Color Me In (Last Chance #2)(5)

By: Riley Hart

They talked about Shane’s mom and the help she’d gotten. About inpatient not too long ago and new meds. It wasn’t perfect, but it was oftentimes better. And she didn’t let herself depend on Shane the way she used to.

He told Shane about the loss of his own parents—the car accident—but didn’t say he hadn’t been there because he’d been in prison.

Then Shane stood up from the back of the truck bed and said, “Why don’t you come inside? Eat dinner with me and Van. I want the two of you to get to know each other.”

Caleb nodded and stood as well. “I’d like that. Thank you.”

As he followed Shane inside, he hoped he could carve out his own piece of happiness here too. Hoped that he and Shane could gain some kind of friendship again, because even though they were talking, he could feel the difference. It wasn’t the same.


Insomnia fucking sucked.

It was something Ryan had dealt with off and on for years, but he’d had a good, long stretch of blissful sleep up until the past month or so. Yeah…it fucking sucked.

He could clean, but his small apartment was spotless. Living alone in a one-bedroom, he didn’t make much of a mess.

He could work on a car in the garage, but his didn’t need it, and he didn’t have a project car right now. He could cook, but he hated cooking—or at least, he wasn’t very good at it. Eating he liked—especially the homemade donuts from Lucky Rose, and their pie. Fuck, he loved their blackberry pies. They were always a perfect cure for his sweet tooth. For what wouldn’t be the first time in the past few weeks, he pulled on the pants he’d worn earlier in the day, found a clean sweatshirt, and headed out to his car at two in the morning.

He really needed a life.

It was Sunday night, which meant his friend Libby would be working. She’d picked up two night shifts a week for the past couple of months as a favor to the owner of the diner. It was wreaking havoc on her life, though. She had three kids, and her husband, Trace, typically worked the graveyard shift, which caused some trouble with their schedules. Libby was the type who would always help out when someone needed it, and as much as he enjoyed her company in the middle of the night, he hoped they got it sorted out for her soon.

It took his Charger a few minutes to warm up. Fall had begun to descend on the Oregon town, which meant a lot of fog, rain, and dreariness. Maybe that was why he’d been a little bummed lately—the change in seasons.

It only took him a few minutes to make the short drive to the diner. They were often slow at night. He’d always been surprised they were open twenty-four hours, but Libby said it had been that way for as long as she could remember.

Most everyone who lived in Last Chance was a lifer except Ryan. He enjoyed hearing stories about things that had happened over the years. There were times he felt jealous he didn’t share the memories, and others when he was grateful because small towns could be a bitch for escaping the past.

He was surprised when he saw a red Charger sitting under a streetlight in front of the diner. He fucking loved Chargers. The car lover in him wouldn’t allow Ryan not to park beside the vehicle that was the same as his—only Ryan’s was black…subtle, which looked a whole hell of a lot better if you asked him.

He turned off the engine, and through the window, saw Libby standing at the counter talking to a man he didn’t recognize. He might not be a lifer, but in the time he’d lived there, he knew it wasn’t often you saw someone you didn’t recognize. Whoever this guy was, he was new and obviously had good taste in cars.

The bell over the door jingled when Ryan walked inside, and both Libby and Charger Guy turned to look at him. A smile split her pretty face, and he couldn’t help but smile too. He was thankful for his newfound friendship with Libby, which started months ago after a night out with his friends Shane and Van.

“I always feel bad for being happy to see you because it means you’re having trouble sleeping,” Libby told him.

“I was thinking the same thing before I came.” He noticed a long-sleeved, black shirt stretched across Charger Guy’s back. He had short, light-brown hair, sort of buzzed a bit on the sides. He looked as though he was taller than Ryan, lithe, with long, well-defined muscles.