Home > Diamond in the Dust (Lost Kings MC #18)(5)

Diamond in the Dust (Lost Kings MC #18)(5)
Author: Autumn Jones Lake

“Not planning to. Just here to walk the beach for a few minutes.”

She grunts. “Twelve dollars.”

Twelve bucks to park? Guess I don’t get out much. I reach for my purse, quickly grabbing a ten and a five, thrusting the cash into Logan’s hand before he has a chance to protest.

The guard passes him the change and an orange ticket to stick on the dash.

“Pull all the way around and there should be a space on the left where you’ll fit.”

“Thank you.” Logan nods and pushes the button for his window to slide up.

Only a few of the spaces are taken. Logan slides into the spot the guard suggested, under a thick canopy of trees. The parking lot’s in a neat circle so we won’t have to back out before returning to the road of death later.

As soon as he turns the ignition off, I unclick my seat belt and flip the middle console out of my way.

Logan’s gripping the steering wheel, staring straight ahead.

I slide over the buttery-leather seat, turning my body and hitching my leg over him, until I’m straddling his lap. Not in the fun way we’ve done before. No, this is purely to touch and to be touched. To ground each other. To force him out of his head. Away from whatever memories are putting that haunted emptiness in his eyes.

“Logan,” I whisper, pressing my palms against his cheeks.

He blinks and focuses on me.

I release a quick, relieved breath. “Nothing you have to tell me will change the way I feel about you.” My voice barely passes an urgent whisper. “And you don’t have to tell me anything you’re not ready to share. I don’t need all the details of your past to know how much I love you in our present.”

He strokes his knuckles over my cheek while his loving eyes roam over my face. “I was going to tell you. I wanted to…wait until after the tour.” He shakes his head, some of the shock and sadness returning to crinkle his forehead. “I never, ever expected her—”

“It’s okay.”

“I didn’t think she’d…I don’t even know how—”

“Sounded like she read the Glow article.” I run my fingers through his hair and cup his cheeks. Any little gesture to let him know I’m here with a whole lotta love to give him. “Told you it’d bite us in the butt eventually.” I force a small laugh.

His hands settle on my hips. “I’m sorry. You didn’t deserve that. Last night was such a big moment for you—”

“No.” My voice is sharper than I intended. “I told you I was miserable at the awards show because I wasn’t with you.”

“And I told you, I won’t let that happen again.” He almost phrases it as a question. As if I won’t want to be with him after he tells me whatever had Ashley’s bonnet full of bees.

“I’m proud to be with you, Logan. Nothing’s gonna change that.”

He huffs but doesn’t argue. “Jiggy’s been pestering me to tell you for a while now.”

I curl my hands over his shoulders, digging my fingertips into his tight muscles. He closes his eyes briefly. I move to his neck, firmly pressing in slow circular motions until I reach the base of his skull.

He sighs. “Your little fingers are magical.”

“If music didn’t work out, I thought about going to school for massage therapy.”

His lips curl into a familiar smirk. He opens his eyes and takes my hand, pulling it closer to kiss my palm. “Even more reason to keep you on track. These magic hands are never rubbing anyone but me.”

Ah, there’s the caveman I know and love.

We’re going to be okay.

 

 

Chapter Five

 

 

Rooster

 

 

I’ve stalled as long as possible.

As much as I’d like to, we can’t pretend that scene back in L.A. didn’t happen.

Shelby—my beautiful, strong, sensitive woman—isn’t scared. Not of me or anything else. She has no idea the hellish story I’m about to unleash on her. Even if she did, she trusts me.

That trust means more than anything.

And it also means I can trust her too.

My club brothers have had my back for years. But this—what I have with Shelby—is completely different.

Having her in my lap would normally lead me down other paths but at the moment, I’m relishing the weight of her body. The scent of her skin. Her soothing touch. I’ll need it all to get through this.

I pat her hips, resisting the urge to slide my hands under her tank top. “Let’s go for a walk on the beach. I want you to see it.”

“Okay.” She climbs out of my lap over to her side and pops the door open. “I’m gonna change into my flip-flops. You need anything while I’m back there?”

“Grab a sweatshirt. Maybe a towel or blanket to sit on. It might be chilly by the water.”

She returns a few minutes later with one of my sweatshirts. My mouth tugs up as I help her slip it on and roll up the sleeves. The thing is so damn long on her, only the little frayed ends of her denim shorts stick out. “You look good in that.”

She buries her nose in the collar. “I like it. Smells like you.”

“That must be rank.”

“Nope. Manly.” She wiggles her eyebrows.

“Come on.” I hold out my hand and she takes it.

My mind’s a chaotic storm. So many memories and feelings I locked away years ago threaten to break out of the rusted coffin buried deep in my heart. But Shelby deserves the truth.

Where do I even start?

Consumed by memories of the past, my feet stop moving.

“Logan?” Shelby tugs on my hand.

I shake it off and stare into Shelby’s worried eyes.

“Do you want to take off your boots?” she asks, as if it’s the sand rooting me in place.

I love her so much.

But fuck me, I’m not ready to have this conversation. To talk about all the things I’ve tried to forget for years.

“No, I’m fine.” I squeeze her hand and focus on putting one foot in front of the other.

The small path finally opens up to a wide beach with gentle swirls of purple sand. Shelby kicks off her sandals and I bend down to unlace my boots.

Sinking my toes into the warm sand brings back good memories.

The beach isn’t crowded. I scan the area and count maybe ten or eleven people. No one’s in the water. The waves are rough, the shore rocky. Wind whips Shelby’s hair into a swirl around her head. She laughs and gathers it into a ponytail, wrapping an elastic around the mass, leaving a messy, floppy loop on her head.

With the wind and crashing waves, no one should overhear us. Even so, I guide her to a cluster of wide, flat rocks the size of recliners. It’ll be a while before the tide rolls in, filling the spaces between the rocks. We choose a giant slab that butts up against a large smooth wall of rock. I climb up first, making sure it’s safe before helping Shelby scramble next to me.

“This is so pretty!” She shields her eyes and stares out at the ocean. One giant rock formation juts high out of the waves with a small, round space in the middle, framing the sea beyond like a window.

“Let me take a few pictures. You can send ‘em to your mom.” I hold out my hand for her cell phone and she passes it to me.

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