RUSH (Montgomery Men Book 1)(9)

By: C.A. Harms

This unbelievably kind woman saved me. She could have chosen to leave the bathroom and walk away without a second thought, but she stood up for me, and I would be forever grateful to her.

Present day

IN THE LAST SIX MONTHS, I’d been moved from one place to the next, spending days, even weeks with strangers. Most women would be terrified to be in the presence of the type of men I was, but those women hadn’t lived with Jase. I knew these scruffy, tattooed men were doing drugs and drinking to the point of oblivion, yet they were nothing but protective of me.

Richey was in a gang, and from the stories I heard at each place I went to, I learned he was mean and dangerous, despite his scrawny toothpick form. I owed him my life.

I spent most of my time in hiding mourning my father, whose passing I never knew about. I should have been there for him, but Jase took that closure away from me. I often wondered what his last hours were like. Did he suffer or go in peace? Was he aware enough to even know if I had or hadn’t been there? Did he know what was happening? Those thoughts tore at me every moment of every day. I’d thought being free of Jase would give me back my life, but I’d never felt so empty.

“Where you at, kid?”

I wiped at the tears I hadn’t even known I’d shed, as I turned around and exited the bathroom.

Rig stood just on the other side of my bed, holding out a paper bag with what I assumed was my dinner. “Damn,” he huffed. “Brown suits you,” he said in that gruff voice of his.

Rig was my current savior. When I arrived at a new place, someone there would take me under their wing. Most just left me alone aside from making sure I was fed daily and had the things I needed, but not Rig. An older man, he was mean- and rough-looking, and if you saw him on the streets you would probably do all you could to avoid him. But inside he was kind and generous, a big ol’ bear of a man that had a soft spot for me.

He reminded me so much of my father.

Rig had been by my side for the last month. He would help me with my final move, as Richey’s gang guaranteed only six months of safety. After that it was up to me to keep myself and my true identity hidden.

I lifted my hand to my hair and ran my finger through the softness. “It was either brown or purple. I figured brown was less flashy, even though I would have loved the purple.”

He chuckled as he placed the bag on the table just on the other side of my motel bed. “You know Lucy would have helped you with that.”

Lucy was Rig’s wife, who was almost as rough as he was. She had tattoos lining her arms and one that even went up the side of her neck, but she was one of the sweetest women I had ever met. I’d wished more than once I could reach out to Adeline and thank her for saving me, but I knew I couldn’t. And I also knew she understood just how thankful I was. Lucy filled that void.

I’d never realized until now just how much I needed to feel loved. I didn’t have it in my marriage, and I didn’t have friends I could turn to for support. My father was all I had, and when he was gone I truly had nothing.

Until now.

“I know, but you said I should start taking control of my life, so this is my first step,” I said with a smile.

Rig grinned and nodded toward the bag. “You need to eat, girl, and then get some sleep. Tomorrow morning we move you to your new place.”

I tried not to show the fear I felt when he said those words, but apparently I’m transparent.

“It’s all right,” he assured me. “Tomorrow you start your new life as Kiera Masterson in the amazing city of New York. The Big Apple, darlin’, but I will never be too far away.” I locked eyes with him, and that grin of his returned. “I know it’s supposed to end after this move, kid’, but Lucy and I’ve grown slightly attached to ya.”

I closed my eyes tightly to fight off the emotions I’d been trying so hard to control. Knowing Rig and Lucy were in my corner, by my side, made this entire situation so much easier to face.

“You know I love you, right?” I told him, and he hung his head and chuckled. He wasn’t the kind of guy who got all mushy and sweet. “I know you don’t want to hear it, or maybe you do and you’re just being stubborn.” That made his chuckle turn into laughter as he looked back up at me. I knew it was his way of hiding his emotions, because I could see his eyes were glossy. “But I do. You and Lucy have really helped me over the last month. I’ll be forever grateful for the things you’ve taught me, and the strength you’ve given me. I know I’ll be all right. I know I’ll get through this, but knowing you two are close by helps more than you’ll ever know. You’re both family to me, and I love the both of you so very much.”

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