A step two close, p.1
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       A Step Two Close, p.1

           Jaimie Roberts
 
A Step Two Close


  A Step Two Close

  By

  Jaimie Roberts

  Prologue

  “Daddy, please don’t leave me.” My face was wet from crying so much. My daddy was bleeding, and there was no one around to help me.

  We had been driving in the car when a small tree came out of nowhere, smashed through the window, and went into my daddy’s chest. He was finding it hard to breathe, and I could see blood coming out of his mouth. I knew something was very wrong. Daddy was hurt.

  He tried to say something to me, but all he did was choke. “Daddy, don’t... I need you. Please, Daddy... Please.”

  He tried so hard to speak, but all he did was make funny noises. There was no one there. No one to help me. There was blood on my new birthday dress and all over my hands as I screamed for someone to help my daddy.

  The only thing I saw was an empty road ahead. No cars had come by because everyone was indoors. It was too windy to go anywhere, but Daddy took me out so he could get me something special.

  “Daddy, what do I do? Please tell me what to do. I’m scared, Daddy. I’m so scared.” I was crying harder and squeezing his hand. I didn’t want him to leave me. He couldn’t leave me.

  All I could hear was the wind and my daddy’s coughing. I was so frightened. I needed someone to help my daddy. Why was no one here?

  Suddenly, he started coughing really badly and yanked on my hand like he was desperate to speak. His eyes went wide like he had just seen a ghost... and then...

  Silence...

  Chapter One

  As per usual, my mother was really pissing me off. If it wasn’t for the fact that I couldn’t afford to live anywhere else, I wouldn’t be here. My mum had control of the trust fund my dad left me when he died until I turned twenty-one. I couldn’t go anywhere until I had that in my hands.

  There were over two more years to go. Two long, arduous fucking years of putting up with her accusing looks... the ones which told me everything. The looks which said it was all my fault that he was gone. I couldn’t stand her. She was like a never-ending thorn in my side. She was always out fucking God-only-knew-who and then bringing them back to our house. I had to just sit and listen to them. Some men stayed overnight, and they were the scum of the universe. The amount of times they would hit on me after they had just slept with my mum was too much for words. I mean, seriously? Fuck that shit. It made my skin crawl.

  As sickening as it was, she was already at it again. Apparently, she met someone eight months ago. At least this one kept some distance from the house—so much so that she wanted me to meet him and his son tonight. She had a big announcement, she had said.

  Fucking great.

  Closing my eyes, I wandered back to two weeks ago, when I had met a man a couple of years older than I. I was at a bar and getting pissed with Mandy. Getting pissed with Mandy was a regular occurrence. She knew all about me and was the only solid in my life. I had two months to go until my nineteenth birthday. Normally, my dad’s death didn’t start hitting me until a month before the anniversary date, but this time it was happening two months early. I dreaded this time of year.

  I wanted to be emotionally numb. I wanted to only feel pleasure. Feeling pleasure was good for me, especially when it involved a man going down on me or using his cock to pound me up against a wall.

  I wasn’t a slut by any means. I didn’t sleep around at all. I only seemed to want to be with a man when it got near my birthday. I actually lost my virginity to a man when I turned eighteen. And when I say a “man,” I mean a man. I wasn’t sure how old he was, but I was pretty sure he was twice my age. I wanted someone who knew what he was doing. I didn’t want a fumbling young buffoon, who came the minute his dick was inside of me. I wanted someone with a solid amount of experience, and I wasn’t disappointed. The man who approached me at the bar on my birthday was staying at a well-known hotel about half an hour away from my town. Mandy told me that only the finest of men frequented there. She knew I wanted someone refined. Someone who would take care of me. Someone who knew what he was doing.

  “Hi. My name is—”

  I put my hand up. “No names, please. Or, if you want, call yourself by another name.”

  The guy standing next to me at the bar smiled. It was a nice smile. It showed off his gentle eyes. They were the kind of eyes a woman could easily get herself lost in. They were the most unusual shade of green I had ever encountered. His dark hair was cropped short, and he had a very well-defined jaw. Scanning him further, I noticed that not only was he the most handsome and mature man I had ever seen, but he was also the sexiest. His body was toned and taut, and his hands were big and bulky. Looking at his hands, I spotted no ring on his left wedding finger.

  Bingo!

  Glancing back up, I saw a very rugged five o’clock shadow. I suddenly had this urge to lick his face and run my tongue against his stubble. Lord knows where the hell that thought came from, but I ran with it.

  “So, let me get this straight, young lady. If you’re asking me to give you a fake name, then am I right in thinking that you’re planning on spending the evening with me?”

  He leaned over the bar and swept his finger over his mouth as he waited. That was all the encouragement I needed. Man that was sexy.

  “Yes,” I breathed, a little uneasily.

  “How old are you... ?”

  “Nikki.”

  He smiled. “Nikki. Hmm, I like that. So, how old are you?”

  “Old enough. In fact, it’s my birthday today. I’m out celebrating.” I smiled and held my drink up for him.

  “Well, happy birthday... Nikki.” He winked at me knowingly. “Call me Miller.” He held his hand out, so I shook it. “What can I get you to drink, Nikki?”

  He was good. In fact, he was better than good. The only problem was that I had no one else to compare him to until I met Brent. Boy, what an arsehole he turned out to be. I found him in a nightclub toilet getting a blowjob from my so-called mate, Jennifer. To say she didn’t go home that night with a slapped face would be a lie. I never saw her again after that. Brent still called for a while afterwards, though. I got the usual bullshit.

  “She means nothing to me.”

  “It was all a mistake.”

  “You’re the only one for me.”

  He was the one who began my theory that men could never be relied upon. I especially found that out for myself with my next boyfriend, Chris. We had only been dating for two months when he shagged his next door neighbour’s daughter. I would have given the arsehole a thorough hiding, but the girl’s dad got to him first. I must admit I felt a little smug about that.

  From then on, I had had no one. I had not relied upon men for anything. All they had ever done was leave and disappoint.

  The problem I was having was with my last encounter. He was a man I couldn’t get out of my head. Miller, my first, knew what he was doing, but this other guy? Wow. I wasn’t sure if it was the chemistry between us that set the fireworks off, or what. All I knew was that I wished it had never happened. For the last two weeks, I hadn’t been able to stop thinking about how he touched me in a way that made me think he knew my body better than I did. He couldn’t have been that much older than I, but boy... he knew how to please a woman. There was no second guessing needed regarding the number of women he had probably slept with. I mean, he agreed to sleep with me with no promises of a phone call after. That kind of told me everything I needed to know. I suppose I was being hypocritical, but I doubted I was wrong about him. He called himself ‘H,’ and I told him to call me ‘AJ’ for Ayden Joanna. I didn’t know why that slipped out. In fact, I cursed myself for giving him my nickname—a nickname which was only ever reserved for my father.

  Why did I do that?


  “Why are you coming to bars to pick up men? You don’t look like you belong here.”

  I placed my hand on my chest. “Me? Not belong here?” I started laughing.

  That damn sexy eyebrow of his arched again. He was hot, and I mean really hot. His hair was dark brown, almost black. He also had green eyes that reminded me of the man I lost my virginity to. What was it with me and men with dark hair and green eyes?

  Although the man, who called himself Miller, was gorgeous, he couldn’t hold a candle to this guy. When he looked at me, it was almost as if he was reaching into my soul. It both terrified and fascinated me all at once. Despite my head and my heart warning me that this guy would only be trouble, I ignored them both. I went with what my body craved, and it craved to have this man inside of me. On top of me. Underneath me.

  “You don’t look like the kind of woman who picks up men at bars.” He smiled, leaning in a little bit more. I caught a whiff of his aftershave, and it hit me straight between my legs.

  “I don’t usually. It’s just tonight. I need to forget.”

  Why on earth did I tell him that?

  He gave me a concerned frown. “Why, darling? What do you need to forget about?”

  I sighed. “Everything. I need to forget the life I have and the person I am. Just for one night, I need to forget.” I looked up into those emerald eyes which held me captive. “Can you be the one to help me forget?”

  He leaned down, mere inches away from my mouth. Desire sparked between us instantly.

  “I can certainly try.”

  “Ayden!” I jumped. “Ayden!”

  “Fuck!” It was my mum. What in the hell did she want?

  She burst through my bedroom door without knocking. “Mum, what the hell? I could have been naked here.”

  She ignored me. “Ayden, Mason and Hunter will be here at any moment. You have to look presentable. You’re always doing this to me! Always trying to make me look bad.”

  I smiled. “Why? Are you worried that your little show of happy families is going to fall flat on its arse?”

  She put her hand on her hip and sighed. “Ayden, I don’t need your fucking shit today. You’re an ungrateful bitch, who needs to show me some fucking respect.”

  I rolled my eyes. “Like you’re doing now? Very respectful, Mum.”

  She actually stomped her foot. “Ayden, don’t you mess this up for me! This is the first guy since your father who has shown any real respect for me. He treats me like a lady.”

  I huffed, thinking that that was rich. She was anything but a lady. The way she treated me was a prime example.

  “Besides, I heard his son is quite the catch. Every girl your age is after him. Mason's son is very popular around High Wycombe and beyond. You need someone like him in your life. Maybe he can get you out a bit more.”

  I laughed. It was funny really. I thought I was out of the house a lot already. Obviously, my own mother thought it wasn’t enough.

  “Sure, Kat. Whatever you say.”

  She began to walk out, but paused at the last second. “And that’s another thing... call me ‘Mum’ when they arrive, please. I don’t think they’ll feel we’re that close if you call me by my first name.”

  I laughed again. That was hilarious. “Oh yeah, because we really are that close. When do you fancy braiding my hair next, Mum?”

  She sighed. “Just fucking do as you’re told.” She looked over my attire. “And tidy yourself up; you look like a slut.” With her last jab at me, she was out the door.

  Yeah, that’s my mother. Isn’t she swell?

  Sighing, I got off of my bed and looked at myself in the mirror. I didn’t look too bad. Sure, my skirt could be a little longer, but my grey, off-the-shoulder, loose-fitting top didn’t look at all slutty.

  I smoothed my hands down my skirt, but decided to appease my mother and look for something a little longer. I liked wearing skirts because I always got complimented on my legs. I have very long legs. I think I got my height from my father. He was the tall one.

  I also have his blonde hair and light blue eyes. My hair is long, almost trailing to my bottom. I kept my hair unchanged all of these years because it was the one thing my dad used to rave about when I was little. He loved my hair, so I daren’t cut it. Luckily for me, I had naturally wavy, smooth hair.

  Sighing to myself, I walked over to my wardrobe and looked through my things. There were a few more short skirts in there, but the others looked a little boring. Some of my skirts would have given my mother a heart attack. That thought brought a wicked smile to my face.

  In the end, I settled on an above-the-knee, red, flowing skirt. It still said sexy, but it also said elegant. I could handle that, though I wasn’t sure my mum could.

  Pleased that I had done enough to satisfy my daughterly duties, I sat back down on the bed and read a magazine. I wasn’t sure how long I had been reading before I heard a car outside. I pricked my ears up, but I didn’t move from my bed. When she wanted me, I had no doubt she would call for me.

  In the end, it must have been a record ten minutes before I heard her screaming my name. Even though the door was closed and she was downstairs, her voice still sounded like nails on a chalkboard.

  “I’m coming!” I shouted dutifully.

  Yes, I wished I was fucking coming. Since meeting “Mysterious Sexy Eyes,” that’s all I had thought about.

  I stood up, straightened myself out, and glanced in the mirror one last time before venturing down the stairs. It wasn’t long before I heard the baritone sound of a male voice alongside the sickly, stick-your-finger-down-your-throat giggles from my mother.

  I saw my mother at the same moment she spun around to see me. She smiled sweetly and clasped her hands together like she was the proudest Mum in the universe.

  Please, someone, give me a bucket!

  “Ah, here she is! My only daughter,” she cooed.

  I rolled my eyes before the man came into view. I secretly hoped he wasn’t like the other scumbags. I really couldn’t be bothered with having to kick someone else’s balls.

  As I neared the next step, I saw his legs, then his torso. Hmm... seemed okay so far. He was actually dressed to impress with a suit. He even looked like he was in good shape.

  Next step down.

  My heart was beating wildly as his mouth came into view. That mouth looked awfully familiar. The lips were full and pouty. Just like the pair of lips I remembered sucking on the night I had lost my virginity. Just like the pair of lips that had licked...

  Next step down.

  Oh. Fuck. Me.

  Deer caught in the headlights. That’s how both of us looked. If it wasn’t so serious, I would have been laughing my head off. This was no laughing matter, though. None of it was funny at all.

  It was only when I got down the next step and noticed that my hand wasn’t moving that I realised I had it gripped to the banister like it was my only lifeline.

  I really hoped he was the mail man or something. Maybe just a delivery guy? Jehovah’s Witness, perhaps?

  “Ayden, I would like you to meet Mason Davenport.”

  Maybe not then! I was so screwed.

  She smiled sweetly and placed a loving hand on a very shocked Mason. “Mason, this is my daughter, Ayden.”

  Mason stared at me a little longer. It was beginning to look and feel a little awkward all of a sudden.

  As if he sensed this, Mason cleared his throat, smiled, and leaned forward to take my hand. “Nice to meet you, Ayden. I’ve heard so much about you. I practically feel like I know you already.” The undertone to his statement didn’t go unnoticed.

  At least he remembered me . . .

  God, what was I saying?

  I cleared my throat. How much more agony did I need to endure? “Nice to meet you, too.”

  My mother made a noise like a little chipmunk. “It’s so nice that you’ve finally met each other.” She looked around. “Where’s Hunter? He is coming, isn’t he?”

&nbs
p; Mason managed to pry his eyes from mine to look at my mother. “Erm... yes. He’s just gone to the local shop to get us a couple bottles of champagne.”

  My mother cooed, “Oh, that’s great. Would you like something to drink now?”

  I shouted, “No!” just at the same time as Mason shouted, “Yes!”

  I didn’t want to be alone with this guy, but it looked like he had other ideas.

  My mother laughed. “Mason, what can I get you, darling?”

  Mason smiled. “Just some water for now, Kat. Thank you.”

  She tapped his shoulder, glared at me to behave, and moved away. I really didn’t want this. “Maybe I should go and help—”

  I made a move to go, but Mason grabbed me. “I had no idea.” At least he had the sense to look panicked.

  “Oh, and you think I did? This isn’t exactly a picnic for me either.”

  His eyes widened. “You won’t say anything?”

  I gave him a look. “You really think I want to tell her that the man I lost my virginity to is the same man she’s dating?”

  Mason’s eyes went wide again. “I didn’t know you were a virgin.”

  I shook my head. “This is so not the time to be discussing this.”

  He nodded. “Yeah. You’re right.” He paced a little, looking seriously stressed. “Fuck.”

  “Darling, here’s your water.” My mother walked in with a spring in her step. You would think she had won the lottery the way she was parading herself though the house.

  “So, what is it you wanted to tell me?” I asked, wanting to get to the bottom of it.

  “All in good time, sweetie. Hunter hasn’t arrived yet.”

  I didn’t know which was more sickening—my mother being nice or calling me “sweetie.” I guess it had to be a mixture of both.

  I couldn’t understand this. When I met Mason, he seemed like an intelligent man. How the hell he could have failed to see past my mother’s fake smile was beyond me.

  I barely had time to comprehend all of this when I heard a car horn blaring outside. Mason smiled and turned to my mother. “That must be Hunter.”

 
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