Complicated Relationships (The Southern Devotion Series Book 3)

BOOK: Complicated Relationships (The Southern Devotion Series Book 3)
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Complicated Relationships

 

The Southern Devotion Series

Book #3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Author: Amy K McClung

Illustrator: Cover Lust Designs

Edits: EBA Editing

 

 

 

 

 

 

Written by Amy K McClung

www.facebook.com/AmyKMcclung

 

Edits by EBA Editing

 

Illustrated by Cover Lust Designs

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cover-Lust-Designs/159699720855832

 

 

 

 

 

© Copyright Amy K McClung

 

 

All rights reserved, including the right to reproduce this book or portions thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please respect the work of this author by not copying or reproducing their work.

This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination and are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, places, or people living or dead is coincidental.

The author acknowledges the trademark status and trademark of products or people used in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication use of these trademarks is not associated with or sponsored by the trademark owners.

 

The dedication of this book goes out to the least complicated person in my life, my amazing husband, Daniel. He has been my muse on each story, allowing me to bounce ideas off of him, even acting as an illustrator on some of them. He has been my biggest supporter and for that I am more grateful than he will ever know.

Complicated:
consisting of many interconnecting parts or elements; intricate

Relationships
: the way in which two or more concepts, objects, or people are connected, or the state of being connected.

 

The course of true love never did run smooth

~ William Shakespeare

Chapter One

Indecent Exposure

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I woke up today, I wasn’t prepared to find my roommate Angel in my bed, especially without clothes. My head throbbed with the morning light that shown through the curtains. Pulling the pillow over my face, I struggled to remember the previous night.

We were at my best friend Mary Jane’s wedding. The reception was at her husband, Derrick’s, nightclub where I worked as a bartender. They were playing a game called
Beat the Bartender
by seeing who could outdrink me. And then it dawned on me that I lost count after ten shots. It’s lucky I only slept with a beautiful woman instead of ending up with alcohol poisoning.

Angel is gorgeous; I’ve noticed that from day one, but I never expected us to sleep together. She’s a friend, and that’s all she’d ever been. Even now, as I look at her caramel skin against the pillow, I have no feelings except remorse. I don’t want this to make things awkward between us.

She rolled over rubbing her eyes. “Turn the lights off,” she whined.

“Kind of difficult since that’s the sun,” I replied sardonically.

Her eyes shot open fully as she glanced at me, then pulled the covers up to look beneath them.

“HEY!” I yelled out as I jerked them back to cover myself. “You obviously remember as much as I do so eyes off the package.”  

She stood up stark naked. “This…I didn’t…Tristan I like you but…”  I put my hands up to stop her, “I like you too as a good friend. We’re on the same page. Sleeping together was a mistake and will not happen again. Can you put some clothes on, please?” I couldn’t stop staring at her. Angel is Hispanic; only twenty-four, round sexy-as-hell ass, and her breasts were large but quite perky.  She’s my friend, and this was a slip-up but I’m still a man.

“I’m going to shower.” she said, traipsing away to her room.

“Angel, my sister might see you!” I whispered loudly. She took off in a sprint to avoid being caught in the hallway.

My sister, Macy, and I moved to Nashville with Angel and Mary Jane a few months ago. Macy is fourteen, and I’ve raised her since she was nine. At that time, my mom was in a nursing home suffering from the effects of early onset Alzheimer’s disease. She had been there for four years at that point. On my eighteenth birthday, my dad signed over guardianship of Macy to me. He walked out the door, and we haven’t seen him since that day. He obtained a lawyer to get a special circumstances divorce. The only decent thing he'd done was to make sure I had legal guardianship of Macy so that she didn’t go into foster care.

It surprised me when he left without her; she was broken-hearted. She was a daddy’s girl, and he worshiped the ground she walked on. He and I never got along, and that will never change now. We stopped visiting mom last year when she ceased remembering us completely. The doctors assured us she wouldn’t know the difference either way.  It crushed me to leave her there alone, but it had been too hard on Macy. I call to check on her status as often as possible. The pain of your mother being terrified of you as a stranger is indescribable. At first we visited as though we were candy stripers at the hospital, there to entertain the patients. It's a traumatizing experience to have a woman who raised you tell you that she's never had children and ask your name each time you go.

 

The smell of eggs invaded my nose as I stepped out of my bedroom in my t-shirt and shorts. “Did you make breakfast, Squirt?” I asked as I ruffled Macy’s hair.

She smacked my hand away and grumbled, “If you can call it breakfast at two in the afternoon. You and Angel were pretty drunk last night so I thought you’d want some eggs for the hangover.” 

“How do you know we were drunk?” I asked, praying she didn’t see us go to bed together.

“When Maria dropped me off the two of you were still drinking and being loud.” Maria is Derrick’s mom, and she took care of the kids for most of the reception so that the rest of the ‘adults’ could party. We weren’t exactly the best role models for adulthood last night.

“Oh, sorry about that, kid. Move over, and I’ll make some bacon and toast.” 

“Too late. The plate of bacon is in the microwave staying warm, and the toast is,” the oven timer dinged in the middle of her sentence, so she rephrased with, “Done, now.”

Lightly pushing her aside, I grabbed oven mitts to pull the toasted bread off the oven rack where it had broiled.  “You’re the best sister, you know it?”

She grinned, “I know.”

“I have to work tonight so I can drop you at Ashton and Gracie’s if you want so that you aren’t home alone.” 

She shrugged her shoulders, “What about MJ?”

Macy loved Mary Jane from the moment she met her. They spent a lot of time together when we all lived in Florida, and since we moved, she missed her immensely. The fact that she had a new family was hard for Macy to accept. “She leaves for her honeymoon the day after tomorrow; I'm sure that getting ready for that keeps her busy.”

Macy grunted, “It’s not technically a honeymoon, she’s taking Katelyn.”

Mary Jane and Derrick were taking Katelyn to Disneyworld and then on a Disney cruise. Katelyn was Derrick’s six-year-old daughter; born when he was only sixteen. Being that they were a family now, and Katelyn's biological mother had never been in her life, they didn't want to exclude her from the trip.

“Look, I know you miss spending time with her. She has a family now, and things are going to be a little different. You know she’ll still come around and see you as much as possible.”

“You miss her too. Don’t you?” she asked. “I thought that when she found out you were in love with her, she’d realize her feelings for you too.” 

“Sit down, kid.” She sat at the end of the table while I took a seat at the corner beside her. “There were no feelings for her to realize. She always loved Derrick. I’m happy for her, and you should be too. Don’t you like Derrick and Katelyn?”

Macy sighed, “Yeah, I do.”

“Well, so do I, so there.”  Shortly after Derrick proposed, Mary Jane overheard Angel confront me about my feelings for her. Things were awkward for a short time after that but quickly went back to normal. My feelings haven’t changed for MJ completely. I’m coping with it and trying to move on, and that may have been what I was attempting with Angel last night.

The alarm on my phone went off. "I have to go; I need to run a few errands before  work this evening. Go grab your things quickly." I said,
send
ing her bounding up the stairs.

 

Ashton and Gracie were excited to have Macy staying over. They had a small infant, Autumn, and they could use an extra pair of hands for a change. Gracie answered the door, and Ashton paced the floor with a screaming Autumn in his arms.

"She doesn’t sound happy," was an understatement I chose to make at the inopportune moment in front of a tired relatively new mom.

Gracie, normally a very sweet and happy individual, cocked her head to the side and snapped, "Gee, I must be new at this because I thought that was the sound of joy." Yikes. Based on the look of anger on her face I think I barely escaped an Exorcist type moment where her head would spin around. Note to self; don't use sarcasm around new moms, their sense of humor doesn't exist at this time.

Macy pushed past me, "Forgive him, Gracie. He's a doof." Macy moved toward Ash and began to sing a soft lullaby. Autumn's sobs lessened as she listened to my sister's melodic voice. I never knew how well she could sing before.

Ashton grinned and wrapped an arm around Macy's shoulder, "I love this kid. She is the baby whisperer. Can she move in with us, just until Autumn starts kindergarten?"

I chuckled, "Sure, why not?"

Gracie closed the door and offered an apology. "I'm sorry I got smart with you Tristan. It’s been a long night. I'm exhausted, and it makes me extra bitchy."

"No apology necessary. I've never known you to be bitchy, so we all are entitled to our moments.  Besides, Macy was right, and I am a doof." I turned to Macy, "Give me a hug, squirt. I have to get to work."

 

Chapter Two

Cocktail Hour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Shot in the Dark, the club I work for, was packed when I started my shift. Every seat at the bar had a body filling it, but all the glasses were empty. Tag teaming with the other bartender on duty, Marcus, I started on one end with refills while he started on the other. By the time, we reached the middle it was time to start again.

Weekends were always this busy which meant killer tips so I couldn’t complain. Macy would be ready for college in a short time, so I had to start saving up more money. The pay I made as the supervising bartender was twice as good as any job I'd held before, and that wasn't including tips. Tips all went into a savings account to buy things Macy needed like clothes, books, and other necessities for a high school student.

The crowd began to die down enough for me to begin cleaning for the night while Marcus tended bar. We still had about two hours until closing. A woman with dark auburn hair stepped up to the bar on my end. Her strapless top showed very little cleavage though it still looked sexy as hell. She ran her fingers through her hair, sucked in a deep breath and then exhaled, causing a piece of hair hanging down over her eyes to fly up momentarily. Throwing the dishrag over my shoulder, I sauntered over to check on her. “Hey there, sweetheart, would you like something to drink?”

“Something to take my mind off men," she replied morosely.

“Broken heart?” I asked. It pained me to see a beautiful woman looking downtrodden. Her beauty was natural with subtle makeup, a nice change from the normal club girls with raccoon eyes and blood red lips. Her pouted lips shine with pink gloss; her dark auburn hair had been gathered together on one side leaving part of her neck exposed. I almost missed what she was saying as I took in her scent of coconut and pineapple.

“Lonely one is more like it. Tonight marks another bad first date down the tubes. I’m beginning to think it’s me. No scratch that, I know it’s me.”

Momentarily I moved away from her to grab a drink. “Here’s a drink for you,
A kick in the balls
. And I find it hard to believe that there is anything wrong with you, darlin’.” 

She cringed a bit and asked, “You’re not a native around here, are you?”

I gawked, “Is it that obvious?” 

She grinned and said forthright, “Your southern accent is…well, atrocious.” 

She took a sip of the sweet drink and closed her eyes. “That’s good.” 

“You’re welcome, even though you insulted me.”  At first she was appalled that she seemed to offend me that is until I winked to let her know my comment had been facetious. Extending my hand, I introduced myself, “I’m Tristan.” 

She accepted with a strong grip of a shake for a woman, “Nice to meet you Tristan, I’m Lanie.” 

“Nice to meet you as well. Sorry about the accent, I’m trying to let the locals rub off on me. My best friend is from Kentucky, and her accent is incredibly thick, maybe she’ll change me.”  She nursed the drink in front of her, looking so lonely that I couldn't help the urge to keep her company. “So tell me about the man troubles.”

She waved her hand as though dismissing me. “You don’t want to hear that drivel.”

“Ma’am, I’m a bartender; it’s in my job description. Besides, if you don’t talk I may try out more of my southern accent.” When I said southern accent, I reached down low for the deepest twang possible to put in those words.

She puffed her cheeks out with a boisterous laugh, “Please no, anything but that. I'll talk! No more torture!" Her laughing calmed to a soft chuckle. "Hmm…Where do I begin? I’ve had four dates this year alone that were all doomed before they started. My first one was with a student's parent.”

“Oh,” I said, thinking there was a scandal of sorts coming in her story.

“I’m an elementary school teacher, and I thought the guy was hot, so I asked him out. Little did I know he was madly in love with some other girl and on the rebound. They’re blissfully married now.”

“Ouch,” I said, taking her glass and pouring another drink.

"In his defense, he's a nice guy and his wife is incredibly sweet. I suppose my problem with him was that it was a case of meeting at the wrong time. We didn’t have a lot in common either though.  I'm a little embarrassed with the way I acted when she came back too. We didn't meet on the best terms, and although we have talked about it now, it would be so awkward to see her without warning."

"That's understandable. And don't be too hard on yourself. I think we've all done something crazy in the name of finding love." In truth, I was shocked that she admitted to that fact.  A lot of women tend to blame men for things not working out even if the chemistry wasn’t there.

“The second guy, well our first date wasn’t terrible. We had a lot in common.”

“So what went wrong?” 

She laughed as though I was missing an obvious joke. “He was a grade A asshole. When he romantically asked me out for our second date by saying, ‘we can go out again as long as there will be sex this time,’ I knew that he was Mr. Right-out-the-door.” 

Shrinking back, I bowed and said, “Let me apologize for that asshat and promise you that all men are not that way.” She passed her empty glass back across the bar. “Do you want another?”

Shaking her head, she said, “No, I better get going.”

She stood up and wobbled heavily. Instinctively I reached out to grab her elbow and steady her. “Can I call you a cab?” 

She shook her head again, “No, I’ll call my friend Sara to come get me. Will you be open a little longer? She’ll be a few minutes.”

Smiling, I replied, “I have to stay and clean up for a few hours. So you’re welcome to camp out here.”

Caressing my hand, she said, “Thanks, Tristan.”

For the next hour, she sat at the bar waiting for her friend while I cleaned up. Now and then I caught her watching me, and it was hot. As I walked over to say something to her, she stood up and waved. "My ride's here. Thanks again." 

When she left, one of the regulars came up behind me. She ran her hands over my shoulders seductively, then turned me around to face her. "Hey, Tristan. What do you say we have that nightcap we've talked about?"  This girl, Bailey, had been coming to the club for months now. Every night she would flirt with me relentlessly. Tonight, I'm taking her up on the offer.

Bailey always wore clothes that never left anything to the imagination. Tonight she wore a red satin bra underneath a sheer black blouse that was almost longer than the tight black shorts she had on. On her feet were stiletto heels that curved her calves and gave her ass a lift that would make it difficult for any man to turn down her advances.

She wanted to start our night out in the supply room of the bar. Before I could lock the door, she had dropped to her knees in front of me and was unfastening my belt. Elbows bent, I put my hands behind my head and leaned against the wall for support.

BOOK: Complicated Relationships (The Southern Devotion Series Book 3)
7.58Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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