Authors: Lila Felix
Tags: #Romance, #Contemporary, #Young Adult
|Down 'N' Derby|
|Love and Skate |
|Tags:||Romance, Contemporary, Young Adult|
Maddox is running.
By accident, he discovered long ago that he was adopted as a baby and his need to find his biological father has consumed him ever since. Now, on a road trip, determined to find his father and his sanity, and armed with locations and his cousin, Nixon, to help him, maybe he can find the answers he’s been searching for. With nothing but a suitcase and a wad of cash to get him there, lead after lead takes him further from home.
But he’ll find much more than he intended.
He finds Storey, a pint sized pin-up model who has learned painful lessons about guys. Her wounds run deep, but so do his. She knows what she wants, but will she recognize it when it’s right in front of her?
Maddox can’t touch anyone without feeling like his skin is crawling, but just maybe his instinct to protect this amazing girl will supersede his own hang-ups.
If he can brush her skin and start to feel alive inside...everything will change.
Copyright @Lila Felix 2013
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“Or bid me love, and I will give
A loving heart to thee.
A heart as soft, a heart as kind,
A heart as sound and free
As in the whole world thou canst find,
That heart I'll give to thee.
Bid that heart stay, and it will stay
To honour thy decree;
Or bid it languish quite away,
And't shall do so for thee.”
Maddox Fitzgerald Black
The lamest thing ever was standing here looking out the window like Juli-freakin’-ette waiting for Nixon. And he knew my sense of humor. If he got out of the car and pulled some Romeo drama hands—I would end him.
They say that between the hours of two a.m. and four a.m. are the hours that most people are in the REM cycle of their sleep. It’s the time that soldiers attacked during the night, it’s the time that authors clicked their keyboards, the time thieves struck, and it’s the time that Nixon was asked to be at my house so I could get the Hell out of here before my mom could rip me a new asshole.
She would figure it out eventually. Especially since most of my research was photocopied and left purposefully on top of my bed sans exact locations. I hated to break her heart but I had to know. It was eating me alive not to know for sure that he was an asshole. I wanted him to be a bastard like me. I wanted him to be some stuck up rich guy with a teen girl fetish because at least that would make some sense as to why my mom had to go through everything she did alone. Because hating him was the only way I could get through this and move on.
And Chase—in my head I called him Chase now. He was Chase when Owen and Falcon made faces and expressions that copied him exactly. He was Chase when he slapped my back and called me son. He was Chase when I looked into his green eyes and saw Owen’s or when I looked at his face and saw Falcon. I called him Dad to his face but it wasn’t without choking. Not because he wasn’t a fantastic dad, because he was. But my own hang-ups wouldn’t let him be mine.
And Owen and Falcon—this whole thing would tear them up but that couldn’t be helped. That’s what happens when you keep huge secrets from your family. In my heart, Owen and Falcon would always be my brothers and my best friends. I don’t remember a time or a memory from my childhood that doesn’t include them. But they were just childhood memories. Faded, cloudy, twisted thoughts that I now analyzed and tried to subdue because of the lies they were built upon.
I had completed my last task for my family before I left. I made sure the secret honeymoon Reed was planning for Falcon was booked. They would get married while I was gone, I guess. But no one knew that yet.
Nixon pulled up right on time and I threw my canvas duffel in the back of his beat up Land Rover. He watched the house, because if we were caught this early in the game his ass was ground meat just like mine was.
“Be sure about this, Mad. There’s no going back after we start this thing.” Nixon didn’t understand but he supported me anyway. He didn’t get why I needed this more than I’ve ever needed anything in my life, but I did. It plagued my thoughts and had become an obsession. The scenarios played on a reel in my head, the good, the bad, the ugly, and the flat out fanatical.
“Just drive man, we’ve talked about this.” I said and pulled out a journal that contained names, addresses, and maps. I had coordinated this trip with such detail because I couldn’t afford for anything to go wrong. I needed this to end right, for my own sanity.
“What direction?” I showed him the state name on my list and he looked up at me in disbelief. “That far North? Man, I bet they don’t even have good sweet tea. Ok, “He put the SUV into drive, “Hold on to your ass.”
We passed the mailbox whose golden stuck-on letters read ‘Black’ and I had a moment of regret, only for my brothers. But I couldn’t bear to face them when they found out, when they were told by the woman we’d trusted all of our lives—I wasn’t their brother at all.
The lady across the street made a grave mistake by opening her garage yesterday. I swore I saw at least eighty boxes of Girl Scout Cookies over there just waiting for me. And then she closed it. Doesn’t she know my everlasting craving for cookies? I tried to get a stick from the yard and say “Comehereium Cookiosa” but it didn’t work. And has she sent her daughters over here to sell them to me? No.
’ Girl Scouts.
I’m in trouble. I’m in so deep that I’m looking through shit shaded lenses. If one of them looks at me point blank and asks whether or not I’ve heard from him, I’m dead. Because I don’t think I could bold faced lie to them. Hiding something was one thing but openly lying to my family was another. I understood all of those months in which Falcon hid the house thing from me. It hurt my heart to lie to Falcon, to Nellie, to all of them. I justified it to myself saying that even if they knew where he was, he would still go through with finding his dad. But I knew the truth, I was a dirty liar. This whole thing was tough. Mostly, because Falcon would be hurt beyond belief. But Mad made me swear. It’s that fine line we all rode on. I would never expect Falcon to tell me Nellie’s secrets. I’m sure those two gossipers had plenty of stories and I didn’t expect for him to tell me a single one.
Mad was in Arkansas the first time he called me. It was the time he made me swear on my parents’ dead souls that I wouldn’t tell. I have this tiny black and white marbled notebook that I write down where he calls from and the phone number; then I deleted it from my phone. God help me if Nellie actually takes the time to look at her phone records. The second time he called it was from Oak Grove, Arkansas. I snuck on my laptop and Googled the location. Nixon also called me once. He whispered, so I assumed Mad didn’t know. They had made it to Missouri and were stopping for the night. I kept track of it for my sanity and for safety’s sake. God forbid if something happened to him, I would at least know where he was last.
Falcon felt horrible. He blamed himself for Mad leaving. He gave Mad five thousand dollars as a graduation present and we assumed that was the money which funded his trip. He beat himself up about it more and more every day. I think Mad assumed we would all move on. I don’t know how he could’ve underestimated how much we loved him. He was our clown and he made us all happy. Owen was the brawn, Falcon was the brains and Mad was the clown. He was just as important as anyone else. I cried for hours and hours on the night he left after Sylvia called everyone.
Falcon and I were supposed to get married in a couple of weeks but without Mad, we both refused. It just wouldn’t be right. Falcon would never vow to marry me without all of his brothers beside him and I didn’t blame him one bit. No matter what Sylvia said or even what Mad said; he was Falcon’s brother. My future husband held me as I cried for my wedding, for his lost brother, for Sylvia’s heartache, for my best friend.
And Owen and Nellie—they had finally decided to start trying for another baby. But now that Maddox was gone, it was like our whole world stopped. Plus, she wasn’t even sure she wanted to get pregnant ever again. But I was the only one who knew that.
Chase was practically comatose. He stood in the kitchen looking out of the window while Sylvia explained to us why Mad was gone. She started the story twenty years prior…
I love Nixon, don’t get me wrong. But his car smells like fried onions stuffed in a dirty sock and rolled in not-so-fresh shrimp. I may or may not have stuck air fresheners under the seats when we were at a gas station. Now it smells like onions, socks and shrimp covered by a lovely bed of flowers. Fantastic.
We used to live in a smaller home, a little cottage type place. When we moved from that home to that home we—they own now, I was about nine. I helped carry in the smaller boxes back and forth from the truck to the new house. Owen and Falcon rooted through the boxes, trying to find their stuff and unload it first. I was handed a cube shaped box with instructions for it to go to my mom’s bedroom. When I got there, I plopped it on the mattresses that still lay in the floor since my dad hadn’t had a chance to put their bed up yet. The box bounced and even at that young age, I knew something was changing in my life. The bouncing happened in slow motion and to most kids the cards and papers which flowed out would be insignificant. Thank God for me, they weren’t. My eyes were drawn to a violet colored notecard and I opened it. It was in feminine cursive writing and as I skimmed down the body of the letter, not really paying attention, my eyes focused on the words ‘my son’ and stopped. I glanced down to the bottom of the letter, signed by Sela. I re-read the note again. It was to the point and quick. She wanted Sylvia to promise to take care of her son. As it hit me, my mom walked into the room. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew that she had been calling me for a while but I was too engrossed in what I was doing.
She walked into the room and knelt in front of me.