Bitter Hearts (A Southern Loving Book 3)

BOOK: Bitter Hearts (A Southern Loving Book 3)
6.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

 

 

Bitter Hearts

 

Ava Thorn

 

 

Copyright © 2014 Ava Thorn

All Rights Reserved

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prologue

 

The
beeping of the cell phone caused Hank to wake up from his slumber. He could
hear the shower running in the bathroom as his wife, Natalie, sang off key.  He
closed his eyes and tried to get a little more shut eye before he got up and
checked on the stables, and before the impending storm rolls in. The beep
sounded again, groaning he reached for the device that was disturbing his
sleep. With eyes half closed, he looked at the phone.

Hank
saw something that didn’t want to see. Sitting up in bed, he scanned the text
messages from his wife to another person. But it wasn’t just any person, it was
man that Hank knew well enough to refer to as a friend.

Natalie:
Thank you for a wonderful evening. Can’t wait to see you tomorrow.

Replier:
your plane ticket is ready at the counter waiting for you.

Natalie:
Great. I can’t wait to run into your arms.

Replier:
Did you tell him yet? I know you’re still married to Hank, but you need to tell
him it’s over.

Replier:
Are you gonna ignore me?

Hank’s
head started to spin as he continued to read the very sexually explicated
emails and text messages. Natalie even sent naked pictures to him. He couldn’t
fathom laying in the bed, where they’d just made love. Walking out the bedroom,
he made his way to the living room where he sat down and stared at the wedding
portraits on the mantel.

I
tried for the longest to make this a home
, he said to himself. Hank
was starting to realize that no matter what he did, Natalie wouldn’t be happy
or satisfied with him. They say “A picture is worth a thousand words,” when he
looked at the wedding photos displayed around the house, Hank saw love,
happiness and happily ever after.  If someone reincarnated their picture perfect
day at this moment in time, the telltale signs of hurt, anger and
disappointment would reflect in the picture.

Divorce
wasn’t in his vocabulary; he detested even letting the word form on his lips.
For the past couple of months, he watched the sweet, loving woman he fell in
love with become this distant monster. She was sabotaging everyone around them,
maybe it was her plan to make everyone dislike her. Hank continued to sit by
the fireplace; he could hear shuffling in the back room. Not bothering to get
up, he just sat there waiting.

He
could hear Natalie walking around, doors opening and closing. Her muffle voice
talking on a cellphone. Hank had to ask himself if she was talking
him
,
the man she having an affair with.

Sitting
in the rocking chair, he racked his brains on how to save his marriage. Should
he beg and plead with her to salvage their marriage? Hank had to ask himself
the hardest question that he would ever have to face. Was Natalie worth
fighting for?

Looking
up from his spot in the dark corner, unnoticed, he watched his wife, the woman
who was the apple of his eyes, as she walked into the living room with her
luggage. Natalie Jackson had fiery red hair just like her attitude, and soft,
creamy white skin that could put a baby bottom to shame. When he first laid
eyes on the green eye beauty, Hank was smitten with her on day one.

“Where
are you going?” he asked, his deep voice starling her.

Natalie
twirled around quickly with her hand to her chest. “Dammit, Hank you scared me.”

Hank’s
eyes were glued to the Gucci luggage beside Natalie. “Where are you going?” he
repeated.

“I-I
Hank, going to go see my mother and father in Tyler, Texas.” Natalie’s voice
trailed off as she fingered the strap of her purse.

“I
have a few days coming up,” he paused looking at her, “I’ll go with you and we
can make a weekend of it.”

“I
can’t- Mama is sick and daddy’s losing his mind. I told them I’d be on the
first flight back home,” she purred. 

Natalie
was standing in front of him lying about her mother being sick, just to go lay
up with some Tom Dick or Harry. Hank was having a hard time controlling his
anger. Counting to ten wasn’t going to control his outburst.

“For
God’s sake, you’re going to stand up here and freaking lie!” He jerked his head
towards the front door. “I know you leaving me to go see him.”

Yeah
they had problems, but there had to be a way to make their marriage work. He
was optimistic that there was a way to savage their relationship. When things
got rough, people didn’t abandon their spouse, they stayed to work it out. Hank
saw no remorse or commitment in her eyes.

Natalie
looked over at the man she’d been married to for the past three years, who was
trying to keep his emotions in check. His grey eyes appeared to be heavy and emotional;
his brown shaggy hair appeared tussled. Hank was still handsome as ever, with
his sun-kissed skin from working long hours out in the sun on the ranch. His
body was toned and muscular from lifting bales of hay every day. What most
people didn’t know about Hank Jackson was that he could sing, he had potential
but would never do anything with it.  That was another reason she was leaving
him, he was satisfied with being the help, and she had bigger plans for
herself.

Licking
her lips, Natalie took a deep breath before saying, “I’m leaving you…We’re not
happy anymore. People change, I changed.” She flipped her hair back and avoided
eye contact. “I’m not that woman who you married. When we got together, you were
this hot-shot country singer and now you’re the cowboy that shovels horse shit.”

The
words that came out of her mouth were harsh; it hurt to know how she could
think so little of him, as a man.

“I
left the music scene because it was what you wanted. Nat, you thought I was out
there sleeping with groupies left and right. Yeah I left stage life for you…for
us, with hopes of us starting our own family.” Hank thought she would welcome
the change of scenery. He was home every night, and showered her with love and
attention.

“I’m
tired, there is something missing with us,” Natalie sighed. “I want a divorce.”

The
room was so quiet that you could hear a pin needle drop.  

“Dwight?”
Hank asked. His deep voice was hard and cold, he glance over to Natalie’s
finger, her wedding ring was gone, just like the sex in their marriage. He should’ve
seen they were headed in this direction, the distance between was too big. “How
long you been seeing him?” His cousin had been telling him for the longest
time, that he needed to open his eyes and see Natalie for exactly who she was.

“Fine!
I’m moving out.” There was no hesitation, it seemed like his wife had her mind
made up.

He
searched her eyes for love and saw none for him.  “What are you saying?” he
asked.

“I’m
unhappy and miserable. I have contacted a lawyer and already filed for
divorce.” Natalie shifted slightly from one foot to the other.

Hank
stared at the designer luggage that sat in the middle of the living room.
Standing up from the chair he walked over to her.

“I
love you, it doesn’t make any sense. Whatever problems there are between us,
I’m sure we can work it out.” He touched her arm, but she pulled away.

Natalie
laughed at him and shook her head. “I’m in love with him.”

He
stood there frozen in time; his wife just threw his life and their marriage for
a loop. She wasn’t in love with him anymore, but with another man.  His eyes
drifted to the overstuffed luggage.

There
were so many things that he could’ve said, but instead Hank gripped the handle
of the luggage.

“What
are you doing?” she shrieked.

Hank
walked towards the front door pulling the luggage with him. He knew the
favorite saying most people say when life can feel horrible at times, “Everything
happens for a reason.” Hank’s mother, Kate, swore by the belief and that’s what
he believed throughout his life. In the game of life, in order to fight your
way out of a tiring situation, you had to keep peace and hope. He wasn’t going
to keep loving someone who didn’t return love. It was time to set Natalie free
and himself.

“You’re
letting me leave?” she asked, following him.

“What
do you want me to do?” He put her luggage into the trunk of the car. “I’m not
going to beg you stay.”

“I…thought
you would at least-”

“What?
Get on my hands and knees?” He slammed the trunk down, looked at Natalie and
shook his head. “I’m not what you need, remember? Why stick around with a washed
up country singer, who plays farmer Joe.”

Hank
tossed all those words she told him during arguments.

Natalie
appeared shocked over the change of events, she didn’t think that Hank would
accepted the divorce with ease. “How could you let me go?”

He
looked at the woman that he would have crossed any mountain or river to be
with. “I was prepared to plead with you not to leave. There’s nothing I
wouldn’t have done for you, but you taught me that I can’t make you happy.
Natalie, we both deserve to be happy and one day you will realize that you’re
responsible for your own happiness. It’s not about the mansion, cars or the
money in the bank account. Whoever he is that your leaving me for, will teach
you that soon enough.”

“You
don’t know nothing about him,” she snapped, pointing her long manicured nail at
him.

“I
guess it’s true what they say,” he said, taking a seat on the brick steps. Hank
could hear the rumbling of thunder in the distance.

“What’s
that?” she demanded with her hands on her hips.

“Good
guys finish last. I’m not a cheater, alcoholic, slacker, or abuser. I’m a good
man who made sure that my home was taking care of, and that my wife had
everything she needed and more. A loyal husband.”

“Dwight
gives me everything that you don’t.” Natalie flipped her red hair back, her
attitude was nonchalant.  “I made a mistake thinking that Nashville could be
good for us.”

It
was good for you
, he wanted to say. They moved to Nashville to
take over the ranching responsibilities at Southern Hearts Ranch. Shit,
Tennessee was the place where she broke his heart and fell in love with another
man.

“Bye
Natalie.” He could see lightning skittering about in the distance.

“I
never wanted to hurt you,” she said. Pushing her purse onto her shoulder,
Natalie looked at him one more time, before getting inside her car and driving
away with his heart.

Hank
felt the first few droplets on his head as he stared at the Natalie’s car,
until the red taillights vanish into the night. He continued to sit there until
water began to plummet down from the heavens. Closing his eyes, he tried to
wrap his head around how someone who claimed to love him hurt him and ripped
his heart out.

He
sat there until he was soaking wet, he didn’t know how long he sat there on the
hard brick steps. Maybe it was until his cousin, Austin McBride, and his wife,
Farrah, pulled up in a red Ford truck.  It sickened him as he watched the newly,
happy married couple walk over to him. His cousin Austin was his best friend,
when his mother and father passed away Austin’s mom and dad took him in,
raising Hank like he was their son. Austin became the doting husband and father
to be, with Farrah, the love he had for the woman shined brightly in those
bright blue eyes of his.

“Are
you okay?” Farrah held an umbrella over her head. “Why don’t you come back to
the main house with us?”

Hank
saw why his cousin fell in love with Farrah Rue, not only did she prepare the
best meal, but she was beautiful inside and out, which was hard to come by
these days. Her curly black hair flowed to her shoulder, her brown skin contain
that pregnancy glow. Kneeling down, she touched his arm, when he looked into
her eyes he didn’t see pity, he saw reassurance and that everything would get
better in due time.  

“I’m
okay, I just need to catch my breath,” Hank mumbled.

“Farrah,
why don’t you go inside? I don’t need you catching a cold,” Austin said.

“Okay,”
she said in a soft voice. Leaning forwards she planted a kiss on Hank’s
forehead.  She moved passed him and walked into the house leaving the guys to
talk.

“What
happen?” Austin asked, taking a seat next to Hank. It didn’t bother him that it
was raining so hard.

“She
left me for another man. I don’t know what I was doing wrong.” Hank ran his
fingers threw his dirty blonde hair. “I love her and if she came back right
now...I’ll take her back in a heartbeat.”

BOOK: Bitter Hearts (A Southern Loving Book 3)
6.41Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

Other books

Facing the World by Grace Thompson
Grunt Traitor by Weston Ochse
TIME PRIME by H. Beam Piper & John F. Carr
Passions of War by Hilary Green
Coming in from the Cold by Sarina Bowen
The Giant Smugglers by Matt Solomon
A Start in Life by Anita Brookner
Secret Designs by Miranda P. Charles