Taken Hard (The Hard Boys Book 2) by Sam Crescent



She lined them up neatly on the trolley and served a customer who was checking out three romance novels.

Once she was done, she stood and waited, keeping an eye on everyone. They were due a small delivery of brand-new books.

They didn’t buy them often, but with the small investment, they tried to keep the library as modern as possible.

She loved this place. The smell of old musty books as well as the fresh scent of new ones. They were a comfort to her.

Lilly served two more customers, and when it came to the third one in line, she looked into Caleb’s smiling face.

“Hi,” she said, smiling right back at him.

“Hey, beautiful. So, this is where you escape to during the day.”

“I don’t escape anywhere. It’s nice though. Peaceful. Are you meeting a hookup here? No making out in the shelves.”

Caleb frowned. “No. No women. I came looking for you.”

“For me?”

“Yes.”

“Oh, okay. Is everything okay? Aunt Betty? Eliza? Darla?”

“They’re all fine. You’ve got nothing to worry about.”

She nodded, tucking some hair behind her ear. She usually wore her unruly hair in a tight ponytail, but today, she’d decided to let it out. “What would you like? A tour?”

“I was … I would like to take you out to dinner.”

“Dinner?”

“Yes. It’s nearly closing, and it’s late, and I could eat. I was passing the library and figured it was rude not to invite you to come and eat. Would you like to eat with me?”

Lilly stared at him with a frown. “Don’t you have a date?”

“No date. Just you and me, some food. If you don’t want to, I’m sorry for asking.” He took a step back.

“Yes, I’d love to have some food. Aunt Betty’s busy tonight and she told me to fend for myself. I’d love to have some food.” She didn’t like to splurge on the extra expense, but the diner was affordable. “Would you like me to meet you there?”

“Hell, no. I’ll walk you. So, what’s it like working in the library? Is it as haunted as they say it is?” he asked.

Lilly laughed. “I don’t think it’s haunted.”

“No flying books?”

“No books flying. Unless the ghost likes to move them around the library.”

“Could be. If you ever want to investigate, I’m your guy.”

Lilly groaned. “I know I don’t have much of a life, but I don’t want to spend my time seeing if the place where I work is haunted. I would have to come here the next day. Way too scary for me.”

“I could quit my job. Be your personal bodyguard.”

“Now that could work, but then the town would totally hate me. You’re the best mechanic around. I know that, you know that. Let’s keep the town hatred to an all-time low.”

“I think you’re right. Besides, if it’s a woman ghost, how could they resist these?” He lifted his shirt and flexed.

For a second, maybe even a minute, Lilly struggled to think. She’d seen naked bodies her entire life. Coming in and out of her mother’s room all the time. Then of course on the television whenever she got to watch it.

Aunt Betty loved watching romantic movies with a lot of heavy sex in them. She’d never seen so much sex in her life. It helped her to watch it though. The stories she wrote were very erotic, a step into her own fantasies and allowing them to play out on the page. She’d never had sex. Never been kissed, not willingly anyway.

She hadn’t wanted the men who’d tried to kiss her, and she’d fought them. They didn’t matter and certainly didn’t count. She was a virgin, and at this rate would probably die one.

Her stories were her sexual outlet. The only place she felt comfortable to voice what she wanted and when.

“You’re right. It would be hard for any woman, living or haunting, to resist those. I’d put them away before the ghost decides you can’t leave.”

Caleb winked at her.

A young girl approached the desk and Caleb stepped away.

Lilly dealt with the last remaining customers, scanning books and leaving the returns on the trolley.

She closed up the library, and like with the bar, she posted the key through the letterbox. She was never allowed to open the library. One day, she hoped people would trust her. She’d moved out of her home and rarely saw her mother.