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bad that her best friend was driving her insane with all this nagging and threats of violence. She didn’t want to go see another doctor, but unfortunately for her, Melanie didn’t seem to care about what she wanted. Her best friend was determined to figure out what was wrong with her and fix it even if that meant dragging her kicking and screaming to see every doctor in the world.

Even though it annoyed the hell out of her, it meant the world to her having someone who believed in her the way that Melanie did. No matter what anyone said about her, Melanie always had her back, which was why she resisted the urge to throttle her best friend when she refused to back down and just accept the fact that there was nothing that anyone could do to fix her.


“What about the specials?” Rose, a waitress he’d hired a few months ago on the recommendation of his sister-in-law, asked.

“What about them?” Lucifer asked as he leaned back against the wall, looking through the time cards.

“Are there any changes?” she asked as she glanced at the menus for the night.

There should be, but the new recipes that he’d been working on weren’t ready yet. “No. They’re the same as last week,” he said as he glanced up at the whiteboard by the clock to see what last week’s specials were.

He looked over the list before deciding that the dessert menu was a little weak. “I’ll make a call to Dixon Bakery and see if they have anything they can spare for tonight’s dinner service,” he said, deciding that it would probably be for the best if he went in person and had a Bradford special to help him recover from this morning’s disappointment.

She really was going to be the death of him, he thought as he initialed this morning’s time stamps. All except two. He set the first one aside and looked for the matching time stamp. It only took him a few seconds to find it.

Sighing, he said, “Aimee?”

“Yes?” Aimee said, shifting nervously and for good reason.

“You’re fired,” he said, not bothering to look up from her time card.


“You have five minutes to clear out your locker,” he said, placing her time stamp aside before selecting the other time card that she’d decided to stamp this morning and making him wonder why he was having such a hard time firing Rebecca.

“You can tell Kelly when you see her that she’s fired as well,” he said, putting a line through Kelly’s timecard.

She didn’t say anything else as she quickly grabbed her stuff and left, because she knew better. He didn’t take any shit from anyone and he rarely gave second chances. There was a reason why everyone called him Lucifer to his face and asshole to his back. He didn’t have a problem with either nickname, because he’d earned both.

Even as a kid he hadn’t been someone that you wanted to fuck with. He never took any shit from anyone and if you had a problem with that, he’d always been more than happy to clear up any misunderstandings. Although he was an asshole, and he had absolutely no problems with admitting that, he wasn’t a bully and never pulled any shit. If you left him alone, he left you alone, but God help you if he caught you fucking someone over because he’d be in your face before you had a chance to blink.

He wasn’t like the rest of the men in his family. They were more laid back, easy going while he was straight-laced and probably took everything too seriously. He’d always been like that and had never thought about changing and why should he? He was happy with the way that his life had turned out.

He had the restaurant of his dreams, which he would admit was still a work in progress, decent friends, a good place to live and a family that accepted him for the asshole that he was. His life was fucking perfect.

He set his own hours, worked on whatever he wanted and ensured that one day his restaurant would be the best in the city. When he accomplished that he would look into opening more locations and hopefully one day he would be able to sit back and enjoy his success. Until that day happened, he was going to put absolutely everything that he had into making this restaurant great even if that meant spending all his time and every last penny he had to make that happen.


“Move your ass, Shaw!” the controlling bitch that she loved more than anything, said in a chipper voice as she walked past the bathroom. “We’re leaving in ten minutes.”

“No, we’re not!” Rebecca snapped back even though she knew damn well that she didn’t have a choice.

She was going or Melanie would beat the living shit out of her and then drag her unconscious body to the doctor’s office. As much fun as it would be to wake up by being poked and prodded, she was going to have to pass and accept the fact that she was going to have deal with another doctor telling her that it was all in her head.

Yup, it was going to be loads of fun, she thought dryly as she grabbed her toothbrush and cleaned her teeth, telling herself that she didn’t have a choice. She either went of her own free will or Melanie would walk in here, grab her by the hair and drag her down the backstairs, out the door and shove her unconscious body in the trunk of her car.

Since she really didn’t feel like being shoved into the trunk with Melanie’s gym clothes that hadn’t seen the inside of a washing machine in five years, she decided to suck it up and accept the fact that she was going to sit there and smile politely while another doctor explained in the subtlest terms that she was insane. She was going to-

“Get off me!” Melanie suddenly yelled, sounding pissed and making Rebecca sigh heavily, because by this point Melanie really should have learned how to deal with their sweet, little baby. As Rebecca rinsed her mouth and put her toothbrush away, the bloodcurdling screaming began.

“Screaming will only make it worse!” she yelled over the screams, wondering why Melanie couldn’t remember that one simple rule.

“Get him off me!” Melanie screamed hysterically, which was just ridiculous, because Mojo would never hurt her and she knew that.

Muttering to herself, Rebecca stepped into the small hallway that was made even smaller by the fact that Melanie was laying on the floor with the two-hundred and sixty-five pound mastiff laying on top of her, happily wagging his tail as he continued to drool all over the woman that seemed to have a problem with cuddling.

“Are you going to get him off me?” Melanie demanded as she tried, and failed, to turn her head to get out of the path of all that drool slowly dripping down on her face and neck.

“Are you going to cancel the doctor’s appointment?” Rebecca countered, realizing that she might actually have a shot at getting out of this appointment. She’d still get her ass kicked. There was no doubt about that, but at least thanks to Mojo and his love for a good cuddle, she’d miss her appointment and really, that’s all that mattered to her.

“No!” the stubborn woman that was lying in a large puddle of dog drool snapped, shooting a terrifying glare in her direction as though it was somehow Rebecca’s fault that Mojo loved to tackle her whenever the opportunity presented itself.

“Are you sure?” Rebecca asked after a slight hesitation, simply because she knew how this was going to end.


“Then I’m afraid that there’s nothing that I can do,” she said with a shrug as she turned around and headed for the back door, deciding that she’d go back to work since it appeared that she suddenly had a few extra hours to kill.

Chapter 3

“I’m going to fucking kill her,” he said in resignation as he rubbed his hands down his face, because he no longer had a choice. Not now when every single one of his employees was wearing the uniform that the little demon had ordered behind his back.

He couldn’t even say that he hadn’t seen this day coming. There had been plenty of clues along the way letting him know that one day he would have no choice but to dump her body into a tub of holy water and let the Devil have his protégé back.

There was the day that Rebecca Shaw had shown up twenty minutes late to her interview, wearing a Goo

nies t-shirt, flannel pajama pants, pink bunny slippers and carrying a resume that proudly informed anyone who had the misfortune of reading it about the five years she’d spent finding herself as she’d jumped from job to job…to job.

Normally he never would have hired someone who clearly didn’t have their shit together, but at the time he’d been short-staffed because he’d mistakenly hired waitresses who couldn’t handle a little fucking criticism without bursting into tears. When she hadn’t turned into a nervous wreck five minutes into the interview, the time it usually took someone to decide that working at Fire & Brimstone just wasn’t for them, he decided to hire her on a temporary basis.

With her work history he’d figured that it was only a matter of weeks before she’d quit and by the time that happened, he should have been able to find a reliable waitress who knew how to do her job without pissing him off. Unfortunately for his sanity and his blood pressure, things hadn’t worked out that way.

Like the first time that he’d tried to fire her and had somehow ended up with a new menu, two new waitresses that actually turned out to be pretty good, and renting the apartment across from his to her, her best friend and that fucking dog. He still wasn’t sure how she’d managed it, but every fucking time that he tried to tell her to stop fucking with his head, his life, and his restaurant, she somehow managed to change the subject and fuck with his head until he found himself doing exactly what she wanted just to shut her the fuck up, but no longer.