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It's Only Physical
by Trista Ann Michaels

Category: Erotica/Erotic Romance/Romance
Description: Daniel "Mac" Mackenzie is a "one night stand" kind of guy. Love 'em and leave 'em, that's his motto. Meeting Miranda may just put an end to that line of thought. Even though the two have agreed to keep their relationship strictly physical, Mac cannot help but want more of Miranda than just her body. But Miranda is holding something back and Mac intends to find out what that is. Miranda has been running from her past and an abusive ex-husband for over two years. Afraid to trust, Miranda doesn't let anyone get close. When Mac offers her a strictly physical relationship with no strings attached, she hesitantly agrees. After all, Mac isn't her mob boss ex-husband. What harm could it do? Unfortunately, Miranda finds out when her worst fear comes alive in the form of an angry ex-husband determined to see her pay.
eBook Publisher: Atlantic Bridge/Liquid Silver Books, 2010
eBookwise Release Date: October 2010

eBookeBook

42 Reader Ratings:
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Available eBook Formats: OEBFF Format (IMP) [219 KB]
Words: 49592
Reading time: 141-198 min.


Prologue

There it is. Hell on Earth.

With a sigh, Miranda pushed her sunglasses back up her nose, snarling down the hill toward the massive stone mansion overlooking the Bay of San Francisco. The home she shared with her husband. She cringed.

She'd married Franco Giovani three years ago. She'd been young, starry-eyed, and completely naive. Stupid was more like it.

She'd met him while in college. He'd been so romantic, so handsome. And yes, she could admit it--so rich. He'd dazzled her, romanced her with his money. Trips to Paris on his private jet. Weekend jaunts to the Caribbean. The most expensive hotels, clothes and cars money could buy.

Sighing, she ran her palm over the steering wheel of her candy-apple red Porsche. Her husband's latest "I'm sorry" gift for the brutality he called affection. Rolling her eyes, she glared toward the white puffy clouds through the open sunroof.

How could I have been so fucking stupid?

She'd tried to leave him twice and both times he'd caught her only to beat her to a pulp. Why didn't she go to the police? Simple. Her husband was the leader of one of the most powerful and deadly cartels in the country. That's why.

It wouldn't do any good. Half the force was in his back pocket. And the other half was too afraid of him to do anything. She was stuck, at least for now. She'd been saving, preparing for a year. Soon, she hoped to find her chance to slip away and disappear without a trace.

With a feeling of dread, she turned the Porsche into the driveway and maneuvered it into the massive six-car garage. She parked next to her husband's Escalade and jumped out. With a devilish quirk to her lips, she kicked his SUV. Not hard enough to do any damage, but every little bit she could do made her feel better.

She stepped through the garage and into the long mudroom. As soon as she opened the door into the kitchen, her gaze landed on Franco. A very angry Franco.

"Where have you been?" he demanded.

She shut the door quietly, steeling her spine for the worst. "I told you. I had errands to run. I needed a dress for the party later this week."

His brown eyes narrowed dangerously. His strong Italian features morphing into a scowl of distrust. "Why didn't you wait for my man, Terry, like I asked you to?"

"I don't need a bodyguard, Franco. I prefer to shop alone."

Big mistake. Franco lunged the five feet that separated them and grabbed her chin with a punishing grip, his fingers biting into her flesh. "You do as I say, woman. Period. Understand?"

She nodded, her gaze locked on his. Anger knotted her stomach and she tightened her lips into a firm line. She knew it angered Franco when she showed any sign of fighting back, but sometimes she did anyway. Heat ignited in Franco's eyes and her heart dropped to her toes. She hated it when he got that look. Narrowing her gaze, she braced herself.

"It's been a while since you and I have fucked in the kitchen, my love," he purred. "Despite the fact you've been a bad girl, or maybe because of it, I want you."

Her lip curled in distaste, but she remained silent. Let him fuck her, get it over with. It never lasted long, thank God. A few thrusts and he'd be finished, his hunger sated. He could care less about hers. But hunger was not something she felt toward him. It was hatred that burned deep in her gut--pure hatred.

His hands slid beneath her skirt, gripping her ass painfully. She winced, counting the moments until it would all be over. His fingers searched for the edge of her thong and tugged, ripping it in two so it fell to the floor.

"How many times have I told you not to wear underwear?" he growled, then backhanded her across the face.

Lightning flashed behind her eyes and she gasped, blinking back tears of pain and mortification. The slap stung, but he was careful not to hit her hard enough to leave a bruise. She knew he wouldn't risk that with the party so close. Image was everything to her husband.

Cruel fingers slipped between her legs, fondling her pussy. She fought the urge to clamp her legs together, to shove his hand away. Refusing him would only ignite his fury--an uncontrollable fury that would get her nothing less than a brutal beating. A few moments of sex would be much easier to endure. She'd learned that the hard way.

"I like it when you don't wear panties. I like the fact that I can get to you easily," he murmured, his Italian accent thicker than usual. It always was when he was aroused.

His lips slobbered against her neck and she cringed, fighting the nausea that rolled through her stomach. His fingers continued to fondle and stroke, his agitation growing stronger when he realized she wasn't getting wet. With a growl, he shoved two fingers inside her dry channel.

"Don't I arouse you anymore, bella?" he questioned, but Miranda knew better than to answer that question truthfully. "Don't you want me to stick my cock in you anymore?" He snarled, baring his teeth at her silence. "You'll take it anyway."

His growl came from deep in his chest, full of anger. Gripping her ass, he lifted her, forcing her to wrap her legs around his waist. With one hand between them, he freed his long, slender cock from his slacks. Placing her hands on his shoulders, she tensed, waiting for the painful thrust of his shaft into her dry pussy.

He had to work his way in with short thrusts that went a little deeper each time. She whimpered at the burning, painful stretching of her channel. He would make her bleed. He always did. And the warm blood would ease his way, taking away at least some of the discomfort.

Once fully seated, he began a vigorous rhythm, shoving her against the counter with each pounding thrust of his cock. Turning her head to the side, she prayed for his quick orgasm. The sooner he was done with her, the sooner she could get in the shower. Wash his stench from her body, clean his seed from between her legs.

God, how she hated him.

Tears burned the back of her eyes and she squeezed them shut, refusing to let him see what he did to her. His grunts became louder, his thrusts harder and she breathed a sigh of relief as he finally found his pleasure. It was almost over.

He slid from her body, curling his lip at the blood that coated his limp shaft. His eyes narrowed at her, and she inwardly flinched at the accusations flashing in his gaze. "Maybe if you wanted me, you wouldn't bleed."

Maybe if you weren't such a damn ass...

"Get a rag and clean me off," he demanded.

Miranda moved back into the laundry room, ignoring the blood that coated her own thighs, and grabbed a rag from the folding table. Walking back into the kitchen, she avoided her husband's glare. She ran warm water over the rag.

"Hurry up, Miranda," he snarled. "I have guests."

Clamping her lips tightly closed, she turned and stood before Franco. His brown eyes glittered evilly as she reached out to wipe the blood from his flaccid cock and balls. His eyes closed momentarily, as she wrapped the rag around his balls.

With more bravado than she should have possessed, she squeezed them. Hard. Franco's eyes widened, then narrowed dangerously as her grip tightened much harder than she meant for it to. With a growl, his fingers gripped her chin, squeezing harshly.

"Let them go, you damn bitch." She released them quickly, moving her hands away, cursing herself for letting her anger get the better of her. "You'll pay for that later. I'm late, otherwise you'd pay now."

Miranda met his stare head on, never flinching, never showing fear. Snarling his lip in distaste, he shoved her away from him. She watched him go, her hand shaking uncontrollably. It would only get worse. She knew it. She had to get away from here soon.

As soon as he left, she sprinted up the servant's steps, ignoring the maid's concerned stare and headed straight to her room. She slammed the door behind her, almost locking it in her haste, but then she remembered what had happened the last time she had done that.

Swallowing down her bile, she ran quickly to the bathroom and dropped to her knees in front of the toilet, losing her lunch from earlier. She rested her elbows on the toilet seat, supporting her forehead as wracking sobs shook her whole body. She had to get out of here before he killed her.

On shaky legs she stood and started the shower water. Steam rose and filled the room while she dropped her clothes to the floor. The outfit was one her favorites, but she wouldn't be able to bear wearing it again. Not after today. Kicking it aside, she climbed into the shower, letting the warm water sooth her battered body and soul.

She had over a million dollars put aside, hidden under another name. Money she'd secretly removed from various accounts. Never too much at a time. If she could just figure out how to get away. She reached out and placed her palms against the Italian tile that surrounded the shower, letting the water roll over her shoulders and down her back.

"I have to stop feeling sorry for myself."

Straightening, she grabbed the shampoo and began to wash her hair. Franco would expect her to look her best for dinner, especially if he had company. She shuddered, remembering what had happened a few months ago during one of his dinner parties. The men had gotten drunk and Franco had insisted he wanted her to fuck his business partner while he watched.

At first, she'd thought he was joking, but the second he'd ripped her top from her, she'd known he was serious. His partner had fucked her right there on the table, in plain view of five other men, including her husband. She'd never been more mortified in her life.

Shaking off the bad memories, she stepped from the shower and wrapped herself in a towel. She moved to the closet and picked out a nice pair of off-white slacks and matching lace top. Two-inch heels finished off the ensemble. A quick blow-drying of her hair, a pearl hair clip, a few swipes of makeup and she headed downstairs to help the cook fix dinner.

On the way out, she noticed her digital camera and grabbed it. She had some pictures on it she wanted to download to her computer in the library. Might was well take it down as she went. She'd leave it by the computer then go to the kitchen. Hopefully Franco would be busy for a while after dinner and she could lose herself in her photography.

She loved taking pictures, especially landscape, and some of them had come out quite good. Those she'd blown up and framed, hanging them on the library wall.

Wrapping the strap around her fingers, she headed to the second floor entrance to the library, in the hopes she'd miss seeing her husband. From the balcony that ran the perimeter of the room, she could take the spiral staircase to the first floor.

She turned her camera on, deciding to flip through the review option as she walked, but just outside the library door, she stopped. Raised voices came through the small crack, and she pushed it open slowly, wanting to see who was in her domain. Franco had his own office. The library was hers.

One voice she recognized. It was John, her husband's assistant, or lackey as she liked to refer to him as. The other voice she didn't know. Moving forward slowly, she partially hid behind one of the potted palms lining the balcony and looked down to the men on the first floor.

John stood across the desk from another man, who paled, as though he'd been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. And apparently he had if the gun John had pointed at his chest was any indication.

Her heart began to race in her chest. Should she say something? At that moment, Franco burst through the doors. "What the hell happened, John?" Franco demanded.

Miranda scooted back further behind the palm. Glancing down, she remembered the camera in her hand. Should she? This could be her way out--the proof she needed to have her husband put away. As quietly as possible, she turned off the flash and raised the camera. With a quick click, she got a picture of John pointing his gun.

"I found our new associate here trying to hack into your accounts through Miranda's computer," John replied and Miranda lowered her camera.

Who was this man? An undercover cop, maybe? It wouldn't be the first time a cop had tried to get into Franco's world. It had made Franco leery and distrustful. More than likely he would shoot first then ask questions later.

"Is this true, Mitch?" Franco stepped around the desk, glancing at the computer screen.

"No, sir. I was just going online. That's all."

"This is my wife's computer, Mitch. If you were looking for anything on me, you wouldn't have found it here."

"I wasn't," Mitch stuttered and Miranda shot off another two pictures.

"I think he's lying," John said with a snarl.

Franco walked around the desk and took the gun from John to twist a silencer onto the end. "So do I. Are you a cop, Mitch?"

Mitch shook his head vigorously and Miranda swallowed as bile rose up her throat.

"If you aren't, then why were you trying to get into my accounts?"

Miranda waited for his answer, but it never came. Instead, he raised his head, staring straight into her husband's eyes. Miranda gazed through the lens of the camera, focusing on the disgust and hatred shining in Mitch's eyes. She'd bet every dollar she had he was a cop.

Using her index finger, she held the shutter button down getting several shots in rapid succession as Franco raised the gun and fired. Mitch fell back onto the floor, his chest covered in blood. She gasped, covering her mouth with her shaking hand.

"What the hell was that?" John's gaze glossed over the upper balcony.

Miranda didn't breath. She remained as still as possible behind the palm, but she could see Franco's calculating stare narrow. Oh, shit.

"Miranda," he growled.

She bolted, knocking over the palm in her haste to get away. She'd never actually seen her husband kill a man. Franco wouldn't like that she had and would want to make sure she knew to keep her mouth shut.

"Son of a bitch. Get her, John and get that fucking camera!" Franco yelled as she sprinted down the hall toward the servant's steps.

She bounded down the stairs and into the kitchen. "My God," the maid exclaimed in surprise. "Miss Miranda. Are you all right, honey?" she asked as Miranda sprinted by her toward the garage.

"No," she snapped, unable to stop and talk.

She could hear John bounding down the steps behind her. The maid stepped to the side, blocking John as he jumped over the last two steps. He lost his balance, causing both him and the maid to hit the floor. A string of Italian curses left his lips as he struggled to stand. Miranda said a silent prayer of thanks for the valuable few seconds and headed out to the garage and into her car.

Her palms hit the steering wheel the second she realized she didn't have her damn keys. "Shit! Shit! Shit!"

Glancing up, she noticed her husband's Hummer two cars down. He always kept his keys in it. Jumping from her car, she ran to his and threw open the door. Just as she thought, the keys were in the ignition. She glanced heavenward in another silent prayer and tossed her camera to the passenger seat.

Starting the car, she threw it into reverse and backed out of the garage, not even bothering to open the door. Instead, the car jerked as she busted through it, sending shards of wood all over the driveway.

As she spun the Hummer around and shoved the transmission into drive, she saw John jump into his truck to give chase. She whimpered slightly, her hands shaking as she gripped the steering wheel and stomped on the gas. But where to? Where did she go?

At the end of the driveway, she took a right, still unsure where she was going. John was close on her tail. A half block down the road he nudged her with the front end of his truck. She jerked forward, but kept a firm grip on the wheel.

"Damn son of a bitch," she muttered, moving her gaze from the road to her rearview mirror.

John pulled up beside her, aiming his gun. She jerked the wheel to the left, knocking him enough that he had to grab the wheel with both hands. She hit the gas, taking a turn a little too fast and having to scramble to keep all four wheels on the ground. Her heart hammered as her gaze searched the nearly deserted streets.

They were still in the subdivision that ran along the beach. Her best shot would be to head toward downtown. Risky, but there would be plenty of cops there. Beat cops, not the detectives Franco had in his pocket. Glancing in the rearview mirror, she saw John catching up and her stomach lurched.

The car phone rang making her jump as she left the subdivision and merged into interstate traffic. The caller ID said "John", so she hit the button putting the phone on speaker. "What?" she snapped.

"Give it up, Miranda. You know he's not going to let you get away. If you come back and give him the picture, he'll forgive you."

"Fuck you, John. You know damn good and well he won't."

"Come on, Miranda. Franco is your husband."

Miranda snorted and squeezed between two Mercedes to move to the center lane. She needed the downtown exit, but she still had several miles left to go.

"Franco is a damn lunatic that needs to be put away."

"And you think you're the one that will do that when half the cops of San Francisco can't?" John laughed. "Get real, Miranda. He'd kill you long before that would happen."

Miranda sighed and shook her head, catching a quick glance of John directly behind her. "Then he'll have to kill me, John. But I'm not going back."

Disconnecting the call, she swerved again, moving in front of an eighteen-wheeler to catch the next exit. It wasn't downtown, but it would be close enough and the move bought her some much-needed time. John had been caught on the other side of the semi, causing him to miss the exit.

Her phone rang again, but this time she ignored the incoming call and began to scan the shopping centers and office complexes that lined the streets for a police car. Someone bumped her from behind and she gasped, moving the rearview mirror to get a better look. A black Dodge Ram rode her bumper close enough that she could see the driver.

Franco.

"Oh, shit," she breathed.

He must have been following John and took the same exit she did. Stomping on the gas, she took deep breaths to control the shaking in her hand as she sped down the street, running red lights. She looked around frantically for a police car, and at the same time tried to avoid any collisions. If Franco caught her, she was dead.

The pictures were her out--her way of escape. Hanging the camera around her neck, she prayed a black and white somewhere would see her erratic driving. God, where the hell was a cop when you needed one?

Out of the corner of her eye, she spotted him. He was coming out of a store, his car just outside the door on the sidewalk. She'd never been more happy to see anything in her life. The only problem was he was on the wrong side of the street. She would have to turn around.

Taking a deep breath, she gripped the wheel and turned it to the left, spinning the Hummer around. The rear of the car hit a parked vehicle, breaking the taillight.

"Damn it," she sighed.

There was nothing she could do now. She couldn't stop. Franco tried the same move, but he didn't quite make it and slammed into the rear end of a parked mustang. Miranda swallowed down her fear as she watched him back up, then floor it, coming after her again. The cop was just ahead, getting into his car. Miranda stomped on the brake making the tires squeal. Gripping the wheel hard, she braced herself for Franco's truck ramming into her, but he'd recovered in time to swerve to the left, coming almost even with her.

She glanced out the window and toward his furious face. She could hear his voice threatening her, screaming at her. "You're dead, Miranda! Fucking dead! Do you hear me?"

She threw the Hummer into park, jumped from the vehicle and ran the last half block to the police officer. His passenger window was down and she ran between the parked cars. With a cry, she gripped the door handle, pulled it open, and slid her butt onto the seat next to the officer.

"What the hell?" he snapped, starring at her wide-eyed, his hand on his gun at his side.

"Please," she gasped, turning to see where Franco had gone. "I'm Miranda Giovani. I have pictures of my husband killing an undercover cop. You have to get me out of here."

"Excuse me?" he gripped her chin, forcing her to turn and face him. Franco had been watched for years, so she knew any cop who knew Franco would know her. "Holy shit. You are Miranda."

The loud crack of a pistol sounded just before the back glass broke, shattering into tiny pieces all over the back of the car. Miranda screamed and covered her head with her hands as the officer shoved her face between her legs.

"The black Ram!" she shouted. "The black Dodge Ram!"

The officer drew his gun, his gaze searching frantically for the truck. When he didn't find it, he shoved the car in gear and spun the tires as he took off backward out of the parking spot. With a gasp, she held tight to the door handle, too afraid to scream or even open her eyes.

The officer reached out to grab the radio and Miranda gripped his wrist, stopping him. "My husband has half of the San Francisco detectives on his payroll. You can't take me there."

"I know where to take you," he said with a nod and hung the radio mike back into the holder. "You're going to be fine, Miranda."

"Son of a bitch!" Franco snarled as he sped down the road toward his house. Grabbing his phone, he flipped it open and called John. "The fucking bitch got away," he snarled at John through the phone.

"You know they're going to be after you," John replied.

"Make some calls, John. Make this go away!"

"Yes, sir."

With a growl, Franco flipped the phone closed. That damn bitch would pay with her life for this.


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