The entire ACOTAR series is on our sister website:

We will not fulfill any book request that does not come through the book request page or does not follow the rules of requesting books. NO EXCEPTIONS.

Comments are manually approved by us. Thus, if you don't see your comment immediately after leaving a comment, understand that it is held for moderation. There is no need to submit another comment. Even that will be put in the moderation queue.

Please avoid leaving disrespectful comments towards other users/readers. Those who use such cheap and derogatory language will have their comments deleted. Repeat offenders will be blocked from accessing this website (and its sister site). This instruction specifically applies to those who think they are too smart. Behave or be set aside!

Take Me Apart: Chapter 31


Enzo was still asleep by the time I stepped out the door. I made sure he was nestled up with Pen, a smile on my lips as I thought about the two of them cuddling. He liked to pretend he only enjoyed Pen’s company so-so. Strange that ever since Chelsea had dropped him off, the two of them had been more cuddled up than I was with Pen.

He loves that orange menace.

I pulled my phone from my chest and stared at the screen. Focus. I needed to get this shit over with. I’d had time to think. Enzo had broken me out of that cold, frozen place. I was ready to move on with my life. For now. I had no idea when it would all come crashing down again. My mind would be flooded with those horrible memories, but I couldn’t stay locked away forever.

My fingers hovered over the screen before I sucked down a deep breath and called my boss. The phone rang a few times before it was picked up.

“Caster? Where the hell are you?”

“I’m fine,” I said, not exactly answering Sergeant White’s question. “I need to—”

“The chief wants to talk to you too. Hold on.”

“Wait, Sarge. Sarge?”

The sounds of the precinct filled the phone, but she clearly wasn’t paying any attention. I sagged against the hallway, pinching the bridge of my nose. Great.

“Okay, Tex, you’re on with both of us.”

“Where the hell are you, Caster?” Chief Hawkins asked. “I understand you saw some horrible shit,” he said solemnly. “Especially with Houghton.”

I tensed up. The whole reason they’d let me off the hook was because of how Rourke had died. I’d told them I was shaken up and hiding from the Vitales. They understood it immediately because who wouldn’t after seeing the wreck that was Rourke’s body?

“He was working with one of the recently fired cops,” I said, keeping my voice steady. “And they were both stealing from the Vitales. They didn’t like that.” That’s an understatement. “I have evidence to turn over for that case; some of my own, some from a consultant. I’ll have it on your desk tomorrow. I just need one more day.”

“You take the time you need, son,” the chief grunted. “That bust was as successful as it could be, considering Rourke screwed it up on his end. We want you back working on the Vitales’ case.”

My throat tightened. “I can’t.”

“Not as an officer,” he continued. “As a detective.”

I felt like I couldn’t breathe. He was offering me my dream job. Since the moment I’d sobered up and knew I would be heading for the academy for training, that was my goal. Now, the word detective sent ice down my spine. I couldn’t imagine relying on someone after Rourke’s betrayal, which was a big part of the job.

“No,” I said more firmly. “No, thank you, sir. I’m done. I’ll return my gun and badge and finish the appropriate paperwork tomorrow after I turn over the evidence.”

The phone went quiet. Sarge’s voice eventually came through. “Are you sure, Tex?”

“More than sure,” I said quickly. “This isn’t what I want to do for work anymore. Thanks for the opportunity, but no thanks.” It went quiet again. “I need to go. I’ll be in early.”

I hung up before either of them could say anything. My dream was no longer to compete with my father. I didn’t give a damn if he was upset when he heard about it, either. I had my whole life ahead of me. I wouldn’t spend it doing a job I no longer felt any passion for, trying to impress people I didn’t want to be around. Time to move on.

What am I going to do now, though?

No immediate jobs popped up in my head that I wanted to do. I tried to think of something, anything, but all I pulled were blanks. Sighing, I ran a hand down my face. I’m still not ready to think about anything else right now. I needed more time to heal.

“At least I have a rich boyfriend who will support me until I can figure it out,” I mumbled, relief spreading through me as I smiled at myself.

“Tex? Tex!”

I pushed off the wall and let myself back into the apartment. “I’m right here.”

Enzo stormed to the entryway, Penelope tucked under his arm. His hair was wild, all over his head, like he’d just woken up. And his eyes were huge.

I burst out laughing. The last bit of a lump that had been stuck in my throat since I quit disappeared as I lost my shit over Enzo’s insane appearance. He glared at me when I straightened up, trying to suppress my laughter.

“Tex,” he growled.

I pressed my lips together. “Yeah?”

He narrowed his eyes. “Where were you?”

“Outside. I had a phone call to make.” I moved over to him and snagged Pen out of his arm. I kissed his nose. “I quit my job.”

Enzo stopped glaring at me. “You did?”

“Isn’t that what you wanted me to do?” I asked, looking at him curiously.

Enzo shrugged. “I wasn’t going to make you quit if you didn’t want to. Do I prefer it, though? Yes. I don’t like the idea of you playing both sides. All it ever does is get people hurt. Or worse.” He pulled me into his arms. “What are you going to do now?”

I leaned against his warm chest. “No idea. I was thinking I’d laze around at my rich boyfriend’s place for a while until I figure out what the fuck I want to do with my life.”

He ran a hand up and down my back. “You can do whatever the hell you want. As long as it doesn’t involve you leaving.”

I chuckled and pushed back. “You psycho.” Straightening up, I kissed his lips. “I’m not going anywhere. You know that.” I checked the time on my phone. “I’m supposed to be meeting my mother in a little while. You can stay and rest.”

“I’m going with you.”

A shiver worked its way up my spine. “No way in hell. My father knows what you look like. It’s bad enough that I quit today. You want me to reveal I’m dating a Vitale?” I shook my head. “His head would fucking explode.”


“Enzo,” I warned. “No.”

He held up his hands. “I’m not actually going to explode his head. Too easy.”

I groaned. “Jesus. Don’t make me regret this.”

Enzo grinned, and my world lit right up. “You called me your boyfriend.”

My face heated. “I did.”

“I’m your boyfriend?”

“Oh my god,” I said, burying my face in my hands after dropping Pen. “Don’t make it a huge thing.”

“Am I?”

“Yes!” I yelled, pulling my hands away to glare daggers at him. “Happy?”

Enzo’s smile grew, bordering on insanity. “Happier than I’ve ever been.”

My heart skipped a beat, and I gripped my shirt. The man who loved to kill looked like a child who had just received the best Christmas present ever. He was so unlike anything I’d expect from a dangerous man like himself, but I loved that about him. Enzo Vitale was complex, crazy, and mine. All goddamn mine.

“We should go on a date,” he blurted out.

I blinked at him. “What?”

“Boyfriends go on dates.” He frowned. “I don’t want to be together only in the house.”

I thought about his last relationship. Right, they’d always stayed in the house. He didn’t want to feel like I was treating him the same way Brycen had. Even though I’d never do that shit in a million years. Enzo deserved so much more than to be treated like a bottomless wallet with a dick.

Smiling, I reached out, caressing his cheek softly. “I would love that. Where are we going?”

“I’ll make the arrangements.”

My hand slid down his body, coming to rest on the clean bandages I’d fixed not long ago. “And what about your wound? Are you sure you’re good to be going out?”

“I’ll take it easy. I promise.”

I scoffed. “You don’t listen well enough to take it easy,” I said, shaking my head. “But if you sit down and it’s something like dinner, fine. I won’t bitch too much about it.”

He grinned and kissed me. “Minimal bitching is all I can ask for.”

I slapped his chest. Enzo grunted. Laughing, I walked into the kitchen as my phone buzzed. I stared at the screen before tucking my phone away again.

“Who was that?” Enzo asked.

“My mom.”

“You’re not going to answer it?”

I shook my head. “Not yet. She can wait until we meet up.” Hopefully, without my father. I still wasn’t sure if I wanted to go. I sent her back a quick message letting her know I was alive but nothing more. “You and your brothers talk about everything, don’t you?”

“Pretty much,” Enzo said. “You have to in this life. Secrets can get everyone killed.”

“I could have gotten you all killed,” I pointed out. “You still kept me a secret, didn’t you?”

He walked over and wrapped his arms around me, leaning his chin into the crook of my neck. “Yes, I did. It was a stupid decision. Benito’s probably still irritated with me.”

“What about Giancarlo?”

“He gets over things pretty quickly. Most things.” He kissed my ear. “I need you to get along with them.”

Groaning, I turned around and pushed the hair out of his face. “Fine. I’ll try.”

“They’re just like me.”

“I’m not in love with them,” I pointed out. “And Benito’s an ass.”

Enzo burst out laughing. “Yes, Benito is an ass, but he’s family. You are too now if you’re with me. Just like he looks out for us, he’ll be looking out for you too.”

Great. I’d gone from cop to affiliated with criminals overnight. I looked at the pleading expression on Enzo’s face and deflated right away. Enzo was no better than the rest of them, that’s what I had to come to terms with. If I was in love with him, then I had to at least try to get along with his brothers. Maybe it wouldn’t come overnight, but it would eventually.

I hoped.

“Alright,” I said. “If it’s going to make you happy, I’ll do it. That’s all I care about.”

He smiled, relief smoothing the lines on his forehead. “Does this mean I get to meet your parents?”

“No way!” I laughed. “My dad, remember?”

“Your dad who hits you.”

I tensed. “I don’t want to talk about that right now, okay?” I wrapped my arms around his neck. “All I want to do is spend time with you, eat, and then maybe we can sit on the couch. You can read, and I can watch the game.”

Enzo’s lips brushed over mine. “My boyfriend, the game watcher.” He chuckled.

I poked him in the ribs. “Shut up.”

Our lips pressed together. The rest of the world melted away as I held onto Enzo, melting against his body. I never wanted to let him go.


I stepped back. “Alright, food’s coming.”

“I bought him one of those automatic feeders like the ones in your place. It should be here today.” When I stared at Enzo, he rolled his eyes. “You don’t wake up early enough to feed him, and he whines about it and steps all on me.”

“You love him,” I teased.

“Whatever. I love both of you.”

My heart squeezed. “Say it again.”

Enzo groaned. “I love both of you!” he snapped.

“Good boy.”

“Just because there’s a hole in me doesn’t mean I won’t kick your ass.”

I grinned. “Bring it on, baby.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


not work with dark mode