Authors: Marie York
Part Three in
The Tryst Series
By Marie York
All rights reserved.
Printed in the United States of America.
No part of this book may be used or reproduced in any form or by any means electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval systems, without prior written permission of the author except where permitted by law.
Copyright May 2015
Cover Photo by alenkasm
Cover Design by Cover Up Designs
The characters and events portrayed in this book are fictitious.
Any similarity to real persons, living or dead is coincidental and not intended by the author.
It had been a month since I woke up alone in my hotel room. A month since I’d heard Jaxon’s voice and felt his touch. He left me again, and it should’ve been enough to let him go, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t.
So, as I steered old Bertha off the highway, and towards my new home, I hoped Jaxon would be waiting for me. My heart deflated when I pulled up to Dee and Cole’s, and didn’t see Jaxon’s Camaro. Dee ran outside as I put Bertha in park, and pangs of guilt set in for feeling anything but grateful, since they were giving me a place to live while I tried to get myself back on my feet.
Shortly after returning home from their wedding, I was evicted. Minimum wage wasn’t enough to cover my rent, and my landlord didn’t care for a sob story, even though I gave it a shot… over and over again. It was an Academy Award winning performance, but he was an evil man with dollar signs in his eyes.
With nowhere to go, Dee and Cole offered up their guest room to me. Dee was thrilled. She finally got me to move to Michigan. I told her it was temporary, but she was positive that, once I settled in, I’d never leave.
“Lyla!” Dee screamed, and came running to me, her black wavy hair trailing behind her. She wrapped me in her arms, and squeezed me tight. “I’ve missed you.”
I hugged her back. “I missed you too.”
“You just saw each other a month ago,” Cole said, and when Dee pulled away, he gave me a kiss on the cheek. It may have only been a month, but it felt like years, and I missed both of them tremendously. Life had been lonely and miserable since I left.
“You’re just jealous,” Dee joked.
“I don’t get a hug when I get home,” Cole pouted.
Dee planted her hands on her hip. “I see you every day.”
I laughed at their banter, and gave Cole a hug. “It’s okay, Cole. I got your back.”
“Well, thank you, Lyla.”
Dee narrowed her dark eyes. “Traitor. I’ll remember that.”
“And she will,” Cole joked, as Dee turned her glare onto him. He kissed her forehead, and she ran a hand over his blond hair then all was forgiven. Cole nodded to my car. “Bertha did okay on the trip?”
He didn’t have faith in my girl, and, to be honest, neither did I, but she was my only way here. I thought about selling her, but it wasn’t worth it. The money would’ve only gotten me a plane ticket, and then I’d be carless. I was already putting Cole and Dee out enough. I didn’t need them driving me around on top of it.
So, I did a lot of praying on the road, and thanked my lucky stars when I saw the welcome to Michigan sign.
“She did great,” I said, and tapped the hood. “I had no doubts.”
Cole looked curiously at me over his thick black-rimmed glasses. “Sure you didn’t.” I smiled in return, and he laughed. Cole pointed to the backseat that was filled with the little bit of belongings I had. “What needs to come in now?”
“Just my suitcase. I can grab it.” I popped the trunk, and tried to get my overstuffed luggage out, but it weighed more than me.
“Before you hurt yourself,” Cole said, and took the handle out of my grip. He pulled the bag out with ease.
“Show off!” Dee exclaimed, and Cole flexed his arm then winked at her. She smacked his ass as he walked by with my suitcase. Her face lit up when he turned back to her and smiled.
“Married life looks good on you,” I said to Dee when Cole disappeared into the house.
“It does, doesn’t it?”
It really did. There was this natural ease in her demeanor, a permanent glow on her face, and she was always smiling. I envied her. She had what I always thought I would. Now, I was twenty-four years old, jobless, homeless and boyfriendless. I was pathetic. But, at least, I had my car.
“You okay?” Dee asked, and rested her hand on my shoulder.
I looked around at the perfectly manicured lawn, down the street of my new neighborhood, and took a deep breath. “Perfect.”
“Don’t bullshit me. What’s going on in that head of yours?”
Dee arched an eyebrow. “Really?”
I wasn’t about to dump on her ten minutes after I pulled in the driveway. So I forced a smile. “I just can’t believe I’m here.”
Dee wrapped her arm around my shoulder. “Finally! Took you long enough.”
“Are you sure I’m not intruding?” I asked for the hundredth time. Ever since Dee volunteered her house, her guest room, and her life to me, I wondered if it was just out of obligation. I hated that I couldn’t afford to get my own place. But most of all, I hated that I was imposing on Dee and Cole when they’d only been married a month.
“I’m only going to say this one more time. Family doesn’t intrude. Okay?”
“Good. Now, come on. Let’s get you settled.”
I followed Dee to the house, and, as we walked through the front door, she turned to me and said, “Welcome home.” And for the first time in a long time, I actually felt like I was home.
Job hunting was never fun. I spent the entire first three days sending out resumes to every marketing position within a fifty-mile radius, which weren’t many. I needed another plan, and I needed it soon, because I was down to my last couple hundred bucks.
Three hours after Dee and Cole left for work, and no luck searching the internet, I decided to take my search to the street. I remembered Grand River Avenue, and the strip of bars and restaurants from my last visit, so I figured someone had to be hiring.
I didn’t exactly have experience as a waitress, but I brought coffee to many marketing execs—it couldn’t be much different than that.
I found a spot on the street, and parallel parked. There were quite a few places, and I didn’t know where to start. My eyes settled on a wood sign above a glass storefront. In what looked to be old Celtic font, it said “Baile.”
Dee had gone on and on about that place the last time I was here. She made it seem like it was the hot spot. If that was the case, there’d be a steady flow of customers and tips. And exactly what I needed. I adjusted my low cut green top, and ran a hand down my skinny jeans, looking at my tan wedges. I’d hire me.
The door clinked above my head as I walked in. To the right was a large bar stocked with hundreds of bottles of liquor, and at least twenty taps of craft beer. Booths and tables sat to the left, and there was a stage at the far back, along with dartboards, and a pool table.
This was the type of place I could hang out in. It had all the amenities for a fun time. Working here suddenly became a mission.
“Hey. Hi. Can I get you something?” A young guy who couldn’t be a day over twenty-one with brown hair and hazel eyes asked.
I moved toward the bar. “I was actually hoping to speak with the manager.”
“He’s busy at the moment. Was there something I could help you with?”
“I was wondering if you were hiring.”
“Oh. Yes. I think. Hang on. Hey, boss?” the guy called out, and disappeared into a back area. “Boss,” I heard him call again, and I laughed. Though, I’m sure if his boss was really busy, he wasn’t going to be happy to be interrupted.
Crap. This might’ve been a bad thing. I hoped it wouldn’t ruin my chances at getting this job.
I took out my compact, checked my makeup, and slid it back into my bag. A couple minutes passed, and I hoped the guy wasn’t pissing off my ticket to a paycheck. I decided to take a seat on a stool when the guy reappeared.
He smiled proudly, and pointed over his shoulder. “My boss will be out in a minute.”
“I hope I’m not disturbing him.”
“Not at all.” He stuck his hand out to me. “I’m Gary by the way. What’s your name?”
I shook his hand, but before I could answer him, a silky smooth voice said my name. I jumped up from the barstool, almost knocking it over in the process.
My eyes widened, and my pulse raced, as I stared at the gorgeous man in front of me. Fortunately, I quickly recovered. “Jaxon,” I said, and damn it for being breathier than I’d hoped. “I…you…hi,” I stuttered.
“You two know each other?” Gary asked with an amused laugh.
“You could say that,” Jaxon replied, wiping his hands on a dish towel.
Gary rested his elbows on the bar, his chin on his hands, watching us like a damn circus act.
“Gary, go find something to do,” Jaxon said, his dark intense gaze never leaving mine. I was frozen in place, unable to look away, to break the ridiculous hold he had on me.
I swallowed down the desire to go to him, remembering he left me naked and alone in a hotel room just a month ago. Still, the battle raged inside of me because, despite the simple fact that I was nothing more than sex to him, I couldn’t seem to let him go.
It figured that, out of all the bars in the area, I chose the only one that Jaxon Reed was in. Fuck me.
“Gary, now!” Jaxon growled.
Gary held his hands up, backing away, and then vanished into the back again.
Jaxon and I stood there, staring at each other, neither one of us saying a word. I didn’t want him to know how his leaving ripped me to shreds. How I cried the entire time I packed my bags when I realized he wasn’t coming back. The sadness that wracked my body as I pulled the hotel door shut, and got in that cab.
So, I cleared my throat, and acted like nothing happened. “I don’t know if you’ve spoken to Cole, but I moved to Michigan.”
Jaxon scratched at the five o’clock shadow on his chin. “I haven’t since he got back from his honeymoon.”
I offered up a smile before continuing. “I’m just going to get right to the point. I need a job. I remember Dee saying this place was the best. So, I’m here if you’re looking for someone. And if not, maybe you can speak to the owner.”
Jaxon grinned, and I looked down at the floor, noticing how they looked like they were just refinished. The dots began to connect in my mind. Jaxon stayed at the hotel because his floors were being refinished. He wasn’t just the manager here. Baile was his.
“You own this place, don’t you?” I asked. “You know what. I’m going to go somewhere else.” The thought of seeing Jaxon day in and day out seemed liked a form of torture. On our last night together, I actually thought that maybe, somehow, he was ready to give things a shot. That us together somehow made sense to him like it did to me. But, he left and the reality was, I couldn’t handle any more rejection from him. So, before he could say no, I turned on my heel, and headed to the door.
“Lyla,” he called out to me, and dammit if his voice didn’t cause me to go weak in the knees. I stopped, but couldn’t find the strength to glance back at him.
His warm strong hand rested on my shoulder, igniting sparks of heat up my neck, and down my arms. “Where are you going?” he asked against my ear, his breath like a warm caress.
“I…” His mouthwatering scent engulfed me, and words lost their way in my throat. His hard chest pressed into my back, and I balled my hands into fists to keep from reaching behind me, and running them over his abs.
“Can you start tonight?” he asked.
“Yes!” Overcome with excitement, I turned around and hugged him. I didn’t realize how big of a mistake that was until he was pressed up against me. Touching him was like an electric shock to my system. It kicked my senses into high gear and I wanted more. His arms stayed at his side, as I slowly, and with much embarrassment, released my hold on his neck. “Sorry,” I muttered. “Yes, I can start tonight. What time?”
“Be here at five.”
“Five. You got it. And thank you.”
He nodded. Afraid if I didn’t leave right then and there, I’d make a fool of myself, and ask why he left me again, so I nodded back and hurried to the door.
“Lyla,” he called out, and as if his voice was my pause button, I froze.
“Yeah?” I asked, and turned until I was staring into his gorgeous eyes again.
The corner of his lip lifted into the cutest lopsided smile. “Don’t be late.”
“I won’t,” I promised, and walked out of Baile’s, hoping I didn’t just make the biggest mistake of my life.