The Wilde Series - Book cover

The Wilde Series

Nova Nyx

Chapter 2


Azalea Wilde.

The only girl I’ve ever loved and the only one to break my heart.

Part of me had hoped never to see her again, but the other part had secretly dreamed of this moment since the day she walked out of my life. Only now that she’s here, I’m not sure I’m ready to face her.

Her skin heats under my palms, a reminder that she’s still entirely too close to me.

I let go of her shoulders, shying away from her like she’s a wildfire and I’m the only tree left in the forest. It’s crazy that even after years apart, the feel of her skin against mine is still electric.

“Azalea…” Her name leaves my lips in a breathless whisper that I don’t recognize as my voice. “You’re back.”

In my mind, I’m questioning whether she’s real. Am I finally losing it? Maybe this is a dream, like all the other times I’ve seen her standing before me.

I’ve woken up too often with my pathetic heart racing, hoping she came back, only to find out it was all in my head. But it’s been months since that’s happened. I’ve been doing so well; now this.

Don’t do it, man. Don’t look at her. My mind screams one thing, but my body craves another. I’m a sucker for punishment, though, so against my better judgment, I let my gaze drop.

Big fucking mistake.

Round hazel eyes look at me from beneath a thick set of lashes. She doesn’t have an ounce of makeup on, yet it seems like she just stepped off the page of a damn magazine ad.

She’s just as stunning as I remember…maybe even more so.

Her rich black hair falls in thick waves around her tanned face, glinting with electric-blue streaks that set my heart on fire.

I clench my fists at my sides, resisting the urge to bury my fingers into her glossy strands. Her full breasts swell above the tight cotton of her black tank top, the thin material clinging to every sinful inch of her.

Fucking hell. All the blood in my veins goes south, setting me up with an uncomfortable bulge in my pants.

We were just sixteen when we met, but she still has the same topsy-turvy effect on my body now as she did back when I was a horny, inexperienced teenager.

“I—yeah. I am. For now.” She steps away from me, having the decency to look at least a little ashamed.

Right. For now. Those two tiny words are like a punch to the gut. I wasn’t enough to make her stay the first time, so why would things be different this time?

I clench my jaw and avert my gaze to the hospital bed across the room, needing to distract myself with anything but her.

My eyes land on Mr. Wilde, unconscious and lying in that small hospital bed like a bag of bones, instead of the gruff man I remember.

I’ve always respected the shit out of Owen Wilde. He never once made me feel like the forgotten foster kid I was, always respecting me as a person and doing what he could to make me feel included in the Wilde family.

Despite my reputation around town as a bad boy, he never once questioned my choices or begrudged my relationship with his daughter.

He always believed in my integrity and accepted me for who I was. I will forever be grateful for everything he did for me back then.

Azalea catches my eye when my gaze diverts her way of its own volition. I clear my throat and hoist my duty belt, doing anything to keep my hands busy while I try to figure out what to say.

I’m frozen in place, just trying to understand what the fuck I’m feeling right now. Seeing Azalea is putting my body in a state of flight and my mind in a fucking daze.

“Hey, Mer. Come here for a second.” Iris waves me over, and I mouth a silent thank-you to her. She must have noticed me hesitating in my state of discomfort.

I know she called me out to save me from the heartache of talking to Azzy. Everyone in town knows I was a fucked-up mess when she left.

It got so bad at one point I had only two choices—lose myself to drugs and partying or smarten up and get my life together.

I chose the latter. It wasn’t easy, but I’m damn proud of where I am now.

“Hey, Iris.” I step around Azalea, determined to do what I came for and get out of here as fast as possible. “If you have a minute, I just came by to see how you’re doing.”

When Mr. Wilde fell in the barn, I was the only cop on duty in town, so I headed out to the old Wildflower Ranch.

It was the first time I’d been back there since Azzy dumped me, leaving me on the porch to watch her headlights as they disappeared down the long driveway.

Compared to Azalea’s impulsive, free spirit, Iris is no-nonsense. The type of woman so uptight you wonder if she’s ever had an orgasm.

Right now, that kind of attitude is a breath of fresh air and about the only thing keeping me from suffocating in the presence of my kryptonite.

Protocol states no investigation is necessary since there was no foul play, but I stay to listen as Iris recounts her dad’s injuries.

Azzy flinches in my peripheral vision when Iris details how he hit his head on a stall door latch, knocking himself unconscious and breaking his hip on the way down.

A farmhand saw the whole thing happen and called EMS immediately, but by the time they got to the ranch, his brain had swelled significantly, causing a massive inoperable brain bleed.

All the medical speak sounds cold and uncaring, but I’m not one to judge. If she wants to talk to me about what happened so she can vent, so be it. It’s no skin off my back.

I can feel Azzy’s fiery gaze as I finish up with Iris and say my goodbyes. I inhale deeply, regretting the choice to breathe as soon as her sugary-sweet scent hits my nostrils.

Dammit. It’s like she’s all around me, taunting every ounce of patience and control in my traitorous body. I don’t know how to handle this.

Everything in me wants to make a break for it, run for the door and never look back, but I already know I won’t do that.

The masochist in me has always lost to Azalea Wilde, and no matter how much time passes, that will never change.

I turn to face her, memorizing every flawless curve on her so I can revisit the memory in my head later. My skin flushes when she catches me staring. What the hell am I doing?

I need to remind myself that she left me, not trusting me enough to care for her when she needed it. Azalea did not come back here for me; even if she did, I don’t need her anymore.

“Nice to see you, Az. Take care of yourself, all right?” I nod, looking through her instead of at her as I head toward the door.

“So you’re a cop now, huh?” She crosses her arms. Fucking hell, of course she won’t let me go that easily. “That’s a far cry from the motorcycle-riding tatted-up bad boy I remember.”

She’s trying to lighten the mood, break that proverbial ice between us. But I’m not interested. I can’t be interested. Azzy’s wild-girl ways were a massive part of my bad-boy persona back then.

She brings out a reckless, unrestrained version of me that I haven’t seen in years.

We did a lot of dumb shit together, gave her parents a real run for their money, and back then, it was the time of my life. But that’s just not me anymore.

The carefree guy I was disappeared the day she dropped me like a stale piece of gum.

“Yep. Figured it was time to put down some roots and finally grow up.” I half shrug, hoping she takes that as my way of saying there’s no place for her in my life anymore.

“Motorcycles sound more fun. I love the uniform, though.” She winks at me, cocking one brow as her golden eyes rove over my six-five frame with shameless appreciation.

Butterflies stir in the pit of my stomach, the fluttering sending tingles up and down my spine. “Still have the bike.” The head between my legs takes over my rational mind, and I flirt back before I can think twice.

Fuck! I need to keep my distance. But how can I when she still gets my blood pumping and my heart racing? I need to run—get far away from her, or she will consume me, fuck me, love me, and leave me.

And this time, I don’t think I’ll survive the storm that is Azalea Wilde.

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