Authors: Lani Lynn Vale
Text copyright ©2016 Lani Lynn Vale
All Rights Reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means including information storage and retrieval systems, without permission in writing from the author. The only exception is by a reviewer, who may quote short excerpts in a review.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, or locales is entirely coincidental.
To Sarah Rogers, Randi Vassal and Leah Joslin, thank you for having a discussion with me on gun control and whether or not it is proper to store a pistol, no matter if it’s fake or real, loaded or unloaded, in the front of your pants.
To my babies, mommy loves you…she just doesn’t want you reading her books.
To my husband, you can’t read my books either…because I don’t want you to know how much the hero is exactly like you. I still love you, though. With all my heart and soul.
Golden Czermak aka Furiousfotog, I’m in love with each and every photo you take. <3
Colin Wayne- When I first started my writing journey, you were the person that I wanted to be on my covers. Now I have you, and I can’t believe it. Thank you so much for posing for this photo.
Taima, a.k.a. Tai, is the last person people come to for help. He’s the fuck up…the bad boy…the guy that only looks out for himself.
Which couldn’t be further from the truth.
He’s fought hard to become the man he is today. He’s a hero in the public’s eye. A firefighter that
young and old alike turned
to for help at the lowest point in their lives.
What people don’t know, though, is that he’s no hero. He’s the reason his sister is dead, and he’ll spend the rest of his life trying to right that wrong.
Then one split second decision has him coming face to face with Mia Darling. The woman changes his life, making him reevaluate everything he thought he had figured out and showing him the tenderness he never knew he needed.
Just like always, though, his luck runs out.
When the smoke settles, Mia’s gone, and Tai realizes there’s no way he can live the rest of his life without her. He’ll show her just how hard a bad boy will fight to get his woman back, and he’s not opposed to fighting dirty.
Table of Contents
Every action has a reaction. Every step has a consequence.
-Fact of Life
“You’re fucking shitting me,” I said, staring at the papers that my friend just handed me.
“For real. They give you twenty-five hundred dollars just to donate sperm. It’s perfect. Seriously. Easiest three minutes I’ve ever given,” Johnathan grinned sheepishly.
I looked at him.
“That’s all it takes you; three minutes? You’re weak.” I punched him in the arm.
Johnathan hit me at a moment of weakness.
Any other time, and none of this would have mattered.
But then another bill had come in the mail, and I showed how weak I was.
“Thanks, Johnathan. I appreciate you telling me this, but I don’t think I’ll be able to do it. I don’t think I could live with myself knowing I had kids running around out there without me to watch over them.” And I really couldn’t.
My life was fucked up enough. I didn’t need to add a kid to the mix.
But the longer I thought about it, and the more I thought about the debt I had, the more and more appealing it sounded.
I had a thirty-five-hundred-dollar credit card bill right now that was simply gathering interest.
Before, when I’d lived in San Antonio, I was making more money. Nearly double what I was making now.
Now that I was living in Kilgore, though, I was making enough money to cover my house payment, truck payment, leaving just barely enough to eat, seeing as nearly half my check went to my debt.
I was a fucked up teenager, and it’d continued into my early twenties before I’d gotten my act together.
Now I was paying for my mistakes by not using my credit cards how they were intended to be used.
I’d gotten my debt down from more than eighteen grand to just over thirty-five hundred in four years.
Making that money look good since it meant I wouldn’t have to eat Ramen Noodles for the week if I followed through with it.
“Seriously, I think you should think about it. Carrie is letting me do it,” Johnathan said enthusiastically.
Carrie was the new girl he was seeing who he thought might turn into a full time thing.
“Alright, boys. Time for y’all to get to work. That truck ain’t gonna wash itself,” the chief called.
I sighed and picked my rag back up from the bucket, running it over the chrome of the fire truck.
But the idea of being a sperm donor took hold and, before I knew it, I was going up there after work for blood tests and sampling.
I was desperate.
“He’s got leukemia. At this point, the only thing that would help is a bone marrow transplant…or a blood transfusion from a sibling…or a parent that has the same blood type as him,” the oncologist that was taking care of Colt, said.
I looked over at Colt, taking in the deep circles under his eyes.
I had just thought he was sick with a stomach bug, but after four days of him still not feeling well, I’d decided to take him in.
And thank God I had.
“So what do I need to do?” I asked, leaning forward in my seat.
Colt grunted in affront that I would dare to move his bed, and I smiled down at my little boy, even though all I wanted to do was cry.
“We’ll get him in for more blood work. From there, we’ll test compatibility against our registered donors. Then we’ll take it from there,” he said softly.
I looked down at my sleeping baby, now knowing exactly what desperation felt like…because if it were possible to make him healthy, I’d steal, kill or lie to make it happen.
Later that afternoon, as I laid Colt down into his crib across the room from my bed, I stared at him in despair.
With one final caress to his head, I turned and headed down the hall, taking a seat at my computer to start the research process.
By the end of the night, I had a plan of action.
All it would take was getting my hands on a little sperm.
One month later
“But he was a perfect match,” I whispered, looking devastatingly at the phone like it was a live wire ready to lead me to my death. “No.”
I looked over at Colt.
That was my only chance.
Then the lady’s words repeated in my head, over and over again, taunting me.
“We’re sorry, but the man that was going to be the donor asked us to remove his specimen from our catalog.
He had a change of heart.”
A change of heart.
Would he have had that change of heart had he known that he would be saving a life?
He’d been our only hope.
to change his mind.
I just wanted to let you know, since I’ve started working here, my soul has died. You might be able to bring it back to life if you’d let us sip a little whiskey between clients.
-Mia’s secret note to her boss
One month later
“Listen, Chuck, I’ll be there as soon as I can. I just have to run over to the fire station and drop something off. Once I’m done, I’ll be there. I’m not even late yet,” I said for the hundredth time. “Gotta go now, bye.”
I was a language specialist, as well as a nurse.
The only reason Chuck wanted me there half the time was to translate; and, although I was happy to do it when I was
, I wasn’t happy to do it when I
Especially when I didn’t have to be there for another forty-five minutes.
I looked at the fire station in front of me, stomach churning, at what I had no choice but to do.
What I had
It’d been thirty kinds of illegal, and most likely, I would lose my job if anyone found out…but I just couldn’t
Not if it meant Colt’s life.
I looked over at Colt’s sleeping face in the picture that was pinned to the sun visor in my car, and I squared my shoulders in determination, preparing myself for what I was about to do.
I could do this.
For my beautiful eight-month-old baby that deserved to live a full life.
I got out of the car with a new purpose and determination in my step, and rounded the front bumper to where I kept Colt’s car seat.
Then cursed when I realized that Colt wasn’t with me.
Colt wouldn’t be with me for at least another week while they monitored him for complications after his first chemo treatment.
“Can I help you, ma’am?”
I looked up to find a young woman around my age staring at me from where she was washing the ambulance.
“Umm,” I said. “Yes. I’m looking for Taima.”
Her brows rose.
“He’s in the back. Do you want to come with me, and I’ll take you to him?” She asked.
I nodded. “That would be great, thank you.”
The woman smiled, her blonde hair whipping around her face as the breeze from the cool October day blew.
“What’s your name?” The woman asked as I hurried to catch up to her.
“Mia. Amelia Sheridan,” I said.
The woman grinned.
“My name is Baylee Mackenzie. So, what do you want with Tai?” She asked, holding open a door.
“Umm,” I hesitated.
I couldn’t really tell her that I wanted Tai’s sperm, could I?
“I’m here to ask him something…a favor,” I settled on.
“Tai’s right through here,” she said, pushing open one more door.
It led to a weight room, of all places, and Tai, whomever he was, wasn’t alone.
“Tai!” Baylee called.
A man across the room on a bench press machine looked up.
He had quite a bit of weight on the bar he was bench pressing, and I bit my lip as he pushed it back up and racked it once again.
“Yeah?” He asked, his eyes flicking to me.
“You got a visitor,” Baylee said before leaving me behind with a room full of men staring at me in surprise.
“What’cha need, sweetheart?” One man asked from a treadmill. “I can give you anything you need. Tai, there, is a commitment-phobe. He’d do nothing for you.”
Tai snorted as he stood, and I got my first good look at his body.
He was tall, much taller than my five foot three inches.
I would guess he was closer to six foot two, at the least.
He had wild, messy hair. It probably was styled when he’d begun working out, but now it was a spiky, sweaty mess. It was black with a smattering of gray at the edges near his ears and a lone streak down the middle of his head that was pure white.
His eyes were a translucent green that were nearly hypnotic. His muscles were not overly large, but defined and honed to precision. And I had an irrational urge to run my hands over his chest to see if it was as hard as it looked.
The man that’d offered himself to me earlier, when Baylee had left stepped up to my side, was smiling at me.