Tamed Page 1

Author: Emma Chase

Series: Tangled #3

Genres: Romance

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Chapter 1

During the last few weeks, it’s been brought to my attention that sometimes women actually like to cry. They cry over books, TV shows, those awful abused-animal commercials, and movies—especially movies. Sitting down to purposely watch something you know will make you unhappy? It makes no frigging sense.

But that’s okay; I’m just going to chalk it up to another thing I will never understand about my girlfriend. Yes—I said girlfriend. Dee Warren is officially my girlfriend.

One more time for those in the back—girlfriend—Delores—mine.

Repeating it might make me sound like a Harry Styles–obsessed prepubescent girl, but I don’t give a damn. Because it was a hard-won victory—if you knew what I had to go through to make her mine, you’d understand.

Anyway, back to what I was saying. Chicks like to cry—but this isn’t one of those stories. There’s no dying best friends, no dark tortured pasts, no hidden secrets, no sparkly vampire breakups, and no kinky f**kery.

Well . . . okay . . . there’s some kinky f**kery—but it’s the happy kind.

This is a story about a player, who meets a slightly crazy girl. They fall in love and the player changes his ways forever. It’s a story you’ve probably heard before, maybe even from my buddy, Drew Evans. But the thing is, while he and Kate were figuring their shit out? There was this whole alternate universe going on with Delores and me that you don’t know about. So stick around, even if you think you already know the ending. Because the greatest part of a road trip isn’t arriving at your destination. It’s all the wild stuff that happens along the way.

Before we start, there’s some background info you may need to know. First off—Drew’s a great guy, a true best friend. If we were the Rat Pack, he’d be Frank Sinatra, I’d be Dean Martin. Although Drew and I are tight, we differ in our opinions about women. At this point in our tale, he sees himself as a bachelor for life. He’s got all these rules about never bringing a chick to his apartment, never dating someone he works with, and the Cardinal Rule: Never hook up with the same woman twice.

I, on the other hand, don’t care where I get laid—my place, her place, the observation deck of the Empire State Building.

That was a great night.

I’m also not opposed to seeing someone from the office—though most of the girls in my line of work are stressed out, chain smoking, coffee-obsessed women with an unpleasant chip on their shoulders. I have no problem hanging out with the same woman on multiple occasions, as long as the good times keep rolling. And someday, I imagine myself settling down—marriage, kids, the whole deal.

But while I’m looking for Mrs. Right? I’m having a blast with all the Ms. Wrongs.

Secondly, I’m a real glass-half-full kind of person. Nothing gets me down. I have a great life—a good career that lets me enjoy the best man-toys on the market, awesome friends, a weird but loving family. “Emo” doesn’t exist in my vocabulary, but YOLO should’ve been my middle name.

Next up is Delores Warren—Dee, if you want to stay on her good side. By today’s standards it’s an unusual name, but for her it’s a perfect fit. She’s unusual—different—in all the best kinds of ways. She’s brutally honest, emphasis on “brutal.” She’s strong and doesn’t give a rat’s ass what people think of her. She’s true to herself and makes no apologies for what she wants or who she is. She’s wild and beautiful—like an undomesticated thoroughbred that runs best without a saddle.

And that was where I almost went wrong. I wanted to tame her. I thought I had the patience for it, but I pushed too hard and pulled too much on the reins. So she broke them.

Are you offended that I compared the woman I love to a horse? Get the f**k over it—this is not a tale the PC police will enjoy.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Just know that Kate Brooks is our coworker and Delores’s best friend—the Shirley to Dee’s Laverne. And in all the years I’ve known Drew—which is every one of them—I’ve never seen him react to a woman like he reacted to Kate. Their attraction, even though it was mostly antagonistic in the beginning, was palpable. Anybody with eyes could see they had it bad for each other.

Well . . . anybody but them.

Kate, like Delores, is a great girl. The type of woman who, in the immortal words of Eddie Murphy in Coming to America, could arouse a man’s intellect as well as his loins.

You got all that? Great. Let’s get this party started.

My life changed about four weeks ago. On a normal, average day—when I met a girl who was anything but average.

Four weeks earlier

“Matthew Fisher, Jack O’Shay, Drew Evans, this is Dee-Dee Warren.”

There’s no such thing as love at first sight. It’s just not possible. Sorry to ruin your fantasy, but that’s how it is. Ignorance might feel like bliss, but when you peel away the happy layer, it’s still just a lack of information.

To really love another person, you have to know them—their quirks, their dreams, what pisses them off and makes them smile, their strengths, weaknesses, and flaws. Have you heard that quote from the Bible—the one they always read at weddings: “Love is patient, love is kind . . .”? I have my own version: Love is missing the taste of someone’s morning breath. Thinking they’re beautiful, even when their nose is Rudolph-red and their hair is bird’s nest crazy. Love isn’t putting up with someone in spite of their faults—it’s adoring them because of them.

Now lust at first sight, that’s very real. And much more common. In fact, when most guys meet a woman, they know within the first five minutes which category of “fuck, kill, marry” they fall into. For guys, the f**k category has a pretty low bar.

I’d like to tell you the first thing I noticed about Delores was something romantic, like her eyes, or her smile, or the sound of her voice—but it wasn’t. It was her tits. I’ve always been a boob man, and Dee’s set was fantastic. Slightly overflowing in a tight, hot-pink top, pressed together just right to create an enticing cleft of cle**age, beautifully framed by a gray knit sweater.

Before she uttered her first word to me, I was in lust with Delores Warren’s rack.

After she banters with Drew for a minute, I steer her attention my way. “So, Dee-Dee . . . is that short for something? Donna, Deborah?”

Warm, honey-colored eyes turn my way. But before she can answer, Kate lets the cat out of the bag, “Delores. It’s a family name—her grandmother’s. She hates it.”

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