FREE read from Shattered Trust

Posted Jul 21 2014, 12:01 am

Greetings!

Please enjoy this FREE read of my upcoming release, Shattered Trust, do out August 13th…

 

Chapter One

Sitting ramrod straight, Kathryn Landry clenched her hands into bloodless fists in her lap and stared out the taxi window. Anxiety scurried over her skin like fire ants. When her second pride and joy, the Bluebird Saloon and Grill, finally came into view, she exhaled the breath she swore she’d been holding for more than two weeks.

“Pull around back,” she instructed the driver.

The usual forty minute drive from the San Antonio airport to Trustworthy, Texas, had taken less than half that time, probably because traffic was light to nonexistent at eleven on a Thursday night. With surprise, she noted the Bluebird parking lot was nearly full. She didn’t think so many people lived in all of Trustworthy.

It’s almost closing time…what on earth is going on?

Sedona Landry, Kate’s first pride and joy—and the instigator behind her banishment to a Caribbean cruise ship—had been left in charge of the Bluebird. While Kate had the utmost confidence in her twenty-two-year old daughter…really, she did…things went horribly awry when the ship lost all engine power in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, trapping the passengers and crew on board.

For almost two days, visions of the sinking Titanic and a burnt down Bluebird cluttered Kate’s head. Finally partial power was restored and the S.S. Minnow limped back to the Jamaican capital of Kingston, taking another three, interminable days.

Just when Kate thought her nightmarish holiday was almost over, she discovered there weren’t any direct flights from Jamaica to Texas. How stupid was that? The Fête Cruise Line offered the passengers a weekend stay at a five-star hotel as compensation, but Kate had said no thanks. She hopped on the first flight out of Kingston, a red-eye to Miami. She then made a connecting flight to Houston, and finally one to San Antonio. When everything was said and done, her supposed five-day sunny “vacation” had turned into eleven days of misery and worry. But so long as the Bluebird was still standing, she wasn’t about to complain—too much.

The taxi stopped in the ring of light cast by the tall security pole at the rear of the bar. She dug out her wallet for the fare. Once the cabbie hauled her suitcase from the trunk, she handed over the bills. “Thanks so much.”

His round face split into a grin once he realized the extent of his tip. “Gracias, señora.” He bobbed his head and slid behind the wheel. “Muchas gracias.”

Kate rolled her bag to her late model sedan, parked right where she’d left it, and hit the key fob. Stuffing her luggage and carry-on into the back seat, her shoulders protested the movement. She flinched as the unwanted memory of how her shoulders were injured burbled to the surface.  Ignoring it, she tossed her purse into the car, shut the door then leaned against the cool metal and stared out into the blackness beyond the circle of illumination. The muffled noise from the jukebox inside mingled with the singing crickets in the tall grasses as a light May breeze fluttered strands of her hair against her cheek.

Home. She inhaled a breath and dropped her head back to look at the star-studded sky. It felt so good to be home.

Not that she didn’t appreciate her daughter, employees and a few of her more loyal patrons pooling their resources to send her on a cruise as a belated birthday gift. But next time she hoped the anniversary of her birth passed as it had for years, without any acknowledgment from anyone.

She walked around her car and dragged open the heavy metal door which led into the Bluebird kitchen. The familiar scent of fried chicken and grilled onions unwound her muscles. With her head down, she almost barreled into Deke Marshall, the full-time biker and part-time short order cook and bouncer. She recoiled, her heart thundering against her ribcage.

Deke reached out to steady her, then quickly withdrew his hand. His weathered, yet handsome face registered shock. “Boss, you finally made it back. Welcome home.”

Kate swallowed, trying to appear unruffled. “Um, thanks.” Her forehead pleated. “What are you still doing here?”

“Dinner was slammed so we kept the kitchen open until ten. Just finished up.” He wiped a hand over his bald head and stepped to the side so she could enter the kitchen. “I thought Sedona said something about you staying in Jamaica for the weekend.”

She squeezed by him to her cubbyhole office and grabbed the clipboard with the produce orders off her metal desk. “I decided I’d had enough vacationing to last a while.”

He leaned a shoulder against the doorjamb. “Did you at least have fun? I mean before the whole lost-at-sea thing.”

“Yeah. Sure. It was great,” she muttered, concentrating on the pages rather than the conversation.

“Uh huh.”

She met his stare. “I did,” she insisted.

She set down the clipboard and headed past the walk-in refrigerator to the swinging doors that separated the kitchen from the bar. “What’s been going on around here that’s got so many cars in the parking lot?”

When Deke didn’t answer, she stopped and turned. His lips twitched back and forth. She knew that look, that half grin, half grimace.

She crossed her arms. “All right. Spill.”

He feigned innocence. “Spill what?”

“Whatever changes have been made that I’m not gonna like.”

Any hint of humor fled Deke’s face. “Shit, Kate.” Her frown deepened at his profanity. He wiped a beefy hand down his face. “Sorry.”

She softened her stance. “I’m gone for a couple of weeks and your language goes to heck.”

He graced her with a boyish grin. For such a big guy, he had the sweetest smile. “You know, change isn’t always a bad thing, boss.”

According to whom?

Change was Kate’s kryptonite. She hated it more than anything. “But a change was made, right?” she insisted.

“It’s not for me to say.” He grabbed his leather jacket and shrugged it on. “Sedona’s out front. She’s who you need to talk to. See ya tomorrow.” He strolled out the back door.

Kate scowled at his retreating back then huffed a breath. She pivoted and straight-armed her way through the dual doors.

Without the wall as a buffer, the jukebox music rattled against her breastbone. The Bluebird was indeed packed—and on a Thursday. That usually only occurred when the rodeo came to town. The solid wood bar stood to her immediate right with every stool occupied and people milling two-deep waiting to order.

She noticed a good number of the customers were college-age kids. Great. With Deke gone, no one was carding people at the door. Thank goodness she’d drilled into her employees the importance of checking IDs. No way would anyone underage get served alcohol in her place.

Kate craned her neck to see how the bartender, Simon, was faring. While he did a decent job mixing drinks, he hated big crowds. He had to be going out of his mind tonight. She caught a glimpse of the back of a Bluebird t-shirt and jeans. Sure didn’t look like Simon, not from this angle anyway. She refocused on the room.

All the center tables were full, as were the booths. Couples mingled around the two pool tables off to her left and the crack of ball hitting ball could be heard over the rest of the din.

She spotted Sedona across the room, a tray in her hand and chatting up the people in booth five. Watching her daughter, pure satisfaction filled Kate’s chest.

Though the circumstances of Sedona’s birth and upbringing had been far from perfect, she’d turned out fine. Great, in fact. She’d just received her bachelor’s degree from the San Antonio Business College, having graduated with honors and in the top one percent of her class. Not bad for a twenty-two-year-old raised by a single mom who came to Trustworthy with nothing but eight dollars in her wallet and all her possessions crammed into one tattered suitcase.

Kate skulked along the paneled wall. She wanted to observe the workings of her employees without her presence being detected. It was one thing to behave when the “boss” was around, and quite another if no one noticed she was there.

Ford, her busboy, balanced a precariously stacked tray on one hand and hustled to the bar. It was a wonder he didn’t trip on a chair leg and fall flat on his face. It was also a mystery why Simon didn’t have the twenty -year-old working with him. With a crowd this thick, Simon always required Ford’s barbacking expertise. Given that tonight was super busy, it was definitely puzzling.

She rose up on her tiptoes to see over the heads of the patrons standing in front of the bar. Maybe the “change” at the Bluebird was Simon getting a personality replacement. She grinned at the thought of Simon coping with spilled beer and a sink full of dirty glasses. Though he was a few years older than Kate, his behavior would put an old woman to shame.

Blond hair flashed between two Stetsons, and Kate’s grin withered. Thanks to Just For Men hair dye, Simon had jet black hair and was six two. The realization slammed into her that, regardless of the number of customers in front of her, she should have been able to see him.

Then, like the Red Sea had parted for the Hebrews, the sea of people in front of her parted. But unlike the Hebrews, Kate didn’t see salvation. She saw a stranger. Correction. An extremely attractive stranger.

He was obviously shorter than Simon, and younger, by ten years if not more. But his age and height weren’t detriments to handling the crowd. In fact, he appeared in complete control of the bar, and its patrons.

He set a frilly drink in front of a woman, added a splash of Grand Marnier with one hand while setting up four highball glasses with the other. He poured ice into the glasses, grabbed bottles off the shelf behind the bar and proceeded to mix the requested drinks. He then leaned in to listen to something the woman was saying to him.

A few days growth of beard failed to cover his sharp cheekbones and strong chin. It also emphasized his full lips. Whiskey blond hair fell across his forehead and almost into his eyes. Kate had the impulsive desire to know the color of those eyes. Handsome couldn’t begin to describe him. For an inexplicable reason, she felt drawn to him. Then he smiled.

And the room spun.

It wasn’t just any smile, it was a dazzling smile. A megawatt smile packed with enough electricity to power the Dallas Cowboys stadium. It was the kind of smile a man saved for a special occasion, like his wedding day or gazing at his child for the first time.

It was the kind of smile Kate had never received—ever—in all her forty-two years. The reckless urge to rush over and shove the woman aside so she could bask in the warmth of the bartender’s smile tightened her muscles.

What? No!

For more than two decades, Kate had built not just a wall, but a fortress around herself. An iron tank that no one, save Sedona, had breached. And now, in less than sixty seconds, she was waxing poetic about a stranger from “across a crowded room?” And a younger man to boot. What was wrong with her?

But she couldn’t deny there was something familiar and disturbingly…appealing about him. And it wasn’t just his good looks. It was the way he carried himself. The set of his shoulders and the direct look he gave each customer. This was a man very comfortable in his skin. Someone who possessed the utmost confidence in himself. Someone in control. A shiver danced down her spine and her stomach cramped.

Before she could contemplate the new bartender further, Sedona stepped into her line of sight, fracturing Kate’s reverie.

“Mom?” Sedona’s tray clattered onto a nearby table, and Kate fought not to cringe as her daughter hauled her into a fierce hug. She jerked Kate to arm’s length. “What are you doing here?”

Gazing into the same color eyes that stared back at her in the morning mirror, Kate quirked an eyebrow. “I own this place, remember?”

“Yes, but the cruise line said you weren’t coming home until Sunday night.”

Kate extricated herself from Sedona’s grasp. “What’s the matter? Aren’t you glad to see me?”

Sedona playfully swatted the air. “You know I am.” She towed Kate to a vacant table and pressed her into a chair. “Tell me everything about your trip. Was it wonderful? Did you take lots of pictures?” Sedona sat next to her.

“It was fine, honey. Where’s Simon?”

Sedona’s face fell. “Fine? That’s the word you use to describe a Caribbean cruise? You say the weather is fine or you’re feeling fine. Not a cruise to exotic islands.”

Kate narrowed her eyes. “What do you want me to say? It supposed to be a five day trip, not two weeks.”

Sedona rolled her eyes. “Oh, good grief, Mom. You weren’t gone two weeks. And who complains about having a longer vacation? Oh, that’s right. My mother, the workaholic.” She picked at her fingernails. “I really thought you’d have fun. You deserve that, you know,” she added in a dejected tone.

Guilt jabbed Kate. “I’m sorry, honey. I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. The trip was…nice.”

Another famous eye roll. “First fine and now nice. Way to sound grateful, Mom.”

Kate inhaled a deep breath to calm her rising irritation. “Enough about my trip. What I want to know is, where’s Simon?”

“He quit.”

Kate shot upright in her chair. “What? When?”

“I found a note after taking you to the airport. Do you believe that? A note. No notice. Nothing. Just boom, he quit. I think he might have been waiting for you to leave before ditching us.” She snorted. “The asshole didn’t even have the stones to call.”

Kate scowled. “Sedona. Such language.”

“Oh for Christ’s sake, Mom.”

Sedona.”

Her daughter slumped in her chair, her fingers intertwined, her legs stretched out, and her feet jiggling. It was the same mutinous posture she’d assume as a teenager whenever she got admonished for cussing. Kate understood her personal obsession with curse words and profanity was old-fashioned. But habits so deeply…ingrained by her minister father were tough—if not impossible—to break. She tipped her head to the bar. “So tell me about him.”

Sedona looked over her shoulder at the new bartender then straightened, her eyes shining bright. “His name is Liam St. James. He came in looking for work the day after Simon quit. I swear to Go—I’m telling you, the day after Simon quit. It was like Karma or something.”

Kate’s gaze returned to Liam St. James. “I’d definitely say it was something,” she muttered.

He moved with effortless efficiency, mixing, pouring, engaging. Not a single action was wasted. Again, Kate felt pulled to him, like iron shavings to a magnet. And again, his demeanor rankled her memory. She looked back to Sedona. “Now that I’m back, he won’t be full-time.”

Her daughter’s face fell. “Really, Mom? Can’t we find a way to keep him on full-time? He’s only staying for about month anyway. And the customers really like him. Plus he’s got all these great marketing ideas. He suggested the karaoke machine—”

“What? Since when do we have a karaoke machine?”

“Since last week. Liam found this place in San Antonio that rents that kind of equipment. Tonight’s our third night doing it, but we’ve been packed.” Sedona’s arm swept the interior. “See? Liam also agreed we should do radio advertisements.”

“You know we can’t afford radio ads, honey.”

“But it’d be money well spent. Let people know about us.” She looked back at him with a wistful sigh. “He so smart and handsome. Such a dreamboat.”

The yearning in her daughter’s voice switched Kate’s mom radar to high alert. Gone were all thoughts of karaoke and radio ads as well as her own confusing attraction to the new bartender. “Honey, are you…interested in him?”

Sedona sighed again and tracked Liam with her gaze. “Who wouldn’t be?”

“But he’s a lot older than you.”

“So what? It’s just a few years.”

“A few years? Try ten, or more.”

Sedona met Kate’s stare and frowned. “Oh, jeez, Mom. Relax. Liam’s a great guy. But he told me he doesn’t mix business and pleasure.” She giggled. “Must mean I’d please him, huh?”

Kate’s mouth fell open. She did not like this starry-eyed opinion Sedona held toward Mr. Dreamboat. But before she could expound about the dangers of getting involved with an older man, Ford walked up.

“Hey, Miz Kate, you’re back early. How was the cruise?”

Kate forced a smile, wishing people would stop asking about her blasted trip. “It was fine. How are those two babies of yours?”

Ford Washington had been working at the Bluebird since he was seventeen and dropped out of school to marry his pregnant girlfriend. After baby number two was born, Zoe abruptly decided she was too young to be married with kids, and left. Kate knew men three times older than Ford who didn’t own a fraction of his maturity.

He wiped his hands on his apron. “Abel fell and sliced open his chin. No stitches though. And Emery’s teething, so she’s not the happiest of campers.” He looked at Sedona. “The babysitter texted me. Guess Em’s running a fever. Okay if I bail?”

Sedona stood and restacked the glasses on her tray. “Sure.”

Kate rose and shooed away her daughter’s hands. “Why don’t you go home too, honey? It’s almost midnight. I’ll help close up.”

Sedona scrunched her face. “We haven’t been closing at midnight during the week, but staying open until two.”

“Why change in the schedule?”

“Because the crowds have been like this almost every night since you’ve been gone. We’ve even opened up the back room on the weekends. Haven’t we, Ford?”

Ford nodded, untying his apron. “Yup. It’s been busy, Miz Kate, that’s for sure. I’ll see you both tomorrow.”

“’Night, Ford.”

“Yeah. See ya, Ford.” Sedona looked at Kate. “I can close, Mom. You must be exhausted.”

“Not really.” Kate pulled her hair into a ponytail. “I napped on the plane and am probably too keyed up to sleep anyway. You go. You haven’t taken a night off since I left, have you?”

Sedona scoffed. “This coming from a woman who never took a day off her whole entire life.”

Kate sniffed. “That’s an exaggeration and you know it.”

“Not by much. But if you’re sure…”

“I am. Mr. Dreamboat and I can handle things.”

Sedona flattened her lips. “Mom…be nice to him.”

Kate stared at her. “When have you ever known me to not be nice?”

“True…” Sedona pulled off her half-apron and handed it to Kate. “Want me to introduce you to Liam before I leave?”

“No need, honey.” Kate quickly tied the strings and hefted the tray onto her left hand.

“Let me get that, Mom. It’s super heavy.”

Kate waved her free hand. “Nonsense. See you in the morning, honey.”

Sedona eyed her before shrugging and kissing her cheek. “’Night, Mom.” She headed toward the kitchen door then turned back. “By the way, I’m really glad you’re home.”

Kate smiled. “Me too.” More than you know.

The crowd had thinned somewhat so Kate skirted the perimeter of the still-occupied tables, collecting more discarded glasses in her right hand on her way to the server station at the far end of the bar.

“Hello, Kate.”

The male voice behind her lurched her steps. She spun around, almost dumping everything she held to the floor. Moses Weatherly, the owner of the solitary mechanic’s shop in Trustworthy stood there.

“Moses,” she gasped. “You scared the daylights outta me.”

“Sorry, Katie.”

She fought not to scowl. Moses knew she hated that nickname. Of course he only used it when he’d been drinking.

He weaved toward her on slightly unsteady feet. “How was your little boat trip? Heard you got stranded.”

She shifted away, maneuvering behind the protection of a table. “Uh, yeah. But it was fine. Sedona told me you made a contribution to the cause. I appreciate your thoughtfulness.”

“Ah. It wasn’t nuthin’.” He swiped his finger through some liquid on the table and edged closer. “I wanted to buy a ticket for myself. Wouldn’t that have been fun? The two of us on a cruise?”

Revulsion shuddered through Kate as she moved to keep the table between them. Moses was nice…really nice, but the thought of being locked on a ship with him or any man made her queasy. “Yeah…fun.”

“And then to get marooned on a tropical island…together. Sounds like one of those chick flicks, huh?”

“Except nobody actually got marooned. We had a little engine trouble is all.”

He lifted his shoulders. “In any case, I didn’t have anyone to take over for me at the shop so I couldn’t go.”

“I understand that. It was nice to see you, but I should—”

“Say, did you go swimming with the fishes in the Caribbean Sea?” He chuckled at his joke.

“Um, no. I stayed on the ship.”

She continued to circle away from him even as frustration chomped at her. Why couldn’t she be normal? For once in her life? Why couldn’t she stand beside a man and have a normal conversation instead of hiding behind furniture?

This was Moses—a man she’d known for years. But the thought of being next to him, of him being close enough to…touch her…constricted her chest so tight, she almost couldn’t breathe.

Her arm shook and her shoulder ached from the weight of the tray. Finally, when they circumnavigated the table, she made a break for the bar.

“Have a good night, Moses,” she said over her shoulder.

Halfway to her destination, her shoulder gave out. She hurried her pace, not wanting to drop the load and make a complete spectacle of herself. With five steps to go, her feet tangled together. The momentum propelled her forward. The tray crash-landed on the floor with a tremendous boom.

The silence roared in Kate’s ears, then applause and several hoots broke out. So much for not being a spectacle.

Heat flared in her cheeks. She fell to her knees and tossed busted pieces of glassware onto the tray. A pair of white athletic shoes instantly appeared in her line of sight.

“Are you all right?”

A rich, baritone voice floated over her. She nodded, but didn’t glance up. She knew it was Liam and hoped he would leave her to her embarrassment.

“Are you sure?” Muscled legs packed in faded jeans squatted in front of her.

“Yes.” She cleared the squeak from her voice. “I’m fine. Just clumsy.”

“You’re Kate, right? Sedona’s mom?” He wiped his hand on his pant leg then stuck it out to her. “I’m Liam.”

She ignored the gesture, still not looking at him. “I know. Nice to meet you.”

He slowly curled in his fingers then helped pick up the broken glass. “Where’s Ford? I thought he was closing with me.”

“He had babysitting issues so he went home early. Oh!”

A razor-sharp shard jabbed the flesh at the base of her thumb.

“Here.” Liam whipped out a bar towel from his back pocket. “It’s clean.”

She pressed the cloth to her throbbing palm and inelegantly got to her feet. With graceful ease, he stood and put out his hands to assist her. She angled away then made the fatal error of gazing into Liam St. James’ mossy green eyes.

And her world zeroed down to nothingness.

She’d seen that expression before—many times. Too many times. Her stomach heaved.

It was a disconnected watchfulness. The detached observation one might give when passing car accident or watching a dog with three legs attempt to walk. It took her back to her youth. To a time when she’d been young and in love, and horribly abused. And then even more horribly betrayed. Twice.

Liam’s forehead wrinkled. “Are you okay? You’re white as a sheet.” He again reached for her. “How deep is that cut?”

She stumbled back. “I said I was fine.” Panic whetted her tone. She veered around the scattered debris, never taking her gaze off him. “Time for last call.”

His eyebrows veed. “With so many people still here?”

Kate inwardly clasped her resolve around herself and held his stare. “Yes.” With as much dignity as she could muster, she marched through the kitchen doors.

Alone, she sagged against the wall then slowly crumpled into a heap on the floor. Her hands trembled and her heart raced. Bile splashed the back of her throat. She swallowed repeatedly.

She now knew precisely who—or better what—Liam St. James was. A predator. A user of people, especially young, naïve people. He sought out the vulnerable and killed their spirit, feeding off the destruction of their sensitive souls. That explained his mysterious appeal.

She’d been full of life and enthusiasm once. But she’d been taken advantage of by another predator, a vile man who murmured tender words, yet did the cruelest deeds.

Despite the pleasure Kate had found at his contemptible hands, she learned the hard lesson to never trust any man again. And she hadn’t. For more than twenty years, she’d guarded herself and her daughter from the likes of Liam St. James. She hadn’t had a protector when she was young, but Sedona did. Sedona had her. No way was her daughter falling victim like she had. And neither would Kate allow herself to be duped again.

Determination flooded her veins. She stood and walked into her tiny office for the first aid kit. She understood exactly what she had to do in order to keep Sedona—and herself—safe.

~*~

Liam rang the solid brass bell, which hung over the cash register, twice. “Last call, folks.”

He disregarded the groan of the crowd. It wasn’t his fault they were closing two hours early. He was the one getting screwed out of tip money. He drew a tap beer for a guy and thought about his “boss.”

He’d heard stories about the puritanical Kate Landry. About how her father had been some kind of a zealous preacher. Yet she owned a bar, and as far as he knew, had never been married—but had a daughter. Apparently this puritan was also a hypocrite.

He’d expected to meet some buttoned-up shrew with a pinched expression and old lady hair. He hadn’t been prepared for the stunning woman who looked more like Sedona’s sister than her mother.

They each had the same cornflower blue eyes, heart-shaped face and flawless complexion, though their hair did set them apart. Sedona wore her strawberry blond curls in a fashionably short style while Kate had longer tresses in a rich honey color. Even the stern ponytail couldn’t hide her hair’s lusciousness.

Neither of them bothered with make-up, not that Sedona needed any. Turned out, her mom didn’t either. Being the mother of a twenty-something, he would have thought she’d require some help from the Avon lady. But no. That woman was as beautiful as her daughter, except for the eyes.

Sedona’s eyes sparkled with boundless curiosity and a zest for life. Kate’s, on the other hand, looked…haunted. Granted, he’d held her gaze for all of a split second, but Liam prided himself on reading people. It made him wonder what had happened to her.

But none of that is any of your business, he chided himself. His business was to make the necessary money so he could get to Houston and then eventually to New Orleans. He disliked small towns because they reminded him of growing up in Montana. The more people Liam could surround himself with, the better. It helped to keep him from remembering too much.

Except moving on was going to take longer if the bar started closing at midnight. He snorted. Wasn’t like he was exactly making bank in the first place. Another reason to hate small towns was fewer people lived in them. And fewer people meant fewer drinkers.

He realized his luck in having gotten this gig at all. After pounding the pavement in San Antonio for over a week, sleeping in his truck and down to his last forty dollars, he happened into the Bluebird. Thankfully Sedona had hired him on the spot.

Frustration at losing money spiked his temper. Maybe he’d go to the Chain Link tonight. While the bar/bondage club hadn’t hired him, working off some of this tension with a sexual submissive sounded like a great idea. But there’d no doubt be an entrance fee and, given his current mindset, he couldn’t trust himself to be in complete control.

Then there was the matter of his ’99 Chevy truck which had been running like crap for weeks, overheating with white smoke in the exhaust. Probably a blown head gasket. He doubted the piece of junk could make the round trip to San Antonio. Adding to the mix was the fact that it’d been tough to start for the last three days. He didn’t have the expertise to do the repairs himself. Nor could he afford to pay someone to fix it. And now he’d be making even less money…

He ground his molars. Yup. It’d be best if he went back to that shitty motel room of his, jacked off in the shower and went to bed.

He’d refilled two more drafts and made a gin and tonic plus a screwdriver before Kate returned from the kitchen, a latex glove covering her injured hand.

She stepped behind the bar. “I’ll finish back here. Please sweep up the broken glass then bus the tables.” She started rinsing the glasses in the sink, her back slanted to him.

He narrowed his eyes. He hadn’t been hired to work as a busboy, but work was work. He grabbed the broom and dustpan and, after making quick work of the mess his boss created, headed out onto the floor, tray in hand.

He cleared the bottles and glasses from the pool table area first then made his way around to the booths. The Bluebird was virtually deserted now. After he set the last load at the server station closest to the sink, Kate slid a white envelope across the bar to him.

“What’s this?” he asked.

“Your severance,” she answered, her attention still on the sink.

“My…severance?”

“Yes.” She looked at him, her expression stony. “You’re fired.”

8 Comments

Comments

8 responses to “FREE read from Shattered Trust”

  1. Beth Whitehead says:

    Hi Honey:

    Terrific read! Glad this part anyway was suitable for work! Imagine the rest won’t be!!! LOL

    Beth

  2. Trinity says:

    Great start with good conflict and sexual tension.

  3. Sheila says:

    Love the sound of this story and looking forward to see what all happened in their past and how they will help each other overcome it.

  4. Diana Sprain says:

    I like it. Nice flow to the scene that kept me reading.

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