An all-new story in Kristen Ashley’s fabulous Chaos series is out this week, and I have a little sneak peek for you. This is Jagger Black’s story.
He rolled his head on his neck and he felt three things pop.
And Hound heard them.
This was a thing.
Jag could get wound up.
He worked out, with the brothers in their weight room, at the boxing gym Hound got them working in years ago, and he started doing that young.
Or Hound got both him and Dutch into doing that young.
It was smart and not just as a way to teach a couple of kids how to stay fit.
It worked out other shit too.
But Jag could get tense, and when he got tense, he got tight.
Sometimes it would manifest in some not insignificant pain in his neck and shoulders, also his upper back.
So he could go at a bag, a sparring partner, jump rope or hit the streets and run.
But Hound always made sure he was all over doing a good stretch after.
“It’s all connected, bud,” Hound would say. “You can’t just focus on your neck and shoulders, your hammies, big shit like that. You gotta work the tension outta your hips and abs, triceps, lats, delts, calves. You gotta get loose or anything could pop off.”
Hound was always on the pulse.
Always there to listen.
Always there to advise.
Always there to teach.
Always there to look out for his boys.
Like right now.
The woman Hound loved who he waited twenty years to have was at home with the kid they made and where was Hound?
“No,” Jagger answered his question.
“Boy,” Hound said with disapproval.
“I’ll get a run in tomorrow morning and a stretch in after,” Jagger promised.
“And this girl?” he prompted.
Jag shook his head. “I can’t go there unless I know I’m gonna go there.”
“Yeah, that’s why she’s pissed.”
Jagger blinked. “Say what?”
“Because you’re fuckin’ around and you either need to stop fuckin’ around or cut her loose.”
Jag said nothing.
“And just sayin’, son, she doesn’t wanna be loose. I don’t know what’s happenin’ with you two, but no woman gets pissed at a man she wants loose from. She gets pissed at a man she’s tight with, or wants to be tight with, or wants to be tighter with. You got years under your belt with this one and only asked her name today, however the fuck that works, one thing I know, however it works, it means you’re jackin’ around. She needs you to stop jacking around, Jagger. She needs you all in or to get the fuck out. That’s your decision. That’s why I’m sittin’ here across the bar with you. To figure that out. Are you all in, or are you tapping out?”
This was why Hound was right there, and not Dutch.
Because Dutch was a together dude. Smart. Wiser than his years.
But he might not get there, to what Hound just said.
And if he did, if Dutch laid it out like that, it’d get under Jag’s skin and Jag wouldn’t get where he needed to go.
Because Hound was right.
That was why they were both there.
“I want in,” he said quietly.
“What’s holding you back?” Hound asked, but before Jagger could answer, Hound went on, “And don’t give me more of that imposter shit. She’s the one, right?”
It wasn’t like Hound ever delayed cutting to the chase.
“You knew that when you were visiting with your dad and saw her across the way. And it wasn’t about your dad bein’ dead and her mom bein’ the same. You just knew.”
That was crazy.
“I was sixteen and she was maybe fifteen, tops.”
At that, Hound’s brows snapped together. “Who gives a fuck how old you were?”
“You can’t know a girl’s the one when you’re sixteen and you never spoke to her.”
“Well, your dad knew, and he wasn’t sixteen, but he knew, no doubt about it. He saw your mom and that was it. He was done. And you are his boy. It’s just how it is with the Black men. You watched it happen with your brother and Georgie, do you doubt it?”
That was the rub.
Because his last name was Black.
But he wasn’t a Black.
“Answer me, Jag, do you doubt it?” Hound pushed.
He gave Hound what he was looking for.
“No, I don’t doubt it.”
Hound watched him closely.
Then, unusually, he read Jagger wrong.
“You got oats to sow, you cut her loose, and pray like fuck when you’re done wasting your time doin’ shit you woulda preferred doin’ with her, that she’s still there.”
Having that day in the alley with Archie, knowing her name, seeing her with that kid, knowing something deeper was happening between Archie and Jag, having known that for a long time, and knowing she needed him, the idea of doing anything with anyone other than Archie did not appeal to him.
He knew how to have a good time and spent a fair amount of it doing just that.
Christ, was she the one?
Was he a Black?
At least with this?
“When’d you know Mom was the one?” Jag asked.
“Second I laid eyes on her,” Hound said before throwing back a swallow of beer. When he was done, he finished, “But she was your dad’s then.”
“Yeah,” Jagger replied.
So he could also be like the man who raised him.
He could be an Ironside.
Jag dropped his head and focused on his bottle.