Home > Walk Through Fire (Chaos #4)

Walk Through Fire (Chaos #4)
Author: Kristen Ashley

CHAPTER ONE

I Never Would

Millie

I SHOULD GET a salad.

I should have gone to Whole Foods and hit their salad bar (and thus been able to get a cookie from their bakery, a treat for being so good about getting a salad).

I didn’t go to Whole Foods.

I went to Chipotle.

So, since I was at Chipotle, I should get a bowl, not a burrito.

I had no intention of getting a bowl.

I was going to get a burrito.

Therefore, I was standing in line at Chipotle, trying to decide on pinto or black beans for my burrito, telling myself I was going to have salad for dinner (this would not happen but I was telling myself that it would, something I did a lot).

And in the coming weeks, I would wish with all my heart that I’d gone to Whole Foods for the salad (and the cookie).

It was lunchtime. It was busy. There was noise.

But I heard it.

The deep, manly voice coming from ahead of me.

A voice that had matured. It was coarser, near to abrasive, but I knew that voice.

I’d never forget that voice.

“Yeah, I signed the papers. Sent ’em. Not a problem. That’s done,” the voice said.

I stood in line having trouble breathing, my body wanting to move, lean to the side, look forward, see the man attached to the voice, needing that, but I couldn’t seem to make my body do what it was told.

“Not set up yet with a place, don’t matter,” the voice went on. “Got a condo in the mountains for the weekend. Takin’ the girls up there. So I’ll come get ’em like I said, four o’clock, Friday. I’ll have ’em at school on Monday. I’ll sort a place soon’s I can.”

I still couldn’t move and now there was an even bigger reason why.

Takin’ the girls up there.

I’ll have ’em at school on Monday.

He had children.

Logan had kids.

Plural.

I felt a prickle in my nose as my breaths went unsteady, my heart hammering, my fingers tingling in a painful way, like they’d gone to sleep and were just now waking up.

The voice kept going.

“Right. You’d do that, it’d be cool. Tell ’em their dad loves ’em. I’ll call ’em tonight and see them Friday.” Pause, then, “Okay. Thanks. Later.”

The line moved and I forced myself to move with it, and just then, Logan turned and became visible in front of the food counter at Chipotle.

I saw him and my world imploded.

“Burrito. Beef,” he grated out. “Pinto. To go.”

I stared, unmoving.

He looked good.

God, God, he looked so damned good.

I knew it. I knew he’d mature like that. Go from the cute but rough young man with that edge—that dangerous edge that drew you to him no matter how badly you wanted to pull away—but you couldn’t stop it, that pull was too strong.

I knew he’d go from that to the man who was standing in front of the tortilla lady at Chipotle wearing his leather Chaos jacket.

Tall. His dark hair silvered, too long and unkempt. Shoulders broad. Jaw squared. I could see even in profile the skin of his face was no longer smooth but craggy in a way that every line told a story that you knew was interesting. Strong nose. High cheekbones. Whiskers (also silvered) that said he hadn’t shaved in days, or perhaps weeks.

Beautiful.

So beautiful.

And he once was mine.

Then I’d let him go.

No, I’d pushed him away.

I turned and moved swiftly back through the line, not making a sound, not saying a word.

I didn’t want him to hear me.

Out, I needed out.

I got out. Practically ran to my car. Got in and slammed the door.

I sat there, hands hovering over the steering wheel, shaking.

Takin’ the girls up there.

I’ll have ’em at school on Monday.

He had kids.

Plural.

Girls.

That made me happy. Ecstatic. Beside myself with glee.

I signed the papers. Sent ’em.

What did that mean?

So I’ll come get ’em... I’ll sort a place soon’s I can.

Come and get them?

He didn’t have them.

Signed the papers.

Oh God, he was getting a divorce.

No. Maybe he’d just gotten one.

I’ll come and get ’em...

He was a father.

But was he free?

I shook out my hands, taking a deep breath.

It didn’t matter. It wasn’t my business. Logan Judd was no longer my business. He’d stopped being my business twenty years ago. My choice. I’d let him go.

And clearly it didn’t happen—where he was heading, where that Club was heading, what I expected would happen didn’t.

He was in line at Chipotle, not incarcerated.

I didn’t see him top to toe from all sides but from what I saw, he didn’t have any scars. He had that scratchy voice, so obviously he hadn’t quit smoking when he should have (or not at all). But he seemed strong, tall, fit.

Maybe he had a beer gut.

But with what he’d been getting into then, what Chaos was into back in the day, I expected twenty years later Logan would be a lot different and not just having-a-scratchy-voice, having-a-craggy-but-still-immensely-attractive-face, maybe-having-a-beer-gut different.

Worst case, I expected he’d be dead.

Almost as worst case, I expected he’d be in prison.

Still almost as worst case, I expected him to be committing felonies that would eventually land him either of those two. Not in a Chipotle getting a burrito, talking on the phone with someone about picking up his kids, taking them to a condo in the mountains and getting them to school on Monday.

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