“I got about eight hundred meters before the cops caught up to me. I found out later that the guys in the gang I was trying to join set me up. I was made an example of by the system and served ten years of a twelve-year sentence.”
“Wow, that’s awful,” Viv said, and she meant it. What happened to him sucked and not giving him a chance to turn himself around would be a dishonor to her Gram. He was just the type of person her grandmother was constantly trying to help. And now it was Viv’s turn to lend a hand. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Hot Irish Guy was—well, hot.
“I have two questions,” Viv said.
“Shoot,” he said, leaning back in his stool.
“Can you cook and when can you start?” His smile almost lit up the place and she knew she did the right thing even if New Kid was shooting her daggers from the back of the diner.
“What’s the problem, New Kid?” she asked.
“He’s not going to outrank me, right?” he asked.
“I don’t think that’s even possible, New Kid,” Viv said, rolling her eyes for good measure. “Now back to work and stop eavesdropping.” She watched as Tommy pretended to wipe down the booth that he had been working on for the past ten minutes.
“How about we take this to my office, and you can fill out the paperwork?” Hot Irish Guy nodded and grabbed his dishes.
“Thank you,” he said, following her back through the kitchen to deposit his dishes into the sink. He followed her back to her tiny office and crammed into her space, making it feel even smaller.
“Um—” she squeaked, suddenly feeling nervous. “I guess you should tell me your name—unless you’re good with Hot Irish Guy.”
He chuckled and his deep baritone laugh filled her office. “It’s Cillian James but everyone calls me Kill,” he said.
“Kill?” Viv questioned. “That’s a pretty ominous name. You have anything else you need to tell me before we make this official?” She asked.
“Nope,” he said, taking the papers from her. “I’m good.”
Kill watchedthe sexy little brunette fidget around her office as if she was too afraid to leave him alone in her space. He didn’t blame her. There were a lot of people who didn’t trust him, and he’d just add her to that very long list.
He finished filling out the paperwork and realized he didn’t know his new boss’ name. “Sorry,” he said, startling her from her work. “I don’t know your name.”
“I’m Vivian Ward,” she offered. “Usually, the kids who work for me just call me boss, but you can call me Viv.” He stood and held out his hand and she hesitantly took it.
“It’s good to meet you, Viv,” he said. “You won’t be sorry you gave me a chance here.”
“I don’t know.” Kill worried that she had already changed her mind and he set the papers down on her desk. “With a nickname like ‘Kill’, I think I might have bitten off more than I can chew.” The thought of his hot new boss biting anywhere on his body flashed through his mind. He needed to remind his unruly cock that wasn’t going to happen—not with her now that he was her employee. At least, he hoped he was still employed.
“Listen, if you’re having second thoughts, I understand,” he lied. He didn’t understand any of what he had been put through this past week since getting out of prison. He had been treated like shit and all he was asking for was a chance to prove that he wasn’t that same stupid kid who desperately wanted to be a part of something.
“How about you tell me how you got your nickname and I’ll reserve my final decision until you are done sharing your story?” He hated having to recap any of his time in prison but if that was the only way he was going to get a job, he’d do it. Still, it felt wrong to tell someone who seemed as innocent as Vivian Ward about something so personal and dirty from his past.
“I got it from my cellmate, in prison,” he whispered. “I was thrown into general population, and I had to survive.”
Viv gasped and covered her mouth with her shaking hand. He almost regretted telling her anything. “And you had to kill someone to stay alive?” she guessed.
“Yes, and no,” he admitted. “I didn’t kill anyone, but everyone believed that I had, so I let them think the worst of me.”
“Why would you let them believe you killed a man?” Viv asked. He didn’t expect her to understand. Prison changed a person and when you were in there, you learned to do whatever it took to make it out alive.
“We were in the yard—you know having some free time and I was approached by a man they called Capone who was in charge, so to speak, of the prisoners. He had ties to the mafia and was from a rival club on the outside. Even though I had been thrown in prison before becoming a member of the Dragons, he considered me an enemy.”
“Why didn’t you tell anyone?” she asked. He chuckled at the idea of telling someone what was going on in that yard. Hell, he’d be labeled a snitch and they got a hell of a lot more than stitches in that prison. They ended up in the infirmary if they were lucky and, in the morgue, if they weren’t.
“Who was I to tell? If I reported every illegal activity going on in that place to the warden, I’d end up in the morgue. I tried to talk to some of the gang members—you know the ones who set me up? Like my new friend, Capone, they didn’t consider me to be a part of their club. They had heard what happened to me on the outside and told me I was on my own.”
“What happened next?” Viv asked. She sat in front of him, on the edge of her desk and it took all his restraint not to reach out and pull her onto his lap. Feck, she was sexy, and he was going to have to work damn hard to remind himself that she was off-limits. He had to admit the way she seemed to take an interest in him turned him inside out. It had been over ten years since he was with a woman. Hell, he’d been out for a week and the first thing he wanted to do was find a willing woman and spend a night losing himself in her, but he didn’t. That would have been his way of falling back into his old habits and he couldn’t let that happen. It was the straight and narrow for him and that meant no gangs, no drugs, and no hookers, no matter how much his dick screamed for attention.