Home > Final Stretch (Glen Springs #1)(2)

Final Stretch (Glen Springs #1)(2)
Author: Alison Hendricks

When I realize why, I blush.

"Wow. Pretty good body double this time. Wonder where they found this guy."

There's a lot of "porn" out there featuring celebrities. Usually it's just a celebrity's head Photoshopped onto a porn star's body. I guess whoever made this decided to really sell it and find somebody who was built like me.

Russ doesn't say a word, though. He hits play, and the second the sound starts, a cold chill snakes its way down my spine.

"Get on your knees. I wanna see that dirty mouth take every inch of my cock," a voice commands.

My voice.

And that little whimpered moan that comes in response is Jeremy's. Suddenly that cold chill lights into an inferno as anger takes hold of me.

"Who the fuck filmed us?" I growl.

Russ stops the video and pulls up a webpage. I can't even read the headline before he picks up the tablet, sighing. "I really wish there was another way to do this, Trav, but I wanted you to know before somebody in that room starts asking you questions about it."

Russ and his wife have been like family to me since my dad passed away. I know he cares about me, but right now, I just want the truth.

"Show me," I tell him.

He sets the tablet back down and I immediately catch sight of a picture of me, right below a headline that reads:

 

Seduced By the All-American Boy Next Door: How My Fantasy Turned Into a Nightmare

 

"There isn't a shred of truth in that editorial, but it's already been shared over forty thousand times. Picked up by the New York Times, Washington Post, and a ton of local papers. I already sent a takedown notice to Pornhub, but I'm sure the video will just get re-uploaded the second it's taken down."

I can barely hear him. Everything in this room, everything in my present moment seems distant, like I'm sitting behind a thick pane of glass in a huge tank of water. The world is distorted; Russ' voice fading in and out. The only thing I can focus on is the text of that article.

A numbness comes over me, and somewhere deep inside my own mind, I'm trying to puzzle out what's happening. Jeremy Hanes, my boyfriend—the man I was planning to marry—videotaped us having sex. He uploaded it to a porn site and then wrote an article about it. Not about the fact that we have a safe, healthy, loving sex life. No. Instead, he's told the world that the NFL's most approachable Golden Boy preys on his fans for a quick, kinky fuck.

"This is it, isn't it?" I ask, and somewhere in the back of my mind, I know I'm interrupting whatever Russ was saying. I'm just too numb to care. "Nobody's going to offer for me now that this story's gone national."

Russ' expression is pained and I already know the answer. I turn away from him and stagger to my feet. I need to get out of here. I need to be… somewhere else. Anywhere but here.

"I know you'll want to fight this, but I think the best thing to do right now is give a simple statement to the press and then lie low for a while."

I should fight, but right now, I don't have a whole lot of fight in me. I've always been open with my sexuality. I've never, ever tried to hide it. I wouldn't even be that upset if a sex tape leaked, despite knowing it would stir up a controversy just for existing. I'm not ashamed of the fact that I love sex.

But I am ashamed that I let myself fall for someone who could do something like this. Someone who could cut me so deeply for… what? His fifteen minutes of fame?

I don't understand it, and I don't want to. I just want to get away.

"Set up the press conference," I say, my voice barely sounding like me. "I need to make a call."

Russ lets me go, and I retreat into the stairwell, shutting the door behind me. I sit there on the top step, wanting to break down. Wanting to wrap my arms around my knees and just sob until the pain is gone.

But I don't let myself do it. Instead, I call the one person I know I can count on, despite the distance between us.

My brother.

"Hey, Jake. Listen, I know this is sudden and kinda out of the blue… but can I stay with you for a while?"

Jake was always the sensible one. He worked hard in school. He got a sensible job as a high school teacher. He moved to a sensible small town, far away from the limelight.

I have no idea how to explain this scandal to him in a way that won't make him look at me with pity. But for right now, I don't have to. His answer comes without hesitation.

"I'll get the guest room ready."

 

 

2

 

 

Shane

 

 

Saturdays are always my favorite.

It's not because that's the day Glen Springs chooses to have its monthly town meeting and magic show in the square—two things that are inexplicably linked and have been for as long as I've been there. It isn't because that's when Eric dusts off his Food Network featured Hot Brown recipe. It isn't even because that's the day Miss Beverly reads her erotic poetry at the small, family-owned bookstore.

Saturdays stand above the rest for me because they’re the day I really get to give back—the day I can show my gratitude for a friendship that's gotten me through some really rough times. And they give me a chance to nurture a love of horses in a new generations of Glen Springs residents.

I bought this ranch seven years ago, and I've spent every day since working with horses that are deemed too problematic for the average owner. Every other Saturday, I get to pair those horses with kids who are deemed too problematic for the average teacher.

Today, I can hear the diesel engine in Jake's truck before I even see it crest the hill. Lucky for those kids, he's not the average teacher. Lucky for me, he's not the average friend, either. He knows I need this as much as they do.

As I head up to greet them, a braying in the distance tells me I won't be the only one. Otto, a fifteen-month-old donkey, comes poking across the property, not confined by any pens. His head is down and his tail wags behind him as he beats me to the long, dusty driveway.

The kids barely wait for the truck to roll to a stop before they abandon it. Julie hops down from the passenger seat and Robbie and Curt vault over the wheel well from their place in the bed. Otto prances up to them, his tail whipping back and forth.

The driver's side door shuts and Jake walks out in front of the truck, wearing the same thing he always wears for these trips: A flannel shirt and faded jeans.

"At some point he's going to figure out he's not a dog, right?" Jake asks, coming to stand beside me.

We both watch Otto as he greets Julie, throwing his neck over her shoulder and rubbing his head against hers.

"Haven't had the heart to break it to him," I say with a little shrug.

Otto is the star out here, followed by the horses, then Jake, then—finally—me. At least as far as his students are concerned, and I'm more than okay with just existing in the background, helping to facilitate something they enjoy without being front and center.

The kids do greet me, though, and the five of us set off toward the holding pen to get their mounts ready to go.

"Sorry we're a little late," Jake says. "I couldn't get ahold of Robbie's dad."

I frown at that, hopping the fence. "Everything okay?"

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