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Chas’s Fervor(6)

By:Chiah Wilder

Addie, you’ve got to get laid. It’s been too long, and you’re thinking all kinds of shit. You need to sleep with someone, but definitely not Jack’s dad. That would be a disaster. She had to stay away from him—he was bad news. Belonging to an outlaw club wasn’t a mark in his favor, either, since he was probably into all kinds of bad things. One thing was for sure: Addie was not interested in starting up with a carbon copy of her husband. One mean man was enough for a lifetime; but then, Chas was so sweet and tender with his son. Someone cold and calculating couldn’t be that loving with his kid.

Could he?

Popping another cracker in her mouth, Addie shook her head. Who was she kidding? Chas dripped sex, and she’d love to have his hands all over her body, his mouth on parts of her that made her heat up just thinking about it. But even if he were a great guy, she didn’t know when she’d have to take off again. Her life was destined to always be one step ahead of staying alive.

No, the best thing was to minimize her contact with him, even though she’d like to taste him and have him explore her body. Chas had to be relegated to her fantasies only; anything else would be insane.

An ache gnawed at her as she watched the lights wink on around the neighborhood as people came home from work. Normally, she loved sitting by herself, enjoying the solitude after a long day at the library, but that night, for the first time since she’d come to Pinewood Springs, she was acutely aware of how alone she was. She would love to share the moment with a man—a dark-haired, tall man dressed in denim and leather whose ass looked very hot on his Harley. He’s your student’s father. Get a grip, Addie.

Sighing, she poured herself another glass of wine and gazed out vacantly at life as it passed her by, while she nibbled on a slice of cheddar cheese.

Chapter Two

Scooping vanilla ice cream on his spoon, Jack opened his mouth and shoveled it in, grimacing as the coldness slid down his throat.

Chas laughed. “Better take smaller bites. You don’t wanna get brain freeze.”

With bulging eyes, Jack took a gulp of water, wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, and shoveled in another scoop.

Chas grinned widely as he watched his son devour his banana split. Maybelle’s Old-Fashioned Ice Cream Parlor on Main Street was Jack’s favorite place—at least, for the time being. The previous few months, when Jack was in his hotdog craze, it had been The Last Mustard Stand. Chas was glad Jack changed his tastes, because he didn’t think he could eat another hotdog for a long time.

Snuggled in a booth for two in the popular ice cream parlor, Jack’s brown eyes sparkled as he looked around to see what the other customers ordered. The large, round light fixtures outlining the counter, the windows, and the back wall made the room bright and cheery. White, wrought-iron parlor chairs around circular glass-topped tables filled the middle of the ice cream shop, while black leatherette booths hugged the walls.

Seeing a friend from school, Jack waved vigorously then recanted a story about how his friend had taken all the substitute teacher’s pencils, erasers, markers, and she was so mad and flustered that she’d run out of the classroom. Eyes wide, Jack covered his mouth to quiet his snickering. Chas laughed after telling Jack the friend shouldn’t have done it, though he didn’t think he sounded all that convincing because the story was funny, and boys will be boys.

Jack rambled on with other stories. Chas listened intently, a smile around his lips, loving the way his son’s brown eyes sparkled with excitement, and the way his voice became high-pitched when he told stories about what had happened at school with Tyler, his best friend. Watching him, Chas couldn’t believe the boy was all his. Jack was the only good thing to come out of the disastrous pairing with his ex—he was everything to Chas.

After finishing his story, Jack looked hard at his dad and said, “Dad, why can’t I live with you all the time? Don’t you want me to?”

Chas’s heart squeezed and a gnawing ache clenched his insides. His son’s earnest eyes scanned Chas’s face. More than anything, Chas wanted Jack with him all the time, but he knew it was important for a boy to have his mother around, even if she wasn’t the best one, like Brianna. Since he and Brianna had divorced two years before, they had agreed to split time with their son: Chas had him every other weekend and three weeknights every other week. This week was his weekend visit. If he had to do club business or a bike run, his parents and sister took care of Jack.

When his son was with him, Chas barely blinked before their time together was over until the next week. Jack had become Chas’s little shadow. He helped him mow the lawn, clean out the garage, and work on the bikes. Jack was the only eight-year-old Chas knew who had put new brake pads on a motorcycle.