Surprise!!! Here is a little something to hold you over until “Break Me” is released. Here is the first chapter (unedited).
“Delilah,” Kane yelled from the stairs leading to the basement. “Come here! You have to hear this!”
“I’m coming,” I said, for the fifth time today. Kane had been in that basement writing songs all day. Every time he came up with something he liked, I was expected to come down there and hear what he’d done with his part on the drums.
I’d already taken my daily limit of Tylenol.
When I reached the top of the stairs, I found him standing at the bottom with a big goofy grin on his handsome face, his hair was a matted, sweaty mess. I shook my head and descended the stairs, avoiding his roaming hands in the process. We’d already made love on the floor, the bar, and on the bottom steps today, and it was only noon! Whenever Kane got excited about his work, he also became horny.
“Alright baby,” I smiled. “Show me what you got!”
My enthusiasm was true, because Kane was, well Kane. In the weeks that followed Sadie’s visit, Kane was back to his normal self. Well, as normal as Kane Maddox could be when he was focused.
The album was starting to come together, even though it was behind schedule. The guys were working together most nights, either here or at Ash’s place. Tonight we would be hosting the band as they sat down to add music to the existing lyrics they’d written.
I took my seat and listened to what he’d come up with, showing interest in every second of his performance. I smiled when he finished, “I like that one!”
“Come here,” he said with the wave of his sticks. The sticks he had me sign my name to, were hanging above his head and formed an X on the wall. My blush caused him to smile wickedly.
When he went to reach for them, I laughed, “Oh no! Mr. Maddox, you have company arriving any minute!”
“Yeah, but…,” he paused when we heard voices carrying down the stairs. Everyone had arrived exactly when they said they would. Kane pouted and said, “We will continue this later.”
Ash, Reed, and Gabe filed down the stairs, each with their own instruments in hand. Ash and Reed stopped to give me a one armed hug, Gabe set his case down and wrapped both arms around my neck.
“How is he,” he whispered into my ear. Gabe knew about Sadie’s visit. He was the only one who did, because I had confided in him recently. I’m not sure if Kane had mentioned it to Ash or not, but knowing Kane, I’m sure the subject was brought up the last time he and Ash were alone.
“Like night and day,” I admitted on a whisper.
“Good,” he smiled, poking me in the ribs. “That’s good, D.”
Gabe looked happy today, just as he’d been the past few days. I took it upon myself to ask the question that the other guys were too scared to approach.
“Who is she,” I whispered, where no one else could hear me.
He blushed deep red, all the way to the roots of his hair, “She’ll come around. I hope. Just…just give me some time, okay?”
“Yeah, well, I want to meet her before Liana does. Maybe it will lessen the baby-sister-protective-explosion that is sure to occur.”
Gabe shook his head and walked over to where the guys were setting up, Kane talked loudly about a song he’d come up with, his enthusiasm was back, and I smiled again to myself.
A baby’s cry from the hallway had me turning, Liana was walking into the room holding her handsome son, Hunter. The little guy had turned a month old the day before, and Liana was still complaining about when he’d sleep through the night.
I reached for the little bundle and held him carefully in my arms. He looked like his father, but had the most amazing blue eyes, just like his mother and uncle. I kissed his head and let the big guy tug on my hair for a minute before inhaling his yummy baby smell.
“Lila,” another voice called from the hallway. “Lila!” I peeked out of the room and saw Ivy, Ash and Mary’s toddler, coming toward me with her arms raised. The little girl was beautiful, just like her mother. Her hair curled naturally, the blonde was so light that in the sun it almost looked white. She hugged my leg before she heard Kane tap out something on his drums. I was all but forgotten. Ivy left the room screaming, “Unka-Kane!”
“How are you,” Mary asked, pulling me toward the media room. We sat down in the dimly lit room, and I breathed a sigh of relief when the pressure on my hip eased a bit. I’d never tell Kane that I was hurting. Since the fall I’d taken in Las Vegas, after our wedding, my discomfort caused tremendous guilt to assault him. I didn’t want him to worry about me unnecessarily.
Kane had three rows of connected recliners that made a quarter circle, so that it gave a movie theater feel to the room. The floor of the room was sloped up so that every seat would have an unobstructed view. Each chair had two cup holders. The custom built furniture would even convert to a sofa by lifting the armrest, so that you could snuggle with your husband when necessary.
“I’m great,” I smiled. “I’m really great, Mary.” I stroked Hunter’s brow with my thumb, causing the baby to yawn. His pouty lips stuck out when he finally fell into his sleep. I kissed his forehead and smiled at him.
“I was thinking about a shopping trip to pick out a few things for the new baby,” she admitted on a whisper so she wouldn’t disturb the baby in my arms. “Ash is freaking out, but I need to get out of the house.”
“Wonder if Liana will go?” I asked, hoping that she would. It wasn’t every day that the three of us had a chance to get out alone, without the guys and the children.
“Will go where,” Liana asked from the door, obviously hearing my question.
She sat down beside us, and we talked about a shopping trip. We laughed together as we griped about our menfolk and how they’d probably bust a vein in their foreheads if we all were gone at the same time. It wasn’t that they didn’t want us going out. It was the fact that they worried, a lot!
“They’ll worry,” Liana laughed.
“They’ll whine,” Mary rolled her eyes.
“They’ll get over it,” I said, leaning in to bump shoulders with Liana. We had to bite our tongues to keep from laughing so loud it woke Hunter, or brought attention to our devious plan. I’m sure the three of us would be able to sweet talk our husbands into letting us out of their sight for one whole day.
Geez, listen to me. I’m talking like I’ve been married for years, let alone months! I just felt right here with him. This was my new life, and even though I had days that I ached from my injuries, I was still gloriously happy with my life. I had made some wonderful friends, and they were even more than that…they were family.
Mary eventually got Ivy out of the room so that the guys could work. The little girl crawled up into our bed after I turned on a cartoon channel for her. She was asleep in fifteen minutes. We stayed in the living room where Hunter could sleep in his mother’s arms while the guys did their magic in the basement.
“So,” Liana grinned. “Have the two of you talked about children?”
“Oh,” I blushed. “Only a little. I think we are going to wait.” I didn’t expect that question, but understood their curiosity. I loved children, but wasn’t quite ready to cook a little replica of myself and Kane for nine months. I’d just found my new life, and I wanted to live it to the fullest before becoming a family plus one.
I wanted to model more, and I wanted to travel to Europe with Kane. I’d only been overseas once before, and I didn’t get to see many sites while there. The thought of Kane and I spending time in Paris, or some other amazing location, sent shivers of pure bliss up my spine.
“No hurry,” Liana laughed. “You two have plenty of time.”
“Yeah, we do,” I smiled. She was right, we did have time.
Things were better. I was back to normal, or as normal as I could be. The anxiety was gone, the random thoughts nothing but a fleeing memory. Delilah had done the unthinkable. She’d given me what I’d needed. At first, when Sadie had shown up at my home, I was confused. I didn’t understand why that woman had come barging into my house, after I’d told her to stay away. Delilah had contacted her, and brought her to me. It was one of the most confusing nights of my life, but also the most wonderful. My wife had sacrificed her fears and aversions to violence to give me the gift of allowing me to have one night to be submissive. The fact that she’d trusted Sadie to do the dominance thing was mind blowing. How she sat there and watched me be beaten, without running away, was beyond me. She wasn’t totally okay with what happened, I know that for sure.
I knew that my wife cried that night as I slept. I wasn’t so far gone that I didn’t notice the sadness in the way she cared for me. The slow methodical way she applied the lotion to my back, to soothe me, was done with love. Would she do it again? Bring Sadie in to give me what I needed? Was Sadie going to be on speed dial for when I got bad again?
“Fuck,” I growled, gaining me three pairs of raised eyebrows from my bandmates. I just shook my head and started playing. Ash and Gabe knew what happened that night. Ash figured it out, and I talked to Gabe because he noticed I was completely different overnight. Reed more than likely knew something was up, because I was also different, more focused, but he kept his opinions to himself. Something I was a little grateful for. These guys are my brothers, and they love me despite my flaws, but sometimes I’d rather not share everything with them.
Reed passed around his notebook of lyrics, letting us take a look at what he’d come up with. Writing came easier for the guys than it did me. I had written songs before, but not very many. I could look at the words and make the music appear out of thin air, but I mostly left the lyric writing to them. I think that was one of the reasons why we worked so well together over the years.
“Is Liana okay with this,” Gabe growled at a particular song he was looking at. I’d already seen it. Reed had written a song about how cutting was wrong and that although it felt right at the time, in the end you’ll suffer from the new scars of what you’ve done.
“She knows,” Reed cleared his throat. “She helped me write it. Liana actually said that we should name the song, Scars, and leave it at that. The title alone will get attention.”
“I agree,” I admitted.
Liana had cut herself after her attack. It was Reed who discovered it and got her help. She’d come a very long way since that time, and we’ve supported her every step of the way. Opening the shelter, Glory’s Place, was a great idea. It held a special place in my life as well.
Delilah had stayed there for about three months while she was healing from the attack that almost killed her. She still has problems with her hip that was fractured by that asshole’s boot kicking her repeatedly.
I had to shake myself back to the present, or I’d be an anxious mess in seconds. It was no use dwelling on him, because the bastard was going to be put away for a very long time. Dakota Hyde wasn’t going to be a problem anymore. His trail was coming in the next few months and he’d be out of our lives forever.
I held my hand out for the notebook, so I could look over the lyrics again. When the music played in my head, I grabbed my sticks and beat out what I was hearing, letting the guys listen to what I wanted to say with music.
Mary stuck her head in the room a few hours later, her hand rested on the baby bump, which was now more like a soccer ball (but I’d never say that to her face) on her belly, “What do y’all want for dinner?” I loved her southern accent.
“Chinese!” We all yelled. On Mary’s cringe, we laughed and went back to work. The poor girl was probably tired of eating it, but it was something that we all loved.
“Let’s break,” Ash announced after he watched his wife walk up the stairs. I used to cringe at the way he looked at his Mary, but now I totally understand the allure of having that one woman who tied you up into knots.
“Sounds good to me,” Reed said, stretching to his giant height.
I didn’t say anything to the guys as I left the room in the basement and made my way upstairs. Reed and Gabe were joking around, teasing Ash that he was probably going to have another girl. Ash disagreed and said he thought this one was going to be a boy.
I knew there was something wrong the moment I turned into the kitchen. The girls were gathered around Delilah, who was sitting still as stone, her face was bleached white.
“What’s wrong,” I demanded as I knelt down beside her.
“My father,” she whispered.
“What about him,” I growled. I’d never met the man, and I already knew I didn’t like him. Billy Ford was the worst sort of parent, abandoning his wife and child, leaving them to fend for themselves. He only contacted Delilah when he needed something. Most of the time he was drunk, or damn near on his way.
“He’s in the hospital,” she said, her face still set in shock. “They called and said that…that he’s here, in Los Angeles.”
“What,” I asked, confused.
“I really don’t know, Kane,” she shook her head and straightened her back. “All I know is that he was admitted to the hospital earlier today, and now, he’s in intensive care. The nurse said that he’s not going to make it, that his stomach is bleeding.”
“What do you want to do, kitten,” I asked, turning her so that I could look into her eyes. I was on my knees in front of the chair she was sitting in. I scooted between her legs and took her face with my hands. “Whatever it is you need to do, I’ll do it.”
“I need to see him,” she paused, a light sheen of tears welled up in her eyes. “He’s my father.”
“I know,” I replied.
“Ms. Delilah,” Sergi said from somewhere behind me. “The car is ready when you are.”
“Thank you, Sergi,” she smiled.
Sergi and I had made peace a few days prior, and he was now back on staff full time. I’ll admit that I did step out of line when I fired him, but the fact that Delilah had been hurt caused an anger inside me that I didn’t like.
“I need to change,” she whispered, almost robotically.
I took her hand and pulled her into the bedroom, helping her out of the yoga pants she wore around the house and the matching black tank top. The shower was quick and needed. I was covered in about four hours of sweat and didn’t want to go to the hospital looking like I just stepped off stage.
After we dressed, I held her hand on the ride over to the hospital. My wife was quiet, her thoughts were a million miles away as she stared out of the window all the way there. I had no idea what to expect when we reached the hospital. Delilah would need my strength over the next few days. Good thing I was finally in a state of mind that I can help her. I’m just glad we didn’t get this news a few weeks ago, because I don’t know if I could’ve been the man she needed.