Home > Rock Chick Reborn (Rock Chick #9)(12)

Rock Chick Reborn (Rock Chick #9)(12)
Author: Kristen Ashley

I shrugged. “I hope so.”

Another grin from Moses. “You like herding badasses.”

And so he obviously had his answer about what I’d shared during the grocery store incident.

He was also right. I liked herding badasses.

What I liked more was the fact that, if Lee took them on permanent-like, I’d see my boys every day. Even when they moved out, I’d see them at work and thus could keep tabs on them (and ride their asses) for the foreseeable future.

“Yes,” I replied.

The look on Moses’s face said he’d read my thoughts but he was smart enough not to comment on them.

I grabbed my Bellini again and took a sip.

When I put it down, I realized I didn’t have anything else to say.

I mean, I did.

I could ask about his daughters. I could ask about his job. I could ask if he’d seen Tarzan or 300 or The Accountant and assess his taste. I could ask why his wife was stupid enough to lose him, or learn he wasn’t as perfect as he seemed, had done something stupid and he’d lost her.

But I didn’t want to know any of that. I didn’t want to know if he was even more fabulous. I didn’t want to know if he could be less fabulous, but it would confirm he was human.

I didn’t want anything that might make this hurt more when it was over.

“You do know, I know who you are.”

My attention went from my Bellini to his face, and I felt my lips had parted.

“I know you’re Shirleen Jackson,” he carried on. “I know who your husband was. I know what you and your nephew did before you stopped doing it.”

I continued to stare at him with my mouth open, but now my throat was burning and there was so much pressure in my head, I thought it would explode.

I should have run.

But since I didn’t, I should do it now.

I just couldn’t move.

He leaned into the table, staring right back at me.

“So let’s get this out there and get past it right now,” he kept going. “I don’t care, Shirleen. That was who you were. I’m sitting across the table with the woman you are now.”

“You . . . you know that I—?”

Moses cut me off. “I know about the drugs. I know about the poker games. I know about the bar you no longer own and what ran through there. And I know that’s all done.”

I pressed my lips together.

“We clear on that?” he asked.

I swept up my drink again, looking away.

I took a sip.

It didn’t help the burn in my throat.

I should have ordered three all up front.


I turned back to him and put my drink down. “You know that doesn’t change the fact that this is it, and then we’re never seeing each other again.”

His brows drew together. “Why not?”

“Because that will always be there.”

“It isn’t here now.”

I blinked at him.

“If it’s not here now, why would it ever be here?” he asked.

Was he crazy?

“I . . .” I shook my head. “It never goes away,” I explained.

He nodded once and sat back. “So you got out of that shit so you could continue to let it control your life and inform who you are?”

That sounded stupid.

“Of course not.”

“So why are you letting it control your life and inform who you are?” he pushed.

“It isn’t that easy,” I told him.

“It wouldn’t be that easy if you got out of the game you were in to run guns or peddle flesh or hire yourself out as a hitman, or sorry, hitwoman. Or if you wallowed in the mistakes you made and spent your life drinking yourself to death while watching shows about serial killers on TV. You didn’t do any of that. You did it the hard way. You scraped all the shit off and got yourself a decent job with decent people and became a foster mother.”

I snatched up my drink at that last.

This was because I was a foster carer.


Officially, I was an ex-drug dealer, current office manager who’d had two runaways placed with her by means that were a little bit shady (okay, totally shady as in, probably illegal and definitively not through any valid channels).

Luckily, Roam and Sniff both were eighteen now so they were of age and could be anywhere they wanted to be . . .

And he was a JCO. No, he was Director of Juvenile Probation.

He probably lived and breathed valid channels.

“Shirleen,” he called.

I looked at him while gulping back a glug of Bellini.

“I know it wasn’t above board, how you got those boys. I don’t care about that either,” he declared.

I took the glass from my mouth but didn’t set it back on the table.

There was less than half left, but I needed it close.

“What do you care about?” I asked.

And I’d find that I shouldn’t have.

Alternately, it could turn out it was the best thing I’d done in my life.

Because he answered.


“I care that my daughters get through high school without some hormonal boy making me a grandfather ten years before I’m ready for that shit, and also ruining my record of living fifty-one years of life without murdering a teenager. I care about them making decisions that will lead to happiness, not wealth or status or designer clothes, not drugs or booze or men who treat them like garbage.”

These were good things to care about, I thought.

Real good.

Moses didn’t give me the chance to make comment.

He kept going.

“I care about the turkey being cooked just right on Thanksgiving. Juicy goodness for the meal and days of leftover turkey sandwiches. I care about staying healthy for the day at least ten years away when my grandchildren come and I can put them on my shoulders and keep up with them when we’re horsing around. I care that my toilets don’t run and my faucets don’t leak and my yard looks good because I like to come home to a house that’s well maintained with a yard that looks good. But also I think everyone should be the kind of neighbor that cares for their home, and cares enough for their neighbors no one has to look at a shitty-ass yard when they come home.”

This was all good too.

Especially the turkey and home maintenance parts.

Who was I kidding?

Especially the taking care of himself part.

(But the turkey was a good one.)

Moses didn’t stop.

“I care about the Broncos and hope they win another Super Bowl, or twenty of them before I die. I care about global warming because I’m scared as shit about what my daughters and their children are going to face if we don’t sort our asses out. I care about the kids at my center and hope like fuck every one of them finds the righteous path, even if I have enough experience to know that not many of them will because their parents are for shit.”

He leaned in again and not that he’d taken his eyes from mine as he was giving this speech, but the way he started looking at me nailed me right to the spot.

“And this minute, I care about talking a beautiful woman, in a gorgeous dress with the most badass head of hair I’ve seen in my life and the most amazing eyes I’ve ever looked into who has a golden soul she hasn’t become acquainted with yet, into letting shit go so she not only enjoys this dinner with me, she lets me take her to a movie on Thursday.”

“You already want a second date?” I whispered.

“I already want a lot more from you, Shirleen Jackson, but I’m gonna remain focused on the short run in hopes I can stretch it long so maybe one day you can taste my Thanksgiving turkey. I make the best turkey, baby. So good, you’ll want Thanksgiving to come every day.”

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