The Slow Burn (Moonlight and Motor Oil #2) - Kristen Ashley Page 0,1

his own thing.

He’d been eight.

Now, if he was in the mood, he just went. And if they didn’t know where he was, they went out there to get him.

But Grams and Gramps were in Germany for a vacation, visiting Grams’s family.

Since he didn’t want to go to the garage, like always when his Grams and Gramps were busy, Toby went to Margot and David’s after school.

David was his dad’s best friend.

Margot was Dave’s wife.

She was also a pain in the butt.

This was because she was super strict. It was always, “A gentleman does this,” or, “a decent man does that,” or, “you offer a lady a cookie first, Tobias, before you eat fifteen of them.”

Her cookies were the best.

Who wouldn’t eat fifteen of them?

And if you offered them to some girl first, she might eat fifteen of them, not leaving you enough when she was done.

But okay . . .

He’d never tell anyone this, not anyone in the whole world, but he liked it when Margot got all cuddly with Dave, her eyes getting soft, like he built some big cannon and pointed it to the sky and lit that thing, filling the heavens with stars.

He wished his mom had thought that about his dad.

But he liked it that Margot gave that to Dave.

He wouldn’t tell anyone this either, but Toby liked it when she got all soft in the face sometimes, when she looked at him when he got an A on some paper or after he helped his team win a game (and she’d know, she always went to his games, Dave too) or after he made her laugh.

And he liked it a whole lot when she’d run the backs of her fingers down his jaw.

But right then, Toby didn’t turn to the screen door and push it in when he heard Margot in the kitchen talking on their phone.

He stood at the side of the door and listened.

Margot’d get ticked, she knew he was there. She was big on manners, and eavesdropping was not something she was keen on. So eventually he’d have to retrace his steps, give it time and come back.

But now he was gonna listen.

“I can’t begin to imagine what’s wrong with Rachel, except for the fact she’s not Sierra.”

Toby’s eyes closed and his shoulders slumped.

His dad was scraping off another girlfriend.

That sucked.

His dad seemed better when he had a lady around.

This time it sucked more because Toby really liked Rachel.

He’d learned not to like them. They never lasted long.

A lot of them tried real hard to last as long as they could, and Toby could see this. His dad had money. He was a decent-looking guy. And he had that low voice Toby had overheard one of his father’s girlfriends say was “sexy.”

Lance Gamble was a catch.

A lot of them tried to get to Lance through his sons.

Most of the time it was sickening, and it bugged the crap out of Toby and Johnny (it was just that Johnny was the kind of guy who’d learned to keep his mouth shut about stuff that bothered him or find a time he could talk it out with Dad so it wouldn’t tick Dad off, Toby . . . not so much).

But Rachel was real. She was pretty and she was sweet. She didn’t give off that fake vibe.

And she cooked awesome.

He’d wanted her to stick around.

Apparently she wasn’t going to do that, and as usual with his dad and his girlfriends, that was not her choice.

“If that woman ever came back, I’d slap her right across the face,” Toby heard Margot go on. “That is, before I tore her hair out, scratched out her eyes and ran her right back out of town on a rail.”

Now Margot was talking about Sierra.

Dad’s wife.

Johnny and Toby’s mom.

She was still his dad’s wife, as far as Toby knew.

Even though his dad tried to hide it from the boys, he’d tried to find her, but she was nowhere to be found. A couple of years ago, when an effort at this had failed, Toby had heard Dave suggest he get an ex parte divorce (whatever that was). But his dad had said, “Just gonna give her more time. If I know my Sierra, she won’t be able to stay away from her boys for too long.”

He was wrong, seeing as she’d stayed away by that time for eight years.

Toby still didn’t think his mother needed more time. She’d had enough time. Now it had been ten years.

She hadn’t