Home > At Peace (The 'Burg #2)(6)

At Peace (The 'Burg #2)(6)
Author: Kristen Ashley

“Can you let go of my shovel?” I asked.

His answer was to pull the shovel out of my hands.

My stomach pitched again, this time for a different reason, slightly afraid and I straightened and turned to him.

“Can I help you with something?” I asked.

“Your name’s Violet,” he told me.


“Violet,” he repeated quietly.

“Yes,” I repeated too, not liking him saying my name quietly because I kinda did like his rumbly deep voice saying my name quietly.

He took a step into me and I stood my ground. He couldn’t exactly cause a scene in my driveway, not with Colt home across the street. Joe Callahan might be big, and he might even be bigger than Alec Colton, but I figured no one messed with Colt. It might get ugly but it’d be a fair fight.

Joe Callahan’s neck bent so he could look down at me and he started speaking as if we’d been having a long conversation, I’d been asleep the first part and woke up during the middle. “She makes six million dollars a movie, two movies a year, four times that in foreign endorsements for everything you can imagine, hair shit, ice cream, you name it, they pay her enough, she sells it.”

He was talking about Kenzie Elise.

I had absolutely no interest in this and started to tell him this fact. “Joe –”

He cut me off. “Anywhere she goes, people ask for her autograph, take photos of her, grovel and do shit you wouldn’t believe just to get her attention. Because of all that, she’s so far up her own ass it’s a wonder she can see. Problem is, she’s got a lot of company up there.”

“I don’t care about this,” I told him.

He continued talking like I didn’t even speak. “I don’t shit where I live normally. She played me, I had no f**kin’ idea she was what she was until I got played then I wanted no part in that.”

“I think I got that,” I reminded him of the fact I was there while he made that point to her.

“It happened once, once was enough. The sex was shit, buddy.”

“I got that too.” And that was an understatement, I definitely got that.

“She gets no for an answer never. It doesn’t happen to her. She gets what she wants when she wants it, always. She wanted me. She’d been playin’ games like that to get my attention for six months. It was affecting my work, which I was not thrilled about, but I could deal. That night, she invaded my home. Stole my keys, had one made, found out where I lived and came in uninvited, playin’ her games. Uncool.”

I had to admit, he wasn’t exactly wrong, this was uncool. I knew this. I knew this better than he could understand. I knew exactly how uncool this was.

That didn’t change the fact that he humiliated her to the point of making her scramble around on the floor in a teddy to pick up her stuff and walk into the cold night to gather her clothes from the snow. That kind of humiliation was extreme and uncalled for.

Before I had the chance to explain this to Joe Callahan I heard cars approaching and I looked up to see Kate’s little, white Ford Fiesta followed by a bright yellow pickup coming down the street.

Joe and I stepped off the drive into the snow of the yard as the two cars pulled into the drive. Kate and Keira got out of the Fiesta but I was staring at the strapping, tall boy-man who folded out of the pickup.

Keira skipped through the snow to me and she did this quickly.

“Hey,” she said and I tore my eyes from the strapping, tall boy-man to see my last born staring up at Joe Callahan looking like she was gazing at whoever was her current boy band heartthrob (and I didn’t know who that was, Keira went through crushes like she did clothes which was to say swiftly and at random).

“Hey,” Joe said back.

“I’m Keira,” Keira announced.


“Cool,” Keira breathed and looked at me then blinked, leaned in and whispered, “Kate’s got a boyfriend.”

Oh shit.

My eyes sliced to the strapping, tall boy-man who had walked to Kate, slung an arm around her shoulders and they were now walking to us.

Their eyes were on Joe.

“You’re Joe Callahan,” the boy-man said, staring at Joe like he, too, was seeing his current hero, be that football star, baseball star or the like.

“Yep,” Joe answered.

“Awesome,” the boy-man whispered.

Kate tore her eyes from Joe and looked at me. “Mom, this is Dane. He’s here to study. Is it cool with you if we do it in my room?”

My body locked and I stared at my first born.

It was fair to say that it was not cool with me that she and this strapping, tall boy-man who thought Joe Callahan was awesome studied with my sixteen year old daughter in her room. It was fair to say that if Tim was standing beside me, and not Joe Callahan, his head would freaking explode at such a question. It was fair to say Tim’s head would explode because, when he and I were supposed to be studying in my room, we were, instead, making Kate.


Now what did I do?

I couldn’t say no in front of Dane. He’d think I was the un-awesome, uptight Mom and Kate would be embarrassed. No way Kate should ask me this question in front of Dane and make me look like the un-awesome, uptight Mom and force me to make the choice of doing what would give me peace of mind, therefore asking them to study, say, in the study or embarrassing her in front of her new possible boyfriend who was strapping, tall and also good-looking therefore likely very popular which would be important to any girl but especially important to my girl who had just been forced to leave the school she loved where she left behind a million of her friends she’d known forever to move to a school four hours away, in a small town in Indiana where she knew no one.


“Sure,” I said through clenched teeth, Kate beamed, I tried not to groan and Kate, Dane and Keira headed toward the house. “But Kate,” I called after her, “I want your door open.”

Keira giggled. Dane grinned. Kate looked at me, her eyes skidded to Joe then back to me and her cheeks got pink.

“Okay,” she called back.

Thank God.

The front door closed behind them and Joe advised, “You should give her condoms.”

My eyes flew to his and I blinked.

“What?” I asked.

“Condoms, buddy, you of all people should know you should give her condoms.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“She yours?”


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