse me, Ive got some wine that I need to get in the fridge before it
gets too warm. See ya, boys. Mia wiggled her fingers at them before picking up her bags again.
She sashayed her hips provocatively as she headed towards the door they had propped open to help
them move. Just to be sure she was correct about Mr. Silver Fox and to hook him even further if she was,
Mia glanced back alluringly over her shoulder. And sure enough, Luke was looking her backside up and
down as if hed eat her alive if he could. His eyes met hers and he almost looked embarrassed at being
caught, but then Mia winked at him slowly and watched his eyes widen in surprise.
Got em.

The Girls

So, you ladies wanna go to a party, tonight? Mia asked the three most important people in her life.
Her best friends, Royal, Payton, and Kennedy. They were having a barbecue at the park, foregoing their
weekly lunch at their favorite restaurant to enjoy the warm spring day.
They were an eclectic group that always surprised people. Royal was an edgy, AfroPunk rocker
chick. Kennedy was a fanciful, romantic dreamer. Payton was their geeky, sci-fi junkie. And Mia was the
no-nonsense seductress. Their quirks were what had become the glue to their friendship. Each woman
adding something different to the table. Even their coloring was different. They went from one end of the
brown spectrum to the other. From Kennedy with her pale freckled skin from her part Irish/part African
American blood to Mia and her toasted caramel Afro-Latina heritage to Royal with her bronzed skin tone
to Payton who was the darkest of mahogany.
Where is the party? Royal asked curiously.
In my building. A cute new neighbor, who is recently divorced is having a housewarming/divorce
party. Mia told them as she picked up a potato chip and popped it in her mouth.
Did you say cute? Kennedys ear perked up.
I sure did, Mia grinned at the redhead.
But she also said recently divorced, Royal added.
So? Kennedy frowned.
So, hes a wounded soldier, Royal explained. You know? Damaged goods. Hes carrying more
baggage than a camel across the Sahara. Hes-
Okay, okay. I get it. Kennedy raised her hands to silence Royal. That doesnt mean I cant have
some fun. Its been a really, really long time since Ive had any of that outside of my novels.
True, Royal nodded in agreement.
Payton opened her mouth and they all held their breath, knowing she was about to give an honest
breakdown of the situation like she always did.
Dont forget that you have a tendency to fall head-over-heels for a guy. Only to find that he is not one
of the many book boyfriends youve written about. Then you run and disappear, not wanting to hurt his
feelings. And if this man is recently divorced, he will already be hurting, only for you to hurt him again.
Payton finished, pushing her glasses back up her nose.
Damn you, Payton! Kennedy scowled. I just wanted to get a little something, something like Mia
Leave me out of this.
Im not saying you cant enjoy yourself, but you have to consider all the variables or youll have a
higher ratio of causing damage. The math and computer savvy part of Payton always found its way into
their conversations and always made perfect sense.
Fine. Ill just stay home. Kennedy crossed her arms over her chest and pouted.
So whats the deal anyway, Mia? Royal turned to ask her friend, her multicolored hair swinging
over her eye. You dont go anywhere, especially not to a party, if there isnt some kind of male
Mia grinned. I dont do I?
They all looked at her expectantly.
Okay, she leaned in conspiratorially, the neighbor has a fine ass friend. A total Silver Fox. I mean,
he was so hot, I was ready to drop my chonies and fuck him on the couch they were moving.
Payton smacked her forehead. Kennedy rolled her eyes. And Royal laughed at their outrageous friend.
They were used to her antics and even loved her for it. Thats what she loved about her small group of
friends. They all accepted each other for who they were.
Yeah, I think its best if you do go by yourself. Kennedy thought out loud. I dont want to be stuck
talking to some weird dude, while you screw his friend in the coat closet.
They all laughed, but it actually had happened before.
Fine. Suit yourselves. Dont come, she gave them a sly look before continuing. But I know I will.
Three sets of eyes rolled heavenward.

The Party

Mia looked at herself one last time before heading downstairs to Evans place. Shed chosen a skin-
hugging, sleeveless white dress that came to about mid-thigh. It had a plunging neckline that stopped a few
inches below her breasts. A lace-embroidered overlay gave it a romantic feel. And she paired the dress
with red pumps. It was definitely sexy. Possibly too sexy for a backyard barbecue. Not like Mia cared
much about what others thought.
She had straightened her hair and parted it down the middle, letting it fall to the middle of her back.
She added a light smokey eye and a red lip stain to enhance her light brown eyes and full, shapely lips.
Mia stopped in her kitchen and grabbed a bottle of white wine from her wine fridge. She stepped out
of her condo, locked the door and dropped the key in her little red clutch purse.
There were three condos in the building, hers was on the second floor. Her new neighbor was on the
first floor, so she headed carefully down the stairs in her high heels. Never one to miss the opportunity to
make an entrance, she was coming fashionably late at eight oclock.
Mia knocked on the door. She could hear boisterous voices on the other side and quiet music. Some
light rock, if she heard correctly. The door swung open a few seconds after she knocked and Evan stood
on the other side. He was saying something to a friend inside, and then he turned to look at who was at the
door. Mia watched as his eyes nearly bugged out of his skull at her dress.
Uh Um He struggled for words. Uh
Mia, she gave pity on him.
Right. Sorry, he cringed. Its wonderful to see you again, Mia. And I hope Im not rude for saying
this, but you look killer.
Oh! Thank you, Evan. Mia said as she handed him the bottle of wine.
Thanks, but you didnt have to bring anything, Evan said as he took the bottle.
Of course, I did.
Please, come in.
Evan stepped to the side to let Mia pass. In the week since hed moved in, she had to admit that hed
gotten a lot done. It was all very masculine without feeling uninviting for a woman. She assumed that hed
hired an interior designer. She could always tell since it was her profession.
As Mia walked into the open concept living room/kitchen/dining room area, the conversation quieted
a bit. There was a mixture of men and women spread out having different discussions. As was par for the
course, Mia got the same reactions from both sexes that she always did. The men stared at her as if
praying she was on the menu. As for the women? Well, if it were legal to stab someone to death, Mia was
sure that shed be a bloody heap on the floor with her white dress stained red. As it was, she could
literally feel the daggers that were shooting at her.
She dismissed the looks she was getting. Her eyes scanned the room, looking for the one shed came
for in the first place. It wasnt long before her eyes landed on Luke. He was out on the deck, manning the
grill. Mia smiled and started towards the French doors, but Evan stopped her, wanting to introduce her to
his friends.
Lord help me. These people dont want to meet me and I dont want to meet them.
Though, Mia smiled brightly and went along with him. It wasnt like she had much choice in the
matter. Not unless she wanted to appear like a royal bitch. Technically, she didnt have a problem with
that, but she figured it would embarrass the host.
Sean, Lilly, Izzy, Rick. Evan pointed to them respectively. This is my new neighbor, Mia. Mia,
this is Sean, Lilly, Izzy, and Rick.
So nice to meet you, Mia said politely.
Likewise, Im sure, Lilly said with a raised eyebrow, looking Mias dress up and down.
Unfortunately, they had all chosen to dress casually. Shorts and tees, cute rompers, jeans with billowy
camisoles. Mia didnt feel it was her fault that she came dressed to bring a specific man to his knees.
Evan walked her over to another group of couples. The women immediately cut their eyes at her and
gripped their men tighter. Oh please, Im so not interested in Tweedle Dee, Tweedle Dum, and Tweedle
Mia, this is Joey, Rachel, Monica-
Oh my God! Please dont tell me youre Ross, Phoebe, and Chandler? Mia laughed, trying to break
the ice with a joke.
No, its Jack, Dennis, and Im Felicia. The woman throwing the most shade spoke up, apparently
lacking a sense of humor.
Relax, sweetie. It was just a joke. Mia gave her a sympathetic smile because it was obvious this
woman needed emergency surgery to remove the stick that was firmly stuck up her ass.
Whats a joke is you coming in here thinking you can take our men, Felicia said snidely.
Her friends all widened their eyes in shock. Evans mouth flapped open and closed like a fish.
Honey, Mia took a deep breath. No one wants your man, least of all, me. No offense, she looked
at the guy next to Felicia, shed already forgotten his name.
The man nodded his head.
But I could teach you a thing or two about keeping your man satisfied, so that when a woman walks
into a party he wouldnt even glance her way. But that would take unpuckering that pinched face first.
Mia leaned towards the woman and whispered in her ear, Dont blame a woman you dont know from
Adam. Blame yourself for not training your man right.
Felicia snapped her head back and scowled at Mia. Mia just lifted her hand and wiggled her fingers.
Bye, Felicia! She said before turning and walking away.
Evan quickly caught up with Mia as she headed for the French doors once more.
Im really sorry about my friends.
Its cool, Evan. Mia patted his arm. Im not here for all of your friends. Im here for just one.
Excuse me.
Mia dismissed the host without a second thought and moved to open the doors to the deck. As the
door opened, Silver Fox looked up and nearly swallowed his tongue at the sight of her. Hed been in the
middle of talking to some perfectly slender Barbie doll, but the rest of his sentence died in his throat and
whatever she was saying, fell on deaf ears.
Luke smiled up at Mia as she came down the stairs. He walked forward as she came down the last
step. Mia was tall and statuesque, so she was only an inch or two shorter than Luke. Which put her at his
exact height in her high heels as he helped her step down onto the deck.
Mia, he said softly as if he was breathless.
You look He paused, at a loss for words. You know what? There arent even words to describe
how good you look, so Im not even going to try.
Thank you, Luke. Mia accepted the compliment with grace. She wasnt one to deflect or deny a
compliment. If thats the way the person felt, shed gladly soak it up. Youre looking rather handsome
He was wearing a pair of nice dark-washed jeans and a charcoal gray t-shirt made out of some
expensive material. She could tell it was high quality just by the way the t-shirt laid and molded to his
trim physique. His hair was freshly cut and combed to perfection and his silver beard was trimmed low.
Mia couldnt wait to feel the sting of his beard on her soft skin.
Mia felt eyes burning a hole through her and she looked over to see Barbie staring at her in disgust.
Mia had seen the look before from slender girls that prided themselves on being exactly that, slender.
They never understood why men flocked to Mia. What they failed to realize was that the adoration of
waif-like bodies was mostly wanted by the media. Not in a mans bed. At least not the men she knew.
Which was a lot.
So Mia raised an eyebrow and smiled sweetly at the woman. She turned away in a huff and walked
into the condo. That left just Mia and Luke.
Would you like something to drink? Beer or maybe some sangria? Luke offered.
Sangria, please.
Luke quickly got her a drink and she took it gratefully.
So, what do you do, Mia?
Im an interior designer. You?
Im an executive at a consulting firm.
Thats the perfect career for you, by the way, Luke commented.
Why is that?
You just seem really glamorous. Like you should be a fashion designer or stylist or something. So it
fits. Luke tried to explain.
Im not some ditzy woman that only focuses on materialistic and superficial things if thats what you
mean? Im just as focused on being philanthropic as anything else. I like to try and help the world, not just
decorate it. She gritted out, trying not to snap at him.
As far as Im concerned, you seem to be doing both. Luke bit his lip as his eyes caressed her body.
His preconceived notions were somewhat irritating and bordered on insulting, but Mia wasnt
planning on dating him. Just fucking him. So she let him slide for now.
I was made for so much more than decoration. I bring pleasure as well. Mia slid past Luke,
pretending to check on the grill.
She purposefully let her ass brush past the front of his pants. She smiled when she felt that he was
already semi-erect. Mia was sure that her little move more than likely had him hard as a rock now.
Especially, when she heard his sharp intake of air.
Oh, sorry, she said coyly.
Mia picked up the tongs and flipped some of the meat on the grill. She felt Luke at her back. His heat
radiated through his clothes and hers. Then she felt his breath on her neck.
Please tell me youre single, Mia, Luke whispered in her ear.
Im single, Luke. She glanced back at him and she saw relief wash over his face. Are you?
God, yes! Ive never married and I dont have a girlfriend at the moment. Though Im always
looking to fill the position. He looked at her meaningfully.
Oh, sweetie. Mia turned and stroked his chest with her index finger. Im not girlfriend material.
But I make a great fuck buddy.
Oh, God! Lukes voice literally quivered at her words and he closed his eyes as if hed died and
gone to heaven.
Hey, you two! Evan called from the doorway. What are you guys doing out here, being all
Im keeping an eye on your grill and Mia was kind enough to keep me company. Luke winked at
Once Evan interrupted their moment, they spent the next few minutes filling a platter with the cooked
meat. Evan coaxed them into the house. People started to migrate towards the kitchen to get a plate of
food. As they waited for others to fill their plates, Evan introduced Mia to his sister, Hannah, who had
just arrived and whose boyfriend was away on work. And for that, she was the only female in the group
that was willing to talk to Mia.
How long have you been at the party? Hannah asked.
About forty-five minutes tops, Mia answered.
Wow! Youve racked up quite a few enemies in that timeframe, Hannah laughed.
Unfortunately, it happens all the time. Mia shrugged. That is why I only have three friends and
thats it.
I see why they all hate you without knowing you. If I can speak frankly, youre kinda like walking,
talking sex. Hannah said honestly and Mia instantly took a liking to her. She liked when people were
upfront. Id probably give you the stink eye and grab my boyfriend tighter if he was here.
I promise, I wouldnt go after him. Men in relationships are strictly off limits.
Tell that to their men. Hannah nodded towards the guys that were trying their best not to look at
Mia but failing miserably. They cant stop eying you like a pork chop.
Well, this pork chop is waiting on only one mans plate. No one else is allowed a sample. Mia
tossed out.
HmmLuke. I noticed. Hannah guessed correctly. Hes definitely a ladys man. He usually leaves
a trail of broken hearts in his wake. But why do I have a feeling youre gonna give him a run for his
I have no idea what youre talking about. Mia squeezed her lips together to keep from smiling.
Uh huh. I cant wait to hear how devastated he is when you chew him up and spit him out. Hannah
rubbed her hands together with glee.
You wouldnt happen to be one of the women in his trail of broken hearts, would you? Mia asked
No, but a few of my friends are. So it would be nice to see him get beat at his own game.
Not that Im a game player. I just like sex with no strings attached. If he gets hung up Well, thats
on him. Mia said without remorse.
Wow! I wanna be like you when I grow up. Hannah exclaimed in awe.
No, you dont. To be like me, youd have to have had your heart ripped out and run over a couple of
times, leaving you heartless and unfeeling. No, I think youre fine just the way you are. Mia confessed
that small truth. Now, if youll excuse me, I need to use the restroom.
As Mia walked away from Hannah, she felt that familiar pain try to resurface. She quickly pushed
that shit down to the bowels of hell where it belonged. She looked over at Luke and caught his eye. Mia
gave him a look that could not be mistaken before she disappeared down the hall to the bathroom.

Power Struggle

Mia only had long enough to check her makeup in the mirror before she heard a light knock on the
door to the bathroom. She knew exactly who it was, but she figured shed toy with him for just a few
Yes? She asked just loud enough to be heard through the door.
Its me, Luke said softly from the other side.
Me, who?
A sideways smile lifted Mias full lips as she opened the door. Luke stood on the other side, anxious
and unsure of himself. Mia found it interesting how men, who were known as ladies men or players,
could lose all confidence when faced with her, an assertive and sexually confident woman. She decided
to take pity on him.
What took you so long? Mia asked as she stepped to the side to let him pass.
Lukes eyes widened and sparkled with excitement and then he spoke honestly. I didnt want to seem
too anxious or desperate.
Mia wanted to tell him that if he didnt want to seem too anxious or desperate, he should have never
followed her, or at least not in the time it took her to reapply her lipstick. But she kept her mouth shut. She
was looking to get laid, not hurt his pride and send him running.
Luke walked into the bathroom and Mia closed the door and leaned against it. He swallowed loudly
as she smiled seductively at him. Yeah, you should be scared.
Dont worry about seeming desperate, Luke. Mia grinned at him as she slid her dress up her thighs
a few inches. I mean, do I seem desperate for not wearing any panties under this dress?
An erratic pant burst through Lukes lips and Mia could see the outline of his cock pressed against his
jeans. No, its not desperate. Its fucking sexy as hell!
Mia reached out and gathered the front of his t-shirt in her hand and pulled him towards her. Lukes
pink, shapely lips sought out hers impatiently. She flicked her tongue against his lips and he opened for
her willingly. Mia stroked her tongue against his, dominating his mouth. Luke growled and tried to flip
roles, obviously wanting to be the aggressor. He gripped her hands, lifting them above her head. He tried
to hold her captive as he pressed her into the door. She could feel how much he wanted her against her
Mia smirked internally before twisting around and pressing Luke against the door. Their tongues
danced together as she rolled her hips against his erection. Mia sucked his bottom lip into her mouth and
bit down. Not hard enough to draw blood, but hard enough to make him gasp and pull away.
God! Youre so fucking hot! Luke exclaimed.
He reached down and quickly unclasped his belt and unzipped his jeans. His next move almost ruined
the mood for Mia. Almost. He put his hands on her shoulders and pressed down, trying to direct her down
on her knees to service him with her mouth. Oh, hell no! She stood firmly and quirked an eyebrow at him.
She was willing to give him one, and only one, opportunity to correct himself.
Oh no, sweetie. First of all, never push me down to your cock. Second, when the time is right, Ill
go down of my own accord. Third, my mouth wont suck yours until youve sucked mine and Ive cum
Mia held up two fingers as she backed up till her butt hit the vanity. Twice. So that probably means, no
BJ for you tonight.
Luke only looked mildly disappointed as Mia raised her dress up high enough to reveal her waxed
mound and folds, swollen with arousal. She reached down and slid her index finger along her soaked slit.
He stepped towards her as if in a trance. She then raised the drenched digit to his mouth. She glided her
finger between his lips and watched him eagerly lick it clean. Once her finger was spotless, she slipped it
from his lips and pointed it down to her aching pussy. Without a single word spoken, Luke got down on
his knees in front of her.
Now, eat it like you mean it, Mia commanded.
Luke opened his mouth. He started at the bottom of her entrance and slowly licked up till he flicked
her clit softly. Mia expelled a quiet breath at the feeling of his tongue on her. She spread her legs further
apart, giving him more room to work with. Luke sucked and licked her swollen lips, as he fucked her with
his tongue.
Higher, Mia instructed.
Luke immediately obeyed and circled his tongue around her clit.
AahYes! Just like that, she moaned and let her head fall back.
He stayed right where she wanted him. He growled softly as he sucked on her clit. Mia moaned in
answer as her hips rolled towards his mouth. Luke began to flick at her clit and her body tightened. She
felt that delicious itch build up. The tension exploded as he lapped urgently at her nub and she trembled
with her release.
Ungh! Luke! Thats so fucking good, Mia cried out.
He tormented her for a few moments as he continued to suckle her now overly sensitive clit. Mia
reached down and pulled him up by the chin. She pulled him in and kissed him deeply, drinking in her
own taste and scent. Luke pushed down his already undone jeans. He rubbed his hardness, encased in
boxer briefs against her damp opening. Impatient, he pushed down his underwear and moved to slide into
Mia. She stopped him with a palm pressed to his chest.
Sorry, sweetie. I dont know you like that. She reached for her clutch purse on the counter and
pulled out a little silver square. Cover it up first.
Luke took the condom and ripped open the package with his teeth. He quickly rolled it onto his above
average length. Mia appreciated a pretty cock and Lukes definitely passed the test.
He pulled her down from the vanity and turned her around to face the mirror.
I wanna see that ass, Luke said as he pushed her dress further up her hips.
He looked down and Mia watched his reflection with a smirk as his eyes roamed over her backside.
Your ass is so incredible, it could make a grown my cry, Luke said in awe.
Mia felt his hands caress over her soft, round globes. Then he raised his hand and smacked her ass
firmly. She tensed with pleasure as he breached her entrance, burying himself to the base. They both threw
their heads back at the incredible sensations.
Lukes hips pumped smoothly as he stroked into her. Mias sumptuous ass rippled every time their
skin connected. He leaned forward and placed wet kisses down her spine. She reached down touching the
place where their bodies joined. Mias fingers came away, soaked with her arousal. She swirled her
fingers around her swollen clit. She felt the tension building in her core from his fluid thrusts and her
skilled fingers.
Mia rubbed her nub faster as she heard Lukes breaths become more ragged. She looked at him in the
mirror and his face was contorted in pure ecstasy. She knew he was about to cum and she wanted to make
sure she was right there with him.
Ah fuck! Im gonna cum! Im gonna cum! Luke groaned breathlessly.
His words triggered something deep within Mia and she exploded with her climax. Her walls flexing
and fluttering around him as she felt his cock pulsate with his release.
Shiiiiiit! Luke exclaimed against her skin as he collapsed on her back.
His damp face stuck to her dewy skin. Lukes hips jerked a few more times before he was able to
slide out of her warmth. He squatted down behind her to caress and kiss the full globes of her backside,
This ass is meant to be worshiped. Youre meant to be worshiped. Luke proclaimed as he stood
back up and Mia turned to face him.
Lets not get carried away. She grinned at him.
Luke removed the condom, wrapped it in tissue and threw it away. Mia knelt down in front of him
and rewarded him by licking his now soft cock clean. Though it did twitch with the possibility of round
two at the feel of her mouth on him. But Mia stood up before he could get too excited.
Jesus! When can I see you again? I want more. Luke asked in near desperation.
Soon, Im sure.
Can I get your number?
No. Mia leaned in and kissed him softly on the mouth. Remember, Im not girlfriend material. And
I dont do late night booty calls. Im not a college student.
Then how will I see you again?
If its meant to be, you will.
Mia smoothed down her dress. She glanced at herself in the mirror, making sure everything was in
order. Then she turned and wiped the little bit of red that had gotten on Lukes lips with her thumb.
Goodnight, Luke.
Mia grabbed her purse and opened the door. On the other side was Barbie. It was obvious that shed
been listening in, if the red flush of embarrassment at being caught eavesdropping and her look of disgust
were any indication. Mia stepped around her to head down the hall.
Slut. Mia heard the softly spoken word behind her back.
She glanced back. Yeah, but a satisfied slut. Twice. She held up two fingers and winked at the
woman and Luke who had stepped out of the bathroom after adjusting his pants. The woman dropped her
mouth open in shock, and then Mia turned and strutted away.
She walked through the party feeling eyes all over her. She was sure that most of the people there
werent idiots and knew what she had been up to. Mia was a sexually progressive woman, so it didnt
bother her in the least. If she was at one of her favorite clubs, the exhibitionist in her would have reveled
in being watched by the whole damn party. But she assumed this crowd wasnt into that kind of thing.
Mia caught Evans eye and waved at him as she headed for the door. Shed gotten what shed come
for. There was no need stay.

Hump Day

Mia rushed home from the new house she was designing. She weaved through Wednesday evening
traffic, trying not to get irritated by everyones slow pace. She needed to get home to grab her gym
Over the weekend, Payton had told them that she had started going to the gym to get healthier and
possibly to lose some weight in the hopes of attracting a man to date. Not that the ebony beauty needed to,
she was stunning just as she was. But they all agreed that they could get healthier and decided theyd start
going with her. Tonight was kickboxing night, so Mia was charged up to go kick the shit out of something.
Her clients had been getting on her nerves more than usual lately. So she needed an outlet that wasnt a
human face.
She also couldnt wait to see if the large red-headed man that had been ogling Payton Monday and
Tuesday, would be there again. Mia had a bet going with Royal and Kennedy that today would be the day
that hed make a move on Payton. Mia grinned just thinking about how he pretended to workout, talked to
fellow gym goers or the gym employees. All while staring at her longingly. Mia may have been anti-love
for herself at the moment, but for her shy and nerdy friend, it was the sweetest thing Mia had ever seen.
After ten more minutes of traffic torture, Mia pulled up to the front of her building. She threw the car
into park, grabbed her purse, and power walked into the condo. Her white circle skirt fluttered against her
legs as she stepped inside. Her heels clicked against the hardwood floor as she walked towards the stairs
up to her apartment. She heard footsteps and glanced up. Standing at the top of the stairs was Luke. Mia
realized that he must have been up there trying to see if she was home. A Cheshire Cat smile spread
across her lips.
You said that Id see you again if it was meant to be. I decided to take fate into my own hands. Luke
grinned confidently, his eyes crinkling.
He sounded confident, but his body language told a different story. His hands were shoved into his
suit pants pockets and his shoulders were hunched, as if he was nervous shed turn him down and he was
bracing himself for the rejection.
Mia decided to put him out of his misery. I mean it is Hump Day and sex is a great stress reliever.
She put her most seductive smile in place and walked slowly up the stairs towards him. Her hips swayed
seductively. Her fingertips slid lightly up the banister, stroking the polished wood.
Luke looked gorgeous in a three piece suit. The suit was charcoal gray with a crisp white shirt
underneath the fitted vest. A bright cobalt blue tie stood out against the white and gray. At some point, on
the way from his job to her building, hed loosened the tie from around his neck, giving him a somewhat
rakish appearance. It screamed, Distinguished businessman ready to play! And from the bulge pressing
against the material of his expensive gray slacks, Mia could tell he was definitely ready.
Have you even stopped to see Evan? Or did you come straight up to my condo? She asked as she
came closer to him.
Lukes eyes sparkled with mischief as he backed up the steps. Not realizing the move turned him into
her prey as she stalked towards him.
I can visit Evan any time, he smirked.
Luke stepped back onto the landing and Mia followed. She sashayed towards him and he backed up
until his back hit glass. He quickly glanced back to see that he was up against a window that faced the
backyard of her building. Mia glanced out and saw one of her nosy neighbors that lived behind her,
pretending to water flowers. The lady always gave Mia a dirty look when she decided to unwind with a
glass of wine for the evening on her deck. Mia could see the old woman squinting to see what was going
on. So Mia decided to give her a show.
She dropped her black leather laptop bag to the floor and smiled up at Luke as she slid her hands up
his chest, over the lapels of his jacket. They snaked around his neck and pulled him down for a blistering
kiss. The minute their lips touched, it was like a small flame that burst into a forest fire. Lukes arms
wrapped around Mia and he pulled her into him. Mia gripped his neck tighter, practically climbing up his
body. Their hips rolled towards each other as they dry fucked each other through their professional attire.
Mia bit down on his lip and then pulled back, letting his pink lip slid between her teeth. She released
his lip and he licked at it to soothe the sting. Slowly, with her eyes on his the whole time, Mia lowered
herself down in front of him. She could see hope spark in his eyes as she unzipped his pants.
Yes, papi. Youre about to get eaten alive.
She reached inside and released his rock hard cock from his gray slacks. His excitement was evident
in the little pearl of fluid that gathered at the tip. Mias tongue flicked out and up, swiping his pre-cum and
his hips jerked in answer.
God, Mia! Youre killing me! Luke gasped.
Oh, thats nothing, sweetie.
She circled her tongue around the mushroomed tip, toying with him for just a few seconds. Then Mia
opened her throat and plunged down the long shaft of his cock, straight to the base, swallowing him
whole. Her gag reflexes had died long ago.
F-FUCK! Luke howled uncontrollably.
Mia bobbed her head up and down his length, slurping up every inch of him. Lukes legs started to
tremble, his knees buckling slightly.
Ah! Ah! Stop! Stop! Im gonna cum if you keep going. And I still wanna fuck you. Luke panted as
he tried to pull away from Mias talented mouth.
His hands reached down and he slid them under her arms, lifting her up from her squatting position in
front of him. Luke reached into his pocket and pulled out a condom. He made quick work of rolling it on.
Mia glanced out the window and saw the old lady with her mouth hanging open and the water hose
forgotten as she flooded one of her plants.
Mia felt Lukes hands under her skirt and before she could say or do anything she heard the rip as she
felt the material of her lacy panties being jerked from her body. He tossed the scraps down and then lifted
her up and spun her around to press her back against the window. All as he impaled her in one hard
Aaaaah! Mia gasped.
Mia wrapped her legs tightly around his waist and held onto him with her arms around his neck.
Lukes fingers bit into the ample flesh of her ass as he pummeled her throbbing cunt. He kissed her hard.
Their teeth, tongues, and lips came together painfully as he pumped into her.
Luke released her lips to speak through ragged breaths. I have to see that ass before I cum.
Mia immediately unwrapped her legs from around his waist and turned in his arms. Her hands
pressed against the window, bracing herself for the impact. Sure enough, Luke slapped her ass hard
enough to leave a mark and then slammed into her from behind. If it wasnt for the fact that Mia loved a
little pain mixed in with her pleasure, shed have turned around and popped him good for that slap. But
the sensation of the sting, coupled with his delicious length plunging in deep made her thighs tremble and
she wobbled slightly on her high heels.
Luke fucked her hard. Every thrust pushed Mia closer and closer to the glass of the window. Until her
body was flush against the cool surface that quickly warmed with her heat. Her cheek pressed against the
window as he ground his hips into her plush ass. Mias breath fanned against the glass, causing part of it
to fog up with every cry that escaped her lips.
He wrapped his hands around her blonde tipped curls and pulled her head back. His mouth captured
hers and their tongues entwined as he continued to stroke into her. His tongue plunged, his dick dipped.
Mia pulled her mouth away on a gasp as she felt her core tighten, getting closer to the end.
Play with my clit! She demanded.
With one hand, Luke held onto her throat and with the other, he lifted her skirt out of the way to get
full access to her swollen nub. He used the slick arousal from her dripping slit to caress circular motions
around her clit. Within seconds, Mia lost it. She practically purred as her climax gripped her.
Luke continued to stroke into her as he lightly rubbed her clit and her hips convulsed erratically. Her
walls fluttered around him. Her head was thrown back against his shoulder. She felt his grip get tighter
around her throat as his cock jerked.
Mia! Luke shouted as he spilled his seed in the condom.
They both sagged with their release. Mia against the window. Luke against her. Her damp palms slid
down the glass, leaving a trail of her smeared fingerprints. Mia opened her eyes.
The little old lady across the way was nowhere to be seen. Though Mia did spy the nearly
imperceptible movement of the ladys hideous flowered curtains. Next, movement drew her eyes up to the
deck above the old womans place and saw two twenty-something guys standing there clapping and
cheering. Mia flushed with pleasure at being watched. She gave them a grin and wave before turning her
attention back to her current lover.
Mmm Mia moaned as Luke slipped his softening body from her tender flesh. That was
Luke turned her in his arms and kissed her hard and long. Mia, I cant stop thinking about- he began
but she put her index finger to his lips to silence him.
I know what youre going to say, she shook her head. Dont. I really needed that and Im grateful
that you were here. But dont do it again. Dont show up on my doorstep hoping Ill spend time with you
or fuck you. I didnt give you my number for a reason. So showing up at my house is ten times worse.
Dont get me wrong, Luke. You can lay some good damn pipe, but I can tell that youre seconds away
from catching feelings. So this is where I part ways.
Now, if youll excuse me, I have to get to the gym, Mia said as she knelt down to pick up her bag.
As she stood back up, Mia could see the deflated look in Lukes eyes. She took pity on him and gave
him a soft kiss on his gray stubble covered cheek.
See ya, she said sympathetically before she walked towards the door of her condo.
She didnt look back as she unlocked the door and stepped inside. She then shut the door on their
short fling.

Walk of Shame

Are you gonna try or what? Royal huffed, exasperated.
They were at one of their favorite nighttime spots. A bar that drew a somewhat older crowd. A place
where the thirty and forty-year-old set could lounge and have some drinks without obnoxious twenty-
somethings interrupting their good time. The girls still had a couple of months before they were out of
their twenties, but they sure felt like they were already there.
Royal was trying to convince Payton to give the big, redheaded Scotsman from their new gym a
chance. But their awkward friend wasnt being as cooperative as theyd like. The three of them knew that
once she let her guard down and pushed aside her fear of men that shed enjoy spending time with a man.
But getting the uber intelligent, uptight woman to get on board was a whole other story.
Yes. But I dont have to like it. Payton pouted.
Trust me when I say, yes you will, Mia spoke up. When you finally get over your aversion to men
and get kissed till youre breathless and get some D thats so good you could cry and then make it a little
golden crown, youll like every minute of it. Youll be ad-dick-ted.
Mia, Royal, and Kennedy cackled at their inside joke, while Payton just looked at them and shook her
head in disgust.
Youre all sick.
If Im sick, then I dont wanna be cured, Mia grinned slyly as she watched a good-looking man
walk by. Youd do well to get down with the sickness, maybe then youd loosen up. Now, if you ladies
will excuse me, my Doppler Dickdar is telling me the forecast looks hot with a one-hundred percent
chance of wetness.
Mia smiled and then stood up from their table. She could feel the three women watched her as she
approached the handsome gentleman. He turned to look at her and a huge smile spread across his face
when he took her in from head to toe. She was glad that she wore her black, form-fitting jumpsuit with
matching black pumps. The heels made her look even taller than she already was. And the jumpsuit
hugged every curve of her thick body.
Hey, handsome, Mia said as she leaned into him, lightly and flirtatiously caressing his bicep.
He instinctively flexed his muscle to make it harder, trying to show off his physique for her. Mia
appraised his appearance up close and was happy with her assessment. He was tall. Much taller than her
five-ten stature. It was obvious that he took good care of himself, from what she could see through his
fitted polo and jeans. His skin was olive in tone and he looked to be a mix of Caucasian and East Asian.
His eyes were a pretty light brown as he gazed at her and his lips were full and shapely as he grinned at
her. His hair was parted to the side and slicked down to perfection. And the delicious smelling cologne
wafting up from his body almost made Mia salivate.
Hi, he responded and his deep voice sent a chill of pleasure down her spine.
My name is Mia. Yours? She introduced herself as she held out her hand for him to take.
Nathan. But you can call me Nate, he replied. He took her proffered hand and held it gently.
Its a pleasure to meet you, Nate. Mia toyed with the collar of his shirt flirtatiously. So Nate, tell
me something. Why is a guy as handsome as you, here alone? You have to have a wife or girlfriend
Actually, no. Its just me, he answered as he raised his bare left hand to show her its lack of a ring.
Mia stepped even closer to whisper in his ear, her lips softly caressing the shell of his ear.
Soare we gonna stay here and have drinks, pretending as if we both dont want to go somewhere
and fuck each others brains out? Or are we just gonna skip all that, go back to your place and spend that
extra time fucking all night? Mia asked with her head cocked to the side.
Nate looked at her in awe, nodded his head, and then stood up. He slammed the drink hed just
ordered and then gestured towards the exit.
After you, Mia. He offered her his arm and led her towards the entrance. She winked as they
passed by the girls table, her generous hips sashaying the whole way. The girls stared on in amazement.


Mia pulled up behind Nate in the driveway of a nice suburban home. Shed trailed him home, not
wanting to ride with him and end up stuck at his place all night. Mia preferred a night of marathon sex,
and then an easy exit at about four or five in the morning, after her entertainment for the evening had
passed out.
Nate came to Mias car door and helped her out of her Audi. He took her hand and led her up to the
front door and unlocked it. He turned to her and placed his index finger against his lips, telling her to
remain silent. Mia frowned.
I thought you lived alone, Mia whispered.
I said that Im not married or have a girlfriend. I never said I lived alone. But dont worry, its just
roommates. Nate informed her just as quietly.
He guided her through the main level of the house. He didnt give her much of a chance to see the
place, but it looked more like a family home than a home filled with bachelors. Mia just shrugged
internally, reminding herself that as always, she was there to get laid, not to get to know him to start a
Though she wouldnt have minded finding a sexual partner that wanted the same things she did.
Amazing sex a couple of times a week. Zero dates, except as a stand-in for special events that require a
date. No long getting-to-know-you phone calls or conversations. Absolutely no strings attached and no
emotions other than complete and utter satisfaction. That sounded like the perfect friends with benefits
Nate headed towards a door that led downstairs. Mia frowned again and looked around suspiciously.
He better not be some loco serial killer leading me down to some Saw type basement where he plans
on butchering me.
Nate felt her hesitation and turned back to look at her. Come on. Its cool and I dont bite.
That remains to be seen, Mia said giving him a look of distrust.
Her instincts said he wasnt a murderer, so against most peoples better judgment, she followed him
down the stairs.
The basement was fully finished and set up like a studio apartment. I was actually pretty nice. For a
bachelor pad anyway. Sports paraphernalia hung on the walls. And Mia thought she even spied a pinup
girl calendar in the dark, over on his desk. Definitely not signs of a fully mature man, which was another
of her stipulations for a full-time FWB relationship. But she figured shed get what she needed and peace
out. Never to see him again.
Nate walked up to Mia with a cocky smirk on his face. He reached up and caressed the side of her
face. Youre fine as fuck! I cant wait to smash you.
How old are you? Mia asked curiously.
Mia nodded. That makes sense.
Nate shrugged and pulled her in for a kiss. There were no preliminaries. He just stuck his tongue
down her throat. Oh, so its gonna be one of those nights, huh? Mia pulled back.
Let me show you how its done, sweetie. She checked him.
Mia clasped his face and leaned in. She kissed his full lips softly but didnt stay. She moved to his
jaw and kissed him there before scraping her teeth over the same spot. Nate gasped and gripped her
tighter. Mia moved back to his lips and nibbled at them, flicking her tongue to ease the bite. His hips
reflexively pumped towards her and Mia grinned knowing that shed gotten to him.
Sex is an art. Not a race. So slow down, Speed Racer, she instructed him.
Nate was a decent student. He slowed down his kisses. His tongue swirled around hers and he
mimicked what he wanted to do to her. He reached behind her and gradually unzipped her jumpsuit. Once
she was undone, he pulled down the material from her shoulders and arms. He eased the garment down
her hips and over her legs, scraping his fingernails gently against her skin along the way.
Underneath, she wore a black lace thong and matching demi-bra. Nate quickly stood back up and
unclasped her bra. Though he couldve taken his time and kissed a path down her neck, collarbone and
sternum, instead he dove straight for her nipples after tossing away her bra. Well, at least hes eager.
Nate suckled at her small brown nipples and Mia held onto the back of his head, letting the flick of
his tongue send electric pulses down to her flexing core. As he continued to feast on her breasts, Nate
pushed down her skimpy panties and plunged his fingers into her wet channel. Mia had only a few
seconds to enjoy his ministrations before he unleashed the jackhammer.
The jackhammer was a phrase Mia coined long ago to describe the type of fingering method many
male teens and young men and even some older men that never learned, liked to use. Mia instantly cringed
and reached for his wrist.
Hey. Hey. Hey! She scolded as she pulled his abusive fingers from her tender flesh. Youre not
breaking through concrete. Your dry ass fingers are sucking up every last drop of my juices and giving me
carpet burn. Thats not how this works.
Ive fucked plenty of girls. I think I know what Im doing. Nate defended himself, his pride
You shouldnt be proud to admit that. If youve fucked plenty of girls, you should know better by
now. Maybe they pretended you were good, but so far you aint proving it to me. Mia raised her
You dont have to stay, he responded with attitude.
Dont get mad about it. Mia soothed as she stepped closer to him again. Take this opportunity to
learn. And be glad that Im willing to help you.
She reached for his hand that shed pulled away moments before. She folded down his fingers until
just his index and middle fingers were out. Mia brought the two fingers up to her mouth and sucked on
them, leaving a trail of moisture. She then pulled them down to her slit. The wet digits slid easily over her
hardening clit. Mias mouth popped open and she closed her eyes as she pumped her hips against his thick
Thats it. Slide my clit between those two fingers gently. She guided him with her words as she
released his hand. Ahhyes! Just like that. Now slip one finger inside and stroke gently. Mmhmm.
Crook your finger like youre telling me to come here. Do you feel that?
Yeah, Nate said breathlessly.
Thats one of my G-spots. Now press gently on it and then use your thumb to caress my clit. Dont
forget to wet it first with my juices. Fuck, yes! Mia cried as he did exactly as she told him.
Within minutes, Mia was trembling in his arms and they collapsed onto his king size bed. Nate pulled
his fingers from her pulsating walls. He brought them up to his mouth and sucked them clean, looking
rather proud of himself.
Good job. Trust me. If you can get your foreplay down to a science, just about every female you fuck
will be putty in your hands. Mia smiled lazily as she came down from her first orgasm of the night. If she
trained him right, she had no doubts thered be more.
Thanks for the help, Nate said shyly, realizing that he, in fact, had sucked previously and did need a
sex coach to guide him.
Youre welcome. But your tutoring isnt over just yet. Mia grinned and she rolled on top of him.
She helped Nate sit up as she whipped his shirt up and over his head. She pushed him back down and
shimmied down his legs to unbuckle and unzip his jeans. She gripped the waistband of his jeans and
boxers and pulled them down his legs. His rock hard cock sprung free and thumped onto his stomach
heavily, weighted down with his arousal.
Mia internally sighed with relief that it was a well-made dick. He wasnt extra-long or anything, but
he was an average five or six inches. What had her really grinning, though, was the fact that he was nice
and thick. She knew hed touch every wall with no problem. She always preferred a thick cock to a skinny
one. Mia wasnt interested in fucking something that felt like an alien probe.
His body was also impressive. It was obvious that he worked out and lifted plenty of weights. His
arms, chest, and abs were cut to near perfection. The East Asian blood in him caused him to be nearly
hairless on his tan torso. His nipples were dusky brown disks that looked temptingly lickable.
Very nice, she said seductively as she crawled back up his body.
Mia reached for her purse and pulled out a little square packet. Nate watched her as she ripped the
package open with her teeth. Then she placed the tip of the condom in her mouth and lowered her lips to
his eager manhood. He groaned in the back of his throat as she skillfully rolled the condom down his
length with nothing but her mouth.
Mia positioned herself over his thick arousal and then slowly eased herself down until she sat flush
against him. She threw back her head as she adjusted to the fullness of him inside of her. She could feel
him pulse within her and her throbbing walls responded in kind. Her damp palms pressed against his
smooth, hairless chest. She steadied herself as she positioned her feet on either side of his waist. Nate
grasped her hands to help her. Mia entwined her fingers with his and raised up on his hard cock, till the
tip was at her entrance. She then slammed back down and their skin smacked together loudly. Though it
could barely be heard over their mutual groans and cries of pleasure.
Nate released her hands and reached for her hips. He clutched them tightly and helped guide her up
and down over him. Mia cried out every time she impaled herself on his engorged length. He pumped up
as she came down, meeting her with a loud clap of damp flesh. As he helped her stay balanced with his
hands guiding her hips, Mia placed one hand on his chest and used the other hand to circle her swollen
nub. She felt the pressure building and her movements became jerky as the tremors began from her core.
Aaaaah!!! Im gonna cum! She cried.
F-Fuck! Me too! Nate growled.
Her orgasm ripped a raw scream from her throat and she felt her feminine cum spray her thighs. It
wasnt often that she squirted during an orgasm, but if she did, it was usually one good damn orgasm.
There was definite hope for Nate.
Shhhit! Nate shouted out as he reached his climax.
Mia felt him pulse as the condom caught his release. She ground against him, prolonging their
Nathan! Someone screamed. You bring slut to my home!
Mia fell against him to cover herself as she looked back to see an older Asian woman coming down
the stairs.
I thought you werent married! Mia hissed under her breath.
Thats not my wife. Its my mom! Nate said as his face turned beet red.
Youve got to be fucking kidding me! Mia groaned as she rolled off of him.
The crazy and angry woman came storming down the rest of the stairs with a belt in her hand. She ran
towards Mia ready to hit her, but Mia stood up straight, buck naked and stared her down.
Touch me with that belt lady and I swear Ill beat you with my fucking chancla! Mia growled,
gripping the very heels she planned on using if the woman came any closer.
The woman thought better of it, seeing the banked rage in Mias eyes, and changed directions,
heading straight for her son. Mias mouth dropped open as she watched the woman start to beat on her
naked son with a belt like he was in grade school.
Ma! Stop! Ma! Im a grown ass man. I can bring a girl home if I want. Nate tried to defend himself
as he held up one arm to protect his face and body, and used the other arm to hold up a sheet to his naked
You pay no bills! You no fuck dirty girls in my house! She screeched.
Look here, bitch! Mia thought silently. She wanted so badly to cuss the woman out, but she was in
fact, in her house, fucking her son that doesnt pay any bills. There was nothing she could really say. And
the crazy woman could easily call the cops on Mia if she laid a hand on the little old woman.
So instead, Mia grabbed her clothes and purse and ran like the flames of hell were licking at her feet.
She didnt care that she was a naked as the day she was born. She just had to get out of that house. She
heard the humiliated cries of a grown man getting his ass beat by his mother as she fled from the house.
She quickly jumped in her car, started it and threw it into her reverse, before skidding out of the
neighborhood like a bat outta hell.
Fuck my life! I have to do better vetting next time. Mia said to herself as she shook her head in
exasperation. No more skipping drinks to go straight to fucking. So not worth it.
Mia prayed that no cop would pull her over as she sped home. Though being buck naked could help
her get out of the ticket.
Worst walk of shame ever!

To be continued


Id like to thank my beta-readers and regular support system. Nadia, Patrice, Cosalyn, SeQuasha,
and Jacqueline. Without your input, support, and pep talks, I dont know what I do.
As always, I have to shout out to my parentals for giving me the opportunity to build up my career
while dealing with me under your roof. I swear you wont regret it.
Another group of amazing women that Id like to give props to are the amazing authors Ive met
during this journey. There are too many to name and Id hate to leave anyone out. But so many of you have
helped me reach new levels in my own writing and promoting. So I say, thank you. Thank you. Thank you!
To author Cynthia Sax. Your eyewitness account of the Shy Hunky Guy and Clueless Curvy Girl
added sweetness to a gym story Id had in the works. And gave me the boost of excitement I needed to
work on the story. Thank you so much for sharing that little slice of awesomeness.
And last, but most certainly not least. I always have to say thank you and show my appreciation for
my ahhhhhmazing readers. You ladies give me life on a daily basis. You make me laugh. You give me
encouragement. And you keep me from giving up. I love you all to pieces Muah!

About the Author

Twyla Turner currently resides in Arizona. She was born and raised in Joliet, Illinois, a Midwest girl
at heart, though constantly moving from place to place, and always thinking of where she wants to go next.
Having been an avid romance novel reader since junior high and minoring in Creative Writing. She felt
that it was finally time to start combining her love of travel and writing, as well as her life experiences
and putting them down on paper. Which experiences, shell never tellwell maybe, if you ask nicely.

Other books by Twyla Turner

The Struck Series:

Damaged Souls:
Open Wounds


Love in the Wild

Curvy Ever After:

Forbidden Curvy Girl Fairy Tales

Chasing Day Series:

Chasing Day
Catching Day

Return of the Fire Faery

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