Home > Deacon (Unfinished Hero #4)(5)

Deacon (Unfinished Hero #4)(5)
Author: Kristen Ashley

“I didn’t come up here to bust my hump cuttin’ and layin’ countertops and patchin’ roofs and feelin’ my woman crackin’ the whip. I came up here to live a good life and, newsflash, babe, a good life for a man means he gets head on more than the rare occasion.”

I uncrossed my arms so I could mimic his posture, putting my hands to my own hips.

“Sorry, darlin’, when you stumble in at three in the morning and wake me up because you’re in a certain mood and I’m exhausted from having a hammer or a paintbrush or a wrench in my hand all day, up a ladder, on my back under a sink, in town bleeding money on water heaters when my man’s at the slopes bleeding money, living,” I leaned toward him and shouted, “the good life, I don’t have it in me to suck your cock!”

“That’s what I’m sayin’,” he pointed out, his voice rising.

“Oh, I’m hearing you,” I returned, my voice already loud. “And by the way,” I kept yelling. “To get the good life, you work for the good life. And you were not unaware that that was exactly what we’d both be doing when we made our way up here. It’s just that it’s only been me who’s been working for it and it’s only been you who’s been living it.”

“You don’t ever take a fuckin’ break!” he shouted.

“That’s because I can’t!” I shouted back. “Grant, we gotta get these cabins shaped up! We need to rent them for double what they brought in rundown so we can afford lift tickets and nights in town listening to live music and a decent mattress that isn’t lumpy.”

“Yeah, babe, that’s another thing. Every unit has a better fuckin’ mattress than what we sleep on.”

I threw up my hands in exasperation and screamed, “People are not gonna come back for lumpy mattresses!”

Half a second after I finished screaming, we both heard a knock at the front door, and Grant, being Grant, walked away from his angry girlfriend in order to answer it.

I stalked after him, the study right off the foyer, and stopped dead the instant I stepped foot into it.

This was because John Priest was standing at the door.

He didn’t look at me. His eyes were pinned to Grant. He hadn’t been back since his last stay but he hadn’t changed. Except to be scarier (if that could be believed, but there it was, right before me).

I also knew he’d heard and I had a feeling he’d heard more than just me shouting about lumpy mattresses.

“Cabin eleven?” he asked, his rumbling but hollow voice filling the foyer.

Grant turned to me. “Seems this guy doesn’t give a shit about lumpy mattresses.”

He had to be joking.

In a fury, not thinking, not caring, so over it I could scream, I looked to our first-ever return customer and shared, “You’ll be delighted to know that not only will you have a brand new microwave in your cabin, it’s freshly painted, has a new water heater, and a high quality, firm mattress to provide excellent rest while offering superb lumbar support.”

Not missing a beat, John Priest replied, “Can I take that to mean the cabins are no longer forty a night?”

I jerked my head up and down once. “They’re sixty.”

He looked to Grant. “Five nights. Cash.” Then he reached to his wallet.

Grant moved to the locked cabinet.

I glared at my boyfriend as he did so and moved toward the door, stating, “We will require you to sign in again, I’m afraid.”

John Priest glanced at me and I stopped well short of the door to give him and the bulk of his big body room to get to the registration book.

“And you can hand me the cash,” I finished.

Priest’s head was bent to the book but it turned minutely so his eyes could slide to me. He did this but he said nothing. Just dipped his chin and went back to the book.

“You’re a piece of work,” Grant hissed and I looked to him.

“Wrong. I’m the proprietress of what will soon be amazing, kickass cabins that will be full every night with a waiting list because people can’t wait to come back.”

I looked to John Priest to see he’d straightened and was watching us bicker with a vacant expression on his face.

I kept talking, or more like snapping (but, whatever).

“I’d ask for feedback but even the pizza delivery places ask for feedback these days and it’s supremely annoying. But I do hope you enjoy your visit enough to return yet again, tell all your friends about us, and if you have anything of note to share, complimentary or otherwise, I’m open to hearing it.”

He held my gaze while I blathered and the instant I was done speaking, he grunted, “Key.”

Mr. Personality.

I turned, snatched the key from Grant’s hand, and handed it to John Priest.

In return he handed me several one-hundred-dollar bills that I would find later were four of them, saying, “We’re good,” meaning I got to keep the change.


“Have a lovely stay and remember!” I called after him as he moved to leave and I shoved the money in my pocket. “I’m always here should you need anything!”

I got a look over his shoulder from his beautiful but fathomless eyes then he disappeared.

I walked to the door, slammed it, and whirled on Grant.

“You have two days,” I declared. “Two days to pack your stuff and get out.”

His head jerked, his face paled, and his lips moved to clip, “You cannot be fuckin’ serious.”

“Deadly,” I whispered, my heart pumping, my head hurting, part of my soul dying, but my mouth kept speaking. “I loved you. I trusted you. I believed in you. I believed you believed in me. You let me down. Then you did it again. And again. And again. I’m done. I’m cutting my losses and moving on.”

“I got two years in with you,” he stated like it was doing time in prison, not spending it with the woman he loved.

“And I’ve got nine not-very-good months with you,” I returned.

“You’d pick a bunch of cabins over me?” he ground out.

And with that, I knew. I knew the worst thing a woman could know about her man.

He didn’t get it.

And that was when that part of my soul died.

And that hurt so bad, I had no choice but to inform him of that fact.

“You don’t get it, Grant,” I said, suddenly quiet, my voice sad, beaten, and he heard it. He felt it. I knew it when I saw his body get tight. “It isn’t about the cabins. It’s about sharing with you what I wanted out of life, you agreeing, us taking life on together, and you deserting me. You were around but you deserted me practically the minute we got here.”

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