The Maddest Obsession read online free by Danielle Lori (2024)

New York City

September 2015


The clock’s ticks and tocks filled the space between us. With warm colors and a variety of seating, the room was supposed to be comfortable. Too bad the atmosphere hadn’t gotten the memo; the air was thick and cloying, as though every lie told here had been trapped for eternity.

My eyes narrowed as Kyle Sheets’ wink from yesterday replayed in my mind. He’d been through the same process—though, different accusation—and had somehow bullsh*tted his way out of having hentai on his work computer. I was a living, breathing lie, but the idea of being lumped into the same category as that bastard rubbed me the wrong way. He wore sneakers with his suits, for f*ck’s sake.

Running a thoughtful hand across my jaw, I admitted the truth.

“I have an addictive personality.”

Sasha Taylor Ph.D. couldn’t stop a spark of surprise from lighting in her eyes, and to hide the human reaction, she dropped her attention to my file resting on her lap. The blonde’s pantsuit didn’t hold a wrinkle. She’d gone to Yale and was from old money. The thirty-one-year-old was everything I looked for in a woman: intelligent, beautiful, classy.

“Alcohol?” she asked.

I gave my head a shake.


Might’ve been easier.



Another shake, but, this time, I smiled.

Her eyes fell to my lips, and she swallowed and glanced away. “We’ll come back to this in a moment.” She paused. “You do understand why you’re here?”

I gave her a blank look.

Her gaze wavered. “Yes, of course you do. Does . . . the incident have to do with your . . . addictive personality?”

I focused my stare on her fire-engine red heels and suddenly hated myself for not having a lesser addiction, like hentai. I’d take that over the other mess any day of the week.

It was public, Allister. Go through the motions, that’s all I can do.

The words that had f*cked me over.

I wasn’t a good man, and I worked for even worse. However, I’d learned at too young of an age that the world wasn’t made up of black and white. Sometimes, one became so tainted they couldn’t get back to the light, and other times, the dark just felt right. Even if the latter didn’t apply to me, I would never jeopardize what I had built. I’d worked too hard to get here to ever give it up for a woman. Especially one who dressed like Britney Spears’ and Kurt Cobain’s love child.

“No,” I lied.

If I was completely honest, I’d be committed within the hour, or rather, the Bureau would make Sasha Taylor disappear, never to be heard from again.

“Some believe it was over a woman,” she supplied tentatively.

I raised a brow. “Are you some, Sasha?”


“Why not?”

“You seem too . . . levelheaded to behave in such a way over a woman.”

Cold. She meant cold.

She was right—in the usual case, anyway—but there was nothing usual about the irritating situation that had put me here. I had a close relationship with the cold, in the most literal sense; now, however, I felt the furthest from it. A fire burned in my chest, licking at the edges of what soul I had left.

Sasha shifted in her seat, crossing one leg over the other. “Back to this addictive personality . . . do you often give in to whatever it is that you want?”

Just the idea that I could tasted sweet, doubled the pace of my heart, made me feel hot and edgy. I hated the woman for making my life hell for years, but damn, if I didn’t want to touch her, to f*ck the memory of every other man out of her mind until she was half as obsessed as I was, until she’d never forget my name again for the rest of her life.

I ran my tongue across my teeth and pushed the feeling down, though the tension in my body didn’t release. “Never.”

“Why not?”

My gaze held hers. “Because then it will win.”

“And you don’t like to lose?” Her words ended on a breathless note.

I could almost hear the pitter-patter of her heart as we stared at each other in thick silence.

She pushed a strand of hair behind her ear and looked at her papers, muttering, “No, you don’t.”

Like the quiet ticks of a bomb soon to detonate, the clock made its presence known. Sasha glanced toward it, and said, “One more question, before our time is up this session. How do you cope with this ‘addictive personality’?”



“You prefer order?” she questioned. “In what circ*mstances?”

“All of them.”

A subtle blush ran up her neck, and she cleared her throat. “And when disorder comes into your life?”

A vision of thick hair—sometimes dark, sometimes blond—smooth olive skin, bare feet, and everything forbidden flashed before my eyes.

The fire in my chest burned hotter, stealing my goddamn breath. Where pain usually hit me like the high of a drug, whenever Gianna Russo—or, sorry, now Marino—was involved, it felt like the comedown. Nauseating. It felt f*cking bitter.

My response held the slightest clench of my teeth. “I fix it.” Standing, I buttoned my jacket and headed to the door.

“But what if it’s not fixable?” she pushed, jumping to her feet, my file in a loose grip by her side.

I paused with one hand on the doorknob and glanced at my wrist, at the elastic tie hidden beneath my cuff.

A sardonic feeling pulled in my chest.

“That, Sasha, is when I obsess.”

21 years old

December 2012

I’D FOUND BLISS IN A rolled-up dollar bill and white powder.

Sometimes, it was euphoric—blood-pumping, heart-racing, top-of-the-world euphoria. Like sex, without the emptiness.

Sometimes, it was a means to an end. One line, and every insecurity, every bruise, faded to memory. One line, and I’d be free.

Other times, it was a cold draft of air and the squeak of a steel door as it slammed shut before me.

The echo resounded off the cell walls and into my ears like pinballs. I swallowed as the deadlock bolted into place.

Stepping forward, I gripped the bars. “Surely I get a phone call?”

The twentysomething Latina officer rested her hands on her gun belt, and, with dark brows lowered, looked me over from my head to my toes. “You’re out of luck, princess. If I have to look at that monstrosity of a dress”—she nodded toward my red and gorgeously lacy McQueen—“for another minute, I’ll have a headache for the rest of my shift.”

I tried to bite my tongue but failed. “Blame it on my dress all you like—we both know the ache will be from that spinster bun on the back of your head, cogliona.”

Gaze narrowed, she took a step toward me. “What did you just call me?”

“Woah,” interrupted another female officer, putting a hand on her partner’s shoulder. “Let’s go, Martinez.”

Twentysomething’s glare intensified before she stalked off, her partner following behind.

I turned around to pace but stopped short when I saw I wasn’t alone. A redheaded prostitute past her prime sat in the corner, watching me through mascara-caked eyelashes. Her foundation was a few shades darker than her pale skin tone, and her fishnet tights were covered in holes.

The Maddest Obsession read online free by Danielle Lori (2024)


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