Hammer's Fall (The Breakers’ Bad Boys, 1)(5)

By: Laurie Roma

It always gave her a sense of belonging to walk around the place she’d claimed as her home. Breakers was a small coastal town in Texas on the Gulf of Mexico that sometimes felt secluded from the rest of the world. During the summer months it became a haven for tourists, with its boardwalk and access to the water and numerous festivities for people to enjoy. There was a large square in the center of town that was perfect for meeting with friends and family, or simply just enjoying the variety of shops. In the winter months, like now, it was quieter, and the town belonged to the locals.

The streets were almost empty now with only a few other couples enjoying the cool January air, but she could see a crowd outside of the bar they were walking toward. When she had gone over to Fight Hard to speak to Jared, she never imagined ending up on a date with him. If it was a date. She glanced down at her hand that was still held in his firm grasp and determined it was. She liked the way her hand was engulfed in his larger one, but it baffled her why he was holding it at all.

Since he had first taken her hand in his gym, Jared had only let it go when he had dressed. It had amazed her when he had taken her coat from her and helped her into it, even taking the time to zip it up himself. She’d felt strange allowing him to do such a simple task for her, almost as if she were a child, but what she felt around him was definitely not juvenile.

This night was turning out completely surreal.

When she had opened her Sinfully Sweet bakery two years ago, she never thought a man like Jared would open a MMA gym right across the street. It had been a difficult decision to buy her building, wondering if she would lose out in street traffic not being closer to center of town, but since she had opened her doors, the town had seemed to expand around her location.

She had always figured the empty warehouse across the street would have been converted into an apartment building or something, but the former owner was a stubborn old man who had refused to sell to anyone…until Jared “The Hammer” Caufield had come home and announced that he was opening his gym and rehabilitation facility.

At first, Kalista had been worried about all of the hard-bodied members of the gym as she watched them park their motorcycles and muscle cars on the street in front of her shop. She should have been used to it, since there was tattoo parlor a few doors down, but it didn’t take long to discover that all of the men were very respectful to her, no matter how scary they looked.

She had a feeling Jared was the reason for that.

From the moment he had come into her bakery and introduced himself after he bought the property, Kalista had developed an unhealthy crush on the big man. During the day, she looked forward to when he would visit, and her heart skipped a beat every time she saw him. She had even been guilty of covertly looking out the window of her shop just to catch a glimpse of him during the day.

Kalista knew he had been in the Army before he had started a career as a MMA fighter. When she had found out what he’d done for a living she had looked him up on YouTube and could see how he had won so many of his fights. He was so strong and powerful as he used his skill to take down his opponents. She couldn’t help but admit that she felt a primal sort of lust whenever she watched him fight someone and win.

But a video couldn’t even compare to the real thing…

It never failed to leave her tongue-tied just being in his presence, and seeing him tonight with his shirt off had almost brought her to her knees. His body was like living art. With thick, corded muscles covered with tattoos, he was the epitome of a bad boy. Instead of scaring her, seeing all of that ink made her want to run her hands over each and every line. She was fascinated with his body, and tried to look at him as little as possible so he wouldn’t guess what she was thinking. She’d heard about his injury, but it was easy to see from his workout that he didn’t let it stop him from staying in shape. She’d been mesmerized as she had watched those strong muscles ripple when he stretched out after kicking those heavy bags he had hung up at his gym.

God, she really hoped she hadn’t been drooling before he had put his shirt on tonight.

And boy, was that a shame. Covering up his body was like hiding a piece of fine art in a dark closet where no one could see it. He had a raw masculine beauty that made her heart stop just by looking at him. One glance from his penetrating dark eyes was enough to make any woman drop to her knees, and that cloak of confidence he wore told her he knew it.

Yeah, Jared Caufield had become her ultimate fantasy.

Lately she had spent several restless nights thinking about him and his god-like body. Deep down she knew that it was part of the reason David had broken up with her. He didn’t like that her bakery was right across the street from Fight Hard, and he never failed to bitch about all the rough looking men that hung around outside. He had tried telling her it would hurt her business, but she had just laughed because it had done the exact opposite.

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