Mystery man, p.1
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       Mystery Man, p.1

           Kristen Ashley
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Mystery Man


  Mystery Man

  Kristen Ashley

  Published by Kristen Ashley at Smashwords

  Copyright 2011 Kristen Ashley

  Discover other titles by Kristen Ashley:

  Rock Chick Series:

  Rock Chick

  Rock Chick Rescue

  Rock Chick Redemption

  Rock Chick Renegade

  Rock Chick Revenge

  The ‘Burg Series:

  For You

  At Peace

  Golden Trail

  The Colorado Mountain Series:

  The Gamble

  Sweet Dreams

  Other Titles by Kristen Ashley:

  Lacybourne Manor

  Penmort Castle

  Sommersgate House

  Three Wishes

  www.kristenashley.net

  Smashwords Edition, License Notes

  This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this book with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then please return to Smashwords.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

  *****

  Prologue

  Mystery Man

  I felt the covers slide down my body then a hand light on the small of my back. It was so warm it was hot, like the blood that ran through its veins went faster than the blood of any average man.

  If this was true, it wouldn’t surprise me.

  I opened my eyes and it was dark. It was always dark when he visited me.

  I had a moment like every moment I had when he showed. A moment of sanity. A moment where my mind said to close my eyes and open my mouth and tell him to go away.

  But if I did, I knew he would. He wouldn’t say a word. As silently as he came, he’d leave.

  And he’d never come back.

  But this was the right thing to do. The smart thing to do. The sane thing to do.

  And I was thinking of doing it, honest to God, I was. I thought about doing it every time.

  Then I felt his weight hit the bed, his body stretching out beside mine, he turned me into him, I opened my mouth to speak and before I could do the sane thing, his mouth was on mine.

  And for the next two hours, I didn’t think at all.

  But I felt. I felt a lot.

  And all of it was good.

  * * * * *

  It was still dark when his shadow moved in the room.

  I lay in bed and watched him move. He didn’t make a noise. It was weird. There was a rustle of clothes but other than that, silence.

  Even as a shadow, I saw he had masculine grace. Powerful masculine grace. That was weird too. Just my mystery man putting on clothes was like watching a badass, macho dance if there was such a thing. Of course, there wasn’t except in my bedroom when he came to visit. No, when he was getting ready to leave.

  It was so fascinating I should sell tickets. But if I did, I’d have to share. I probably already shared with half of Denver, all of them getting their own private show. That already messed with my head enough, that and the fact that he came at all, I let him come, then he made me come after which he came. Then, often, like tonight, repeat.

  I wasn’t real hot on sharing any more than I already likely did.

  He moved to the bed and I watched that too. He bent low, I felt the heat of his hand on my knee, his fingers curling around the back and he lightly kissed my hip, his lips skimming across my skin, making it tingle. Then he slid the covers up my body to my waist where he dropped them.

  I was mostly on my belly, partly on my side, my arm crooked, hand tucked under my face on the pillow. His body moved in that direction, his fingers slid under my hair, pulling it gently back and his lips came to my ear.

  “Later, babe,” he whispered.

  “Later,” I whispered back.

  His head moved infinitesimally and his lips skimmed the skin at the back of my ear then his tongue touched there. That made my skin tingle too, so much my whole body shivered.

  He pulled the covers up to my shoulder.

  Then he turned and he was gone.

  No noise, not even the door opening and closing. He was just gone. Like he’d never even been there.

  Freaking crazy.

  I stared at my bedroom door awhile. My body felt warm, sated and tired. My mind did not feel the same.

  I turned to my back, tucked the covers around my naked body and I stared at the ceiling.

  I didn’t even know his name.

  “God,” I whispered, “I am such a slut.”

  Chapter One

  D-e-a-d, Dead

  The next morning I was sitting at my computer in my home office.

  I should have been working. I had three deadlines the next two weeks and I’d barely begun on the work. I was a freelance editor. I got paid by the hour and if I didn’t work that hour, I didn’t get paid. I had a mouth to feed, my own. I had a body to clothe, a body that liked all sorts of clothes, it craved them so I had to feed the habit or things could get nasty. I had a cosmopolitan addiction and cosmos didn’t come cheap. And I had a house I was fixing up. Therefore, I needed to get paid.

  Okay, that wasn’t strictly true. I wasn’t fixing up my house. My Dad did some of the work. My friend Troy did other work. So, I should say that I had a house I was guilting, begging and emotionally blackmailing others into fixing up.

  But still, it needed fixing up and cabinets and tile didn’t march from Cabinet and Tile Land into my house and say, “We want to live with you, Gwendolyn Kidd, fix us to your walls!”

  That only happened in my dreams, of which I had many, most of them daydreams.

  Like right then, sitting at my computer, one heel to the seat, my chin to my knee, my eyes staring out the window, I was thinking about my Mystery Man, the Great MM. I was daydreaming about changing our first meeting. Being smarter, funnier, more mysterious, alluring, interesting, hooking him instantly with my rapier wit, my flair for conversation, my ability to discuss politics and world events intelligently, my humble stories of expansive charity work all wrapped up with enticing looks that promised a lifetime of mind-blowing orgasms, making him declare his undying love for me.

  Or at least tell me his name.

  Instead, I was drunk and definitely not any of that.

  I heard my doorbell go, a chime then a clunk and I started out of my elaborate daydream which was beginning to get good.

  Then I got up and walked through my office into the upstairs hall making a mental note, again, to call Troy and see if he’d fix my doorbell for a six pack and a homemade pizza. This might mean he’d bring his annoying, whiny, constantly bitching new girlfriend though, so I changed my mind and decided to call my Dad.

  I got to the bottom of my stairs and walked through my wide living room, ignoring the state of it, which was decorated in Fix Up Chic, in other words dust rags, paint brushes, power tools, not-so-power-tools, cans and tubes of practically everything, all of it jumbled and covered in a layer of dust. I made it through the area without my hands going to my head, fingers clenching my hair and mouth screaming, which I counted as progress.

  I got to the entryway which was delineated by two narrow walls both fit with gorgeous stained glass.

  Two years ago, that stained glass was my undoing.

  Two years ago, approximately six months and two weeks prior to meeting my Mystery Man, I’d walked one single step into this ramble and wreck of a house, saw that stained glass, turned to the realtor and announced, “I’ll take it.”

  The realtor’s face had lit up.

  My father, who hadn’t even made it into
the house yet, turned his eyes to the heavens. His prayer lasted a long time. His lecture longer.

  I still bought the house.

  As usual, I should have listened to my Dad.

  I looked out the narrow side window at the door and saw Darla, my sister’s friend, standing out there.

  Shit.

  Shit, shit, shit.

  I hated Darla and Darla hated me. What the hell was she doing there?

  I searched behind her to see if my sister was lurking or perhaps hiding in the shrubbery. I wouldn’t put it passed Ginger and Darla to jump me, tie me to the staircase and loot my house. In my darker daydreams, this was how Ginger and Darla spent their days. I was convinced this was not far from the truth. No joke.

  Her eyes came to me at the window, her face scrunched up, making what could be pretty, if she used a less heavy hand with the black eyeliner, and the blush, and her lip liner wasn’t an entirely different shade as her lip gloss, not so pretty.

  “I see you!” she shouted and I sighed.

  Then I went to the door because Darla would shout the house down and I liked my neighbors, they didn’t need a ten thirty in the morning, biker bitch from hell standing on my doorstep and shouting the house down.

  I opened it but not far and moved to stand between it and the jamb, keeping my hand on the handle.

  “Hey Darla,” I greeted, trying to sound friendly and pretty pleased with my effort.

  “Fuck ‘hey’, is Ginger here?” Darla replied.

  See!

  Totally spent her days looting.

  It took effort but I stopped my eyes from rolling.

  “No,” I answered.

  “She’s here, you better tell me,” she warned then she looked beyond me and shouted, “Ginger! Bitch, if you’re in there you better come out here, right fuckin’ now!”

  “Darla!” I snapped, “Keep your voice down!”

  She craned her neck and bounced on her toes, yelling, “Ginger! Ginger, you crazy, stupid, bitch! Get your ass out here!”

  I shoved out the door, forcing her back and closed it behind me, hissing, “Seriously, Darla, shut up! Ginger isn’t here. Ginger is never here. You know that. So shut up and go.”

  “You shut up,” she shot back. “And you get smart. You’re helpin’ her…” She lifted her hand, pointed her finger at me, thumb extended upwards and then she crooked her thumb and made a gunshot noise that puffed out her cheeks and made her lips vibrate. I would have taken a moment to reflect on how good she was with verbal sound effects if the serious as shit look in her eye wasn’t scaring the crap out of me.

  So, instead of congratulating her on the only real talent I suspected she had, I whispered, “What?”

  She dropped her hand, got up on her motorcycle-booted toes so we were eye-to-eye and said in a soft, scary voice, “D-e-a-d, dead. You and her, you don’t get smart. You get me?”

  Then I asked a stupid question because the question was asked often and there was always only one answer that answer being yes.

  “Is Ginger in some kind of trouble?”

  Darla stared at me like I had a screw loose. Then she lifted her hand, did the gun thing with the sound effect, finger pointed at my head. Then she turned around and walked swiftly down my front steps.

  I stood on my front porch staring at her. My mind absently noted that she was wearing a tight tank top, an unzipped, black leather motorcycle jacket, a short, frayed jeans skirt the wearing of which was a crime in several states for a variety of reasons – both fashion and decency, black fishnet stockings and motorcycle boots and it was around forty degrees outside. She didn’t even have on a scarf.

  The rest of my head was caught up with my sister and Darla’s sound effect.

  Shit. Shit. Shit.

  * * * * *

  I drove my car trying to tell myself this was a good plan and knowing that my first plan, the one where, after Darla left and I went back into my house, I walked directly to the phone and called my father, was the right plan and this plan was garbage.

  But my father and his wife Meredith had disowned Ginger awhile ago. It was approximately ten seconds after they came home from a vacation to Jamaica and lost their happy, island holiday mojo when they saw their daughter on her knees in the living room, her head between the legs of a bare-chested man, his jeans opened, his head lolled on the back of the couch because he was passed out and Ginger was so whacked on whatever she was taking she had no idea her activities were getting her nowhere.

  And, incidentally, the living room was a disaster as was the rest of the house.

  As you can probably see from this story, I was loath to bring my father into another situation involving Ginger. Especially since this wasn’t the worst story I had, it was just, for Dad and Meredith, the last. They were currently living a carefree, Ginger-free existence and I didn’t want to rock that boat.

  Therefore, I didn’t call Dad.

  Instead I thought of Ginger’s boyfriend, Dog. Dog was a member of a biker gang and Dog was as rough as they come. But I’d met Dog, I liked Dog. Dog was funny and he liked my sister. She was different around him. Not a lot, but at least she was palatable.

  Okay, so Dog was likely a felon but, as ironic as it was, he was a good influence on Ginger and those didn’t come around very often as in never. Not in twenty-five years. So, since I was getting the hint from Darla, Ginger’s one and only friend, that Ginger’s trouble was a little worse than normal, I needed firstly to do something about it and secondly, since this was Ginger, call in reinforcements or better yet, lay the problem on their door.

  Enter Dog.

  I drove to the auto supply store on Broadway and found a spot on the street. Even before I knew Dog, and thus figured out this was probably a front for a biker gang’s nefarious dealings, I knew about this store. It was called Ride and I’d shopped there mainly because I could find an excuse for shopping anywhere. But Ride was awesome. It had cool stuff in there. I bought my windshield wiper fluid there. I bought new car mats there last year and they were the bomb, supreme car mats, the best I’d ever had. And when I was in my twenties and going through one of my many phases, in an effort to pimp my ride, I also went there and bought a fluffy, pink steering wheel cover and a glittery, pink Playboy Bunny thingie to hang from my rearview mirror.

  And everyone knew Ride had a triple-bayed garage in the back but it wasn’t for normal cars and motorcycles. It was for custom-built cars and motorcycles and it was world famous. They built cars and bikes and they were extremely cool. I’d read an article in 5280 magazine about the place. Movie stars and celebrities bought cars and bikes from there and, from the pictures, I could see why. I wanted one but I didn’t have hundreds of thousands of dollars so that was a bit down on my List of Things I Want, right under a Tiffany’s diamond bracelet which was directly under a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes.

  I got out of my car and walked down the sidewalk to Ride hoping my outfit was okay. I’d put my hair in a girlie ponytail at the top back of my head, I was wearing low-rider jeans, low-heeled boots and my biker jacket. Mine wasn’t like Darla’s. It was a distressed tan leather, had a bit of quilting around the high waist, was lined with short, warm fur and it had a six-inch tuft of fluffy fur at the sleeves. I thought it was hot and the deal I got on it was hotter. However, I wasn’t sure about the fluffy fur. I didn’t think bikers were concerned with animal rights, I thought they’d think it was an affront to their brotherhood and they might garrote me.

  Welp! Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  I straightened my shoulders, walked into the cavernous store and turned direct to the long counter at the front that held one cash register even though sometimes the place could get packed. Since I didn’t have his cell, my intention was to ask if someone there knew how I could get hold of Dog. I didn’t expect to see tall, broad, inked-to-the max, long blond-haired Dog standing at the other side of the counter, one big, rough biker guy on his side of the counter, three on the outside and all of them turning to m
e the minute I walked in.

  “Hey Dog,” I called on a smile, walking up and then stopped dead when his eyes sliced to me.

  Uh-oh.

  His eyes narrowed and his face didn’t get near to hiding the fact that one look at me made him extremely pissed off.

  “Do not shit me,” he growled and I took the nanosecond before I pee’d my pants to try to remember the moves I’d learned in the one, half hour self-defense class I took.

  When I made no response and didn’t move, Dog repeated, “Do not come in here and fuckin’ shit me.”

  “I’m not shitting you,” I told him because, well, I wasn’t.

  His brows flew up. “That cunt sent you?”

  Uh-oh again. Dog was using the c-word. I suspected that the c-word wasn’t worda-non-grata in Biker Club Land like it was in the rest of the English-speaking world but still, it said a lot.

  Before I could speak, Dog did. “She sent you. Jesus, Gwen. You got one warning, woman. Get your head outta your ass, turn that sweet tail a’ yours and get… outta… here.”

  Wow. Dog thought I had a sweet tail. He was scaring me but he wasn’t entirely unattractive so I thought that was kind of nice.

  I focused on the matter at hand, took a deep breath and walked forward. All of the bikers went on alert, or, more accurately, scary, biker guy alert so I stopped moving.

  Then I said to Dog, “Ginger didn’t send me.”

  “I’m bein’ cool with you, babe, go,” Dog replied.

  “No, really, she didn’t. Darla came around this morning and she freaked me out. She did this.” I lifted my hand up and did the gun thing with the sound effect thing and my gun blast was nowhere near as good as hers but I forged ahead. “She seemed serious so I thought I’d check in with you, make sure Ginger is all right.”

  “Ginger is not all right,” Dog returned instantly. “Ginger is far from all right.”

 
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