Gage, Ronna - The Search is Over (Siren Publishing Classic)

BOOK: Gage, Ronna - The Search is Over (Siren Publishing Classic)
8.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

The Search is Over

Home after a bitter divorce, Rafe seeks to find the man he’s become. In a quiet trailer park on the outskirts of town, a young woman captures his attention. Trouble is, she’s taken, but when they meet, all bets are off. The so-called boyfriend is out of the picture, clearing Rafe's path to her.


Candi Patterson shares living expenses with her coworker and her boyfriend. Working nights as a bartender and going to school during the day is hard on a girl’s social life. Feeling lonely, Candi agrees to date her roommate’s son only to be told later that he is moving back north. Devastated, she comes to the reality that love stinks. It gets in the way of her goals, and she has too much going on to complicate things with dating.


In a chance meeting, Candi meets someone who makes her reconsider that earlier decision.


52,746 words


Ronna Gage


Siren Publishing, Inc.

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IMPRINT: Erotic Romance


Copyright © 2011 by Ronna Gage

E-book ISBN: 1-61034-773-0

First E-book Publication: September 2011

Cover design by Jinger Heaston

All cover art and logo copyright © 2011 by Siren Publishing, Inc.

This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.

All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.


Siren Publishing, Inc.

Letter to Readers


Dear Readers,


If you have purchased this copy of
The Search is Over
by Ronna Gage from or its official distributors, thank you. Also, thank you for not sharing your copy of this book.



Regarding E-book Piracy


This book is copyrighted intellectual property. No other individual or group has resale rights, auction rights, membership rights, sharing rights, or any kind of rights to sell or to give away a copy of this book.


The author and the publisher work very hard to bring our paying readers high-quality reading entertainment.


This is Ronna Gage’s livelihood.
It’s fair and simple. Please respect Ms. Gage’s right to earn a living from her work.


Amanda Hilton, Publisher


This book is dedicated to my husband, Ron. From the time we met and twenty-one years later, you’ve made my life a romance story.



Copyright © 2011

Chapter One

Ricky Garza sat back in his recliner, looked at his friend, Jase Hobbs, and gulped the last drop of beer from his can. “Give me a beer, will ya?” he asked with a slight demanding tone. Jase picked up a bottle from the ice pail next to him, popped the cap off, and then set it down on the table between the matching chairs.

“Thanks, dude.”

A classic rock song
the living room with an
easygoing melody, which buzzed in Ricky’s semi-inebriated head until it bobbed gently to the beat.

“God, this music takes me back,” Ricky replied after a few seconds of quiet. “Do you remember the two of us hanging out with Rafe?”

Jase chuckled at the comment. “Yeah, God, Rafe Sines used to party all night long and listen to music just like this.”

“I miss those days,” Ricky sighed. He eased back into another mild stupor of nostalgia. The mood music settled over him like an old friend and more memories swirled in his head. Without warning, he jerked up. “Hey, that reminds me. The neighborhood wild boy himself is back in town.” He couldn’t keep the excitement out of his voice. His body filled with it until it produced goose bumps to break out over his skin.

“I heard he was back, but I haven’t seen him though, have you?”


“Where is he staying?”

“I suppose at his parents’ house.” Jase shook his head. “Bummer.”

Ricky sat back in the chair. “I bet he could use a night out about now. Party like we did in high school. All the girls lining up…” Ricky’s voice lost that edge of giddiness. “…until he went away.” He stacked his hands one on top to the other and set them behind his head for a pillow. “But soon, the neighborhood will be back to the party standards it once held now that he’s free. Ah, the place won’t be the same again now that he’s out and about, tearing ass up and down the streets again.”


He looked back at Jase. “What?”

“You make it sound as if he’d been in prison. He was only married, for God’s sake.”

Ricky shrugged off the ludicrous similarity. “Damn near close to prison. That crazy-ass woman ran him into the ground, broke his heart, and then left him stranded in another state without any money. The fucking bitch.”

“Oh, Ricky,” Jase sounded, rolling his eyes. “
wasn’t that bad, and you know it.”

“She almost ruined my boy,” Ricky replied indignantly. “But mark my words. Now that he’s home, things are going to be different.”

Ricky bent over the arm of the recliner, picked the landline phone from the floor, and then punched in the phone number he knew by heart, even after three years, and waited.

“Who are you calling?” Jase asked, and then took a drink of his beer.

Ricky gave him a sarcastic look. “Your mother! Who do you think?” he asked in a more caustic tone.

Jase narrowed his eyes. “Don’t be an asshole.”

Ricky cast him another leveling glare. Two rings later, Rafe’s familiar voice answered. “Rafe?”


“Hey, it’s me, Ricky. Man, you don’t sound like you used to. Your voice has changed.” That nostalgic feeling fled away the second Ricky heard the transformation, but he refused to let it hamper his good mood.

“I heard you were back in town. I thought I would give you a call.”

“Yep, got in about a week ago.”

“Jase and I wondered where you were staying.”

“Here at my parents’ house. You know, until I get back on my feet. Thanks to the financial burdens of divorce.”

“I’m at my parents’ house, too.”

“I’m sorry to hear that, my friend,” Rafe said, his voice empathetic to his living conditions.

“No, don’t be sorry. I like not having the responsibility for anyone but myself.”

“What do you do for privacy or fun?”

“Hang out, go to the parties in the neighborhood, play ball at the beach. You know, the usual. Just like in high school.”

“Don’t you ever get tired of that?”

“Hell no! I love living at my parents’ house. My momma takes care of me.”


“She washes my clothes, does the shopping, and does other things for me. Why do I want to leave?”

“I’ve been here at my folks for a week and I can’t wait to get my own place—to come and go as I please and be alone for awhile.”

“Living with your parents has some good points, for the most part.”

“Yes, but I’m not a kid anymore. I’m a twenty-four-year-old divorced man with nothing but a paycheck and a car.”

“Look at it this way. Living at home gives you three square meals and a roof over your head,” Ricky pointed out.

“Yeah, whatever.”

“Hey, let’s not dwell on mistakes and other hassles. I called to see if you want to check out the parties around the neighborhood with Jase and me tonight.”

“That sounds like a really good idea.” Ricky looked at Jase and gave him a thumbs-up sign. “I need a beer, some laughs, and some pussy.”

“Cool. We’ll pick you up in an hour, okay?”

“See you then. Bye.”

Ricky placed the phone on the floor, jumped up from the chair, and almost danced around the short distance to Jase’s chair. “The boys are back!” he yelled and gave Jase a high five.

Ricky turned up the volume on the stereo. The singer’s high-pitched voice rang out, filling the room along with the shrill sounds of metal rock guitar. Suddenly, Ricky’s good-time-man personality reared to the top, filled with exuberance to go out for some action. Excitement erected his body—and his other mindless embodiment. With that smug look that was his alone, he shouted, “Let’s get some pussy tonight.”

* * * *

Rafe hung up the phone in greater spirits than when he answered the call. He released a sigh of breath that eased the tension of stress from his stiff shoulders. He couldn’t wait to go out on the town again to relax and have a few drinks. “I could use a night out.” He turned to go to his room and came to an abrupt halt at the sight of his mother and father standing in the dining room. They stood in front of the doorway with their arms crossed over their chests. Rafe knew what that look meant.
The tenth lecture of the day

I bet it has something to do with my friends.

“Rafe, I don’t think you should be going out with those boys tonight,” Sylvia Sines stated with that infamous motherly concern.

“Why not?” Although his question was calm, his frustration hitched a new notch to apply extra stress to the tension he’d expelled a short time ago.

“You are going through a rough time right now.” She worried her bottom lip with her upper teeth. “I think you’re in too fragile a state of mind to be going out on an all-nighter with a bunch of playboys.”

She means well, but this is my time
. “Mom, it’s just Ricky and Jase. Two of the…”

“Most adolescent men I’ve had the displeasure of knowing,” Ralph Sines added to the conversation. “Son, if you start mixing it up with them, I’m afraid
going to get into some trouble that you can’t see your way out of.”

Not him, too.
“Dad, I’m just going out with some old friends, for a nice, relaxing time in the neighborhood.” The idea to account for his actions to his parents at his age annoyed him.

Sylvia looked him squarely in the eyes. Rafe knew that look, too. She mentally prepared to draw the line in the sand. “Rafe, I can’t stop you from going out with those boys. But if this is going to become a habit, you might need to consider getting a place of your own,” she avowed rather harshly.

Rafe looked from his mother to his father. He saw the shocked expression on his father’s face and wanted to laugh. It reflected his inner feelings. He then gazed back at her. She stood unnerved by their surprised looks.

“I won’t live like that again.” Her soft reply swelled the tension in the room.

“Mom!” Rafe felt anger’s boiling heat rise to his face. It bothered him to admit she did have a point. Moving in with his parents was a temporary arrangement. His plan to stay with them didn’t see him past getting back onto his feet, and this was only the first week. He calmed down and let his anger go. “That’s fair, but tonight I need this time out.” Rafe walked past them toward his old room. In doing so he left no space for further arguments.

Rummaging through the closet, he
selected a pair of jeans and a shirt. All the while,
he mulled over what his parents had said and done in his mind.
Parents! God love them, but they overreact about every little thing.
He dressed and splashed on some cologne. His stomach fluttered with butterflies. He raised his hands and found them shaking. “What do you have to be nervous about?” he asked the man in the mirror.
Besides, the neighborhood crowd isn’t the same as it was three years ago. Surely, everyone had grown up by now.

* * * *

Ricky drove up to the first party and smiled at the sounds of laughter and music that rang out at high volume. “Looks like this party is up in full swing,” Ricky said when he shifted the truck into gear.

“Let’s check it out and see who’s here,” Rafe suggested.

Ricky met Rafe and Jase at the end of the truck. “There’s no reason to settle for one place when the potential could be somewhere else.”

“Yeah, and it’s only seven. Plenty of time to check out other parties if we have to,” Jase added.

The short walk up the sidewalk invigorated Rafe’s step. The loud music vibrated the w
indows, causing them to shake.
The front door was left wide open for anyone to enter. They walked in, and right away Jase pointed to a few girls dancing in a teasing fashion. The small dresses shimmied with their gyrating hips. The male audience
watched the enticing show of flirtation

“What do you want to do?” Jase yelled close to Rafe’s ear.

He motioned with a hand signal. “Find something to drink.”

Ricky, Jase, and Rafe—in that order—strutted around the party. “Hey Rafe, Ricky, Jase…” a group of
old friends

A small group of women smiled when they passed by them. “Hi, guys!” Suddenly they stopped and did a double take. “Rafe?” He nodded. “Oh, wow! It’s good to see you.” Each one gave him a small kiss on the cheek and a hug.

“It’s good to see you, too,” he said after he received four kisses on the cheek.

“Call us sometime,” one of the girls said.

“We can make up for lost times,” another one teased.

Ricky looked at Rafe. “Ladies, if you will excuse us, but this is Rafe’s first time back on the single scene. So, bug off.” Jase and Ricky led Rafe from the small group of girls and headed toward the den. Once out of earshot, Ricky shook his head in awe. “The notorious Rafe Sines is back in action.”

The small compliment boosted his confidence tremendously. Rafe smiled and bobbed his head at the women. He spotted the beer line in the dining room. “This looks like our stop.”

Five kegs sat upon the bar between the kitchen and dining room. Cheap beer flowed into cups, glasses, and one guy, obviously drunk on his ass, filled his girlfriend’s shoe to guzzle his beer. Rafe laughed. He then watched a girl grab a straw from a carton on the table and snort some white powder off the counter behind the kegs. Spilled out on the dining table, for whoever to consume, lay a variety of drugs and paraphernalia.

This would be a vice detective’s dream bust.

Rafe looked around at the pile of powder, pills, and rolled-up cigarettes. He hadn’t partaken in the evil of drugs in about three years. Not since he
gave them up for
. Not that doing drugs was hard for him to kick. He never really got hooked on them. But
One try, and she would be hooked
He tapped Ricky on the shoulder and then pointed to the table. “Must be the party favors.” Jase and Ricky laughed.

The three settled beside an unattended keg next to the counter.
No one seemed to pay particular attention to the three of them as they took
a cup from the counter and filled it with ice-cold beer. One taste and Rafe fell back against the wall with near-orgasmic satisfaction.
This is almost as good as sex
Rafe looked at the drugs and then back at his cup. As far as addictions go,
beer turned out to be a different story.
no sin in drinking beer, even if it is every day.
Since moving in with his parents, he hadn’t had a
beer. There wasn’t room in his life to hear a speech about the effects alcohol had on the human body, as viewed by Mr. and Mrs. Sines.

BOOK: Gage, Ronna - The Search is Over (Siren Publishing Classic)
8.93Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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