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Cursed ecstasy cursed se.., p.11
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       Cursed Ecstasy (Cursed Series), p.11

           t. h. snyder
 
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  The sound of a door slamming pulls me from my sleep. For once, I’m waking up from a dream of my past that has a better ending than most.

  As my eyes open, I see Linc standing in the living room, a huge smile plastered across his face

  “Well, it’s about fucking time you two got your shit together,” he says with a laugh.

  I give him a scowl and place my finger over my lips.

  “She’s awake, shithead.”

  Etty shifts her body off of mine and the warmth of her lying against me is instantly lost.

  With both arms, I cradle her waist and pull her back down next to me.

  “No way, Etty, you’re staying right here. We have a lot of unfinished business to work through.”

  She squirms against me and I instantly feel content having her back in my arms. Closing my eyes, I nuzzle my nose into her hair, the sweet smell of strawberry assaulting my senses.

  “Yeah, I don’t think so, lover boy. It’s after ten and we need to get to the shop.”

  My eyes fly open and I realize we’ve slept in way too late. I have to get to work.

  “Fuck me!”

  Etty turns in my arms and rests her chin on my chest with a smile.

  “No worries, Dault, we’ll talk tonight when you get home,” she says, her beautiful green eyes sparkling up at me.

  Leaning my face down to hers, I place a soft kiss on the tip of her nose.

  “I have a better idea. Why don’t you come in with us? It’s been a while since you’ve been to Cursed Magic and I’m sure the guys would be happy to see you.”

  My eyes flash to Linc as he starts laughing.

  “What?”

  “I’m sure that’s exactly why you want her there.”

  Slowly pushing Etty off of me, I move to stand and walk toward him.

  “Dude, shut the fuck up. If she wants to come, she can come. Why are you giving me such a hard time?”

  Shaking his head, he moves toward the door.

  “Get yourselves ready and let’s go. We have a supplier dropping stuff off at noon and a shit load of clients coming in for some ink.”

  Watching Linc walk out the door, I stand in the living room feeling like an ass. He’s been on me to make amends with Etty, but now he’s blowing my shit up cause he caught us on the couch together…what gives?

  “He’s just messing with you, Dault, don’t take it so personally,” Etty remarks in a sleepy voice, letting out a deep yawn.

  Looking her way, I watch as she stretches her arms over her head, her toned stomach peeking out from under her shirt.

  My brain sends an immediate signal to my cock and my mind goes to a place that it very well shouldn’t. As much as I want to take her upstairs and have my way with her, I have to prove to her that I’m in this for the long haul, not just a quick fuck.

  She lets out a giggle as she watches my gaze pull from her waist to her eyes.

  “I’m gonna take a quick shower. I’ll meet you guys next door in a half hour.”

  Walking toward me, she steps on her tiptoes and kisses my cheek.

  “Yeah, that’s going to help my raging hard-on right about now.”

  She slaps me on the chest and moves past me, heading for the stairs.

  “Then you’d better take a really cold shower, lover boy.”

  I shoot a wink in her direction and make my way out of the house, hard-on still intact.

  “Etty, baby doll, it’s been too long. Where have you been hiding?” Steve asks as we walk into the shop.

  Etty walks toward him, her arms spread, allowing Steve to pull her into his embrace.

  “I’ve been busy,” she says with a giggle.

  Watching him hold on to her sends a bolt of jealousy through my veins. I know very well that Steve has no interest in her that way, but nevertheless that’s my girl he’s holding.

  My girl?

  Is that what she is?

  “Chill, man, it’s just Steve,” Linc says from behind me, nudging me with his arm and moving toward the hallway.

  With a fit of rage, I follow him down the hall and into his office, closing the door behind us.

  “What the fuck is your deal, Linc?”

  Sitting in his chair, he scoots in under his desk and looks up at me.

  “Nothing, man, just be good to her. I don’t know what the hell you two were up to last night, but if you do anything to hurt her, I won’t stop myself from getting in the middle of two of my best friends.”

  Letting out a heavy sigh, my rage subsiding, I take a seat across from him.

  “Nothing happened last night, we just talked.”

  Leaning back in his chair, he rests his arm behind his head.

  “Look, I want nothing more than for the two of you to hit it off and make it work. I just know you and your past. You’re going to have to come clean to her and make some serious changes. You have to let her in, Dault.”

  Moving forward, I rest my elbows on the desk and run my fingers through my short hair.

  “You don’t need to tell me what I already know. I’ve been fighting my emotions for the past few weeks and all I can come up with is that I have to try and be a better man for her. She makes me want to be someone I never thought I could be. After I went upstairs last night, I realized that I have to try, so I went to her place and broke down. I had a fucking anxiety attack right in front of her.”

  With a look of surprise, Linc stares back at me.

  “You’re treading in some serious shit, Dault. Don’t do something that will hurt her.”

  Resting back on the chair, I cross my arms.

  “I don’t want to hurt her, Linc. I want to change…for her.”

  “I get it, Dault, I really do, but it’s not going to be that easy.”

  “Fuck you, man, I know. I’m going to talk to her about everything; I want to let her in and work through it together. We agreed we’d take this…whatever it is…day by day. That’s all I can do for now. If she doesn’t go running after I tell her why I am the way I am then we’ll go from there.”

  “Just be straight up with her. If, and I mean if, you want this to work, you’ll have to cut ties with all other women. She’s not going to be cool with you sleeping around.”

  My mouth drops open in surprise. Why would he think I would do that to her…oh wait, I know why, but still…

  “I wouldn’t do that to her.”

  “And what about Christian? Do you think he’s going to back off that easily? That guy is in love with her; did you think about that?”

  Shaking my head, I take a minute to think. Yeah, I know the douche is in love with her, it’s plastered across his face every time he looks at her.

  “I don’t know, Linc, that’s her decision to make. All I know is if she’s willing to try to make us work, then I’m all in. I won’t back down, I won’t keep things from her, and I won’t stop until she’s mine.”

  With a scrunched brow he stares me dead in the eyes.

  “I want you to be happy and I want Etty to be happy. If being together makes that happen, I’m all for it.”

  “Thanks, man, I won’t let you down.”

  “Yeah yeah, now get to work. This whole heart to heart mushy shit is growing on me.”

  A laugh escapes my lips and I move to stand.

  “I’ll catch ya later.”

  Opening the door and walking out into the hallway, I glance down the hall to see Etty standing at the desk. Her voice sends a chill through my body as she talks with Ashley.

  How did I not see this all before? My damn stubbornness hid my feelings for her and now…now I can’t seem to get her out of my mind.

  Moving toward her, I sweep in from behind and wrap my arms around her waist.

  “Oh!” Ashley exclaims.

  With a smile on my face, I tuck my head into the side of Etty’s neck, giving her a gentle kiss on the cheek.

  “Is this okay with you?” I whisper into her ear.

  She turns in my arms and looks up at me
with those incredible eyes.

  “Day by day, Dault, now get to work,” she says and then ducks beneath my arms, walking back down the hallway.

  Looking to Ashley, I raise my brows and shrug my shoulders.

  “When the hell did all this happen? I’m so out of the loop,” she remarks with a pout on her face.

  A smile spreads across my face as I lean into the desk.

  “You didn’t miss much; it’s a work in progress.”

  “Dude, back off my woman,” Steve’s voice comes out of nowhere as I turn to face him.

  With a questionable glare, I look at him and then over to Ashley.

  “Now what the fuck did I miss?”

  Damn it to hell. I really need to pay more attention to the people around me.

  Chapter 18

  Having Dault’s arms around me last night was one of the best feelings in the entire world. I’m not sure where this is heading with us, but I do know that I want it more than anything.

  Hearing the words he shared, seeing how hurt he was, and trying to express himself to me showed just how much he’s willing to try and change.

  All of the feelings and emotions that we’ve put each other through may finally be worth something—I suppose only time will tell.

  I was a bit taken aback just now when he came up behind me in front of the new girl, Ashley. She seems nice and all, but his public display of affection caught me off guard. The expression on her face said it all—she was just as shocked as me.

  I’ve never seen Dault with another woman; I’m not exactly sure how he usually acts. From what I’ve gathered, he takes them home, loves ‘em and then leaves ‘em.

  Could that be me, too?

  No. I shake my head and continue walking down the hallway to Linc’s office.

  Everything seems to be happening so quickly. I don’t want to rush into anything; I want to make sure he means it when he says he wants this. We have a physical attraction that’s evident, but it’s the emotional part that scares me.

  As I approach Linc’s office, he’s sitting at his desk, focused on the computer screen.

  “Hey, Linc, can I come in?”

  He looks up and me and smiles.

  “Of course, take a seat. I’m just working on this order that’s supposed to come in soon. I hate paperwork and need you and Jo more than I realized. This shit sucks.”

  I let out a laugh and walk my way next to him behind the desk.

  “Move over and let me take a look,” I say, gesturing for him to get up and move out of my way.

  “You’re so bossy, Etty, it’s not becoming of you.”

  I look up at him through my lashes and smile.

  “I think it’s time I come back to work, at least until Jo’s ready to come back. It’s the least I can do for everything you guys have done for me.”

  “When you’re ready, Etty, no rush.”

  “I am ready, Linc. I need to get back to my life. It’s been too long and I’m sick of sitting around doing nothing.”

  “Sounds like you have a lot of changes coming your way,” he remarks with a raised brow.

  Leaning forward on the desk, I prop my chin up in my hands.

  “What’s that supposed to mean?”

  “Come on, Etty, you know I want you back in this shop like yesterday, but I want you to be careful with Dault. I love him like a brother, but there’s a lot of baggage that comes along with him. I don’t have to remind you that he can be a hard ass at times.”

  Sitting back in the chair, I cross my arms and stare back at Linc.

  “You know, for a guy that says you care about him, you sure don’t seem to want him happy.”

  “Etty, that’s not it at all and you know it. I care about you both; I want the two of you to be happy. It’s just that I know him a lot better than you and I don’t want to see you get hurt. If things are meant to be with you guys, I’m all for it.”

  Shaking my head, I close my eyes and ease myself down into the chair. I don’t know what is to come of this thing between me and Dault, but I just want Linc’s support.

  “Etty, don’t second guess how you feel. I’m just being the big brother here and watching out for you. I’ve said the same shit to Dault. I won’t sit back and watch you two destroy one another, but I’ll be happy as hell if it all works out.”

  “I’d much rather go with the ‘happy as hell’ part.”

  “I know you do. There’s a lot to work through, not to mention the fact that you have another man in love with you. How are you going to break this to Christian?”

  Oh shit, Christian. With everything that’s happened in the past few hours, I completely forgot.

  Shaking my head, I look into Linc’s dark brown eyes.

  “I don’t know,” I mumble.

  “You need to tell him, let him know that your feelings aren’t the same.”

  “He knows that, Linc, I’ve made myself perfectly clear.”

  “Then you have to talk to him about you and Dault. He deserves to know that your heart and mind are with someone else.”

  Letting out a heavy sigh, I close my eyes and lean into the desk.

  “Etty, you have to tell him.”

  Opening my eyes and looking up, I give Linc a wicked smirk.

  “That’s the thing, Linc, he knows. I’ve been completely honest with Christian from the start. He knows the whole story behind Dault and me.”

  “Then it should be that much easier to break his heart.”

  Groaning, I run my fingers through my hair, pulling on the ends to release my frustration.

  “Don’t be a dick, Linc. It’s never easy to hurt someone you care about. But I do agree that I have to talk to him.”

  “Do it soon before he finds out on his own. That man has been up your ass since we all got home. I can’t imagine he’ll want to back down that easily, especially if he knows how Dault has treated you in the past.”

  Ugh, this sucks. I don’t want to hurt Christian, but I know he’s not going to be happy. Reaching into my back pocket, I slide out my phone and check for any missed messages.

  It’s not a surprise that there are quite a few missed calls and texts from Christian; he’s probably worried sick that I haven’t answered him.

  My eyes scan back to Linc and then back to my phone.

  I have to go talk to him and tell him about me and Dault. Linc is right—he needs to know and I have to be the one to tell him.

  “Hey, Etty,” Dault’s voice echoes through the room.

  My head perks up and I catch a glimpse of his adorable baby blues and the dimples that are peeking out from his smile.

  “Hey,” I reply, giving him a sweet smile.

  “I’m about to set up in my room before the first client shows up. Wanna come in and chat for a bit?”

  As much as I came here to spend time with the guys, and of course Dault, I can’t.

  I look to Linc and then back to Dault.

  “Actually, I have to head out for a bit.”

  Dault looks at me with confusion and leans his body up against the doorframe.

  Nibbling on my bottom lip, I can only hope that what I’m about to say won’t upset him.

  “So much for helping me with the paperwork, Etty,” Linc says, sitting forward in the chair.

  “Linc, don’t start, you know I have to do this.” “You just got here. What do you need to do that we can’t go do later?” Dault asks.

  “I have to go talk to Christian. He’s already blowing up my phone and he needs to know.”

  “Needs to know what, Etty?” Dault asks in a stern tone.

  “Relax, Dault, she has to do this.” “I do, Dault. He needs to know that you and I are…well, I don’t know what it is that we’re doing…but still, I have to tell him that we can’t…ugh, I don’t know.”

  I stare up into his eyes. They’re set with a look of concern and I know this can’t be easy on him, either, but I need to end things with Christian before I can move on with Dault.

/>   No matter how hard this situation may be, it’s the only way to make things right and start fresh.

  Moving toward the doorway, I pause in front of Dault. Tilting my head, I look up at him and place my hand on his chest.

  “I’ll be back. I just need to find him and tell him what’s going on. It’s the right thing to do.”

  I can feel the rapid beat of his heart through his chest—it’s as if it’s about to burst through.

  “It’s okay, Etty, I know. I should go with you.”

  Shaking my head, I look to Linc, pleading silently with him to say something. Seconds go by with complete silence.

  “Dault, I have to do this on my own; you being there won’t make things any better. I’ll be fine and come back as soon as we’re finished.”

  I give him a smile and step on my tiptoes to kiss his cheek.

  With a wave of my hand, I step out of the office and make way through Cursed Magic.

  The local diner was the best place I could think of; it’s open and very public. Not that I think he’d ever do anything to hurt me, but I’d rather have other people around me for this.

  The bells on the entrance chime and my stomach turns into a brick of worry.

  Waiting for him to look my way, I wave my hand and gesture for him to come to the table. Without standing, I watch as he walks through the diner to my table.

  “Hey Etty, I was beginning to get worried.”

  “I know and I’m sorry. I was a little bit occupied and didn’t check my phone until right before I texted you back.”

  Sliding into the booth, he reaches his hands out to grab mine. Rather than embracing his open palms, I clench my fists and slide my hands under the table.

  I look up into his deep brown eyes, a look of concern on his face.

  “Is everything okay?”

  “Yeah, everything is fine. I just wanted us to meet here so we could talk. I need to tell you something.”

  “Etty, what is it? You’re starting to freak me out. This isn’t like you.”

  Releasing a heavy sigh, I sit up tall in the booth.

  “You know I’d never want to hurt you, right?”

  “Yeah,”

  “I had a chance to sit and talk some things through with Dault last night and…”

  He raises his hand in the air, motioning for me to stop talking. A lump forms in my throat and the anxiety I was trying to fight is now coursing through my veins.

 
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