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Authors: K. Sterling

Falling For Disaster

BOOK: Falling For Disaster
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Falling For Disaster

 

 

 

 

 

By

K. Sterling

Prologue

 

Finn

 

We need to talk. Please be home when I get there.

 

Finn took a deep breath then frowned as the hand holding the key shook. He pushed the door open and wasn’t sure if he was relieved or terrified to see that Taylor was home. He hadn’t responded to Finn’s text but the opened bottle of wine and keys on the counter had Finn’s heart racing. He dropped his messenger bag on the table and hung his coat on the back of a chair before he loosened his tie and poured himself a glass. Finn leaned against the counter and took a long drink, draining half of it. Finn was staring into the glass, trying to summon the courage to find Taylor when he appeared. His face was taut as he crossed his arms over his chest and leaned against the fridge and stared at Finn. Finn took another long sip before he could look at Taylor.

“So, I had that checkup last week and my doctor asked me to come in today.” Finn took a deep breath and his eyes searched Taylor’s for any sign of awareness or regret. All he saw was Taylor’s usual impervious control. Finn swallowed hard and held on tight to the glass as if it could stop the internal sliding he felt.
It’s all about to come undone,
Finn realized. “Somehow I’ve…” He cleared his throat to try and make his voice more solid. “Somehow I’ve managed to get gonorrhea. Which is troubling since you’re the only person I’ve had sex with for almost three years. I picked up a prescription and he says I should be fine in a week or two,” Finn said as he continued to wait for Taylor to respond. There was nothing. Taylor’s face remained still, only the occasional blinking of his eyes as he watched Finn gave any indication that he was paying attention.
Fucking physicists
. “I’ve spent all afternoon trying to come up with some possible explanation for this that doesn’t rip my heart out.” He prayed silently as he watched Taylor’s jaw twitch. His lips pursed for a moment and Finn held his breath.

“I would appreciate it if you could have your stuff out by the end of the week,” Taylor announced before he turned and walked into the living room. Finn’s eyes flared as pain exploded in his chest. His body felt like it was moving against a swift current as he followed Taylor.

“That’s it?” His voice cracked and Taylor sighed as he grabbed his phone off of the coffee table. He looked more irritated than concerned as he turned to Finn.

“I can’t see any approach I can take that won’t result in you hating me, so I think it would be best if we just agree that it’s over and resolve this quickly. This place is in my name and almost everything here belongs to me. I wrote you a check for $10,000. It’s on the counter. That should cover whatever we bought together and help you cover any moving expenses,” Taylor offered Finn a stiff nod before he turned and walked into the bedroom.

Nausea and pain swirled and rolled through Finn as he tried to follow. He made it to the hallway and froze as he watched Taylor pull a hoody over his t-shirt and drop onto the bed to pull on his sneakers. Taylor’s back was to Finn as he pulled his phone out of his pocket and swiped. Finn stumbled back against the wall as he watched Taylor cradle the phone with his shoulder as he tied his shoe.

“Hey. I just told him,” Taylor said softly. “Fine. Look. I think you’ve got gonorrhea.” He made a shushing sound and Finn’s eyes burned as they filled with tears. “I promise I’m not mad. I don’t care what you did before we were together. I trust you. I just want you to see a doctor and get some antibiotics.” He made another soothing sound and Finn swallowed past the burning acid that was rising in the back of his throat. “I swear, it’s fine. We’ll deal with it and move on. He should be gone by the end of the week. We’re finally going to be able to be together,” Taylor said excitedly and Finn covered his mouth to keep from screaming.
This has to be a nightmare,
he hoped as he felt his body sliding down the wall. “I need to do a few things but I’ll see you later… I know… I love you too.” Taylor hung up and jumped when he turned and saw Finn watching him. His lips pulled tight as he strode across the room and reached into the closet for his backpack. “I didn’t realize you were there,” he explained as he began shoving clothes into the backpack.

“You’re leaving?” Finn knew it was stupid to ask but he didn’t know what else to do. Taylor nodded as he rushed into the bathroom. When he came out he was pulling the zipper closed.

“I’ll stay out of your way. I think that would be easier,” he explained and Finn laughed sarcastically.

“Easier? You don’t seem to be having a hard time with any of this,” he said and Taylor shrugged.

“I’ve felt like hell for weeks, trying to figure out how to end this. But my level of guilt isn’t going to impact your feelings,” he stated and Finn’s brows pulled together.

“I don’t know, it might help if you appeared a little remorseful,” Finn argued. “I thought we were fine. Things felt a little tense and we’ve been distant lately but I thought it was because we’ve both been working our asses off.” Finn pushed his hand through his hair and Taylor shook his head as he pulled one of the straps over his shoulder.

“We grew apart, Finn. It happens,” Taylor announced as he went down the hall. Finn pulled himself to his feet and fisted his hands at his sides to keep from reaching for Taylor as he hunted for his keys.

“We were just in Paris. It was less than three months ago!” Finn yelled. He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to tamp down the swell of emotions that filled his chest and tightened his throat. “You proposed,” he whispered and Taylor threw his hands up in frustration.

“I’m sorry! I shouldn’t have done that but it seemed like the right thing to do at that stage of our relationship,” he explained and Finn’s jaw fell.

“I thought you did it because you loved me,” Finn said and Taylor groaned.

“I did love you, Finn. Then, we came back and everything was pretty much the same as it was before the trip. I was hoping that getting engaged would make things more exciting but it didn’t. Which would have been fine, except I met someone and things just started to happen.” Taylor pulled the fridge open and grabbed a bottle of water. “I’ve moved on. You will too,” he said simply before he went to the door and waved as he left.

The door shut and Finn was caught between the urge to scream and set everything on fire and open another bottle of wine and sob until he was unconscious. After five minutes or two hours of staring at the door, Finn stumbled into the kitchen and opened another bottle of wine.

Chapter 1

 

It was hard to miss the stranger talking to Sheriff Bradley. Saint dropped onto a stool and nodded at Cheryl and pretended he wasn’t listening as he flipped open a menu.

“How’s the Simon place working for ya, Finn?” Bradley asked and Saint turned over the coffee mug as Cheryl approached with the pot.

“I’ll have the special,” Saint mumbled and Cheryl winked as she poured.

“Sure thing, Saint,” she said cheerfully before she went to the window and shouted his order. Saint sipped his coffee as he listened to the conversation at the other end of the counter.

“Those kids aren’t giving you a hard time, are they?” Bradley asked and Finn smiled and shook his head.

“They’re all good kids,” he said before he gestured toward Bradley’s plate. “I’ll let you get back to your dinner. It was good talking to you again, Sheriff,” Finn said before he shook Bradley’s hand and excused himself to slide into a booth.

After a few discreet glances, Saint was able to put Finn in his early 30’s. He was about 6’2”, 170-175 pounds and in really good shape. From the way his skin glowed and the soft highlights in his brown hair, Saint could tell that Finn was spending a lot of time outside. He remembered that the Simon place was on the lake and tried not to imagine Finn swimming. Finn’s eyes drifted around the room and Saint let his eyes nonchalantly swing toward Finn’s. He did his best to look completely unaware and indifferent despite the current of heat that passed through him as Finn’s deep, vivid blue threatened to swallow Saint whole. Wide, full lips cocked into an easy smile and Finn nodded before he turned his attention to Cheryl as she bustled toward him.

“Hey, sugar! What can I get you?” She asked cheerfully as she shoved her tits in Finn’s face. His eyes remained fixed on Cheryl’s as he handed her his menu.

“A cheeseburger and fries,” he announced and shook his head as she held up the coffee pot. “Can I get a coke?” He asked and she smiled as she tucked the menu under her arm.

“Sure, doll! Should have that out shortly,” she said before rushing back to the window to belt out the order. Saint avoided making more eye contact with the handsome stranger and smiled as Cheryl set a plate of meatloaf in front of him.

“What’s his story?” Saint asked quietly and a wide smile filled Cheryl’s face as she rested her elbows on the counter and leaned close.

“He’s the new history teacher at the high school. Came from St. Louis a few weeks ago. He bought the old Simon place and comes in a few times a week for dinner. Pretty as the day is long and single,” she added then sighed heavily. “Been trying to get his attention but he’s not biting.” Cheryl shrugged then patted Saint’s hand. “You good here?” She asked and Saint nodded as he unrolled his silverware.

“Thanks, gorgeous,” he mumbled before digging into his mashed potatoes. Cheryl rolled her eyes and swatted his hand.

“You’re cruel to tease me like that, Saint,” she said as she leaned closer. “If Rose ever kicks you out of her bed, you can keep me company,” Cheryl purred and Saint laughed softly as he shook his head.

“Don’t you have work to do, woman?” He winked and Cheryl pretended to scowl as she pushed away from the counter.

Saint made quick work of his meal then left a $20 next to his plate. He waved at Cheryl on his way out and cast a quick glance at Finn. He was just biting into his cheeseburger. Saint knew he had enough time to figure out a way to learn a little more about the new addition to Blytheville.

Chapter 2

 

“Sure you don’t want any dessert?” Cheryl murmured as she dropped the ticket on the table and picked up Finn’s plate. He flashed a bright smile and winked as he opened his wallet.

“I’m stuffed. I’ll try to save room next time,” Finn said as he dropped cash on the table and slid out of the booth. Cheryl sighed as she went around the counter.

“I’m striking out left and right tonight,” she complained and Finn cringed sheepishly as he backed through the door.

He offered her a jaunty salute and turned toward the beat up truck he’d bought the day after he arrived in Blytheville. He shook his head as he fished his keys out of his pocket and unlocked the door. It had only taken him a few weeks to settle in and he was already first name friendly with just about everyone in town. The biker at the counter was a new face. And not a bad one, at that. The rest of him was definitely easy to look at. Finn snorted in disbelief as he started the truck. Hickville, Missouri was rubbing off on him.

The last type of man that would ever make Finn’s dick jump was a biker. Especially one that probably ran with The Brotherhood. The first thing Finn learned about Blytheville was that “The Brothers” were a serious presence in town. He’d been told they were into drugs and guns and just about every other illegal activity he could imagine. They were harmless to the people in town as long as they stayed out of their business, from what Finn heard. Nope. He was definitely not going to give the Norse god with the long blonde hair and soft hazel eyes a second thought.

Finn shook his head again as he turned from Main Street onto the state route that led out of town toward the old two story farmhouse he now called home. It was a drastic change from the newly remodeled warehouse loft in St. Louis he’d lived in with Taylor. A wave of pain and hatred rushed through Finn and he quickly pushed all thoughts of Taylor away. He’d rather take his chances with a man that was most likely a white supremacist homophobe that would probably beat him to a bloody pulp. Especially if he knew that Finn had spent several minutes trying to decide if he’d enjoy a beard rooting around his nether regions. Or how many tattoos were under his clothes. He looked like he was covered in them. Finn frowned as he rested his elbow on the door and chewed on his thumbnail as he drove.
Jesus, you’re a mess. You’re getting a semi thinking about a longhaired, tattoo covered biker. One that would probably rip your arms off and beat you to death with them,
Finn scolded as he leaned forward and squinted. The sun was just about gone and the nearest streetlight was three towns over.

Fate truly hated Finn, he decided as he slowed down and pulled over next to his mailbox. Of all the people to break down at the end of his road, it had to be Thor. He was squatting next to his bike and rose when Finn leaned across the bench seat and rolled down his window. Finn held his breath as the tattooed god approached.
Dear lord, he’s kind of beautiful. In a terrifying, gritty, redneck criminal, would probably stomp on your skull like it’s a soda can sort of way.
Finn offered a quick nod and waved at the bike.

“Having trouble?” He asked and the biker offered a cocky grin as he leaned against the passenger door. Finn managed to keep his face straight despite the warmth that seeped into his groin. He had a really nice smile and surprisingly perfect teeth.

“Yeah. I’m not sure what the fuck happened. You wouldn’t happen to have any tools in here that I could borrow, would you?” He asked and Finn shook his head.

“No. But I’ve got some in the garage. You’re welcome to them if you want to push your bike up to the house.” Finn offered calmly. Somehow. The god smiled again and reached into the truck.

“I’m Saint,” he said and Finn took his hand and gave it his most masculine shake.

“Finn,” he returned and Saint nodded.

“I heard back at the diner. You’re sure you don’t mind? I don’t want to trouble you,” he said and flashed Finn a boyish smile. Finn shook his head and waved dismissively.

“I don’t really have anything exciting planned. If you don’t mind pushing the bike about a quarter of a mile to the house, you’re welcome to anything in the garage. I’m not sure what’s in there but there’s a good chance you’ll find whatever you need.” Finn cringed as he looked in the direction of the garage. “The light’s out though,” he said as he stared at the trees that obscured the house from the road. Saint’s lips pulled tight as he rubbed the back of his neck.

“If you’ve got a flashlight, I think I can make do,” he said and Finn nodded.

“Simon had a wheelchair ramp put on the porch. It’s not too steep. If you want, you can push the bike onto the porch and use the light,” Finn suggested and Saint smiled.

“If you’re sure you don’t mind…” He said and Finn shrugged.

“Not at all. If you come up to the house, I’ll get that flashlight for you,” he said and Saint stood up and beat on the side of the truck.

“I really appreciate it,” he said and Finn shrugged again.

“Not a problem. I’ll go clear off the porch,” he said as Saint stepped back and Finn put the truck in Drive.

Saint waved as he went back to his bike and started pushing it toward the long dirt road that led to Finn’s house. Finn groaned as he looked in his rear view mirror. He wasn’t that intimidated by the idea of being alone with Saint because he might possibly be a violent criminal. Actually, he seemed like a really nice guy, once you got past the outlaw biker club member aspect. Finn was mostly dreading the idea of being alone with Saint because despite knowing better, he was quickly realizing he was really into scary biker guys.

Finn parked in front of the house and cursed under his breath as he hopped out of the truck. He rushed up the porch steps, unlocked the door and flipped the porch light on. He quickly relocated the two rocking chairs and the small table to the far end of the porch and was praying that Saint would be able to fix whatever was wrong with his bike and be on his way before Finn had a chance to make an ass of himself.
Oh, fuck me,
Finn thought as he turned and watched Saint push his bike up the ramp. His t-shirt hung from his back pocket and his skin glistened in the fading light as the muscles of his arms, shoulders and chest twisted, stretched and flexed as he guided the bike onto the porch.
Wow. He’s really fit. And so, so many tattoos. Not so many on his stomach…
Saint pulled his shirt free and wiped his face before he hung it over the rail of the porch and turned to Finn. He managed to direct his eyes toward Saint’s and not look like he was cataloging Saint’s tattoos. Or drooling. At the thought, Finn rubbed his hand across his mouth and did his best to appear to be checking out Saint’s bike.

“If you’ll get that flashlight, I’ll get out of your way as quick as I can,” he said and Finn nodded slowly as he tried to remember where he was. For a sweaty, gritty redneck, Saint smelled really nice. Like fabric softener and something citrus.

“Right. Come on in,” Finn said as he turned and pushed the door open.

Finn was reaching for the top of the fridge when he realized that Saint was in his living room, inspecting the stacks of books along the walls and on his coffee table. Finn’s brows pulled together and he resisted the urge to ask Saint why he was so interested in his books. Finn’s hand found the Maglight and he rolled his eyes when he tested it and it failed to work.

“I have some batteries somewhere around here,” he mumbled as he began pulling open drawers. Most of the kitchen drawers were empty and Finn bit his lip as he tried to remember where he’d seen them last. He chewed on his lip as he wandered into the living room and checked an end table.

“This place could be really nice,” Saint said as he pulled a book off the mantelpiece. “I’m sure that once your stuff comes and with a little work, it’ll be really comfortable,” he said as he turned and watched Finn pulling open drawers and grumbling as he made his way around the room. Finn shook his head and waved dismissively.

“This is all of my stuff. I lost everything in the divorce,” he said absently as he hurried across the room and checked the box by the stairs. Saint nodded in understanding.

“Ah. She kept the house and all the furniture?” He asked and Finn snorted.

“We weren’t married. Yet. And it was a he, not a she,” Finn explained and his eyes flared as he stared into the box.

He quickly went back to looking and hoped that Saint wouldn’t have caught the last part or wasn’t about to feed Finn his teeth. No batteries. Of course. When Finn stood up and turned toward the living room, Saint was leaning against the fireplace and didn’t appear to have heard.

“So, most of this is what was left behind after Simon’s family picked through everything?” He asked and Finn nodded as he pulled the closet door open and narrowed his eyes as he reached for the small box of odds and ends on the shelf. He cheered under his breath when he spotted the batteries. “Is he why you left St. Louis?” Saint asked and Finn squeezed his eyes shut.
At least he doesn’t seem pissed off or freaked out,
he thought as he turned back to Saint.

“Yeah. I wanted to get out of the city and they needed someone here as soon as possible, so it worked out,” Finn explained as he went back to the kitchen. He tossed the old batteries in the trash and jumped when he turned and found Saint standing behind him. Saint was only an inch or two taller than Finn but he was wider and Finn felt like he was standing next to a wall of heat and muscle.

“Sorry,” Saint murmured as he handed Finn the flashlight. “I didn’t mean to scare you,” he said as he stepped back and leaned against the counter. Finn shrugged as he popped new batteries into the flashlight.

“You’re fine,” he said as he tested it then handed it to Saint.

“I’m sure most people would be jumpy, having someone like me wandering around their house,” he winked as he flipped the Maglight in his hand and Finn crossed his arms over his chest.

“Someone like you?” He asked and Saint gave him a pointed look. Finn rolled his eyes. “You don’t come across as a violent psychopath,” Finn explained and Saint’s lips tilted into a grin that looked a little like a dare and Finn waved it off. “And you’re definitely not stupid,” he said and Saint’s brows rose. “Four cars passed us while we were talking earlier. Enough people saw you broke down by my mailbox to place you here if you should decide to murder me,” Finn added and Saint laughed.

“Good point,” he teased as he tapped his chin with the flashlight. The fine lines at the edge of his eyes crinkled and under the brighter kitchen light, Finn could see beyond the tattoos, long hair and beard. Saint was definitely beautiful but it was his age that surprised Finn. If he had to guess, he’d say that Saint was in his mid to late forties.

“Is Saint your real name or is that your…” Finn cringed. He wished he’d went ahead and blurted out the question about Saint’s age.
Well done… After discussing his street name, maybe you can ask him if he’s killed any hookers lately,
Finn scolded. Saint raised a brow and for a moment Finn was certain he was reading his mind.

“It’s a nickname my brothers gave me,” he explained as his eyes searched Finn’s. Finn did his best not to fidget or look away as Saint studied him. “I’m the one that usually steps in when someone’s about to get hurt or killed and cools things down. I don’t like when a brother murders someone. It’s a fucking mess and a hassle,” Saint said and Finn’s eyes flared. Saint laughed and punched Finn on the shoulder. “I’m kidding. I’m just not a fan of violence,” he stated and Finn tried not to look too relieved. “There are a few hotheads in The Brotherhood and I’m usually the voice of reason.” Saint grinned as he gestured toward Finn. “Is Finn your real name or is that your inner city teacher name?” He asked and Finn pulled a face.

“It’s my last name. My first name’s Phillip. I’m named after my dad and my mom thought Finn was cute and it made it easier to figure out who she was yelling at when I was a kid. It just stuck,” he explained and Saint nodded.

“That makes sense,” Saint said then cocked his head toward the porch. “I better get out there and get to work, I don’t want to keep you.” He saluted Finn with the flashlight as he left the kitchen and Finn followed.

“Is there something I can do to help?” Finn asked and Saint stopped at the door.

“Do you know anything about bikes?” Saint asked and Finn shook his head.

“Not a damned thing,” he admitted and Saint chuckled softly.

“I’m sure I’ll be alright. Just do whatever it is you’d do if I wasn’t here and I’ll try not to make too much noise,” Saint said as he pushed the screen door open. Finn’s lips twisted as he watched Saint shut the door and skip down the porch steps. He disappeared into the dark and Finn waited until he saw the flashlight’s beam bouncing around the garage before he turned and ran up the stairs.

 

Finn changed out of his work clothes into a faded Beastie Boys t-shit, grey sweatpants and thick cotton socks and jogged down the stairs five minutes later. The evenings were warm and often humid but Finn learned that if he kept the front and back door open and ran the ceiling fan, the couch was in just the right spot and became blissfully cool despite the house’s lack of air-conditioning.

The sight of Saint’s back as he squatted with his back to the door stopped Finn in his tracks. Muscles rippled and strained as he worked and the various characters and flames on his skin rippled and glistened as he worked under the porch light. Finn shook his head, hoping to make thoughts happen.

“Did you find what you needed?” He asked and he lost his breath as his eyes finally drifted from Saint’s back to the top of Saint’s head.
Seriously? You’re going to get wet over a fucking man bun?
Finn complained as he stared at the loose knot on top of Saint’s head. For some inexplicable reason, it was really working for Saint. He smiled over his shoulder and Finn bit his lip to keep from groaning. He reminded himself that he saw Saint flirting with Cheryl and just because he didn’t break Finn’s ribs for being gay, didn’t mean that Saint would take too kindly to Finn lusting after him.

BOOK: Falling For Disaster
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