Authors: Kristen Ashley
“He’s not overly…” she paused, looking for the word. Then finding it, she spoke again, “
of you movin’ in with Tex.
See, he thinks –”
“Oh for fuck’s sake. You’re movin’ in with Hank,” Uncle Tex announced. “Sil y, stupid girl nerves, movin’ in with me, then movin’ into some apartment only to end up movin’ in with Hank in a few months. You need to fuckin’
Get over it and get over here. I’l make you a fuckin’ latte.” I stared at Uncle Tex. “I’m not moving in with Hank,” I said.
“You are,” Uncle Tex returned.
“Did you guys move my stuff to your place?” I asked.
“Hel no. Waste of time. I’l make you my new coffee. It’s the shit. So damn popular, they’re linin’ up out the door for it in the morning,” Uncle Tex answered.
I frowned at him. “I’m not moving in with Hank,” I repeated (though, I wanted to try his new latte).
“You are,” Uncle Tex said.
“I’m not!” I yel ed.
Daisy’s arm went away from me and Jet came close.
“Maybe you should take it up with Hank,” Jet suggested.
” then she smiled like what she said was funny. Daisy smiled too, obviously agreeing.
I didn’t think it was funny.
“Damn tootin’ we’re having a conversation. We’re going to have the conversation to end al conversations,” I declared, stomping up to the espresso counter.
Everyone grinned at everyone else.
I ignored al of them and Uncle Tex made me his latte with chocolate and burnt marshmal ow syrup with a graham cracker on the side.
Five minutes later, Hank walked in.
I felt the air leave my lungs in a rush and decided immediately I was more than happy to move in with him.
I’d forgotten how handsome he was (wel , I hadn’t real y, just that it hit me again and hit me hard).
He looked so good I felt my mouth go dry. He was wearing jeans, running shoes and the col ar of a white t-shirt could be seen over his zipped up, col ared, navy blue sweatshirt.
“Whisky,” I said (or, more like,
He walked up to me, not saying a word, pul ed my coffee out of my hand, put it on the counter, took my hand in his and dragged (yes, dragged) me toward the bookshelves.
I came out of my Hank Stupor and immediately decided I wasn’t so happy to move in with him.
“Whisky!” I snapped.
He walked us through the front section, through the album section and into the back room.
A lone, male customer was perusing the travel books.
“Can you excuse us?” Hank asked the man.
The customer stared at him.
“I’m looking for a book on India,” he said. “I’m going there on vaca –”
Hank turned to the travel section, pul ed out five books at random and shoved them into the man’s arms.
“Go,” he said.
The man looked from Hank, to me, to Hank, shocked into near-immobility.
“Hank –” I started, feeling sorry for the guy.
Hank leaned into the man.
The man caught the not-so-subtle hint and walked swiftly out of the room.
“I cannot believe you just did that!” I hissed to Hank.
Hank turned to me, backed me into the shelves, and, without further ado, he kissed me.
Long, deep, lots of tongue with his hands going up my sweater.
I went dizzy.
His mouth came away but his forehead rested on mine.
His hands kept roaming the skin of my back and he was looking into my eyes.
“Fuck, I missed you,” he murmured.
Then he rubbed his nose against mine.
Okay, so I was back to deciding I’d move in with Hank.
“I missed you too,” I whispered.
His hands stopped roaming and pressed me deeper into his body.
“Let’s go home,” he said softly.
I stil ed.
“We need to talk about ‘home’,” I said.
“No talk. Tex and I decided.”
I went rock solid and changed my mind again about moving in with Hank.
“You and Uncle Tex decided?” I asked.
“What about me?” I asked, taking my hands from around his neck and planting them on my hips while I pul ed my head away from his.
I forgot how great his grin was (wel , not real y, but you know what I mean).
“Let’s go home and I’l convince you,” he suggested.
I had a feeling he could do that.
Stubborn to the last I replied, “We’l go to your place, get my stuff and go to Tex’s.”
Hank shook his head.
“Tex won’t let you move in with him. We’ve talked, he agrees,” Hank told me.
“Then I’l move in with Indy and Lee for awhile.” Hank responded immediately. “Lee won’t let you.” I knew that was true.
“Al y –” I started.
“She loses her Christmas present, she lets you move in with her.”
“You give good Christmas presents?” I asked, curious for more than one reason.
“Concert tickets. Every year.”
Al y was out.
“Daisy.” I tried.
His body started shaking with laughter but this time he didn’t bother to answer.
I narrowed my eyes at him.
He pushed me back into the books, his mouth came to mine and he said softly, “Roxie, move in with me.” Good God.
My heart squeezed and my stomach melted.
I guessed he wasn’t going to back out.
I thought about it (wel , not real y, but I pretended to think about it).
Then I sighed.
“Oh, al right,” I said.
He kissed me again.
So, it wasn’t the conversation to end al conversations.
* * * * *
We went back to the front of the store.
I decided to get it over with immediately.
“I’m moving in with Hank,” I announced.
There was general merriment and a good deal of ribbing, mostly at my expense.
I scowled at everyone and nabbed my latte.
“One for the road?” Uncle Tex asked, correctly assuming we weren’t going to hang around.
“Yeah,” Hank said, wrapping an arm around my neck.
Uncle Tex started to make Hank a coffee and I stood, plastered against Hank’s side and felt the ugly scar on that secret, private place inside me that had been ripped apart and then mended. Wel … it just disappeared.
“A month,” Duke said, interrupting my thoughts. Duke’s arms were crossed on his big chest, his gravel y voice sounded almost (but not quite) happy. “A month of pure bliss. No bul ets flying. No kidnappings. No dead bodies.
No cars explodin’. No cat fights in Chinese restaurants. No shoot-outs at the Society Party OK Corral. No visits to the hospital. Absolute, fuckin’ bliss.”
He barely finished his last word when we heard a squeal of tires.
Everyone’s gaze swung to look out the big plate glass window.
We saw a shiny, cherry-condition, red Camaro, circa 1983, braking, its tail flipping so that it was facing the wrong way on Broadway and it shuddered to a halt.
No sooner had it stopped then the driver’s side door was thrown open and a woman got out.
She had gleaming, thick, black hair, pul ed back in a long ponytail. She was wearing a skintight black turtleneck, mushroom-colored cords and a kickass black belt.
She was stunning.
She walked to the front of the Camaro, her hand going to the back waistband of her cords and she whipped out a gun.
Hank tensed at my side and the room went utterly stil except for a wicked undercurrent of energy.
She pul ed the gun up in front of her and held it like Hank, natural, casual, in two hands, arms cocked, head slightly to the side.
The traffic was stopped at the red light on Broadway.
She advanced, like a woman without a care in the world, down the middle of the wide, normal y busy street toward a man who had alighted from a different car.
He too, had a gun pointed at her.
They faced off.
“Jules!” he shouted.
At the cal of what was likely her name, her arms moved slightly, to the left and down. Without apparently aiming, she fired, twice.
And she took out the two front tires of his car.
“Holy crap,” Indy breathed.
“Righteous,” Al y whispered.
“Fuckin’ Jules!” the man yel ed and started running toward her.
She whipped around, ponytail flying, and ran back to her car, throwing the gun into the passenger seat. She got in and started reversing on a smoky squeal of tires, leaving the man in her dust.
Al our heads fol owed her as the car twisted viciously around to face the right way again and she took off like a rocket.
The man with the gun turned toward Fortnum’s and started running and kept going, right passed Fortnum’s down the side street.
“Stay here,” Hank said to me, his hand was in his back pocket, pul ing out his phone. Then he moved to the door.
The place was a flurry of activity.
The Hot Boy Brigade was on the move. Out of Fortnum’s they went, disbursing with barely a word to each other, instinctively knowing what they were doing.
I noticed it was Vance, on his Harley, who shot off in the direction of “Jules”.
Indy turned to me and said on a grin, “Welcome home.”
About the Author
Kristen Ashley lives in the beautiful West Country of England with her husband and her cat. She came to England by way of Denver, where she lived for twelve years, but she grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana. Her family and friends are loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.
Kristen’s Mom moved her and her brother and sister in with their grandparents when she was six. Her grandparents had a daughter much younger than her Mom so they al lived together on a very smal farm in a smal farm town in the heartland. She grew up with Glenn Mil er, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon and Whitesnake (and the wardrobes that matched). Needless to say, growing up in a house ful of music, clothes and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.
Discover other Titles by Kristen Ashley
Rock Chick Rescue
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Official Website: www.kristenashley.net
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