Home > Soaring (Magdalene #2)

Soaring (Magdalene #2)
Author: Kristen Ashley


Start Anew

I stood in the middle of the huge room, the long, high wall of windows showing a grayed view of the Atlantic Ocean foaming against the cliff rock, my furniture (mostly) where I wanted it, the rest of the space was taken up with boxes stacked high.

I’d brought too much stuff.

I should have gone through it. Weeded things out. Dumped stuff.

Started anew.

That’s what I needed.

That was why I was there.

To start anew.

The problem with that was, to do it, I needed to backtrack and rectify past mistakes.

As if the biggest mistake of all could be conjured by my thoughts, I heard my doorbell ring.

In buying the house long-distance without looking at anything but photos, I’d obviously not heard my doorbell. Hearing it then, I was surprised it was just as stunning and elegant as the rest of the house. Muted chimes that rang dulcetly through the space as if they were precisely what they were, carefully crafted to belong right there.

I looked to the door with its curving slash of extraordinary stained glass just as a loud banging that was not dulcet in the slightest came on the heels of the bell.

I couldn’t see anything but a shadow through the blues, purples and pinks of the stained glass, but I still knew that body shadowed through the glass. I’d know the lines of that body anywhere.

“Amelia! Open the fuck up!”

There it was.



Actually, very angry.

As he had been now for years.

I hurried to the door for several reasons.

One was that he was still banging and I liked my door. It was custom-made to fit the house. I didn’t want him damaging it. And I knew he was angry enough to keep banging and doing it that hard might cause harm to the door.

Two was that I didn’t want him to wait. He was angry and I didn’t want him angrier. Though how that could be, I couldn’t imagine. I’d spent years plumbing the depths of his wrath. However, as I did, I found those depths were unending.

And three was that he had a right to be angry and I didn’t want to do anything to give him more of a right.

I arrived at the door, flipped the lock, opened it and looked up at my ex-husband.

God, so beautiful. So…very…beautiful.

My heart shriveled.

“You fucking did it,” he snarled, his eyes slits, his fury so visible, so palpable, I could taste it.

I was used to the taste. It was acrid, it burned my tongue. I hated it but somewhere along the way I had become addicted to it.

“Con,” I whispered.

“Couldn’t leave well enough alone,” he bit out.

“Please, just—”

“We’re fine. We’re good. We’re finally far from you and happy, and you…” He shook his head furiously, “Fuck, you…” He drew in a massive breath then shouted, “Gotta show and fuck everything up!”

Oh yes. Very angry.

“That’s not my intention, Con,” I replied soothingly. “I know that you won’t believe that, but—”

“You know I won’t believe that?” he bellowed. “You know? Fuck yeah, you know, you bitch! Of course you fucking know!”

I lifted my hands in a pacifying gesture. “Really. Give me time. I promise—”

“You promise?” he thundered. “You? A promise from you? What a fucking joke!”

“If you give me time, Con—” I tried again, softly.

I stopped when he leaned into me, coming close.

“Time? You stupid, fucking bitch! So full of shit! Time? I’m not giving you time. I’m not giving you fucking shit. Amelia, you fuck this up for me, for my wife, for my kids, again, I’ll make you fucking pay. You hear me? I’ll make you fucking pay!”

I opened my mouth to say something. Something about the fact they weren’t his kids but our kids.

However, before I got it out, I heard a deep voice demand, “Step back. Now.”

Conrad jerked around.

I looked beyond him and the world suspended.

This was because, five feet away from Conrad, standing on my front walk, was a tall, muscular man with dark hair clipped short to his skull and the most beautiful blue eyes I’d ever seen in my life.

Those eyes were on Conrad. They were irate.

But I didn’t take that in.

I took him in.

His blue khakis hanging on narrow hips and covering long legs with noticeably meaty thighs. His matching blue t-shirt that fit snug at his wide chest and bulky biceps. A t-shirt that had a recognizable cross insignia over his heart with “MFD” in the middle and “fire” at the top, “rescue” at the bottom. His strong jaw covered in a dark five o’clock shadow that had hints of salt in it, those whiskers matching his thick, cropped hair.

And those eyes. Those eyes that were angry now but I knew with one look they could be many different things. They could be warm. They could laugh. They could be frustrated. They could be impatient. They could be determined. They could be joyful.

They could be heated.

And I knew with that one look I wanted to see those eyes every way they could be.

Yes, I wanted that but I also wanted more.

I wanted to make him feel all the things those eyes could communicate to me. I wanted to make him happy. I wanted to make him laugh. I even wanted to make him annoyed.

But most of all, in that moment, I found myself wanting, in a myriad of ways, to make those beautiful blue eyes heated.

Yes, standing in my brand new house facing off with the love of my life, my ex-husband, the man who I lost, a man I didn’t think I could get over but knew I had to find a way—for him but mostly for our children—that was what I thought.

I wanted it all from this stranger.

And I wanted it immediately.

“Who the fuck are you?” Conrad asked irately, jolting me out of these thoughts.

“I’m a man who doesn’t like it when another man shouts at, threatens and curses at a woman. Now, I said, step back,” the stranger replied.

“This isn’t any of your business,” Conrad informed him.

“Man sees another doin’ what I just saw you doin’, ’fraid you’re wrong. It is my business.” He delivered that and didn’t even pause before he said, “I’ll say it one more time, step back.”

Conrad turned to me. “You know this asshole?”

Before I could answer, Conrad was no longer standing at my front door.

He was off the front walk, several steps into the yard, and I had the back of the stranger to me as he’d positioned himself in my door between Conrad and me.


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