Taking The Fall: the Complete SeriesBy: Alexa Riley
“What the fuck are you doing here, Cherry?” Carter growls and stands up from a metal chair.
I’ve never seen this look on him before. Well, not directed at me anyway. What should I expect though? The man is in prison and has been for four years, and still has another four to go.
I haven’t seen him since that night. The night I can’t remember. The reason I’m here.
“Did you get my letters?” I ask, ignoring his question. I sent hundreds over the years and never once did he respond.
“Yeah, I got them,” he fires back.
“But…you never...” My words trail off as the force of what he’s saying hits me. He got my letters; he just didn’t care enough to write back. The first ones started off asking what had happened, because I had so many questions. All I have is this giant blank spot in my mind driving me insane. One second I have a perfect life and the next I wake up in the hospital covered in bruises, with my mother missing, along with my bodyguard. Poof! No more Mom and no more Carter. For some reason, the loss of Carter hurt the most. After that my once-loving father turned cold. Others might have called my father cold before on account of his dealings with the dirtier elements of society, but I never thought he was…until now.
“Ever think there was a reason I didn’t respond? I threw them out. I don’t want you here.” Carter has always been blunt and to the point but he was never intentionally cruel, and never with me. He had been my bodyguard for six months before that night. I couldn’t turn around without tripping over him. Anytime I was allowed to the leave house, he was at my side like a shadow.
Shifting uncomfortably, I take him in. He’s huge. I remember him as always being big, but now he seems massive. His six foot four frame looks like it’s been chiseled from stone and could bust the seams of his prison uniform. I don’t recall him having so many tattoos either, but now every inch of exposed skin is covered in them, peeking up around the neck of his uniform. I also don’t recall ever wanting to lick them as I do now.
Slowly moving my eyes back to his face, I see his jaw is hard from clenching it. His eyes lock on mine, so green they almost look like colored contact lenses. Those blazing emeralds snap away and do a head-to-toe sweep of my body. My breath catches in my throat at the look he gives me. It was hard and deadly before, but now it appears hungry and consuming. He makes me feel naked, completely stripped.
In three long strides he’s in front of me, lifting me into his arms. Caught completely off guard, I gasp. He wraps his free hand in my long hair and pulls my head back, claiming my mouth. My fingers grab the fabric of his shirt and try to pull him closer. I feel like my whole body has just come alive. My body is overcome with all the passion and fervor I’ve felt all these years, but I don’t exactly have any experience to guide me. I’m twenty and I’ve never been kissed. But this doesn’t feel like any kiss I’ve ever imagined. It feels like he’s devouring my body with his mouth, his teeth, his tongue. It feels like Carter is ravishing my soul.
Going to an all-girls’ school kept me sheltered. I even took all my college classes online after I graduated. The only dick that was ever near me was hired by my father. His men were either deadly scared of him or had too much respect for him to touch me—probably a little of both.
I follow Carter’s lead and return his kiss. I’ve wanted this for years. Before he was taken away, I used to try to get his attention and shamelessly flirt with him. I think I was terrible at it because never once did he touch me. I never cared that he was ten years older than I was. I wanted him. I even had this silly idea that if I waited for him, he could be mine. That’s why I wrote him those stupid letters that he clearly didn’t give a shit about. Feeling my anger rush back at the reminder, I go to push at his chest, but we’re ripped apart suddenly. A guard has me in his arms and my feet are still off the floor. It takes three other guards to wrestle Carter down onto one of the tables.
His hands grip the side of the table, his white knuckles betraying his iron grip. “Fuck, Cherry, never thought I was the jealous type,” he says, his voice rough with a touch of fury and possession. “Until you.” His glare moves to the guard holding me. “Now get your fucking hands off her.”
I’m stunned by his words. He’s pinned to a table by three guards and he’s giving orders? I guess some things never change.
“Get. Them. The. Fuck. Off,” Carter barks again as he starts to rise from his position, even as the guards try to push him down.
“This is my prison, Carter. You may get some leeway because of who you are, but there are cameras in here,” the guard holding me says as he places me back down on the floor.
“I just came for answers,” I whisper, hoping he doesn’t catch on to my lie. I want answers, but I want him more.
“I got no answers for you here. I don’t want to see your little ass in this place again, Cherry.” ‘Cherry’, the name used to make me smile. Now it’s starting to piss me off.