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All These Pieces of Me: The Stables, #1

All These Pieces of Me: The Stables, #1

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All These Pieces of Me: The Stables, #1

ratings:
4/5 (1 rating)
Length:
291 pages
8 hours
Released:
Feb 22, 2015
ISBN:
9781502262196
Format:
Book

Description

Emma's autism allows her to see the world inside out and right past the physical scars that Brandon had begun to think would be the only thing the world would ever see. Set in Dallas, Texas, this is a Contemporary Romance series with BDSM elements and mature, atypical themes, including physical disfigurement, Autism, and OCD. Each book will be a complete story, no cliffhangers. 

Brandon 
To say that I'm ugly is like saying a cemetery is quiet. Okay, maybe parts of me are attractive, sure. I'd gotten more than my share of second, hungry glances from women at clubs. Then I'd turn to the other side and they'd get a nice big glimpse of Quasimodo. Only the desperately drunk or the 'I can fix you' chicks took a third look. Not Emma, though. She looked right at my scars and didn't miss a beat. The typical stares from folks noticing my face just blend into the background noise as I try to comprehend this odd little woman. She's still and quiet, clutching her teddy bear like it's nobody's business. And maybe it's not. Maybe least of all mine. 

Emma 
The guy walking in front of me is seriously massive. I'd heard that everything is bigger in Texas, but this is absolutely ridiculous. There's also the matter of his face. He has me both ready to swoon and run screaming in the same crazy second. I'm still not sure which of those options my body has decided on. I think the jury is still out on a lot of things to do with my current state of affairs. I wish I could talk the way that I think instead of stammering through life like a little girl who holds onto a damn teddy bear and continues to obsess over the color pink. I can't, though. My brain just doesn't work that way. His gentle brown eyes put me at ease for some reason I haven't quite worked out yet, and I really want to know his story. 
 

Released:
Feb 22, 2015
ISBN:
9781502262196
Format:
Book

About the author

C.E. Kilgore (1981 - ) is an author without genre, who likes to dabble in several genres from romance to science fiction. She also enjoys pushing the boundaries of those genres, trying new things, venturing outside formulas and turning tropes on their heads. Admittedly a control freak, she is currently a self-published author under the name Tracing The Stars, and hasn't quite found the publisher who fits all her quirks. Be sure to check out her website, cekilgore.com

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All These Pieces of Me - C.E. Kilgore

All These Pieces of Me

The Stables (#1)

By: C.E. Kilgore

Copyright 2013

Tracing The Stars

All Rights Reserved

The Stables Series

All These Pieces of Me

Obsessive Compulsion

If You Still Want Me

Pierce The Heart

By The Horns

Crows Don't Sing

Table of Contents

Front

Stables Series

End

Disclaimers

This book is a work of fiction. While references might be made to actual locations, products or events, the names, characters, places, products and events described in the book are a work of fiction and any resemblance to actual persons, business establishments, events or locations is entirely coincidental.

This book contains adult language and sexually explicit scenes that might be considered offensive to some readers. This book is intended for mature adult audiences, of adult age as defined by the laws of the country in which this book was purchased.

BDSM remains one of the most strongly misunderstood lifestyles. I encourage anyone with an open mind to learn more about BDSM, but I urge strong caution about gaining your knowledge solely from the internet. The best place to start might be your local adult shop. None of the practices mentioned in this book should be attempted or tried without proper understanding and guidance. Some of the key principles in BDSM are trust, teaching, technique (practice) and time (patience).

Emma is a character with Autism. Autism is a dynamic condition with a wide range (spectrum) of experiences. No two autistic persons are the same. I am autistic. Many of us, you would never know we were autistic aside from certain behavioral and communication difficulties. We still have voices, but sometimes have trouble finding our words. We have desires, both personal and sexual, we just sometimes have trouble expressing them.

An open mind is required to read this book, both for its portrayal of BDSM elements and its portrayal of living as a highly-functioning autistic, both of which break stereotypical assumptions.

Brandon

I bend down to pick up a plastic water bottle some lazy asshat had dropped not even two feet from a trashcan, and there they are. A pair of bright pink heels that lead into the most perfect pair of legs I have ever seen. They walk by me, oblivious to my presence, and click on down the sidewalk in the opposite direction I’d been heading. Behind them trails an oversized and overstuffed bright pink rolling suitcase with a teddy bear perched on top.

I blink, almost certain that I’ve just inadvertently checked out the legs of some young girl, or at best a teenager. Standing up and allowing my lecherous, age-ignoring eyes to check out the rest of what pulled the suitcase, I swear the breath leaves me. She’s a doll, alright, but most definitely a woman. Both of my heads, north and south, rejoice along with my sated conscience, but of course there’s no way I’m going after her.

I watch her gorgeous legs carry her to the cross walk, my hand still clutching the empty water bottle. They aren’t the long legs going on for miles that I’d normally stop and stare at. No, she’s a short, compact little thing, but those legs are perfectly sloped and disappear beneath a pair of jean shorts with tantalizing promise. One of her feet lifts to scratch the back of the opposite calf, and the bottle in my hand crunches. Tossing the smashed plastic into the trashcan, I inhale and resolve myself to continuing on my path away from her.

The light changes. She steps off the sidewalk and her suitcase bounces down from curb to pavement. The cord holding the teddy bear unhooks and I feel myself running.

In the middle of downtown Dallas rush hour, I’m running down the sidewalk like a lunatic to save a damn teddy bear. I do believe those pink heels have made me lose my fucking mind.

She’s clear on the other side of the crosswalk by the time I reach the bear, that bastardly orange hand daring me to pursue in a blinking mockery. Picking up the bear, I step back as traffic resumes. Dallas isn’t the most pedestrian friendly of big cities, and that’s when the lights are in your favor. So I stand there, holding a damn stuffed bear and searching the crowd on the other side for her.

A flash of pink appears and disappears as people gather at the other side to make the journey in my direction. Much to my anxious annoyance, my legs bounce, my neck cranes forward and my hand is latched onto the brown fuzzy arm of the bear. If anyone was actually paying any kind of attention to me, they’d be seeing a fidgety grown man with a stuffed animal. That thought makes me laugh a little bit, adding to the whole lunatic-off-his-meds appearance I’m sporting while my brains continue to argue over whose fault it is for my current situation.

The light changes and I’m running again, leaving the two voices to sort themselves out. My heartbeat pounds with each footfall against the pavement. A glimpse of pink draws my gaze and I dart left. The crowd parts and sunlight dances down a glass storefront, illuminating her in a halo. I kid you not.

She’s stopped in the middle of the sidewalk and people are distractedly walking around her, as if they can’t see the same crazy shit I’m seeing. A sunbeam is laser-pointing her out and everyone has their noses down to their smartphones. She turns, not looking at me but looking past me, her eyes lost and confused.

Tightening my grip on the bear, I march forward and catch up to her just as she starts rolling away again. Ma’am?

She continues walking, so I reach out and touch her shoulder. She startles and nearly topples over her suitcase. I, of course, instinctively grope for her and now have her damn teddy bear in one hand and her jean-clad ass in another. And my God in Heaven, what an ass.

I’m not a religious man, but I’m sending praises somewhere skyward. Then I hear her startled cry, reality crashes back in and I settle her back on her feet before stepping away. Holding the bear out like a stupidly lame apology for grabbing her butt, I clear my throat with my eyes to the cement. Sorry, ma’am, but you dropped this back at the crosswalk.

Jacob!

I blink in confusion at the name as she reaches out and takes the bear, clutching it to her chest. Oh, right. The bear. Then I say something really suave, like, That his name?

She sniffles and nods, and I watch the top of her head bob. She has naturally spiraled, caramel curls that bounce in every direction. I figure it may be my point of departure from this strange interlude into my life. A grown woman with a bright pink suitcase who’s clutching a teddy bear was triggering some very conflicting signals in my head. Then she looks up at me.

Her head raises slowly, followed by the gentle caress of her gaze over my body. All my muscles twitch with a line of goosebumps. I can feel everything she’s looking at as her eyes venture higher and higher. It dawns on me too late that she’s about to reach my face. I freeze in place as her dark emerald eyes widen into saucers and her lower jaw falls open.

Well, fuck. Golden light from Heaven, a damn teddy bear, and a swift kick in the balls thanks to that damn reaction I’ve seen a thousand times. What a shit day.

Y-you’re... her voice stammers.

It’s soft as velvet but light and wispy. I had no idea such a combo was possible, but there it is and mixed with pink and caramel. I inwardly flinch, waiting for the normal thing that follows the wide-eyed realization and the tripping over words. She’d politely cast her eyes away then say something like sweet, or nice, or the very worst - I’m sorry.

Huge, she finally finishes in a breathy whisper that has me doing a double take.

My right eyebrow, or I should say my only eyebrow, cocks up high at the unexpected response. Pardon?

That sharply defensive reply causes her eyes to shift down and I want to melt right into the pavement. Given the September heat, it might be possible. I’d been prepared for the normal reaction to my face. Yeah, I’m a huge fucker and I normally get that from guys, but women tended to focus on the less normal shit. They always get that glassy expression of forced sympathy covering swallowed revulsion.

To say that I’m ugly is like saying a cemetery is quiet. Okay, maybe parts of me are attractive, sure. I’ve gotten more than my share of second, hungry glances from women at clubs. Then I’d turn to the other side and they’d get a nice big glimpse of Quasimodo. Only the desperately drunk or the ‘I can fix you’ chicks took a third look. I don’t like sympathy fucks, but I get drunk and desperate, too, some nights.

Back to the green-eyed, teddy-bear-clutching woman in front of me. She’s still and quiet as people continue to pass around us like we’re no different than one of the fenced trees centering the sidewalk. The typical stares from folks noticing my face just blend into the background noise as I try to comprehend this odd little woman. She’s got to be at least twenty, the tiny wrinkles near her eyes pushing her closer to thirty, but she’s holding onto the stuffed animal like it’s nobody’s business.

And maybe it’s not. Maybe least of all mine.

Thank you, she mumbles into the head of the bear.

No problem. I think about leaving it there and walking away, but something about her strange behavior fits into my messed up world. Anything I can help you with? You, uh, looked a little lost.

As if my words trigger some sort of ingrained reaction, she lowers the bear away from her chest, takes a deep, audible breath and raises her eyes again to face me head on. It blows me the fuck away.

I am, a little, she admits with an embarrassed smile. A blush highlights freckles dotting the bridge of her nose and I think my head falls off my body. Thanks for saving Jacob. I... Losing him would have been...

Her voice trails off and the smile dies. My arms flinch in a struggle against the instinct to wrap around her and never let go. I get the tiniest glimpse into a world of pain, then it’s gone and she’s smiling again.

Do... do you know where this is? She holds out a crimped, previously folded post-it note in fingers tipped with more pink.

I take the yellow paper, surprised it isn’t also pink, and try to make sense of the chicken-scratch lettering. Expecting some bubbly feminine text, it takes me a moment for my brain to switch gears so I can read the writing that resembles my own. I read the address three times to be sure then let out a short chuckle. Yeah, I’d say you’re a little lost. You’re in Central, and this is all the way over near Deep Ellum.

Deep Ellum? She tilts her head to the side and blinks her large green eyes in confusion. Is that a city?

Adorable. Seriously adorable. I feel the left corner of my mouth tic. Sorry, Elm Street arts district for out-of-towners. You could walk there, I guess, but it’d take you a good hour.

Oh. Her shoulders slump as she pulls out a smartphone and glares at it. My map-ap must be broken. Everything looks so close together on it.

Yeah, Dallas is a bit deceiving that way. I’m actually holding a real conversation with a beautiful, lost girl. Shit day turning around? I’m afraid to hold out hope, but my mouth keeps right on talking. Big city, but like most things in Texas, it’s sprawled out and flat. Most people don’t walk. Too far to get anywhere.

You’re walking, she scrunches up her nose.

Was that a joke? Is a pretty stranger seriously joking casually with me and completely ignoring the huge mess on my face? I live nearby. Just stepped out for some coffee.

Oh.

The way her light pink lips curve into a round ‘o’ has my knees buckling. Ah, fuck it. Sink or swim, right, Dad? I could drive you. My car is in a garage a block over.

Her eyes widen again and I can actually see the different emotions in them as she contemplates the offer to get into a car with a strange man in a city she’s obviously never been to. My brain sputters out an alternative to give her the option to flee. Or I can hail a cab for you and give him proper directions.

She stares up into my eyes for a long moment, the people around us fading further. Freckles, emerald eyes that are seeing past everything I’d gotten used to having seen first, and a pair of legs that still have me catching my breath. I was about to wake up to my alarm clock, because this was most definitely a dream.

Her gaze shifts around me to take in the street then she crouches down next to her suitcase and tethers Jacob The Bear to it. Standing back up to her maybe five-three height, she squares her shoulders and nods her chin once with her hand wrapped tightly around the suitcase handle. Lead the way.

Emma

The guy walking in front of me is seriously massive. I’d heard that everything is bigger in Texas, but this is absolutely ridiculous.

Sure, most people are bigger than me and it was something I just got used to over the years, along with using a step-stool to get into the top kitchen cupboards or getting a second-look when being carded at a bar. That and stupidly wearing heels while lugging a bright pink suitcase around downtown Dallas.

Real brilliant, Em.

I can feel the blisters forming near the tips of my toes and at the base of my ankles, and maybe that was why I’d agreed to follow this man to his car instead of waiting around for the rare and elusive Dallas City Cab. It’d taken me twenty minutes to get one at DFW airport, and I'd only seen four in the hour I’d been wandering around Dallas like a moron, blindly following the little voice on my phone.

Turn left. Turn right. Make a u-turn. Destination up ahead on the left, my ass.

Then along comes tall, dark and... Yeah, he could be called handsome. A bit broody and scary at first glance, but like I said, the guy is massive. Well over six feet, wide and well-built. Strong shoulders. Broad chest. Chocolate eyes and hair. Big hands.

Big hands that were on my ass a few moments ago. Okay, so it was one hand and the other had been holding Jacob, but that one hand had cupped my butt perfectly and had me both ready to swoon and run screaming in the same crazy second. I’m still not sure which of those options my body has decided on. I think the jury is still out on a lot of things to do with my current state of affairs.

There’s also the matter of his face. I like to think I'm not a shallow person, but I'm not blind either. The dude's face is pretty messed up. His right side is normal, attractive even with a strong jaw, arching eyebrow and a boyish smile. The left side, though, is missing an eyebrow and has wicked scarring stretching from brow to cheek and up into his scalp. It looks like a really bad burn, and that burn had taken half his face and his left ear with it.

It'd shocked me pretty good at first, but I'd like to meet the person who wouldn't have been stuttering a bit when finding herself in the arms of a really big guy with a scarred face. His gentle brown eyes put me at ease, though, for some reason I haven’t quite worked out yet, and I really want to know his story.

Scars are just part of life and we all have them. Most of us are lucky, though, and have scars we can hide deep down inside. Most of us aren't forced to wear them on our face. 

The syncopate chirp of a car alarm being disarmed stops me in my tracks. Somehow, I'd managed to follow this guy into the parking garage completely on autopilot. My body and mind are conspiring against me and I wait for my revenge when the guy stuffs me into his trunk and takes me to some secluded warehouse. Would serve my treacherous body right.

His trunk pops open and I think I may have actually whimpered. Instead of stuffing me into his trunk, he takes my suitcase and sets it inside with care, taking a moment to detach Jacob before closing the lid. When he holds Jacob out to me, all I can do is blink at the gesture, because it has me gasping for air in the smothering nature of its kindness. 

His lips tic in a timid smile no one would ever expect from a man of his size. Thought he may prefer to ride up front.

I take the bear to save him further embarrassment and nod. He doesn't like the dark.

I swear, the things that come out of my mouth and have me sounding like a five-year-old really piss me off sometimes. I wish I could talk the way that I think instead of stammering through life like a little girl who holds onto a damn teddy bear and continues to obsess over the color pink. I can't, though. My brain just doesn't work that way and I'm starting to think that it never will.

So, instead of saying something intelligent, I point at his car with stupid, wide eyes and state the obvious. That's a Mercedes. 

It is, he replies and opens the passenger door for me.

My feet refuse to move while my mouth continues on the same path of brilliant conversation. I'm not dressed for a Mercedes.

That has him chuckling and waving a hand at me to get in. Cars don't have dress codes.

Their commercials would disagree, I mumble as I accept his hand and sink down into the black leather seat. Tucking my legs into the car, I’m very careful not to scratch anything with my heels. A flashback hits me, but I swallow it with a tightening grip on Jacob's arm. The flashbacks are another thing I wish my brain would stop doing.

My escort doesn’t seem to notice the rapid pace of my breathing while he shuts the door for me, and by the time he walks around to the driver’s side and gets in, I have it back under control. My escort. I just got into a Mercedes with a big, strange dude and I don’t even know his name. Uhm, sorry, but what's your name?

It’s his turn to blink at me after fastening his seat-belt, and then that boyish grin makes an appearance, followed by a world-class dimple. Yeah, I’m in trouble.

Sorry, he speaks as he reaches into a compartment on the dashboard. He hands me a business card and continues, Brandon. Brandon Peters. You?

I examine the glossy business card with its professional lettering set against a picture of a skyline. Brandon Peters, P.M.L. Property Investments, Inc., I read from the card, completely ignoring his request for my name like the rude and socially inept person I am. Property Investments?

Yeah, me and two other people – Kyle Masterson and Saul Levitz – we buy up old buildings, do renovations and rent them or resell them. Mostly industrial loft conversions and night clubs.

Mmm, I nod in understanding and mentally note the presence of his email address and a phone number on the card. I wonder if it’s his office number or his cellphone number, and yes, I know that is borderline stalker. I feel a finger poking my shoulder, and I glance up from the card to be blown away by his damn dimple and his one eyebrow raised in a question. I'm sorry, did you say something?

He snorts and points at himself. Brandon Peters, then he points back at me and the eyebrow cocks impossibly higher.

Oh! I really am that socially stunted. Emma Johnson. I-I ... I don't have a business card.

Well, he doesn’t seem quite sure what to make of my odd response, not that I know what to really make of it either. My brain and my mouth don't always meet to discuss what's going to come out. It's nice to meet you, Miss Johnson.

Emma's fine, I blush at his formality but remember that I’m in a Mercedes with a well-groomed guy in dress slacks and a blue button up shirt. Nice to meet you, too, Mr. Peters. And... and thanks for the ride.

Brandon, he corrects before starting the car and pulling out of the parking spot. And it's my pleasure.

Brandon

Emma. As soon as she says it, I know I'll have an impossible time forgetting it. Not just because it’s an uncommon name, but the name really suits her. Like I'm some sort of expert on names. It lodges itself in my brain, though, and is immediately related to all things pink. And emeralds. And teddy bears. And anything remotely feminine.

Fuck. Yeah, I’m hooked like a catfish, gasping for air as she reels me in and sets me down on the boat dock before clobbering me with an oar. How long had it been since I’d held an actual conversation with a girl that wasn't sneaking glances at my scars every ten seconds with a frown of sympathy? A year... or four.

So, what're you doin' in the Big D? I ask and choke on a laugh as she gets that adorably confused look again. Sorry, Dallas, I mean. Visiting a friend or family?

A friend. She sets Jacob in her lap and absently strokes his fuzzy head. Sort of. She's out of town for a month and I'm apartment-sitting.

That catches me by surprise and I wonder what kind of friend has a girl come into DFW alone without arranging some sort of ride. Hell, that convoluted airport is hard enough for the locals to navigate. I noticed the tags on your luggage. She couldn't come get you at the airport?

Oh, no, she replies with a light shrug. Charlie left last night. It was a last minute deal, but something she couldn't pass up. You know, one of those once in a lifetime things.

Nice of you to stop your own life and come down here to look after her place. I bite my tongue. I should really learn to keep my mouth out of other people's business, but something about the whole scenario doesn’t sit right with me.

Emma shrugs again and casts her glance out the window as I roll up to a stop light. I was looking for a new place to stay, so it all happened at a good time.

Well, now I feel like a class-A asshole, and I was on a roll, so, Things not going so well back home?

Really, my brain went with that? I expect her to shut down completely or flip me off, but she just shakes her head and continues to stare out the window.

I needed a change, she whispers and I wonder if she’s talking to me or to her reflection in the glass.

I’m about to ask her where she’s from, but all too soon we’re parked outside of a decent

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