Home > Dirty Bastard (Roughneck Billionaires #3)(9)

Dirty Bastard (Roughneck Billionaires #3)(9)
Author: Jessica Clare

Authorities? This fucking asshole. He’s a firefighter, not a cop. Even if he was, it didn’t give him the right to stalk me like this. “I’m staying with a friend.”

“Natalie? The fat one? Because I’m pretty sure she went back to her room with some guy last night and I didn’t see you with them.” He tilts his head, gazing down at me. “So you want to tell me the truth? You know I don’t like it when you lie.”

“And here I am without a shit to give if you like it or not. My, this is quite the tragic situation.” I reach into my handbag to grab my phone.

He grabs my purse and hauls it out of my grip before I can do anything and flings it across the parking lot. Tampons and lipstick scatter on the pavement, and I can hear the angry crack of my phone as it smacks the ground. Shit. I remain frozen in my car, hardly daring to breathe. One wrong move and Keith is going to go from asshole to murderer and I won’t be able to do anything. He’s bigger than I am and far more bloodthirsty. I’m all bravado.

I clench my hands on the steering wheel to keep them from trembling visibly. “That was shitty of you” is all I say, and I’m proud of how brave I sound even if I’m screaming with fear on the inside.

“I don’t like these games, Lexi.” Keith’s voice gets low and dangerous.

“I’m not fond of them myself, Keith,” I spit back at him. “If you must know where I was, allow me to educate you.” I keep the words cutting and brief, my lip curling. “I knew Natalie was going to get laid, so I went to a bookstore and read books for free until they closed. Then I went to a Denny’s and had coffee until four in the morning, and I went to the local Y as soon as they opened and participated in some hot yoga. Are you fucking happy? I stayed out all night with no sleep because I’m trying to be a good friend.”

And I give him my fiercest glare, hoping that he buys the ridiculous lie.

He gazes down at me for a long moment, and I’m half terrified he’s going to reach into my car and grab me by the throat. But after a time, he nods slowly. “Okay then. That was all you had to say.”

“Can I go now?” I bite out, and put one hand on the manual car window lever again. “I’m fucking tired, and it’s a long drive back to Luka.”

Keith releases the window and takes a step back, still watching me with those creepy eyes, like he’s waiting to see if I’ll crumble. I just give him my most aloof stare, calmly roll the window up, back out of the parking lot, and turn onto the road.

It’s not until I get onto the highway that I check my rearview mirror. No topaz truck behind me. Good. My trembling overtakes my body and I can’t stop shaking.

Oh god. Oh god. Keith’s crazier than ever. Not only is he stalking me, but he’s getting the law involved. I don’t doubt for a moment that his buddies at the police station helped him find my car. How, I don’t know. When I get out, I’m going to check the underside of my vehicle for a tracking device of some kind. Which sounds completely crazy, but Keith is completely crazy. I swipe at the terrified tears that slide down my face, and my happy night of sex with Knox is completely forgotten. It’s a good thing I snuck out, because if Keith saw me with Knox, I don’t know what he’d have done.

I can’t stop shaking. Or crying. I want to pull over to the nearest fast food place and just bawl like a baby, but I’m terrified Keith is behind me and he’ll stop and want to know why I’m upset. I have to keep going. I reach over in my car seat, looking for my phone, and freeze.

My purse—and all its contents—are still scattered in the parking lot of the hotel. Shit. I don’t have my credit cards, my wallet, my phone . . . nothing.

No cash. No ID.

No birth control.

Motherfucker. I consider turning around and going back to the hotel to gather up my things. But that means I’ll have to see Keith again. I’ll have to have another conversation with him. I’ll have to get out of the safety of my car.

Fuck that. I can get a new phone. I can cancel my credit cards.

I just never want to be that close to an angry Keith ever again.

I’ll figure something else out.

Chapter 6


Days Later


NATALIE: Who’s this?

LEXI: It’s Lexi. I lost my phone and they couldn’t give me back my old number because of something with the contract. So this is my new number. Save it!

NATALIE: Thank goodness! I’ve been texting you for days. Where the heck have you been? I’ve been calling and texting and you haven’t answered.

LEXI: Sorry! I didn’t have the money for a new phone until today. You know how it goes. I emailed you but I guess you didn’t get it?

NATALIE: No, I’ve been spending all my time with Clay. I figured if anyone needed me, they’d call.

LEXI: Well there you go. Needless to say, I’m fine. Just write this number down, ok?

NATALIE: Did you lose your phone at the party? I can ask Clay’s brothers if they’ve seen it.

LEXI: It’s all good, I promise. I have a shiny new phone no one in the world could possibly afford. Visa won’t know what hit ’em!

LEXI: Imagine me laughing maniacally at the thought of some fool giving me another credit card. Yet they do! Suckers!

NATALIE: Oh jeez.

NATALIE: I’m glad to hear from you anyhow. What’s new? How’s work?

LEXI: Slow as ever! That possible client-slash-investor I told you about bailed. Figures.

NATALIE: Here’s a thought—try being FRIENDLY. I know it’s hard but I swear you get results.

LEXI: But then people want to talk to me. I hate talking.


LEXI: In all seriousness, I’m fine. Business is fine. Everything is fine. Fine all around. Want to go to lunch this week? I mean, if you’re buying.

NATALIE: I’m still with Clay. :)

LEXI: Sorry, that pause was me throwing up in my mouth a little.

NATALIE: Stop! He’s wonderful.

LEXI: I know. You told me. ;)

LEXI: I’m just glad you’re happy.

NATALIE: I thought his family was nice. Did you like them? You seemed to get along well with Knox. ;) He asked me about your number. Should I pass this one on to him?

LEXI: Let’s not and say we did.

NATALIE: Uh-oh. That bad?

LEXI: Not bad . . . but can you just tell him I have ebola or something? And my mouth is covered in sores and so I can’t talk?

NATALIE: Ouch. How about I just not give him your number.

LEXI: Or we can go with that, sure. You can give me his in case I change my mind.

NATALIE: Will do. Sorry it didn’t work out.

LEXI: You know me, I’m difficult even on the best days. Now tell me what you and Clay have been up to.

* * *

* * *

I let Natalie go on and on about Clay and how wonderful he is and how happy she is via text, making the appropriate smiley faces and commenting when I need to. I’m not paying much attention, though. I’m still thinking about Knox.

He asked for my phone number. He wants to talk to me.

I sigh, because I wouldn’t mind talking to him or seeing him again, either. But the timing is rotten. Keith’s still lurking entirely too much for my liking, so the best thing I can do is remain under the radar and go about my day as normal. He’ll eventually buzz off. He always does. Until then, I have to play it cool. I still have plenty to occupy my time, at least. I’m still canceling credit cards and trying to get new copies of the ID I lost. I could ask Keith if he picked them up . . . but I’d rather roast in hell first.

The door to my studio opens and my three o’clock enters, five minutes late as usual. She’s wearing jeans and a T-shirt, not optimal yoga wear. But she pays on time, so I don’t much care. I text a good-bye to Nat, put my phone down, and nod a greeting at Alice. “Let’s get warmed up, shall we?”

* * *

* * *

Weeks Later

LEXI: I’m sorry to hear about Seth’s death. I saw it on the news. I’m shocked. He was such a great guy. Kid. Whatever.

NATALIE: I know. Clay’s devastated. They all are. I am too but I’m trying to hold it together for Clay.

LEXI: Is there anything I can do? Send flowers? Something?

NATALIE: No, it’s ok. I’m helping Ivy with the arrangements. But thank you for offering.

LEXI: Now I feel like shit that I blew off Knox. You think I should call him?

NATALIE: Honestly? No. I’d leave it alone. None of them are handling Seth’s death very well. Let them grieve for a bit.

LEXI: Will do. Give me the address and I’ll send flowers, though. It’s the least I can do. And call me if you need a shoulder to cry on.

NATALIE: K, thx.

* * *

* * *

One Month Later

I swing my legs back and forth in the doctor’s office, waiting for him to come in. The paper gown catches my eye in my reflection and I glance over, then hop off the table and move toward the mirror. I cup my tits, because they look a lot bigger than normal. Surely that’s my imagination. Surely all of this is my imagination. I turn to the side, then frown. I’m just here to make sure, that’s all.

The home pregnancy test had to be wrong.

Dr. Keppler enters and beams at me, pretending not to notice that I’m playing with my boobs as he enters. “How are we feeling, Lexi?”

“We’re feeling a little whorey, Doc. Thanks for asking.” I hop back up on the table and immediately start swinging my feet nervously again.

He chuckles and moves to his counter, pulling out a pair of disposable gloves, and then pauses. “No latex, right?”

“Only if you want to examine my rash right after you examine my hootenanny.”

“You’re a funny one. I remember that, too.” He winks at me and opens a cabinet. “Nonlatex gloves, just for you and your hootenanny.”

“Thanks, Doc.” Normally I’d give him more shit, but I’m too nervous. “So what did my pee test say?”

“Well, what do you want it to say?” He pulls on his gloves and glances over at me.

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