Sinful Southern Rider
A Sinful South Novel
by S.J. Drum
Phoenix looked up at the sound, turning her attention away from her computer, a laptop so old it could be considered vintage. She cocked her head to the side, eyes narrowed on the tiny window above the kitchen sink. The last rays of evening sunlight struggled to shine through glass that held tight to its dingy, dull appearance no matter how many times she gave it a thorough cleaning.
The sound, high pitched and whiny, grew louder. Dirt bike. An image of a dusty yellow, dented metal death trap flashed through her mind. The image of the dirt bike her father had rode during Phoenix's childhood. Her father had been an idiot on that bike, attempting to ride it over shoddily constructed jumps in daredevil fashion. The drunker he was, the more dangerous the stunts.
She was certain, though she couldn't say how she knew, that the unknown dirt bike now throttling down in front of her trailer carried an idiot just as worthless as her father had been.
Phoenix snapped the over-large lid closed on the geriatric laptop, wincing as it emitted a cracking noise as if in protest to the rough treatment. She glanced over her shoulder, finding her two young children tangled together on her tattered sofa, their attention fixed on whatever cartoon they'd been able to find through the static on the TV.
With a sigh, she pushed herself up and headed to the door. Her ex--or soon to be ex--was back, she just knew it. She was convinced the sole reason the bastard had yet to sign the divorce papers he'd been served was so he could continue feeling like he retained the right to show up randomly and beg for money...or sex.
Those days are long gone, asshole. Just like you should be.
Phoenix slipped through the normally squeaky front door in silence. Thankful the Trailer Park Gods chose this moment to be merciful, she latched the door shut behind her with a gentle click. The kids did not need to know their father had dropped by. Sure as shit the man hadn't dropped by to see them. As far as Phee-o knew, Jasper had decided years ago to forget about the existence of their two children.
She ignored the jackass now lounging on the potentially stolen, definitely ready for the junkyard bike, and focused instead on her '98 Honda. As her long-legged strides carried her forward, she withdrew a set of keys from the front pocket of her jeans.
Calm. Phoenix was going to stay calm, no matter how easily she'd been riled by Jasper in the past. She slid the key into the slot on the trunk, giving it a little jiggle when it threatened to stick. Nope, I will not be riled. With a screech the trunk popped open about an inch at the same moment she heard Jasper's whiskey-rough voice call her name.
"Phee-ee-oh," he singsonged.
Calm. I will remain calm no matter how his voice grates on my nerves. And shredded the remnants of her heart.
Jasper moved on to the part of his speech meant to cajole her into doing whatever it was he'd come 'round for, a speech which mainly consisted of a lot of "Now, baby...".
She shoved the keys back into her pocket, used one hand to lift the trunk lid and the other to grasp what she thought of as her "calm insurance".
Gravel crunched behind her, signaling he'd given up trying to draw her near with his hillbilly siren song and bike-show-model like posing. He'd try to soothe her with his hands next, if she allowed him close enough to reach her.
Her fingers wrapped around the smooth shaft concealed in the darkness of the trunk and her heart rate slowed a bit.
See? Calm insurance. It was already working. A grim smile twisted her lips as she caressed the cool metal before lifting the substantial bulk free of the trunk.
One hand on the barrel, the other on the grip, she turned to face her soon-to-be-ex with a shotgun held snug against her torso, braced across her body diagonal from shoulder to hip.
Jasper noted the gun with a rounding of his bloodshot eyes and took a few cautionary steps backward, his grime coated hands held up in front of him as if that alone would keep Phee-o from shooting his sorry ass. "Now, baby, what's with the shotgun? You got some varmint around here causing trouble? Them 'coons and squirrels always were a pain in the ass 'round here, gettin' into places they shouldn't." His eyes shifted from the gun to her face and back while he tried to laugh it off but only managed a nervous chuckle.
Phoenix studied the man she used to love so deeply it hurt. Eventually the love had fled along with the man he used to be, leaving only the hurt behind. Now...now she looked at Jasper and the only thing she felt was pity for her children having such a shitty father and pity for Jasper because he'd let his life come to this.
Jasper had been handsome, oh, boy, had he been handsome. In high school, he'd had a panty-stealing grin, mussed blond hair, the kind of rock hard abs only teenage boys can manage to cultivate, and a nice big dick. His panty-stealing grin had introduced Phoenix to his noteworthy undercarriage and that'd been all it took to have a teenage Phee-o halfway to the alter in her mind. Every time she'd looked into Jasper's baby blue's, dreams of children and a real house with a picket fence and holidays where no one got arrested took over her otherwise practical brain.
Unfortunately, she'd never gotten the nice house far away from a trailer park and she'd never gotten to experience a normal holiday celebration. At least she had the children.
Ten years after the fact, Jasper's hair was thinning and rarely washed, his stomach had grown a paunch from too much liquor and not enough hard work, and his drinkin' had taken the fun out of his big dick. Turns out, an XL dick isn't of much use if the owner drinks so much he can't get it up, keep it up, or concentrate long enough to use it with any amount of skill.
Phoenix took a step toward Jasper, her hold on the shotgun steady. "What do you want, Jasper?"
He rubbed the back of his dirty neck and toed at the sparse gravel with one booted foot. "Well, I thought I'd come home for a bit." When Phee-o shifted her hold on the rifle, he amended, "Not for a bit. For a while. Forever."
Uh huh, right. "Why?"
His eyes narrowed on her face, a bit of mean sneaking in around the edges. The stupid shit seemed to be forgetting about the gun. "I miss you. I want to see my kids. Ain't that reason enough?" His tone was no longer cajoling but as hard and unforgiving as the back of his hand the sole time he'd been drunk and mean enough to strike Phee-o.