Read A Diamond in the Dark Online

Authors: Sassie Lewis

A Diamond in the Dark (3 page)

It was her parting shot that had left him mystified. As she was about to get out of his truck she paused then turned back toward him. Leaning in, she’d kissed him with those rosy, plump lips of hers. Not on his cheek, like she normally did, but smack on his mouth.

“Thanks for last night, Ax. But for future reference, I am no longer a child, and what I do, or who I do, is no one else’s business.”

With that she stormed into the house, and he didn’t see her for the rest of the day.

After that kiss, he’d had to take another shower, a cold one. When his dick refused to go down, despite the icy spray, he finally gave up. Adding the hot water, he’d soaped up his hand. Taking a tight hold of himself, he tried to imagine anyone else but Tia putting their warm mouth around the tip of his shaft then taking it in deep. It didn’t work. No matter who he tried to think about, it always ended up being Tia’s eyes that looked up at him. How pathetic did he feel when he realized that he had kept his head from going under the spray of water in an effort to keep the taste of her kiss from washing off his lips. They were now chapped from the amount of times he had licked the imaginary taste of her from them.

Snuggling deeper into his bed, Axton forced himself to focus on other things, anything beside Tia. Eventually he fell asleep only to wake the next morning with the image of eyes that changed color glazed over with passion, staring down at him. His fist was wrapped around his spent cock.

Well, wasn’t that just fantastic? He hadn’t had a wet dream since his early twenties. Seriously, what was wrong with him? She was like his niece or sister. He was heading toward forty, and she was barely in her twenties.

God, he was fucked up in the head, and the fantasies he was having seemed to be getting worse, more frequent. Instead of leaving him alone like he needed them to, they were becoming more intense.

Throwing back the sticky sheet, he hopped in the shower and spent the next fifteen minutes berating himself for his randy behavior. He’d been having this same argument with himself for the last couple of years.
Family. She’s family.

“You can’t fuck your brother’s daughter,” he told his reflection in the mirror.

Ax thought he’d resolved the issue by spending less time with her, but if yesterday’s shower episodes were anything to go by—and let’s not forget his now dirty sheets—that plan didn’t seem to be working for him. He was not only lusting after someone he shouldn’t be, he was also going insane—he was now talking to himself in the fucking mirror.
Grrrrr.

He grabbed a hot cup of coffee and mentally solidified his resolve to stop obsessing about Tia. He thought he had succeeded when he saw her twice that morning and managed a quick “good morning” without sporting wood. That was until about an hour ago, when he walked into the kitchen to witness Ethan swinging her around to Gary Allan’s
Nothing on But the Radio
. She had the biggest smile on her face as she laughed at whatever stupid thing Ethan had said.

Jesus, the girl needed to put some clothes on. She was wearing a pair of Daisy Duke type shorts, a cut-off tank top that she must have done herself if the uneven edge was any indication, and a pair of cowboy boots. She looked like a fucking stripper, causing his cock to rise to attention and yell
pick me, pick me, take a spin around this pole
.

As they passed by the small table all he wanted to do was throw her down on it and see what those boots looked like around his neck. Instead, he snapped at the pair of them to get their chores done, then he stormed off to the barn to do something.
Anything.
He just needed to get away from them.

So there he was sweating like a pig, stacking hay, a chore which the ranch hands had already done. No wonder they’d all looked at him funny when he started doing it. But it seemed the fact that he was swearing under his breath and kicking anything that was in his way, stopped them from approaching him.

From the corner of his eye, Axton saw Ethan come into the barn. Christ. Yeah, he’d been in a bad mood for a while now, and his behavior in the kitchen had been a little over the top. But did Ethan have to choose that moment to confront him about it? And that would be the only reason that the other man would have followed him into the barn. Ax just wanted to work through the shit in his head by himself.

Him and Ethan were like brothers. Axton was only five years older than the twins, and after he’d moved in with them when his ma and pa had died a bond had been forged between them. Axton felt closer to Ethan than he did his own siblings, so he just couldn’t see the younger man as his nephew.

Ethan had once told Axton that he was closer to him than his own twin, Rick, even with the weird bond they shared—if one got hurt the other would feel it.

Axton could remember Ethan being grounded for not doing his homework. He had been sentenced to the kitchen until he’d caught up on all his studies. Axton and Jack had been working in the yard when they heard a pained scream coming from the house.

They’d arrived to find Ethan lying on the kitchen floor, clutching his leg. It had taken a while for them to understand what Ethan was trying to tell them. Half an hour later they had found Rick in one of the pastures with a broken leg.
Weird shit.

But just because he was close to Ethan didn’t mean he wanted to talk to him now.

“Hey, Ax, what’s up your ass? And do you need a hand pullin’ it out?” Ethan smiled, obviously trying to take the bite out of his words, but it wasn’t working.

“Fuck off, Ethan. I’m not in the mood for it today.” Ax didn’t want to see Ethan or anyone else at that moment. He was too busy being cranky with himself. He knew he was being a jerk to everyone, which wasn’t normally like him, but it seemed to be the theme for his attitude lately. Why change something he had almost perfected?

Nothing he’d tried helped, seeing as his problem lived only a couple hundred feet from where he was standing at the moment, and was forbidden to him. He just had to get over it, or rather, over her. If only it was that easy.

“Ax. What’s going on, man? You’ve been a prick to everyone lately, and that just ain’t like you.”

Well, fuck! Couldn’t a guy just be pissed off with the world and everyone ignore it? Taking a seat on the bale of hay he was just about to move, he turned to face Ethan. Looking at the slightly younger man, he expelled a sigh. Freaking hell, he was starting to feel old.

“Ethan, if I told you what was bothering me, you would kick the shit outta me, and I really don’t want to be killing you.”

It probably wasn’t the best time to have this conversation. Not while his cock was still half-hard with visions of Tia. Or when he wanted to punch the living crap out of Ethan for having held her in his arms.
They were only fucking dancing.

Ethan laughed at the words, causing a tick to form at the corner of Axton’s eye.

Yeah, the fact that Axton only stood about an inch taller than Ethan may have had the younger man laughing. But Axton had a hell of a lot more muscle on his body, and if Ethan didn’t stop laughing, he was going to show him what he could do with his fists.

Apart from Tiny, who wasn’t really family, the only other person living on the Three Circle Ranch that came close to Axton’s bulk was his brother Jack.

“You’re getting to be an old man, Ax. I think I might stand a chance,” Ethan replied with a broad smile on his face while bouncing on the balls of his feet in imitation of Muhammad Ali.

Axton knew Ethan was trying to lighten the mood, but it wasn’t working, just as trying to ignore one shapely black-haired beauty wasn’t working for him. Ax groaned, running his hands over his face. Ethan stopped bouncing, a look of concern filling his eyes.

“Trust me, you really don’t want to know. Fuck it! I don’t even want to be knowing what my problem is at the moment.” Puffing out a breath, Ax looked at Ethan, wishing he would just piss off.

“Come on, Ax, tell me what has you so wound up. Because if ya keep walking around here like a bull on a rampage, you’re likely to get your head bashed in by one of us, Dad included.”

“What the hell? You’re about the only one I can talk to about crap anyway. But I swear if you hit me, I’ll kill you and feed you to the hogs.” Axton paused, trying to get his head around the thoughts spinning through his mind, because saying those thoughts out loud was about as appealing as waxing his ball sac.

“Whenever you’re ready, man, but the day is getting long,” Ethan said after a couple of minutes of Ax sitting there staring into space.

“Give me a minute here, will ya? I’m trying to get my shit together.” Deep breath in. Not so good when sitting in a barn with horse shit only three feet away.
Okay.
“I think I might be in love with Tia.” There, that wasn’t so hard to say. So why the hell was he sweating bullets?

“We all love Tia. She’s part of this family and always will be.” Ethan clearly wasn’t seeing the problem.

“No. I mean. I think.
I. Am. In. Love.
With Tia.” Axton said it a lot slower this time, waiting for Ethan to get his meaning.

If the look on Ethan’s face was an indication, the ball had just dropped. And it was about time, because that was about as pleasant as a night after eating one of Leonie’s chilis. Great going in but hurt like shit—pun intended—coming out. Although, Ethan standing there looking like a guppy fish brought a much needed smile to Axton’s face.

“What the fuck!”

Oookay, so maybe Ethan was having just a wee bit of a hard time digesting that little tidbit of news.

“Seriously...Tia?” Ethan sputtered. “I can see her appeal, but the thought of…Well, she’s like my baby sister. How long have you felt this way? And what the hell are you going to do about it?”

“A while, and nothing. As you said, she’s part of this family.” Axton scrubbed his palms over his head again, trying to dispel the hopeless feelings. “It’s wrong on so many levels to be lusting after someone who’s like a sister. It’s…it’s... Well, just sick.” Which Ax truly believed. He couldn’t get over the fact that he had watched Tia grow up, in some instances even helping to raise her. Teaching her to ride a bike, a horse, and drive a car.

He stood up and started pacing. What the hell was he going to do? He really was freaking the fuck out.

“Secondly, as you said, I’m getting to be an old man and she’s only twenty-one. I don’t know which to be disturbed by more. That I want to fuck my brother’s daughter? Or does the fact that I’m having wet dreams about a girl fifteen years my junior make me a pedophile?”

Okay, maybe in the heat of the moment, Axton overshared a little there. But it seemed that once he started saying all this shit out loud, instead of just in his head, his mouth kept going, and his brain took a
siesta
.

Slumping back onto the bale, Ax looked up at Ethan to find him doubled over laughing. Well, nice to see someone saw the funny side of this situation, because Ax surely couldn’t.
Screw him.
Looked like Ethan wasn’t going to take his problem seriously, so he stood and went back to work stacking the hay.

“Sit back down, Ax.”

Frustrated, Axton slumped back down onto the bale he’d been about to move.

“First, I would like to point out that even though Tia has been part of this family for a very long time, she’s not our blood.”

He could feel Ethan’s eyes boring into the top of his head. When he lifted his face to look at the other man Ethan continued.

“If you think for a second that out of us four boys you’re the only one to notice her, think again, buddy. The girl has a rack on her that would get any man’s attention. Jesus, you know the first guy she kissed was Luke?”

Axton shot up off the bale again. He was starting to feel a little like a yo-yo. But seriously, Luke...Luke, the little piss-ant, had kissed Tia? Fists clenched by his side, he wanted to punch the shit out of Luke for ever touching her.

“Take a breath, Ax. It was just a kiss. We were camping, sitting around the fire one night, somehow the conversation got to her telling us she’d never been kissed. She was sixteen and hadn’t been kissed. I think Luke felt sorry for her, so he turned, grabbed her face, and planted one right on her lips. Afterward she gave him a big hug and said the kiss was nice, but he just didn’t do it for her. You know Luke...he acted all wounded. We all laughed and the night went on.”

Ethan shook his head when Axton went to stand up again. He felt like a naughty dog being told
don’t do that
.

“Back to your little confession. In case you haven’t noticed, Tia’s not a child. I don’t even think as a teenager she was a kid. She grew up around a bunch of boys roughhousing her and working her just as hard as we had to. And she’s smart. Real smart. So this pedophile shit—get that thought out of your head right now. You do realize that your dad was twenty years older than your mom, right? And shit, my dad was ten years older than Ma. Jesus, Dad married Ma when she was only sixteen and she had me and Rick a year later.”

Axton hadn’t thought about that. Yeah, there was a big age gap between his ma and pa. He’d been too young to remember Jack and Maggie getting married. But when he was old enough to understand, he remembered hearing the shit his brother got for marrying someone so young. Not from his family, Ax also had two other brothers and a sister, and they’d all loved Maggie. But the people in town just couldn’t understand what Jack had seen in her. Actually, most of those gossiping at the time were females who thought they’d had a chance with Jack. But it didn’t change anything. Axton had to get his shit together and stop obsessing over Tia.

“Doesn’t matter, Ethan. I’m not going to do anything about it. Jesus, from what I’ve heard, Tia’s still a virgin. She has some growing to do, and she doesn’t need an old man stalking her.”

“Look, Ax, I have no problem with you having a relationship with Tia, as long as it’s for the long haul and not the ‘fuck’ as you put it. But if you’re not gonna go after her, you might want to back off. Let the girl go on a proper date once in a while.”

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