Integral Instruments - With prelude to Justified Voices (Book 7)

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"My name is Ryan Thomas Ford, I'm the second son of Julie and Thomas Ford, I have an older brother named Gregory, who has down-syndrome and he's my best friend. He's funny and not afraid to tell me when I fuck up. I play keys and guitar in a band, with my friends. We're a big deal and the press hounds us, so I keep my private life private. I love my life and I love you, Megan O'Brian." Megan is a single mom by day and an artist by night. She's content with her life as it is. She doesn't follow bands or anything about them, aside from the band names of what she downloads. Ryan is single, but not available. He has a tough outer shell with a sensitive side that no one really sees. He can't stand the women that swarm him and wants someone deeper. What happens when he crashes into Meg and her girls? Literally...

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Chapter 1


“Mom, can we get McDonald’s for dinner?” Ellie, my 6 year old, asked from her booster seat and I turned the stereo down to hear her.

“I don’t know, Ellie.” I said with a sigh, "You know Piper can't have any and it isn't quite fair."

“It’s Elle, Mom.” She screeched, “Ellie is for babies.”

“Your still a baby.” Piper, my 7 year old whispered from her booster on the other side.

“Am not!” Elle fought her point, per usual.

“You're both babies.” Arlee, my teen, mumbled from the front seat and the bickering commenced.

Three girls bickering in my car, as we drove through the little residential town about 20 minutes from our house, was no fun.

It was a quaint town and peaceful, until the O’Brian’s drove through.

I had decided that I wanted to go for a hike today, which in retrospect was not a great idea, considering they all woke up in a mood today.

The entire 4 mile hike consisted of the 7 year old trying to be best friends with the 17 year old, who wasn't having it, and the 6 year old complaining about the 7 year old ignoring her. Now they were all exhausted and I was done for the day.

I slowed to stop at the stop sign and, once stopped I looked at all three of them, “We are not doing this, ladies. We are a family and we stick together! Stop it or you will ALL be holding hands on time out when we get home!”

Arlee cringed and turned around while Piper teared up and Elle smiled. She just wanted to be like her big sisters.

Then, all of a sudden my SUV lurched forward, a foreign momentum causing all of our bodies to jerk forward and my seatbelt to lock.

“Shit!” I cussed.

“Mom, that’s a swear!” Elle pointed out.

“Somebody hit us, didn’t they, Mom?” Piper started crying, “Now our car is ruined. We’ll never get home. Are they dead? Are they hurt?”

“It’s Okay, baby.” I sighed. This was the last thing I needed right now, “I’ll get out and look.”

“Don’t fight with anyone, Mom.” Arlee sounded desperately as I stepped out.

I rolled my eyes. Shouldn’t I be telling my kid that?

“Why didn’t you go?!” A guy in a leather jacket shouted at me as he exited his sports car, surveying the damage.

Ouch! His little sports car had taken some damage. The whole front bumper was dented and the grill. That would cost him.

“Excuse me?” I narrowed my eyes at him and crossed my arms. No way was he blaming ME for this. I was stopped. “Why didn’t you stop? It is called a STOP sign.”

“I thought you were going to move.” He bent over his hood, running a tattooed hand across the front, examining it.

Oh, his poor baby was all dented in... I didn't feel sorry for him one bit.

“So you didn’t even bother to slow down?” I looked at my own car, the bumper would need to be replaced, but that looked like that was it. My lights were higher up so it wouldn’t affect my driving ability, “You do know that the red lights on the back of the car means that the vehicle in front of you has stopped, right? Stop sign, red lights on car in front of you, DEAD giveaway!”

His head jerked up and he looked at me for the first time, taking in my yoga pants and ripped neck AC/DC shirt.

“Fuck.” He breathed the word. Whatever he was thinking, it didn’t look like he was happy he’d hit me, “I’ll pay you 2 grand for damages and a tight lip.”

“Excuse me? No! I want insurance info, dickhead!” I snapped.

“Come on!” He whined and pointed at my bumper, “That’s more than that piece of junk is probably worth!”

“She may not be a sports car, but Ruby here is a champ. She’s been with me for 3 years and hasn’t had a scratch on her or even reached 60 thousand miles.”

“You named your car?” He gave me an incredulous look.

“And? What of it? It’s a good car!”

“Mommy? Are you okay? Is he bleeding?” Piper asked from her seat as she peeked out the window. I could hear Arlee trying to shush her.

“I’m fine, baby.” I smiled at her little blue eyes that were visible as she peeked out, “I’ll be there in a minute, just as soon as I’m done dealing with this jackass.” Then I turned back to the guy.

“Look, call your husband, baby’s daddy, or whoever! Ask them! It’s a good deal, 2k for a bumper. I can give you cash right now.” He ran a hand through his chocolate colored hair, trying to bargain with me, as if his charm was going to help him.

Who had that kind of cash on them? Was he some kind of drug dealer? No, probably just a rich, privileged asshole.

“Not happening.” I held my hand out, “Insurance card.”

He reached into his pocket with a huff and, after riffling through his wallet, held it out to me. I snatched it up and went to the driver’s side of my car, to grab my phone. He followed.

“Arlee, hand me my insurance card out of the glove box, please?” Arlee did as I asked then swallowed hard as she gaped out my door, where the guy now stood.

All of the girls were staring at him silently as I took a picture of his insurance card and when I turned to hand him mine I noticed that the man looked very nervous under their wide eyed stares.

“Ladies, can we not make this poor man nervous?” I scoffed, “Stop staring, it’s not polite.”

“Mom, he has lots of tattoos!” Elle stated a little loudly.

“Mom’s got them too.” Arlee snapped, “Zip it!” Then she shut up when I gave her my pointed “Mom” glare. I was quite proud of my stare actually. It did wonders getting them to clean up after themselves.

“Not that many!” Elle exclaimed again with widened eyes.

“Eleanore O’Brian, that’s enough.” I turned my pointed eyes on her and she zipped lip too.

He smiled and pulled out his phone to take a pic of my information, while I went to take pictures of our vehicles and the damage.

“You seem to know what your doing.” His eyes narrowed at me with accusation.

“You wanted to give me cash, so I’m assuming that you don’t want insurance or the police involved here. I’m just covering my own ass, buddy.” I gave him a wide eyed, angry look. The one I normally saved for the girls when they acted up in public.

“Are you a lawyer?” His eyes narrowed at me.

“No. I’m a single mom that knows how to get shit done.”

“Mom!” Piper shouted.

“Sorry, baby.” I rolled my eyes as the guy chuckled.

“Look, just tell me that you won’t post this shit on social media.” He scratched the back of his head.

"I don't do social media, but thanks for thinking I'm some kid.” I gave him a confused look, what was wrong with this guy?

He just gaped at me for a moment before asking his own question in return, “You listen to hard rock. Isn’t that what was playing in your car?”

That was an odd question. My brow furrowed, “What? You ram into my car, then you ask me what kind of music I listen to? Are you high, Sir?”

He tilted his head and smiled weirdly at me, as he gave me a once over.

“We should exchange numbers too. Incase anything comes up.”

“What could possibly come up that the insurance card doesn’t cover?”

His smile turned cocky, “You need my name, number and insurance to post a claim and I need yours to tell them who I hit.”

My mouth formed an o-shape. I hadn’t thought of that.

Once all was said and done I climbed back into my car and went on my way.

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