Rough and Ready (More Than A Cowboy #2) - Vanessa Vale Page 0,1

successful MMA fighters—live on the top floor, but another guy who he trained had the unit across from mine on the second. On the ground floor, a whole gym full of guys who wouldn't hesitate to even the score for me. At least that was what my friend, Emory, had told me. I'd lived on the same block as her before she moved in with Gray, her fiancé.

“Leave you alone? Wire me the money, and I will,” Cam snapped. “And Harper—”

“Fuck you.” I ended the call, tossed my phone on the couch, not wanting to hear anything else from him. He'd spent almost two years preparing to destroy me again. Now that his release day was close, I knew the phone calls were just the start. Even after switching numbers, he still found me.

I paced the room, back and forth, weaving around boxes and randomly placed furniture where the movers had set it down. The apartment had an open floor plan, one big room except for the powder room, bedroom and master bath. The ceilings were high, the windows big and wall-to-wall. It was modern with lots of stainless-steel appliances in the kitchen, but it was warm. Safe.

I'd moved in a week ago and hadn't settled. I'd only put my bed together, tossed my clothes into the bedroom and found the coffeemaker. Hell, based on the damn call, I had to wonder how long I could remain. I'd easily avoided my parents since the incident, but we didn't run in the same social scene. I didn't spend time in the country club circle. I was too academic, too pedantic in my field of study for them. Instead of being a lawyer, I’d balked at the whole Lane family tradition and became a professor. To them, even with my PhD, it was a very small step up from working retail.

When Cam got out, would he be banging on my door harassing me? Or worse, on the street? On the quad at school? Could I stay in Brant Valley? Instead of settling into this great apartment, I wondered how long I'd be able to live in town. Hell, the state.

The call was all part of Cam’s plan to fuck with me. A warm up. I knew it, but I couldn't help but freak out.

The plant was in my hand and beneath the sink faucet before I realized what I was doing. I didn't even remember grabbing it or walking into the kitchen. I closed my eyes, breathed.

I didn't want Mommy and Daddy's cash. I didn't want my parents in my life any more than my brother, so I’d shoved the money in the bank where no one could touch it. My parents couldn’t get it back, and Cam couldn’t reach it.

They'd picked their son, with his cruel and dangerous acts, over their own daughter. And their money? I'd give it all away just to get Cam out of my life permanently, but I wouldn't give in. I wouldn't give him the hush money. And it was hush money.

No one could know that Cameron Lane the Third had an addiction problem who’d traded his own sister to drug dealers in exchange for wiping his debt clean. That kind of thing didn’t happen at the country club, and it certainly didn’t happen to my parents.

But it had happened to me.

Realizing I was drowning the plant, I turned off the water and pushed back from the sink. Closed my eyes and groaned aloud. My frustration was coming off me in waves. I was beyond climbing in bed and throwing the covers over my head. Beyond tears. There just weren't any more left. I’d stopped crying two years ago.

Going into the bedroom, I kicked off my heels, stripped off my skirt and blouse and dug out my gym clothes from the pile in the corner. I usually waited until later in the evening to work out, coming home from work and eating first, but I had restless energy to burn. I needed to run this angst off. I'd taken up running after the incident, my therapist said exercise was like a release valve on a pressure cooker.

I hadn't liked being compared to a kitchen appliance, but I related. I had been ready to blow, and running had helped. I hadn't made it far at first, walking more than anything else, but now, now I could run for hours, especially when I was upset. After slipping a hair tie around my wrist, I found my running shoes Copyright 2016 - 2023