“Let’s get a drink,” Dallas suggested.

“You’re not old enough to drink,” I told him.

He grinned. “Neither are you.”

“Maybe we should get a soda or punch,” I replied.

“Yeah, you’re right. If Momma catches me with a beer, she’ll be pissed.”

She absolutely would. I nodded my head in agreement.

“Dixie was really happy to see you. I believe I delivered the best wedding gift here. Thanks for coming.”

I smiled up at Dallas. “I was your wedding gift?”

He nodded. “Hell yeah, you were. And a damn hard one to achieve.”

He was proud of himself for getting me here. I was thankful he’d talked me into coming. He was right. Dixie wanted me here. If I thought about the distance I had put between us, the guilt came back. She hadn’t deserved my ignoring her calls and text.

Once again, I had been selfish. Seemed to be my thing. I had to change that too. Think about others first and myself last.

“Scarlet, we need to talk,” Brent said stepping in front of us as we reached the drink table.

“Don’t do this,” Dallas said to him. “This is Dixie’s day. Back off.”

Brent glared at him. “I’m aware of that, but I’m not asking to cause a fucking scene right here in the middle of everyone. I am asking to go somewhere alone and talk. There are some things I need to say.”

“And she’s aware of all you need to say. She knows what happened and her part in it. Go find Sadie,” Dallas told him.

“Fuck off, Dallas,” Brent snarled. “No one asked you to get in the middle of this.”

I had to do something before that scene they were talking about not having blew up.

“It’s fine. You want to talk, Brent. We can talk,” I said stopping them from going any further. “Dallas get your drink. Let me get this over with. He has a right to tell me whatever he wants to. I was the one in the wrong. Not Brent.”

Dallas didn’t look convinced. “I promised Dixie I would protect you from this shit.”

“You can tell her I agreed to it if she asks,” I tried to reassure him. Then I glanced at Brent. “Lead the way.”

Brent didn’t reply. He turned and headed for the back of his house. I followed with one last smile at Dallas. He was worried. There was no reason to be. I wasn’t scared of Brent. I dreaded what he had to say, but he wasn’t like Bray. They were complete opposites. Brent was the guy who would love completely. The one you could trust to cherish you. I had thrown that away for the wild look in Bray’s eyes.

Heat. I felt it. The warmth that filled my veins. A tingle that went down my spine. Turning my head my eyes locked with Bray’s. He was watching me. His dark gaze following me as I left with Brent. Excitement came quickly and left. That look had been one that came before moments with him I would never forget. Right now, it meant something else. He wasn’t about to give me the orgasm of my life, he was angry.

For once I wasn’t using Brent to make him jealous or get his attention. I was giving Brent the satisfaction of telling me how much he hated me. How awful I was. What a terrible person I was. That was all I was doing. I tried to relay that with my eyes, but I doubted it worked. Bray didn’t know me like that. He hadn’t taken time to get to know me other than my clothes being off, his dick in my mouth, or pumping into me while I screamed his name begging him to never stop. That was all Bray knew about me. My willingness to do whatever he asked of me.

I tore my eyes off the man that I’d let own me. I had been looking for some sort of acceptance. To be owned. He seemed like the man to do it. I shook my head to clear that thought.

I continued following his brother who was stalking toward their barn. Yet another barn with another Sutton boy. Seemed to be the theme of the day. Hopefully, Brent would walk away, done with me like his brother had. Then I could truly put this behind me.

He stopped before we reached the barn. Swung around to face me. “He’ll be here in a few seconds. I don’t have much time,” Brent said looking disgusted.

If he meant Bray, I knew he was wrong. Bray was done. We’d had our ending.

“I know you came for Dixie. When I first saw you, I was furious. After calming down, I realized it wasn’t about Bray or me. It was for Dixie. If it had been about either of us, you’d have come back sooner.”

I simply nodded. I was waiting on the cursing and name calling.

“What you did . . . I almost let it destroy Bray and me. I hated him. Blamed him. One day, I realized I loved my brother more than I ever loved you. I had to forgive. Move on. You were gone. Bray was in a dark place with his issues. Bray isn’t like me. Hell, he isn’t like the rest of us. He’s twisted in a way we all have to accept. What he did shouldn’t have surprised me. What you did, however, was shocking. Painful.”

I started to say I was sorry because I was. But he held up his hand to stop me from speaking. “Let me get this all out. I don’t need you to speak. I’ve heard enough from you already.”

He spoke to me as if I were the most distasteful thing he’d ever experienced. That stung.

“I found happiness again. I found real happiness. Sadie loves me. Really loves me. She doesn’t give Bray longing glances like I’d seen you do. I had refused to believe. I saw hints. I just didn’t want to think it was true. It was my fault for ignoring the obvious too.

“I feel sorry for you. Bray doesn’t love. His world revolves around lust and taking what feels good. What he wants. You fell into that and got sucked right in. He used you for his pleasure. It was as unfair to you as it was to me. But again, I love my brother. I can forgive his insanity. As for you, there is no forgiveness. I have nothing to forgive. I only feel pity for you.”

He stopped talking.

I stood there waiting for him to say more, but he was done. I opened my mouth to say something, but no words came. He felt sorry for me. He had no idea. My loving Bray was the last thing he should pity. There were more painful things. Things he’d never know.

We had something in common

“I do too,” I finally replied.

He frowned “What?”

I shrugged. “We agree on something. I feel sorry for me too. Now, if you’re done I’d like to return to the party.”

Brent didn’t reply right away. He had thought his words would hurt me. Cause tears or drama. That Scarlet was no more. After a few moments, he simply nodded.

“Goodbye, Brent. And for what it is worth I am happy you found love. The real kind,” I didn’t stay to hear his response or see his expression. I walked away. Back to the tent. One more door to the past closed firmly behind me.


EIGHT MINUTES AND fifteen seconds. That’s how long Scarlet had been talking to Brent. I shouldn’t have been timing them. I shouldn’t have fucking cared, but I did.

Scarlet came back from behind the house first. Her chin once again lifted up a notch and her shoulders straight. She looked determined. I watched her as she scanned the crowd. She turned and walked toward the drinks. Her eyes had skipped right past me. She’d known I was here and it had been a deliberate move. One that made me smile despite myself.

There had always been a fire about Scarlet that drew me in. She threw caution to the wind and did exactly what she wanted. Went after the thrill and excitement in life. I appreciated that. I wanted to get a taste of it. Tame her.

Tags: Abbi Glines South of the Mason Dixon Romance
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