“Did universal charity prevail, earth would be a heaven, and hell a fable.”
– Charles Caleb Colton
Charity is home free: her degree under her belt and making a beeline, straight for sunny Ft. Royal, and her sisters, Hope and Faith. Excited to see them, yet having been warned by Hope to watch herself when it came to the disarmingly charming ways of The Kraken, Charity never expected to walk right into the one man to flip all of her switches to the ‘on’ position before she’d even taken a dozen steps into town.
Nothing was everything she liked. Tall, handsome, with a pair of eyes that any woman should swoon over. Just the right mix of tortured bad boy to pique all of her healer’s instincts. Charity knew that the men of The Kraken played for keeps; all except, it seemed, for this one. Too bad no one told The Kraken that she played for keeps, too.
Shit. Charity dropped onto the barstool beside mine and dropped her keys on the scarred wood surface of The Plank’s bar. She raised an eyebrow at me.
“What?” I asked.
“It’s raining again, figured I could offer you a ride home, seeing as your bike is in the shop and Marlin has your car.”
“I’m good,” I said and downed the shot of Crown in front of me. Lightning took the shot glass off the bar and sighed.
“You’re done, Bro. I ain’t going to watch you do this to yourself all over again.”
“Let me take you home?” she asked gently. I shook my head and ran a hand over my hair.
“I’m not ready to go home.”
“Okay, fine. Then I’ll sit right here until you are.”
“Fuck, really? Go find someone else to take care of,” she flinched at my tone but I didn’t apologize or back down. I was bad news, she didn’t need any of what I had to offer. She was a nice girl… Corrine had been a nice girl, too. Corrine and I had made the sweetest little girl together… Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck.
“It’s the time of year, Honey. It’s not you,” Hossler said at my elbow.
“Fuck, Hoss, stay out of it!”
“You’re drunk and acting like an asshole; Charity’s a guest. Take your sorry ass home, Nothing. People are sick of your fucking pity party for one.”
I stood up abruptly and staggered, definitely unsteady on my feet. Charity reached out and put a hand on my arm but I jerked away from her.
“Just fucking stay out of it, all of you!” I barked and headed for the door.
I saw Radar get up out of the corner of my eye and I didn’t want to deal with him, or anyone, so before he could get to me I went out the door and into the pouring rain outside. He caught up to me, grabbed my elbow and I was in the mood to force the issue. I turned and raised my fist but was cold cocked by Charity’s glacial stare before I could swing.
“The fuck?” I asked.
“I could ask you the same thing, except I’m done asking. Get your ass in the Jeep.”
I blinked and opened my mouth to reject the notion but before I could, she was speaking again, tone full of consternation.
“You can either, get your ass in the Jeep and let me drive you home, or I can tell your leader how you almost cold cocked his woman’s sister in the face.” She arched a light brow, her face set in stone and I shut my gob and looked this way and that, striking out in the direction of her white Jeep Wrangler.
Text Copyright © 2016 A.J. Downey
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
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