Tattooed HeartsA Secret Baby Second Chance Romance, страница 1
By Melissa Devenport
Table of Contents:
Chapter 01 - The Ending
Chapter 02 - Motherhood
Chapter 03 - The News
Chapter 04 - A Mother’s Love
Chapter 05 - A Late Night Heart To Heart
Chapter 06 - The Letter
Chapter 07 - The Meeting
Chapter 08 - The Truth
Chapter 09 - A Second Chance
Chapter 10 - Illicit Pleasures
Chapter 11 - Eternity
Chapter 12 - The Question
Chapter 13 - The Answer
Chapter 14 - A Visitor
Chapter 15 - The Dinner Date
Chapter 16 - A Silent Sky
Chapter 17 - Taking The Lead
Chapter 18 - To The Edge
Chapter 19 - Alone
Chapter 20 - A New Friend
Chapter 21 - Forgiveness
Epilogue - The Promise
Damaged Rebel Next Door - free sample
Chapter 01 - The Worst Type of Man
Chapter 02 - Pain for a Living
Chapter 03 - A Specter from the Past
Chapter 04 - An Escape from the Inescapable
Chapter 05 - The Unexpected
Chapter 06 - True Oblivion
Chapter 07 - A Horrible Meeting
Chapter 08 - His Angel
Chapter 09 - A Strong Survivor
Chapter 10 - The First Hot Embers
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Written by Melissa Devenport
Published by Perfect Harmony Publications
© 2018 Perfect Harmony Publications
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, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission in writing from the publisher.
“I’m sorry, Christine, I just don’t love you.” Mike Arman watched Christine Sorenson’s face change. His girlfriend’s- no, correction, ex-girlfriend’s petite, beautiful features cinched together. Her pale cheeks glowed an angry red. She blinked long, dark eyelashes, as though trying to comprehend what he’d just said. He gave his words a moment to sink in and when they did, he knew he was in for a bad scene.
“It’s a fine time to tell me that now, after we’ve been together for eight months!”
“I’m sorry! I wanted to give it a shot. A real, honest shot, but I just can’t do it.”
“Because you’re still in love with her? A woman you dated for six months? What does she have that I don’t? What did she do for you that I couldn’t do? Oh wait. I forgot. I never tore out your heart and stomped all over it. I never refused to answer your calls. I never cut you out of my life. Maybe I should. Maybe it would have made you as desperate as you are for her.”
“Christine…” His voice held a warning edge, but she charged right on ahead. She stood, shoving her chair back. It scraped across the stone tile of her kitchen floor with a high pitched whine that made the hair on the back of his neck stand on end. It wasn’t his finest moment, breaking up with a woman in her kitchen.
“No! Don’t Christine me, you son of a bitch! We’ve been going out for eight months! Eight months of my life that I can never get back. Eight months that I threw away hoping that you’d come around and realize what was right in front of you.”
“I do appreciate you. It’s nothing that you’ve done. It’s me-”
“Of fucking course it’s you! God! You’re pathetic, Mike. You’ve always been pathetic. I can’t believe I wasted my time on a loser. Who waits around, pining for someone who never appreciated them? You’re pathetic. Savannah Fiacco has probably been spreading her legs for every single person who wanted to get between them for the past year.”
Mike waited. He counted to ten. He fucking did it again. What he really wanted to do was get up and punch a hole right through the drywall. It was orange. Actual orange. Who painted their damn kitchen and dining room orange? He’d always hated the color and at the moment, his fingers itched to give the damn wall a reason to get a new paint job. He’d be doing it a favor really… he controlled himself. Barely.
Christine’s dainty shoulders heaved with anger. Her face, a face that he’d once thought was pretty, but really couldn’t muster up the attraction to think so any longer, screwed up with rage. With her features twisted like that, she almost resembled some kind of bad Sci-Fi monster. He repressed a shudder.
“Good to see your truly colors finally coming out. It makes this a hell of a lot easier.”
“Yah! My true colors huh? Try dating a single woman, Mike, that doesn’t react like this when you up and dump them, just because you still have a hard on for a ghost.”
“She’s not a ghost.”
“No? Well, she’s too good for even you.”
“You’ve never met her.”
“I know she’s never coming back. There was a reason she left, which I fully understand now. No one wants to date a child.”
Her words rankled, since it was almost exactly what Savannah had accused him of being over a year ago, when she broke up with him out of nowhere. He was almost sure she was with him, just to get with his best friend anyway, but it still hurt like hell. It hurt far worse than it should have. He’d dated a hell of a lot of women. No, dated wasn’t really the right word. More like, hooked up. But the ones he had gone out with, it didn’t ever really mean anything. It was different with Savannah. Even though she was way younger than he was, even though she was spoiled and a daddy’s girl, little more than a rich brat, she got him. Just got him. Right away. It was that instant connection that he’d never shared with anyone else and after she’d left him, she sure as hell had crushed him.
Nothing in his world had been right after she left. Not even his art, which usually got him through the worst of times.
“Goodbye, Christine. Thank you for making this easy.”
“Fuck you, Mike.”
“Not anymore, thanks.”
“It was never that good. I faked it. Every time.”
He knew that was a lie, but he wasn’t going to get into that. He’d never seen this side of Christine before. They’d met when she’d come in for a tattoo. She was pretty. Very pretty. She left her number without him asking. He had a hole in his tattered heart a mile wide and she’d filled it, like a poorly fitted plug. It hadn’t lasted for him. He’d actually never felt it. He’d just stuck it out because he was lonely. He always hoped, like he told her, that he’d come around. That things would change for him and that he wouldn’t see Savannah’s face in his dreams. He wouldn’t sketch her, late at night, when he gave in to the temptation of taking the aching memories from his mind and laying them out on paper. It never happened and he knew he was done. He had to end it, if only to spare Christine. He could understand her anger, even if it was ugly.
“I’ll show myself out.”
“Good. Do me a favor and don’t call.”
He heard the desperation in her voice, underlying her tone, contradicting her spiteful words. He refused to answer as he stalked through the house, to the entrance. He slammed into his shoes and pulled open the door. He shut it quietly, just because he was feeling a little spiteful himself and knew the controlled move would deny Christine the satisfaction that a slam would have given her.
And just like that, his relationship was over.
He didn’t know where he was driving. He didn’t truly care. His relationship was over and he felt nothing. None of the required pain, though he had truly liked Christine. She was alright. It wasn’t her fault that he was damaged. Or haunted. Perhaps that was a more apt term.
It made perfect sense, the fact that he couldn’t feel. He was so worn down, so exhausted, so past trying to fix himself. He cast his eyes back to the open road, eating the miles up one after another. So he was broken. So he was pretty sure he’d only love one woman for the rest of his life and she was long gone. At least he’d bothered, given the whole love thing a try. It wasn’t for him. None of it was. The sooner he got that through his head, the fast he could actually try and move on with his life.
“Are you ready to go, Savannah? If we don’t leave within five minutes we’re going to be late.”
Savannah Fiacco barely resisted the urge to roll her tired, red rimmed eyes. Her mother, born in Italy, still had a thick accent. She loved her mom to death, but when she was stressed or irritated, that accent got mighty thick and her voice became a little shrill. It grated on Savannah’s already raw nerves.
“Coming,” she called down the stairs. She knew her voice would travel out of her room, through the hall and down the stairs to where her mother was clearly waiting. She’d done the same thing ever since Savannah was a kid. Always calling, calling calling, from the bottom of those damn stairs.
Savannah ground her teeth together in an effort to keep her patience. It was already shredded, seeing as Carter saw fit to remain awake, screaming, most of the night. It wouldn’t have been so bad, had he not pulled the same act for the past six nights in a row. Or was it seven? Eight? She’d lost count.
“There you go, baby boy.” Savannah’s irritation vanished when she stared into her son’s deep brown eyes. He had the rich dark skin she had, always bronzed, with an olive undertone. His hair was jet black, like hers. She’d nearly destroyed it by dying it blonde. She’d probably lost at least six inches to breakage after she dyed it back to her natural color, but it grew out nicely, one of the only bonus side effects of pregnancy.
At the moment, her usually glossy hair hung almost to her waist in unbrushed clumps. The roots were oily, a fact which she could do nothing about at the moment. She had about five minutes for a shower or quick bath lately and that didn’t include the luxury of actually washing her hair.
Carter Fiacco smiled up at her, waving a pudgy hand in the air. He cooed something, some baby language, which melted her heart.
“Next time we’re just about out the door, promise mommy you’re not going to poop your pants. No doctor wants to give you a checkup when you smell like something died in there.”
She received another huge, drool filled smile in response. Because she knew her mother would literally be pacing by now, likely in the same one foot square at the bottom of the staircase, she reached down, grabbed up her son and hoisted him onto her shoulder. “I wish you didn’t have your days and nights mixed up. We have to get ourselves on a schedule, me and you. No more keeping mommy up all night. It’s just about killing me.”
Carter babbled away in her ear, clearly uncaring that she was dead tired. Didn’t all babies though? She was sure she wasn’t the only underfed, overtired, unkempt mother out there. To think that a year ago she was going out to clubs and parties, living up her freshly found freedom after graduating high school. She had long, fake blonde hair, manicured nails, high heels, skin tight jeans, too short shirts, and a fake ID. Now, now what did she have?
Everything. I have everything.
Her smile was wide and genuine as she picked her way carefully down the stairs. Her mother, spotting her, let out an exasperated sigh. “How long does it take to change one simple diaper?”
“It wasn’t simple, I promise you that.” She handed Carter over to her mother. Gianna took him, bouncing him happily, naturally, onto her shoulder. She’d always wanted more than one child. Savannah heard that enough throughout her lifetime, though she’d never fully been told why she was an only child. She’d never fully comprehended the pain of that until she became a mother herself. Gianna, though she often pretended otherwise, was very happy Carter was a member of the family.
“I’ll put him in his car seat and then we’ll go, yes?”
“Yes. I just have to grab the diaper bag out of the kitchen.”
“I filled up the formula bottles with water. Don’t worry, I sterilized them all. The formula is packed, extra diapers, wipes, soother.” Gianna rattled off the checklist and Savannah sighed in relief.
Her mother nodded, all the usual judgment and condemnation filling up her dark eyes. Savannah walked off towards the kitchen, pretending not to notice. It wasn’t that her mother and father didn’t love Carter. They adored their grandson. It had everything to do with the fact that no Italian parents, hell, no parents in general, wanted their daughter to tell them that she was pregnant at twenty years old. Worse, she was unmarried and refused to tell them who the father was. She’d said she didn’t know. She’d lied.
Mike Arman wasn’t exactly daddy material. Her parents didn’t like him, especially not her dad. Which was odd, given that Mike’s best friend Kian was her father’s business partner. It was an odd and somewhat confusing arrangement, but it worked for her father nevertheless. He made a good living running the club that he most definitely did not allow Savannah to get into, even with her fake ID. He’d never taken her there, wanting to protect her from what he considered the evils of life. If only he knew what kids got up to these days…
He might have been able to keep her away from the club, but he’d made the fatal error of inviting Kian Boychuck over to the house for dinner over the years. The man was a god. Savannah had never seen a more beautiful, sexual, striking man in her life. She’d been instantly smitten. She’d loved him since the time she was what? Fourteen? Fifteen? She wasn’t even sure. He was the reason she’d met Mike. She did almost anything to be around Kian. Running errands for her father, visiting his tattoo shop. Mike worked with Kian. He was a great artist. At first she’d been with him in hopes of getting closer to Kian.
And then it hadn’t been that at all. Somewhere, during the six months they were together, something shifted. She realized that she loved him. Not just a little bit, with some girly infatuation. No, it was deeper than that, the abiding kind of love that could have lasted for years. Which, of course, scared the hell out of her. She didn’t want to make the mistake of falling for someone or getting married young, wasting the best years of her life and getting a divorce twenty or thirty years later, starting her life over as some bitter, dried up old hag.
She hadn’t told her parents about Mike because she hadn’t wanted to. She hadn’t told him about the baby because she didn’t want to spend the rest of her life with him. She’d broken up to give herself a fighting chance, to protect herself as well. She was far too young to have her heart broken.
“Savannah Fiacco! Where are you? Carter is already in the car!”
Savannah started. She grabbed up the handle of the diaper bag, spun around and nearly flew head over heels as their tiny Yorkie, Melly, scurried into the kitchen. No doubt frightened by the beast her mother could be. God, Gianna Fiacco could put the fear of god into anyone.
“Oh my god, Melly!” Savannah muttered under her breath. She checked to see that the cowering dog was alright, giving her a few pets on top of her soft head. “Coming!” She yelled as she stomped through the house.
Her mother was standing
As she climbed into the backseat, smiled at her son and handed him a stuffie from his diaper bag, she wondered if she hadn’t made a mistake. Over the past year, throughout the pregnancy and after Carter was born, she’d thought about telling Mike.
The thing was, even if she wanted to, even if she wanted to complicate her life even further, even if she missed seeing him, missed the way it felt when she was with him, she knew it was probably far, far too late.
“And where would you like the heart and the butterfly?” Let me guess. Right ass cheek or left tit.
Mike’s client, who had to be all of a whopping eighteen or nineteen, with the hugest breasts and most supple, overflowing curves he had seen in a while, coupled with an impossibly dainty waist, a waterfall of blonde hair, huge blue eyes and a pink glossy smile he could almost see his reflection in, laughed like he’d just said something hysterical.
“I was thinking, um…” she lowered her voice, dangerously low, like a conspirator in a deadly plot. “I was thinking right on my bum. Like a little above my hip.” She tittered away like she was being so naughty.
Mike smiled right along with her. Hell, it was part of his job. Putting up with all kinds of people. As long as they had money and they parked their ass in his seat and let him do his work, he didn’t often complain. He could handle obnoxious women far better than he could handle asshole dudes. Or worse, the ones who cried and begged him to stop. As if tattoos really hurt? Please. Okay, well sometimes maybe it’s legit painful, but jeez. Have some pride. He’d once tattooed himself for over twelve hours. It killed his back as he tore up his own leg, inking most of it in one shot. He only dished out what he himself could take.