Beautiful Burn (The Maddox Brothers #4) - Jamie McGuire Page 0,1

“You’re definitely a local.”

“Guilty. Boyfriend?” she asked.

“You get right to the point.”

She shrugged, taking a drag and holding her breath for five seconds before hacking out a puff of smoke. “Is that a no?” she asked, still coughing.


She tried to pass the roach back, but I shook my head. She jutted out her glistening bottom lip.

“Disappointed?” I wasn’t sure if she wanted a threesome or a drug buddy.

“You just look like you’d be a fun girlfriend.”

“You’re wrong.” I stood up, already bored with the conversation. A glass broke across the room, and a small group tightened around whatever show was happening in the center.

Laughter turned to yelling and chanting. Peter Max’s Better World was knocked off the wall, shattering the glass. Cheap beer splashed over the fifty-thousand-dollar brush strokes. I pushed my way to the front, seeing two men throwing punches, making an unholy mess of every piece of art around them.

All eyes fell on me, and the spectators quieted, causing the two in the middle to pause. They were all waiting for me to break up the fight, or yell, or maybe cry over the damage, but my gaze fell on the shirtless man covered in tattoos. He watched me, too, his chestnut eyes scanning my tits and legs, and then the room. His adversary had turned his red ball cap backward, bouncing as he circled Tattoos, rolling his fists back and forth in the air like he was in a Bugs Bunny cartoon.

“Maddox, you’ve proved your point. Let’s go,” someone said to the tattooed man.

“Fuck you,” he replied. He didn’t take his eyes off me. “We’ll just take it outside.”

Red Cap had at least fifty pounds on Maddox. I pulled out five bills from my cleavage and held them above me. “I’ve got five hundred on Maddox.”

People shot their fists into the air, holding bills, shouting bets and winners. Maddox looked at me with a light in his eye I was sure no one had seen in a while—not even him. He’d just barely broken a sweat; his buzzed hair and dark eyes screamed invincible. Most of the men I’d met were all hat and no cowboy, but Maddox didn’t have to pretend. He lived it, and had the balls to back it up. The apex of my thighs tightened, and my panties were suddenly soaked. I took another step, forcing my way closer to the middle. I’d never seen him before, but he looked a lot like my next mistake.

The way he moved, I could tell he was extending the fight much longer than needed. Blow after blow—none by the bulky douchebag in the backward red hat—more glass broken, more blood spilled and beer sloshed onto Mother’s custom, Italian shag rug.

It became a pattern of Red Cap throwing a missed punch, and Maddox using the opportunity to land his. He was unbelievably fast, precise, and ruthless. I could almost feel his knuckles against my jaw, rattling my teeth, vibrating down my spine.

Too soon, it was over. The tattooed champion stood over his bloody opponent like it was nothing. Someone handed Maddox his T-shirt, and he used it to wipe specks of blood and sweat from his face.

Someone handed me cash, but I didn’t pay attention to how much.

“Tyler … let’s get the hell out of here. I don’t want to get fired, man. There’s about a dozen underage, wasted kids in here.”

Maddox kept his gaze on me. “What’s the rush?”

“I don’t feel like explaining to the superintendent why we got arrested. Do you?”

Maddox pulled the white cotton tee over his head and the defined curves of his chest and abs. When the V just above his belt disappeared behind the shirt, my shoulders slightly sagged in disappointment. I wanted to see more of him. I wanted to see all of him.

His nervous friend gave him a black White Sox ball cap, and he put it on, tugging it low over his eyes.

A friend patted Tyler on the shoulder. “You made me fifty bucks, Maddox. Feels like old times.”

“You’re welcome, dickhead,” he said, his gaze not leaving mine.

The crowd exchanged money, and then, in mass exodus, left for the kitchen where the kegs were tapped and flowing.

Tyler Maddox approached me in a damp and blood-smeared shirt. His eyes and nose were shadowed by his hat. He began to speak, but I gripped a fistful of his shirt and pulled, planting a hard kiss on his mouth. My lips parted, letting his hot tongue slip inside. He reacted like