An old flame rekindled . . .
Zara Cinders always knew Ham Reece was the one, but he wasn’t interested in settling down. When she found someone who was, Ham walked out of her life. Three years later, Zara’s lost her business, her marriage, and she’s barely getting by in a tiny apartment on the wrong side of the tracks. As soon as Ham hears about Zara’s plight, he’s on her doorstep offering her a lifeline. Now, it will take every ounce of will power she possesses to resist all that he offers.
Ham was always a traveling man, never one to settle down in one town, with one woman, for more time than absolutely necessary. But Ham’s faced his own demons, and he’s learned a lot. About himself, and about the life he knows he’s meant to live. So when he hears that Zara’s having a rough time, he wants to be the one to help. In fact, he wants to do more than that for Zara. A lot more. But first, he must prove to Zara that he’s a changed man.
“You’ve been waiting for me to come to you?”
“Babe, you’re my Zara, my cookie, so fuck yeah, I’ve been bidin’ my time, givin’ you space to sort your head out, but waitin’ to get you back, as in”—his hand slid up to cup my jaw and his face dipped closer—“back.”
Was he serious? Two months…no seven, if you counted when he came back after hatchet man got to him, I’d been in misery and he’d been waiting to get me back?
I felt my eyes narrow.
“Last night, you rolled off me and didn’t say a word about a chat before you went to the bathroom,” I reminded him.
“Zara, what we shared, so good, so hot, so close, us bein’ back to us, didn’t feel I needed to say a word,” he replied.
Was he for real? “Back to us” and he didn’t feel he needed to say a word?
“Well, you did,” I stated.
“I see that now,” he returned.
Okay, then, time for a different subject.
“You said you didn’t want my body,” I accused.
“I lied, Zara. Fuck, when have I ever not wanted in there?” he asked, a question that had one answer, that being never. But he didn’t give me the chance to give that answer, he kept talking. “I would have said anything to get you out of that shithole, get you safe, and get you with me.”
“You lied?” I asked.
“I lied,” Ham answered.
“Lied?” My voice was getting higher.
“Asked and answered, darlin’,” he clipped.
“So you thought it was a good idea to lie,” I noted unhappily.
“Babe, I came to you, we almost instantly got up in each other’s shit. You had a lot you were dealin’ with and one of those things didn’t need to be me. You weren’t lettin’ anyone do anything for you. You needed time to deal. I wanted you with me. I did what I had to do to give you that and make that happen for me.”
My head gave a jerk as what he said tardily hit me.
“You wanted me with you?”
He was beginning to look impatient.
“You’ve known me years. I ever go back?” he asked.
“Go back to what?”
“Go back anywhere.”
“I don’t go back,” he declared.
“I don’t get—”
“Now I’m back in Gnaw Bone, back at The Dog, babe, why do you think that is?”
I didn’t speak. I was back to staring.
Because I knew why I wanted that to be.
I just rarely got what I wanted.
Then Graham Reece finally gave me what I wanted.
“Because you’re here.”
“Holy shit,” I whispered.
He stopped looking impatient, his eyes warmed, his face went soft, and his lips twitched.
But, “Yeah,” was all he said.
Kristen Ashley grew up in Brownsburg, Indiana, and has lived in Denver, Colorado, and the West Country of England. Thus she has been blessed to have friends and family around the globe. Her posse is loopy (to say the least) but loopy is good when you want to write.
Kristen was raised in a house with a large and multigenerational family. They lived on a very small farm in a small town in the heartland, and Kristen grew up listening to the strains of Glenn Miller, The Everly Brothers, REO Speedwagon, and Whitesnake.
Needless to say, growing up in a house full of music and love was a good way to grow up.
And as she keeps growing up, it keeps getting better.