“Bronn?” I call out, my voice sounding shaky. I clear my throat, and even though he pauses, he doesn’t turn around. “I’m sorry about tonight. You didn’t wait for me, did you?”
His back still to me, he shakes his head. “Nah. Don’t worry about it.”
“Then why are you being an ass?” I snap, tired of his shit.
I know that I should have called him earlier. I know that he was looking forward to seeing me because I was looking forward to seeing him, but I’m here now and I’ve apologized. I don’t deserve the bullshit he’s dishing out.
With a heavy sigh, he pushes a hand through his hair, making it stick up, and looks back at me over his shoulder. “What are you doing here?”
“I’m here to see you.”
His hand no longer on the doorknob, he finally faces me and leans against the wooden frame. His arms cross over his chest, the muscles straining under the white t-shirt, and his jaw tics.
The silence between us is awkward and I want to fill it, but I can’t think of anything to say. Instead, I stand here, uncomfortably shifting my weight from one foot to the next. The longer his broody stare scrutinizes me the more I feel like the child I used to be, standing in front of Nana while waiting for her to dole out her harsh punishments.
When I can no longer take the silent treatment, I throw my arms out. “Just tell me what the hell the problem is, Bronnson.”
His eyes widen briefly before returning to the closed-off stare. He uncrosses an arm and waves it in my direction. “I lied.”
Frustrated, I march across the small deck until I’m directly in his face. “About what?”
“I spent my entire fucking day waiting for you. Checking my goddamn phone obsessively, my stomach falling each time there was no word from you.”
I knew it.
He laughs bitterly. “Whatever.”
“No, not ‘whatever’,” I whisper, placing my hand on his bicep. “I should have texted or called you.”
His eyes dart to where my hand rests on his arm as if he’s contemplating shaking it off. When he doesn’t, I tell him, “I got tied up, and then when I finally got away my mind was so jumbled with the drama of the day, I just didn’t think about it.” Finishing with a fierce whisper, I reiterate, “I should have fucking called.”
“Yeah, you should have,” he whispers harshly.
My heart is pounding.
Is this it?
Fuck, no it isn’t.
“Listen, I don’t know what else I can say to you to prove that I feel bad about not calling you!” I shout, pushing my hands through my hair. He doesn’t move, his eyes shooting daggers at me. “So, are you going to accept my damn apology and show me around your house or are we gonna just sit here and glare at each other all night?”
A rumble of laughter erupts from somewhere deep in his gut. “You are a fucking firecracker,” he says as he makes a grand sweeping gesture with his arm. “Come on in before you burn the place down with your sass.”
I don’t have a damn thing in common with the beautiful rich girl who walks into my bar; she’s southern class, fancy cars, and designer shoes.
I’ve got a drunk for a mother, a cheater for a father, and a reputation for trouble I’ve more than earned.
I look the other way, pretending I don’t notice how perfect she is. She wouldn’t give me the time of day anyway. Until she shatters that first impression and shows me she’s so much more—everything I never thought I deserved.
After a lifetime of being a disappointment, I want to prove to her that I’m better than my past.
We have one tragic thing in common, and the thread that binds us together will tear us apart as it unravels.
Are we strong enough to break through The Bars Between Us?
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