Home > Deacon (Unfinished Hero #4)(15)

Deacon (Unfinished Hero #4)(15)
Author: Kristen Ashley

This meant now, they were off.

Further, as the snow melted away, the wildflowers would be coming. Randomly and regularly I tossed seeds and planted bulbs wherever it struck my fancy. Amongst the trees, around the cabins, around my house, but concentrating up and down the river banks. Some of them didn’t take so I did it repeatedly (and would be doing it again soon with the seeds, the bulbs I’d plant in autumn) and every year I got more blooms coming up, color bursting through the summer months, making the entirety of my property even more beautiful.

I’d also had the master bath at my house renovated, something, thankfully, I did not do myself. I’d gotten rid of all the flowery wallpaper and painted or papered the walls like I liked them. I’d refinished all the floors (something I did do, backbreaking but worth it).

I’d further managed to get rid of some of the chintzy or velvety or flowery furniture and replace it with pieces that suited me. Quirky pieces. Comfortable pieces. Things I liked to see when I walked into my house that was becoming, month by month, inch by inch, all about me.

I’d also hired Milagros to help with the cabins. She cleaned them and changed the sheets when a customer left. On occasion, she also hung at my house with her husband Manuel in order to be available to patrons whenever I needed a change of scenery.

Having her helped amazingly.

It meant I could go boarding, which I did. It meant I could take jaunts around the county and the ones adjoining on more than rare occasions. And not just to drop brochures and staple pamphlets on bulletin boards, but to discover, go shopping, go hiking, have the kind of mini-adventures that made life interesting.

Having Milagros also meant I could go to the local festivals. It meant I could go into town, have a drink, make some friends who were definitely now friends and not friendly acquaintances. I could go off and listen to live music at the bar in town or in Gnaw Bone, which wasn’t too far away.

I could have a life.

I could really live the dream.

And a life I had.

I just wasn’t living the dream.

I knew it.

Something was missing.

I just didn’t know what it was.

I’d even dated (and gotten laid). Alas, none of these men worked out and it wasn’t like I always had a guy. But at least I had some companionship that was more than shooting the breeze with Milagros, going to her house for dinner when she asked me, or hanging out with my girls in town.

As far as I knew, and I knew not very far because I knew him not at all, nothing had changed for John Priest, except he had an updated SUV.

I wondered, vaguely—which was the only way I allowed myself to wonder before I shut it down—where he was after one in the morning.

Then I focused on the cabins, the one with the boys being lit up like a beacon, but worse, the cabins on either side of it and three more besides had lights on. Lights I knew that had been turned on because they were probably right now phoning my cell to tell me to do something about this crap.

I felt my blood pressure rise as I tightened my grip on the bat and stomped up the steps to cabin six. Horizon cabin. The cabin painted in the muted blues and grays and purples of a Rocky Mountain horizon with prints of horizon vistas on the walls.

The Navigator was out front, as was another SUV.

I walked right to the door and knocked. Loudly.

The music went off quickly. A lot more quickly than the door opened.

In fact, the door didn’t open at all.

I hammered on it, shouting, “Open up!”

“Who is it?” a boy-man’s voice shouted back.

I didn’t share who I was because he knew who I was.

Instead, I threatened, “Open up immediately or I’m calling the police!”

Several moments passed before the door opened. But not far. I still caught a glimpse of the space beyond filled with food wrappers, beer cans (in fact, on the coffee table there was a beer can pyramid and it wasn’t a small one—how was it that the youth of America never got out of doing stupid crap like that?) and the couch was covered in bodies. Two to be precise.

A boy on top.

A girl on the bottom.

And another girl who was not on the couch but on her feet. She disappeared out of sight within moments of the door being opened.

At what I took in, more precisely, at the way the girl was laying there, a feeling of dread shifted through me as the tall, rather muscular, very fit boy who I guessed was the parents’ actual son filled the narrow space he’d opened the door.

“What do you need?” he asked.

“Open the door and let me in,” I demanded.

He didn’t open the door.

He said, “Sorry about the music. We won’t turn it on again.”

I held his eyes and informed him, “I need to speak to your parents.”

He shifted out of the space, not totally but so I couldn’t see his face. Then he shifted back and said, “They’re asleep.”

Did he seriously think I was that stupid?

“I need to speak to them right now.”

“Maybe you can talk to them in the morning,” he suggested.


What a punk.

I put my hand with the flashlight on the door and pushed.

The kid pushed back.

“Are your parents here?” I asked.

“I told you.” He was losing patience and showing it. Definitely a punk. “They’re sleeping.”

“Son, let’s not play this game,” I said. “Your parents aren’t in there.”

“They are,” he stated obstinately.

I shook my head, done with him.

“Open this door,” I said low and quiet. “Immediately.”

His eyes shifted to the side then back to me and he lifted his chin.

“Not sure you can come in here unless you’re invited.”

“I’m not a vampire, kid. I don’t have to be invited. But even if I were the undead, I own this property. Now, open the freaking door. Now.”

He pushed harder against me pushing harder on the door and ordered, “Come back tomorrow.”

“Open or I’ll—”

I didn’t finish my statement. The kid’s eyes darted up, widened instantly with fear, and then the door opened so fast, the kid stumbled back and I fell through.

I lost hold on my bat and flashlight seeing as I was about to go down on my knees and I needed to throw my hands out to cushion my fall.

But I didn’t go down. This was because an arm hooked around my middle and hauled me up to steady on my feet.

The arm stayed there, ironclad, locked around my belly, forcing my back to fit tight to a hard frame and my heart skipped a beat when I heard Priest growl, “Fuck me.”

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