Neglected, abandoned by a heroin-addicted mother, and placed in foster care at ten, Enzo Jordan has learned one thing…love hurts. At thirty-five, he has a successful tattoo shop and his choice of women. The one-night stands are getting old, and the love he holds for his best friend, Aibhlinn is impossible to hide. When the attraction between them reaches a boiling point, he’s forced to choose between facing his fears and walking away.
Aibhlinn Leahy has been in love with her best friend for years. The Irish-born comic book artist has poured time, energy, and love into the wounded man. His choice to walk away breaks her heart but frees her to explore a new future.
Life is a cruel and amazing thing. An abandoned baby brings the two back together, and they’re forced to examine the love that has long existed between them. This is a story of pain, scars, and fear. We all have demons to battle. The real decision is who’s in control…us or them?
People wondered about him and his best friend, Aibhlinn. They didn’t think a man, and a woman could be friends without jumping in the bed together. His theory was the exact opposite. Sex ruined things. It broke up lifelong relationships, made people paranoid, and upset the natural order you first had before romance entered the picture. No, his spitfire Irish lass with the piercing blue-green eyes and flowing Chesnutt mane would remain off limits forever.
The very thought of her made him smile. Even on his darkest day, she never failed to bring him a little happiness. He walked to the front door of his house and locked the door behind Tracey. A quick glance at the clock told him he had bout thirty minutes to get his ass into gear. He walked back over the maple hardwood floor and into the bathroom. The white on white tiles and glass shower enclosure made the room appear more open and easy to get into and out of, which made the space tolerable.
Turning on the hot water, he sank onto the bench at the far end of the massive stall and let the steam gathering clear his pores and his muddled head. Lack of sleep and beer had him feeling sluggish. After a few minutes, he rose to his feet, and stepped under the spray quickly soaped down, and rinsed off.
He was pulling on his plaid button up when the doorbell rang. A few moments later the lock turned.
“You decent birthday boy?” Aibhlinn called with the slight light he’d grown to love.
“Yeah, I’m coming out now,” Enzo said.
He appeared in the doorway and smiled. Dressed in a pair of black skinny jeans that hugged her thick thighs, and large ass, she was mouthwatering. Off limits, didn’t mean he couldn’t admire her assets. An off the shoulder Pink Floyd sweater showed off tantalizing porcelain flesh. She had her hair pulled up into a messy bun that showed off her long, slender neck.
“You ready to go?” she asked.
“What? No breakfast?” He asked.
She rolled her eyes “Smart ass. We’ll be back for that later. If you don’t hurry, we’ll miss the sunrise.”
He nodded his head and walked toward her, wrapping an arm around her waist as they hugged. He pressed a kiss to her forehead. “Thanks for coming, Ave.”
“Where else would I be?” She whispered.
Anywhere, with someone worthy of your time and affection. It was his deepest fear. That she’d enter a romantic relationship, and their friendship would go by the wayside. It was selfish. Wanting her to remain his number one girl. She deserved more. It worked for them now. They were both artists obsessed by the act of creating.
The year were passing swiftly, and she’d gone from unknown to sought after in her career field. First come loves, and then comes marriage. He snarled, pushing the thought of the day she too would leave him far in the background of his brain.
“Come on, I’ll drive,” she said pulling him to the door. He allowed her to manipulate him.
At five-foot-eleven, she still lacked the strength to move him if he resisted. Along with fucking, he liked to work out. It kept his head from getting overcrowded and allowed him a healthy way to work out his frustrations. Locking the door behind them, he followed her to the black SUV. She hit the Fob and unlocked the door.
Enzo was at the driver’s side, opening her door before she could protest. He knew how to treat a woman. He wasn’t so fucked up that he felt a sick need to use and abuse them. His mother, the angel who adopted him and straightened his ass out, would skin him alive if he ever went that route.
“Thanks, Enz,” she said climbing into her seat as he made his way to the passenger side. He leaned back against the seat and zoned out as she pulled out of his driveway and headed for their destination.
Fog hung in the air, creating a thin layer of white. The haze turned the massive structure to something mystical, or creepy, depending on how one looked at it. Bundled against the fall chill, they made their way from the car and into Ault Park, headed for the Pavilion. After the climb, his eyes drank in the frosted landscape. He shoved his hands in his pockets.
This park held good and bad memories. His birth mother brought him here many times. Originally he thought it was because she was a good mother who loved the outdoors and knew he loved to be among the beauty the park offered. As he grew, he understood it was a public place to get her fix. No one thought twice of a man, a woman, and a child walking through the woods.
He’d never forget the first time his brain registered the cash she gave Uncle Ian was for drugs. The tiny brown squares were heroin. They’d found her body here on his sixteenth birthday, needle still in her arm, eyes vacant, and body cold. She’d turned a day he already loathed into something even worse. He inhaled, embracing the chilly air that crept down his throat and into his chest.
The ache meant he was alive. That he’d survived against the odds. Thinking of the days scrounging for food in garbage cans, stealing from the stores, and running drugs for dope boys to feed his starving gut he shuddered. She always saved the most fucked up shit for his birthday, like an anti-birthday gift. That last day she’d left and never returned was his twelfth birthday.
He bowed his head in solemn remembrance. All the bullshit made it hard for a guy to feel joy on the day he came into the world and landed in a pile of festering shit. But that’s not where you are now. He glanced over at the woman standing beside him as the sky yielded from an inky blue to a purple, and a dusky orange. The suns’ rays turned everything golden and for that moment in time things were clean and new. The world was a hopeful place. The darkness was banished.