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McQUEEN:Las Vegas Bad Boys(29)

By:Frankie Love

"I know," I tell them. "When I saw his face standing outside her front door, I wanted to choke him then and there.”

"You really loved her?" Landon asks. "Like you volunteered to be in her bad boy mob club? Give up everything to be with her?"

"Yeah, until he found out she's a liar,” Ace says. “And a cheat. She's been playing our boy this whole time."

"Maybe." Landon raises his hands in the air, offering a different perspective. "I mean, the whole situation sounds pretty fucked up. You think she wants to marry that prick?"

"What?" I ask. “You think there's more to the story?”

"What do I know?" Landon shrugs. "But considering the fact I fell in love with a woman who literally was married, I tend to think stories may have more than one side."

"Who are you asshats?" I ask, shaking my head. "You've all become pussy-whipped."

"Nah," Ace says. "We just fell hard. Luckily, we found women to catch us."

"Maybe you should make absolutely certain that the story you're telling yourself is the true one," Landon says, taking a swig of his beer.

"This is a fucking Oprah rerun," Jack says, tossing his napkin on the table. "And on that note, I've gotta go get my ass handed to me by my girlfriend."

He stands to leave, but before he does he claps me on the back. "You got this, brother. And if you need us, we've always got your back."


I've been sitting on his front porch for five hours. I can’t leave in case I miss him, can't bear to text in case he doesn't respond—or worse, tells me to go. I need to see him face-to-face.

While I wait, I text Lucy.

Me: Things got bad at home. Sorry I've been MIA. Pls lie to my brothers if they come looking for me.

Lucy: Breaking News! JoJo is being cryptic and weird.

Me: Sorry. I’m a mess. McQueen confessed his love and Grotto caught us. Worst. Morning. Ever.

Lucy: Holy shitballs. Okay. No worries. I'm here at Mary's. All good.

Me: Why are you there?"

Lucy: I'm helping Mary look for nannies online. Connor bought her a brand new Tahoe. He said he’s moving home, and that she can hire help.

Me: Think it's gonna last? The good juju between them?

Lucy: I think Mary wanted to fight until she got what she wanted. I think that's called either true love or marriage.

Me: Ha. Well, thanks for helping her.

Lucy: No problem. I think your family is becoming my family. Weird, but true.

I smile, knowing my nephew and nieces can woo over the most difficult person, and Lucy isn't even in the realm of difficult. She is beyond generous.

Me: Thank you for everything. I love you.

Lucy: Love you more. Does this mean the wedding is off?

Me: I don't know what it means. Am currently on McQueen's porch waiting for him to show up and take me back.

Lucy: Yeah ... you lying to him was pretty messed up.

Me: Thanks. I wasn't aware.

Lucy: If he really loves you, he'll understand.

I send her a string of heart emojis, wondering if what she said is actually true. Will he understand? Were my actions forgivable?

But I don't have any more time to think about it, because he’s pulling up. The garage door opens and he drives his car in. The door lowers and shuts.

Shit. I really hope I didn't wait all day for that swift rejection.

Then the front door opens behind me, and I let go of the breath I wasn't aware I was holding.

I stand, feeling the tightness in my calves from not working out today.

"Hey," I say, scared to see his gaze.

"What are you doing here?" He stands with the door in his hand.

I stand there awkwardly, wringing my hands. Desperate to be his.

"So you and Grotto? Was that a lie? Or are you engaged?"

"We are engaged, but—"

"Are you fucking with me now? Again?" He shakes his head, moves to shut the door.

Screw it. I need to explain. I need him to hear me out and then I need him to make love to me all over again.

I need those things, and I'm staying here until they all happen.

I lean down, slide under his arm, and run into his house.

He won't stop me, because—unlike Grotto—McQueen knows all about my moves. He knows better than to get rough with me.

I just hope he'll forgive me, and pin me to the ground. Once I'm there, I swear I won't try to get out of his hold.


JoJo darts into my house, and I'm left scratching my head. Earlier, when I left her house, I was all fired up, ready to demolish her and Frank Grotto and never look at them again.

But my friends talked me off the ledge and now I'm standing at my front door as the girl who’s messed with my head since day one runs into my living room. It started with her not being honest about being a virgin, then her leaving when I wanted her to stay, again and again.

I've never been the sort of man who just takes what he can get. I get the best and I don't take no for an answer.

But JoJo has done nothing but push me away and refuse my offer of more.

When I texted my brother last night, I invited him out to Vegas for JoJo's fight. Yeah, we've been distant for the past few years, but I really believed that if I was going all-in with JoJo and her family, it could give us some closure. I was willing to close the book on the sad story of the McQueens and start something with the O'Malleys.

But that was before Frank Grotto entered the picture.

Landon says I need to get the whole story, and since JoJo's here, alone, maybe she has more to tell.

I walk into the house, lock my door. She's in the kitchen, sitting on a barstool at the kitchen island. Her head rests on her arms against the counter. When I walk in, her head pops up, her eyes full of fear.

I don't want her to be scared of me.

But I do want her to understand the situation.

"Listen, JoJo, I don't want to be all intense, a fucker who takes things too seriously, doesn't know how to keep things in perspective. But shit." I shake my head, my arms crossed. "When I told you I loved you, I meant it. And, dammit, if this is all some game, where you're out to make me a fool, you win. I am a fool. A fucking fool, because even after all that went down this morning, I'd still choose you."

Her mouth moves, as if she's ready to speak, then it closes again.

"You have to give me something here, JoJo. Why are you here? Why did you come back?"

She closes her eyes, shakes her head.

I run my hands through my hair, wanting to throw something, wanting to scream. I don't want to be an asshole who gets loud and aggressive, but shit.

"I need more than that," I yell. "It's over, this hide and seek. I'm not playing that shit with you. You have to be honest with me, I deserve that."

She's crying now, biting her lip so hard I swear she's gonna draw blood. Her shoulders shake, her eyes refusing to meet mine.

"Dammit, Jo, what is it?" I lean over the island, grab her face in my hands. "Are you marrying Grotto?"

She squeezes her eyes shut. Tears fall down her cheeks, and she looks so distraught.

Well, I'm fucking distraught too.

She pulls her face away from me, but I grab her wrists before she can get away. This girl knows how to run, but she needs to learn some new moves. I may have changed a hundred ways for her, but maybe it's because I'm the one man she needs.

The one man who’s willing to fight for her heart.

I know JoJo could get out of this hold with one quick motion. She’s the best fighter I've ever seen.

But she doesn't try to get away.

She doesn't try to force my hands away.

She stays.

And that tells me everything.

Chapter Twenty-Two


Sitting here, tears streaming down my face, the easy thing to do would be to leave. To go home, apologize to Frank. Lay down in his bed and be his bride.

But he’s a monster. I can't marry a man like that.

I need the man I already have. The man I nearly lost.

It's not that easy. Happily ever afters don't come without loss. And I still have a family, an arranged marriage, a stalker, and a professional fight.

And if I tell my dad I'm not going through with the wedding ... then who knows what he might do to McQueen.

I sit here, at the kitchen island, McQueen's hands on my wrists, and I want him, forever—but I don't think he realizes what might happen if I give in to my heart.

What might happen to him.

My family might come after him. Or worse, Grotto's might.

"If I tell you what you want to hear, it might cost you your life," I say.

His eyes narrow on me.

"I mean it, McQueen. The marriage with Grotto has been arranged so our families can forge an alliance."

He doesn't say anything, and I guess that's fair. I've made him do all the talking and all the staying. I haven't played nice, not at all.

"I don't want to marry him, I never did. But I want to do right by my family."

He can't hold back any longer. He lets go of my wrists, and walks around the island, pulls out my stool, steps closer to me.

"JoJo, your family is the mob. They kill and they destroy. They've ruined this town. Grotto kidnapped Emmy, framed Ace. And your family wants to make an alliance with them. Isn't that fucked up to you?"

My chest tightness at his words. Just because my family is the mob doesn't mean I walk away from them. But maybe there are other reasons to leave.

Reasons like McQueen.

"My family may be fucked up, but I love them. I said I would never leave them." I look into his eyes, and pull his body to mine. "Until now."

"What happens now?" His mouth comes closer as the realization of what I'm saying hits him. His tense jaw relaxes, his shoulders fall.