Home > Diamond in the Dust (Lost Kings MC #18)(3)

Diamond in the Dust (Lost Kings MC #18)(3)
Author: Autumn Jones Lake

“Why?” I exploded. “Why does he do this? We had a good day and he ruined it.” I spread my arms wide. Even though he hadn’t touched any of my stuff that I could see, I hated him hurting Mom this way.

“He can’t help it, honey.” She came closer, pulling me into her arms. “Your father has…problems. PTSD from trauma he endured as a child.”

I’d heard that excuse so many times already. “Then how come he ain’t worried about giving me trauma? Or does he want me to grow up to be a miserable asshole too?” I choked on a sob, my burst of anger drowned by my tears.

“That won’t happen.” She hugged me tighter. “You’re already such a smart, strong young man, Logan.”

I didn’t feel smart, strong, or like a man. Not while I was cryin’ in my mom’s arms like a baby.

“He can’t help it,” she said again, like she was trying to convince herself more than me. “He just gets into these fits of rage and wants to destroy anything in his path.”

Bullshit.

“That’s a lie,” I seethed.

Startled, she pulled away and stared down at me. “What?”

“That’s a lie,” I said even louder. “He’s just plain mean. If it was a fit of blind rage, he’d destroy everything.” I pointed toward the larger fire. “Yet, he only burned your clothes.” I kicked at the small pile near my feet. “Ruined your stuff. Then left it outside to make sure you’d see it when we came home. Anything that makes you happy, he destroys.”

She blinked and slapped her hand over her mouth, choking on a sob.

Ashamed that I’d upset her, I tried to apologize and hug her again, but she turned away and ran inside.

I sat in the wet grass and aimed the hose at what was left of the fires.

It wasn’t until much later that night, when I was still sitting in the grass, that I understood the scared look I’d put in her eyes with my thoughtless words.

Dad burned all of Mom’s stuff because he wanted to hurt her. And she knew it.

Deep down, an awful feeling slithered through me.

I needed to hurry up and grow big and strong so I could protect her.

Because one day destroying her stuff wouldn’t be enough to satisfy his violent urges.

 

 

Chapter Three

 

 

Shelby

 

 

Present day…

The four of us engaged in this strange, hostile standoff are starting to attract a bit of attention here in the cafe of our hotel’s lobby.

The two egg-bites and few sips of coffee I’d had roll uneasily through my tummy.

Ashley’s warning won’t stop echoing through my head.

His name isn’t Logan Randall.

His name isn’t Logan Randall.

Does it matter, though? I mean, I’d gone to high school with a boy named Rusty Ford. Always hoped the poor kid changed his name when he turned eighteen. Maybe it’s that sorta situation?

I run my gaze over Ashley again. Nah, gotta be more than a silly name rufflin’ her feathers. Something in their shared past has this chick mad enough to chew nails and spit out a barbed wire fence.

Ain’t my problem. Or my business. No matter what she seems to think.

“Let’s go, Logan,” I urge.

He seems to have checked out of the conversation, and honestly, that has me more concerned than anything Ashley might say.

I turn my pleading eyes Jigsaw’s way but his murderous expression’s focused on Ashley.

All right, Jiggy’s no help. I hold out my hand to Logan, and when he doesn’t take it right away, I curl my fingers around his and tug. Hard.

The yank pulls him from his trance.

Several emotions flicker over his face. He seems to land on anger. Taking my hand in a firmer grip, he leans closer to Ashley. “Stay the fuck away from us.”

“I got this.” Jigsaw muscles in between Logan and Ashley. “Go. I’ll catch up.”

“Get out of my space,” Ashley yips like one of those pretty little lapdogs who just heard the doorbell ring.

“Shelby, wait.” She reaches for my arm. “This isn’t a joke. You need to take me seriously.”

I jerk away from her grasping fingers. “Whatever you wanna say won’t amount to a hill of beans. Run back to whatever country club you crawled from and leave us alone.” With those parting word bombs, I whirl around, chin up, and march away. Sure glad I’m wearing my stomping boots.

My heart’s hammering, but I keep my spine straight, eyes staring straight ahead and face serene. Behind me, I catch Jigsaw’s deadly-calm voice competing with Ashley’s higher-pitched yappy one. Confident he’ll keep her at bay, I continue hauling ass.

Logan’s longer legs catch up to me easily but he doesn’t say a word.

We seem to be on the same page. Move. Get away. Talk it out later. Neither of us allowing his random ex to toss our life into the woodchipper.

People in the hotel lobby stare and murmur as we pass. All the commotion generated a lot of attention. Bet some of them are snappin’ photos that’ll generate even more online gossip. I squelch my urge to flip ’em all the bird. Can’t reach the glass door leading outside fast enough.

I need air.

Logan tucks me behind him and opens the door. He turns his head both ways, checking the area before hustling us onto the sidewalk. He keeps an arm around my shoulders, sheltering me with his body.

Rattled by his ex’s visit or not, my safety’s still his number-one priority.

And those few quick, small protective gestures tell me all I need to know about Logan’s character and Ashley’s accusations.

He’s always had my back.

And I’ll always have his.

Determination to protect my man burns through my blood.

The skeletons of his past that Ashley’s dragging into our present? They don’t scare me.

I’ll help Logan bury them in the dirt. Right where they belong.

 

 

Chapter Four

 

 

Shelby

 

 

“Do you need anything from the RV?” Logan asks when we reach the passenger side of our truck. He opens it wide, tucking me into the open space between the door and his body.

“No, I’m fine.”

He leans in and kisses my forehead, stopping for a second and inhaling deeply. After a few beats, he taps my butt affectionately. “Come on. Long drive ahead.”

Once we’re enclosed in the cab, I reach over and place my hand on his. “Are we going to wait for Jigsaw?” I ask softly.

“We’ll meet up with him.”

“Do you want to talk—”

“No.” He pushes the ignition button and the truck’s throaty rumble drowns out everything for a few seconds.

“Logan…” I try again.

He grips the steering wheel tight and bows his head. “Let me concentrate on maneuvering this rig out of the city first, please? We’ve got time. It’ll take longer but the views will be best on the PCH.” He squints at the GPS and taps the screen.

My heart pitter-patters. I’ve wanted to see the California coast for as long as I can remember.

Curse that girl for ruining our trip.

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