Authors: Hilary Storm
Copyright © 2016 Hilary Storm
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under
U.S Copyright Act of 1976
, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.
This is a work of fiction. Names, character, places and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Find out more about the author and upcoming books online at
Cover Model: Gary Taylor
Paperback Cover Design: Designs by Dana
Editor: Kellie Montgomery
Printed in the United States of America
To my readers.
I hope you love Kimber’s story!
Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes it’s hard to see that it’s meant to be a certain way, but eventually it becomes apparent that something much greater than we can comprehend may just have a role in how things work out! ~Hil
I arrive at the cabin in Northern Missouri after the truck carrying all of my things. It's not much, but it's all I've got. Unloading is quick and painless as I drop all of it in the front room of this massive place. Sitting in the chair next to the large window providing a great view of the scenery, I continue to think about the chaos over the years of my life. It's been a wild ride and I'm completely starting over. I don't even know where to go and can't even comprehend where I'll turn up, I just know I will find myself on this journey. I have to.
My mind won't stop thinking about my recent phone call. Lilly was hard to understand. She cried through her words as she thanked me for everything. Her apologies were very sincere and I hate that I like her. I hate that I have nothing bad to say about her. She's a fighter and a woman who was dealt a shitty father. I know a little about what it's like to be that woman.
She's been released from the hospital and she mentioned that Luke was working with the guys to find them a place to stay. I don't think she was trying to rub it in or anything, because I asked how he was doing. I do care that he's happy and going to get what he deserves. Maybe one day, I'll make a trip to Missouri and see everyone again. That's not anything I plan to do in the near future, but it's something to think about eventually.
Eaven, Ivy, Lyndsey, and Holden have called me multiple times already. I know they just feel bad about how it all turned out and want to make sure I'm dealing well, but I'm just not used to that much attention. I'm a fighter myself. I can handle my heart being broken, after all I've experienced nothing but disappointment from many people since day one of my life. Hell, even my mother didn't stick with me. I'm sure my father had everything to do with that, but it's still the point. Lou has been the only sound, solid structured person who has constantly remained in my life over the years.
I can't say that I am dealing well with everything that happened. I'm here. That's about all I've got. I could really use some cardio today to burn some of this off. Depression and sadness have never looked great on me.
Luke would’ve chosen Lilly anyway. They’re meant to be together. Anyone can see that. I’m just going to have to accept that Luke came into my life when he did to act as a stepping stone to get me out of California and away from Greg. Greg was so abusive both mentally and physically that I still feel the emotional scars from the shit he did to me before Luke saved me.
It is what it is. I have to move on. I did decide to walk away and give Luke the chance to have his happiness, knowing it would gut me. I know it'll take a long time for me to get over not having him in my life, but I will. I have no choice.
I take a tour of the cabin and choose the master bedroom to move my things into. I browse through the kitchen and make a list of all the grocery items I need to shop for to get me by for a few days. I hope that I decide where I'd like to go by then, but I can tell by the serenity of this place that it'll do me some good to stay here for at least that long.
Driving my Jeep into town is an adventure. I just know this place was put on Earth so people could drive Jeeps through the terrain. I love it and can't believe I've never had mine on these types of adventures. There's nothing like a rough ride to take your mind off of the reality of the roughness you're going through in life.
Driving through the center of town, I notice a pub that looks like it would be a great place to grab a bite to eat and a beer before I plunge into work of finding everything at the grocery store. I could use a beer and a little time just people watching. Hell, maybe I'll find someone whose life has been crazier than mine and I'll feel better about everything.
I sit at the bar and watch the bartender interact with all the customers. A few have plates of food, but the majority are just here to drink. I'm looking over the menu when I hear a deep, Southern voice echo through the room. Glancing over my menu, I'm drawn to the muscles on the man wearing a button up with the arms torn off and jeans that put the word tight to shame. His legs are massive and I can see he must really struggle getting in and out of those things.
He catches me looking and starts to walk my way with a smirk on his face. Those lips are slightly puckered as he approaches with confidence and I raise my menu to block my view from anything further.
"Jack and Coke, Darlin'." He sits on the bar stool next to me and orders. "Howdy, Ma'am," I turn to see him looking at me from my feet all the way up as his eyes glide over my body.
"I think you need to have a drink with me."
"That's alright, I already have one."
"Well, then we can at least have a toast to our first meeting. The name is Aiden. What's yours?"
"Like the cheese?"
"Yeah. I guess so."
"What are ya drinking? Let me buy you the next one." I stop and think about the last time I was in a bar by myself. I've never been to a bar with such a relaxed feel.
When I went out with Greg in California in the past, we hit all the prestigious clubs complete with our own security team. There wasn't a single ounce of my body that enjoyed those nights. Generally, I'd get yanked to the back room and taught a lesson simply because I looked in a direction where there was apparently someone he didn't want me to look at.
I can't even count the nights I slipped out the back door to escape anyone knowing what had happened. He never followed right away, usually strolling in around four in the morning. The worst nights were when he tried to apologize right then. He was a stubborn drunk and it was always easier to just agree with what he said.
That all changed after I met Luke. He changed me. Damn, I miss him. But I sit here a confident woman because of him. He reminded me that I'm worth more and I can't deny any of that.
"I'm just enjoying the music. I can let you get the next round." I finally respond to Mr. Sexy Lips. I've never been so drawn to a man's lips. His eyes pull me in when he turns to face me and I sure as hell don't miss the beard of scruff or the tiny bit of hair right below his lip.
His smile spreads over his face and he talks to me with his eyes long before his mouth begins to move. "Alright. Here's the deal. I'm buying all the rounds and you can pay me back by dancin' with me."
"Oh, I don't dance." I really don't. It's just something I've never done in public. I mean, there's the moving around I do when I know I'm home by myself, but to dance in public... that's just something we just didn't do. "I can't dance in public places like this." He processes my resistance and I can see his eyes visibly light up with his own thoughts.
"Well, I do my best dancing in the bedroom, but I can surely show you how to move your feet on that dance floor." I smile with his easiness. This guy is smooth. And simple. I can just tell he lives for the moment and right now, that's exactly what I need to be around. Tomorrow I can think about my future.
"Nice innuendo there, big guy."
"You caught that?" His smile lights up his face again. It's as contagious as anything I've ever seen in my life. I let my eyes move over his body a little as he reaches over the bar for a toothpick. I did not just appreciate his arm as he reached in front of me and I sure as hell didn't look at his ass when he stayed there longer than he probably should have had to.
He sits back and I focus on my drink. He leans in to my ear and his deep, sexy voice literally sends chills over my body. "I saw you lookin' at my ass."
"I was not," I deny in the most pathetic, squeaky sounding voice that I've ever heard in my life.
"Alright then. I'm not looking at your sweet lips either." A smile finally spreads across my face and I know I've been busted. Damn it. How do you not smile when something this playful is next to you?
"You're the one with the lips." It's hard to talk to him when he's still this close. I can tell he's a touchy kind of guy. He's been in my bubble since the second he sat down next to me.
"You noticed my lips?" His tongue slips out and slides slowly back into his mouth and dammit, he's still grinning.
"How could I not?" Shit, I said that out loud. His eyes look into me for a few seconds before he raises his hand and looks at the bartender.
"Rosie, get us another round if ya don't mind!"
"Sure thing, Aiden." So she knows him. He's a regular in this bar. I stop myself as my mind starts to wonder how many days a week he does this exact thing to other women.
“I can have a drink or two with you, but I’m not staying long.”
“Right. You have too much to do and can’t just cut loose for an evening.” He doesn’t know me at all, yet just nailed it on the head. I can’t just chill even though I’m trying to release all of this tension.
“It’s alright. I probably shouldn’t stay long myself.” He stands and turns toward the dance floor, leaning his back against the bar casually. His eyes focus forward and mine can’t seem to stop brushing over his entire body. It’s as if he can feel me watching. That damn smirk on his face tells me he can.
I swivel my bar stool around and slide down to my feet with as much grace as a complete drunk. It’s these damn short legs of mine.
“You ready for that dance?”
“Nah, that’s ok. I’ll be back in just a sec.” I can feel him watching me walk away from him. The restroom just has to be across the room on the opposite side of the dance floor. Dodging all of the people moving toward me in a line dance, I work to slide past the men grouped together near the pool tables and finally make my way into the tiny room with three stalls.
I listen to a few women slurring their words and laugh silently at how absurd they sound. I can only imagine what it’s like working in a bar. It’s almost something I’d love to just do it for the experience of it. I could listen to people tell stories all day and live vicariously through them. Considering the current state of my life, that sounds damn near perfect. I hear the door open and loud voices stroll in.
“Did you see that cowboy is back? Holy fuck, Dee.” I perk up on the toilet and listen to them, staying as quiet as I can. They have to be talking about Aiden. He’s the only one that truly screams cowboy in that bar, or at least that I noticed.
“Those damn lips. I can just imagine what they’d be like.”
“Fuck his lips… I want what’s hangin’ from his hips. Can you see that bulge? Shit almighty. Bring it to momma.” I flush the toilet. Not sure why, but I don’t want to hear about his bulge. At least not from these drunks. I step out and watch both of them look at me surprised and neither move from the sink so I can wash my hands.
“Excuse me ladies,” I say it with as much sweetness as I can even stomach, which is actually quite a bit. I’m used to faking it.
“You’re not excused.” The tall blonde with fake lashes, tits, and extensions moves toward me trying to intimidate me, but she has no idea that I’m not the least bit scared. How can something so artificial truly worry me? I won’t tell her that I grew up in a gym and have been training fighters my whole life.
“I’d like to wash my hands, then I’ll let you two back at it.” The other one moves toward me as well, so I stop moving forward.
“You’re the one he’s sitting next to.” She looks at me confused and I just shrug.
“I’m just here by myself. Not sure who you’re talking about.”
“Aiden. We hear he’s fucking amazing in bed. He’s just not one to come around much.” I know they’re trying to bait me or quiz me. But the truth is I don’t know the answer and have zero plans to find out.
“Sorry girls. I have no idea.” With that, I push between them enough to get my hands wet and a little soap rubbed in before they begin.
“Well, we’ll just have to find out.” I hear the door open and both of them laughing as they exit out the door.
“Good luck,” I whisper under my breath as I move a few of the strands of hair out of my face. I should’ve really tried to clean up a little better than this. I had no idea I’d end up in a bar tonight. It just happened. Oh well. I’m not looking to impress anyone.
I swing open the door and see the two girls have made themselves at home on my bar stool and with that I decide it’s time to go home. I have no desire to deal with this kind of crap on my first night exploring my new self.
The front door is past the group of men playing pool, so I try my hardest to slide by without any notice. One guy whispers in my ear as I pass, but I just pretend I didn’t hear a thing. It works best this way. This is too much. I need to get the fuck out of here and I need to do it fast.
There are too many people in this area and it takes me a few minutes to maneuver my way through without stepping foot on the dance floor. I don’t want to chance someone asking me to dance tonight. Honestly, I’m just not ready for that kind of night. I don’t know what I was thinking coming here in the first place.
I push open the door and welcome the cool air as it hits my face. Walking to my car by myself is strange, I’m just used to traveling with one of the guys. And Luke never let me out of his sight, so I just haven’t really been in a dark parking lot in a long time. Not that I can’t handle myself, it’s just a weird feeling.