Authors: TL Alexander
Copyright © 2014 TL Alexander
Published by Crazy Writer Books/TL Alexander
Cover design by Robin Ludwig Design Inc.
Editing by Kat’s Eye Editing
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This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any similarities to persons, living or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
All brand names and product names used in this book are trademarks, registered trademarks, or trade names of their respective holders. We are not associated with any product or vendor in this book.
The Layers series is written for adults, by an adult (this is questionable). It contains adult language (lots of f-age) and adults doing adult stuff (like hot sex and drinking Scotch). It’s also written for those who have a sense of humor and like to laugh. (This is optional, but highly recommended.)
We all have layers.
Layers bind us and blind us.
Layers cover us and control us.
Layers protect us and weight us down.
Layers build us up and tear us apart.
Layers anchor us and set us free.
Table of Contents
To my mother, Jewel.
You were right. I didn’t truly appreciate you
until I became a mother. Thanks for all your help and advice
over the years. Especially the part about laughing when you feel like crying.
It does feel better, unless you pee your pants...you forgot to tell me about that.
Life is funny. I’m not referring to the “ha, ha, ha”
kind of funny. I’m referring to the “who would have guessed?” or the “no fucking way” kind of funny. No way would I have ever believed that I would get a second chance at love. And no fucking way would I have ever guessed it would begin in Vegas. I mean, come on girlfriend!
Vegas is the place where you lose your mind, your inhibitions, and your next month’s rent. Vegas isn’t where you go to learn truths, rethink your choices, and reconnect.
But then again, this is me we are talking about. So welcome to Vegas or...as they say—Viva Las Vegas, baby.
How can you be so close to someone and yet not know them at all? I’ve asked myself this question a million times and I’ve yet to come up with even
one good answer.
The last time I saw her, I said some stupid-ass shit like, I needed her to trust me and if she couldn’t, then maybe we needed to rethink “us.” What the fuck was I thinking? All right, it’s obvious that I wasn’t thinking. I was trying to hold my company together, and she’s going off about the press, her grandmother finding out, and some shit about having no idea of the trouble I’d caused. She was right. I was fucking clueless.
I left her that morning to deal with the increasingly brazen paparazzi. I know—what an ass. She texted me and told me they were shouting, buzzing the outer intercom and blocking the sidewalk and street. I almost gave in. I wanted to go back and rescue her, but I was angry and overwhelmed. Then she accused me of leaking information to the press. It was the last push, the final curtain, the kick in the balls that drove me to my knees.
She managed to get away and hole up with Marco and Henry for a few days. It was a relief to hear that she’d gotten away. I knew she would be safe with Marco. He would never let any harm come to her. He’s a total gaywad—as Jules would say—but he’s in love with her and she him. Okay, I know it wasn’t a physical romantic kind of love but I couldn’t help being jealous of the guy. He’s her best friend and he knew things that I didn’t. He knew about her past and all her secrets. She trusted him, and in her world, trust was everything, and I wanted to be her “everything.”
After staying at Marco’s for a week or so, she went to visit Jules and Nick in Miami. While she was in Miami, she must have texted and e-mailed me one hundred times. I never replied to any of them. I thought I was doing the right thing, and then when I received her final text, “I’m going to London to fix things. Please don’t give up on me, on us.” I knew I’d done the right thing. You see I was implementing my own version of “tuff love.” I wanted her to go to London and face her demons, deal with her shit, and stop being afraid.
She owned me, body, heart, and soul, and I would have done anything for her. I was ready to get down on my knees and ask her to marry me. That wasn’t going to happen until she fixed herself and gave me her trust.
* * *
Don’t you wish life had a rewind button? Wouldn’t it be great to have a second or third chance to un-fuck up? Yeah, I fucked up. Turns out—I don’t know shit about “tuff love.”
While I was giving her time and space to “fix things,” I took the time to get Ryan up and running again, after Will Harris turned it sideways. Now pay attention! This is the weird mystery part of my story. She had time to get her life in order, and I had time to get my company in order. So now comes the big reconciliation, the big rekindling, the big fuckfest...right? WRONG!
There was no reunion, no checking into the Waldorf and seeing nothing but her nude body in between the sheets and underneath me for days. In fact, there was no seeing her at all. She just up and disappeared—vanished into fucking thin air.
Her phone...disconnected. My e-mails...bounced back. Her friends...not mine. Nick, my friggin’ best friend, told me he didn’t know where she was, and to leave it alone. “Let her go and get on with your fucking life,” he said. Can you fucking believe that? She was my life. My everything.
So what’s a guy to do? With no help from her friends, or my friend, I was on my own. I called every contact that I knew in the UK and got nothing. I even fucking Googled her. I can tell you that there is an Alexia Keith that lives in Boise, Idaho, drives a 2010 yellow Volkswagen Bug, likes to cook and had a thing for a guy named Juan until she found out Juan’s wand was waning and wanting. And I can tell you that there is an Alexia Keith that lives in Winston Salem, North Carolina, that teaches the third grade at Westland Elementary, and is going through a traumatic and dramatic divorce. Her soon to be ex-husband Brad cheated on her with John—the principal of Westland. If you’re interested, she is forming a local support group for the
survivors of cheaters
who cheat and come
out of the closet.
For future reference, you can Google SCCCC and get all the latest information.
After weeks of searching, I found nothing on my Alexia Elizabeth Keith. I was about ready to hire a private investigator when everything changed, when my shit hit the fan and came back and hit me in the face.
I was in the lobby of the Beverly Wilshire, making my way toward the elevators when a man walking in front of me dropped a magazine. I stopped, picked it up and just when I was about to call to him and hand it over...there she was (her picture anyway) in living color. I stood in the middle of the lobby like an idiot. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing; I couldn’t believe what I was reading. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t think, I couldn’t even breathe. My Alexia Keith was none other that Alexia Grant. The reclusive and reserved Grant heir, who was to become the new CEO of Grant International.
Alexia Keith was a lie, a myth, a story, a fucking fairytale. And how did I take the truth—not fucking well. I felt used, abused and downright duped. Seriously, who the hell takes on an alias? If you testified against the local crime boss and he threatened to hang you from your dick and cut off your balls, or hang you from your balls and cut off your dick—then I can see it.
But she was an influential billionaire. A fucking Grant.
After I got over my shock and suppressed my anger, I flew to London to find her. I won’t bore you will the fine details right now but I will tell you that after a year of frustrating futile pursuit, I gave up. The woman that I loved was lost and there was nothing I could do about it.
So then what? Well, the last couple of years I’ve been concentrating on my company—the only thing that’s kept me partially sane. I was determined to restructure and revitalize Ryan. I put everything I had into it—my energy, my time, my money, my heart. Okay, not my heart it was still M.I.A.
The bottom line—Mr. Ryan and Ryan Acquisitions was fucked. He (I) was losing his company and he couldn’t stop thinking about her—and he tried—by God he tried. When he wasn’t working he would be at the pool swimming countless laps, or at the gym pumping iron. Still
thinking. So he picked up the bottle and tried to drink her out of his head. The corner liquor store’s number became his number one contact and the delivery guy (his name is Mr. Chow) Chow, was his new best friend. But even in a drunken state there was too much clarity, too much her, too much thinking. Then came the women—hot sexy women. All right, he admits to having no fucking idea if they were hot or sexy. He was totally wasted, out of his sad pathetic mind. But even wasted, every woman became her. All he could feel was her, all he could hear was her, all he could smell and taste was her. Her. Her! HER!
So, why was I talking about myself in third person? Well, because that was the old me, and this is the new me. Yes, that’s me—wave. I’m the hot guy sitting in the lobby at the Four Seasons in Vegas. Yeah, you’re right. I’m still the exceedingly good-looking, somewhat arrogant, and cheeky, Jaxson Ryan that you all know and love. But I’m no longer the pathetic, drunk manwhore.
Okay, I’m lying. I’m still pathetic. (You thought I was going to say manwhore, didn’t you?) Hi, my name is Jaxson. (
And I’m a pathetic pussy. (
Thank you for sharing Jaxson.)
How is this even possible, you ask? I’ll tell you. I’m still pining over a woman that I haven’t seen, or talked to, in over two years. I’m not a piner. I don’t chase women. What happened to the Prince of the Palace and the Purveyor of the Fuck-N-Chuck Manor? I miss the old-old Jaxson Ryan—the man I was before her. The man that would walk into a bar and women would come running with tongues a-wagging and pussies weeping. And if they couldn’t run, in those five-inch heels, then they would just stand and drool. (Yeah, I’m not the only pathetic one.)
The women, yeah they still run and drool, but I don’t care, I don’t see them. All I see is her. All I want is her. Goddamn her for walking into my office, making my dick jump, turning me inside out, and stealing my heart. She turned me into this pussy-whipped shell of a man. Fuck her! Fuck me! Fuck everyone! No matter how much I try, there isn’t a day that goes by, that I don’t think of her—ache for her. I feel as if I’ve been in this never-ending state of mourning. And no matter what I do, I can’t stop the grieving—it consumes me.
* * *
But I digress. Lets get back to why I’m in Vegas and why the hell I’ve been sitting in the Four Season’s lobby for over two sleeping-ass hours. I’m in Vegas because my best friend is getting married—and no, not Mr. Chow—Nickolas Cain. Nick and Jules are getting hitched in Vegas and I’m the best man and she’s (her) the maid of honor. So why am I sitting in the lobby of the Four Seasons? Because this is where she (her) is staying and I need to see her, talk to her. Why you ask? (You sure ask a lot of questions.) I need closure; I need to stop thinking about her. I need to know why the fuck she ran away and shattered my heart.
I look at my watch—two hours and twenty minutes. I need to stop being a lobby-waiting pussy and go up to her room. I get off my sleeping ass and make my way through the lobby toward the elevators. I know what room she is staying in, because Jules has a big mouth. I never thought her mouth was good for anything other than...well you know, and I only know because Nick loves to talk about getting it. Okay, all guys love to talk about it, or any and everything to do with sex. The elevator doors open and I step in with a group of people and stand behind them. I have this thing about people standing too close behind me. It freakin’ freaks me out.