I Get What I Want #1
Vincent ‘Vinny’ Laron crossed a line at his going away party four years ago—he hurt Charlene Rivers. He behaved selfishly at the one time when a man should never be selfish. Retired now from the army, due to an injury, he's going home with a new mission in life; show the girl who stole his heart that night how right they could be together. Only problem is she's not easily convinced, which leaves him with only one thing to do—convince her. He’s satisfied and surprised when she willingly goes into his arms, and his bed.
Charlene Rivers has tried like hell to put what happened between her and Vinny behind her. For the most part she’s done a good job of it, but when Vinny comes home without a heads up to anyone—the past won’t stay where it belongs. Not when he’s made it crystal clear that he intends to show her how good they can really be together. She has never stopped loving him, and finds it easy to allow his loving advances, but can she forgive him for breaking her heart all those years ago?
As soon as he turned eighteen, Vincent Laron, known as Vinny to his family and close friends, joined the army. Needless to say, that pissed his father off big time, a father who didn’t give a shit about him except when he felt a need to use his fists. Vinny got to be his punching bag. The fight which broke out ruined one lounge chair in the front room, the coffee table, and a few dishes. End result, Vinny still joined the army in spite of his father’s wishes, and his father went to jail for assault and the fights he kept starting at home.
As to what had happened to his father, all anyone ever knew for sure was Ed Laron upped and left one night. A few years later, Vinny got a letter saying the police had found his father dead. That left just him and his sister, Amanda. She’d saved up the money he’d sent her to pay for beauty school, which made everything he’d been through worthwhile. He was happy to have helped her achieve her dream in starting her own shop. He wanted his sister to be able to do something with her life. Oh, he still sent her money each month, and he got a big laugh out of her letters always telling him to stop doing it, that she was fine.
He drove into his home town with a slight grin on his lips, completely relaxed as he hadn’t been in a long while. Home. He was back home where he not only belonged but to a place he’d truly missed. Funny how, when looking back over the past years, he could say he’d been homesick for the town and a few of the people in it. Most of his young adult life he couldn’t think of anything other than getting away from all of it, except for his sister and Charlene River, her best friend.
Even after all this time, Vinny had a hard time accepting his feelings toward Charlie. For years he’d thought of her as another sister. Because she was younger, he’d tried to do the right thing by keeping his distance and succeeded until that night at the bar, when the flood gates opened. He couldn’t close them back up. When Levi Kendricks slapped her, Vinny saw red. At the same time, his raw need to claim her as his overcame him, which didn’t end the way it should’ve. He knew from the start she’d never been with a man, and when things started to heat up he went as slow as he could. What happened, and how she was able to push him off before he could make it enjoyable—oh yeah, that was the booze. He was half-drunk when he walked in on her and Levi. Having so much alcohol in his system clouded how he reacted to being with her. He saw her and after wanting her for such a long time, he couldn’t walk away when he was holding her right where he’d needed her to be. He had to have her. What did he go and do? He’d fucked it all up.
For him, having sex with Charlie, who was a virgin at the time, was something that didn’t sit very well with him. The first thing on his list of things to do was to fix the mess he’d created with her. He just hoped like hell that during the four years since he’d last seen her, the door he’d finally opened up between them hadn’t been firmly closed. He was sure if she’d found someone else, his sister would’ve mentioned it in one of her letters. After all, Vinny had spilled the beans to Amanda. He’d shared everything that had happened between him and Charlie right before he left the last time. He needed her to keep an eye out and make sure Charlie was okay. They just didn’t tell Charlie Amanda knew.
Taking a turn, he entered Main Street. Not really knowing where Amanda’s shop was located, he found a spot and parked his car. Walking a bit to stretch his legs would help the bad knee he had as a result of his time in the service of his country as well.
Getting out, he stretched, and his body popped. He was only twenty-two. He should be in the prime of his life, but the army had taken so much out of him. A couple of tours on overseas duty, serving during war time, and it only took one stray bullet landing in just the right spot in his knee to take him out of action. Hell, it had taken him a full year in rehab before he was able to walk away from all the surgeries they had to do in order to repair the damn thing.
No matter how good it felt to be home, it felt strange knowing he was home for good and his injuries meant he wouldn’t be going back out there ever again.
Locking the truck and pocketing the keys, he went in search of the shop. This was to be a big surprise for Amanda. She didn’t know he was coming home for good. He hadn’t told her. He wanted to see her face when he walked in, just like he couldn’t wait to see Charlie’s face when he saw her.
Walking down the main street sidewalk, he was surprised by all the closed shops, but he had to grin at the onlookers. Being away for four years changed him. For one, even though he had to go through therapy, had to learn how to walk all over again, he still managed to keep himself in shape. His body wasn’t like it used to be. He’d filled out even more. His height hadn’t changed, he still stood at six-three, but his shoulders were wider and thicker, as were his legs. Hell, his jean size had gone up thanks to those legs, and finding shirts for him was no fun. They were either tight, showing off his muscles or baggy as hell. He went with tight and knew he looked like a giant walking down the sidewalk. It had him grinning behind his sunglasses.
He passed the diner, not even bothering to look inside. The local sheriff’s car was parked out front, and from the shiny black jag next to it, he had a pretty good idea who might be there, since only one person in town was flash enough to drive something like that—Levi. Four buildings down from the diner he found the shop. Sunshine Valley, a name Amanda picked out years ago when they were kids, hiding from their father one of the times he tore up the house during a drunken fit.
With a slight grin, Vinny opened the door, took off his glasses, and stepped inside. A tiny bell rang from overhead and every woman inside stopped what they were doing to look at him.
“Take a seat and someone will be with you in a second,” Amanda said as she worked on a woman.
“Just need a bit off the top, I think,” he said, waiting for the sound of his voice to click.
It didn’t take long.
Amanda stopped curling, looked up, and just about dropped the curling iron on top of the head of the woman she was working on. “Vinny!” She rushed to him, jumping into his arms. He laughed, picking her up in a tight hug, swinging her around like he did when she was little. “You shit! Why didn’t you call?”
“And miss this? Are you kidding?” He smiled, putting her back down on her feet.
“Oh my God, you’ve gotten bigger.” She took hold of his arms and held them out. “Damn if you don’t look good.” Another hug, this time with her arms around his waist. “How long do I have you for?”
“How does permanently sound?”
She pulled back to give him a wide-eyed stare. “Are you serious?”
“Done. Honorable discharge for my knee. Got full benefits and a pension coming in. I’m home for good.”
“You don’t know how much I love hearing that.”
The woman Amanda was working on was impatient. “Umm, excuse me, but can you finish my hair, please? I do have a wedding to get to.”
“Sure.” Amanda didn’t stop smiling as she returned to the woman. She went back to curling her hair. “So what are your plans then? Where are you staying?”
“Got an extra room?” he asked with one eyebrow going up.
“You know I do,” she said. “Hell, you don’t have to ask. In fact, I’d be pissed if you didn’t, and you know it.
Yeah, he knew. She had a house now and had more than enough room, more sometimes than what she needed. Three years ago she bought the old house in the woods they used to hide in when Dad pulled his crap and had it restored, four bedrooms and all.
"You can go by now, drop your stuff off, and pick a room.” She moved to the rear of the shop for a moment, and came back, tossing him some keys. “You go and settle in. I only have a couple more clients to do, then I’m free for the rest of the day.” He turned, reached for the handle, stopping as his sister spoke again. “She works at the diner.”
“The one you were just going to ask me about, and before you ask anything else, no, she isn’t seeing anyone, and in my opinion she isn’t doing that well, either. She only works part time. Not sure how she’s making it. I’ve been trying to get her to come and stay with me, but she won’t. The place she’s in is nothing but a damn dump, and don’t get me started on anything more with her right now, either.”
“On the shit list?”
“Some, but all will be forgiven if I know you’re going to help me with her.”
“Are you trying to play matchmaker?”
Amanda waved him away. “Go. I’ve got work to do. We’ll talk when I get home, and I’ll bring food.”
“Let me guess, still not cooking?”
“Who has time?”
Vinny chuckled, shaking his head as he left. He didn’t bother with putting his sunglasses on as he walked back in the direction of the diner. He walked in, and once more all eyes went straight at him. A few watched him walk all the way to the back, to the last booth in the place.
Nothing had changed in the diner. The place still had an old time feel to it, one he didn’t think would ever go away. Hell, the owner still used the old time shake glasses and had the old signs up where the shakes were only a quarter.
He waited for a few minutes, staring back at the people still brave enough to stare, waiting for someone to come out and take his order. He hoped like hell Charlie would be the one to serve him. When she came around the corner, her head down to look at the tickets in her hand, his gut turned in excitement.
Time had done wonders for her just as it had done for him. Her body was filled out more. Her legs were long and shapely, and her hips had more curves to them. He couldn’t make out much more of her body than that, not with the dull pink uniform she had on, but he could see the nice soft brown locks of hair pulled back in a ponytail.
“What can I get you?” she asked, her voice so sweet he wanted to hear it desperately scream out his name as she climaxed around him. Down boy!
“Hello, Charlie,” he said in what he prayed inside was a cool and collected voice.
She stilled, her head slowly coming up, eyes wide open. Pale cheeks instantly colored, dark green eyes sparkled some, and her mouth opened ever so slightly, letting him get a very tiny view of her tongue. Oh yes, without any doubt at all, this was the woman he wanted.
“Vi-Vinny.” She gasped. “What are you doing here?”
He smiled big and leaned back in the booth, letting her get a view of the width of his chest, just to see if it might affect her as it had with other women he’d met in the past. It did. Her breathing increased, and she squirmed from foot to foot. Her eyes also darted from his chest to his face. Good, that meant she was interested in him. It was a start.
“Ordering,” he answered.
“No,” she replied with a frown and a shake of her head. “No, what I mean is what are you doing back? I thought Mandy said not until Christmas.”
“I had a change of plans.”