Defying Our Forever by Claudia Burgoa

Pierce’s Prologue





It’s a well-known fact that families are complicated. Not one person can say they have the perfect family.

When it comes to dysfunctional families, mine is the worst, or is it the best?

To understand a person, we need to understand their past. My father was a purebred asshole. My mother’s family isn’t much different. Mix the two and, well, here I am trying to pretend I understand society when, in actuality, I don’t do well with people.

If given a choice, I’d rather spend my life with animals. I was raised on a ranch and spent most of my free time among horses, dogs, cows, and chickens.

Animals are noble, loving, and they don’t ask for much.

There’s too little I remember about my father. He came to visit us whenever his business allowed it. When he was home, he’d take me on horse rides around my grandparents’ ranch. I liked those days when he stayed with us. Mom forgot about her family and paid attention only to us. It wasn’t often, but that memory of seeing my mother happy because Dad was in town and not having to deal with her family, is one of the best I carry with me.

My parents had a weird arrangement. I knew Dad traveled and we could only see him a few times a year because his job was demanding.

I was almost six when I learned he had a wife and other children. After that, Mom never smiled. Every evening I would hear her fighting with Dad over the phone. One thing I learned from them was to never fall in love.

Until I met her.

She sneaked into my heart. Leyla taught me that home sometimes has a heartbeat and not a zip code. Now I can’t push her away, and I can’t keep her either. No one understands our relationship. It’s complicated. I screwed it up before I even met her.





Chapter One





Pierce





Not many guys my age can say that they have everything. I do. I’m one of the best damn lawyers in the country. If all goes well, I’ll make partner within a couple of years before any of my obnoxious cousins who sometimes act as if they received their degrees from a box of cereal.

They lack dedication, professionalism, and knowledge. I studied my undergrad at Duke and then studied law at Harvard University. I interned at one of the best firms in Boston—and the country. I work more hours a week than they do in a month. It’s to no one’s surprise that Saturdays are the days where I do whatever the fuck I want.

At night, I go out with my friends to relax. Once a week, I find some chick I want to fuck for the night. We barely exchange names, never phone numbers, and we don’t spend more than a few hours fucking. The next day I’m back at work.

I’m cold, cynical, and a bit obsessive about work.

For me, there’s no point to having a relationship—that’s for teenagers and people who don’t have real goals. Never in my life have I promised more than what I can give. I haven’t said, “I love you,” nor given my heart to anyone.

Listen, I’m a lawyer. I know the score. When it all ends, the only ones who win are the divorce counselors who keep a good chunk of the couple’s assets. If there’s something valuable my mother and father taught me, it is to only look after number one. Me.

This is why I am asking myself, what the fuck are you doing at an animal hospital, on a Saturday night, staring at a gorgeous redhead, and holding a dog who isn’t yours?

The woman, who I assume is the receptionist, is busy scribbling. Said woman hasn’t acknowledged me yet. It’s obvious that she’s too focused on the… I’m not even sure what she’s doing. Probably her homework. She doesn’t look older than twenty-one. I shouldn’t be staring at her like she’s a popsicle and it’s a hot summer day.

I want to lick her.

Off limits!

But fuck, I can’t help myself. She’s gorgeous.

I usually go for the tall, sexy clothes, and red lipstick kind of woman.

This one is wearing Snoopy scrubs, her face is all natural, and she’s definitely on the petite side.

I clear my throat, and when she turns her attention toward me, her large, round, green eyes meet mine. I forget how to breathe.

If this was a night club, she’d be the woman I’d take to the room I booked for the night and fuck her until she can’t walk. Or maybe she wouldn’t be allowed in because she might be underage.

“Oh my God, what happened?” she says as her eyes widen.

The moment where everything disappeared and it was just the two of us is gone in a matter of seconds. I remember why I am here and carrying a forty pound injured dog.

“I’m not sure what happened to him,” I answer, looking down at the tan and black dog who has been whimpering since I picked him up from the side of the road.

The receptionist is right by my side, taking the pup away from me.

“We’ll do the paperwork later. He has a lot of blood on him,” she says. “I… What happened?”

“I don’t know,” I repeat, walking behind her.

“See, this is the problem when people get puppies. They don’t understand that they are a full-time commitment. These kiddos are like toddlers,” she rants while pushing open the double doors and making her way to what feels like a huge room with metal tables, sinks, and kennels.

“We need to clean the wounds first,” she whispers. “What happened to you, boy? Did your Dad open the garage and you ran thinking it was safe?”