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Easton Long can’t go on. He’s tired of the lies, and the only break he gets is at the bottom of a bottle. However, The Four Kings don’t accept failure. He can’t fuck up. Thrown into rehab, Easton can’t hide from the truth any longer. His only solace is with his long-dead girlfriend.
The past is catching up with him.
Scarlett Knight never wanted to see Easton again. He broke her heart, shattered her soul, and left her with nothing. But with him back in her life, she can’t ignore him.
Easton knows he fucked up but he can’t lose her again. He’s willing to do whatever it takes to show her he’s not the asshole who broke her heart.
The only problem? She’s married to an amazing guy, one who makes Easton feel part of their family. There’s no way he can break them up. Is there a chance for him to find his place in their world without breaking it apart? Nothing has ever meant more to Easton than making his new life work, but how can he walk away from the past, when it still hangs around?
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The bottle of whiskey was almost empty, and Easton Long couldn’t stop the constant thoughts and memories from plaguing him. Curled up in his office, he stared at the ceiling. There was a time he’d be passed out by now, but the more he drank, the more tolerant to it he was becoming.
Now, he was onto his second bottle of whiskey, and if he kept on going, he’d probably need his stomach pumped again.
Running a hand down his face, he knew he should drive himself off a cliff, or do something else constructive. It’s not like he’d done anything worthwhile sitting around here. Axton, Karson, and Romeo were all better off without him. The Four Kings Empire didn’t need him, not anymore, not when they had Paul, and he could go and end it, like he should have done years ago.
The truth was out, and he and his friends weren’t going to pay the price for their parents’ bullshit anymore. They were all free.
Easton had hoped it would give him some freedom from this pain, but instead it just made him even more useless.
No one needed him around. His father always said he was a waste of space, and after getting Carla pregnant, it had pretty much cemented his uselessness. His own father, Nial Long, had taken care of the problem. Killed her so he wouldn’t be able to run away with her and live his life without the riches.
For years, Nial had told him he’d never be able to hack it broke. Wealth was what defined them all. When Easton had made a bet with his friends, he hadn’t expected to fall for her. He just wanted to pop her cherry and move on. Not to fall for her, or to want a future with her.
Carla showed him that being poor didn’t mean anything. She had been one of the poorest girls in King’s Ridge. Even though he wanted her to fall in love with him, and have sex with her, it didn’t mean he intended to get her pregnant. He’d fucked up big time with her, and she had paid the price for his asshole ways.
“You’ve got to stop thinking about Carla. You can’t bring her back,” he said.
“And you’ve got to stop being in this office, drinking yourself to death.”
He lifted his hand up to see Axton and Taylor, staring down at him.
“My humiliation is now complete. Thanks for that,” he said. “You shouldn’t even be here.”
“Why? Because you’re the only one that owns this place? I had to work late.”
“On something I know nothing about, I’m sure.”
He glanced down at Taylor’s stomach. “You know what it is yet?”
Taylor put a hand on her growing belly and shook her head. “No, not yet. We’re not sure we want to know, you know, extend the surprise maybe.”
“That’s nice.” His and Carla’s kid would be just over ten years old by now, if she’d lived long enough.
He would have loved to have been a father. “You’re the first one of all of us to have a kid. Congratulations, Axton. You always did get everything first.”
“Is he always like this?” Taylor asked.
“No. It’s worse on the anniversary.”
“Fuck you,” Easton said. He sat up, feeling the world spin but not enough to make him sit down. “You think you know me? You think you know what true pain is all about? At least you’re getting to see your child born. Me? I didn’t get to do anything about it. That pleasure was torn from me because of my father.” He got up, and if Axton didn’t grab him when he did, he’d be on his ass.
The alcohol must clearly be having an effect.
“So don’t try to tell me that you even understand what I’m doing!”
“You’re drinking yourself into oblivion because of guilt, Easton. I’m not going to pretend it’s anything else, because it’s not. You feel guilty over what happened, and you’ve got other reasons. Reasons you’re not even ready to tell any of us.”
“Fuck you!” He growled the words as he tried to hit Axton, but it didn’t work.
Axton merely let him go, and he collapsed to the floor.
Karson and Romeo finally stepped into his office.
“Why don’t you just leave him to pass out?” Romeo asked.
“I’m not going to leave him alone here. He’s got an apartment and a life, and he needs to get back to it,” Axton said. “We’re all in this together.”
“Yeah, but one of us right now is a fucking bum. I’m tired of dragging his drunk ass all over the place,” Karson said.
Easton rolled onto his back. “I didn’t ask any of you here. I was quite happy not dealing with any of you fuckers, so leave me alone.” His stomach started to turn.
He didn’t roll over fast enough before he began to vomit.
At first, he choked, but then his friends didn’t give him a chance to help himself before they were holding him and making him throw up on the carpet.