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“Keep your fucking hands off of her.”

She shook her head at the thoughts. Why was he still so hung up on the past? She was moving on with her life, or trying to, but he was still worried someone was going to hurt her. She loved him even more for that, but in this situation, it had gone too far and over nothing.

Gerald shouldn’t have kissed her in the first place, and he shouldn’t have gone in for a second one when she clearly hadn’t wanted more, but that didn’t warrant David to go ballistic like he had. At least, she didn’t think so.

When she finally reached his home, she cut the engine and stared up at the small apartment building he lived in. It was only three stories, older, and she knew many of the residents were elderly. Maybe that’s why David liked living here because it was quiet, and he wouldn’t be bothered?

She knew he didn’t do socializing all that well, not because he was awkward about it but because he just stayed away from the public in general. He was the epitome of the strong and silent type.

She breathed out, a part of her telling herself this wasn’t the best plan she’d ever had. David clearly wanted to be alone, to deal with whatever he was going through, and as much as she should have respected that, she couldn’t let this go. She loved him, and whatever he was dealing with, she wanted to be there for him.

Grabbing her purse and getting out of the car, she headed inside. David’s place was on the basement level, and once she stood in front of his door, she could only stare at it for several seconds.

Gillian finally knocked on the scarred wood and then took a step back. After several seconds, she knocked again, but when there wasn’t an answer, she tried the doorknob. To her surprise, it turned, and she pushed the door open.

The first thing she noticed was David’s clothes on the floor. Stepping all the way in and shutting the door behind her, Gillian looked around for him. The sound of pounding coming from the back room had her following the noise.

The door was cracked, and she pushed it open another inch. The sight in front of her had her heart beating a little faster, her breath seizing in her lungs, and had everything tightening.

David had his back to her and wore only a pair of dark boxers. The music was so loud, she could hear it flowing from a tablet laying on the floor by a hand towel and shirt.

A punching bag hung from the ceiling, and David was going to town on it, pummeling the shit out of it. Sweat covered his muscular back, and the sight of his biceps flexing and releasing every time he slammed a fist into the bag was mesmerizing.

Sweat beaded on his broad back and dripped a trail down his spine. The lines of tattoos banded around his arms looked like something a primitive war hero might sport.

And then he turned to the side slightly, and she could see the blood covering the punching bag. Looking down at the parts of his hands she could see, Gillian saw blood covering his knuckles and even spotted drops on the floor.

Should I just back away and leave? Give him the space he obviously wants?

She held on to the door handle harder than she should have, but she couldn’t breathe, couldn’t even think. There was a part of her that knew David was dark, had this frightening side, and was why people didn’t make eye contact with him.

Why they moved out of his way. But there was also a part of her, a big part, that had her growing warm and accepting of this side of him. She’d never seen him so raw, so broken. Right now, he looked like he could kill someone with his bare hands.

With sweat covering his hard, muscular body, the dangerous looking lines of tattoos along his back and arms, and the blood dripping from his hands, David was the epitome of what a man was supposed to look like, or at least, the type of man that she turned her on.

No, David is the only one who makes me feel this way. David is the only one who can make me see brutality, carnage, and savagery, and get wet because of it.

She stood there, motionless, and watched as he looked down at his knuckles. He wiped them off on his boxers, then took his earbuds out. She held her breath, knowing her eyes were wide, and felt her hands shaking.

Everything in her was on alert, not because she feared this man but because she was so…aroused.

And then he turned, his head downcast for a moment, the sweat dripping from the tips of his short hair. Her muscles grew taut, her heart beating as fast as a hummingbird’s.

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