Authors: Elayne Disano
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #Romance
For Her Honor
An MC Novel
The Freak Circle Press
For Her Honor
Copyright Elayne DiSano 2014 – All Rights Reserved
The contents of this book are exclusively owned by Elayne DiSano who is attested to be the author.
Any portion or portions of its contents shall not be lifted, used, copied or replicated by any other sources without author’s exclusive permission.
The following story is a work of
All character names, places and events, etc. other than those which are recognizable are
Resemblance to any person(s) living or deceased, events, locations, etc. should be considered coincidental.
As always, all my love and gratitude to the superb authors of The Freak Circle, especially
Lina Andersson for her research prowess and Susan Fanetti for her keen eye and crucial feedback which helped make this story the best it could be.
To my readers, I’m humbled by your support of Ben & Eva’s story
in For Your Sake. I hope you enjoy Taz & Karen’s as I bring The Mountain Skulls and Tippitt, West Virginia to a close. Again, my heartfelt thanks.
There were pros to having a brother-in-law who was a judge. Having your name kept out of your fiancé’s embezzlement scandal was a biggie as far as Karen Hanson was concerned.
The con, of course,
was the damage control, the caution of flying under the radar while an attorney she couldn’t afford worked his magic to keep any association Karen had to Preston Vine out of the media. Her massive saving grace throughout their relationship was insisting upon keeping her job as a loan manager at Huntington National Bank in Cincinnati rather than take the plunge with him in his upstart hedge fund business. For two years Preston had grown Vine Holdings, Inc. after taking his expertise, and current client list, from a former employer where he’d shone as a personal investment specialist.
And for two years he
’d tried to woo Karen to join him to work side by side in business as well as in life. Designer clothes, spontaneous getaway weekends, sumptuous dinners at five-star restaurants while drinking obscenely expensive wine - none of that pressed her to leave her job, nor her luxury high-rise condo, to co-mingle anything with Preston until she was sure. And when he presented her with a three-carat solitaire in a platinum setting, her mother couldn’t set the date quick enough. Nothing gave Betsy Hanson more pleasure than the chance to show up those ladies at her weekly book ‘n brandy group with the news of marrying another daughter off to another financially prestigious man.
Unfortunately, Karen didn’t share her mother
’s enthusiasm for social climbing. This was what a woman was supposed to want, well, at least according to the Bible of Betsy. A man of taste for the finer things in life steeped in financial and social prestige, like her sister’s husband, was just the kind of man Karen’s mother wanted for her. But whereas her sister, Shelia Watkins, was formed from the same mold as Betsy, Karen took after her reserved dad, who analyzed everything to death. And the more she’d looked at that sparkling stunner on her finger, the more it had felt like a choke collar cutting off her air supply. Something in her gut told her to hold off ordering the ‘save the date’ cards Betsy had pushed for so Karen could be married and carrying a grandbaby before she turned thirty-one.
And then it all
had come crashing down.
“More coffee, miss?”
Saved from having to relive that mess in her head all over again, Karen picked up the stoneware cup to finish what was left. Droplets of coffee plunked back into the saucer, where they formed a ring before placing it back down. “Yes, please.”
and uncertainty pretty much dominated Karen’s being until she could score a paycheck. After the fiasco cleared and all traces of her involvement with Preston Vine were under wraps, Karen had sold her high-rise, her brand new Impala, and especially the engagement ring to pay off the expensive attorney Judge Samuel Watkins had enlisted to clear his wife’s sister’s name. It had left her with barely five grand to her name.
’d then hocked every gift Preston had ever given her and consigned most of her designer clothes - with the exception of her coveted, red-soled Louboutins – scraping together enough for a 2004 Ford Focus with a busted radio and sporadically functioning air conditioning. She tucked aside the rest to cover at least six months of rent and living expenses.
The waitress finished pouring.
“Can I get ya menu, hon? You look a little peaked.”
She had at least another hour on the road and didn’t want to rely on motel vending machine fare later on.
“I think I’ll take a patty melt.”
The waitress pulled a pencil out of a tight bun at the back of her head along with a pad out of her apron pocket.
“Fries or slaw?”
, thanks.” The grease and cheese would be enough for her empty stomach to take. “And a glass of ice water.”
Scribbling the order down, the waitress re-affixed the pencil back in her bun.
“Be up in fifteen, hon.”
After traveling east on Interstate 70 since four p.m., Karen
slumped down in the booth of the roadside diner. The vinyl seat was cool against her bare arms and legs in this July heat. Not many people inside, considering it was a Friday night. She had long since clipped up her hair and was fanning herself with a napkin. It was closing in on eight, and what should’ve been a straight four hour ride had turned into a drawn-out nightmare due to traffic, bathroom breaks and strange sounds coming from the Focus. But she wanted to get over the state line and into a comfy motel bed before ten p.m. Getting as far as possible from the disaster her life had become several months ago and starting over away from the glare of the big city - and the even bigger glare of Betsy Hanson – was priority.
was way out of her comfort zone, as she never went through life on the fly. Like her father, she carefully thought out every move, every major decision. To put her entire life up for sale, pack what was left in a ten-year-old clunker and drive it straight across central Ohio was uncharted waters. A diet of coffee and peppermint Lifesavers kept her functioning until she reached the destination her brother-in-law suggested.
Northern West Virginia, Karen
,” Judge Watkins told her.
“Straight down 70. Quiet. Out of the way. Close to Penn and only a three hour ride back home on a good day.”
Where her sister regarded her with silent pity while her mother remained in denial. And Karen hadn’t done a damn thing wrong. It didn’t matter. She had been engaged to a man who was secretly siphoning client funds. Shame by association. Shame to her mother, who couldn’t face her friends for weeks after her daughter’s intended was all over the news. But Karen didn’t feel one iota of that shame, getting up in good ol’ Betsy’s face to remind her how it could’ve been:
“Imagine if I listened to you, mother
, and quit my……how did you state it….lowly bank job to join Preston in his business? Those friends of yours would kick you out of that little book club for having a daughter suspected of possibly aiding and abetting an embezzler.”
Her mother had wanted to slap her when she
’d spewed that much-deserved venom. Karen had never felt more empowered – especially at a time when she’d had less than nothing.
According to the map, I70
would take her directly into Wheeling. Reaching for her iPhone, she did a quick search of the nearest motel off the exit, just as the waitress brought her sandwich and water. The delicious aroma made her mouth water as she found a Super 8 right off the exit. With a quick call to confirm an available room with wifi and possible long-term rates, she put her phone away, grabbed a triangular section of her sandwich and took a much needed bite. For the first time in months she felt……relaxed. Away from where she grew up, away from the pressure of her status-hungry mother, away from the mess she’d barely escaped from because she’d chosen to follow her gut rather than cave to a life she was supposed to have. Perhaps being out of her comfort zone was a good thing. Maybe an unstructured plan was something she needed to experience. To take a chance, find a job and cheap place to meet her simple needs, kick back and see what happens.
She hungrily devoured the rest of her
sandwich, which pushed down the lump in her throat. Finishing her water, she flagged down the waitress, who brought over the check. Reaching into her purse, Karen pulled her wallet out and peeled off a ten and two singles and left it on the table before leaving. After taking one last bathroom break, she was out the door and back on the road.
-five minutes later, she pulled off I70 in Wheeling, immediately spotting the looming, neon sign for the motel. After checking in, she weighed up what she absolutely needed from what was stuffed into her car. Clothes – definitely clothes. All of them. Toiletries, laptop, chargers, makeup, hair stuff and Pilates mat (did she ever need to stretch after this ride!).
hauling everything into the stuffy room, she went to crank up the A/C, rummaged through one of her suitcases for a pair of knit shorts and a tank top, then sought out her bottle of shower gel, shampoo and conditioner. The bathroom was standard white from the counter to the porcelain sink to the shiny linoleum squares to the towels. A wicker basket sat on the counter containing little wrapped soaps, mini bottle of mouthwash and a shower cap. She ran the shower to hot as she could stand, then washed almost six hours on the road off her body.
toweling off and dressing, she combed out her wet hair as she stared at her reflection in the mirror. Thank God the only evidence of her mother’s fire engine red hair was in the form of highlights, unlike her sister Shelia, who’d inherited an entire head of the color. She had her dad to thank for her mostly dark hair and pale green eyes. She had her dad to thank for a lot of things, mainly being the calm presence which had kept her from strangling her mother on several occasions.
her purse, she hopped in the middle of the bed. As exhausted as she was, she had two things to do first. Pulling out her phone, she texted her dad.
‘In Wheeling. Staying at Super 8. Tell mom in a.m. Can’t talk to her now. Love u’
Hitting ‘send’, she fished out her day
planner. That was another thing she was old school about. She liked writing things down – schedules, lists, to-dos, anything. It was a much faster way to purge than entering it into her phone calendar. She barely had the thumbs to text. Sliding the mechanical pencil out of the elastic holder, she flipped the calendar pages - past February, when Preston had presented her with a diamond on Valentine’s Day, past March when his office had gotten raided, past April when he’d been indicted and completely past May and June when his ugly trial and sentencing had stretched out. Under strict orders from her attorney, she hadn’t ventured within ten miles of the proceedings. Her life had consisted of going to work with the sympathetic eyes of her co-workers upon her. But it had been a hell of a lot better than holing up in her condo ditching calls from Betsy.
Plain piece of paper in
front of her, she began her list. First and foremost, get a job. She couldn’t do anything until Monday, but needed to go to sleep tonight knowing she had mapped out a plan. She had several thousand left, which she was saving towards a security deposit if she decided to stay out this way, so she needed to get flush as soon as possible. Firing up her laptop, she Googled a map of northern West Virginia, then did a search of area banks since that was where her experience was. She mapped out directions from Wheeling on up - Wellsburg, Weirton and New Cumberland, with distances being anywhere from twenty to forty minutes apart. Maybe she’d do a dry run tomorrow or Sunday to get a feel for the area, but she also wanted to be mindful of gas.
Her eyelids felt like anvils
, as sleep was desperately pulling her to move under the covers. Before closing her laptop, her phone beeped. Her dad texted back.
‘Please come back home. Never wanted this.’
God, she hated
breaking his heart. Ed Hanson was a saint of a man. He had to be to put up with Betsy. Karen had never understood how those two stayed married, assuming her mother hadn’t been the status hungry vulture she now was when they’d met. Ed was a forensic accountant with a prestigious public accounting firm in downtown Cincinnati, who played tennis every Saturday and sang in the church choir every Sunday. He liked his life simple and quiet, which is why he preferred to do his thing while Betsy did hers. After sliding a St. Christopher medal into the sun visor of her Focus, he had hugged her – hard – his voice cracking as he kissed her forehead
. “Come home soon.”
Fighting that lump in her throat again, she texted him back
. ‘Need to do this. Maybe when things die down. Please understand.’
He never texted back.
Moving the laptop to the nightstand, she found the charger and juiced up the battery. Before closing out for good, she looked at the map one more time. Above New Cumberland, at the tip of the northernmost point of the state, was Tippitt. Quirky, yet apropos.
Finally getting under the covers, she lifted her semi-dried hair and let her head sink into the pillow.
The name ‘Tippitt’ still on her brain caused her to stifle a laugh. She wasn’t sure why she held it back. It should’ve felt good to finally find humor in something.