Shut it down, Haven. Pull it in and shut it down.
“Oh, I was coming to see you all and something was going on with my… umm… gearbox.” I quickly shoved the lie out of my mouth like it was gospel. His face evened out and he relaxed. Thank God, he bought it. I let out the breath I was holding and looked back up at him.
“Right, take it to the garage. I’ll be down in twenty minutes to get you.” Giving me no opportunity to argue, he turned on his heel and swiftly walked back up the road toward Needle’s Kiss.
I wiped the sweat beading on my brow with a clammy palm. “Fuck!” I yelled into the empty space around me. Of course that backfired. How stupid could I be? I make up a lie that was to do with cars… cars! The only mechanic our family ever went to was Jude. Jude, my brother’s best friend. Jude, the man I was hopelessly in love with. Hopelessly in love with and forbidden to be with.
Not only had my brothers forbidden me to see him, but Jude had put the brakes on and put a stop to the fooling around we’d been partaking in. Before Mace and Trip had found out something was going on between Jude and I, we’d been sneaking around, stealing moments together wherever we could. A kiss here, some heavy petting there. When I would babysit his twin boys, Jaxson and Jordan, Jude would normally come home early and we’d end up a tangled mess of arms and legs. I clenched my thighs together at the thought of Jude between them. I so badly missed him. All of him, not just the amazing sex but the sweet, caring way he did everything. He looked like a rough hardass but he was far from it when you dug beneath the tough exterior and understood who he really was.
I missed the boys too. I needed those boys, all three of them. They kept me anchored and stable. As wrong as it might be to rely on a man and kids to keep sane and grounded, it was the truth. They had been the reason I woke up every day. The reason I was waking up every day after that life altering night.
Shaking off my thoughts, I pulled my big girl panties on and eased back out into the street, driving the few yards down the road to J.D’s Garage. Why’d I have to go and make up such a stupid excuse? Not only did I now have to see Jude, but once he looked at my car, he’d find nothing wrong with it and probably think I had lost it. Can anyone say stalker?
“So fucking stupid. Let’s see if I can talk my way around this one.” My voiced ramblings kept my mind from truly embracing what I was about to do. I was going to see Jude. After all this time. Damn it all to hell.
I rushed out the front of the garage breathing a sigh of relief. Jude wasn’t there. I’d walked in and come face to face with his new mechanic Rhet. Rhet was quiet yet rough around the edges, around my age with sandy blond hair and almost as many tattoos as Trip. I’d dropped my keys with him and asked for a full service on my car before hightailing it out of there as fast as my Jimmy Choo’s could take me. Just a few steps to go and I’d be free and clear. Suddenly, large hands circled my waist as I plowed straight into a wall of human.
“Shit.” A grunt sounded as my hands flew up looking for purchase. Just my luck I’d run smack bang into the one person I didn’t want to see. Unconsciously, I inhaled deeply, catching his signature smell of aftershave and grease. My eyes drifted shut and my legs began to shake.
I can’t lose it now. I was so close to getting away unscathed.
“Sorry,” he whispered, his hands gripping me tightly so I didn’t land on my ass. That one word bought back a rush of emotion and a memory I tried hard to block out.
“Don’t do this, Jude,” I croaked out. “Don’t leave.”
“I… we can’t, Haven. I can’t betray them like this,” he told me apologetically.
“They don’t understand it. They can’t, but don’t let them drive us apart. I need you.” I gripped his arm stopping him from turning way. He looked down at me, his soft green eyes set with determination and vehemence.
“I’m sorry.” He steeled himself, let me go and turned his back on me, walking away like it was the easiest thing in the world. I remained fixed on the spot and looking on. I didn’t want to believe he could. He’d come back. I knew it. I’d get him back. He was all I needed.
“Haven.” Jude raised his voice just above a whisper.
“Get your fucking hands off her.” Trip’s booming voice behind me had my back going ramrod straight.
Spinning around, I pinned Trip with a glare and snapped, “Give it a rest, Trip. You sent me here! “
“I didn’t send you here for Jude to put his goddamn hands on you,” Trip snarled back, not even looking at me, just glowering at Jude over my head.