Home > Diamond in the Dust (Lost Kings MC #18)(8)

Diamond in the Dust (Lost Kings MC #18)(8)
Author: Autumn Jones Lake

“Everything all right?” he asked after I slowed to a gentle sway.

“Nah, I fucked up big time this afternoon.”

I explained the situation and he stared up at the stars thoughtfully.

“Your parents won’t let you hang out with me if they find out,” I said to break the silence.

“A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”

“What the fuck does that mean?”

“You’re more of a brother to me than my own brothers.” He shrugged. “Nothing you do will ever make us stop being friends.”

I swallowed hard and nodded.

“But, jeez, how dumb are you?” He grinned and kicked some sand at my feet.

After we called a truce on the sand war, he turned serious again. “You think I’m ever gonna hit that growth spurt everyone talks about?” He glanced over. “You have.”

“Of course you will. Plus, you’ll put on muscle from all that farm work. Girls will be crawling all over you.”

He gave me a wide-eyed stare in return. “Yeah, sure.”

After a few seconds, he jumped off the swing. “I better get back.”

“Be careful.”

I watched him ride into the night before taking off for home.

As soon as I was safely inside my room again, I grinned in the dark. Sneaking out was a rush. Sneaking back in with no one noticing was even better. I hoped Jensen made it inside his house as easily as I did.

I stood there patting myself on the back for getting away with my little adventure.

A noise echoed down the hallway.

A slap?

I held my breath, waiting to see if I’d hear it again.

My father’s voice. Low, but insistent. That crazed, quick speech that came whenever he was in one of his rages.

Another crisp smacking sound. My whole body flinched.

I threw my jacket on the floor and marched into the hallway.

Yelling. Much clearer out here. I couldn’t make out all the words but no doubt they were mean. I caught ‘bitch’ and ran faster.

Another slap. A sob.


The voices were distinct but still far. Not in their bedroom. Downstairs.

My feet missed the first few steps. I hit the landing hard, waited a beat, then charged down the rest of the stairs.


Mom on the floor, crawling backwards like a hunted crab. Blood spilling from her busted lip.

My father looming over her, preparing to strike her again.

This was my fault. No doubt the trouble I’d gotten into earlier sparked this brutal fight.

A bolt of rage shot down my legs and I rushed my father, slamming into his side. Anything to tear his attention away from my mother. So she could get away. Call for help.

“Get away from her!” I roared.

In my fury, I shoved him a few feet away from my mother. His shoulder slammed into the wall and he grunted in pain.

Better him than my mom.

Slowly, he shook off my attack. His wild, crazy eyes fixated on me as if he couldn’t believe I had the balls to come after him.

His expression was darker than I’d ever seen before.

I’d grown a few inches and put on muscle from helping out at Jensen’s family’s farm and playing Pop Warner football. But it was nothing compared to my father’s height, bulk, and sheer cruelty. He had enough mean built up inside him to use The Undertaker’s signature tombstone piledriver move on The Undertaker himself without breaking a sweat.

On me, he used a combination sidewalk-slam body drop. The pain exacerbated by my father’s towering height and our hardwood floors.

He leaned over, yanked me to my feet and slammed me into the wall. So many times, I lost count.

“Eddie, no!” my mother screamed.

I held onto consciousness as long as I could, taunting him, throwing a punch or two. Anything to keep him away from Mom.

Then, my battered body sunk to the floor and I lost the battle.



Chapter Seven






I blink and stare at Rooster in stunned silence.

Holy moly.

My father hadn’t been a peach. His indifference stung for sure. He verbally abused my mother plenty but he never hit her that I know of. And he never laid a hand on Hayley or me.

Logan shares the story almost as if he’s talking about it happening to someone else.

“Do you have any other family?” I’m not sure what else to say, but that seems like a reasonable place to start.

He opens his mouth, but I cut him off quickly. “Blood relations,” I clarify with a firm tone. “Not the club. You mentioned an uncle and aunt?”

He nods once. “They took me in when my parents died.”

“Where are they?”

“They’re gone now too.”

“Cripes,” I breathe out. How has he endured so many losses and remained such a loving, kind man? “I’m so sorry. Were they good to you?” I ask gently.

“Always. Never had kids of their own but they didn’t hesitate to take me in when I needed them.” He squeezes his eyes shut and tips his head back. “Feels like betraying my mother to say it out loud but living with them was the best part of my childhood in many ways. It was calm and easy-going. Never had to walk on eggshells around ’em. Every day was…normal. Uncle Boone adored his wife. They opened up their home to me and treated me like a son in every way.”

My throat clogs with emotion over the loving way he describes them. “That’s good. I’m glad you had someone…” my voice trails off. He still hasn’t really explained how he ended up in their care.

“I loved them a lot,” he rasps. He drops his gaze, meeting my eyes. “Caused them a lot of trouble too.”

“How’d you end up with them?”

All along I’ve assumed it was something tragic like a car accident due to his dad’s temper. An ordinary tragedy.

But by the pain in Rooster’s eyes, it’s obvious the story’s much darker than that.

“The way I ended up with them is the most horrible part of it all.”

I steel myself for whatever’s coming next. More importantly, I want him to know he won’t scare me away. “I’m right here, Logan.”


Logan, 13 years old…

“I don’t understand why you can’t see it. He has you so headfucked you make excuses for him all the time.”

“Logan!” Mom gasped. “Language!”

I side-eyed her. “You’re kidding, right?” Dad had said far worse to us this morning on our way out the door. This time he was pissed because she needed to drop me off at school early for football practice. Football was a waste of time and money since I’d never be talented enough to go pro, according to my father, the football expert.

“You deserve better,” I said in a gentler tone. “That’s all I’m trying to say.”

“He needs me.”

To do what? Be his punching bag?

Once he’d gotten a taste for knocking us around, Dad indulged often. Always apologizing and buying my mother gifts to make up for the damage he’d inflicted. And of course, the constant promise to “never let it happen again.” As if his violence and rage were some mythical beast he couldn’t keep under control and had nothing at all to do with him.

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