Two very bad boys trying to go legit...
Max and Jesse grew up on the streets of Philadelphia, working for the city's most successful crime boss before attempting to go straight. They're inseparable, their friendship honed by danger. They share everything, including a burning desire for the same woman. But an affair now, while they're still untangling themselves from their past, could be dangerous, not only to their friendship but to their lives. And to hers.
One good girl who could be their downfall...
Mary Alice has always walked the straight and narrow, but her secret craving for Max and Jesse is fast becoming an obsession. They don't fit into her safe little world of family, friends and work. That doesn't stop her from wanting these intensely sexual men who fascinate her. So when fate hands her an opening, Mary Alice proposes an indecent arrangement guaranteed to rock their worlds.
A split-second and a single shot…
Their powerfully erotic relationship is shattered in an instant. Jesse and Max stand united even though they’re miserable without her. Mally is lonely, hurt and angry but she’s not ready to give up on their relationship. She has to make them understand that they’re safer together. And that she’s much tougher than they realize.
Read an excerpt ...
“Seriously. You’re stalking her? Buddy, you need a new hobby.”
Max Burdanov stifled a sigh and refused to rise to his friend’s bait.
“I’m seeing a movie. Is that a crime?”
Jesse stepped up to his side as Max waited in a ridiculously long line for snacks at the concession counter.
“Nope, not a crime.”
Max heard the smirk in Jesse’s voice and gritted his teeth. “You know you don’t need to be here, right?”
Max bit back another sigh as he reached the counter. “I guess this means you’re seeing the movie, too. You want Milk Duds or M&Ms?”
“You know I don’t eat that shit. Get me popcorn. So what torture am I being subjected to?”
Max ordered from the girl behind the counter who looked like she was being tortured with dull knives as she got their order.
“I have no idea what the movie is. Probably some chick flick.”
Jesse grunted. “Great.”
“You can leave.”
Jesse lifted an eyebrow at him. “Uh-huh.”
Max released his pent-up sigh as he paid for their snacks and shoved a soda and the bag of popcorn at Jesse then picked up his own soda and box of Junior Mints. “We’ve had no trouble.”
“Which doesn’t mean it isn’t coming.”
Max headed toward the theater where the movie he really didn’t want to see was playing, Jesse right behind him. “I know that. I just…” He stopped just before entering the theater. “You’re right. This is a mistake.”
Jesse’s hand in the middle of his back forced him to keep walking.
“Christ, you’re easy.” Jesse huffed. “It’s been six months. Loosen the reins a little. You want to stalk the girl? Go for it. Just don’t be a pussy about it.”
Max curbed the urge to elbow Jesse in the stomach. He didn’t want to draw any attention. As far as anyone here knew, they were two guys seeing a movie. Nothing out of the ordinary.
Luckily, this theater loaded from the back so Mary Alice Dubrosky wouldn’t see him. Not that he expected her to care that he was here. Hell, the girl probably hadn’t thought about him since she’d seen him weeks ago.
He, however, had become obsessed. And that was dangerous. Mainly for Mary Alice. But mostly to Max’s sanity.
Cutting right into the half-empty theater’s back row, they sat at the very end, backs to the wall.
The teenager in the center of the row, his arm around a girl, gave him a dirty look.
Sorry, buddy. Hate to cockblock you, but I’ve got a woman to stalk.
Max caught Jesse grinning at the guy, who quickly turned away.
“Don’t scare the natives.” Max settled into his chair, elbowing Jesse’s arm off the armrest between the seats.
Jesse laughed and Max saw the two women three rows in front of them glance over their shoulders. And linger long enough to smile at him and Jesse.
Max acknowledged them with a nod then looked away. He had no interest.
He and Jesse got a lot of double takes when they were together. Max knew he wasn’t hard on the eyes but Jesse… Jesse looked like he belonged on a fucking billboard selling underwear.
Jesse had taken more than his share of shit from the other guys in their organization for his exotic looks, thanks to his Latino mother and half-Asian father, but now that he and Max had gone out on their own… Jesse didn’t take shit anymore.
Max glanced at his best friend and realized Jesse hadn’t even seen the women checking them out. Totally oblivious as he tossed popcorn in his mouth.
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the women roll their eyes at each other. Max figured he and Jesse had just been labeled gay.
Not true but they did have a closer relationship than most men ever would. Yes, they had sex together but always with a woman between them.
“So who’s she with?” Jesse slumped into his seat, stretching his legs out in front of him. “And holy shit. When did they start making theaters with leg room and rocking chairs?”
“How the hell do I know who she’s with? And I don’t think I’ve been in a movie theater in more than a decade.”
“Hmm. I think the last movie we saw was in high school so that’s at least thirteen years. Want me to see if I can identify her?”
Max wanted to say no but he was an idiot so… “Yeah. Sure.”
“I’m surprised you don’t know already.” Jesse tapped away on his phone. “How long have you been stalking her?”
Not rising to Jesse’s bait took a concerted effort of will so Max popped Junior Mints in his mouth.
“Bethann Riedel,” Jesse finally said. “BFF since first grade.”
Max turned to Jesse with a grimace. “What the fuck is ‘BFF’?”
“Best friend forever.” Jesse grinned. “You know, like us.”
Max gave Jesse the finger and turned back to the screen as the lights dimmed and the previews started but he breathed a silent sigh of relief.
Jesse seemed more like his old self every day. He’d been in a heightened state of awareness since he and Max had taken over parts of Mickey’s former empire. Since they lived together, Max knew Jesse hadn’t been sleeping more than a couple of hours a night.
Max tried not to make it obvious that he was worried about Jesse but…he was worried about Jesse.
And he knew Jesse was worried about him.
Especially because, yeah, he’d been stalking a certain redhead.
Christ, he really was an idiot. He shouldn’t be here. He should be anywhere but here. But for the past six months, since the moment he’d met her, he’d been obsessed.
What the hell was it about her?
She wasn’t conventionally beautiful. She was so sweetly adorable, she should come with a diabetes warning. He wasn’t sure if it was the copper hair that fell to the middle of her back in loose waves or the pale green eyes or the button nose or the full pink lips that he wanted to crush under his.
Or watch as she used them to suck off Jesse while Max slid into her from behind.
He shifted in his chair, trying not to make it obvious he needed to relieve the pressure of his hard-on.
Of course Jesse noticed, his almost silent huff of laughter enough for Max to give him the finger. Again.
Now he heard Jesse’s laughter above the ear-splitting volume for a preview for the next superhero blockbuster and then another for an action film starring Arnold Schwarzenegger. Hell, Jesse might actually like that one.
But he knew they’d never get to see it unless Mary Alice decided she was going and—
Fuck. This was such a bad fucking idea.
He didn’t have time for a woman unless it was to relieve stress for a night. Mary Alice wasn’t that type of girl. Hell, he hadn’t spent more than a few minutes at a time with her and he knew that for a fact.
Then why the hell had he followed her to a fucking movie theater just so he could sit twenty rows behind her? He didn’t even remember making a conscious decision to follow her.
He’d been driving by Tristan and Adam’s office with the intention of stopping to talk to Adam about something. Or had that just been an excuse? He didn’t even know now.
Then he’d seen Mary Alice leave the building. He’d watched her walk into the nearest parking garage, watched her drive out a few minutes later.
The next thing he knew, he was following her. He hadn’t thought about doing anything more than making sure she got home okay. And when she’d parked in the lot that was nowhere near her apartment, he couldn’t help himself. He pulled in a few cars behind her.
Meanwhile, Jesse had used the GPS tracker on his phone to find Max.
And now, here they all were.
Which didn’t mean a goddamn thing except they were in the same room.
So what the hell are you doing here?
Damn good question.
Shifting in his seat, he tried to ignore the obvious answer but Max hated lying to himself.
They were here because the last time he and Jesse had had a woman between them, Max’s mind had been elsewhere. He’d gone through the motions and got off but the woman moaning in his arms wasn’t the woman he wanted.
And Jesse had known. Which was why the woman that night had been a redhead. It just hadn’t been the right redhead.
The theater went completely dark and Max tensed before he could stop.
God damn it to hell.
He’d been to enough therapy to know why he reacted the way he did. And he knew he might never get over it because childhood traumas were difficult to overcome, more therapy, blah, fucking blah…
In the next second, the screen erupted in brilliant color and sound as the film started and he began to breathe normally again.
He watched the first couple of minutes, long enough to figure out the movie was a sci-fi saga full of spaceships and aliens. Jesse would love it. Max would rather watch a political thriller than a film where things blew up every ten minutes.
So he returned to staring at the back of Mary Alice’s head. He had the perfect view. Which was pretty fucking ridiculous.
He wanted her to be here between them, his arm around her shoulders, listening to her whisper in his ear about the film. Or the weather. Or anything at all.
He remembered the last time he’d seen her, last week at Adam and Tristan’s office. He’d stopped to discuss a couple of issues with Adam and Tristan. After Adam’s father and uncle had handed over the reins of part of their operation to Max and Jesse, Adam and Tris had become valued sounding boards. Adam, in particular, had a way of looking at things that Max sometimes didn’t see.
And Tristan was a total boy scout who provided a completely different outlook. Which came in handy because Max and Jesse had worked for one of Philadelphia’s biggest criminal enterprises before trying to go legit.
Max had a lot to deal with lately. He’d known he’d have to wade through a lot of shit to make this work, and he’d thought he was up to the challenge. Thought he’d understood that he’d have to give up a hell of a lot in order to make this work.
He hadn’t expected to be blindsided by a tiny redhead who made his dick hard and stirred every protective instinct he had to protect her from the cold, hard world.
The world he lived in, which was no place for a woman like her.
God damn it.
What a fucking exercise in futility.
When the hell was this film going to be over so he could leave and get the hell as far away from her as he could?