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Fiction Friday: Staring at the Sun – Chapter 10

I have the final chapter of Staring at the Sun for you finally. After this, I’m not sure what I’ll do for Fiction Friday until I have Hawk’s story ready to go. I’m thinking about writing a flash fiction story each week, but we’ll see. Anyway, for now, here’s the beginning of Chapter 10.

Cassie opened her eyes to light streaming into the window Wraith climbed through the night before. There was no one there now, though, someone watched from the doorway. Henry, she realized turning her head slightly. Her mouth was dry, and her stomach ached. They hadn’t given her anything to eat or drink since they’d grabbed her. Now her heart sank, knowing Grady still wasn’t here for her.

He was coming. He had to be.

Henry sauntered into the room, and she tried to force her body up into a sitting position. She got herself braced against the wall, but that was about the best she could do without the use of her hands. “You ready to beg for forgiveness yet, Cassandra?”

“I don’t need your forgiveness, Henry. You should be the one asking for it. You took advantage of a scared young girl who found herself pregnant and no way to get in touch with the father. You held it against me every day. My trust in you, what I thought might be love. You used it to hurt me. And to hurt my son. No, I won’t ever ask you for forgiveness. I’ll never give you mine.”

He was in front of her in two strides. His hand shot out and her head bounced off the wall from the slap. “Do not ever speak to me like that again, Cassandra. I beat it out of you once. I’ll do it again. Don’t doubt it.”

“Oh, I never have.” She wiped the blood from her mouth on the shoulder of her shirt.

He started to leave the room. Cassie heard the roar of engines down the street and propped herself up on her elbows. That had to be Icarus. If it wasn’t, she didn’t know what she’d do. Henry apparently heard it too. He sent a glare over his shoulder at her. “I’ll take care of that. Once he’s gone, you won’t have any other option but to apologize and accept what I offer you.”

“Never,” she spit at him.

“You’ll see.” He started out of the room.

And if you want to read the rest of the chapter, you can find it here. I hope you’ve enjoyed the story.

Fiction Friday: Staring at the Sun – Chapter 9

I’m getting this up early. My other computer is installing updates(for the last almost hour and a half!) so I can’t get the writing done I’d planned to. But, there are some things I can get done on my Surface while I wait for that to finish(computer’s restarting again, so hopefully that will be it *crosses fingers* *uncrosses fingers because that makes it hard to type).

Anyway, I have the next to last chapter of Staring at the Sun up on Wattpad now. So, next weekend will be the final chapter. Then, I have to finish writing Hawk’s story and revise it before I’ll have anything else for you. But, for now, here’s the beginning of Chapter 9.

Cassie leaned her head back against the wall, forcing tears back once more. She’d gone along with Jake and Daniel easily enough. Not that she’d call it of her own free will. She hadn’t put up a fight. She hadn’t wanted Jake to take it out on Barbie if she’d fought back before they were away from the clubhouse.

As soon as it was out of sight, they’d pulled over, put a cloth around her eyes and tied her hands behind her back with something she figured was only a step away from zip ties. She couldn’t have fought back if she wanted to. Suddenly she had. Even as she’d tried, one of them hit her with the side of a fist, if she could guess by the feel of it. It stunned her long enough for them to climb back into the front and pull onto the road.

She hadn’t even been buckled in, so she bounced around every time they hit a bump. She swore Jake hit every bump he could as hard as possible. She didn’t have any way to brace herself or even see what was coming. She’d smacked her head on the window several times and the seat in front of her even more often. By the time the car stopped again, her head throbbed and spun, and she was sure she would be sick.

Neither of the men cared. They yanked her out of the car and shoved her up the walk toward the house. She fell twice, and they handled her even rougher. They’d left her alone in this room, but they had at least removed the blindfold. She wasn’t sure if she could have taken much more of that. Still she felt like she would lose it.

She didn’t have a clue how much time she’d been here. Except night hadn’t come yet. Where was Grady? Would he come for her? How would he even find her? What had Henry done to him? Told him? What was he going to do to her? When would he get here? Where was she? This wasn’t the house she’d shared with Henry for eighteen years.

All those questions kept circling in her head the longer she was forced to sit here. By the time something happened, she wasn’t sure she’d have any sanity left.

That was probably their plan.

Cassie gasped as something moved in the window. She blinked, sure she had to have imagined it. Maybe this was how losing her mind started. Seeing things that weren’t there, couldn’t be there.

The face remained there. She blinked again and recognized it. She couldn’t remember his name, but she’d seen him talking to Grady out at the clubhouse. What was it they called him? “Wraith,” she breathed out the name as it came to her.

If you want to find out what happens next, you can read the rest of it here. Let me know what you think. And next week, I’ll have that final chapter for you.

Fiction Friday: Staring at the Sun – Chapter 8

I’m back with another chapter of Staring at the Sun this week. There’s only 2 more left after this. And I’m not even close to ready to start sharing Hawk’s story(well, more than short snippets). So after this month, Fiction Friday may be coming to an end for a little while. But, for now, I have the start of Chapter 8 for you.

Icarus stared at his phone even after he’d ended the call with Chief. He couldn’t do anything else. Some of the men gathered around him, but he couldn’t even make himself look up.

“Dad, what’s going on?” Trace asked from right in front of him. “What happened to Mom?”

Icarus wasn’t even sure he understood it. Actually, he did. Only too well. “He sent men after your mom,” Icarus said, his voice dull. “Chief didn’t give me all the details. We’ll talk about it when we get back to the clubhouse. He has her. I failed her.” That’s what he understood best of all.

“No, Dad,” Trace said, but Icarus couldn’t listen to him right now.

“Everyone, on your bikes,” he ordered. “There’s nothing we can do here. We have to regroup and come back.”

“We can’t leave her with him,” Trace argued. “You don’t know what he’ll do.”

Icarus forced himself to meet his son’s eyes. “I do, but there’s nothing we can do right now. We have to figure out what happened and how we’re going to get her back. I won’t stop until we do.”

He expected Trace to argue, but his son understood how things were as well. He hated it as much as Trace did, but he wasn’t going to risk Cassie getting killed by going in half-cocked.

He barely focused on the road in front of him as they headed back toward the clubhouse. All he could remember was the look on Cassie’s face as he got ready to ride away. The fear. That’s what had stood out the most. That he wouldn’t come back to her, he’d fail.

Well, those fears had been realized, hadn’t they? He’d failed her. Icarus slapped his palm against the handlebar as they stopped at a light. It didn’t help diffuse any of the emotion surging through him. Yet, he did it twice more before Bull glanced over at him and shook his head. It didn’t do any good.

When they pulled into the yard, Chief stood on the porch as if he’d been waiting for them. He probably had been. Barbie stood beside him. As they climbed from the bikes, she hurried down into the yard toward Bull. Except she came right to him instead of her husband. “I’m so sorry, Grady.” Her arms wrapped tight around him. “So, so sorry.”

“It’s not your fault,” he told her but glanced over her head at Bull. As if he could explain it. His friend only shook his head.

“It is,” she told him. “I should have stopped it.”

Bull stiffened next to him. “What are you talking about, Barb? You promised me you wouldn’t take any risks right now. How could you have stopped anything without breaking that promise to me?”

If you want to read the rest of the chapter, you can find it here. I hope you’ll enjoy the next installment of this story.

Fiction Friday: Staring at the Sun – Chapter 7

I’ve got the next chapter of Staring at the Sun up and ready read. And a more laidback weekend ahead. Thank goodness for that. 🙂 And here’s the beginning of Chapter 7:

Cassie felt like her feet were glued to the porch. What was happening? She was supposed to be safe here. Grady promised her she would be. They shouldn’t have been able to find her.

That was definitely Jake driving that SUV up the drive. She’d always felt a little uneasy when he’d come by the house to see Henry. Jake was probably only too glad to do Henry’s bidding.

“No,” she whispered. “No, I can’t go with him.”

“You won’t.” Chief stepped up behind her and putting a large strong hand on her shoulder. “Go in the house. I’ll take care of this.”

Before she could do what he said and take Raven with her, the SUV jerked to a stop and the back door opened so fast she assumed whoever was back there had kicked it open. Someone stumbled out, another figure following right behind.

Chief’s hand tightened slightly on Cassie’s shoulder. “Barb,” he breathed.

Cassie saw Barbie was exactly who stumbled out of the SUV first. “No,” she gasped, taking a step forward. She couldn’t let Barbie be used against her.

Chief yanked her right back. “Grady would never forgive me if I let something happen to you.”

“You can’t let anything happen to her either,” she insisted. “She’s your son’s wife. Eric would -”

“I know,” Chief said gruffly. “I know, Cassie, but it’s my job to protect you today. I can’t fail.”

She wanted to argue with him about that. She wasn’t any more important than Barbie. Barbie had been a part of this group from the beginning. And a part of all their lives longer than that. It would devastate just about everyone in this club if something happened to Barbie. Whereas Cassie really only meant something to Grady and Trace.

“How’d they even get to her?”

“She doesn’t like to watch the men leave. Especially lately. She says good-bye to Bull and goes for a walk. They’d have seen her from the other side of the property.”

Cassie didn’t know why the ‘especially lately’ part was significant, except Bull had been acting more protective of her lately. So, she wondered. “You have to let me go, Chief. I won’t forgive myself if she gives her freedom or life for mine.” Or, if Cassie was correct, her baby’s life. “You have to let me go.”

“This is an impossible choice.” She heard the battle in his voice. “I think of Grady as much of a son as Eric. You’re his. I can’t choose one of you over the other.”

The man pushed Barbie closer to the porch, and Jake stepped out, his gun pointed at Cassie. “Send her down here, old man, or both of them die.”

Well, that’s not looking too good for them, is it? If you want to see what happens next, you can read the rest of the chapter here.

Fiction Friday: Staring at the Sun – Chapter 6

I’m dropping by with the next chapter of Staring at the Sun for you. We’re getting ready to head out for the weekend, so a really quick post today. Getting right into it, the beginning of Chapter 6:

Cassie found Icarus over by his bike early in the morning. “Grady, I need to talk to you.”

His hair fell into his eyes, but he didn’t look up. “What is it? Is everything okay?”

No. Everything wasn’t okay. It wouldn’t be until this whole thing with Henry was done and over. They hadn’t spoken the night before, Grady had said they would once this was over, but she had to say this before he left. “Promise me,” she finally managed. “You’ve never broken one promise you’ve made to me.”

Icarus looked up from his bike and right into Cassie’s eyes. “What do you want me to promise? I’ve already told you I’ll come back. I’ll protect Trace. I don’t know what more you want.”

Everything. She still hadn’t found the way to tell him that. She couldn’t blame him for not knowing, could she? She shook her head. “You didn’t promise. You said you’d do your best, but that’s not a real promise. I need to hear you say the words, Grady.”

Something in his face shifted at her use of his real name. She rarely heard anyone around here use it. Except for her. He stepped around his motorcycle and came right up to her. “What words are you asking for? Because I’ve tried to give you several of them, and you won’t take them.”

Shame flushed through her because he was right. She was asking him for something she kept refusing to give him. She wasn’t sure she could do it. She’d never stopped loving him, not even during all those years of living with Henry. She’d let her own fear push that love deep into a corner, but it had never gone away. Now, she feared to bring it back out. Afraid he’d be the one to turn away from it this time. Even though he hadn’t given any indication he’d ever do that.

“Promise you won’t be the one to face Henry. Not you or Trace.”

His jaw tightened. She saw the muscles in his jaw flexing and knew she’d asked him for one thing he didn’t think he could give her. “Cassie, he’s threatened you. Threatened Trace. You’re both mine. I swore I wouldn’t let him do anything to hurt you. If I don’t go-”

“I know, but you don’t have to be the one to face him. Any of the others can do it, and you can back them up.”

“It’s not any of their families being threatened.”

“You keep telling me you’re all family. If something happened to Barbie or to Raven, wouldn’t you be defending your family? Why is this different?”

He didn’t answer, but his face remained tight. Bull called out to him. He glanced over his shoulder, and she looked that way, too. Almost time for them to go. Damn it. “Grady, please. Promise me.”

If you want to know if he agrees to this promise, you can read the rest of the chapter here. I’ll be back next week with more.

Fiction Friday: Staring at the Sun – Chapter 5

I’m back with the next chapter of Staring at the Sun. This brings us halfway through the story. I don’t have much else to say here, so I’ll get right to the beginning of the chapter:

Cassie wasn’t sure what to do. It had been a couple days since that story had been printed in the newspaper. Every morning when she came out of her room, Grady waited for her. They walked down to have breakfast together, and if he didn’t have to have a meeting with the guys or take a ride somewhere, they spent most of the day together. He did have other responsibilities, and she understood.

Sometimes she preferred it. Sometimes she wanted a chance to breathe. Hard to do when it felt like you were constantly under watch.

He did walk her up to her room every night, and he kissed her before telling her good night. She tossed and turned until dawn, thinking about how much she wished they’d take those kisses farther.

What was stopping her? She was no teenager any longer. The prospect of taking that step forward was almost as scary as thinking of what Henry would do next.

Not that she would admit that to anyone. Least of all Grady. He had enough on his mind.

She stepped into the library, grateful she slipped away from Damon–Devil according to the tag on his vest and what everyone else called him–apparently taking his shift as her shadow. She let out the breath she’d finally had the chance to take. They were trying to protect her, it was what Grady wanted. Right now it felt smothering. She needed some space for a moment.

“You come in here to hide out, too?”

Cassie’s head jerked up, and she stared at the woman who stood at the other side of the room. It took her a moment to place her, as she wasn’t wearing her vest. “Molly.” Everyone else called her Medusa.

Her face twisted up. Cassie thought that was a flash of pain in the woman’s eyes. That couldn’t be right. She didn’t think the other woman ever felt any pain. She was too tough.

“Please don’t call me that,” she said. “No one does.”

“I-I’m sorry,” Cassie said. “I’m not…I feel weird using your other names.”

Molly laughed, but it didn’t sound as mean as it usually did. “I barely even think of myself as Molly anymore. The last time someone called me that…”

She ran her thumb over her left ring finger. Which Cassie noted was bare. Had it always been? She didn’t have a clue. They’d never really had a conversation before. In fact, she’d been under the impression the other woman hated her for some reason.

“Why did you come in here?” Molly asked her.

“I…I had to get away,” she admitted. “Everyone’s watching me, and I get it. But, I had to get away to breathe. And forget for a moment there’s something to be afraid of.” She sucked in some air. “I don’t know how to do that when every minute I feel terrified. Of everything.”

“Except of Icarus.” When Cassie didn’t answer, she asked, “Right?”

“Of everything,” Cassie repeated.

If you want to read the rest of the chapter, you can find it here. And I’ll be back next week with more.

Fiction Friday: Staring at the Sun – Chapter 4

Welcome back, everyone! I hope everyone in the states had a good Labor Day weekend. We had a pretty laid back one here. Had some friends over Saturday for a fire and just stayed at home on Monday. We roasted some corn that was left from Saturday(and I ended up cooking and freezing the rest of it Tuesday). It took me a bit to get back into the swing of my routine after that, but I did get there. And now, I have the next chapter of Staring at the Sun for you. Here’s the beginning of Chapter 4:

 

Icarus stood in the hallway, leaning back against the wall. Cassie hadn’t said a whole lot the night before when he’d finally found her again. He wasn’t sure if she was upset he’d left her as soon as they’d gotten back to the clubhouse and hadn’t been able to find her until close to dinner. He hadn’t had too much choice in the matter.

Sure, he could have waited to tell Chief about the run-in with Henry. He figured it better they knew right away. No point in putting it off.

Maybe the shock of the run-in had finally worn off, and the reality hit her.

Maybe she did want to go back to Henry. He shook that right out of his head. She had chosen to come with them. Every day she made the choice to stay. If she’d wanted to return, any one of them would have driven her back to that house and dropped her off. Well, maybe not Icarus himself. He would let her go, but he didn’t think he could bring himself to be the one to leave her in that hellhole.

She’d never asked.

Who knows, maybe her thoughts had nothing to do with Henry or this situation. How was he to know? She hadn’t talked to him at all.

A door a couple rooms down the hallway opened, and a soft giggle escaped with it. “Trace,” Birdie said, almost affectionately exasperated. “Those pigs are going to eat all the breakfast if we don’t go down there now.”

Murmuring came from inside the room, but he couldn’t make out any words his son said. He shifted from one foot to the other, considering heading for the stairs right now, before either of them saw him. They shared a room most nights; either Birdie’s or Trace’s. Knowing his son and the girl he’d raised as a daughter from a few months old shared a bed and seeing the evidence of it were two far different circumstances.

Too late. Birdie’s gaze caught him, and her eyes danced. “Hi, Dad,” she said, nearly grinning. “You waiting for one of us?”

“Nope.” He felt his cheeks pull up. She was definitely full of something this morning.

Her gaze darted toward Cassie’s door then back to him. Her grin widened. “Got you.” At least she didn’t seem to hate Cassie anymore. They hadn’t exactly gotten off to the best start. “We’re heading down to breakfast. If there’s any left,” she threw back to Trace who hesitated in the doorway.

“Uh, Dad,” he greeted Icarus. Apparently not nearly as comfortable as Birdie with being caught coming out of the same room when both were obviously just out of bed. “Morning.”

“Less talking, more eating,” Birdie said, and finally Trace laughed, following her to the stairs.

If you want to see what happens(Will Icarus find out what’s going on in Cassie’s mind? More important, does Birdie get her breakfast?) you can read the rest here. I’ll see you back here next week with more.

Fiction Friday: Staring at the Sun – Chapter 3

I’ve got Chapter 3 of Staring at the Sun up on Wattpad now. It’s been an eventful week, with son’s birthday party Sunday, getting our internet fixed on Monday, and kids back to school on Tuesday. Then, me trying to get settled into a routine now that I have the house to myself all day once again. That shouldn’t be too difficult, just trying to figure out the best way to fit everything in. But, now, here’s the beginning of Chapter 3.

Henry Kearns stepped out of his cruiser and headed for the front of the store. He still walked with a limp, and his knee ached like a bitch almost constantly, but he’d tossed away the cane he’d been using. His doctor suggested he keep it, but fuck that. As long as he used it, the department would keep him on medical leave. He couldn’t take that anymore.

He wasn’t going to let that bastard Hartson keep on winning.

He was off duty now and should be in his recliner already, taking his weight off this knee. He’d remembered on the way there, he wouldn’t have anything to eat as soon as he walked in the door. After a year, he should damn well be used to it. Sometimes he still forgot Cassandra wouldn’t be waiting for him, putting a hot dinner on the table as soon as he came inside.

He’d taught her that lesson well.

She’d still left him. For fucking Hartson. He thought she’d learned how that would go for her twenty years ago. Should never have let the little punk out of a cell. But Sheriff Vallis had been sure he’d stay away. And, well, he had. Just not long enough. If Henry ever got his hands on Trace again, he’d pay for ever bringing Grady Hartson back into their lives.

He walked through the store to the prepared foods section. Several people lifted their hands to him in a wave as he passed. People around here respected him. As they damn well should. He picked up a small roasted chicken from the warmer and a small cup of fried potatoes. That would work. If he hadn’t already passed the diner, he would have stopped there like he had most nights.

“It’s good to see you up and about, Deputy Kearns,” the cashier said.

He nodded back at her, not bothering with a thanks or even a glance at her name tag. What did any of that matter to him?

“It’s a shame they never caught the men who broke into your place and shot you.”

Henry barely held back a snort. He couldn’t believe everyone bought that shit he’d shoveled out a year ago. He’d waited for that little punk to follow through with his threat to expose what he knew about Henry’s dealings for months. Nothing had ever come of it. Little fucker had probably only been bluffing. He couldn’t have known any of that.

He walked back out into the parking lot and heard the roar of a motorcycle. That sound always made a chill flash over him. He couldn’t help looking for the source of it. It was never Grady. Or any of his accomplices. He so wanted to take at least one of them down, haul them in, get whatever he could from them before he found a way to lock them up for the rest of their miserable lives.

If you want to read the rest of the chapter, just head over this way. I’ll have Chapter 4 up next week.

Fiction Friday: Staring at the Sun – Chapter 2

Yes, I made it back with Chapter 2 of Staring at the Sun. Finally. 😉 Working on a new routine for my days, and it’s still a little bit of an adjustment. But, I did get here. And now, here’s the beginning of Chapter 2.

Cassie couldn’t believe she was here kissing Icarus. A year ago she was still sure she’d never even see him again. That it was for the best she hadn’t ended up with him. How had her father and Henry brainwashed her into thinking he was the dangerous one? That had always been Henry. Why hadn’t she seen it before?

She had, she reminded herself. Every time his hand struck her.

Icarus pulled back slightly from her, and she couldn’t help the sound of protest that escaped. He bent his head to press another kiss, this one brief, to her lips. “We should probably get back.” He sounded about as disappointed as she felt.

They should probably do something about that one of these days. Every time she thought she was ready to go to him, she chickened out at the last minute.

She needed to do something about that as well. She wished she had enough courage to do it. For now she slipped her arm through his and walked with him back toward the clubhouse. They didn’t speak any more, but she was fine with that. She didn’t mind walking in silence with him.

When they reached the clubhouse, Trace stood on the porch. His face relaxed when he saw them approaching. “I have to check in with the board,” Icarus said. “We have some decisions to make, but we shouldn’t be long.” He kissed her cheek and left her on the porch to go into the house.

Cassie looked over at her son and smiled, though it froze there when her gaze fell on the tags on his vest. Dive. That’s what they were calling him. She hated thinking about the way he’d earned the name. Or the reason he was good at diving out of the way. She averted her gaze from it and back up to his face.

“I’m guessing Dad told you,” he said. “About Henry.”

She nodded and moved over beside him. “He did.” Her hands trembled as she set them against the railing. “He…what if he comes after us, Trace?”

She realized how ridiculous it sounded as soon as the words left her mouth. She should have been the one to trying to assure him instead of seeking that assurance from him.

“He won’t get us,” Trace said, his voice firm. “You should know this by now. You’ve been here long enough to see the club circles around us when there’s trouble. He won’t get through that to us. Dad won’t let him.”

Icarus had tried to tell her the same thing. She wanted to believe him, both of them. It was hard to trust in something she still didn’t understand.

Trace slid his arm around her shoulders. “We’ll be okay, Mom. I promise you.”

She still wasn’t sure she believed him, but she walked with him into the house. She’d pretend if it made him feel better. She owed him that much at least.

And you can read the rest of the chapter here. Let me know what you think.

Fiction Friday: Staring at the Sun – Chapter 1

I finally got the first chapter of Staring at the Sun up on Wattpad. Ok, finally might not quite be accurate. It didn’t take that long. But, I was worrying I wouldn’t get it done today because our internet was out most of the morning. Not sure why except we did get a lot of rain last night and possibly some thunderstorms. That might have done it(though I swear sometimes a strong wind can knock our connection out). Anyway, here’s the beginning of Icarus & Cassie’s story:

Icarus crossed the yard, and his smile spread as he saw what—who—waited for him up on the porch. There wasn’t anything he could do to restrain it. Nothing he wanted to do. After nearly nineteen years of thinking he’d never even lay eyes on her again, it was good to get to see Cassie every day. Several times a day. He wouldn’t trade that for anything.

Well, nothing, except take away the years they’d spent apart, the years both she and their son had been hurt. He knew even better than most you couldn’t get time back. The only thing to do was move forward. So, that’s what he did.

He stopped with one foot on the bottom step and held his hand out toward her. “Will you walk with me, Cassie?”

Her return smile was soft, sweet, and a little wistful. Did she remember him asking her almost the same thing all those years before? Except back then she climbed on the back of his bike and wrapped her arms tight around his waist. That began their nearly six-month adventure.

Until her father caught up to them and ended everything. If he’d known she carried his child…No, he wasn’t sure there was anything he could have done differently. Her father wouldn’t have let him close enough to do anything differently.

None of that should matter now. She was here with him now. So was their son. Icarus lost eighteen years with them, but he wouldn’t waste another moment.

Cassie took his hand and came down the steps to join him. Unfortunately it would have to be a fairly quick walk. They had a meeting coming up. Icarus hoped it would remain a routine one, going over the club’s old business and anything new that had come up. It was the new business that had him worried. Hopefully the men who were out around town would bring back all good news.

He knew perfectly well he couldn’t count on that.

Things had been quiet for several months. Ever since they’d struck a tenuous truce with the Ivory Crows. He didn’t know how much longer that would last. And if not the Crows, which direction the next threat would come from.

If you want to find out what happens next, you can find the rest of the chapter here, and I should have the next one up next Friday.

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