Barber shop ink always b.., p.1

Barber Shop Ink: Always Blue in Memphis, page 1

 

Barber Shop Ink: Always Blue in Memphis
 


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Barber Shop Ink: Always Blue in Memphis


  Table of Contents

  Chapter 3 Hedge

  Chapter 4 Hedge

  Chapter 6 Hedge

  Chapter 8 Hedge

  Chapter 10 Hedge

  Chapter 11 Hedge

  Chapter 12 Memphis

  Chapter 13 Hedge

  Chapter 14 Jaxon

  Chapter 15 Hedge

  Chapter 16 Hedge

  Chapter 17 Memphis

  Chapter 18 Memphis

  Chapter 19 Memphis

  Chapter 20 Hedge

  Chapter 22 Hedge

  Chapter 24 Hedge

  Chapter 26 Memphis

  Chapter 27 Hedge

  Chapter 28 Memphis

  Chapter 29 Hedge

  Chapter 30 Hedge

  By

  Penny Blush

  Contents

  Copyright

  Dedication

  Acknowledgements

  Barber Shop Ink

  Chapter 1 Hedge

  Chapter 2 Hedge

  Chapter 3 Hedge

  Chapter 4 Hedge

  Chapter 5 Hedge

  Chapter 6 Hedge

  Chapter 7 Hedge

  Chapter 8 Hedge

  Chapter 9 Memphis

  Chapter 10 Hedge

  Chapter 11 Hedge

  Chapter 12 Memphis

  Chapter 13 Hedge

  Chapter 14 Jaxon

  Chapter 15 Hedge

  Chapter 16 Hedge

  Chapter 17 Memphis

  Chapter 18 Memphis

  Chapter 19 Memphis

  Chapter 20 Hedge

  Chapter 21 Hedge

  Chapter 22 Hedge

  Chapter 23 Memphis

  Chapter 24 Hedge

  Chapter 25 Memphis

  Chapter 26 Memphis

  Chapter 27 Hedge

  Chapter 28 Memphis

  Chapter 29 Hedge

  Chapter 30 Hedge

  Chapter 31 Hedge

  About the Author

  Copyright

  Copyright © 2016 by Penny Blush Books.

  All rights reserved. This work is under copyright. No part of this book may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means. Including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or other electronic or mechanical methods, without the prior written permission of the publisher, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical reviews and certain other noncommercial uses permitted by copyright law.

  This is a work of fiction. While, as in all fiction, the literary perceptions and insights are based on life experiences and conclusions drawn from research, all names, characters, places and specific instances are products of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously. Any references to historical events, real people or places are used fictitiously. No actual reference to any real person, living or dead, is intended or inferred and is entirely coincidental.

  Cover Design © Designed With Grace

  https://www.facebook.com/DesignedGrace/

  Cover Images © Adobe Stock & Penny Blush Books

  Photographer: Kristin Harrigan

  Cover Model: Josh Cotter

  https://www.facebook.com/COOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOTA

  https://www.instagram.com/betteryoupt/

  Dedication

  I know that this is a little self-serving and all but, this book is for fifteen-year-old me who used to sit in the quad before school telling stories. Fifteen-year-old me who, despite having a crowd of listeners, didn’t believe that I had a story that people wanted to hear.

  This book is for everyone who has a dream no matter how big – dream it have believe in yourself and surround yourself with people who support and encourage you and you will achieve.

  This book is for all the people who believed in me and who helped me get this far and all the people who are willing to take a chance and read my story.

  Acknowledgements

  Thank you so much to my lovely beta ladies in the Elite Squad. Barber Shop Ink wouldn’t have made it this far without you. Nicole, Robyn, Erica, Danni, Sharon, Wendy, Natasha and Kristin thank you so much for guiding me through the maze that was this book. Thank you for putting up with my allergy to commas and my thousands of rewrites. You all have a special place in my heart, and I plan on travelling the world to meet you all in person.

  Pauline and Kristin thank you so much for putting up with me constantly talking about my book and all things book related. Thank you for being the most supportive, caring and amazing friends a girl could ever wish for. I am totally devoted to you! And Granny Mojitos.

  Thank you to my Parents and Sisters for encouraging me along the way even if you really had no idea what I was doing! *smiling politely* Thanks to my Brother who just rolled his eyes anytime I talked about my book – Thanks for keeping me grounded Bro!

  Thank you to Megan from Designed with Grace for my amazing cover and for putting up with me and my constant request for changes. Lady, you are a saint!

  The next two people have me blubbering extra hard, so please forgive me if I ramble on – which I undoubtedly will.

  Josh, you are the most amazing human. You put up with so much crap from me every single week and yet, you still agreed to be on my cover. I must have gotten you after a head knock at football. When I asked you if you would be on my cover I fully expected for you to laugh at me and say no but, you didn’t you said yes. I immediately squealed like a girl and then created a Pinterest board!

  You were so easy to work with during the photo shoot and went along with whatever I wanted. Thank you for putting up with my giggling, inappropriate noises, blinding you with the reflector, kneeling on concrete and my obsession with your hands #manlymanhands

  Thank you for kicking my ass on a weekly basis. Thank you for pushing me to become a ‘Better you’, you really don’t know how much you have changed my life.

  Thank you for being my trainer, my cover model and my friend. You are the sweetest most amazing guy I know, and I want to hug you all the time. Keep being awesome – Love ya.

  Miss Kristin, Barber Shop Ink would not exist without you. Thank you so much, there truly is not enough ‘thank you’s’ in the world for what you have done for me and what you have given me, but I am going to try.

  Thank you for giving me the push I needed and telling me to put-up or shut-up. It was your push and encouragement that led me to stop talking (I know, me, stop talking hard to believe right!), and start typing.

  Thank you for being my Alpha reader, my Lady with the Red Pen, your thoughts, comments and notes have made me laugh, cry, re-think things and become a better story teller.

  Thank you so much for taking the stunning author photos that you took of me. Makeup and hair could only get me so far, and your magical photography skills did the rest. Thank you for making me feel like a sparkly unicorn and not a crazy person who has too many scarves!

  Thank you for taking the amazing photos of Josh. Thanks for keeping me on track during the shoot so that I could get the photos I wanted and for being professional when I was totally not!

  Hey, Josh you know you’re going to have to get your gear off right?!?!

  The photos turned out better than anything I could have imagined, your eye for photography is fantabulous!!!!

  I cannot thank you enough for being the awesomely amazingly spectacular person that you are (Bette Middler – The Wind beneath my Wings is playing in my head as I write this). You are an absolute angel, and I thank the universe every day for bringing you into my life. Even with everything you have going on in your own life you have still found time for me and helped guide me through this crazy journey. You are my biggest champion and I freaking McLove, you lady, and there is a v
ery special place in my heart for you. I love you to the moon and back.

  Barber Shop Ink

  Always Blue in Memphis

  ~*~*~ Hedge ~*~*~

  They say that bad luck comes in threes. I just didn’t expect all the hits to come at once.

  What do you get when you mix embezzlement, your best friend, add a dash of the Feds, a splash of infidelity and a heaping serve of apartment fire?

  You get a recipe for disaster. Welcome to my life.

  Once upon a time my life was perfect

  Fantastic job and fulfilling career – Check

  Amazingly supportive handsome boyfriend – Check

  Stunning apartment that I own and love – Check

  I was officially a successful adult, I had my life together, everything was perfect.

  Then it all turned to shit.

  ~*~*~ Memphis ~*~*~

  Some days you should just stay in bed if I did then maybe things would have turned out differently, then again maybe they turned out exactly the way they were meant to….

  What do you get when you cross your family, with a loan shark, the mafia and a boat load of debt?

  A massive freaking headache. Welcome to my life.

  Debt up to the eyeballs – Check

  Lack of sleep – Check

  Working myself to the bone – Check

  I’m not a successful adult, my life is a nightmare, total and utter chaos. I don’t have room in my life for anything or anyone else. Then she came crashing into my life blindsiding me, and now I find myself making room for her, in my shop, in my apartment and my life.

  Chapter 1 Hedge

  Some days you just shouldn’t get out of bed. You get that feeling when you wake up like the universe is trying to tell you something. You get the feeling that today is just not going to be your day and that you should just stay in bed pull the covers over your head and hide out until tomorrow. I should have paid attention to that feeling maybe that way things would have turned out differently. If I’d paid attention, I wouldn’t find myself sitting here on a couch that is not mine, in a house that is not mine, wearing pyjamas that are not mine, getting drunk on spiced rum that doesn’t belong to me contemplating a life that is no longer mine to enjoy.

  It was only yesterday that I had it all, I was on top of the world, and my life could not get any better. I was one of those annoyingly happy people. Smiling all the time commenting on how wonderful it is to be alive, sunshine and rainbows radiating from every pore. I would walk around quietly singing to myself until I could no longer contain the happiness that I felt and it would explode out of me until I was singing out loud. It was an immense uncontainable joy that needed to be shouted from the rooftops because joy like that needed to be out in the world and shared with everyone.

  Looking back on it now, I was a combination of Jessica Day from New Girl, Mary Poppins and Maria from the Sound of Music. It was sickening really.

  My super positive outlook all started when I was a kid, a friend from school gave me a book about the ‘Law of Attraction’. The law of attraction is the attractive, magnetic power of the Universe and that power draws similar energies together. If all you focus on is the negative things in your life, then all you’re going to attract is negativity. If you’re positive, then positive things will happen.

  When you think about it, it makes a lot of sense. Something in the way the book explained that your focus should be on all the things you want out of life, the things that make you happy rather than all the things make you miserable, spoke to me. By the time I turned twelve, I had already had too many shitty things happen in my life that completely sucked, that through reading the book I had a light bulb moment, and I decided that I didn't want to keep living like that.

  I was in a dark place when my friend Lizzy gave me the book. Having nothing else to focus on I read and then reread the book so many times that I could recite it chapter and verse. If I wanted to change my outlook on life first, I had to acknowledge all the crappy things that had happened in my life, except that I couldn’t change the past and move on. It made me think back on all that had happened to me in the brief period I had been on the earth and all the hits that I had taken.

  *~*~*~* Hit One *~*~*~*

  When I was twelve, I was in a horrible car accident with my parents. We had been heading to the army base to pick up my big brother Davan, who was back from deployment for R&R. The weather that day was terrible. The rain was coming down in a relentless torrent, and water was flowing across the road in rivers, and thick dark storm clouds turned day into night. A car coming in the opposite direction hit a patch of water aquaplaning, sending the car spinning out of control and slamming straight into our car.

  I don't remember much about the accident itself, but I remembered hearing my mother scream and my dad gasp just seconds before the impact. My aunt told me that our SUV had flipped multiple times; tumbling off the road before coming to rest in a storm water culvert, nose down in the water. They said that mum and dad died instantly from the impact.

  I hoped that was true.

  I woke up in the hospital. My tiny body was aching all over. My unfocused eyes scanned around the room before landing on my brother who was asleep in an uncomfortable looking chair while my aunt was standing, staring out the window lost in thought.

  “Mum,” I said hoarsely.

  “Hi, sweetie," my aunt said sadly, coming to sit in the chair beside my bed.

  “Where’s my mum? Where’s dad?” I asked a sense of foreboding rising.

  “Hey, Little Bug,” Davan said getting up and coming over to sit on the other side of the bed. “How are you feeling? Are you in any pain? Do you need me to call the doctor?” There was something in his eyes that scared me.

  "Davan what's going on? Where are mum and dad?”

  My aunt gently explained what had happened and my brother held me tight as I fell apart. I listened quietly as my aunt told me that I had been in and out of consciousness for a little over three weeks. I had had multiple surgeries to treat my injuries from the accident. Surviving the crash has left me with one kidney, one ovary, and pins in my left arm, along with scars more emotional than physical.

  The accident had also left me homeless and an orphan.

  *~*~*~* Hit Two *~*~*~*

  My parents had made Davan my legal guardian when they had updated their wills, just in case anything happened. Davan being seven years older than me would be able to take care of me and provide for me, and we would be able to stay together. It was just supposed to be a precaution. It was just what you did when you became parents. You planned for the worst-case scenario. It was never actually meant to happen.

  Leaving the hospital and being in our home without our parents, and knowing that they were never coming back, made my fragile heart shatter. Never again would my dad come bounding through the door wrapping me in a bone crushing daddy cuddle while asking me how my day was. Never again would I stand in the kitchen watching my mum bake or making dinner while she listened to me prattle on about my new favourite book or band I heard or all the things that I had considered important that had happened at school that day.

  Now our house was too quiet, too empty. The kitchen silent, the front door remained closed. Every room felt sad, cold and lifeless like the house was mourning our parent's death along with us.

  Davan and I had a very long and emotional talk, and together we decided that the house was too big for the two of us. There were just so many memories in every inch of the building that without mum and dad being here with us that it just didn't feel like our home anymore.

  Staying here just made us sad.

  The day we sold our home was so emotionally intense it felt like a bomb went off in my heart. I was so angry. It felt like we had no choice, that Davan and I were forced into this position and I resented that fact that we were more-or-less left with no option but to sell the house.

  I was heartbroken for both of us as we had to pack away our parent's lives. My bro
ther and I talked, laughed and cried as we sorted through our parent's belongings, deciding what to keep and what to give away. It was awful and felt like an emotional tug-o-war, one minute we were smiling and laughing then next a new memory would have us curled up in each other's arms and racking sobs of grief took over. It felt so disrespectful putting the important mementoes of their lives, everything that was special to them into boxes, and the shuddering sound of the packing tape pulling from the roller sealing the boxes grated on my nerves.

  How could a few boxes be the sum-total of two amazing people's lives?

  Numb to everything, I ceased to care. I was too little to be asked to make grown up decisions, no twelve-year-old should be asked what they wanted to be done with their parent's ashes. I felt like I had no power, no control and to be honest I didn’t want it, so I just agreed with everything that Davan and my Aunt wanted. Giving up and letting others make decisions for me, and not caring what happened was oddly freeing.

  “Little Bug, this affects you too you know. I want you to be okay with this,” Davan said, trying to get me to engage in conversation.

  "Whatever, it's fine Davan,” I sighed. “Whatever you think we should do," I shrugged, "it's not like what I say is going to matter."

  "Little Bug, what you say does matter. You matter. If you don't want to do this, we won't, we'll figure something else out. You and me, okay. Together always."

  "What happens when you get deployed again?" I asked emotionlessly. "I'm twelve; I can't be left all on my own. I'll only have to go there anyway. So, we’ll go. It's fine Davan."

  So, there I was, not only did we lose our parents but Davan and I moved to the other side of the country to live with our aunt, uncle, and cousin.

  My whole life had been upended. I had to abandon everything I knew, my school, my friends, my sports teams, everything I knew was left behind. I was so angry that in such a small amount of time my life had changed so drastically, but I didn't have the right to be angry about it, any of it because I chose to give up and just let it all happen. I felt like I had lost everything including all hope that I would ever care about anything again.

 
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