One catastrophic night, Shelly Jordan’s world was ripped to shreds. Now, living in an isolation of her own making, she’s slipping away from everything and everyone she once loved. She can’t piece the remnants of who she was back together with who she is now. Shelly can barely get through the next hour, let alone the whole day, and no one blames her for it. She tells the world she’s fine, afraid to lose the only family she has. After all, there’s no place in an MC for a used up club whore who can’t bear to be touched.
Ghost has had a thing for Shelly since first laying eyes on her. Still, Ghosty-boy don’t share, and as a club slut, Shelly gives it up to whoever asks. If only she’d knock off her slut-tastic ways… But now she’s hurt and he’s torn in two. If he’d been less of a jackass, she wouldn’t have run from the safety of the fireside – his side – that night. Ghost feels responsible for the horrible things he said that drove her into the predator’s hands. Now he wants to man up and make it right.
Can Ghost stitch Shelly back together again when all he’s ever really been good at is ripping things apart?
She looked like hell, her platinum-blonde locks shaggy and lank against her forehead which was furrowed with deep lines as she slept. Dark circles stained the too-pale skin beneath her eyes, and she’d always been a narrow woman, but now she was positively gaunt. Her sharp cheekbones stood out further than I’d ever remembered; her cheeks had become so drawn they were shadowed beneath them. I looked down at the hand that had slipped from her lap to the seat between us, her once-carefully-filed, painted, and manicured nails barely held onto the chipped polish now. To top it off, they had been bitten damn near to the quick. Even in her sleep she was tense, tucked tight against the door, as far as she could get from me.
It was a damned shame. One of the things that had first attracted me to Shelly was her surety and confidence. She had been a vibrant spitfire of a woman, a real fireball, and now… well, now, she was barely a shadow of that girl, a ghost of who she once was, and the guilt of that weighed on me.
My personal cell went off and I scrambled to answer it before it woke her up. I was so used to answering the work cell I did it without thinking,
“Pauley’s Towing, this is Derek, how can I help?”
“’Night, beautiful,” he said to me and it sounded almost wistful. I froze, so many confusing emotions clashing against one another. Maybe once upon a time, but I felt like I was made of pure ugly on the inside now. I bolted out of the truck as fast as I could and slammed the door behind me with a surprised curse. I raced up the walk and let myself into the townhouse, closing and latching the door behind me, resting my forehead on the cool, painted metal of the front door for a minute.
I heard a sigh behind me; I knew it was Reave. I could always depend on my big cousin… or at least I used to… I didn’t know anymore! I felt my shoulders tremble as I suppressed a sob. I would not cry! I wasn’t a crier!
“Aww, no. C’mere, Runt.” Reaver’s hands kneaded my shoulders and I turned around and buried my face in his chest and took several deep breaths of clean laundry soap and freshly-showered big cousin, forcing the tears down hard. Reaver hugged me, rubbing up and down my back with his broad hand. I shoved away from him after barely a moment and sniffed.
“Enough of this touchy-feely shit,” I said, and rolled my neck, which was stiff from sleeping in the truck.
“Yeah, you learn to appreciate the touchy-feely shit more when you’re with the right person,” he said, and I knew he was talking about Hayden, but I made a face anyway.
“I’m your cousin, and you’re married, you sick bastard,” I pronounced and made to go up the stairs.
“Shelly,” he said, not rising to the bait. I paused in my step but wouldn’t look at him. “You need to let someone in, if not me or one of the girls…” he sighed when the set of my shoulders tensed.
“I’m fine,” I lied.
Text Copyright © 2015 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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