Learning to Trust: Sweet Temptation (2 page)

BOOK: Learning to Trust: Sweet Temptation
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The
fact that Luke had thought it funny to introduce karaoke night to the already
rowdy crowd hadn’t helped either. If he had to listen to another garbled
rendition of one of Adele’s songs, he’d be inclined to gouge his own ears.

Ok,
so Kane doubted he would win any awards for his personality and to his credit,
he made a point not to walk around pissed off – or he tried to anyway. If he
were being scored for his optimistic outlook, sure the results would be subpar,
but at least he’d have some points. Maybe.

He
was having one hell of a time finding much to be optimistic about lately.
Unless of course, someone mentioned his daughter, then the smile was genuine.

“Why
are you still here?”

Because
you’re hollering my name, maybe?

Kane
wasn’t about to voice his thoughts, but that’s what dashed through his brain as
he stared at Luke from across the pristine bar top. As a matter of fact, he had
just finished up the last of his inventory count for the night, he’d checked to
make sure everything was clean and ready for the next night, and was planning
to head out, but it appeared that might be changing.

“I’m
finishing up,” he offered, his gaze landing on the woman walking across the
room at a fast clip.

Trying
to get away, was she?

 “Lucie!”
Kane called out, leaning to the right so that he could see around Luke’s massive
frame.

He
fully expected Lucie to continue walking right out the door and ignore him altogether
so when she stopped suddenly, he bit back a grin. At least she was getting
better about tolerating him. At least in public. Then again, maybe she just
didn’t want to cause a scene with Luke present.

Lucie
Werner was the bane of his existence. He wanted to both hate her and love her
all at the same time. Oh what a difference the last six months had made though.
What with all of the drama with Club Destiny and the McCoy’s, Kane hadn’t had
much time to dwell on what was or wasn’t going on between him and Lucie at the
moment.

Ever
since Lucie’s admission that Kane was, in fact, the father of her daughter,
he’d been eaten up with both guilt and anger, and unable to explain the reason
for the former.

Initially,
right after Lucie shared her earth shattering news, Kane had been livid. He could
hardly stand to look at her; he had been so fucking mad that she would’ve kept
something like that from him. He’d insisted on a paternity test and successfully
managed to treat Lucie like the scum of the earth.

Now,
well... Now things were different.

Sort
of.

For
the last few months, Kane had spent the majority of his time with both Haley
and Lucie and found that if he had a choice, he wouldn’t be anywhere else. Even
on the days that Lucie allowed him to take Haley to do something on his own, he
found he wished she were right there with them. For some reason, he just felt more
complete with her there.

Explain
that one!

Although
he had always sensed that something had actually happened between him and the
beautiful woman now turning to face him with a scowl on her face, Kane had
chalked it up to an overactive imagination, and an even stronger desperation to
fuck her. As it turned out, all of those images that had been flashing through
his brain for months hadn’t been dreams as he originally thought. No, he was
pretty sure they were suppressed memories coming back to torment him.

According
to Lucie, those images were real, at least according to the way she described
in very high level detail what had happened between them. He’d just somehow
managed to do what he had longed to do without as much as a single conscious
memory of it.

Which
sucked like hell.

How
could he have fallen into bed with Lucie and not remembered a damn thing?

The alcohol
was undoubtedly a monumental factor in his memory loss that night. He’d had
more than his fair share and rightfully so. That had been a rough time for him
and obviously taking advantage of Lucie had topped off a really awful period in
his life.

Since
then, after she spilled her news and he got past the blinding rage, things had
gotten somewhat easier for him at least. Not that he could say the same for
Lucie. She’d gone from having a baby without a father, which he could only imagine
was hard as hell to manage on her own, to having to figure out what the best
way to include him was.

While
her life was getting significantly more difficult, Kane had been working hard
to right the wrongs of their past as best he could. He didn’t think Lucie cared
much for his interference, but he admired her patience. She certainly had more
than he did.

“Are
you heading home?” Kane asked as he moved out from behind the bar, leaving Luke
behind. It wasn’t that he was purposely ignoring his boss, but at the moment,
Lucie was more important.

“Yes.
Haley’s at home with Erica and I need to get there as soon as possible.”

Kane
had met Erica, Haley’s nighttime babysitter, only a few times. Being a complete
and utter jackass, thanks to his original disbelief and anger, he’d actually
questioned Lucie at length about the woman. Lucie had assured him – with the
patience of a damn saint – that Erica was one of the best things to have ever
happened to Haley. Now that Kane knew her, he couldn’t disagree. The twenty two
year old, college student watched Haley from the time Lucie left for work until
she walked through her door at the wee hours of the morning.

In
all fairness, Kane had never been a hard ass when it came to his employees,
especially those with children. He always tried to ensure that they never had
to stay later than the normal closing time if at all possible. Although he had
grown a bit protective of Lucie in recent months, he still tried to ensure he
didn’t show her any preferential treatment.

Well,
except for the fact that he wanted to ensure she made it home as well. Which
was why he’d resorted to catching her on her way out, just to remind her that
he expected a phone call to let him know she made it home safely.

“Call
me when you get there,” he told her, locking his eyes with hers and daring her
to argue with him.

Interestingly
enough, she had only argued one time, and that had been the first time he
insisted which he knew had taken her by surprise. She had called him heavy
handed, and he had all but laughed it off. Ok, so maybe that was partly true.

At
least since then, Lucie stopped being so stand-offish with him, but he definitely
would not consider her warm when it came to their interactions.

“Ok,”
Lucie said abruptly, then turned and made a beeline for the back doors that
would lead to the parking garage. Little did Lucie know, but Kane would watch
her until she was in her car and on her way out of the parking garage. He
figured she certainly wouldn’t have taken too kindly to that, so he’d managed
to hide it for the last few weeks.

Five
minutes later, after he ensured that she was safely on her way, he pulled out
his cell phone, made sure the ringer was on before sliding it back in his
pocket. Fifteen minutes tops. That’s how long it would take her to get home and
like clockwork, she had always called. Even though she didn’t linger on the
phone, Kane still felt better knowing she was safe.

The
impatient part of him wished they could gloss over all of the anger and pain that
they’d caused each other in recent months, but he knew that was easier said
than done. Mending what was broken between them was going to take time, even if
he didn’t like it.

At
least he could say that there weren’t any issues currently between him and his
beautiful daughter, Haley. He’d taken baby steps with her, reaching out to a
counselor from the very beginning to help them through the transition. Lucie
had refused to go with them, but Kane couldn’t necessarily blame her. But, he
was happy to say Haley was warming up to him much faster than he ever imagined,
even if her mother was keeping her distance.

He
was hoping he could change that because, despite her deceit, Kane knew Lucie, and
he knew she was only trying to do what was best for everyone involved. Well,
except for herself. She never had been one to put herself first. But she had
tried to make the best out of a bad situation, and he truly believed she
thought keeping Haley’s paternity from him was the best thing for both Haley
and Kane.

He obviously
didn’t agree, but that was in the past now and they had so much to work out. It
was just going to take some time.

 

~~*~~

 

Lucie
hurried to her car, feeling the heat of Kane’s gaze burning a hole in her back
as he tracked her through the parking garage. A single woman made sure she knew
her surroundings and Lucie had felt his presence since the very first time he
watched her leave.

Hell,
she knew every single time the man so much as glanced her way because she could
feel the warmth of his gaze like a physical caress. No matter how much distance
she tried to put between herself and Kane, Lucie had a damn hard time getting
him off of her mind. It wasn’t like anything had changed in that regard though,
even after recent events. She’d felt that way ever since that fateful night
five years ago when she’d easily fallen for the man in the span of just a few
hours, only to find out he didn’t remember a single minute of it.

Before
she’d done the unthinkable.

Looking
back on it now, Lucie knew that keeping Haley’s paternity a secret from her
father wasn’t the brightest move she’d ever made, and she didn’t need a damn
psychologist to confirm that either.

It
also didn’t change the fact that she still stood by her belief that it was the
right thing to do.

At
the time.

She
also knew that no one else agreed with her. Not her mother, not Cole, the one
friend who had stood by her the entire time, and especially not Kane.

Had
she not gone into complete and total panic over her daughter’s chronic health
issues, Lucie probably would have never dropped the bomb on Kane either. Had
she ever decided to tell him on her own, she knew she wouldn’t have chosen
those circumstances as her reason.

He’d
been understandably furious, and Lucie couldn’t blame him at all. She’d somehow
managed to hold herself together after he ranted and raved and called her every
vile name he could think of all while telling herself that she deserved every bit
of his hatred.

When
he insisted on a paternity test, Lucie offered to pay for it. He had refused
her that though, and she realized that Kane knew full well Haley was his, but
he had to go through the motions. It had hurt to see how he looked at her with
such disdain, but Lucie saw the same expression every time she looked in the
mirror. She was more disappointed in herself than anyone else ever could be.

Seeing
Haley’s recent changes, both after the surgeries to help her to get over the
chronic strep throat and ear infections, as well as her recent interaction with
her father, Lucie was in a different place.

Admitting
you were wrong was hard enough. Admitting you were wrong about something that
altered the course of so many people’s life was even worse. Knowing she was the
only reason Haley and Kane had missed out on so many wonderful milestones
together had Lucie riddled with guilt.

Not
that Lucie could have been convinced otherwise; even when she’d resorted to
stealing from Club Destiny just to try and come up with the money to pay for
Haley’s medical bills. Thankfully, Luke wasn’t the complete and total hard ass
everyone said he was. Or maybe he’d just been easy on her because he was in
love with Cole, a man who had stood by Lucie through some extremely dark times,
one of the only people she could call a friend.

But
right now, just like back then, there was no room in her thoughts for Kane
Steele and the
what might’ve been’s
that plagued her on a daily basis.
She had a job that she needed to focus on, and a daughter to care for – and not
a second extra to spend on anything more than that.

Ten
minutes later, Lucie was turning into her apartment complex, surveying the dark
corners of the parking lot and the hidden nook’s and cranny’s of the
dilapidated building she lived in. Unfortunately, she had learned the hard way
just what lurked in the dark of the night in the less than stellar neighborhood
she lived in. She’d been lucky that night, she knew. Armed with only her car
keys, Lucie had managed to fend off her attacker at three o’clock in the
morning, when not a single soul had answered her cries for help.

Now
she was paranoid, and rightfully so. She hadn’t told anyone. Not the police,
not her mother, and certainly not Kane. She had too many people trying to look
after her as it was. She also feared that Kane would try to take her baby girl
away from her if he knew, which meant she only had one option. Be prepared in
order to ensure it didn’t happen again and continue saving money until she
could move to a better neighborhood. She was so close, but that didn’t make
getting out of her car any easier.

There
was one bright side to the whole situation, and that was that Lucie had found
Erica, Haley’s full time babysitter. The woman was Heaven-sent in Lucie’s
opinion.

BOOK: Learning to Trust: Sweet Temptation
12.42Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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