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Zero Regret (Lost Kings MC #13)
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Love happens when you least expect it. So does heartbreak.
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I thought we were done with the lies.
How much deception am I supposed to take from the woman I love until I lose it and give up?
Lilly lied to me.
Ted’s words won’t stop echoing in my head. I’m her fiancé.
That can’t be right. I asked her to marry me a couple hours ago.
She said yes.
But she’d already said yes to this guy.
This guy? Really?
He’s still standing on the porch, awkwardly shifting from foot to foot.
He ain’t gettin’ an invitation inside from me.
“Dammit, Ted,” Lilly snaps. “That’s not true. We’re not engaged.”
“Seems like an odd thing to be confused about.” My voice comes out laced with acid. I want nothing more than to jump on my bike and spray gravel all over Ted’s shiny rental car. Fifteen, twenty years ago, I probably would’ve done exactly that the second this clown showed up and opened his mouth.
Today, I have a son. I need to be here for him. No matter what.
“Z, it’s not true.” Her fingers lightly brush against my bare chest, chasing the chill away.
I drag my gaze from Ted to Lilly. An hour ago, she was wrapped around me, whispering declarations of love in my ear while clawing at my back.
Was she doing the same out in California with this guy?
Her hand’s still pressed to my chest and as I glance down, the loose sleeve of the robe she threw on when Ted came knocking slips down. The fine edge of the scar I asked about earlier peeks out and somehow, I just know it’s connected to Ted. To everything.
It’s painful. Personal. And she was about to let me in. Finally.
Before Ted interrupted.
I grip the doorknob tighter. “You got an engagement ring?” I ask Lilly.
Too stunned by my change in attitude, Lilly shakes her head. “What?”
Ted’s such a swell guy, he pipes up and answers for Lilly. “It’s back in California.”
That’s all I need to know.
“You can talk to her tomorrow, Ted,” I say. “Thanks for stopping by.” With that dismissal, I shove the door closed, slamming it in Ted’s face with a satisfying bang.
Outside, he mumbles something, but a minute later, a car starts up and speeds down the driveway.
I turn and face Lilly, who’s already backing away from me. “Start talking.”
“Ted’s just a friend.”
“I don’t give a fuck about Ted.”
Like a snake, I strike, grabbing both of her wrists in one hand and turning them over. Ruthlessly, I shove both her sleeves out of my way. “What happened?”
She jerks back, but I hold on tighter.
“Bullshit. What accident leaves identical scars like this? Try again.”
“Z,” she pleads.
“And I know damn well you didn’t have them before, so don’t even try.”
“I can’t.” She’s pleading with everything in her to let this go. Her big brown eyes brimming with tears, her beautiful face, her body that she’s desperately trying to pull out of my grip. “Z, I can’t.”
“You can and you will. I think I’ve been more than patient. I asked you to marry me before. You said yes. Then a few hours later, some clown I’ve never even heard of shows up claiming he’s your fiancé? I’m out of patience with you, woman.”
“You’re hurting me.”
The high, thin whine to her voice jars me enough to release her. She retreats but I’m not done with her. No way.
Step for step, I track her into the living room.
Lilly’s a strong woman. Almost nothing seems to make her flinch. Guilt lashes at me for the way she’s unraveling because of my questions.
“Who hurt you?” I ask.
She jerks her head up. “What?”
Gentler this time, I reach out and trace my finger over the soft inside of her arm. “Who did this?”
Tears I didn’t want to cause roll down her cheeks. She opens her mouth and slicks her tongue over her lips a few times before finally giving me the answer I never expected.
A cloud of pain wraps around my throat, threatening to suffocate me.
What a nightmare.
I almost wish Z hadn’t chased Ted away, because I’d like to strangle him.
My own fault. Weeks ago, I should’ve yanked up my big girl panties and told Ted our marriage–of his convenience–couldn’t happen.
That I could have handled with a simple phone call.
Z standing in front of me demanding answers, I can’t deal with that. I should have told him about Ted, even if I can’t tell him the whole story. But my lies have become a part of me to protect myself. It’s my story. The story of two Lillys. The one before. And the one after. Both of them are full of pain and regret. Regrets I can’t erase. Pain I don’t want to share with anyone. Especially Z.
There’s a reason I keep my arms covered as much as possible.
I don’t care what anyone else thinks.
It’s me. I can’t stand the reminder of my own weakness. And the events that led me to the darkest time of my life. To attempt something I never thought I was capable of.