The out-of-the-way steak house provided much-needed peace and quiet. Ollie was good at finding those hole-in-the-wall eateries. After finishing the cooked-to-perfection Porterhouse and fries, I was ready for a little bone-stroking fun. Sadly, that wouldn’t happen any time soon. Not unless I could get my mind off of Peyton.
Ollie pocketed his phone. “Gotta hit the road, man.”
I reached for my wallet.
“Naw. It’s taken care of. Owner’s a friend of the club.”
I chuckled. “Good to have friends in high places.”
Ollie corrected me. “Naw. Good to have friends. Remember that. When I get back, I’ll introduce you to someone.”
“A female someone?”
He grinned. “You know it. Tits big enough to bury your face between. Legs a mile long. And a—”
“You hit that?”
He waggled his eyebrows.
“Sorry, Ollie. I’ll pass on your sloppy seconds.”
Pushing to his feet, he said, “Suit yourself. She’ll help you get over that rich piece of ass.”
“She might, but the answer’s still the same.”
Ollie dropped me off at my car, and then I headed to the old neighborhood. Ma still lived in the same house on Humboldt Street. It was too damn small with far too many bad memories. Honestly, the nightmares were embedded within the wallpaper in the living room and dining room. There might even be a remnant or two in the bedrooms as well. So much bad shit went down there I couldn’t call it a home.
As I pulled into the driveway, I noticed the late model sedan at the curb. A light shone in the upstairs bedroom while the rest of the house was dark. My good mood quickly disintegrated. Slamming the SUV door, I stalked toward the house. I used my key and entered the living room.
Laughter drifted down the stairs. Ma said something incoherent, and then I heard the voice I wished I could forget. My blood boiled as I took the steps two at a time with my Beretta 92 in my hand.
I didn’t care what damn excuse he gave, his ass wasn’t welcome in that house. Not since I paid the bills. Not after I got Ma clean. We weren’t going down that fucking road again.
Nearly knocking the door off the hinges, I crashed into the room. My goddamned sperm donor—Daddy fucking dearest—was under the covers with Ma.
“Get the fuck off of her!”
Dad dove to the floor like I shot at him. Ma sat speechless, clutching the sheets to her naked torso.
“What the hell are you doing?” Dad’s angered gaze landed on me.
My eyes darted around the room. His clothes lay in a heap at the foot of the bed. I threw them at him. “Get dressed and get out!”
“Dash, honey, don’t be that way to your father.” Ma used that sweet as silk tone. The one that said she fell for his goddamned bullshit again.
I swung around to the man who was making getting dressed a leisurely endeavor. “Hurry the fuck up!”
He glanced at my gun as he zipped his pants. “I see you haven’t changed.”
“Neither have you.”
My father ran the same M.O. He’d stop by and say the right words to Ma. Tell her he was sorry for being an asshole and wanted to come home. She’d waver until Dad dangled some blow in front of her, and then she was all in.
I inched toward the dresser. A trail of white powder covered the top of it. Damn! Back to rehab for Ma.
Raising the gun, I zeroed in on the fucker. “If I see you around here again, I’ll kill you.”
He chuckled. The damn fool chuckled as if I had a toy in my hands, but I didn’t flinch. Didn’t back down. He bobbed his head and looked over his shoulder. “I’ll see ya round, baby.”
Ma grinned and waved her fingers like a schoolgirl. I waited for the front door to slam before I pulled her bag from the closet. That ritual between the two of them was so routine that I kept her shit packed.
“Don’t, Ma.” I pulled a pair of sweats from a drawer and tossed them onto the bed. “Get dressed.”
She shook her head. “Son, I’m good. It was just once.”
My head whipped up. “There’s no such thing as just once. You know that, Ma. I’ll drive you to the center tonight. Meet you downstairs.”
I closed the door behind me and leaned against it. When would she learn? My father couldn’t be trusted. Ever. Sooner or later I would have to quit my security gig and find something that allowed me to stay around Ma. She needed me to keep her on the narrow path.
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