Home > Misbehaving (Sea Breeze #6)(2)

Misbehaving (Sea Breeze #6)(2)
Author: Abbi Glines

Momma pulled the cigarette from her lips. “You did what?” she asked.

“He was at Live Bay with that whore he’s messing around with. He lied to me again. I’m done with him, and I wanted to make him hurt.”

Momma got rid of her ashes in the sink and, shaking her head, reached for a coffee cup. Her long blond hair was still pretty, but the face that had once been strikingly beautiful now showed hard lines from life. I was sure her smoking didn’t help things either. “Shit, girl. I need to go to work in an hour. What if the cops show up?”

I hadn’t thought of that. No alibi. I shrugged. “If they’re coming, maybe they’ll come before you leave.”

Momma took her coffee black and walked over to sit down across from me. “Did you at least get it good? If we have to deal with the poe poe, then you better have made it worth it. I ain’t in the mood for those bored shits tonight.”

I smiled, thinking about how good it had felt to see his pretty truck’s windows shatter. “Yeah, I think I got it good.”

Momma nodded and put her cigarette out, then took a sip of her coffee. “He’s a stupid, sorry-ass f**ker who you need to stay away from. You’ve got a life ahead of you, and I’ll be damned if you end up like me. Hank’s already knocked up one girl he ain’t gonna marry. I sure don’t want you to be his next victim. This life ain’t easy, and you know it. You got the looks to buy you a life outta this. I intend for you to do it,” Momma said, leaning back in her chair and crossing her long legs.

This was a conversation we had been having since I was old enough to understand things. Which was since I was about nine. When your momma is a stripper in town, you learn things a lot sooner than other kids. There is no time for innocence.

“I’m done with Hank for good this time. I promise,” I assured her.

Momma didn’t look like she believed me. I couldn’t blame her. This thing with Hank had been going on for years. I really needed to let him go. He was a one-way ticket to the life I’d watched my mother live. As much as I respected her for not leaning on a man to take care of us, I didn’t want that life. I knew how much she hated it.

“My escape car was a Porsche,” I told her with a grin. I still couldn’t get over that car . . . and the guy in it. Way out of my league. Way, way out of my league. He was so wealthy he reeked of it. He also looked at me like I was a strange bird he didn’t know what to do with. I had probably scared the guy to death. He wasn’t from here. He was just visiting and would have gone back to whatever mansion he hailed from.

“Don’t see many Porsches around here,” Momma replied with a skeptical look on her face.

“He wasn’t a local. I imagine he’s vacationing on the island. He looked like one of those.”

Momma nodded. She knew all about those kind. I had been warned off two kinds of boys my whole life: the ones like Hank, who were “nothing but sorry shits,” and then guys from the island, who Momma said were “only after you for the sex and then they split.”

“Don’t worry about him, though. I’m pretty sure he thinks I’m a crazy person,” I assured her.

Momma raised her eyebrows and leaned on the table to look at me. “You really think that? I didn’t raise you to be so damn naive. He’s a man, baby. That’s all that matters. One look at you, and he’ll be back. You just be careful.”

I had tried to land more than one wealthy local in Sea Breeze, but that had never happened. Marcus Hardy had been in my sights from the time I was a little girl. He was my cousin Rock’s friend, but he was different than us. He lived in a big pretty house on the beach. But Marcus never saw me as anything but a fun time. When he laid eyes on Willow, no one else stood a chance. Now he was married with a kid and completely off-limits.

“I should’ve pushed you to go off to college. You could have met someone there and gotten out of this place.” She said it like Sea Breeze was a bad place. I didn’t see it the same way she did. I loved the coastal town I had grown up in.

“I didn’t want to leave,” I reminded her. I had chosen to go to the local community college instead. I didn’t want to leave this town or my momma. We had been a team all my life.

Momma sighed and pushed her chair back and stood up. “I know, sugar. I let you stay because I like having you here. Still don’t make it right. Finding a man to get you out of this life is gonna be hard, and I’ll be damned if you fall into the life I’ve lived.”

I was starting to argue when someone banged on the door. Momma looked toward the front door, fluffed her hair, and pulled the neckline of her silk robe low enough to show her very impressive cle**age. “Go on and get in the shower. I got this, baby girl. Don’t worry ’bout a thing,” she said, slipping into a pair of red heels that only made her long legs longer. Smiling, I hurried to the bathroom and turned on the shower but kept my ear to the door.

“Well, hello, Officer Ben. You know I’m not the kind of girl who takes house calls,” she said in a low, sultry voice I had heard her use a million times.

“Good evening, Starla. I hate to bother you before you, uh . . . ,” He cleared his throat and I rolled my eyes. I already knew good old Officer Ben was a regular at Jugs, the strip club just on the outskirts of Sea Breeze. “. . . go to work. But I got a call about Jess, and I need to check into that. She here?”

“Not sure who called you, Ben,” Momma said, letting his name roll off her tongue as if she were about to strip just for him, “but my baby girl has been here with me all evening. She’s getting a shower now after helping me clean today. You can even check her truck hood—it’s cold. Hasn’t driven it all day long.” Momma paused, and I heard her heels click on the wooden floor as she stepped toward him. “And as much as I like the idea of you walking in on my showers, I don’t feel the same about you interrupting my little girl’s shower,” she said in a suggestive tone.

My momma was good at this.

“Uh, um, yes, I can, uh, understand that. Sorry I bothered you, Starla. Just had to check it out. There was only one person who saw her, and I’ll be sure to check out her truck before I leave, to let them know her alibi is airtight.” He stammered all over himself, and I covered my mouth to keep from laughing. He probably had a really good view of Momma’s boobs at the moment. She used them to get her way with the opposite sex, and it always worked.

He needed to see me so that he could verify I was at home. I jerked my shirt off, grabbed a towel, and wrapped it around me before opening the bathroom door a crack. Ben's eyes moved from their lustful gaze on my momma to me as I stuck my head out.

“Everything okay out there, Momma? I heard voices,” I called out, sounding as innocent as I could.

“Yeah, baby girl. It’s just fine. Just visiting with Officer Ben,” she replied flashing me a smile as she turned to look at me.

I closed the bathroom door just as Officer Ben apologized for bothering Momma again.

“That’s all right, Officer. You’re just doing your job and keeping our little town safe. Makes me sleep easier at night knowing we have brave, dedicated men like you taking care of us. That Martha sure is a lucky woman to have such a hardworking man like you coming home to her at night.”

I had to roll my eyes. The fact that men believed this stuff never ceased to amaze me. Ben had a beer gut and a balding head. Nothing about him was brave, and since I knew how much of his hard-earned money he spent at Jugs several nights a week, seeing my momma and the other women there dancing in nothing but tiny thongs, I didn’t believe Martha was lucky at all. Neither did my momma.

“Yeah, well . . .” He paused, swallowing so hard I could hear it from in here. “I’m glad it helps you rest easy. I do what I can. You, uh, gonna be at work tonight?”

“I’m getting all prettied up right now. You coming to see me? I hope you do. I might just have a special lap dance just for you,” Momma replied.

That made me want to gag. The idea that she could do that without throwing up in their faces blew my mind. She said she had learned a long time ago to turn off that switch in her head and remember that the better she performed, the more money she made.

“I’ll be there,” Officer Ben said. “Missed you last week due to an incident down at the station. Been thinking about that all week.”

“Glad to know I was in that head of yours,” she said sweetly.

“Always are,” Ben replied, and cleared his throat when he realized he was openly flirting with my almost naked Momma on the front doorstep. “I need to be going now and let them know Jess wasn’t involved.”

“You do that, and I’ll see you later,” Momma said, and her heels clicked as she stepped back from the doorway.

“Later,” Ben called out, and the door closed. I heard the latch click into place, and I turned off the shower and opened the door. All the doors in this house opened to the living room.

“Thank you,” I said simply.

Momma shrugged and waved her hand. “Just be glad it was Ben. He’s easy to work. If it had been David or Rooster, I’d have had to show them a lot more than some cle**age and leg to get them off your scent.

I nodded, and the guilt from forcing my momma to flirt with a married cop to get me out of trouble settled in my stomach. “I’m sorry,” I told her.

Momma stopped before walking into her room. “Don’t be. Someone needed to beat that shit’s truck up. I’m glad you did it.” Then she closed her bedroom door.

I stood there, and a smile tugged at my lips. I had never had many girlfriends in my life because no one understood me or wanted to get close to me. But my momma, she really was my best friend.

JASON

Two days later, I was still thinking about the truck-bashing blonde. She was something else. Hard to forget. I had her baseball bat standing in the corner of my room, and I was trying to decide what to do with it. I figured right now she didn’t need the evidence on her.

Chuckling, I shook my head. I was helping a girl get away with vandalism. That so wasn’t me. But it made me smile. Guess I needed a little action in my life. I intended to give it a few more days, then go see if I could catch her at home. I needed to give her back that bat, and I wanted to see her again. It was a good excuse.

I walked down the stairs in my brother’s summer house just as the front door opened and Jax and his girlfriend, Sadie, walked in. I had known they were coming down for the weekend, and I’d been expecting them.

Jax looked up at me and grinned. “Crashing your party.”

“You know me, it’s a wild one. Hope you can handle it,” I replied.

Jax shook his head and laughed. “Yeah, is it sad that I wish there was some truth to that.”

Sadie pinched Jax’s arm playfully before walking over to give me a hug. “Ignore him. I think you’re perfect just like you are. No need for wild parties.”

My brother’s girlfriend was beautiful in the head-turning kind of way. She had the kind of body and face you saw plastered on magazine covers. But Sadie was a small-town Sea Breeze girl and wanted nothing to do with the spotlight. She loved Jax and had learned to get over people splashing her face everywhere in the media, but before Jax she didn’t like drawing attention to herself. Which was impossible to avoid. The girl drew attention everywhere she went.

“Thanks, Sadie. You can drop the rock-star life anytime you want and come live the simple, ordinary one with me,” I told her, and winked at Jax, who was now scowling.

“Hands off, bro,” he said, reaching for Sadie’s arm. “Not funny.”

That never ceased to entertain me. Jax had never had insecurities. Even before he became famous, he was the most confident kid I knew. But let a guy look at Sadie, and he went all territorial. It cracked me up.

“Stop it, Jax. You’re being silly,” Sadie said, frowning at him and making him immediately look regretful. That was even funnier.

“Don’t be mad,” he said.

Sadie looked back at me. “You up for some company? I thought we’d have a little get-together tonight. I want to see everyone, and since we’re only here two days, it would be easier if we just had the gang here.” She beamed up at me.

Hell, Sadie wasn’t mine, but she was hard to say no to. I was pretty sure if she smiled at anyone, they’d do whatever it was she was asking. “Sure,” I replied.

Jax rolled his eyes at me, like he wasn’t a complete sucker when it came to her. What did he expect? I was a man. “I’ll go make sure the kitchen staff is prepared for the extra guests,” Jax told Sadie as he pressed a kiss to her cheek and started toward the kitchen.

“I already called and talked to Ms. Mary. She’s prepared,” Sadie called after him. Ms. Mary ran the staff and the kitchen here. Once, Sadie had worked for Ms. Mary, so she knew her well. That was how Jax had met Sadie. She served him dinner one night, and I’m pretty sure he was sunk then. Even though he fought it hard.

Jax stopped and turned around to give her the smile that magazines everywhere labeled as lethally sexy. “Then why don’t you help me to my room to unpack?”

I saw Sadie’s cheeks turn red, and she pressed her lips together to keep from smiling. “Okay, if you need help.”

Jax walked back over to her. “Lots of help. You have no idea how much help I need.”

“Either you two go to your room, or I’m going to throw ice water on you both,” I told them.

Sadie ducked her head, and Jax just grinned at me. “See you later,” he said as he held Sadie’s hand and led her up the stairs.

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