The Regret (Heartache #2)

By: Vicki Green

The Heartache Series Book 2



Chapter 1





Life is strange. One minute you’re fighting for your life and the next you’re hating yourself. That’s what happened to me. Yeah, I was young, but I should have fought harder. Not sure I’ll ever get over that. Now, I’m righting a wrong – doing what I wish I could have done so long ago. Took me long enough but I’ll be damned if I don’t do it. I’m determined, consumed with it. I live and breathe it, never stopping. I’m plagued by it and won’t rest. Ever. I’ve been through a ton of shit. Always stayed healthy, kept my body fit, and did a lot of training. No one will ever say I can’t hold my own. Not anymore. I’ve traveled to so many places and also worked undercover. People just think I’m a personal trainer, and I aim to keep it that way. It’s time to slow down now, do what I set out to do. It’s not gonna be easy.

“Tanner! Good to see you.”

Jase.

He’s a good man. Fought hard for what he wanted, what he needed. What was his. He’s made a good life for himself. He had some hard lessons before he broke free from the past that binded him, held him back from living.



“Jase. Good to see you too. Great wedding.”

We shake hands, smiling at each other. “I’m glad you could make it.” He pats my shoulder. “Thanks for taking over some of the responsibilities around here while Alena and I go on our honeymoon. I owe ya.”

I lower my head, my smile still on my face. “Nah. You don’t owe me for anything. I’m glad to do it.” Now I can spend even more time with Jolie, watching her, getting to know her.

“Well, I know you travel sometimes, and I appreciate you sticking around to help me.” I give him a nod, knowing I’m trying to stay close now. At least for a while. He keeps thanking me for saving him when I was just at the right place at the right time. Sorta. Well, I’ll just let him keep believing that. He just doesn’t know I’d been keeping an eye on him. I had a gut feeling that everything that had happened wasn’t quite over yet.

“Come on! We’re all moving to the snack area for the celebration.” Hailey’s voice shrills over the microphone. Again. I swear I think she lives to be in the spotlight. I chuckle as I look at Jase. He gives me a wink and walks away as I give him another nod telling him I’ll be there. I look around the crowd, most people moving towards the celebration. When I turn, I see Jolie standing behind the reception desk, leaning back against the wall watching people. I take a deep breath and walk over and lean against the wall beside her. If she knows I’m here, she doesn’t show it.

“Wanna go over and have a drink?” I ask hoping she’ll give in. Give me something.

Her eyes shift to me and then back out into the crowd and shrugs. “I could use a drink.”

She doesn’t wait for me to respond and pushes off the wall. I walk behind her until I catch up beside her and point to one of the last empty tables. She nods. I quickly jog over and pull out a chair for her. Instead she pulls out the one next to it and sits down. Point for her. She’s got some spunk in her, that’s for sure. Guess she’s one up on me now. I can’t hide my grin when I bend down, leaning my hands on the table in front of her. “What’ll you have? They said it’s an open bar.”

She looks up at me with those big blue eyes, and I swear something stirs inside me. She bats those long black lashes at me and speaks, “Fireball. Straight up. Light beer. If they don’t have that, surprise me.” She rests her elbows on the table, placing her chin on her hands, seriousness on her face. Her skin looks like porcelain, which is in contradiction to the tattoos coloring her left shoulder. I smile and give her a nod then walk towards the snack bar counter where they have everything laid out. I grab the bottle of fireball and pour a shot in two different plastic cups, then pull out two light beer bottles from the bucket of ice and walk back to her. Setting down one of the shots and beers in front of her, I place the other two drinks on the table in front of my seat and sit down. Picking up the shot, I raise it up in front of me and stare into her eyes. She looks at me, raises her cup, and we both chug them down. “Damn, that’s good,” she hisses. She takes a big swig of beer, looking out into the crowd.

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