I STARE at the old motel in apprehension, taking in its brown brick exterior and dirty windows.
Not the Hilton, that’s for sure.
Feeling sorry for myself is a foreign concept. I normally consider myself a strong woman. I need to be one, with the parents I was given and the career I want in the future. I have a strong will, and I’m not afraid to open my mouth and say what’s on my mind. I don’t mince words or back down. I find humor in awkward situations and try to make the most of my life.
But I guess there’s a first time for everything, because here I am, tail between my legs, feeling more than sorry for myself. Kind of pathetic, really.
I’d have thought sixty dollars would have gotten me a better room than this, but I was wrong.
It has been known to happen.
I check in at reception, paying for one night and trying not to stare at the mold on the wall. The bored-looking girl at the counter hands me my key, then I drag my feet to my room, taking one bag with me. Inside are my toiletries, clothes, and a few valuables—including my purse, passport, and food.
Unlocking the door, I walk in and check out the room. A small bathroom, a couch, a bed, a fridge, and a TV. Eh, it could be worse. I put my bag on the couch and take off my sandals. Placing them neatly in the corner, I pull out a plastic container and open the lid.
Reaching inside, I decide on a piece of apple. As I munch on the cut fruit I contemplate my life. I have five thousand dollars saved, a growing belly, and no clue what the hell I’m going to do. My entire life, I’d had a plan. I always knew exactly what I was going to do, and how I was going to do it. But now? I had no plan. It was a scary thought, especially under the circumstances. One thing I know for sure is that I need to keep moving. One night here, and then I’m going to keep on driving. I want to get as far away from my old life as possible. That shit does not need to catch up with me.
I take a long shower, then take my time rubbing moisturizer into my skin. I have cherry-blossom lotion that I use every day without fail, and tonight is no exception. It gives me a little comfort, a little sense of normalcy. I brush my teeth, comb my wavy auburn hair, and climb into bed. Wishing I had brought my own sheets, I ignore the musty smell and fall asleep.
This is my life now, and I can’t afford to complain.
Another night passes and then I’m back on the road, heading farther north. I actually enjoy the drive; it’s nice being away from the city. Before it gets dark, I check into another sketchy motel and all but collapse onto the bed. Driving at night isn’t safe—there are animals that cross the roads. After a good
night’s rest, I spend the next day looking for a job—applying anywhere and everywhere. I’m not fussy; I’ll do just about anything right now. Beggars can’t be choosers. I’d never had to use that saying before in my life, coming from a fairly wealthy family. But just because my parents had money didn’t mean we were happy. Far from it, actually. A quiet knock at the door makes me groan. I’d just gotten comfortable. I force myself to get up, expecting housekeeping. I open the door slightly, just enough to see who it is through the chain lock.
My jaw drops, and panic instantly sets in.
Definitely not housekeeping.
Unless they decided to hire a hot-as-hell, angry biker.
“Open it, or I will,” he demands, his eyes blazing. I consider my options for a few seconds before I slide open the lock. He could just break down the door if he wanted to, so there really is no point. I open it and take a few steps back as he enters.
Crystal-blue eyes narrow on me. A muscle ticks in his jaw as his gaze rakes over me, checking to make sure I’m okay. He’s wearing worn, ripped jeans and a long-sleeve black T-shirt that accentuates his muscular build. He looks good; he always did though.
“Just in the neighborhood?” I ask, hope filling my voice.
“What the fuck, Faye?” he rasps, gripping the doorframe.
I take another step back. I don’t know what he’s capable of right now. The old Dex would rather cut off his arm than hurt me, but do I really know him now? I don’t even know how the hell he found me.
Does he know? Of course he does.
Nothing gets by Dexter Black.
He bangs the door behind him, the noise making me flinch.
“Pack up your shit,” he demands, eyes searching the crappy motel room, which is now looking considerably smaller with his hulking presence. “We’re leaving.” He doesn’t look happy with what he sees. In fact, his scowl deepens. He crosses his arms over his broad chest and stares me down, waiting for me to move.
“I’m not going anywhere,” I say, putting my hands on my hips and glaring at him. He’s not the boss of me. Yes, he’s a badass, sexy man with whom I had one night of hot, passionate sex, but that doesn’t mean he gets to tell me what to do. I might have liked him bossy in bed, but this right here is a different story.
He takes a deep breath, as if calming himself. “I’ve been looking for you for two days. I’m trying not to lose my fuckin’ temper here, Faye, but you’re pushing me. I don’t think I’ve ever been this patient in my fuckin’ life.”
This is him patient?
“I’m not going anywhere,” I reply, lifting my chin up. “And you can’t make me.”
We stare at each other, the tension building.
I can actually feel the moment before he snaps.
His fists clench, and the tightness in his jaw looks almost painful.
I step back into the frame of the open bathroom door as he loses it.
He picks up the TV and throws it into the wall. The crashing sound makes me jump, but he doesn’t stop there. He punches the wall several times, then slides the few glasses off the table in one smooth movement.
There goes my deposit.
He turns and points his finger right at me.
My eyes widen as he grabs my bag and starts packing anything of mine he comes across. I walk up to him and try to grab it away from him, but one deathly look has me retracting my hand.
“Temper tantrum over?” I ask, trying to keep my voice steady.
He looks down at my bare feet, then at all the glass scattered on the carpet floor. “Don’t move.”
I do as I’m told as he brings me a pair of my shoes. I slide them on and look up at him.
Why does he want me to go with him? What good can come from it? What I need to do is move on with my life and settle down somewhere quiet and safe. Somewhere without sex-on-a-stick bikers and their douche-lord cheating brothers. Somewhere where my parents aren’t around, and I can be myself.
“I just want to be left alone, Dex,” I say, tears forming in my eyes. I’m tired, so fucking tired. My life isn’t meant to be like this, and I hate the fact that he’s seeing me this vulnerable.
I hate it.
I’m not this weak—not usually.
And he’s the last person I’d want to see me like this. He’s strong. Nothing touches him. I have no idea how he would handle me if I broke down right now, which I’m seriously close to doing.
“No, you thought running was going to solve your problems. You thought lying was going to solve your problems. You’re lucky my dipshit brother mentioned that you left, and
that you were pregnant, or I wouldn’t even know I was going to have a fuckin’ kid!” he yells, losing his composure.
Talk about kicking me when I’m down.
“I really don’t need your shit right now,” I mutter, looking down at the floor, feeling like the worst person in the world. Because he’s right, I probably wouldn’t have told him. I can’t say what I would have done.
“You would have gone on, wouldn’t you? Your whole life without telling me,” he says in disbelief. “Don’t you think I deserved to have heard this from you?”
I think about lying, but in the end I don’t. I deserve his judgment over this. “Do you really think you could give this kid a good life?”
Wrong thing to say, but I needed to say it because that was my rationalization for leaving without a word. His eyes turn cold and hard. “I guess you’re going to find out now, aren’t you?”
“How do you know this kid is even yours?” I ask, lifting my chin up. Why am I poking the dragon? I have no idea.
“I know because the condom broke that night, and you hadn’t had sex with Eric in a while,” he says, staring straight at me. “Or anyone else.”
“The condom broke?” I gape, my eyes flaring.
Well, that explains things doesn’t it?
And who is he? The sex police? I hadn’t had sex with anyone else, but how did he know that?
He watches me under his lashes but ignores my comment.
“Grab your shit, Faye. You have five minutes or we leave without it,” he says, sitting down on the bed. I grit my teeth but do as he says, taking my few belongings and packing them back in my bag with efficient ease.
“I’m ready,” I say, avoiding eye contact. He takes the bag from me and hikes it on his shoulder, then holds the door open. I walk out and wait for him to lead me to his car. He walks down toward the parking lot, and I follow, a few steps behind.
“What about my car? It has some of my stuff in it,” I ask him.
“Rake will drive it home,” he says as he opens the door to a black four-wheel drive. He grips my hips and lifts me up onto the seat. My breath hitches at the contact and flashes of our night together enter my mind.
Him braced above me as he grinds into me, sweat dripping down his body.
Me on all fours in front of him, his fingers digging into my hips as he thrusts.
“Faye,” he says, snapping me out of it.
“What were you just thinking about?” he asks, his voice a low rumble.
“Oh, nothing,” I mutter embarrassment coloring my cheeks.
“I’ll bet. I said Rake will handle your car, so don’t worry about it.”
“Rake?” I ask, my brows furrowing in confusion. I watch as Dex lifts his head toward the side of the building. I follow his line of sight and see a man leaning against the wall, smoking a cigarette. He walks over and stands next to Dex.
“So this is what the fuss is all about,” the man named Rake says, checking me out and not being subtle about it.
“I’m Rake,” he says, grinning at me. He’s a good-looking man. Blond hair, curling around his face, green eyes, and a
panty-dropping smile. He has a lip ring and an eyebrow ring—both suit him perfectly.
“Faye,” I say, managing a small smile.
“I have to drive your car home,” he says. “You owe me, Faye.” Another grin, and then he’s off.
Dex sends Rake a look I can’t decipher, then turns to me.
“You okay?” he asks, scanning my face. His expression softens as he looks over me.
“Yeah. Thanks for asking,” I tell him, clearing my throat. He grunts in reply, closing the door and heading to the other side. When he pulls out of the parking lot, he turns to me.
“You know, I thought you were one of the good ones. I never thought you would do something like this, trying to keep me in the dark about my own kid.”
With that parting shot, which I feel deep in my bones, he drives me back home.
Back to the place I’m trying to escape.
Back to where my child will have no future.