Home > Loose Ends, Volume One (Loose Ends #1)(7)

Loose Ends, Volume One (Loose Ends #1)(7)
Author: Kristen Ashley

It didn’t help. Not surprisingly, it made it worse.

“You shouldn’t have gone there with her.” There was an edge of pissed in Sam’s voice that made Hap look at him again while he swallowed.

“We were drunk,” he replied.

“That’s no fuckin’ excuse and you know it.”

He did.

“Shit just got outta hand,” Hap muttered.

“With Gordo’s wife?” Sam asked irately.

“No, with Luci,” Hap bit back, shocking the shit out of himself not only at the bite, but at his words.

She wasn’t Luci.

She was Gordo’s. Gordo’s wife. Gordo’s everything.

He was a brother.

Which meant she should only ever be a sister.

But he couldn’t for the life of him put her there.

She’d kissed him, tasted so damn good, looked so damn good, and when she’d pulled away, the anxiousness and heat and want and beauty in her face, her eyes . . .

She was just Luci.

“It was turned around, you’d rise from the dead for the sole purpose of breakin’ his neck,” Sam retorted.

“If it was turned around, I’d rise from the dead for the sole purpose of having one more minute with my wife.”

Sam shut his trap.

Yeah, he felt that.

He felt that with watching Luci lose what she lost. Watching his younger brother, his blood brother’s girlfriend lose what she lost when his brother died in the line of duty. And now having a wife who he loved more than his own life.

So yeah.

He felt that.

Hap stared at him and let that sink in.

Only when he thought he’d given it enough time did he speak.

“It got outta hand, Sam,” Hap clipped. “She’ll find some dude and we’ll make our way back to each other. Just peace out on this shit. I don’t need to lose Luci, have Kia and Skip ticked at me, and take your shit too.”

“Just tell her it was a mistake and you’re not going to go there and do it now so we can have the family back together again,” Sam encouraged.

Oh, he’d told her it was a mistake. He’d told her that afternoon, at the barbeque Sam and Kia had for Sam’s high school football team.

She’d looked at him like he’d sunk a knife in her gut.

Then she’d taken off.

He’d gone after her for the purpose of having it out and putting it behind them, once and for all.

Then, chickenshit and fucked in the head, he’d gotten in his truck and driven home.

That was where they were at. He hadn’t seen her since. Nearly three months.

He missed her.

Like fuck.


“Hap, are you hearin’ me?” Sam pushed.

“I told her that. It hurt her, bro.” He shut his eyes quick and hard at the memory then opened them with a shake of his head. “It hurt her. Just leave it lie.”

Sam was now staring at him and Hap knew him well, could read him, so it was not hard to see he didn’t like the idea of Luci hurting.

“She’ll move on,” Hap assured. “She was just . . . feelin’ shit out. Doin’ it with someone she thought was safe. She had a bumpy road when we lost Gordo. She was just pullin’ out onto the straightaway, checkin’ her groove. When she realizes that, and that I don’t give a shit she used me to do it, it’ll be all good. But she’s stubborn, so she probably won’t realize that shit until she has another guy.”

Sam looked sick at that, neither of them wanting Luci to move on, which would mean she left Gordo behind (though, Hap had shit messing with his head that made him dislike that idea a fuckuva lot more).

It was healthy.

It was right.

They should want that for her.

They both did want that for her.

It still sucked.

For Hap, it sucked hard.

And that had nothing to do with Travis “Gordo” Gordon.

Which made it suck harder.

“Got a kid comin’, want all my family around me, around my baby, all good, copacetic, nothing messin’ with it,” Sam replied.

“We’ll get there, man.”

“Maybe she gets back from New York, you try to find some time to get her there faster.”

Hap wanted to get up, lean across the table, and shout, “Lay the fuck off!”

He did not do that.

A younger George Cunningham would.

No hesitation.

He’d learned control since he was a perpetual, immature jackass.

Or control when a beautiful woman he’d loved from afar from the minute he’d clapped eyes on her did not lay a sweet, wet kiss on him.


“We’ll see.”

Sam hesitated before he sighed.

Hap took another bite of sandwich, trying not to think of Luci in New York.

He was not a city guy.

But she probably knew that place like the back of her hand. She’d know the good restaurants and bars and places to take a walk in Central Park. She’d stroll in somewhere and folks would probably know her, call to her, greet her, kiss her fuckin’ cheek like those lame-assed city folk did. Maybe even kiss both her cheeks, like those lame-assed European folk did.

He’d grown up on a farm in Iowa. What the city folk called a “flyover” state. What they did on the rare occasion they had to get to LA or San Francisco so they could do what they had to do in LA or San Francisco, but do it looking down on LA or San Fran, dying to get back to the “city.”

So he had no problem looking down his nose right back at those city folk and he had no problem sharing it.

He’d teased Luci about that shit for years, Gordo backing him up, both of them busting her chops.

But he knew one thing and he knew it for certain.

He would take pride in his place if he walked into some ritzy, up-its-own-ass restaurant in New York City and someone called out to her and came to kiss her cheek and she was on his arm.

She was on his arm.


It was not about having seen the look on Gordo’s face the million times he watched his brother proudly introduce his stunning wife to someone who hadn’t met her. And it was not about knowing what he knew with no doubt, the fact that shit had nothing to do with how drop-dead gorgeous she was. That she was an ex-supermodel.

But instead it was about the fact she was Luci, who drank beer and ate three hotdogs in one sitting because she liked them so much she could tell you her favorite (Hebrew National, bun length).

For Hap, it would be about having her long, elegant fingers curled around his elbow, having her close, smelling her hair, her exotic perfume, the turn of her head to get those exquisitely formed eyes looking right into his, and having her.

Having her.

Knowing later he’d tease her about her ridiculous shoes that cost more than most made in a month and put her just as tall as him (right, maybe an inch taller). And she’d pretend to be pissed, but she’d love it, like she always pretended to be pissed when he gave her shit, but he could tell by the way her lips curved up she loved it. And he’d know what kind of beer she drank and how her hair looked windswept after a walk on the beach and how she took her coffee and how she looked naked and spread out . . .

Hap bit off another huge hunk of his sandwich, stopping his train of thought, reminding himself he’d never have Luciana Gordon on his arm.

Not only because he should not ever go there because she was his brother’s woman.

Though that was part of it.

But because he knew where she was at.

She was feeling things out.

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