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Authors: Bijou Hunter

Damaged and the bulldog

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Damaged and the Bulldog

Bijou Hunter

 

Copyright © 2014 Bijou Hunter

Kindle Edition

 

Dedication

Freckles, Tigger, Pooh, and Roo for owning my heart

Mustang Sally and Marvelous Miranda for having my back

Saucy Sarah and Hardcore Patty for knowing the genre

Eusebia, Jennifer, Arnie, Gail, and the rest of theawesome Denny’s crew

 

Damaged Series

Damaged and the Beast(Apr ‘13)

Damaged and theKnight (July ‘13)

Damaged and the Cobra(Oct ‘13)

Damaged and theOutlaw (Nov ‘13)

Damaged and theDragon (May ‘14)

Damaged and the Saint– Final Damaged Book (Late 2014)

 

Bijou Standalone Books

Gator (Feb ’14)

Used (June ’14)

 

*****

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters,businesses, places, events and incidents are either the products of theauthor’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actualpersons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Table of Contents

 

Chapter One ~ Winnie

Chapter Two ~ Dylan

Chapter Three ~ Winnie

Chapter Four ~ Dylan

Chapter Five ~ Winnie

Chapter Six ~ Dylan

Chapter Seven ~ Winnie

Chapter Eight ~ Dylan

Chapter Nine ~ Winnie

Chapter Ten ~ Dylan

Chapter Eleven ~ Winnie

Chapter Twelve ~ Dylan

Chapter Thirteen ~ Winnie

Chapter Fourteen ~ Dylan

Chapter Fifteen ~ Winnie

Chapter Sixteen ~ Dylan

Chapter Seventeen ~ Winnie

Chapter Eighteen ~ Dylan

Chapter Nineteen ~ Winnie

Chapter Twenty ~ Dylan

Chapter Twenty One ~ Winnie

Chapter Twenty Two ~ Dylan

Chapter Twenty Three ~ Winnie

Chapter Twenty Four ~ Dylan

Chapter Twenty Five ~ Winnie

Chapter Twenty Six ~ Dylan

Chapter Twenty Seven ~ Winnie

Chapter Twenty Eight ~ Dylan

Chapter Twenty Nine ~ Winnie

Chapter Thirty ~ Dylan

Chapter Thirty One ~ Winnie

Chapter Thirty Two ~ Dylan

Chapter Thirty Three ~ Winnie

Chapter Thirty Four ~ Dylan

Chapter Thirty Five ~ Winnie

Chapter Thirty Six ~ Dylan

Epilogue ~ Winnie

Epilogue ~ Dylan

About Bijou

 

Chapter One ~Winnie

At nineteen, I had three distinct memories from mychildhood. The first was playingStar Warswith the neighborhood kidsand ending up as Chewbacca when the other girl got to be Princess Leia. Thesecond was when the neighborhood bully Clyde Dinkle crashed his bike into myleg while I was riding my Big Wheelie. The last was when my dad announced he’dlost me in a card game and I was going to live with a guy named Sugar Bum.

My therapist said I suppressed my ugliest memories tosurvive. Eventually, my mind hid them automatically. My short term memorywasn’t great either. I never minded the large gaps in my life though. Based onwhat I did remember, I wasn’t missing much.

I lived with the scars from my time with Sugar Bum andthe Vandals Motorcycle Club. The physical ones like the gash on my hairline,the burns on my feet, and the C-section incision under my belly button providedproof of a time I didn’t remember. Other scars remained hidden in my mind,waiting to rise up inside me. When someone touched me or came up behind me tooquickly, I felt under attack. My body remembered even if my mind destroyed theimages belonging to the sensations.

Everything changed for me so quickly. One day, I was adoll in a box. The next day, I was in the loving home of Tad and Toni Todds.They were my dad and mom who would never sell me to pay a debt. My unspokenprayers answered, I was saved by men as frightening as the ones who broke me. Istill remembered the look on Kirk Johansson’s hard face when he opened thefootlocker to find me inside. My savior was terrifying, but he freed me.

These days, I ought to be happy and sane. I had agreat family and years of therapy. My past still clung to me. For my family, Iwanted to be strong. I also had dreams about a particular man. If I could finda way to be independent, I might have a chance with Dylan Campbell.

The first time I saw Dylan, his mohawk and tats scaredme. His dark eyes were so angry. I figured he would hurt me like so many othermen. Dylan wasn’t like them, but I took awhile to realize this fact. I knew hewasn’t simply another handsome guy like Cooper or Vaughn when I saw a tannedand sweaty Dylan without his shirt.

I’d never found a man sexy before. Viewing a guy assexy, rather than handsome, made me think of sex and I hated being touched. Icouldn’t even imagine kissing a guy without wanting to vomit. Yet when I sawDylan without his shirt, my body flushed with heat. For the first time in mylife, I was aroused by the sight of a man. My desire not only surprised me, butalso scared me to death.

I got the worst giggles when I saw Dylan without hisshirt. Embarrassed and aroused, I wouldn’t shut up until Harlow pulled meoutside and I downed an entire bottle of water. After calming, I said thestupidest thing ever.

“He has hair on his chest.”

Harlowburst intogiggles and I realized how pathetic I sounded.

“Oh, don’t be sad,” Harlow said, hugging me. “Everyonethinks someone’s hot.”

“Do you think someone’s hot?” I mumbled against her.

“Yeah, sure,” she lied.

“Who?”

“Vaughn.”

Even knowing she was lying, I appreciated the effort. Harlow’s hugs felt good. One day, I might enjoy a man touching me. Well, assuming the manwas Dylan.

Every morning for months, I woke up and wondered if Ishould talk to Dylan again. We had shared a few short conversations when I wentwith Mom to Cooper’s future office. She designed the layout while Dylan ran theconstruction team. One time, he even said my hair looked nice in a braid. I’dsmiled like an idiot, unable to even thank him. Despite his dark angry eyes,Dylan always spoke with a gentle tone when addressing me. I thought he liked methe way guys liked girls, but he never made me feel dirty.

I had hoped he might ask me out. Feeling stronger thanI’d ever been, I was ready to give dating a chance. My hopes died when theDevils MC showed up to grab Harlow. They took me too. I wished I fought themoff, but I shut down like I always did when afraid. Harlow kicked one and triedto hit another, but they were too strong.

When the armed Devils arrived, the men at the worksiteran for cover. All except Dylan who attacked the two Devils with a hammer. Henearly tore out one guy’s eye before the second bastard shot him in the chest.

Dylan didn’t die, but my courage did. I stoppedvisiting the worksite and hadn’t seen him except in passing for months. I stilldreamed of dating Dylan. Until two days earlier, when I realized I’d waited toolong and lost my chance.

Staring out at our backyard, I could only think ofDylan hugging a pretty redhead. The girl was curvy in a way I wasn’t. Shesmiled easily like I never did and hugged him as if touching was no big dealfor her. They actually looked good together. Him tall and powerful, her smalland delicate. She was what Dylan deserved. Yet I couldn’t believe I lost mychance. I’d been so sure he was mine because he said he’d wait.

Weeks earlier, Nick Davies’s loser dad came toEllsberg and forced me to help him find his boy. Saying no to men was alwaysdifficult. My little brother Jace even bossed me around.

After I led Doyle Davies to New Hampton College, he fought with Nick then Dylan. Watching them fight, I was overwhelmed with fear andguilt. When a weapon dropped near my feet, I grabbed the knife and planned tohurt anyone who touched me. The police arrived, but I refused to give up theblade. Despite my fear of men, I said no. Besides, the police never helped meall those years when I was a slave to Sugar Bum and his friends. I refused togive up my weapon. Nearly dying to protect Harlow and me, Dylan could betrusted. When he asked for the weapon, I gave it to him.

Afterwards, he drove me home and I wished to explainwhat he meant to me. I couldn’t find the words.

“Did they hurt you?” Dylan asked on the ride to myhouse.

Unable to find my voice, I shook my head.

“People like that need to be wiped off the face of theearth,” he growled.

Once we parked in front of my house, Dylan finallylooked at me. I forced myself to hold his gaze.

“You know, don’t you?” he whispered. “That’s why yougave me the knife.”

My heart soared at how he understood. When I nodded,Dylan’s dark eyes studied me.

“I’ll wait,” he said then added, “I have no choicebecause I can’t go anywhere else. Only you will do.”

I wanted to say something reassuring to Dylan. He wasalways in my thoughts and I needed him to know what he meant to me. The wordsfelt all wrong in my head, so I only thanked him for the ride.

When I slid out of the truck, Dylan took me by thewrist. His calloused hands were soft against my skin.

“Do you want me to wait?” he asked.

My lips remained glued together, but I nodded. Dylan’shard and angry expression eased. I even saw a little smile on his face when Iglanced back before disappearing into the house.

Dylan said he would wait. He meant it too. Yet I tooktoo long to get over my issues and he found someone else.

After seeing Dylan with the redhead, I sunk deeperinto a depression. Even working at Lark’s house did nothing to distract me. Isimply went through the motions. Fortunately, Lark was especially tired andslept most of the day, so she never noticed my bad mood.

Harlowwasn’t asoblivious as we washed dishes after dinner.

“What’s up, stinky pup?”

I rolled my eyes at her nickname for me. “Nothing.”

“She doesn’t want to deal with the leaves,” Jace saidfrom behind us. Our ten year old brother crossed his arms like Dad often didwhen suspicious. “See, she got spooked last night and bailed on raking theleaves. They ended up blowing around the yard and now she’s trying to get outof raking them again.”

“That’s not it.”

“Sure, it is,” he said, his dark hair covering hisnarrowed eyes. “What else could it be?”

Grumpy, I decided to punish him. “It’s about a sexyguy.”

Jace’s face twisted into horror. “Eww!” he cried,running out of the room.

Harlow and I laughed at the sound of him telling on meto Mom.

“In a few years, girls will be all he thinks about,” Isaid, returning to the dishes.

Harlowleaned her headagainst my shoulder. “Sexy guy, huh?”

“Shouldn’t you be getting ready for your fight?”

Harlowglanced at theclock. “Yeah. When I get back, I want to hear about the sexy guy making yousigh so much.”

As my sister dressed to go, I finished the dishes andstruggled to stop sighing. I was still grumpy when Dad got home. In this livingroom, he told Harlow to be careful. She said something and laughed.

When Harlow started fighting at the Thunderdome, shecalled herself Joy and hid it from our parents. She didn’t think they’d approveand she was right. Harlow and I were naïve to assume they wouldn’t find outlong before she told them the truth though.

Dad might be a pastor, but he learned about the Lordin prison. As a member of the Reapers, Dad had eyes and ears all over Ellsberg.He likely knew Harlow was fighting before she threw her first punch.

Entering the kitchen, Dad smiled at me. “Stop talkingabout cute boys around your brother. He has a sensitive gag reflex.”

I laughed as he got himself a beer and joined me atthe sink. “Mom said we have leftovers. Mind warming them up for me?”

Shaking my head, I filled a plate and set it in themicrowave.

“Are you okay?” Dad asked, frowning at me. “You lookworn down.”

“I had a long day.”

“You sure that’s it?”

We watched each other and I remembered the first timehe asked if I was okay. Five years earlier when I was brought to this house andmet my new family. I didn’t remember a lot from that day besides thinking thesepeople were too good to be true. I figured they’d wait until Kirk was gone thenhurt me.

I couldn’t remember when I knew Dad was a good man wholoved me. Not like my real dad loved me. Tad felt the kind of love a persondied to protect. I saw the love in his eyes as he waited for his food to finishwarming.

“I wish I was stronger.”

“So do I,” he said softly. “Everyone does. They justdon’t admit it. That’s what makes you so brave. You can admit your fears.”

Even thinking he was full of shit, I smiled. “Thanks,Dad.”

Taking his plate out of the microwave, he inhaled.“Mom makes the best meatloaf.”

“I made it.”

Grinning, Dad nudged me with his hip. “If you makethis meatloaf for the boy you’re hung up on, you’ll own him.”

“I’ll remember that.”

Dad left me to eat in the living room with Mom. Ifinished up the dishes, washed off the counter, and joined Jace outside as heraked the leaves.

“I saw a shadow last night,” I told him.

“A person shadow or a squirrel shadow?”

We laughed, but I knew Jace thought I was nuts. Ifreaked over minor noises and the doorbell sent me scrambling to my room.Having only lived with us for a year, Jace was still getting used to having twoweird big sisters.

Once we finished outside, I took a shower and watchedTV alone in my room. Usually my favorite showMonksoothed me. Thisnight, I pinched the back of my hand.

Whenever I was tense, I pinched my hands until theywere dark with bruises. If I ran out of space on my hands, I moved onto myarms. On really bad days, I pinched bruises up and down my legs too.

Ignoring the TV, I thought about Dylan’s strong armsaround the pretty girl. He should have been mine, but I failed. No amount ofpinching gave me a second chance, but I couldn’t stop. The depression needed anoutlet.

I was still pinching my hands under the blankets when Harlow crawled into my bed. Damp from a shower, she wore shorts and a loose tee. I alsonoticed a darkening bruise on her eye.

“Did you win?” I asked as she cuddled next to me.

“Hell yeah.”

“Are you in pain?”

“No,” Harlow lied. “Are you still bummed about a sexyguy?”

Pinching harder, I shrugged. “I get disappointedsometimes.”

“Disappointed about what?”

“Disappointed in me. I was doing so well months ago.Now I just hide in the house.”

“You have a job and friends.”

“I should be stronger by now.”

“Things happened that changed us both.”

We were both thinking about the Devils. I was happy tohave blocked most of the experience from my mind, but I remembered enough.Dylan getting shot. The way one guy pushed me against a wall. How he wanted torape me because I was “extra.” Harlow was the one they wanted and I wasdisposable. Mostly, I remembered Harlow and me killing the guy.

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