Read TIMBER: The Bad Boy's Baby Online
Authors: Frankie Love
Larks and Katydids
Copyright © 2016 by Frankie Love
All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
down against the trunk a final time before getting out of the way. I call out to Buck, making sure he moves.
My dog, Jameson, barks wildly as he watches the swaying pine.
The tree falls with a strong, heavy rush that sends a chill over my skin.
It happens every time.
I feel most alive when I've taken something, using my own hands, and brought it to the ground.
I used to do that with women. There was nothing I liked more than fucking a woman I'd just met, giving them my solid wood, something they would remember. Then they could go home to their pansy-ass boyfriend or husband, and think of my trunk when someone else tried to get them off.
But then things changed. Fucking a woman I didn’t know got me in trouble.
And I had to get the fuck out of town.
I moved out of the city a few months ago, and I haven’t looked back. I came out here, to the dense forest.
The only thing I miss about life back in Coeur d'Alene is the women. While I find a lot of raccoons in these parts, good pussy isn't as common as it was back home.
Now, instead of taking a woman hard and fast, I swing my axe. Some guys might use a chainsaw, but I like the feel of the blade biting into the wood. The power in each stroke.
I take down pine trees. I call myself an old-school lumberjack, but that's mostly just a joke I tell myself. I'm not doing anything with this pile of wood besides burning some of it and putting the rest in a heap at the side of the cabin.
I watch as the tree falls; timber.
“That was a big-ass motherfucker,” Buck says, taking a swig from the beer I gave him when he showed up an hour ago.
Buck owns the gas station and post office in town and drops off any packages I receive. I avoid town as much as possible.
“Damn straight,” I agree, dropping the axe blade into the base of the chopped tree.
I pull off my leather gloves and then run my hand over my thick beard as I assess the fallen pine. It will take me most of the week to cut this tree into stackable pieces.
“You wanna come down the mountain, head to the bar?”
I don't want to laugh in Buck's face—but the last thing I wanna do is sit on some plastic stool in a podunk bar, drinking cheap beer and listening to Buck and his big game–hunting buddies talk shit.
I'd rather sit in my own goddamned chair. I'd rather drink my own goddamned beer. And I sure as hell would rather listen to silence than discuss target practice.
I may live in the sticks, but I'm no motherfucking hillbilly.
My mother calls me a modern day Thoreau. I don't really give a shit what that means—but I think it means I like to sit in the quiet and think.
I also like to swing my axe. As I've mentioned. It’s the only sane thing in the world anymore. The only thing I can, without question, hold onto. Everything else is liable to fall apart.
“I don't like that scene. You know that, Buck. Not sure why you keep asking.”
“I'm asking because you're the crazy fool living in the woods, talking to yourself. You don't even have wi-fi out here.”
Buck doesn't understand why I don’t go into town with him. It’s mostly because I have no interest in discussing my personal shit with anyone—especially him.
“Yeah, well, it's January. This shit's gonna get cold real fast.”
“It's cold already,” I tell him as we cross back to my cabin, passing the frosted tips of the pine trees. Jameson trails us as we make our way over the icy earth, the ground crunching with each step.
“Well, you're the fool who moved out to the woods at the end of fall, not me,” Buck says. “Just wanna make sure you don't become a recluse.”
I don't tell Buck that being a recluse is exactly what I'm after.
“I'll see you around then. And stop by the store if you need anything, ya hear?” Buck heads to his big pickup truck, hollering as he swings open the door, “Oh, and thanks for the beer, Jax. Though I'm not sure what that shit was.” He gives a hearty laugh as he turns the ignition.
, I think, shaking my head. He doesn't know what home-brewed beer is. I may be living in the woods, but I have a kegerator all hooked up inside my cabin. I brew beer, and it's the good stuff.
I watch him backing down the drive, grateful to see him go. He's a good guy, but I prefer my own company these days.
Heading to my cabin, I let Jameson in. I notice that snowflakes have begun to fall as the night sets in. I shut my door, knowing I need to add wood to my fire if I'm gonna stay warm tonight.
There sure as hell isn't anything out in these parts to get me heated up.
The tires on my modest hatchback come to a dead halt, in the dead of winter, in what is quickly becoming the dead of night. I'm trying not to full-on panic.
I remind myself of the quote that's my new life motto—that is to say, the quote I read while I scrolled through Pinterest this morning at a gas station on my way out of Boise. I was deleting every single wedding picture I'd pinned, and came across this classic gem:
Keep Calm and Carry On
Okay, so I know it's cheesy, but I've gotta hold onto something right now. If I don't, I'll fall apart.
And I can't fall apart until I’ve at least pulled up at my uncle's cabin.
Which should be right here. Or right … somewhere.
This would all be a lot easier if 1) it hadn't grown pitch dark in, like, four seconds, 2) Google maps would pull up on my phone, and 3) it wasn't snowing.
And these flakes are coming down fast. This hatchback isn't four-wheel anything. It doesn't even have four seats.
How did I end up here? Oh, right, my fiancé ditched me a week before our wedding.
I drop my head against the steering wheel, not wanting to lose it, pinching my eyes closed tight. A full-on sob will not get me somewhere warm and toasty and safe.
I quickly lift my head as the horn on my car begins to blast. This is about the same time I realize that, if I want to be warm and toasty tonight, I'm going to have to light the fire myself.
In the dark.
This wasn't the greatest plan.
Keep Calm and Carry On.
I blink back my tears and scan the old logging road. I doubt anyone has been out here in ages. My own uncle said it's been two summers since he came.
But I have nowhere else to go. I want to avoid the social media meltdown that will surely ensue once everyone gets word about Luke ditching me.
My parent didn't want me to go alone, which under normal circumstance I would understand. I still live under the covering of my parents, and believe that they know what’s best for me.
But this is different. We were all shocked by Luke's choice—after all, he and I had courted for two years. He had become family. So when I insisted that I needed some time away on my own, my family helped me find a place where I could ride out this storm. I spent twenty-one years earning their trust and they know I would never allow myself to get into a compromising position.
And my uncle offered his old cabin, which was so generous of him. I don't come from gobs of money. Or even slivers of cash. I come from humble people, I'm the daughter of a hard-working preacher.
It's not like we have lake houses and time shares—and even if we did, they wouldn't be wi-fi free.
Which was my one and only request when I told my family I needed some time away.
Granted, wi-fi would be really helpful at the moment, as I can't get my bearings and have no clue where my uncle’s cabin actually is.
Besides, my car is stuck in this snow. I'm not going anywhere.
This is the time a normal girl would cry.
But I'm not a normal girl. I was raised to keep my chin up, to be grateful in all circumstances. To believe that everything happens for a reason. Even the worst things.
Even things like having a broken heart. Because even if my heart got broken in the process of Luke leaving me, it's better that it happened now instead of a month from now.
Still … I'm going to need a lot of time to heal.
Biting my lip, I try to think through my next step. I'll freeze if I stay in this car tonight; even though it's stuffed to the gills with blankets and provisions, I know it can drop to freezing in the Idaho State Forest in January.
Heaven knows I don't want to die tonight.
I close my eyes, and ask for a sign.
When I open them, it's like a miracle. Through the windshield, in the distance, I see a tiny trail of smoke reaching the clear night sky.
Whoever lit that fire is my Savior. I need to find him.