Ryley's Revenge (Gloves Off #2)

Ryley's Revenge (Gloves Off #2)

L.P. Dover

“ARE YOU IN love with him?” Colin asks.

We’d just walked through the door of my apartment, only long enough for me to sit my bags down and grab a bottle of water from the refrigerator. We were in Vegas because Colin and Bradley had a baseball tournament. Well, that, and to be with my best friend, Gabriella. That’s what I told myself anyway. Deep down, it was because I knew Ryley was going to be there too, fighting. Seeing him again had only awakened what I kept buried inside of me.

I didn’t know what to tell Colin as he stood there looking at me with those bright green eyes of his. The eyes which belonged to a man who was everything I could ever want—smart, loving, caring, and sexy as hell. Not to mention he had a body to die for. Colin was our school’s star pitcher, and on his way to bigger and better things in the MLB.

I still haven’t answered him yet, but if I let the truth come out of my mouth, I won’t be able to take it back. Not even a day ago, I was afraid I was pregnant with Ryley’s child. It was the scariest moment in my life, but what frightened me more was the look in Ryley’s eyes when he thought he was going to be a father. He wasn’t ready . . . hell, I wasn’t ready.

The only problem was, right after I left him for Colin, he went straight back to his old ways with his identical twin. It’s like I was erased from his mind, no longer the girl he fell in love with.

I have too much pride to go back to him, knowing he’ll be whoring around with other women. Colin’s a good guy and he deserves more than a woman whose heart’s divided. I love him a lot, but I’m in love with someone else.

“Ashleigh, please,” he murmurs, taking my hands. “You’ve avoided me all day. Did something happen while we were in Vegas?”

I was never good at lying, and Colin’s always the first person to know when something’s wrong. Sitting down on the couch, I take a deep breath and close my eyes. My stomach is in knots because I know I’m about to break another guy’s heart. Colin’s my safe place, my guarantee at a normal, functional relationship. I just know that if I stay, I’ll never be fully happy. He doesn’t own my heart, but he shares a part of my soul.

I have to make a choice. Opening my eyes, the warm tears fall down my cheeks. Colin doesn’t speak because in my actions he already has his answer. He lowers his head and slowly lets go of my hands, running them through his hair.

“I don’t think I can let you go, Ashleigh. At least, not without a fight.”

Sighing, I wait for him to lift his head, and when he does I lean in to give him one last kiss. “I’m sorry, Colin, but you don’t have a choice.”

Present Time (One Month Later)

“SO WHEN ARE you coming back to California?” Gabriella asked.

When I get the balls to face Ryley again.

But in all honesty, I didn’t know. For the past month, I’d been in Aspen with my family, trying to get away from anything and everything that reminded me of Ryley and Colin. Working in my family’s hotel helped. I loved talking to the tourists and getting them all settled in. It was a good distraction.

I’d been afraid Gabriella would’ve told Ryley by now about my breakup with Colin. So far, she’d kept my secret. Colin, however, refused to give up on me and made sure to keep in touch by calling almost every single day. He’d even visited Aspen twice already. He was my friend before we became lovers, but once you cross that line, it’s almost impossible to go back.

“I don’t know yet,” I admitted. “I’m tempted to stay here for a little while longer. I miss being with my family.” It wasn’t exactly a lie, but it wasn’t the full truth either.

There was something I hadn’t told her, or anyone for that matter. I thought maybe running away to Aspen would make my problems disappear, but I was starting to think it was just going to make them worse. For the past hour, I’d done nothing but trace and stare at the phone number on the paper in front of me. I was just too afraid to call it.

Gabriella’s laugh echoed in the phone, catching my attention. “Well, all I can say is, you won’t believe the shit that’s happened here the past couple of days, especially when I was in Vegas for the fights.”

Perking up, I held the phone closer to my ear. There weren’t any people in the lobby so I had a few minutes to spare. “Oh yeah, like what?”

Anything with Ryley?

Gabriella sighed. “Well, Tyler’s super serious over a girl now. And, get this . . . It turns out, she’s Kyle Andrews’ sister. Who would’ve thought that, right?”

I gasped. Everyone hated Kyle Andrews. “Oh my God, that’s insane. Have you met her? Are you okay with that?”

She snorted. “Yes, I’m okay with it. It is for the best. I miss talking to him though. Anyway, I met Kacey the other day. She’s actually really nice—although, a little quieter than me.”

“Everyone is quieter than you, Gabriella,” I laughed.

“Oh, whatever. Well, now that Tyler won the title, and Kyle’s paralyzed in the hospital, all is right in the world.”

“I’d say so,” I agreed. Nothing like that ever happened at the hotel; it was quiet and drama free. Only in Gabriella’s life was it interesting. “It sounds like you had a lot going on. How are you and Bradley doing? Still just friends?”

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