Aurora tapped her fingertips against the white covers. They were surprisingly comfortable; her head nestled nicely into the pillow and everything around her truly sunk in. So here she was, in a hotel bed, with a gorgeous man beside her. Interesting.
She glanced aside at his light facial hair, just enough stubble to entice but not enough to warrant a trim. As if she hadn’t seen enough of him, she allowed herself another glance at his perfect chest. What a lovely way to spend her … she checked her cell, Friday evening.
“Do we do this often?” She raised a brow.
“As often as you want it.” He slipped a hand beneath the covers, resting the other to his matted hair.
“Which is?” Would she need to spell it out for him? Maybe beauty wasn’t everything.
“Once a week. You’re away on ‘business’ a lot. Guess I’m keeping you busy.” He leaned closer, his lips grazing her shoulder.
She tilted her head to the side, welcoming his kisses. The pile of clothes on the floor reminded her on the whirlwind that had become her life.
Mud. Blood. Disgusting.
She groaned. “Don’t suppose you know where I was tonight?” Aurora rubbed her forehead.
Asher smiled; it spread slowly until he laughed. He rested against a pillow on the brown leather headboard.
She stared blankly.
His expression changed; no longer full of light but as dead as she felt inside. “You’re serious?”
“Okay, what is going on with you? You’re not as fun as you used to be.”
“Not as fun? I can’t remember a fucking thing!”
The sound of Asher’s laughter tested her patience; if he didn’t stop soon she’d wring his neck, squeezing every ounce of life from him until the annoyance he caused ceased to exist.
“It’s not funny, asshole.”
He stopped laughing and cleared his throat. The covers bunched around his waist. His new position exposed his hipbone. “Gimme a cigarette.”
Aurora leaned down to grab her dirty jeans. Fucking disgusting. The dried mud flaked off; brown fragments scattered across the cream carpet.
She threw the packet of cigarettes at him. When she looked back at him she rolled her eyes. Clearly his interest in the cigarettes was nothing compared to his apparent interest in her body. “My face is up here.”
“Think I’d rather look at this.” His fingertips grazed across her thigh, towards her hip.
“I think I’d rather know what the fuck is going on.”
Asher sighed. He opened the packet of Lucky Strikes and picked a one from the middle. Resting the cigarette butt between his lips, he found the lighter tucked neatly inside the white packet. With a flick, the tobacco sizzled until he seemed satisfied. He offered her one, and she gladly accepted it. She didn’t even remember how to smoke, but she’d do anything to settle the hurricane of conflicting emotions. He flicked the lighter again.
She leaned closer until her cigarette was perfectly lit. “Tell me everything you know.”
He raised a brow. “You seriously don’t remember a thing?”
“Woke up in the middle of nowhere, covered in blood and mud. And I looked like shit.”
“Blood? Jesus Christ, did you hurt yourself?”
She shrugged. “Don’t think so. Got a bump on my head.”
Asher’s foot tracing across her calf as he shuffled closer. “You could use a shower.”
“Saying I stink?”
“I’m saying you’re fucking dirty. Come on, I’ll join you.” Asher pushed the covers away. His fingertips curled around her palm and with a gentle tug she stood, gazing up at him. He had to be at least four inches taller without her heels. “We should finish this before we do.” He flicked ash into a decorative dish. “You realise what you’re saying is fucking crazy.”
“I’m well aware of that.” She abandoned the cigarette in the same floral dish. Releasing his hand, she rubbed her fingertips against the bump on her head. Fuck.
The carpet felt warm beneath her feet; the heating was high enough to keep the hairs on her arms from bristling. What little she remembered didn’t add up. Maybe a warm shower would help. Clear her mind, reduce the haze that stood between her and the life she couldn’t remember.
Click. Light filled the large bathroom. Not only did they have a bathtub, but they also had a power shower. Big enough for two. Convenient. She slid the glass doors open and twisted the silver tap. Hot water beat down to the tiled floor, and the steam filled the room. Her reflection in the mirror disappeared beneath the pool of mist.
The towels on the rack were soft. Almost too soft. She turned towards the tiny pots of shampoo and conditioner on the shelf above the porcelain sink. “Who’s paying for this place? Don’t suppose its me?”
“Are you mad? Your husband would bust my ass again.”
“Again?” She balanced her weight on her left hip and turned around, ready to greet him with a pout. When Asher entered the bathroom, she tilted her head to the side. At least in her clueless state she had company.
“You really don’t remember, do you?”
“Haven’t you been listening to a word I was saying?”
“Thought you were trying to be cute.” He stepped into the shower and waited. “Getting in or what?”
She joined him, closed the glass sliding door behind them and pressed her palm to the back of his neck, planting a tender kiss to his lips. He leaned down, making her job easier. His wandering hands returned. Smoke lingered in his kiss, but it didn’t stop her.
When they finally parted, he smirked. “Alright. I’ll tell you what I know. You better not be playing around – you know I don’t like that.”
She blinked. “Do you really think I’d turn up, looking like shit, if I remembered anything? If I knew where my house was I would have changed my fucking clothes. Tell me everything.”
Asher sighed. “When you’re clean. You got mud in your hair. Fuck. There’s a lot of blood.” He tugged her tangles apart.
She winced. “Just rip it apart, why don’t you? Be gentle.”
“Fuck, Aurora. You’re really not kidding.”
She rolled her eyes. Were all young men this quick to call bullshit? “Just talk.”
“Okay. This is what I know …”
Asher combed the knots from her hair with his fingers. Before too long, every trace of blood and mud trickled down the drain. The distinct scent of sweat and wet grass was soon replaced with a vanilla scented soap. He lathered the foam into her soft skin, particularly her breasts.
“You’re married. He’s a fucking asshole. He tried to do me for ‘disrupting the peace’. Fucker tried to cuff my bud, he didn’t even do anything. Tried to help a girl, she cried rape, he got his ass busted and so did I. Luckily, you appeared just as he was booking us. You told him to stop being an asshole and he cowered, tail between his legs and let me go. My friend wasn’t so lucky. I knew you were a goddess when I first saw you. Wearing those tight jeans, you looked amazing.” He nipped her lower lip. “Never been more turned on by an authoritative woman.”
She smirked, tracing her fingertips against his shoulder. The broad, masculine frame certainly lived up her expectations in the car. He was flawless. Perhaps not … perfectly flawed. A pain to pin down, but worth it? She hoped. “So when did we start doing this?”
“Four months after you set me free. You tracked me down. Not sure how you did that, though I bet your husband played a part in that. He’s not the type to let things go. He’s certainly got a reputation, but so have you. Everyone I’ve ever met wants to fuck you.”
She lifted a brow. “How flattering. Out of interest or revenge?”
Asher shrugged, squirting a dollop of shampoo into his palms and massaging it through her locks.
Now this, she could get used to.
Asher twisted his lips, eyes narrowing in concentration. “Bit of both. He’s pissed a few people off. I can assure you, I’m one of the few that have good intentions. If I’m the only one you’re seeing.”
The foam trickled down her back, across her thighs then swirled down the drain. “So I’m playing with a twenty-something while my husband pisses people off. Right,” she nodded.
Asher laughed. “There’s a lot more it to than that. Last I remember, you had trouble with your husband. Some kind of argument. You came my house in the middle of the night, screaming your head off until you fell into my bed. You never told me what was going on.”
She groaned. “Great.”
“Do you remember anything about us?” Asher rinsed her hair then turned the shower off. He stepped out first and granted her a view at his shimmering body in full glory. At least she had good taste.
“Don’t worry, I’ll remind you tomorrow morning. Unless you want to go again now.” Asher grinned.
Aurora laughed as she stepped out to a bat mat, allowing him to wrap a towel around her. “I don’t think you’ve got it in you.”
“I’m full of surprises, Mrs Kerr.”
She wrinkled her nose. “Ugh.”
Asher burst into laughter. “Wait until you see his fucking face.”
“Don’t suppose he’s young, gorgeous and perfect like you?”
He shook his head.
“Know my address?”
“Any chance of a fresh pair of clothes before tomorrow morning?”
“I could pick you something up on the breakfast run, tomorrow,” they strolled back to the bedroom, hand in hand. “You’re sure in for the ride of your life.”
Apparently, ‘patience’ wasn’t in Aurora’s vocabulary. She’d finished three cigarettes before Asher returned with several bags in hand. How long could it take to grab breakfast and some clothes? She looked at the clock ticking away on the wall. The longer she spent in bed waiting for Asher only meant that her husband waited at home, probably worrying his way to a receding hairline.
“One breakfast muffin with extra cheese, strong coffee and a block of chocolate brownie, for the lady.” He put a brown bag down to the bedside table. “Clothes.” He dropped the bag to her lap. “And my breakfast. Eat up before you check out the clothes.”
She wrinkled her nose. What if he’d picked clothes that made her look like a grandma? What if she absolutely fucking hated them? But the chance of him getting it right was higher than if he’d unleashed her on the impossible mission. She opened the bag and tugged out a pair of identical jeans and shirt.
“You don’t give me nearly enough credit.” He flopped onto the bed, leaning over to present her with a coffee fuelled kiss.
“Can’t believe I have to go home soon. Wherever home is.”
“We always have next week.”
“Don’t think I can wait.” She cupped his cheeks and pressed her naked body against him.
He struggled to push her away. “Calm down, girl. Your husband will get suspicious.”
“Don’t think you want to upset the beast right now.”
She rolled her eyes.
“I suggest you look through your cell before you go home. Now eat up.” Asher took a bite of his own muffin and kicked his shoes off. He wiped the crumbs away then turned on the flat screen TV on the wall. Asher settled for the Friends re-run, kicked his shoes off and got comfortable.
Aurora downed her coffee as quickly as she could. Breakfast tasted like a five-star meal. If only the rest of her life would be the same, if only her husband could reach Asher’s level of perfection. He’d set the bar high.
“Okay, I’d better go. Got the address?” Aurora tugged the clothes out, but something at the bottom of the bag caught her attention. She grinned. A black thong sat at the bottom of the bag. How romantic.
Asher nodded to a note on the bedside table.
She glanced aside at it.
“Have we ever fucked at my house before?”
Asher took a while to respond. He ate his muffin, wiping the crumbs away before he graced her with his attention. “A few times when your husband has been away. You liked the danger of getting caught. Haven’t done it for a while though.”
She ripped the labels from her dark jeans, and found the tag in her new jumper. Was it really time to go? She wriggled closer, kissing his bicep. “One more time?”
“Not today. You’ve got too much energy for me. Put some clothes on.” He patted her hip. “I’m sure I’ll be hearing from you soon.”
It was now or never.
Aurora scanned her cell but only recognised one name. Asher. Who the fuck was her husband? She searched her messages before she found the answer clear as day. In the form of constant unanswered messages she found the collection of desperate texts.
Aurora, where are you? Please can we speak about this?
You’re not answering your cell and nobody has seen you for days. Let me know you’re okay.
Damn it, Aurora. Just come home now. What are you trying to prove?
Okay, you’ve made your point. Come home now. I need you. We need you.
Right. More questions came to mind than answers. The more she discovered, the more she struggled to make sense of it. Austin. Her husband was called Austin – and if he was as uptight as he seemed, then no wonder she’d craved younger meat like Asher.
She moved onto her collection of pictures. Or lack of them. What little she had barely touched the surface of her double life. Nothing about her husband. Not even one. But what she did find caused her heart to skip a beat. A child? She had a kid? The little girl smiled sweetly, blonde hair tied into two perfect ponytails.
Great, I’m a mom.
The more she learned, the more she wanted to crawl back into bed with Asher, curled up against his chest, wasting the days away.
Oh, that reminded her. She searched for her driver’s licence to find her birthday. She was thirty-three. Strange, she felt older. She felt at least thirty-nine. Every muscle in her body ached, but there was probably a very good explanation for that.
She turned the engine on and typed the address into the navigation system on her phone. Time to go back to hell.
- Identity: Part One (calliehunter.wordpress.com)
- The Promise (fgpeer.wordpress.com)
- Asher’s Fault: A Quiet Coming-Of-Age Novel (crunchingsandmunchings.wordpress.com)