Home > Jagged (Colorado Mountain #5)(21)

Jagged (Colorado Mountain #5)(21)
Author: Kristen Ashley

I hadn’t thought of it like that, either.

Ham wasn’t done.

“You’re also right it was a big f**kup. But that kind of f**kup doesn’t end in capital punishment, cookie. People do it. You tried. It failed. You hurt him. That sucks. Your punishment is what you feel right now, the hurt, the guilt, him able to come in and cut clean through you with a few words. That’ll heal. What you gotta do is learn from your mistakes, cut your losses, and move on. Includin’ changing your name back if you want.”

“But he hates my parents. He thought giving me his name was a gift.”

“It is. Absolutely,” Ham stated with an inflexibility that was surprising. “Means everything. Means a woman’s got him, his protection, his money, his love. That’s everything. Best thing he’s got to give because it symbolizes all that. But you two are done, babe. His name is yours to keep or give up as you please.”

“He took that, too, as me not wanting any memory of him.”

“I see that. But I don’t see him walkin’ into a place where you work, you’re busy, you’re on your feet, you gotta be on your game, and layin’ that garbage on you.”

“He’s really a nice guy, Ham. He’s never been to The Dog. He wouldn’t know it was an imposition. He didn’t even know how to pay for his beer tonight. He probably thought it was the only way to connect with me, to share what he had to share so he pulled up the courage and did it.”

“Well he did it wrong.”


Again with the inflexibility. “He did, Zara. You worked in an office or as a pilot on a plane or a lawyer in a courtroom, your ex doesn’t walk in while you’re doin’ your gig and lay shit on you.”

I hadn’t thought of it like that, either.

“He’s got the wrong end of the stick about what you were doin’,” Ham continued. “You feel like it and wanna sort that, you call him. Have a drink with him. But tell him The Dog is off-limits. Your boss wants your head on your work, not on your ex. He comes in again, he comes in for a drink and to make you laugh or he doesn’t come in at all.”

“Okay, Ham,” I muttered, put the shot glass to my lips, and threw it back.

“Zara,” he called when I was done and I looked at him. “That is not me bein’ an ass**le boss. That’s me takin’ care of my cookie. He doesn’t come in because I’m worried about you droppin’ drinks. He doesn’t come in because I didn’t like watchin’ him gut you, but more, I didn’t like knowin’ you felt him sink in that blade.”

I’d known for a long time why it wasn’t Greg for me.

Because, for me, it was Ham.

It had always been Ham.

And this was another of the myriad reasons why. Why I should never have married Greg. Why it would always be Ham.

“Thanks, darlin’,” I whispered and watched Ham’s face get soft again.

“Take him out for a drink. Unburden his mind about that shit. He’s feelin’ crap about that, you set him straight,” Ham advised. “But take care of you while you do it, baby. And if you gotta use me as an excuse to take care of you, do it.”

I needed to stop him from being so freaking cool.

Therefore, I shared, “I’m feeling the need to do another load of your laundry.”

At that, Ham threw his head back against my wall and laughed, the rich, booming sound filling my room and warming my soul.

I watched, smiling.

Chapter Six

Moving On

One week, two days later…

“Oh my God.”



“Oh yeah. Fuck. Love that, baby. Love you, Zara.”

I opened my eyes and saw sun peeking through the blinds.

I was hot, bothered, my ni**les hard and aching, perspiration was dampening my chest and between my br**sts, and my girl parts were throbbing.

I’d had another dream.

Since Ham talked me through the Greg thing, I’d had three.

This one made four.

All of them hot, so freaking hot.

All of them ended with Ham telling me he loved me.

This was not good.

I rolled to my back and turned to see my clock.

It was twelve fifteen. I often went to bed late, and slept in late, but today I’d slept in later.

I listened and heard no noises.

Back in the day, Ham had a routine and it hadn’t changed. Even if he went to bed at four in the morning, he woke up between eleven thirty and twelve, slugged back a mug of coffee, and went for a run with coffee as his only sustenance.

I not only didn’t know how he could run (at all); I didn’t know how he could run with only a cup of coffee fueling his endeavors.

I figured it was a macho guy thing. A test of endurance. If he could lug that big body of his five miles in what was considered his morning on just a cup of coffee that was the same as cage fighting a bruiser by the name of Butch Razor and coming out the unqualified victor.

Ham’s “morning” run meant I had time to do what I needed to do. And I hadn’t done it since I moved in with Ham.

So I was going to do it.

I reached into my nightstand and grabbed my toy. Pulling up my nightgown and sliding it in my panties, I turned it on.

Then I replayed the dream. I also made up more bits of the dream. They were really good additions, seeing as, when it came to Ham, I had an excellent imagination.

It had been a while so I came relatively quickly but it still snuck up on me. It was long. It was good. I gave a soft cry when it hit me and I moaned through it, whimpering at the end.

When I was done, I returned my toy to the nightstand, stretched, snuggled into my pillow, lounged, and when my body’s call for coffee could no longer be ignored I threw the covers back, put my feet to the floor, and headed to the kitchen.

I hit the door to the kitchen and stopped because a sweaty, track-pants wearing, tight-shirt-wet-and-plastered-to-him Ham was standing at the counter in the kitchen with his head turned, glowering at me.

“New rule. You don’t do that shit when I’m in the house,” he growled and I blinked.

“What shit?”

“You use your toy to get off when I’m not f**kin’ here.”

Oh my God. He heard me.

How humiliating was this?


“Heard the toy. Heard you. Don’t do that again.”


“Hear it again, make no mistake, babe, I’ll join you.”

Oh my God. Did he say what it sounded like he just said?

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