Love Hurts

By: Mandi Beck


“I can’t believe that you’re allowing this to happen, Deacon.”

“It’s the Princess, Mav. She loves all of this shit. Always has, no matter how hard we tried to beat it out of her growing up,” I tell him, shrugging in acceptance, thankful that we didn’t succeed.

“Yeah, but she also likes cool stuff. Like sports. Indie couldn’t do a hockey-themed party?” he snorts, mildly disgusted.

Shaking my head, I slap him on the back and walk away, heading into the house. Let him tell Indie he doesn’t like the party. I’d have one less brother, but it might be worth it to see how that whole conversation plays out. I’m not even sure what the theme is supposed to be. There’s lace. A lot of lace and feathers…and leather? All over my house. How the fuck does she come up with this shit? Not that I’m complaining. It’s actually really sexy. I don’t have time to explain that to my dumbass brothers though.

I bound up the stairs two at a time, needing to get ready for this party. I hope like hell that I’m able to stay cool. Today is not the day for me to beat the shit out of Frankie’s douchebag boyfriend. It’s getting harder and harder for me to see them together. I’ve always struggled seeing her with other guys, but I couldn’t do shit about it. Not without coming clean about how I feel about her, so I’ve just learned to grin and fucking bear it. Well, that noise is getting old and I’m getting sick as fuck of fighting the urge to claim her ass.

I’m not weak, but this thing with Frankie has me frustrated as hell. I’ve been a total prick to be around lately and don’t have time for any of the bullshit right now. I’m leaving for my next series of fights and the Elite Warriors Federation doesn’t give a fuck if I have sand in my vagina over a woman or not. I am a professional MMA fighter and they expect me to act like it. I can’t afford any distractions right now—not even the Princess, who is a huge distraction.

Striding into my bedroom, I go straight for my music system, firing it up and setting it to shuffle. I enter the bathroom knowing Indie is going to be pissed. I’m sure my playlist isn’t what she had in mind for her little sex-themed party.

Jumping out of the shower, towel slung low on my hips, I head back into my room and the walk-in closet, rubbing another towel over my head, drying my hair. After being in the military and told that I had to wear my hair short, I’ve rebelled since I was discharged and now wear it long. Even though it’s kind of a pain in my ass, especially in the cage where fuckers like to pull it like a bunch of girls. I pull a pair of boxer briefs out of my dresser, slip into them, and finish dressing before throwing my boots on. I see that Frankie is at it again when I open the vanity drawer.

Shaking my head, I grab one of the pink hair ties she has replaced my black ones with, yet again, and shove it into my front pocket along with my phone. Checking my watch, I realize that guests are probably arriving and head to the safe in my office to grab Frankie’s present. I look in the bag with the two blue boxes that I picked up earlier in the week and smile as I flick the light off and head downstairs. Indie is at the landing, stabbing her fingers at the panel that controls the sound system.

“What are you doing, woman? Why are you being so rough with my shit?” I growl at her, swatting her hands away.

“The DJ is trying to set up and do a sound check but all anyone can hear is your shitty music!” she shouts.

Glancing down at the bag I hold, she jerks her chin in my direction.

“Is that her gift?”

“Yep.”

“You gonna show me?”

“Nope,” I say as I walk past whistling.

“Are you wearing that? You know he’ll be in a suit, right?”

I don’t even bother looking down at my worn jeans and plain, black Henley. I don’t need to dress up in a fucking suit in order to look good or impress anyone. Who the fuck wears a suit to an outdoor party at the end of May anyway? Douchebags, that’s who.

I keep walking but yell over my shoulder, “You say that shit like it matters, Jones!” Running a hand through my still-damp hair, I flex for her, causing my shirt to strain against the muscles rippling beneath. “Doesn’t matter what he wears. I’ll still look better.”

She rolls her eyes, shaking her head in exasperation. Laughing, I wink and make my way outside.

Two hours later, the DJ has all of Frankie’s favorites playing. Some of it I love, some I tolerate, and some makes me want to put a bullet in my brain. The Princess has really eclectic taste in music—probably because she’s a dancer. Not a stripper, but an actual trained dancer. She did teach a pole dancing class at the gym for a while though, which I found to be fucking hot as hell. She’s amazing -- she has a studio in the gym our dads own, teaches classes, and even competes, though not as much as she used to.

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