Spinning Out(The Blackhawk Boy #1)(8)

By: Lexi Ryan






When I pull into the trailer park, my tires crackle on the gravel road. I park in front of my childhood home and cut the engine. The windows are draped with dark sheets and part of the roof has been covered with a piece of rotting particleboard. The air-conditioning unit hangs from the bedroom window, but it hasn’t worked for years. As I climb out of the car and walk around to get my father, guilt washes over me, just like it does every time I visit. Tonight—and every night this summer, if Arrow doesn’t get me fired—I’ll sleep in the air-conditioned comfort of the Woodison mansion, a feather pillow under my head, cool, silky sheets wrapped around my legs, and Dad will sleep in this hot trailer, sweating through his sheets.

“Come on, Dad,” I say, sliding my arm behind his back. “Time to get you inside.” He’s out cold and doesn’t stir when I tug on him. “Dad. Wake up.” Nothing. Not even a grunt. “Crap.”

“Here,” someone calls behind me. He shuffles down the steps of the trailer beside Dad’s and saunters toward me before I can answer. I don’t know him, but his thick arms and broad shoulders indicate he’s a much better candidate for the job of maneuvering my fifty-year-old father inside than I am.

I step aside and let him help, holding the door as he leads my half-conscious father into the house.

“Take him to bed?” he asks.

“Please.” I point to the back of the trailer and follow him, watching as he settles Dad onto the unmade bed. I remove Dad’s scuffed work boots and pull a blanket over him as the stranger fills a cup of water from the tap and puts it on the table next to him.

“Thank you,” I say as we head back out.

The man holds the door open for me this time, but he doesn’t speak until the screen door clatters to a close behind us. The porch light illuminates the sharp angles of his cheekbones and a neatly trimmed beard. He’s tall and broad-shouldered with an aura of bad boy. Tattoos peek out from under the sleeves of his T-shirt. I make a mental note to tell Bailey about him. He’s absolutely her type.

While I lock Dad’s door behind me, the stranger dismisses my gratitude with a shrug. “If I hadn’t been here, someone else would’ve helped.”

He’s probably right. The trailer park never really sleeps. Not many people who live here work bankers’ hours, so there’s always someone sitting outside, smoking or taking in the night air. Nighttime promises blazing porch lights and the rumble of unhappy car engines. It’s such a dramatic contrast to the dark, silent acres of the Woodison Estate.

“You lived here long?” I wish he could help me keep an eye on Dad and his drinking, but I’m too ashamed to ask.

“Grew up in Blackhawk Valley and came back this fall.”

I nod and look at my feet. “You see my dad much?”

“Some. He tells me he used to work for Woodison?” He can’t be too much older than me, and I wonder if he has a job and where. I wonder if he understands that my dad isn’t rational when it comes to Uriah.

How Uriah Woodison screwed me over is one of Dad’s favorite subjects. “He was let go a few years ago. Hasn’t been able to find anything else.” Hasn’t tried.

“Woodison.” Turning his head, he looks across the gravel lane. “There’s a fucking asshole.”

That asshole is buying Dad’s groceries and keeping his lights on—not that I’d tell Dad that. “Well, I need to get going. Thanks for your help tonight.”

“I’m Sebastian Crowe.” He doesn’t offer a hand, only studies me. “You must be Mia.”

“Yeah, sorry. Mia Mendez. Nice to meet you.”

“You’re even prettier than they say.”

“Who?”

He shakes his head, dismissing my question. “How’s your boyfriend doing?”

“Brogan?”

“Do you have another boyfriend?”

“He’s . . . No change.” I force a smile, refusing to let him see how unnerving it is to have this guy know so much about me when I don’t think I’ve ever seen him before. “Thank you for asking.” I wander toward my car, wishing he hadn’t brought up Brogan, wishing he weren’t looking at me like he knows my secrets. “You sure know a lot about local news for someone who just moved to town.”

“In this neighborhood, it’s about all they talk about.”

Yet another reason I’m glad to be staying somewhere else. “Well, thanks again. For tonight.”

“Don’t be such a stranger.” He tucks his hands into his pockets, and I sense his gaze still on me, even if I can’t tell in the darkness. “I’d like to see you around more often.”

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