Undone by the Ex-Con_A BWWM Romance, page 1part #2 of Just for Him Series
Table of Contents
Bad for the Boss
About the Author
Also by Talia Hibbert
Undone by the Ex-Con
A BWWM Romance
Bad for the Boss
About the Author
Also by Talia Hibbert
Also by Talia Hibbert
Also by Talia Hibbert
Also by Talia Hibbert
When Lizzie’s beloved brother is threatened, she’s forced into a dangerous game of deception… and seduction. Her target? The ex-con she despises.
There are three things that Isaac Montgomery can't stand: lies, fakes, and prejudice. The brooding ex-con-turned-author may be successful now, but he’ll never fit in with the rich and witless. No matter how many stuck-up, wealthy women try to lure him into bed.
There’s only one person who inspires his lust—Elizabeth Olusegun-Keynes. The haughty ballerina knows exactly what he is: rough, dangerous, and utterly beneath her.
Yet she still comes back for more.
As the passion between them grows, Isaac learns that the line between hate and desire is thin... But the chasm between love and betrayal is a mile wide.
Undone by the Ex-Con is a steamy BWWM romance that can be read as a standalone. Warning: this book is 80,000+ words of extreme pleasure and intense romance, ending in a HEA. There are NO cliffhangers and NO cheating. Enjoy responsibly!
***Please be aware: this story contains homophobic scenes that could potentially trigger certain audiences.***
For all of my brothers and sisters. I love every one of you.
And for the others: my siblings in chronic illness, disease or disability. Your body is not your enemy. It just feels that way sometimes.
When I turn my insides out for you, I let them hit the boards.
Every stage I’ve ever taken,
Ever floor I’ve fallen on,
They all hold my DNA within the graining of their wood.
It soaks me up. I get so thirsty, but it fades when I spill blood,
The purest form, you see, of beauty
Is the dying, desperate swan, her joints near-breaking –
Oh, they must be!
How else could her
Body do – ? But no,
And dances hard and long,
Hard and long. All through the day,
No sleep! Hearts to be won!
And how could I waste time to eat
When the extension of my upheld wrist
Throughout the grand jeté,
Is not yet quite – just – so?
Tell me: how could I?
I could not,
And so I wake up,
Get up; dark out, lights on
Stretch out, warm up
Oh, and where's the day gone?
It's almost time for bed again
My blood is on the floor again
I've never been more beautiful. I am sure to be fed.
The moment comes,
The lights illuminate me
And your cries immortalise me
And perfection forces me to break myself again,
And the music grabs and tears at me
And pulls me by my hair
And still the promise of your love
Is rising, forcing my feet up,
Ankles well over toes and
Turned right out and
Held so high and
That is how it happens.
That is how a tired thing flies.
“This isn’t legal.”
Lizzie was sitting in the window seat of her Parisian apartment, feeling as frigid and fragile as the glass behind her. But she couldn't allow anyone to see that. She'd rather die first. And so, she kept her voice steady and her gaze uncompromising as she launched one final, desperate attack.
“I could sue,” she continued. Even though the words felt like ash in her mouth, she forced herself to say, “My parents are very powerful.”
“Lizzie,” Ellen said. “Please.” There was desperation in her voice. She was afraid, then. How satisfying.
But Lizzie's old friend and roommate was not the most important person in the room. That honour went to Mariella Rossi, the company's ballet mistress. The woman who quietly choreographed every step of the inner workings at Paris House, no matter what her job description might say.
The woman who was ruining everything.
She stood before Lizzie, her feet tucked into fifth position, her face grim and unyielding. “Elisabetta,” she sighed, and even her frustration was graceful. “Please do not become hysterical.”
Hysterical. That was an interesting word. Lizzie should be hysterical. She should be horrified, devastated, holding back tears.
Instead, she felt only a detached sort of outrage. And shame, of course. Always shame.
You’ve failed. Even in this, you have failed.
“We are not sacking you,” Mariella was saying. Her voice sounded like an echo, like the distant racket of a train through a dark tunnel. “It has simply been suggested that you take a break—”
“A break?” Lizzie interrupted, her voice sharp. Somewhere in the corner of her mind, she heard her mother’s severe tones: Elizabeth. You are losing control.
Didn’t matter. All of a sudden, Lizzie was quite sick of control. Simply look where it had gotten her, i
“A break,” she said again, huffing out a bitter little laugh. “Every dancer knows what that means.” She shot to her feet, anger burning through through the fog of detachment. “I’ve gained… what, three inches at the waist? Four at most.” Five. But who gave a fuck? “I am still the best dancer here, and you know it. There will be no break, Mariella.”
“Ah, Betta,” the ballet mistress murmured. The low words might as well have been a whip crack, so attuned was Lizzie to this woman’s voice. “You misunderstand,” she said, her lyrical accent stretching out each word. “Some things are more important than the way you look.”
Lizzie couldn’t hold back her laughter at that outright lie. “We all know that’s not true, Mariella. No need to be delicate about it. If you want me to lose weight, say so.” Lizzie’s mind ran through calculations that had become painfully familiar in the past few months. She considered carbohydrates, calories, practice sessions… “I’ll need time,” she finished. “That’s all.”
But Mariella was shaking her head. “Time will not heal your sickness,” she said gently. It was the gentleness that hurt the most.
Lizzie sucked in a breath, ignoring her mother’s voice—school your emotions, child—as the implication of those words sank in. She turned accusing eyes towards Ellen, who was blushing fiercely.
“You told?” Lizzie demanded.
Despite her red cheeks, Ellen refused to back down. “I had to,” she insisted. “I'm sorry. You aren't looking after yourself.”
Hearing those quiet, hopeless words was like taking a fall mid-pirouette. Like a blow that snatched the air from Lizzie’s lungs, and the fight from her soul. "I'm trying," she whispered, her voice cracking. Breaking. Crumbling like everything around her. "You don't understand—”
"It's difficult," Mariella said, her voice soothing. She approached Lizzie slowly, as one approaches a wounded animal. "Diabetes is a serious condition. You must think of your health first, Elisabetta.” She rested a cool hand on Lizzie's shoulder. “Your body is different now. You must relearn your limits."
Her words, her touch, should have been calming. Instead, they acted as another reminder that Lizzie had failed.
She had failed to maintain physical perfection. And now, even worse, she had failed to adapt; failed to overcome. Everything Mother had taught her, everything they’d prepared for over the years… it was all coming to an end. Because Lizzie’s body couldn’t care for itself alone, and she hadn’t worked hard or fast enough to make up the difference.
Shit. Shit, shit shit.
Tears pooled in her eyes, and for a moment, Lizzie felt the urge to accept Mariella's comfort. To turn and seek out an embrace, to cry in the woman's arms like a common fool.
The impulse passed as quickly as it had come. In its place, Lizzie saw her mother's lipsticked mouth forming the familiar words: Perform, Elizabeth.
Well. It was too late for a true performance: she had been found out. Her so-called-friend had betrayed her, and Mariella had pity in her eyes, and everything was falling apart.
But at the very least, Lizzie might maintain her dignity.
“I have discussed it with the director,” Mariella was saying. “And we both agreed that you should take some time off.”
The words echoed like a death sentence. Like the last cry of hope as it fell screaming from a cliff.
Her career was over.
So why did she feel… relieved?
Lizzie pulled herself together, cradling her battered pride to her breast like a crying babe. She thought of her mother’s frigid, blue gaze, of her father’s dismissive arrogance. And she channelled them both, wielding her heritage like twin blades, her only weapons against the threat of humiliation.
“No time off,” she said coldly. “I don’t need it. I’m leaving.”
“Betta,” Mariella murmured, her lyrical accent pampering the word. “That is not necessary—”
“I’ve had an offer,” Lizzie lied. “Back home, in England. I intend to go soon.”
There was a pause. Mariella pursed her lips, raising her hand from Lizzie's shoulder. “I see,” she murmured, the way one panders to a screaming child before laying them down for a nap. “Well... We wish you luck, of course.”
“Thank you,” Lizzie said. Chin high. When the sun rises, you become a swan.
And none of this will matter.
Mariella turned with her usual grace, gliding out of the room as thought the bare floorboards were a stage. But Ellen, the traitor, hovered awkwardly behind, her face a pale moon beneath the flames of her tumbling, red hair.
Lizzie cast a venomous glare at her former friend. “I require privacy,” she said acidly.
“Liz,” Ellen whispered. “I really am sorry. But I’m worried about you—”
“You are worried about the fact that my star rises with each day while you remain in the corps with no hope of ever becoming a soloist.” Lizzie snapped. Some distant part of herself knew that she was lashing out unfairly, but she couldn't help it. She had trusted Ellen. She had ignored her mother's training and confided in a someone outside of their family—and look at the result.
Lizzie had been a fool. But it wouldn't happen again.
Ellen’s face fell, and regret prodded at Lizzie's heart. She opened her mouth, ready to take back the cruel accusation—but no; that wouldn’t do. Instead, she visualised Mother’s face over her own in the mirror, forcing Lizzie’s springy curls into a bun. With each painful, imagined twist, Lizzie's grip on her self-control tightened.
There. The regret still prodded, but she could hardly feel it now.
“Leave,” she said icily.
And, with a sigh, Ellen obeyed.
As soon as the door closed, Lizzie rushed over to the bedside table, pulling her phone from its charger. She sat down on the bed, her knees unsteady. She would allow herself one moment of weakness. Just a second. Just for now.
Her hands shaking, Lizzie dialled a number that she’d called less and less these past few months, praying that he would answer.
With each ring came a new worry. He won't pick up. He's busy. You shouldn't be calling, anyway. Are you a child again, running to him whenever disaster strikes? The phone rang and rang, and she almost gave up. But then, finally, she heard his familiar voice.
“Keynes,” he answered, because that was what everyone called him. Everyone but her.
“Olu,” she said, taking care to keep her voice steady. They hadn't spoken in so long, and yet there was no need for preamble and politeness with him. “I need a favour.”
He saw through her facade immediately, of course. Probably because he knew how to command such deception himself; after all, they’d learned falsehood and performance together
Only he'd never needed to use them. He was braver than her.
“Lizzie?” She could hear the frown in his voice. “Is everything okay?”
“I’m fine. I just... I need you to do something for me.” She patted her head absently, her fingers gliding across the smooth waves of her scraped-back hair. Everything was still in place. She was in control now. She could do this.
“Well... Alright,” came his doubtful reply. “If you’re sure.” And then, perking up at the prospecting of helping—how Olu loved to help—he added, “Anything for my baby sister.”
“Thank you,” she whispered. And then she cleared her throat and began spinning stories.
She'd always been an expert at that.
The air in the gentlemen’s club was as stale as the institution itself. Throughout the luxuriously appointed rooms, light remained dim and voices were politely low. Haughty men sat about in expensive suits, congratulating each other on having entered the world with piles of money and illustrious bloodlines already waiting for them.
At least, that’s what Isaac assumed they spent their time discussing. This was England, after all.
And here he sat, a haw
Opposite Isaac, in a plush leather chair of his own, lounged one of those very swans. Mark Spencer: posh twat, family man, and founder and CEO of Spencer Publishing. This man had changed Isaac's life forever. Dragged him up from the gutters and into the limelight.
Before Mark had transformed an abandoned diary into a best-selling prison memoir, the name Isaac Montgomery had been synonymous with the lowest of filth. And now? Well. Isaac's soul could never be washed clean. But he was filthy fucking rich, too, and over the course of the last three years, he'd confirmed what he'd always suspected: money could buy happiness. Or safety, at least, which was close enough.
Thanks to Mark Spencer, Isaac would never go hungry again. His future children would never shoplift their dinner, or sit in the dark to hide from the bailiffs. He would never be powerless. For that, he owed Mark the debt of a lifetime.
But, he reflected, watching Mark the way he’d watch a rabid dog—that didn’t mean he had to roll over for the fucker.
Isaac took a slow, measured sip of his port. It tasted like his gran's perfume, but if he'd ordered a pint in this place, he might have been crucified. Setting down the heavy glass with a clink, he glanced at the wad of crisp paper in his hand: the contract.
"What do you think?" Mark finally asked. Was it Isaac's imagination, or were his cultured tones a little harsher than usual? A little more... desperate?
Other author's books:
- Work for ItMating the HuntressThat Kind of GuyThat Kind of Guy: Ravenswood Book 3Undone by the Ex-Con_A BWWM RomanceBad for the Boss_A BWAM Office RomanceWanna Bet?: An Interracial RomanceThe Princess Trap
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