Ride: Episode Seven
RIDE: EPISODE SEVEN – MISTAKE
Cynthia Becket is faced with a choice that could affect the sexy, alpha shape shifter she’s falling for and the Realm they live in forever. This curvy girl gets the ultimatum of a lifetime and she must choose between the stallion she loves and putting the púca clan in grave danger.
What will be her fate?
Reader Note: This book is for those who are 18+. It contains explicit language, sexual situations, and one helluva cliffhanger. However, if you like curvy shifter romance, a stallion who can’t resist his curvy woman, and a dash of humor, then this is the story for you. Please read these installments in order. Enjoy!
Lillian and Victor lived in Bermondsey. Cyn hurried down the steps of the station, rushing onto a train just as it was about to pull away. It wasn’t crowded, and she sat in an empty seat and pulled a book out. The train was dingy and the floor was damp. Cyn found herself longing for the verdant green of the Realm. She thought of lying in bed with Fallon, snuggling and kissing and laughing together under the covers. Her chest hurt just thinking about it. But despite her longing, she couldn’t face going back. Fallon probably hated her for leaving. She’d hurt him so deeply, and there was no way he could possibly forgive her. Honestly, her reasons for leaving and wanting to return to London were meaningless now. Cyn wasn’t as brave as Felicity, who’d taken a huge leap of faith with Niall. In fact, for all her outward bravado, Cyn was deathly afraid of trusting and taking a chance. Past experience taught her not to give herself freely, because she’d only be let down. Fallon had never let her down…but she’d surely done that to him the day she walked away from all he offered.
Cyn gulped, and pushed down the memory of lying naked in his bed. She stopped on the street before Lillian and Victor’s flat, buying a bottle of wine from a shop. Although she didn’t exactly know the reason for this visit, she could guess. Lillian was acting funny, and Victor worked until much later in the evening, so it’d be her and her sis. Cyn wouldn’t have admitted it to Lillian, but that was a relief. Maybe Lillian wasn’t ready to take the next step with him. A small, selfish part of her was glad her sister would be in the same boat. They could commiserate. Cyn had fielded a dozen late-night hysterical mobile calls from Lillian in the past few months, and she had a sinking suspicion Lillian was either going to announce a breakup or an engagement. Even though she wanted her sister to be happy, misery loved company, and she kind of hoped wedding bells weren’t in the works.
Cyn knocked on the door. When her sister didn’t answer, Cyn used her key to let herself in. There was tea on the stove and some crudités spread out on the kitchen table, but no sight of Lillian.
“Sis?” Cyn called, setting down her bag. She put the wine in the fridge, looking for any tell-tale champagne. There was none, and she closed the door, puzzled. “Lillian?”
There was muffled thumping and then a burst of footsteps from upstairs. Lillian clattered down the stairs in heels and a beaded cocktail dress.
Cyn nodded in approval. “Wow!”
Lillian reached the base of the stairs and twirled once, the edges of her frock flying through the air. Cyn was always the fashion-obsessed, party-girl sister. Lillian was more bookish and less social. When they were growing up, Cyn’s obsession with fashion led to a lot of teasing between them.
“You like?” Lillian sounded sceptical. She twirled again, more slowly this time.
“You look posh,” Cyn praised her sister, the old magic of a beautiful outfit reviving a bit of her spirit. “What’s the occasion? I thought we were just going to nosh here.”
Lillian grinned. “We are. I’m changing, but I wanted to get your opinion on this.” She gestured toward the dress, spreading the folds of the skirt with her pale hands.
Cyn nodded and smiled. “I absolutely love it, but… You’ve never much cared for my opinion in the past. What’s the big to-do now?”
Lillian blushed, looking down at her feet. “I, uhmmm…”
“Spit it out.” A twinge of anxiety shot through her.
“I was wondering if it might look nice for engagement photos,” Lillian blurted out in a rush.
“Oh my god.” Cyn grasped for the right words. “That’s…that’s amazing, Lillian. Is this what you really want? I mean, I’m so happy for you. Congratulations.”
It was harder to say it than her sister could have possibly known, but Cyn had to support her.
Lillian nodded furiously, grinning from ear to ear. “Are you daft? Yes, of course. I wouldn’t have said yes if I wasn’t really sure.”
With her cheeks pinked and her hair coming loose from a messy bun, Cyn was suddenly in awe of her sister’s beauty.
“Good, I’m glad,” Cyn said, reaching out for a hug.
They embraced and Cyn squeezed her sister tight. She couldn’t help wondering if their relationship would change.
“Now I’m going to switch,” Lillian said, clomping up the stairs in her heels. “I’ll be right back down.”
Her sister disappeared into an upstairs room. Well, Mum was right. It wasn’t going to be me first. She walked back into the kitchen and sat down at the table, aimlessly picking up a toast point and shredding it.
“Now we can really talk,” Lillian said as she appeared suddenly in the doorway. She’d morphed back into her everyday casual look of loose boyfriend jeans and a plain sweater. Cyn waited until her sister was settled on the other side of the table with a mug of tea in front of her before she started the attack.
“I’m happy for you, but I hope you know what you’re getting yourself into.”
“He really gets me, Cyn,” she said, and took a sip of tea. “And I know you may not understand it, but I love him. Obviously it’s the next logical step in our relationship.”
This was like a punch to the gut. The implications of it in terms of her and Fallon washed over her, making her numb. Love was living with each other day-in and day-out, and flesh-filled nights to get you through all the bollocks you faced every day. You’d wake up next to someone who’d always have your back. And yet she’d run from it, because she was afraid of herself. Maybe there was something wrong with her, or she didn’t have the staying power to settle down with one man for the rest of her life. Or maybe the men who’d viewed her as an object to bed had convinced her all of them were shallow, and love didn’t exist. For fuck’s sake, how had she become so cynical?
“How do you know he’s the one? There’ll be other men,” Cyn said, as she spread some jam on another piece of toast. “And you haven’t been with him long enough to know for sure. You’ve barely been together a year, and living together is new. Can’t you settle for that and get to know the bloke a bit better?”
“Oh, and you’re the old and wise one?” Lillian’s tone was sarcastic, and Cyn gave her another look over her toast. “What?”
“Lillian, you should only get married if you’re absolutely sure, and the two of you are still in the honeymooning phase. If you’re excited about spending every day of your life with him, then make sure it’s right by living together for longer than you have been.”
Cyn tried to sound authoritative, but with her track record it was damn near impossible. All she could think about was Fallon and how she’d run like a scared little mouse. She bit her lip, thinking anxiously of how much she regretted leaving the Realm.
“Yes, but that’s it exactly,” Lillian said, as she nibbled a tea biscuit. “I can’t see myself feeling like that about anyone else but Vincent. Yes, he makes me crazy sometimes, but I’ve never had this with anyone else. Marrying him is my choice, and I really want you to support me. You’re my sister…”
Cyn hated herself for making her sister sad. “I’ll always support you. I just love you, and don’t want to see you get hurt.”
“Sometimes…” Lillian cleared her throat. “Sometimes you know right away. It does happen. It’s deeper than some bloke shooting you fuck-me eyes. You’re connected, and when you know, you just know.”
Cyn frowned. “Sometimes I wish I had that. It happened to Felicity.”
“I haven’t seen her in ages. How is she?”
Cyn was grateful for the convenient not-quite-lie. “Married. She and her husband saw each other and knew right away. I could tell. Hell, everyone watching them could tell.” Her guts twisted. And I could tell because I had that with Fallon, but I couldn’t take a chance. “I’m sorry I’ve been hard on you.”
“Thank you,” Lillian said, with a smile. “I’m sure one day you’ll find someone who makes you feel the way Victor makes me feel.”
Cyn tossed her hair out of her face. She was determined not to let her Lillian catch on to her loneliness, even though she was secretly dying to tell her sister and mum all about Fallon. “Right, right. So you wouldn’t rather wait?”
Lillian spat a mouthful of tea back in her mug, looking apologetic. “God, no. Sorry. I don’t want to wait. Vincent and I are great together, and I know he’ll be a good husband.”
She smiled for her sister’s sake, but the air between them was awkward. How much longer would Lillian talk about the upcoming wedding? Cyn hated to admit it, but she already dreaded her sister’s pending nuptials.
“D’you want to see my ring?” Lillian stuck her hand in Cyn’s face, fluttering her fingers. On her ring finger was a thin band of white gold, with a cushion cut diamond set into its face. It glittered in the low light.
Cyn could tell it was expensive, but not overly so. She grabbed her sister’s hand, and the ring caught and refracted rainbows of light. “It’s lovely.”
Lillian grinned. “I know, right? Turns out, Vincent picked it out months ago.”
Cyn sighed. “Well, I wish you and Victor all the luck in the world. I really do.”
The sisters gossiped and tucked into the spread of canapés Lillian had prepared. She was studying at a culinary institute, and even joked about planning to cater the wedding herself. Cyn was disappointed when it was time to go home. They’d always been close, and she forgot how much she enjoyed these moments with her sister. She ought to stay to congratulate Vincent, but Cyn wanted to leave before she was forced to watch the happy couple together. She missed Fallon in the worst way, and she knew she was responsible for her own unhappiness. She’d really fucked it up good this time. If I’d trusted my heart, we might still be together.