Rocky Road: Sequel Book 3

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Summary

When her life takes a hard left turn, she's caught in the rubble of it all. Elena made her choice to stay in order to get to know the man who has been kept away from her for eighteen years. Unbeknownst to her, there's a rocky road ahead of her as she waits to see what her future may hold. Will Mike be in it? Mike is shackled to the FBI and is to assist in the capture of the man who shares his DNA once and for all. However, it's not as easy as it seems - neither is playing dead. When life catches him by surprise, will he come back from the grave or stay buried? With an unknown stranger riding the roads of Ludowici, can Mike keep the new possible danger at bay?

Genre:
Romance / Drama
Author:
kjwhitbread
Status:
Ongoing
Chapters:
23
Rating:
4.8 10 reviews
Age Rating:
18+

Chapter 1

Elena

“It’s not much, but it’s home,” my long-lost father, Viper, mentions over his shoulder while carrying my suitcases up the steps of his old farmhouse.

With each step, there’s a creak crying out from the wood under the carpet runner of the stairs. Along the wall is a large painting of a swan in a lake beyond the cattails and long grass.

At the top, I follow him to the left and down a hall. No paintings, no pictures... just sad white walls begging for some attention and company.

He opens a door and we step inside. “I hope this will be okay.” Viper places the suitcases by an old antique bed with a forest green comforter. The décor is outdated with old floral wallpaper and the carpet is white. There’s an old wooden vanity set up in the corner with a mirror facing the doorway. A large window overlooks a yard full of bright green grass against the setting sun.

The room is old but homey. “It will be fine,” I assure the nervous man by the door.

Viper pats his wrists against his thighs. “Alright then. I’ll leave you to it and warm up some carrot soup. Do you like carrot soup?” He asks with a worried brow. “If you don’t, I can make you something else. It’ll be no problem. I think I have some ham in the fridge. Do you like ham?”

I hold up my hand and give him a warm smile. “Carrot soup sounds wonderful.” Honestly, I’ve never had it before, but it can’t be that bad...

The man smiles and lets out a breath. “Okay.” Then, he turns on his heel to make his way back downstairs and leave me to unpack my belongings for the third time in five months.

While unpacking, I hope that this is the right decision. My best friend wasn’t all that fond of the idea of me staying to finish my senior year and continue the road to the University of Georgia, but she respected it. Though she was happy that I wanted to get to know my biological father, Rachel wasn’t so keen on the fact that I’d be staying so close to Randall. She assured me that she’ll have Paul keep an eye out for my safety. I told her that the majority of the Devil’s Henchmen will probably spot me every day, but if telling Paul to do it will help ease her anxiety then I’m okay with it.

Viper is my father. Elijah will always be my daddy and someone that Viper will never be able to replace, however, I have the right to get to know Viper as much as he has the right to learn who I am.

The story of my mother, Elijah, and Viper is still whirling around in my mind. How could my mother do what she did to these men? I’m sure she had her reasons, but still...

I sigh and close the cabinet door with my clothes folded neatly inside. Unlike my father and now Viper, my mother will always remain a mystery. She didn’t leave a letter behind explaining herself, she’s dead and won’t show up at the doorstep of this old farmhouse to tell me her side of the story.

No. I can only assure myself that she did what she felt like she had to do. Knowing that Jack is still out there somewhere, maybe there will be a time when I’ll run into him and can get his side of the story. After all, he did date my mother for two years, according to Elijah.

One can only hope. I’m surprised I never saw him at his son’s funeral.

I wipe a tear at the memory of Mike’s funeral. My heart is broken and so is my spirit. I can’t shake the feeling that if only I answered his calls then maybe he’d still be alive or at the very least, we could have reconciled before he passed.

It was so sudden, I’m still trying to cope with it... There are so many things I want to say to him, and can’t!

With my hands, I cover my face then count to ten in trying to stop a river of tears flowing over for the man that I’m still in love with. The man that has ruined any other man for me. The man who stole parts of me and never gave a single piece back.

“Elena!” Viper yells for me from the bottom of the stairs. “Dinner is ready.”

Yelling out, “Okay! Be right there,” I stand and smooth out my t-shirt then take a deep inhale of air to stride downstairs and share my first meal with my biological father.

*****

“Wait. So, you didn’t make this?” I ask slightly disappointed wishing I could get the recipe from him. Despite the soup being mostly carrots, it’s actually quite tasty.

He shakes his head with a smile. “No. Unfortunately, I did not. Judy from church made it for me. Oftentimes, she stops by with some dinners that she made too much of.”

A brow lifts on my forehead. “She drops off dinners for you?”

His hand shoots up and his cheeks turn pink. “It’s not like that.”

I call bologna. “Sure,” I tease with another slurp of the orange-colored soup.

“It’s not.” Viper clears his throat to take a sip of water.

“Too bad you can’t do anything about it anyway.”

“What do you mean?” Viper seems perplexed with his brows drawn pronouncing his troubled V between his eyes as he analyzes my comment.

“You’re a reverend. Aren’t you married to God? Meaning you can’t have a relationship with a woman...”

He chuckles and his brows rise high. “I’m a pastor, a reverend of a non-denominational church. I’m not a catholic priest. I can date and marry.”

Now my cheeks turn red. “Oh. I thought...” How embarrassing!

He smiles. “It’s okay.”

Straightening my spine and clearing my own uncomfortable throat, I ask, “Do you like, this, Judy?” With another slurp, I’m impressed with this soup; the amount of garlic is just right.

It takes a moment, but he nods his head.

With a napkin, I wipe my lips as I reach for my glass of water, I say, “I think you should ask her out sometime.”

“No, no she wouldn’t be interested.” He waves a hand of dismissal.

I give him a look then point out the crucial aspect of this situation. “She drops off dinners for you.”

“Because she makes too much for just herself. She shares.” His shoulders shrug.

“With her being as good of a cook as this,” I gesture to the bowl of soup, “she doesn’t make more than enough food on accident. I’m telling you; she likes you.”

“You think so?” The ghost of hope flashes across his face for a second.

“How long has she been doing this sort of thing?”

Looking up at the ceiling for an answer, he contemplates, “Nine months or so...”

My eyes bug out. “Nine months! You need to ask that poor woman out.”

The crow’s feet by his eyes wrinkle as he smiles. It reminds me of my dad and the wrinkles I noticed growing on him over time. I miss his deep, earth-shattering laugh... “I suppose I might find the courage to one day.”

As we finish dinner and clean up the kitchen together, he mentions that he needs to head over to the church to take care of some things.

“Why are you bringing that with you?” I ask about the small Tupperware container in his hand.

Viper freezes in the doorway. “Oh, I like to bring leftovers to the fridge at the church for the next day. Instead of walking all the way back here for lunch, I can stay at the church.”

Makes sense. “Oh. Okay. Well, I think I might take a shower and head to bed. Would that be alright?”

“Of course. I’ll see you in the morning.”

I smile as he closes the door behind him then remember the fact that he doesn’t have a little fridge in his office and my smile fades...

Maybe there’s a small kitchen within the building that I don’t know about. It’s not like I’ve taken a tour of the place or anything.

Realizing that I forgot to rinse off my spoon on the table, I take it to the sink to rinse it off and watch my father as he walks across the field to the church. It looks like a little hike, no wonder he wouldn’t want to do that walk four times a day. Once there, then back for lunch and to the church again, finally to come home.

The building looks fairly far away from here, in the dark with only the porch light showing the first few feet out from the window over the kitchen sink.

There isn’t another house for a couple of miles; it’s so quiet. I wonder if he gets lonely out here...

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