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Deep Down (The OGs #1)
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Mike Haddican is a proud small-town gym owner, a renowned karate instructor, and all-around good guy. He’s never needed much to be happy: his family, his friends, his girl. Especially his girl. But when Kyra left him seven years ago to chase her dreams, she all but destroyed him.
Contemporary dancer Kyra Brims made it big, but it cost her dearly. With her life and career in shambles, she doesn’t need a do-over, she needs a friggin’ miracle. Injured, broke, and out of options after going through hell, she’s come back to Alden, the town she swore she’d never return to and home of Mike Haddican, the man who ripped her soul to pieces, to lick her wounds and recover.
Forgetting and letting go proved impossible when they were worlds apart; now that they’re stuck together they don’t stand a chance, especially with Mike’s grandma and her partners in crime plotting, meddling and refusing to give up on them.
As the passion that never died burns out of control, so do old hurts and unresolved issues. Both have reasons to be angry and feel betrayed, but now that they’re older, are they wise enough to make things work?
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“This is a bad idea, Grandma,” Mike said as he walked out of the dressing room at the community center, wearing nothing but his boxers and an intimidating scowl that, unfortunately and as usual, had no effect whatsoever on the old lady.
“Nonsense. The girls are anxiously waiting. Let’s roll,” she said as she pushed him forward and down the corridor.
Scratch bad. This was a shitty idea.
His grandmother was barely five feet tall and a hundred pounds when drenched. How she got the strength to push his big frame while he was literally dragging his feet was beyond him.
“Besides, you promised you’d do it.”
He snorted. “No, I didn’t. I promised I’d help you with your senior courses. Meaning I’d drive you around, do your shopping, and stuff like that. I didn’t agree to pose for your male-anatomy painting lessons. You know I’m too busy for this.” He’d stopped working as a foreman several years ago to run the family gym full-time with his dad, but last month Cole had taken on the renovation of the town’s library pro bono, and Mike had volunteered to help. That plus the gym and the martial-arts classes in the afternoons had taken up all his time. Fuck it if now that the library was almost ready he was going to invest whatever was left of the summer in this. “Can’t you guys use, I don’t know, a statue? Or better yet, a picture. There are plenty of books and—”
“Live human-anatomy painting, Mike,” she interrupted, emphasizing the word “live,” “and one is never too busy to help his grandmother.”
Well, it depended on how nutty the grandmother was, didn’t it?
“What about Mr. Honbacker or Mr. Stilt from bingo nights?” he asked, trying to get out if it. “I’m sure they are free and willing.”
His grandmother clicked her tongue. “The idea behind these classes is for us senior citizens to enjoy ourselves. We do know we have a foot in the grave. We have enough of a reality check every time we look in the mirror, honey. Besides, Mr. Stilt’s prostate is acting up again. He can’t stay still fifteen minutes to save his own life. And about Mr. Honbacker,” she added, lowering her voice, “Greta had a…fling with him. They are not on speaking terms. Some kinky thing he did with his false teeth, I hear.”
Oh man. There was an image he wouldn’t be able to erase from his mind even if he lived to be one hundred.
That was what he got for being nice—permanent brain damage.
“You’re a flawless specimen in the prime of your life,” she continued, reaching for his arm and squeezing his biceps appreciatively. “Handsome and fit. A perfect Michelangelo’s David.”
He turned his head to her. “You’re kidding me, right? Come on, do I look anything like Michelangelo’s David?”
She pondered his words as her gaze traveled over his bulk and tattoos, then settled on his face. “Well, your hair isn’t curly.”
He rolled his eyes. Trust her to focus on the most insignificant things.
For one, his hair was cropped so short it was barely there. And two, he was heavily tattooed, weighed around two hundred forty pounds, and a lifetime of practicing boxing and martial arts had granted him a body that had little to do with that of an effeminate boy.
“You’re a bit rougher than Michelangelo’s David,” she finally conceded, “but you’ll do nicely, I’m sure of it. The girls will be pleased.”
For the love of God.
“I’m your grandson, and you’re pimping me out. Don’t you see anything wrong with this picture?”
“Just humor us. We’re a bunch of women in our eighties. Half of us are blind; the other half won’t remember what we did today tomorrow. And you only have to pose. The girls voted for body oil to highlight your muscles, but they couldn’t agree who should help you rub it on, so I vetoed.”
“Fuck me,” he muttered as he dug his heels in.
That was what he got for going along with her wacky ideas. For not putting his foot down. Like when she decided her girls needed self-defense classes. They needed an extra edge, she’d said. Extra edge for what? What were those grandmas going to be doing? Strolling around Southie sporting colors? Considering their age, the best bet if anyone tried to rob them would be to hand over the purse. Better that than risk any injury. His grandmother hadn’t agreed, of course, and now, every Tuesday, there was a self-defense class for seniors down at the gym, where Mike was supposed to teach those charming ladies how to knock down a potential assailant without breaking any bones of their own.
“Come on, Mike, you know we’re harmless.”
Yeah, harmless his ass. He’d rather face a bloodthirsty firing squad or, better yet, the Hulk in a no-holds-barred underground fight than deal with all the guilt-tripping of the OGs—the Original Grandmas—what his grandmother and her partners in crime, Greta and Wilma, had fittingly named the messenger group they shared.