Break in Two
Written by M.J. Summers
Copyright © 2013 by Indigo Group
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the copyright owner.
For J, who is my Cole, only hotter and without the horse.
Thank you so much for purchasing this book! I hope you love the characters as much as I have loved creating them.
This book is a work of fantasy therefore the characters do not need to practice safe sex. In real life, please always be safe while you are enjoying an intimate partner.
Below is a list of songs that inspired me as I wrote. I hope you have time in your life to make a playlist and listen to it as you read (it may enhance your experience as it did mine) or even just put the book down for a while and let your mind (and other parts of your body) wander. So pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy.
I wish you love, great sex and happiness always,
Just a Fool
(Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton)
Do Right Woman, Do Right
Everything I Do (I Do it For You
A Little Faith
Fix You (Live Version
Have You Ever Really Loved A
My Hero (Acoustic Live Version
(Foo Fighters (Skin and Bones))
Let's Get It
Part One - They Meet
The rain poured down on the windows of her car as Claire Hatley sat parked in front of the house that would never again be her home. She had just finished packing the last of her things in the backseat and leaving the key on the kitchen table before walking out forever. Beside the key was a note that simply read, "
Antonio, I hope she's worth it. Fuck Yourself. Claire"
. He hadn't been home since their big fight two days earlier. It was clear to both of them that she was leaving and he had stayed away, probably at Stacey's apartment.
Claire leaned her head on the steering wheel willing herself not to tear up again, exhausted from packing and crying since she found out Antonio had moved on without bothering to tell her. She started up the engine and took a deep breath as she pulled out onto the road. Without so much as a glance back, she headed onward to a new chapter in her life.
Claire was ready to get out of Seattle, a city she once had loved. She needed to be away from the rain, the memories, and the people she thought were her friends; friends who had betrayed her by not bothering to mention Antonio's affairs. She didn't know what hurt worse, his cheating or her so-called friends purposely hiding it from her.
As she pulled onto the freeway, her cell phone rang. She hit the hands-free button and answered. It was her sister, Janet, calling from her home in London. "Hey sis, just calling to check on you. You okay?"
Claire stifled a sob, "Been better."
"Where are you, hon?"
"I'm on my way to Colorado," Claire replied with a sigh she could not contain.
There was a noticeable pause and then Janet used her softest voice, the one she only used when Claire was doing something she might regret later, "Sweetie, why don't you just come here. You can stay with Ted and me for as long as you need. I can cover your ticket. It's no problem. You should be with people who love you right now."
"I can't. I appreciate the offer more than you know. But I just can't. I need to get out on my own for a while and see what I can do for myself. If I can't handle this, I promise, I'll come running to you. Besides, I don't want to go from one rainy city to another. I need some sun." Claire suddenly realized she was shivering and turned on the heat.
"Well maybe if you need some sun, you and I could meet, say in Spain or Florida even, and have a holiday together? I promise it would be fun! We can make little voodoo dolls of Tony the fuckwit, drink too much, eat too much..." her voice trailed off waiting for a response.
"Thanks sis, but I really have to do this. I need to be in Colorado by Friday for the job interview. I told the owner of the ranch that I'd make it there by then. He needs a chef right away."
"You really think you'll be happy living on a dude ranch, cooking for a bunch of rough cowboys and middle-aged customers having mid-life crises?" Janet took one last shot to talk her out of it.
Claire dug in her heels, not wanting to be pushed, "That's kind of a snotty way of thinking, Janet. The guy is trying to change the image of his ranch; he wants to have the upscale cuisine that these wealthy clients expect. He wants to turn the cookhouse into a proper restaurant. It'll be a chance for me to run my own show, choose the menu, and help redesign the kitchen. It's what I've always wanted to do and it gets me the hell out of Seattle where I have to see Fuckwit's face on billboards everywhere I go. Okay? So can you just be excited for me please?" She didn't have patience for anyone who doubted her right now, even if it
her big sister.
"You're right. I'm sorry. I am excited for you. Promise me one thing, you'll fuck the first sexy cowboy you see and fill me in on all the glorious details."
Claire managed a laugh, "Okay, deal. Now I better pay attention to where I'm going. It's a twenty hour drive and I don't need to lose any time with wrong turns. I'll text when I can to let you know where I'm at."
"You’d better, or I'll have the state troopers out looking for you. Bye sweetie! Love you! Be safe!"
"Love you. Bye."
Claire drove on for thirteen hours, well into the night, stopping twice for gas and to pee. She grabbed some coffee and fast food that she barely picked at. She went from crying to being terrified to feeling excited at least twice an hour.
When she really thought about it, her relationship with Antonio had been bad for much longer than it had been good. He
been excellent at courting her and making her feel beautiful and special. They had a whirlwind romance and after only four months he took her to the Mayan Riviera and asked her to move in with him. She didn't hesitate for a second with her answer. Looking back now, she could see
was the moment when he lost interest in her. The chase was over, and for Tony, that was the best part. He quickly downgraded her from sexy girlfriend to more of a motherly figure. He beamed at her when she cooked for him or when the laundry was done but he had stopped wanting to be romantic, go out together, and eventually even making love had become rare. He was always too tired from his work as a realtor or from going to the gym. When they did go out, he was flirty with the waitresses and gazed at other women with lust. At first, she would argue with him about it, but eventually she gave up. He would say things like, "Who cares where I get my appetite, as long as I eat at home?" or "I'm with you, but that doesn't make me blind. I can't help but look. I'm a man, we're very visual."
Her mind drifted to their last fight for the thousandth time in two days. They were standing in the kitchen and Antonio was leaning against the counter, his keys in hand, ready to run. Claire was screaming at him and crying. When she had finally exhausted herself, she stopped and stared at him for a long minute and asked, "Why?" in a quiet voice.
"I don't know. She was there, she's young and she was into me, and I thought, 'Tony, this may be your last chance to get a girl so young'. And I went for it. YOLO, right?'
"YOLO? YOLO. That's your reason? You Only Live Once," she said incredulously, "Wow, all this time I thought you were one of the good ones and it turns out you're not only a cheater, but a complete idiot as well."
"Screw you, Claire. You asked so I told you the truth," with that he stomped over to the door and out of her life forever.
'If he's a complete idiot, what does that make me for not seeing it?'
she thought as she drove on.
"Okay, Claire, make a list of all the things you hate about Tony," she said out loud to herself as she popped some trail mix into her mouth, "then forget he ever existed."
She drew a deep breath, then started her list,
Number one. The way he primps himself before going anywhere. He spends more time plucking, shaving, and fixing his hair than I do. NOT sexy.
His wandering eye. Asshole.
Number Three. His wandering dick. He's more than an asshole. He's the devil.
Number four. How he belittles my appearance with suggestions that I spend more time at the gym and less time tasting my own cooking. Yeah, that one alone should have tipped me off that he was the devil.
His little comments about my clothing choices - 'Are you
going to wear that? We are
supposed to be
dressed up.' Prick.
His wandering dick. That deserves to make the list twice.
How he replaced me with a 22 year old moron with the body of a 15 year old boy. Have fun with that, dickhead.
Number eight. How he NEVER helps
out around the house. He leaves his shit all over the place, never once in four years picking up his clothes off the floor. He waits me out, knowing it'll get to me so I end up doing it for him. When I complain, he makes the same joke every time about the maid coming on Friday. Good one.
How he never agrees to go visit my sister and her husband in London. He always has some lame-ass excuse, but is
ready and available to go on golf trips with his buddies. Son of a bitch.
How I feel around him. I always feel a bit nervous, as though I am constantly searching for his approval. I can never be myself and never dare to show my sense of humour because to Tony "funny girls are not sexy. Yup, I'm
to be rid of that shithead.
The more she thought about it, the more she realized she was a fool not to see years ago that he was bad for her. She had tried so hard to make it work, thinking that if she gave it time and enough effort, things would get back to how they felt at the beginning. She hadn't realized that it was an impossible task since she was the only one engaged in that fantasy.
Her thoughts wandered to her own parents' marriage. It was a world apart from her relationship with Fuckwit, having been a true partnership; best friends until they had been killed in a tragic car accident twelve years earlier. As a teenager, she was always embarrassed at how in love they were with each other. Her sister, Janet and her husband, Ted, were happy too. They met in high school and had been together ever since. They frequently went out on dates and took romantic trips together. They laughed easily and finished each other’s sentences. They just seemed to
'Why can't I find that? What is wrong with me?'
She stopped at a Super 8 along the interstate, so tired she wasn't sure if she was in Idaho or Utah. By the time she checked in and sluggishly dragged herself to the room, it was after midnight. She had a long hot shower, ate a few handfuls of trail mix, and collapsed into bed.