Authors: M Dauphin
To my grandpa, because you never made me stop chasing my dreams.
To my mother in law… there aren’t enough words to explain how proud of you I am. I hope one day I turn out to be as amazing of a mother in law that you have been to me.
~A little note before you begin this journey~
I started this book in early 2015 while on vacation in Florida. I had just found out someone very close to my heart had cancer and I wasn’t coping well. Even on the beach, I found myself needing the therapy of writing a story that people can relate to with this heartbreaking topic.
So I wrote.
I wrote about five chapters before putting it down and not touching it for months.
That’s what you have to do sometimes when it’s that close to your heart. I focused on other stories, and when the time came to work on this storyline again, I was refreshed and no longer dreading the outcome of my loved one’s diagnosis. She’s a fighter and I knew it.
I learned the hard truth in the following months….
Cancer, no matter the type, is ugly. It doesn’t pick and choose who it’s going to affect, and it doesn’t make exceptions.
If anything, this book brought me a way to cope with everything, and still be there for the ones I love.
I truly hope you follow the series to the end and enjoy it as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it.
© February 2016 by M. Dauphin
All rights reserved under the International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, characters and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any resemblance to any actual persons, living or dead, organizations, events or locales is entirely coincidental. All sexually active characters in this work are 18 years of age or older.
This book is for sale to ADULT AUDIENCES ONLY. It contains substantial sexually explicit scenes and graphic language which may be considered offensive by some readers. Please store your files where they cannot be accessed by minors.
© 2016 Inked Imprints
First Edition February 2016
Warning: the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of this copyrighted work is illegal. Criminal copyright infringement, including infringement without monetary gain, is investigated by the FBI and is punishable by up to 5 years in prison and a fine of $250,000.
She’s my best friend. She’s the girl I can sit on the couch with my boxers on at 2am drinking PBR, laughing at dumb-ass cat videos, and not worry that she’s going to try and jump me. She’s the one who has come to my rescue hundreds of times over the years, saving me from the tons of women who have thrown themselves at me, thinking they can get a piece of Lane Sheridan. She’s the one girl in probably a fifty mile radius I’ve never slept with because… well… I love her.
What the other chicks don’t know is they’ll never have a piece of Lane Sheridan, because he only exists in the magazines. The model with a fake name and fake past. My PR people told me making up a new identity and hiding the old would go over so much better than having to tell people I’m a child of incest from the middle of Missouri.
Yea… being someone else is way better than dealing with that shit.
The pussy is great, but only when I can hand pick it. Alexis is a god for keeping up with me all these years and making sure the crazy ones stay away. I’ve been at this gig for five years now and she’s been with me from the start, clearing the path for me to be the success I am now. There’s something about a woman who holds authority that I can’t quite wrap my fingers around. I’m not into the BDSM lifestyle, though I’ve tried it out, but I can’t help but think what it would be like having a creature like Alexis in the bedroom.
Not Alexis, of course… she’s like a fucking sister to me.
A hot, snippy, anger driven, goal oriented sister that gets shit done. No matter what.
Even now, as we sit here and wait for the shoot to start, she’s working her ass off on her tablet. Never a dull moment with my Alexis. She’s gonna be fucking devastated when I tell her the news… maybe that’s why I’m keeping it to myself for now. I can’t ruin her like that… and if the tests all come back good and positive then there’s no reason for her to worry.
“You ready, Lane?” Dan Sung, the photographer, calls to me. I nod and take a swig of water before Alexis quickly sprays me down with oil and rubs it in. It’s our thing. Most photographers have assistants for shit like this, but I don’t want some random person’s hands rubbing all over me all day. Alexis knows the muscles that need the shine. She knows the way the oil shines too much if it’s not rubbed in enough or not enough if it’s rubbed in too much. She’s got it down to a science and is faster than any assistant I’ve come across.
She’s the damn best.
“Go on, you’re good,” she mutters, moving back to her chair and grabbing her tablet. Something’s been weird with her today, and if we ever have a quiet moment I plan on finding out.
Instead of doing that right now, I make my way to the shoot. A few other models are waiting for lighting shots to be adjusted and placing to happen. It’s an underwear add today I’m shooting. I was the face of Tommy a few years back, but they like to keep things fresh and new, so they dropped me a year ago. Now I’m here, shooting for a brand I haven’t heard of which would typically piss me off that I’m wasting my time, but with the news I got yesterday I just can’t find it in myself to be mad about it. It feels irrelevant anymore.
By the time the shoot is over, my muscles are done. I’ve been posed, primped, sprayed with sparkles that I won’t be getting out of my crevices for days, and fawned by five females all wearing less clothes than me. How this shit is magazine legal, I don’t know, but it brings in the money, so I don’t question it.
“Jesus,” Alexis huffs, taking a towel to my hair to try and get out some of the glitter. “They all think they have the best ideas.” She mutters something about dumb ass photographers and I chuckle. I’d hate to piss this woman off.
“It’s all good, Al. I’ll stick my head out the window while you drive me home and it’ll all fly off.” I knock shoulders with her and grin as she shakes her head and curses. “What?”
“I have shit tonight, Lane. I thought you rode your bike here.” She furrows her brows at me as I pull my pants up and button them. Never once have I noticed her eyes travel my body… which is great self control because I’ve worked damn hard for this body. It should be appreciated.
“I was going to, but Alex dropped me off,” I say, grinning. Alex… the model from the sunglasses shoot I did yesterday. Damn she was good.
“Right,” Alexis says, rolling her eyes and breaking a smirk. “Fine. But head out the window. I don’t need shiny shit all over the car before my date tonight. My luck he’ll think I’m a stripper.” She rolls her eyes again and walks away, grabbing her purse on the way out the door.
Date? She never mentioned a date before now.
“Wait! Al, slow the fuck down!” I holler as I throw on my shoes and grab my shirt on the way out the door. The L.A. heat pisses me off because it’s fucking November… it shouldn’t be this hot. It if wasn’t for the looks I’m getting I’d leave my shirt off… but that’s dangerous for all involved.
“Jesus, you’re slow,” she says, laughing as I open the car door and slide in. “Too hot for clothes, hot shot?”
“You were gonna leave me!” I huff, pulling the shirt over my head and buckling up as she whips out of her spot. “Jesus, in a hurry Al?”
“Funny,” she huffs. “I was fine and on time before I had to take your sorry ass home.” She shakes her head and pushes my shoulder. “You’re lucky I love you, Lane.”
“Damn straight. Bros before hos… and… that…” I trail off, not really understanding what I’m saying. She chuckles and shakes her head as she starts to maneuver through afternoon L.A. traffic. “So hey… a date, huh?”
“Yes. People still go on real dates, Lane.” She laughs at my expense, since it’s been years since I’ve taken a woman on a proper date. Who needs to when they’re so willing… and there are a ton of them!
“Right. But you? Why didn’t you tell me? Who do I need to threaten?”
“No one, Lane! Stop, you’re acting like an overprotective brother!” She laughs and slaps my knee as she brings the car to a stop at a red light.
“I’m fucking serious, Al. I’ll kill a motherfucker that messes with you.” I grab her hand without thinking and stare at how small they look in mine.
Fuck. I can’t crush her.
These tests have to come back good.
“Oh, Lane,” she says, smiling sweetly. Taking her hand away from mine, she breathes deep and puts both hands back on the wheel. “I know you’d hate to get your pretty hands dirty, so I promise you… it’s fine.”
My pretty hands dirty? What the hell?
“Do I know him?” I ask, practically grunting because I’m starting to feel a crazy weird feeling that I’m not used to and I need to get out of this car. Right now.
“No. I met him online.”
“Online!” I bark. “Fuck, Al! He’s gonna murder you!” She belts out a laugh so beautiful I find myself staring at her. Who is this chick and why does my dick suddenly think she’s fresh meat?
She’s my best friend.
“He’s not a killer, Lane.” She eyes me as she finds her way back to my apartment, slowing to a stop as she waits for a truck to pull out. This is why I connect with her. She’s always too fucking patient and nice. Even when she’s in a hurry and doesn’t know the person making her late, she’ll still stop to let them go first.
“I want you to text me either way, Al. You’re a pretty girl meeting a stranger. Bad shit happens,” I say with all honesty. She glances over at me and for a moment I see a look of confusion on her face, replaced by strength. The strength I know as my Alexis.
“Lane, don’t you have other things to worry about tonight than your homely assistant going out on a first date?”
“On the contrary,” I say, then stop as a shooting pain sears into my side. “Fuck,” I hiss.
! This shit’s been happening too much lately. “Holy shit.”
“Lane?” I hear her panicked voice, but the only thing I can do at the moment is hold my side and wait for it to go away.
Fuck. Shit I can barely breathe it hurts so bad!
“Lane, what the hell?!”
She pulls the car to the side of the road and I feel her hands on me immediately as my body starts to shake from the pain. God damnit. It’s been bad before, but never
“Hey… hey it’s ok,” she whispers, climbing over the seat.
Fuck this hurts so bad
. “No Lane… what the hell is happening?” she mutters, wrapping her arms around me as I feel a tear slip down my cheek. Shit.
We sit, wrapped around each other, until the pain finally subsides. She holds me until I make a move to back away from her. I don’t know how long we’ve sat here, but I know it’s later than she needs and she has to get to her date before she’s late. When she notices me trying to push her away she pulls her head back and narrows her eyes at me.
“I’ve known you for years… so when I ask you what that was all about you better tell me the truth,” she whispers. “What just happened, Lane?” Her hand is resting on my shoulder and I feel like I could stay like this forever. She’s my sanity in this insane world. She’s my solid… the only thing that keeps me on track of my goal.
I can’t ruin her.
“I don’t know,” I mutter, aiding her back over to her seat before she notices the hard-on that’s starting to grow for her. This fucking dick has a goddamned mind of its own. “Must have eaten something bad,” I say, turning to watch out my window. I don’t want to see the look on her face… the look that tells me she knows I’m lying. The look of disappointment. “Can you get me home please?”
“Sometimes you can be a real dick, you know that, Lane?” she huffs and pulls back out into traffic, going insanely fast to get to my apartment.
A silent ride back, when she drops me off I thank her and tell her I’ll text her in the morning if I don’t hear from her after her ‘date’. She waves me on without as much as a ‘goodbye’. I know I hurt her keeping that from her, but I couldn’t just blurt out that I think I have cancer and might be dying without knowing the facts.
Three to five days, that’s how long I have to wait.
Today is day two
My phone rings as soon as I click my apartment door shut, signaling my best friend's since childhood ringtone. Braydon Simms. He knows what I went through yesterday because he’s the only one here I trust to tell and not blab to anyone that L.A.’s ‘It Boy’ might be dying.
“Hey man,” I say, grabbing a beer from the fridge.
“How ya doin’?” There’s worry in his voice, but with the news he’s recently been given I’d be worried if he wasn’t worried about me. We’ve known each other since kindergarten. We’ve been best friends since second grade, when Carl Sanders beat me up on the playground. He knows everything about me.
“Fine. Long day shooting and I’m sure I’ll go to the grave with this fucking glitter they threw on me.” I growl, shaking my hair out. When I hear his sigh I cringe and realize that was a bad choice of words. “Shit man… I’m sorry.”
“Nah.” He chuckles nervously. “We’re all gonna die some time, right?”
“Yea,” I say.
Just me sooner than your lame ass.
“Listen, some of us are heading to the coast tomorrow to see what trouble we can get into. Wanna dust off the bike and come along?” Braydon and I used to ride every weekend. We’d just go with nowhere in sight. We’d drive until the stress from the week melted off of us. It’s been forever since I’ve strapped on my helmet and forgot about the daily grind.
“Yea sure,” I answer, taking a swig of my beer. Maybe getting out of the house for a bit and enjoying life will help me get over the fact that I’m way too fucking young to die.
Also, the fact that the one woman I love most in this world will never know how I truly feel about her.
“Great, we’re meeting at Ted’s at ten, that good?”
“Hey, Lane?” Braydon blurts before I hang up on him. “You doing ok?” I know he’s asking about yesterday. I know he wants to make sure I’m okay with the news I’ll more than likely be getting next week. I know he wants to have a heart to heart and get shit out in the open, but I’m not feeling it tonight.
Tonight I just want to be numb.
“Yea man, I’m good. See ya tomorrow,” I say, ending the call before he can protest to me blowing him off.
Typically on a Friday night I’d find someone to go out with. A girl to bring back here, or friends to go partying with. L.A. has a ton of clubs that I can walk right in to, but tonight I just want to be here. In my apartment.