Play Rough (Black Rose Kisses #2) - Eva Ashwood


Even with all the fancy shit inside this house, all the nice appliances and the big TV, the gym downstairs is still the best thing about it. In the couple of days since I watched Sloan shoot and kill my dad, I’ve been spending a lot of time down here, trying to push my body into enough exhaustion to calm down my mind.

It’s not really working.

I punch the heavy bag hard, my fists flying, the rhythm of it working through me with ease. Everything else is a mess, but I’ve always had this.

Solid, heavy punches land on the bag, and my eyes are narrowed with focus. I can feel the burn in my muscles as I push myself harder than I usually do, letting the thud of my fists into the bag and the sound of my labored breathing fill my ears.

Sweat pours down my face, and I don’t break to wipe it away, shaking my head a little to keep it from running into my eyes. I came down here almost as soon as I got back from school today, and I don’t plan on leaving until my muscles are so worn out I can barely move.

Memories of my dad flash through my mind, and there’s nothing I can do to stop them. I think about him before all of this shit started, raising me on his own and making the best of our rough circumstances.

I think of him happy and teasing me while he made pancakes in our small, dingy kitchen. He always knew the right place to kick the side of our ancient stove to get it to work, grinning and saying that he’d bought us another couple of months at least before we had to buy another one.

When I was little, he always drove me to school when he had time, and he was there to pick me up at the end of the day, listening to me go on about whatever I was excited about that day with the same enthusiasm he showed for sports and fighting.

He was strong and brave, and even after losing the love of his life, he never stopped. He worked and scraped by so I could have a good life, and he was my last remaining family member and my best friend.

We were always there for each other.

And now, knowing he’s gone and wouldn’t be coming back…

It’s like there’s a hole in my heart that’s never going to heal. I keep going back and forth between being sad and furious, a whirlwind of emotions that keeps me from sleeping at night and makes it hard to function during the day. It’s still so fresh, I know that, but I can’t think forward to a time when it won’t hurt like this.

All those happy memories that we’re never going to have again are overlaid with the worst day of my life in my mind—and that last memory of my father taints all the other ones to the point where I feel sick just thinking about how things used to be.

As long as I live, I don’t think I’ll ever be able to forget how I stood across the street from that empty lot, hidden behind the corner of a building, and watched Sloan raise his gun and end my dad’s life.

I remember it in flashes that rise up in such vivid detail they make my heart race.

I can still hear Dad saying he couldn’t do whatever they wanted him to, asking for more time.

I can still see Sloan’s stony face as he listened.

And worst of all, I can’t stop picturing my dad’s expression as the gun was aimed right at him.

The gunshots, I remember in silence. I can’t recall the sounds, just the impact of them as they hit my dad, and then the red color of his blood as it stained his shirt. The way it seemed to take him forever to fall, and then the way Sloan threw Dad’s body into the trunk of his car like he was a sack of garbage or something.

Every time I think about it, I feel bile rise up in my throat, making me feel like I need to throw up and get it all out of me.

And then I get really, really fucking angry.

That anger boils inside of me now, just as hot and fierce as always, and it comes out in my punches. I hit the bag harder and harder, grunting with the effort of it as my muscles burn. My knuckles