“Motherfucker,” he muttered under his breath.

“It’s really not bad,” I assured him. It was a haven. My haven.

“It’s a shithole. Can’t be safe for you here. Hell, Scar, at any moment one of these trailers could blow from a meth lab gone wrong.”

I’d be lying if I hadn’t wondered about the last trailer on the right. They had an abnormal amount of company and I had met the girl who lived there. Her teeth . . . they weren’t exactly healthy. She had said she lived there with her boyfriend.

“I think I’m far enough away from the one potential meth trailer in here,” I replied instead of arguing.

He cursed again, then parked his truck outside my trailer. “This isn’t even a real fucking trailer. It’s a camper.” He was angry.

“Bray,” I said, grabbing his hand that rested on my thigh. “I can afford this place. It’s mine. No one has bothered me here and not once have I felt unsafe.” Unlike every day of my previous life at the house I’d grown up in.

He looked down at me. “Has he been here?” His eyes were bright with jealousy. It was also in his tone.

“If you mean Diesel, no. We are friends. New friends. We didn’t get along at first. But no one other than me has been here.” He didn’t have to be jealous. Not of me. I wasn’t looking for a man. I was looking for solitude. Safety. Security.

“I don’t like him,” Bray said.

That made me laugh. “I imagine you don’t. And I don’t like the numerous girls you sleep with. The ones who show up at weddings they’re not invited to so they can see you.” I used to not say these things to him. I’d take it and I’d fight back by trying to hurt him equally. I was different now.

His hand squeezed my thigh again, then moved up and slapped my vagina.

“OUCH!” I cried out only because that area was already sensitive from being aware he was close.

“That was a fuck up. I hadn’t seen you in seven months. She’d been a drunken hook up I didn’t expect to come after me. But you didn’t give me time to explain.”

He shoved me back in the seat and covered me with his body. “God, Scarlet, what do I have to do to get it through your head all I want is you. The only pussy I want to fuck is yours. I can’t even see their faces. Not one of them. You were all I could see.” His mouth covered mine then, and I wrapped my arms around his shoulders as he sank between my open legs. Even with our clothes on, feeling him against me fully was amazing.

Not once had he claimed to love me.

He never even came close to those three words.

But what he had said was a lot. It was close to admitting it. Could he not say those words? How could I live without him if he ever did? How could I be with him and not tell him everything . . . the things I swore I’d never speak of. If he knew he’d see me differently. That I couldn’t stand.

Brent had loved me but I never wanted his love. He hadn’t been Bray. I hadn’t been worried about Brent’s emotions because in my head I knew my not loving him was saving him from a darkness he didn’t want. My head would never be right. It would always carry nightmares. The monsters that warped me.

Bray had been stronger. Harder. Held his own darkness. It wasn’t as tangled and deep as mine. He also wasn’t full of joy and wonder like Brent had been. He was the one that saw more.

Bray tasted me like he was starving. The mix of whiskey and mint gum was on his breath and I couldn’t think of a more perfect taste in this world. His mouth left mine and he quickly made his way down my neck to begin taking off my shirt.

“Take me inside,” I said to him gasping for air.

He nodded. “Probably a good idea with the neighbors you have.”

I laughed softly as he sat up pulling me with him. Jerking his door open, he climbed down with his hold still on my hand tugging me out behind him. With his hand tightly clasped over mine, he dragged me to the only door of the trailer. I quickly dug my key out of my purse. My hands were shaking as I fumbled with the lock. Bray took it from me and got it open, then shoved me inside with him plastered against my back.

The door slammed behind him and the lock clicked in place. His eyes were eating me up as he took three long strides then pressed me back against the small table that converted into a bed if I needed an extra one. I expected him to jerk my shirt off. Or my shorts. Or say something about needing to fuck me.

Instead, he held my face in his hands. His eyes held my gaze. “You are the only special thing in my life.”

I was the most damaged thing in his life. He just didn’t realize it.


THIS PLACE WAS a dump. Clean as a damn whistle . . . but a dump. I stared out the window at the main part of the trailer and studied my surroundings in the early morning sun. Scarlet was in the tiny closet she called the bathroom taking a shower. We’d been up most of the night. There wasn’t a square inch of this place I hadn’t fucked her. Not that it was hard. This place was tiny.

Blankets and plastic bags covered some windows in the trailer beside her. Cars were up on bricks, clothes hung on laundry lines, there was even one neighbor who made art with beer cans. They decorated his small porch he’d built.

Shaking my head, I stepped back from the window. I couldn’t look at that shit and be in a good mood when she walked out of that bathroom. It frustrated the hell out of me. Why didn’t she come home?

The door opened to the bathroom and I focused on Scarlet as she exited instead. She stood with a towel wrapped around her. A small unsure smile touched her lips. I had been prepared to convince her not to kick me out this morning. She hadn’t tried though. When she woke up and rolled over on her back to look up at me, it wasn’t regret I saw.

“I have some bread and jelly. The milk is out of date. I normally eat at work,” she said apologetically.

“I think I’d like to eat at your work too. If that’s okay with you.” I wanted to see her work. I also wanted to see Diesel and for him to see me. As much as she claimed they were simply work friends, I could tell by his body language last night that he thought differently.

She chewed her bottom lip nervously. “Okay, but . . . okay.” She changed her mind about whatever it was she wanted to say.

Unable to keep my hands off her I walked over to pull her against me. “I’m not leaving here until you do.” I was trying like hell not to demand she return home. I wanted her to decide on her own.

“What about your job?” she asked.

“I may lose it. But I’m not leaving you here,” I stopped myself before I mentioned the dangerous looking neighbors she had.

A frown creased her brow. “You can’t lose your job.”

“I reckon I can get another one,” I didn’t want to lose my job. I enjoyed it. And there was Satan I didn’t want to leave. But Scarlet was more important than the Mustang.

“I can’t come back,” she said, her voice almost a whisper.

The reason she left was no longer an issue. “Why?” I asked.

She closed her eyes and sighed deeply. I thought she was about to tell me when she stared over my shoulder. Her expression detached. As if she’d checked out and was somewhere else. I’d never seen her do that before. It bothered me. No, it fucking concerned me.

“Scarlet.” She blinked several times after hearing her name, then her gaze shifted back to me.

Tags: Abbi Glines South of the Mason Dixon Romance
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