WE weren"t meant to be together. At eighteen, I knew this. Being "white trash" didn"t mean I was stupid about ALL the ways it was wrong. Evan Lacuna was too old for me, too handsome, and I was raised to never trust a cop. I should have listened.
I didn"t want to FALL for him. But I did.
Years of trying to forget can"t erase the secret we share. Love can cost you everything. Because, sometimes, the secrets are so ugly, the good guys so bad, there is nowhere to go but DOWN.Books by Author:Logan Chance Books
My life would scare the hell out of Stephen King. Seriously, it could redefine the entire horror genre. It"s not an original story"a father I"ve never met, a mother more concerned with her boyfriends than me"but working the graveyard shift at a gas station only adds to the terror. There are no creepy clowns, which I hate, or witches casting curses in the large mini-mart, there"s worse: people with nice things, people with a future, people who will take their thirty-two-ounce fountain soda and drive their new car away as fast as possible from this dump of a town to the "pretty" parts of Florida. And I"ll still be here.
So, will the super pregnant woman that lives in the woods just behind our store with her boyfriend and dog. It"s where most of the homeless people live until the cops come to do a sweep every six months or so and toss them out like the "white trash" they think they are.
Every night she comes in with her boyfriend and buys a single bottle of juice, two hotdogs, and a can of dog food. And every night, like clockwork, I let them grab drinks from the soda fountain for free. She always tries to pay, but I never let her. Arrest me. I"d do more for them, but there"s not a lot an eighteen-year-old can do. It"s probably selfish I"m stashing away half my paycheck, but I never claimed to be a saint. To prove that point, I swipe a piece of fried chicken from behind the glass case. For gas station chicken, it"s pretty darn good. Much better than the nothing that was my dinner.
The second I sink my teeth into the crispy crust, a tall, dark-haired man wearing a New York ball cap enters the store, interrupting my Robin Hood moment.
He strides over to the display of candy bars, and Iike I normally do when I"m alone in here, I guess what he"s going to get while I eat my chicken leg. Hm. His jeans are worn, but not the kind of worn like I"m wearing. He bought his worn, he didn"t earn it like I did. The dark T-shirt clinging to his biceps could go either way. I"m going to say he"s not the type of man who needs an expensive T-shirt based on the tattoo peeking from beneath the sleeve, so he probably doesn"t like the expensive candy bars with fancy names. I think he"ll go for the Snickers. He"s too handsome for a candy bar that doesn"t offer at least three things.
In suspense, I nearly choke on my chicken as I watch him reach down and select a plain "ol chocolate bar. He moves around the display, to the chips on the opposite side. While he studies the carbs, I study his face "the hard lines and angles, the straight nose and perfect-sized lips"and guess barbecue. That flavor has a rugged appeal, like he does.
He glances up and our eyes meet. I should look away, or at least put down this chicken leg, but I can"t. I need him to walk around that obstacle blocking him from my view and show me he picked barbecue. He looks back down, and after a few minutes, his eyes volley back to mine. And that"s when I get an uneasy feeling that starts low in my belly and works its way up my spine. How long does it take to pick a bag of chips" I"ve learned working here: not only poor people steal.
My instructions are to call the cops if I see shoplifters, but by the time they get here, the thieves are usually long gone. I leave my position behind the counter and drift a little closer to the sexy potential thief. Not that I plan on trying to take him down over a couple dollars"I barely reach his shoulder"but I"m not going to just hand it to him either.
"Did you need help with something"" I ask.
"Not unless you have salt and vinegar chips back there."
"Yuck, no," I answer.
That feeling in my stomach takes a dip when he smiles. A dimple peeks out for a moment, dazzling me, and then I remember that"s how shoplifters try to trick you, with charm. Meanwhile, he"s probably shoving five pounds of chips under his shirt.
He turns toward the glass refrigerator doors and leans down to grab a bottled water and that"s when I see it"the handle of a gun tucked between his waistband and briefs. I"ve seen what guns can do to people.
Since I don"t want to die tonight with a chicken bone in my hand, I hustle behind the counter, toss the drumstick somewhere between the stacks of napkins and plastic silverware underneath, and hit the panic button we had installed last summer. I never should"ve taken this job, but my options are slightly limited. Though, not as limited as they"ll be if he blows my head off. I can"t tear my eyes from him as he closes the distance to the checkout.