Chapter Three of Shattered Trust…

Posted Jul 28 2014, 12:01 am

Here’s the next chapter of Shattered Trust – please enjoy!


Chapter Three

Two weeks later…

Liam hauled the last hundred and twenty-pound keg of beer onto the dolly, trucked it through the doors of the Bluebird and into the small room behind the bar. He muscled it next to the other eight kegs the distributor had delivered then paused to wipe the sweat from his eyes.

Never one to dodge hard work, he’d nonetheless been working his ass off since his little chat with the boss lady, to the tune of ten hours a day, six days a week.

He now checked  in the liquor and beer orders every Thursday morning, did food prep, washed dishes and bused tables. In fact he tended bar just twice a week, on Monday and Tuesday, which meant a serious cut in his tips. Even with the extra hours and overtime, his already paper‑thin finances kept getting thinner.

His truck ended up with a dead starter and blown head gasket. The combined repairs were going to cost him almost two grand. Two grand he’d have, in about a year. Shit.

The lone glimmer of fun he had was messing with Kate.

He wouldn’t go so far as to say he was mind-fucking her, just managing to show up where she wasn’t expecting him. He loved seeing bright color jump to her cheeks and how her eyes would widen right before they thinned into a flinty glare. He’d grin and go about his job.

Liam concluded that Kate Landry, while one damn attractive lady, was an absolute control freak, who hated anything different. She’d insisted the karaoke machine be removed and any further discussions about radio ads were permanently crushed. And old? Good God, for being all of maybe ten years older than him, he’d bet a ninety-year-old had more zest for life than she did.

Yeah, she gave new meaning to OCD—Old Crazy Dame. But he was stuck in Trustworthy—and with her—until God knew when.

Aggravation tightened his neck and shoulder muscles. In addition to the long shifts, all the cat-and-mouse he played with Kate made him hungry to play out a real scene with a real bottom. Something that wasn’t going to happen any time soon. He didn’t have the means to get to a club and Sunday, his only day off, was consumed with sleeping and visiting the laundromat.

Of course, being a Top required ultimate control over one’s temper and emotions. Something that would be tough to do when he was this tired. Yet the itch to dominate crawled along his nerve endings.

After restacking and organizing the keg room into a more systematic order, he felt calmer. Nothing like some heavy lifting to relieve tension. He checked his watch. Almost two thirty. No wonder his stomach gnawed against itself. He’d worked straight through since nine that morning. Time for some lunch.

In the kitchen he found Deke already forming ground round into burgers. The older man looked up and gave a brief head nudge of acknowledgement.

Liam nodded back. “I’ll help with the dinner prep as soon as I grab something to eat.”

Deke went back to his task. “Sounds good.”

Liam threw a chicken sandwich down his throat then set about mashing avocados for guacamole, chopping tomatoes and onions for pico de gallo as well as prepping the other vegetables for dinner salads. The work atmosphere was cordial, yetfar from friendly. He knew Deke didn’t trust him. He was an outsider in this tightly knitted group. If their roles were reversed, Liam would be equally as leery.

Once his prep was completed, Liam rinsed the pile of lunch dishes and loaded the industrial dishwasher. Soon Sedona was running dinner orders.

“Hey, Liam,” she said from the server window. “We’re slammed out here. Any chance I can get you to help bus the tables?”

He glanced at the clock. Five forty-five. “Uh, okay. But my shift ends at six thirty. Where’s Ford?”

“He had a problem with one of his kids. He should be in soon.” She picked up an order then hustled back onto the floor.

Snagging a tray, he followed right behind. He’d never seen the Bluebird this busy this early in the evening. Every booth and half the tables were occupied. And Kate had her hands full with a crowded bar.

He saw a group of college girls, who’d become regulars when he bartended, perched on the stools next to the kitchen door. One, a platinum blonde named Candy…Cathy…Crystal…something, perked up when she saw him.

She waved him over, hiking her short skirt higher up her thigh. “Hey! We thought you weren’t working here anymore.”

“Nah. Had my shifts rearranged is all.”

“Well, it’s not nearly as much fun without you behind the bar.” She pouted.

“Thanks. You ladies good on drinks? Or do you need a refill?”

“I’ll take another,” a pretty brunette said. She drained her glass. “Can I get a little bit of real tequila in my margarita this time?”

“Only if your parents are here or you’ve had your twenty-first birthday in the past week.”

“You’re no fun,” she moped.

He clutched his chest in mock distress. “I’m wounded. Y’all know I’m a lot of fun.” He grinned at the collective giggle even though the shrill sound hurt his ears. He looked up to see Kate glowering at him.

She leaned over the bar. “You’re here to work, Romeo. Not make time with the customers.”

Anger heated his skin at the blatant censure. Kate stalked away as the girls took sudden interest in their drinks. He turned and started clearing tables.

He focused on the work, trying to keep his fury corralled. How dare she humiliate him like that? If he didn’t need this fucking job, he’d tell her exactly where she could shove it. And he’d enjoy the hell out of doing it as well. 

By the time Liam stopped to catch his breath, it was nearly nine o’clock. He deposited two used pitchers and four glasses at the bar server station. “I thought Ford was coming in.”

Kate didn’t even glance up from where she was rinsing glasses. “Both his kids have the flu. I told him to take the night off.”

“Really?” he ground out. “And when were you going to tell me this?”

She stared at him, her lips crimped almost into a smile. “Is there a problem? I thought you wanted the extra money.”

Liam lassoed his temper. He knew her game. She wanted to piss him off in hopes of getting him to quit. He wasn’t about to make it so easy for her. He gave her a sincere grin. “I do. Thanks for thinking about me.”

He took the tray and headed back to the floor, but not before he saw the grimace on Kate’s face. The bar stayed sufficiently busy for the rest of the night which didn’t allow for any further conversation between him and his boss.

After closing, he wiped down the tables and stacked the chairs then mopped the kitchen floor. Done with all the chores, he shambled out to the bar, his back and legs aching from being on his feet for so long, to find Kate totaling up the receipts from the register. “Anything else before I get outta here?”

“No. Have a good night.”

“You, too.” He headed for the door.

“Oh, wait,” she said. “Tomorrow I need you to put the keg room back the way it was.”

He pulled to a stop and looked over his shoulder. “Why?”

“Because I don’t like the changes you made.”

His shoulders stiffened. “But since we run out of the domestic beers faster than the imports, it makes sense for them to be in front.”

“I disagree.” She pivoted to replace a tequila bottle on the shelf. “So please do as I say and put it back the way it was.”

Liam stared at her, and unleashed his anger. He could only take so much of her bullshit. The way he organized the keg room was infinitely more logical, and she knew it. She was just executing a power play.

Well, he thought darkly, two can play that game. He stalked toward the bar.

Her head jerked in his direction. “I thought you were going home.”

“Not until we get a few things settled.”


Kate fortified her backbone and doggedly clung to some semblance of control. But with Liam, that was a tall order.

She realized she’d been pushing him, goading him by insisting he work extra shifts, insulting him in front of those girls, all with the hope he’d quit. No luck.

With a sniff, she presented her back to him. “And what things do you believe need to be settled?” She infused as much coolness as she could into her tone.

“Oh, lots of things.”

The nearness of his voice whipped her around. He stood close—very close—to her. So close she could see the dove gray flecks swimming in his sea-green eyes. She wanted to be strong, to stand up to him, but his presence gobbled up all the oxygen, and she couldn’t breathe.

She gulped for air and spun away, but his arm rifled out, cutting off her escape. He stood right behind her, trapping her. The metal edge of the sink dug into her hip.

Her pulse rapped out an erratic beat. She hunched her shoulders to make herself smaller, to make sure he didn’t touch her, and stared at his hand. It looked burly, with a light dusting of hair on his knuckles, and able to inflict damage. A lot of damage. “Move back.” She hated that her voice shook.

“But you asked me a question.” His voice, so low and so hard, roiled her stomach. “And it’d be rude not to answer it, right?” His breath wafted over the nape of her neck. “Right?”

His steel-edged voice weakened her knees. Tears gathered in her eyes. Her breaths came faster. It felt like the elephant from that asthma commercial was parked on her chest. “I said to move back.”

“Make me move,” he purred into her ear.

She pressed her lips together to keep from crying out. Her entire body quaked.

“What’s the matter? Cat got your tongue?”

Stars crowded her vision. Her mouth dried up.

“You’re all about ordering me around like I’m your little bitch. So order me now. Go on. I dare you. Make. Me. Move.”

Blackness swallowed her, and she was falling…down…down. Into an endless abyss.

“Red light…”



Liam’s expletive echoed harshly in the vacant bar. He scooped Kate tight to his chest to keep her from banging her head on the counter. Off balance, he fell backwards, landing with a spine‑rattling thump on the hard floor. Air whooshed from his lungs in a single, painful exhale.

For a moment, he simply sat there, with Kate sprawled across him, the top of her head right below his chin and her ponytail pressing into his sternum, processing what just occurred.

Kate Landry, his boss and major pain in his ass, said a safe word. He definitely hadn’t seen that one coming.

She trembled in his arms. He couldn’t see her face, but he did notice the sweat beading on her forehead.

Reaching up, he snatched a clean bar towel and clumsily wiped her face. He tapped her cheek. “Kate? Can you hear me?”

With a groan, she shifted, and her elbow came dangerously close to his junk. He angled onto his side to protect his groin, and tucked her into the crook of his arm. Her head lolled to the side. He lightly brushed away the strands of her hair that fell across her face. The dark circles under her eyes and the pasty color in her face didn’t diminish her beauty, just like the tiny wrinkles at the corners of her eyes enhanced her attractiveness rather than detract from it.

“Kate,” he said firmly. “I need you to wake up.”

Her eyelashes fluttered then slowly opened. She gazed at him with glassy eyes. He knew the instant she realized the situation.

Her blue eyes expanded with terror. She jerked and rolled away, almost bashing her temple on the bottom of the mini refrigerator handle.

He grasped her shoulders to keep her safe. “Easy. You’re gonna hurt yourself.”

“Let me go.”

The demand was little more than a raspy, whispered croak.

He released her, his hands raised as though in surrender. She pushed against his abdomen, her thumbs grazing his belt and her body undulating until she was on the other side of the narrow space. She stared at him. Her cheeks billowed with each of her rapid breaths.

Very cautiously, Liam stood. Her overly bright gaze followed his every movement. Once on his feet, he extended his hand to help her. Her expression said she’d rather touch a poisonous snake. He backed up to the end of bar.

 She moved onto her knees, gripped the counter for purchase and managed to get to her feet. She swayed, a hand to her forehead and lurched into the liquor bottles. Several wobbled. In the next blink, he was beside her.

She yanked from his hold. “Don’t…t…touch…m…m…me.”

“Then don’t crash into the booze.” He quieted his tone. “Take it easy. You’re gonna hyperventilate. Take slow breaths. Like this.” He inhaled deeply and blew out the air between his pursed lips. “Now you.”

She gaped at him, tears tracking silently down her face. Her enormous pupils consumed her dark blue irises as she continued to pant.

“C’mon, Kate. Take a deep breath.”

Still nothing.

“I said to take a deep breath.”

He injected authority into his voice. Her eyes grew rounder and bigger. But she followed his instructions and her breathing evened out.

“Okay. Good.”

She trembled as he carefully positioned her against the counter. He loosened his hold, but his hands lingered near her shoulders in case she toppled to the floor. “I’m getting you some water.”

He hastily filled a glass and handed it to her. She stared at it, slightly bent at the waist and her arms wound tightly around herself.

He gently pried her fingers free and pressed the glass into her palm. “Drink. It’ll help.”

Her hand shook so much, the water sloshed out.

“Here.” He held the very bottom of the glass and tipped it to her lips.

Her teeth clattered against the rim as she took two tiny sips.

He set the glass down and gave his most reassuring smile. “Good.”

As benignly as he could, he wrapped an arm around her shoulders. She recoiled like he’d punched her.

“C’mon,” he soothed. “Let’s go sit down.”

She shuffled beside him, shivering to the point where she almost couldn’t walk. After one-handing a chair to the ground, he sat her in it then dashed back behind the bar to scrounge through the lost and found for something heavier for her to wear. Shock was setting in.

Jesus Christ…he’d been such dick. Yeah, she’d been pushing his buttons big time, but he should’ve had better control over himself. He was a Top for crissakes. Control was his mantra. Shame and guilt swamped him.

Grabbing an oversized Texas A&M sweatshirt, he noticed the coffee pot was still on. He poured a half a cup then rushed back to Kate. She hadn’t moved an inch.

“Here.” He draped the sweatshirt over her shoulders. “And take this.” He helped mold her shaking fingers around the mug. “I wouldn’t suggest you drink any,” he kidded. “But holding the cup might help to warm you up. Where are your keys?”

She stared up at him. “M…my keys?”

He barely heard the murmured words, but at least she was talking.

“Yes. I’ll drive you home.”

She started to stand. “No. Hafta close.” She plopped back onto the hard seat.

“I’ll walk back and finish up. You’re going home. No argument,” he added in a sterner tone when she opened her mouth.

Kate flattened her lips into a mulish line and narrowed her gaze.

Liam grinned to himself. She was feeling better. “So…your keys?”

“In my purse…in the office.”

“Be right back.”

When he returned, she’d donned the sweatshirt. Thankfully, a little color had reappeared in her cheeks. He extracted her key ring and set her purse on the table.

She pushed to her feet, slanting away before he could assist her. “It’s not necessary for you to take me home. I’m feeling better.” She tossed her head, and she dropped back into the chair.

“Yeah. You’re peachy.”

She glared at him.

“Look, I’m not letting you drive in this condition. You’re weak and your heart is racing.”

“How do you know my heart is racing?”

“Your pulse is hammering so hard at your throat, I can see it from here.”

She pulled the sweatshirt tighter around her neck.

“You’re not driving. Period.”

“But I’m fine. Really.”

He peered at her. “You don’t want me to know where you live, do you?”

Two spots of blazing red sprang to her white cheeks. “It’s not that—”

“Good.” He pointed to the door. “Let’s go.”



1 Comment


One response to “Chapter Three of Shattered Trust…”

  1. Beth says:

    This is great stuff! Thanks for sharing this; can’t wait for the finished product.

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