Home > Talon (Ashes & Embers #4)

Talon (Ashes & Embers #4)
Author: Carian Cole

Chapter 1


"Harder…harder…" she moans, arching up beneath me, her fake nails digging into my ass. Her eyes close and her mouth falls open as I pump into her harder. She has so much makeup on, she looks like she face-planted into a bag of Skittles.

"Oh, my God…yes…deeper…" she begs, but I can't go harder or deeper, even with my notorious eleven inches. I've maxed out my level of hardness and depth.

"Faster…" she pants just as I pull out and roll away from her, snapping the condom off before tossing it carelessly onto the faded carpet.

"What the hell? Why did you stop?" She bolts up to glare at me. "I wasn't done."

Yawning, I cross my arms under my head and close my eyes. "Well, I was." Seriously, I can't get past her face now. I just can't fuck Skittle-face.

"You didn't even get off."

I don't bother to open my eyes. "Did you hear me saying wetter? Tighter? No. It was as deep and hard as it was gonna get. And then your face happened. Sorry."

I do open an eye when I hear her rummaging around the cheap motel room for her clothes. "You're an asshole! It's just dirty talk. I didn't actually mean it."

Great, a rainbow-faced, lying groupie. Just what I wanted. Not. She looked much hotter backstage. Now…not so much.

"It doesn't work for me." I shrug casually.

She yanks her clothes on in a huff, grabs her bag and high-heeled leather boots, but she doesn't bother to put them on as she storms toward the door barefoot.

"Hey…" I say, stopping her. "Do you wanna grab a bite to eat, maybe?"

"Seriously? No. I came here for sex, not dinner. Some fucking cock star you are! Loser!" She slams the door so hard the ugly painting above the bed tilts. Damn. I was hoping it would fall off the wall and land on my head, putting me out of my misery.

No such luck.

Rolling over, I close my eyes, eager to sleep off the dull ache in my head from partying after the concert earlier. However, the bed smells strange and the sheets are rough and scratchy against my skin. Somehow, I've turned into a person who can only sleep on Egyptian cotton sheets. I'm not sure if that makes me a spoiled brat or just a guy who appreciates the finer things money can buy.

Since I won't be getting any sleep in this dump, I get dressed, tie my long hair back, grab my wallet, cell, and smokes, while laughing at the irony of it all. When I was younger, I believed if I ever reached famous rock-star status I would be as happy as a pig in shit. But here I am, goal achieved, and the only thing that really makes me happy is clean, soft sheets that smell like lavender. And to top it off, my years of sexual escapades have earned me the hashtag of #Cockstar on social media. I kind of wish my guitar-playing skills were more notable than my dick skills.


Chapter 2


As soon as he walks into the café, I know it's him—tall, dark hair, athletic body, and a gorgeous smile. My heart skips a beat as he scans the room, his eyes finally landing on me. Smiling, I give him a shy little wave as he crosses the dining area and takes the seat across from me.

"Asia?" he asks.

"That's me." My heart races as I pray to every god and goddess that I don't look as nervous as I feel. He's even better looking in person than in his photo. He's actually almost pretty. Totally out of my league.

"Have you been waiting long?"

"No." I shake my head. "About ten minutes, that's all."

I purposely came a few minutes early because I knew from talking to him online for the past four weeks people showing up late annoys him. He's a model and personal trainer, so tardiness throws off his busy schedule.

His bright blue eyes focus on me—unblinking—for an uncomfortable amount of time.

"The waitress should be right over," I say, breaking the silence. "I told her I was waiting for someone before ordering."

He glances around the room uneasily then leans across the small table. "Look, I'm just gonna cut to the chase here. You seem really nice, but you're not really what I was expecting. I'm sorry."

The pang in my stomach is instant, and not at all unfamiliar, but I force the smile to remain on my face. "Excuse me?"

"I really hate this. I'm not a bad guy. Really. I was just expecting you to be a little more…put together, I guess? Maybe that's the wrong choice of words." Put together? What does that mean? As if reading my thoughts, he continues, "More fashionable…trendy. I'm a model, you know. I'm not shallow, but, yeah…looks are important to me. You know what I mean?"

Studying him, I wonder how someone so good-looking, with such beautiful eyes and a friendly smile, can be this big an asshole. Mean people should look mean, like a warning label of sorts. He has no right to be this hot and be such a jerk.

"You're cute, though," he adds, as if that lessens the blow. "Just not my type. I'm sorry."

Grabbing my small purse and forcing out a fake laugh, I stand and push my chair back, needing to get away. "Really, it's okay. These things happen. I'm just going to go. Thank you for making time to meet me, anyway."

I walk out of the small café quickly, not giving him a chance to say anything more, or see the tears trailing down my cheeks.

Stupid. Stupid. Stupid.

What was I thinking, joining a free online dating site, anyway? And did I seriously think a model—someone crazy good-looking who lives in a beautiful tenth-floor apartment downtown and drives a bright yellow sports car—was going to be interested in me? I don't even have a car.

Pulling a tissue out of my purse, I wipe my eyes as I embark on the five-mile walk back to my tiny one-bedroom apartment. Two miles in and my feet are screaming in pain, the new shoes I bought just for this date and starved myself for a week to be able to afford rubbing and digging into my toes and heels. And yet, I still looked un-put-together.

Those words will never leave my brain. I may as well just tattoo them across my forehead.

The sad thing is, we hit it off great in our emails, chats, and two short phone calls. I really liked him and thought he liked me, too. I blew off at least ten other guys who replied to my ad because I thought Drew was going be the one…or would at least lead to something more. Those other guys probably would have turned into psychos or shallow jerks, too, as that seems to be the pattern for me lately.

It's nine thirty by the time I climb the dilapidated stairs to my apartment, which is not in the best of neighborhoods. I'm not even sure how I thought I was going to get home if the date had gone well, because there is no way I would have let him drop me off here. I suppose I should be glad things didn't work out or I would have been walking home at midnight, or later, dealing with God knows what kind of freaks hanging out in the dark corners of my sketchy neighborhood.

Once inside, I can't get my shoes off fast enough to relieve my aching feet that now have icky, painful blisters.


My reflection in the full-length mirror in the hallway outside my bedroom stops me and I face it to study myself, trying to see what he saw. What everyone sees…or doesn't see.

What's wrong with me?

I'm not ugly. Am I? My thin frame is slightly curvy, balancing out my height of five foot three nicely. The jeans hugging my hips aren't name-brand, but they fit me perfectly, held up by a woven, brown leather belt with a hammered brass buckle shaped like a heart. The black angel-winged blouse with the colored paint splatters is one of my favorites. Aside from the jeans and shoes, I made everything myself. Boho is how my style would be described—a mix of hippie and bohemian that's comfy but pretty cool, earthy, and timeless. Apparently, the model didn't approve.

Not put together.

Hours of my time were spent creating the belt, buckle, and dyeing the blouse to get the splatters faded just right. Hours of assembling with my own hands using what little money I could save.


Pulling my clothes off as I walk into my bedroom, I toss them into the bin with my laundry for the weekend, pull on an old, oversized T-shirt, and then climb into my bed, taking my cell phone with me so I can call my friend Katrina.

"Tell me everything!" she screams when she picks up.

"It sucked."

"Sucked? How? Why?"

Sighing, I pull the thin comforter up to my chin. "He walked in, took visible inventory of me, then said I didn't look 'put together' and wasn't his type, so I politely left."

"Not put together?" she repeats. "What the hell does that mean?"

"I'm not sure. I thought it meant sloppy. Frazzled, maybe?"

"What in the actual fuck, Asia? You are gorgeous. You hand-make your goddamn clothes and they are beautiful. He can go eat a dick!"

"He was really hot, though."

"He can still eat a dick! It's his loss, honey."

"His and every other guy in this town, it seems. I should just give up and become a nun."

"Asia, stop it. You're beautiful and sweet. I'm going to find you the right guy. Stay off those damn dating sites and leave this to me."

Oh, God. Nothing good ever comes of her plans. Especially when she's trying to "fix" me.

"Really, Kat, it's fine. I'm good." I try to mask the fear in my voice at the thought of her plans. "You can barely find your glasses on your own head sometimes. Please don't try to find me a man."

"I found Rob, didn't I?"

"You rear-ended him at a red light while you were texting and driving. You're lucky you didn't hurt him," I remind her.

"It was fate. We were meant to be. And now I'm going to help you find the right guy."

"I'm okay, really—"

The frenzied clicking of a keyboard seeps through the phone. "I got this, girl," she says. "Have faith in me."

"No, Kat, please don't get anything with me. Remember when you painted my living room for me?"

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