Home > September is for Shaw

September is for Shaw
Author: Dylann Crush








I’d just popped the cap off a bottle of beer and was about to start working on a classic bike I’d picked up at an auction when the sound of metal scraping over gravel came from my drive. Seemed odd since I hadn’t heard anyone pull in.

I set the beer on my workbench and headed out front to see what the hell was going on.

“What the fuck?” My eyes had to be playing tricks on me. I squinted at my Harley sitting on its side in the middle of the gravel drive. I hadn’t even had a sip of my beer yet, but I could have sworn there was a fucking goat standing next to my bike.

It lifted its head and looked up at me. Big buggy blue eyes watched me while its jaw slowly moved back and forth. I’d seen strange things happen in Mustang Mountain, but as far as I knew, no one around here had ever seen a goat materialize out of thin air.

I squeezed my eyes shut, thinking maybe I’d been putting in too many hours at the garage. My buddy Owen was always joking that the fumes were going to go to my head. But when I blinked my eyes open, the damn goat was still standing there.

“Where the hell did you come from?” I moved closer, trying not to scrape my work boots against the rocks and scare it away.

Either I’d hallucinated the dumbest goat in the world, or the creature in front of me was used to being around people. The damn animal didn’t move an inch while I approached, except to swish its hairy chin from side to side while grinding something between its teeth.

I wondered what it was chewing on. Then it bent down and ripped off a hunk of the seat of my bike. The strip of black leather hung there for a moment before the goat slurped it into its mouth like a wide piece of spaghetti.

“Are you fucking kidding me?” I charged, ready to defend my bike with my life.

The goat lowered its head slightly, but didn’t seem threatened. I’d almost reached it when a woman’s voice came from the other side of the drive.

“There you are! Scapegoat, get over here!” She came through the trees, and I blinked to clear my vision again. My MC brothers would never stop giving me shit if they found out what kind of mindfuck I had going on tonight.

I knew everyone who lived on this remote side of the mountain. My closest neighbor was over half a mile away, and there was only one other cabin higher up the mountain before the road ended. The Sugarman place had been empty for about six months, ever since the old man took an extended vacation to visit his daughter out in North Carolina.

So where the hell did the curvy brunette and her goat sidekick come from?

Twigs and pine needles stuck out of her long brown hair, making her look like some sort of forest fairy. A smudge of dirt stretched across one cheek. When she turned my way, the warmth in her amber eyes made me stop in my tracks.

“You must be my new neighbor. Hi, I’m Eden.” She thrust her hand forward. Dozens of bracelets stacked up her forearm. Some intricate design covered the back of her hand, almost like a tattoo, though I’d never seen anything quite like it. She had on a sheer, flowy top with a tank underneath that showed off some amazing curves. The kind of curves my palms itched to slide over and my fingers ached to grab onto.

Her gorgeous eyes drew me in. Flecks of gold sparkled in the depths of her irises. I even took a step closer before I pulled myself out of the weird spell she must have cast over me.

“Neighbor?” I crossed my arms over my chest, making it pretty clear I wasn’t feeling very neighborly about her goat snacking on a custom leather seat that cost me over five-hundred bucks. I’d deal with that in a minute. First, I needed to find out who she was and what the fuck she was doing in my driveway. “You lost, sweetheart?”

Dark lashes fluttered against her cheeks before she tilted her head back to meet my gaze. I got the sense she had a backbone of steel under her soft exterior. “The only thing lost around here was Scapegoat. I just moved in up the road. Eden Sugarman. You’ve got a lot of negative energy in your aura. I can help you release that if you’d like.”

I squinted down at her. “What are you, some kind of witch?”

Her laugh was like the sound of a wind chime in the breeze, almost musical.

“Wait, did you say Sugarman?”

“That’s right. My grandfather owned the place up the road.” She hooked her thumb and gestured over her shoulder. “He passed away a few months ago and left it to me, so here I am.”

“No.” I shook my head. “That can’t be right.”

“He talked about Mustang Mountain all the time. Listening to him go on about it, I knew it would be the perfect spot for me and my little brood.” She wrapped her fingers around a collar I hadn’t noticed on the goat’s neck.

“But Leroy and I had an understanding. He was going to sell me his place, along with the building he owns in town, once I saved up for a down payment.” We’d talked about it on more than one occasion. He was ready to leave Mustang Mountain, but said he’d wait until I was able to buy him out.

Eden cocked her head. “My grandfather never said anything to me about that.”

“Why would he?” I funneled both hands through my hair as my future slipped through my fingers. “Based on what he told me, it didn’t sound like he was very close to his family.”

Eden’s eyes narrowed slightly. “There are always two sides to every story.”

“So, what? You’re just moving in and that’s that? I had plans for that cabin and the surrounding land. Not to mention what I intended to do with the building in town.” I’d spent the last five years scrimping and saving so I could afford Sugarman’s asking price, and I was so close to having enough for a down payment, I could taste it. Now this forest nymph was going to swoop in and take it all away with one wave of her bangly, jangly arm?

“That’s the thing about plans, neighbor,”—she tugged the goat away from my bike and toward the break in the trees where she’d first stumbled through—“they change. I’m sorry about your motorcycle. I’ll stop by tomorrow and see if I can patch it up for you.”

“Patch it up? That’s a five-hundred dollar custom leather seat.” My stomach churned. Heat raced across my chest and straight up my neck to flood my face. I hadn’t been this riled up in a long, damn time.

“Anger issues, too, it seems. We’ll have to work on that. I’ll bring some chamomile tea. Maybe some of my homemade lavender goat milk soap too.”

Tea? Soap? Who the fuck did she think she was? I was about to follow her through the break in the trees when my phone rang. My younger brother Caden’s number lit up the screen.

“Yeah?” My voice came out rougher than I intended, thanks to my run-in with Leroy’s granddaughter. This day had taken a nosedive, and I didn’t know how it could get any worse.

“Hey, I just stopped in to grab a pizza before heading home and thought you’d want to know. There’s a flyer with your picture on it saying you’re the mountain man of the month for September.”

“What?” Damn Ruby Nelson. She’d been working her way through the mountain men on Mustang Mountain, convinced all of us were just waiting for the right woman to show up in our lives so we could settle down.

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