Author: Alice Tribue
Release Date: January 25, 2016
Genre: Contemporary Romance
More Info: Goodreads
Purchase: Amazon US
Purchase: Amazon UK
You want the truth?
The truth is there’ll never be enough time in the world to figure out how to go back.
I’ll never come up with a way to change the outcome.
The truth is I don’t need to hear I have a son.
I can’t deny it’s real because he’s the living, breathing proof my life is out of control.
But the truth is I love him.
The truth is it’s just him and me for the foreseeable future…
Until I met a girl who crossed my heart and changed it all.
Emelia was a bright star in my abandoned sky, and it would take a miracle to keep her there.
I’ll fight for miracles, though, because losing them would mean losing pieces of me.
Title: Pieces of Him
Author: Alice Tribue
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Cover Design: RBA Designs
Release Date: January 25, 2016
“I’m coming,” I yell, wrapping a thin, worn-out towel around my waist. Like many things in my apartment, it’s seen better days. Not because I can’t afford better stuff, but because I’m not used to living with anything more than the bare necessities. I only just finally sprung for updated furniture for this place a couple of months ago, and after sleeping on a brand new mattress, I could’ve fucking kicked myself for not investing in a new bed sooner. The banging on my door comes again, and I know exactly who’s waiting on the other side. It’s always the same person. Two, sometimes three, times a week, she comes, bangs on my door, and then lets me bang her. It’s been our thing for almost two years now. She comes by. We hook up. She goes home. There’s no commitment, no promises. It’s just me, the beautiful girl who works the cash register at the coffee shop I frequent, and our mutually beneficial arrangement. A fuck buddy kind of scenario that gives us both exactly what we need without any of the relationship drama.
“Keri! Jesus, what the hell? I said I was coming,” I yell as I throw the door open.
“You have a pervy old neighbor. He was staring at me and creeped me the hell out,” she explains, pushing her way past me and tossing her purse on the couch. Her blond curls bounce as she walks into the kitchen and starts rifling through my refrigerator. I roll my eyes and close the front door, heading her way.
“Don’t you normally work on Thursday night?”
Her head pops up from behind the refrigerator. “You memorized my schedule? I’m honored, babe.” She grins. “Jessica asked me to switch a shift with her because she has a wedding to go to this weekend,” she says, shutting the refrigerator door and unscrewing the top off a bottle of water. She focuses her pretty green eyes on me, taking me in from head to toe. Her lips tip up in another grin, clearly enjoying the view, and I finally remember that I’m standing here mostly naked. She looks up at me, and her eyes meet mine. Her makeup is perfect; her lips glossed making them seriously tempting. Her violet top is tight. It fits her like a glove, drawing my eyes to her middle and the swell of her tits. The jean skirt is even tighter than the fucking shirt, which is hard to believe, and it’s short, so short that it’s damn near indecent. And last, her black wedge sandals give her petite frame just enough height to make her legs look like they’d go on forever. The outfit screams trashy, but to me, it’s perfect. To me, it’s just right, because it reminds me of exactly what hides underneath the flimsy clothes and exactly what she’s going to let me do to her tonight. The thought of it makes my cock take notice.
“Come here,” I call, giving her the command. She, however, doesn’t move; she stands rooted to her spot, water in hand, eyes still on me, but no longer filled with the desire that was in them a minute ago. “Keri.”
She shakes her head. “I didn’t come here for that.”
“Then why are you here?” I ask impatiently.
“I wanted to talk to you.”
Fuck. I was waiting for this. Waiting for the day she’d decide she was no longer okay with our no-strings-attached arrangement. Waiting for the day she’d come here and tell me that she wanted more from me, that her feelings for me had grown. I always knew it would happen. I’m actually surprised she lasted this long without bringing this shit up. She wants to talk, so we’ll talk, and then I’ll be done with her. I’ll let her down easy; explain to her how it is and why we can no longer do this. It’ll fuck with my morning coffee run, but I’ll just need to deal. I have to end this now before she gets even more invested, before the begging starts and the emotional manipulation, but she’s here now, right now … And I have to fuck the shit out of her one last time before I tell her that this is done. I have to. It’ll give me a little something to remember her by and tide me over until I find my next suitable fuck buddy.
“You want to talk? We’ll talk, but first, you come here,” I command, pointing at the ground in front of me. She knows I’m not fucking around; she hears it in my tone, and I can see the worry from moments ago being replaced with lust. She puts her water bottle down on the counter then takes three hesitant steps toward me. I tug on the towel and it loosens, her gaze following as it falls to the ground.
“Down, Keri. I want to feel your mouth on me.”
“Now, Keri,” I say placing my hand on her shoulder and urging her downward. She follows suit, letting me guide her down to her knees, and when she’s there, I grab hold of my cock and offer it to her as if it was a gourmet meal. She wastes no time in doing exactly what I want her to do, wrapping her pouty little lips around me and loving every minute of it. She takes me there quickly, and when I finish, she’s only too happy to swallow every last drop. It’s dirty and sexy and it drives me fucking crazy. I pull her to her feet, hike up her skirt, lift her up to the countertop, and have her spread her legs so I can return the favor, pushing her underwear aside and licking her from top to bottom. This is how I like it with her—crazed, uninhibited, and free. I take as much of her as I can until she’s crying out for me; her head falls back with a thump as it hits the cabinet above. Only when I’m sure she’s done, when her whimpers stop coming, do I pull on her hips and slam my cock into her. It’s a punishing kind of fuck, relentless and greedy because I’m pissed that she’s about to change our arrangement and that she’s forcing my hand. I’m unmerciful, and I don’t give a shit. She doesn’t either. She takes it because she always takes it how I want to give it and the girl is far from stupid. She must know on some level that this thing between us can’t go on.
“Max, please,” she cries, and I don’t know if she’s begging me to stop or to fuck her harder, so I choose the latter and pound harder, making it so that when she leaves here it’ll be on shaky legs and she’ll feel me for days.
When it’s done, we’re both spent, satisfied, and she has that dreamy look in her eyes. Once I pull out of her, I grab onto the counter for purchase as she slumps against the counter. It takes a minute to catch my breath, but once I do, I move away from her, grabbing the towel off the floor and striding into my bedroom, telling her I’ll be back. I toss the towel into the nearby hamper, throw on a pair of sweats and a plain white tee, and make my way back to Keri. By the time I’ve made it out of my bedroom, she’s righted her clothing and taken a seat on my couch, her hand clutching the still full bottle of water.
“Did I hurt you?’ I probe, now feeling like somewhat of a dick for being that rough with her. It was a little on the excessive side, but I couldn’t stop myself.
“No,” she mutters, not meeting my gaze.
I take a seat on the other side of the large sectional. With one leg cocked to the side, I throw my right arm over the back of it.
“What’d you want to talk about?”
Her eyes come up to mine, and if I had to take a guess, I’d say she looks scared, which makes this all that much worse. Because it means that somewhere along the way, this girl probably fell in love with me, which is beyond ridiculous. There’s nothing here to love. Nothing here worth loving. I’m an asshole, and I’ve never hidden that from her.
“It’s just …”
“Jesus, Keri, just spit it out already,” I say, losing patience with this doe-eyed act of hers. She thinks she can guilt me into being what she wants, but she’s very wrong.
Now, that … that gets my attention. The world stops, and all of a sudden, it feels like everything is happening in slow motion. Those two words are the equivalent of a missile being aimed and fired right in my direction and there’s no place for me to run for cover. A direct fucking hit.
“No.” I shake my head at her trying to catch up here, trying to wrap my brain around what I just heard her say. “No way.”
“I just found out.”
“The fuck? You’re serious with this shit? You’re sitting there and telling me you’re actually pregnant?”
“That’s what I’m telling you,” she confirms with a nod.
“Bitch, you’re lying,” I accuse, moving my torso down so that I’m leaning closer to her now in a menacing way.
“I’m not lying.”
“Then who’s the father?”
“Don’t do that,” she says with the unmistakable sound of hurt laced within her words.
“Why did you come here, huh? What did you think I was going to say?”
“I just thought …”
“No. You knew what this was between us from the jump. This was supposed to be about fun. That’s it. No fucking strings—no fucking commitments, and then you come here and hit me with this shit? It’s bullshit.”
Her eyes fill with tears, and she tries desperately to blink them away. I can see her fighting to gain control of her emotions.
“I didn’t do it on purpose, Max.”
“Far as I knew, you were on the pill, and you were only fucking me, babe. That’s what you told me, and the only reason I stopped using condoms with you.”
“Then why are you sitting here telling me that you’re pregnant?”
“It was an accident.”
“Some fucking accident,” I respond, with a shitload of disgust. She feels it, I know she does, but she carries on, trying to defend herself when there is no defense for this.
“I missed a few pills when I went to Miami with the girls last month, okay? I doubled up, though, and I thought it’d be okay.”
“Christ. You think you could have mentioned that shit to me sooner? I could’ve taken steps to prevent this scenario. I would’ve gloved up.” I glower at her and I swear to god. I. Swear. To. God. Never in my life have I had the urge to hit a woman, but right now, she’s trying my patience. I take a breath in a feeble attempt to calm down. “So what now?”
“I can’t do this alone, Max,” she says softly, but I can see the fear emanating from her. I can hear the vulnerability; she doesn’t want to be here telling me this as much as I don’t want her to be.
“You want to take care of this? I’ll give you the money. Drive you there myself, Keri, and make sure you’re okay. Neither one of us is ready to have a family. We’re fucked up, both of us are. We can’t give a kid anything that it needs. We can’t give it anything we never got ourselves.”
“That’s not true.” She shakes her head in a show of disagreement. “You have a lot to give a kid, and so do I. I can be a good mom, Max, I just need your help. We can do it together.”
This chick cannot be believed. It’s as if she hasn’t been here the last two years and I have to wonder when in that time I ever gave her the impression that we could ever be more than what we were and when it was that she got her pretty little head stuck in the clouds.
“You have some fairy tale, fantasy bullshit running through your head and you need to stop it. Let it go. We’re never gonna be about white picket fences, you and me. That’s not how this is going to end.”
“Why not?” I cock my head to the side in disbelief; she’s actually thinking we’re good options for parents and I’m looking at her as if she has a screw loose. And right about now, I’m not sure that she doesn’t. “For starters because I don’t fucking love you,” I hiss, watching her as she visibly flinches. “Second, I make a good living … NOW. I finally got my shit together enough that I got myself into a decent apartment. That shit doesn’t mean I can support two extra mouths.”
“I’ll get a better job.”
“Yeah? You know many companies fired up to hire a pregnant chick? You have two roommates because you can’t afford to live on your own, but you want to bring a baby into the world?”
“We can make it work.”
“No, we can’t. I’m not going to be that for you. I can’t give you the family that you never had. I’m not made like that. You keep this baby, Keri, and you have my word—I’ll do what I can, give you as much as I have to give, and I’ll take the time to get to know the kid. I’ll be as much of a dad as I can. That’s all I have to offer. It’s all I can honestly give you.”
“I admit it, babe, I’m pissed, but I am not trying to hurt you. I’m just telling you how it is. I didn’t have a mother, and I had a shit dad—that’s all I know. I’ll try to be better than he was for this kid, but I can’t make you any promises.”
“What about you and me?”
“There is no you and me.”
“Just like that?”
“No. Not just like that. There was never a you and me. We had an arrangement, and now, that arrangement is over.”
“God, you really are heartless.”
“If I were heartless, you wouldn’t still be sitting here.”
“I’m not still sitting here,” she says, pushing off the couch and grabbing her purse. She stomps to the front door and throws it open.
“Keri,” I call to her, not knowing why. Not knowing why I don’t just let her walk out the door and pray to God that I never see her face again.
“Let me know when you go to the doctor. I’ll try to make the appointment with you.”
She stills and stares at me, probably stunned I’ve made this offer, though not as stunned as I am. I’m still not giving her a white picket fence, but the least I can do is sit with her through a few doctor’s appointments and make sure the kid’s all right. Fuck, I’m stupid. I want to be a dick but even I can’t be that big of a dick. She glares at me and slams the door on the way out, but I know she’ll be back. I know she’ll take me up on my offer because she’d rather have the little bit that I have to give her than go through this all by herself.
You gonna protect me, Max?” she asks quietly. Her eyes flare with something and the sight of it makes me brace. What the fuck it means I don’t know, but I want to believe it’s desire. I stare at her for a beat watching that guard of hers slip again but say nothing in return. It doesn’t take long for her to rearm her defenses. “I’ll call if I need you.”
I can’t take my eyes off her as she leaves my apartment. I want nothing more than to go after her, but I don’t. Why do I feel this way? Why her? What is it about her that makes me want her? I don’t have the answer. All I know is she’s the first girl I’ve ever wanted to keep.