Home > Loose Ends, Volume One (Loose Ends #1)(12)

Loose Ends, Volume One (Loose Ends #1)(12)
Author: Kristen Ashley

But they’d waited too long.

This one was a lot smaller and a lot more Luci. Clean lines. Modern. Sleek.

The bottom was a two-car garage with two types of storage—one general, one that had a door to the outside for towels and beach chairs and that kind of shit. There was a shower off to the side to rinse off the sand when you got back from the beach. The lower level space was rounded out with a small guest suite that had a private entry, bedroom, bathroom and its own porch that had a view of dunes and the sound of the sea.

Above that, a massive great room, all open plan, seating areas, dining, half bath tucked behind a pantry, big modern kitchen with white cabinets and countertops, stainless steel appliances, with three kickass pendants over the island that looked like they were made of shards of mirror.

Finishing that was a wall of windows that all folded open to provide access to a massive deck that ran the width of the house, jutting out over the dunes.

Floor above that, Luci’s master suite. Something he had not seen and did not think about.

And the floor above that, kind of an observation deck that could function as a guest room with its own full bath. But mostly it was like a studio/vanity room with tons of framed shots on the walls of Luci at work in fashion spreads or on catwalks, or pictures of Gordo in uniform, from fatigues to mess dress, or with his buds in the field.

And then there were those of both of them together living her high life globally or living his normal life locally.

There were even pictures with Hap in them up there.

He had no idea what she did up there.

He actually had no idea what she did at all when he wasn’t with her, outside jetting around, going back to Italy to see her family or commune with friends at her house in Lake Como, hanging with Kia, Sam and Kia, Hap and Sam and Kia (when he wasn’t avoiding her) or working in her shop in town.

He really didn’t know her at all, outside her being Gordo’s wife.

That’s a damn lie and you know it, he thought as he pulled into her drive that widened so the essentially two-bedroom house could have parking enough for a moderately sized shindig.

He stopped the truck, put her in park and switched off the ignition.

“Fuck,” he said as he stared at the steps that led up to the door on the second level.

He hoped she’d heard his truck pull in. He hoped she looked out to see him there so she had warning.

But even if she didn’t, he had to do this, for Sam and Kia, Skip, her and him.

And also for Gordo.

He should phone and tell her he was there. Give her the opportunity not to let him in. Give her the opportunity to tell him to go away. Or just give her the opportunity to prepare for the talk she knew they had to have.

Hap did not phone her.

He opened his door, shoved his body out and slammed the door behind him.

He adjusted the baseball cap on his head as he walked up the stairs.

He wouldn’t use words like “mistake” or “regret” this time.

He wouldn’t mention Gordo.

He’d talk about how much he cared about her, how important she was in his life, and he’d share how he didn’t want that to change and he really didn’t want to do anything to harm it.

Yeah.

That was the way to go.

He stood at the pristine white door surrounded by the light gray of the house and looked in the narrow rectangular window that ran down half of one side.

He only saw himself. It was smoked out his way, but Luci would be able to see him.

He hit the doorbell, feeling his mouth get dry.

Christ.

Why had he kissed her back?

You know why, asshole.

He did.

She was beautiful. She was funny. She ate hotdogs and didn’t talk about how they were unhealthy or how many calories they had. She had great legs, phenomenal hair and an unbelievable ass. She dressed fantastic. She showed love and affection without a hint of hesitation. She could make a stranger feel like a lifelong friend in five minutes flat.

She was Luci.

And he was in love with her.

So he kissed her back.

Shit.

The door opened and his focus snapped into place as every muscle in his body snapped taut.

And then he nearly busted out laughing.

She was wearing a light-blue, what looked like man’s shirt, tied at the tails at her waist, the tail at the back hanging down.

But on her bottom, she was wearing a pair of wide-leg pants made entirely of sequins. At the top the sequins were the color of the shirt, but they got darker and darker as the color intensified to the hems, which were covering her feet.

He just barely hit six foot.

Since she was five-ten, and now barefoot, he had two inches on her.

She put on pretty much any shoe she owned, she was taller than him.

If she was his, he would not give that first crap.

“Hey,” he said softly.

Her focus was on his cap, but at his greeting it came to his face.

“Hap,” she replied, eyes guarded, body visibly as taut as his.

She had not heard his truck pull in.

Hurricane glass. Necessary, but usually soundproof.

“Going to a disco?”

It came out as habit. The tease. He was that guy and he loved it that she was the kind of woman who not only could take it but enjoyed it and shoveled it back.

It was the wrong call. She went from guarded to wounded.

Shit.

“Luce—”

She opened the door wider, effectively inviting him in while cutting him off, and did it verbally as well. “I suppose we should talk.”

She didn’t seem to be fired up about the possibility.

He was there with her.

But at her invitation, since this had to get done, he walked in.

She shut the door behind him, and it wasn’t the first time he found it funny that she’d decorated the common areas pretty much in all white. The thing was, even as clean-lined and stark the place was, it was also gorgeous, and her sofa had super wide seats so it was incredibly comfortable.

And incredibly advantageous when you were making out hot and heavy on it.

He avoided teasing her about her couch again, and he definitely avoided thinking about the last time he’d been on that couch, making out hot and heavy with her, as he walked to the edge of said couch and turned to her.

The sequins at the hems of her pants swished the tiled floor as she moved to him in her graceful way.

She stopped, not close.

“I wish you’d given me some warning,” she said.

Her words made Hap feel like someone dropped a hundred-pound weight on his chest.

Not because he’d been rude.

It didn’t appear she had makeup on, but she didn’t need it.

But she did have a great outfit on, which meant she might be going out.

Maybe on a date.

It was not two in the afternoon, but maybe it was a late lunch date.

Or someone was coming over and this was Luci’s way of being casual and at home, but amazing.

Fuck.

“You got plans?” he asked, his voice unsurprisingly tight.

“No.”

Thank you, God.

“So, what’s with the outfit?”

“I had the trousers altered while I was in New York. They arrived today. I was trying them on for fit.”

That was a relief.

“Do you want to start or shall I?” she prompted.

She wanted this to get done.

The last time they spoke, he unintentionally gutted her, so he was not surprised.

Not to mention, he wanted to get this done too.

“Luce—”

She interrupted him again.

“I need more time.” She lifted both hands then dropped them like she wished she hadn’t made the gesture. “I know we must move on and I’m making more out of what happened than I should, but I still need more time, Hap.”

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