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“Because I saw Jon follow her to the back and he looked like he had more than inventory on his mind,” she said with an innocent expression and a shrug, making him realize that he really might want to reevaluate his dating rules.


“Let me help you with that,” Jon offered with that boyish smile that all the waitresses talked about.

“Thank you,” she said, returning his smile as she stepped back so that he could reach the box on the top shelf.

“No problem,” he said as he easily grabbed the box and hefted it into his arms. “Where would you like this?”

“The floor’s good,” she said, taking another step back so that he had enough space to place the large box on the floor between them.

“Is this okay?” he asked as he placed the box on the floor and then opened it for her without being asked.

As nice as it was to have a man smile at her and actually acknowledge her existence, she couldn’t help but miss the grumpy bastard. He’d entertained her, made her smile, not on purpose, and for a short time he’d actually made her feel like…

She was being stupid, she told herself as she forced her thoughts away from what had obviously been a mistake and focused on helping the man smiling at her. Jon was a nice enough guy, always had a smile on his face, always willing to help her when she needed it and had even asked her out a few times.

She’d always turned him down because they worked together, but maybe she should say yes the next time that he asked her. It might get her mind off of-

“You’re needed up front, Jon,” Lucifer said, cutting into her thoughts and reminding her why getting involved with someone that you worked with was a bad idea.

“Sorry,” Jon said with an apologetic smile, obviously meaning it and making her wonder why she couldn’t find herself thinking about a guy like Jon instead of the seriously pissed off man standing in the doorway.

Maybe it was time for a fresh start, she thought as she returned Jon’s smile with a murmured, “Thank you.” He shot her a wink before he stood up and headed for the door, careful to avoid Lucifer who was still standing there…glaring.

“Did you need something, Lucifer?” she asked as she ignored him and focused on sorting through the box filled with miscellaneous items like salt and pepper shakers, metal napkin holders, old menus that they no longer used, but kept to spice up the special’s menu every now and then, and about a hundred other items that they should probably throw away, but the man who was seriously starting to piss her off refused to part with.

“Yes,” he said right about the time that she realized that he’d not only closed the door behind him, but was now unbuckling his belt and pulling down his zipper, cluing her into the fact that he was done ignoring her.

It really was too bad that she was going to have to bash his balls in with the paper napkin dispenser, she thought with a sigh as she grabbed the aforementioned item and stood up, more than prepared to make Lucifer sing soprano for the rest of his life.

Chapter 23

“Why are you holding that like you’re about to bash my brains in?” he asked with a frown as he stood there with his hand on his zipper.

“I was actually thinking of bashing in something a little more south depending on how the next few seconds played out,” she said, giving the napkin holder a little shake to emphasize the threat and making him roll his eyes, because this was just fucking pathetic.

“Keep your mind out of the gutter,” he said with a sigh as he finished pulling his zipper down, turned around and pulled his shirt off over his head to show her the reason why he was in here. Okay, so it was an excuse, but he was out of his element on this one and had to work with what he had.

There was a heavy pause before she mumbled, “Mojo?” and he could tell by the way that she’d said it that she was wincing. Not that he could blame her, because if he owned a psychotic dog that liked to tackle people to the ground so that he could drop down on top of them with the sole purpose of using them as a mattress, he would probably be wincing, too.

“Apparently he got out again,” he said dryly as he stood there, trying not to relive the memory of being used like a bitch by a two hundred fifty pound plus dog.

“I’m really sorry, Lucifer,” she said as he felt her fingertips brush softly over the cuts and bruises the large bastard had left behind.

One day he was going to turn that dog into a rug…

But, until that day came, he would use him as a means to get closer to the woman examining every mark her “baby” had left on his body. The cuts and bruises really didn’t bother him, but since they gave him an excuse to talk to her, he decided to use what he had. At least it would give him some time to figure out how to fix the fuck up that he now referred to as this past week so that she wouldn’t go off with some prick bartender.

“There’s a first aid kit in the break room,” she said, quickly stepping past him and opened the door, but since that really wasn’t going to work for him, he turned around and tried to look appropriately innocent.

“Oh my God! What the hell did he do to you?” she gasped as she placed her hands over her mouth, staring at the bruises covering his chest and stomach with something close to horror.

He shrugged, making sure to cringe so that it looked like the movement pained him. “He kept knocking me down,” he said, which was technically true since his asshole cousins and brothers had taken their turns knocking him down during a pickup game of football this past weekend as payback for banning them from the Fire & Brimstone. It hadn’t mattered if he had the ball or was even on their fucking team.


He really hated those bastards, he thought with a sigh even as he was forced to bite back a smile at the memory of knocking each and every one of those assholes down until they’d screamed for their wives and mothers to make him stop.

“These look like they really hurt,” she said, worrying her bottom lip as she took in one horrible bruise after another.

“They really do,” he lied, hoping that she didn’t notice that the bruises on his chest were a few days old since that would just wreck everything.

Still worrying that full bottom lip of hers that he’d imagined sliding up and down his shaft over the past week, she said, “Maybe we should put some ice on it?”

Ice was good. Ice meant avoiding the break room and all the nosy bastards that worked for him. It was probably for the best if he wanted to fix his fuckup. Deciding that it was best that he move on this before she changed her mind, he nodded, grabbed her hand, threw the door open and headed for the security door.

“Again with the manhandling?” she asked, sighing heavily, but she didn’t pull her hand away or suggest that they just grab some ice from the machine and do this downstairs.

As long as he got her upstairs where they could be alone, he was happy. While she tended to all the marks on his body he could figure out a way to get her to forgive him for being an asshole. It was a long shot, but at the moment it was all he had.

In less than sixty seconds he had her upstairs, in his apartment and the door securely closed and locked behind them. Thankfully he didn’t have to convince her to stay and tend to him since he’d already played out the Mojo bullshit to make her feel guilty enough to do it on her own. Yes, it was a fucked up thing to do and no, he really didn’t fucking care as long as it got him what he wanted.

Rebecca back in his arms where she belonged.


“You want to tell me what really happened?” she asked while she filled a large Ziploc bag with ice from the ice dispenser in his kitchen.

“Your vicious, psychotic dog beat the shit out of me, stole my wallet and then went on a joyride to Vegas where he married a slutty poodle named Fluffy,” he said dryly, making her chuckle as she pressed the bag closed.

“I see,” she murmured thoughtfully as she walked back into the section of the large open room that he’d set up as his living room and tossed the bag of ice to him.


p; “He’s a cruel, fat bastard,” he said with a wink as he easily caught the bag and placed it on his chest, reminding her that under that asshole exterior that he showed the world that he was actually charming.

When he wanted to be, and apparently right now, he wanted to be.

“That he is,” she murmured in agreement as she walked over to the leather chair across from him and sat down. “So, you want to tell me what’s going on?”

“Your dog viciously attacking me isn’t enough?” he asked with a wince as he shifted the ice pack to a particularly nasty looking bruise.

Frowning, she nodded towards the bruises covering his chest. “What really happened?”

“Family gathering,” was all he said, but there was a look in