Home > Reckless Rebel

Reckless Rebel
Author: T.C. Matson

Chapter One

 

 

My heart thunders as I storm through the busy sidewalks of Manhattan. The staccato of my heels sends out a warning to anyone in my path. Move or get moved. Okay, maybe not that rude, but I’m sure my scowl is threatening…I hope.

I’m imagining strangling my boyfriend, the man my best friend just informed me she saw with another woman at a restaurant across town. Truth be told, I’m not a mean person. I’m positive the only mean bone in my body is as long as my pinky toe, but right now, I’m seriously considering punching him in the nose and kicking him in the groin so hard I’ll ruin his sex life forever.

The last time rumors flew around with tornado-force winds, I was suspicious of his shady act and his less-than-perfect pretexts, but Jason adamantly denied anything and everything. And I was stupid enough to fall for his smooth talking and boyish grin. This time, though? This time is different. It comes in the form of proof—a quick picture Lucia snapped that’s clearly Jason and a brunette sitting side by side, hands on top of each other’s, with adoration in their eyes. The other difference between last time and now? I’m not waiting around to confront the cheating bastard I should be falling in love with. I’m going to back him into the corner with nowhere to go but the truth.

Bastard.

The little LED man says it’s safe to cross and I check my phone for the address once more. Just as I’m two steps out, two arms wrap around me. I yelp as images of being kidnapped and stuffed in a trunk flash behind my eyes. I’m jerked out of the road and yanked against a hard body just as a taxi blows through the intersection laying on his horn.

“Go fuck yourself!” a deep baritone voice booms behind me. His grip loosens. “You should really watch where you’re walking. You okay?”

My heart is hammering so hard it feels like it’s going to break my ribs. I straighten myself, smoothing down my skirt and blouse. “Yeah.” I’m breathless as I twist toward my kidnapper turned hero. What air I was trying to gulp in gets sucked right back out.

Kidnapper hero is gorgeous, if a man is allowed to be described as gorgeous. Concerned blue eyes so pale they look like liquid silver stare back at me. His hair is short on the sides, but long on top and styled up in a messy way. Scruff lines his sharp jaw, one that had to be carved from granite and deemed by the gods as being gorgeous enough for him to own the masterpiece.

“You realize they made jaywalking illegal so cabbies would quit making speed bumps out of pedestrians,” he quips and his lips curl up at the sides into a brilliant smirk.

My knees wobble, and my voice is stuck somewhere in my throat as I look up at him. His brow quirks high and his smirk grows into a panty-bursting smile. A horn blows somewhere in the distance, knocking me out of the trance.

“I…I didn’t jaywalk. The sign said walk.”

Amusement dances in his gaze and causes something to dance in my stomach. “For what street?”

Blinking, I glance to the sign I thought I saw, but realize I’m nowhere near a crosswalk. What the hell did I see? “I swear I saw it.” Confusion burns my words.

“You in a rush to get your head checked by a doctor?”

My brows pinch together, snapping my head back toward him.

Rush. Jason.

The boyfriend who is cheating at this very moment and I need to go.

“No. But I am in a hurry. I have to go. Thank you for… Just thanks.”

He gently grabs my wrist, stopping me as I turn on my heel. Concern ripples within the silver of his eyes. “You sure you’re okay?”

“Yes.” Physically. But I’m certain my mental state will be different soon.

He releases my arm and I hurry away. Away from the gorgeous kidnapper hero and his unique eyes that are seared into my memory now.

 

A picture is worth a thousand words. They never lie, except when the photographer manipulates the image and doesn’t correct the lie they’ve created. Unfortunately, Lucia isn’t a liar and neither was her picture. It is exactly what she captured.

Jason sits close beside a brunette, her hand on his thigh with his on top of hers as they share lunch. They look like a happy couple, madly in love. There’s a spark in his eyes. A lightness to his smile. The opposite of anything I get. He barely even spares me a glance.

The sight has me feeling pissed, hurt, and confused. It burns to see the man I’ve been faithfully dating exclusively for six months with another woman like I mean nothing. Like everything we’ve learned about each other and overcome is insignificant to him. Betrayal pours like acid into my already-fragile heart. She looks at him like he hangs the stars. Like he goes the extra mile to put that loving smile on her lips and the love in her eyes.

“Either your friend is cheating on her spouse or your husband is cheating on you.” Busted spying, I startle and spin toward the voice.

My kidnapper hero.

“That,” I look back to the cheating prick, “is my boyfriend.”

A deep grunt rumbles from the back of his throat. “Does he know that? Or are you some psycho stalker who only thinks he’s your boyfriend because he smiled at you?”

My mouth falls open and I blink to him.

He shrugs. “It happens. There are crazy people in the world.”

“We’ve been dating for six months.”

That’s enough time to fall in love with someone, except those feelings never came. Not for me and apparently not for him either. I care for him greatly, but I don’t love him—not for lack of trying. I tried, really tried, to fall for him.

Kidnapper hero glances back to the scene in front of us. “Maybe that’s his sist—” His hopeful words stop mid-sentence as Jason cups the back of the woman’s head and they share a kiss full of lust. “There goes that thought,” he mutters. “What’s your game plan?”

“My game plan?”

“Yeah. Are you going to storm in there and demand answers? Call him out? Claw her eyes out?”

Twenty minutes ago that was exactly what I was going to do. Storm in. Demand answers. Shout and stomp my foot and all the other things a woman scorned normally does. That was before I lost my courage. Before remembering that a public spectacle would embarrass the hell out of me.

“I’ll confront him tonight over dinner.”

A sudden burst of laughter tears out of him. “You’re kidding, right? By then he’ll have a story to cover his ass. Whatever you’re going to do needs to be done now so he can’t deny an ounce of what he’s doing.”

Jason nuzzles his face into the crook of her neck, mumbling something that stretches her smile wider.

“You do plan on leaving this jerk, right?”

There’s no thought to put into it. I suspect I’ve been looking like an idiot for as long as we’ve been together, but I’ve never pulled the plug because I believed my insecurities were just rearing their ugly heads. But enough is enough and this time I have solid proof.

“You do see what I’m seeing, right?” He sounds irritated at my lack of response.

“I’m not blind.”

“That’s debatable. Less than thirty minutes ago you stepped into a busy street and almost got run over.”

I shake my head. “The bastard is clearly cheating on me. Nothing he could fabricate would cover it up. That,” I point toward Jason without taking my eyes off Kidnapper Hero, “isn’t my skin his lips are on.”

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