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A Final Family Affair PDF

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CONTENTS Fractured Prelude Winter Paige Escape Cole Denton We Are Chaos Yolanda Olson Love Trips K Webster Indecent A. A. Davies Butterfly Kisses Ally Vance Our Little Secret Jennifer Bene A Final Family Affair Copyright © 2021 Abigail Davies, Yolanda Olson, K. Webster, Ally Vance, Winter Paige, Cole Denton, Jennifer Bene. All rights reserved. No parts of this book may be reproduced in any form without written consent from the author. Except in the use of brief quotations in a book review. This book is a piece of fiction. Any names, characters, businesses, places or events are a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to persons living or dead, events or locations is purely coincidental. This book is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This book may not be resold or given away to other people. If you are reading this book and have not purchased it for your use only, then you should return it to your favorite book retailer and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the author’s work. Cover Design: Pink Elephant Designs Formatting: Pink Elephant Designs Fractured Prelude A Devastation Origin Story Winter Paige Chapter One Shifting on the stool, I lean both arms on the bar top, letting the highball dangle loosely from my right hand, and hang my head. I keep my eyes on the dark floor, counting the heavy footfalls of an approaching man against the mahogany wood. One, two, three, four… I feel his eyes on me… five, six… a pair of large black oxfords come into view, and I toss back the last of my whiskey. Seven, eight, nine… now. Straightening on my barstool, I slowly meet his gaze. There’s a flicker of something, but- “I’ll see you at home, Darling.” Whatever he was trying to work out in his mind is quickly forgotten when a stunning redhead smiles from the table by the window, and he turns, knocking my glass to the side with his elbow and sending the remaining cubes tumbling across the smooth surface. “Fuck.” I hiss, shoving him to the side. “Watch it.” Rolling his eyes, he motions to my friend Abel, who’s playing a rather convincing bartender behind the tall counter, without so much as looking back at me. “Handle this? Whatever he had, replace it, and add it to my tab.” He nods to the mess, straightening his jacket, and dashes quickly out the door, calling back. “And, Rachel? I’ll be home late, so don’t bother waiting up. I’ll wake you if I need you.” “Excuse his manners.” She shakes her head as the door clicks closed, and then she saunters over. Lifting a napkin from the stack, she dabs at a tiny spot on my shirt, “That man is always in such a hurry. He can’t even be bothered to finish a meal with me these days-” She looks back to the table with a frown as a server emerges from the kitchen with two plates, placing them on the tabletop. “-or even start one, really. It’s extremely rude, but it’s not like he slows down long enough to care.” “Seems you have an extra entrée.” I huff as we watch her canceled lunch date climb into the back of a black town car and slam the door shut loud enough to be heard inside above the chatter of other patrons. “Oh? I suppose it would seem that way, but the way I choose to see it- Mr.-?” She crinkles her nose, drawing my attention to the light smattering of freckles across its bridge as she clicks her tongue in thought. “Jameson.” I grasp her offered hand, shaking it gently as I take her in. What is it about this woman that makes him show up for no other reason than to discard her once again? Her near-alabaster skin is highlighted by bright red hair and emerald eyes, one slightly duller than the other with a speck of brown just to the side of her left pupil. “My name is Andrew Jameson.” “Mr. Jameson.” She smiles brightly, biting her lip without so much as smudging the ruby coloring, and leans in to loudly whisper, “You can’t disappoint a girl who burns her own path. I find my greatest moments when I blaze through the unknown.” “Navigating the world with tenacity and grace?” I tease, offering her my arm and leading her back to her table, laughing when she steps in front of me to pull out the chair and motions for me to sit down. “Nope, I prefer trampling the mundane with spontaneity and balls of steel.” She grins. “So, have a seat, Andrew. There’s no time for skepticism; our food is getting cold.” ~ Thirty minutes later, we’ve eaten both entrées and are quickly making our way down the dessert menu while watching the hoards of people rushing past the windows; her entertaining me with made-up stories about passing strangers. “And him?” I discreetly point to a man who looks to be in his mid-30s. “He’s only wearing one sock.” She replies without missing a beat and then glances up and gestures to the man dressed in worn jeans and a flannel, waiting patiently for me to ask, “Why?” “He’s sleeping with his boss’s wife.” She grins wickedly, something mischievous dancing in her eyes. “Every Wednesday, Frank- that’s the boss’s name, you know? Boring old, vanilla sex, one beer with dinner, farts in his sleep, mean as a snake, Frank. Anyway, like I was saying, every Wednesday, Frank meets with the corporate big-wigs and updates them on the progress of their tacky McMansions. While he’s there, bragging about his amazing work onsite and taking credit for his crew’s hard, underpaid work, this guy meets up with Frank’s wife and lays the quality pipe.” “Is that so?” I chuckle, rubbing my pointer finger along my lower lip to hide my amusement. “Yep, but this week, the snotty clients didn’t show, and Frank was so mad he called it a day. When he pulled into the driveway beside his picture-perfect home, he could hear his wife moaning from outside and rushed through the door, ready to fight off whatever intruder dared to touch what was his. Well, when Frank walked in on this mountain of a guy fucking his wife over the dining room table, he froze. Flannel shirt didn’t even miss a beat. He smacked her ass and kept reaming her out… Frank’s breakfast dishes just clattering away under his wife’s tits like cymbals clanging to the beat of karma.” “No way,” I tease with wide eyes. “Yes way.” She smacks both hands down on the tabletop, rattling our dishes with the force of the impact. “Well, a few seconds later, old girl comes so hard her lady cave practically pops the head off of his dick with the force of her big O’s thank-you hug, causing him to blow his load with an exaggerated roar, finishing just short of beating his chest. Next, this fucking god among men tucks his cock back in his pants, kisses her hard on the lips, and tells her he will see her next week. Then he pulls on his ball cap, winks at Frank, and adds, ‘I’ll see you tomorrow morning,’ before sauntering out of the house.” “And the missing sock?” I remind her, carefully moving all of our dishes back into place, and grimace at the thin paper envelopes strewn across the center of our table. Her theatrics- although entertaining- are knocking things out of order, and she watches with amusement while I turn the overturned cream and sugar caddy upright, organizing the packets according to content and color as they would be. “He left that one for Frank. The man needs somewhere to stow his load of ball barf since his wife was already stuffed to capacity with high fructose porn syrup. Not that it mattered… all of Frank’s splash-back swimmers ate their own tails and drowned years ago.” She shrugs, struggling to keep a straight face, and I laugh out loud. This crazy, free woman has no filter and is making me laugh harder than I have in years. “So, Rachel, how did you get tangled up with a man who is so-” I hesitate, searching for a word. Any word other than the ones immediately coming to mind. Volatile. Repugnant. Abhorrent. A stain on the earth. Deadman walking. Yeah, I like that one. Mother fucking dead. “Busy? Boring?” She forces an uncomfortable laugh and lifts her fork, offering me a bite from our fourth dessert. A seasonal pumpkin torte that she immediately announced to the entire place was her favorite. “I was going to say inconsiderate and rude, but sure.” I lean forward slightly, opening my mouth for the final bite of dessert. “Now that, Mr. Jameson, is a long, messy story that would certainly ruin our lunch.” She drops the fork with a loud clatter to the bowl in front of her and huffs. “We’ve nearly finished the cake.” I chuckle, motioning to the bowl and holding in an audible groan as she leans across the table, drags her thumb over my lower lip, then brings it back to her mouth, and slowly licks away the thick cream. “It’s torte-” she breathes happily, “-and it deserves a more chimerical topic. Now, tell me something interesting about yourself.” “Well, I’m from a small town in-” I dive into the normal All-American spiel Abel and I have used too many times to count- filled with loving parents who smiled kindly, hugged often, and hosted Sunday dinners, but she rolls her eyes. “No, no.” She waves me off. “None of that. Tell me something undoubtedly gripping. A secret no one else knows. Something that makes you feel.” “A secret, huh?” I smirk, leaning back in my seat, and cross my right leg so my ankle rests on my left thigh. “Mmmhmm.” She hums deeply, reaching for my glass and lifting it to her lips. Her eyes close as she pulls in a deep breath, inhaling the spicy, sweet notes of the Irish whiskey before taking a long, slow sip. “Tell me what brought you to this bar on a Wednesday afternoon, sitting just far enough from the daylight streaming through the murky windows that the sunshine warmed nothing more than the tip of your over-polished oxfords. Why on earth would you sit on that wobbly stool, nursing the same glass of whiskey for nearly an hour? Why did you scowl at everyone who looked in your direction all afternoon but then not hesitate to have lunch with a total stranger? What made me worthy of your smiles?” “Would you believe me if I said I think it was fate?” I watch her closely as she considers my words while nibbling on her lower lip, slowly dragging it through her perfectly straight teeth until it slides free. “No, though I suppose you didn’t stand a chance against kismet.” She shakes her head, looking down at her watch, and then glances around the bar. “The thing about that is-” She stands quickly, puffing out her cheeks on an exhale and shouldering her purse. “I don’t believe in fate, Mr. Jameson.” Whirling from the table, she hastily strides to the front of the building. When she tugs the door open, she peers back at me over her shoulder, still sitting in the chair where she left me, and shakes her head with a small smile. “Maybe next time.” “You think there will be a next time?” I challenge, swallowing the rest of my whiskey in one gulp. “If you believe in fate, I suppose I can believe we will have a next time.” She winks, steps out of the bar, and vanishes into the thick bustle of the city street. “Well, that was interesting.” Abel whistles from behind the bar, where he watched the entire encounter, and saunters to the table to join me. Taking a seat, he tosses the bar rag onto the table and tops off my glass. “It was rather peculiar,” I mutter, lifting the tumbler to my lips, and take a sip. “Is she going to be a problem?” He rubs the back of his neck, averting his gaze. “A problem?” I shake my head, dragging in a ragged breath. “No, I don’t think so. She doesn’t seem to be involved in any of Theo’s affairs. As bizarre as it sounds, I don’t think she has any idea what he does when he’s out. She thinks he’s boring.” “Boring?” He throws back his head, laughing, “Talk about being in the wrong place at the wrong time, huh?” “Basically.” I lean forward and close my eyes while pinching the bridge of my nose. “She doesn’t deserve to get hurt in all of this.” “Well then, don’t fucking hurt her, Jackass.” His southern accent thickens as he teases me while batting his lashes with his hands on his heart. “Oh, wait. Are you going to save the damsel in distress, dearest?” “You’re really asking for it,” I growl, dropping both of my elbows on the table, leaning in closer to him. “Don’t threaten me with a good time, Andrew.” He smirks, looking me over slowly with a heated gaze, but shakes it off, twisting in his chair to look back at the clock hanging over the cash register. “Give me a minute to close this place up, and we’ll roll. Fayre is waiting on me to pick her up, and you need some quiet time to consider your next move.” “Fuck Fayre.” I snort, stretching back in my chair and crossing my arms. “That’s the plan.” He lifts one shoulder and shoves to his feet. “What are you going to do about the redhead?” “She’s my in.” I turn away from him, gazing out the window, watching the people as they pass by, and think back over the last couple of hours. “I wouldn’t hate spending more time with her, though. She’s… fun.” “Fun? Really? Well, okay then-” He furrows his brows, rubbing the back of his neck, and swaggers over to the storage room door where he stowed our gear earlier in the day. With a hesitant sigh, he lifts my bag and tosses it to me. “-go have fun. But, Andrew, remember why we are here. Don’t lose sight of that. This guy is bad news, and the last thing we need is-” “I know what we need!” I bellow, surging to my feet, knocking my chair to the ground with a loud clatter, and storm to the front of the bar. I reach out, gripping the wooden handle, but I don’t rip it open and storm off. Instead, I lift my arm up and part the thick slated blinds with my pointer finger. “It’s pitch black already; that’s going to slow us down. If you actually plan on seeing her before sunrise, you need to hurry and lock up so we can roll out. Fuck the bar, it’s time to move.” Chapter Two “It’s been over a month since either of us have seen her, and now she’s just there?” I hiss into the giant pain in the ass cellular phone I insisted that Abel and I both needed to buy and carry at all times. It’s overpriced and inconvenient. The salesman went on and on about how wireless communication was going to be the next big thing, but I honestly don’t see them taking off. What a damn waste of time and money. I should have just listened to Abel and kept using the phone booths. There is one on every corner, and they are completely untraceable. What can they do, fingerprint the quarters? Abel is already convinced the police are watching us through these things. He is a paranoid man with a valid point. I’ll never willingly admit he may actually be right this time, but I’m extra careful of what I say over the wireless phone line just in case. “That’s what I said, Andrew.” Abel grunts into the line, trying to talk over the clatter of the bar patrons. “She’s okay?” I take one last survey of the area, soaking in every detail before I’m satisfied that we haven’t missed anything. I’m shaking when I finally lower my binoculars and tuck them into the bag on the back of my bike long after Theo slithered into the shadows of the small warehouse. I know what goes on in there. I know who goes in and who comes out. I have spent months, watching that man smile and greet dealers and traffickers like old friends, trading the innocence of stolen children for a profit and a buzz. I have all of the information I need to end his fucking life without the slightest regret and save the women and children inside those walls from whatever twisted horrors await their next stop. What I didn’t know was where Rachel was. Had she been hurt? Did Theo recognize me and hurt her, thinking she was involved with something shady that concerns me? In forty-eight hours, they will move. I have forty-seven hours until I have to make a move, and I’m sweating the unknown. The only guarantee is that, forty-nine hours from now, this building will sit empty, with or without my interference. “Do I look like a therapist to you?” Abel snorts into the phone. “Fucking cute,” I growl. “I’m on my way. Watch her, and don’t let her leave that bar. We need to know what she knows, and time is running out.” I pull on my helmet, start my bike, and speed off in the bar's direction. There is nothing left to watch out here. I have a plan set in place. Now, I just need to tie up some loose ends. By the time I drive up to the bar, the sun is high in the sky, and the only thing keeping me comfortable is the wind while riding. Once I stop, it is instantly unbearable, and so is my profoundly foul mood. I take a deep, calming breath and shake off my scowl. Charming, it’s what she responds to. If I storm in there like a jilted, possessive lover, I’ll come across as a threat, and she’ll bolt. After all, as far as she knows, we’re simply two strangers who have shared a meal and five courses of dessert… once. I shouldn’t know intimate details about her lover's business and personal affairs, and I definitely shouldn’t want to watch him bleed out at my feet. I slip into an unassuming smile and stroll into the bar like it’s just another day, eyes on the bartender like any other patron wandering in off the street for a quick drink after an arduous day at a job they hate, still smelling of stale coffee and withered dreams. “How’s it going, man?” I rap my knuckles against the bar top and slide onto the same off-balanced stool I always use. I enjoy being able to rock slightly, counting the clacking of the shorter leg against

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