Home > At Peace (The 'Burg #2)(5)

At Peace (The 'Burg #2)(5)
Author: Kristen Ashley

“Shit,” I whispered on my exhale.

I drove passed it, turned into my drive and parked under the awning that came out from my two car garage. The previous owners had torn down the one car garage and put in a two car one with a double awning at the front. This worked since the garage door opener didn’t work and I didn’t have the money to replace it and I further didn’t enjoy cleaning snow off my car.

The previous owners had also built an extension all along the back of the house. This meant we had an extra bedroom with full master bath and an open plan study that ran off the living room/dining room area. Most of the other houses on the block had extensions too. And two car garages or the garages had added awnings. They also had built on back decks (our place did too, again along the back of the house) or above ground pools or playsets. You name it, it was there. It was a family neighborhood, established, middle-middle income folks or old-timers who’d been there for ages and stayed there because their mortgage was paid off. Families just starting out or couples who liked where they lived so, when they needed more room, they just built on. Yards were huge, there was plenty of room and anything they did, they did it house proud so it only upped the standard for the entire neighborhood.

The only house that had no add-on, except a back deck, was Joe Callahan’s. It was still a two bedroom crackerbox, kitchen, dining room/living room and two bedrooms with a full bath.

I’d been lucky to find a place on that street.

Lucky, except for Joe Callahan.

I went into the house, dumped my purse and headed back out.

I needed to shovel. Part of living in that neighborhood was taking care of it. You shoveled. Joe Callahan’s neighbors on his other side, Jeremy and Melinda, cleared Joe’s front sidewalk part of the time, the other part I did it. It wouldn’t do for anyone to let down the ‘hood and since Joe wasn’t there, someone had to do it.

No way I’d do it that day, though. No way in hell. He could shovel his own damned walk.

I went out to the garage and grabbed my leather work gloves and the snow shovel.

You could say I pretty much missed Tim a lot. When I was in a fight with Keira which was too often and Tim used to be able to handle her better than me, definitely Daddy’s little girl then again they both were. When Kate would get wound up by an assignment, an assignment that was something she could do no sweat, but she wanted to do it perfectly, better than any kid in the history of kids could do and Tim could settle her down too. When I was in bed at night, alone and wanting more than my vibrator to take care of business, wanting Tim’s hands, his mouth, his c**k and, maybe more than all those, the sweet nothings he would whisper in my ear.

And when I had to shovel the freaking snow.

I started at the front stoop and made my way down the walk that led to the drive, the snow heavy and wet but at least it was easily removed. I was shoveling a line down our drive, which would take for-freaking-ever to clear, thinking of the price of Bobbie’s snow blowers and how much my discount would be and if she’d put them on an end of season sale when Colt’s GMC pulled into his drive.

Feb Owens and Alec Colton were pretty famous. I’d known them before I moved in and I’d known what happened in that town before I’d moved there. It was sick what happened to them, that serial killer obsessing on Feb and Colt and killing people that Feb knew. Everyone knew about it, it made national news and she was so gorgeous, and Alec Colton so hot, that made the story bigger news.

But I found shortly after moving in that they were cool. They were also happy. It was like that whole deal didn’t touch them. At the time I moved in, she was at the end stages of pregnant and they’d been high school sweethearts, separated by something I didn’t know and finally back together.

I’d married my high school sweetheart so I got that, totally, their happiness. Then again, Tim got me pregnant at seventeen so I kind of didn’t have a choice.

Still, I wouldn’t have chosen anything else. Not then, not ten years later, not until someone shot him and even then I would have still chosen Tim. I would have just chosen Tim having a less dangerous job. And I definitely would have chosen not to get served what I got served after.

I shoveled and watched Colt swing down from his truck.

Then I stopped shoveling when he turned my way and called, “Hey Cal.”

My body turned to stone.

“Yo,” a deep voice said from right behind me.

Stiffly, I turned and stared at Joe Callahan standing right there, this close behind me. I hadn’t heard his approach. He was wearing jeans, a black thermal and his black leather jacket. In the daylight, as gray as that daylight was, he was different. The sinister was gone. The only thing left was the rugged and interesting.

“Hey Violet,” Colt called and I stiffly turned back.

“Hey Colt,” I called to him and watched February, carrying their little boy, Jack, coming out of their house and her head was turned to see who Colt was talking to.

“Wow!” she yelled. “Hey Cal!”

“Feb,” Joe Callahan’s voice rumbled.

“You in town awhile?” Colt asked, taking Jack from Feb and expertly planting the baby in the crook of his arm while his other arm slid along Feb’s shoulders.

“Nope, leave tomorrow,” Joe Callahan answered.

“Got time for a beer at J&J’s?” Colt asked.

“Yep,” Joe Callahan answered.

“Vi? What about you?” Feb asked me.

I’d been to Feb’s bar, J&J’s Saloon, a half a dozen times. Her family ran it which meant I met them too. It was a nice place. It had been around awhile so it was worn in, the kind of joint you liked to stay and drink a few. Everyone in town hung there and Feb’s family made you feel welcome.

I liked having a drink there, shooting the shit with Feb, who was nice, and her brother Morrie, sister-in-law Dee, and Mom and Dad, Jackie and Jack, who were all just as nice as her.

Still, there was no way I was going when Joe Callahan was going.

“Thanks, I have something on,” I answered.

“Another time,” Feb called, I nodded, they both lifted a hand in farewell and headed toward their house.

“Later, Cal,” Colt called.

“Yeah,” Joe Callahan called back.

I went back to shoveling, deciding I’d pretend he wasn’t there.

This effort failed when his big hand curled around the handle of the shovel.

I stayed bent to my task but tipped my head back to look at him.

“How you doin’, buddy?” his voice rumbled, it was a soft rumble and not pissed off or post-drama that involved a Hollywood movie star, it was a lot different and my stomach, for some strange reason, pitched.

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