After having her heart broken by Echo, Dixie Dunn makes a new life for herself, away from the Kings Of Chaos. Now, she must return in order to get her stubborn father back to fighting shape after a heart attack. She knows she’ll have to face Echo, as he has made it clear over the years that she still belongs to him. But she refuses to give him any chance to crush her heart again.
Echo, Joel Spencer knows that Dixie hates him, but he also knows she yearns for him. After being forced by his hateful father to practically leave her at the altar when they were teens, he realizes that he has his work cut out for him. One thing is on his side, he knows what she wants and needs. This time, he WILL make her his again, and to hell with whoever gets in his way.
Church has never gone by so slow. I sit back in my chair listening to the updates. There’s nothing big cooking, but Stone seems to want to rehash our year so far. Fucking figures. I do my best not to fidget and try to look attentive. He’s the type to call you out if he thinks you’re daydreaming. It’s a Friday night, which means a big party after this lets out. So, I’m not the only one chomping at the bit.
“All right, any new orders of business?” Stone asks.
I stand, and all eyes fall on me. “I got an announcement.”
“Go ahead and speak your mind, brother,” Stone says, eyeing me expectedly. His lips quirk up.
Now, I know Hoss must’ve told him. If it kept the old man from slitting my throat, I couldn’t care less who he spilled the beans to. No brother likes to see his little girl grow up and get a man of her own. That makes them number two in her life and brings on a whole new potential set of problems. We love hard, and there’s nothing we wouldn’t do for our family. It makes shit like this a delicate thing. “I took on an old lady,” I say.
“No, shit? Who?” Stone says.
“Dixie Rose Dunn,” I reply, proudly puffing out my chest.
A chair slams to the floor. My father glares at me, hands balling into fists at his side. “What did you just say?” he asks.
“You heard me. I want all of you motherfuckers here to hear me. She’s taken. I’ve marked her and this bullshit against her ends now. If I see any of you so much as look at her funny, that’s your ass.” All the years I spent growing my power, making contacts and waiting for my father’s people to fall out, or ease up on his cause…it all culminates into this second. I see the rage burning in his eyes. I smile. There’s not a damn thing he can do about it.
Stone looks from him to me. “Take this shit into the ring, and leave it there,” he says.
“Gladly,” Mouth snarls.
My pop might be pushing sixty, but he’s fit. I’ll go easy on him. This is how we do shit around here when we don’t see eye to eye. Especially my father. The man has always had a taste for blood and violence.
“I think that’s church, unless someone else has a bomb they’d like to detonate,” Stone says sarcastically.
Silence answers him, the doors open and we all flood out.
Dixie Rose stands the minute I leave the doors. Her eyes are full of worry and she’s biting her lip.
I walk over and kiss her. “It’s done.”
“Then why does it feel so ramped up?”
“Me and the old man are going to squash our shit in the ring.”
“You can’t do that. You’ll hurt him,” she says.
“I won’t, but I will show him I’m done being under his thumb. This has needed to happen for a long time, D’Rose.” I give her a look that says we’re done talking about it.
Like a good old lady should, she nods her head and holds her hands out for my cut.
“Don’t go far, it won’t take long, I promise.” I shrug out of my cut, take off my shirt, and climb into the ring. I expected this. It’s why I’m dressed in a pair of casual sweats. I do a lap around the ring, keeping my muscles loose as I warm up. My father taught me well.
He does the same. The disgust in his eyes and the ugly sneer curling his lips have me about to see red.
“Just couldn’t leave that shit alone, could you?” he asks.
“Not your call to make…old man.”
“I raised you better,” he hisses.
I ignore his words. It’s going to take a lot to keep from hurting him. Years of anger and resentment are lodged inside me. I roll my neck.
The bell rings.
Mouth comes out swinging.
I use my speed to my advantage and avoid his right left combo, but he catches me with the third strike right on the chin. Pain explodes in my face. I shake it off and answer with a few blows to the body.
He maneuvers away, and we circle once again.
He throws a left hook that snaps my jaw back and from there, it’s an all-out fist fight. I return his left with a right as we face one another in the center of the ring, neither of us trying to attempt a real fight. Blood flies, my eyes swell, and his grunts and groans are music to my ears. My knuckles ache, but I can barely feel it. I’m fucking giddy. Finally, he’s no longer untouchable.
“That’s enough! You trying to kill each other?” Stone’s voice rings out. “That shit between you stays in the ring. You beat each other to a bloody pulp, now go get cleaned up and do something else to help you blow off steam.”
The Pres’ word is law, so we have to back down.
I spit blood out in the ring. “I’m done being controlled by you.” I walk away before he can reply. Nothing he has to say matters anymore. I’m not stupid, I know this isn’t the end of it, but it is for now, which is all that matters. I live my life from one moment to the next with tentative plans for the future, because isn’t that all we ever have? I climb out of the ring, feeling the bruises forming on my body.
Dixie Rose walks toward me with a huge grin on her face.
Suddenly, I’m twenty feet tall. This was for her, too.
She rises on her tiptoes and kisses me softly. “How about you let your old lady clean you up?”
“If you’re up to it. I don’t think it’s safe for me to shower alone. Have to be careful of concussions, you know?” I say.
“Guess I’ll have to get wet then.”
Her double entendre makes my dick twitch. I follow her down the hall to my room like she’s the pied piper. This is the start of us again, and nothing could dampen my happiness.
When we slip inside my door, she gazes up at me and smiles. “Were you defending my honor out there, Joel?”
“The way I should have a long ass time ago,” I answer, dropping my gaze to the floor.
“Hey.” She gently cups my face and forces me to look at her. “You don’t feel bad for the shit he did. You kept me safe. I hated your guts, and you never said a word against me or explained until you knew I wouldn’t get caught in the crossfire. You’re my fucking hero.”
“Yeah?” I ask.
“Fuck yes.” She takes a deep breath. “I love you, Joel. I always have and I always will.”
Her words are the best numbing agent to the pain I’m feeling. I wrap my arms around her and pull her close, inhaling her sweet scent and enjoying her soft curves.
This life is a hard one, but with an old lady like her at my side and my brothers behind me, I can swing it without the support of my blood born family. Family doesn’t stop with blood and soon enough, I’ll be creating my own. The thought makes me smile.
“Love you, too, girl.” I kiss her forehead and take a moment to enjoy it before it’s gone, and a new crisis rolls in.
Shyla Colt grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, but has lived a variety of different places thanks to her wanderlust, interesting careers, and marriage to a United States Marine. She’s always loved books and wrote her very first novel at the age of fifteen. She keeps a copy of her first submission letter on her desk for inspiration.
After a lifetime of traveling, she settled down and knew her time had come to write. Diving into her new career like she does everything else, with enthusiasm, research and a lot of prayers, she had her first book published in June of 2011. As a full-time writer, stay at home mother, and wife, there’s never a dull moment in her household.
She weaves her tales in spare moments and the evenings with a cup of coffee or tea at her side and the characters in her head for company. A self-professed rebel with a pen. Her goal is to diversify romance as she continues to genre hop, and offer up strong female characters.
You can interact with Shyla Colt online via her website on, Facebook and Twitter.