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Shameful (Shameless #2)
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I am the thing that goes bump in the night. I am a liar, a protector…a killer…I am Noah Blake.
And now that she knows my secret, she hates me.
The guilt and shame I carry around is bad enough…But seeing the distrust in her eyes, that will kill me before my enemies do…
Noah’s Cliffhanger Warning:
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* * THIS IS BOOK 2 – You’ve already read Book 1 (Shameless) right? Ok, just making sure :)
The well of fury Lucia had been holding on to for weeks bubbled to the surface when she caught one whiff of the brunette in front of her. She tried to stay calm. Tried to push it all down. Tried to keep herself sane. But then she caught sight of Noah at the craft services table, and she lost it.
“For the love of Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Annabelle, I’ve told you a dozen times not to smoke before you come to a fitting,” Lucia all but screamed at the seventeen-year-old leggy giraffe in front of her.
Annabelle’s eyes went wide as she teared up. “I’m so sorry. I had a rough day. I was really stressed out. I found my boyfriend with my roommate in my bed after I got home last night. And the asshole tried to pretend like it was somehow my fault.”
Lucia ground her teeth. “I’m sorry your boyfriend is a roommate-screwing ass. I really am. But it is both of our jobs to keep these clothes in pristine condition.”
“I know. I know. I’ll try to keep it together,” Annabelle sobbed.
Lucia ignored the twinge of guilt. Normally she could deal with models just fine. She didn’t usually fly off the handle. When everything was going well, she was affable and nice. Funny even. The models liked her. But nothing was normal anymore. After three weeks, two days and eight hours of Noah-I’m-A-frickin-liar Blake, everyone was terrified of her.
And if she was telling the truth, she sort of liked the power. She liked the way people would scurry away when she walked into a room. But this simply couldn’t continue. This wasn’t her. She loved her job, what she did, and the people. As a kid, she’d poured over all her fashion magazines, wishing she could be part of this world. It had been her dream to work somewhere like this. She couldn’t let Noah take that away from her, too.
He’d already taken far too much.
With a deep breath and a silent prayer to the patron saint of would-be-murderers, Lucia sent Annabelle to scrub herself down with a washcloth. That skintight A-line dress would trap in the smoke emanating from her skin. The models knew better, and at this level they were professionals. They generally made more money than Lucia would ever see in her lifetime, if they took care not to piss off the bosses.
“Don’t you think you were kind of hard on the kid? I mean you heard her. She had boyfriend trouble.”
She turned around with a start and bumped directly into Noah’s chest. “Damn it, Noah. Don’t you have somewhere better to be right now? And mind your own damn business.”
If this were the old Noah, he would’ve teased her, prodded her, and bugged her into talking to him. The old Noah was gone.
He’d killed him, just like he’d killed Lucia’s brother.
Lucia had once been so sure he cared about her and that he would always take care of her. But that wasn’t the real Noah at all. This Noah was a monster, a monster she’d had the misfortune of sleeping with.
Okay fine. Sleeping with him wasn’t the problem. His lies, and deceit, and cruelty were. The misfortune didn’t come from sleeping with him, because that had been— Her body flushed, softened, and warmed at the thought of Noah touching her. So not going to go there.
She wasn’t going to think about that part. What she was going to think about was the scar on his shoulder. The scar she knew she’d given him when she shot him.
Lucia’s stomach cramped when she thought about discovering Noah’s secret. The night they both finally admitted their feelings for each other and made love. He’d carried her into the bedroom where they’d talked and snuggled. She’d lain on his shoulder, enjoying the afterglow of knowing how Noah felt about her.
And then she’d felt it, the rough, bumpy edge of a scar on his shoulder. She had never seen it before, because the first time they’d made love, it had been dark in the room. She’d been so focused on the intensity and the swirl of emotions, she hadn’t noticed. He hadn’t taken his shirt off until it was pitch black in the room.
But the second time, in the dimly lit room, she’d seen it and her memories had come crashing back. The chaos of that day, the chaos of that afternoon. A man with a gun, pointed at her brother. The sound of her own screaming. As the bullets rained holes in her brother’s body, she’d been forced to make a decision. So she’d raised the gun her brother had given her for protection at the man who’d killed Rafe.
She wasn’t a very good shot, but she’d managed to hit him in the shoulder. For years, these memories had stayed buried in her mind. But now it had all come back. Before he tumbled down, she’d seen the profile of the killer’s face. Noah. All along, it was Noah. The man she loved had been responsible for ending her whole world.