Authors: Ann Mayburn
The unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement (including infringement without monetary gain) is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in federal prison and a fine of $250,000.
Please purchase only authorized electronic editions and do not participate in, or encourage, the electronic piracy of copyrighted materials. Your support of the author’s rights is appreciated.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are the products of the author’s imagination or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
2015 by Ann Mayburn
Published by Honey Mountain Publishing
All rights reserved. Except for use in any review, the reproduction or utilization of this work, in whole or in part, in any form by any electronic, mechanical or other means now known or hereafter invented, is forbidden without the written permission of the publisher.
**DISCLAIMER: Please do not try any new sexual practice, BDSM or otherwise, without the guidance of an experienced practitioner. Ann Mayburn will not be responsible for any loss, harm, injury or death resulting from use of the information contained in this book.**
Tale of Contents
While you may think you know Beach and Sarah’s story from what you’ve read in Exquisite Trouble and Exquisite Danger, you don’t. Sarah is overprotective of Swan to the point of sheltering her from the world, so Sarah gave her twin sister an edited version of how she got together with Beach…a very edited version. Now sit back, lock the doors and turn off the phone, then grab a cold drink and enjoy another trip on the crazy train that is the Iron Horse MC.
I would like to send out a big thank you to my beta readers Meghan Pyne, April Renee Symes, Ann Reeves, and Virginia Swanson for their help in polishing this bad boy up for your viewing pleasure. I’d also like to take a moment to thank Heather Witherell Ray for lending me her real life mother, Mouse, to use as inspiration for Beach’s mom, Mouse
While artistic license has been taken with the character, the real world Mouse is just as sassy and sweet as the fictional one and in real life is in fact a catfish tour guide with Santee Cajun Guide Service out of Santee South Carolina.
To my beloved readers, thank you for once again giving me the chance to entertain you.
Sarah Anderson, aka Sarah Kline, aka Sarah Grace, aka Sarah Michaels, Age Seven
oud, angry voices reach me from where I’m curled into a ball beneath my bed, the lacy white edges of my comforter partially obscuring the line of light coming from below my closed bedroom door. It’s cold under my bed and I wish I had the courage to reach up and pull my blanket down with me.
A harsh female scream, muffled behind my door, echoes down the hallway. My muscles tense so hard they ache and I force back a whimper, trying to breathe as little as possible while clutching my stuffed white pony close to me. A shallow breath takes in the comforting scent of his soft fur. Mommy and Mr. Alan are fighting again and I know if either of them sees me they’ll yell at me too, so I hide and hope they’ll stop.
“Where’s my money, you fucking bitch?” Mr. Allen yells loud enough that my body seems to vibrate with his words.
“I don’t have your money,” Mommy screams back.
dollars is missing from my business bank account, where the fuck did it go!”
“I don’t know!”
Goose bumps raise up along my arms at the tone of her voice, a harsh caw that reminds me of the sounds crows make when they’re fighting. It’s a bad sound, a noise Mommy only makes after she’s been drinking her wine and is really mad.
Tears drip down my face, into my pony’s fur, as they continue to shout bad words at each other. Their voices are really angry. Soon the hitting will start, and I know I should go help Mommy, but I’m afraid. Mr. Alan is mean, her worst boyfriend yet, and he once hit me hard enough to split my lip open. Mommy made me promise to tell anyone at school who asked what happened that I fell down while playing outside.
If I told anyone the truth they’ll take me away from Mommy and throw her in jail forever and ever.
Something crashes and I know my Mommy is starting to throw things.
“You think you can rip me off, you fucking coke head?” Mr. Alan bellows. “I don’t know how you did it, but it was fuckin’ you and if you don’t show me where that money is I’m gonna turn you in to the police. Bet they’d be real interested to know where you are.”
More screaming follows and my gaze darts to where the cardboard moving boxes are shoved up against the wall of my bedroom. When Mommy came home with those boxes I knew it was time to leave again, and I begged my mommy to let us stay, but she ignored me. She had said we were moving to Reno where a man named Mr. Jack was waiting for us with a big house. When I told her I didn’t want to leave she said I could get a dog and everything would be wonderful. Except she said that every time we moved and I never got a dog and it was never wonderful.
We were in Idaho now, and Mommy had promised we were going to stay, that we didn’t have to run and hide from my daddy anymore so he couldn’t get us. If he found us he’d steal me away from Mommy and hurt her. We’d been here for seven months, the longest I can remember being anywhere, and I liked it. The school I went to was nice, and I’d become best friends with the girl next door, Beth. Her family would let me spend the night and I loved how nice they were. Beth’s mommy and daddy didn’t argue, instead they hugged and kissed. Loved each other. I worried Beth’s mommy and daddy would come over to see what all the yelling was about, but I don’t think they can hear it from across the wide grass field that separates our houses.
They were probably tucking Beth into bed right now, telling her stories or signing her songs. My mommy used to do that, but not so much anymore. The memory of her pretty voice singing me songs in Dutch helps to drown out the increasing noise beyond my bedroom door.
More things slammed against walls, followed by shrill screams, and I plastered my hands to my ears, humming as loud as I could to drown out the hurting sounds. I knew better than to run out there and try to help my mommy. The last time I did that, Mr. Paul, a man I did not like where we used to live, hit me so hard my ears rang and black dots danced around my eyes. My head had hurt for three days and soon after we moved again. Maybe if I stayed here, stayed hidden, we wouldn’t have to leave.
Bright light suddenly flooded my room and I gave a short scream before I could help myself as Mommy lifted up the edge of my comforter with her lips curled into a silent snarl. Her eyes were glassy and the smell of wine filled the cramped space beneath my bed as she reached in and hauled me out. Her lower lip was swollen bigger than usual and her cheek was already turning dark with a bruise. Her long red nails sank into my arm and I tried to pull away, but she just yanked hard enough that my shoulder burned like fire.
“Mommy, you’re hurting me!”
“Get dressed, quick, Sarah. We have to leave.”
It was only then that I realized the shouting had stopped. I looked around for Mr. Alan, but he wasn’t there. Still crying, I clutched my pony and watched Mommy jerk down my suitcases from the top shelf of my closet then she began to throw my clothes into them. Red dots were splattered all over her pretty white shirt and pale green pants, and I could see her right eye was all puffy and swollen. I took a hesitant step forward, afraid of making her angry but needing to know if she was all right.
“Mommy, are you hurt?”
She paused with a wad of my socks in her hand. “What?”
She glanced down at herself then quickly back at me. “It’s nothing, just some nail polish I spilled.”
“Don’t backtalk me. Now put some shoes on, we’re leaving.”
A sob caught in my throat. “I don’t want to leave! Please, leave me with Beth’s mommy and daddy. They’ll let me stay with them, I know they will. Please. Everyone’s so nice here.”
In two long strides, my beautiful mother with her golden hair and baby blue eyes was across the room. I didn’t even have time to shield myself before she slapped me, hard enough that I could taste blood. Pain cut through me and I struggled to control my sobs, knowing if I cried too hard and irritated her, she’d slap me again.
“We are leaving right now!”
All I could do was choke back my tears as she hurried from my room with one of my suitcases in each hand. When she returned I had my backpack stuffed and I was putting my few treasured possessions in it as quick as I could. If we really were leaving that meant we were going now, and if I didn’t put it in my backpack I’d never see it again. That had happened twice before and I still mourned the loss of my favorite doll.
Mommy grabbed my hand and pulled me quickly after her, down the hall and into the living room. Red splattered the walls here and I gasped at the sight of Mr. Allen lying in a pool of what I was pretty sure was blood, his green eyes open and unseeing. His face looked weird but before I could study it more, Mommy scooped me up in her arms and carried me out the door before placing me in the front seat of her new white Mercedes.
“Is Mr. Allen okay?”
Mommy gave a brittle laugh that scared me. “He’s fine. Now buckle up. I’ll be right back.”
Shivers vibrated through me as I watched Mommy go back into the house a few more times, coming out with armloads of clothes and stuff. It was all shoved into the car until I couldn’t see the backseat. She even put her fur jackets on my lap, a welcome soft weight that gave me a little bit of comfort. I bit my lip hard to keep from crying when she slid into the driver’s seat and slammed the door before turning to give me a long look. With her right eye now swollen shut and the shadow of a bruise rising up on her other cheekbone, she looked scary, but her touch was gentle when she smiled at me.
“We’re going to go live in a new place now, okay? On a fun adventure where you’ll have lots of new friends.”
No, it wasn’t okay, but I knew better than to argue when she was in a bad mood.
“Yes, Mommy.” An orange glow began to flicker out of the corner of my eye and I turned to see fire beginning to flicker through the living room window of the house. “Mommy, the house is on fire!”
“It’s fine,” Mommy said while she pulled out of our driveway, the engine of the car humming louder as she drove quickly out of our neighborhood.
“I said it’s fine!”
My cheek still hurt from her slap so I leaned against the car door, held in place by my seat belt and the comforting weight of her furs. “Yes, Mommy.”
“Now,” her voice held a falsely cheery note that made me wince, “we’re going to play a game. Your name isn’t Sarah Michaels anymore, it’s Sarah Bishop. Can you remember that? Sarah Bishop.”
“Why do we have to change our name again?”
I could feel her anger filling the cramped space of the car and right away wished I hadn’t said anything. “You know why.”
“Because if we don’t the bad men will get us.”
“They’ll take me away from you, Sarah, and if I’m not there to protect you, terrible things will happen to you and they’ll hurt me really bad. I’d have to leave you, all alone, and won’t be there to tuck you in at night and give you kisses. You don’t want that, do you?”
Tears burned my eyes as I slowly shook my head back and forth. “No, Mommy.”
“Good.” She let out a low breath as we drove onto the highway. “Good. Things will be different now, Sarah, you’ll see. We have
of money now. That means we won’t have to move for a long time. We’ll get a big house, with maids and a huge backyard to play in. We can get you back into doing pageants and ice skating. You love doing that, right? It’s going to be different now, Sarah, you’ll see, but only if you can keep our secret. Now, what’s your name?”
“Sarah Bishop, and you’re my mommy, Billie Bishop.”
“Good girl. You keep being Mommy’s good girl and we’ll be safe.”
I wished with all my heart that was true and vowed I would be the perfect little girl so we would never have to run away again.