Own the Wind (Chaos, #1)(10)

Written By: Kristen Ashley



“Tab—” Shy tried again, now trying to cut in because he could tell going over the past was not somewhere she wanted to be but Tabby kept talking.

“When they confronted me about it, it wasn’t comfortable but it was honest and gentle and what I needed. Sheila took me aside and she asked me and listened to me when I had to let go of shit about Mom. Arlo took me out for a hot dog and a discussion on how to spot a good guy and when to know when a guy’s a jerk. And all of them had my back for years after that went down to make sure nothing like that went down again. It was overboard, overprotective, and annoying but at least it was loving.” She shook her head. “But you… you made assumptions. You showed you decided exactly the kind of girl I was that night when that guy took his hand to me without knowing one single thing about me. I wasn’t what you thought, Shy. I didn’t need your shit and I also didn’t deserve it. Family doesn’t make judgments. They talk. They support. You made a judgment. You acted on that judgment. You doing it hurt me so that means you are not my family.”

After gutting him, she turned on her boot, stomped to her car, folded her curvy, little body in and then she was off, leaving Shy standing at the side of the road.

*

Four months later…

Shy sat on his bike, pissed. Construction jacking up downtown and some show getting out at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts meant traffic was jammed every-fucking-where.

He watched three cars get through the light and didn’t budge on his bike before they were back to red and he was back to thinking he’d ride his bike up on the sidewalk to get past this shit. The cars were so jacked, jockeying for position to make it to the single lane they had to get through, he couldn’t even ride between to get the fuck out.

He sat back and turned his head, gliding his eyes through the waves of people crawling over the sidewalks, crossing the street and climbing down the stairs at DCPA, when his eyes passed through her and his head jerked back.

Tabby.

Tabby wearing a tight, strapless red dress covered in lace, the scallops skimming her knees. On her feet were high, spiked black heels that were sexy as all fuck, the same as they were classy. Her mass of hair was pulled softly back from her face, tucked in a complicated arrangement of curls at the back.

She looked like a modern-day princess. Elegant. Sophisticated. High-class.

“Jesus,” he muttered.

She was looking around like she was lost, and he was about to put his tongue to his teeth to whistle when she found what she was looking for and Shy went rock solid.

A tall, good-looking, built blond guy in a suit moved to her, smiling. She tipped her head back, not smiling.

Fucking beaming.

Shy watched as the man slid an arm around her waist, she leaned into his body, and he bent to touch his mouth to hers. He stayed bent, kept his face close to hers, as any man would do, Tabby dressed like that, looking like that, smiling like that, and her mouth moved.

Then his head shot back as he burst out laughing.

Tabby watched for a beat before she dropped her chin and rested her forehead against his chest, her arms moving to curve around him and hold him while he shook with humor.

“Jesus,” Shy muttered, that burn back, in his gut, chest, heart, even up his fucking throat.

He wanted to but he couldn’t tear his eyes away when the man dipped his chin back down, cupped her jaw with a hand, lifted her face to his, and bent to touch his mouth to Tabby’s again.

But it wasn’t a touch.

He kept his mouth on hers a long fucking time. Like they weren’t on a sidewalk with hundreds of people streaming around them and waiting in cars to get through traffic. Like they were alone, just them.

Shy kept watching as the man broke the kiss. Tabby’s hand, now at the guy’s neck, moved so her thumb could stroke his jaw and she could gaze up at him like he was the only man on the planet.

It was then Shy tore his eyes away.

And it was then, ignoring the cars that honked and the shouts out the window, he maneuvered his bike through the cars, nearly jacking up his legs and his bike.

Two seconds later, when the light changed, he roared the fuck away.

*

Eight months later…

“Jesus, seriously, set me up,” Dog growled as he stalked into the Compound and headed toward where Shy, Arlo, and Brick were sitting, drinking beer, Bat across from them playing bartender.

“What’s up, brother?” Arlo asked, as Dog hoisted his ass on a stool.

“Our little Tabby’s engaged.”

Shy felt like he’d been sucker-punched.

“No shit?” Brick asked, sounding like he’d been sucker-punched too.

“Jesus, God, please don’t make it be that blond guy who’s built like a linebacker and looks like a cop,” Bat muttered.

Dog took a long pull from his beer but did it nodding. Then he dropped the beer to the bar and leveled his eyes on Brick.

“Good dude, I met him. Physical therapist. Played college ball, good at it but not good enough. Though that experience helped. He works for the Broncos.”

Shy looked at the beer he was holding on the bar.

Shit.

Fuck.

Shit.

“She’s over the fuckin’ moon,” Dog continued, and Shy’s gut twisted. “Cherry is too. Cherry thinks he’s the shit. Can’t say I don’t like him but he’s fuckin’ normal. Tack’s torn. The dude totally thinks our girl walks on water, what father wouldn’t like that? He’s cool too. Knows us, who we are, where she came from, does not give that first fuck. He’d take her legless and armless if she was still Tab, he don’t care where she comes from. That said, he’s not anywhere close to the life, he comes from the fuckin’ suburbs, and Tack’s strugglin’ with that.”