Authors: Kristen Ashley
Rock Chick Redemption
Published by Kristen Ashley
Copyright 2011 Kristen Ashley
Discover other titles by Kristen Ashley:
Rock Chick Rescue
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* * * * *
This book is dedicated to
Kathleen “Danae” Den Bachlet
I thank the goddess for bringing to me a friend…
who lets me be just who I am.
When your dream is to write books and dreams are meant to be shared with the ones you love and your best friend for over twenty years lives half a world away (literal y) but also edits your books, there is nothing better than to have the words “Kel y Brown edited” popping up al over your edited manuscript. Thanks for being with me, Kel, every word of the way.
And to my Rock Chicks and Ninja Queen Sisters, Lily-Flower and Lotus Blossom, I love you guys. Thanks for Sturgis, the time of my life.
And to my Rock Guru, Wil … you know how I feel.
And to my new Rock Queen, latest cheerleader and my friend since
, Stephanie Redman Smith, thanks for reading, loving it and rooting me on. I love you, Steph, but you stil can’t have Luke. He’s mine.
And to my sister, Erika “Rikki” Wynne and my brother, Gib Moutaw… we lost our anchor but our bond wil never weaken. I would not be who I am if I didn’t have you. You are so embedded in my heart, you have become my heart. I miss you every day.
And to my family, friends and readers… welcome back, thanks for coming and hang on tight, the ride is about to begin!
It’s happened to me twice, love at first sight.
The first time was Bil y Flynn. The second was Hank Nightingale.
Bil y didn’t take and he broke my heart.
Hank, wel Hank’s a heartbreaker, to be certain, but I wasn’t going to stick around long enough for him to do it to me. It wouldn’t be my choice, not sticking around, but that’s what was going to happen al the same and probably for the best. At least for Hank.
* * * * *
Bil y’s the former of al those. Hank’s the latter.
See, Bil y’s a criminal, Hank’s a cop.
Bil y looks like a young Robert Redford but instead of boy next-door charm, he has a bit (okay, a lot) of James Dean’s
Rebel without a Cause
drifting through him.
I knew Bil y wel ; I’d been with him for seven years (the last three of which I tried to break up with him and that didn’t take either).
Hank looks like no one I’d ever seen before. To put it simply, he’s beautiful. He’s tal with thick dark hair, whisky-colored eyes and the lean, wel -muscled body of a linebacker.
Hank has a cause: Hank’s about justice.
And Hank has more cool in his pinkie finger at any given moment than Bil y would have in a lifetime.
Don’t ask me how I know this because I only knew Hank for a few days. Though, it started when I learned he liked Springsteen. Anyone who likes Springsteen, wel , enough said.
* * * * *
A little about me.
For some bizarre reason my Mom named me Roxanne Gisel e Logan and everyone cal s me Roxie. I have an older brother named Gilbert (we cal him Gil because Gilbert is a shit name) and a younger sister named Esmerelda (we cal her Mimi because Esmerelda is a shit name too).
Needless to say, I lucked out in the sibling name stakes.
Dad let Mom name us. I think he did this so he could give her a hard time for the rest of her life. Dad and Mom love each other, a lot, and show it, a lot (too much if you ask me). Growing up with your parent’s constant public displays of affection was kind of embarrassing. Regardless of this, they were always ribbing each other and arguing… but in a nice way.
* * * * *
I grew up thinking I’d have a great job where I could wear designer clothes, I’d make a shitload of money and I’d have dozens of peons kowtowing to my every whim.
Before I met Bil y, I was on my way.
Don’t take that as me being screaming ambitious or anything; I partied through high school and col ege. I studied enough to make A’s and B’s (mostly B’s) but it was real y al about beer, the occasional bottle of tequila and rock ’n’ rol .
Dad said I was lucky I was a smart girl or I’d be fucked.
Mom warned if I didn’t get smarter, I’d end up fucked (though Mom didn’t use the f-word, I knew what she meant).
They were both right, in their own way, though Mom was more right.
Lucky for me, both my Mom and Dad—and Mom’s father and her grandfather—al graduated from Purdue University (my great-granddad even had his name up on a plaque in the student union because he died in World War I). I was grandfathered into Purdue: in other words, my family had such a history, and so many members in the Alumni Association, they couldn’t say no. I got my degree no matter how much time I spent at Harry’s Chocolate Shop (the bar at Purdue that I’m pretty sure my Mom, Dad, Gramps and great-granddad al spent a lot of time in as wel ).
* * * * *
My col eague, Annette, also told me I got the job because of the way I looked. I knew I wasn’t anything to sneeze at because I’d won the Teen Miss Hendricks County Pageant (I didn’t go on to the State Finals because of a bout with mono and because beauty pageants kinda sucked).
I look like my Mom’s side of the family; tal , built like what my Dad cal ed a “brick shithouse” (I think this means al boobs and butt but I never real y got the comparison) with dark blonde hair and dark blue eyes. In fact, al of us kids looked like the MacMil an side of the family, al tal , al dark blond, al blue-eyed and my brother had a russet beard like Grizzly Adams and like my Mom’s brother, Tex.
* * * * *
I started writing letters when I was young, don’t ask me how I started, I just did. I wrote to anyone whose address I could get my hands on. I loved putting stamps on letters and I loved getting mail through the post. I wrote so many letters, Mom started to buy me monogrammed stationery when I was twelve and she stil buys me two boxes every birthday; deep lilac with an embossed RGL at the top and on the envelope flap.
Mom told me not to write Uncle Tex. She told me it was a waste of time, he’d never write back.
Talking about Uncle Tex made Mom’s face get sad, which didn’t happen very often. Usual y only when she talked about Uncle Tex and sometimes when she saw me with Bil y and thought I wasn’t paying attention.
Mom and Uncle Tex were super close growing up, but he went into the army on his eighteenth birthday and went to Vietnam close to the end of the war and that was al she’d heard from him.
Uncle Tex wrote back to me though, surprising everyone.
He wouldn’t write back to Mom or Grams or Mom’s two sisters, but he wrote back to me. Even when he was in prison for messing up a drug dealer, he wrote back to me.
Once, when I was fourteen, I caught Mom going through my stash, reading Uncle Tex’s letters and crying. I didn’t let her know I caught her and I had the feeling it wasn’t the first time she did it either.
From his letters, I could tel Uncle Tex was a hilarious guy, crazy, like me (maybe a wee bit crazier). I’d never met him, but I knew why Mom loved him so much and, through our letters, I knew I loved him too.
* * * * *
He was good-looking; he had more energy than anyone I’d ever met; he made me laugh; he treated me like a princess; and he was real y, real y good with his mouth (in a fast-talking kind of way
other kinds of ways besides).
Everyone hated him, Mom, Dad, Gil, Mimi and al my friends. I played them the Cowboy Junkies song,
” and told them to get over it.
A year into it, Bil y was living with me in my apartment and we were having the time of our lives… good sex, lots of laughs, tons of partying. I had no idea what Bil y did to make his money and I was so lost in him, I didn’t care.
Then one day, he said he had an opportunity in St. Louis that he couldn’t pass up. He said, in six months, we’d retire and live in St. Tropez and I’d spend my days sunbathing topless and he’d pour me champagne before our gourmet dinners every night. He told me he’d give me the life I deserved, the life I was meant to have: designer clothes, diamonds and pearls, champagne breakfasts, the lot.
I believed him (yes, I was twenty-five and yes, I was stupid). Even though everyone told me not to do it (even Uncle Tex), I quit my job, gave up my apartment and moved to St. Louis. I moved my shit there, got a job there and started over.
Six months later, Bil y told me he had an even better opportunity and we moved to Pensacola.
Then to Charleston.
Then to Atlanta.
I should have seen this coming. Before he met me, Bil y had gone from Boston (where he grew up), to Phil y, to Cincinnati, to Louisvil e, to Indianapolis. I should have been pleased he spent a year in Indy with me.
By the time we made it to Chicago, three years into our travels, I was fed up. I had a blast in St. Louis, Pensacola, Charleston and Atlanta. I had good jobs in al those places and made friends. I hated leaving, I hated being on the road, packing, moving. Sometimes I had only a week to do it (and in that week, Bil y was long gone, tel ing me he was
“scouting” our locations for the move). I was spending more and more time writing letters to al the people I left behind and was going to miss and I was done with being a nomad.
Furthermore, I was beginning to figure out why Bil y was so cagey about how he spent his days and where he got his cash. It was always cash. He never brought home a paycheck. Sometimes it was a lot of cash, most of the time it was none.
At first, I believed in him, believed in his dreams and his fast-talk convinced me that the life I “deserved” was just around the corner. Then I
to believe, so I didn’t ask too many questions. Then I couldn’t believe how stupid I was for believing in the first place and set myself firmly in denial, which was a good place to be… for a while.