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Be Mine… Or Else

By:Alexa Riley
Chapter One


"Ouch!" I squeak as I poke myself in the eye. I drop the contact and let out a deep sigh.

"What are you doing?"

I glance over at Tia with my one good eye. She’s leaning against the bathroom door frame, looking at me with curiosity. Her jet-black hair is in messy tangles, and she’s still in her pajamas.

"Trying to put these stupid contacts in," I tell her and grunt. Turning around, I blink a few times and look into the sink for the contact I dropped. I don’t see it anywhere and frustration gnaws at me.

"Is this about Mr. Venti?" she asks.

My cheeks flame at the thought of him. I’d given him the nickname before I found out who he was. Every time I saw him he was ordering a venti coffee, so it stuck. His real name is Beau, which sounds like a Nicholas Sparks hero, and he’s got the face to match.

I meet her eyes in the mirror. She is studying me with a smile on her face. Normally she’s got on heavy eye makeup with dark lipstick to match her dark eyes. She’s covered in tattoos, but somehow she still looks like the girl next door. She’s got a baby face that sees everything, including right through me.

Clearing my throat, I try to focus on the task at hand and ignore the fact that Tia might be able to read my mind. I've had these contacts for months, but every time I try to use them I give up. I can't ever get them in and once I do they drive me crazy.

She’s right though. He is the reason. I’m trying not to look so young because I know Beau has to be at least ten years older than me.

"Dove." Tia says my name softly. "If he's been flirting with you already you don't need to change anything."

I bite my lip. I thought he'd been flirting with me. It's been going on for weeks but he never takes it any further. He hasn’t asked me on a date or even for my phone number. Maybe I’m reading it wrong and he’s just being nice. I'm terrible at flirting and knowing when a guy likes me.

It started off with smiles that turned into hellos. Soon we were small-talking and introducing ourselves to one another. Then last week he reached out and brushed my hair back away from my eyes, like it was the most natural thing on the planet. My heart stopped for a moment and I swear I can still feel the light brush of his fingers on my skin even a week later.

He’s ridiculously handsome and probably way out of my league. I work at a florist shop and he’s a lawyer. He dresses like he’s loaded and I’m sure he is. Everything about him is polished and put together. The one thing that strikes me as odd is that I’ve never seen a man so big in a suit before. He’s the size of a football player, but never once did I feel intimidated. When he looked at me with his soft brown eyes, with little lines at the corners, I felt so warm and happy.

I shake my head and come back to reality. We’re on two different playing fields, and I need to let go of the fantasy of him.

"You like this dress?" I ask her, turning so she can see it. “It's new.” It's a simple yellow sundress. It hugs tight on the top and flares out at my waist. I can wear pretty much whatever I want at the shop and I have a thing for dresses and bright colors. Ninety percent of my wardrobe consists of dresses identical to this, but I love them.

"It's adorable."

I huff at her response, picking up my glasses from beside the sink and sliding them on. "I didn't want to be adorable. I wanted to be sexy."

"You're wearing Converses," she laughs in response.

I look down at my shoes. I always wear shoes like these, or slip-ons. Especially to work. Sometimes I have to do a few deliveries and they work best for that. Plus, they’re comfy.

I can tell Tia is fighting a smile. "I'm sorry, Dove, but you,"—she shrugs slightly—"are never going to be able to fight the adorable thing." She reaches out and tugs on one of my big blonde curls. "Yellow makes your eyes pop."

"Like you can see them behind my giant glasses.”

"No missing those baby blues." She laughs and heads toward the kitchen for coffee.

I used to bring a travel mug of coffee to work so I didn’t waste extra money at the coffee shop. But that all changed the day I forgot it and popped into the coffee shop next door and ran into Beau. Now I'm there every morning hoping to run into him.

I look in the mirror, giving myself a once-over. I put on light makeup and have my blonde locks down instead of my usual ponytail. Grabbing my strawberry lip gloss, I swipe on a quick coat before flipping off the light and heading for the living room.

Our place isn't big, but it's cute. There are two small bedrooms and a shared bathroom. The kitchen and living room are tiny, but it's not bad for the two of us. I jumped on the place when I found an ad in the paper for someone looking for a roommate. I'd just graduated high school and for some reason I didn't have the drive to go to college. Even with my good grades I really didn't know what I wanted to do. My parents didn't take it well, but I have to live my life.

It was my first act of rebellion in my entire life. I told them I wasn't going to college and I was moving out. If they could have chained me in the house to keep me from going they would have. I knew deep down I had to get out. If I stayed with my parents they would build my whole life and that’s not what I wanted. I’ve felt unsteady for a long time and haven't had a direction. The only time that feeling has ever gone away has been in those few minutes when I was with Beau.

When I met Tia I wasn't sure how we'd get along. We seemed like such opposites in every way. But like the old saying goes, opposites attract. Right away we clicked.

When I walk into the living room I see her standing in the kitchen drinking her coffee. Her mug states that it contains the blood of her enemies and it makes me smile.

We might be night and day, but we work together somehow. Over the past six months she's become my best friend. She puts up a good front, but once she let me past that I found out she’s a sweet marshmallow inside. She’s loyal and would do anything for someone she called friend.

"Maybe I could go with you, move this along a little, because god knows you aren't going to make the first move." She pauses for a second. "And you shouldn't have to. A sweet girl like you should never chase."

"I could never…" I trail off. I wish I had the moxie to make a move on Beau, but I don't. Heck, when he touched me I couldn't even find words. We stood there just looking at each other in silence. Then he smirked a little and left. I stood like a seashell in a current, unable to process what happened. "No. I'm taking it slow."

Which is true. I've never had a crush before and it's driving me crazy. Why did my first crush have to be on someone like him and not someone who was more on my level?

"I can't wait for the wedding. I’m going to get my walker studded in black diamonds and skulls. I'll be the baddest old lady there," she says, winking at me over her mug.

I stick my tongue out at her even though I know it's childish. She laughs as I grab my white jacket and purse from where they’re hanging next to the front door. When I pull open the front door, butterflies are already taking over my stomach.

"Don't do anything I wouldn't do," I hear yelled from behind me. I huff. There isn't anything Tia wouldn't do.

Chapter Two


"Sir, she's on the move."

I pull myself from the file I’ve been trying to get through for an hour. I kept reading the same two lines over and over, because I’m out of my mind. With those words, I'm up instantly. When I make it to the door, Katie is already standing there with my suit jacket in hand. I grab it from her and keep moving.

"No, I don't need any coffee, thanks for asking," she snickers as I walk away.

She's the only person in this office who can get away with smartass comments. Probably because she’s often more of a mother to me than assistant. It used to annoy me, but over time it grew on me. I wasn't accustomed to a woman caring for me just because they cared. Before that, anytime someone gave me attention it was because they thought I could benefit them in some way.

My security guard Samuel steps onto the elevator with me right as the doors open. "Don't come in the coffee shop," I tell him. I say the same thing every day, but I don’t care.

He nods. "I know, sir."

His face never changes. I know he hates when I go anywhere public and he's not by my side, when you have as much money as I do you can never be too careful. I don't want to scare my little sunshine away. Both Samuel and I are big and can be intimidating when standing next to each other. Normally I even have the same look on my face that he has right now. Straight. Giving nothing away. It works well in the courtroom. It’s also how I get people to leave me the fuck alone.

With my little sunshine, though, I always make sure I smile. I don’t want to scare her off or seem intimidating. I also want to tell Samuel to stay the fuck away from her, but I can't. He’s the one watching her when I’m unable to.

"Sir?" He must feel the tension in the elevator.

"She's mine." I glance over at him. A possessiveness like I've never felt slides through my body. It’s always that way with her. Fuck, I need her.

He gives a sharp nod. "I know, sir. I've also made that clear to Quinn."

I feel a little bit of tension leave my muscles. Quinn is the guard tailing her now. This is the first time I ever thought about what my security people really looked like. I've never thought about women’s responses to them because I don’t give a shit what they look like as long as they do their jobs. And I don’t care about women unless they’re on the other side of my desk and I'm taking their case.