High Class In Borrowed Shoes-Part Two

High Class In Borrowed Shoes-Part Two by Juliana Stone

Part Two:


Mace Evans smelled her before his eyes confirmed what his body already knew—funny how scent could take you back, make you relive a memory in an instant.  She was honey and vanilla, and had always been.

         Ashton Breckinridge. 

         Christ, it had been almost ten years since he’d last seen her, and yet as he gazed down at her it felt like yesterday. She looked as shocked as he felt, but quickly composed herself, letting the cool façade he’d love to forget, slip into place. Nice and easy like. 

         Some things never change.

         “Ashton.”  He said slowly, letting her name roll over his tongue as his gaze moved over her.  An awkward silence hung between them as they continued to stare at each other. He noticed the blush that colored her cheeks and her fingers gripped the Starbucks a tad too tightly.  She was nervous.  He liked that. 

          In the last five years Mace had travelled the world, been thrown into a million situations that required him to think fast on his feet.  It took a hell of a lot to throw him. He’d built up a thick skin, one that enabled him to compartmentalize.

         And right now, he was compartmentalizing.  Big time.   He’d thrown Ashton Breckinridge into a little box ten years ago and damned if he was going to open it up. The girl was poison but back then he’d been too blinded by her to see it.

         He picked up his guitar case and walked past her and nodded to his manager Paul, before turning back to the woman who still held onto the door with a look that was a little more than confused.

         Join the fucking club.

         She gazed back at him, her blue eyes one shade past navy, and he felt his gut clench.  After all this time she could still do that to him. That thought angered him. He was Mace Fucking Evans. No woman turned his insides yet.

            At least, not anymore.

         “What the hell are you doing here?”  His voice was sharp and gruff, and Mace didn’t care.  He was tired, close to burn out, and she was the last person he wanted to see.  Not now.  Not when he was finally coming home a king. No longer was he the poor son of an outlaw biker with nothing. He was a bona fide rock star whose wealth and reach was impressive.

         Her eyes widened slightly.  “I work here.”  Her answer was soft, simple.

        Mace snorted.  “Are you serious?”  His eyes fell to her lips and Lord knows his mind wanted to wander to places best left in the past.  An image of her mouth, open and hot beneath his was there, in his mind’s eye, but he pushed it away.

         “Yeah, I am.”  There was an edge to her voice now and he regarded her closely.

         “What? White Lake not exciting enough?  Daddy buy The Meridian for you?”  Old money bags would do anything for his princess.

         She opened her mouth to answer but then closed it again, those eyes of hers now stormy. Seemed her cool façade was slipping a bit, which on any other given day Mace would have found interesting. As it was, he was dead tired and in no mood to deal with a past that had left the kind of scars he’d been trying to shed for years.

            And yet, he couldn’t stop looking at her.

         Her complexion was creamy, just the way he remembered and the color of her hair was still dark, the crimson depth glistening in the soft light.  He liked that, for whatever that was worth.  She hadn’t gone all Hollywood and botoxed and filled the shit out of her face, or fried her hair with bleach.

         She was thinner than he remembered but he’d bet his last drop of Canadian Whiskey that her breasts were real.  He glanced at them. 

         Yup, just a little more than a handful.  Fucking perfect.

         “You’re looking good, Ashton.”  He was surprised to hear his thoughts vocalized and frowned darkly as they slid out into the silence between them.

         “I…” She licked her lips. “I need to go.”  She glanced behind him.  “Here,” she said as she pushed the large Starbucks cup into his hands and nodded at Paul.  “This belongs to him.”

         He noticed a few more things. No wedding ring adorned her fingers and the nails were short and natural. He remembered a girl who lived for expensive manicures.

         She turned and headed toward the door and he got the impression she was escaping more than anything.  Hell, he knew the signs.  They’d been tattooed to the back of his ass for years.

         “No drink for old time sake?”  He taunted, feeling anger build inside and pissed that she’d managed to pull it out of the box.

         She paused, shook her head, but didn’t turn around.  Then she was gone.

         Shocked, he stared at the door. He’d been dismissed like yesterday’s news. Or garbage. Unbelievable.  What the hell had just happened? 

         He took a step toward the door, his first instinct to go after her, but then he stopped.  What was the point?

         Besides he was bone tired and needed a drink badly.  Ashton Breckinridge was a ghost from a past he wasn’t sure he was ready to face, at least not before he was fortified.

         He shot a dark look at his manager and his eyes immediately searched for the bar.  After pouring himself a generous tumbler of whiskey, he set the bottle on a low table and tossed his long frame onto the leather sofa. He let that first sip heat its way down his throat and stared out at the Detroit River.

         It was early October and dusk was already falling, bleeding into the soft warm glow of the sun.  Thousands of lights twinkled up at him from below, lining the river for miles. Out there were thousands of families.  Living.  Loving.  Fighting.

         He sipped his whiskey, leaned his head back and closed his eyes.  Damn but he was tired.

         Ashton Breckinridge.  What the hell was up with that?  Last he heard, she’d married some new money from down south. And yet here she was working at The Meridian?  Something didn’t jive but he was too exhausted to figure it out. 

         Her scent was still there, lingering in the air, teasing him with its subtleness.  Never in a million years had he expected to see her.  Not here in Detroit anyway.  She’d always hated the city. 

         “You up for the mixer?”  Paul’s voice slipped through his thoughts and Mace groaned as he sat up.  He drained the glass entirely and reached for the bottle. The thought of being in a room full of people he didn’t know—most of whom wanted something from him, made his gut clench.


         His manager grabbed his now cold Starbucks and studied him closely.  “The girl from the concierge left?”

         Mace pursed his lips and nodded.  “I know her…or knew her a long time ago.”

         “No shit.”  Paul answered.  “Did she know you were booked in here? Because I was assured no one would be privy to that information.”  He frowned.  “She won’t leak that info, will she?”

         “I doubt it.”  Mace stood and once more emptied the tumbler in his hand. He made a face as the fire settled in his belly.  “I’m a nobody to her.”

            Memory echoed in his head and he slammed his eyes shut as her teenaged voice cut through.

         “Mace, please don’t be mad. I want to be with you but I can’t be your girlfriend.  What would everyone think?”

         “Money talks my friend.  I don’t trust anyone.”

Dragged from the past, Mace shrugged his shoulders and slammed down the once again empty tumbler.  “Don’t worry about her.  Seriously, she needs cash about as bad as I need a kick in the ass.”

         “If you say so.”  Paul arched a brow.  “I’ll take Jason and Nic to the mixer.”  Paul nodded toward the bedroom. “Get some rest.  You’ll have a few days off before the media gets wind of the benefit.  Then all bets are off.”

         Paul headed toward the door.

         “Turn the lights off will ya?” Mace murmured tiredly.

         His manager nodded and then plunged the suite into darkness.

         He waited until the door locked behind him and then felt his body finally relax somewhat.  Mace stared into the darkness, cradling an empty glass and cursed the memories of the red-haired witch that burned behind his eyes.

         He’d known coming home was a bad idea.  He eyed the bottle of whiskey and sighed.

         It was too late to run.




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