The Bad Boys' Reluctant WomanBy: Sam Crescent
When she’d moved to Law Castle the town had seemed sweet and peaceful. Like most sweet and peaceful places it had a bad side to it as well. The customer Bill was dealing to left. He turned round to her. Bill wore an expensive suit, which was totally out of place where they lived. She knew he wore it in order to make the rest of them feel small. It was his calling card to tell the rest of the world that he owned this side of Law Castle. The Bad Boys owned the good side, while Bill and his thugs owned the part no one cared about. Like her. She was a nothing and a no one.
“Zoe, I was hoping to see you today,” Bill said, stroking her arm. She tried not to vomit from his touch. He was a total creep and a douche-bag.
“Bill,” she said. One of her hands held the cup of hot coffee while the other had her book. Neither looked like a weapon, but she knew if the need arose she’d use them as one.
“When are you going to give it up and be with me?” he asked.
“Never,” she said. He caught her arm as she made to move away. “Let go of my arm, Bill.”
“You’re playing hard to get. I get it. You’ll fall for me. They all fall for me sooner or later.”
Zoe turned around and glared at him. “I’m not just some woman, Bill. I’ll never be yours, so back the fuck off.”
She stamped on his foot. The action made him curse and let go of her arm. “This isn’t over, Zoe!” he shouted to her back.
Ignoring him, she made her way over to the swings and sat down. Several children ran over to her. She smiled at them, then opened her book to read. Every now and then she glanced up to make sure all the children were fine.
Her fears were probably paranoia. Living in the foster care system had given her world a massive wake up call.
She placed her cup down on the floor next to the swing. The time passed pleasantly. Her tummy began to growl with the warning she hadn’t eaten.
A dark shadow fell over her. Zoe gazed up, fearful in case it was Bill coming back for another round.
“Hi, Zoe,” Connor said.
“Connor, what are you doing here?”
He took the swing next to her. She stared at him as the swing didn’t seem large enough to take on his weight or width. “I made you something.” He handed her a cardboard box. Frowning, she handed him her book, then opened the lid on the box he’d given her. There were at least half a dozen cakes she could see in the box. The scent of chocolate wafted up to her.
Her stomach growled, which made Connor chuckle. “I guess you didn’t eat anything before coming out to watch the kids.”
“How do you know that was the reason I was sitting here?”
“I just do. Eat up.”
She lifted out a cupcake, tore the wrapper off and took a bite. The cake melted on her tongue, and the frosting was sheer heaven. Her moan alerted the children playing at the park. They walked over. One by one, she handed each of the kids a cake.
Zoe only got the chance to eat one, but that was more than enough for her. She knew the calories would go straight to her hips.
“Did you make these?” she asked.
“You’re amazing. I’ve never tasted anything so good before.” She licked her lips as her mouth watered for another bite.
“Wait, you’ve got some right here.” Connor ran his thumb at the corner of her lip. Her heart rate kicked up when he placed the thumb with the little bit of chocolate frosting on it into his own mouth.
“Delicious,” he agreed.
She smiled, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear. “What brings you over here?” she asked.
“I was worried about you. This is not a great part of town.”
“It is still part of Law Castle, Connor. I’m fine here.”
“I don’t like you here.”
“You don’t get a say in how I live my life. You don’t know me,” she said.
“Because you don’t give me or us a chance to get to know you.”
Zoe took a deep breath. She knew arguing with him would be useless. “Do Jake and Brent know you came over here to bring me the cupcakes?”
He shook his head. “They’re on break.”
She was a little hurt that they hadn’t come over themselves.
Connor reached over and stroked her cheek. “It’s not because they don’t care, Zoe. They don’t know how to approach you. You refuse to open up.”
“Don’t worry about it. I won’t be in Law Castle all that long.”
“Why are you running away?” he asked.
Zoe stared at him. She saw the conflict in his eyes. “I’m not running away.”
“Bullshit. I know fear when I see it. You’ve got nothing to be afraid of, Zoe. Jake, Brent, and I will take care of you. We want to.”