Read Breathe Online

Authors: Sloan Parker

Tags: #Fiction, #Romance, #Suspense, #Gay, #Contemporary



Sloan Parker


Copyright © November 2010 by Sloan Parker

All rights reserved. This copy is intended for the original purchaser of this e-book

ONLY. No part of this e-book may be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any

printed or electronic form without prior written permission from Loose Id LLC.

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violation of the author's rights. Purchase only authorized editions.

eISBN 978-1-60737-890-7

Editor: Antonia Pearce

Cover Artist: Valerie Tibbs

Printed in the United States of America

Published by

Loose Id LLC

PO Box 425960

San Francisco CA 94142-5960

This e-book is a work of fiction. While reference might be made to actual historical

events or existing locations, the names, characters, places and incidents are either

the product of the author"s imagination or are used fictitiously, and any

resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or

locales is entirely coincidental.


This e-book contains sexually explicit scenes and adult language and may be

considered offensive to some readers. Loose Id LLC"s e-books are for sale to adults

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Please store your files wisely, where they cannot be accessed by under-aged readers.

* * *

DISCLAIMER: Please do not try any new sexual practice, especially those that

might be found in our BDSM/fetish titles without the guidance of an experienced

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To Mom and Dad. Thank you for all the love and support.


My sincerest thanks to Antonia, Treva, and everyone at Loose Id for giving this

story a chance and for the wonderful words of advice and support.

Special thanks to my critique partner, Connie, for helping polish this story. And

thank you to all of my local RWA chapter mates, especially the B-I-C gang and all

the brainstormers for sharing your knowledge, as well as the wonderful

encouragement you’ve offered this past year.

Thank you to the readers and other writers who have connected with me on

Twitter, Facebook, my blog, and other places. I appreciate your comments, laughs,

and cheers.

Lastly, but certainly not least, thank you to my Rosie for…well, everything.

Chapter One

Hope you found some peace in jail. You never will again.

Lincoln McCaw read the note one last time and crushed the paper in his fist.

The bus jerked forward as it came to a stop. No need to check. He was home. The

smell of hog manure from the surrounding farmlands and the burning steel of his

hometown"s only manufacturing plant filtered in through the crack in the window

one seat over. Funny how he couldn"t feel the coolness of the winter air hissing in

through that crack.

Maybe he never would again.

He stuffed the wadded-up note into his duffel bag, stood, and headed to the

front of the bus. The jail wasn"t far from Edgefield, but he hadn"t wanted Nancy

waiting for him outside. Who knew what sort of people lurked outside a jailhouse.

He laughed at that. Who was he afraid of? Men like him?

Six months in the county jail. His fellow inmates and the deputies probably

thought he was the worst of the lot. He"d spent more days there than most of the

guys who came and went. Some spent less time at the state pen.

But the jail was behind him now. It was over. Wasn"t it?

Not according to the latest “love letter” he had tucked in his bag.

He stepped off the bus. The driver shut the door and pulled away as soon as

Lincoln"s boots hit the pavement. Not surprising. Most didn"t want to stick around

the three-stoplight town. But Lincoln did. He had a lot of reasons to be there. A lot

of reasons he"d never leave.

Clear plastic walls surrounded the bus stop bench, cracked on all three sides

and coated in a slime no amount of scrubbing with the industrial strength cleaner

they"d used at the jail would remove. No one would wait inside the enclosure, no

matter how desperate they were for a bus out of Edgefield.

He checked anyway. Splinters covered the faded wood of the bench. If anyone

sat there, they"d get an ass full of tiny wooden daggers. Not the best way to ride the

bus. Edgefield was so damn inconsequential nobody at the Metro Transit Authority

probably gave a shit about the upkeep on the small-town stop that made up the

farthest point of the outlying community bus route.

Home sweet home.

“Lincoln!” Nancy crossed the parking lot behind the bench, waving her arms

through the air, a smile spread across her face. She quickened her stride. He did the


Sloan Parker

same and hugged her when they met. The warm embrace reminded him of their

mom, reminded him one person in the world loved him. She squeezed tighter.

“Nance, I can"t breathe.”

“Oh sorry.” She released him and stepped back. She wore a brown and orange

waitress uniform and those heavy-duty shoes nurses wore, designed for support and

long-wearing comfort. Hers were dingy, nowhere close to the white they must"ve

started out as, and were on their last leg. They wouldn"t provide much support or

comfort. Her disheveled dark hair fell from the ponytail in several places, and she

had a hint of makeup smudged under and over her eyes. Exhausted. His baby sister

was working herself to death.

Despite that, her eyes shone at him. The smile was also a reminder of their

mom. Nancy had always taken after their mother in a physical way. Whereas he

looked more like their dad with skin tone and features that gave a nod to their

Iroquois heritage.

“Just missed you,” she said.

“Missed you too.”

“I wish you would"ve let me visit. Was it bad?”

“Nah. It was okay.” No need to tell her about the gray food that smelled of dish

soap, the foul stench from the unwashed inmates he shared space with, the lack of

privacy, the endless hard surfaces of metal bars and concrete floors, or the countless

cracks about his short-lived racing career from the two good ol" boys who"d

recognized him.

He"d hated every minute of his time there.

And he deserved far worse.

“Come on. I parked over here.” She tilted her head to the left and pointed to

the vehicle she"d driven. His black pickup. The damn thing looked huge in the

empty lot.

He missed the truck. He also hated the hell out of it. Like it was the truck"s


Nancy had parked next to the County Cooler, an ice-cream stand run by the

Drakes, the elderly couple who"d owned the place since Lincoln had been a kid.

Every winter they boarded up the stand and headed south to visit their grandkids

in Texas. When the place closed, it always had the look of a shack you"d see Bo and

Luke Duke plow the General Lee through as Rosco P. Coltrane chased them down.

In Lincoln"s day, local teens needing a dry place to hold their beerfest orgy sneaked

in during the long winter months while the Drakes were out of town.

An open window near the garbage bin was missing several slats of wood.

Lincoln smirked. Same window he"d used when he first had sex with Tommy

Vanderline during their sophomore year of high school. Nice to know some things

never changed.

“You wanna drive?” Nancy asked.



His smirk vanished. “No.” He yanked open the passenger-side door, tossed in

his bag, and sat.

Then again—sometimes everything changed.

Nancy slid into the driver"s side and wrenched the seat forward until her feet

touched the pedals. “Sorry. I thought you might want to. You haven"t tried it out

since it came back from the body shop.”

He leaned his elbow on the armrest of the door and stared out the side window.

“Can"t. Restricted to work privileges. There and back. That"s it.”

They drove in silence, the darkness surrounding them in the cab, the sound of

the truck"s heater filling the void of unasked questions until he couldn"t stand not


“Did he hit you again?”

He would"ve missed her slight nod if it weren"t for the dim display of the

dashboard. She turned away from him as though checking the side street traffic at

the next intersection.

“You didn"t call the cops?”

“I should have,” she said.

“Fuck, yes, you should have.” Lincoln stabbed at the door lock with two fingers.

Lock. Unlock. Lock. Unlock. He took a deep breath and let off on the button. She

didn"t need him being an ass. “When did he come back?”

“The Friday after you left.”

“How long did he stay?”

“Until a couple of weeks ago.”

“Jesus, Nance!”

“I needed—I couldn"t afford the hospital bills without him, or her medicine

without his insurance.”

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