Play It Safe

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Book: Play It Safe by Kristen Ashley Read Free Book Online
Authors: Kristen Ashley
    “Casey, it doesn’t matter. He didn’t like it. Things were hot here before. Now they’re hotter.”
    Casey rounded the bed and approached me. “How much he lose, sis?”
    “Like I said,” I leaned in, “ it doesn’t matter. He came around last night, another local guy saw it go down, knew this guy was trouble, took my back. There was a commotion in the parking lot, the owner of the hotel got involved and so did a cop. He sized me up. We have to go. ”
    Casey was now close but he leaned back. “A cop?”
    I nodded. “A cop.”
    “He say shit to you?”
    I shook my head. “No, but he took one look at me outside my hotel room and the guy accused me of hustling. I didn’t, the local guy who stepped up for me confirmed this but this cop is not dumb. We gotta go.”
    Casey studied me.
    Then he asked, “How much you win, Ivey?”
    I sighed, then started, “Casey –”
    “How much…” he leaned in this time, “ did you win? ”
    “Five hundred dollars.”
    He grinned and leaned back, muttering, “Fuckin’ awesome.”
    “Casey, really –”
    “Give me a hundred,” he lifted a hand, palm up. “No, hundred and fifty. I’m gonna buy my girl flowers.”
    I stared.
    I needed gloves.
    While Casey was carousing, to stop from being bored, I needed books.
    A man bled for me and if I was going to spend any of the money I won, it would be buying him another warm scarf. Or a hat. Or, I didn’t know, fifty candy bars. Or, maybe, sending some flowers to his Grandma who hated me then getting out of town which was what she wanted most out of me.
    Casey spending a hundred and fifty dollars on some woman, absolutely not.
    “Are you nuts?” I asked softly.
    “Yep, I’m in love.” He shook his hand at me. “Lay it on me, Ivey.”
    I shook my head. “No, Casey. Honestly, we have to go. ”
    “You didn’t hustle him, cop didn’t hassle you, we’re cool and we’re solid, you got more money. We can stay another day, two.”
    My brother!
    “Casey!” I snapped, his face twisted, he took a step closer, bent and got in my face.
    “She’s special, Ivey. No shittin’ you, this one is different. I like her. You’re always whinin’ about findin’ somewhere safe, somewhere we can settle, somewhere we can take root. Maybe, you think, she’s the one, this might be it?”
    That was it. That was my brother, Casey.
    I was always whining about that, or I used to. I quit. Waste of breath.
    But I used to do it all the time.
    Stop the hustle. Stop driving here and there and everywhere. Stop keeping track of where we’d been so we could make sure to avoid going back. Stop living out of a hotel room, a suitcase. Have more than some clothes, a few books, some makeup and jewelry. Have a coffeemaker. Eat food you cooked not food cooked for you.
    He never gave in. He never wanted to settle. He disallowed connection, especially for me, with a fervor that many would think was unhealthy but, what we went through, what I went through then what he went through for me, was definitely not.
    Now, because he had found something he liked, it was a possibility.
    As for me, Mustang was exactly where I wanted to be. I knew it. It was Gray but it was more than Gray. It was Janie. It was knowing the cops in town were good cops, or at least one of them was. It was that crazy restaurant blighting the perfection of the town square.
    It was Gray.
    And, for Gray, I had to get the heck out of there.
    “Casey, I don’t want this to be it,” I lied.
    “I don’t care. Lived my life for you. Minute Mom squirted you out, Ivey, I’ve lived my whole fuckin’ life for you. Now, you give me a goddamned day or two, a coupla hundred dollars and you let me live my life for me. ”
    I sucked in breath and held his angry eyes.
    He was not right.
    And he was also absolutely not wrong.
    I closed my eyes.
    “I’m fallin’ in love with her, sis, I feel it.” I heard him whisper.
    I opened my eyes.
    “I cannot give you a hundred a

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