Home > Hold on Tight (Sea Breeze #8)(5)

Hold on Tight (Sea Breeze #8)(5)
Abbi Glines

She pulled her designer purse up on her arm and kept beaming at me like I was the lost ark and she’d found me. In my head I ran through the wealthy guys around here who could have afforded to put a ring on her finger. She was sweet, but she was also a princess. Always had been.

“I didn’t know you were back in town. And you’re working here? I can’t believe it. You were just gone. . . .” She stopped, and the sadness in her eyes reminded me that she had been close enough to the Falcos through Marcus that she remembered how painful that had been.

“My mother retired and moved to Florida. She gave me the house. I thought it was time I came home,” I explained. I had no idea what my parents had told people. I knew they hadn’t told them the truth. At least, I assumed they hadn’t. I feared they may have told other people what I’d heard my mother tell Dewayne. I hoped not.

Her pretty frown deepened, and the pity in her eyes put out the earlier twinkle. “I heard about your dad. I’m sorry.”

I nodded. I wasn’t sure what else to say. My anger at him was still there. He’d taken my son’s family away from him. The love Micah deserved had been stolen from him because of my father.

“Manda, how long did you say you’d . . .” The trademark blond hair that belonged to none other than Preston Drake was the first thing I noticed.

His eyes went from Amanda to me, and then they went wide in surprise. Preston was also one of Dewayne’s close friends. That group of four guys had owned Sea Breeze High their senior year. Most girls drooled over Preston—he’d been the heartbreaker. But not me. My fascination had been with Dewayne. Preston had done nothing for me.

“Holy shit! Is that you, Sienna?” Preston asked as he stepped inside and walked toward us.

Apparently, Dewayne hadn’t told anyone he’d seen me. I would not accept the fact that it hurt. He had proved already how much he didn’t care. I don’t know why I was surprised.

“Yes, it’s me,” I replied just as Preston’s arm wrapped around Amanda’s waist and he tugged her against him, then kissed her temple. No way. No freaking way. Marcus would kill him. Wouldn’t he? Preston had slept with most of Sea Breeze, and Marcus knew that better than anyone. How was he walking around and kissing on Marcus’s little sister?

Amanda giggled, and Preston’s grin grew.

“How are you alive?” I asked him as they both looked amused at the shock on my face.

“Oh, he beat my face in. But then he got over it and accepted it. We didn’t give him much choice,” Preston said.

I simply nodded, then looked back at Amanda. “So that ring is . . .”

“Preston Drake is getting hitched. Hard to believe, isn’t it?” she said in a teasing tone, then pinched Preston’s waist.

“Watch it, sexy,” he said, gazing down at her like she was the most precious thing on the face of the earth.

Had I ever had a guy look at me like that?


I hadn’t. The only love I knew was the love of a boy. He’d never had a chance to become a man. I had no idea what being loved by a man felt like. And until this moment I would have said I didn’t care, but watching these two, I wondered if I would ever know that feeling.

“It’s good to see you. Glad you’re back in town,” Preston said, then turned his attention back to Amanda. “Call when you’re done. I’ll come back and pick you up, yeah?”

She nodded. He kissed her fast and hard, then headed for the door.

The silly grin on Amanda’s face as she watched him go just brought home the fact that I didn’t know that kind of love and I probably never would. Didn’t matter, though. I had Micah. He was so much more.

“Sorry. He’s clingy today because I’ve been gone for two days, wedding gown shopping in Manhattan with Sadie, a friend of mine.”

I nodded like I understood, but “shopping” and “Manhattan” were foreign words to me. I bought stuff at the local Walmart.

“Do you have an appointment with someone?” I asked. I didn’t want to be rude, but I still hadn’t taken my lunch break and it was already three.

“Yes, with Hillary at three fifteen,” she replied.

Hillary was the owner. She had trained in New York, Los Angeles, and Paris. The fact that she had even hired me was a miracle. I was good at what I did, I knew that, but I wasn’t trained like she was.

“I’m here,” Hillary called out as she walked from the back room. Her long red hair was not at all natural. but it was exotic. Add to that her crystal-blue eyes, her eyelash extensions, and the collagen in her lips, and she was a head turner.

Amanda waved at her, then smiled at me. “I’m so glad you’re back. We need to get together sometime. Maybe go out one night.”

I wouldn’t be going out at night. Leaving Micah wasn’t an option. I nodded instead because I didn’t feel like telling her about Micah yet. She would ask questions I didn’t want to answer yet. Besides, anyone who knew Dustin and took one look at Micah would know.”


The condos were going to be finished on time. One less worry on my mind. After the tropical storm that came through in July, I was afraid it was going to put us off a month or so. Investors were getting nervous, and all that came to rest on my shoulders. Fucking idiots should have considered the fact that weather slows shit down before promising buyers that the place would be ready before Christmas. Dumbasses.

Pulling off my hard hat, I stepped out onto the parking lot from the building and headed for my truck. I was done for the day. The crew was rolling and didn’t need me. I’d been out here since five this morning. Squinting against the sun, I was able to make out Preston leaning up against my truck with a smirk on his face. Why was he here? He never showed up at my work sites.

“Just dropped Manda off to get her hair done,” Preston said, looking at me pointedly.

I had no f**king idea what this was about, so I just stood silently and waited for there to be a point to this.

I saw the moment when it finally dawned on him that I had no clue what he was talking about. He pressed his lips together, then shook his head. “You might want to stop by. Say hello,” he said. “Sienna is back.”

I should have known. Each day that passed without my mother calling to yell at me for not telling her that the new neighbor was Sienna, I breathed a sigh of relief. But it was only a matter of time before people in town saw her. And what the hell was she doing at Hillary’s salon? That place was expensive, and from the look of Sienna’s car, she didn’t need to be paying high prices for her damn hair. What about the kid?

“She have her kid with her?” I asked, trying to make the disgust in my voice not too obvious.

“Kid? What? Fuck! She’s got a kid? She married?”

She didn’t have her kid with her. Fan-fuckin’-tastic. She’d left the little boy at home alone. What the hell kind of a mother was she?

“And you knew she was back? With a kid? Why haven’t you said anything?”

“She moved into her parents’ house. I met her kid when I went over there to check out the neighbors for my parents. Didn’t think it was important that she was back. She was a part of Dustin’s life, not mine,” I replied, then jerked open the truck door.

“Liar. Fucking full-of-shit liar. You watched over that girl for years. Hell, when she was a freshman, you acted like her damn guard dog. When she was sent away, it f**ked with your head. You were grieving Dustin, and then she was gone and you grieved for her too. I would have thought you’d care that she was back. Unless she’s married and that’s why you’re pissed.”

Pretending like I hadn’t been super invested in Sienna and her happiness back then was pointless. My friends knew the truth, even if my brother hadn’t noticed. “She’s not married,” I replied, and climbed into the truck. “But the girl I cared about is gone. A cold bitch is in her place. And if she’s getting her hair done at Hillary’s, then she’s a selfish bitch. The piece-of-shit car she drives isn’t safe for her boy to ride in.”

I started to close the door, but Preston grabbed it. “Whoa, man, what’s your deal? She’s got you acting like an ass, and you’re not an ass. Sienna is working at Hillary’s, not getting her hair done.”

Maybe I was an ass.

“Oh,” I replied, wishing I hadn’t snapped in front of Preston.

“Yeah, oh. Sienna didn’t seem like a bitch at all. She seemed nice. . . . She was Sienna.”

No, she wasn’t. She was a mother, and she was f**king hiding something.

And if she was working, where the hell was Micah?

“I’m tired. I need a beer and then my bed. I’ll see you later,” I told him.

“Live Bay tomorrow night?” he asked.

Live Bay was the club in town were we all used to drink and pick up women. Now it was just me picking up women. The rest of those assholes were hitched or as good as hitched. “Yeah. I’ll see you there,” I told him as I closed the door. Then I headed to my parents’.

I could tell myself I was going to visit my momma, but the truth was, I was going to make sure Micah wasn’t at home alone. Something about the way Sienna had sent him away from me and gotten defensive bothered me. I wasn’t convinced the woman was mentally stable.

* * *

Once I got to my parents’, I parked beside my dad’s truck and made my way across the street before he realized I was here. I didn’t want a f**king audience, nor did I want his commentary.

Sienna’s car was gone, so she wasn’t home yet. That kid had better not be here. I walked up the steps and knocked on the door. I waited a full minute, and nothing. So I knocked again. Why I was f**king convinced she’d left her kid at home I wasn’t sure. I didn’t know Sienna. I didn’t actually have proof she was crazy.

“Micah, you in there? It’s Dewayne. I thought I’d stop by and check on you,” I called out, but there was only silence.

He wasn’t in there. I was overreacting. Why? I didn’t have a f**king clue. I turned and headed back down the stairs just in time for the beat-up Honda to pull into the driveway. Great. Now I had to explain myself.

Her car door opened and she stepped out. The sunglasses perched on her nose covered up those eyes of hers, so I had no idea what she was thinking. She bent down and then stood back up. I could see the small head scrambling out of the backseat and then heard his feet hit the pavement.

“Dewayne!” he called as he ran around the front of the car with an excited grin. But then he stopped. His smile vanished, and he stiffened and glanced back at his mother.

Sienna closed the car door and walked toward Micah. She rested her hand on his shoulder, bent down to whisper in his ear, then handed him the keys.

He nodded. “Okay,” he said glumly, then headed toward the house, not looking up at me again. When he got to the door, he unlocked it and went inside.

“What are you doing here?” she asked in her very unwelcoming tone. Apparently, the friendly smile she’d had for Preston was not happening for me.

Now, I could either lie to her or tell her the truth. I wasn’t a liar. “Heard you were working. I was concerned the kid was home alone.”

The expression on her face went from shocked to downright pissed. “Alone? You . . . you think that I would leave my son alone?” she asked in a horrified voice. “I’m not an idiot. And if you haven’t noticed, I’m the only family he has. I’m the only one who wanted him and loved him. So don’t”—she pointed her finger at me, her voice rising as fury simmered in her eyes—“act like you give a shit about him now. You DO NOT have the right. Get away from here. Go back over to that house. Forget about what your brother would have wanted. Pretend that abandoning me and his son when we needed SOMEONE was okay.” She was breathing so hard her chest was heaving, and tears had filled her eyes. Then she was running past me, and I couldn’t stop her. I couldn’t f**king move.

Hell . . . I couldn’t f**king breathe.

“Momma?” Micah’s voice called, and I moved then. I spun around and looked at him. Sienna wiped at her face with her arm and bent down to press a kiss to his head and whisper something to him.

He wrapped his little arms around her, and then he turned his head and glared at me. He actually glared at me. My chest exploded into a million pieces as I stood there and stared into the eyes of my brother’s son. How had I not seen it? His eyes were just like Dustin’s.

“Don’t come back here. You made my momma cry!” he yelled at me.

Sienna leaned back and grabbed his little arms gently and started talking to him again. He nodded and turned to go back inside. She stood up and glanced back at me.

The pain in her eyes confused me. Her words confused me. Why did she think we knew about this? Why was she blaming us for not being a part of his life? We didn’t know. She’d left and never come back.

“He’s Dustin’s,” I said as the reality of this finally sank in.

She frowned, and then she slowly nodded.

I dropped my head into my hands and took several deep breaths. Holy fuck, I had to get control of myself. One emotion after another slammed into my chest, taking my breath away. Pain, guilt, anger, disbelief—but more than anything, pure joy. It trumped all the other emotions. For six years I had mourned my brother. It had changed the way I lived my life. There had been only the memories and the mind-numbing guilt that I hadn’t been paying attention to his bad choices. . I had picked a f**king fight with him, and he’d run off behind the wheel drunk. If I had just paid attention to him, he could be alive right now. It was a solid weight on my chest keeping me from finding any joy in life. But now . . .

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