Gemma Brower is determined to turn her life around. Having fallen about as far as she can, she’s ready to climb out of hell and find her way. She’s determined that she isn’t ready for another relationship after her last one ended so badly, but then she meets Synclair and Ryan Black, two brothers who are as different as night and day. She’s not the only one in instant lust. The brothers have resolved to have her any way they can get her.
With her ex acting like a crazy stalker, Gemma has more on her mind than her love life. Trevor’s calls are escalating and she’s worried he may come after her. After one too many threatening calls, she confides in the brothers, who vow to protect her at any cost. But is Gemma ready to trust again? Her heart is already battered from one failed relationship after another. Dare she attempt to fall in love once more?
She wanted a drink so badly, had felt the craving for alcohol ever since she’d left Trevor’s house, but she didn’t have the money to buy anything except cheap beer. She’d bought a six-pack that first night, but it hadn’t lasted past morning. It wasn’t hard for her to admit she had a problem, but she’d never wanted to do anything about it, before now. Alcohol had always been her escape from the nightmare that was her life. The endless parties, the late nights at one bar after another, a circle of friends that wasn’t into anything other than chasing the next high, hopping from one guy’s bed to another’s. Her life hadn’t started out that way. She’d just sort of fallen into it. She’d gotten sucked down fast and hard, and hadn’t been able to claw her way back out of the pit.
All of that was behind her now. She was going to look at Grizzly Pines as her saving grace. If she was going to start over, she was going to do it right. No more alcohol, no more smoking pot at parties… no more parties for that matter. The rest of her family seemed quite content to live a relatively quiet life. Surely, she could do the same thing. Hell, maybe she’d even get a pet once she had her own place. She’d had a dog growing up, but she’d always wanted a cat. Her mom had been allergic so it had been out of the question. There wasn’t even a barn cat at the family ranch. One had shown up once and her dad had immediately taken it to the local shelter to find a new home. She’d prayed every night that it hadn’t been put to sleep.
Before she could take care of a pet, she needed to learn to take better care of herself. If she could make a go of her writing, or find a steady job in Grizzly Pines, rent a decent place, then she’d consider herself rehabilitated and well on her way to being a productive member of society. She had her work cut out for her. Even she could admit that she needed more than a little bit of polish to make her shine. Rough edges? More like tarnished. Heavily tarnished.
She began chewing on a fingernail as she paced her living room. She was on her fifth circuit of the room when the phone rang. The number wasn’t familiar but it was local, so she answered it.
“No one leaves me, bitch!”
Trevor! She should have known. He’d called several times over the past few weeks, the same conversation every time.
“Then maybe you shouldn’t have treated me like shit.”
“You had it good. Anytime you wanted a fix, I provided for you. The fridge was always stocked with your favorite beer and I kept a fully stocked bar. You didn’t even have to work if you didn’t want to. Women would kill to have been in your position.”
“You hit me, Trevor. You beat the living hell out of me until I could barely move! I was black and blue all over. Since when is that taking care of me?”
He snorted. “So I lost my temper every now and then. Maybe if you hadn’t been such a lazy, stupid bitch, it never would have happened. You had one job, Gemma. Keep the damn house clean, and you couldn’t even do that.”
“No one could keep up with your twenty beer cans a day littering the house, dirty dishes left by your chair after every meal, and your clothes being dropped just wherever the hell you felt like taking them off. I was your girlfriend, not your damn slave.”
“You’re going to regret leaving me, Gemma. Don’t think I don’t know where you are. I’ve been watching you. I know all about that roach-infested tin can you’re staying in. We’ll be together again. Soon.”
He hung up and she disconnected the call with a shaky hand. There was no doubt he’d make good on his threat, if he could find her. Good thing she was leaving first thing in the morning! Beau was saving her in more ways than one. She’d never be able to repay him. She just hoped Trevor stayed away until then.
Gemma started pacing again and ended up pacing for so long that the sun was rising before she realized how much time had passed. The odd thing was that she wasn’t the least bit tired. If anything, she was excited to start this next phase of her life. It hadn’t taken her long to throw her scattered clothing into the garbage bag, only leaving out a change of clothes to start her new day, her new life. She took the quickest shower in history, and was just snapping her short-sleeved western shirt when there was a knock on the door. She didn’t think it was eight already, but maybe more time had passed than she’d thought.
Pulling open the door, she smiled at Beau. The rising sun told her he was early, but she was okay with that. There was a ball of energy just buzzing around inside of her, ready to burst free at any moment. If Beau hadn’t come when he had, she probably would have been sitting on the steps waiting for him, her bag and box beside her, feet tapping on the cement steps.
He glanced up at the towel wrapped around her head. “I think you forgot something.”
“You caught me getting out of the shower.”
He shivered. “Thanks, but the last thing I want to think about is you in the shower. Hurry up and brush your hair, or whatever it is you need to do. I’ll start getting your stuff together.”
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