Home > Misbehaving (Sea Breeze #6)(3)

Misbehaving (Sea Breeze #6)(3)
Author: Abbi Glines

I decided going out to the beach and out of this house for a while was the best idea. Not sure how much “unpacking” those two planned on doing.

* * *

Five hours later, voices were getting louder downstairs as I stood in my bedroom, looking out over the front yard. I knew I needed to go downstairs. Jax would want me there. But those weren’t my friends. It wasn’t that I didn’t like them—I did. I just didn’t really know them. Then there was the matter of Preston Drake.

The dude was not a fan of mine. I had tried my hardest to get Amanda Hardy’s attention, only to lose her to Preston in the end. It’s hard to compete with bad boys with blond surfer hair. It wasn’t like I was in love with Amanda. Love wasn’t something I was looking for. Ever. She was just pretty and sweet. I liked that. It was easy with her.

A knock on my door brought me out of my thoughts, and I turned to see my brother standing there with his hands in the front pockets of his jeans. “You planning on hiding up here all night?”

I had considered it. I wasn’t great with people I didn’t know. I was on the quieter side. Jax was the personality in the family. “I was coming down in a minute.”

Jax cocked an eyebrow. “You look like you’d rather be anywhere else.”

I shrugged. “Not crazy about hanging out with people I don’t know that well. But I’m going to do it for Sadie.”

Jax walked into the room. “If you’re worried about Preston, don’t be. He’s really an easygoing guy.”

I chuckled. He hadn’t seen the side of Preston I had. “Trust me, he isn’t very easygoing when it comes to Amanda.”

“Maybe not. But he’s got her. They’ve been together long enough now that he feels secure. You were dating the woman he was in love with. I can understand his moment of insanity.”

Jax would. He had dealt with the same thing with Marcus Hardy. They were friends now. Because Marcus was married and had a kid, he no longer posed a threat to Jax. Amanda and Marcus are brother and sister, and Marcus worked at the house the same summer Sadie did.

“I’m coming down there,” I told him. “I swear. Besides, I’m hungry.”

“Good, because I suspect Sadie will be up here in the next five minutes if you don’t get down there. She’s worried about you feeling left out.”

I reminded myself that I was doing this for Sadie. “Let’s go,” I told him.

I followed Jax to the stairs and took in the crowd gathering in the foyer as Sadie opened the door again to let in more of her friends.

When I had been with Amanda at Marcus and Willow’s wedding, I had met several of them. They all seemed really nice, but Preston was one of theirs. I wasn’t sure just how well they would accept me. I left Sea Breeze on good terms with everyone after the wedding. It was easy to see who it was Amanda wanted. I didn’t even try to win her over. The girl’s heart was obviously owned by Preston.

Marcus Hardy walked in, holding a baby in a red-and-white blanket that looked like it had an elephant on it. Sadie squealed in delight and hugged Marcus’s wife, Willow, and then reached out to take the baby from Marcus. Two years ago that scene wasn’t something any of them would have imagined. Marcus had been determined to get Sadie’s attention, but he couldn’t compete with Jax. But then, no one ever could compete with my brother. I never dared to.

“I get him after Sadie,” Amanda’s voice called out just as I saw her walking into the room.

“You get him all the time,” Sadie told her, smiling down at the baby.

“He loves his aunt Manda,” Amanda cooed over the baby. I hadn’t seen Amanda since Marcus and Willow’s wedding. Her long blond hair was hanging loose down her back, and she was wearing a skirt that showed off her tanned legs. Preston walked up behind her and placed his hand possessively on her hip, and I froze. This might be a bad idea.

“I swear to you he’s over it,” Jax whispered beside me.

I nodded and started down the stairs toward the group. It wasn’t that I was scared of Preston—I just didn’t want to spend my night feeling like the unwanted guest. I was fine with not showing up to this thing.

“Cage and Eva are coming. They’re still getting used to life with a baby,” Willow told Sadie.

“I can’t wait to see Bliss,” Sadie said with a happy sigh.

Another baby? Damn, this group was multiplying like rabbits.

“She’s gorgeous,” Willow said. “I’m not kidding you. Like, stop-in-your-tracks gorgeous. Her little cheeks are so chubby, and her eyes are Cage’s. Eva can’t take her anywhere without being stopped by a million people to ooh and aah over her.” She smiled happily.

We reached the bottom step, and Sadie noticed us. She beamed brightly. I didn’t make eye contact with Amanda or even look in Preston’s direction. Instead I walked over to shake Marcus’s hand and congratulate him on the kid.

“Good to see you,” Marcus said, grinning at me.

“You too. Looks like you added another member to the family,” I replied. “Congrats.”

“Thanks. He’s keeping me up at night, but I’m okay with it. It’s a good time to talk football. Teaching him early.”

I laughed and turned to Sadie, who was holding the little guy out for me to see him. “Jason, meet Eli Hardy,” she said in a soft voice reserved for babies.

“Nice to meet you, Eli,” I replied. The kid smiled and stuck his hand in his mouth. The little fluff of hair on his head was as red as his mother’s, but the kid reminded me of Marcus. Maybe it was his eyes.

“I’m hungry. We gonna stand around and look at babies all night, or is there food here?” a new voice said, drawing my attention from the baby. I recognized him, but I couldn’t remember his name. He had his dreadlocks pulled back in a ponytail. Tattoos decorated most of his arms, and he even had one coming up his neck. I didn’t stare long enough to figure out what it was. His lip was pierced, and when he talked you could see the metal in his mouth.

“We have plenty of food, Dewayne,” Sadie replied, smiling at him like he wasn’t a scary-ass dude.

“Good,” he said, walking over and stopping to kiss Eli’s head, which was not what I was expecting him to do. “Damn, that kid’s cute. But then, he looks like his momma.”

Marcus just chuckled.

Dewayne looked over at me and stopped. His gaze shifted from me to where I knew Amanda and Preston stood behind me. A slow grin stretched across his face. “Hell yeah. This should be a shit ton of fun. Preston, you gonna play nice with Jason?”

Sadie’s eyes went wide, and everyone went quiet. I decided now was a good time to turn and address them and get this over with.

Amanda was glaring at Dewayne like she was about to take a swing at him, but Preston had an amused grin on his face. “I always play nice,” Preston said with a lazy drawl that went well with his surfer-boy appearance. “I got no problem with Jason. At least not anymore.” He dropped his arm from around Amanda’s waist, stepped forward, and held out his hand to me. “No hard feelings,” he said.

The guy was hard to dislike. I shook his hand. “Not at all,” I replied.

“Good,” he said, stepping back to put his hand back on Amanda. “See, dickhead? We’re all good,” Preston said to Dewayne.

Dewayne just chuckled and shook his head. “Sure you are.”

“Okay, Dewayne, don’t go getting everyone all stirred up. We’re at the Stones’ house,” Marcus said, trying to sound diplomatic.

Dewayne shrugged and glanced back at Marcus. “Just having some fun.”

The doorway was filled again, this time with the massive brick wall that was Rock. A little girl with a head full of curls ran around his legs, squealing Preston’s name. I turned to see Preston reach down and grab her just as she flung herself into his arms. Rock and his wife, Trisha, had adopted Preston’s little sister and brothers when their mother passed away, making this group of friends even tighter.

“I missed you,” the little girl said, planting a loud, smacking kiss on Preston’s cheek.

“I missed you, too,” he said.

“Sorry we’re late,” Rock said. “Trisha is bringing the boys after football practice. I had to go get Daisy. Jess was watching her at the house while we were at the boys’ practice.

My head snapped around at the name Jess. The name of the girl I’d rescued the other night.

“You’re letting Jess watch Daisy?” Willow asked, sounding surprised.

Rock looked over at her and frowned. “She’s my cousin. I know you aren’t a fan of Jess’s, but she’s good with Daisy.”

“She’s really not so bad, Low, Amanda piped up. “I know you had a bad experience with her, but Jess is loyal to a fault and she loves those kids.” That made me even more curious. If this was the same Jess who beat the hell out of her boyfriend’s truck, then I could understand Low’s concern. She didn’t seem like the babysitter type.

“She seems so flighty,” Willow said, frowning.

Dewayne walked back into the room with a handful of chips. “You’re just worried because Jess had her sexy ass set on Marcus. Don’t mean she’s a bad girl. Just a little misguided at times.”

Amanda shot an annoyed glare Dewayne’s way. “Don’t bring that up. It’s old news.”

“Don’t, dude.” Marcus’s voice sounded pleading.

“Jess does some things that are not well thought out, and she’s impulsive, but she’s still good with Daisy,” Rock said defensively.

“She bashed in Hank’s truck the other night,” Marcus pointed out.

This group had just won my complete and total attention. I couldn’t keep from grinning. I had to rub my hand over my mouth so no one noticed. They were talking about the hot blonde I’d helped escape.

“She did what?” Sadie asked in shocked horror.

Willow sighed and shook her head. “Her on-again, off-again boyfriend was cheating on her, and she took a bat or something and shattered his truck’s windows and apparently got a few dents in the side before she took off running.”

Preston let out an amused laugh. “Sorry. But it’s funny as hell. Every time I hear it, I can’t stop myself from laughing.”

Rock shook his head. “Crazy girl. Hank had it coming, but I still can’t believe she did it. Although, she’s claiming she didn’t, and the only proof is Hank saying he saw her running and chased her down. Then he says she jumped into a Porsche and took off. That right there is a lie. Ain’t no one in town with a Porsche. Then, when the cops got to her house, her momma said Jess had been with her all day and was in the shower. Cop said the hood of her truck was cool, so he couldn’t argue with Starla.”

I felt Jax’s eyes on me, but I didn’t turn around. I could almost hear his thoughts. He knew who owned a Porsche in Sea Breeze—he did.

“Knowing Hank, he was drunk or high. But it sure sounds like something Jess would do. No one else had motive. And we all know Starla probably entertains more than one of the cops in Sea Breeze at Jugs,” Preston said, still amused and grinning.

Jugs? What’s Jugs? I didn’t ask. Instead I stayed quiet. Luckily, Jax never mentioned the Porsche that he left parked in the garage here.

Chapter Three


I had lain low for a week. I was tired of staying at home. Keeping Rock’s little girl, Daisy May, earlier this week had been a fun distraction, but I needed some action. Thinking about Hank and all that wasted time just drove me crazy. It was almost if I was begging to end up like my momma. Not that I didn’t love my momma—I just knew her life was hard.

Besides, as much as I liked dressing to draw a guy’s attention, I did not ever want to think I had to strip for men to make ends meet. My momma seemed to take it in stride. I just didn’t think I ever could. I liked my body just fine. I just preferred to choose who I took my clothes off for. Balding, fat policemen were not gonna get to pay to see me naked. So help me God.

I slid my feet into my red cowboy boots and tugged my short black leather skirt down until it covered my butt cheeks. Apparently, leather was back in this season. I loved leather, so that made me happy. I reached for one of my Jackdown T-shirts. I was going to go listen to Krit and his band tonight at Live Bay. Krit loved it when I wore one of the band’s shirts.

Krit had also loved it when I took it off for him. But those days were over. His sister, Trisha, married my cousin. We were family now, even if he preferred to say that didn’t count. Besides, Krit was not gonna be the guy to save me from my momma’s life. He was just like me: born into a low-class situation and trying to find a way out. We also enjoyed trouble just a little too much. The two of us together had proved to be dangerous.

Momma had already left for work tonight, so I went to her room to spray a little of her Chanel on my cle**age. She used it sparingly, and I wasn’t supposed to touch it.

When I was sure I was ready, I grabbed my truck keys and opened the front door. In my driveway sat a completely loaded black Hummer with dark-tinted windows. Who the hell was that? That wasn’t your average Hummer. It was the kind that was special-ordered. I closed the door behind me and walked down the two cinder block steps.

The driver’s door opened, and out stepped Mr. Porsche. In his hand was a baseball bat. Rock’s baseball bat. Oh damn, I’d forgotten it. Smiling in relief because Rock would’ve killed me had I lost it, I walked over to meet him halfway.

“You forgot something,” he said by way of greeting.

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