HE’S PERFECT FOR HER IN EVERY WAY,
EXCEPT FOR ONE SMALL ISSUE.
HE’S TOO LATE.
IT'S A FUGLY LIFE
Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
Releasing Oct 11th, 2016
HE’S PERFECT FOR HER IN EVERY WAY, EXCEPT FOR ONE SMALL ISSUE. HE’S TOO LATE.
My name is Lily Snow. And I was once the kind of ugly that turned heads and made people stare. The worst part was how I let it ruin my life and destroy my relationship with the love of my life—Maxwell Cole, one of the sexiest, wealthiest, enigmatic men on the planet. All because I felt ugly and certainly not good enough for a man’s love.
But not anymore.
One car wreck, three reconstructive surgeries, and some unexpected money have changed my life.
I’ve started my own company, I’ve finally learned to like myself—not love, but like (hey, it’s a journey)—and I’ve met a wonderful new man who’s helped me put Max in the past where he belongs.
There’s only one problem: After six long months, Maxwell Cole is back, asking for the one thing I can’t give him. And he’s not taking no for an answer.
NOTE: This is a continuation of the story FUGLY, but is a standalone.
“So you said yes.” I could practically see the steam rising off the top of Max’s head of messy brown hair. Perfectly messy, of course, because Max demanded perfection in everything he did.
“No.” I had needed time to think. “But I will. Tonight.”
A long moment passed while Max stared into my eyes. “Then you have to wait.”
“Why would I do that?” Patricio loved me. I loved Patricio. No, as I explained, it wasn’t the same type of love I once had with Max, but for as long as I breathed, I would never love anyone like that. But that was because the evolution of our relationship had been unlike anything else. Like many women, I first thought of Max as the indescribably sexy and driven man who appeared in all of those steamy ads for his company. Naked. Hand covering the goods. Ripped from head to toe. Words could not describe how much I worshipped him. Then we’d met when I interviewed for a sales position at his company, and I caught a glimpse of his ugly side. I hated the man. I hated how he looked at me, I hated looking at him, and I hated how he made me feel like the ugliest creature on the planet. Then he made me an offer I couldn’t refuse and talked me into working for him. After that, we started to really see each other and ourselves for who we were.
I fell hard for him.
But Max and I had ended in self-destruction. Me with my ugly problems and him with his. Oh yes, that man had issues. Big, scary issues with fangs and wiry hair and an ice pick. We were so tainted by our fucking hang-ups that we were bound to end in a blazing fire of hurt. That had been the one sane thought I’d clung to these past six months: we were bad for each other, and it never would’ve worked. It didn’t matter how much I loved him or he loved me.
“You owe me, Lily.” Max’s nostrils flared a bit.
I frowned. “I owe you what?”
“You took everything from me—my company, my sanity, and my peace of mind.”
Whoa. “According to you—two seconds ago—you didn’t want your company anymore, and before I came along, you were a slave to your…secret,” I whispered that last word. I don’t know why exactly, since it wasn’t a secret anymore. Max’s perfection-obsessed mother had psychologically abused him and his older sister, causing him to believe that anything unaesthetically pleasing was a cancer. His secret disorder was called cacophobia. He would experience extreme anxiety at the sight of ugliness. It sounded kind of funny until you were at the receiving end of that disgust or understood how hard it had made his life. His own sister had disowned them all, likely to save herself. Last I’d heard, Max was trying to find her.
As for his disorder? I had been Max’s antidote. His desensitization therapy. Which was why he’d hired me. Okay—it was part of the reason. He believed in me and wanted to help me find my confidence. And while my outsides made him break out in a cold sweat, he found my insides irresistible. He eventually overcame his aversion, and we shared a few days of magic. Bliss. Heaven. Yes, for a few short moments we both believed we’d had a future together, without our uglies.
We’d been wrong.
“Lily.” He gripped my shoulders. “We both know where this will go. Why make us suffer any more than we already have?”
“I don’t know what you mean.”
“I love you. More than anything, and I know you feel the same. So why put yourself or Patricio through any unnecessary turmoil?”
I felt enraged by his presumptive nature. He didn’t own me. He knew nothing about what I’d been through. There was no way in hell I’d risk getting hurt like that again by him. Nope. Nuh-uh. I’d rather have a do-over of my face getting mangled—it would hurt less.
“I think you’re going to have to accept the truth, Max. We. Are. Over. I am marrying Patricio.”
“No. You won’t.”
“Says who?” I asked.
He squeezed my shoulders firmly. “I know you, Lily. I know the smell of your darkest fears and the sound of your happiest laugh. I know how your heart beats faster when I kiss that little spot at the base of your neck.” He leaned down to whisper in my ear, “And I know how your pussy feels when you can’t get enough of my hard cock.”
I jerked back and stared into his hazel eyes, unable to deny a single shocking word. “Your point?”
He slid his hand behind the back of my head and kissed me hard. His lips were punishing. His tongue was hot. His body told me he was ready for war and taking no prisoners.
Goddammit! I missed his soft lips. They felt like perfection against my mouth.
He pulled back, leaving me breathless. “My point, Lily, is that I own you. Not because I’m a possessive asshole, but because you already gave yourself to me.”
He was overlooking how he’d turned me away when I groveled at his perfect feet and begged for forgiveness. I have suffered and suffered and suffered some more. I’m done suffering. I was not about to invite that horrific breed of vulnerability into my life. Never again.
I walked out of the back room and weaved my way between my display tables to the front door.
Max followed closely behind. “Where do you think you’re going?”
I pushed the door open and stepped to the side. “This is the only thing I’ve got to offer, Max. The exit. And don’t come back.”
He smiled, walked straight for me, and stopped with less than a foot between us. “You’re mine, Lily, and you can pretend otherwise, but it won’t change the fact: Patricio doesn’t love you like I do and he never will.”
I held up my left hand to show my engagement ring. “He says otherwise. And so do I.”
Max shook his head. “Marketing, Lily. It’s all about marketing.” He turned and left, leaving my mind to wonder what he’d meant.
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MIMI JEAN PAMFILOFF is a USA Today and New York Times bestselling romance author. Although she obtained her MBA and worked for more than fifteen years in the corporate world, she believes that it’s never too late to come out of the romance closet and follow your dream.
Mimi lives with her Latin Lover hubby, two pirates-in-training (their boys), and the rat terrier duo, Snowflake and Mini Me, in Arizona. She hopes to make you laugh when you need it most and continues to pray daily that leather pants will make a big comeback for men
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