Home > Golden Trail (The 'Burg #3)

Golden Trail (The 'Burg #3)
Author: Kristen Ashley



Layne opened his eyes and saw dim light in an unfamiliar room.

Groggy, he sensed movement and turned his head to the left.

Rocky was sitting there. Her head bowed, dark hair with fashionable (but fake) streaks of blonde pulled back in a ponytail but that heavy fall at the front that wouldn’t fasten back, as usual, covered one eye.

What the f**k?

His eyes moved beyond her to the walls then they kept scanning and he saw the monitors, the drips and cords.

He was in a hospital bed.

Shit, I’ve been shot.

He closed his eyes, feeling heavy fatigue and not much else. It wasn’t like he just woke up. It was like he hadn’t slept for a year.

When he heard rustling, he forced his eyes open again and saw Rocky move, adjusting in her chair, putting an elbow to the arm, her jaw in her palm, her fingers curling around her cheek. Her head was up now and her face was flawlessly made up, also as usual. Perfection. He hated it. When they were living together years ago she would put on makeup to go to class, to go out dancing, to go get a meal but it was light. If she wasn’t going anywhere, or nowhere special, she didn’t bother. He preferred it that way.

Her eyes skimmed over him and shot back, fastening on his.

“Layne?” she asked, her voice quiet.

“The boys,” Layne said, his voice scratchy and hoarse.

She stood, the movement liquid, the way she always moved, full body or just lifting a finger to point at something.


Her chair was so close, standing brought her right next to the bed.

“They were here with Gabrielle. Dad took them home,” she whispered, looked to his chest, her eyes lifting again to his, “How are you feeling?”

“They okay?” He was still talking about his sons.

“You’re okay,” she told him. “It’ll take awhile but the doctors say you’ll be fine so… they’re okay.”

The exhaustion was nearly overwhelming and the last person on earth, outside of Gabby, who he’d want in his hospital room or anywhere near him, was Raquel Merrick Astley. He’d rather go to sleep and wake up when she was gone but he struggled against the sleep that wanted to take him because he had to know.

“What do the docs say?”

“You’ll be fine. They hit you in the thigh, gut, shoulder,” she answered. “The gut was the bad one but they stitched you up.”

He took three. Now he remembered, he took three. He felt each one.

He wanted to ask if it was her husband that worked on him.

He didn’t ask that, instead he asked, “How long am I gonna be in here?”

“Awhile,” she evaded.

“What’s awhile?” he pressed.

“Not too long. At most, two weeks.”

Fuck, he didn’t have any insurance. Fuck.

Instead he asked, “Where’s Merry?”

“At the Station, he’s coming later,” Rocky answered.

His eyes closed because he couldn’t keep them open anymore but he forced them back open.

“He safe?” Layne knew he could ask her that. Rocky and Merry were close, Merry told Rocky everything, she did the same with her brother. They looked out for each other; they kept each other’s secrets. She’d know.

“Yes, far as he can tell, you kept him clean.”

Thank God, Layne thought and his eyes closed again.

Then he asked, “What’re you doin’ here?”

“Shh, Layne, just rest,” she whispered.

He forced his eyes open and to focus on her. “What’re you doin’ here?” he repeated, now his voice sounded scratchy, hoarse and as tired as he felt.

He watched her face change, her eyelids descended to half-mast, her mouth got soft.

Layne stared.

Fuck, he remembered that look. She used to look at him like that a lot, always it came unexpected no matter how often she did it. While they were watching TV, across the room at a party, but mostly across a table from him – any table: at her Dad’s, at a restaurant, at their apartment, he’d feel her looking at him and catch her eyes, see that look on her face and know his life was beautiful. He hadn’t seen that look in eighteen years.

She leaned in, lifting a hand and placing it gently against his cheek.

“Rest, Layne,” she repeated quietly.

His eyes slid closed and he wanted to tell her to get the f**k out. He wanted to tell her to go to hell. He didn’t want her near his sons, near him. They lived in the same town again but that was as close as he wanted to get. Her brother had been a family member, who, after Layne came back, turned into an old acquaintance then a loose colleague and, finally, a friend. Her father the same, without the loose colleague part. But a year back in town and she hadn’t re-entered his life and he took pains to keep it that way.

As these thoughts drifted through the weariness, he felt her hand slide down his cheek to his neck.

Then, f**k him, he could f**king swear he felt that heavy, soft fall of hair slide along his cheek, his temple and he smelled her perfume, expensive, elusive then he felt her lips brush his.


By the time he forced his eyes back open, her lips were gone, her hand was gone but the scent of her perfume remained. With effort he turned his head to the side and saw the door close behind her.

Then his eyelids closed and sleep took him.

Chapter One


She rolled him then her mouth was on him, her tongue, her hair trailing down his chest, she nipped his side with her teeth, sexy, hot, Christ, she’d devour him if she could.

He hauled her up and rolled her back, his lips taking hers, his tongue shafting into her mouth. He f**king loved the way she let him kiss her, let him take, did nothing but give. It was contradictory to the way she f**ked him, a tussle, a battle for supremacy.

Not, of course, when he made love to her, that was different.

But now, they were f**king.

Both her hands slid down his back to his ass, fingers curling in, he could feel her nails, all the while she arched her back, pressing into him. She wanted it, he knew it and his c**k was so f**king hard, aching, if he didn’t give it to her soon, he’d come on her belly.

His hand moved down her body, between her legs, down the inside of one thigh, pushing it open and his h*ps moved between.

Her mouth broke from his, lips sliding across his cheek to his ear.

“Yes, Layne, come inside,” Rocky rasped.

* * * * *

Layne’s eyes opened.

He was on his stomach, in his bed and his c**k was rock hard. Aching.

He rolled to his back.

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