Hold On - Part Three (The Hold On Series Book 3)

BOOK: Hold On - Part Three (The Hold On Series Book 3)
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Tabitha Levin © Copyright 2015

All Rights Reserved.

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents are either products of the author’s imaginations or used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, without permission in writing from the author.

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

Seeing the gun in Ethan’s hand is making my blood run cold. I can feel the icy shiver as it makes its dance up and down my spine. All I can think about is what it’s capable of doing to someone. My mouth is dry and I swallow in a futile attempt to wet my throat.

Lili is standing to my left. She’s close enough that I can smell the shampoo in her hair. I know the scent well because it’s mine. My shampoo. She’s taking over my house, my boyfriend, my life. Ever since she has come into my life, everything has gone wrong.

I ignore Lili’s last comment to me. She’s trying to unnerve me. She’s trying to unhinge me. If I let her, she’ll succeed.

“Ethan, I need to talk to you. Right now.” I push further into the room. The tone in my voice makes it very clear this isn’t something he can brush off. I’m tired of him not taking my concerns about all of this seriously.

I thought we had something together. I still do, but he has to tell me straight what’s going on. He says he wants to protect me, but I’m tired of being protected. My chest heaves as I take a deep breath to settle my nerves.

He stands up and tilts his head to the side as he studies my face. As he looks between Lili and me, he agrees. “Yep, okay then.”

Finally.

The gun is still in his hand and I shudder before tearing my gaze away from it. Seeing him holding that weapon makes everything real. He’s no longer just my roommate with a bad past anymore, this is right here in my face, in my apartment, in my life. In my heart.

As I take a step toward him my cell phone rings. I’m momentarily distracted and I turn my head in its direction. I don’t know who is calling me right now, and I don’t care. I’m not going to answer it. I can’t.

“It’s your sister,” says Ethan as he glances down at the screen. He reaches over and picks it up, holding it out for me. “Are you going to answer it?”

I stride past Lili, ignoring the scowl that has returned to her face, and take the phone from him pressing the decline button. I can talk to my sister, Tessa, later when this sorry mess is over. Now is not a good time.

I place my phone back onto the counter and turn around, taking a step away from Ethan. As much as I want to be close to him, to let him take all this away, I can’t be near him while he’s still holding the gun in his hand. I’m not sure I can even be in the same room. I look down at it in his hand, and notice the muscles in his arm are tense and alert.

“Ethan, please put that thing away and come down with me to the beach where it’s quiet and I can think straight. We can be alone there.”

He looks across at Lili and then back to me, nods once then bends down, placing the gun back into the brown bag and takes it into his bedroom. He closes the door behind himself after he returns. It’s a subtle gesture that indicates he doesn’t want Lili going back in there. I don’t look back over at her to see whether she gets the hint or not.

My phone rings for the second time, but I still ignore it. I’ll check my messages when I get back. My sister can be persistent, but she needs to understand I have my own life.

I grab my keys and walk ahead of him. I know he’ll follow me but I don’t wait, I can’t. I take the stairs down to the ground floor in two’s.

The sooner I get the answers the better and I’m tired of waiting for him to provide them. I won’t wait anymore - this is it. He either opens up to me and tells me everything, or I walk away. I’m still strong enough to do that.

I hope.

 

 

 

Chapter 2

 

When I reach the water’s edge, I kick off my shoes and wade in ankle deep to where the waves lap at the shore. I need to ground myself with this simple gesture before I turn and question him. The breeze is gentle and cool against my face and I can taste the salt air on my lips.

I close my eyes and take a deep calming breath before I turn around.

Ethan is watching me carefully, his shoulders tense, his whole body on edge. I know he’s unsure of what I’m going to ask, or maybe he does know but doesn’t want to tell me the answers. Enough is enough.

“I have so many questions,” I say softly. I don’t move. Not yet.

“I know,” he says. “I can’t answer them all.”

“You have to.” I leave the water and walk over to stand in front of him. “If we have anything at all, you have to answer me, Ethan. I need you to tell me.”

“Sarah, it’s not that I don’t want to.” He reaches for my hand and lifts it up to place it palm down on his chest, with his own covering it. His hand is much bigger than mine and I feel small compared to him.

His heart is beating at a rapid pace. Each pulse against my fingertips tells me that this isn’t easy for him. I wonder if my heart is beating just as fast. I want to reach up to my own chest. But I don’t.

“The fewer people that know what I’m going to do next, the better it will turn out. I’m trying to keep everyone safe here. I’m trying to keep you safe.”

I shake my head slowly. “No.”

“No?” He searches my face and then darts his gaze behind me and out to the darkened sea as if that will bring the answers to him.

I sigh. “Sit down with me, Ethan.”

I lead him further up the shore to where it’s dry. As I sit down on the ground, I scrunch my feet in the sand, feeling the small soft grits squish between my toes. When he sits down next to me, I pull my knees up to my chest in a protective gesture.

He reaches over for my hand and brings my fingers up to his mouth where he places soft kisses on the back of my knuckles.

“I know what you want,” he says. “You want me gone. You want me to take this sorry mess away from your doorstep.” His jaw stiffens, but he doesn’t stop kissing my fingers. “I understand.”

“You don’t know anything.” I twist around to face him. “I don’t want you gone, I want answers.”

His grip on my hand tenses and he pulls his mouth away from my fingers. “What do you want to know?”

“So many things. Let’s start with Lili.”

He drops my hand and I can see his own form into a tight fist. “What about her?”

“What is the history you have with her? I can see there’s something there, what is it? Why are you protecting her? You could just tell her to leave, but you don’t. Why is it so hard?”

He waves his hand in the air and almost laughs. “I’m not protecting her. I want her gone as much as you do. It’s not that easy. Believe me, I’m working on it.”

He’s being coy again and it bites deeply into me. “Why isn’t it easy? Have you slept with her? Is that what is between you?”

His eyes lock onto mine. “I told you I haven’t.”

“Did you lie to me?” I dig my heels into the ground making deep grooves in the sand.

“No!” he growls. “I told you that I didn’t. You need to trust me.” He’s annoyed that I don’t believe him.

“I trust you, Ethan.” I do. Even after everything that has happened so far, I have to hold on to that.

He sighs, defeated. “We came close once, but it didn’t happen.”

His confession rocks me. “You came close?” The words squeak out of my mouth. I don’t know what he means.

Ethan growls. “Jesus, Sarah, it didn’t mean anything, it was a long time ago.”

I swallow away the hurt that is rising from the pit of my stomach. “What happened?”

He groans and pushes his hand through his hair. “It’s fucking nothing, okay? It happened when I was so young. Shit, she was even younger. I’d only just joined the motorcycle club and we had a big party. Lots of alcohol, lots of people. It was crazy. People were fucking everywhere, out in full view, on tables.”

My eyes are wide as he continues his story.

“She was in my room when I staggered back. I was too drunk to reject her at first, we kissed a bit. Fuck, she was young and she was the boss’s daughter. No way was I going there, even when I couldn’t see straight.”

“You kissed her?”

“It meant nothing.” He squeezes my hand, but I don’t feel the reassurance that he meant for it to give me. “I told her to leave; she got pissy and threatened to tell her dad that we fucked anyway.” He grabs a handful of sand and I watch as it falls out of his tightening fist. “She figured that we might as well do it anyway if everyone thought we did.”

It doesn’t surprise me at all that Lili would manipulate everyone else for her own pleasure and gain.

“I pushed her out of my room and that was it.” His intense gaze focuses of me. “She’s not to be trusted. Don’t believe anything she says.”

“That is it?” I still can’t see why this would cause him to feel obliged to help her. It doesn’t make sense.

“She told them of course. Told the whole club I tapped her.” He grabs my hand back and locks his eyes to mine. “But I didn’t.”

“Is that why you owe her father, because he thinks you had sex with his daughter?”

“No. That’s a whole other fuck up.”

I cringe but forge forward. “Then I need to know about that as well.”

 

 

 

Chapter 3

 

“I don’t like talking about this. It isn’t who I am anymore.” Ethan leans back and lies down on the sand.

I lie down next to him and look up at the stars. There are lots of them tonight, as well as a bright full moon that glows in the inky blanket of the sky. “I know it’s not who you are now.”

He leans to the side and props his head up with his elbow. He places his hand on my hip and circles his finger over my waist. “I can’t have you thinking that I’m that guy. I’m not some piece of shit thug anymore.”

“I’ve never thought that.” I lean over and glide my hand down the side of his face feeling the emerging stubble on his chin. The rawness of his voice is making me fall even deeper into him, it’s messing with the already conflicted emotions I have right now.

The hard edge to his face seems to soften from my touch. “You thought that when I first showed up to rent the room.”

I think back to the first moment I saw him. The way the smooth muscles of his torso tightened as he walked around the room, the way he touched me as he brushed past, the way every cell in my body came alive with desire. I still desire him but its different now. Now, it’s like I’m part of him and he’s part of me. “I thought you were dark and intense when we met, but I never thought you were a thug.”

“You were never scared of me.” It’s not a question - he knows I wasn’t. “Even after you found out about my past, you were never scared of me.”

“I’ve never been scared of you, but I am scared that I’ve been pulled into this dark world that I don’t know anything about, and that you keep pushing me away when I try and get closer to you and understand what’s going on.”

“You know why I push you away.” Ethan scoots closer to me and kisses my shoulder. “I want to protect you. I want to keep you safe.”

His warm breath on my skin is melting my resolve to be strong. I could so easily pretend there is nothing wrong right now and let him kiss away any fears I have, but I know that won’t help. “Tell me about Lili’s father and why you owe him.”

Ethan sits back up and stares out to sea. For a few moments I don’t think he’s going to tell me, but he finally speaks.

“There was a night.” He swallows and then drags his tongue across his bottom lip like he’s parched. “I got caught by a rival club. They were nasty fucks, especially this one guy.”

I furrow my brow waiting for him to continue.

“Two of them held me down while this asshole kicked into me. He broke my jaw, smashed my leg. The whole time he’s laughing and saying what a hero he is to catch me. He thought I was some fucking trophy.”

“Oh my god.”

“Yep, I could have handled myself if it was only two, but I was overpowered with three.”

I place my hand on his leg wondering where he got hurt. “How did you get out of it?”

“I nearly didn’t. Blood’s pouring out of my mouth and this asshole lifts back my head and points a gun at me. The whole time he’s yelling about how he’s going to blow a hole in my head and dump me back on my club doorstep as a lesson to them all. I thought I was dead that night.” He shudders and I can see the fear of that night still haunts him.

My lip quivers as he tells me. I can almost feel the pain and fear myself as he must have experienced it.

“Out of nowhere, Lili’s father shows up. It’s almost like he knew where to find me.”

My eyes widen. “He set you up?”

Ethan smiles wryly. “I don’t think it was him, but someone did. It was a good thing he did show up though, otherwise I’d be gone.”

I glance away and up at the apartment. I can see Lili’s silhouette searching out of the window for where we are. She’s looking for us, probably to try and make things worse, I imagine. Every time something goes wrong, Lili is always there.

“Two of the fucks got away, but we had the last guy. I pointed a gun to his head, just to show him how it feels when you think you’re about to die. But I couldn’t do it, I couldn’t pull the trigger. Instead I hit him on the side of the head with the handle and knocked him out cold.”

“You didn’t kill him.” I feel like I’ve been holding my breath for the entire story and can only take a breath now.

Ethan shakes his head. “I didn’t. Lili’s father grabbed the gun from me and shot him instead. Told him I owed him for saving my life. I guess he did.”

“He killed the guy? Right in front of you?” This is too much; I can’t wrap my head around it.

“I told you they weren’t good men. I didn’t belong there, even if it took me another year to realize that and get out.”

My heart is pounding even faster now. The idea that I’m so close to these people, and that I have a real murderer’s daughter up in my apartment is making me shake.

Ethan grabs my hands. “I’ll protect you from that, Sarah. You have to trust me.”

He keeps saying that, he keeps telling me that I have to trust him. Do I? “I do.”

“Good.” Ethan’s whole body stiffens and he gets really serious. “Now, some crazy shit is going to happen tonight. Some things aren’t going to make sense, but everything I say is to keep you safe.”

“I’ll do whatever you ask me to do.” I bite my bottom lip which has begun to tremble.

He takes my hands in his and kisses the tops of my fingers. “For a start, don’t worry so much, I have a plan now.”

How can I not worry? “It’s a lot to take in.”

“It’ll be over tomorrow and everything will go back to normal.”

“Normal.” I hope he’s right.

He cups my cheeks in his hands and kisses me softly. “If you get frightened or scared and need somewhere to hide, go to my cabin, you know where it is. No one else knows about it, they won’t find you there. Promise me, you’ll go if you need to.” 

Why will I need to go to his cabin? The suggestion frightens me because it means I won’t be safe in my own home. “I promise, I’ll go.”

He breathes a sigh of relief that I can tell he’s been bottling up. “Good. It’s going to work out. I know it.”

 

 

 

BOOK: Hold On - Part Three (The Hold On Series Book 3)
12.44Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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