You can check out my books on, and at Barnes & Noble too.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Lines 9/9 - From Fearless Part II

My favorite bit of what I worked on this weekend.

Part II: "Crossing Lines"
Copyright © 2014 by Lauren Gilley

Dartmoor bustled with its typical Saturday traffic. If the citizens renting trucks, buying mulch, having their oil changed were concerned about the murder that had hit the papers that morning, they didn’t show it.

            The clubhouse was flanked by a handful of bikes, but had that sleepy, empty look about it; the boys were working or hunting up intel. The hangarounds and prospects had cleaned up the carnage from the party; the place looked as tidy as it ever did.

            Ava parked and spotted a man in the shadows beneath the portico – a tall man, his long legs stretched out in front of him as he reclined back with his elbows resting on the top of a picnic table.


            She was getting used to the idea of him being back here. She didn’t jump this time. But her pulse gave a hard thump and her skin warmed and anxiety spiked like too much soda in her belly.

            “You can wait here,” she told Littlejohn as she passed his bike. She didn’t wait for a “yes, ma’am,” but walked with purposeful steps and head-up toward the front door of the clubhouse.

            When she passed into the portico’s shade, she saw Mercy’s head turn toward her. His hair was long these days, and he wore it in a queue at the back of his head. He wore the same undershirt from the day before, his arms bare, the sequence of lines and swirls around the black dog on his left arm on display. So many people thought it tribal nonsense he’d had inked on while drunk. She knew the truth. The ink made permanent a sacred series of marks: Cherokee war paint, in honor of his slain grandmother.

            When her heels rapped the pavement, one corner of his mouth lifted in an impossible smile.

            When she stared resolutely at the door, she felt the hot weight of his gaze on her.

            When she was almost beyond him, he spoke to her. “Ghost is out. He’ll be back later.”

            Ava gathered the warring anger and heat that surged inside her before she turned to him. Thank God for sunglasses, his and hers. “How do you know I’m looking for him?”

            He grinned. “Well you sure as hell weren’t looking for me.”

            “No,” she agreed.

            She was shifting her weight to leave, when his voice caught hold of her again. “What the hell are you dressed up for?”

            She didn’t owe him an explanation. She didn’t owe him anything. But she propped a hand on her hip and said, “I had a meeting with my advisor at school. I start class next week.”

            “School. Jesus, haven’t you had enough of that?”

            “I don’t know. Haven’t you had enough of this conversation yet?”

            His grin widened. “You used to be so sweet. You used to dress better, too.”

            She smoothed the front of her shirt and tried not to scowl. “You don’t get to care about how I dress.” She fired him a pointed look. “Not anymore.”

            He tipped his head as if to say fair enough. His features softened, the air of the smartass leaving him. “You just don’t look much like you anymore, is all.”

            Ava sighed, breath shaking in her lungs. “Why are you doing this?”

            His sharp black brows lifted over his sunglasses.

            “Why are you pretending there’s nothing wrong? That it matters to you whether I’m ‘me’ or not?”

            He studied her a long moment and she relived last night in her mind, his hands on her, his tongue in her mouth. It was so shocking to be standing here talking to him, after that moment in the dorm room, that she almost believed she was hallucinating. How were they supposed to go back after they’d already been so far? What was she supposed to do with all her hatred?

            “ ‘Cause I don’t want you to be pissed at me,” Mercy finally said.

            “Oh, now you’re worried about that?”

            So many of these boys – her father and brother included – would have responded to her with hostility. But Mercy saved that for the moments that really needed it. No, for him, rationale had been honed and wielded just like the rest of his assorted weapons.

            “C’mere.” He patted the bench beside him. “Come sit with me a sec.”

            That was so dangerous. And if he was nothing to her but a former lover, she could have resisted his magnetic pull.

            But Mercy had been her surrogate uncle, watcher, keeper, friend, brother…he’d been this tangle of people in her life. This man had meant so much to her. He’d snatched himself out of her life, but he’d been such a part of it…she was powerless to resist.

            Feeling the imaginary ax falling toward her neck, she moved to sit beside him. She settled into his tall shadow as she’d always done. There was this place at his side that would always be hers; they both knew it; neither of them needed to say it.

No comments:

Post a Comment