Creed, p.19
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       Creed, p.19

           Kristen Ashley

  “Don’t,” I breathed.

  “Sylvie, let go.”

  “Don’t. Don’t. Don’t.”

  One of his hands cupped the side of my face. “Baby, you gotta let go. This is not right.”

  I lifted my head an inch from the turf and whispered fiercely, “This is the most right thing in the world.”

  My words were true. I knew it. I knew it.

  “You’re beautiful,” he told me. “You’re beautiful, Sylvie. The most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen but you’re too young, baby. This is not right. You gotta let go.”

  “I’m never letting go.”

  “You gotta let go.”

  My arms tightened hard around his neck. “Creed, I’m never letting go.”

  I watched him close his eyes tight, his head dropped, mine went back to the grass and he rested his forehead against mine.

  Then he bit out, “Goddamn it,” and jerked up but not away from me. He pulled me up with him until he was sitting again, back against the tree, me in his lap and his arms, facing him.

  His arms left me, his hands shoved my hair back away from my face and he held me there, one hand on each side.

  “This was not supposed to happen now,” he told me.

  “It happened,” I shot back.

  “Fuck,” he hissed, banging his head back against the tree and looking skyward. “What the fuck do I do now?” he asked the branches of the tree.

  I lifted a hand to his face and brushed away the thick hank of hair that fell over his eye and his head righted so he could look at me.

  Then he said the five most precious words I ever heard in my whole life.

  “I wanna make you mine.”

  I closed my eyes as joy and relief swept through me.


  Then I opened them, looked at him and lifted my hand to touch the peridot resting at the base of my neck.

  “Too late. I already am.”

  His arms closed around me, one hand coming up to the back of my head again and shoving my face in his neck.

  “Shit,” he muttered before he pulled me back and looked down at me. “You sure?”

  I nodded. “Absolutely.”

  He closed his eyes tight and dropped his forehead to mine again. “God, Sylvie.”

  I slid my head down to the side and pressed my face in his neck, my arms stealing around him, holding him tight.

  He bent his neck and put his lips to my ear. “I wanna see you.”

  Those were the four second most precious words I ever heard in my whole life.

  “Okay,” I whispered.


  “Okay,” I agreed quickly.

  “We gotta be careful.”

  “We always did, Creed. It’ll be okay. We’ve had tons of practice.”

  His arms gave me a squeeze.

  “No one can know,” he told me quietly.

  “I know.”

  “This is us. You and me. Special. We do this, we take it slow, we do it smart. We don’t fuck it up.”

  I didn’t get that entirely but still, I nodded. “Okay.”

  He knew me and gently pulled me back so I’d look at him.

  When I caught his eyes, he explained softly, “I guide this, Sylvie, you follow my lead. Nothing changes between us except everything. You gotta understand, in the eyes of the law, I’m too old for you. In the eyes of God, I’m too old for you. And, bottom line, I’m too old for you. We can be together and we can do things but we’re taking it slow until I’m not too old for you. Do you understand me?”

  I bit my lip, feeling my face get pink but I nodded. I understood. He wasn’t going to do it with me.

  Not yet.

  Then I whispered, “Can we kiss again?”

  He grinned. “Fuck yeah.”

  I grinned back. “Good, that was really nice.”

  He started chuckling then he pulled me close and held me there for a long time.

  He broke the moment by saying, “When we go pick up Bootsie, leave your parents a note. Say you’re at a movie. You won’t be home ‘til late. Then you can have dinner and hang at my place with me. We’ll watch a movie.”

  My first date with Creed.

  It sounded perfect.

  Except, of course, the part about Bootsie.

  “Okay,” I whispered.

  “Let me see your face, Sylvie.”

  I pulled it out of the side of his neck, tipped it back and looked at him.

  His hand came up and curved around my jaw, tipping my head back further, his dipped down and he brushed his mouth against mine.

  It seemed I’d been waiting for years to be just like this with Creed.

  And having it…

  It was divine.

  He moved back half an inch and, eyes locked with mine, he whispered, “My Sylvie.”

  I smiled and felt warm through and through and not just from the Kentucky sun beating into me.

  His hand slid back into my hair, tipped my head forward, he kissed the top of my hair and murmured there, “Let’s take care of Bootsie.”

  Then he kissed me, got to his feet taking me with him in his arms and when he was up, he put me on my feet.

  Hand in hand, we walked to his truck.

  Hand in hand, me and Creed, the way I knew down deep in my heart we were always meant to be.


  Chapter Fifteen

  Give Me That

  Present day…

  “She’s with Dixon.”

  Creed lay there, his sky blue eyes just staring. Not at the bacon sandwich he could smell which was set just out of reach but at Daddy.

  He didn’t believe it. He’d lost track of time. He’d been there days, maybe weeks but he didn’t believe. His Sylvie wouldn’t do that. Not in a few days. Not in a few weeks. Not ever.

  “She’s with Dixon,” Daddy went on. “Right now. It didn’t take her long with you being gone to realize she’s better than you. She’s a Bissenette. You may have your Daddy’s blood but you’ve got more of Winona in you. I know this. I know it because you’d set your sights on a teenage girl. Fuck with her head. Take her virginity. You’re trash, Tucker Creed. You were trash before that whore shoved you out. You’re trash now. Jason Dixon isn’t trash. Jason will give her everything you can’t, never could, never will. Jason will hand her the moon.”

  Creed said not a word. He just lay there, staring.

  Daddy got impatient and bent deep, leaning close.

  “Promise to let her go, leave, never return, let her have the life she should have and we’ll feed you, we’ll unchain you, get you medical attention for that cut. I’ll give you ten thousand dollars and you can set up somewhere else. Promise to let her go, leave and never come back, never enter her life again, never phone her, never see her and this will be over.”

  Creed spoke then.

  And he did it to say in a cracked, parched, weak voice, “Never.”

  * * * * *

  I shot up to sitting in bed, the room dark, Creed’s strong arm along my stomach and I was breathing heavily.

  The dream still had me.

  I threw the covers aside and started to catapult myself from the bed but Creed’s arm tightened. Instead of jumping one way, I found myself flying the other. I landed in the bed on my back then Creed’s weight was on me.

  “It was a dream, baby,” he whispered through the dark. “Just a dream. It’s over.”

  It wasn’t a dream. It was real. He told me. He told me all about it. Even the new stuff.

  Now I knew everything.

  I thought I was ready.

  I’d never be ready.

  It hit me I was shaking so I did the only thing I could to get rid of the shakes. I wrapped my arms around his solid, warm bulk, lifted my head and shoved it in his neck taking in his scent, letting everything that was him envelope me.

  “These dreams are kicking my ass,” I whispered back.

  “Just hold on,” he murmured.

  I sucked in br
eath, tightened my arms and held on.

  The shaking left me and I found my mouth saying, “I don’t want you to go.”

  It was early morning Friday, three days after the shit went down with Drake Nair. Outside of the three girls who got targeted needing a lot of TLC, things seemed settled. Creed and I were working my jobs as well as keeping an eye on Knight’s business but it seemed Nair had worked alone. Creed didn’t trust it, not yet, he wanted to do more digging and he wanted to be around in case something went down. So he spoke to Knight, Knight agreed and we were still nosing.

  But the weekend was upon us and it was Creed’s weekend with his kids. He was flying back to Phoenix. He got them Friday afternoon and took them back to Chelle Sunday evening.

  We’d discussed this and decided that this visit, Creed would tell them about me and he’d take some time to tell Chelle. He didn’t want her blindsided by the information coming from one of the kids that a woman named Sylvie was in his life. I thought that was cool of him to do but I didn’t envy him that conversation.

  He wanted me to come with him but I talked him into going alone. His kids stayed with him and he was okay with me staying with all of them, telling me his kids were good kids, they’d adjust, they loved their Dad, sense his happiness and be cool with it.

  He obviously knew his kids better than me but I disagreed. I thought they should get a head’s up and not be confronted with me on their turf until they had time to prepare. Creed didn’t like it but he agreed. I had a feeling he agreed more because he thought I needed time to prepare to meet his kids, not the other way around, but whatever. He’d agreed. So he was leaving that day and wouldn’t be home until late Sunday.

  Now that the hour was nearly on us for him to leave, I didn’t like it.

  Not at all.

  I didn’t want him away from me.


  “Sylvie –”

  I interrupted him, “Forget I said that. I didn’t say that.”

  His hands came up to frame my face before he whispered, “Come with me.”

  God, it would be so easy to say yes.

  “I don’t want your kids –” I started.

  He cut me off. “They’ll love you.”

  I nodded against the pillows and I gave his body a squeeze.

  “Yeah, they will,” I agreed. “I’m good with kids but this is different. This is about our future, all of our futures and it should be handled with care.”

  “Baby, you don’t think I got my kids’ best interests at heart?” he asked.

  “I’m not saying that,” I replied quickly. “I just think we should finesse this. Give them time. Take it slow.”

  “Right,” he muttered then rolled, taking me with him so I was on top. He reached out a long arm and I blinked when the lights came on. When my eyes adjusted, I saw his on me. “Hotel,” he stated.

  “What?” I asked.

  “We fly there together. Get you a rental car, a hotel where you can hang but not sleep. I go get the kids and talk to Chelle. I spend time with them Friday, tell them about you. Friday night, late, when they’re in bed, you come to me, sleep with me, leave before they get up. Saturday, we do somethin’ together. Maybe a water park. Somethin’ fun. Somethin’ they’ll like. Somethin’ not on their home turf. You take off, come back when they’re asleep, leave again before they get up and we fly back together.”

  Had I said before that Creed was genius?

  Creed was genius.

  “That would work,” I told him quietly and watched him grin.

  “Will you be able to keep yourself occupied?” he asked.

  I grinned back. “Totally.”

  “Then it’s decided,” he muttered, his eyes on my mouth.

  “It’s decided,” I agreed, getting the words out about two seconds before his mouth hit mine and he kissed me, deep and sweet.

  When he lifted his head, he was not grinning. His gaze was intent and I’d since learned from seeing that look before to brace. So I did.

  “Beauty,” he whispered.

  “What?” I asked.

  “Beauty. It’s pure beauty you don’t wanna be away from me. I don’t like that, baby. I love it.”

  My hand slid up his chest to his neck where my fingers curled around. Once they reached their destination, they moved and slid up further into his hair. Then they put pressure on to bring his mouth back to me so I could kiss him.

  When my tongue slid in his mouth, I planted a foot in the bed and rolled him.

  Then I kissed other parts of him.

  Suffice it to say, it took us a while to get back to sleep.

  When we did, we both slept easy.

  * * * * *

  “I’m walking up to your house now,” I said into my phone, hitching up the strap of the bag on my shoulder and got a, “Gotcha. I’ll be at the door,” back from Creed.

  Just an FYI, Phoenix in July was hot. Not your normal brand of hot. Hotter than the hinges of hell kind of hot. I’d never been in hot that hot. I didn’t even know hot that hot existed. It was eleven thirty at night and the heat had not left the day.

  Not good.

  After we flew in and rented the car, I followed Creed to a nice hotel close to his house. We checked in, got the lay of the land and he took off to meet Chelle for lunch prior to picking up Kara and Brand. I got changed directly into my bikini and made an appointment for a mani/pedi and facial for later that afternoon at the hotel spa. Then I hit the pool because, everyone knew, if you went to a place with palm trees, even if only for the weekend, you came back with a tan, including kickass bitches like me.

  This was a mistake.

  Lying by the pool was not relaxing and enjoyable. It was like baking in an oven. Even the water of the pool wasn’t cool but beyond warm. Although it provided relief, it wasn’t much and didn’t last long.

  Therefore, I gave up on the tan and went back to my room, showered, did my spa treatments and hung out watching movies and ordering room service until Creed called to say the kids were in bed.

  On the plane, I’d decided on a plan for the weekend, a weekend I’d spend mostly away from Creed and also meeting his kids.

  I didn’t normally plan. I usually flew by the seat of my pants. My dead partner Ron told me this was one of my three great skills. I could think on the fly better than anyone he’d ever seen, including during his stint in the Marines. I could cast a mean lure. And last, I was better than Marion in that arctic bar in Raiders of the Lost Ark during a one-on-one drinking contest.

  But this was too important not to have my shit together. So my plan was, tan and relax on Friday, hopefully get through Saturday without making his kids hate me and discover Phoenix on Sunday to see if I wanted to be the one to make the move for Creed and his kids.

  My time by the pool was, unfortunately, not conducive to me wanting to make the move for Creed and his kids. My time walking up to his house, albeit this lasted probably ten seconds, didn’t help either.

  I lifted my flip-flop clad foot to take the step into the covered front entry of his adobe-style, terracotta tile-roofed house, the door opened, Creed stood in it and I felt much better.

  “Hey,” I greeted quietly, grinning up at him.

  Creed didn’t reply. He leaned deep, reached out with an arm, hooked me around the waist, took me off my feet and suddenly I was in the cool house. The door shut behind me, my back arched over his arm, my front plastered to his and Creed’s mouth was on mine.

  Yeah, feeling much better.

  He lifted his head and when he caught my eyes he muttered, “You don’t have to be quiet for the kids. They both sleep like the dead and even if they didn’t, their rooms are at the back of the house. Tonight they were wired because of our plans tomorrow so it took them a while to go to sleep but now that they’re out, they’re out.”

  I nodded, he released me with one arm to step to my side and pull me into his place.

  At first sight, my breath caught.

  Holy shit.

  My house was a place to exist and crash.

  Creed’s house was... not.

  I stared.

  It seemed half show home and half just plain home if you were relatively loaded and gave one serious shit about where you lived.

  Man, Creed really must charge a fuckuva lot more than me.

  I was stunned. Not much surprised me but this... this did. Hugely.

  Creed told me he had his Expedition as well as a nondescript Ford sedan to do work in during jobs he needed to be invisible. He also told me he had a Harley, a speedboat he took to the lake with his kids and a three bedroom house on a hill.

  Of all of this, I was excited about the speedboat and Harley. The speedboat said good times on the water that included such things as inner tubes, skis and Creed wearing nothing but swim trunks. Who wouldn’t like all that? A Harley elevated anyone’s badass status about seven thousand levels. Owning a Harley and looking and acting like Creed made him even more badass than Ron and Ron was a fucking Marine.

  Creed did not tell me his “three bedroom house on a hill” was a showplace.

  My eyes scanned as Creed moved us through.

  To the left through an archway was a study. Handsome furniture with a modern bent, the space clearly used but organized, even tidy.

  Straight ahead was open space and lots of it. It also screamed, “Make no mistake! You’re in the Southwest!”

  A long, rustic, wooden, rectangular dining room table with eight chairs was just in from the front door and beyond the recessed study was an open plan kitchen with modern cabinets, shiny granite countertops and top-of-the-line appliances. The kitchen/dining room and living area was delineated by a red felt pool table.

  Yes, a pool table. That was how vast the space was.

  Past that was the living area with a big, comfy-looking sectional accompanied by a massive chair and ottoman and an enormous flat screen TV in an enormous wall unit. The floors were shining wood throughout except the kitchen was tile.

  There were stunning prints with a southwest feel on the walls but none of them were stereotypical. They were unusual and exquisite. Art deco desert landscapes that Creed would tell me later were by Ed Mell. Whimsical portraits by L. Carter Holman. Colorful cacti in bloom by Diana Madaras.

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