Hard to Fight - Bella Jewel


As always, my heartfelt thanks to every single blogger, reader, author and publisher that has supported my journey. From reading my books, to sharing them, to raving about them, to being there for me. Thank you. My career would be nothing without any of you.

To Kimberly, my amazing agent. You have been such a pleasure to work with. I love that we can talk about anything, gush over male leads and brainstorm stories. I wouldn’t be where I am without your support and quick responses. You keep me upright and you make everything seem so easy.

To Rose from St Martin’s Press. Thank you so much for believing in my work and me. I’ve loved creating what I believe is my best work yet. I love your emails and your passion, and mostly how excited you get when you’re reading what I send. I’ll be grateful to you for every single day for the step up you gave me in my career.

To Sali and Belle, for always supporting my writing and taking me through every step. I’d never survive without our amazing brainstorming sessions and the insane conversations we have. You girls are my backbone, and I couldn’t have done any of it without your support.

I couldn’t possibly list every name of every person that has helped me on this journey, but no matter what you’ve done for me, know I am grateful. From just reading my work, to editing, to publishing, to marketing. You’ve all made such a difference and most importantly, you’ve made this journey one in a million.

And, last but certainly not least, to my loyal readers. To each and every one of you that pick up my books and give me a chance. To the reviews you write, good or bad. To the time you take to make me a better person. You make this real for me; never stop giving such love and passion. You make our journey so amazing.


My boots crunch on the rocks as I slink down a deserted alleyway. It’s dark; it smells of stale urine and garbage, the sound of water dripping is the only sound that can be heard in the eerie silence. Even through that, I know he’s here. He heard me call. I listen to the loud, thumping sounds of his feet scurrying across the not-so-quiet gravel. He wants me to walk in here, into the darkest parts of the alley. I’m not that stupid.

I suck in a breath of air and use my loudest voice to call, “You come out, or I’ll make you come out. It’s your choice.”


“I have a gun, or a Taser, if you'd prefer.”

The sounds of shifting feet.


A footstep.


Another footstep.


“Please, missy,” he cries, leaping out of the darkness and throwing his wrinkled hands in the air. He’s not wearing any pants, just a pair of old, ragged underwear that have seen better days. I’ll never be able to scrub that image from my mind. His stark white legs tremble as his eyes dart about the empty space.

I take a moment to truly stare at him. Good lord. I actually feel sorry for this one. It’s quite clear he has very little mental capacity and isn’t really a threat to anyone, except for maybe himself. To say I’m wasting good time bringing him in would be an understatement. I take a step forward, the old man’s eyes narrow and he continues to wave his hands about, as if making it clear that he doesn’t want me to come closer.

He doesn’t get a choice.

“I have to take you in, Cole,” I say in a steady voice.

“My name isn’t Cole,” he tries, jerking his chin out.

My eyes drop to his shirt, where his name is clearly stitched on. “It’s on your shirt,” I say, fighting back a smile as I lift my gaze back to him.

“Found this, I did,” he nods, as if his story is going to be completely believable. “It’s not mine.”

“Cole,” I say, calmly. “I’ve read your profile and seen your picture. I know it’s you. Now, you can come with me quietly or I can use force, please don’t make me use force because I got my nails done yesterday and I really, really don’t want to ruin them.”

He crosses his arms defiantly, and his wispy white hair blows about in the breeze. He narrows his ice blue eyes and studies me. “You’re a girl.”

He says it as though he has only just figured out this little nugget of information.

“Well done for that observation,”