The Slow Burn (Moonlight and Motor Oil Series Book 2)
The Slow Burn Blog Tour Exerpts
A Gamble man went after what he wanted, locked it down, and then…onward.
“Listen, I’m not saying anything against Toby,” I spoke into her silence. “I get it. He’s not into me. That’s understandable. I am baggage. And Deanna, you have to remember, I watched this kind of thing happen with my mom over and over again. After my dad, she looked for love. She had an open and hopeful heart. She wanted that for herself. She wanted stability for her girls. And she got knocked down again and again by guys who wanted in her pants but wanted nothing to do with some other man’s kids. At least Toby’s honest about it. That genuinely says good things about him. Really good. And I appreciate it.”
This was a total lie.
I did not appreciate it.
I was attracted to Toby Gamble.
I wanted to taste his mouth and other parts of him.
I wanted to feel his skin and see what his body looked like under those tees and jeans.
I wanted to fuck him. I wanted that to be wild and intense and so enthralling, the world ceased to exist, all of it, except what we were doing to each other and how it was making us feel.
I wanted to sleep beside him.
I wanted to wake up next to him.
I wanted to feel his arms around me. Not like they were that terrible afternoon when I’d sobbed into his neck and he’d carried me to Izzy’s bed or that other, far more terrible afternoon when my baby had been stolen from me.
I just wanted him to hold me.
I wanted Brooklyn to grow up with a man like Toby Gamble. Not just as his somewhat uncle who would lift him high and make him fly or let him crawl all over him when we were at a diner eating burgers just because me and my son were there, and he was a decent guy who liked kids. But as a guy who was always there, eventually showing my boy the way in matters his mother could not.
I wasn’t in love with him.
But I knew if he gave me even the barest hint he’d even think of going there with me, I’d take that fall.
And when I did, if it didn’t work, I also knew it would annihilate me.
On Saturday morning, Toby was standing beside his fridge downing a bottle of water when it happened.
He’d gotten his run in and sweated out the beer and whisky he’d consumed at the local bar, On the Way Home (known as Home to townies) the night before.
And he knew he should be happy he at least got to drink a little of the bitter of that fight with Addie out of his mouth and then sweat it out the next morning before it happened.
He was actually surprised he didn’t get a visit at his barstool at Home last night.
Seeing his screen on his phone, which was sitting on the island counter, light up and what it said when it did, he really didn’t want to take the call.
But his father (not to mention Margot) taught him to deal with problems when they happened so you could lose the weight of them before that weight got too heavy and dragged you down.
With that in mind, he put the water down, nabbed his phone and took the call.
“Are you fuckin’ kidding me with that shit?” his brother replied.
Toby let out a long breath.
“‘Yo, Johnny.’ That’s what you’ve got to say to me when the whole town’s talkin’ about you shouting in Addie’s face on the fuckin’ street yesterday?” his brother demanded.
“And just so you know the entire reason I’m pissed as fuck at you, I had to hear that shit from someone else, not my brother who had a fuckin’ fight with my woman’s sister on the goddamn street and then came back to the garage and worked right beside me for the next three hours and didn’t say dick.”
You know what?
He was done with this.
So he bit out, “Johnny, lay off.”
“Lay off?” That came low and even more ticked than his brother had already sounded.
“Yeah, lay the fuck off,” Toby returned.
“Have you lost your goddamned mind?”
“No, actually, I haven’t,” Toby gritted.
“What was it about?”
“That’s none of your business.”
“Wrong,” Johnny clipped. “When it comes to Eliza’s sister, it’s absolutely my business. When it comes to my kid brother, it’s my business. I cannot fuckin’ believe you got up in Addie’s shit and didn’t say dick to me. But I shouldn’t be surprised. That’s vintage Toby.”
Oh, hell no.
“Right, no,” Toby ground out. “We’re not doin’ this. You are not goin’ there. I’ve eaten that shit for as long as I’m willin’ to eat it. This ends here.”
“No,” he interrupted. “I’m not you. Get over it. I’ve never been you. But I’ve been around for nearly thirty-three years so it’s time you got your head around it. And speakin’ of that, I’m nearly thirty-three fuckin’ years old, Johnny. It’s also time you quit treating me like I’m thirteen.”
“What I’m tryin’ to say is my history with women has been rocky, that’s on me and you gotta know I get that,” he admitted. “But because I do, in the end, I’m gonna get it right.”
Addie assumed a confused look. “How’s it on you?”
“Just like my dad, until you, my choices weren’t sterling.”
Unexpectedly, and instantly, she got pissed.
Also instantly, she explained why.
“Well, you know, when Perry asked me to marry him, he told me he loved me, his world revolved around me and he couldn’t think of a life without me. He didn’t tell me that would wane once we decided to start a family or that he’d eventually quit the band, sit on the couch all day, not look for a job and bang some woman who was not me in a bed I bought. And I’m sorry, but none of that is on me. I loved him. I trusted him. I believed in him. And he fucked me over.”
“You’re right. It isn’t on you,” Toby agreed.
He had more to say but that was all he got out before she kept going.
“And my father was handsome. He was a dreamer. He was a talented musician and songwriter. He had a beautiful voice. He wrapped my mom up in that dream and carried her away from her family. And it isn’t on her she believed him. It isn’t on her that he didn’t get discovered and whisked to LA and lauded as the next Lou Reed. It isn’t on her he lost faith in his own damned self in his twenties and took that out on her with his fists. She loved him. She trusted him. She believed in him. And he fucked her over.”
“Baby,” he murmured, about to roll her and attempt to pull her out of the place he’d inadvertently taken her, but she kept talking fiercely.
“I have not met your father or your mother, but I know both men he made, and I can tell you this, his choice of wife and mother to his sons was not some curse he bestowed on you. Some men suck. Some women suck. I couldn’t even begin to understand why they do what they do. But it isn’t on the people they do it to. I actually hope one day your mother comes back and explains herself to you, because there is nothing she can say that won’t make her seem anything but what she is. Shallow and selfish and wrong. And if you know that, you’ll get it. You’ll get it’s all on her. Though I bet your father loved her. Trusted her. Believed in her. It was just that she fucked him over.”
“Honey, stop,” he ordered.
She didn’t stop.
“I won’t have you taking that on, Toby. It’s not right.”
“Okay, Addie, I won’t take it on.”
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The Slow Burn (Moonlight and Motor Oil Series Book 2)