Read Sweet Haven (The Sweet Series Book 2) Online

Authors: K.C. Lynn

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance

Sweet Haven (The Sweet Series Book 2) (3 page)

BOOK: Sweet Haven (The Sweet Series Book 2)
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I turn back to Sam, her hand resting against her cheek once again.

“Let me see.” I reach for her wrist but she backs away.

“It’s okay. I’m okay,” she breathes shakily, not sounding okay at all. I’m not sure if she’s trying to convince herself or me.

“Are you sure?”

She nods, a little frantically, and it’s not long before the first sob shatters from her chest. Covering her face with her hands, I watch her shoulders tremble, her pain gutting me from the inside out. This time when I reach for her she doesn’t back away. My arms engulf her delicate body as she buries her face in my chest, soaking my shirt with her tears.

“It’s all right,” I lie, my hand coasting up and down her slender back. It’s not all right and it isn’t going to be. At least not for that piece of shit.

When minutes have passed, I take a small step back and slip a finger under her chin. “Let me see, Sam.” I keep my voice calm when I feel nothing but rage.

She allows me to tilt her face up, her usual sparkling green eyes now filled with pain and something that looks a lot like shame. That alone makes me want to beat the shit out of the fucker all over again, but even worse than that is the angry red welt that marks her smooth cheek. A mark that she should never bear.

With anger thick in my veins, I keep one arm around her and use my other to dig my phone from my pocket then hit the contact I have for the police station.

“Silver Creek Police Department.”

“I need to report a—”

My phone is ripped from me before I can finish the sentence. Sam takes a step back, ending the call.

“What the hell did you do that for?”

“No cops,” she says quietly, her voice gruff with emotion as she hands me back my phone.

“What are you talking about? You have to report this.”

She shakes her head. “It won’t matter.”

“How can you fucking say that?”

“Because they won’t believe me,” she snaps.

“Of course they will. I saw it happen. You have the mark to prove it for christ’s sake.”

“Will you trust me on this? I know what I’m talking about. I’ve been through this enough times.”

The admission forces another surge of heat through my veins, fury blinding and searing me.

It’s obvious she regrets letting that information slip. Shaking her head, she moves past me to her car door.

“Sam, wait. Don’t go,” I say, coming up behind her.

“I just want to be alone right now.”

I watch as she fishes around in her purse for the keys and notice her hand shaking like a leaf as she retrieves them. So much so that they fall to the ground. “Shit!”

She’s about to bend down to grab them but I’m faster and swipe them up before she can. “I’ll take you home.”

“No. It’s okay. I’ll be fine.” She sniffles, reaching for the keys, but I keep them in my tight fist.

“I’m not letting you drive like this. So you either let me take you home or I’ll call you a cab.”

I’m hoping like hell she lets me take her because I won’t sleep tonight unless I know she made it home safely.

She finally meets my gaze, that ever-present spit of fire I normally see from her now burning in her eyes. I hold her stare, refusing to back down.

She relents with a tired sigh. “Fine, whatever. I don’t have the energy to argue with you right now.”

Thankful for the small victory, I climb in the driver’s seat of her practical, conservative car and try to ignore the peach scent that infiltrates my senses as soon as I enter.

Other than rattling off her address to me, she remains quiet. The entire drive she stares out her window, the back of her hand swiping across her cheeks to eliminate her tears. The silence is probably a good thing, because the more time that passes, the angrier I become.

Who the hell is that asshole to her? It’s obvious he was once a boyfriend, but why the fuck would she shack up with a prick like him? I might not know her well but the Samantha Evans I’ve encountered over the years doesn’t seem like the type of girl to put up with any shit. Hell, just tonight I thought she was going to rip my balls off for the way I gave her a hard time. She had no problem dishing it right back to me. So, how the hell did she end up with a guy like him? And where the hell is her family in all this?

The thought reminds me of the comment Stephanie made to her earlier tonight. She had her back to us but everyone at the table could feel the pain pouring off her. It pissed me off, not only toward Stephanie but also her whole family, and I didn’t need another reason to not like them.

It shouldn’t matter to me. It’s not my business.
She’s
not my business, but I can’t seem to help it.

As we pull up to her apartment complex, she directs me to her parking stall. Climbing out, we meet in front of her car, and I hand her back the keys.

“Thanks,” she says softly, her gaze fixated on the ground. “How are you going to get home?”

“I’ll walk.”

“You can take my car if you want, and I can pick it up tomorrow.”

“It’s fine, I’ll walk.”

She nods, her eyes remaining on the ground. “Listen, Jase. I would really appreciate it if you didn’t tell anyone what you saw tonight.”

I stare down at the top of her blonde head, my jaw flexing in irritation. “Really, Sam? That’s all you have to say?”

She finally lifts her head, her emotional eyes narrowing in anger. “What do you expect me to say? Do you really think this is easy for me?”

“I want you to say that you’re going to report him and press charges.”

“I told you it won’t matter! What part of that don’t you understand?”

“I’m trying to but it makes no sense. I fucking saw it happen. I’ll give a statement.”

“Your statement doesn’t matter. He’s very influential, Jase.”

“Oh bullshit.”

“It’s true.”

“You’re really just going to let him get away with it? What if he comes back?”

“I’m sure he won’t. Not after what you did to him. His ego is too bruised.”

“Do you really want to take that risk?”

She expels a frustrated breath. “Look. I really don’t have much choice. Trust me, going to the police won’t help. If anything, it could make it worse. Besides, I only have a few more months left here then I’m gone.”

I tense at the last bit of information. “What the hell are you talking about?”

“I’m moving to Charleston this summer to be closer to my family,” she whispers, my chest restricting at the information for some damn reason. “When that happens, I’ll never have to see him again.”

“Yeah, instead it will happen to someone else, but at least you’re in the clear.” It’s a low blow and I know it, but I’m too pissed off to care right now.

Her teeth grind but there’s no denying the dark pain that enters her eyes. “I don’t expect you to understand.”

“And I didn’t expect you to be the type.”

Shit! Why can’t I shut up?

“What type is that?”

“A doormat.” The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them, regret tearing through me the second they’re said.

“Fuck you,” she seethes, jamming her finger in my chest, but tears shine bright in her emerald eyes, striking me right down to my core.

“Sam, listen I—”

“No,
you listen
. You don’t know me, or anything about me. You have no idea who I am. So you can take your judgment and shove it up your ass!” Spinning in place, she takes off inside, a sob falling from her in the process.

“Fuck!” My fist connects with a tree but the pain shooting up my arm does nothing to dull the burning sensation I have in my chest. I think about going after her but decide to cut my losses before I fuck this up even more.

I walk around the building, making sure that asshole’s car is nowhere in sight, then start my long ass walk home. During the hour that passes, the fresh air does nothing to ease the fire raging inside of me, because the entire time all I can see is her sad green eyes.

A sadness I helped cause.

CHAPTER 3

Sam

T
he next morning I lie in bed and stare up at my ceiling, shame and humiliation burning inside of me as I think about the night before. Running into Grant was bad enough but having Jase witness what he did just added salt to the wound.

I didn’t expect you to be the type.

What type is that?

A doormat.

His comment really hurt but it wasn’t an unfair assessment. Once upon a time I was weak. A time where all I wanted was to belong to someone, to find my place like everyone else had in my family. It was time. Jesse and Sawyer had grown up and moved on well before my age. They didn’t rely on my parents to be their home forever and it was time I had done the same.

So when the charming Grant Fleming, the most eligible bachelor in Colorado, asked me out when he could have his pick of women, I was swept away. I’ve always been in the background, especially in my family. Sawyer and Jesse are the stars, their charismatic personalities and talent always shining bright. It’s one of the many things I love and admire about them but that’s never been me.

When Grant started showering me with romantic gestures, I fell hard and fast. I thought I had finally found my place. Did I need a person to find it? No, but ever since I was a little girl all I ever wanted was to grow up, fall madly in love, and have a family. It was my destiny. I felt it all the way down to my bones, still do. I thought Grant possibly could have been that person but I learned quickly that he wasn’t.

The first time he put his hands on me, I left him. I had locked myself in my room for three days straight and cried until there were no tears left. Then I gave him a second chance because I believed he was remorseful. He seemed so wrecked by it and promised it would never happen again. I didn’t think I would ever be
that person
but he was very persuasive. The hits were few and far between but he was really good at causing pain in other ways. He always knew what to say that would hurt the most. Always used my love for my family against me and told me I was immature for still living at home.

It didn’t help when I overheard my parents talking one night about wanting to move closer to Sawyer and Grace but they didn’t want to leave me behind. It was then I knew I had to move on. I refused to burden them any longer, even if they didn’t see it that way.

I really did want to go with them but I had to try it on my own first. It was hard to say good-bye. I’ve missed them so much but that’s all about to change. Soon, I will be reunited with them. If that makes me weak then so be it. Some people can live away from their family, and that’s great, but it’s not me. I want them in my life. I want to see my niece and nephew on a regular basis. I want to be able to watch my parents grow old together. If only I could convince Jesse to move down there too, but I know that won’t happen. She loves LA and is happy where she is but she makes a point to visit as much as possible so that helps.

Pulling myself from my thoughts, I reach for my phone off the nightstand and call my parents’ house, needing to hear their voices now more than ever.

My dad answers on the second ring. “Sammy! How’s my girl?”

His cheerful, husky voice brings a smile to my face but it dims at the dull pain in my cheek. A reminder of the disaster that ensued last night.

“Hey, Daddy. I’m good. Just waking up and missing you guys so thought I would check in.”

“We miss you too, honey. Won’t be long now until I get to see my girl’s pretty face.”

“I’m counting down the days,” I tell him honestly.

“The kids are real damn excited, too. Hope has lots of recipes planned for you and wait until you see our boy on skates this fall. I’m tellin’ ya, he’s a natural. Just like your brother. The kid is going places.”

Another smile graces my lips. “Like father, like son. I can’t wait to see him in action and give that little princess a hug.”

“And I can’t wait to hug mine,” he says, melting my heart. “I’ve missed you, Sammy.”

His gruff words are both soothing and painful. “Me too, Dad. So much,” I whisper, my throat thick with tears.

“You okay?”

“Yeah. Just tired is all. I helped Zoey out last night at the bar.”

“Oh yeah? How did that go?”

“Good.”

At least it started out that way…

“I ran into Cam, Jake, and Austin there. They asked about Sawyer.”

“They’ve always been good boys. Are they still playing?”

“I think so. I believe they have a team with the fire department. I think Jase Crawford started it. He was also with them last night,” I add, though I’m not sure why I feel compelled to mention him.

“I’ll bet he did.” The hostility in his words comes as no surprise.

“Dad, can I ask you something?”

“Of course.”

“Why don’t you get along with the Crawfords? I mean, I get why Sawyer and Jase don’t get along but what happened with you and Mr. Crawford?”

“Nothing happened per se,” he starts. “The guy has always just been a goddamn hothead. Thinks his shit don’t stink and no one is as good as his son.”

Sounds a lot like someone else I know.

It’s on the tip of my tongue to say that out loud but I bite it back, knowing he would deny having anything in common with a Crawford.

I love my dad and brother more than any man on this earth but it’s no secret they have egos that outweigh their good sense. However, their hearts are much bigger and that’s what’s most important.

“Why do you want to know?” he asks, suspicion thick in his tone. “He hasn’t been giving you problems has he?”

“No, no. Nothing like that.” The problems Jase gives me I can handle…most of the time. “I just wondered. Seeing him last night made me think of it.”

“Well, if he ever does, you just let me know. I’ll take care of it.”

Little does he know, the last person I need protection from is Jase Crawford. If not for him showing up who knows how far things would have escalated with Grant.

The thought crashes back down on me, souring my mood. “I promise, Dad. It’s all good. Anyway, I better get in the shower. Tell Mom I said hi and give her a kiss for me.”

“Will do. I love you, Sammy. Call again soon.”

BOOK: Sweet Haven (The Sweet Series Book 2)
10.24Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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