More by HermioneIncarnate

Disclaimer: All recognizable material belongs to Janet Evanovich and no infringement is intended. All unique material is my own. This disclaimer applies to the entirety of the story.

Story Trigger Warnings: Sexual Assault, Domestic Assault

Story Rating: M, over 18 recommended. Contains adult situations and lemons.

Recognition: Thank you to my beta, misty23y. She is a constant source of encouragement, keeps me on track, and challenges my writing. She is a shining example of what I love about this FanFiction community and a friend. Thank you, readers, for your enthusiasm and patience. This short story is fully written and divided into six short chapters. Please know that I have not forgotten about Warrior (I'm still musing over those characters – Is their journey complete? Am I actually ready to drop an epilogue?) nor Lift Off, the sequel to Drive. I will never leave a story incomplete but it may take me a while. I hope you enjoy this story in the interim.

Chapter 1

"Hey," Joe Morelli calls out, walking through the locked door of my apartment. "I brought Pino's," I swear the only person my door locks slow down is me.

"Hey back," I reply, emerging from the bathroom in a hot pink tank top and oversized black sweatpants that I would swear I absolutely probably did not steal from Ranger. I wasn't expecting Morelli, but the pizza is a welcome sight.

He throws five beers from the six-pack into the fridge, opening one for himself before coming over to look me up and down, his eyes getting darker as he does.

"You know I prefer to have you for dessert," he says, moving a hand down my ribs, "but I think today you are going to be the appetizer. Especially since these pants will ruin my appetite."

My eyes widen, and my heart rate increases as he beings to push down my sweatpants. Finally, I clasp my hand over his to stop the movement.

"I know these sweats belong to Ranger," Joe growls, pushing us back into my bedroom. "I don't like to be reminded that I've shared you with him."

"No!" I sputter out, standing my ground and stopping the backward advance. "These have nothing to do with Ranger. I borrowed them from Rangeman after a distraction job."

"I've seen the way he looks at you. He wants what's mine."

"Yours? I belong to no one, but I am only in your bed when we are making a go of things, whatever this," I respond indignantly, my arms moving between us, "is."

"Playing hard to get, huh, Steph," Morelli says, a smirk playing across his lips. "Always playing hard to get. Good thing I'm good at playing your game." And with that, he's pushing me down on the bed, pulling the sweatpants off my body and tossing them behind him.

I'm momentarily stunned by his actions. What does Joe mean, playing hard to get? My brain grows fuzzy as his hand begins to roughly cup my sex, his thumb applying the right pressure in that spot. Think Steph, think!

"Huh?" I manage. Jeez, so eloquent.

"I know you better than you know yourself," Joe confidently asserts as he lifts my tank top to reveal my B cup breasts. "You always play this cat and mouse game. 'No, Joe. I'm tired, Joe. My mom said I shouldn't be here, Joe.' Isn't that what you always say, but what you really mean, what you really want, is this," he continues before sucking on my right nipple while his other hand rolls the other into a rigid nub. A moan escapes as my body responds to his ministrations.

"But what if I say no?" I ask, my eyes fixed on his as the rational part of my brain seeks to overcome the sex haze part of my brain.

"You're the most naturally sexual person I've ever met. Like you would ever say no," Joe snorts as he pushes aside my panties to roughly thrust himself inside of me.

"No…uhhhh," I moan again as sex-induced haze takes over. Joe rubs harder and adjusts his angle, pounding into my G-spot. My brain doesn't want Joe to continue, it wants him to stop, but my body wants him to continue.

"See, Cupcake," he preens. "You're mine. I know exactly what spots to hit, exactly how to hit them, and I bring you to orgasm every single time. You've come back to me your entire life because you know no one can give you sexual pleasure the way I can." And he watches with smug satisfaction as he pulls my orgasm out of me, and I shatter around him.

Joe grabs my hips and thrusts harder, using my body to extract his orgasm, his face set in primal determination. A moment later, after he has an orgasm of his own, he pulls out and ties off a condom I didn't even see him put on.

"Now, let's eat. The game's about to begin. But don't let me see you wearing those damn pants, or anything from Rangeman, again," Joe says, depositing the condom in the bathroom before picking up his beer and grabbing a slice.

I don't remember the game or even what pants I did put on. I just sat beside Joe on my couch, not watching the game. Instead, a torrent of memories came back. Choo-choo in his dad's garage. God, the Tasty Pastry, and those goddammed poems. Handcuffing me to my shower curtain rod. All of the constant yelling and fighting. 'Steph, quit your job. Steph, you're such a disaster. Steph, you give me health problems. Change everything about yourself, and we'll be great. You are the reason we aren't married.'

At some point, Joe leaves, and I lay in the bed Joe just thoroughly fucked me in, wondering how I let myself be so used.

I let myself into Joe's rowhouse and look around, and I mean really look. There's a large, flat-screen TV and oversized leather sectional sofa in the living room. The coffee table is covered with backdated copies of Men's Health, Maxim, Sports Illustrated, and white rings from beer bottles. The dining room is filled with a top-of-the-line pool table and bar stools at the long counter between the kitchen, but the dining room table is conspicuously absent. Nothing, and I repeat absolutely nothing, about this home says anything other than 'terminal bachelor.'

I walk upstairs to his bedroom, intent on gathering whatever property I've left behind. Ultimately, I only find a toothbrush and pair of panties. Looking twice, I'm honestly not even sure these panties are mine. I turn to leave, empty-handed when Joe strides into the room. I can't help the lump that forms in my stomach when I see him.

"Always glad to find you in my bedroom, Cupcake," he says, his hands roaming under my shirt. "My boys miss you when you aren't here."

"No," I say, moving to step around him while I push his hands away from me.

Joe laughs, blocking my path. "Your lips might say no, but your body always says yes."

"No!" I repeat, more forcefully. "We need to talk."

"Okay," Joe responds, turning me quickly around and pushing me onto his bed so that my face is pressed into his mattress, ass in the air. "Talk, but only if you can."

The summer dress I am wearing is flipped over my back, and Joe enters me suddenly. "No!" I repeat, trying to wiggle away as Joe slaps my ass and then holds my hips tight, his length buried inside me.

"Is that all you have to say?" he says again, clearly enjoying himself as his body pushes in and out of mine. His thumb travels up my crack, pausing above my rosebud. "Someday. . ." I hear him mutter before grunting and pulling out, giving my ass another slap as he does.

I blink back tears as I hastily pull myself off his bed and straighten my dress. I refuse to let him see me cry.

"I'm glad you stopped by, Cupcake," Joe calls from the bathroom as the steam from the shower begins to waft out the adjoining door. "I'm going undercover. I don't know how long I'll be gone."

"I came here to say we need to end things, Joe," I say, finding my courage. He pokes his head out from around the curtain, looking thoughtful.

"Good idea, Cupcake. When I return home, we can pick back up where we left off." What? Of all the responses, that's not what I expected. "I'll call my mom to make sure the word spreads around quickly again. It will help my mission to be single and unattached."

Help his mission? "No, Joe, I mean permanently break up," I clarify, placing my engaged to be engaged ring on the bathroom counter.

The water turns off, and Joe steps out, rolling his eyes. "You'll come back to me. You always do."

My key joins the ring on the counter. I'll just ask Dillon the change the locks on my apartment door rather than try to get my key back.

"Goodbye, Joe," I say and head down the stairs. My breath is forced out of me as an arm wraps itself around my midsection and turns me around three steps from the bottom.

"What the fuck is this," Joe says, holding the key in front of my face.

"We're done," I wheeze. "I'm saying no, and I mean it."

"We're done when I say we're done," Joe spits out, and I see his hand raise in my periphery.

"Don't become your father," I manage, and Joe's eyes widen before he pushes me away from him. I fall backward, my hip and shoulder slamming into the ground.

Joe stands over me, a horrified expression on his face. "I'm not my father," he says, pain lacing through every word. "I'm not."

"Can't you see? We're no good together. I'm not who you want to spend the rest of your life with. Let me go," I plead, unshed tears blurring my vision.

Joe's hands drop to his side, and his shoulders slump. "We're done."