Amber to Ashes (The Torn Heart #1) (33 page)

BOOK: Amber to Ashes (The Torn Heart #1)
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“Tell me more,” she pants, getting to her knees. Free hand swathed over her tits, she continues to pleasure herself as she stares at me. “Tell me what you two did to her. What you’d do to me.”

I hesitate, but only for a second. Her little mewls and the insatiable look in her eyes nearly make me come. I lie back, my mouth begging to taste her. “Sit on my face.”

She obeys, and a moan filters from her lips as I grip her ass, holding her just enough above me to give me some maneuvering room. I spread her open and slide my tongue through her soft folds, lapping up every bit of her juices.

“Mm. Fuck yeah. No other pussy tastes as good as yours, baby girl. None.” And that’s not a lie. The perfect mixture of what a ripe pussy is supposed to taste, smell, and feel like, if I could, morning, noon, and night, Amber’s pussy would be the only thing I’d consume.

Balls aching, I look up and catch her gaze.

She digs her fingers into my hair, tugging hard. “Please tell me,” she begs over a long moan. “Tell me what you two did to her.”

I shake my head and suck on her swollen clit, my teeth holding it prisoner before letting it go with a pop. “Don’t worry about what we did to her. I just want you to think about what we’d do to
you
.”

She nods, her hands flying to the wall as she starts riding my face like a jockey.

I continue to dig in, feasting on the real deal. Amber makes a man want to tongue-fuck her pussy. Some chicks turn into corpses, making not a goddamn noise while getting licked. Not my queen. She lives for this shit, her hips swaying in unison with my strokes, her moans painfully hardening my cock.

“You like when I fuck into that little ass of yours, don’t you? The burn. The pain. The way my cock fills you.”

“Yes,” she hisses, her nails clawing at the wall. “Mm. God, yes, I love when you fuck me in my ass.”

“That’s right, you do.” And she does. I’ve never encountered a girl who can take it the way she can. I drag two fingers through her silk, slowly circling the puckered rim of her ass. “Now picture having a cock inside of that pretty pussy of yours at the same time,” I growl, licking through her as I burrow my fingers into her ass as deep as they can go. “Picture it, baby. Feel it.”

She rides me faster and drops her hands to her tits, tweaking her
nipples as she looks down at me. “OhmyGod, Brock. Fuck. I’m . . . I’m . . .” A shuddered breath, two, three, four, and she comes apart, a string of spasms rocking her body.

I lift her off my face, flip her onto her back, and haul her legs over my shoulders, fucking into her like a machine. Her body goes taut, my name flying from her mouth as she breaks again, a second orgasm slicing through her muscles. Christ, I live for the look in her beautiful, sated eyes. It’s pure heaven to the hell that was my life. The hell it’d still be if I didn’t have her.

I grab the back of her neck, pull her lips to mine, and kiss her long, hard, and deep, our flavors mingling as she claws my biceps. “I love you, Ber,” I groan, seconds from erupting. “So fucking much.”

Though Amber’s not big on making love, I slow my pace. What I’m asking her to do merits every bit of love I have for the girl. Every ounce of repayment for what she’s already brought to my world.

“I love you too, Brock.” Amber looks into my eyes, confusion cascading across hers as I stop moving. She pulls her legs from my shoulders and cups my cheeks, worry crashing over her face. “What’s wrong?”

I cradle her head, praying to God my twisted desire doesn’t cause me to lose her. “I just want to give you everything you want. I know this whole thing’s fucked up, believe me, I do, but I trust Ryder with my life, and I’m okay with you wanting him. I can tell you’re uncomfortable that I know how you feel about him, but I don’t want you feeling that way. You have enough shit plaguing your thoughts. I don’t need guilt fucking with you.”

I kiss her lips, unsure if anything I’ve said has eased some of her guilt, her confusion. “Everything about doing this with him would fulfill
both
our needs. Your pleasure would become mine in ways you can’t imagine, baby. Hopefully mine would do the same for you. Just think about the two of us taking you, worshipping you like the princess you are.”

She stares at me, her heart thumping wildly against mine. I swal
low, everything in me screaming that I’ve gone too far this time. Master of douchery, I’ve ruined the only good thing I have. The one person who makes me feel alive after years of feeling dead.

Amber drapes her arms around my neck, guiding my face within inches of hers. Her sweet breath brushes my cheeks. I inhale, burning her scent into my skull, scared to fucking death that this is the last time I’ll hold her. I close my eyes, shivering like a full-blown pussy. Pussy or not, I deserve whatever’s coming.

“Do you
really
love me, Brock?” she whispers shakily.

My heart skips a goddamn beat as my eyes burst open. “Christ, baby, more than you’ll ever know.” I slide my thumbs over the seam of her lips, sure the devil himself is gonna walk me through the gates of hell. “I love you more than anything. Need you more than the air in my lungs.”

I kiss her forehead, ashamed that I’ve allowed my temptation to override what she truly needs. A real man. A man who would never toss this shit at his lady. A man who, no matter how much he desired something, would never put his wants before the goddess in his life.

“You’re everything that completes me,” I say. “Everything that was missing from my fucked-up universe. I’d lose it if you ever left me. Done deal. I wouldn’t make it one day without you in my life.”

“Then fuck me, Brock.” She wraps her legs around my waist, her fingers sinking into my hair as she touches her lips to mine. “Make me forget who I am. What I’ve been through. That’s all I want. I don’t want to think about anything else. Not my parents, not Ryder, not tomorrow, not next year. I just want to think about you and me.” She sweeps her tongue over mine, urgency thickening her tone. “I can’t make a decision about anything right now. I can’t. I just . . . need you to heal me, okay, baby? Just heal me right now. Please.”

Soul hers until the day I die, I do as she asks, layering my mouth over hers as I try to take away her pain.

I only hope to God I didn’t add to it.

CHAPTER 14

Ryder

I
T’S A LITTLE
past two in the afternoon when I pull up to my mom’s house nestled in the less-than-thrilling neighborhood of Glen Burnie. Supposedly it used to be a great area before it went to shit in the late eighties. Either way, my mother refuses to move because it’s the home she grew up in. She, along with half the world, hates change. I’m sure she gets that from my grandmother, who also lives here.

I have just enough time to catch my mom before her five o’clock bartending shift, where she’ll work until the early morning. It makes me sick. Did I mention she does this after she’s cleaned a few rich bastards’ homes along the bay?

Yeah. It sickens me.

“Hey, baby!” my mother squeaks. She tightens her brown hair into a ponytail, a smile beaming on her tired face as she strolls across the lawn. “Long time no see.”

I kill the engine, flip open the glove compartment, and pluck out a small bottle of Visine, squeezing a few drops into my eyes before she approaches. I get out and give her a smile, hoping she can’t tell I’m baked. “Yeah. Been working a lot.” I pull her into a hug, realizing how much I’ve missed her. “Sorry, Denise.”

Bad habit. I started calling her by her first name when I was fifteen. It began as a joke. My mother—when pissed off—refers to herself in the third person. She really didn’t care too much for my ribbing on her, but she eventually softened up to it. Now it’s the norm.

She pulls back and swipes a motherly hand through my hair, her smile melting into a frown. “Mac’s working you boys to the bone, huh?”

“Yeah, but it’s been a pretty busy season, so I’m stoked.” I try to sound genuinely happy I’m getting work.

Though my boss is a cool cat, I use his construction company as a front. At the ripe, young age of twenty-four, I’m killing close to a hundred and fifty thousand a year between hanging drywall for Mac part-time, running grades for moronic students, and pushing coke for Brock. But unlike Brock and his bling-dripping apartment, clothes, and vehicles, I cover my tracks by making it look like I’m poor as snot.

I’m far from it. Retirement—somewhere along the Caribbean—is looking pretty fucking sweet.

“True,” my mother points out. “A lot of people are out of work right now, so it’s good you have something coming in.”

I nod. “Wait. I thought your shift doesn’t start until five.” I look at my watch. “It’s not even four.”

She frowns again. “Pete called me in early.”

Pete Flannigan, owner of—you guessed it—Flannigan’s Irish Pub in Brooklyn Park, is a man who so badly needs to suffer a slow, bloodcurdling, screaming death that I’d willingly hand over my left nut on a platter to watch it happen. Cheap with salaries, well practiced in fighting off sexual harassment lawsuits, and brutal with his employees’ hours, Pete’s the epitome of every douche-cock employer who’s ever run a business.

Here’s where that whole “change” thing—which gives my mother issues—poses a problem. She’s worked for the prick for close to ten years. God help her, I’m not sure why the woman stays. I’ve talked
to her about quitting until I was blue in the face. Needless to say, I constantly lose the battle.

“Denise, I can take care of you, Casey, and Gram.” I rest my hands on her shoulders. They feel frail, overworked, and my chest tightens with something I can’t describe. Guilt, possibly. “Let me pull the weight. Casey’s hospital bills are too much.”

She shakes her head and looks into my eyes, a retort perched on the tip of her tongue.

“Stop being stubborn and listen to me,” I continue before she can say a word. “Switch jobs. Go work in a Laundromat to keep yourself busy if you have to. But let me take care of the bills.”

“That’s not your job, Ryder.” She sighs, the lines cracking her face showing her exhaustion. “I’d never allow you to pay for anything in my home. You don’t even live here anymore.”

“And your point would be what?” I question, honestly trying to understand her madness. “I’m the only man left in this family. I not only feel that it’s my duty to help out, but I
want
to help you, Mom.” Using the name I should be calling the woman who gave birth to me usually works in my favor. “You’ve taken care of me my whole life. Let me do something for you in return.”

Another shake of her head, her tone resolute. “No. Again, Ryder, it’s not your job; it’s his. He might be backed up seven years, but your dad’s finally sending something every month. It’s a decent amount, and we’re doing okay for right now.”

Though the asshole left her when I was fourteen, my father recently started paying child support for my sister.

At least that’s what my mom
thinks
.

Last summer, after saving a fuckload of cash, I took a trip to California and used a cousin’s address to open an out-of-state checking account.

Since I’ve been graced with the prick’s first, middle, and last name, sending monthly payments as Ryder Jacob Ashcroft Senior is rela
tively easy. It’s all good. I’m a firm believer of
what you don’t know won’t hurt you
, and in this case, Denise having no clue it’s really
me
sending the cash, and
not
the sperm donor who helped create Casey and me, is something she’ll never lose sleep over. Still, I make a mental note to send more.

“You’re a tough one.” I pull a cigarette from my pack. Before I can put it in my mouth, my mother swats it out of my hand.

Her nose scrunches up. “Disgusting! I can’t believe girls kiss you smelling like that.”

I lift a brow, a smirk twisting my lips. “
Many
girls kiss me smelling like this. The way I kiss them is how I make their noses forget how to function.”

“My baby boy.” She places a warm hand on my chilled cheek. “You need to take care of yourself. Kisses from the ladies won’t get you longevity. Clean lungs will.”

“I disagree.” Shoving the pack back into the pocket of my sweatshirt, I kiss her forehead. “I’m pretty sure
both
will help prolong my life.”

A smile lifts her green eyes but vanishes the second she looks at her watch. “Dammit. I have to get going.” She pushes up on her tiptoes and plants a quick kiss on my cheek. Digging her keys from her purse, she starts for her beat-up Corolla. “Call me, okay? I’m getting tired of you being a stranger. We’ve missed you the past couple of weeks.”

I nod and clasp my hands behind my neck, watching her back out of the driveway. My attention stays on her car until it makes a left out of the neighborhood. With a sigh, I bolt up the stairs onto the front porch, sliding my key into the lock. The second I step into the modest rancher, I hear Old Blue Eyes crooning “The Way You Look Tonight” from my grandmother’s vintage record player. I can’t help but smile when I see the black-and-white photos of my grandparents scattered from one end of the living room to the next.

I round the corner to the kitchen and catch a glimpse of Casey and my grandmother dancing to Frankie’s smooth voice. My smile widens, and my grandmother dipping Casey elicits an uncontained chuckle from my chest. Stopping dead in their tracks and beaming in my direction, two of the three women who’ll forever own my heart bum-rush me.

“Ryder!” Casey squeals, jumping up and throwing her arms around my neck.

I stumble back, laughing. God, she’s growing so fast. It feels like it was just yesterday my mother brought her home for the first time. She was the sweetest goddamn thing to ever cross my vision, her existence making me understand what it is to truly love someone. The asshole who legally claims the title of her dad has no idea what he’s missed. With a single look, the kid can fucking blind you, bringing the brightest ray of light to anyone’s dark day.

Having taken well to her last chemo treatment, she’s put on some much-needed weight. “Where’ve you been?” Casey tightens her hold around my neck. “You didn’t stop by last week. Is Amber with you?” She cranes her head to the side, looking over my shoulder. “You better not have a new girlfriend. I like her, Ry.”

My heart sinks to the ground. I’ve texted Amber a few times this week. Though she responded, her messages were clipped, using work, exhaustion, and something as fucking lame as laundry as excuses to jet. I even ran into her on campus, but her usual wiseassery and quips were missing. She felt distant, almost embarrassed to be in my presence. I can’t blame her for hating me. Disgusted with myself, I’ve come to realize that her finding out what Brock and I did with Hailey was too much for her to swallow.

Apparently, the second Amber started dating Brock, Hailey’s had it out for her. From snide little remarks in front of an entire frat party to leaving threatening letters under Amber’s door, Hailey’s mentally steamrolled over the girl. Other than her attempting to run Amber
off the road—because that’s when Amber finally said something to Brock—I didn’t find out any of the shit the nut was doing to Amber until last weekend. Had I known a morsel of what was going on, I would’ve been done with the psycho long before.

Picture now clear, it’s pretty simple: Hailey’s jealous of Amber. Like a fiend, she couldn’t get enough of Brock and me fucking her. Other than mastering a deep-throat blow job, begging for double penetration became her expertise.

But once Amber stumbled into the picture, Brock cut off Hailey from not only the free coke he was supplying her but also his dick. Once I got rid of her too, her hatred for Amber intensified, morphing out of control.

Hailey catching a beating from Amber last weekend was long overdue.

“Oh!” Casey hops out of my hold, breaking me from my thoughts. She snatches my hand and drags me down the hall to her bedroom. “I have something to show you!”

Jesus. They’ve painted again. It looks like a bottle of Pepto-Bismol threw up all over her walls.

“Come see the new clothes Mom bought for me,” she squeaks, pulling me toward her closet. “You know I’m in third grade this year, right? In a few years, I’ll be a preteen. Then a few years after that, I get to date boys like you!”

That freezes my feet.

I kneel and reach for her shoulders, steadying her excitement. “Case.”

She nods, her blue eyes twinkling with innocence.

“One: I’ve been working. That’s why I didn’t come over last week. I’m gonna be busy for the next few months, so it might be hard for me to stop by every day, all right?”

She frowns as she nods again.

“Two: Amber’s not my girlfriend. She’s just . . . a buddy. I don’t
have a girlfriend. Never count on any nieces or nephews from me.” I chuckle, taking in her cute little pout. I need to fix this. “Three: I’m excited to see your new clothes. I bet you look like a princess in them.”

That statement erases the pout, a megawatt smile replacing it.

“Four: You’re not now, nor will you
ever
be, a preteen. I’ve created a potion that’s going to keep you eight years old
forever
. All of the boys you’re
not
going to date will also never,
ever
reach puberty.”

Shit, the frown’s back. I suck ass.

A laugh wrinkles my grandmother’s nose, her caramel eyes dancing with joy as she enters the bedroom. “Pay him no mind, Case. Your brother’s just being overprotective. Right, Ry?”

I stand, caging my grandmother in a bear hug. “Umm, that would be a big, fat, sloppy no. Her chastity belt’s in the back of my car.” I flash my pearly whites. “It’s called a bat to the head, courtesy of her older brother.”

“You bought me a belt?” Casey’s excitement colors her voice. “I like belts!”

I swish my hand over her peach fuzz. “Sorry, kiddo. No belt.”

She lets out a huff, climbs up onto her bunk bed, and crosses her arms. “No fun, Ryder.”

I swipe a teddy bear from her dresser and toss it onto her lap. “Next time I come over, I’ll bring you one, deal?”

She chucks said teddy bear at my head. “Promise?”

At least she didn’t smack my dimpled cheek.

“Cross it.” I draw an X over my heart.

Amusement sparkles in my grandmother’s eyes as she laces her soft hand in mine. “Come on, overprotective brother. Let me feed you while Casey gets dolled up in one of her outfits.”

I leave my sister to get prettied up and follow my grandmother into the kitchen, my stomach growling as I drop into a chair at the island. It doesn’t take long before I have her infamous chicken cutlet parmesan plated up before me.

It also doesn’t take long before my burner cell goes off, flashing Brock’s number. I send it to voice mail and tuck it into my pocket. My grandmother’s smile—as she waits for me to take my first bite—takes precedence over whatever shit he wants.

The fucker can wait.

“So, how’s school going?” she asks as I sink my teeth into generation upon generation of practiced perfection. “Only one year left.”

I nod, thinking about her statement. I’ve focused and sacrificed for the last five years, working toward my MBA in banking and financing. There’s no doubt I’m ready to finish school. Amped, I’m more than eager to join the rest of the scum-sucking investors in corporate America. The industry’s hostile, fierce, and competitive. It’s a perfect storm that’ll suit my fast-paced lifestyle, intense love of money, and quick-talking personality.

“I’m hanging in there,” I answer, chewing. Before I can take my next bite, my burner goes off again. I pull it from my pocket and scan a text from Brock.

Monthly pickup. Meet me at my place by 3. Don’t be late.

Mentally disconnecting from the temporary joy I’ve found, I delete the text and pocket the fucking thing. After I bid farewell to
my girls, I’m out the door to go earn a living until corporate America welcomes me into its fucked-up, twisted game. As twisted and fucked up as it is, it’s somewhat more legal than the shit I’m hustling now. The shit I plan on getting away from forever.

Eventually . . .

BOOK: Amber to Ashes (The Torn Heart #1)
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