Excerpt Broken Beats – An Illusion Series Novel by D. Kelly
Wyatt left a few minutes ago because his kids are sick and he felt bad for leaving Anna alone. I get it; I wouldn’t have wanted to leave Cadence if she were sick either.
Now, I’m hitting balls and debating about moving on to something harder to drink. My Spidey sense goes off as I chalk the cue. After so many years of surveillance by fans and press, my self-awareness sensors are on point.
After sinking the eight ball, I raise my eyes to meet the gaze of a woman nearby. Since Belle, my type has been anyone who doesn’t remind me of her, and this girl fits the bill. Her eyes hold a deep intensity, and I can’t help but be intrigued. I don’t think I’ve fucked her in the past. She’s nothing if not memorable.
She startles as if just noticing me, and her bright-green eyes sweep over my body. I’ll forgive her for staring because she’s hot as fuck.
“Nah, it’s cool. Thanks though,” she answers with a bit of uncertainty in her voice.
Setting the pool cue on the table, I step closer to her and lean against the table. “You sure? You’ve been keeping an eye on me for a while now. If you don’t want to play, there’s only one other thing I can think of. You wanna bang?”
Her pouty lips separate as she gasps. All right, maybe banging isn’t what was on her mind, but it’s not the worst thing I’ve ever said to a woman.
“Is that how you come on to women? I mean, I’m not judging, but that kind of shit doesn’t work with me.”
“So why are you watching me? I’m guessing you know who I am. Do I intimidate you or something?”
Her eyes grow wide. “I’m sorry.” She picks up her drink and downs it quickly. I don’t know what it is about this girl, but she intrigues the fuck out of me.
“May I?” I motion to her table. She bites her bottom lip but nods. “Can I get you another?” I flag down the waitress before she can reply.
“The usual, D?” she asks with a smile.
“You know it, and my friend will have …”
“Double shot of vodka on the rocks, thanks,” she adds softly.
Once we’re alone again, I reach my hand across the table. “Let’s start over. I’m Darren, and you are?”
Her cheeks flush a light pink, and she reaches her perfectly manicured hand across the table and shakes mine. “Haddie. Nice to meet you.” The server promptly delivers our drinks, and once again we’re alone. “Wow, that was fast.”
“The owner is my friend, more like a brother, so I don’t ever have to wait long.”
She squeezes the lime into her drink before taking a sip. “Jordan is a good guy. I’m pretty sure he must know the whole city.”
I flash her a grin. “I’m sure he probably does. Do you come here a lot?”
She shakes her head. “Not anymore. I used to come here a lot to play pool.”
“Did you? Now I feel slighted you didn’t want to play with me.” I wink at her, so she knows I’m messing with her.
“It’s not you, I swear. My fiancé … ex, I suppose … he taught me here. At that very table, actually. I wasn’t looking at you … not that you’re not nice to look at or anything,” she mumbles. “Anyway, I was lost in memories and didn’t really notice you, just what you reminded me of.”
The best thing about meeting people in bars is being able to be myself and never seeing them again. People tend to open up, and for a few hours, I can push past the lingering ache in my chest.
“How long have you been separated?”
Sadness crosses her face. “We aren’t. It’s been three years now.”
“Well, Haddie, you’re a gorgeous woman. You must have men beating down your door. What gives?”
“Ha!” She blushes and begins to shred her napkin. “I’m far from gorgeous, but thanks for trying to make me feel better.”
“I’m not.” Haddie is beautiful. Her blond hair cascades past her shoulders in bouncing curls. The green of her eyes pops against her eyeliner. Her full red lips would be better served wrapped around my cock. She’s rocking the curves, and I can’t help but picture myself buried between her thighs.
“He died,” she spits out rapidly.
“Oh.” And the ache is back. Nothing has ever hurt as much as losing Belle. Even though six years have passed, it’s still fresh.
“We were here that night. Playing pool and having a good time. He was the designated driver, and I was wasted. It was raining, our car hydroplaned, and that’s pretty much it. I survived, and he didn’t.”
“I’m sorry,” I whisper. She’s a kindred spirit.
“Me too. Tonight is the first time I’ve been back to this bar. I wasn’t going to come, but I felt like I had to. I missed his funeral, and I need closure. I felt like this is the place I would get it.”
“I hope you do.” I toss back the rest of my drink and meet her sorrowful gaze. “I lost my fiancée six years ago, and that ache never seems to go away. I got to keep a piece of her though. My daughter was only four months old when the accident happened.”
She gasps and covers her mouth with her hands. “I’m so sorry.” Her sympathy is genuine, but I find it hard to believe she doesn’t know this already, especially since she knows J.
“Haddie, do you know who I am? It’s okay if you do. I’m just curious.”
She finishes her drink and looks back at me. “Should I? Are you an actor or something?”
I laugh. “Or something. I’m the drummer for Bastards and Dangerous, or I used to be.”
“Oh my God.” She gasps again. “I … um … I know your story. Who doesn’t? It was national news, but I’ve never been the kind of person to pay attention to … How do I say this without sounding like an asshole?”
I chuckle. “I like assholes. Just say whatever you want to.”
“I don’t follow pop culture or celebrities and stuff. It’s never been my thing. Don’t get me wrong, I love movies and music and stuff, but …”
She shrugs, “Well, it’s just your job, right? I’d hate to have people following me around at work, down the street, or wherever, so I’ve never seen the appeal of knowing someone’s business like that. I don’t need a window into the life of a stranger, you know? I’ve got enough stuff of my own to deal with.”
This girl just went up about ten notches.
“That’s a good answer, Haddie. You sure you don’t want to bang?” I give her an exaggerated wink, and she finally laughs. It’s a beautiful sound, and it momentarily stuns the pain in my heart.