Lucy Sinclair was no stranger to pain.
She grew up with three younger brothers. Very rough, tough, hockey-playing brothers and, of course, she had to watch out to make sure none of them killed themselves. Not an easy job, mind you. Especially when she was convinced Jude and Jayden were going to kill each other and Jace was going to get lost in the woods trying to keep up with them. Those three should have done her in a long time ago, but somehow she had survived.
She also survived the pain of having her heart broken many times growing up. Those teenage boys sure do a number on young girls, and she was a victim plenty. But she did fall in love young…and then she had a baby.
She also made it through a nasty marriage that turned into an even nastier divorce. Which now resulted in co-parenting with the King of Dicks, aka Rick, her ex-husband. Again, not easy since Rick was hell-bent on ruining Lucy’s life by using their daughter against her, but she was surviving.
And to top off the pain train, she also hadn’t had sex in a good long while. Lord knew, she needed a release from a man something serious. So, yes, she knew pain. Embraced it. Only knew that feeling most of the time, well, except when Angie was smiling at her. That brought happiness, but still, she knew pain.
But as she held the couch, her eyes squeezed tightly shut while her toe throbbed, she was convinced this was the kind of pain that was going to kill her.
Stubbing her toe.
Her fucking toe was going to kill her.
What a way to go.
“Just a minute, sweetheart,” she clenched out as she opened her eyes to glance down at her foot.
Thankfully, the toe was still there.
Nail polish chipped to hell, but her toe was still intact.
She guessed that was good, but then, losing a toe would be her luck. Her week had been shit. She had lost a potential client at her interior design firm because she couldn’t fit them into her schedule fast enough to suit them. She needed to hire someone to help out, but she couldn’t really afford it, or, better yet, didn’t want to let go of that money. But still, she was losing money, so something had to change. She also needed to find a sitter since her baby brother and his wife had moved to Florida after he was drafted by the NHL to the Panthers. She could really use a good thing to happen, but she didn’t see light at the end of the tunnel at that particular moment.
But then, her toe was still intact.
When Angie came barreling around the corner, Lucy cringed when her daughter came to a halt inches from her throbbing foot as she held the phone out, shaking it violently at her. “Avery and baby Ashlyn want to see you now!”
Shaking Lucy’s phone even harder, causing her sister-in-law to laugh while her baby niece cooed sweetly, Angie showed a face full of delight. She loved her aunt and cousin so much and, like Lucy, missed them a lot.
“Thank you,” Lucy breathed out, taking the phone and looking at her sister-in-law on FaceTime. Then Angie was gone, her long, brown hair flying in the wind she was causing. Kid was a running motor. As Lucy held the phone out, Avery laughed.
“What’s wrong with you?”
“I’m pretty sure I almost just died,” Lucy breathed, sitting on the couch and propping her foot up.
Avery grinned, her eyes bright as Ashlyn moved her fingers along her chin. It still stunned Lucy to see Avery with Ashlyn. Not only were they just two beautiful girls, but seeing Avery with Ashlyn, her being so young at barely nineteen, reminded her of herself when she had Angie. She had only been eighteen, but unlike Avery, who was in a beautiful and loving marriage, Lucy had been lost, scared, and getting knocked around by Rick, the King of Dicks.
“How?” Avery asked, her turquoise eyes set on Lucy.
“Stubbed my toe.”
Avery cringed. “That sucks.”
“Girl, I seriously thought I was dying a slow death.”
Giggling, Avery kissed Ashlyn’s palm. “A toe can’t take you out.”
Lucy scoffed. “The jury’s still out on that.”
Rolling her eyes, Avery laughed softly. “Anyway, Angie seems good. She’s excited for hockey.”
Groaning, Lucy let her head fall back. She had completely forgotten about that. “Fuck me.”
Avery laughed louder. “You forgot.”
“I did. When does it start?”
“Ugh,” she moaned. “Curse Jayden for making me do this. He demands it, but he can’t even commit to taking her. Rick already said he won’t take her, which means she’s gonna miss almost half the damn games. Can’t I just bail on it?”
Avery shook her head. “But she’s excited.”
“Okay, I guess I can get Mom to help since you decided to leave me.”
Avery’s smile dropped. “Don’t remind me. I hate that we aren’t there anymore. We miss you guys.”
Lucy smiled. “But Jace is doing awesome.”
“He is.” She beamed, doing a little wiggle as Ashlyn tried to type on the computer keyboard. “It’s hard, though, just me and Boogie.”
“I hear ya,” Lucy agreed. “But at least your man comes home. “
Avery gave her a small smile of sympathy, and Lucy hated that. She didn’t want anyone to pity her. Yeah, she hadn’t dated in a good long while. Yeah, she had cobwebs growing in her vagina, but, hey, she was busy. Or at least, that’s what she told herself. It was probably because she was a total bitch and didn’t trust anything that had a dick.