Brea Collins’s past kept resurfacing no matter how hard she tried to outrun it. When she finally settled in a small town, working at a club to save enough for what she hoped was her final escape, she never expected to meet Adrian Holden, a man who made her feel something other than fear.
Adrian’s life has been far from a fairy
tale. He fought in the Underground, an illegal cage fighting organization housed below an up-and-coming nightclub. It was his anger and grief that fueled him, that made him the barbarian he was.
When he saw Brea, she called out to every protective, possessive instinct in him.
But their happiness could only last so long.
With two traumatic pasts and an uncertain future, there was bound to be something that drove them apart. But Adrian was determined to have Brea at all costs, and he would do everything in his power to ensure that, even if it meant raw knuckles and bodies at his feet.
Warning: Please note there may be sensitive content that triggers readers. Previously published under the title Adrian"s Wrath, this story has been revised, re-edited, and new content has been added.Books in Series:Underground Series by Jenika SnowBooks by Author:Jenika Snow Books
Adrian threw another shot back and stared ahead. The club was packed, as usual, but he was impervious to all that happened around him. His thoughts were too raw, too real. He needed to drink tonight away and just be somewhere else, at a different time, not stuck in the fucking past.
"Another." He slid the empty shot glass across the counter. The bartender grabbed the whiskey and gave him a refill. This was his fourth shot, and Adrian had no intention of stopping. Maybe he could get drunk enough to forget about tonight, to forget about everything he"d lost.
Through the mirror lining the back of the bar, Adrian could see her before she even sidled up to him. Her platinum-blonde hair was in need of a new dye job, and her lips were covered in this coral-red shade that reminded him of a clown.
He slammed the glass on the counter for another drink, and it was refilled right away. She stood beside him now, her perfume overpowering as she "accidentally" bumped into him. They were all the same. They all thought they were someone special, that they had the pussy of the century.
To Adrian they were not something he"d allow himself to get lost in.
He drank the shot, loving how the burn from the alcohol had since diminished and all he felt was numbness.
"I"m sorry. Can I just grab one of these"" Her ploy to get his attention wasn"t lost on him, but he wasn"t interested. He could have told her as much and saved her the time of trying to get in his pants, but right now his mind was blank, the alcohol making nothing really matter.
Of course that had been the point.
When she leaned across the counter, practically sitting on his lap to get a napkin, of all things, he could see her nipples poking through the thin material of her top. All it did was make him feel disgust.
"Not interested," he said without looking at her. Thankfully she didn"t argue, didn"t try and push herself on him even more.
The club was popping despite the fact it was a Wednesday night. Fighting was the only outlet that helped to relieve the pain, anger, and all-out hatred he felt on a constant basis.
Closing his eyes, he exhaled. He was tired, so fucking tired of the daily repetition that was his life. With his eyes still closed, his senses became heightened. He felt the vibrations of the music, smelled the overpoweringly cloying scent of sweat and sex. And then the scent of roses filled his senses despite the tang of spilled beer and arousal in the air.
Instantly he knew who it was, and he didn"t stop himself from opening his eyes and turning to the right, seeing her. She was only a couple feet from him, a waitress leaning against the side of the bar, the tray in her hands overflowing with empty glasses. She looked tired " and sad. Hell, he knew all about the kind of sadness that consumed a person.
She was a tiny thing, short and thin and way out of her element working at a place like this. That much was obvious. As if she sensed him, she lifted her head and met his gaze. Even from the distance and without adequate lighting he could make out the startling blue of her eyes.
He would never be able to forget when she had looked up at him that night in the Underground, the crowd intense, the scent of blood filling the air. He"d ripped those men away from her as she appeared scared. When Adrian had heard her scream, even with the noise surrounding them and the blood rushing to his ears as he faced off with his opponent in the cage, every protective instinct inside of him had gone on high alert. Memories had assaulted him, and tunnel vision had taken over.
He"d had one goal in mind. Get to her.
When Kash had joined in, the two cage fighters had made quick work of the drunken bystanders. It had been a very long time since he"d felt any emotions for the opposite sex. But the bone-deep protective instincts that had slammed into him as she had looked up at him, silently begging for his help, had broken something inside of him.
Brea, he"d found out, was her name.
It sounded sweet and innocent.
The walls he"d built around himself, especially his heart, had cracked at that moment. Never had he experienced such a strong reaction to a woman, and never so instantaneously.
His heart had started beating again, his blood rushing through his veins. He"d felt alive.
It had been weeks since that night, and despite his inner pep talks that he needed to stay away from her, that he was damaged goods and she didn"t need that in her life, he found himself frequenting the club where she worked, if only to see her.