Unlucky in Love ( Lucky #1) (10 page)

BOOK: Unlucky in Love ( Lucky #1)
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“With my luck?” She laughed.

CHAPTER ELEVEN

Aiden loved driving, but he especially loved driving in the mountains. The freedom of flying up the road as the trees zipped by gave him pure pleasure.

Kristen sat next to him, quietly watching the scenery. When he thought about her empty apartment, he felt like hunting down that ex of hers. He couldn’t imagine anyone living with as little as she had. But what really got him was imagining her sleeping on the small air mattress every night.

“How often do you ski?” she asked.

“I snowboard.” He looked over at her. “Not as often as I want to. This winter I went around a dozen or so times.”

“Where do you go?”

“Breckenridge. I have some land near there and a cabin that I share with my family.”

“I like Breckenridge. I spent a week up there a couple summers ago with Amy. I’ve never been to Vail before, though.”

“You’ll like it. You should really go in early fall when all the aspen leaves are turning.” Some of his best memories were in the Colorado Rockies.

“I’ve seen pictures, and I’ve seen the trees in other mountain towns.”

“It’s not the same as spending a warm autumn night sitting out on a blanket somewhere watching the leaves fall.” He glanced out the window and could just imagine how it would look this fall. “We’ll come up this fall and spend some time.”

She looked over at him and he could see a little apprehension in her eyes, so he asked, “Does it scare you thinking about still being with me this fall?” He smiled when she blushed. “I know you’re the kind that loves ’em and leaves ’em,” he joked.

She laughed. “It’s just strange listening to a man talk about commitment to a relationship. I haven’t had that before.”

He reached over and took her hand. “I think I’ve gotten a real sense for what you’ve experienced in relationships before. Especially after seeing your apartment.”

“Yeah, well.” She sighed and glanced out the window again. “So I haven’t had any luck finding the right man. There are a lot of people out there like me. Amy has only been in one long-term relationship.”

“I’m going to have to meet Amy one day soon.” He wondered if she was anything like Kristen, or the complete opposite.

“She’s telling me the same thing about you.” She squeezed his hand. “You know, Amy wasn’t all that impressed with my exes.”

“I bet.” That answered some of his questions about her best friend.

“What about your exes?” she asked.

He shrugged. “Well, you could sum up my relationships with only a few words.” He brought her hand up to his lips and kissed her knuckles. “Dull, boring, repetitive.” He kissed her hand again. “Maybe that’s why I’ve found myself interested in someone who is completely different from what I’m used to.”

The rest of the drive was peaceful. The clouds blocked out the sun outside of Vail, and by the time they drove up to the hospital, light rain was falling.

When they walked into the hospital, he felt nerves pounding through him. The last time he’d seen his father, the man had pointed a shotgun at him. Of course, he couldn’t blame the man for not recognizing him. He hadn’t seen him since he’d been a young teen.

“Are you all right?” Kristen asked, taking his hand in hers.

He looked down at their joined fingers and nodded. “Yeah. Just getting prepared.”

“Do you know what room he’s in?”

“Three twenty.”

“There are the elevators.” She motioned to the left. “Would you like me to go with you?”

He squeezed her hand. He couldn’t imagine walking in to see his father without her. “If that’s okay.”

They walked over together, and she punched the button herself.

He stopped just outside of his father’s room, dropped her hand, and took a couple deep breaths. Kristen stood beside him and waited.

When he reached for the door handle, it flew open quickly and a small blonde woman rushed out.

“Oh!” she said, taking a step back as she wiped her eyes dry.

“Hello, Shannon,” he said to his father’s second wife, who had been his babysitter for most of his childhood.

“Aiden.” She gasped and glanced back with a frown. Then she stepped forward and shut the door behind her. “Does your father know you’re here?”

“Not yet.” His eyebrows shot up in question.

“Well, he’s resting right now.” She frowned again and looked down at her hands. “I . . . I don’t think it’s a good time.”

“You’ve kept us apart for too long.” He took her shoulders and gently nudged her aside.

“It’s just . . .” She tried to stop him by putting her hand around his bicep. “He’s in a mood.”

Memories of his father flooded his mind. “Dad was always in a mood.” He opened the door, took Kristen’s hand again, and walked into the room.

“Damn it! I said get out!” He watched his father’s face pale when he saw him. “Who the hell are you?”

“Is that any way to greet your long-lost son?” He walked over and stopped next to his father’s bed.

Kristen looked down at the older man in the bed and almost did a double take. Aiden had never mentioned that his real father was Gordon Harvey, the former Colorado senator. The man was a legend to most people who had lived in Colorado. The man had not only helped clean up Denver and clear out a lot of the gangs but had been singly responsible for keeping most of the big ski resorts open.

She stood next to Aiden and could feel his tension through his hand in hers.

“Aiden?” His father blinked a few times, and then irritation crossed the man’s face. He looked thin and frail, and she guessed that he was paler than normal.

“Dad, how are you doing?” Aiden held her hand tighter.

The older man looked up at him. “I’ll live. If they ever stop poking me.” He waved his hand a little, exposing the tubes sticking out of them. “Damn doctors.”

“This is Kristen Collins.” He brought her a step closer to his father. “My father, Gordon Harvey.”

“Mr. Harvey.” She felt her heart kick a little.

“I didn’t expect to see you here.” He shifted in the bed, looking at his son.

“I had breakfast with Mom and Eric. They told me what happened.”

“Shannon called them.” The old man rolled his eyes, looking somewhat aggravated.

“Shannon?” Aiden asked, sounding a little confused.

“Woman never listens to me. I told her not to bother you.” His father settled a little more on the bed.

“Shannon has been the one keeping me away from you. Why would she call?” Aiden asked.

“Shannon has been sheltering you,” he answered and closed his eyes. “I haven’t been myself lately. Actually, the last few years. They tell me it’s Alzheimer’s. Damn if I can remember most days. The drugs they have me on here make me even crazier.”

Aiden shook his head, looking like he was unsure exactly what he was hearing. “Then, the last time I was in Vail?”

“Shannon told me I pointed the Remington at you.” He opened his eyes and glanced at Aiden. “Sorry.”

Aiden looked rooted to the floor. He turned to Kristen. “If you want, you can wait outside for a while.”

She looked up at him, then nodded. Dropping his hand, she turned and walked out of the room. She knew Aiden needed some time alone with his father, especially since it appeared he was lucid. She could only imagine the pain of having to deal with someone slowly losing their mind.

When she stepped out, she noticed the small blonde woman from before was sitting across the hall. She could see the woman’s eyes were red and that she’d been crying.

“Did he kick you out too?” she asked in between breaths.

“No, Aiden wanted some time alone with his father.”

The woman patted the spot next to her. “You can sit if you want.”

She smiled and walked over to sit next to her.

“I’m Kristen Collins.”

“Shannon Harvey.” She shook her hand. “I married Gordon shortly after Aiden’s parents divorced.”

Kristen wished she knew more about what had happened to Aiden’s family but doubted it was nice to ask any questions.

“You two look real good together,” Shannon said, wiping her nose on her tissue. “How long have you been together?”

“Well, we’ve actually worked together for a while.”

“Oh.” Shannon looked down at her hands.

“But recently started seeing each other,” she added.

“That’s nice,” she said absentmindedly as she watched the nurses walk into her husband’s room. “Excuse me.”

Kristen watched the small woman follow the nurses inside. Less than a minute later, Aiden walked out of his father’s room.

“Ready?” He took her hand and they started walking back toward the elevators. They rushed through the rain to his car. He opened her door and waited for her before running around and getting behind the wheel. “Sorry, I just had to get out of there.” He turned toward her. “He started talking to me like I was five again.”

“I’m sorry.” She reached over and took his hand. He looked down at their joined fingers.

“I always thought it was Shannon keeping me from seeing him.” He shook his head and she could see the pain in his eyes. “But all along it was him.”

“Did he say why?”

“At first, he was busy with his career and making a life with Shannon, but then, when his health turned, he didn’t want me to see him like that.” He sighed and closed his eyes.

“Sometimes people do things to shelter the ones they love.” She waited until he looked at her to finish. “Amy’s parents have done some pretty stupid stuff in the last few years since their divorce.”

She could see he was tired from the whole ordeal.

“How about some food? I know this great pizza place,” he asked after a moment.

“As long as there’s a cold beer next to it,” she replied.

“Yeah, definitely in the mood for pizza and beer.”

They drove to one of Kristen’s favorite chain pizza places, Beau Jo’s, and split a large pie between them. They drank cold beer as they watched the rainfall from the large windows.

“Why didn’t you tell me who your father was?” she asked as she reached for her second slice of pie.

“I guess I never really think about it. I mean, he wasn’t around all that much when I was a kid, and then he took off with my babysitter.” He groaned and closed his eyes. She could tell the hurt and betrayal he felt was still raw. When he opened them, he reached for his beer and took a sip.

“That must have been hard.”

He chuckled bitterly. “You know, the worst part was that Shannon was my first crush. Some guys have it for teachers; I had it for my babysitter.” He shrugged and finished off his second piece of pie, then reached for another slice.

“My first crush was on my neighbor. I was going to marry him when I turned eight.”

“Things didn’t work out?” he joked.

“No, he had a thing for Jenny, down the block.”

“His loss,” he murmured. She smiled as he took her hand. “Thanks for being there today.” He took her hand up to his lips and brushed a kiss across her knuckles. Her heart skipped a little at the gesture.

By the time they left the pizza place, the rain had stopped, leaving the streets looking clean. When he took her hand again and asked if she wanted to walk for a while, she nodded and pulled her jacket closer to her.

“It’s amazing how chilly it gets up here at night,” she said, feeling the bite of the mountain air on her face.

He wrapped his arm around her. “I went to the top of Pikes Peak one summer. It was a boiling ninety-something down in the Springs, but when I got to the top, it was snowing.”

“Did you ride the train or drive up to the top?”

“Drove. I’ve always wanted to ride the train, though.”

They walked by a few stores and even went in a couple of them. But mostly they walked and talked about some of the time he’d spent with his father in the mountains when he’d been a kid.

“How about heading over to the hotel and calling it a night?” He took her hand in his again.

“Sounds good.” She tried to stifle a yawn. She’d gotten in late and had woken up early to get her work done. Not to mention that falling asleep had been extra hard, since all she could think about was having Aiden touch her again.

CHAPTER TWELVE

Aiden stood back as he opened the door to their hotel room. He’d made a point to reserve one of the nicest suites at The Lodge in downtown Vail. During ski season, the place was packed, but the slopes were somewhat deserted thanks to the spring weather they’d had in the mountains, so the hotel looked fairly empty.

Their room was on the top floor, and he didn’t doubt it would have a killer view of the mountains and ski slopes come morning.

“Wow, look at this,” Kristen said, stepping into the room quickly. He walked into the room behind her and shut the door with his foot as he set their bags down just inside the doorway. He watched her as she moved around the large living area where a huge stone fireplace sat on one wall and a large sofa on the other. Then she disappeared down a short hallway toward the back room and he heard her gasp. When he followed her to the bedroom, he smiled. There was a king-size four-poster bed sitting in the corner of the room. There were large windows, and another stone fireplace sat on the wall opposite the bed.

He leaned against the doorframe as she walked around the room. When she went into the bathroom, he followed her more slowly.

He stepped into the bright room and instantly dreamed of pulling her into the large glass shower.

Their hotel room was bigger than her apartment, a fact that didn’t go unnoticed by her.

She turned and looked at him. “Are you sure this is the right room?”

He moved closer to her. “You know, after such a long drive, I sure could use a hot shower.” He nudged her jacket off her shoulders as he watched her bite her bottom lip. “You too.”

“I was actually thinking about taking a long bubble bath.” She nodded toward the large jet tub.

He smiled. “Shower tonight, bath in the morning?”

She shook her head and frowned a little. He watched the movement of her lips, and desire flooded his entire body. “Okay, bath tonight, shower in the morning.”

Her eyes softened. “You read my mind.”

His hands went to her hips as she started pulling the buttons of his shirt open slowly, one by one. When she ran her fingers over his bare chest, his nails dug into her soft hips. He felt himself grow so hard that he doubted he would be able to wait for the bath to fill up all the way.

“Kristen,” he moaned against her lips. He felt her chuckle. “You think this is funny?” He moved back and looked down at her.

“You don’t?” Her soft eyes laughed at him.

He smiled, then slowly removed her shirt. Her eyes heated as his fingers grazed her skin underneath.

“So beautiful,” he moaned, running a finger down her shoulder. She swayed as she closed her eyes.

Just looking at her pale skin had his blood steaming. When her eyes opened again, he could see matching desire.

“Aiden?” She reached up and gripped his shoulders.

“Hmm?” He pulled on her hips until she fit tight against him.

“I don’t think I can wait for the bath.” Her fingernails dug into his muscles.

“No, neither can I.” In one quick motion, he swooped her up into his arms. She sighed as he carried her out of the bathroom and laid her gently on the bed.

She unbuttoned her slacks, and he helped her pull them down her long legs. He paused to appreciate the view of her lying on the large bed in nothing but a matching pair of rose-colored silk undergarments, and he wished he could hold on to that memory for the rest of his life.

“If I were an artist, I’d paint you just like this.” He stood over her and watched the smile form on her lips. Her soft hair was fanned out on the bedspread. The supple material had small green leaves on it that matched her eyes almost perfectly.

“Aiden.” She reached up a hand and held it out to him. When he started to move toward her, his mind sharpened.

“Damn.” He held up a finger. “Hang on just a moment.” He rushed from the room and gathered their bags and brought them into the bedroom, then pulled out a few condoms. Taking one, he set the rest on the nightstand beside the bed.

“Ready?” she asked.

He watched her reach for the buckle of his jeans.

“Have I told you how much I love your body?” she asked, her eyes going to his as she ran her hands over his chest.

“Same here.” His fingers skimmed her flat stomach and he watched her inhale as he touched a ticklish spot. He decided to save that knowledge for later and slid the straps of her bra down slowly.

She twitched and twisted under him as he used his fingertips to explore every inch of her. Finally, once she lay in front of him completely bare, he allowed her to tug off his boxer briefs. When he moved to slide on the condom, she took it from him and slid the protection on him slowly, inch by agonizing inch.

“You’re killing me,” he whispered.

“Good, now you know how I feel.” She yanked on him until he moved over her. When she wrapped her legs around his hips, he slowly penetrated her heat.

Her shoulders jerked off the mattress as she moaned his name until he covered her mouth with his. Her tongue darted out, heating the kiss until he felt himself gasping for breath as his hips moved on their own accord.

He lost control when he felt her inner muscles convulse around him, holding him, begging him for more. When her legs and arms released him, he knew that she was spent, but still he demanded more.

He wanted to growl, to shout out his joy at giving her complete pleasure, but he was too focused on needing more from her.

“Again,” he said next to her mouth. His hands clasped hers and carried them over her head as he raced faster, harder. His lips trailed down her neck, until his mouth clamped over her nipple. He moaned when he felt it pucker for him, and then he scraped his teeth lightly over the bud and felt her hips jerk in response. “Again,” he repeated as he leaned over her and repeated his torture on her other breast.

“Aiden!” she cried out as he felt her legs wrap once more around his hips.

He continued the speed of his hips, pushing her faster as her body heated next to his. When he saw her eyes lock with his, he knew she was about to fall and willingly followed her to enjoy the sweet ending together.

Kristen leaned back against Aiden’s chest and let the bubbles and the warm water soak away the last aches in her body.

“Better?” She felt him ask as she heard the sound vibrating in his chest.

She nodded as his hands ran over the front of her body in a lazy motion. He had a washcloth full of soap, which was causing little bumps to rise all over her skin. But it felt too wonderful to move.

Her hair was wet and pushed to the side, and she felt his warm breath on her neck. She could stay like this forever. She sighed and closed her eyes.

“You were right,” he said, moving just a little underneath her.

“Hmm?” She let her hands float in the water next to her. Her chest rose out of the bubbly water with every breath she took, but she didn’t mind. Actually, the feeling of the motion caused her some pleasure.

“A bath was a better idea.” He moved just a little more until she felt him against her back.

She couldn’t stop the moan from escaping her lips as she felt him harden in the water. Images flooded her mind of making love to him in the large tub.

When she heard him unwrap another condom, she felt her heart kick a beat. Then the water sloshed around as he sheathed himself for her.

When his hands went to her hips, she let him guide her up until she felt the head of his erection at her entrance. She moaned as he released her and she slid slowly onto him.

“Yeah, I could definitely get used to taking a bath.” His hands held her hips in place and she felt an urgent need to move. “That’s it,” he groaned. “My God,” he said against her neck as he took her hands in his.

She leaned her head back against his chest as she moved over him. When she wanted more speed, she gripped her feet on the bottom of the tub and used her thigh muscles until they screamed. Then she pulled away and twisted toward him until she could straddle him in the tub. He sat forward a little, allowing her legs to wrap around him.

His mouth covered hers as she slid down on him again. This time, she rode him harder, faster, and the water threatened to slosh over the edge of the tub. Her fingers fisted in his hair, holding him still as she ran her mouth over him, dueling his tongue with her own.

His fingers dug into her hips and her butt as he helped her move over him. She felt herself building and wanted to make sure he followed her.

“Please,” she begged as she felt herself starting to let go. He reached up and wrapped his arms around her waist, holding her close as his mouth took hers in a kiss that was deeper than any she’d experienced before.

When she finally heard him growl out her name, she smiled in victory and followed him over the edge.

“I’m glad we didn’t try that in the shower,” he said a few minutes later after they’d pulled themselves out of the water and dried off.

She chuckled and, wrapped only in a large, soft towel, flung herself on the bed.

She watched him set his cell phone on the nightstand and rolled over to her side and propped her head on her arm, watching him move around the room.

“We’ll need to head out pretty early,” Aiden said. She guessed he needed to chat to keep his mind busy, so she leaned back and listened to him talk about tomorrow’s plans. “I wanted to swing by the hospital once more before we head back down the mountain,” he said, and she could tell he was beginning to think about his father again.

“Are you going to tell me what happened between you and your father at the hospital?” she asked.

He frowned, then walked over and sat next to her.

“There really isn’t that much to tell. He was lucid for a little while.” He closed his eyes briefly. “After you left the room, he started talking to me like I was five again.” He exhaled sharply. “I didn’t know.”

“My grandfather had Alzheimer’s.” She reached out and took his hand and squeezed it lightly. “My grandmother finally had to put him in a home a few years back.” She moved over as he climbed in beside her. The white towel that he’d wrapped around his waist loosened a little and he tucked it closer. “He pretty much functioned right up until that point. Then he started taking walks and getting lost. He almost burned their house down when he tried to make French toast one morning. That’s when we decided it was best for his safety to move him into a home where he could be watched more closely.”

He took her hands in his, looking down at them as he spoke. “I don’t know how far gone he is yet. He told me he’d been diagnosed almost four years ago.”

She could see the hurt in his eyes.

“I had been led, all this time, to believe it was Shannon who had kept me away from my father.” He moaned and pulled her closer. She rested her head against his warm chest and wrapped her arms around him. “I never thought he was the one. I mean, he’d been an okay dad. Not that he would have earned any father-of-the-year awards, but he hadn’t been bad. When my parents first divorced, I saw him every other weekend. That was until he married Shannon a little over a year later.” He absently rubbed his hands through her wet hair. If she could, she would have purred. “Then I started seeing him less and less. When Mom and Eric got married, it slowed down to only during the holidays. I thought it was because he was trying to give them space, you know. When Ashley had been born, I felt outnumbered by the girls in the house and asked if I could move in with him. But Shannon called me up and told me that it wouldn’t work, since they were moving to the mountains.”

“I’m sure they had their reasons for moving,” she said, running her finger over his chest.

“Yeah, Dad had just retired and Shannon had gotten a job in Vail as a realtor. Anyway, after that, every chance I could get to the mountains, I would try to see him. In ten years, I think I only saw him two times. The last time he pulled his shotgun on me and told me to get off his property. Now I know why.”

“Alzheimer’s is hard. Especially on the loved ones. I think my grandmother struggles more than my grandfather does.” She sighed. “Half the time, he thinks he’s at a resort in the Bahamas.” She glanced up at him but her smile fell away when she noticed the sadness still in his eyes. “My grandmother visits every day. On a good day, he recognizes her.”

“I’m glad you came with me today.” He rubbed his hand over her hair again.

“Me too,” she said, wrapping her arms around him.

BOOK: Unlucky in Love ( Lucky #1)
4.64Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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