Authors: Michelle Irwin
DECLAN REEDE: THE UNTOLD STORY
Copyright © 2015 by Michelle Irwin
First Edition December 2015
Published in Australia
Also available in paperback:
Print ISBN: 978-1519269386
Cover content used for illustrative purposes only, and any person depicted is a model
Cover models: Ashleigh Johnson and Jarah Armstrong.
Al’4beauty by Carein
Hot Tree Editing
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to an actual person, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales, is entirely coincidental. The following story is set in Australia and therefore has been written in UK/Australian English. The spelling and usage reflect that.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without the written permission of the Publisher, except where permitted by law. To request permission and for all other inquiries, contact:
Michelle Irwin P O Box 671 MORAYFIELD QLD 4506 AUSTRALIA
To Renee, who has probably been one of Declan’s biggest fans before she’d even met him and has helped spread the word better than anyone.
To my family, who at different times have inspired different elements of this story.
To Angie and Cryssy, thank you for the help getting the word out there about Declan.
To those waiting with baited breath to find out what happened to Declan, I give you Deceive.
Click here to get started:
Note: This book is set in Australia, as such it uses Australian/UK spelling and some Australian slang. Although you should be able to understand the novella without a glossary, there is always fun to be had in learning new words. Temperatures are in Celsius, weight is in kilograms, and distance is (generally) in kilometres (although we still have some slang which uses miles).
Bottle shop/liquor store.
Multiple meanings. Technically bugger/buggery is sodomy/anal sex, but in Australia, the use is more varied. Bugger is a common expression of disbelief/disapproval.
Came down in the last shower (Do you think I):
Cherry (Drag racing) :
Red light indicating that you “red-lighted”/jumped the start.
See S Bends below.
Cars with a four-cylinder engine.
An IUD that contains and releases a small amount of a progesterone hormone directly into the uterus.
A shop which sells newspapers/magazines/lotto tickets. Similar to a convenience store, but without the food.
Off my face:
Drunk/under the influence (including of drugs).
Active ingredient in pain-relievers like Tylenol and Panadol.
Phone/Mobile Phone/Mobile Number:
Cell/cell phone/cell number.
All-inclusive term meaning real estate agency/property management firm.
Someone who drives a hotted up four-cylinder (usually imported) car, and makes modifications to make it (and make it look) faster.
One of the codes of football played in Australia.
S bends (and into the dipper):
Part of the racetrack shaped into an S shape. On Bathurst track, the dipper is the biggest of the S bends, so called because there used to be a dip in the road there before track resurfacing made it safer.
Sandwich with the lot:
Sandwich with the works.
Week-long (or more) celebration for year twelves graduating school. Similar to spring break. The Gold Coast is a popular destination for school leavers from all around the country, and they usually have a number of organised events, including alcohol-free events as a percentage of school leavers are usually under eighteen (the legal drinking age in Australia).
Shout (referring to drinks or food):
Buy for someone. “Get the tab.”
Off season in sports. Primarily where most of the trades happen (e.g. driver’s moving teams, sponsorship changes etc).
A special type of racing tyre with no tread. They’re designed to get the maximum amount of surface on the road at all times. Wet weather tyres have chunky tread to displace the water from the track.
(can also be spelled sculled and skolled) Chugged/Drank everything in the bottle/glass.
Tough shit/too bad.
CHAPTER ONE: WAKING UP
A BANGING YANKED me from dreams of Alyssa. Of her panting beneath me as I kissed her. Of her body pressing against me.
The sound smashed through me, echoing the throbbing in my head. Or maybe it was the other way around; maybe my head beat a rhythm in response to the banging. I didn’t fucking know. All I knew was that it was too fucking early to be awake and I didn’t want to be bothered by anyone. Not when it felt like my whole body had been passed through a meat grinder.
“Fuck off!” I called into my pillow, not giving a shit who it was. I wasn’t interested in a conversation with anyone. Not until I’d had a handful of pain pills and at least another twelve hours of sleep. Maybe another bottle of whiskey.
When the door opened regardless of my wishes, I groaned in complaint. I lifted myself just far enough off my pillow to pull it out from under me and stuff it over my head, blocking out all light and sound. The movement stabbed at my ribs, which were sore along one side from multiple injuries. First a crash on the racetrack, and then a fall while I was in London trying to recover from the accident. A cry of agony slipped from me as my other side joined in the party, sending a cascade of pain rolling through my body before stealing my breath away entirely.
Unable to breathe through the torture, I stilled and did what I could to will the blinding ache away. One thing was certain, there was no way I was moving again—not even to get painkillers.
“Declan.” My father’s voice boomed through my skull, reminding me that I wasn’t home in Sydney.
Instead, I was up in Queensland. Back in Browns Plains, the one place I’d sworn for so long to never return to. All in an attempt to woo back Alyssa, my one-time best friend turned ex-girlfriend. I’d spent so long pretending not to care about her that I’d almost convinced myself it was true. The wake-up call had come in the form of a battering on the racetrack by my subconscious mind. It was almost comical how pussy-whipped I’d become in the week I’d been home. I’d done almost everything she’d asked me to, and in response, she’d spurned me.
A groan rose in my throat as everything that had happened in the last few weeks came flooding back in. When it had, the aches in my body seemed meaningless compared to the ones in my heart. I’d been gone for so long, denying the parts of myself that wanted to think of Alyssa, that I’d missed so much in the lives of those I’d left behind. My thoughts turned to my son, who’d passed away days after his birth, and had been mourned by everyone but me because of the fucking secret-keepers, who included my own damn parents. It was a good thing my eyes were screwed shut under the pillow because otherwise they might have filled with tears.
My mind turned from death to life. To Phoebe, my daughter; already a little girl, even though I’d barely known about her for two weeks. I hadn’t spent more than a few hours with her, and I didn’t know whether I’d be able to after the way Alyssa had left the previous afternoon.
My throat grew clammy at the thought. The recollection of my attempt to make her see that I was here to stay and the subsequent anger that had burned through me in response to her walking away from me came crashing back. Fuck! I wanted to go back to sleep and forget about how I’d lost her yet again. I wanted to rush to her and beg her to take me back.
“Declan!” Dad repeated my name all too fucking loudly, his tone pissy and simmering with heat.
“I thought I said fuck off,” I uttered in a breathless murmur before my voice was stolen by a fresh groan.
The pillow was ripped from my hands, causing a stabbing pain to radiate through my ribs again. I growled as it sailed across the room.
“I cannot believe the stunts you pulled last night. What were you thinking? Do you know what it could do to your career if you were caught? Not to mention what people might say about your mother and me with the way you arrived home. Do you have any sense at all?”
Taking my time in order to avoid more pain—not that it really helped—I rolled over onto my stomach to stop the influx of light burning my eyes even through my closed eyelids.
“What are you talking about?” Every syllable hurt. Every breath wheezed. My head still throbbed and I couldn’t concentrate.
What the fuck happened last night?
The absolute last thing I needed was a lecture. My father’s tone made it clear one was coming regardless of whether I was willing to listen. Arguing with him would only delay the inevitable and quite possibly result in an explosion of anger from one of us. Probably me. It was better for me to lie there and at least pretend to pay attention. Even if I was really thinking about everything except what he had to say.
While he started to speak about some shit, I did my best to concentrate on his words but failed miserably. I opened one eye, wincing against the harsh light, and raised my head slightly off the bed. Ignoring the shooting pain in my sides as I turned, I looked over to where my father stood watching me with an expectant look on his face. With a groan, I closed my eyes and dropped my head again.
“Have you listened to a single word I’ve said?” he snapped.
I shook my head against the mattress. My dark auburn hair, overdue for a cut, fell into my eyes as I did.
A sigh escaped him seconds before he sat on the bed next to me. The jerk of the mattress as he sat down sent a fresh wave of pain rolling through my body.
“Son of a bitch,” I muttered under my breath.
“Honestly, you’re old enough to know better than this stuff.”
I opened one eye again after something landed on the bed beside my arm. An empty scotch bottle met my eye and the throbbing in my head made a little more sense.
How much did I drink?
“Your mother explained how much you hurt her when we saw you in Sydney. I’d have thought you’d have learned your lesson about alcohol by now.”
Even though I was barely awake, I was cognisant enough not to admit that it was a hell of a lot more than alcohol in my system when I’d apparently destroyed a cafe in Sydney rather than let Mum talk to me about Alyssa.
“And drunk-driving? What the heck were you thinking? And as if all that wasn’t bad enough, coming home in the arms of that boy was the last straw. What will the neighbours think?”
Like I give a shit what your neighbours think.
Instead of letting the words fly from me, I swallowed them down. My ribs protested the action. In fact, they protested every breath and tiny movement. I had no idea why they were so much worse than they had been any other day since I’d injured them—why the other side now ached just as badly. I only hoped the pain meant they were healing and not getting worse.
While I focused on the pain, more of Dad’s words made it through my treacle-like mind and my confusion grew.
As if a dimmer switch was being turned in my head, a little more of the picture grew clear. I’d gone to the Gold Coast after Alyssa had run from me when I’d made a reference to a future together. Then I’d . . .
Fuck, he’s right.
I had driven drunk, hadn’t I? The fact was I couldn’t remember much of what’d happened after I’d stopped at the bottle-o for two bottles of whiskey. All I’d wanted to do was drown the bitterness that the sight of Alyssa walking away had burned into me.
Illuminated by the recollection, a memory niggled of kissing Alyssa. Even as it clarified, I knocked it down. There was no way Alyssa would have allowed me to kiss her that way under the rules she’d set when I’d asked whether we could try once more. She certainly wouldn’t have kissed me back like my mind taunted. It had to be a dream, an extension of the dream I’d been having when Dad woke me maybe. Only, it didn’t feel like a dream—my hands burned with the memory of tracing them along her body. My lips, though dry as fucking sand, felt heated and worked over.
While Dad droned on about responsibility and stupidity, I spent a minute going over Alyssa’s rules again to be sure there wasn’t something I’d missed that would explain the memory of the kiss.
First, one date for every psychiatrist session I had. Second, I had to wait for her to be ready to take things further, I couldn’t fuck random chicks or I’d lose her forever.
And lastly, no using alcohol as a salve.
I’d broken at least one of her rules—I’d drunk alcohol. To excess and in order to forget a problem.
Worse, I’d had so much to drink that I didn’t even know if I’d broken her second rule. The memory of Alyssa’s warm body beneath me, of her honey-gold eyes meeting my turquoise ones in the instant before we kissed, of her breasts pillowing against my chest, made me think that
had happened while I was drunk. But what?
Maybe it was just a dream. I’d had enough of those about her lately. The theory made some sense. After all, the memory of my hands searching her familiar curves while she lay beneath me with her mahogany hair fanned behind her could only have happened in a dream. It just . . . felt too real in my mind for that to be the case. I wanted it to be real, but all I could do was hope to hell that I hadn’t done something stupid with a stranger and had just imagined Alyssa in her place. If only I could remember a little more of the night.
As I nursed my aching head and sore body, I wondered whether Alyssa had a point about alcohol. Drinking so much only got me into trouble; it had certainly never done me any favours.
Something else Dad had said finally registered as I finished berating myself for being such a cock-up. “Wait! What fucking
“You’d have to ask your mother,” he said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “All I know is that he all but carried you in from your car. Which is a mess, by the way.”
At his words, I threw myself out of my bed. Even though my ribs and side stabbed me with even the smallest movement I made, and my head felt like I’d had cotton wool shoved into every spare inch, I had to see what he meant.
My baby? A mess?
I dragged my tired, sore arse through the house as fast as I could with the agony I was in and threw open the front door to get a look at the damage Dad was talking about.
At the sight, my stomach fell to my feet and I almost dropped to my knees. Along the driver’s side of my once pristine black Monaro was a huge-arse scratch that went from fender to quarter panel. Around the main damage, the black paint was torn away to expose the bare metal underneath.
My lip quivered as I took in the image of the side mirror hanging on by little more than the electrics. My baby was thoroughly fucked.
“What the fuck happened?” I cried out as I headed back into the house, slamming the door shut on the sight behind me. If I looked at it for one more second, I’d lose it. I was used to seeing cars in various states of disrepair, but other people’s cars. Not my fucking Monaro.
I met Dad halfway down the hallway.
“What happened?” I asked again.
“How am I supposed to know what you did to your car? It is a perfect example of what I’ve been saying though. If you hadn’t been so irresponsible last night, it would still be undamaged, wouldn’t it?”
I rolled my eyes as he used the opportunity to start his lecture again, only now I was too awake to ignore him and too sore and sorry for myself to put up with it.
“You need to think through your actions. How long do you think Sinclair will keep you on as a driver without a licence? If you lose that job, then what will you do? ”
His words made me think of Phoebe. Of Alyssa. Of the life that I wanted to have; the one I wanted to deserve. The one I absolutely didn’t deserve if I made stupid-arse choices like getting behind the wheel while I was drunk. It put the damage to my car into perspective a little, and my fingers unclenched from the fists they’d formed.
“I always told you not to settle down and ruin your life, didn’t I? I said to make sure you practised safe sex. You obviously didn’t listen to me.”
Even though talking to him about whether or not I wrapped my cock was the last thing I wanted to do, the statement made me think of the fact that he hadn’t told me about Phoebe and Emmanuel. He’d known about the pregnancy, about everything, and had kept it quiet. Mum had explained her reasons, but Dad . . . he wasn’t bound by any such promise or desire to protect a relationship with Alyssa.
While he’d been something of a surrogate father to her while we were younger, just like her Dad had been to me, things had changed around the time she and I had shared our first kiss. From that moment on, Dad seemed to view her as a threat to my dreams and had not been overly welcoming toward her.
“Why didn’t you tell me sooner?”
“Your mum promised Alyssa.”
My gaze cut to his. There was no way that was the reason. “Don’t pull that bullshit cop-out answer. Why didn’t
The corners of his eyes pinched together and he frowned. It seemed like he was issuing some silent challenge. I didn’t back down though. After a moment, he raised one brow. “I didn’t want you to be trapped.”
My hung-over brain took a minute to process the intent behind his words. “You think Alyssa was trying to