Home > Dirty Bastard (Roughneck Billionaires #3)(11)

Dirty Bastard (Roughneck Billionaires #3)(11)
Author: Jessica Clare

This town is too fucking small. I need to leave . . . except any apartment would be first and last month’s rent up front, and I’m pretty much tapped out on my credit—not that they’d take it. And I have a business here.

And I’ve got a bun in the oven.

So I grit my teeth, slide a knife under my purse, and wait for Keith to leave.

He putters around for a half hour and replaces a bit of pipe under the sink with something that looks like the same sort of pipe. Ten bucks says he made this up just to get into my place. I answer him with one-word responses until he finally leaves and then I bolt the door behind him and push a dresser in front of it for good measure. Then I go hunting through my bedroom to see if anything is missing or has been touched.

I feel exposed. Vulnerable. Violated.

I feel like I need to cry, but I’d rather punch something. And my boobs fucking hurt. Furious, I tear apart my lingerie drawer, but I can’t tell if anything’s missing. I check the bed and then peek into the bathroom. There’s a bud vase with a rose in it on the counter.

That cocksucker.

I grab the entire thing and fling it against the tile wall of the shower. It shatters into a million pieces, which just makes me cuss even more because I’m going to have to clean it up. Pissy, I glare at it, shoulders heaving. Where is my fucking Zen today? Keith stole it, just like he’s stealing my privacy and making me lose my mind. I want nothing more than to relax and do a couple of calming asanas to set my brain straight, but if I get sweaty, I’ll have to shower. For all I know, Keith’s sabotaged the plumbing so he’ll have to—oopsie—come back and “help” once more.

God, I hate this. I hate this so much.

I sniff back the tears that threaten to well up and march into the living room, grabbing my rolled-up yoga mat. My studio. I’ll go to my studio. At least there, I can turn on some soothing music and not worry that Keith is going to show up. For some reason, he avoids my workplace. I guess he doesn’t like the thought of women outside of the kitchen or some sexist bullshit like that.

But if I get sweaty, I don’t have any place to shower. I don’t feel safe doing it here. What if Keith put a camera somewhere? Or what if I’m midshower and he finds a way to come back inside? The thought gives me goose bumps.

I pick up my phone and text Nat.

LEXI: Hey, you busy? My shower’s busted and I was wondering if I could go over to your house and use it.

LEXI: Your dad’s house, I mean.

Up until she shacked up with Clay, my poor, sweet, too-innocent Natalie lived in the ranch-slash-museum with her decrepit old asshole dad and basically took care of him and his museum. Of course, now that she’s with Clay, he’s got her dad living in an assisted place and she just moved in with him to some house that came with an obscene price tag. She’s now in the outskirts of San Antonio and I miss her like crazy. I mean, I’m happy for her, but at the same time, I’m a little resentful of Clay for stealing her away from me when I need her.

NAT: Hey

NAT: Might not be a good idea. The new staff gets a little wigged out if someone comes over without notice.

NAT: I can text the manager and let him know a friend’s coming by to shower if you want.

NAT: Or you can come visit me for a few days. :) The new place has a guesthouse! It’s practically screaming for someone to come give it a gothic makeover.

God, I would love to escape for a few days and hide over at Natalie’s new place. I don’t even care that I’d be third wheeling it and they’d be all shmoopy all over each other. There’d be no Keith. I’d have room to breathe.

Unless he followed me. And then I’d have to explain to Natalie and Clay both why Keith won’t leave me alone, and someone will want to step in and “help” me out with my life, and I’ve had enough of that shit to last a lifetime. I can do this on my own. Mostly. But the thought of getting away for a few days is super tempting.

LEXI: Unfortunately I have clients.

NAT: Maybe this weekend? I haven’t seen you in forever.

LEXI: Maybe this weekend! Sure.

NAT: I’m glad you texted. So . . .

LEXI: What?

NAT: How do you know if you’re pregnant?

I stare at my phone in horror. How the fuck does she know? I haven’t told anyone—

NAT: Because I puked this morning and I missed my period!

NAT: !!!!

NAT: Do you think I could be pregnant?

Oh, thank god. I can feel my entire body unclench as her excited texts roll in. For a moment there, I thought somehow that Keith had found out, and I was picturing how angry he’d be . . . I shiver and fight the urge to vomit myself. Instead, I focus on typing a response.

LEXI: You might be. Do you have the urge to wear cardigans and wander around the kitchen barefoot?

NAT: Ha. Very funny. And you know I always wear cardigans. :)

NAT: But seriously, I haven’t gotten a test yet. I’m scared to.

LEXI: Do your boobs hurt?

NAT: They feel a little sore. Is that a thing?

LEXI: So I’ve heard.

I touch my own throbbing tits and wince. “Heard,” my ass.

NAT: I’m so excited!!!

NAT: Clay and I have been wanting to try.

NAT: We’ve wasted enough time apart, you know?

LEXI: Fingers crossed you’ve got something growing inside you and it’s not a waterborne parasite!

NAT: Ew, thanks for that.

LEXI: You know I’m here for you. ;)

NAT: I’m going to the pharmacy right now to get a test! Should I say something to Clay or wait to get results?

Her excitement is practically palpable. I know my Nat. I know how excited she must be about the thought of babies with Clay. It’s like she’s had a miserable experience for so long and now all her happiness is exploding around her like a mushroom cloud. Good for her. I’m genuinely thrilled that she’s so happy. I just wish my own shit was a little more together.

I ponder her question, then text my answer.

LEXI: Depends. Does Clay know you’re trying for a baby?

LEXI: Or will he be upset if you’re preggo?

NAT: Omg, no. He’ll be thrilled! He tells me all the time he wants to see me pregnant with his baby. Isn’t that sweet?

NAT: I love him so much, Lexi!!

Puke. I ponder my own baby daddy. Would Knox want to know that I’m knocked up with his bun? Or will he be horrified? Should I tell him? I want to ask Nat, but I’m not sure how to phrase it.

LEXI: Hypothetical question: what if he didn’t want a baby and you were pregnant? Would you still tell him?

Nat’s reply is pretty much immediate.

NAT: Well, yeah.

NAT: Of course.

NAT: He’s the father. He deserves to know. I mean, it wouldn’t affect how I feel about things but I’d feel like a jerk if I didn’t tell him.

NAT: But he wants it. I promise you he does!! :)

NAT: Omg I’m so excited! Should I get more than one test?

NAT: No, don’t answer that. I’m buying one of everything! Just in case.

I send back a smiley face, distracted again. He’s the father. He deserves to know. I don’t think she’s wrong. I think the father deserves to know, even if it’s going to be a terribly awkward, painful conversation. Ugh.

It’s going to be even more awkward when he finds out I’m keeping it and I don’t need his involvement. Getting rid of it isn’t an option. It’s in my body, so it’s mine. The thought of getting rid of it hasn’t even really been in my mind. It’d make things easier . . . but it’s not who I am. So I’ll figure this out, baby and all.

But I guess I should tell Knox. How? I wonder. Text message? Phone call? Should I show up on his doorstep? Oh, ugh, the thought of doing that makes me feel all squirmy, because then I think of his beard on my thighs and how sexy that was. I think about his beard a lot, actually. Especially late at night, when I’m feeling lonely and I’m in bed alone. It’s my new favorite memory to masturbate to.

If I show up on his doorstep, though, he’s going to think this is a team effort. Oh yeah, that’s a bad idea. As nice as Knox is, this isn’t his problem. I remember him asking me about a condom and me practically telling him to shove it in me already. I don’t need him to participate. I can do this on my own.

So I need to think of a good way to tell him. Somehow.

Chapter 7


“Well, that turned out fucking shitty.” Gage shakes his head and strips off his jacket and tie as we head back to our hotel room. “Can’t believe Boone sent us out to talk to that prick Taylor about buying his land and all he wanted to do was squeeze us for information on where and how he should drill. Cocksucker.”

“Mmm.” I don’t say much. What is there to say? Gage ain’t wrong. We came out here to East Texas for business. Dressed up all fancy like and stayed in the nicest hotel in the area . . . which, okay, ain’t sayin’ much. But we brought portfolios and bought Lance Taylor drinks and dinner and did our best to schmooze the guy to get his land. Not that we need it. But Boone likes to stay on top of the competition, and with oil prices on a roller coaster lately, it ain’t never a bad idea to have as much drillable land as possible. Turns out Taylor wasn’t all that interested in talking about selling to us, though. He just wanted to pick our brains.

And my brother? My brother ain’t interested in work half as much as he is in drinking. He downed far too many whiskeys at dinner and even now, I recognize the look in his eye. We get back to our hotel rooms and he immediately shoves his key card in his door, flings it open, and then tosses his jacket inside without stepping in. “I’m goin’ down to the bar,” he says. “You wanna come?”

“You’ve had enough to drink, don’t you think?” I say, keeping my voice uninterested. If Gage knew how much it pissed me off, he’d just drink even more. I swear he’s tryin’ to drink himself into the grave next to Seth.

Can’t blame him for bein’ messed up over Seth’s death, but this ain’t healthy. Still hurts to think that we lost my youngest brother to a rigging accident. Worst thing of all was that he didn’t need to roughneck for money—Boone just wanted him to do it to gain some character. Now he’s in a grave and we’re all blaming ourselves.

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