Repentance the story of.., p.1
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       Repentance: The Story of Kace Haywood, p.1

           Meghan Quinn
 
Repentance: The Story of Kace Haywood


  Repentance

  The Story of Kace Haywood

  Meghan Quinn

  Published by Hot-Lanta Publishing

  Copyright 2015

  Editted by LS King and Murphy Rae with Indie Solutions,www.murphyrae.net

  Cover by Murphy Rae with Indie Solutions,www.murphyrae.net

  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 it and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author. To obtain permission to excerpt portions of the text, please contact the author at [email protected]

  All characters in this book are fiction and figments of the author’s imagination.

  www.authormeghanquinn.com

  A note from Kace

  I’m a man of few words. I don’t feel, and I don’t make friends with anyone outside my circle. I don’t talk about my past, and I don’t care to hear about anyone’s future. I like to seclude myself from the outside world, observe others and live my life in a self-induced solitary confinement.

  I spend my days working for my best friend as a thank you for what he’s done for me, for what he’s covered up. At night, I think about my wrongdoings. I let it eat me alive until I end up at the bottom of a bottle, temporarily forgetting my past sins.

  I’ve succeeded at keeping a safe distance between myself and the outside world. I’m proud that I’ve kept people at arm’s length. At least I was…until the day I Met Lyla.

  I thought I knew what love was. It was a far-off concept I’d experienced before, but fuck was I wrong. I thought I knew what it was like to be touched by a woman, to be idolized by a woman, to be lost in a woman’s scent, but I had no clue until Lyla came along.

  She ruined me, wrecked me, gutted me from the inside out, and not because she wouldn’t love me back. No, I knew she loved me. I could see it in her eyes. She ruined me because she was a dream, an illusion of happiness I couldn’t hold on to. I’m not allowed to love. I’m not privy to such a fundamental notion in life. I don’t deserve love, not after what I’ve done, not after what I’ve taken away from someone else.

  During the lowest point of my life, I lost control, and I’ve been paying the price for that three-second lapse of judgement ever since. There isn’t a day that goes by I don’t think about what I’ve done, that I don’t recognize the kind of monster I’ve become.

  Sorrow, regret, and remorse are the only emotions I allow myself to feel. Anything else is a secondary musing that is quickly washed away.

  There is one moment in my life I wish I could take back, but every choice you make comes with a consequence; I’m a fucking living example of that.

  Some people celebrate the day they were born. I celebrate the day my soul died. This is the story of my repentance.

  Chapter One

  My present

  Summer.

  My least favorite part of the year. Not because of the hot and humid weather of Louisiana; no, it was the nightmares that grew heavier with each passing day during that season.

  I could take the humidity.

  I could deal with the heat.

  I could even manage dodging the tourists visiting the French Quarter.

  But the nightmares, the flashbacks, the reminders of what the beginning of summer represented to me—they were unbearable.

  My days at the Lafayette Club, managing the Jett Girls, were over, and now I was in charge of the new community center my best friend, Jett Colby, was funding. When I worked at the club, helping the Jett Girls perform their dances for the city elites, I was able to hide in a hole, do my job, and then bounce.

  But with the new venture, I was faced with the fact that a sinner like myself was forced to put on a jolly fucking face and act like I was an upstanding citizen.

  I was the furthest thing from an upstanding citizen.

  Jett Colby, now he was an upstanding citizen. He created the Lafayette Club to help save women from a life on the streets. He named them Jett Girls and created a system where they earned not only an education but a living as well. Now, he was rotating the employees of the Lafayette Club over to the community center, which included myself and the Jett Girls. We were going to serve our community in the best way possible; offer them a free education through wellness and a second chance in life.

  But the way I saw it, me serving the community was a fucking joke.

  Even though I had my reservations about the idea, it was my duty to suffer; therefore, I did.

  Goldie, Jett’s fiancée, had made it her mission to get on my nerves whenever she could, and her newest mission was to continually shove her best friend, Lyla, into my life after I’d made it a goal to expunge her from my memory.

  Lyla.

  She was a unique brand of woman, a once-in-a-lifetime kind of woman who affected you the minute she walked into a room. She ingrained herself into your marrow and rested there, never leaving.

  The minute I met her, I knew there was no way I was going to be rid of her, and the fact that she was linked so closely to my inner circle didn’t help either.

  But just like everything else in my life, I couldn’t have her.

  I couldn’t wear this cloak of guilt and fully give myself to her, and there was not a chance in hell I would be sharing my past sins with Lyla. I couldn’t take the judgment from her, not from her. I needed Lyla to idolize me, to look at me with those green eyes and cherish me.

  I was a selfish bastard, but it was the one thing I held on to in this bleak fucking world.

  I brought the slowly emptying glass of whiskey I was clutching to my lips. The amber burn of the liquid glided down my throat, reminding me that even though I lived in a numb state, I was still alive.

  Fuck, I shouldn’t be. I would be rotting in jail right now if it weren’t for Jett and his money.

  I pressed a hand hard into my forehead, trying to rid of the pounding headache taking over my body while music played behind me. Goldie was celebrating her first showing in an art gallery. The Jett Girls, her friends, were dancing, drunk off their asses, and Jett was sitting next to me, trying to get me to enjoy myself.

  “You’re bringing down the morale, Kace,” Goldie shouted from across the room.

  “Tell me something I don’t know,” I mumbled as I took another sip of my drink.

  “At least Diego isn’t talking to Lyla anymore,” Jett whispered to me.

  Yeah, thank fuck for that.

  Diego, our good friend, had spent a good half of the night talking to Lyla, making her laugh, and giving her the kind of attention she deserved. It wasn’t until I physically pulled him away and talked to him privately that he finally took off, feeling cock-blocked.

  I’d straight up built a fortress around Lyla and let everyone at the party recognize my caveman-like gesture. She wasn’t very happy about it, given the ripe mood she was in and the death glares she was sending my way. I didn’t have to face her to know she was shooting daggers at me. I could feel them sticking in my back.

  It was a dick move, especially since I wasn’t allowing Lyla to be a part of my life. But being the dick I was, I couldn’t allow anyone else near her, not until I was able to get her out of my system, which I knew deep down was going to be never.

  “Good thing he left,” I muttered.

  “Are you going to drink your night away again?” Jett asked, always concerned about me.

  “It’s not like I don’t do it every night. You just don’t see it.”
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  “You think I don’t see the empty whiskey bottles in your room? I’m not stupid, Kace.”

  “Well, then act stupid,” I said gruffly. “Nothing is going to change. You know that, so why do you keep trying?”

  “Hoping I get lucky one day. Get my best friend back.”

  “What you see is what you get. Deal with it,” I stated, knowing fully well I spoke the truth.

  While working at the Lafayette Club, I’d found it easy to deal with the women in my life, never committing to them. But since I met Lyla, I’d felt more irritated and volatile than ever. I used to be able to hold on to a good mood for at least an hour or two, but now, knowing there was one woman out there who held me by the fucking balls and I couldn’t do anything about it, it made me outright unbearable to be around.

  The only distraction I had was taken away from me and in its place was Justice. Justice, the community center, where I now worked, was almost complete. The construction company was moving along quickly with the infrastructure, putting us on track with the opening. The actual main center would be available to begin arranging for our grand opening shortly. The center wouldn’t be open to the general public yet, but we would be able to go inside and start organizing, something I was looking forward to because I would be able to keep the girls busy and out of my business.

  But more importantly, I wanted to keep myself busy, even though I was feeling uneasy about the new venture. At first, I was excited, proud of my friend for such an idea, but the closer the opening came, the more uneasy I felt. Was I really cut out for running a community center offering second chances when I wouldn’t grant myself one?

  Lately, the days seemed to drag, leaving me to my thoughts, which were toxic. If I was left alone to my own musings too long, I slowly drowned myself in the what-ifs that were constantly rolling around in my head.

  What if I’d handled my life differently? What if I hadn’t put all my trust in one person? What if I hadn’t allowed myself to be provoked?

  What if I hadn’t punched him?

  What if I hadn’t killed a man with my fists?

  Would he be reading his little girl a story right now? Would he be kissing her on the forehead and tucking her in? Would she be looking at him, seeing him as the one and only man in her life?

  Little Madeline. Would her life be perfect if it weren’t for me?

  Most definitely her life would be better off if she still had her dad, but God took the wrong man that night.

  My biggest regret, a shame that would haunt me for eternity. A regret I would never speak of, for I was a private man, a reserved man, a man of few words, someone who deserved hatred rather than pity.

  That was why I’d chosen to live my life as if I were dead, because living it as if I was alive would be too painful. To experience joy would be wrong. To know what love was… that emotion wasn’t deserved.

  That was why I kept Lyla at a safe distance, so she could keep away from my toxic tendencies. I had my moments, my slip-ups with her, but overall, she knew I wasn’t emotionally available, and I knew she was an absolute dream I wasn’t privileged to ever enjoy.

  I was emotionally detached, deprived, stripped bare because of my wrongdoings.

  I’d chosen to live in grief.

  I’d chosen misery. It was a slice of the penance I actually deserved.

  I’d killed a man.

  Kace fucking Haywood, washed-up boxer and short-tempered monster, had killed a man.

  I downed the rest of my whiskey and signaled to the bartender for another as my demons resurfaced.

  Like every other night, I grasped the only thing I knew that could ease my pain. I allowed the amber liquid to run rapidly through my blood, numbing me to the world.

  Chapter Two

  My past…

  “That was one hell of a knockout,” Jett said, tossing me a beer from the fridge and taking a seat at the chrome-and-marble bar in my living room.

  Looking around my house, I was pleased with how it had come out. It wasn’t quite as luxurious as Jett’s mansion, but it was a huge step up from the trailer I’d grown up in. Being on top of my game in the ring had paid off. Sponsorships quickly started sprouting from everywhere, and I was inundated with endorsements, tripling my bank account in a week.

  Money wasn’t an asset I was dependent upon. I was more driven by success, and by proving my worth to myself and to my father. But I wasn’t going to lie; being able to buy whatever I wanted was kind of nice. Being able to not worry about living paycheck to paycheck was a relief, a feeling I would always cherish since I knew from experience how the other half lived.

  “I was really impressed tonight,” Jett said in all sincerity. “Working with Jono has really paid off.”

  “I agree,” I said after taking a sip from my bottle.

  Jono was my new trainer, and he had really beefed me up in the last couple of months, adding more muscle and working on my timing and distance. My ability to think on the spot while reading my opponent had always been a strong suit of mine, so that was why we’d spent so much time focusing on my timing. After tonight, I could tell all my hard work was starting to pay off.

  Previously, I‘d trained on my own, but recently I’d decided to step up my game, given the amount of talent I was showing, so I hired Jono. Best decision I’d made, because after a few short months, I was the man to beat in the ring, a hefty goal of mine.

  I was on top, a feeling I would never forget.

  “Still think you can take me?” I jokingly asked Jett. When we were young, we would always get in stupid fights, and we were pretty evenly matched, but with my new training regimen, I had no doubt I would own him.

  “I will always be able to take you,” Jett said with a smirk, letting me know how much he didn’t believe his statement.

  “So how are you feeling about the whole Natasha thing?”

  Natasha had been Jett’s fiancée, “had been” being the key word. She’d recently left him for another man. For a guy of Jett’s stature, it was a giant blow to his self-esteem.

  “Don’t really want to talk about it,” Jett curtly stated, trying to drop the topic, but I wouldn’t let him off that easily.

  “Are you ever going to talk about it?”

  “No.”

  “She was a bitch anyway,” I said, taking a long pull of my beer. After I put my bottle down, I looked at Jett, who had a questioning look of fury in his eyes. I shrugged. “What? You can’t tell me she was a fucking dream to be around. She was as cold as a witch’s tit.”

  Jett shook his head. “Why do people say that? Are witch’s tits really cold? How did they get such a cliché term attached to their breasts?”

  “Are you some kind of spokesperson for witches now?” I asked, confused.

  “Just got to stick up for all witches and their warts.”

  “And that’s not a cliché? Not all witches are hideous, you know. Take Sarah from Hocus Pocus. I would totally tap that. Hell, I would fuck all three of them. Something about fucking a broad on a broomstick does it for me.”

  Laughing, Jett shook his head. “There is something seriously wrong with you, man.”

  Silently agreeing, I pulled up the remote sitting on the bar and turned the TV to the sports channel. I was hoping to see a recap of my match, and knowing Jett wasn’t going to talk about Natasha, this was perfect timing to fill the silence in the room.

  “When’s the next match?” Jett asked as a Lexus commercial came on.

  “Now that I’m no longer an amateur, I have a few months to get ready for the next one. I’m looking at about only two matches a year now.”

  “Easy day at the office with a big payout.” Jett leered.

  “Screw easy.” I laughed. “Not with the training schedule Jono has me on.”

  I was about to lay out my training regimen but stopped when the sportscasters started talking about my fight. I turned up the TV and listened.

  “Haywood versus Crane. Can we talk about the explosive match
we witnessed tonight? Kace Haywood, up and coming boxer, has taken the boxing scene by storm, introducing his quick instincts and fast punches that result in an early knockout with almost any opponent he comes across. With his professional title in tow, he will be unstoppable.”

  A video montage of my amateur and professional career unfolded while a voiceover started telling my story.

  “At a young age, Kace Haywood had an interest in the sport, but it wasn’t until after high school he started to take his career seriously. Born and raised in New Orleans, he self-trained in a small gym that has since been washed away by Hurricane Katrina. Prevailing through the storm, he continued to train and has now hired the infamous Jono Mills as his trainer. With Jono at his side, Kace Haywood is a lethal combination of smarts, instincts, quick feet, and impeccable timing. With the extra muscle Haywood has put on and the in-depth knowledge from his trainer, Kace Haywood will be a household name in the next few months.”

  Jett patted me and then squeezed my shoulder, letting me silently know he was proud of my accomplishments, of how I was able to succeed in my sport so quickly and make a name for myself.

  The announcers came back into view, looking at their notes.

  “Farfetched prediction or spot on?” one talking head asked another.

  “Spot on. Kace Haywood has it all. The talent, the speed, and the looks. He is the total package. He will make sponsors happy, bring more female viewers to the sport, and set the standard for all boxers to come.”

  “I don’t think they could have blown anymore sunshine up your ass if they’d tried,” Jett pointed out.

  “They could have talked about the punisher in my pants.” I winked.

  “I tried to send them pictures, but they said it would have been too embarrassing for you. I tried to tell them you didn’t mind showing off all two inches, but they refused.”

 
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