Friday, April 17, 2015

Jarrett Release Day 4/17/15

Addison Parker is on the run. No matter how fast she runs, or how far she travels she can’t hide from herself, or the gift she’s been cursed with. She can read people’s minds and with a touch can see into their future. That is a secret that she has learned to keep well―everyone always wanted something from her when they learned what she could do. It’s easier to avoid people all together. 
Jarrett Emerson is just helping his dad and brother protect an innocent from a perverted wretch. But when a falling brick knocks Addie unconscious, she falls right into Jarrett’s arms. To his surprise he realizes that she is his mate and human…
Addie felt stupid standing there like she was and moved to the sink. Jarrett watched her before he reached for a second glass. Addie had no idea why, but she thought he was nervous. “I’m not going to pounce on you.”
As soon as the words left her mouth, she knew that she’d made a major mistake. He turned so quickly that she backed up and hit her ass on the counter behind her. He didn’t stop there but took the two more steps to have her leaning back to look up at him.
“I’d like nothing more than to have you pounce on me.” His voice was a soft growl that had her thinking all sorts of things that had nothing to do with food. “You’re very beautiful.”
“No, I’m not.” He nodded and halved the distance between them. “You’re too close. I can’t think when you’re this close.”
Jarrett doesn’t want her to leave. If she goes, he goes with her. That’s the way it is with mates. But when a corrupt attorney has other ideas, the Emersons have to regroup to protect what they now consider their own….

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Chapter 1
“Well, of course you couldn’t last for one more day, could you?” Addie got out of the front of her camper and looked at the smoking hood. “One more day. That’s all I needed. Then I could have been settled some place nice, and you could have rested while I fixed some of the things that you needed. What is wrong with that, I ask you?”
She felt the tears well up in her eyes and let them fall. She wasn’t a whiner, nor was she all that mushy when things didn’t go her way. But it had been a long few years and she’d just about had all she could take. If things didn’t turn around soon…well, they wouldn’t, so she had no idea why she even bothered speculating about it. She looked at the camper she’d purchased secondhand because she was cheap, and decided that it had served her well. Better than other things and people she had in her life currently. It was a recent purchase, as her other cheap mode of transportation had also died along the way to her finding herself.
The hood lifted with a loud screech. She looked around. Most of the time a person would come out of their house when someone stopped in front of their home, but it was still really early in the morning. Just shy of five, she supposed. Looking into the engine, she could see right away what it was and realized that while it was an easy fix, it wouldn’t get her far. So before she did anything like that, she pulled out her new phone and looked to see if there were any campgrounds close by.
There was one, and it was open. The middle of January in Ohio more than likely didn’t see a lot of campers, but she was happy to find them not just with a listing, but one that said that you could call twenty-four seven. The snow crunched under her feet as she called. As soon as the person answered, Addie knew that she’d woken her up. But while she sounded sleepy, she didn’t sound pissed.
“I’m so terribly sorry. But I have a bit of an emergency. I was wondering if you have a space for a camper trailer for about a month.” The woman mumbled something about how early it was and for her to hang on, so she did.
Addison Parker was on the run. Not from the police or even a boyfriend. Her family was all gone except for one, and so far as she knew there was no way there could be anyone she owed money to. Who she was running from was herself, and her depression. It had come to the point in her life when she was either going to park in her garage and let the car run until it was over, or find something to keep her mind on her life. She’d often thought, over the last few years, that she should have used the garage.
“I have spaces. I’m guessing you want some electric and water, so I’m putting you in that kind of space. And real close to the bathroom. There’s a washer and dryer too. I’ll have my son run down and turn it on for you so’s you can use it.” The woman laughed. “Course, it’s colder than a witch’s tit in a brass brassiere out, so I’m thinking you ain’t here to fish or look at the wildlife.”
“No, ma’am. Just having engine problems and need a place to fix it.” The woman told her it was fine. “Can you tell me how much? For about a month or two? I’m no problem to have stay, I promise you. I just need a place to do some repairs.”
“It won’t be the going rate being how it’s January and all. How about you pay me…?” Addie closed her eyes, thinking that if it was anything over about fifteen hundred dollars, she was going to have to think of another place to stay. Not that she didn’t have more money, but that was all she had on her right now. “Listen, how about I let you just stay there for fifty bucks for the whole month? That’ll get my son Josh some spending money, and I don’t have to worry about there being nobody at the sites. If you wouldn’t mind keeping an eye out for me.”
“No. Not at all.” Addie laughed. “Not one bit. I have to work on getting me there. But yes. I’d love it. Thank you so very much.”
She was crying again and wiped at the cold tears on her cheeks as the woman told her what site she was in. Mrs. Carlyle told her that her son would be going down to shovel it off for her so that it would be perfect. After she hung up, she looked at her ride again.
“Perfect? How the hell would anyone think of me as perfect?” Addie looked at the town she’d gotten off the wrong exit for, then at her camper. “You have been my greatest purchase, yet you fail me all the time. What am I to do with you now?”
Instead of expecting an answering, she bent into the engine compartment and started to pull the hose out. She was sure if she could patch up the hose again, it would get her the mile or so that Mrs. Carlyle had told her to go to get to the campground.
An hour and a half later, she had it running. Not well, but enough to get it started and going. She made the drive slowly, which was good, as there was little traffic out this early, and she only had to pull over once more to get it going again after putting more water in the radiator. Pulling into the spot that had been cleaned, she didn’t even have to turn the engine off, as it seemed to give up at that moment. As it sputtered to a dying stop, she laid her head on the wheel.
She had things to do. Plenty to get herself ready to live in one place for a time. But for now, right now, she needed a nap. For about ten or so years, she thought. Then she had more things to do to just live. A job for starters. Something to keep her mind off things for a while, anyway.
As she got out of the vehicle and moved out to put down the stands that would hold her steady while she walked around inside, she tried not to think about how cold it was and what she’d have to do to keep warm. Then there was the power, water, and the sewage that she needed. As she hooked this up, Addie thought of how she had to call her lawyer soon. He’d have things for her to sign, plus she needed to tell him what else she might need.
They were long overdue for a talk, and she wanted him to explain a few things for her that she’d come across when she’d been looking at some accounts. Money was missing, and there were some back orders for things she knew that he’d said had been delivered. As she sat up, she made herself a mental note on items to get him to send to her.
“Money.” Nodding to herself, she thought of several other things she was going to need as she was looking in the engine again. “A new engine would be nice, but I’m not sure that Carl here could handle that.” She’d named her home after her college professor who had told her it was the little things that made a place a home. She’d left her home with very little and now she had even less.
“You usually talk to yourself?” Addie closed her eyes when the man behind her spoke. As she turned slowly, holding the tire iron in her hand, she heard him laugh.
“I’m very harmless. My name is Josh Carlyle. My mom sent me to see what you might need.” Nodding, she still didn’t let go of the iron, and he noticed it too. “I won’t come any closer if you want. But I’m not going to hurt you.”
“So you say.” He nodded and reached slowly into his pocket with his left hand still up in the air. He told her he was going to show her his identification. “That could be just as fake. Why don’t you just move on? I’m not…I’m not really good with strangers.”
“I can see that.” He put his hands up again. “Okay, I’m assuming you don’t need anything. If you do, here is my cell phone number. My mom and I will be at work until six, then home. She wanted you to come by for dinner, if you want.” He put the card on the small mailbox at the end of her space.
“Thanks, but no thanks. No offense.” He nodded. “I’m very sorry. I’ve been kind of on my own for a while now, and I forgot how to be sociable.”
“We’re here if you need us.” She nodded and watched him move away to a truck that she envied. Turning back to what she’d been doing, she decided that she was too exhausted to try and figure it out.
She went inside and was thrilled to find the place was already warmer than it had been, and her electric blanket had her bed all toasty. Stripping down, she locked the doors and crawled naked into the bed. She didn’t even bother with turning off the lights. As her head hit the pillow, she was asleep. But she knew that it would only last about two hours, and she’d be up again.
Cash walked around the little store twice, trying his best to remember what it was he’d been there for. He’d gotten to talking and now…shit, he needed to start making himself notes, he supposed. Smiling at the little girl behind the counter, he moved out of the building into the cold evening. He nearly squeaked when he saw the young woman sitting on the bench. Her feet out in front of her nearly made him trip up, but it would have been his fault. He was too busy “flirting” again (as Slone called his trips to town).
She was asleep. Soundly, too, if he didn’t miss his bet. And the way she was dressed had him believing that she was homeless…worn-out boots that had broken laces, a coat that was miles too big for her, and a hat that had seen better days. There was no way that a human could just sit there in this weather and not be frozen. He was nearly to his car—well, Slone’s car—when she spoke behind him.
“I don’t think it’s going to start. You left your lights on. They sputtered out about ten minutes ago.” He looked at the car, then the shop. He’d only been in there ten minutes, he was sure. “You’ll need a jump.”
“You offering?” He hadn’t meant for it to sound so dirty, but she sat up and looked at him. “I meant my car. I don’t know you well enough to make that sort of comment to you that would sound like I was flirting with you. But you get to know me and you’ll know I’m pretty harmless.”
“Men are rarely harmless.” He could hear the pain in her voice and felt his heart twist. Such a beauty and all that hatred. “I don’t have a car or I would give you a jump. I’m sorry.”
Nodding, he got into the car and put the key in. Not that he didn’t believe her, but he had to try. Nothing but a click-click-click. Getting out, he pulled the tab to open the hood and looked under it. He had no more idea what was under there than he did in the fertilizer he and Slone had ordered the other week.
“Your cables are corroded.” He looked over at her when she came to stand beside him. “If you go in and get a cola, I can fix that part for you. You’re still going to need someone to give you a jump I bet, but this will keep it from happening so often. And I don’t want to be rude, but can you maybe go in and get it and come back out? I’m sort of looking for a job and I don’t have all day.”
Cash didn’t take offense to her request. He was a social man, and people were just too friendly to not talk to. But instead of going inside, he went to the pop machine outside and got the cola she suggested. As soon as he handed it to her, she opened it and took a small sip before pouring it all over the vise-like clamps that were already pulled from the box in the corner. The nasty stuff bubbling up off them made his belly kind of wiggle.
“Christ, that is some nasty shit.” Her grin told him she loved what she was doing, and he watched as the cola seemed to boil all the rust off them. Even as she used a napkin to clean them off, he was amazed at the difference. As soon as she got them back on the battery, he realized he should have called in one of his boys to help him.
“You should have your battery checked out. It’s expired.” After she showed him the date on it, he wondered how Slone had ever gotten around, and told himself to ask his boys when the last time they checked theirs was. “Also, you need better tires. Those are going to get you killed. They’re nearly bald, and in this slick weather, it’ll be over before it begins.”
“Thanks. Never even thought of those things. This is my daughter-in-law’s car, and she’s a little on the shy side.” She nodded and went back to the bench. Cash, never one to pass up helping somebody, even if they didn’t think they needed it, went to sit beside her. As she laid her head back, he reached for Luke, who he knew was on his way in.I got me a problem. Not a big one, but I need a jump. Luke laughed. When was the last time you had your battery checked? This car I borrowed from Slone has a battery in it that’s nearly five years past its date.
It’s a new car, so I’m thinking I’m good. But you’re right, I bet she…why the hell does she still have that thing anyway? I mean, she more than likely owns a fleet of cars. Cash thought Luke might be right. I’ll be there soon. Five minutes.
Cash thanked him and looked at the girl. “You should let me pay you for your help. This thing might have had my Slone out somewhere and all alone when her battery quit on her.”
“No thanks.” She didn’t move as she spoke, but she did open her eyes. “You don’t know anyone that’s hiring, do you? I mean a real job, not one you think you owe me.”
It was on the tip of his tongue to tell her that when she put that stipulation on him. He didn’t know of a single job. Not anything he thought she, a pretty little thing, could do. Instead of telling her no, he decided that he might need some help.
“I’m opening an office. Not sure what sort of help I might need, but I could use someone to answer my phone, do a little filing. Can you do any of that?” She sat up and then stood. “Is that a no?”
“It is. I have to get back. I’m…I’m having a bad day and I need to be alone.” Cash had a feeling that she didn’t need to be alone, that it might be the worst idea she’d ever had. He stood up. “Thanks for the drink.”
It took him a few seconds to figure out what she meant. She’d taken a sip of the cola and that was all. As he turned to go after her, Luke pulled in front of his car. When he turned back, she was gone.
“Dad?” He started down the street, and Luke called him back. “I thought you needed a jump. I’m already running behind. I’m sorry. I’m going in to file some paperwork I forgot to do today.”
“There was this girl. Woman, I guess. She looked…she helped me, and now I don’t think she should be alone.” Luke looked down the street, then at him. “She was here. Used a cola to clean off them terminals. I never knew about that. And people put that stuff in their body?”
“I saw her. Who is she?” Cash told him he had no idea. “Well, that was really nice of her to help you. If you have something that belongs to her, we can hunt her down for you. Why are you afraid she shouldn’t be alone?”
“I don’t know. I just have a feeling…Luke, you know how that woman you knew some time ago—the one that went and killed herself—how she looked all the time?” Luke nodded, sadness in his eyes. “I’m sorry, boy, I am. But this here girl, she looked about ten times worse. Like the thought of dying was much better than living.”
Luke looked in the direction she’d gone. Cash looked as well. He had a feeling that the girl was going to harm herself. And if she did, he was afraid he’d be haunted by her for the rest of his life. He looked at Luke.
“I’m going to open an office. Like the one you and Jack was telling me about.” Luke nodded as he hooked up the cables to his battery. “You go on and fix me up on that, please. That building next to your wife’s, it’ll do just fine.” “Dad, what’s this about? You didn’t even want to talk about it the other night. Why now?” He looked in the direction the girl had gone. “This have to do with her? That girl tell you something? Ask you for something so you’d do it?”
“No. Damn it, boy. What makes you think that some snip of a girl is going to be able to make me do a damned thing I don’t want to?” Cash huffed. “Damn it all to hell. There is something about her that makes me think she’s a danger. To herself.”
“How?” He wasn’t sure and told him that. “I don’t understand. You think she’s going to kill herself? Why? What did she say?” Cash got into the car when Luke told him to. He had no idea what it was about her. There was something there. Something profoundly sad that made him want to find her right then and fix it. When the car roared to life, he got out and stood by his son.
“She’s got a sadness about her that hurts me right here.” Cash put his hand over his heart. “Luke, if something happens to her, anything, I’m going to be hurting too. I don’t even know her name or a thing about her, but I like her. She is…I don’t know, I really like her.”
“All right, Dad. Let me see what I can find out.” Luke got into this car and looked out at his dad. “You have her scent? Anything?”
Cash picked up the can and handed it to him. After Luke took it to his nose and handed it back, Cash did the same, taking in her scent to keep it with him. When his son took off, Cash went to the diner and had a little talk with Mable. If anyone knew anything, she would. And by golly, damned if she didn’t.
“There is this girl that is camping at my place. Don’t think it’s her though. Josh said she was on the scared side. Wouldn’t even let him take out his license to show her who he was.” Cash had a feeling this was his girl. “Tall, about six foot, he said. Skinny and a little on the busty side.”
“That’s her. Yeah, busty, that’s a good name for her. Dark hair. Looks like a good wind would lift her up and toss her away.” Mable called Josh from the back, and he nodded at his description of the girl. “What’s her name?”
“She gave me one, but I’m thinking it’s just short for something. Addie Parker, she said. Her truck is broke down, she told me, and she needed some place to fix it.” Mable looked at Josh. “Anything you can tell Mr. Emerson here?”
“She was threatened.” Cash started to ask him what he meant. “As soon as she saw me, she held that tire iron like she was gonna use it on me. I think she would have, too. And her engine is gone. I could smell it from the car when I was leaving. But she didn’t strike me as someone who would trust you if you had a string of priests telling her you were fine.”
“She’s stranded then?” Josh nodded at him. “Good. The longer the better. I want you to let me know if she comes in here. I won’t go out there and bother her none, not yet at any rate, but if you see her let me know. I’m gonna…I need to keep an eye on her for a bit.”
Cash went out to his car and wasn’t surprised that it started right up. He looked down the street and thought he saw her, but wasn’t really sure and turned at the next street to go and see.
As soon as he turned around and got back to where he’d seen her, he pulled over. She wasn’t around, of course. That would have been too easy. He moved up and down the street until he got to Jack’s building. Slipping inside, he stood in front of the big window while he watched. Cash felt Jack before she said anything.
“You have a date or something?” He told her about the girl. “Ah, so you’re stalking. That’s not good. There are laws about that, I think. Should I tell your sons? I’m sure that Hunter will have a lot to say about you stalking someone.” “No, there’s no reason to tell them. Luke knows, but…I just have a feeling about her…this girl, I mean; that’s all.” He looked at her then. Christ, this woman made his heart flutter every time he looked at her. “You’re awfully pretty today. That mate of yours is picking out your clothes again, I’m betting.”
“No, he is not. As a matter of fact, Slone and I went shopping. She has excellent taste. I was going to go with her tomorrow.” They both stared out the window. “What’s the story on your date?”
“I don’t want to date her.” He’d snapped before he could think not to, and she laughed at him. “She’s just a woman that I have a fear for, that’s all. There is just something about her that makes me want to pull her into my arms and keep her safe.”
“I don’t know her, but if you have that feeling, I’ll help you.” They both moved away from the window, and he noticed then that the store was dark behind them. “I was just closing up. Luke called to say that he has to work on something for an hour or so. So I’m all alone. Wanna take a lonely woman out to dinner?”
“Hell yeah.” As she pulled on her jacket, he thought of the other woman. She might be cold or hungry. His resolve to find her doubled and it nearly took his breath away with it. “Jack, do me a favor. If you find this girl, see if you can get her a coat or something to put on. I think she might be a little on the stubborn side.”
“Stubborn, huh? I don’t know that many stubborn people, but I’ll give it my best.” He stared at her until she started to laugh. “I’m kidding. But I will keep an eye out for you.”
Thanking her and walking her across the street, Cash wanted to go and see her now, his mystery woman. Even though he knew where she was and that he could be there in no time, he decided to wait. For now anyway. As soon as they entered the diner again, he was filled with a sense of wellness. The girl would be all right, he knew, for one more night

Next Release is Jace  The Pride Of The Double Deuce 

coming April 

Happy Reading 

                                         Kathi S Barton 

Friday, March 27, 2015

Pre Order Steele Justice Series by Kathi S Barton

Steele Bennett was born with a gift, but he sees it more as a curse―he can see and speak with spirits.
 And when he loses his twin sister at seventeen,
 he wants to turn his back on life―block his heart so that he never has to feel the sharp pain of loss again…

The small bar Kari Briggs runs is failing fast.
She hasn’t seen the owner in three months, past due notices are piling high, and her last paycheck bounced twice.
 And if she doesn’t pay the delivery guy soon, there’ll be no more supplies.

She has trouble enough controlling her cat, so the last thing she needs tonight is trouble.
But those guys at the bar won’t listen and take it outside.
 Deciding to take matters into her own hands,
she is shocked when a tall stranger grips her arms from behind and her cat wants to roll over and purr.

From the moment Steele touches her, she knows he’s her mate.
 And Steele thinks he can just get her out of his system with sex and a lot of it―he
 won’t mark her and she can’t mark him―no permanent attachments.
 But that’s not how it works with a shifter, she will die if her cat can’t get what she needs from him.
She will love him because she has no choice―he is her mate―but that is a secret she is willing to take to her grave…

Pre Order






“I really wish you would just leave me alone.” Steele looked at his twin sister and growled low when she laughed at him. “There are times I wish I was an only child. You’re the most irritating thing I’ve never known. Don’t you have anything else to do?”
Her laughter almost made him smile. It was infectious like that. Instead, he turned his back on her. But he should have known it wouldn’t make her go away. When his bed shifted, he turned to see that she’d flopped down on it and had picked up his book. Snatching it away from her before she could see what it was, he watched her face for any clue that she’d be leaving anytime soon. Steele should have known better.
“I wasn’t going to tell.” He knew she wouldn’t. It was one thing to bother him, but she’d never get him into trouble. “Do you still see them all the time?”
“Yes.” He opened the book he’d had mailed to a post office box he’d opened just last month. His parents didn’t need to know that things were still bad for him. Not that either of them would give a crap anyway. In fact, just the opposite. “It says in here that I must have had a brain injury and that I only think I see them.”
Aster snorted. “Yeah, right. Like our parents didn’t think of that one when they were trying to make you not see them. How many doctors have you seen in your lifetime? Fifty? A hundred? You could see them since we were little kids. I don’t think that’s it. What other hogwash does it spout?”
He loved her…most of the time more than he did himself. She was witty and sarcastic, understanding and loving. She irritated him to the point that he wanted to murder her, but he would kill for her too. Instead of answering her, he told her once again to leave him alone. He glanced over in the corner at the woman sitting in his rocker, and she smiled a ghastly smile at him. Steele looked away. It wasn’t that he was afraid of her, but their appearance did frighten him.
Steele had been able to see ghosts since he was a baby, just as his sister had said. But she didn’t know it all. No one did. Not only had he talked to them, and played with the children who’d come to see him, but there was just so much more. They’d never hurt him but only talked to him and asked him to do things, things that helped them.
His mother was the first to figure out he had a “problem,” as she called it. He’d left the house in the middle of the night to help a spirit and she’d found out.

“What do you mean, you see the dead? No one sees the dead, Steele. Now stop this nonsense this minute and go to your room.” He’d told his mom when she asked him about what he’d been doing, thinking she’d help him with a particularly hard chore with one of his friends. But she’d been so mad that he’d been slightly afraid of her.
“They are real. And all I need you to do is drive me over to the hospital. I have to find out what this person died of.” She slapped him then, hard enough to throw him back on the floor. He remembered starting to stand and Aster stepping in front of him and daring their mom to hit him again. It wasn’t the first time she’d done that, but it was the first time she’d threatened their mother.

“You are not a nice person. He’s trying to help them. And if you hit him again, I’ll never do a thing for you again. No more dances; no more parties either.” His mother had asked him if Aster saw them too. “We’re not talking about me right now. This is about Steele and his need to get you to help him with this. Are you going to help him or not?”
“I most certainly am not. And if you mention this to me again, either of you, you will not have to worry about parties, young lady. I’ll take care that you never see the light of day again.”
They’d both been sent to their room, and when their father returned two days later they were beaten…him harder than Aster, but she’d been hurt more by the fact that no one believed him. So at the tender age of ten, they both decided to keep everything from their parents. And now, now they were seventeen and things had gotten…harder, he supposed.
“Where is he?” He looked at Aster sharply. “I know you’re helping someone. Where is he? Tell me where he is, or where she is, and I’ll leave you alone. I promise.”
“You’ll leave me alone now.” He stood up and shoved her off the bed. “Go away, Aster. I mean it. I’ve had enough of you driving me crazy. Don’t you think I have enough to deal with? I don’t need you pestering me to death too. Just fucking go away.”
He’d never cursed at her before…never had a reason to. But his client, as he’d begun to call them, had needed him for several days to do something and was keeping him up at night to get it done. When Aster stood up, he could see the tears in her eyes. She cried so seldom that he wanted to tell her that it was all right, that he needed her. But he was afraid. Not that she’d tell, never that, but that on this job, she’d get hurt. Doing what he was for this woman was going to be dangerous. He had no idea why he thought that, but he had a feeling deep in his body.
He thought for sure she was going to tell him off. One thing about Aster, she could peel your skin right off your body with just her words. Instead, she turned on her heel and left him standing there. His door slammed shut and vibrated one of his pictures off the wall, and he heard her stomping for several steps down the hall. Then she giggled and he knew she was skipping the rest of the way to her room. Steele looked over at the woman who still sat in his chair.

“Where are you taking me? I’ll go, but I want some answers first.” She stood up and pointed out the window. He knew that going with her was going to get him into trouble, but he wanted to finish this up so he could find Aster and tell her how sorry he was. “I’m doing this for you and you’ll leave me alone?”
Her nod scared him. Everything about her scared him. Whoever had killed her had really done a good job of it. Not a good choice of words, but they really worked her over. Her body was a mess, her face—he supposed she might have been a beauty—was nearly unrecognizable as it was beaten in on one side. Blood and brain matter seeped from the large hole just above her ear. Her jaw was broken, which was the reason she didn’t speak, and it hung limply at her neck. It, too, had been ravaged. Shivering once, Steele looked at the door his sister had gone out and wanted to go to her. But the client stepped in front of him.
Gathering up his pack, he climbed out the window just as she moved through it. It didn’t bother him any longer when they walked through doors or windows. It did, however, give him the willies when they walked through people. It was one of his rules. They were never to walk through him. If it happened, even accidently, he was finished. They left behind a scent and a creepy feeling when they did that.
The place where she was taking him was pretty far; they’d been walking for a good twenty minutes now, and she didn’t look as if she was going to slow. He was going to take his bike, an old motorcycle that he’d gotten really cheap last year when he’d turned sixteen. But he didn’t want his mother to hear him leave. Instead, he ran after her, trying his best to keep Aster out of his mind.
Aster was his best friend, best ally, and she was also the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. She was special in that she didn’t care what she looked like either. Not like their mother, who thought it was a sin to not have your face on, whatever the hell that meant, before anyone saw you. And heaven forbid you went out into the yard with something less than a designer outfit on. Aster hated that about her as much as he did. And more often than not, Aster would be dressed in some of his toss offs rather than the things Mother picked out for her. He supposed she rebelled more than he did. Mother was forever telling them that with money came responsibilities. Neither Steele nor his sister seemed to be able to figure out what those were exactly.
They had money, or at least their parents did. His father was a surgeon of some renown. Mother was a chemist and had come up with several drugs that cured a great many things. He had no idea what they were, or even what sort of surgery his father did. It wasn’t that he didn’t care, he supposed, but they’d never had much to do with he or Aster, and they had grown used to them living their lives and he and Aster living theirs. They saw the staff more than they did their parents. But lately things had changed in that regard. He wasn’t sure what he thought about his mother retiring and his father taking less and less work at the hospital. Just the day before, their mother had started in on Aster about some things that neither of them had ever thought of.
“It’s high time you started finding a suitable husband.” He’d nearly choked on his soup when mother told Aster that. “And you, young man, will start to find a suitable wife too. One that your father and I will approve of, and not one of those people that you hang around with at that school of yours. We aren’t going to live forever, and we’re not leaving our money to the two of you and some deadbeat you find to shack up with.”
In her usual fashion, Aster snorted at her. “I don’t plan to ever marry, thanks. Having a man tell me what to do every ten seconds is for the birds.” Aster winked at him. “I think I’ll find me a lover and simply live off his money. Or find a job flipping burgers.”
Mother had hit Aster so hard she’d hit her head on the table as she fell from the chair. Blood poured from the wound and he was sure Mother had killed her. Instead of helping her up, or even seeing to her daughter, his mother stood over him with her hand drawn back. He’d never seen that particular look on her face before. It was something scary and insane.
“You have something flippant to say?” He shook his head. “See that you don’t. And starting on your eighteenth birthday, you’ll start doing what I tell you and not what you want. Don’t think I don’t know you sneak out of here every night. That, too, will stop.”
That had been three days ago, and here he was sneaking out again. When his client stopped by the fence that surrounded their property, he thought he was to jump over it. Instead, she pointed to the ground near him. Looking at the freshly turned soil then back at her, he shook his head.
“You can’t be buried here.” She nodded and pointed again. “I don’t believe it. There are security cameras everywhere. Had you been buried here, someone would have seen you when this happened.”
She pointed up behind him and he turned. There was a camera right there, but even he could tell that it had been disabled a long time ago. The thing was hanging limply on its holder, and the wires had been cut. Pulling out his camp shovel from his pack, he started to dig, but she stepped in front of him again. He asked her now what.
Moving over to something a little smaller, he noticed that the soil there was raw too. Taking a step back, he stared at it. He knew, just as surely as he was standing there, it was a child. When she pointed to it, then at her, Steele sat down on the hot grass and stared at her.
“Your child?” She nodded but didn’t move again. “Whoever killed you, they killed your child too? And then buried you both here? Am I going to regret this? Am I going to hate what I find here?”
Her nod had him looking at both graves. He had a feeling he knew who she was, and what terrified him the most was that he was pretty sure who had buried them both here as well. Steele felt a chill go over him, and he actually pulled his jacket tighter around him. Even with the sun beating down on him, he was cold.
A woman had come by the house several days ago with a little baby. He’d never actually spoken to her, but he’d gotten a glimpse of her when she asked to see his father. He’d looked at the little boy and wondered why she’d bring him to see his dad. Now he knew why her car had been parked in the back of the horse barn until today.
“Did he kill you?” He didn’t look at the client, not sure he wanted to really know the answer. “The baby, is it my father’s? And you came here to talk to him and he killed you both and buried you here?” This time he looked, and she was nodding. Every part of him wanted to run and hide. He wanted to find his father and demand that he tell him it wasn’t true. But Steele also knew, way down in his heart, that it was true. And not only that, but he had a feeling it had happened before. Was nearly certain of it.
“I think he’s…my father isn’t a nice man. He might have hurt someone before this. Murdered them, I mean. Another woman, but no child. My mother…she left him for a time before that and when she returned, they were very…I guess very secretive. He never…I think that he murdered this woman and has been searching for the child for a long time. I know that there was an investigator that came to the house nearly weekly for a while.” He looked up at the woman. “I’m so sorry. I know that doesn’t help you much, but I am.”
Her nod had him looking around the large yard. There were more here, more women that had come to see his father over the years. He didn’t want to think about what he might have done to put them there, how he had killed them, but Steele knew as surely as he was sitting there that there were dead bodies buried in that spot.
He didn’t dig at the grave like he normally would, but sat there until the cold seeped into his bones. Then before he could change his mind, he pulled out his cell phone and stared at it. It was time to make things right. Time to make his father—and more than likely his mother—pay. But who to call first? Dialing his father, he waited for his service to pick up. But as usual, all he got was his father’s voice mail, which really didn’t surprise him. His father hadn’t answered one of his calls since he’d gotten a phone.
“I found her. The woman and her child that are buried in the yard, I found them just now. And as much as you hate to hear this, she led me to where she was. I’m going to call the police as soon as I hang up from this call.” Steele took a deep breath and let it out slowly before continuing. “You killed them. I know you did. And it’s not the first time either.” Ending the call, he sat there for several seconds. Then he took a deep breath and dialed the police.
Within ten minutes, he was letting them in the gate. Steele knew his family well enough to know that they’d work very hard at covering this up. So while he’d been waiting on the locals to show up, he also called several news stations to let them know as well. Then he’d called the FBI.
The police were everywhere. His father wasn’t around and they had sent someone to the hospital to find him. His cell and his office phone were not being answered. One of the officers, a man who had been to their house several times, kept glaring at Steele, but he really didn’t care. It was done now and he would do it all over again if he had to. Steele was just leaving his sister another message when the FBI showed up. Then after that, things got really scary.
His mother was having a hysterical fit, screaming at the top of her lungs. And not at their father, oh no. At him, for calling the Feds. Apparently it was none of their business what happened on their property. The Feds, a man by the name of Ray Hancock in particular, was very interested in what happened on their property.
“Did you look in the grave before you called any of us in?” He told him he hadn’t. “And what led you out there? I’m going to tell you what I’ve heard before I let you answer that. Your mother said that you’ve been treated for mental illness, and that you more than likely killed her and will blame your father.”Even at seventeen, Steele knew that he was being given too much information. Instead of telling him anything, all he did was stare at the wall just behind the Federal agent. The man laughed a little and Steele finally looked at him.
“I didn’t kill her.” He nodded his head and said he hadn’t thought so. “I think you might find one more body out there. Another woman. Maybe two, but I don’t think there are any other children.”
Ray nodded but said nothing more as he wrote in his notebook. When he clicked his pen closed, he looked at Steele and leaned back in his chair. Steele braced himself for being told he was being arrested or worse yet, taken to the clinic again. The one where he’d spent a great deal of time after telling his parents what he could do.
“I know about you.” Steele started to stand. If this was going to be it, he had to at least try to get away. But Ray asked him to please stay. “I’m not going to hurt you. Or do whatever it is that is running through your head right now. But I heard that you talk to the dead. Help them. Was she someone that came to you for help?”
He didn’t answer him but apparently Ray didn’t require him to. As he sat there, he named two more people that Steele had helped. Steele never acknowledged him but knew both names. Fear made him squirm. Ray just nodded as if he knew the answer all along. That in and of itself made him think that things were about to get seriously bad.
“I have a deal for you when you’re old enough. A job.” Steele took the business card when Ray held it out to him before he could think he shouldn’t. “Call me when you hit eighteen and we’ll talk. But you have to know, this is not going to go well, for either of your parents. You know that, don’t you? I’m thinking your mother knew about this, and I’m willing to think you knew she did as well.”
“I’m sure she did. I never thought…it wasn’t anything I might have been able to ask them about.” Ray nodded and told him he’d get back to him in a few days. As he moved away, he turned back and looked at him when Steele said his name. “Will you find more, you think?”
“We’ve already found three more women and a child. The dogs are still looking as we speak.” With that, he walked away.
Steele made his way to his room. His sister was sitting on his bed. He was so relieved to see her that he nearly wept from it.
“Where have you been? I’ve been worried to death about you. Why didn’t you let me know you’d been back?” She smiled at him and he sat down on the rocker that had been occupied this morning by his client. “I’m really sorry about today. But did you see what’s going on downstairs? I think Mother and Father are going to jail for a very long time.” “I did. But I have to tell you something.” He started to tell her what Ray had said, but she continued. “I don’t want you to feel bad. It was all my fault. I wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing.”
“What do you mean?” He started to stand up, but something held him back. “Aster? What’s going on? What was your fault?”
“I love you. Very much.” He nodded, suddenly afraid. “I don’t want you to think this was your fault. It wasn’t. I wasn’t even thinking of it when it happened.” Steele started to stand again, but he sat very still. His heart was pumping so hard he was sure anyone walking down the hall could have heard it.
“Aster? Please tell me what’s going on. I’m worried and scared.” But he knew. As surely as he was sitting there, he knew. But he couldn’t say it, couldn’t admit, not even to himself, what he knew. “Aster, this isn’t funny. What’s going on?”“I was watching the little baby in the stroller. And you know how much I love babies. But she and her mother were crossing the street and the baby had dropped her dolly. I didn’t think before I acted.” He told her she never did and she smiled at him again. “No, I rarely did. I just stepped off the sidewalk and it was over as soon as I did.”
Dead. Dead. Dead. His sister was dead. Steele felt the tears fall. His heart that had been pounding so hard before suddenly stopped. Dead. Dead. Dead. His wonderful sister, so full of life, was dead.
“No. Please no.” She moved to stand in front of him and he could see it then. Everything that had happened to her. All of it. “Aster. I’m so sorry. I should have let you go with me. I shouldn’t have told you to go away. Please forgive me. Please?”
Her body was bloodied; some of the wounds still seeped blood. Her face, so lovely when she’d left him, now bore the marks of being dragged over concrete. The entire left side of Aster’s face was smashed, her mouth nearly ripped open to her ear. Her left arm was broken and hung limply at her side. Her shorts and shirt were torn as well, and showed more abrasions to her delicate skin. He looked down her legs, so long and muscled before, but now she was missing her left leg from the knee down; her other leg was broken and twisted in a manner that hurt him to see.
“Don’t blame yourself, Steele. It was my fault. I only came back to tell you that it was all me and to beg you not to take on the blame. You will, I know you will, no matter what I say to you, but I had to come back and try. You’ll think that I was hurt and was too distracted to see what was going on. But that’s not what happened. I was happy. I wasn’t paying attention.” The tears streamed down his face. “Don’t cry. Please don’t cry. I don’t hurt. I swear it. It’s over and I don’t hurt.”
“I need you. I need you in my life. You’re all I have. You’re all I will ever have.” She moved to the bed and when she sat down, he could see that she’d made no dent in his covers, no shift in his book still lying there, because as much as he wanted her there, she was gone from the body that had held her for her entire life. There was nothing of her here. Nothing. Because she wasn’t really here. “Aster. What am I supposed to do now?”
“What you’ve been doing all along. Help people like us.” He shook his head. “You have to, Steele. You have to…I can see them now. All of them. There are so many needing you. And there are others like you. A great many of them. You have to help them too. You’re so much stronger than anyone out there trying to help the dead.”
“No. Without you…you can’t leave me.” She smiled sadly at him, and he felt as if his entire being wanted to find a way to join her. His mind seemed to simply shut down. “I don’t want you to go. Please, don’t leave me.” “Steele.” She sat there for a long time, simply staring at him. He took in everything about her…all her wounds and her pain as they faded from her so that she looked so much like the girl from this morning. His little sister. Steele wanted to join her; go out into the garage, pull down the gun he knew was there, and simply join her. But he knew that he couldn’t. Not like that.
“Don’t leave me. Father killed someone. Mother is mad because I called the police. And when he’s gone, I’ll be here with her all by myself.” Still she sat there and he continued trying to convince her. “The guy, Ray Hancock, he said that she might have known about the death. They found four more bodies. If she goes to prison with him, then I’ll be all alone.”
It was selfish. He knew it, and he was pretty sure she knew it too. But when she stood up, he could see her resolve, see that she’d come to a decision and he wasn’t going to like it. So he stood as well, stood as close to her as he could without touching her.
“You know that I can’t stay here. You know that as well as any one of the people you help.” He nodded and sobbed. His sister, his wonderfully amazing sister, was going to leave him. “I want to give you something. I need to tell you something as well. It’s…I could see them too. The people. I could see them too but never helped. I couldn’t help them like you did. I was too afraid of what Mother and Father would do to me. But the others, the dead, they’ve asked me to give you a gift and to tell you why you can see them. All right?”
“Yes. No. Please, I don’t want anything from them. I want you to…I know you can’t. I know that, but I will miss you so much.” She nodded and put out her hand. “I love you, Aster. I will love you for the rest of my life.”
“I will you as well, brother dear.” Her fingers moved over his chest and then into his heart. As soon as she touched him there, he felt so much move from her to him. It was almost too much, and when he put out his hand to pull her away, he touched her and looked into her face.
Everything became clear. All his life he had wondered what had happened, and now he knew. He also knew that his sister was right. She had been able to see the dead, had been able to talk to them as well. But unlike him, she’d been able to ignore it, something he wished now he’d worked harder at. When she started to fade, her body the shape of perfection again, he touched her again and closed his eyes. Steele saw in her eyes things he’d never seen there before.
“You’ll be so happy someday.” He shook his head at her whispered words. “You will. And when you are, I’ll rest easy. I’ll even come to see you again if I can. But you have to promise to help them. All right?”
“I wish you would stay with me.” He watched her fade more. “I love you, Aster, and always will.”
“I love you as well. I need for you to close your eyes now. Dream of all that will come to pass. Dream of the things that you will be able to do now, so much more than before.” He nodded, his body becoming heavier with her words. “You will dream of them now, Steele, all of the hurt ones, you’ll dream of them.”
Then she was gone. Steele dropped to the floor and leaned forward. Blood pooled beneath him, and it was all he could do not to fall face first into it. When someone knocked at his door, it took him three tries before he could get his mouth to work around the words to have them come in. As soon as the door opened, he was lifted up and laid on his bed. Steele looked up into the eyes of Ray and knew he was like him. As he lay there on his bed, sobbing for all that he’d lost in so short of a time, Ray sat beside him quietly and watched over him. When he felt as if he could function again, even if it was without a heart, he turned to look at the big man who had been more compassionate to him in the last hour than either of his parents had been to him his entire life.
“You contacted your father? Left him a message on what you did?” Steele started to nod, but the movement made his belly sick. “He got the message. I’m sorry to tell you this, son, but he’s dead. Killed himself not long after the call, we’re thinking. It’s just as well. I’m thinking he wouldn’t have lasted long in prison.” Steele nodded. His father, a great man to all that knew him outside the family, was dead. And all Steele could think about was good riddance.
“My mother know?” Ray nodded, then shook his head. “I don’t understand. Does she know or not?”
“She does. About the bodies as well as your father being dead. And there’s more. I’m sorry, but—”
“Aster is dead too.” He didn’t look surprised but only nodded. “She told me not to worry about her. That it was her fault. She stepped in front of a car or something and she was killed. There was a baby that she was with when it happened. She told me she was happy at the time.”
It was the first time he’d admitted to anyone but family what he could do. Ray didn’t tell him he was nuts, didn’t tell him he was lying. What would be the point in that? The man probably knew more about clients than he did.
“A semi. And she didn’t suffer any.” He nodded. She’d told him that as well. “I’m sorry, son. I’m sorrier than I can ever tell you.”
Steele nodded and rolled to his side away from the man. His entire life was ruined. Everything, all the people in his life, were going to leave him because of this curse. When someone stepped in front of him, another ghost, he closed his eyes. He was never going to help them again. Not ever.
Steele Bennett was going to go on with his life as if none of them existed. As of right now, he was out of the ghost helping business. He knew as surely as he was laying there that the chances of this really happening were slim to none. He’d made a promise and for his sister, he would have to keep it.

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Saturday, March 21, 2015

CHAPTER CHAPTER FORTY is ready to read !!!!!!!!!!

“If he comes to the phone again, I swear I’ll hang up and won’t call back
again. I’m out of change anyway, and phone numbers to call,” Morgan told
Byron. She should have just called him in the first place. But her first thought had
been Nickolas.
“She said that if Nicky comes to the phone again, she’ll stay where she is and
have the babies on the street corner,” she heard him tell the room.
“I did not! Are you trying to cause trouble? You are, aren’t you? Good then.
Is Mrs. Puck all right? I just heard about it on the news. Who did this, Mr.
Morgan had been coming out of the bathroom when there was a news flash
on the television. It had said they were looking for a man who had broken into
her home and that she was missing. All she’d been able to think about was poor
Nickolas. Well, she thought, that was stupid on her part. All he’d done was yell
at her.
“Yes, love, she’ll be fine. Her leg is broken and she’s been sedated. She hasn’t
regained conciseness, but Damon said that’s to be expected. You’d better tell me
where you are before Nicky breaks my neck.” Morgan burst into tears. She’d
been doing that a lot lately and it was getting worse all the time. The stupidest
things would set her off.
“I’m in Mansfield on a job site. I wanted to get the pictures before Dr. Grant
won’t let me travel anymore. I have a job doing a site for the Mansfield Prison.
Isn’t that wonderful? The only bus I could get back to Columbus is a milk run,
some man called it, and we’ve stopped in every little town between here and
there.” She waited while he relayed the information, this time telling them what
she said. Morgan felt silly crying and was glad Byron hadn’t commented on it.
“Nick would like to know if you need someone to come and get you? He
said that he could be there in an hour.”
Alone in a car with Nickolas for an hour. No, and hell no. “No, I’ll be nearly
there by the time he gets here anyway. I’m tired and my back hurts. I just want to
come home. I should be there by eight or eight-thirty. Tell everyone to go home
and I’ll call them tomorrow. I’d better hang up. I only have thirty-three cents left
in change and that’s not enough for another minute anyway. So, good-bye.” And
she hung up just as the recording was telling her to deposit another seventy-five
cents to continue her call.
Morgan went to the little shop just inside the bus terminal and bought
herself a juice and a candy bar. Just as she was leaving, she went back and
purchased two more candy bars. She was starving and knew she had at least
another hour and a half before she could fix herself anything to eat.
Getting on the bus wasn’t easy. The steps were very high off the ground and
she was so rotund. Once she settled back against the seat, she thought about her
Earlier, she’d met with Libby and finalized the paperwork concerning the
money that was to be given to her when Nick’s sons were born. There was also
the house and the car. Everything would be in their names, once Nickolas named
them. She hadn’t wanted any of it in the first place, so giving it to her children—
no, Nick’s children, she amended—was easy. As soon as the million dollars was
deposited, it went directly into another account for them as well.
Libby didn’t argue with her about it. Morgan fully expected her to. She’d
even made a few suggestions on what to do about the car. But she felt that as
she’d never driven it, Nickolas should be the one who disposed of it.
There was also the file of pictures she’d made for Byron. They were pictures
of her in different stages of her pregnancy. Byron had taken most of them, but a
few she had taken with the tripod as well. She’d written him a long letter about
why she’d given him the file. If the boys ever asked about her, would he please
show them how happy she’d been to be pregnant with them? And that her
leaving them had nothing to do with them. It was all her fault that she couldn’t
make her marriage work with their dad. That their dad was a wonderful man
and loved them very much.
The bus pulled onto the highway about ten minutes later and the gentle
sway and the soft moonlight shining in the window soon lulled her to sleep.
The big Greyhound pulled into the bus station at eight forty-five. Nick
watched every person who got off the bus, waiting for Morgan. He’d done a lot
of thinking since she’d called and she’d been right to hang up on him.
Nick thought about every time they’d been together and how very little they
had talked. She would say something, and he’d bark at her. She’d ask a question,
and he’d snarl at her. No wonder she avoided him as much as possible. He
would too if he could.
When no one else seemed to be getting off the bus, he looked around the
terminal. He didn’t think he’d missed her, but she might have seen him first and
darted away. If she could even dart anymore. Christ, she had been so big when
he’d seen her last. He was just about to go look for her in the bathroom when the
driver motioned for him. He walked over to the man and shook his hand.
“You looking for a woman, boy?” He’d not been called boy since he’d been a
“I don’t need a woman, mister. I’ve got a wife. You shouldn’t be selling
women either. It’s degrading and against the law.” He started to walk away, but
the man’s next statement stopped him.
“I gots me a pregnant woman on this here bus who ain’t woked up yet. I was
wondering if’n you was awaitin’ on her. Pretty little thing too. Looks ready to
about pop if’n you asked me.”
“Morgan’s asleep. Yes, she’s she all right?” He moved past the man
and onto the bus. He couldn’t see her, so he turned back to the driver.
“’Bout half way back on the left. Be careful of her; she’s been alying like that
since we tooked off. She’ll be all kinked up.”
Nick went slowly to where he had indicated and found her just where he
said she’d be. He kneeled down and looked at her breathing softly all rolled up
in a ball. He leaned forward and pressed a kiss to her brow and she turned to
look at him.
“Oh, Nickolas, I was having the most wonderful dream about us,” she said
dreamily. She started to move tighter into a ball and sighed heavily. “It’s too bad
it wasn’t true. I love you so much.” And she was asleep again.
Nick stopped breathing as he fell back against the floor of the bus. He
felt...well, he knew what the term pole axed meant now. Morgan loved him.
Nick looked over as the driver came back to them. He couldn’t think past her
words. It was perhaps a few seconds before he realized the man was speaking
“...that way you won’t have to carry her out to the parking lot. He said to just
pull up out front of the terminal and he’ll wave you through.”
Nick was supposed to pull up out front. Then what? he thought. “I’m sorry,
I...what did you say?” He wanted to shout, “she loves me!” but didn’t think the
man would understand.
“Hee hee, you love on that girl right and she won’t be moving off again.
Nah, she didn’t tell me nothing, but I got eyes. I seen the way you looked at her.
Go on now, get your car. I’ll wait right cheer with her.”
Nick didn’t know how he got to his car, or how he was able to get around to
the bus again, but was suddenly there again. True to his word, the driver stayed
with her until he returned.
Nick gently picked Morgan up and lifted her to his chest. She was heavier
than he’d remembered, then realized that the only time he’d had her in his arms
was when she was in pain or hurt. She didn’t stir much when he got her out of
the seat and only moaned slightly when he put her into the passenger seat of the
SUV. He was nearly halfway home when he realized he hadn’t thanked the man
for his help.
Nick took her to his apartment because the police wouldn’t let them fix the
door until they were finished with it. Parking in the garage was tricky because
his parking place had a wall next to it on the opposite side and he couldn’t get
her out without banging her around. He ended up having the front desk move
his car around to the garage while he brought her up through the front doors.
Once he got upstairs, thanking everyone he could that he lived in the penthouse
and keys weren’t necessary to open his door, he took Morgan directly to his bed
and laid her down on it. As gently as he could, he removed her shoes and socks.
He debated on the rest of her clothes, but she’d be waking up in a strange room
and he didn’t want to frighten her anymore than necessary.
After he got her settled, he went into his living room and collapsed in his
favorite chair. Morgan Grant, his wife, mother of his children, loved him. He
knew he was grinning like a loon, but couldn’t seem to help it.
The next thought sobered him up quickly. But how do I feel about her? Did he
love her? He honestly didn’t know.
Nick certainly lusted after her. Even as big and full as she was right now, he
wanted her. But did he want to spend the rest of his life with her? Did his
feelings for her make him want to wake up next to her every morning, go to bed
with her every night? Did he want to spend time with her above all else?
Sometimes, he thought. Other times, not so much. But she made him laugh. The
unexpected bursts of laughter that surprised him when he did it. Did he love
Morgan Grant? He didn’t know.
Nick called his mom to tell her that he’d picked up Morgan at the terminal,
and that she was with him.
“Nick, darling, try not to piss her off tonight. She’s had a terrible day and she
probably needs her rest. Why don’t you sleep on the ugly couch of yours until
tomorrow? That way you won’t wake her and start anything this late.”
“Good night, Mother. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.” He was still grinning when
he went into his room to check on her.
Morgan hadn’t moved. He started taking off his tie as he looked down at her
in wonder. She was very beautiful. He pulled his shirt from his pants and
unbuckled his belt. Toeing off his shoes, he thought about the children she
carried and wondered if they’d look like her. He hoped that one of them would
get her eye color. The sheer blue would be breathtaking on a young man as it
was on his mother.
Nick sat down on the bed as he pulled his trousers off. As he tossed them
across the room, he wondered if she would be hungry when she woke up.
Damon had told him that she was having late pregnancy morning sickness. As
he pulled the blanket out from under him and lay down, he thought he’d have to
get up early enough to go get some things for breakfast for them. Maybe a few
weeks worth of groceries because she wasn’t staying in that house alone. He
closed his eyes and pulled her lax body next to his. No, he thought. She wasn’t
staying anywhere alone again.

Tune in next week for  CHAPTER FORTY-ONE

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2 DEVIN –  
4 BYRON –  
5 JAMIE –  

The grant brothers series in reading order 




New Release 

Micah Bentley is a third generation cop and a panther. 
He always wanted to be a homicide detective like his dad, but kept getting passed up for the job 
because he was too good at what he currently did working the beat.
 Micah has a gift, he can read people’s minds.
 Such a gift could be a help and a hindrance on a job. 
He could pluck the information he needs right out of someone’s mind, but knowing 
they’re guilty and proving it are two different things.
 But when his dad is killed off duty it has him rethinking his career choice. 

Regina Webster, Reggie to her friends, is just trying to make ends meet
 by working three jobs to keep her head above water, and also take care of her invalid brother.
 She doesn’t have time for socializing with bossy men like Micah Bentley 
who butt into her life making everything concerning her his business. 
She doesn’t know anything about this mate thing he keeps spouting off about,
 she just wants him to leave her alone. 

Due to a random act of violence, she finds herself suddenly homeless:
 no home, no money, no car and suffering from a gunshot wound to boot.
 Reggie has no choice but to accept a helping hand from the Bentleys at―least until she can get back on her feet. 

Trouble has Reggie marked, and this time they take Micah’s mom too.
 Micah knows they’re in trouble, but when the bad guys don’t go where they’re expected it’s a race against the clock… 

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Happy Reading 

Kathi  S Barton