Slate (Breaking the Declan Brothers #2)

By: Kelly Gendron

My eyelids slowly descend, body tingling all over; my muscles drop, and my skin starts to itch. Fucking finally, those damn hydros I popped are kickin’ in. I settle into the chair and rest my head against the wall. Just as I’m about to give into the high, I hear a sweet little voice.

“Hey. What happened?”

Lids heavy, as if someone’s holding them down, I struggle to open my eyes. I find a blue-eyed, blond-haired girl standing in front of me in a t-shirt with a glittery butterfly on it. She’s five, maybe six. I stare at her, unsure if she’s real or just a drug-induced figment of my imagination.

“What happened,” she asks again, pointing her tiny finger at me. “Right there?”

Not needing to look at what she’s referring to, I smile. “I was kissed by the devil.”

“Huh.” She rests her hands on her hips. “That devil, he must really like you. He sure did kiss you a lot.” Her face scrunches up as if she smelled something raunchy. “It’s ugly.”

Gotta love kids. They always speak the truth. “Yeah, it sure ain’t pretty,” I agree.

“Nah, I wouldn’t worry about it.” She waves a hand at me. “My momma says that no matter what, she’ll always love me.”

I gaze down at her through weighted lids. “Well, kid, I ain’t got no momma.”

“What about a wife?” She tilts her head. “Got one of those, they’re supposed to love you no matter what, too.”

“Nope, ain’t got one of those either.”

“Uh-oh, mister.” Her eyes go wide. “What are you gonna do,” she says as though I’m just too damn ugly for anyone to love. Hell, not only is she honest, but the little shit’s smart, too.

I grin down at her. “Well, I guess I’m just gonna have to keep hanging out with that devil, now ain’t I.”

“No way, mister. I wouldn’t, not if he’s gonna keep kissin’ ya like that.”

I laugh, hearing the girl’s mother calling after her. The girl offers me a short wave then she turns and runs over to the mother who’s gonna love her no matter what. I chuckle again, lower my heavy lids, and finally give in to the effects of the hydros.





CHAPTER ONE




“Damn, girl.” I whistle as Emmie comes down the stairs in a pair of red heels, tight black skinny jeans, and an even tighter off-the-shoulder black shirt. “You look like Olivia Newton-John in Grease. Well, without those big seventies curls.” I laugh. “Remember that song, what was it?” I turn to Lurlene for a little help.

“Never saw it.” She shrugs, not bothering to pull her eyes from the book she’s reading.

“What!” Emmie and I say in unison. Granted, the girl’s a couple years younger than we are, but really, who hasn’t seen Grease?

“You’re the one that I want...Oo-oo-oo, honey...” I snap my fingers. “That’s it!”

Lurlene scrunches a freckled nose at me as if there’s something wrong with me for knowing the song from one of the best movies ever. Then she flashes her emerald eyes at Emmie. “So, what’s in the bag?”

“Wait.” I hold up my hand, ready to move on from the ever so serious Lurlene to mess with my longtime friend, Emmie. “I know,” I say glancing at the pink gift bag. “It’s your heart, isn’t it? You’re finally handing it over to Jax Declan, aren’t you?” I flick my brows at her and, as predicted, Emmie flips me off.

I love the girl. I’ve known her since grade school. We’ve been through everything together—good times, bad times, and all-night crying times. She’s gorgeous, too. She’s one of those girls who—even in the morning without any makeup, hair all a mess—is still pretty. A lot of girls in high school couldn’t handle her pretty. I think they were jealous. Not me. When I look at Emmie, I see that girl who held my hair back while I puked my brains out at Brian Delaney’s barn party. I see the girl who fed me tissues and kept everyone away at my brother’s funeral. I see the girl who convinced me that I was good enough to get through college, and then gave me the push that I needed to leave Bayou Vista, Texas and pursue my dreams.

“No.” Emmie grabs her purse from the coffee table and slips it over her shoulder. “Thanks to you, Rayna, Jax Declan already has my damn heart.”

“Moi,” I say, placing a hand one my chest, dramatically batting my eyes.

“Yes, smartass, you,” she says, trying horribly to hold back a smile. “You’re the one who convinced us to come back here for the summer.”

“Yeah, she is.” Lurlene glances up from her book. “But you were supposed to break Jax Declan, not give him your heart,” she says with a grin.

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