Let the motherfucking games begin.
Without turning, Dillon blew out an annoyed puff of air. “Kimberly, how many times over the last few months have I told you I’m not fucking you in here anymore? Go back to your desk, and I’ll call you later if I feel like it.”
“It’s not Kimberly, asshole,” Gavin growled. His eyes zeroed in on Dillon when he turned around. “I told you I’d kill you with my bare hands if you ever touched her again.”
Narrowing his eyes, Dillon opened his mouth, but before words could tumble out, Gavin charged him, tackling him onto the desk. Though mammoth, the solid piece of cherry wood screeched a few inches from the weight of the two men landing on it. With Dillon pinned beneath him, Gavin curled his hands around his neck, barely noticing the blow from Dillon’s fist slamming against his mouth. Blood from his split lip dropped onto Dillon’s cheek, sliding down to his chin. As Gavin stared into the soulless eyes of a man he’d considered a friend at one point, flashes of Emily receiving his brutal treatment made adrenaline spike through Gavin’s veins. His anger simmered, and Gavin had no intention of stopping it from erupting.
Hands wrapped around Dillon’s throat, Gavin lifted up his head and shoved it back down against the desk. It hit the surface with a hard thud. Gavin was sure he’d cracked Dillon’s skull open. “You pussy!” Gavin spewed, his body shaking. “I told you I’d fucking kill you if you hurt her!”
“Fuck you and her!” Dillon choked out, squirming under Gavin’s weight.
Gavin squeezed harder, his grip tightening to the point he could feel Dillon’s pulse hammering against his thumbs. At this, Dillon brought his arms up and circled his fists around Gavin’s forearms in a lame attempt to pull Gavin’s hands from his neck. It didn’t work, and it only pissed Gavin off more. Gavin slammed his head against the desk again. After the second, possible skull-cracking blow, Gavin heard Dillon inhale sharply as he fought to breathe. Gavin also heard his own blood rushing through his ears. Dillon released his hold on one of Gavin’s arms and swung again, but this time there was no speed in it. It was easy enough for Gavin to dodge. Gavin could feel him weakening beneath him. Felt him slipping away as he stared into Gavin’s eyes. Gavin watched Dillon’s capillaries pop to the surface, turning his face a light shade of blue.
And then it hit him.
“Gavin Blake, you’re more of a man than any man I’ve ever known. You have a heart you wear on your sleeve, and you couldn’t do a thing to make me fall more in love with you. Not a single thing.”
Now, Gavin found himself fighting a completely different battle brought on by Emily’s words. Something inside him twisted, a debate on whether or not to stop. The sick bastard below him might own his emotions in this very moment, but the woman he was willing to kill for would own his heart forever. Choosing love over evil, Gavin pulled in a steeling breath, released his hold from Dillon’s neck, and stumbled away from the desk.
Fisting his hands in his hair, Gavin paced and watched Dillon’s close to lifeless body slither to the floor, dragging stacks of paper, pens, and a telephone with it. Choking, Dillon rolled to his side and clawed to his hands and knees, his chest heaving up and down for air. A barrage of chills overtook Gavin’s system as he witnessed Dillon trying to stand. It was no use. He couldn’t. Gavin had stripped him of any and all energy he had. Gavin tore his attention from Dillon and latched onto the deep voices and banging coming from behind the door. Gavin didn’t know if they’d just started or if they were trying to get in the whole time. As Dillon’s life was slipping through his hands, time seemed to slip by, blurring from one second into the next. Swallowing hard, Gavin stalked over to Dillon and grabbed him by his hair.
Kneeling beside him, Gavin yanked Dillon’s face within inches of his. He shook as he spoke, his breath a vicious whisper. “You better listen to every fucking word I’m about to say to you.”
“Fuck off, asshole,” Dillon grit out, staring into Gavin’s eyes, his breathing still labored. “You’re going to jail for this, motherfucker.”
Gavin quickly elbowed Dillon’s mouth. Trying to jerk away, Dillon winced. Now Gavin wasn’t the only one with a split lip. Gavin gripped Dillon’s hair tighter, a sick smirk twisting his mouth. “If you report this, sure, I might go to prison. You’re lucky I didn’t fucking kill you. But just know this”—Gavin paused, trying to tamp down his sudden urge to once again choke Dillon within inches of his life—”I’ll get out one day. Oh, you bet your ass I fucking will. And when I do… nothing will stop me from killing you. Not even the insane love I have for the woman you threw away will keep me from making sure you never take another fucking breath. So, consider this bit of information before you go running to the cops. If you know me at all, then you’ll know this isn’t an empty threat from a pussy who likes to knock women around. This is coming from a man. A man who’ll laugh all the way to the gas chamber as your mother cries all the way to your fucking grave. Do you understand me?”
Breathing hard, Dillon stared at Gavin and remained quiet. Simple resolution to the unanswered question. Another elbow to Dillon’s mouth.
“Do you fucking understand me?” Gavin snarled, his face curled in anger.
“Yes!” Dillon replied through clenched, bloodied teeth.
“Good,” Gavin replied mildly, standing. He started for the door, but before unlocking it, he turned, his eyes narrowed. “And if I find out you showed up to her job again, I’ll make sure it’s a closed casket funeral.”
With that, Gavin unlocked the door and pushed through the crowd. Without looking back, he heard the clamor of commotion taking place in Dillon’s office. Strike that. He heard Dillon yelling at everyone to get out of his office. The edge of embarrassment in Dillon’s tone carried through the air as Gavin stepped into the elevator.
On his way down, Gavin checked his watch. With less than five minutes to make it across town, he whipped his cell from his pocket and shot Emily a text to let her know he was going to be late. By the time he made it to his car, she’d replied.
Emily: I’ll be here waiting for you. Please be careful. No speeding! I love you.
Gavin pulled out of the garage. As he crawled through traffic, he couldn’t help but flick his gaze down to his cell. He reread Emily’s text over and over. Emotions flying high, Gavin was aware he had to walk into the café holding some semblance of normalcy. He just wasn’t sure he’d be able to. Thirty minutes later, he was about to be put to the test.
After finding a parking spot, Gavin stepped from his car, slid his hands through his hair, and made his way in. He hadn’t taken but three steps into the café when he spotted Emily. His breath faltered as it always did when he saw her sitting at a table and reading a book. It was then Gavin knew he was bound to her. He knew there wasn’t a thing he wouldn’t give up for her. Hell, as long as he was inhaling the air around her, every day would feel complete. Today, he knew he would give up his freedom for her. His life. She was in his bloodstream, and he didn’t care if he spent the next twenty years behind bars, shackled in chains for what he’d done to Dillon. Gavin only hoped he could remove the shackles around her heart Dillon left behind, because no amount of kicking Dillon’s ass could rid her of the scars she had from him. Gavin knew he’d always wipe away her tears, but he desperately wanted to be able to wipe away her painful past.