Home > Charged (Saints of Denver #2)(10)

Charged (Saints of Denver #2)(10)
Author: Jay Crownover

She told me all of that when she was five months pregnant with a baby that wasn’t mine. A baby that I knew couldn’t be mine because Lottie hadn’t let me touch her in close to eight months. The marriage was in the garbage and it wasn’t until she really started to show that I figured out why. Even with the evidence sitting plain as day between us, the woman still tried to blame the split and her scandalous actions on me. If I had been better, if I had given more, she would have waited, she would have stayed, she would have been faithful and loved me the same way I loved her.

Lottie had never been faithful, not since high school, but I’d been so blinded by her, so impressed with myself that I had scored someone like her, I’d been oblivious. I’d been trained to observe, honed my natural skills at reading people and being able to tell truth from fiction. I could tell a person’s entire life story by the way they moved, the expression on their faces, but my own wife, the person I had always been the closest to, fooled me. Or I had fooled myself because I couldn’t believe she would do that to me, do it to us. Now after it was all said and done, I could choke on my own arrogance and self-assuredness. It never even occurred to me she would go looking somewhere else for what she evidently found lacking in me.

I thought I’d given her all I’d had, but it hadn’t been enough and she wanted more. She wanted the house. She wanted my money. She wanted my car. She wanted my retirement. Hell, the greedy bitch had even tried to make me responsible for the future school expenses for the baby that wasn’t mine.

We’d been together for so long I thought I was going to have to hand it all over, but luckily, Colorado had some pretty cut-and-dry divorce laws considering the high quantity of military marriages in the state, which made it impossible for Lottie to take me totally to the cleaners. I also hired the best damn divorce lawyer I could find and made it clear I was going to fight her tooth and nail for everything. I’d grown up with nothing, and I wasn’t about to give up what I had now without a fight. I’d worked too hard for what I had and I wasn’t about to let that work and those sacrifices go easily.

I let her have the house in Boulder because I couldn’t walk in the front door without imagining who had been in my bed while I was working to keep the extraordinarily expensive roof over our heads and gourmet food on the fucking table. I also let her keep the car. Even though it went with all the trappings of the man I was now, it had never been my style. I preferred my massive, black 4x4 with its monster all-terrain tires and lift kit. Sure it didn’t go with my Ferragamos or my Armani, but I didn’t give a shit, and if I wanted something fast and sporty I had my Ducati Panigale in storage. The Italian-made street bike may have matched my wardrobe better but Lottie still hadn’t approved. She’d never been on the back of the rocket-like bike and I couldn’t picture her there if I tried.

In the end, I agreed to a hefty chunk of change for her monthly maintenance fee for five years or until she remarried, which meant that being the coldhearted bitch she was, she hadn’t yet accepted her babys daddy’s proposal. I told myself Lottie had cheated down instead of up because the baby’s father was a struggling artist and not exactly rolling in cash and prospects. I had no doubt she would keep him and his engagement ring at bay for the five years or until someone else with a fatter wallet came along.

It had been a hard and humbling lesson to learn. One that still stung and still made me cringe when I thought about it.

I don’t want anything from you …

The words danced around in my head along with the image of the young woman dressed in convict orange.

It was a good thing she felt that way because I was pretty sure after Lottie and the string of disastrous women that came after her, I didn’t have anything besides my knowledge of the law and my skill at working the legal system to give to anyone.



It was a sleepless night in lockup and not because of the scorned cell mate. She had actually quieted down some after I told her my dad’s words of wisdom. She did spend several hours muttering to herself, questioning what she had done, what her kids were going to do without her, but she eventually fell asleep. That left me alone, in the not quite silent jail cell, worrying about what my dad was going to say when Quaid, the too handsome for my own good lawyer, called him. I turned over every scenario I could imagine in my mind, and none of them added up to Brite Walker being in that courtroom when I went before the judge.

He was going to be so disappointed. He was going to be so hurt. He was going to be disgusted and fed up that, once again, I hadn’t listened to him, hadn’t listened to any kind of common sense or paid attention to any of the red flags flapping wildly in my face when I decided to hook up with Jared. I wasn’t twelve anymore and it was no longer cute when I stubbornly went against the grain. No, this situation wasn’t cute at all and there was no way my always supportive, always loyal, and compassionate father was going to condone my behavior when it led to other people he cared about getting hurt. If something had happened to Asa or to the cop, who also happened to be the gorgeous, southern bartender’s girlfriend, I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself. As it was, I felt the guilt for having any part in putting them in danger weighing me down with every single step I took as I was herded into the courtroom. If I couldn’t stand myself for what I had done, how could my dad be there to offer me his massive shoulder to lean on?

The arraignment wasn’t like anything I had ever experienced before during all my other dustups with the law. I was hauled there in a van with an armed policeman in the front and back. I was transported with other women, and I learned quickly that the different colored jumpsuits they had us in represented the different levels of offenses that we were waiting to be arraigned on. It was a lot more intense and serious than any marathon of watching The Good Wife made it seem. I was forced to sit on a hard wooden bench next to a woman that told me she was waiting to be arraigned on manslaughter charges. She assured me she was innocent but that didn’t make me feel any better about the fact I was practically sitting in her lap. We were also placed behind a Plexiglas screen, which I assumed was supposed to be some kind of protection. I couldn’t tell if it was for us or for the people in the packed courtroom.

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