I wouldn’t say I was a nosey child, more like a curious one. I loved to read and watch documentaries that would make my older brother Lucas fall asleep. We were six, almost seven years apart. I was ten years old and he was sixteen. My mom used to say that I was a happy surprise, but I’m not stupid, I knew I was an accident. Lucas was never mean to me. He wasn’t like most of my friend’s brothers. He never picked on me or called me names. He never made me feel like I wasn’t wanted.
We were always close.
He loved and protected me, often letting me hang out with him and his best friends, who were also like brothers to me. Dylan McGraw was almost seventeen and had hazel eyes with long blonde hair that went past his ears. I loved to tease him, telling him he had a girl’s hairstyle. His girlfriend Aubrey didn’t seem to care, I guess that’s all that mattered. Austin Taylor was the youngest of the bunch. He was fifteen and had red hair, bright green eyes, and freckles all over his body. He used to let me connect the dots on his arms with a pen. I made all sorts of designs, and later in life he actually got one tattooed on his body.
Then there was Jacob Foster. The thought of him alone made my belly flutter. He was the oldest, already seventeen, but I didn’t care… he was my lobster. I loved him. He had called me Kid since the day I was born or so I was told. I used to hate it because I never wanted him to see me as a kid, but there would come a time where I would long to hear him call me just that. He had vibrant green eyes that spoke for themselves. I think he got that from his mom. He didn’t have any resemblance to his dad, not even a little bit. His two younger sisters were a mixture of both of them, but Jacob was like his own person, just carrying a few of his mom’s features. I could always tell his mood through his eyes, they would change to all different shades of green depending on his feelings. His eyes were like a living mood ring. He was tall, way taller than me, but it didn’t matter. I knew one day I would grow up and he wouldn’t be the giant that towered over me anymore. He was also much broader than the other boys with defined facial features. I think he was born with a ball cap on his head, he never took it off. The only time he ever did was when I would steal it off his head and put it on mine. It made me feel safe, like no one could hurt me when his hat was on my head.
My friends were all in love with my brother, which naturally I thought was disgusting. His dark hair and bright blue eyes had girls falling all over him since the day he was born, but it didn’t matter. He already had his lobster and her name was Half-Pint, well not really, that’s just what everyone called her. Her actual name was Alexandra, Alex for short. She was fourteen with dark brown hair and dark brown eyes like me. Lucas told me all the time that I reminded him of her. I didn’t think so. I loved her. They loved each other. You would be a fool not to notice.
The boys didn’t.
So I learned early on in life that boys were stupid.
Alex put up with way too much crap, from Lucas, from the boys, and from our families. I marched to the strings of my own guitar. If you didn’t like it, too bad. You know where you could go…
Well, I don’t want to brag or anything but I could sing and play the guitar like nobody’s business. My mom used to say that I came out singing. That I sang before I could even talk. It was my God-given talent. Music had always been an outlet for me, I could always express myself through lyrics. It was therapeutic for me to get lost in the symmetry of words and rhythm. I showed enough natural talent with a guitar that my parents put me in lessons by the time I was six. Now my guitar never left my side.
You could usually find me hanging out in my room playing and singing at any time of the day, especially during the summer.
I beamed, looking up at him from my bed with my guitar in my lap.
I enthusiastically nodded. He always noticed when I played new songs, which is why I often tried to learn new ones.
“I like it.”
I smiled, big and wide, sweeping my hair behind my ears so he could see my face light up for him. He walked over to my desk and pulled out my chair to sit. I knew what he wanted. Jacob loved the classics like Jimmy Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, Santana, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Rolling Stones, and Aerosmith. I had no idea who those people were, but I looked them up on my computer. I even bought music sheets with my allowance so I could play for him, begging my instructor to teach me how to play Jacob’s favorites. Some of them were complicated songs, but to his astonishment I picked them up quickly. It only motivated him to teach me faster.
He called me a prodigy.
This would help me tremendously in my future. I guess in a way Jacob shaped and molded me for the success I would have in the years to come, although I never thanked him for it. I played Black Magic Woman on my guitar, my fingers gliding over the strings as if they were an extension of my own body. Strumming the precise high and low pitched tones effortlessly, with the skill of an experienced guitarist way beyond my years, the intensity vibrating against my core. I lost myself in the music, exactly how I always did.
Becoming one with my guitar. Hitting the last verse, making the chord amplify into the slow progression of the ending of the song. I closed my eyes and swayed my head along with the rhythm, biting my lip when it was over and opening my eyes.
His eyes were dilated and his mouth wide open. “Damn... Lillian. You are so talented,” he breathed out when I finished.
I smiled again, big and wide. He called me Lillian!
“Hey, dickwad, what are you doing in here?” Lucas interrupted, much to my disappointment.
“Getting front row seats to the show of a lifetime.”
I love him.
“I know, she’s been playing that song for the last week. She’s getting good. Come on, the boys are in my room.”
He nodded and Lucas left.
“Want to come?” Jacob asked.
“Nah. I’m going to practice some more.”
“Okay, play loud so I can hear from over there.”
I grinned. “Okay.”
He stood and rustled up my hair with his fingers, making me giggle before he left. I continued playing for a while, once again getting lost in the music, but the laughter from my brother’s room started to get the best of me. The curiosity to know what they were talking about had my feet moving of their own accord. Before I knew it, I stood outside Lucas’s door.
“Jesus Christ, you have no idea how fucking amazing it tastes, Lucas. Why haven’t you tried it with Stacey? You’ve already had sex with her,” Jacob questioned, as I hid further behind the wall to eavesdrop.
“There are no words to explain it. You’re just going to have to try it,” Austin added.
I chewed on my thumbnail, waiting for them to say what they ate. Maybe I could eat it, too?
“Shut the fuck up. I’m done having this conversation,” Lucas answered with agitation in his tone. It’s because he wanted to eat it with Alex. Stacey was a cover up, like Ken with Barbie.
“Eat her pussy already!” Jacob yelled out and everyone laughed though I didn’t think there was anything funny about it.
“Just fucking do it. You can thank me later. Trust me, the way she will reciprocate will be enough for you to want to eat it again.”
I shook my head and left. Disgusted with their conversation.
“Kid!” Jacob yelled out a while later.
I jumped from my bed. “Yeah?” I shouted back.
“Come downstairs. I’m in the kitchen.”
I took a deep breath and went downstairs, walking into the kitchen. “What?”
“What do you mean what?” He laughed. “Come try this. It’s my favorite food.”
I glared at the plate of food in front of him and shook my head no.
“You’ll like it. Come eat.”
I grabbed the fork, picking up a piece of meat.
“I brought this over especially for you, Kid,” he informed me and I immediately dropped my fork on the plate, making a loud noise against the glass.
“What’s your problem?” he immediately asked.
“Then why aren’t you looking at me? Did I do something?”
“Lillian,” he coaxed.
Dang it, again with the Lillian. I took another deep breath and raised my eyes.
Concern and confusion spread all over his handsome face. “What’s up, Kid?”
I folded my arms over my chest and whispered, “Are you eating cat?”
He jerked his head back looking at me like I was crazy.
“I may have overheard some stuff today.”
“What stuff?” he followed, taking a sip of his drink.
“You said.” I bit my lip and his eyebrows lowered.
“You said… you love to eat pussy.”
He instantly spit out his drink and started coughing and choking. I ran behind him to grab some paper towels.
“Are you okay?” I patted his back to help.
He cleared his throat and coughed a few more times. “Yes, I just wasn’t expecting you to say that.”
“Well, at least you understand where I’m coming from then. I don’t want to eat cat, Jacob. I don’t even think that’s legal. You could get in a lot of trouble. I don’t want you guys to get in trouble. I thought you loved cats?” I was freaking out and rambling, throwing out as many questions as I could as I watched him clean up the mess with nervous movements. He finished. His eyes averted every which way before looking at me again.
It was now or never. “What’s sex?”
“For fucks sake,” I roared, my hand rubbing the back of my neck. “Fuck, I mean shit, I mean damn, Jesus,” I rambled, making her giggle.
I took off my hat, placing it on the counter. Lily smiled and immediately grabbed it, placing it on her head. I never understood why she did that, but a sense of calm almost instantaneously came over her.
I ran both my hands through my hair and pulled it back in a frustrated gesture, rubbing at my temples for good measure.
“I don’t think I’m the right person you should be talking to about this.”
She shrugged her shoulders. “Who am I suppose to ask then?”
“She tried to talk to me about it, but it didn’t really make sense. She mumbled mostly. I don’t think she really knows,” she reasoned and now it was my turn to laugh.
“What do you want to know?”
“Do you love her?”
I cocked my head to the side. “Exactly how much do you know?”
“My mom says you’re supposed to love that person. That it doesn’t mean anything unless you love them.” A sad expression fell over her face. “So, do you love her?”
I shook my head. “Not quite. Although, your mom’s right, fuc… I mean making love… should be between two people that love each other. It should mean something.”
“Oh,” she breathed out. “Is that what you do?”
“Let’s not talk about me. I’m talking about what applies to you, which is all that matters.”
She nodded. “Well, maybe. Maybe one day… when I’m older. I mean… never mind.”
I smiled. “One day, Lillian, you’re going to have guys waiting in line for you. Trust me on that one.”
She bit her lip like she wanted to say something.
“And I’m going to kick each one of their fucking asses if they hurt you.”
She beamed again. I loved that I was able to ease her emotional turmoil.
She was a kid.
A sweet kid.I wanted to keep her innocent for as long as I could.
I was fucking exhausted.
I had been working sixty plus hours a week for the last three years at Jones & McAllister, one of the most prestigious law firms in San Francisco. Whoever said trying to make partner would lighten my case load was talking out of their ass. So much shit happened in the last few years. More than I cared to remember. I felt like I was twenty-nine going on fifty. My plane landed in Nashville and I barely had time to take in my surroundings before I had to pick up my rental and check in at the Marriott Hotel. Not that it fucking mattered, I wasn’t planning on using it for long. This was just temporary if things went as I planned.
I had drowned myself in work all these years to help me forget. I tried fucking her out of my mind by having sex with a countless number of women that didn’t mean a damn thing to me.
All of my colleagues and friends were getting married or starting families, but I was at a standstill. Every time I pictured my future, it was always with Lily by my side. I was done running, it was time to claim what was rightfully mine, what has always been mine.
When Mark, a friend from law school who was married with a kid on the way, asked me to come help get his new firm off the ground for a few months, I jumped at the chance, it was like fate was giving me a swift kick in the ass, cementing my decision. I was lucky my boss fucking loved me. Otherwise, I’d never be able to take an extended leave of absence like that. I had made the firm millions and at the end of the day… money always talks.
“Hello,” I answered my cell phone.
“Where the fuck are you?”
I yawned. “I’m on my way.”
“Well hurry the fuck up. I’ve been at Bootleggers waiting for your sorry ass for the last hour.”
“I thought we were going to talk about your law firm?”
“God, man, can you not think about work for one fucking second? Tiffany is out of town. I miss my wife and I’m drowning my sorrows in beer. Plus there’s this chick singing on stage. She’s a goddamn knockout. Completely your style, tiny, just the way you like them.”
“I don’t need you picking out pussy for me. I’ll be there in a few.” I hung up, quickly gazing up at the full moon and immediately shaking away the memories that threatened to resurface.
I parked on the side of the road only paying the meter for an hour. I pulled out my ID, showing it to the bouncer who gave me a quick nod before stepping aside. There were people everywhere. There was no way in hell I could find Mark. I looked down at my phone to text him when I heard it.
The soft strumming of a guitar immediately assaulted my senses, but that wasn’t what made the hair on the end of my arms stand at attention. I closed my eyes needing to check my emotions and the thoughts that attacked my mind at rapid speed.
One right after the other.
They were disastrous and unforgiving.
The strumming of the guitar was effortless and defined. I would recognize it anywhere. No one could play like she could.
It was smooth like silk but raw enough to give you chills.
Would be a permanent reminder of what I lost.
Would forever haunt me. My days and nights.
God… I couldn’t think of that night without my cock getting hard and the shame engulfing me almost simultaneously. Metallica’s lyrics of Nothing Else Matters took me back to another time, another place, where I pretended that she was mine…
I was always hers.
I remembered it all, and I hadn’t even looked up to see her. I didn’t have to. She was engrained in my mind. In my heart. In my soul.
She sang the chorus over again. The emotions bleeding off the strings of her guitar and her voice. The guitar solo followed making the crowd scream and cheer for her talent. Her energy was fucking contagious, it always had been. I felt it all around me even though I still hadn’t opened my eyes to take her in. I knew she was biting her fucking lip, it didn’t matter how many damn times I told her she was going to bite it off. I’d memorized the feel of her lips against my mouth, the way I’d take that same goddamn lip and bite on it myself.
Wanting a piece of her.
Needing a piece of her.
Her voice dropped to a soft tone, as did her guitar. The song ended and the crowd went even wilder and ravenous for her.
“Well, hello there fucking Nashville!”
They hollered higher and louder. She always knew how to work a crowd.
“Welcome to Bootleggers! Who’s gettin’ fucked up tonight?”
“Yeah!” they shouted.
“Who’s gettin’ fucking laid tonight?”
They shouted again, whistling and clapping that time. I shook my head with a smile I didn’t bother trying to hide.
“That’s what I’m talking about! Down and dirty in the fuckin’ South!” she yelled in the same southern drawl she hated as a child.
“I’m going to take a little break—”
She giggled and my cock twitched.
“I know, darlins’, I’m too fucking pretty to look at. I’ll be back, I promise! In the meantime buy me a fuckin’ shot! My name’s Kid.”
I immediately looked up, right at her. I swear to God my chest seized and she took my goddamn breath away. Wearing short daisy dukes and a minuscule shirt that had “Whiskey Makes Me Frisky” written across her breasts. The damn thing looked like it was as old as me. Her entire stomach bare, her belly button now pierced and her long dark hair cascading down her back, almost touching her ass. The tiny frame that I fucking loved was still the same, but she looked grown up. Older. Her legs, her fucking legs. I remembered them wrapped around me and I had to shake my head to erase the images that had my cock hard and my heart heavy.
I grinned, I fucking grinned, when I saw the cowboy boots she wore. I gave them to her. I thought she threw them away.
I guess she didn’t.
Which gave me hope she hadn’t thrown me away either.
Fuck me. I’m going to hell.
Now that I saw her…
There was no going back.
She was mine.
Consequences. Be. Damned.
“Kid,” some random guy murmured from behind me.
I turned on the bar stool, cocking my head to the side with a smile.
“How about I buy you that shot?” He pointed at my shirt. “Whiskey right?”
I nodded toward Sam the bartender, raising two fingers and random placed a twenty on the bar. He spun to face me again. I was used to men hitting on me. It wasn’t a new thing. It came with the job. But. I never fucked where I worked, that was a recipe for disaster.
“So, what’s a little thing like you doing in a big city like Nashville?”
“Entertainin’,” I simply stated.
“Ah. Is this the only kind of entertainment you offer?”
I licked my lips and leaned forward. “What other kinda entertainment do you have in mind?”
“One that involves me and you. Alone. Less clothing. Less talking.”
“Wow, that work for ya back home?”
“As a matter of fact, it does.”
I watched him grab the shot, handing me mine. I placed it in front of me and he followed suit.
“Here’s to men and horses and the women who ride them.”
“Cheers to that.” He laughed as I clinked my glass against his, and then we both downed our shots. Mine went down smooth, I was a whiskey drinkin’ kinda girl, but his, on the other hand, did not. He coughed and his eyes watered a lot.
“So… tell me about your name?”
I raised an eyebrow, placing my empty glass on the bar.
“Kid. That can’t be your real name, so where did it come from?”
I smirked. “It comes—”
“From me. It comes from me, motherfucker.”
All the air in my lungs left me in the blink of an eye, as did my smile. The color drained from my face while my heart and stomach sank to the ground.
There he was, striding up beside random and standing in front of me, cocky and confident as ever. I wanted nothing more than to wipe that smug look right off his goddamn face. I hadn’t heard anything about him or talked to him in three years, let alone seen him. Alex was the only one who knew about us, and she knew better than to mention his name to me.
I. Fucking. Hated. Him.
“Excuse me?” random gritted out, his glare intently placed on the side of Jacob’s face, who’s glare was focused only on mine.
“You heard me. Now why don’t you do yourself a favor and walk the fuck away before you won’t be able to walk at all,” he warned with a calm and tranquil tone that made me want to kick him in the head.
Jacob was never afraid of anyone and he had the scars to prove it, and I’m not talking about physical ones. Our stares locked, exactly how our hearts used to be. At least how I thought they were.
Lies. Nothing but lies.
“Don’t make me repeat myself, asshole,” he added with the same hard edge to his voice, patience was never his virtue.
I barely paid random any mind when he backed away and left. Instead I cocked my head to the side, leaning back into the bar stool, folding my arms over my chest not breaking eye contact.
“Charming as ever, I see.”
He pursed his lips in that same mouthwatering way he did when I was a child. Wearing a gray button-down shirt, a black tie hanging loose around his neck and black slacks had me questioning my resolve. Tonight he had favored a fedora over his ball cap.
This was grown up Jacob.
“Good to know I still have an effect on you, Kid.”
I narrowed my eyes at him and spoke with conviction. “I’d love to sit here and process how your delusional mind works, Jacob, but I can’t get my head that far up your ass.”
And… he fucking smiled. A shit-eating grin smile. “Same girl. Sluttier outfits.”
“I’ll be sure to remember that the next time I buy crotchless panties. Easier access and all that.”
He scowled, his eyes dark and daunting, turning a deeper shade of green. I knew he hated the visual I just gave him.
“I wish I could say it was great seeing you, but let's be honest, the pleasure was all yours.” I stood. “If you’ll excuse me I have to go back to work.” I stepped aside to leave, but at the last second I turned to look at his back. Getting closer to where he could feel my warmth. I stepped on the tips of my boots and rubbed my nose back and forth on the nook of his neck like I knew he loved, faintly breathing on him. My scent assaulting all his senses, just like I wanted it to.
“Now you, Jacob,” I rasped against his ear. “You can go to hell.”
And with that I walked away, not sparing him a second glance.
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