|Home > Katie Ashley > Runaway Train > Strings of the Heart (Page 69)|
|Strings of the Heart(Runaway Train #3) by Katie Ashley|
“But you deserve better than a girl who is hung up on some ass**le who will never feel the same way about her,” I protested.
“Why don’t you let me be the judge of that?”
“You’re just too good to be true, aren’t you?”
He chuckled. “I wouldn’t get too carried away singing my praises. Part of me is hanging on because girls with broken hearts or girls with something to prove to ass**le ex-boyfriends are easy lays.”
My eyes widened in horror at his statement. “Eli Renard, how could you think that about me?”
With a wink, he replied, “I’m just being honest with you, Allison. I don’t want you losing sleep worrying about breaking my heart when my motives aren’t exactly pure.” He cocked his head at me. “Just like I said on the dance floor, I want to have a good time with you, see where it leads us, but I’m sure as hell nowhere near ready to go ask Jake for your hand in marriage.”
Even though I should have been appalled at him, I couldn’t help but laugh. “You are so bad.”
“I know. I’m a bad boy with a somewhat heart of gold who just wants to have some fun with you.” Staring intently at me, he asked, “Think you can handle that?”
“I think I can try.”
Eli then leaned in and kissed my cheek. “Good. And the date is still on tomorrow night?”
I gave him a tentative smile. “Yes, it is.”
Rolling over in bed, I thumped my pillow for the millionth time. I guess it was more like punching the hell out of it instead of thumping it. After my hellish evening with Allison, I’d found it hard to sleep. I guess it was a combination of a guilty conscience and my mind racing with thoughts. As sleep continued to evade me, I kept tossing and turning while reliving each and every painful detail in my head.
Jesus, how had things gone so wrong between us? I was such a f**king selfish bastard. I’d become the epitome of the douchebags I hated—the men from my parents’ world. Every time I tried to do the right thing by pushing Allison away, I just pulled her back to me, hurting her even more. I’d become barely recognizable to who I once was. The old me would have never used Allison like I did in the skeezy club bathroom. I’d been an enraged bastard because she was kissing Eli and telling me I had no control over her. So I’d gone in to prove to her that she did belong to me, even though I had no plans to emotionally claim her. God, I was such an unimaginable bastard. For the life of me, I couldn’t fathom why I kept treating Allison the way I did. The old law school part of me started making a case against my own self in my head.
Just when I finally started to doze off around seven a.m., screaming babies jolted me awake. I waited a few minutes for Jake and Abby to get things under control. But when fifteen minutes went by and the twins were still crying, I lost my temper. With a growl, I got out of bed and threw on a T-shirt and a pair of jeans.
I stumbled out of my suite and staggered next door. Raising my fist, I pounded on the door. The crying grew closer and closer until the door flew open. A red-faced and screaming Jax greeted me first. Instead of Abby or Jake, it was Allison standing in the doorway. Motherfucking hell. I couldn’t catch a break. Instantly, I regretted my decision to come over. Things were still way too awkward between us after what had happened last night.
“Oh, um, hey,” I said.
“Hi,” she called over Jax’s wailing. Behind her, I could hear Jules crying as well.
“I came over to see what all the commotion was about.”
Allison grimaced. “Jake and Abby just left for the doctor—food poisoning or something. They were sick and feverish all night. I think Jake might be pretty dehydrated.”
“Are the spawns sick, too?” I asked, gesturing to Jax. That would certainly explain the f**king scream-fest.
“No, they’re fine. Well, except for the fact they seem to be going through some early separation anxiety when it comes to their parents. The moment Jake and Abby left the suite, they freaked out. Nothing I do seems to help.”
As I glanced from Jax to Allison, I noticed how frazzled she looked. Loose stands of dark hair had escaped from her ponytail, and her face was almost as red as Jax’s. “They’re not wet or hungry or sleepy—they just want to cry,” she said, her voice wavering as if she might cry at any minute as well.
At that moment, I had two options: I could have pulled an utterly douche move by telling her good luck with the screaming hellions and then escaped to my suite. Or I could offer to try to help her calm the twins down.
“Here, let me have him,” I said, reaching for Jax.
Allison’s dark eyes widened. “Seriously?”
I snorted contemptuously. “Like I’m going to leave you all alone with two screaming babies.”
Somehow I imagined that in her head, she was thinking that was exactly what an ass**le like me would do, especially after the way we had left things last night. “Thanks,” she said softly.
As I took Jax into my arms, he eyeballed me for a moment. When Allison started across the room for Jules, Jax picked up his wailing. “Okay, mama’s boy, you certainly have a fine pair of lungs.”
Allison jerked her head over her shoulder and scowled at me. “Don’t call him that.”
“It’s the truth, isn’t it?”
“Maybe. But he can’t help it.”
Jax’s lip quivered as I stared at him. A smile tugged at my lips. “Come to think of it, you’re just like your daddy. He was a pansy-ass mama’s boy back in the day, too.”