Chapter 1


I procrastinated. I knew Rose was coming and I still made no move to get up. She was dating a new guy with some mysterious job and she wanted me to go out with them tonight in case he turned out to be a real weirdo. Nothing like being the third wheel in an already awkward situation. But hell, I hadn't been out in 8 months and I figured it was finally safe. And to be honest, I owed my best friend.

Rose came bursting through the door holding a dress bag and a pair of what one would only call "fuck me" boots. She screamed that I should have already showered as I scrambled to get up while wiping off the bits of wheat thins and smudges of peanut butter that were left over from my obvious gourmet dinner. I jumped in the shower, shaved what I thought was necessary and let Rose take over after that.

An hour later we arrived at the club courtesy of Rose's sweet ass Jaguar that always made me wonder what David Coverdale was doing these days. Rose was an up and coming weather girl for the number one station in Manhattan so we never had to wait in a line, she was also stunningly gorgeous. I was her pathetic friend that helped her get through college only to realize I wasn't ready for a real job and decided to go to law school instead. My dad is one of the top attorneys in New York so he was thrilled. My mother less so because according to her I should have gotten my MRS degree in undergrad and should be pushing out kids right now. I loved the woman, but Christ, I'm only 22 and can barely take care of myself at this point. And she wanted me to give her grandkids? I figured she was probably the reason I also didn't live in reality at times.

We entered the club and this huge dude comes barreling towards us like he wants to feast on our flesh. I started to get nervous because strangers, especially guys, typically scare the shit out of me. What do you want from me? I spend most of my time in the law school library with other nerdy dorks. Big dude met up with us, kissed Rose on the cheek and decided to give me a bear hug that nearly knocked the wind out of me.

"You must be smarty B," he said. I just stared at him knowing this was the guy Rose was dating cause she's the only one allowed to call me that. For some reason she thought it was cool that I was in law school "furthering my education", hiding in academia if you asked me. If I could kick her ass she wouldn't be allowed to call me that, but my Rose was an amazon woman who would take me down after my first misplaced swing.

Big dude, or Emmett, introduced himself and sat me down to regain my breath and naturally off equilibrium. He then grabbed Rose and attacked her mouth like a drowning man desperate for air. I knew immediately, mystery job or not, Rose was head over heels for big dude. First, she never showed affection in public, second, big dude had just divulged he knew my secret nickname and third, he looked at Rose like she was the answer to his prayers and she let him. Not that I've ever been a good judge of character, but he seemed like a young kid trapped in a grown up's body that just wanted to jump in a pile of leaves and throw them around in disarray.

After the ever fun to watch face sucking was finished, Emmett asked what we'd like to drink, took our orders and headed to the bar. Rose readjusted my satin white sleeveless dress and asked me what I thought.

"Well, he sure knows how to hug."

"Tell me about it," replied Rose. I knew right then she'd already slept with him. Not that I judge, I mean, if you can get some, get some. I just couldn't seem to get some so it was more jealousy than anything else. Did I mention the kind of guys I hang out with during the week?

Emmett returned with our drinks and walked us up some stairs and over to the roped off VIP area of the club. I took a look around and realized just how amazing the place was. We were at a cub called Darkness. The walls were covered in black velvet, the multiple bars were lit up in aqua blue fluorescents shaded by glass to make them look like the purest ocean, everything was lined in silver and people were everywhere. As I was looking around I saw him. Tall, pale, slight stubble and those eyes. The greenest eyes I had ever seen. Like emeralds piercing everything they were directed at. His body was lean but muscular. Easily seen through what had to be a suit worth a year of my tuition and an ass that just didn't stop. While appraising him, he lifted his elegant hand and ran it through what could only be described as the sexiest fucking hair I'd ever seen. I studied it and could only come up with copper in my head. I was sure OPI couldn't even come up with an appropriate name to match the color. Hop on my head red? The strands stood around his head like little ribbons screaming "you know you want to pull on me".

As I realized my girlie parts were getting wet I felt like I was being pierced. Those eyes, they were piercing me. I looked up and he was staring at me as he lowered his hand and undid the button on his suit. My face flamed red realizing that I was just eye fucking some random guy in a bar. I looked over to Rose and Emmett for an escape only to see that they were practically doing it on one of the black velvet couches. I excused myself and headed to the bar for another drink.

I requested my gibson vodka martini, extra onions, and immediately became annoyed. The bartender was staring at my chest.

"I didn't think it was that cold in here, but we can turn up the heat if you'd like." The smug look on the guy's face was bad enough but then he added the nasally voice and I was completely irritated. I looked down and realized my nipples could cut glass at that point.

"Just get my drink ass." I tried to cover my chest. Apparently mister green eyes had gotten to my body a little more than my mind wanted to acknowledge. Plus, the dress Rose put me in wouldn't work with a bra because it had a really low back and hell, it was very delicate satin. How was a bra going to work under that?

I tried to rub my elbows against my nipples to settle them down. I know classy right?

The nasally voice spoke again. "I can do that for you if you want." I was slightly taken back by the audacity of the prick but I tried to keep my cool.

"The only think you can do for me is getting my drink and not forget the extra onions." I tried to act nonchalant but the guy was way creepy.

Right then everything happened in slow motion. The bartender reached his hand out toward my chest; I heard a loud thud and then the sounds of something cracking. I looked down to see the bartender's hand broken, bleeding, and being held against the top of the bar in a vice grip by pale, elegantly long fingers and a deep softly menacing voice.

"Make another move toward the lady and I'll fucking kill you." I knew the voice wasn't directed at me, but I couldn't help but get scared.

I stepped back and apparently walked into the wall. Or so I thought. Another beautiful long hand reached up around my waist and held me tightly. Suddenly Rose, Emmett and some blonde haired guy were there. The blonde guy jumped across the bar and removed the bartender so quickly I wasn't sure what was happening was real. Emmett kept saying "it's okay smarty B" and Rose was trying to hug me. But nothing was happening. I was pinned against the wall with the arm around my waist. I realized that I was crying. It was then that I felt my hair move and a breath on my ear and neck.

"You have nothing to worry about beautiful, I'll never let anything happen to you". The voice was soft and velvety as the beautiful hand began stroking my hair.

I looked up then and was again pierced by those green eyes I saw earlier. He was the wall. He was the strong arm comforting me around my waist. He was the sex voice that told me he'd protect me. And in true Bella style, I fainted.


It was a Friday night and damn I was tired. The shit with the Columbians actually ended peacefully which was amazing, except the stress did nothing for the ulcer I knew was reforming in my stomach. People think being the head of the Mafia is cool. Hell, even I'll admit I thought Tony Soprano was awesome as fuck but little did they know Hollywood had shit on the Mafia. I never saw Tony looking over a shipment of guns, testing out the coke to make sure it was at least 80% pure or dealing with the bitch fights on the hooker floor above the club that produced more bruises and blood than a typical mafia shootout. I swear to Christ those bitches were fucking insane but damn did they bring in good money. If only they'd try to stay off my cock I'd probably be a nicer guy. I mean, other than Charlie Sheen, who fucks a whore when they can get healthier pussy for free?

With the Columbian mess cleaned up, I headed to Darkness to see how things were going. I walked into my office to see my sister Alice whispering in Jasper's ear. Jasper was one of my best friends and business associates, but fuck if he's going to be sharing secrets with my little sis. I slammed the door and they both jumped a little in their seats looking like they just got caught in the school library making out. I was not having this shit.

"What are you two doing in here together?" Yelling was all I could do to avoid the feeling of my ulcer churning in my stomach.

Jasper thanked Alice for her "recipe" and excused himself. Alice can't cook worth shit so I just stared at her. Eventually she looked away and mentioned that my mom and stepdad wanted me over for Sunday dinner. I asked her if she was cooking and she looked at me like I was the stupid one. My ulcer spouted acid as I realized I was going to have to have a rather unpleasant conversation with one of my best friends.

Alice continued that Mom or Esme as I preferred to call her had been really out of sorts lately and needed to see me to make sure her only boy was doing okay. The woman did nothing but worry about me ever since my father was betrayed by his men, gunned down on the streets like a dog, and I took over the Cullen Crime Family at the age of 19.

I tried to explain to Esme that she had nothing to worry about anymore since I took out every last mother fucker that was involved in my beloved father's demise, but she still worried about the life I was leading and that I didn't have a woman that loved me. She felt I should be married and having kids since I was now 28 and established in my position as a "club owner" in the city.

I told Alice I'd be at dinner on Sunday even though it was the last thing I wanted to deal with but my mother meant a lot to me. Alice then made some remark that she had to head out and go shopping but it was past 10 and I knew no place was open. I just stared at her and told her she better be behaving herself, especially around people in my organization. She mumbled something about me "finding my humanity because of the one" and sashayed out of the office like she'd never done anything wrong. I swear the little pixie was the most confusing chick I'd ever met.

Removing all thoughts of my sister and Jasper out of my head, I ran over some business reports and spreadsheets and decided I should make an appearance at the club. It was close to 11 so I knew the place would be packed with local sports stars, hangers on, the rich, and the pretty people who were allowed in. I made my way to the main floor and I stopped dead in my tracks. There she was. Some absolutely stunning chick, and oddly enough, I had no idea who she was. Correct that, not just some stunning chick, HER. I don't even know what possessed me to think that.

She was standing in the roped off VIP section sucking on a martini. I never actually wished my cock was fluid but damn was I jealous of that vodka.

She had long soft curly brown hair with what could only be natural ginger highlights throughout. Did I seriously just think "ginger highlights throughout"? What the fuck?

Her brown eyes looked like the sweetest, darkest, most seductive chocolate you've ever tasted and her lips, Christ her lips were slightly plump and softly pink and were molesting the martini glass like she'd just seen something that made her want to suck the life force out of it. Her dress was sleeveless, pristine white, and hugged ever curve of her body like someone made it specifically for her. And good lord she was wearing black leather fuck me boots that came above her knees. She was a knock out for sure, but the most interesting thing about her was that she didn't look like she had a clue guys were staring at her. Like she didn't realize her own exquisite beauty.

Just as I was appraising her creamy skinned neck I could feel her staring at me. We locked eyes and my cock immediately rose to full attention. I had to unbutton my suit jacket just to be able to breathe because of it. Then she blushed. And by blushed I mean her face turned almost purple and she looked away. I followed her stare and saw Emmett, my other best friend, face fucking some gorgeous amazon blonde with a huge rack that actually looked to be real.

I looked back and my godiva eyed beauty was gone. Almost as if I'd imagined her and then lost her. I immediately felt panicky, not really knowing why. I tried my best to pretend the incident was nothing but a hallucination from ulcer induced pain but I knew in my cock something was going on. I'd always trusted my second in command so I just kept looking around.

It was then that Lauren Mallory decided to make her way over to me. I immediately lost my hard on. She smelled like cheap perfume and stale spunk. If the bitch didn't give the customers the best blow jobs in the club she'd be out on her ass. And believe me, I relied on customer feedback for that info, not actual experience. I only liked taking antibiotics for actual colds and shit.

Lauren tried to talk to me all seductive like and attempted to put her hands on my biceps. I pushed her off and told her to go fuck some dudes as her job required. I heard her saying something about letting me fuck her like it was my job but my attention was already consumed by the scene going on at the bar.

My godiva beauty was covering her chest with her arms while snapping at one of the douche bag bartenders that we kept around for the chicks because he looked pretty. She looked intimidate, scared and oddly enough, determined, all at the same time. Douche bag made another comment to her and she immediately snipped back at him. I saw his hand reach out and suddenly found myself holding it, broken, on top of the bar while I threatened him. No way was that motherfucker laying a finger on my beauty.

Jasper appeared behind the bar within seconds escorting a whimpering douche out to the back alley to have his ass handed to him so he could crawl his way home and never come back. It was then that I realized Emmett's amazon chick was trying to hug my princess while Emmett kept yelling something about a smart bee and that everything was going to be okay. Did I seriously just call her my princess?

For only the second time in my life I didn't think about what was going on around me while I soaked up the feeling of the gorgeous woman in white pressed up against my body as she began to sob. I tried to comfort her telling her she was safe. I could feel her trembling in my arms as I stroked her hair to calm her down knowing in my heart this beautiful woman should never be this scared. Then, as if everything went quiet, the music turned to a different song and my chocolate eyed angel fainted in my arms.

The limp beauty in my arms seemed lifeless. I panicked. And for fuck's sake, I don't panic. You can't panic when you have a job like mine. But something about this woman seemed to tilt the axis my world sat on. I picked her up and carried her over to my private elevator and took her up to my office. Emmett was trying to calm down the amazon that was with him but she just kept trying to shake the beauty in my arms while she yelled it wasn't HIM. I had no idea what she was talking about but I made a mental note to find out.

We finally got to my office and Jasper was washing the blood off his hands from dealing with the bartender and getting a cold cloth to put on my angel's head. It was then I realized the amazon kept calling her Bella and I laughed as I realized I kept referring to her as beautiful and she had probably heard that joke a million times. Emmett introduced amazon as Rose and explained she was Bella's best friend. Things started to make a little more sense and I asked Rose who "him" was and she just shook her head at me while trying to get Bella to come too.

As Jasper placed the cool cloth on her head, Bella slowly woke up. She looked around and started screaming for Rose. The amazon, damn it, Rose, jumped up and was immediately by her side telling her everything was fine and that she was safe. The gorgeous Bella looked at Rose and told her she knew someone was here to protect her. I was immediately forced back to the memory of her in my arms while I told her I wouldn't let anything happen to her. I stepped forward from behind Rose and she looked up at me. Our eyes locked again and all she said was "You".


Everything was fuzzy. My thoughts, things I touched, my vision, all fuzzy. It wasn't until I saw Rose that I felt a little grounded. Then I saw green eyes peeking out behind her. The gorgeous man who saved me from the touchy feely bartender was staring at me, piercing me with those emerald eyes.

Why was sex on legs looking at me like he was worried about me? I could understand that look from Rose, but then I took in my surroundings and realized there were others in the room. Big dude, I mean Emmett, kept saying everything was okay and some really pretty blonde guy with sapphire blue eyes was holding a cloth over my head with a touch that was so calming I started to relax. The last thing I liked was strangers touching me, but blue eyes seemed completely harmless and calming all at once. Then I remembered sex on legs. He was spouting off commands into a blackberry that I thought would break because of how tightly he was gripping it. He looked down, saw that I was more coherent and immediately shut off the phone.

He rushed to my side and I heard the most angelic voice ever say, "Bella, I'm Edward, I need you to know you're okay and no one is going to hurt you."

I just looked at him and knew it was true. I looked up and replied, "I know. You'll take care of me". He stood up, stunned almost and started to bark orders to people outside the door.

What seemed like two seconds later orange juice, crackers, and ice packs were brought into the office. Jasper took the ice packs and stepped away with Emmett. Rose brought me the juice and crackers and sat me up a bit. The whole time sex god, or Edward as I had been informed, was just standing at the end of the comfy leather couch staring at me. For some foreign reason, he didn't make me feel uncomfortable. Instead, he started slipping off my huge boots and began rubbing my feet joking that my boots were way hot but I didn't seem comfortable in them. I immediately wondered what Rose might have told him about me while I was passed out but I knew Rose might give out my nickname to her boyfriend, but she'd never give up my secrets.

As green eyed sex on legs started rubbing my feet I started to get wet again. I didn't understand. I was just harassed and groped by a stranger, fainted, and another way hot stranger was massaging my feet in the most sensual way making my panties wet and sticky.

I pulled away, sat up and looked at Rose. She knew I was about to lose my shit. What was left of it at least. She motioned to Emmett, said something to sex on legs, put my shoes on me and began to help me up. I tried to stand up and walk to the door but the fear that was always deep inside of me boiled up to the surface. My mind drifted back to the bartender reaching out for me and I knew, I knew the memories were going to come flooding back no matter how hard I fought them. I started to shake and whimper like a small child. I closed my eyes and saw the hand coming down to my head and upper body again and again. I could feel the blood seeping down the side of my face, I saw the evil dark eyes taunting me as I was lifted up and slammed back into the floor again and again. I began to scream "no James, please, no. I'll be good, I'll do whatever you want just stop the pain, please James, stop the pain".

Amongst it all I could hear Rose screaming, "Bella, James isn't here, you're safe, I'm here, you're safe." And then I heard it. The angelic velvet voice but it was so angry.

"Who the fuck would lay a hand on my Bella?"


I thought the situation was under control once Bella found Rose and had some juice and crackers to calm her down and regulate her blood sugar. She even started to get up, obviously embarrassed from causing all the commotion, and then she started hyperventilating, closing her eyes and was thrown into a full on panic attack. After my father was killed, I'd witnessed too many panic attacks from my mother not to recognize the signs immediately. If Bella didn't get her breathing under control she was going to pass out again and probably require a trip to the ER. I quickly went up behind her, put my hand below her collarbone and rather sternly pulled her to me and told her to match my breathing.

As her breathing slowed down in rhythm with mine, I was able to take a moment to feel her skin below my hand. I was only trying to help the girl, but for f's sake, I am a guy and my hand was resting on the top of her soft perky breasts. What do you want from me?

As Bella relaxed Rose rushed over with Bella's purse and handed her some pills. I looked down at Rose with disapproval.

"They're prescription Xanax," Rose explained and then looked at me like I was the stupid one.

Obviously this wasn't Bella's first panic attack. She started to laugh and said she was glad she still carried a few and Rose just shrugged, "it's been awhile since you've gone out sweaty, and needing something wasn't surprising considering the asshole bartender's behavior."

I apologized to both of them and explained douche bag was no longer welcome at the club. I figured I'd leave out the part about Jasper beating his ass since things were already tense enough.

After a few more minutes Rose politely said thank you to everyone and said that she was taking my angel home. Rose said goodnight to Emmett and told him to call her in the morning. I offered to have a driver take them home or to even take Bella home myself but Rose politely declined. Bella looked up at me like I had grown a second head and thanked me for being so kind to her, almost as if she didn't think she deserved it. As I watched the two women walk out of my office, I knew I had to get to the bottom of the mystery that is Bella.


As if fainting in a bar and waking up in the green eyed sex god's office wasn't embarrassing enough, I had to go and gush about he'd always make sure I was okay. You know that filter that most people have between their brain and their mouth? Yeah, I don't have one of those. My father, Charlie tells me it's why my sarcastic wit is so charming, my mother, Renee tells me it's going to get me into a lot of trouble eventually. Chalk one up for good old Mom.

After I felt good enough to get up, the panic attack hit. I've been working so hard in the past 8 months to get those under control but I couldn't help this one. The bartender's grab for me triggered one of James' tirades and to put it bluntly, I lost my shit.

It wasn't until Edward pushed me up against his chest and helped me to regulate my breathing that I was able to finally calm down. He felt warm and tingly and so friggin protective I had no choice but to slow my breathing and feel safe. Rose handed me some Xanax, I made some stupid jokes, and it was time to get the hell out of there while I had the remaining sliver of my dignity intact. I mean, I didn't vomit on anyone or pee myself or something so I was still willing to call this a good night out, circumstances considered.

Then out of nowhere Edward offered to take me home. I started to wonder if he was on Ecstasy or something because he was being way too nice to me. The look in his eyes didn't give any indication of a drug induced haze it looked more like genuine concern. I chalked it up as him not wanting bad publicity for the club and said my thanks and good nights.

Rose couldn't stop apologizing for forcing me to go out tonight. I didn't blame her and told her I had to start somewhere. She seemed so impressed with my attitude she finally shut up. She dropped me off at my condo and waited until I got in the door and flicked the living room lights to let her know I was okay.

I proceeded to take a long hot shower allowing my thoughts to drift to sex on legs, Edward, yes he has a name Bella. I brushed my teeth and hair and got ready for bed. The Xanax had kicked in so I drifted off into a peaceful sleep in no time dreaming of warmth and protection and emerald green eyes.